A Promise in Pieces

I grew up on the stories of the Depression as told in Reminisce Magazine (back when there was a Reminisce Extra). I lived vicariously through the World War II era tales in the books like We Pulled Together and Won! collected and published by Reiman Publications. I might not be able to quote you exact dates or battle locations, but I learned more about World War II from those stories than I ever learned in my school history books.

But I didn’t develop this fascination with the World War II era on my own. It was my brother and guy cousins who fueled the fire. I loved reading the stories, but they loved acting them out. I played everything from Army Nurse to W.A.S.P., working alongside them to heal their imaginary battle wounds or fly to victory with them.

It was fun then. And of course, the good guys always won. My boys always came home.

But now, I read those same stories and I’m empathizing with the mothers and the sweethearts. Now, I watch the good old classic “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” or a modern-day like “Red Tails” and the sacrifices those soldiers and their families made seem so much more poignant. The tears blur my eyes and those men on the screen become the men in uniform in my own family, putting their lives at risk in service of town and country.

#PromiseInPieces - a review of Emily T. Wierenga's first piece of fictionMaybe it is the soft spot in my heart for the World War II era. Maybe it is my love of a good story. But I cried all the way through Emily T. Wierenga‘s new book A Promise in Pieces. I knew Emily could weave words into poetic prose, but she can sure tell a good story as well.

I love the first person voice of A Promise in Pieces. I could do more than just empathize with Clara, the main character–I was living her story through her words. I felt her chagrin over being restricted to ridiculous rules as the daughter of a conservative, nonresistant pastor. I smelled the aromas that filled her with disgust in the nurse’s boot camp. I cried with her at the bedside of a dying soldier. I agonized with her at the birth of the first child she delivered on her own as a midwife.

The only thing I didn’t like about A Promise in Pieces was that it was so short. It left me hungry for more. I couldn’t help but wishing Emily had developed the characters more–I felt like I was just barely meeting them when they were already leaving the story or aging many years and changing in character. Because not only can Emily tell a good story, but she can make her characters come to life on the pages. I just wished I’d had a chance to spend more time with them.

A Promise in Pieces left me in so many puddles of tears. Spanning decades and generations, the story will tug at the heartstrings of anyone who loves their family and a good story. Having played Army nurse as a child isn’t required for reading the book, but if you did, you’ll probably find even more tears watering the pages of your book or splashing off your Kindle screen.

Disclosure: I recieved a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Podcasts

I’m not an auditory learner (I’m a writer; I’m a visual learner). And I don’t like having extra noise turned on in the background (there is usually more than enough noise in a house full of little people). I never thought I’d be someone who listens to podcasts (I don’t even listen the radio very often).

Sometimes, however, a mom’s need for quiet is overcome by a mom’s need for grown-up conversation. And that’s when the flexibility (complete with a pause and rewind button) of podcasts can become a mom’s best friend.

But wait, what is a podcast, you ask? “Podcast” is both a noun and a verb. Like blog is the short version of web log, podcast is the short version of iPod broadcast. The noun form refers to an audio recording that can be downloaded and listened to on an iPod or almost any other device. The verb form is what a podcaster does when they record a podcast: they podcast–recording words, conversations, interviews, and perhaps even music, into a form they can share with you via the internet. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can stream a podcast or download it to listen later. But a podcasts app makes it easy as pie to search for and subscribe to podcasts, so that each episode downloads automatically, ready and waiting for you to listen to.

Podcasts combine the best of radio and the best of your favorite conference. Podcasts bring blog posts to life and make authors feel like personal friends. Podcasts are one of the most flexible forms of verbal education and audio information available today. But the best thing about podcasts? Well, I can’t narrow it down to just one. Here are the top ten reasons why I love podcasts.

What is a podcast? And why would a mom want to listen to one? Find out why this wife, mom, blogger and small business owner loves podcasts.

1. I don’t have to use my eyes to absorb the content of a podcast.

I don’t read a lot of blogs any more. That takes the use of my eyes, which means I can’t really be doing anything else. And since much of my work and my to-do list are on the computer, the last thing I want to do when I have free time is sit down and read more blogs on a screen. Instead, I listen to podcasts. Because that way, I can do at least two things at once. And if I don’t have anything else to do, I can close my eyes and just listen.

