A Loving Eulogy for My Father November 11th Veteran's Day 2013

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‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Alfred Lord Tennyson, British Poet (1809-1892) from his poem “In Memoriam A.H.H.”

Five  years ago on November 11, 2013, my Daddy passed away and went to join my Mama. It was Veteran’s Day, which was appropriate since Daddy had served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in the late 1940s. My five siblings and I came up with the following attributes in reference to our father:

God-inspired, man of character, compassionate, humble, man of stability, respectable, charming, hard worker, steadfast family man, musician, avid fisherman, and beloved physician.

At the age of 93, it was certainly evident to each one of us that he had lived a long and beautiful life. Even so, this has not changed the truth of how much we miss him and our Mama, too. When one loves completely, the “missing” may lessen, but it never goes away. I spoke at Daddy’s funeral and wanted to share with you my words to honor the memory of my beloved father:

Joan’s Eulogy for her Daddy
November 14, 2013

Our father slipped away quietly on Monday, a gorgeous, autumn afternoon. The kind of day that our mom would’ve loved. When author C.S. Lewis’ wife passed away, he was quoted as saying :

“Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) quote from his book, A Grief Observed, written in 1960

I believe that is exactly how our Dad felt after our Mama’s brief illness and death in October 2006. In fact, some of us thought Dad may join her in that first year of his bereavement.  Perhaps dying of a broken heart. But instead, our strong and courageous father rallied.Daddy continued to play his clarinet for his many grandchildren. He took take daily walks for fitness at nearby Dellinger Park. Dad also resumed his volunteer position of delivering Meals on Wheels to the homebound.

From the time I was a little girl, our big family drove to Savannah Beach every August for our annual family vacation. Often this trip landed on my birthday and I thought that was just part of the plan.  A beach birthday trip for Joan and family!

These were always great times! It was wonderful to see Daddy relax and take a break from his busy OB-Gyn solo practice.

When I think about who I am today, and who I am becoming, I think of both my mother and my father. Some of the most important character traits instilled in myself, my brothers, and my sisters are compassion and a strong work ethic. We now observe these same traits and many more in their grandchildren. WE are all thankful for the role model given to us by our parents, and I hope all of us for generations to come will honor their memory with our own lives.

Another life lesson that my father taught me is to have equanimity, a mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness. While I am definitely still learning to practice equanimity, I believe another way to think of this is in Psalm 46:10:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

In closing, I remember how special the fall season has been to our parents, their wedding was on October 21, 1948.  Both Mom and Dad have now had their Homegoing in the fall.

I am reminded of one of Dad’s favorite musicians, Frank Sinatra, singing:

Autumn Leaves

“Since you went away the days grow long,
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song.
But I miss you, most of all my darling,
When autumn leaves start to fall.”
 

I love you Mama and Daddy, so glad you’re finally back together!

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How The Soul Grows Through Loss

It Is Well With My Soul

A Grace Disguised: A Fork In The Road 

New Seasons Are Before Us Fall, Football, and First-Time Grandparents

New seasons are before us, fall, football, and most importantly, we are first-time grandparents.

“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure a year in the life. How about Love? Measure in Love. Seasons of Love. ”  from Seasons of Love by, Donny Osmond

How do we measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

Measure in Love. Seasons of Love.

Just three weeks ago, my friend, Gloria and I were sitting in the Wellstar Kennestone Hospital Labor and Delivery waiting room. Gloria, who is our son-in-law, Scott’s Grandmother, asked me, “Joan, are you still writing blog posts on your Pages From Joan? I have not been getting any lately on my email.”

New First Time Great-Grandmother, Gloria Standard, hugs Leah as she says good-bye to Baby Tripp.

This brief conversation reminded me that I truly had been wanting to get back into writing posts for my Pages. Connected on Facebook with many of you on my Monday Mood, Tuesday Thoughts, Wholehearted Wednesday, Thursday Talk, and Friday Food For Thought weekly posts, I knew, however, I had missed posts here on the web.

Thanks for that question and your constant encouragement, Gloria!

Yes, it is the middle of September.

A couple of weeks ago, in Marietta, Georgia, I was sitting outside in the early dawn holding a steaming, black cup of coffee with our lab, Gracie. An owl in the distance was finishing  his hooting for the night as we sat. My mug with an image of a yawning, sleepy-eyed baby in hand. Our new grandson. Our first grandchild.

Grand baby #1’s mug. I have already ordered one for Grand baby #2.

Here I am again hoping to add encouragement and inspiration to our lives.

Right at a time in our journey when a whole new adventure is beginning for us.  As of Friday night, August 24, 2018, we became first-time grandparents with the birth of a boy named Michael Scott Andrews, 111, also known as Tripp. Rolling into our world, three weeks early, Tripp weighed 5 lb. 2 oz. and measured 17 1/2 inches long.

My girlfriend, Rita meets Tripp for the first time.

