Category Archives: Family

The origin of Mother’s Day (again)

For those who didn’t catch this last year.

We all know that Mother’s Day is a national holiday to honor and celebrate mothers and motherhood. But do you know how it all got started? Here is some of what I dug up. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

The first attempts to establish a “Mother’s Day” in the U.S. were usually marked by women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.

In 1868 Ann Jarvis created a committee to establish a “Mother’s Friendship Day” for the purpose of reuniting “families that had been divided during the Civil War.” Her desire was to create an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular.

There were a variety of regional events held in various states in the late 1800’s and Frank E. Hering, President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made the first known public plea for “a national day to honor our mothers” in 1904.

In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother Ann Jarvis, with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. A small service was held on May 12, 1907 in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia where Anna’s mother had been teaching Sunday school.

But the first “official” service was on May 10, 1908 in the same church, accompanied by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in the Wanamaker’s store in Philadelphia. She then campaigned to establish Mother’s Day first as a U.S. national holiday and then later as an international holiday.

Mother’s Day was first declared an official holiday by the state of West Virginia in 1910; other states soon followed. On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requesting a proclamation. On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

I doubt that many families today celebrate Mother’s Day to reunite sons who fought on separate sides of the American Civil War; but it does tend to be the one day that brings families together – for mom’s sake!

Not everyone had a mother worthy of celebration but if you did and if she is still alive – let her know how much you appreciate her!
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Family, Gratitude, Inspiration, Mother's Day

Friday Funny! ;-) Having fun with some Disney Characters

Our time at Disney World a couple of weeks ago was full of fun and laughter, especially when it came to interacting with the Disney Characters. I shared last Friday about embarrassing Brynden with Minnie Mouse and Belle, but there were some other comical moments as well.

When Brynden went to get Donald Duck’s signature, he wouldn’t use Brynden’s Mickey Mouse pen! That is one jealous duck!

Stitch, the fun-loving alien space creature who loves to surf had fun teaching Josh the “hang ten” sign.

Joshua and Stitch

Goofy covered Eli’s face when then hugged.

Eli and Goofy

Goofy played around with Josh and got him to do a hip hop stance.

Josh and Goofy

 Goofy not only flirted with Mykaela and acted bashful when she gave him a kiss, but tried to sneak away with her.

We don’t have to be a Disney Character to have fun!
Make someone’s day special by sharing a smile and a laugh!

***

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Family, Funny, Humor, Just for fun, Laughter

It’s sharing the journey that makes it worthwhile!

The last time Eli, our oldest, was with us on a family vacation it was the summer of 2008 – just prior to his senior year of high school. Since then his college and summer work schedule has made it impossible for him to join us. So being with him a couple of weeks ago at Disney World was extra special.

Eli and Goofy

He’s always been a good kid but the changes that happen between 17 and 21 years-of-age are significant. He is a sharp young man and yes I’m biased but I could provide you a long list of others who would agree.

Since he’s lived down there for several months now, working at Disney, it was like we were visiting his home turf and he loves being there. Eli wasn’t just with us he was delighting in showing us around and acted as our personal tour guide.

He wanted to make sure everyone was having a great time and he routinely asked everyone what their favorite part was so far. After some of the bigger events he would turn to me with eyes twinkling like a kid in a candy store and ask, “What’d you think, Dad?”

It was so fun watching him interact with his younger siblings and listening to what they most enjoyed. He even coaxed Brynden into riding Mount Everest – a backwards roller coaster, mostly in the dark – with the promise of a special Disney souvenir.

I didn’t have any one favorite activity, though the late evening “Wishes” event at the Magic Kingdom was breath-taking. For me, the best part was taking it all in with my family. None of it would have been as special without them and even small things were special because of them.

Whatever it is that’s happening, where ever it is you’re headed, it’s the people sharing the journey that make it special. Take time today to stop and appreciate them. Let them know how much they mean to you.

And thank you for sharing the journey of this blog! I appreciate it more than you know!

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Family, Fellowship, Friendship, Life in General, Parenting

Making the most of our time

We were very intentional with picking our week to visit Eli, our oldest, in Florida and hang out at with him at Disney World. He is doing a college internship there and his little “blue card” allowed us some nice discounts. Woo hoo!

We purposely avoided the week of Spring Break because EVERYONE would be there. But we also didn’t want to go after school let out for the Summer for the same reason. So we pulled the kids out of school and went the last week in April.

The theme parks were busy but not overly crowded. We got to do everything we wanted and never waited more than about 35-40 minutes. But one special feature made all the difference – Fast Pass!

Fast Pass is not unique to Disney World but it is free and very handy. Rather than wait in line you can get a Fast Pass and come back later to use a different entrance and save time. For example…

If it is 4:00 and a ride has a wait time of 50 minutes you can wait or get a Fast Pass. The Fast Pass will specify when to come back such as between 5:00 and 6:00. So you get the Fast Pass and then go do some others things before going back to use it.

With the Fast Pass you enter by way of a different line and it usually only takes about 10 minutes. This way you can do more and wait less.

I know what you’re thinking. “Where do I get a Fast Pass for the grocery store or my favorite restaurant?” Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

But my point is this: Because we were there for a limited time and wanted to participate in certain activities, we worked hard to make the most of our time.

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. ~ Ephesians 5:15-17

Paul encourages the disciples in Ephesus to make the most of every day by doing what is important to the Lord. It means giving everything you have at that moment because you don’t know if you’ll get another opportunity.

None of us lives with the guarantee of tomorrow, and yet we tend to put off the most important stuff as if we’ll always have a tomorrow.