One of my favorite forms of podcast consumption is actually not one that fits the traditional definition of a podcast. When we’re too tired to read aloud but not quite tired enough to fall asleep, my husband and I love to listen to audio books. There are all sorts of audio books available at Books Should Be Free, in podcast form as well as other stream and download options. Just search for “Books Should Be Free” and tell your podcasts app to sort episodes oldest to newest. (Right now we’re listening to The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesAnd you can’t beat Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.)

2. I can listen to podcasts on the road.

My commute to work is hardly long enough to play one song, let alone one podcast. But when I’m headed to town or off to a meeting, I love to have a podcast to focus on as I drive. It keeps me awake, keeps me company, and depending on the topic, gets my brain in gear for where I’m going or what I’ll be doing.

It’s always helpful for me to immerse myself in a topic right before I’ll be discussing it with a client or at a workshop. The How They Blog podcast is a favorite of mine, and always great for preparing me for a meeting with a blogging client. (During which I might quote Kat Lee or the blogger she’s just interviewed.)

2. I can listen to podcasts while I work.

Not all aspects of my job as a virtual assistant and WordPress coder require my full concentration. Whether I’m doing routine updates on someone’s site or working with CSS that I could code in my sleep, I like to turn on a podcast to kick up my productivity a notch.

There’s nothing more inspiring than listening to a podcast like Novel Marketing while working on an author’s website! I really appreciate the insightful tips Thomas Umstattd and James L. Rubart share–their podcast is great for authors of any genre. (It’s not just for authors, either.)

3. I can listen to podcasts while I clean my house.

I really don’t like housecleaning. The dust accumulates just as fast whether I dust once a week or once a month. In just a few days, you can hardly tell I even had a dust rag near the place. Thus, I have to keep my mind off these depressing facts while I clean my house, or I just won’t stick with it. But give me a good podcast to focus on, and I’ll get a room clean in no time. The only problem is that I can’t vacuum because then I can’t hear the podcast. (Sorry, honey.)

Janet Parshall’s In the Market radio program via podcast keeps me informed about current events while giving me a positive biblical perspective on news that’s so often negative. I so respect her wisdom. (I want to be like her when I grow up.)

4. I can listen to podcasts together with my friends.

When a friend introduces me to a podcast, I am sure to check it out. And when we both develop a love for a specific podcast, usually one or the other of us will ask, “Have you listened to so and so’s podcast on such and such yet this week?” And of course, if we haven’t, you can be sure we do. I love the way podcasts allow my friends and I to do laundry together across the miles, and then talk about what we’re learning together.

My friend Trina introduced me to the God Centered Mom podcast. We often chat about each week’s episode topic. But that’s because God Centered Mom is a podcast produced with both personality and professionalism. Heather’s sweet voice always shares such genuine encouragement (and sometimes, genuine conviction).

5. Podcasts provide me with energy and encouragement.

Sometimes, I need that extra momentum to get going for the day. And some days, I’m down in the dumps and need of some serious laughter and encouragement. That’s when I either call a friend or turn on a favorite podcast. Because I trust the people who love me and the podcasts I listen to will remind me of God’s truth as it applies to my life. And that usually not only gets me going in the right direction, but lifts my spirits, too.

When it comes to inspiration, you can’t beat the energy and excitement Kat Lee conveys in her podcast Inspired to Action. I so appreciate her wisdom, her winsomeness, and her willingness to be humble. If you’re a mom, you have to listen to Inspired to Action. Seriously. (Also, it’s not just for moms.)

6. Podcasts provide a personal connection with beloved authors and speakers.

I don’t often tap to see the popular or top podcasts everyone else is listening to. The podcasts I love are the ones that are done by authors and speakers I already respect–because each episode gives me more of a personal connection with the podcaster. It’s one thing to read someone’s words on their blog or in a book; it’s another to hear their voice explain the same concept with passion and excitement.

I’ve always had great respect for Tsh Oxenreider of The Art of Simple (formerly Simple Mom). I love her story and I appreciate her business sense. I love listening to Tsh speak in person, but her podcast is a close second. The Art of Simple Podcast is fun and informal but always interesting and enjoyable. (And, Tsh has a really cool name that you need to hear to pronounce.)

