Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged."
Proverbs 17:6

I started this blog two years ago last month during a time in my life I call the "waiting room" a definite season in my life.  I desperately needed an outlet to share the pure JOY of becoming a first-time grandmother.  Now I am a grandmother three times over!  My sweet friend, Deborah  was so patient and helpful to me in my early blogging days.

Today is the birthday of my first born's first-born...Ezekiel, my first grandchild we all call "Zeke."  For one who never finds herself at a loss for words, I simply cannot describe to you the pure joy that springs from my heart because of Zeke's life. This little boy LOVES life and LIVES with pure joy! 

Here he is trying to catch raindrops on his tongue when a nice summer shower passed through at his birthday pool party Friday night!
More evidence of his joy-filled personality:
Zeke, I love you with all my heart.  You are such a sweet boy, and Gran Jan is not the only one who sees the special way you touch lives.  You love animals, you love music (your favorite song is still "How Great is Our God" by Chris Tomlin), you love books, you love strawberries, you love tractors, and most of all, you love your baby sister Madie Ruth! 

You have touched my heart way down in the deepest parts, places I never knew existed.  I am so thankful for your life.  I can't wait to teach you all that God is teaching me.

Happy Birthday to you Zeke!
I love you,

Gran Jan 

She Lived 25 Years...She's Been Gone 25 Years

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sisters are Different Flowers From the Same Garden...

I am the oldest of four girls all named by our parents with "P.J." inititals, Pamela Jan, Phyllis Jean, Patricia Joan, Peggy Jo; all called by our middle names. This picture was taken back in 1981 as we celebrated our parents' 25th wedding anniversary.  (We are standing in birth order, with me on the far left.)

This past January 18th would have been Jean's 50th birthday if she had lived. But God had other plans, and my sister died on July 19, 1985, 25 years ago.  She was only 25 years old when a tragic car accident took her life instantly.  She's been gone for as long as she lived.  Some days it seems like only yesterday...and other days I mourn every one of those 25 years. 

I have scanned in some photos from our early years.  Every memory I have of my childhood includes my sister Jean as we were so close in age.  This could well be one of our first photos together.  I was 2 years, 2 months and 2 days old when she was born in January of 1960.
 This photograph is one of my favorites of Jean and me with our mother.
I was a brown-eyed brunette (still am), and she was a blue-eyed blonde!
 Here we are on Christmas Day - I especially love my memories of Christmases with Jean.  We loved this kitchen set, and always played "house" with our baby dolls.
We played outside for hours with this old dog.
Even though I am older, she was often my defender in squabbles.
Here we are all decked out for Easter with matching hats and dresses. 
I was 7 years old, Jean was 5, and our baby sister Joan was 9 months old.
Jo was born the very next year on Good Friday.
 This is Jean and I in front of our home in Hawaii.
Our Dad was a career Marine, and our family lived in Hawaii during
his duty there. We loved our years in Hawaii and the timing was
great as we were teenagers and we loved the beach!
A few months ago when the thought resonated in my heart that Jean had been gone as long as she had lived, I asked my mom if us girls could spend the day togther to remember Jean and celebrate her life. So that is what we did this past July 19th.  My sisters and our mom went to the cemetery and put flowers on Jean's grave. 
There is a quote that Jean always loved, so her sweet husband had it carved into her beautiful pink granite tombstone at the bottom.  It says:
With each rising sun,
think of life as just beginning.
Show kindness and love today,
for tomorrow's chance may be lost.
It was extremely hot that day, and we didn't tarry too long.  But we did what we came for. We talked about how much we miss Jean, and we shed some tears. We visited our paternal grandparents' and great-grandparents' graves, and many of my Dad's siblings' graves too.  After we left the cemetery, we had lunch together and did a little shopping.  It was good to just be together.  We wanted to remember her, but not to mourn as those who have no hope! Jean had a little girl, our sweet niece Amy, who was not quite two years old when her momma died.  I texted Amy and told her what we were doing, and she was so glad.  She lives out of state or she would have joined us.  She is so much like her momma.  It is absolutely uncanny when I watch Amy and see Jean's hand motions and facial expressions.  She did not get the privilege to raise her girl, but she lives on in her every day.  Amy is so beautiful.
This picture of Jean and Amy was taken not long before Jean died.
I cannot tell you how Jean's death devasted our lives. The morning of her funeral was the darkest day I have ever known.  My heart was broken for my parents more than anything. Jean's death remains the greatest loss in our family.  But this I know! Jesus gives grace and He is so faithful.  We turned to Him for comfort and He met us every time.  We miss her every day, and when the family is together, we are not complete.  But I know beyond doubt that a day is coming when we will be together again in Heaven!  Because of the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross and our faith in Him as Lord and Savior - we will see her again one day, alive and whole.

Blessings to you all.  Love your family every day, for tomorrow's chance may be lost...



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