This post just had to happen for a few reasons. First, the reason that I started this blog was so that when my grandparents were traveling in their motor home either to Alaska or to south Texas my Granny Rene could visit the local library and ask the librarian to pull up my blog address and she could scroll through all of the pictures and stories about our new baby Kirstyn that I had posted that week or in the past few weeks since she had last had a chance to look. This was all before I knew there was a blogging community or before I even had social media. The other big reason I wanted to post was to share the words that Pastor Josh Herweck spoke at her memorial so that family and friends that missed the service could read them and enjoy the memories too. He sat down with several of us a few nights before and did a really great job putting together our memories of her.
Psalm 139 (David)
7 Where shall I go from your
Or where shall I flee from your
8 If I ascend to heaven, you
If I make my bed in Sheol, you
9 If I take the wings of the
and dwell in the uttermost parts
of the sea,
10 even there your hand
shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold
11 If I say, “Surely the
darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not
dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with
Her husband loved country music,
particularly John Denver. He would get up in the morning and crank up the radio
in the kitchen, but when she came in she would immediately turn it down.
And then when Paul Harvey came
on, everyone had to be quiet so that they could be sure to hear, “the rest of
She love her flowers and feeding
the birds, but she would chase off the squirrels and crows that would try to
eat her bird seed.
When she was younger, in high
school, she liked photography, since she moved around a lot, it provided
memories and stability.
She loved cemeteries and was very
interested in how well they were kept up.
She loved history and knew it
well, especially the presidents, states, and random facts about each.
She won the “most experienced
mother” each Mother’s Day at church, even causing people to question Deborah’s
age when it was really Michael who was older.
Being in a small town, she was,
also, very interested to know everyone’s business not to be gossipy, but
because she genuinely cared about everyone.
“He has told you, O man, what is
good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love
kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
She had a heart-attack in ’87,
and the doctor planned to do an angioplasty. So, before the procedure she wrote
the grandkids letters about how special they were. After the surgery, she
became very serious about a healthier diet. She ate oats with raisins every
morning, and when she made hamburgers for everybody else she would make a salad
for herself from the fixin’s. She even started taking fish oil before it was
She, also, began taking some
incredibly long walks. On one of her walks she swore that she saw something big
and fuzzy, saying even just a few weeks ago, “I don’t know what it was, but I
am not going back down there, again.”
Psalm 46:1-3 (Sons of Korah)
1 God is our refuge
a very present help in
2 Therefore we will
not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved
into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters
roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at
Psalm 55:22a (David)
22 Cast your burden on the
And he will sustain you
She loved the Lord, and actually
came to know the Lord as an adult. She and her husband were living in
Texarkana, and someone came to their door inviting them to church at Moore’s
Lane. They ended up believing in Jesus and her kids remember watching them both
She loved her church. She work
with the Sunbeams, which were the younger versions of GA’s and RA’s.
She was the WMU director and
would frequently host missionaries in her home who came to town.
She intently studied her Bible
and knew it incredibly well. She would quote Proverbs frequently. She taught
Adult Sunday School, and the ladies loved her as a teacher.
When asked what her favorite
scripture was, she would say, “Oh, I just love it all.”
(God) is able to do far more
abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within
She would watch over duck eggs,
keeping them from squirrels when the ducks would go down to the pond.
She would wash newspaper and hang
it up to dry so that the newsprint wouldn’t get all over her canning jars. She,
also, washed and reused foil for baked potatoes. She would wash cereal bags for
She loved decorating anything
that could be decorated, even decorating with fresh tree clippings, like cedar.
She would fold, cur, and make boxes and ornaments out of Christmas cards.
She dedicated special time with
Meredith and Neida for decorating a doll house.
She had very pretty handwriting.
She enjoyed watching Murder She
Wrote and Matlock, but when Golden Girls came on she would send the grandkids
to bed, because that was too inappropriate for them.
She made great hummingbird cake.
She, also, cooked cookies weekly. She would always cook oatmeal raisin cookies
or dishpan cookies. She also cooked peanut patties frequently and peanut
brittle at Christmas time.
She would, also, make sun tea.
And she made popcorn, because Sunday Supper was for popcorn and ice cream. She
made home-made ice cream, vanilla and sometimes butterfinger. She did like her
After retirement, they would take
their motorhome on the road for months all the way up to Alaska visiting
friends along the way. And nothing better have gotten in the way of their trip
each year. They even left one of their grandkids’ wedding before the bride and
groom, so that they could get going on their trip, but they always made sure to
mail post cards back while they were gone.
In Alaska, he would fish, and she
would can the salmon. One time they decided to ship the fish him, but it didn’t
arrive on time and was especially ripe when they opened the package.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does
not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it
does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8a Love never ends.
She loved her whole family.
She once chased Mark wielding a
yard stick like a baseball bat, because he had made Meredith cry.
She kept the grandkids every
Friday night and would cook the hamburgers and iron-skillet-prepared smothered
fried potatoes on Saturdays.
She made a “worm-bed” from potato
skins and coffee grounds for the grandkids to use while fishing.
She let the grandkids turn the
furniture upside down and build forts and shoot each other with rubber bands.
She would sit with her grandkids
on the second pew in church and would drive them home after church on Wednesday
nights. On those Wednesday evenings home they would sometimes stop off at 7-11
for Icees where she would send the kids in to pay for their own treats while
she waited in the car.
Some Mondays she would pick up
some of the grandkids, make them spaghetti and put them to bed.
She taught grandkids to drive
each somewhere around the age of 9. They would have to bring pillows and
phonebooks to sit on to see over the dash.
She made this super sweet grape
kool-aide, and unbeknownst to her, her husband would come by when she wasn’t
looking and dump in another cup of sugar. The grandkids would drink so much
that they would end up watering the field with their throw up.
One time, when little baby
Jessica McClure fell in that well in Texas, Irene became very concerned about a
well that they had. So, she had the grandkids start collecting rock in order to
fill in the well. Well, they ended up collecting so many rocks that they were
able to build a low water creek bridge out of the leftovers.
Before they could read, she would
play read-along records with the grandkids, and then when they were older she
would read with them in order to encourage a love of reading.
She would have sugar water tea
parties with the grandkids lemonade tea parties with the great grandkids. They
would set out dolls and were allowed to use any dish in the house, as was the
case with the ice cream, as well, even to the point of using priceless bowls
from the great depression. Memories were more important to her than things.
10 An excellent wife who can
find? She is far more precious than jewels.
17 She dresses herself with
strength and makes her arms strong.
25 Strength and dignity are
her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with
wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the
ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and
call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done
excellently, but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and
beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Irene was a hard worker,
hospitable, loving, selfless, encouraging (encouraging Mark to get back out to
drive after a terrible wreck, would have him drive her around), hopeful, proud
of her family, kept a nice-tidy house, always made her bed even if she made it
to the kitchen and thought she had forgotten to make the bed she would return
to the bedroom just to make sure, she was always ready to host, she was
compassionate, and would make you feel special, like you were the only one in
the room, she didn’t talk about herself much at all, she always wanted to know
what you were doing and how you were doing.
A great legacy of faith
1 “Let not your hearts be
troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house
are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a
place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come
again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And
you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord,
we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus
said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through me.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
My mom asked Kirstyn and James to sing In the Garden at the service. It is the same hymn that Granny Rene had chosen many years ago for her mother's funeral so it seemed like a good choice. They learned it last minute and did a really good job. She would have been so proud of them.