7. Podcasts free me from the radio’s schedule.

I grew up visiting my grandma and hearing her listen to the radio from the moment she got into the shower each morning until she was making dinner in the kitchen each afternoon. She knew her radio schedule by heart and was at her desk at the necessary times to hear her favorite programs. Thanks to podcasting, my favorite podcasts app automatically downloads my favorite programs when they become available and they are ready for me to listen to any time, any where, whenever I like. Plus, getting my favorite programs via podcast saves time–I can listen to them at 1.2x speed and not be interrupted by news or advertisements (except for the in-podcast sponsor ads, of course).

My mom and grandma listened to Elisabeth Elliot each morning. I haven’t been able to find a podcast yet that replays the classic Gateway to Joy broadcasts, but a close second is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. (I really do admire Nancy Leigh DeMoss, but no one can replace our beloved E.E.)

8. Podcasts allow me to continue my education.

My time at college was brief, but I loved the challenge of the classes, and the wealth of knowledge I gained from the professors. Going to a writer’s conference reminds me of being back in Advanced Composition in my college days: my senses are alive as I’m soaking up new information on a topic I’m passionate about. But writer’s conferences are expensive, and don’t happen every day. Podcasts, on the other hand, are free, and provide unlimited options for continuing my education in whatever field I choose. I can take a course on a different topic every day, or absorb everything possible on one specific subject.

It’s clear that a podcaster is an excellent author when their podcasts average just 10 minutes each. K.M. Weiland’s podcast Helping Writers Become Authors is geared toward novelists, but has something to teach everyone about brevity. And when I feel like my English might slipping, I turn on Grammar Girl to up my grammar nerd IQ. (I think my college writing professor would be proud.)

9. Podcasts help maintain a positive atmosphere in our home.

I love it when I realize my girls have been listening to the podcast I have on. One of them will pipe up, “Mom, we’re just like the girls on that story you’re listening to!” Not only does their presence keep me careful about the podcasts I listen to, but the podcasts we share together have a positive influence on our relationship together.

When I’m listening to Learning to Speak Life, it makes me pause before I react in negativity to the child who is interrupting me. When I’m listening to Homeschooling IRL, it keeps both the responsibility and the joy of homeschooling in perspective. When I’m tuning in to the latest sermon from Truth for Life or Covenant Life Church, my children and I are both hearing the truth. (And we all know how much moms need truth to put everything in their home into perspective.)

10. Podcasts help me immerse myself in Scripture.

In my ideal world, I would rise while it is still dark and spend an hour in prayer with my Bible and my coffee cup. But in reality, no matter how quiet we are, everyone in the house wakes up the moment one of us gets up. And that quiet time with my Bible doesn’t always look like I want it to. But I started using the YouVersion Bible app on my tablet for helping with the kids’ Scripture memory, and I realized how much it helped just to have the Word playing in the background of our day.

I began searching for a Bible podcast that would feed me a new portion of Scripture each day along with the rest of my playlist, and settled on the ESV Bible Reading Plans. With the Every Day in the Word plan I get a bit of the Old and New Testament, as well as the Psalms and Proverbs, every day. And even though I don’t catch each word, I know it’s sinking in–for me and my children–as we’re “washed with the water of the Word“. (And praise the Lord, His Word never returns void.)

What are your favorite podcasts?

As a wife and mom, podcasts get me through laundry and dishes. But as a blogger and small business owner, my time for listening to podcasts is limited. I try a lot of podcasts, but only a select few stay on my playlists. That’s why I love asking my friends what podcasts they listen to–I know they are sound recommendations worth my time. I’d be thrilled if you’d comment with the favorites from your podcasts playlist! 

More podcast resources:

Surprised By Motherhood {my story}

#SurprisedByMotherhood {My Story}

I didn’t expect to be surprised by motherhood. My little sister was born when I was almost 12. My baby brother followed 3 years later. I was an old pro at changing diapers and cooking dinner with a baby on my hip by the time the baby I was juggling was my own.

I knew it would be different actually being the mom instead of the big sister. But I thought I knew what to expect. I thought I understood how much having a child was going to change my life, our life. And in a few ways, I probably was better prepared than some girls who haven’t helped raise siblings and babysit cousins. But in other ways, the very fact that I thought I knew what I was getting into was probably the reason I found some things so very surprising.

