When in Doubt, Do What Grandma Says~

30 October 2018

 

Hello everyone,

 

Hope everyone has had a good October and fall so far. Halloween is tomorrow, and I’m dressing up as Mario. What are you dressing up as?

 

This October has been a terrible one for me, mainly because my 92-year old grandmother, Agnes, passed away on Oct. 15th. I cannot even begin to explain to you the depth of how hard the past couple weeks has been. They’ve passed by in a blur, but it’s been a blur of numbness and shock. I keep having to poke myself that this wonderful, spirited woman who had lived next door to my parents out in the country all my life is now gone. There are no words to fully examine to you how much I miss her, or how much I crave her presence.

 

Almost every weekend when I was growing up, I went over to her house and hung out with her. I baked with her, prayed with her, and learned from her. As I grew older, I didn’t notice that she growing older, too, but in a completely different way, even though she was still her loving, spirited self. She had the same laugh, the same directness to handling disobedience as well as not being afraid to tell you exactly how she felt about something. But that was okay, because she was her own person. She loved the Lord, she loved her family, and loved reading, puzzles and, in the earlier years, enjoyed sewing as well. I fondly think that I’ve received my enjoyment of writing from her. She had a single typewriter she used for typing out all of her letters, recipes, and notes. She enjoyed reading and had done so for many years, up until within the past few years where she couldn’t see well enough to do so. When I was either 13 or 14, she started ordering Love Inspired/Harlequin books (which amounted to about 4 books a month) and gradually, when she was done reading them, she put them in a special cupboard in her desk for me to take and read for myself next time I visited her. Every time I visited, she always had a personal story to share that was similar to one of the books I picked up, or a story that reminded her of one of the books’ plots. And I’d sit and listen to her calmly and patiently talk, while she thought of every aspect of the story just to make sure she got every part right.

 

I went to high school and college, graduated, and lived on my own for a couple years before I married my husband. Along that time, I worked, enjoyed being a newlywed, and forgot about how my grandmother had gotten even older. She started using a cane. Then, gradually, a walker. Then, before I knew it, myself and most of the other grandchildren sat in her nursing home room surrounding her where she lay, unconscious and on oxygen. As I sat there, occasionally visiting with my sisters and cousins, I gazed around the room at the pictures that had defined her life. Her wedding picture sat nearby, and within that photo sat a much younger woman who had a full life of possibilities stretched ahead of her. It made me realize then, as I sat there, about how fast life really does happen. Once you reached 30, the age I’m at, you only have 10 years until you reach 40. Then, before long, your kids make your years whiz by up through age 60. For example, I can’t believe my parents are in their early 60s now. It seems just yesterday they were in their 40s, raising little ol’ me and my younger sisters.

 

If you think about it, it’s really not fair. Relatively, on average, God only gives us 70-100 years to live on this earth. We’re babies, then we’re children, and then we graduate from high school. Then, we graduate from college. Then, we get married and have kids. (Not necessarily in that order.) We raise kids, watch them graduate and get married and have their own kids, and before we know it, we’re sitting in a nursing home wondering where life had gone. Every day, especially lately, it feels like life just goes faster and faster. When I was growing up, particularly in elementary and high school, the days crawled. Maybe it was because I hated school and didn’t enjoy my classes, nor have very many friends. Or maybe it was because I didn’t think of how slow or fast life was going. But while I was growing up, my grandma was growing older. Whenever I wrote to her, she wrote back sometimes complaining that I don’t visit as often as I should. At the time, I just shook my head and chuckled, mentally reminding myself to visit her next time I visited my parents. But now, looking back, I feel ashamed of myself and not visiting her as often as I probably should have. However, within the past few years, I began visiting her more and more, and that makes me really thankful now that I did do that. We didn’t even have to talk about much. She had the volume on loud because she couldn’t hear the greatest, and we’d just sit there in her living room watching old game shows together. Neither of us really ever had anything new to share. But the time was made to simply just be with each other and cherish the time together. After an hour or so, I remember that every time I admitted I had to go, she had this big disappointed look on her face. But I also knew she understood. She’d been young once, too.

 

I’m saying all these things not to make you depressed or feel sorry for me and our family’s loss. Rather, I want you all to really take a good look at your own life. What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind for your children and grandchildren? The kind of life you’re living now, they’re going to be envious of one day – especially your grandchildren. If you’re away from home a lot, visit your folks and grandparents as often as you possibly can! Trust me, if you don’t grab hold of that time and cherish it, you WILL regret it one day. I regret not spending more time with my grandma. I should’ve made it more of a point to spend more time with her, even though I spent as much time as I could with her. One day, you’re going to be sitting in a nursing home wondering where life had gone and why it had gone by so fast. Don’t just bypass this blog post without thinking about it very much – REALLY think about it, like I have. Enjoy your life, and cherish it. Grab hold of it as hard as you can, and spend as much time with your family as you can. For if you don’t, you’ll regret it, and that’s a horrible feeling to have.

 

On the day that my grandma was driven to the nursing home, she left her home for the last time. She looked back at the home in which she’d lived for many years. So many memories had been there. Raising kids, grandkids, and having grandkids visit in your house. Walking across the land and breathing in that fresh country air. Thinking about the length of time and the depth of the memories ~ if you think about it, it really gets you. Life is built with memories, but most especially, with God as your Head.

