Posts tagged ‘Family’

Fearless

be-fearless

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong

and of good courage, do not be afraid,

nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God

is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

 Two weeks ago my family and I began a new chapter in our lives. This chapter opened up not only as a New Year but it also began a new normal. My mom went to her eternal home after a hard fight with cancer.

Mom pictured with my dad on the right and my husband, Jim in the middle.

Mom pictured with my dad on the right and my husband, Jim in the middle.

The Word Cancer Came Into Our Home

Five and a half years ago mom learned that she had cancer.  Once hearing this news and sharing with immediate family, Mom very firmly requested that we say nothing to no one. Yet, she did allow me to share with my Ladies’ Bible Study group, church family and Jim’s family here in Kentucky. I was allowed this privilege only because I live in Kentucky and she  lived in Georgia.  I am so grateful that Mom allowed me to share with these select few. They have held me up with love, prayers and encouragement as I took this journey. It is difficult for a girl to live away from her family especially her Mama. There is just something special about mother and daughter relationships.

Mom and me.

                         

Mom and me on my wedding day.

      

The Struggle

Over the last five and a half years, my brother and I struggled to keep a tight lip on what was going on with Mom. Deep within our hearts we so much wanted to share with others so that she would have more people praying for her and a support system for Dad. When the topic would be brought up it was quickly put to an end. Mom would have nothing to do with people knowing what she was going through.

Needless to say, not only did I struggle  carrying  this secret in the presence of those who knew her but there were times when I would become frustrated and question why Mom was so hush-hush about her battle with cancer.  I questioned how Mom was going to field the questions given to her as she would lose weight and she began to wear wigs. What was Dad going to tell people when Mom was not up to be out with him after a chemo session. (Mom and Dad did everything together!)  What would the response be to all of those inquiries?

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” I’m Fine”

Despite Mom losing weight and wearing a wig, Mom would respond those inquiries of how she was feeling with the phrase, “I’m fine.”  When Dad or any of us were seen out and about without Mom we were told specifically by Mom to tell people she was fine. Mom did not want anyone to make a fuss over her. She chose to battle this beast with her own Southern Belle style and dignity.  She lived fearlessly knowing that she was a Daughter of the King and that she could face anything placed before her because  her strength was drawn from Christ. ( Philippians 4:13)

In her daily walk with Jesus, it was Mom’s choice to focus on the needs of others. She preferred sending cards and words of encouragement to others who were going through a storm.  Not only did she chose to encourage those fighting a life storm but she chose to encourage others in their ministries, their walk with Christ and celebrate life’s celebrations with others.  Mom was also my encourager in my daily walk with Christ and in my life as a mom, wife,  blog writer and Bible Study leader.

gods-presence

God’s Presence

On the morning of December 27, 2016, Mom took her seat at the Great Banquet in Heaven. This date was already significant to our family because it was her late daddy’s birthday.  Later that morning, I opened a box of pictures to sort for the slide show that would be shown at the funeral home. The first picture I picked up was of Mom on her wedding day on her father’s arm waiting to be given away to marry my dad. What a beautiful message  God gave me at that moment. Mom had taken the arm of her heavenly ushers to be presented before her King.

Mom with her dad on her wedding day.

Mom with her dad on her wedding day.

On the evening prior to Mom’s visitation, I prayed to God asking Him to send me something assuring me that Mom was ‘fine”. Perhaps this sign would be a butterfly in my path, a word from a friend or a feather from an angel.

As we gathered outside the funeral home to go in, Dad opened the door to let me go in first. Before I took the first step into the building, I looked down and on the threshold of the doorway was a feather. This *feather symbolizing that Mom had crossed the threshold into eternity and that I along with my family were and are under God’s care and protection.

red-cardinal-two

Sunday, New Year’s Day, it was just Dad and I left at the house. Dad and I were eating breakfast and watching the birds come to eat at the feeders on Dad’s deck. Then, for just a few moments three red cardinals appeared on the deck. Again, another reminder that God was and is with us. The last three years Jim and I have lost someone of significance this time of year. The first being his dad losing his battle to cancer, the second being Jim’s favorite aunt and the third was my mom going home. For me, those three cardinals represented these three precious people that had and will continue to have a great influence on my life.

To Live Fearless

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Mom may have fought in silence but in her silence she taught me the true meaning of what it means to live fearlessly in the days ahead. No matter the battle that is put before us God is with us. When we acknowledge God’s presence in the battle we are able to face the fight ahead of us and fear less.