  • Expressing love to those closest to us
  • Extending forgiveness to those who have hurt us
  • Playing with our kids
  • Sharing the good news of God’s grace with those who don’t yet know Him

As a pastor, conducting funerals is not my favorite thing to do. It is a good opportunity to minister to people but the heartache and grief can be tough to handle at times. Yet, I’m always grateful for the reminder not to take life for granted. Each day is a gift from God to be lived for His glory.

If you knew that today would be your last day on earth, how would you live it?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Choices, Family, Glory of God, God, God's Will, Priorities

Friday Funny! ;-) Embarrassing Brynden

Parenting comes with its fair share of challenges, rewards and little perks. One of those little perks is embarrassing my kids whenever I get the chance. Now, just to be clear, there is a world of difference between embarrassing them and belittling them. I don’t believe it’s ever OK to belittle them.

Last week at Disney World I had fun embarrassing Brynden on two separate occasions. He is our youngest (12 y.o.) and the only one who had never been there so he purchased an autograph book and worked hard to meet as many Disney Characters as possible.

As he was meeting Minnie Mouse and getting her autograph I said (loud enough for everyone to hear): “Hey Brynden, don’t forget that Mickey said to give Minnie a kiss from him.” He turned all shades of red but gave her the kiss.

Brynden with Minnie Mouse

Then on our last day there we stood in line to meet three of the Disney Princesses. As Brynden was getting an autograph from Belle I said (again, rather loudly): “Hey Brynden, did you tell Belle that she is your favorite princess?” (Which is true) Once again, he turned all kinds of red and Belle played it up perfectly as you can tell from the picture below.

Brynden with Belle

What fun we had making special memories as a family. Hope you enjoy some memory-making with your family this weekend!

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Family, Funny, Humor, Just for fun, Laughter, Parenting

We did not get where we are on our own

Yesterday I blogged about our family packing up last week for a vacation to Florida. Our primary reason for going down was to see our oldest son who is working at Disney World as part of a college internship.

We spent three days at Disney theme parks, then a fourth day at Cocoa Beach and Downtown Disney (shopping stores outside the theme parks).

There were a few things that stuck out to me right away as good material for a blog post but I decided to ignore them and just enjoy being with my family.

It’s easy to get preoccupied and lose the moment. I’ve done that before with taking pictures or video. You get so focused on capturing the next pose that you forget to enjoy simply being with your family and taking it all in.

So I did a week of blogs before we left for Florida and just took time daily to respond to comments.

Then on the last day Susan mentioned that a certain event would make a good blog post and that I should blog about our trip. So I took a few minutes to jot down some ideas and then promptly put them aside.

Now that we’re home I want to do some blogs about our time in Florida because trips are a great source of new stories and it will be a great way to remember special moments of our trip.

My first observation is that we had help getting to Florida.

Of our four vehicles the newest is 15-years-old and our van, the vehicle we would use for such a trip, is 20-years-old. Since we don’t have a vehicle we trust to go that far (1000 miles) and we couldn’t afford to fly, we borrowed my father-in-law’s Honda van (pictured above).

As we soaked up all the sun and fun of being in Florida we were keenly aware that we did not get where we are on our own. And the same is true in our journey with God.

Stop and reflect for a moment on where you actually are in your journey and who has played or is playing a significant part. The older you are the longer the list will be.

Some encourage. Some comfort. Some teach. Some push. Some pray. Some challenge. Some inspire. All play a part in our journey.

We did not get where we are on our own!

Sharing the journey is not an optional pleasantry, but an essential necessity. It’s a God-designed part of our journey toward maturity in Christ.

Who has played a part in your journey? How can you thank them? How can you pray for them? What are you  waiting for?
***

P.S. – Thanks for the use of your van Dad Howard!

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Family, Fellowship, God, Gratitude, Loving others, Morphing, Relationship with God, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth

Immeasurably More!

Have you seen the new commercial by a well-known do-it-yourself store when a couple rushes into a big house where the walls are covered with nothing but white paper?

They are both carrying markers and when they draw the outline of an object on the blank wall it immediately pops into reality. A new appliance, some pieces of hardware, a new window or door.

As a guy with a carpentry background who struggles to complete remodeling projects on our old farm-house in a timely fashion I would love one of those magic markers.

But the point of the commercial is that this particular do-it-yourself store can take whatever you imagine and make it real. How cool is that?! But I’ve got one better.

In his letter to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul prays for them to be rooted and established in love and able to fully grasp the width, length, height and depth of the love of Christ. Then he makes this amazing statement:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Paul has own unique way with words. How do you calculate “immeasurably more”? Whatever it is, God can do it with whatever we ask or imagine.

Obviously, this is not a promise to satisfy our own wants and desires. And our ability to imagine tends to grow smaller as we age. But in keeping with God’s kingdom purposes, what can you imagine God accomplishing?

  • Healing for a wreaked marriage?
  • Boldness to share the hope of Christ with those who don’t know Him?
  • Wisdom and grace for parents dealing with a rebellious child?
  • Real peace for a heart troubled with worry?
  • Freedom from addictions or sinful habits?
  • Better choices made by a rebellious child?
  • The hard-hearted person finally opening up to receive God’s gift of grace?
  • Character and integrity in those who serve in our government?
  • Courage to forgive those who have hurt us?
  • A renewed love of God for those who claim Jesus as Lord?

God delights to bring all manner of new life and restored hope because He loves us more than we can begin to fathom. The question is…

… what is it that we ask God for or imagine Him doing?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brokenness, Christianity, Courage, Family, Forgiveness, Glory of God, Grace, Hope, Imagination, influence with the world, Love of God, Marriage, Parenting, Peace, Prayer, Revival, Sin, Trusting God