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Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Grandmother's Example

My Grandmother would be 100 years old today. She was an extraordinary lady, and I learned so much from her. I find as I get older, that I am a lot like her, too. Sometimes, it's like a deja vu sensation will strike me, and I realize that I've said or done something exactly like my Grandmother.

If I close my eyes and listen hard enough, I can hear her voice, and the banging of pots and pans in the wee hours of the morning, as she fixed the family breakfast. Everything was made from scratch, and the table was always set beautifully with a tablecloth, her best dishes, and an array of delectable treats.

For Christmas, she always made pecan pie, chess pie, gingerbread men, and coconut cake for dessert. Her pumpkin bread and butterscotch "scotchies" as she called them were also some of my favorites. All the vegetables were grown in her garden and canned. She made the best blackberry jelly I've ever had, and she was a wonderful seamstress.

As I sit here, typing my little remembrance, I am covered with a quilt made by my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. And I wonder about the things we leave behind. What do I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren?

I've been quilting for many years now, and I make all my own jams and jellies. I even scrapbook and make homemade bread. My Grandmother passed these things to me, and I want to pass them on to my own children, but more than just the tasks. I hope they have the same memories and fondness and appreciation for these things done with love. For homemade goodness that takes time and effort, and the fun of learning at the side of someone special.

I'd like to think that's how it is with our relationship with the Lord. We're learning as we're on this road called life. And the Master is there beside us. The trials and the triumphs all add to the tapestry as it is woven one day at a time.

But sometimes we don't appreciate the beautiful, handmade creation around us - and so we don't pass that down to our own children. We find ourselves surrounded by cynics, and cheaply made items that fall apart so we just go buy something else to entertain us.

That's when I imagine our Savior sitting beside us waiting and watching. Waiting for us to say we're not looking for the easy way out- we're ready to learn something of eternal value, even though the road may be rough and the training vigorous. Waiting to see if we will turn our hearts completely toward Him.

And as we walk beside Him and learn at His elbow, our lives are enriched and made whole. Filled with Joy.

This quilt over my lap has served several generations. It is warm even though the edges are beginning to show their age. It is still a beautiful creation, all done by hand.

It reminds me of a quote by Erma Bombeck - a quote that is hanging over my desk - a quote that is dear to my heart:

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say: 'I used everything You gave me.'"

My Grandmother did that - she used her talent, and passed on her love for things done "right" to me. It might be harder to do. It might take a lot of time, but well worth the wait.