Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Love Which United Them At The Beginning Kept Them United To The End.

My Grandma's family.

The blessings of a Christian family are often underestimated by their children. I have always loved my family dearly - but as I have grown older I have gained a deeper appreciation for their values and sacrifices. To be so richly blessed on both sides of my family with such a rich heritage of faith and courage is a wonderful gift!

When I went to the Benedict family reunion I took some time to peruse the binders of genealogy, pictures, and interesting remembrances of my great grandma and grandpa that have been complied by their children.

One item of interest was a small booklet on the history of the first Benedict in America complied by the great grandson of Thomas Benedict - the first known immigrant with this last name. As I read about him and his family I thought how much fun it would be to meet him in heaven! There are so many fascinating people and it will be wonderful when we are no longer limited by one slice of time - and will be able to meet each individual and hear their story of God's blessings in their life.

Here are some interesting facts I learned about him and his family:

"The action of the General Court, whenever his name came before it, shows that he was known and esteemed by the authorities of the main land; indeed it is apparent from cotemporaneous events that he was a main support of the cause of Connecticut on Long Island."

". . . Besides the service of these more conspicuous appointments, he rendered much to his friends in a non-official and neighborly way. His good sense and general intelligence, some scientific knowledge and his skill as a penman, made him their recourse when papers were to be drafted, lands to be surveyed and apportioned, or disputes to be arbitrated. It is evident that very general respect for his judgment prevailed, and that trust in his integrity was equally general and implicit."

Though there was not specific mention of military service, one of his sons, Daniel, received a grant of land for his services in the "direful swamp fight" of Dec. 19, 1675, one of the bloodiest struggles of the Indian wars in the New England region which "filled the whole country with woe and lamentation."

"His posterity have never shown themselves derelict in respect to either loyalty or bravery. The public enemy has ever been their enemy; the muster of rolls of every army ever raised to defend the country, or to achieve or maintain its independence, abound with their names; and none more so than those of the last and greatest of all American armies; the army, whose loyalty, patriotism, bravery and patience, saved the cause of Liberty and Civilization, first for their countrymen, and scarcely less, for the rest of mankind."

Thomas Benedict is recorded to have purchased land from the Indians rather than taking it - I liked that a lot! He is identified as being the founder of the first Presbyterian church in America in 1662, and helped to build churches in every town he lived in - serving as Deacon in Norwalk until his death at age 73.

"The fruits of their culture and discipline, under circumstances certainly not favorable, are conspicuous enough in the character and lives of their children, and childrens' children; and prove him to have been a wise and prudent father, and her a judicious and faithful mother. The love which united them at the beginning kept them united to the end; and his Will, probably one of the last acts of his life, is full of evidences of thoughtful affection for his wife; his great concern seeming to have been to secure her comfort when he should be able to provide for it no longer."

"Their grandson, Deacon James Benedict, of Ridgefield, is the only one of their posterity, who, speaking from actual knowledge, furnishes even a glimpse of this interesting couple. He says: "they walked in the midst of their house with a perfect heart. They were strict observers of the Lords day 'from even to even'; and I think it may be said of them, as it was of Zacharias and Elizabeth, that 'they walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless, and obtained a good report through faith." This excellent example had good effect by the blessing of heaven, upon their children.

"This proclivity toward the deaconship continued in the family; for, as late as 1851, another of his descendants, Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Bouton, in an Historical Discourse pronounced by him, July 9th of that year, on occasion of the two hundredth anniversary of the settlement of Norwalk, closes a tribute to the memory of his ancestor thus: "The savor of his piety, as well as his venerable name, has been transmitted through a long line of deacons and other godly descendants, to the seventh generation."

