Archive for December, 2009

Home for Christmas

My mamaw went to be with Jesus today.

I miss her so much. I have never truly experienced loss to this degree before. I feel so sad, and yet I am truly happy for her.

Pray for my sweet Papaw. They were married 63 years.

Pray for my Uncle Steve, My Mama, and my Aunt Lisa.

And all the rest of us that love her with all of our hearts.

Steven Curtis Chapman sang this on his first Christmas album, and it’s on my mind today:

“Going Home for Christmas”

Her house was where the family gathered every Christmas eve;
A feast was set on the table and gifts were placed beneath the tree.
Everything was picture perfect, Grandpa would laugh and say,
That woman spends the whole year getting ready for this day.

One year the leaves began to fall and her health began to fade;
We moved her to a place where they could watch her night and day.
But she kept making plans for Christmas from her little room;
She told everyone, I’ll miss you but I’ll be leaving soon.

I’m going home for Christmas and I’m going home to stay;
I’m going home for Christmas and nothing’s gonna keep me away.
I’ll be with the ones I love to celebrate the Savior’s birth;
This gift will be worth more to me than anything on earth.
I’m going home, home for Christmas.

All the leaves outside have fallen to be covered by the snow;
The family comes with food and gifts and Grandpa comes alone.
There’s a sadness in our silence as the Christmas story’s read,
And with tears, Grandpa reminds us of the words that Grandma said.

I’m going home for Christmas and I’m going home to stay;
I’m going home for Christmas and nothing’s gonna keep me away.
She’ll be face to face with Jesus as we celebrate His birth,
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth,
‘Cause she’ll be home.

And as we sing ‘Joy to the World’ I can’t help thinking
Of the joy that’s shining in her eyes right now.
And though our hearts still ache, we know that as we celebrate,
She’s singing with the herald angels and heaven’s glowing on her face.

And now she’s home for Christmas and now she’s home to stay;
She’s home for Christmas, and nothin’ could’ve kept her away.
She’ll be face to face with Jesus, as we celebrate His birth,
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth.
She’s home, she’s home for Christmas.
She is home, she’s home for Christmas.

December 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm 1 comment

Mamaw

I’m sure there is a better title for this post. But my heart and mind are so full of her, that just her name is enough right now.

And this isn’t her name, of course. To many, she’s Lucy, Mrs. Lucy or Mrs. Rives. To some of her precious family she’s Aunt Lucille, or Lucille. To her three kids she’s Mama. To the seven of us who are lucky to call her this, she’s Mamaw.

She’s been one of the biggest parts of my life. As far as adult influence goes, after my parents, there is Mamaw.

She never missed anything. Every dance recital, piano recital, school program, ball game, before prom pictures in the yard…she was there. I always felt really sad for my friends who had to go out of town to see their grandparents. I saw Mamaw and Papaw almost every day of my childhood, and I knew they loved me. She loved being with her grandkids so much. We shopped until we dropped on countless Saturdays. If I had an event coming up, she would get me from school and we’d hit the MetroCenter. When my cousins were in town, we’d all go together, then eat a big lunch of Krystal hamburgers.

I remember going shopping with her one evening when I was in college. I was 20 years old, and planning to go to Memphis for New Year’s Eve with Michael. I wanted something cool to wear, and so I took Mamaw to Express. I tried on these faux leather (or pleather, if you will) pants and a pretty black velvet V-neck top and fell in love. I wanted this outfit, but knew I was shopping with the woman who bought what SHE liked, not necessarily the other way around. I told her, “Mamaw, I LOVE these pants and top.” She said, “I like them on you, let’s get them.” I did a double take and said, “Huh? Mamaw, I look like I want to be a rock star!” She told me they were cute and on sale and let’s get them and go to Morrison’s Cafeteria before they close.

I still wear the top, 12 years later, and wore the pants until it was just not respectable to do so, and I think of her EVERY time.

She wasn’t just present in body at all of our many functions and events. She wasn’t just a provider of awesome pleather pants. She was INVOLVED in every way. She asked me regularly, up until a few months ago, about each of my friends, and who has had babies, and who married whom, and where do they live now, and all of the crucial information she needs to know about people she has met just a handful of times.

She knew about every boy I ever went out with. She was aware of every date, and where we went, and if I got home on time or not. She immediately loved my Michael. She knew him when he was my friend, but when we became more than that, she always treated him like he was her own. He loves her like he is her own, and tells me often that I have many of her mannerisms and ways of saying things.

Lucky me!

She would get angry when friends would hurt me. She would get furious when referees called against her teams. She was fiercely loyal and stuck by her children and grandchildren, no matter what. Her expectations were high. She didn’t just want an A on a test, she wanted a 100. But with the high expectations came the knowledge that she only wanted that for us because she knew that’s what we were capable of. It took me a while to realize that. What I thought was pressure was really pride in her family. So I did whatever I could to make her proud.

She called all of the grandkids “Cats Britches”. I have no idea why.

Molly asked me tonight what kinds of things did we do at her house. When Papaw raked the leaves, we jumped in them. We would jump off of the low brick wall into the leaves. We would swing on the “big swing” which hung from a high branch in the backyard. The rope was long, so it went high. My cousins, Sarah and Jenni, and I would hide in her linen closet. It was filled 3 feet high with quilts. We would cozy up in there and talk for hours with a flashlight and a bag of peppermint candy. We dressed up in my aunts old formals. We would pack the old suitcases and pretend to be going on an adventure of some sort. We would sit on the floor with a bowl filled with water and dish soap and use Mamaw’s old manual egg beaters to make bubbles. She would let us go down to the “shop” and clean it. We would spend the night and laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Christmas was always huge. My cousins and I are about the same age, so we always got gifts that were the same, but in different colors. One year was monogrammed sweatshirts. One year was painted sweatshirts with jewels on them. I remember those, because mine was black with silver, pink and purple paint. You never forget a shirt like that.

