Blake's grandmother exchanged this world for heaven yesterday. She was an amazing lady, the kind I want to be like not just when I'm older. The title of this blog is Ministry in the Mix of the Real World, and our "real world" is so busy that we won't even be able to attend Gran's memorial. I want to memorialize her in my own way here.
Eva Thornton, Gran, joined our family only about 6 months after I did. She and Blake's grandfather, Poppy, found each other after both lost their first loves. One of my most favorite memories of Gran will always be watching Poppy fall for her, like finding water in a desert! She was this independent, strong, older fashionista who loved Razorback games, pottery classes, cross word puzzles, reading, and church! I did not know my grandmother and I haven't had many brave, strong, and beautiful female role models who were also gracious and genuinely interested in me so I fell in love with her almost as quickly as Poppy. She reminded me of a nicer version of the strong southern ladies on Designing Women!! Poppy married her as soon as he could, asking Blake to do their ceremony! They traveled and thoroughly enjoyed life together when the times were good, and they held each other tight when tragedies with family and illnesses surprised them. When Poppy looked at her, his eyes twinkled about as much as they did when his grandchildren were around! She not only adored him, but made our family feel like we had belonged to her from the very beginning! When Poppy went home to be with the Lord, we despaired that we might lose our connection to her, but she never separated herself from us.
Justin and Caleb have only known one great grandmother in their lives. She was there when we brought both boys home. In fact, she helped me change Justin's diaper for the very first time! She's never missed a birthday or Christmas, always sending them generous gifts out of her limited income. She actually asked for Caleb to come to her small home and play his violin for her every time we visited Arkansas! Now that's a loving grandmother...he's tone deaf and a beginner violinist! When Sarah was born she said over and over how much she loved her and wished Poppy could have met her because he would have adored a little girl. She was just a loving, deeply interested grandmother. In fact, so involved and interested in our world that we'd sometimes forget that she had an entirely different family who had her blood and with which she was intimately involved. I know she saw those grandchildren and great grandchildren daily because she never failed to talk to me about them and show me photos when I visited her! I want to be that involved with my grandchildren! I want a home like hers, covered in photos of children!
One of the sweetest heirlooms I have is a cream and gold ceramic nativity Gran made for me. I love Christmas, and this is really my very favorite Christmas decoration. Each year it sits in the most prominent place, our den mantel, reminding us of Gran's love for Jesus and family. I'll pass that down to a daughter or daughter in law one day, telling her the stories of this strong, brave Gran who was an absolute role model for me and my children! I will miss visiting with Gran and listening to her stories, but I'm actually really excited for her to be at home with Jesus! I'm sure she'll be calling the Hogs in heaven and her robe will be blinged out with jewels!
I loved you, Gran, like you were my own grandmother! And you made me feel like I was your own!