The beginning of his will speak to the simple and profound trust in his God:

"I, Thomas Bennidick of Norwalk, in ye County of Fairfield, in ye Colony of Conecticut, aged aboute 73 years, being weak of body yet of perfect mind and memory, do make and declare this as my last Will and Testament.
Imprimis. I do commend my Soule into ye hands of my gracious God y hath made it, and do give my body to ye Earth from whence it was, to be decently buried, in hope of a happy and gracious Resurrection at ye last day; As for my temporall Estate, I do despose of as followeth;
I do will and bequeath to my loveing wife Mary Bennidick my whole Estate, house and households, Lands, Cattle - to use and despose according to ye controll and advice she, with my overseers afterwards mentioned, shall judg[e] most [ ] during ye Time of her naturall Life, and after ye decease of ye said Mary, my wife, I do will and bequeath to my Sonn, Daniell Bennidick, my dwelling house barne and houseing , orchard and four ewes - ye whole of my homested - to be to him adn his heirs to have and to howld, forever."

Then he goes on to list specific portions of land and or livestock for his numerous children and grandchildren, with the condition that they "behauve (themselves) dutefully and louvingly" towards his wife and be tender to her and to provide for her "comfortable liveing".

This line made me smile:
"I do will and bequeath to my daughter Rebecka Wood [the] mare ye is now running in ye wood;"

My great great grandpa's family

My great grandpa (Howard) having a good snowball fight!

Great grandpa working as a hired hand.

The SDA school that he built right before he was killed in a car accident. This school was a novelty at the time because it had flush toilets, was concert / brick construction, fluorescent lighting, a kitchen for fixing hot lunches - and the latest blackboards that were green - not black!

He regularly corresponded with missionaries and friends around the world. This is a memento that was sent to him by a friend in World War I who was stationed in France.

My great grandma Zelma - a wonderful mother to eight children, a nurse, and a Sabbath School teacher.

Her depiction of the stars falling.
More Recent Photos

Here are some recent snapshots from the Benedict family reunion - I was enjoying talking so much that I didn't take very many pictures :)
Valerie was dearly missed.

These are cousins who have been working in Papua New Guinea for the past 3 years and are home on furlow.

Their Dad demonstrating the attire of the tribe of Godola people who adopted him and his family. This was after church - they shared all the wonderful things that God has been doing at their remote mission post.
Sweet Aunt Agnus

My great-aunt Carole - a timeless personality!
The Brazillians :) My Mommy, Grandma, and Aunt Sueli
Korean cousins!

"The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant."
Psalm 25:14

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Pleasure

Rollicking pots, steaming faces.
Baskets of peaches, baskets of tomatoes.
Musical rows of jars a poppin'!

Monday, July 5, 2010


Occasionally there is a day when one small cleaning task leads to another and the circling about sometimes leads to forgotten treasures. Yesterday was such a day. And somewhere down the morphing list of window washing, fertilizing plants, and cleaning up the unnoticed leak of laundry detergent which had been punctured some time ago by a curious green parrot... I found myself cross legged in front of a book shelf sorting through a catch-all pile of miscellaneous items;

A canoe map of the TN river system inherited from my Papa and Grandma,
Sermon notes, a smattering of graduation cards, a tourist map of Brussels, Belgium...
Great grandmas watercolor blanks for special hand painted cards....
Plenty of alcohol prep pads, my B.S. nursing pin, my faithful graphing calculator.
A handmade card with dried violas filled with encouragement from a kindred spirit.
My authorization to test for NCLEX - why do I still have this?
A Brazilian book mark with a silly bug cartoon that says in literal translation; "Life with Jesus is a great happiness!"

A well used business card for Mr. Stanton; a master craftsman and inventor. I think the card went through the wash a few years ago.

The next slip of paper brings a smile to my face. There are many unnecessary things that I unintentionally keep for years - but this is not one of them. This was handed to my by a friend with a website penciled on the back. Perhaps my sophomore or junior year in academy. I kept it tucked in the front of my purple three-ring binder where I could be reminded by its wisdom each time I opened it. That purple binder finally disintegrated after 8-10 plus years of scholastic service but I kept the little card when the rest when to the the dumpster. At a glance it has given me a plucky spurt of courage through A&P, Physics, Adult III, and all the classes in between. It has inspired me to reach out to others around me - to do and to be when I would have been silent instead.
I've missed seeing it so often. I think I will take it with me tonight when I go downtown to work and try to be the nurse I've yet to become. It's not the little paper, it's the promise written on it - words I need to see more often. So I will fix it inside the gray locker door and when I see it God Himself will hug my heart and show me what to do.