Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dear Reader, I just have to tell you about my family...

When the stork was delivering babies, my mother hit the jack pot by being delivered to my Mammaw and Grandaddy. That was never more evident than this past Wednesday at my Grandaddy's funeral. The family did the service, and it was a wonderful combination of memories, tears, joy, and reflecting on lessons we learned from both my Grandaddy and my Mammaw.

My cousin, Chad, led the singing and sang an uplifting combination of songs, many with a lot of alto which made me smile because my Mammaw was a lovely alto, and several of my cousins received her gift.

My Daddy read the obituary and shared some of his memories about my grandparents. The statement he made that rang most true to me was that my grandparents wanted two things: a reunion with us in Heaven and for the family to stay close. I'm learning how much work it is to stay close as a family (especially as numbers grow), and my grandparents were a shining example of how you can achieve closeness in a large family. He also read 1 Corinthians 13 and substituted the word "family" for "love". If you've never done this, run to your Bible and do it! I can't tell you how it impacted me. I'm going to print it that way and put it in a conspicuous place so I am always mindful of how a family should love each other.

My uncles both shared memories and thoughts about my grandparents, and I read the letter I wrote to Grandaddy on Sunday. The grandsons read special verses at the grave site. It was such a loving family affair focused on honoring two ordinary people who made an extraordinary impact on their family, and by extension, many others.

One of my favorite parts was when my cousin, Amy, shared lessons she learned from my grandparents. If you don't have grandparents you were able to learn from, I hope you'll learn these important lessons from mine:

  1. Fishing is fun. Sitting on a dock at night and talking while you fish is bliss.
  2. “Kick the Can” at the lake is the most fun cousins can have.
  3. A road trip in an RV is worth more than the best, most expensive gift you could imagine.
  4. An evening playing cards and eating freshly popped popcorn is better than a night out on the town.
  5. Home is where your heart is.
  6. Life is hard, but God is good. There’s good to be found in every stage of life. Pray, meditate on God’s word, and then LOOK for good. Hold on to the goodness of God and trust Him with your whole heart.
  7. Work hard at whatever you do. Bless others with your work. Find joy in keeping your hands busy and your heart engaged. This honors God.
  8. Invest time and vulnerability in good friends. Have people over for dinner. Go on trips together. Play games. Laugh. Rejoice together and weep together. This will hurt, but it will bring such richness and joy to your life.
  9. Family matters. Be involved. Go to ball games and graduations. Drive a long way just to visit. Stay in touch. Call and write letters. Send birthday cards. Love those that God has given you in word and deed. Seek joy in people, not things.
  10. Food brings people together and shows love. A fish fry, fresh tomatoes, okra, black eyed peas, blackberries, brisket, fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, red velvet cake. I can still feel loved when I eat them.
  11. Look for good in people, even when it’s hard to find.
  12. Learn from your mistakes. Let go of prejudice and judgment, and your heart will see things that your eyes can’t see.
  13. Have fun every day. Do a crossword puzzle. Find a bargain. Make something with your hands. Eat some pie.
  14. Church is important. Invest in relationships. Encourage and be encouraged. Lift unified hearts of praise to God. You can’t do it alone.
  15. Love your children. Provide for them – time, money, encouragement, and blessing.
  16. Love your children’s children and then love their children. Invest all of yourself and it will not return empty.
  17. Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
  18. When you die, you will live on – in a legacy that brings glory and honor to the God with whom you will spend an amazingly good eternity!


  1. It was a beautiful service. I think Mother and Daddy would both be proud. Thank you for your part in the service. Love you bunches. Mom

  2. Don't we have an awesome family, it does take lots of work to keep us all close, but the reward is so worth it. We're growing by leaps and bounds, and I can't wait to meet, hold, and kiss my new little niece or nephew. Thanks for all you do sis, you're absolutely amazing!!!!!