Memories From The Stovetop

Certain things will always bring me back to a time or place from my past. A smell. A song. Food. Like eggs, for example.

When I’m at my sisters, I love getting eggs from the chicken coop. It reminds me of my beautiful Aunt Kathy. It’s funny how certain people can make such a lifelong impact on your life, even at the age of 3. She had long, dark hair and a beautiful face. Her spirit was gentle and kind. She loved horses and being outside. But what I remember most about her was the two of us walking hand in hand out to her chicken coop to collect eggs. And jam. For some reason I think of her when I eat jam.

But she isn’t the only one I think of when it comes to eggs.

This morning I was making scrambled eggs. Of course they came from my sisters chickens. They truly are the best. And it brought me straight to my grandma. She. Loved. Eggs. Scrambled eggs, to be exact. I cracked 5 eggs into a bowl, as my puppy patiently watched from a close distance, and I was instantly sitting in my grandmas living room, on her “davenport.”

I loved that day. My sister, brother-in-law and I took our dogs to my grandmas to visit. Lo and behold, she made us a pan full of the yellowest scrambled eggs in the world. Yep. The whole wide world. They could have won a prize. Not too long after, she comes out of the kitchen with a whole sandwich.

“You’re not eating eggs, gramma?”

“This is for the dogs.”

I love her. You know a woman’s heart and soul is full of diamonds and pearls when they make a gourmet sandwich for her granddogs. We have a photo somewhere of her sitting in her chair, breaking even pieces off and feeding them this sandwich made for a king.

I don’t think any member in my family can make scrambled eggs without thinking of sweet Ella Mae. It was her trademark.

And with every cracked egg, I’m back in her kitchen, soaking in the memories of my beautiful grandma.

I thank God everytime I remember you.

-Philippians 1:3

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Where Shore Meets the Sea

I hold on to things. I’m by no means a hoarder, but I definitely still have “Babs”, the stuffed-dog I got when I was two. (And I definitely still sleep with her, my husband has accepted this.) I hold on to memories and love and pain all the same. Like stepping away from relationships. All of those years I held knuckle-white tight. And learning to be independent and who I am as this person God created. If we let them, people will shape us into a shadow of ourselves, and when they leave we can’t recognize our own reflections. Sometimes we have moments where we have to choose whether to remain stuck in the waiting for change to hopefully come or we have to take the leap to reach change now.

I get lost in my own mind sometimes and relive moments with my grandma, I still have her number saved in my phone as if I could call her whenever I want to. I get lost in her memory and her goodness and her love for Jesus. I wish she could see me loving Him, too, the way she always prayed I would. I remember the night she made her way to Heaven and I wasn’t sure how any of us would continue to live. How would we make it without her? But tomorrow came and we had to choose to move with it. I’m so thankful I finally chose to move with it.

We walked down the beach tonight and there was a young boy with his mother, and I think of my child. I think of the way his memory used to be shut away, too painful, always taunting by the enemy. And I think of the way God has redeemed it, so beautiful, so thankful I can talk about it. He would be big enough to run alone and play in the ocean and laugh and talk with me about who knows what. It hurts for a moment but I think of Heaven immediately and the setting sun behind us. And I smile. I’m full of joy in heart at the thought. How much greater is it all on his side of Heaven?

And a year ago I couldn’t face this. The pain of growth and releasing of hands and moving forward. But sometimes God works in our time, when it comes to matters of the heart. He doesn’t rush our wounds to heal and He doesn’t push us when we aren’t ready. Because He knows it’s not easy being us. He came down on earth as one of us. He knows life can be ugly and burdens can be heavy and this bed seems far too safe compared to the world outside of our window. He knows people die and fathers leave and relationships end. He knows results come back a devastatingly positive and the rain seems never-ending. And so he doesn’t push us, but encourages us, that yes, the pain in your heart may be overwhelming some days but there is a sunset over the ocean painted just for you that he doesn’t want you to miss. Just a sunset over the ocean that can help our feet to move forward, even if it’s just one small step at a time.

And what’s on the other side of moving forward has been so worth getting out of bed. So worth the releasing of hands. So worth all-in trusting Jesus. So I will leave my pains right here, where the shore meets the sea. I will let it wash away with each wave. Because although there is pain, God is still good, the sunset is still so beautiful, and Heaven is surely worth it all.

