Category Archives: Legacy


I’m remembering my grandfather, Poppy, today on his birthday. He passed away at the age of ninety-six in 2012 and he left an awesome legacy. His life was defined by love and his relationship with Christ was exemplary.

My love for Christ grew from watching Poppy’s life and I hope your love for the Lord will grow as you read the words I wrote about Poppy.


If I had to choose one word to describe my grandfather, Poppy, it would be, “LOVE.” He loved God, he loved people, and he loved life.

Some of my favorite memories of him are the times he laughed hysterically while watching cartoons. I remember watching Tom and Jerry with him and he laughed so hard that he nearly fell out of his chair. That was amazing to see an old man laugh harder than I did as a little girl. He loved to laugh and he laughed hard and often. He truly lived life to the fullest.

Growing up, I spent a great deal of time with him and my grandmother because I lived right next door to them for several years. One of my favorite things to do as a little girl was to sit with Poppy and swing with him. While swinging, he loved to hold one of his cats that he called, “Sweetie Pie.”

I will always remember the camping trips I took with my grandparents. Poppy loved his camper, he loved to fish, and he loved the outdoors. Some of my greatest memories are all the times we spent outside in his garden and on his property.

I learned what true joy is by hanging out with Poppy. He was always content while living a laid-back life in Epworth, Georgia. He was a country boy at heart.

Poppy knew the art of enjoying the simple things in life. I can imagine him now making a soft whistling sound just like he did as he tinkered on his tractor and worked in his garden. He had this amazing aura of happiness about him.

Poppy had a major sweet tooth. Some of his favorite treats were Circus Candy Peanuts and Moon Pies. He loved to eat a slice of cake or pie after every meal and sometimes he even ate his dessert before the main course.

Oh how he loved his family. He was truly the best father and grandfather a person could have. He raised three wonderful children and he brought tremendous joy into the lives of his grandchildren.

I will always remember the laughter and the fun times with Poppy. But what is most important to me is how Poppy’s life permanently impacted my heart. I learned from him that life is a gift—a beautiful gift from our heavenly Father. I watched my grandfather live the life that God intends for every person to live.

There is a scripture verse that comes to my mind when I think of Poppy. Deuteronomy 5:33 says, “Walk in all the way that the Lord has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”

Poppy could have lived a tragic life. His earthly father passed away on his 11th birthday and left him fatherless. However, he chose the high road and he let His Father in Heaven fill the void in his heart after losing a parent at such a young age.

Poppy surely prospered in his life. He had a rich marriage with my grandmother for 72 years. He stayed committed to her and loved her through the good times and through the hard times.

He was a man of courage and a man of honor. He loved and enjoyed his family and friends so very much.

He lived a fulfilling life because he attained a beautiful relationship with Christ. He lived out the greatest commandments in the Bible very well.

Poppy’s life is a great example of a life fully surrendered to Christ. He lived a blessed life throughout his journey on Earth because he loved God with his whole heart, mind, and soul. And he certainly loved his neighbor as himself in countless ways. He was an amazing man because he tapped into the true Source of life.

His life was beautiful and filled with joy because of that. A close relationship with Christ is what God longs for every person on Earth to enter into. He wants us to be so head over heels in love with Jesus that no circumstance or loss can rob us of our joy.

My prayer for each one of us is that we will let the life that my grandfather lived be a standard we will reach for. May we let Jesus fill the void in our hearts in the same way that Poppy turned to God when he lost his daddy as a child.

The words my grandfather wrote to me reveal the key to a happy life.

Poppy wrote these words that will stay with me forever, “We pray that you and Michael will always love Jesus with all your hearts. This is what life is all about.”

Poppy loved Christ wholeheartedly and he lived abundantly because of his closeness to his heavenly Father.

May the Lord bless your life abundantly with His grace and peace.

Love and prayers,



Mema - 12-25-15

Heaven is rejoicing today over the birthday of my beloved grandmother. Mema was born on April 20, 1920 and she entered her heavenly home in February of this year. Although I miss her, my heart is filled with joy in knowing she’s where she wants to be. She lived a long, beautiful life and finished well.

Mema was the classic example of the woman described in Proverbs 31. Her example to me is a priceless gift. The seeds of her love will grow eternally in my heart and in my spirit.

