Tag Archives: Heritage

Alive with Color

Candy blogs: Last night I dug out a book I hadn’t looked at in a while. Inside was an envelope with my random mixture of abbreviations and old shorthand phrases. A couple of years ago we were traveling and I had heard a song on the radio that completely drew me in at the time. I scratched down the information on this envelope so I would remember to blog about it. Ha! That was a couple of years ago. One of my top five strengths from “Living Your Strengths” is Connectedness. Among other things, this means I believe things happen for a reason. And I believe I found this note last night at just the right time.

The song that drew me in was In Color by Jamey Johnson (love this You Tube video!). It’s about a man who is looking through old family photographs with his grandfather. The grandfather tells the story of his life to his grandson through the pictures. For those of you who know me, it’s no surpise that this song touched me so deeply. I have always been our unofficial family historian and have shared this passion with many to encourage an intentional legacy.

I said, Grandpa what’s this picture here
It’s all black and white and ain’t real clear
Is that you there, he said, yeah I was eleven
Times were tough back in thirty-five
That’s me and Uncle Joe just tryin’ to survive
A cotton farm in the Great Depression
And if it looks like we were scared to death
Like a couple of kids just trying to save each other …
You should have seen it in color

What will my grandchildren see in our family photographs?

with my Grandpa Ken Bertholf…age 10

When I was 11, I was just “tryin’ to survive and scared to death”, too. Our rag-a-muffin family lived in poverty and us kids endured the physical abuse of our mother by my first stepfather, who was a violent alcohlic. He had a loud, deep voice that sent chills down my spine when he became angry. We learned to keep our heads down and not talk too much. My life often seemed black and white with no color. But in frequent intervals, my grandparents always gave me the stability, hope and unconditional love that my wounded, fearful little heart needed. I’m sure it broke their heart to think of their grandchildren living such a life … and they didn’t know the half of it. But through it all they pointed me to Jesus Christ. Jesus became the one unchanging, immoveable force in my life. Their faith in God and their encouragement in my life gave me the strength to rise above my rag-a-muffin beginnings. I am no longer a victim. I am a strong, confident, contributing woman and citizen of the Kingdom of God. This is a story worth telling my grandchildren.

This one here was taken overseas
In the middle of hell in nineteen forty-three
In the winter time you can almost see my breath
That was my tail gunner ole’ Johnny McGee
He was a high school teacher from New Orleans
And he had my back right through the day we left
And if it looks like we were scared to death
Like a couple of kids just trying to save each other
You should have seen it in color

1988 age 30 – What big HAIR you have!

When I was 30 I went through a burn out. I call it a burn out because I don’t know what else to call it. What I remember is that one Sunday morning I was responsible for some kind of children’s program at church and just before it was to begin, I shut down. I believe someone on the team didn’t come through with a crucial piece of the program and I couldn’t seem to make one more decision about what should be done about it.

I began to cry a deep, weary cry in front of my team. I told them I was done. My body and my mind couldn’t go on. They called on Scott to take me home. The next morning I went to my boss and asked for two weeks off. Some friends offered our family a free week in their condo in Vale. I spent the next week in my beloved northern Idaho with my beloved grandparents. I didn’t expain much to them about why I was there. They didn’t push me. They let me spend time in the familiar woods and trails and pond and streams. I used this time to try to find out why this happened. I spent a lot of time in the Bible, God’s word and I journaled a lot. They “had my back through the day I left”.

My burn out happened because I had been going full throttle as a doer. My husband and I both worked full time and had two small children. I also kept myself very busy in the church. I said yes to everything because I was good at a lot of things and because I thought that’s what good Christians should do. But I lacked spiritual power because I did everything in my own strength. That is such a cliche’, isn’tit? But it’s true. I didn’t have an intimate relationship with Jesus … I just DID things for Him and craved His approval. I found out that one can’t go on like that forever. My body and mind shut down so I could rest, take inventory, ponder, plan, gain perspective and learn to wait for God’s leading in how best to serve Him. This is a story worth telling my grandchildren.

This one is my favorite one
This is me and grandma in the summer sun
All dressed up the day we said our vows
You can’t tell it here but it was hot that June
That rose was red and her eyes were blue
And just look at that smile I was so proud

That’s the story of my life
Right there in black and white

Our Wedding Day Nov. 1977

This is a simple one. I loved my wedding. In our wedding pictures you can’t tell, but there was a raging snow storm in the mountains near our city. It kept many from attending and delayed and frazzled those who did make the trip. It was a cold, dreary, winter day in November but it was alive with color in my heart. It was the day I’d dreamed of. Even though we lost one of the flower girl baskets and the special ordered thank you notes haven’t appeared to this day and I regret not having silverware for the cake as I watched my best friend’s sophisticated mother eat cake from a napkin with her hands and I wish I hadn’t let my hair stylist talk me out of washing my hair because he thought it would stay better, I felt beautiful and I became a wife that day. “I was so proud” to become Candy Troutman. That’s story worth telling my grandchildren.