I was surprised to have one child that followed everything the books said–followed by two who didn’t. If our firstborn had been an only child, I’d have smugly thought (for a year or two, at least) that I had motherhood figured out. Sleeping through the night from early on, I could set the clock by her wake/eat/play/sleep schedule. She quieted the moment she was swaddled and was potty trained at 10 months. And then we had our second. Who has never slept well a night in her life. And is so stubborn that everything is a battle. Followed by the third who had medical and dietary issues who made everything about his babyhood a challenge. I wish I hadn’t been so quick to judge other children by my first.

I was surprised that the discussion of parenting methods could become so dogmatic and emotionally draining. I suppose that ever since the Old Testament our offspring has brought out the “mamma bear” in us all. But I never imagined that in my eager and excited sharing of “this is what worked for us” I would enter into the fray of parenting style debates. Nor could I comprehend the way the pit of my stomach would feel when I read equally sure opinions from both sides by the time I was babywearing and nursing around the clock with my third child. I wish we could discuss the ways we comfort and care for our babies without becoming prescriptive. I wish we could grant as much grace to other mothers as we ourselves need.

I was surprised by the fear that so quickly gripped my heart at the simple thought of my heart walking around outside my body, without me being able to hover every second of every day and night. I knew how prone I was to fear for my husband–and he was a grown man able to take care of himself. But almost losing him two months after we got married had taught me how precious life was. And when it came to babies, the stories of friends’ miscarriages, infertility, and struggling little ones brought the truth home even more. To deliver life is to give birth to pain and the potential for loss. I wish that when we share our stories of motherhood we would help birth trust and peace in each other.

I was surprised by the fact that it wasn’t easier to be patient and loving when the children I was caring for were finally my own. I’ve never been a patient person, but I thought the natural mother’s love I would feel for my own children would make up for my lack of forbearance. God does give an extra measure of grace to mothers; I know He does. It’s the only way we can survive on so little sleep. But I’ve learned that there’s no shortcut to being a patient mom. It’s moment by moment leaning into grace. I wish I’d understood that I would need grace for my children and even more patience with myself in my journey of motherhood.

Lisa-Jo Baker’s book Surprised By Motherhood releases today. Throughout its pages I laughed for the memories and I cried for the lost moments and I healed from the hurts. I wish every mother and daughter could read this book and together embrace the surprises of motherhood.

Head on over to Kindred Grace to read my review and enter for a chance to win your own copy!

Dear Grandpa

Dear Grandpa...

Dear Grandpa,

There are two smells that are forever intertwined with my memories of you: fiberglass and butterscotch. You never have liked chocolate, a fact which Grandma and I were always unable to understand. But you loved your Butterscotch cookies and candies. And you were my most faithful “Cookies Express” customer, paying for dozens of Butterscotch cookies I made to order just for you (to the great advantage of my piggy bank but not that of my parents’ pantry, I’m afraid!).

But it was the strong scent of fiberglass that surrounded you all day long, as you created fiberglass baptistries and vaults and molds of all sorts. The smell was overpowering, but it was fascinating to watch the threads and the resin take shape. The work was hard on your hands and your body. I remember watching you using sand paper on your hands each evening, trying to remove the rough callouses before you applied Pacquin hand cream. That was usually right before you performed your evening ritual of simultaneously watching the news, reading the newspaper, and taking your evening nap. I never ceased to be amazed at how you could do all three at once, in addition to carrying on a conversation with Grandma about what you were reading or watching. You always had one eye on the weather and could tell us the weather report for the upcoming week, thanks to your little NOAA weather radio and your fancy weather station that kept track of the wind and the rain.

While I never did more than observe your work in the fiberglass shop (and read the countless comics you had pinned to every available spot of your shop office walls and doors), I got to spend many happy hours planting Poplar tree starts with you in the late 1990’s. First we fenced and turned one of your fields into a nursery patch, then we used the growth from that patch to plant other areas of your property (and ours) with Poplar trees. I loved the sense of accomplishment to look back at the rows of trees we’d planted. And you were always there with your Kawasaki Mule with more tree starts or to check on our work. I remember learning the song “Puff the Magic Dragon” in between radio accounts of the O.J. Simpson chase during our hours planting that nursery patch. (Don’t worry, Grandma, I think the song was my daddy’s fault, not Grandpa’s.)

We always laughed because the first place my daddy went when he walked into your house was to the candy drawer. (And everyone always knew because the drawer glide had a tell-tale shriek as it was opened.) But as we got older, we were privileged to open the candy drawer for ourselves and see what was inside. There was always red licorice (a general favorite). You loved hard candy of every variety, but we were always sure to find butter and peppermint candies there waiting for us. And I still remember the taste of the bag of Skittles you bought me one time when I got to go to town with you all by myself.