My dad (Mema’s son) asked me to write the eulogy and share it at the funeral. I was so blessed to stand at the podium and share a few thoughts about Mema’s life. Today, in honor of my grandmother’s birthday I’m sharing the eulogy again.

A Tribute to Mema

Anyone who knew my grandmother could appreciate that she was a simple Southern woman who greatly loved her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. It was obvious she treasured being a wife, a homemaker, and spending time with her family. I believe her greatest joy came from serving people and she especially loved serving her family. Mema was very generous with her time and her resources.

My grandmother, Ethel, married the love of her life, Alvin Harper, when she was nineteen years old. Her marriage to my grandfather was one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever witnessed. Her loving devotion to her husband for seventy-two years is an inspiring example to me and for all the women who knew her. She stayed committed and loved my grandfather through the good times and hard times, the way God intended for a wife to do.

I asked Mema to tell me her favorite memory from the life she shared with my grandfather. With certainty, she said her favorite memory was raising their kids and having them come back home to visit when they were grown. Her words and the life she lived revealed what she valued most.

She spoiled the whole family with her meals that were made from scratch. I have vivid memories of watching her spend hours preparing the most delicious Southern cooking I’ve ever tasted. Shortly after we would sit down at the dinner table, she would always apologize for not making the food taste good enough. Everyone at the table would chuckle and assure her that the meal was exceptionally good.

I don’t know of anyone who could make a better breakfast than Mema. One of my best memories is waking up to the smell of her homemade biscuits and gravy. As soon as I was awakened, I would see the table filled with a whole variety of amazingly good homemade food.

Hanging out with Mema when I was growing up was one of my favorite things to do. I was blessed to live right next door to her for a number of years. I learned to be a hard worker by watching Mema work so hard to provide good food and create a cozy home for her husband.

I remember the way she went the extra mile for her family and did things like drying beans every summer and called them “leather britches.” She was very gifted at sewing, quilting, and she could do just about anything crafty. She made dolls and stuffed animals for me. She sewed beautiful clothes for me during my grammar school years. She gardened and canned vegetables and made the most amazing jams, jellies, candies, and homemade popcorn balls. I will always remember how Mema wanted to give us candy or some sort of treat when we were leaving her house.

She had a wonderful way of making everyone in the family feel well cared for. The many times I slept over at her house, she would come to the bedroom repeatedly to bring more blankets and make sure I was warm enough. Now, I have a habit of sleeping with layers of thick blankets because of Mema’s love and concern for me when I was a child.

Mema grew older gracefully and developed a great sense of humor. She often made me laugh with her wittiness. She referred to our family as country folks a number of times. She truly was a small town country girl with a charming personality.

I’ll never forget the many little phrases she would say daily. She would get enthused about the simplest things, and with her country accent she would say one of her trademark phrases: “Well, I wish you would look.” “Heavenly days.” “That’s as old as Methuselah.” “Well, I’ll say.” “I’ll swanee.” “I want you to look.”

I will always cherish the memory of her most used and all-time favorite phrase to say: “That beats all I’ve ever seen.”

Her thoughtfulness, kindness, and her desire to serve people carried over into her elderly years. It was just a part of who she was.

After moving to a senior living facility, she would often show concern for her table mates. She wanted to make sure they were okay and had everything they needed.

Mema blessed the lives of many people at her assisted living home. My heart was deeply touched at the large number of staff members who told me how sweet Mema was. Time and time again they said, “Ethel is a sweetheart; she’s my favorite resident.” After she left the Oaks Senior Living Home, the staff openly expressed how much they would miss her. She will be missed, indeed.

My grandmother’s life greatly impacted me and taught me the value of putting God and my family above all else. I’m grateful that she taught me the beauty and fulfillment that comes from being a wife, a mother, and a homemaker.

When I think of Mema’s life, I am reminded of the scriptures in Psalm 91, verses 14-16.

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Mema loved the Lord and she honored Him with her life. Christ honored her and satisfied her with a long, blessed life.

I can imagine Mema’s reaction when she stepped into heaven. As Jesus and my grandfather greeted her at the pearly gates, I feel certain that she got her first glance and said with the greatest enthusiasm ever: “That beats all I’ve ever seen!”

I’ll love you forever, Mema.

The photo of my daughter and my grandmother was captured on Christmas, 2015.