Sentimental Journey and the Moments that Count

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I’ve felt sentimental lately.

A dear aunt of mine passed away on Thanksgiving.

The older I get my aunt’s age of 77 doesn’t seem that old.  Of course I know that younger (much younger) people or children pass away and the reality is that death is no respecter of age.

Either is illness.  My aunt actually left her family a few years ago as Alzheimer’s snatched her from her loved ones and kept her captive until being released and set free on Thanksgiving.

She was a big part of my childhood~and even into my adult years~so the memories of the lovely person she was with her beautiful smile and contagious laughter are washing over me like a stream from a waterfall.

I’ve felt the need for stillness in the days that followed the news.  I’m sensing a holy hush, a reminder of how fleeting this life really is.

Not only am I visiting memories of my aunt but memories of other loved ones, that have passed on.  I’m brought back to different places in time recalling the moments spent with each one, who they were, their personalities, their quirks, their uniqueness and how they mattered.  How they mattered to me.

I’m sitting here, in my pajamas (as noon approaches) with my third cup of coffee, and a half eaten bowl of steel-cut oats, clicking away at my keyboard.

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Then out of nowhere my husband approaches and says, “Your brother, Frank, got us hooked on steel-cut oats, remember?”

I slide my glasses down my nose and look over them, “Yes, I remember.”

And I’m transported to another time; another memory.

Frank made a big pan of steel-cut oats for us, on one of our last visits with him, before his death.  Coffee, oats and laughter filled our morning.  Frank always made us laugh with his quick wit and funny stories.

You’ve been there too, I’ll bet.  I mean the journey back to those sentimental places for a visit.

Then after a brief visit, we return.  We come back to here, now, the moments of today and hopefully begin to savor each one.

I savor through photography.

Some people may think that taking pictures doesn’t allow a person to truly enjoy the moment.  For me, just the opposite is true.

My camera engages me with my surroundings so much so that I become aware of things that may go unnoticed by others, especially in nature.

“Some people say they prefer living life instead of taking pictures of it.  That’s missing the point.  Photography gets you more involved in your environment.  Most of all, it gets you out of the house and into the sunlight, where a lot of what I call “present-moment living” happens in the first place.”   Jim Miotke

My camera has been a gift from God to help me focus on the blessings that surround me.  One by one I see them, frame them with my eye and then snap them.

I don’t have to have a camera to savor the moments and either do you.  We just need an awareness of how precious they are and give thanks for every gift.

The point is we often rush through our days without savoring much but when we make a conscience effort to savor we become engaged in the moments without letting them slip by.  And we engage with the people we’re with making the time with them count

During this busy season of December, taking notice of when we’re harried, hurried, stressed (and with a deep breath) remember what really matters–the moments–the people–that’s what will help us refocus again and again.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it is a memory.” Dr Seuss 

Let’s savor and value the simplest of moments now–the everyday blessings–even before they become a memory.

Written by:  Nancy Janiga©2014

8 thoughts on “Sentimental Journey and the Moments that Count

  1. Nancy, I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved aunt. I know you are thankful to have wonderful memories of her but sad too. I love what you had to say regarding taking pictures. Sometimes I have felt that I haven’t wanted to “take the time” to take pictures..especially during family gatherings. But since we have our new…to us…computer it is set to have revolving pictures displayed on the screen taken from our pictures saved on the computer. We and our grandchildren have had so much pleasure watching these pictures scroll across the screen and the wonderful memories we all have of when we see them are priceless. I have picked up the camera again and am capturing memories once again. Thank you for another beautiful, thoughtful, insightful writing. Bless you and Bob.


    1. It’s harder for me to take pictures at family gatherings than it is of inanimate objects or nature shots. 🙂 But I try to take shots of family as much as possible, because it’s always fun to look back on the memories through photos. I have some really good ones of my aunt from over 20 yrs. ago that I’m glad I have now. Thanks for your kind words, Bonnie. God bless you!


  2. Another wonderful blog…thanks Nancy. I’m so glad that someone else loves their camera and taking picture to save for another time as I do! So sorry for your loss….God is good. Hugs to you and Bob. Have a joyous CHRISTMas!


    1. Pam, We’re certainly kindred spirits when it comes to our faith and photography. Thank you for reading my blog and for your kind words. God bless you and your family this Christmas season!


  3. My Aunt Elaine introduced my brother and I to hot tea with milk and sugar when we were quite young. It was always a treat when we visited her. I will always remember her for that.


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