A picture’s worth a thousand words
But you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered
You should have seen it in color

People say that a picture is worth a thousand words … but there is always so much more to the story than what can be seen in a photograph. It’s important to TELL your stories and pictures can often get us started telling. Our stories represent our life … they are the celebration of moments that make our lives alive with color! We’re here for a few short years and then we’re gone. Leaving a lasting legacy takes intentional effort. Pictures with their stories attached in some way are one way to leave a legacy.

What will your life say to your grandchildren? How will they know?

Repost: A Great and Good Man

Candy blogs: “When the sun goes down below the horizon, he is not set; the heavens glow for a full hour after his departure. And when a great and good man sets, the sky of this world is luminous long after he is out of sight. Such a man cannot die out of this world.” Beecher

Grandpa's Famous Smile

October 25 marks the 13th year since my beloved grandfather, Rev. Kenneth R. Bertholf, passed away. This saying was on the cover of his funeral program. It seemed so fitting. But when I created it and his obituary, I struggled with trying to condense 92 years into a few paragraphs. How can one do justice to a whole lifetime on a single piece of paper?

Grandpa Ken was born in Tekoa, WA on April 28, 1905, one of ten children. He was quite an athelete and especially loved baseball, and the Braves in particular. He was also a country musician. He had a wonderful bass voice, and played the fiddle, guitar, steel guitar and harmonica. (Would playing the washtub in a kitchen band also count?) He was an old time lumberjack, short order cook, insurance salesman, vitamin salesman and carpenter.

When he was 29 years old, he became a Christian and felt called to be a minister of the Gospel. He married my grandmother, Blanche Payne, in 1935 and they spent the next 46 years planting, building and pastoring churches around the northwest.

But these are only public and general details “about” my grandfather. They don’t tell you about the kind of man he really was …

As a young child, I lived with my grandparents on a church campground in the mountains of beautiful northern Idaho for two years, and spent every summer with them until I was a senior in high school. I have wonderful memories of long, lazy summers in their home. Almost every evening after dinner, I would sit on my grandpa’s lap to hear stories from God’s Word, the Bible. Grandpa loved the outdoors and took my brother and me on long hikes in the woods on Sunday afternoons. He showed us the needles of different pine trees; some had two, some had three, and some had five separate needles. Then he would run them through his mouth, and no matter how many strands it started with, they would all form one strand, one complete needle. He wondered at this simple miracle. He whittled us whistles out of sticks and told us we should never try to outrun a bear! He taught us the parts of the flower and how to blaze a trail through the woods. He used to jump over picnic tables and kick the tops of doors well into his 60′s. We played math games and made snow angels and went sledding. I’ll never forget his silly Indian talking and dancing. He always had a huge garden and we loved the fruits of his labor! But by far our favorite activity with Grandpa was sitting at his feet while he sang his cowboy songs with his guitar and harmonica on that strange shoulder contraption so he could play both instruments at the same time.

Grandpa & his fiddle

Yet even more important than these more intimate family things, was the fact that Grandpa loved people to Jesus. He was always the center of attention; children and young people flocked to him. He always had a silly joke or a silly song or a silly face. He made people laugh and feel comfortable. You always knew when he was in the room. He had a special love for those who didn’t know Jesus and led many to Christ over his lifetime. It was his passion. Through his sacrifices of time and salary and worldly possessions, God used him mightily to change the lives of thousands of individuals and families. His life was always focused on others.

Me & Grandpa

My grandfather was always the one unchanging presence in my life. As a child, he gave me the stability I needed in my very unstable world. After his passing, I felt rather alone and adrift … unanchored. I had so depended on his predictability and steadfastness for my strength. But I have remembered what he taught me about God: that He is the only one from whom I can draw lasting strength and peace and direction. Because my grandfather loved and mentored me every summer, I grew up to realize that God alone was the one immovable and unchanging force in my life.

Grandparents: Don’t under estimate your influence with your grandchildren.
Grandpa was 92 when he died; he said that 92 was old enough to die. He was ready for heaven. I will always carry a part of Grandpa Ken inside me. I especially miss him at this time of year. But I remember what he taught me and who he pointed me to.

Kenneth Ross Bertholf … a great and good man.

“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18

Repost: Somewhere in Time

Candy blogs: As I’ve been preparing for speaking at this upcoming women’s retreat, I’ve been browsing through time a bit. The theme is Because Everyone Has a Story. I thought I would re-post this piece from 2009.