Mommy, our daughter, Leah, and baby are doing splendidly with the constant help and aid of Tripp’s new Daddy, Scott. Watching Leah and Scott work as a team to nurture and care for this little guy has been nothing short of remarkable. Early on, Tripp required an around-the-clock feeding every two hours, even if this meant waking him up from a deep slumber to accomplish this.

And now, I find myself sitting in our son’s family home in University City, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Just over a week has passed since the arrival of our precious little baby granddaughter, Elizabeth Noel Page. Our two children had due dates that were one day apart. Our grands had a different plan and surprised us with birthdays in different months, two weeks to the day apart in age. Relieving Jessica’s parents who have been so helpful during Elizabeth’s first week of life, I am staying here for the next several nights to cook, do laundry, oh, and I might hold our new granddaughter a little, too.

Oh, and I am not sure if I told you this…neither family wanted to find out the gender of the little one until the baby announced it him/herself on the birthday! After all of the fun and surprises during childhood, there are so few events to be curious and surprised over in adulthood. Not knowing if we were having two girls, two boys, or one of each added fuel to the fire of excitement!

Getting to know our 2nd grandchild, Elizabeth

Ecstatic. Overjoyed. Contentment. Grace.

These are some of the descriptions that have come to mind at this season of our life journey.

I’ve been surprised by how much I have missed my Mama during this past few weeks. My three big sisters have helped share the excitement and enjoyment of our two new grands. However, Mama was right beside me at my time of first-time motherhood in October, 1988, and I have longed for her to be with me as a first-time grandmother.

My Mama rocks our first-born, Leah, who is now a first-time Mommy herself.
My big sisters, Laura Lea and Mary Ann take in the pure joy as they meet Tripp.

Thankfully, I’ve had the blessing of being next to Leah, along with Scott’s Mom, Cindy, who has been such a help to her. I am also getting the chance to spend time with our son and his bride as she experiences first-time motherhood. I am in awe with how calm and at ease both of our girls have been with their little ones.

October 8, 1988 with our first-born baby, Leah Page Andrews, now Mommy to Tripp.

Besides that, it has astonished me how the memories of my experience as a first-time Mommy to Leah have come pouring back to me.

I did not know how much my husband Pop and I would love these new little people, the children of our children.

The Circle of Life has never been so evident and clear to my heart.

I now know why they call these children GRANDchildren. Tripp and Elizabeth are surely grand to us.

My hope is that you and I will be inspired, encouraged, and learn new things as we journey on together through my PAGES from Joan.  My goal to stay fit physically, spiritually, and emotionally has never been stronger than it is today. A grandmama, “Jojo” who plays on the floor and initiates adventures with these two grands is who I aim to be.

The Beat Goes On!

Previous Posts You May Have Missed:

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A Mother’s Wisdom: Five Lessons Learned

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Five More Ways To Love Well

It Is Well With My Soul

My Own Little World: What If There’s A Bigger Picture

Peace Like A River

How The Soul Grows Through Grief

Parenting And Grandparenting: Four Ways To Plant Roots And Strengthen Wings

Where Is He?

Wrestling And Seeking: What Do You Think?

Four Questions For God

Thank God He Has A Forgetful Nature

10 Things Organized People Do Every Day Good Food For Thought

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It feels so good to be back here with you today!

Funny thing is while I was purging, reorganizing our home and my heart, I ran across a bunch of information about how to be organized, including this list of 10 things organized people do every day. I have a file full of organization tips! LOL! Still, I struggle. I found an article titled “Give All The Things In Your Life The ‘Annoy OR Joy’ Test” that gave me some good insight!

I wish I had read this when I was a young Mommy with two small children.

Hasn’t it been said that creative humans have a hard time with organization?

Maybe I could use that as a reason for my continual struggle!

Here are a few things I did during my Pages From Joan sabbatical:

1) I rejoined Weight Watchers, with my biggest priority being not so much a smaller size, but continued good health. I have been a lifetime member since 2008, but I need some extra help now and I am admitting that out loud. (I promise that unlike Oprah’s latest ads, I will not be eating bread every day!) I will apply their latest strategy which is to add self-care to the existing list of watching food intake and increasing activity.IMG_87952) I cleaned out and purged most spaces in our home with the help of my husband and  Hand In Hand Organizing. If you need help with your home, I suggest you contact Professional Organizer, Katina. She will get in the space with you or write-up a DIY Plan for a space which includes a maintenance plan. Here are a few of our successes:

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*organized craft room shelves, including holiday decor, gift shelf, and party decor*
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*Daddy’s old obstetrical table makes a great gift wrap station*
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*game and dress-up closet has been a disaster for quite some time*
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*now it is ready for our future grands (fingers crossed!)*

3) As a huge book lover, this is big! I went through every book in our home (hundreds, likely more) and really purged, passing some on to friends and family, giving a few to Goodwill, and my favorite, donated a nice collection to our public library.

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*books set aside for our Public Library*

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Inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, I “thanked the books for the service they gave to us all these years.”

4) I rested.

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Yes, this is me with bookend canines watching a movie with my family.

