loving well

Sweet Caroline!

I remember standing in my grandma’s kitchen, watching wrinkles disappear from the scraps of fabric as I passed the hot iron over each piece. The smell of that steam must have found its way to my brain and created some really deep grooves.

Even today, as I iron a piece of fabric that has never been laundered, the smell of the steam takes me to that kitchen. I can see Grandma sitting at her table, cutting the pieces for her next quilt. I feel like my ten-year-old self, learning to iron by pressing fabric for her quilting pieces.

And while that’s a memory that hits all of my senses, there are many other little details I remember about her. Perhaps I’ll list a few.

  1. A perpetual pan of biscuits on her stove.
  2. The pretty bowl she used to make her biscuits.
  3. Her perfect every time cornbread. (She used mayonnaise.)
  4. Her ‘arsh’ potatoes in a dark brown gravy. (Arsh is to be translated as Irish.) When I had morning sickness, I craved this. But to no avail.)
  5. An opened hymnal displaying shaped notes, resting on her piano.
  6. Her wringing a chicken’s neck for Sunday dinner. (Dinner = lunch.)
  7. Her jewelry box full of broaches, reserved for Sundays.
  8. She once made a green velvet cake for Christmas. (See. It’s genetic.)
  9. A purple poncho she crocheted for me for Christmas when I was in third grade.
  10. Goober brand peanut butter and grape jelly.
  11. Her graciously caring for her aging father. She called him Papa. I called him Grandpa Hick.
  12. The card she gave me upon the birth of my first child, and the practical advice she included. (I still have it.)
  13. The double wedding ring quilt she made me when I married.
  14. Her singing alto in the choir on Sundays.
  15. The row in church, where she and Grandpa always sat. (Because I sat with them.)
  16. While she had 27 grandchildren, she made me feel like I was her favorite.
  17. Her Bible always laid open. Always.

Indeed. My grandmother’s Bible was always laid open on a table next to her chair with her reading glasses on top. (That may explain the green velvet cake that one year.) Watching her read and study her Bible on a regular basis was the greatest impression Grandma had on me.

We will not keep them from our children; we will tell the next generation about the lord’s power and his great deeds and the wonderful things he has done.

PSALM 78:4, GNB

Oh, I spent years troubled by the fact that my father, her firstborn, did not share her love of Jesus. That somehow because the family’s Godly heritage had skipped a generation, my faith was lesser than. Oh, I suppose if you had asked him, my father would have certainly said that he loved Jesus. But my daddy’s life said otherwise. And his rejection of or apathy toward a relationship with Jesus troubled me so deeply, I wore it as my own shame for many years. Eventually, I learned that it had never been mine to own, nor wear. (And I think my father eventually returned to the One who loved him.)

But yes. The love I have for Jesus began in the precious heart of my grandmother. How I wish I could thank her today. At my age. With a better understanding of and a greater appreciation for not only for the Godly heritage she handed off to me, but for the faith she modeled for me so well.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother, Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

2 TIMOTHY 1:5, ESV

Though I cannot thank her today, I want to celebrate my love for her with all of you, on her 111th birthday.

Happy (Heavenly) Birthday, Grandma!

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