He was talking about what people might say about us when we died. Would they know we were Christians? Would they know how important Jesus & Church was to us? Did we exhibit traits of a Christians? When he described what a true Christian should look like.. it was "Someone running after Jesus.".. seeking him, chasing him.. Hanging onto him as a life preserver! Holding onto him in the good times, holding onto him even harder in the bad times as we bear the stormy seas of life. And the whole time he was talking about who might be an example of this.. I kept thinking of my grandma Leona. I hope everyone has someone like her in their life.
Leona Lucille Sheperd is my dad, Kirby's mom.. She had my dad in her later 30's, so I only got to know her for 22 years. But man.. did she pack a lot into those years! My Grandma passed away in 1999. Its Crazy to think she's almost been gone as long as I knew her.. Because she's still so vivid and clear in my mind. I hope it always stays that way.
Grandma Loney (thats what I called her) kept me full time from when I was born, till I went to school. Every day mom would drop me off at their house in Lake Valley, which was out in the country.. literally in the middle of no-where.. And everyday we had an adventure. Make no mistake, my Grandpa Shep was there too, and he was a huge influence as well. He would take me to the "blue Goose" to get full service gas.. or to Play Dominos..It was literally the best days ever.. because all they wanted to do was play with me all day. On Friday Mornings we would drive to Cordell and get Groceries at United, and then they would take me to TG and Y (remember that!) to get a new toy. There were no ipads, no smart phones, (they still had a party line back then!) and no Pokemon.. lol.. Just my grandparents and I in the wilderness of Rural Gotebo! So Today I'm writing her a letter.. to honor her.. And to remind myself to be better about Chasing after Jesus. Society tells us to be selfish. Find things that only fulfill us.. make us happy..entertain us.... So in today's world its hard to remember sometimes that its not ALL ABOUT US. And its certainly hard to teach your kids that its not always ALL ABOUT THEM. But thankfully I have a great family and church family that puts the reminder in my head that I'm not on this earth to be all about me. I'm hand-picked, special, unique.. and I want my girls to feel that way too.
Dear Grandma Loney,
While you were here, I know you knew how much I loved you.. but since you are in heaven now, I did want to tell you a few things that are really important, and hi-five you for being such an important role model in my life.. Even when you thought I wasn't listening.
I remember a few things that we played together.. but mainly I just remember us being together. I remember you telling me bible stories, and telling me how many times you read your bible from front to back. At the time, that seemed impossible to me because it was such a big book with such small words! You were also funny and said things I didn't understand.. Like when you would giggle at me so loudly that you would say "You are going to laugh the Pee Waddlin' out of me!".. and we would laugh. And random stories you made up about some fictitious (or at least I think he was) character named "Old Bloody Tom".. lol.. Playing marbles on the floor of the Kitchen, hiding "treasures" in the side of a red clay Canyon.. I remember you telling me about Jesus and how important he was going to be in my life. You were always running Toward Jesus..
I loved going to church with you and sitting beside you while you sang old hymns. I sing those same hymns to the girls today, and I know I only know them from you and the Baptist church, because not too many churches sing old hymns anymore, yet the words are very present in my mind. .. Thank you for teaching me those songs, and letting me stand on a bucket in the front yard and do a 'concert' for you and grandpa.. I sang into a hairbrush..and you guys clapped so loudly every time I finished. You always encouraged me to sing, even though I'm pretty sure at that age, it sounded terrible. And when I got older.. you still wanted me to sing. Its one of the things that made you smile the biggest..
Baby KC and Grandpa Shep
Today I'm tired. I wonder how you were able to keep up with me when I was little.. Especially since Crosslee is just like me, and she WEARS. ME. OUT. I wonder how you didn't just want to sit in your chair and send me off to do something so you could catch a quick breath, instead of going outside with me and playing in the creek? How were you so patient? I never even remember you raising your voice to me, and I know I had to be super annoying at some point! How did you find the time to cook me breakfast and lunch everyday.. from scratch.. and allow me to cook with you? It would have been so much easier for you to just do it yourself.. but you let me stir every batter, lick every cookie pan, and layer every casserole. You let me eat Cherry pie filling out of the can as a 'snack'! How were you able to minister to those in need? Didn't you ever get tired of hearing other people's problems? How were you always able to provide good advice?
How did you manage to show Grandpa so much patience and empathy when he lost his voice & right hand from the stroke? How did you continue to love him through that? How did You never lose your patience with either of us when we were asking you for 32 things? I wish I had your empathetic nature sometimes when I'm at my breaking point. I wish You could meet the girls. I know you see them daily.. but they both do little things that remind me of you. Cross is obsessed with Owls, and watching birds.. Just like you. Londyn is the one named after you, and we call her Cille, more than we call her Londyn. She's very sweet.. I wish I knew what you looked like as a little girl.. because I imagine thats what Cille looks like. Every time I see a Cardinal I think of you.. And every time Cross asks for another stuffed owl, I think of you..
(KC at 2)
Thank you for showing me what it truly means to Love someone. To be able to care for grandpa like you did. Giving up your life for his because he needed you. And thank you for showing me what it means to love Jesus. I remember back in 1982 you told me you would be fine with dying at any time..and I thought What! No way!.. but you said, "I can't wait to see Jesus!".. And the day you called me and told me you had Pancreatic Cancer, and 6 months to live.. I said "Well..when do you start treatment?" and you said.. "I'm not starting treatment.. I can't wait to see Jesus, and this will just speed up the process, what do you want from my house?".. I thought you were crazy!I wasn't ready to let you go! It wasn't time! I needed more from you! Little did I know, that the Lord had provided us both the perfect amount of time to get ready to say goodbye. I cherished those 6 months, and left nothing unsaid, and neither did you. What a gift.
I hope you enjoy watching the girls and I.. I can hear you laughing when you found out I was having twin girls.. God is funny! Thank you for whispering patience into my ear sometimes when I don't have any..Reminding me to count my blessings daily.. Reminding me to Pray and give thanks.. Reminding me that not being like everyone else is ok, and reminding me to always Run for Jesus.. I surely hope that is something we can teach the girls to run for as well. They say the Lord sends you exactly who you need, and he knew I needed you.. to teach me to be more like him. Love you,