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of Salt and Sea

Have you ever missed someone so much you still look for them in crowds? You replay their voice in your mind so you never forget it. You’re scared that because it’s been so long you might wake up and it’s gone from your memory.

There was a sunset last night over the ocean and I would have waited all night if I knew you were gonna show. In my heart I wanted to share it with you, but I imagine it was so much more beautiful on your side of Heaven. I still waited a while, hoping you could be there next to me. You would ask me how I’ve been and I would bury my face in your lap. Where have you been all this time that I’ve needed you? I know where you are, but sometimes I can’t understand the distance between.

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I’ve been dreaming of you walking up to me, and I want to stay there a while, but I know we can’t live in our dreams. I drove passed your house not too long ago, it’s so much smaller than I remember as a little girl. The cement garage is gone and the paint is chipping away. I would have knocked on the door to just sit inside but I’m still as shy as the day you left me. So I sat outside for some time, missing you. I planned for you to be here forever and it hurts when things don’t turn out the way we had planned. And it hurts to think about how much time has passed, you’d think I’d feel better by now. I hoped I’d feel better by now. Everything is different since you’ve been away, and if I could go back to the day when we were all together with you I would. If you knew how much we needed you maybe you could’ve stayed a little longer. Maybe if we knew just how much we needed you we would have picked up the phone faster when you called. Oh how I wish you would call.

I’m thankful for what you’ve left behind in my mother, when she rocks her own grand babies to sleep I see you. And the way my aunt loves Jesus the way you did. I still see you in my family and it all feels like home to me.

Do you miss me as much as I’ve been missing you? Is Jesus as sweet as you said He would be? Have you saved a table in Heaven for your family? If I could have you back for just one more moment, there’s a million things I would want to say. But I think I would much rather sit quietly to hear you speak instead.

I’m waiting patiently while I watch the morning sun. In my heart you show up next to me. But I’m okay with sitting alone knowing the colors are that much more beautiful on your side of Heaven.

Happy Birthday.

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Always your Nah-zee

Two years ago today i held my grandma’s hand as she lay in a hospital bed and we described together what Heaven will be like. I put my face on her chest, and she just smiled as i told her i wasn’t ready for her to go. she quietly said, “you will always be my nah-zee.” i miss her voice. her voice was gentle yet strong and passionate when she prayed. she prayed for everyone. all day long she whispered His Name, “oh, Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.” i replay this voice in my head often hoping to never forget it. Two years ago my grandma made sure to make each of her grandchildren promise her she would see them in Heaven one day. i told her i would but my heart wasn’t sure if that was true. i told her i would see her again and she squeezed my hand. i miss her hands. her hands were old but they were beautiful. they squeezed my wrist as we crossed the street when i was a little girl. they made the best scrambled eggs and the best chocolate cherry cake. they clasped together tightly as she prayed to her great God Almighty. it’s been two years since i’ve gotten to look into her blue eyes. mine were filled with tears and sorrow that day but hers were filled with excitement and joy as she prepared to leave for Heaven. when you looked into her eyes you just knew her soul was destined to sit next Christ. growing up i never had a strong personal relationship with Jesus but i knew my grandma from the inside out and i look back now and think that sitting next to my grandma as a little girl was the closest to Jesus i could have been. it’s been two long years since i told my grandma that i would see her in Heaven. i hadn’t gone to church in years, the Bible i got when i was 8 years old was like brand new, i was not living for Jesus in any way, but my mouth spoke the words before i wholeheartedly thought about what she had asked, and i told her i would see her in Heaven. i believe in the very moment my tongue spoke those words to her i unknowlingly signed a contract and God was the witness. i believe from that very moment God made it His mission to fulfill that promise to my faithful, God-fearing grandmother. two years ago i began to lose my life just so i could find it. there is nothing that i long for more today than to be able to look into my gramma’s eyes, hold her hands, hear her voice, and pray with her. to seek advice from her in times of struggle in my walk. my heart hurts for the wasted time i didn’t do those things when she was here but i know when i get to Heaven Ella Mae will be waiting. if there could ever be the ideal way to pass away, she let out a big, peaceful sigh, and you just knew Jesus Christ picked her up and took her Home.

“your Heaven is going to have a big blue house, just for you. with a big flower garden. with lots of onions and chocolate cherry cake. and a big blue sky. with golden roads. you’re going to sit right next to Jesus, gramma.”

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

PSALM 27:4

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