My Grandma's birthday was this week. April 10th. I miss her so much and always think about her alot around this time each year. About a year ago her church published a book about her life. This feels like the perfect time to share a little excerpt of what I wrote about her for the book.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Grandma Shirl on her 16th birthday! Apparently it was quite the party, because the local paper covered it. 🙂
Grandma was the type of person that I wanted everyone to meet… at least once! Someone asked me recently how I'll describe her to my own children and grandchildren one day. Where do I even start?
She was the absolute funniest person I've ever known. And the best story teller too. The problem was that we never knew if her stories were true. My favorite activity as a child was spending the night with Grandma and Grandpa. In my little mind it was a 24/7 party. I always slept right in the middle of them, and Grandma would tell me story after story at bedtime. Sometimes Grandpa even got in on the action, but her stories were always better! My favorites were the ones from her own childhood. She liked to embellish them and make them colorful and exciting. I think at some point she started forgetting if they were real too!
She wasn't comfortable with silence. So she would ask questions to get a conversation rolling, sometimes strange questions. The first time I brought my husband to her house for dinner, we sat down at the table and she immediately asked him, "Anderson, do you like cashews?" He told her yes then looked at her expecting to be offered some cashews. Nope, she just couldn't think of anything else to say at that moment, so she went with what was on her mind!
She was protective of her family. I'll never forget going to her house one day when I was in high school and crying about how another girl bought the same dress that I had for a big event. (We're talking major traumatic life events here!) She looked at me really serious, and I thought she'd say something spiritual. No. She said, "Well I hope she wakes up with warts all over her face and can't go." Nobody messed with Mother Hen's little chicks! Then there was the time someone ratted me out for getting my first tattoo. Not exactly something I wanted to tell Grandma, but when she saw it she winked at me and said, "You know, I think I'll get one right here on my hand to cover up this ugly old lady sunspot." She knew we weren't perfect, but she sure liked to pretend we never did anything wrong!
Grandma lived life to the fullest. She didn't think too much before acting, and she didn't just talk about doing things, she actually did them. She was creative and came up with some of the funniest ideas. Once she spray painted her guest bathroom bright yellow on a whim. Yes, spray painted! Who does that?!
She exemplified a life full of joy. Not fleeting happiness that comes and goes with circumstances, but the kind of joy that can only be found through Jesus Christ. She found humor in every situation, even the most difficult ones. I saw her face life's trials with more grace and joy than I'd ever seen in another person. She knew that there was more to life than being happy, and she put other people first no matter what was going on in her own life. She understood what it was all about: a relationship with Jesus. She began her relationship with Him as a young pastor's wife, and from that day she was never, ever the same. And neither were any of us who had the privilege of knowing her!