Young, beautiful, healthy, vibrant, in love!

Young, beautiful, healthy, vibrant, in love!

Lately I have been slightly lost in time. I’ve been remembering the past and dreaming about the future. There have been times in my life where I think I’ve actually experienced “visions” (sounds creepy, I know, but I mean it in the most normal way possible). When I was a Creative Memories Consultant and started developing talks about family photographs, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a photograph of my grandparents when they were first married. The picture was taken in a logging camp in northern Idaho, where they lived when they were first married. My grandmother was wearing a HALTER TOP!

My Grandmother
I don’t need to tell you that I had NEVER imagined my grandmother in a halter top. To me, she was always a “Grandma.” She was always old, walked with a painful limp, seemed to be ill frequently, was a fabulous cook, and had the beautiful gift of hospitality. She loved me unconditionally and I loved her very much. But this picture opened up a whole new world of Blanche Bertholf to me. I began to think about her as a WOMAN instead of a grandmother.

Grandma sang soprano, was a church bookkeeper, hosted Sunday Schools in her home, put on fancy dinners and events for young people, didn’t have the modern conveniences until late in life, recycled-repurposed-reused way before the green movement, loved cookies and vanilla ice cream, was always kind to animals, and was a gamer before gaming was cool. She was once young, beautiful, vibrant, healthy and passionate about her man! What a woman!

My Mother
I had a similar revelation when I realized my mother was a person … a woman and not just a mother. Years ago when I was going through some counseling and learning to move on from a difficult childhood, the counselor helped me realize that I could look back at my childhood from an adult perspective and see it for what it really was. I could also look at my mother in this way, realizing that she made the best choices she could in the times she lived in. She is a whiz at English and grammar and punctuation, is a very talented and innovative musician, was a great cook (loved her fried chicken dinner the best), has a strong administrative ability, loves the computer and looks younger than she is. She taught me to sing harmony and play the piano by ear. What a woman!

My Daughter
The other day my married daughter was over visiting and we talked until late. About halfway through our conversation I was absolutely stopped dead in my tracks again. Our topics of conversation were no longer about simple girlie things as in the past. We talked about career choices and children and finances and friends going through marriage struggles. Now we were talking about adult things … woman to woman. My DAUGHTER was now a woman! And what a woman she is! She is a fabulous photographer, talented musician, is confident and strong, accepts people as they are, doesn’t follow blindly, and gives great advice.

The Ages
So I’ve been rather floating between the generations of late, enjoying the memories of my mother and her mother and feeling grateful for the things from them that make me who I am. And also cherishing my own adult daughter, feeling pride in who she has become and knowing that she carries pieces of me in her that make her who she is. I am thankful for this “timeline”. Grandma, mOm, Abbey and I are all part of the ages, after all. We are all passing on our faith, influence, character traits, values … our legacy.

What are you leaving to the next generation?

Be a Moment Catcher

Candy blogs: I often describe myself as a “moment catcher.” I have a passion for etching special moments into my mind (and my camera) to be enjoyed again and again. Our lives are made up of “moments.” When you add them all up, they are our life. They are all we really have, and when we’re gone from this life, they will go with us unless we have taken the time to bring the moments to life by taking photographs and journaling our experiences and thoughts.

The holidays bring up the strongest desire to recall and create moments … the familiar … the traditions … being with our loved ones. The weather, the music, the smells, the foods … they all bring up special moments from the past. We love to re-live them; we even re-create them for our children. The weather has turned colder and that makes us turn inward. Some moments just happen on their own. But others are created. I just enjoyed looking at some photographs of a friend with her first grandbaby. Now there are some MOMENTS, huh?! I’m grateful that someone thought to snap a picture. But even if there was no picture, the story can still be told in words. In fact, pictures are pretty much worthless without the stories that go along with them. So it really comes down to words. We can have all kinds of moments tucked in our memories but unless we turn them into words, our moments … our lives … will most likely fade after the next generation.

The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory.” Chinese proverb

This from my company’s website: “When the economy is in strife, when the immediate future isn’t abundantly clear, people are drawn to the comfort of their homes. It’s called cocooning, as coined by renowned marketing consultant and futurist Faith Popcorn.

Popcorn’s recent “Culture of the Recession” survey found that 72 percent of respondents are spending more time at home. “What it means is the next iteration of cocooning – uber-cocooning – will see people retreat to their homes as the safe haven from the increasingly threatening outside world,” Popcorn says.

As with other periods of uncertainty on the national and global scale – past recessions, the attacks of 9/11 – people tend to assess their lives and focus on what’s truly important. And family, memories and connecting with others are often what people value most.”

This is the perfect time to put some words to your moments. You are spending more time inside with your friends and family. We’re in the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas so our moment antennae are running at high frequency. What are you thinking about?