I have adopted this “Fearless” motto for my journey ahead of me. It is through my faith through Christ Jesus that will give me the courage and strength to face whatever is before me. I can hear  my sweet mama singing the  lyrics below  from the hymn, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow in her soprano voice.  I know she didn’t worry about the future in her fight because she knew who was walking with her and she walked fearlessly each day.

I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Jacqueline Ward Daniel Hill November 2, 1943-December 27, 2016

Jacqueline Ward Daniel Hill
November 2, 1943-December 27, 2016

*I have a collection of feathers all the same coloring that I have found in my path over time. They are always found in places in my path where you wouldn’t think a feather would fall. The feather found on the threshold of the funeral home is probably the most precious one yet.

A Mother’s Day Letter to My Son

My son, Drew and me with Smokey

My son, Drew and me with Smokey

Dear Drew:

Today has been Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate moms and all they do for their families. This year I have viewed Mother’s Day from a different perspective.  As we reflect on what moms do for their families, I have reflected on what I have learned being a mom. Throughout my raising you, I have learned many things about life and myself.

success

The first lesson I learned early on that success was not about how much money I had in an account, the size house or car your dad and I had. Success was seeing that I had met your needs, made sure you knew were loved and that you knew how much God loved you.  As I write this I see how my definition of success has changed through the years of watching you grow up and begin your own home with Megan.  Today, success is having a son who has stayed true to God, knows how to love others, and put others first.

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As I reflect on the years gone by from my very first Mother’s Day to this year’s Mother’s Day, success is talking to a young man who now gives his mom words of wisdom. It is a son who knows what he stands for and does not let anyone detour him from his calling/purpose in life. Success is seeing Drew Hawkins taking all the lessons that he has been taught by teaching and some by observing and applying it to his life. Thus, it is a son who has a beautiful wife, a home full of love and a love for life. A man who wants to make a positive difference in the world and knows how to keep it real.

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When I look back from the moment I found out I would become a mom to this moment of writing I have no regrets. Early on, I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Your dad and I knew it would not be easy but the pay off in the long run would have greater gains.  As I reflect back, I shake my head and wonder how in the world your dad and I actually pulled off all the things we did while raising you. Our only answer is the answer that was given on the day you were born.

On other occasions, I have shared about the day you were born. As the doctors and nurses worked with me to bring you into this world, a strong storm blew through. All you could see out the window of my room was darkness, wind blowing and pouring rain. Yet, at the moment you came into the world, the storm ceased and a few minutes later a beautiful rainbow was outside my window. I knew then God had great plans for you and plans for me as your mom.

rainbow three

God saw us through the thick and thin of life. He provided when your dad and I scratched our heads in figuring out how we could afford for you to be a part of certain activities and take care of things that you needed.  It was through these moments we all three learned the meaning of sacrifice, trusting God and what it meant to work together as a family.

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Left-Josh Right- Drew Josh was Drew’s best friend

In recent years, God threw us a few curve balls. The biggest curve ball was losing your best friend, Josh. It is hard to believe we are approaching the four-year mark of you losing your very best friend. I will never forget the afternoon when your dad called me on his way home telling me Josh was lost at sea.  At that moment I was speechless and asked Dad to contact you. It was at that moment I was on my knees for two weeks praying for Josh to be found and be found alive. I searched for him in my sleep for two weeks until we heard  he was found.

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Not only had  I prayed for him to be found, I prayed for you because I knew he was more of a brother than a friend to you.He was more than your friend to Dad and me. Josh had become a part of our family throughout your middle school and high school years. I prayed for his mom whose heart was breaking and aching beyond measure.

As your  mom, the toughest moment was seeing you being a pall bearer at your best friend’s funeral and placing that carnation on his casket at the end of the services. There had been other moments in life when I wanted to carry the hurt for you so you wouldn’t hurt. On that day, I wanted to take the hurt you were feeling away from you but I knew that all I could do was stand there hold you in my arms and let you grieve. Your dad, yourself and I all grieved together. Yet, God taught us that though you were on your own that there would still be moments when we would cling to each other, lean on each other for support and would learn to love a little harder.

