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Tag Archives: memories

A Jukebox of Memories

Before the days of cell phones and personal computers, a jukebox connected individuals at local restaurants.  Portrayed in sitcoms like Happy Days, placing a coin in the jukebox and selecting a hip song  often inspired young people to join the dance floor.  Thus, music enhanced the life of teens creating jukebox memories.

As technology advanced, diners began to install miniature jukeboxes in each booth, enabling guests to interact while listening to their favorite songs.  Over time, music became associated, linked and tied to special moments in time.  Whether you were traveling somewhere on vacation, going out on a date or enjoying your prom, music etches memories within our minds.

Today, I can be shopping in a local grocery store, driving in my car or walking down Main Street when I hear a song from my past.  Within seconds, my mind takes me back in time, reminiscing about where I was, who I was with and the friends I made along the way.  Through the good and bad, music is like a recipe to cure the blues in life.  Regardless of what you use to access modern music, may these devices provide soothing jukebox memories.

by Jay Mankus

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Do You Remember When?

Time has a way of skewing our memories.  When life is great, people expect things to continue, letting the good times roll.  On the other hand, as soon as the tide turns, individuals are shocked by unfortunate events like death, illness or trials.

Every so often, I will do something to aggravate my ribs that I broke last winter.  This soreness serves as a reminder of a scary moment in my life.  Unable to breathe, cringing in pain, I watched helplessly while a dozen Emergency Room attendants prepared for my surgery.  As the painkillers knocked me out, I wasn’t sure if I would ever wake up again.

Nine months later, I am thankful for life, a great job and wonderful family.  If it wasn’t for the cold weather, I might have forgotten this traumatic event.  Yet, the Lord brought this to my attention while reading Psalm 105.  Just as the Lord inspired Jewish leaders to remind Israel of God’s covenant to Abraham, the Holy Spirit brought to recall the healing power of the Great I Am.

by Jay Mankus

Those Were the Days

Over the weekend, I got off the Exit called Reflection.  Trying to avoid an eat, sleep, work and repeat the same cycle over again mentality, I pulled off to take a breather, camping in the mountains with my daughter.  Subsequently, I was able to slow down enough to take my spiritual pulse.  Laying back in the wilderness, thoughts began to flood my mind.

Healed from most of the scars from losing my teaching position to a new management group, God allowed me to see positive images from my past.  Similar to the theme song from All in the Family, the Lord brought to recall memories that made me think, those were the days.  Skipping my planning period to partake in a gym class with juniors and seniors, participating in school fundraisers like Donkey Basketball, Dodgeball, Golf Megaathon & Volleyball and developing an Ultimate Frisbee class will always hold a special place in my heart.

Although, you and I may not be exactly where we want to be currently, there’s still time to change course.  Perhaps you need to pull over, take a break or spend time reflecting.  You can start by reading Philippians 4:8; then apply this principle like a scene from Polyanna, playing the good game.  If this exercise can become a habit or daily routine, you may reach a point in time when you can honesty say, “those were the days!”

by Jay Mankus

Where Did the Summer Go?

Boredom, enjoyment and time have a unique connection.  When experiencing something dull or uninteresting, time seems to drag, slowing down to a crawl as you check the clock regularly.  On the other hand, as you indulge in a leisure activity that you love, times often flies by at warp speed.  Perhaps, this may explain where the summer went.

At the end of June, I got the news of my promotion at work.  Initially, time ticked away at a normal pace.  Yet, by the time families book this weekend, plan that weekend and try to fit in some old acquaintances, September is on the horizon.  Unfortunately, the older I become, time appears to vanish, with entire months disappearing from the calendar.  Where did the summer go?  Maybe its stored away in one’s heart, separating the cherished memories from the moments you would like to forget.

As for now, the Lord’s brother provides great advice for those trying to make sense of time, James 4:13-15.  Since today has enough trouble of its own, each soul must savor the remaining days of summer.  Although you may not be able to check off something from your bucket list, a day at the beach, fishing, taking a drive in the country or watching the sunset will certainty relieve stress.  Before Labor Day arrives, soak in the sun while you still have time.  Feel free to share what your favorite summer pastime?

by Jay Mankus

 

Vanishing Point

In a world fueled by controversy, negativity and pessimism, its easy to lose sight of the positive.  Affirmations, encouragement and uplifting words often vanish from memories, erased by daily criticism that wound hearts.  This isn’t the only thing to recede, disappearing like the tide going out to sea.