You like candy, but you’ve always loved a good bowl of ice cream. If ever someone mistakenly set a regular sized ice cream bowl at your place, we grandchildren would watch with amazement as you replaced it with your own super-sized ice cream bowl. Ice cream to you was something to be enjoyed in great melting quantity. You were sure to microwave your bowl of ice cream so it was soft enough to eat. And of course, you topped it with butterscotch or caramel sauce. From the little wooden spoons and Dixie Cup ice cream when we were younger, to the Schwan’s ice cream bars when we got older, we were always guaranteed to enjoy a good cold dessert at your house. (We could also look forward to you removing your dentures for our inspection. And you’ve never let me forget that I once made you an “extra” pair with macaroni noodle teeth!)

I remember countless church potlucks and family barbecues hosted at your house, but it wasn’t just there that we enjoyed eating together. I remember many visits to your mom’s favorite Chinese restaurant after church. And the refrigerator drawer overflowing with the extra Arby’s sauce packets you always requested. They were the perfect thing to go with the sandwiches Grandma made us grandkids from the double meat Arby’s sandwiches you were always getting at that great 5 for $5 deal. You’ve always had a knack for finding new restaurants and you’re never without a new dining recommendation to share.

I delighted in hearing the stories about the days back when you were a logger like my own daddy, and the times he came along and helped you or drove the truck across the field when he could barely reach the pedals. It was so much fun to hear you talk about Rango the monkey. Or to hear you tell the rare stories about when you were a boy—like that time you broke your leg. And when we visited Great Grandma’s farm it was amazing to think about you being a boy there. I loved knowing that you helped build the house you and Grandma lived in with your own two hands. You also built the A-frame and formed the fiberglass swimming pool where we spent so many happy hours. And then, seeing the penchant your grandchildren had for fort-building, you built us cousins a little house as well. We had many hours of fun in that play house!

You’ve always been good with your hands. You could mechanic anything and indeed many of the ways the fiberglass shop worked were your own inventions. You were a logger and fiberglass expert and small business owner. You love gadgets and tools and the history of things like automobiles and tractors. Your sons, your grandsons, and your great grandsons are following in your footsteps, handyman “Jacks of all trades” who work with their hands as well as their minds. And the man I married not only fits right into the bunch, but so many things about his personality remind me of you. (Which is kind of fun to realize, since I inherited much of Grandma’s personality, in addition to her middle name.)

But it was in those years of working for you in your office that I saw your real personality shine: you are a people person through and through. I loved listening in on the one-sided conversations you carried on with pastors across the country about their church baptisteries, even if your handwriting on the form was impossible to decipher later. That map full of push pins on the wall didn’t just represent sales—it symbolized individuals with whom you’d carried on conversations, people you’d encouraged by your cheerfulness.

You’ve always been quiet and laid back, yet always had a story ready or a joke to tell. And we’ve always known you loved us. Especially when there was inclement weather close at hand.

I love you, Grandpa. Thank you for all your hard work through the years, all the little ways you daily showed your love for your family. That legacy of love and hard work is one we don’t take for granted. Thank you.

Love,
Gretchen  

Dear Grandma

Dear Grandma...

Dear Grandma,

Every spring a few weeks before your birthday, your wooded lawn starts filling with little blossoms we’ve always called “spring beauties”. When we were children, we’d gather the blooms with wild abandon. You’d help us wrap their delicate stems in a moistened paper towel covered with saran wrap to keep them fresh as we took them home to our mothers. And you’d tell us how my daddy always looked carefully each spring, trying to be the very first one to find a spring beauty to present to you.

Once the spring beauties were done, it was time to go mushroom hunting. You’d take us down into the brush to search for those sneaky Morel mushrooms that hid near the swampy spots. And then we got to take home whole bowls full to fry in butter and cornmeal. Little did we know the delicacies we were dining on! Our favorite meals at your house were Top Ramen noodles and hot dogs. You always served the hot dogs on plastic plates from TV dinners, and we were allowed to slurp our noodles as loudly as we wanted. Now that was the life.