Three generations of Hawkins me

Three generations of Hawkins men

A year ago, we went through another curve together. We said good-bye to your Granddaddy Hawkins. You don’t know how proud you made me through that week. You were there to give your Nanny and Dad comfort. There were times when certain logistics had to be worked out and you took over and handled the situation. As you stood before the congregation sharing your thoughts and memories of your granddaddy, I saw how you had watched your Granddaddy and Dad live out their lives. Through this moment, I saw how you were picking up the Hawkins’ torch to move on to make sure your granddaddy’s legacy lives on through the life you live.

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Drew, thank you for calling me today. Not only thank you for calling me today because it was Mother’s Day but for the many phone calls you have made to me through the years. Believe it or not, I didn’t mind any of those mid-night calls from college or when you moved out to start your career. It was those calls when this mom could hear the voice of her little boy from her adult son wanting comfort and advice from her.  There is nothing sweeter than hearing the sound of the voice of the precious life that you once carried inside of you.

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Today was Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate moms. However, for me, it was a day to celebrate that God gave me a precious blessing twenty-eight years ago to love and watch grow into a Godly man. You were a joy to raise and it is a joy to watch Megan and you work together to make your house a home.

My son, Drew and his wife, Megan

My son, Drew and his wife, Megan

Thank you for the laughter, the tears, the disagreements and all the in-between that comes with raising a son. I would not go back and change any of the moments we experienced together.  Most of all, I thank God for making me a mom to the best son ever!

I love you,

Mom

 

 

 

 

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old the will not turn.

Proverbs 22:6

How Beautiful

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Drew

My Dearest Little Andrew,

Today, you were out riding your tricycle and having so much fun. I remember when you got your tricycle earlier in the year for your third birthday. You were so excited to learn how to ride it.

Drew, you were so cute. You would fall off but you would not get discouraged but would brush yourself off and get right back on and try again. By the end of your first week, you had mastered riding and you were so proud of your accomplishment. Yet, there wasn’t a place on either leg that didn’t have a bruise or a band-aid. 

Son, in life there will be many things you will have to learn.  Hopefully, you will tackle these learning experiences with the same determination that you had in learning to ride your tricycle. There will be bruises, cuts, and obstacles.  As these bruises, obstacles,  and cuts come along in learning remember to keep your eyes on the goal before you.  Life is about trying and keeping the right determination to fulfill your calling by God.  Always keep Christ in your heart and listen to the voice of God.  Whatever you do, don’t ever give up!

Andrew, I give you this advice because I love you. I am proud of you. God has a special plan for your life.

Love you,

Mommy

(Letter originally written May 6, 1990)

There are times in life when we are striving to reach our goal/our calling. Yet, the bruises, cuts and obstacles come our way. It is so easy to want to throw our hands up in the air and just give up. However, if we keep Christ in our heart, keep our eyes opened to God working and walking with us, the obstacles won’t be as bad as we think. Remember, it is the obstacles in the trying and living life where God is carving us into more of his likeness. Life  comes with challenges. God carving us into His likeness. How beautiful!!

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize 

for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. “

Philippians 3:14

 “Yet you LORD, are our Father.

We are the clay, you are the potter;

we are the work of your hand.”

Isaiah 64:8

"He is the potter and I am the clay."

I encourage you to take time to reflect on these scriptures.  Have you experienced cuts, bruises and obstacles in achieving your goal/calling in life? Give thanks to God for these experiences and acknowledge He is at work in carving you into something beautiful. Journal your thoughts on the scripture and ask God to help you stay focused on the prize before you.

Extravagant Receiving

Child carry package

Growing up I did not always see my grandparents on my Dad’s side during the holidays. Grandmother and Papa Hill always made sure packages were wrapped and mailed to us in time to be under the tree for Christmas Eve. Most years we got our Christmas pajamas from them.

Christmas

Yet, there was this one Christmas where my grandmother decided she would send me a night-gown instead of pajamas. After going out for a Christmas Eve services,  dinner and visiting with friends, my brother and I rushed home anticipating  opening that first gift on Christmas Eve.  Of course, Dad had to draw out the anticipation by acting like he could not find the packages and then magically making them appear.

 As soon as these packages landed in our laps the paper was off in the blink of an eye and the box lids flew opened. Instead of pulling out the fuzzy footie pajamas like I had always gotten, I began to pull out this night-gown. As I began to pull the gown out of the box the more material would come out.  As the night-gown began to unfold and unfold,  the entire room become quiet. I know the looks on the faces of my family had to be inquisitive. If you have every seen the movie, Christmas Story, I am sure my family’s faces looked about how the faces looked when the bunny rabbit pj’s were opened and the leg lamp came out of the box.

