the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
Your dwelling place is uniquely different. The decor, the smell, the pictures on the wall, as well as the food in your refrigerator all support your idea of a safe, happy haven. At the end of the day, you come home to let your guard down, throw on your pajamas, and recharge. The people who greet you may or may not be encouraging, but most of us would say that our family is our refuge. We acknowledge challenging times with those we love can make it hard to come home sometimes but in a lifetime of walking through the front door and settling in, we can agree home is where the heart is.
My father wrote me a letter recently. He felt led to encourage me to move forward. How can we move forward with confidence? So many quotes and scriptures could provide the stepping stones for us to embrace change, but the bedrock of embracing change is the constant–home.
I have this long rope in my home with duck tape covering one inch of the end of the rope.
When my vision is short or my circumstances are dictating my moods and actions, I’m reminded of my focus.
My eternal resting place becomes my reality and all the nonsense and struggle seems doable, a part of the journey versus a setback. When I look back through the years, my home has been a place of refuge, chaos, joy, confusion, peace, new beginnings, traditions, loss, celebration, and a constant…
My life may change but the constant is home–day in and day out– I can come home. One day we will have a perfect constant –heaven. Thank you, daddy, for creating a home on earth for me, and for pointing me to my Daddy and my eternal home.
My daddy’s letter:
Thinking about you this morning, and praying for you as well. I felt I should pause and write you some thoughts I have regarding your transition to your new job.
First of all, the sermon I heard yesterday by Gabriel Swaggert had some very inspiring points. He talked about the time Israel was suffering a famine because of their wicked ways, but he spoke of how God through Elisha said I am going to pour out a blessing on you. Gabriel also spoke of the time God’s people were facing the Red Sea, and the Egyptians were about to catch them. God said, “Move forward!” They did and God opened up the Red Sea for them to cross to the other side.
This morning in Louise and my devotion time, the story was about God calling Abram to leave home, country, family and friends to go where He would lead them.
I know you are apprehensive about your change in jobs, but God is telling you to move forward and He will make the way for you. Moving forward you will be leaving a job of security, friends, and a place where you are comfortable. A new land of opportunity where you will be a blessing, and you will be bathed in prayer asking God to bless you as well.
You are loved by your Saviour, your husband, your children, your grandchild, and by your Mom and Dad. It will be a great experience because of God’s Spirit watching over you, and remember you can always come home!
I love you Anna, and I pray you will see God’s love in the morning because you have put your trust in Him. I pray that He will show you the way because you have lifted your soul to Him. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
The moment happened in a blink of an eye, but all events leading up to the moment were calculated by God himself. The God moments. You and I could argue that these moments frequent our day, but there is something about a moment in which you experience time standing still, and you step out of your surroundings.
The list was long and the time was short. Why is it that we save cleaning day for just before an event occurs in our home. Prepare, study, create, wipe down, pick it up, vacuum, and now it’s time to engage. It was a sweet group of girls who came to Bible study that night. Considering it was Superbowl Sunday, I knew attendance would be low. My soul was in a different place. A good place. A place of receiving and noticing. Flowers were fragrant and red, Valentine’s Day hearts were promises to be written and mailed to loved ones. Sweet, young ladies gathered around the table as we wrote our Valentine’s day cards. We were listening to Natalie Grant’s new album when “How Great Thou Art” came on. I asked if they knew this old hymn–they all are growing up with contemporary worship, which I love, too. I started singing, and truly just felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Singing, giggling, talking about who to write our Valentine’s Day cards to, and eating yummy snacks. These young ladies are truly so special to me.
I looked up while singing along with the song, and she caught my eye.
Like those romantic moments in movies or the time someone is overwhelmed in a crowd and all becomes silent and slow-motion, she looked at me with an expression I had never witnessed from her and time stood still. In a moment, her endearing, baby eyes seemed to say, “I’m so glad you are my grandmother.” It was as if she had finally realized just how blessed she was to know this love, and her smile turned up ever so slightly to confirm this realization. In a moment, we connected in such a way that showed living evidence of God’s eternal love and grace. God’s presence filled her and shined from her eyes and soul.
She loved me without knowing me. Pure love and acceptance. I walked over to her and took her from her mother’s lap. She seemed to leap into my arms, and then the kiss. One, big, sloppy kiss on the cheek confirmed what she was trying to say.
What a post. If you’ve made it this far, I can only say, “You had to be there.” It’s as if my 51 years of life led to this moment. There will be more hugs and kisses, but the first realization of love between a grandchild and her grandmother will happen in a moment, and everything builds from that interaction.
