Category Archives: Personal Stories

Do Small Things with Great Love

Do Small Things with Great Love
Do Small Things with Great Love

I could not stop staring at the hand-painted design on the manilla envelope.

Who sent this beautiful package? 

My gaze zeroed in on the return address.

Lori-Anne?! Our paths haven’t crossed in quite a while.

I peeled the envelope flap back and pulled out the contents.

My jaw dropped.

I pressed the hand-painted journal against my chest.

Notepaper floated out of the journal like gossamer-winged angels.

I picked up the hand-written notes off of my lap.

Tracy,

I hope you don’t mind that I’ve taken creative liberty with one of your designs . . . Just for You.

You have been popping into my thoughts. For me, this usually means that person needs something . . . 

Maybe just a note, a smile or some little thing that tells them they are being thought of. 

Please accept this gift in the spirit of a Random Act of Kindness. On this snowy, grey day, I hope it brings you Joy.

May this new year be filled with more joyful surprise, adventure and wonder-filled days.Be excited for all the good things to come.

Love Lori-Anne

Tears streamed down my face and then turned into sobs of gob-smacked joy.

* * *

A year has passed since I received this “Random Act of Kindness”. And as I write this post, tears freely flow and my heart still bursts with gob-smacked joy!

Lori-Anne also painted a matching pen. A pen I use in my precious journal where I record encouraging notes others have sent me, inspiring quotes, my art and book ideas, Big Bible Blessings, and prayers of gratitude.

* * *

Lori-Anne, if you’re reading this, thank you for breathing new life into my coloring page, Plant Seeds of Love. I don’t know your belief system, but what I do know is that my heavenly Father used you in a mighty way. And I say this with confidence because the Big Bible Blessing that accompanied that coloring page read:

“I am with you and will help you. People will till your soil and plant seeds in you” (Ezekiel 36:9 ERV).

You definitely tilled my soil and planted seeds of love. Thank you, again, for the hours I know you spent on hand-painting the envelope, the pen, and the journal. And thank you so much for sharing your heart of love with me. You’re a gossamer-winged angel.

* * *

I met Lori-Anne many years ago at a craft show. In fact, the very first journal I ever bought was a Lori-Anne original.I do hope you’ll take time to follow Lori-Anne’s Facebook Shop, A Simpler Time.

Blessings of Love,

 

Tracy

P.S. Check out the coloring page “Plant Seeds of Love” in my inspirational coloring book, Calm Coloring: Faith, Hope & Love (Art & Soul Therapy for Kids-At-Heart).

P.P.S. HAPPY 86TH BIRTHDAY, DAD!

This post first appeared on Tracy Campbell’s blog.

Memorable Moments Down Wedding Day Lane

Memorable Moments Down Wedding Day Lane

On Saturday, October 13, 1956, my parents tied the knot.

Wow! Sixty years ago today.

To mark the occasion of their sixtieth wedding anniversary, hubby and I presented them with a congratulatory certificate from the Prime Minister of Canada this past Thanksgiving Sunday.

wedding-congratulations-from-the-prime-minister-of-canada

Last week, while chatting with my mom on the phone, I asked if she’d share a memorable moment of her wedding.

Mom chuckled. “Do you really want to know?”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t want to know,” I said with pen poised.

My pen barely kept up with the memories that tumbled out. (I didn’t include them all. Grin)

Mom’s Memorable Moments – The Wedding Ceremony

Dad and I were married at the Finnish Lutheran Church in Timmins, Ontario. I believe the ceremony was at one or two in the afternoon.

One memorable moment that struck me was the mural at the front of the church. It was of Jesus, knocking at a door—much like he knocks at our heart’s door.

Wedding ceremonies sure have changed. The minister didn’t even ask the guests to sit down while he performed the ceremony. I felt especially bad for my father-in-law. He was not well. He had Silicosis.

It was an unusually hot, October Saturday. It was so hot that right after the ceremony our female guests had to go home to change out of their knit dresses (which were in vogue at the time) before returning to the reception at the Airport Hotel in South Porcupine.

Mom’s Memorable Moments – The Honeymoon

After our reception, we drove to New Liskeard, Ontario. My brother, Martti, was kind enough to lend us his new 1955 Pontiac. We didn’t have much money back then.

And the only clothing I owned that was suitable to pack for our honeymoon was a sleeveless, black and white dress with a matching, patterned bolero jacket, a skirt, sweater, bobby socks and saddle shoes.

martti-marita-kohtala-for-blog-post-oct-13-2016

My late, uncle Martti with my mom in 1954.

Later that night, after throwing open the door of our motel room, your dad and I laughed.

Our sleeping accommodations consisted of two twin beds.

The next morning, we headed to Niagara Falls (the honeymoon capital).

Our first stop, though, was Crystal Beach. Your dad wanted to visit his cousins. That second night, his cousins kept knocking on our motel window.

* * *
Dad’s Memorable Moments

“Mom, please ask Dad to come to the phone. I want to hear all about his memorable moments.”

Dad wouldn’t come to the phone. He was far too busy unloading the dishwasher.

So Mom relayed my dad’s profound memorable moment.

He said, “I got married.”