Christmas story pajamas

In my package that had been wrapped and shipped with love and care came out a nightgown with the size in the tag that said; “one size fits all.” As I began to unfold and unfold this nightgown, we realized that the entire family could get into this gown. (You see, I am a petite size gal. When God was giving out height, I overslept and missed getting in that line that day.) The more the gown unfolded the more everyone was scrambling for words. Suddenly out of my dad’s mouth came; “well, Peanut, looks like you have a new tent for camping.” At that moment the entire family was laughing until we were crying. Today, all I have to say is “one size fits all” and laughter will burst out in my family. I had received a gift that I was not going to be able to use.

leg lamp

 After opening Santa and eating Christmas breakfast the next morning, Dad kept with tradition and called Papa and Grandmother Hill to wish them a Merry Christmas. My brother and I would also get on the phone to tell our grandparents thank-you for their love, thoughtfulness and the presents.  This is one year I had to show gratitude for my gift while all the while my brother was in the background making a fort with the kitchen chairs and this ” one size fits all gown.”

little girl talking on phone

I share this story because it is becoming the gift giving season. People work hard and shop hard to find that perfect gift to give their loved ones.  These gifts are given or should be given out of the abundance of love from the heart. The gifts also show that the person cares enough to think about the receiver.

Yesterday, in my post, Extravagant Giving I shared how we need to be extravagant in our giving by giving others God’s grace. I also shared how God gave to us extravagantly so that we can have eternal life. We give to others out of the abundance of our hearts.

There are times when someone has received a gift and I have heard comments being made to the giver  like the following:

“What were you thinking? I don’t need this!”

“I can’t believe you spent (insert $ amount) on this.”

“I don’t like the color.”

This is NOT what I wanted!”

doesn't like the gift

I am sure in my lifetime of forty-nine years I have made an off comment like these at some point and time. However, as I have gotten older and hopefully a little more mature I have come to realize these comments are not needed and should be said. Just as the giver has given out of the abundance of their hearts, we should receive out of the abundance of our hearts. When we are negative about a gift that has been given we are stealing the joy of the giver even if they are not present when the comment is made. Instead, we should be grateful that the person took time out of their schedule to do something for us. We also should be thankful that they took time out to think of us.

gift

The gift is a material thing but it is also language of “I love you” and “I was thinking of you today.”  Thus, our response should be that of gratitude. In other words, be an extravagant receiver.  Now, what you do with the gift after the person leaves is up to you. Hold on to the gift in case you should some time need it. If the opportunity presents itself where someone else can actually use the gift, give it to them. The gift is now yours and up to you to do what you want with the gift.

receiving God's gift

As I said earlier, God gave to us extravagantly because he loves us so much and wants us with him for eternity.  God gave us his Son and  it is up to us to accept his Son into our hearts. We need to be an extravagant  receiver  of God’s gift. It is up to us as individuals of what to do with his gift. It is my hopes that we share his gift with others. We pass it on to someone else who needs Jesus in their lives.

Not only did God give us his Son but he gives us a gift everyday. As the old cliché says, every day is a present and it is up to us as to what we do with it”. It is up to us to make the most of every day God wakes us up. Each day God has blessings for us. It is up to us to be aware of his presence at all times to receive these blessings. When we receive these blessings it is important to acknowledge them and say thank you just as I acknowledged to my grandparents that I received their gift and said thank you.

This year as you receive Christmas cards and gifts be sure to be an extravagant receiver. Tell the giver thank you. Remember, the person took time out to think of you. They are giving out of the abundance of their heart. May our response to the gifts we receive and especially to the gift God gave us be the following:

“Thank you for thinking of me.”

“You are such a generous giver.”

” I didn’t realized I needed this blessing today but YOU did.”

I love the reminder we are given in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 about having a grateful heart;

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will

for you in Jesus Christ.

It is when we are an extravagant receiver that we will see the giver in a whole new perspective. We begin to see and experience joy in all things and we will become more open to see beyond the material gift and see the abundance of love the person has  in their heart. May our receiving be a blessing to others this year as their giving is a blessing to us.

Until next time, give thanks for ALL things!

Gratitude

Coming Home a Victorious Finish!

military fb photo cover

It was a week ago this afternoon when I was sitting at this very computer checking updates on Facebook when I saw the words; “Rest in Peace, Sgt. Michael Cable.” Looking over at the chat box I saw that my son was on-line. I shot a message to him asking what he knew about Michael’s passing. Drew’s response was; ???? meaning he was shocked as I was seeing the news.

