Wednesday, September 26, 2012


 We met Dot and Mark forty years ago. They were a young couple expecting their first baby. We were the parents of four young children. We became friends and our lives intertwined. My children became babysitters for their children. Their children became babysitters for my grandchildren. We shared our holidays. We shared our joys and we shared our sorrows. We became part of one another.

            Dot and Mark sold their house this week. They are retiring and moving to North Carolina where their youngest daughter lives. They will no longer live around the corner. They are leaving a hole in my world. I will miss them.

            Go with God my friends. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Today is my mom's 107th birthday. Theses are the words I spoke at her memorial service nnine years ago. I still miss here every day.


            One of my earliest memories is standing in my crib and listening to the mourning doves outside my window. They sounded so sad. Mom told me my first sentence was during that moment when I said, "They're crying for their mommy." I knew from my infancy that the safest place to be when life was sad or painful was in my mother's arms. It was always warm and secure there. I remember many nights snuggling in her lap while she rocked me and sent all my fears away.
            I still long for the safety of her lap when life is scary and painful.
            We all must grow up and leave that safe spot, and we all did. But mom had prepared us well for life. She gave us the tools we would need to survive. We just had to follow her example of faith, love, and laughter.
            Mom's faith in God and confidence in his love were unshakable. She knew that a loving God would always be there for her. There was a purity and assurance in that faith that always guided her. Her faith was a solid rock, a safe harbor, as warm and secure as her lap was for her babies.  The last time mom spoke to me was just a year ago. She could no longer carry on a conversation, but for a moment she was there with me. We sang, "Jesus Loves Me." At the end of the song she said, "That's right, honey, He still does."
            Mom loved everybody. She loved her husband. She loved her children. She loved her grandchildren. She loved her friends.
            Oh how she loved our dad. From the moment she met him on a blind date and sat in the rumble seat of the car with him, he was her man. She devoted her life to making him happy, and she succeeded. Their love for one another was a constant thing. They demonstrated true love and marriage everyday.
            She loved my brothers and me with a fierce, protective love that knew no limits.
We all know that Dad loved me best, but mom loved us all. My brothers were the joy of her life. She was always so proud of them. I can't remember how many times we walked down the railroad tracks to watch the boys play football. She didn't want to miss a game. She thought we were all geniuses and felt sorry for everyone else because her children were perfect. We were frequently a trial to her. I clearly remember the time I stole some ice cream from the Beverly Market. I must have been about five. She was very angry with me and tied me to the clothesline with the dog's leash as a punishment. That probably would be an unacceptable punishment in today's' world, but it was very effective.
            Then came the grandchildren. They were each perfect - intelligent, beautiful, and far above average. They could do no wrong. What joy they brought to her and dad!
            Mom was blessed with a multitude of friends because she was such a good friend. And she was so funny and so much fun! Who but my mom would put on two bras, one forward and one reversed, and wear it in a fashion show as a double-breasted suit? What other 85-year-old lady put on a sweat suit and slam-dunked shots for the church basketball team? She never did take herself too seriously. Life was just too much fun.
            I can only imagine what mom is doing now. I like to think she has settled into heaven and is talking with dad and all the others who are there. She once told me that one of the things she hoped to find in heaven was banana trees. She wanted to fly from banana tree to banana tree eating all she wanted. What I do know is that this world is better because Byrtle Burrow lived here and I miss her.

Monday, September 10, 2012


            I woke up this morning in the warm afterglow of a wonderful week end. Our church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. The week end was packed with different events full of friendship and reunion.

            We became part of this church only eight years ago, so many of those returning to celebrate were unknown to me. It wasn’t so much any one individual that I rejoiced in seeing as it was the outpouring of love between so many that just overwhelmed us all. The hugs, the stories, the laughter and the tears became all inclusive and swept us all along in a happy glow. The big dinner party for 200 people on Saturday evening went off almost without a hitch. The fact that a big storm blew out all electrical power an hour before the party did not diminish the joy. Our dinner was by candlelight and the room grew warm in the absence of air conditioning, but the evening was perfect.

            Sunday morning was the best part of the week end. I always enjoy our Sunday morning worship, but this Sunday was awesome. The building was packed with people, many who had traveled far to be here for the occasion. These are the people who helped to build this church into a community of God’s love. These are the people who are here now, helping to build on the vision of those builders. These are the people who are our children and will carry God’s love into the next generation. I am glad to be part of this church family.

            The music was incredible. It was majestic and glorious. We sang “Crown Him With Many Crowns” and “The Church’s One Foundation,” both of which were sung at the very first organization service of this congregation fifty years ago.  We sang well. The folk group which was an important part of the church’s life in the 70’s sang “They Will Know We Are Christian by Our Love.” They joyously reflected an important part of this church’s history. The choirs and musicians that are part of today’s church made us know that God was present in that place. The music was spine-tingling good. 

            Four ministers who have served this church participated in the service. It was interesting to see the diverse personalities who have all been so important to the life of this church. Three of these people were here before our arrival. It was interesting to meet them and try to match them with the stories I have heard about past times.

            It was a good week end. Old friends and new friends. Music that inspired. Good food. Much laughter. Stories of long ago and visions for a future. The laughter of children. Communion with the saints.

            God is good. To God be the glory.