Living the Abundant Life
"Abundant life" refers to life in its abounding fullness of joy and strength for mind, body, and soul. "Abundant life" signifies a contrast to feelings of lack, emptiness, and dissatisfaction, and such feelings may motivate a person to seek for the meaning of life and a change in their life”
Looking back at my life I see a pattern that has emerged (like the patterns of a quilt) being brought to completion, a knowledge and gratitude of being blessed to live the “Abundant life.”
What has brought me to this conclusion? I was born in a family of 7 children, 5 sisters and 1 brother. It was during the time of a great depression, food and jobs were scarce. My father found a job with the Federal government called the CCC’s. He worked in the area of Jackson, Hole, Wyoming. It fed his family and provided for us.
(During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.)
I was born and raised in The Rock Springs, Wyoming area. It was a coal mining community that provided coal for the Union Pacific Railroad. The town I lived in was named Reliance and was owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. The school and all the buildings were owned by the railroad. The miners rented the homes and worked in the mines. The railroad employed all the best school teachers and furnished all the books and materials needed. We were provided a quality education.
There was never a feeling of one’s family being better than anybody else’s, because our dad’s all did the same work with the same pay. After world war 11, many European families moved to Wyoming to work in the mines, they came through Ellis Island, requiring to learn English and taking an oath to live the Constitution of the US. Because of this, I grew up with many different nationalities, never thinking they were any different than me, we just called each other friends. I never ever experienced any kind of prejudice growing up.
All the community activities revolved around the activities at school. The band concerts, basketball and football games, Christmas programs, school prom’s, teenage dances, Halloween parties and church activities.
We were free to roam the streets in the evening time without fear of being attacked, playing innocent games outside until my mom called us in at dark. In the winter we dressed up in the warmest clothes we had, grabbed a sleigh and went sledding until our feet and hands were frozen. Only going in the house to warm up by a warm coal stove and then darting back outside. During Halloween, we went trick or treating 2 or 3 days in a row, and loved every minute of it.
During the 4th of July, the whole town would buy fireworks and light them until midnight. If we ever found ourselves in trouble and away from home, we knew we could go to the nearest house for help. We grew up very independent and healthy because we spent so much time exploring our environment.
Because of the world war, there were many men who came home and Patriotism was a natural order of life. We learned to love God, Country, flag and community. We had very few material advantages, but, never felt poor or that we were at any disadvantage, we were happy and content with what we had. Mom sewed, knitted and made clothes from other clothes and we thought they were beautiful. It was a special treat to come home from school, and find the awesome smell of bread baking, and dinner cooking.
Christmas was a special time for everyone. Even though money was scarce, mom and dad managed to give us a wonderful Christmas. Believing that Santa’s helper was watching us to see if we were naughty or nice, and if we were naught, which we never were, we would be rewarded with a lump of coal. (Mind you we knew what a lump of coal looked like.) Never ever seeing Santa at the shopping stores, only store shelves filled with toys for little girl and boys. We received a stocking filled with hard candy, orange or apple and nuts. Our Christmas stockings were the stocking that we wore, and we tried to pick out the biggest sock for Santa to fill. We were allowed to pick out one gift that we really wanted from Santa. Sometimes it would be ice skates, a sleigh, snow boots or a special doll. Usually a doll and homemade doll clothes were made by my mom would be under the tree. At times my dad would made dish cupboards from orange crates, painted with fun decals. We went to bed that night with sugar plumbs dancing in our heads. An awesome dinner was cook, which was always such a special treat, afterwards, visiting relatives or friends to see and compare gifts. Christmas Caroling was a greatly anticipated part of our Christmas traditions, it brought the complete spirit of the holiday to life.
These values gave me the foundation for my adult life when life and trials came. There were some that would be very difficult that required me to pray and look for answers, because I did not know what the solution would be. My faith in God grew and grew because of these trials, and continues to this day. I gave my children the value of work and having faith in God, Praying and learning to serve Him and others. Picking good friends, respecting adults by calling them Mr. or Mrs. including their school teachers. They learned the consequence of bad behavior or choices, just as I had.
I am now in the twilight years of my life, and I thank God every day for living the abundant life. My brother and one sister have left us and gone home, but I continue to have full love and communication with my sisters who are left. I feel the contentment of peace, patriotism, gratitude, family and love of country. It doesn’t ever leave me. I still keep in touch with some my old friends from school, plus having wonderful friends now that keep me laughing and loving life. Gratitude of being born into the greatest country of the world and experiencing all the freedoms and privileges it has offered. I live now in the best of times and the worst of times. My wish is that we can again capture some of the wonderful days of my early youth and show the youth of today how to be happy, grateful for what this country has to offer.