When heaven opens up and rains down love through the life of a child, all the things that worry us and make us fret seem ridiculous and insane.
Thank you, Holy Spirit for preparing my heart and helping me to be mindful and aware of this shower of love.
Adelaide, Gigi loves you, too.
Isn’t it so fitting that Jesus came to us as a baby? In the innocence of a baby, He looked into the eyes of humanity, and said, I love you with an everlasting love.
He knew you since the beginning of time, and He loves you perfectly.
I pray He will reveal His love to you in such a way that you draw near to Him. He has Holy “kisses” to share and delights in you.
Tom Lloyd, Polly’s brother, singing a song he wrote, Heaven’s Avenue
Polly’s treasured song through the years. As I went through her scrapbooks, I was reminded that I sang this song at her retirement party! She loved the Gaithers.
Polly’s favorite expressions:
“You are a peach!”
“I could just smack your jaws.”
“Up-to-date and highly satisfactory!”
“Just Kidding Lady!”
“Anna Peets” (her endearing term for me)
My sweet Vivian asked if I were okay during the service. I expressed to her the void we were missing from someone who deeply loved us and expressed that love through the years. Vivian so wisely shared that, “It’s our turn!” We have the opportunity to love like Polly and make a difference in that love.
Polly loved to share the story of my birth. She awaited the call–boy or girl– at work. When she found out a little red-haired girl was born, she weaved a story of hysterical laughter and tears throughout the office. From birth on, Polly brought joy and adventure to our lives. Her love for music, travel, people, and Jesus wove a beautiful story that will always be a part of us.
Polly truly was a lady. Her character and principles were important to her.
I grew up in an older home from infancy until about sixth grade. My years there were filled with warm summer nights with box fans in the windows, crickets serenading me to sleep, and a pretty pink canopy bed, with pink shag carpet. My yard had large oak trees, and one tree was well suited for a tree house and rope swing. We’d jump from the tree house ledge on the rope swing and fly through the air. That was the closest I ever got to flying as a little girl, and it was pretty close. My brother closest in age to me, loved to dare me to do things; and I aimed to please. He dared me to fly on the first jump off the ledge, meaning, I would be at the highest elevation. That day I flew high; however, with gravity, what goes up, must come down. Down I went. Hard. I landed on my feet, and I can still feel the sting. I impressed his friend that was visiting. I can still see his eyes wide and mouth open.
I’d give a million dollars to have a picture of that tree house and our swing.
My mom sent me this picture of our home. Much has changed. Trees have been taken down, businesses have popped up around what used to be my backyard, and they have modernized the home. In fact, the home is a business. Looking at the front yard, my mind went back to a revival night. We provided worship music, a message, and watermelon. It was a night of adventure and mystery. In the dark of the night, we worshiped and poured out love to our neighbors. Folks sat on blankets and sang along with the musical talent on the front porch. When the watermelon was passed around, as a child, I was thrilled. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted watermelon again quite like that night–sweet, filled with water, crisp, and smelled divine.
My family is away on vacation. I’m much older with a full life. I recently became a grandmother. Becoming a grandmother forces you to reflect. I watch my oldest daughter with my grand-daughter; and I go back. Memories I’ve stored in the recesses of my mind spring forth like a pop-up book–taking you by surprise at the beauty and details. This side of the memory has more meaning. You close your eyes and imagine your grandchildren’s memories they will make with you.
Our kitchen had the largest table to fit the whole family for meals. My mom was an amazing cook. One afternoon, a friend was visiting, and she served coffee and jelly toast. I was sitting next to my mom across from the friend. The window was open, and the toaster on the table. She would toast the white bread, smother the softness with real butter, and then the grape jelly. Up to that point, I had not really experienced the process of jelly toast. I guess it was the company, the breeze, the simplicity of the afternoon, but my mouth had never tasted such heaven. I loved the way she toasted the bread just enough to make it warm, but not crisp, or burnt. What was equally unusual was my mother’s change in the rules. She was conservative. You ate three balanced meals a day, no snacks in between except for fruit, and over eating was not encouraged. I thank her for this. I’m healthy today because of her wisdom and discipline. This time was different. She picked up on my experience of heaven and decided to serve my fantasy of jelly toast.
Like Oliver, I asked for “more”, and instead of turning me out, she served me. I think I ate about four pieces of jelly toast that day.
On our vacation, we had breakfast together; we had jelly toast. Grape jelly. Butter. Warm toast. I told them my pop-up book memory, and my youngest smiled at me. “Grandma made me jelly toast, too.” We reminisced together.
