I first met my husband’s grandmother, June, on his mom and dad’s porch at a typical Kentucky Sunday afternoon family gathering. It was a precursor to the Hamburger & Hotdog Thursdays we did when the boys were in college. It taught me how.
Grandma had a cane. “Grandma will whack you with that cane,” he’d laugh. She wasn’t a warm, huggy Nanny, like his mom. She was a quiet, introverted woman. I wanted her to like me – not so much because I was a people pleaser, but I didn’t want to put a wrong foot forward.Newly engaged, I wanted to embrace my new family. I wanted to build a relationship, not destroy one before it began. First impressions impact, hold on, linger, especially with people determined to hold possessively and cultivate any seed of negativity that can be pulled out of a situation. Growing up in a woman-centric household taught me the risks.
Tenderly? Boldly? How to put that best foot forward.
My husband made the introductions as his nephews wove around our waists, knees and ankles (four boys ages nine to one). Nanny and Papaw were busy hamburgering and hotdogging.
“What would you like me to call you,” I asked.
“Oh, whatever you want,” she answered placidly behind her horn-rimmed glasses.
“Mrs. Bucher? Grandma? June?” I asked with these too many choices in something I thought was so important. I didn’t want to make that decision.
“Oh, whatever you want to call me,” she said, with a polite laugh.
I felt like I was trying to walk on a fence rail, and the only way to make it to the post was pure daring. . . so I dared.
“How about Junebug,” I asked, smiling, feeling a little outrageousness was needed to break the ice.
“Oh, heavens! Not Junebug,” she laughed, the ice broken. Apparently, fellow classmates when she was young tormented her with “Junebug.” The relationship door opened, though, in that moment.
I decided on, “Grandma,” and we all agreed that was a good decision. Maybe sometimes you have to be daring in order to be family.
A few years later, we bought a house and a barn on the hill above her farm at an auction. She taught me how to can tomatoes and grow violets. We both loved violets. Not because she invited me, but because I showed up. If I’d waited for her to invite me, I would never have learned about canning tomatoes or violets from her. She was a woman of few words, but she was a direct woman. She really wasn’t someone who reached out for relationship. If you wanted a relationship, you had to show up.
She loved cats, but had a farmer’s sensibility about them. . . . We’d dropped by her house one summer afternoon. She had a new kitten. She let me hold and cuddle it. Being the town-girl I was, I was rubbing the purring kitten against my cheek. When I went to kiss it’s nose, she said with her understated style, “If you kiss a cat’s nose, you might as well kiss its rear end.” Needless, to say, I never kissed a kitten’s nose again.
She had peacocks. They’d unnerved me the first time I heard them; they sounded like a woman crying out in discomfort. I thought peacocks were for millionaires in grand estates, not on an everyday ordinary farmer’s land.
This stoic, quiet-spirited woman hid within her a soul that was daring enough for peacocks and determined enough for violets.
Sometimes, the only way to build a relationship is to show up, be determined, and keep on showing up. Sometimes it feels like daring, especially when people don’t reach for relationship. God always has blessing for us in the reaching, even if the reaching is not returned.
The month of June is a show up month in our family. We celebrated six birthdays this June. Aunt Sherry, the mother of all those little boys weaving around our ankles, knees and waists, she drove all the way from her Kentucky home where those boys now stand tall above her shoulders and have children who weave around ankles, knees, waits and shoulders. She’s a June birthday. We had littles turn 3, 6, 6, 25, 37. We missed Aunt Joyce who would have been 92, but my mom came from Louisville to help us celebrate.
Four of the boys and their girls showed up. They all chinned up, carrying chairs to put around the long table I’d set up outside. Memory making sometimes needs a little elbow grease. . . and we sat long, talked much, ate savory and sweet fixin’s, and celebrated in our sweet, southern, peculiar way.
June for The Blue Cotton House has been filled and spilling over with celebrating people: Celebrating a friend of the boys’ going back home after six years, all the birthdays, both all together and separately, wedding showers, baby showers, an extra special family reunion with a daughter-in-law’s family. Plus, two of my grandson’s are summering with me during the ady while their parents work – so there’s little people winding about my knees and waist.
If I were a cup created to be filled with blessing, I would say June is a month where my cup overflowed.
When the cup of myself overflows with blessing, it needs to be poured out to others as blessing. Sometimes, in the pouring out, weariness, emptiness, depletion happen . . . and I risk forgetting to thank God for the blessing of it all – the good and hard of it all. When I lift up Thankfulness, the Father, He sends refreshing and renewal in the refreshing. Faith steams up, bubbling hope, and if we continue choosing love in the wait and continue showing up, the soul cup of blessing fills yet again, fills to overflowing.
This June, people showed up; relationships grew, solidified, became more. It takes daring sometimes. A willingness to try. An effort to reach. A not-giving-up spirit to build relationships, even, maybe especially so, in family.
What a powerful combination – Thankfulness, Love, and Showing Up!
There’s more to June than meets the eye.
Remember Me Monday: #98 & Link-up
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
. love extravagant.”
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Note: The Linky Powers That Be suggested that you load your own photo from your computer. For some reason, it will not load from your link. I will continue to try to sort this problem out. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Instaencouragements,
Legacy Link-Up, Recharge Wednesday
Faith on Fire, Tell His Story, Grace&Truth
Let’s Have Coffee Wednesday Celebrate Your Story
Scripture&Snapshot, Sunday Scripture Blessings
Sweet Tea & Friends Monthly Link-up