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Sgt. Michel Cable was Michael Cable to our family before he ever signed up for the army. He was a running brother of our son, Drew on the cross-country and track team in high school. These teams weren’t just teams. This team had a special bond. They were/are a brotherhood who had each other’s back not only in the woods on a cross-country trail but in every aspect of life. When they weren’t training, they were playing, laughing and being teenage boys. These guys even prayed and worshiped together.

Drew running with his DCXC team in State Meet (they took the title three years in a row)

Drew running with his DCXC team in State Meet (they took the title three years in a row)

It was just two years ago when Drew lost his best buddy serving in the Navy. Josh was another fellow brother on the high school cross-country team and he was Drew’s brother. Josh was an adopted son of ours. When Drew wasn’t at Josh’s home Josh was with us including trips to the lake and Florida vacations.  It seemed we were just beginning to really grasp the reality of losing Josh.  Then, post after post brought back that memory, that sting and reality of life being precious was on the fore front of everyone’s mind.

Petty Officer Joshua Yeckering...taken too soon but not forgotten.I know he was at the final finish line to welcome Michael home.

Petty Officer Joshua Yeckering…taken too soon but not forgotten.
I know he was at the final finish line to welcome Michael home.

Sgt. Michel Cable making his journey home.

Sgt. Michel Cable making his journey home.

A loss for words. Numbness. Sadness. Heartache. Are the words that describe the last week. At least for me, that is what describes what the last week has been. A family has lost a brother, a son, an uncle and a friend.  It was in this moment that I asked God to walk with Michael’s family through the days ahead, and to give me the right words to say. As I prayed this prayer, I was reminded of the song by Mercy Me, Word of God Speak.

Tomorrow, I will stand with some of Michael’s former teammates from cross-country, track and the running community to salute him as he arrives home. As we salute and welcome Michael home, I know that Michael is already in his eternal home. I know his running brother, Josh was there at that final finish line to welcome him on over.  As Michael crossed that finish line, I know without a doubt that Josh and he not only gave each other a high-five as they did when they  won State for the second year in a row but they hugged one another because they have experienced the ultimate victory.

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“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Please keep the family of Sgt. Michael Cable in your prayers. 

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Can You Squeeze In A Little More

Can You Squeeze In A Little More?

Posted on December 27, 2010 by 

When you read my post The Table Is Set,  I placed a picture of our family dining room table.  This table also holds very fond memories of my Mom’s mom.  Her name was Reba but us grandkids called her Rea.  This table belonged to Rea and when she passed, I acquired not only the table but a table full of memories. This dinning room suit was how my Papa Jack proposed to Rea. After courting Rea for a while, he called her one day and said look at the dinning suit in the front window of the furniture store on your way home from work. Then, he instructed her to let him know if she liked the set.  Apparently, she liked the set and it raised a family, grandchildren and now one of her great-grandchildren and possibly in the future a great great-grandchild with many a meal.

The first parsonage I remember living in-Canon, GeorgiaDad served Redwine UMC/Macedonia UMC

The first parsonage I remember living in-Canon, Georgia
Dad served Redwine UMC/Macedonia UMC

Early in my childhood, Dad was fortunate enough to have his parish close enough to Rea and Papa Jack’s house. This enabled us to pile in the car on Sunday after worship and go to her house for Sunday lunch and visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins.  Now, my grandmother was as Southern as a gal could get and that was especially true with her cooking. The Sunday meal would consist of fried chicken, green beans that had cooked all morning, potato salad, gravy, biscuits, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, and the list goes on down to the sweet tea. YUM!

Southern dinner

Though the food was so tasty, the fellowship around the table was the best part. You see, at Rea and Papa Jack’s house, there was no children’s table. Chairs were brought in from every room and everyone squeezed in and sat together. As the family grew, the more we squeezed in and phone books and/or the Sears Catalog  in chairs were used for high chairs when needed. There were no bibs for the little ones because a tea towel tied around the front worked just as good if not better. Then, as the meal would progress you would hear giggles around the table as Dad would tell one of his stories.

picnic table

Once the meal was complete, us kids would scatter out into the back yard where we would stand on the picnic table and perform our own concert of various repertoire. Mom and Rea would stay at the table a while and Rea would catch Mom up on the latest of family and friends. Papa would retire to his recliner and watch a ballgame and listen to it being called on the radio. Dad would find a place on the floor and take that Sunday afternoon snooze.