Despite this harsh reality, there is one truth that never vanishes.  According to Psalm 139:13-16, you were knit together in your mother’s womb.  In fact, Jesus takes this one step further, reminding Nicodemus of God’s perfect plan.  According to John 3:16, the expression “so loved” in the Greek refers to from vanishing point to vanishing point.  In other words, before you were born and until your death, God’s love extends throughout time.

When idividuals become aware of this aspect of God’s nature, revival can begin.  Unfortunately, an invisible enemy has blinded the minds of unbelievers, 2 Corinthians 4:4.  All the while, believers are under a difficult kind of attack, pulled in different directions by the world, Galatians 5:16-18.  If this wasn’t enough, the devil is busy stealing, killing and destroying souls.  As the sun sets on another day, don’t allow your thoughts to forget the promises within God’s word, Joshua 1:8, from vanishing point to vanishing point.

by Jay Mankus

America’s Dying Small Towns

As I was driving to Florida for Spring Break with my family, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Cars.  Sally was cruisizing the countryside with Lightning McQueen when his eyes were opened to the beauty of Route 66.   Awestruck, Lightning asks Sally why he’s never heard of this place.  Unfortunately, the completion of Interstate 40 bypassed this scenic overlook to save 10 minutes of driving time.  Thus, the same story holds true for many small towns in America, on the verge of extinction.

While searching for a place to eat, fuel and rest for the night, I stumbled upon several vacant towns along I 95.  Hotels were boarded up, gas stations closed and the majority of folks abandoned these once bustling areas.  If vacations don’t stop citizens from slowing down to enjoy God’s creation, Psalm 46:10, several small towns will be forgotten, fading away from our memories.  My wife’s words cut like a knife, “how can a hotel survive with only a few cars in the parking lot?”  She answered her own question; they can’t!

When I return home tomorrow, I will bring a new appreciation for the back roads of America, trying to support mom and pop businesses as much as I can.  By doing so, you are keeping alive someone’s dream as you savor a moment in time.  Life is too precious to be in hurry, rush through traffic or snarf down another meal.  May you and I remember the lesson of  this Disney’s movie, taking each journey one drive at a time.  Perhaps, these efforts might save a dying town in your neck of the woods.

Are there any small towns you like to frequent? If so, let my audience know.

by Jay Mankus

King of the Court

Being honored as part of the home coming court would have been nice, but I didn’t even make the ballot.  Although becoming king of a basketball court was a dream, this white man’s got no game.  However, there was one place where I did shine for a season.  Believe it or not, I was king of the sand volleyball court.

During my final 2 summers of college, I teamed up with a wrestler from Cleveland State University, Eddy Z.  Whenever I wasn’t working at the country club or playing golf, I spent most of my free time on the old sand volleyball court at Geaugua Lake, now called Geaugua Lake’s Wildwater Kingdom.  Sure, I had other hobbies like singing karaoke at Rick’s Cafe, dancing at one of the night clubs on the Flats in downtown Cleveland and traveling, yet sand volleyball became my passion.

After taking a volleyball class at the University of Delaware, I was able to rebuild strength in my surgically repaired ankle and extend my vertical jump beyond 30 inches.  This knowledge was utilized as I played Wallyball in the winter, winning an intramural title on a coed team with Doug, Liz and Rosie; later losing to the men’s and women’s volleyball team in the finals of a co-ed March Madness style 32 team field.   Despite having several flaws in my techniques, my will to win overcame these deficiencies.

Eddy was quick like lightning, able to dig or get to any ball in the fenced in arena, developed an amazing skyball serve and set the ball as good as anyone I have ever known.  Meanwhile, I perfected a windmill serve, causing a fast downward motion, cupping my hand to create a knuckle ball affect.  In the end, Eddy and I probably lost 3 matches in 2 years, beating teams from Ohio State, Miami of Ohio and Kent State on a regular basis.  On 1 summer day, we played 8 straight hours, only stopping to drink water before dispatching the next team.  Though we shared the court with other season pass members and visitors to Geaugua Lake, whenever I entered the gate, I felt like I was king of the court.

Now, old, mostly bald and grey, all I have are the memories of the music, the wave pool crashing next door and the cheers from the crowd after another point won.  However, today, there is a new king.  While, not exactly new, yet new to those who choose to follow Him.  Despite the gifts or talents you have been given, without this king life is incomplete, John 10:10.  May you come to know the true King of the Court, awestruck by his glory and wonder, Psalm 19:1-6.

by Jay Mankus

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