Linda Carlblom

Author & Speaker

Category: Making Memories

The Charm Bracelet

look at more info Marj, a 99-year-old friend, motioned to me from her wheelchair before church to come here. “I have something for you,” she said, her speech still slurred from a stroke a few years back. She handed me a Bayer aspirin box. “You can wait to look at it until you get home.”

Marj and me

I left church that day and didn’t once think of the aspirin box gift until the next Sunday morning as I made sure I had all my things in my church bag. My Bible. Check. Sunday school lesson notes? Check.

Wait. What’s this box? That’s when I remembered. I opened the box and took out two slips of typewritten paper and something wrapped in a tissue cocoon. I opened the tissue and saw a silver charm bracelet. I gasped, knowing instantly what it was.

When I was a little girl over fifty years ago, I used to play with that very charm bracelet during church as it hung on the arm of a much younger Marj. My favorite charm was a tiny typewriter whose keyboard moved up and down when I pressed it. I’d tear off the corner of my church bulletin and feed it into the roller and pretend to type.

I unfolded the paper that came in the box.

Linda….

After you see how many charms are crowding your Typewriter, you may not want the bracelet. If so, I will not be hurt. HOWEVER…..it is yours if you would like to have it. You may do whatever you’d like. Remove some charms if you desire…whatever. At 99 I will not be wearing it or even going charm by charm, like a rosary!!!! I will be pleased if the little girl in the country church was fascinated with it. I always have warm and happy memories of the McQuinn family. Love you all lots…

Happy days for you!

Marj

P.S. I relize that there are errors but I can’t use left hand to find keys and pay attention to errors. One of the blessings of old age…people more willing to forgive mistakes…USUALLY!!!

The little McQuinn girl in the country church was me as a tot in a little rural church in Indiana where we both lived. When we moved to Illinois, Marj and her husband, Don, came to visit a few times. As an elementary school girl I still played with that charm bracelet and looked to see what new charms Marj had added. Later, I sat by Marj at church conferences. I looked through her charms, feeling loved and a sense of belonging whenever she smiled at me fingering her bracelet.

These are some of my early church memories. Little did I know that when I moved to Arizona with my family at the age of ten, that Marj and I would end up in the same church again when she and Don retired out here.

And now I held her beloved charm bracelet, felt the weight of it in my palm. I unfolded the other piece of paper and found Marj had made a list of the charms and the significance behind each one. It was like pieces of her life dangling from that short chain.

I’ll always cherish that bracelet and especially the lady who gave it to me. But just as much, I’ll hold dear the memories of being a child in church and feeling a part of the body of Christ because of Marj’s simple acts of love.

Holy moments, holy beginnings in the formation of my spiritual life. I’m forever grateful to Marj and her charm bracelet.

Holding My Mother’s Hand

As a small child, I loved holding my mom’s hand. It was the safety, security, and love that I wish every child could experience. The familiarity of her hand provided comfort, even though I didn’t understand it at the time. I always knew my hand was welcome in hers. I belonged right there, joined at the hand with her. I was hers and she was mine and we were both so happy about that simple, unspoken fact.

            The days of hand holding with mothers is way too short. It gradually slips away in the growing up, the busyness of life, and the necessary pulling away from dependence to independence that happens to us all. It’s meant to be this way. It’s good when parents raise children who can fly on their own.

            Adulthood yawns wide and engulfs so many years of not holding hands with our mothers. For some, their mothers die too young and hand holding only happens on death beds.

            But I’m one of the lucky ones whose mother has lived into old age.

            Mom is 87 and we’ve been holding hands everywhere we go for a few years now. Her eyesight isn’t good and I need to tell her when there’s a step up or down. I hold her hand to make sure she’s safe, secure, and hopefully, so she’ll know she’s helplessly loved. And all the while, my heart remembers the many times she held my young hand for the same reasons.

            She sometimes fears she’s a burden, too much work, or simply an inconvenience. Nothing could be further from the truth. She’s my blessing, my treasure, my lifeline to everything that matters most.

            So we’ll walk hand in hand all the remaining days of her life. I pray there are many more years of her hand in mine, mine in hers, a mutual giving and receiving of life’s most precious gifts.

For the Love of Daughters and Donuts

I got up at 4:30 this morning. That’s a solid two-and-a-half hours earlier than I normally get up. But it was important.

You see, my young adult daughter was super excited about a new Hurts Donuts store opening near us. Well, not super near. But about ten miles away. The first 100 customers would be entered into a drawing to receive free donuts for a year. We intended to be in that number. They opened at five, so it was rise and shine at 4:30.

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