I heard a muffled chuckle come through the phone.

* * *

Well, on that note I’ll end with . . .

60th-wedding-anniversary-dad-mom-jpeg

May God grant you many more memorable moments.

“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 (NIV)

Sixty years of marriage is truly a memorable moment!

 

Until next time,

 

Tracy

 

P.S. How long have your parents been married?

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED?

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED?

Before I retire for the night, I take for granted that I’ll wake up in the morning and go about my ordinary life—my sleeping, eating, working, and walking-around-life.

But today, I’m reminded of my mortality.

The First Reason

A neighbor and friend, Orville Hughes, passed away on Sunday morning (God granted him 95 years on this earth).

Seven years ago, he was the first neighbor to rap his knuckles on our farmhouse screen door.

After gingerly opening the door, I thought, I’m definitely in farm country.

The elderly farmer pressed his thumbs into the back of his denim overalls. “Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said.

My hubby and I will always remember Orville as the neighbor, farmer, and the friend who showed love with his simple act of kindness.

The Second Reason

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., on a frigid February 2nd morning in 1945, sixteen miners stepped into a lift cage.

With helmet beams lit, they began their descent into the pit of darkness—just another ordinary day to dig for gold in muck and clay.

My grandfather, Eero Kohtala, is in the middle.

My grandfather, Eero Kohtala, is in the middle.

The cage was outfitted with an emergency stop system called “dogs”. The “dogs” job was to grip the timbers on the sides of the shaft should the cables ever break.

Snap!

The “dogs” malfunctioned, sending the cage to plummet 1,500 feet. My grandfather and fifteen other miners lost their lives that day.

An earlier photo of The Paymaster Mine Site taken in 1938. My grandfather is in the second row, fourth from the right.

An earlier photo of The Paymaster Mine Site taken in 1938. My grandfather is in the second row, fourth from the right.

The Paymaster Mine Tragedy was reported to be the greatest mining disaster in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Today is the 71st anniversary of my maternal grandfather’s death—a grandfather I never got to hug. And my mom was only seven-years-old when he died.

All that remains are newspaper clippings, family stories, and the book I compiled and wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day, May 11th, 2014—The Kohtala & Hakala Legacy.

Here’s one of those entries. (Sorry, this WordPress site wouldn’t allow me to insert lines between each stanza).

SIXTEEN MINERS

Tracy Campbell

Down, down, down,

Men toil all day,

Dig for gold

In muck and clay.

Down, down, down,

No time for play,

Miners sweat

For meager pay.

Down, down, down,

Write on this page—

Sixteen miners

Step in a cage.

Down, down, down,

Men, weary worn,

Cage door creaks

One frigid morn.

Down, down, down,

Torn cables snap,

Gloomy thoughts,

We’re in a trap! 

Down, down, down,

Lift cage drops,

Plummets fast,

Blasting stops.

Down, down, down,

Shriek, old and young,

“Help us!” heard

In mother tongue.

Down, down, down,

Torches lit,

Crowbars bend,

Friends don’t quit.

Down, down, down,

No helmet beams,

Loss of breath,

Ends miners’ dreams.

Up, up, up,

Prayers of strife,

Mother, child,

Plead for life.

Up, up, up,

Sirens blare,

Bodies rise to

Greet despair.

Up, up, up,

God knew why,

Eased each painful,

Desperate cry.

Up, up, up,

Cast in bronze,

Miners’ shrine

Gleams like dawn.

Down, down, down,

Tears freely flow,

Lives endure,

As memories glow.

Porcupine Miners Memorial

Porcupine Miners Memorial

The ten-foot bronze statue was erected in 2008 in remembrance of miners who lost their lives over the past 100 years.

The inscription reads:

A…memorial to those who died

A…monument to the families who survived

A…tribute to those who continue.

Before typing this post, I read the following verse in my trusty guidebook—a reminder for me to thank God for each new day.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Romans 12:1, MSG

Do you embrace each day like there’s no tomorrow?

Blessings,

 

Tracy

P.S. Send a card or give a gift to those you love. Visit My Whimsical Shop for ideas.

DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED? first appeared on Tracy Campbell’s blog.

Do You Feel Like You Need Validation from Others?

Do You Feel Like You Need Validation from Others?
Validation

Photo courtesy of Photopin.com

Have you presented a gift (better yet, a handmade one) to someone you loved, but you didn’t receive the praise or validation you thought you deserved?

I tend to seek out validation from others. My hubby says I need to stop worrying about what others think. He’s right. Gulp. And I’m not the only one who struggles with this. 

A good friend shared the following story. You’ll to have to read to the end to find out what life lesson she gleaned. Continue reading “Do You Feel Like You Need Validation from Others?” »

Week 7 – Summer Short & Sweets Challenge – A Birthday Present

Week 7 – Summer Short & Sweets Challenge – A Birthday Present

Fall is in the air. Adios, hot and hazy summer days. But I’m thankful for photos to remind me of sweet memories spent with my hubby’s family. A perfect lead into Susanna Leonard Hill’s, Summer Short & Sweet Challenge.

Continue reading “Week 7 – Summer Short & Sweets Challenge – A Birthday Present” »