How we remember

My sister and I reading, sometime around 1960

My sister and I reading, sometime around 1960

“How we remember, what we remember and why we remember form the most personal map of our individuality.” Christina Baldwin

Among the countless ways my sister has blessed my life, one comes to mind often: she read to me and taught me to read.  Over fifty years later, I have wonderful memories of the hours we spent with books.  Little wonder that she grew up to be an elementary school teacher, and I became a librarian.

Almost all of us deal with a mixed bag of memories, pleasant or painful, happy or horrible.  One of the most nurturing gifts we can give ourselves is the recognition of what has gone right in our lives.  By choosing to spend our mental energy on gratitude for the good times, rather than re-hashing and resenting old grievances, we lay the foundation for living mindfully with today’s blessings foremost in our thoughts.

This does not imply denial of the truth.  Indeed, we may need to work through our negative memories with the help of a trustworthy counselor, pastor or friend.  But all of us who are here today, reading this message, are alive because there have been people who cared for us and helped us survive and grow.  Today I invite you to celebrate a beautiful memory with a few minutes of reflection, thanks or sharing.

Happy 60th birthday to my beloved sister!

This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.


Related Posts:

The Books Themselves

A Delightful Society

Strangely Enough


  1. Susan

    Oh, that’s so sweet, about her reading with and teaching you! Such a gift! And an adorable picture too 🙂 .

    • Thank you Susan. That’s one of my favorite photos. And I still depend on my sister, every single day. She more than anyone else (other than Matt) has been the person who has helped me keep going.

  2. Good morning, Julia! You two were darling. What a gift she gave you, in teaching you to read!
    What a gift she gave all of us, as you have built on that skill and shared so much with us through your writing!

    • Thank you, Susan. My sister is one in a million and has been a support and help to me for literally all my life. Thanks for your gracious words about my writing. The older I get, the more I’m aware of my own literary limitations, but if anything I write is useful, inspiring or just plain fun to anyone else, I’m happy. 😀

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