Monday, July 10, 2006

There are many events in my life that stand out very clearly in my mind; events that I call "life-changing". I lost three loved ones, not in the same year, in the month of July when I was young. There were also a few other members of our little community who died in various Julys, so for a few years as a kid I had this fear of July. I had somehow related sudden death to that summer month. It took a long time for me to stop dreading it. I think as I have gotten older and developed more wisdom and understanding about life, in general, the Lord gave me feelings of peace and gratitude for those I grieved so long for. Forty years ago today, my papaw was called home to heaven. I was almost 7 years old and had a 6-day-old baby brother. Life was wonderful but, then, Papaw was gone. There was been very few days in these past 40 years that I have not thought of him. I still miss him.

But, he has not had to be present every day in my life for his strong influence to be all around me. How wonderful to have a grandpa who had such a love for the Lord and preached the Gospel here in the hills of Southern Ohio! Many of my favorite old hymns remind me of Papaw every time I hear them. I named my firstborn son after him. It was the only boy's name I had picked out. I see him in my dad and uncle's mannerisms. I hear him in my son's voice. I hear his sense of humor in my cousin's writings. I am fully aware of his love and compassion for people in myself.

I'm so grateful and very, very thankful for the many blessings in my life because the Lord so chose to make me a granddaughter of a Christian papaw.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

There are many events in our lives that have great meaning to us. Some are joyful events, others are heart-wrenching; but all add character to the individuals that we are. July 1 has always had a sadness to it most of my life. It was the birthday of the only child who has died in our family. Actually, July 5 is the saddest day because that is when the 4 day old baby died of a heart defect. I'm thankful that she is perfect and has been made whole in heaven with our Lord and Savior. Being almost 12 years old at the time, Jana's birth, death, visitation, funeral......all had a profound effect on me. It was one of several life-changing events in my life. One "off-the-wall" occurance in the midst of this tragic time was going with my uncle to get his son at church camp. My oldest cousin was at church camp somewhere in Pennsylvania when the baby died and he wanted to come home. uncle, his daughter, and me started out for PA as soon as he got home from work. I had the map and directions. Not
once did my uncle even look at either one of them. He told me to tell him where to I did. We never made a wrong turn. We got there in the middle of the night to get his son. I don't know if I was that good at reading maps or my Uncle Danny just had that much faith in me. He was always that way with me Uncle Danny was always one of my favorite people.

Starting today, July 1 will have a sweet meaning for me, too. I just returned from the wedding of a wonderful Christian couple. Their wedding was so tender and endearing. I was so touched and inspired by the whole event. It was truly one of the nicest weddings I've ever attended. I still have a smile on my face. The Lord knows exactly what we need and when. Praise him for his mercy and blessings.