I’m thinking about leaning way forward in the car to catch the first glimpse of the lights from Grandpa and Grandma’s house after a very long drive, the candy and caramel popcorn grandpa would have waiting for us, the fudge and pies that Grandma had hidden all over the house to be brought out at strategic times, the four part harmony of family singing, the games of Jotto and Dominos and Battleship, the bountiful meals, the endless hand dishwashing, the sledding, the snow games, the wooden rack set up over the wood heat register from the scary basement for our wet hats and gloves and socks, the creaky stairs that led to the playroom with antique toys, the programs put on by all the grandkids, the presents, the chaos, the laughter … the utter contentment. Christmas at my grandparents’ house was like being under a magical spell. We literally lived all year to get to Christmas in northern Idaho. And we cried for miles when we had to go back home. Can you see all that in this picture?

We're all under the spell of a family Christmas

Christmas in Northern Idaho, 1974

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Don't let the moments of your life go unnoticed and unheard. Think about them, write them down and share them with those who matter to you. Be a moment catcher. It’s catching!
www.candytroutman.wordpress.com

A Great and Good Man

“When the sun goes down below the horizon, he is not set; the heavens glow for a full hour after his departure. And when a great and good man sets, the sky of this world is luminous long after he is out of sight. Such a man cannot die out of this world.” Beecher

Sunday, October 25 marks the 12th year since my beloved grandfather, Rev. Kenneth R. Bertholf, passed away. This saying was on the cover of his funeral program. It seemed so fitting. But when I created it and his obituary, I struggled with trying to condense 92 years into a few paragraphs. How can one do justice to a whole lifetime on a single piece of paper?

Grandpa Ken was born in Tekoa, WA on April 28, 1905, one of ten children. He was quite an athelete and especially loved baseball … the Braves. He was also a country musician. He had a wonderful bass voice, and played the fiddle, guitar, steel guitar and harmonica. (Would playing the washtub in a kitchen band also count?) He was an old time lumberjack, short order cook, insurance salesman, vitamin salesman and carpenter.

When he was 29 years old, he became a Christian and felt called to be a minister of the Gospel. He married my grandmother, Blanche Payne, in 1935 and they spent the next 46 years planting, building and pastoring churches around the northwest.

But these are only public and general details “about” my grandfather. They don’t tell you about the kind of man he really was …

As a young child, I lived with my grandparents on a church campground in the mountains of beautiful northern Idaho for two years, and spent every summer with them until I was a senior in high school. I have wonderful memories of long, lazy summers in their home. Almost every evening after dinner, I would sit on my grandpa’s lap to hear stories from God’s Word, the Bible. Grandpa loved the outdoors and took my brother and me on long hikes in the woods on Sunday afternoons. He showed us the needles of different pine trees; some had two, some had three, and some had five separate needles. Then he would run them through his mouth, and no matter how many strands it started with, they would all form one strand, one complete needle. He wondered at this simple miracle. He whittled us whistles out of sticks and told us we should never try to outrun a bear! He taught us the parts of the flower and how to blaze a trail through the woods. He used to jump over picnic tables and kick the tops of doors well into his 60′s. We played math games and made snow angels and went sledding. I’ll never forget his silly Indian talking and dancing. He always had a huge garden and we loved the fruits of his labor! But by far our favorite activity with Grandpa was sitting at his feet while he sang his cowboy songs with his guitar and harmonica.

Yet even more important than these more intimate family things, was the fact that Grandpa loved people to Jesus. He was always the center of attention; children and young people flocked to him. He always had a silly joke or a silly song or a silly face. He made people laugh and feel comfortable. You always knew when he was in the room. He had a special love for those who didn’t know Jesus and led many to Christ over his lifetime. It was his passion. Through his sacrifices of time and salary and worldly possessions, God used him mightily to change the lives of thousands of individuals and families. His life was always focused on others.

My grandfather was always the one unchanging presence in my life. As a child, he gave me the stability I needed in my very unstable world. After his passing, I felt rather alone and adrift … unanchored. I had so depended on his predictability and steadfastness for my strength. Grandpa had become my father image. Because of him, I knew that God, my heavenly Father, was wonderful and loving. But I have remembered what he taught me about God: that He is the only one from whom I can draw lasting strength and peace and direction. Because my grandfather loved and mentored me every summer, I grew up to realize that God alone was the one immovable and unchanging force in my life.

Grandpa was 92 when he died; he said that 92 was old enough to die. He was ready for heaven. I will always carry a part of Grandpa Ken inside me. I especially miss him at this time of year. But I remember what he taught me and who he pointed me to.

Kenneth Ross Bertholf … a great and good man.

“Let this be for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18
www.candytroutman.wordpress.com

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