I couldn’t speak at the funeral. I’m just not that strong and I don’t prefer blubbering in public. So instead, in true Annie fashion, I wrote my eulogy to my grandmother. Probably more for my own sake than for your’s, I’m posting it today.

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Annie with Ma at SHSMa and Colonel didn’t know what they were signing up for, having three granddaughters living across the driveway. We constantly invaded their home to play games, help Ma with a puzzle, or use her salon-style hair dryer to be an astronaut. As we passed their home each morning headed towards the bus stop, Ma would often meet us at the end of her sidewalk in her housecoat with a sausage biscuit. And after school, Ma would sit with her legs crossed and watch silently and intently as I did ballet moves to the old Disney song “Lavender Blue.” I guess we always considered their house merely an extension of our own.

In the 7th grade, I temporarily emancipated myself and moved out. A woman of 12, I was ready to be on my own. So I packed my belongings in a wagon and made Sally pull it across the driveway. Ma helped me concoct the emancipation plan and when I arrived, she received me with open arms and escorted me to my new room upstairs. It was a short-lived change of address, merely two days, but it is one of those memories that solidified Ma as the coolest grandmother on the Earth.

I loved talking to Ma because no matter what was going on, she was either HIGHLY excited with you or DEEPLY disappointed with you. Whatever emotion I was feeling in the story, she was feeling it too. Whether at home or in the nursing home, she wanted us to sit down and tell her all about our day, including the minute details. Even the mundane was important to her because we were important. I would bore myself long before I bored her.

For two years, I had the privilege of living across the road from Ma while she was in the nursing home. On one of my last visits, Ma took the opportunity to remind me to flour a pan before I baked a cake and to make sure I watered my plants in the morning and evening, NOT the afternoon. And she also asked would I please to be sure to bring her two cookies next time (not only one, but not three- she didn’t want to get fat). She also told me to make sure when I planted tulip bulbs in the fall that I planted some red ones because they are “beautiful beautiful beautiful“.

Of all the conversations I had with Ma over the years, the most effective are the ones I never heard. The conversations Ma had that changed things were with the Lord. If there is one thing I will remember her for, it will be her praying heart and her heart for God. I could tell you many heartwarming stories of the nice things she did or the kind things she said, but when you remember her, I want you to remember that she knew God- she studied His Word with passion and she prayed with equal passion.

I remember a time, maybe a year ago, when I asked Ma how she knew what to pray. And with full clarity she told me that “you ask God for His heart then you just pray. Trust that He knows.”  Ma loved to pray. And she loved to pray because she loved God. I can only imagine the unparalleled conversations she is having today in Heaven. I’m jealous, to be honest. What we call praying is foreign to her now; she is now having a face-to-face conversation with a God who has known her voice for a long time. And I would bet it’s pretty easy for her to recognize His voice as well. She always was a good listener.

Ruth_J_StrotherI learned a lot from Ma, from how to be a good Southern lady to how to cross-stitch Christmas ornaments. (Tatum is the one who learned the secret Thanksgiving dressing recipe. I insist she share.) And I think that, though the list goes on and on of things I gained from Ma, this is what I will always remember – a woman of prayer makes a difference in the lives around her. And I want to be like her- on my knees in the garden, and on my knees in prayer.

This fall, when I plant the red tulips, I will not only be reminded of a loving grandmother, I will be reminded of our loving God- who hears us when we pray and loves us with an everlasting love.

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Sorry for the length, but thank you for understanding my desire to post this.

Also, today, my dear friend Sarah starts a series on her blog that is amazing. Prepare your heart, then go read.