She is getting very close to the end of her long, wonderful, love-filled life. I already miss her, because she hasn’t been who she was in a while. I miss being able to call and ask what she’s reading, because we would recommend books to each other. I miss telling her about my kids. I miss her answering the phone and hearing, “hey sugar!”

4 years ago, we moved in across the street from her. She and Papaw were gracious enough to rent us a house when we needed one. I remember her calling me and saying, “Hey Annie, would you like to live across the street from your old mamaw?” And then we both burst into tears, we were so excited.

During that year, I went over every day to read the paper and let Molly play with Mamaw’s plastic rollers. Molly would take them apart and put them back together. She was not quite one year old. She and Mamaw bonded over those rollers and now Molly still talks about them. I’m so glad we had that time. My kids are young, but I hope they will remember her, just a little bit.

I know this has gotten long, and there is so much more to say. She was more than a grandmother. She was an inspiration, a motivator, an advice giver, a hair and skin consultant (I hope my cousins smile when they read that), a teacher, a leader, a giver and a friend. She is beautiful, inside and out. She makes me proud.

She told me in high school, and I’ll never, ever forget it, when I was upset about something, “Annie, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grown strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

And now I’m falling apart. I want to sit for a while and imagine my precious Mamaw in the light of Jesus’ glory and grace. I will miss her so much, but I want her to be whole again. I want her to be able to walk and have perfect skin. I want her to run to Jesus and let him hold her. She no longer belongs here, as hard as that is to say. She belongs in heaven. She knows the only way to get there, and because of her, I do too. She will see him and her faith will become sight. I want that for her.

Everybody grieves differently. I have moments, like now, where the tears won’t stop. But I have good moments too, where I can think about other things and go about my day, because I know she is safe in God’s hands. We each process this differently. But one thing is the same for all of her family and friends: we have been in the presence for the last 85 years of a great woman. She has impacted us profoundly and things will not be the same without her.

Thanks for reading this, in all its wordiness. It’s part of the healing, I suppose. Pray for my family, for my Mamaw’s three children and all those that belong to them. Thank you. The friendship and love we receive are priceless.

December 16, 2009 at 5:05 am 9 comments

“Tap, Tap, Tap…Is This Thing On?”

Every day, I look at my laptop and think, “I need to write on my blog”, and every day, I change my mind.

It’s not that I have nothing to say…I have plenty. I just am past the point of assuming that anybody gives a rip.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do this for anybody but myself. I love to write, so I do. However, it’s hard to know what people want to read about. So that means that ultimately, I’m not doing this for me, but for others, and then I get frustrated and the words stop.

I hate it when the words stop. I like the words. Which is why I just wrote two sentences that Paisley, the two year old, could have come up with.

It’s a conundrum. Ahhhh, that’s better.

So let’s do a list and purge the brain, then maybe, after a little bit of prayer, I’ll get back into the swing of wordiness where I love to be.

1. My Mamaw is in the hospital and has been for a month. I will write more about this later, she deserves much more than a numbered line on a list. Just please know that my heart is with her these days.

2. Aidan has started Upward Basketball. This is the only sport I really know anything about, so I’ve actually been in the driveway with him these past few weeks doing dribbling and passing drills. We got a goal and I taught him how to play “Horse”, which quickly became “Pig” because I didn’t have all weekend to play one game.

3. Molly is doing great in tumbling. She turned 5 and I can actually tell a difference in her reasoning skills. She is obsessed with board games, and won’t play with a doll to save her life. Well, if Paisley wants her to play with dolls, she will, but it’s certainly not her first choice.

4. Paisley is getting more violent by the day. She learned to pinch (What on EARTH?) and uses this skill on her brother often. I understand she’s just fighting for her right to be heard and understood, but seriously, we’re all sporting bruises. She’s a really cute bully.

5. Michael and I went to the Egg Bowl this weekend. We had a blast.

6. I finally, for the first time ever, made some really pretty Christmas decorations. I’m pretty proud of them. I actually spent time on my piano, my mantle and the tree this year. Pictures will be coming soon.

7. I do not care why Tiger Woods was in a car wreck in the middle of the night. He wouldn’t care if I was in a wreck during the night, so why should I care that he was?

8. I’m so tired right now.

9. The drive back and forth to Madison a million times in a week is wearing us all pretty thin. Plus, it’s killing our food budget because there is no time to eat at home. Not good for the budget or the belly. The house NEEDS to SELL. That’s all I want for Christmas. A contract.

10. I got to sing my favorite Christmas song in church Sunday. My brother sang with me. The band sounded awesome. Is it obnoxious and ridiculous for me to say that I really, truly love singing? That’s not an arrogant statement in the least, I just really love singing songs and I hope more than anything that God uses me to lead others to worship. It’s the thing that brings me the greatest joy, outside of my family. Surely there’s nothing obnoxious about that.

I know this was a pitiful post. I’m aware that I’ve been off of my game. But between family issues, the flu, and all of our commitments, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time that hasn’t been claimed by someone else. You all know what that’s like.

So here’s to a busy week, and the start of a  busy month. I looked at my calendar today, and by the 20th, I don’t think I have anything to do.

Except celebrate Christmas, and the birth of the reason I do anything at all. If my life doesn’t reflect my love for Jesus, then all the activity is for nothing. It’s just stuff to do. I want it to count. I want people to see that any effort I make to do anything is because of my love for the Lord.

Even coming up with the words.

December 2, 2009 at 4:55 am Leave a comment


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