Out of all the memories of going to Rea’s house on Sunday, squeezing in around the table so all could be included on the fellowship is one of my fondest memories of Sunday.  One reason I hold dear to this memory is that no one was left out. Everyone had a place at the BIG table! Everyone got to enjoy the fellowship.
bring people together
My grandmother’s  Sunday dinner table was very much like I imagine the Great Banquet table will be in heaven.  There will be no children’s table, and there will always be one more place to squeeze in one more chair.  Oh, the fellowship will be awesome.  I know that there will be smiles and giggles of joy because we will be dinning with the King.
Sometimes we are in situations where we really need to bring in one more chair and squeeze in one more person, but we feel that there is no room.  It is easier to place that person or persons at another place.  When we don’t take the opportunity to squeeze in one more chair, we miss out on so much.  For example, we miss the opportunity of getting to know another Child of God, just a little more fellowship, and another chance for another memory that could just possibly have an influence on our lives. So, how about it? Can you just squeeze in a little more? Here, let’s add another chair and enjoy the fellowship.
Blessings,

This post is in loving memory of
 Eugene  Jackson Daniel &
 Reba Laviania  Daniel
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The Table Is Set

The Table Is Set

For us Southern Belles, not only is getting the tree and fireplace mantle in perfect shape but getting the dinning room table is at the top of list in what absolutely has to be done at Christmas.  For me, candles are essential when setting the table not only at Christmas but year round. Having candles on the table holds meaning for me.

My grandfather on my dad’s side was a retired Army Colonel. When we visited my grandparents’ home, Mom would always make sure we were brushed up on our manners especially before going to the dinner table. Dinner at Papa Hill’s house was an event every night. The good china and silver were used. And, there were always candles on the table that were lit before we came to the table.  No one sat down until Papa Hill took his seat at the head of the dinner table As a teen I would roll my eyes and think; “why can’t we just use the everyday dishes?” I would think this because I knew I would be the one helping after dinner hand  washing all the china and silver and putting it all away.

antique photo album

Over the years in my adulthood, I have reminisced on those dinner affairs and their true meaning. For Papa, dinner with his family was special to him. He cherished having his family around the table for not only a meal but for a visit.  Many a story and tale were shared around the table as we savored the pot roast, mashed potatoes  green beans and apple pie.  Grandmother had so lovingly prepared.  Along with no one sitting until Papa sat, no one got up until they were properly excused by an adult at the table.

memory lane

As I reminisce about dinner with Papa and once I had been properly excused from the table,  I also remember being  in the kitchen with Grandmother up to my elbows in suds helping her wash the china and silver. It was those moments in the kitchen where Grandmother would not say a lot but here and there she would gently and lovingly smile and give you a little wink. She was a quiet lady with little to say but her smiles and winks said it all. You knew all was right in the world.

One evening in May, 2002 I stood by my Grandfather’s bedside just a little before mid night. Jim and I had volunteered to take the night shift of staying up with him at the hospital. From the looks of things, we had a pretty good idea that Jim and I would not be there all night.  Late in the night, Jim sat by Papa’s side checking vitals until Jim noticed Papa’s breaths were getting further  apart.  As these breaths were getting shallow, I came over and took Papa by the hand.  While holding tight to his hand, I looked at him and thanked him for all the cherished memories he had given us around the table that was always beautifully set with linens and candles.  Then, I said “Papa, the table is now set for you. God has the candles lit and He has your place ready for you to take your seat at His banquet table. ” A few seconds later, Papa joined Jesus at the great banquet table.

banquet table in heaven

The table is set. It is Christmas. The candles, fine linens and china are on the table. A meal will be prepared and the candles will be lit where new memories will be made and old stories shared.  As I light the candles, I will not only remember my loving grandparents who showed by example that we are all special but I will also be reminded that Christ is and has always been the center of our family.

How about you? Is your table set? If you haven’t already, add some candles to your table. Let your family know how special they are and remind them that Christ is the center of your home by lighting the candles.  Sit around the table and make memories and share old stories. The teenagers may roll their eyes a little but let them roll. One day, they will be thankful that they have such warm memories.

This post is dedicated in loving memory of  Col. Carl R. Hill, Sr and Virginia Louise Hill

Merry Christmas!

 

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