 

Cling tight to those memories, but most especially to those family members you love so much. Keep God as the head of your life always. Plant a legacy the future children and grandchildren will one day be extremely proud of. Then, quietly leave it behind, trusting in the Lord to handle the rest in this wild adventure we call life. The continuous circle of life will go on until Judgment Day. But you – yes, you – only have 1 life to live. 1 life. How are you going to live it? Making choices you may one day regret? Or living in a way that is not only pleasing to God, but in a way where your future grandchildren will one day wish they’d lived it with you?

 

I will forever love and miss my grandmother. She was one of the more important persons in my life. But as I continue on in this adventurous and busy life, I will honor her memory by carrying on her legacy ~ a legacy she would’ve been proud of ~ all the while planting my own.

 

JMK~

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What Legacy Will You Leave Behind?

It was a calm and sunny, spring day. A family drove their silver Jeep Cherokee down the interstate. The husband and driver, Bob, reached over and tenderly placed a hand over his wife’s slightly swollen belly as she smiled lovingly over at him. As he concentrated back on the road, the wife glanced backward at their two-year old daughter in the back seat, babbling away as she played with the stuffed animal she held between her delicate chubby fingers.

Bob turned a corner, prepared to bring his family to their destination for the weekend. But suddenly, out of nowhere, a drunk pickup truck driver lost control of his F-150, instantly killing all four passengers of the silver Jeep…

A half hour later, as the ambulance, firefighters, and policeman gather around the broken vehicle, they discover the dead members of the delicate family, so once full of life and happiness and love.

2 February 2018

Hello everyone,

Over New Year’s weekend, I attended a relative’s funeral, someone I had known and cared about. Doing so, I witnessed a part of the funeral preparations, and the one aspect of it that really stuck with me the most was the obituary part of it. The funeral home had sent a single sheet of paper for the family to fill out – which included the basic information of the now deceased relative such as birth date, birth place, children, grandchildren, etc. And then, at the very bottom, it had given 2-3 blank lines to fill out for the person’s hobbies, interests, and a bit of info on their life. 2-3 lines.

2-3 LINES????!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

Sometimes, when my husband and I are sitting in church together, or even when we’re in the living room sitting together with the cats where I’m catching up on writing and he’s playing video games – I look over and really look at him. I mean, really look at him. I’m planning on spending on the rest of my life with him, grow old with him, one day raise kids with him – all that. But what if God has other plans? What if my life, or, I should say our life, is as fleeting and short as the children and couple of the true life story above? When my uncle Jerome was 23, he must have assumed that he was going to live a long life – but no, he was lost in the waters of Costa Rica. When my sister Kayla was two, my amazing parents probably thought that she was going to one day to grow up to be a beautiful young woman who would one day get married and have children. But no, instead she didn’t even reach age three before our good Lord took her to be with Him.

When you see an obituary, you don’t see a long life. You see a brief bio about that person’s life – anywhere from three to five paragraphs long. Life is but a fleeting shadow, and it must be cherished. You might know somebody and think, Oh, she was such a sweet person. But what kind of unique sweetness did that person have? What was it about them that made them sweet? He had the craziest sense of humor. Well, everybody does, really. What was it about this person’s sense of humor that made it special? Are you seeing what I mean? A family sees the meaning and the wonderful relative’s life within an obituary, but a stranger only sees a life. I like the kind of obituaries that are a newspaper’s page long that really depict at least a bigger taste of that person’s life. But still, it’s just a taste. Therefore, what kind of legacy are we trying to leave behind in the now?

Doesn’t it scare you that your life could end out of the blue and we won’t be ready? And it scares me also that, even though I know where I’m gonna go in my eternity, the legacy I leave behind to strangers is unknown. Why should we care, you ask? Because we are loving and living our life right now, the only one God has given us, and people deserve to know how we lived our lives and what made it more unique and special than anyone else’s life.

That’s when it’s important to do two things to make yourself ready just in case it happens tomorrow: plan your funeral; and make yourself right with God.

Planning your funeral may sound morbid, but if you really think about how short life can be, especially since tomorrow is never guaranteed, then doing so is a good plan. What if your family planned something you wouldn’t have wanted? Granted, you’re not around by then, but wouldn’t you want it planned your way instead of a way they think you would’ve wanted? Perhaps you may even be disappointed if you knew what they were planning. In fact, my late uncle Jerome planned his funeral before he went on his mission trip, and his family actually used it for his actual funeral.

Secondly, making your life right with God is most important. Read Acts 2:38. Baptism is essential for salvation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Confess your sins in true repentance toward God. Confess to the ones surrounding you prior to being baptized that Jesus is the Lord of your life. Immerse yourself in the water, and be cleansed into a new creature, buried into Christ and wash your sins away. This simple rule from the Bible brings you into eternal life. Then, attend church regularly and try your hardest to live a life pleasing to God. Trusting in God after that will bring such peace and joy to your life, in a way the world will never provide.

Finally, make sure that you leave behind a life that your relatives will be talking about for years. Where it won’t be a simple burial of your body and moving on. Leave behind a life that brings happiness and love to others. At my funeral, I want people to come up to the front and talk about good times that were spent with me, and funny things that I’ve done or said. Best of all, it’ll be a celebration of life, because I’m finally with the Lord and my sister Kayla, and that makes the whole life journey all the more worthwhile.

Take care, everyone and I hope you all will at least think of my advice 🙂 You never know, it could change your life for the better. Comment if you have questions 🙂 have a good February!

JMK~