Sitting at the Table

Today I attended the funeral of a friend of mine. I tried to remember the first time I met Nancy. Our paths first crossed at a retreat put on by the Christian Campus House of Missouri University. That was in 1971. I did not meet her again until 1978, when I returned back home from living in Cincinnati for four years after college. It was then that I went back to Ferguson Christian Church, where I had helped with Jet Cadets during my college years. That was where Nancy and I first became friends.

Our lives continued to connect as we both moved to the same city, attended the same church for decades, and were recently in the same Bunco group. Over the years, we shared many meals together and when she cooked them–oh, yummy.

At her funeral it was noted that she was a marvelous cook (and she was), and she had a knack for hospitality (and she did). For years she served quietly behind the scenes helping with potlucks, cooking fabulous desserts (her chocolate pecan pie was a hit), and taking meals to the sick.

But the thing that impressed me most was from the time she learned she had pancreatic cancer, in her quiet and understated way, she was an amazing example of staying the course with her faith. She never wavered in her faith that God was a good God. All of those who visited with her came away with the same knowledge that her faith was what sustained her. On my last visit with her, her quiet certainty that heaven awaited her shined through. While I was tearful, she was calm and in her inimitable way, totally Nancy. Her organizational skills were always somewhat amazing, and true to form, she told me she had put everything in order so that her sisters would know where everything was and would not have to go searching for things.

It is a strange thing as we get older and see death more often, watching loved ones and friends succumb to that inevitable fate we all face, that we think about the legacy we will leave when we pass. I think about that more as each day draws me closer to the day when I will see my Savior. In all honesty, I do not feel old, but when I think about it, more of my life is behind me than in front of me!

God has been good to me. And while I have had some ups and downs in my life, the knowledge that He loves me sustains me. I can only hope that when I face my final days and I finally take my last breath here on earth, that I am found faithful and am confident with the same kind of assurance of heaven that Nancy had.

For Nancy, the most difficult thing about being sick was her inability to eat. Nancy enjoyed food, but also worked hard to stay healthy and at a good weight. She lost weight rapidly after becoming sick and ended up with a feeding tube. She told one of our friends that she would frequently dream about eating and she looked forward to being able to eat in heaven.

For centuries the church has taught there will be a great banquet in heaven. That teaching dates all the way back to Messianic teaching in Isaiah 25. I do not know if it is true, but if it is, I know that Nancy will be sitting at the table.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

½ c. margarine                                                 1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. sugar                                                          1 c. pecan halves

1 c. light corn syrup                                         ¾ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 eggs

Melt ½ cup butter. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup (Karo), 4 slightly bean eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup pecan halves, and ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Mix well. Pour into unbaked 9-inceh pastry shell. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Cool. Serves 8.

Welcome Home!

This morning when I opened my facebook, I saw a picture of my friend’s parents when they were much younger. The news was both heartbreaking and joy making. Nita Hargrave had gone home to her heavenly father and to those who had reached heaven before her, including her husband.

My heart aches for her children and grandchildren who will miss her dearly. But my heart also rejoices for them — because they have the privilege and joy of knowing she loved God and them with all of her heart.

I met the Hargrave family when I was a young 17-year-old college student. I roomed with their daughter, Debby, for many of my young adult years. I do not think they will ever know the full impact they had on my life. Continue reading

Hallmark Moments

Think Hallmark movies are corny? You may be right but they may be truer to life than you think.

I confess. I watch Hallmark movies and right now the Christmas movies are out in full force. I have a friend who also watches Hallmark movies and I wait in anticipation of her pithy comments on each show. Here are just a few: “Tonight’s Hallmark tally: 2 more dead parents, 1 divorced and absent father. Mamas, don’t let your kids grow up to star in Hallmark movies.”Forty-five minutes in and the wife of the main character is dead. Seriously, why isn’t the funeral home the center of activity in these small towns? ” “Tuned in late for tonight’s Hallmark Christmas movie premiere. Never fear: we have one dead mother. The love interest really should be an undertaker.”

While I laugh at her comments and agree that most of the movies are just rewrites with different characters, the fact is, there is something that keeps people coming back to watch them. That is probably the improbable but happy endings and the thought that maybe, just maybe, no matter how bad life gets, there is hope. Continue reading

Goodbye . . . for now

100_4237A few years ago for Mother’s Day, I wrote the following blog post about my mom.  Today my heart is aching and my emotions are raw, as I prepare to say my final goodbye.  Her death has left our entire family devastated.  My mom was a unique, one-of-kind woman. and it is hard to even comprehend the impact she has had on multiple lives.  It would take an entire book to share the kind of life she lived, the kind of example she set, and the kind of love that she showed. She was a mentor to many, an extraordinary friend, and an awesome mom. Continue reading