Life is much like jelly toast stories. We experience the daily grind–work, cleaning, disappointments, chores, going, and doing. The necessary prevails. In fact, the necessary provides the structure to experience the jelly toast stories. Simple things you do out of love will be remembered and treasured for a life time. The next time you are doing the ordinary for someone extraordinary it matters. You are creating a beautiful pop-up book, in which, your love will be the thematic thread woven in the legacy of your family story.
My house is filled with a thousand dreams….
“I just pray that hope will go on living
In this house of a thousand dreams” Martina McBride
When I hear this song–I go back, smile, and the happy tears flow….
God’s timing is perfect. What happened today was a beautiful expression of His love and will. There are times when God’s will is confusing, but we trust that a door shut is His love expressed in our lives. Today, I was able to witness the beauty of the Body of Christ, and His love poured out during a celebration of our Nana Reardon’s life. She went to be with the Lord on Good Friday. My husband and I, along with my oldest daughter, were asked to sing “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. During a sound check, I read my Bible for comfort. God directed me to this passage:
I Corinthians 13 (The Message)
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
In that moment, I was comforted in the loss of a loved one. True–we don’t see as clearly, and we are incomplete until the Day of completeness comes! Nana is on the other side–complete. Until that day, for us, we have three things to do to lead us toward the day we see Jesus face-to-face:
Trust steadily in God
Little did I know that later that day God would prepare me to live out these three things. A phone call, a conversation, a decision is made and you are set on a different course of action.
I will trust steadily in God.
I will hope unswervingly about my future.
I will love extravagantly.
God and I talked about the greatest of these. Anna, if the greatest of these is love, then when you are confused and hurt and find it difficult to trust My plan, and when the evidence of your circumstances doesn’t seem hopeful, I want you to love extravagantly, as I have loved you. Who is before you? What job is before you? What grievance or challenge seems insurmountable? If you will start with My love as your goal, you will learn to trust steadily and hope unswervingly.
Nana asked this to be read at her funeral: (She wrote this five years earlier)
The true joy of life is the journey. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us. “Relish the moment” is a good motto especially when coupled with Psalm 118: 24 ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today. So stop pacing the aisles of counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.
Nana’s two grandchildren spoke at the funeral with such passion and love. They spoke of her legacy. Their memories were filled with baking cookies, trips, and Nana sitting on the sidelines at soccer games.
Nana was a successful woman in the business world. Not a single memory or conversation was about accomplishments, or her job. Every memory surrounded family gatherings, trips with friends, and next door neighbors showing up to remember when. Her love for her husband, daughter, grand children, great grand children, friends, and family was remembered.
Love extravagantly. The greatest of these is love.
Pastor Mark was deeply touched by the love displayed by the grand daughters. Through tears he conveyed that, in the end, how we love matters the most. How will your love be described? When you are carried by those loved ones to your graveside, your legacy to them will be your love.
My dad wrote a song called “Soul Train to Glory”. Jimmie Davis purchased the song and performed it on one of his albums. Nana Reardon and her late husband, Bill Reardon, were ushered out of the service by pall bearers to this song:
I will always remember this day, and God’s timing of a door shut in my personal life, but a spiritual awakening that opened the windows of my soul to embrace love no matter the outcome. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Nana for your legacy of love.
Relish the moment….
This IS the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
I choose love.
Written by Victoria
Sweet Nana was so wonderfully celebrated today. We will truly miss her this side of heaven but oh sweet joy knowing that she is with Jesus! ❤ This message was very clear as a legacy Nana wanted to share – life is about enjoying the journey, not waiting to get to a destination. This really spoke to me today. Am I enjoying this journey called life? Are you? Are we enjoy each moment? Imperfect moments? Joyous moments? Messy house? Laundry? The beautiful spring flowers? The sound of the soft rain? Are we embracing each moment with the ones we love and care about? Are we speaking kindness and loving extravagantly? ❤Sweet Nana, thank you for reminding us of this!
Written by Marie (Nana Reardon’s daughter)
I wanted to say thank you to everyone that was there today as we celebrated my Mom’s life. Listening and talking to folks…I remembered so many great memories and things she did and was a part of. It’s so easy to get mired down with what’s going on in our lives and dealing with her as she was preparing to leave us that I overlooked a lot of things to just be thankful for. So, take time to do some of what she wrote in her note that she left….enjoy the journey, eat some ice cream, laugh with folks, relax, and love your loved ones. The station will come soon enough. Thanks again for sharing this day with us.