I know you fed us other healthy things. In fact, I have very distinct memories of making cheese and butter at your house in that old-fashioned mixer. You made the best spaghetti. And applesauce was always in great supply, complete with cinnamon or colored sugar sprinkles to put on top. But I think we made memories over the saltines and the graham crackers and the Velveeta cheese, all the fun things we didn’t normally get to eat. There was always Jello with fruit in it, too (bananas were the best). You even introduced us to Spam, which you still had an affinity for. And you had an ever-ready supply of Tic Tacs, especially during church. (Your purse revealed handkerchiefs and plastic baggies full of photos and all manner of entertainment during a church service.)

Then there were the hours spent picking berries in your garden. Marionberries, raspberries, currants, thornless blackberries, strawberries. They never tasted so delicious as straight off the bush—it’s a wonder we were ever able to fill our buckets. I know there must have been so many times you didn’t get your work done because we were “helping” you. And other times, you went out of your way to preserve more fruit than you needed so that your children and grandchildren could enjoy the bounty. Especially that year Great Grandpa picked up all the windfall Gravensteins and pared them all ready for you—I don’t know how many quarts of applesauce you canned that year, but we enjoyed it for several years to come!

I always loved looking at the pictures of you in your smart nurses’ uniform and cap. I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up, just like you and two of your four sisters. You patiently folded paper hat after hat for me so I could look just like you. And of course, you were always patient and available to nurse all my own owies. Whether it was the ever-present splinters or the frequent skinned knees or the times I crashed on that metal strip where the linoleum patterns met between the entry way and the kitchen, you always had a bright colored Band-Aid to fix it right up.

Your toy closet was filled with everything necessary to a child’s delight. Pull toys, wooden blocks, monkeys in a barrel, coloring crayons, a great quantity of stickers, and a never-ceasing supply of paper to color upon. But your basement? Oh, that was where the imagination took flight. I spent hours rearranging the furniture in your old doll house. We set up office with the vintage typewriter and school desk. We pretended to have school or form the parameters of a house with the Sunday School benches. We played the games like Mouse Trap from that basement closet and read the old books like Danny Orlis that were housed in the glass bookcases in the corner of the basement. And I’m sure you were subjected to many a concert of our latest piano achievements on that piano in the basement.

I remember watching you work in your sewing room. It fascinated me how you could open a closet and have an instant sewing room. But the place I loved the most was your office. Your fingers would fly across the typewriter as you addressed envelope after envelope. You’d moisten your finger with sticky stuff from a special little container so you could easily grab and collate the piles of papers. Your copy machine got constant use but you took the time to get out the old mimeograph machine and show me how it worked, too, with its funny blue-colored ink. I came up with many reasons I needed to use that copy machine of yours through the years, few of which were legitimate, I’m sure. And as I got older, I learned to help you collate papers and stuff envelopes and answer telephones. I have special memories of those hours spent working for you, doing business data entry, interpreting Grandpa’s handwriting from the information sheets, and watching the way you ran your office like a well-organized machine. And even in the years when the computer addressed more envelopes than the typewriter, I still loved it when you had a reason to use the typewriter for a tax form or a quick envelope, hearing the click click clack of the keys on the keyboard.

Post It notes have always been your specialty. You use those little yellow pieces of paper everywhere. But my favorite place to find them was when I made an excuse to go beyond your powder room (where existed all sorts of lovely bottles and brushes and mirrors, and a counter with a stool in front of it for you to sit on) and visit your bathroom. Even as a little girl I loved seeing yours and Grandpa’s cryptic messages of love to each other there, written in pencil (always in pencil) on Post It notes stuck to your bathroom mirror.

You never forget a birthday. You are always on time with handwritten notes and generous checks for every occasion, and quick to welcome the grandchildren-in-law into the birthday card schedule. But your faithful prayers are the most precious gift of all. In each note, you always remind us that we are prayed for every day. And there are many days when the knowledge of your prayers have been the thought I’ve clung to in order to get me through.

Thank you for your example of faithfulness. From your years of service in the church nursery and Sunday School to your diligently kept diary of events to your daily walks no matter the weather to your careful care of Grandpa. But thank you most of all for your faithful daily prayers for your eleven grandchildren, their spouses, and the ever-growing number of great grandchildren. We rise up and call you blessed and thank you for the legacy of love and prayer you’ve given to each of us. Happy Birthday, Grandma.

Love always,

Gretchen