My Mom and I went to Borders while she and my Dad were in town for Christmas. She purchased that postcard and when I wasn't looking, magnetized it to our fridge. Yes, it makes me laugh, and yes, she is usually right. And for sure, I respect her advice both past and present. My Mom is well-known for her free spirit and zany behavior, but I think it's safe to say she is also known for her intellect, wisdom, and empathy. Her many-faceted personality is what makes her so special.

I once purchased for her a ceramic Scripture plaque. She loved it, but a few months ago she said, "I want to loan you that gift - for your kitchen." I pouted slightly, "You don't like it anymore?" She reassured me, "I LOVE it! But it would match your kitchen colors perfectly." I said we'd discuss it later, but when my Mom makes up her mind, that is that. She packed the plaque in her bag to visit us for Christmas, of course.

She was right once again (thanks, Mom):

[click photo to see larger]

Those photos are a bit washed out, but the plaque does look perfect in our kitchen. The cobalt blue and white match our backsplash tile. I love the birds and golden pears. I love bare tree branches, so there's that, and then there is the verse:

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
[John 15:5]

That ceramic plaque hangs directly above my "medicine/supplement center" (not very picturesque, thus not included in the photo). I swallow a lot of capsules per day. The more I learn about the benefits of vitamins and minerals, I don't mind as much, but some days it is all I can do to get the crap down my throat. So, I stand there trying to think positive ~ John 15:5 is a wonderful meditation. During this health treatment, I have learned that indeed, I can do nothing without God. On the flip side, when I do try to abide in Him, it does feel like I can do anything, and "all things through Christ."

Before my parents traveled home the day after Christmas, my Dad glanced at the Scripture plaque and said, "That was your Memaw's (his Mom's) favorite verse." I had no idea. I love the verse even more.

Memaw had Parkinson's disease. I don't think I detected her illness when I was small because my vivid memories are her beautiful, peaceful smile. She walked hunched over, but I was oblivious. I loved being with her and Papaw. My brother and I tumbled into my grandparents' bed on many an early morning, and fell back asleep. Memaw did not talk much, and when she did, her voice was ever so quiet, but she looked at us with the warmest love. She allowed us to play in her plush, motorized chair that aided her standing up. At their Church, we rode in her lap up & down an escalator of sorts - it was another motorized chair that took her to the second floor and back down.

My Dad said she was very strict - no monkey business in their house - but oh, he always knew how much she loved her husband, daughter, and her two boys. Memaw was diagnosed with Parkinson's soon after she became pregnant with her third and last child - my uncle Bobby. I've been told that when he was born, she held him in her arms literally non-stop. When Papaw asked her, "Do you want me to hold him for awhile?" she nodded, no. She knew there would come a time when she could not hold her son. That story chokes me up every time my memory brings it forth. I don't know why she had to have Parkinson's. I do not doubt God's faithfulness, but even with newfound clarity as of yesterday, suffering will remain a mystery.

I'm not as strong as my grandmother, but if I keep meditating on John 15:5, I will discover from where she grasped that strength. The Lord - stronger than cedar, taller than Sequoias, more fragrant than pine. Ann Vernell Strother bears His fruit today, standing upright, no more tremors. Glory be.

[a Christmas photo repeat ~ Memaw]


kateortiz said...

all i can is that writing is just lovely. thank you for sharing this.
and that plaque is beautiful. it reminds me, in ways, of a painted version of old german gingerbread molds/plaques we used to have in our kitchen growing up.

jenni said...

Thank you, Kate.