One summer day in June, my mom and I were cleaning her dining room. The main task was to wash the antiques in her china cabinet. Each precious treasure had to be removed from the hutch, hand-washed in warm, sudsy water, hand-dried, and put back in place after the shelf itself was dusted. The heirlooms had been handed down from both sides of the family. Some of the family treasures were so unique that they caused me to question my mom about them. While carefully handling each fragile figurine, I wanted to know the story behind it. To whom did it belong? Where did she get it? How long had that memento been in our family? From Great Grandma Tena’s one hundred plus year old ceramic baby cup to her ivory colored shell vase my Grandma Vera grew up seeing always on display, the history of some of the inherited possessions was discussed. Like the objects passed down through the generations, we too have sacred stories that need to be told. To whom do I belong? Where have I been? How has the Lord been gracious? Hearing the stories behind each of the antiques in the china cabinet taught me a lesson: We also need to share our past experiences that demonstrate the faithfulness of our Father. It is so important to tell our children and grandchildren the great things He has done in our lives and how He has been with us each step of our journey. Share your story. Boast about your God. Pass the baton of faith to the next generations.
Prayer: Father, help me to communicate how you have continued to work in my life. Amen.
Richard Latta’s Legacy of Love
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Gary Chapman writes in his book The Five Love Languages of Children that children need to receive love in all of the five love languages. These languages in which we speak love to one another are:
1. Quality Time
2. Physical Touch
3. Acts of Service
5. Words of Affirmation.
As I think about my dad, I am often reminded of how many different ways he showed his love to our family. He was able to meet our needs right where we were. I asked my sisters, and they too agreed that dad showed how much he loved us by using all the love languages. We began to share story after story of how Dad demonstrated his love to us.
Although he was usually busy working on some project, he always stopped whatever he was working on if anyone needed some of his attention and time. Whenever the grandkids, Kaleigh, Kenna, Dan, and Mitch came to visit, he immediately stopped writing and took them for a nature walk to the forest or the pond near his house. Our children adore their Papa because he spent quality time with them. These journeys not only made his grandchildren feel special, but they also produced in each one of them a love for animals and nature.
When Alyssa was little, Dad used to sit at the old coffee table on the floor and let her style his hair. He was a great client because he not only allowed her to comb his hair, he let her put barrettes and pink rollers in it also. He would sit patiently while she worked. When she finished, she would laugh and be so proud of her accomplishment. Then, she would pull everything out and begin again. This not only fulfilled her need of physical touch but also prepared her for one of her careers in hair design.
Almost every day when the weather was nice in the summer, Tara remembers Dad chauffeuring all of us girls to the pool. While there were many moms that sat at the pool, our dad was the only father there keeping one eye on his girls and another eye on his clipboard in which he worked on creating puzzles for books. When he became too hot, he would take a break from his papers and spend time in the pool tossing Tara high into the air and allowing her to practice dives off his legs. Tara not only felt loved by these acts of services, but these acts also inspired her love for the water and encouraged her to spend many summers working at the Ottawa Street Pool.
One Christmas Sara received scrapbooking cutters. When she asked whom they were from, she was pleasantly surprised when she found out they were from Pops. She said she felt that Dad was trying to encourage her in her hobby of scrapbooking. However, true to his nature, Dad made her open the package so he could try them out on an idea he had. Dad always put a lot of thought into each gift he gave to each of us.
Each Christmas morning we would sit at the top of the stairs and get our picture taken together. Then, we would run downstairs to the lit-up Christmas tree and begin opening gifts. After all the gifts were open someone would shout out the word STOCKINGS, and we would race to the fireplace in the family room and see our Christmas sock hanging from a hook on the mantle. Inside we would find lots of treats and small treasures. When we were done showing each other our goodies, we would take the papers that had been peeking out of the top of our stocking and find a quiet spot to read the words of love written to us by our dad. Each year my dad faithfully put in our stockings five different poems about us that he had written. These poems usually summarized what we were involved that year and how Dad felt about us. They were love letters that we looked forward to reading each Christmas morning. These poems were Dad’s words of affirmation to us on pieces of paper. What was once a present peeking out from the top of our stocking is now a priceless gift from our dad. We are so thankful for the love our father gave us. We are grateful not only for the precious memories and pictures we have of our dad, but also for the proof of his devotion found in these poems. These poems not only fulfilled my personal need of hearing words of encouragement, but they also help create in me a passion for writing inspiring devotionals.
Gary Chapman states that when parents speak all the love languages to their children then their children are able give love in all the languages making them sensitive to the needs of others. My prayer is that we the daughters of Richard Latta will continue his legacy of love by giving, sharing, and caring for others as our dad so faithfully did each day of his life. I would LOVE to read what your dad did to make you feel loved and special. Please comment below. Thanks!
“Dad, if it is okay with you, I would like to keep this old coffee pot.”
“I don’t care; you can have it,” he replied. It was a November afternoon, and my dad and sister and I were going through some of my grandma’s possessions. We had just come from the hospital where my grandma was in the last stages of cancer. Over sixty years of accumulated family treasures needed to be gone through, and each time we visited Grandma in Indiana, dad, her only child, and whoever traveled with him stopped by her home to continue the long process of going through her home item by item. My sister, Sara, did not want it, and at that time I was not sure why I was drawn to it; I am not a coffee drinker. It was just a white porcelain coated coffee pot with a light blue handle, a glass knob on the lid and black spots where the porcelain had chipped. This type of coffee pot can be found in any local antique shop. The inside showed years of coffee making with hard water stains two and half inches high. When I arrived home, I washed the pot and boiled some water for hot cocoa. It stilled worked! Even though it was chipped and stained, it could still boil water. When the coffee pot is not in use, it sits on my stove as a daily reminder of my grandma. It also is a symbol reminding me of who I am in Christ. Similar to my antique porcelain coffee pot, I am aging. Years of life have made their mark on me. Gray hairs, memory mistakes, and a few more wrinkles are more common than before, but like the coffee pot, I am still useful in spite of my imperfections.
Dear Father, help me to remember that I am still useful to you. Amen.