5) I tried some new recipes. With my healthy eating plan, Donny and I got into a variety of stir-fry dishes. YUMMY! And our Valentine Treat was an individual chocolate chip cookie made in a coffee mug. Find this easy, awesome recipe here at In A Southern Kitchen.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie In A Mug!

6) Lastly, I worked on my book about Lessons My Mama Taught Me and researched topics for future blog posts. It is my hope that you will continue to find musings here that inspire and encourage us and help us to learn new things. Thanks to each and every one of you for following along and sharing my Pages From Joan. It is great to be back here with you all!
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Time-Out

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Have you ever put yourself in Time-Out? I am about to do that very thing for the next few weeks. In the days ahead, I hope to pay less attention to the outside world and more attention to our household…”tidying up” each and every space…Therefore, I am taking a short sabbatical from my blog. I am hopeful the end result will be uncluttered spaces and an uncluttered mind, too!

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Meanwhile, don’t forget to pause when you see that sun rising and setting. This was a couple of nights ago here in Marietta, Georgia. Take time for breathing exercises to help you catch your breath, and Be Good to Yourself!IMG_8623Here is the book I am using for inspiration, suggested by my friend, Rebecca, writer of a great blog called In A Southern Kitchen-Doing Life Together. IMG_8625The author, Marie Kondo proposes that the reader hold up items found in the home and ask the question:

“Does This Spark Joy?”

Having raised two children in this home, we have tons of keepsakes, just as I bet you do, too…I am hoping to rid our home of the items that do not spark JOY. See you! Stay tuned! I look forward to rejoining you soon with some posts that will inspire, encourage and help us to learn new things.IMG_8637

What Memories Are On Your Tree? Don't You Love Each and Every Ornament?

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This whimsical Santa was a gift from our long-time friends, The Carters in 2000.

We’ve been admiring this beautiful Frazier Fir, we recently bought from Calvary Children’s Home, with its shining white IMG_7758lights, for a week now. Though it is already festive, I guess it is time to place some ornaments on its boughs. As we complete the decorating of our 2015 tree, as always, memories come flooding in, one-by-one as we hang particular ornaments on the Christmas tree. What memories are on your tree? I feel sure you have some tender, heart-felt ones of your own and I hope this post will encourage you to take some time to reflect on them as you deck the halls in your home.

Some may be breakable, while some may be made of paper. Some may be handmade, while some were found at Hallmark.  Many were picked up and personalized year after year and are now on our grown children’s trees. All represent precious moments and memories that will stay with us forever.

I’ve selected a few to share with you.

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In 1982, Grant Lovelace. a fifth grader in my class in 1982, gave this PAGE ball to me. I can still see his excited face as he watched me unwrap his gift engraved with my new last name…a name change from just a couple of months earlier! Walker and Jess now hang this keepsake on their tree.IMG_7794

This one shows Donny and Leah attending a Preschool Angel Breakfast when she was just four. Now she is twenty-seven and married.

I’ve always loved putting this slipper on our tree, a gift from a teacher friend of mine at Avondale Elementary. Carol Barrett and I worked together several years before I became pregnant with Leah and moved too far away to continue working with the many friends I had made at Avondale! The slipper celebrates our first-born in 1988. Now the slipper adorns Leah and Scott’s tree.

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IMG_7800This tree ornament was a gift from our friends up the street, the B’s, in 1991 when our family was a family of three. Even though I was due in February of the next year, I was great with child when we received this one.

Ornaments are a great way to remember travel adventures from our past.

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Remember Grover!?! Poor Grover got his nose bitten off by our golden retriever, Riley, and the children laughed and laughed. Their giggles will echo in my heart forever.

Some ornaments, like these we made when our children were small will remind us of how much our loved ones have grown.

Check out an earlier post with great ideas of homemade gifts. Click here.

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IMG_7793 IMG_7792 IMG_7790 IMG_7789Baby Jesus in the manger was one of the countless handmade ornaments the children made at either church or school as they grew.

And the cool camping tent was a gift from our dear friend, Sara to help us recall the fun time we had camping out on their land that was adjacent to Kennesaw Mountain.

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IMG_7803December of 2005, my friend, John gave me this in honor and memory of his wife and my dear friend, Jil who passed away suddenly on August 5, 2005 at the age of 40. She loved collecting these stunning Swarovski keepsake Christmas ornaments. You can read more about Jil by clicking here.

When our children were married in 2014, I took time to separate out ornaments from our collection to enable them to begin to build their own family collection.

Now that both Leah and Walker have homes of their own, a good number of our keepsake ornaments have been passed onto them to enjoy for the years ahead. We hope the stories will continue to be told for generations to come.

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Leah and Scott’s tree in Marietta, Georgia
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Walker and Jessica’s tree in St. Louis, Missouri

Click on the following links to read some 2014 Christmas posts which you may have missed:

Christmas Cards

Two Christmas Trees: Remembering Our Mothers

The “W” In Christmas

What memories are on your tree?