There are some folk that come into your life and make such an impact, they remain forever imprinted in your heart. Paul was one of them. As I reflect on a memory of nearly a year ago, I wanted to share with my readers how one man made a difference to those who knew him. He was a godly man – a wonderful husband, father, grandpa, and friend. Although my husband and I had only known Paul a short while, he was one of the most endearing and God-loving individuals we had come to know, love and admire. His charm and wit was a breath of fresh air.
Last year, the ‘Andrew Sisters’ got to perform again for our church’s Sweetheart Banquet. Because of illness, Paul and his precious wife, Joyce, were unable to attend. So the Andrew Sisters went to them and performed “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” in their home. It not only brought a smile to Paul’s face but it lightened up our day as well, while we hammed it up and sang (or rather lip-synced) our hearts out!
Paul Daugherty, we honor you. You will forever be missed on this green earth. We looked forward to the Blessed Hope, of that great reunion one day in the heavenlies.
A long time ago, someone close to me tried to crush my spirit and conform me in his own image. My ex-husband ruled with an iron fist and belittled me. I was downtrodden for so many years. Thank God I didn’t remain that way!
I thank God for all that He has brought me out of and through! He never promised a bed of roses. Even after being pricked by thorns, there is healing.
You see, God made me to be ME! God has made you to be YOU! Yes, it’s true that He loves us just the way we are. But, I believe He loves us too much to leave us that way. He longs to perfect us to become our better selves.
For those of you who have read my story, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” (on Amazon), you know that 25 years ago, God brought me a wonderful and loving help mate; one who embraces my uniqueness and even my sometimes crazy self. I can be ME – the good, the bad and the ugly! Don’t get it twisted, I do strive to being more of the “good.”
Once upon a time, I felt so lonely and neglected, but not anymore. I have a loving close-knit family – my children are all adults and each carry their own strengths and uniqueness. I am surrounded by positive, caring and fun-loving friends who genuinely refreshes my soul!
I don’t care who you are, no man is an island unto himself. We. Need. One. Another.
As I mature in age, may I learn to take things slowly and not count the moments, but make the moments count. Life is a gift and we are planted here on this earth for a purpose. Let’s learn to bloom where we are planted.
Some worthy quotes to remember:
Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age.
Age is a case of mind over matter.
We age not by years, but by stories.
In youth we learn; in age, we understand.
Don’t let anyone that doesn’t know your value, determine your worth.
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and be understood.
Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Birthday celebration with family and a few friends.
Have you ever been asked to do something out of your comfort zone? Ever felt like you were unqualified, not talented enough, or simply not good enough?
Yeah, that happened to me. Only this time I didn’t have to stand alone.
My girlfriends, Mary, Deborah and I, accepted the challenge to participate at our church’s Sweetheart Banquet. Ah, the joys of friendship! We went all out in finding matching outfits and practiced for weeks. Our bonding during rehearsal, accompanied a good deal of missteps and loads of laughter, while lip-synching to “Near You”.
On the night of the event, when our turn came up, my motto was to zero in on my husband in the audience, sing to him, keep balanced wearing heels, and just have fun! We pulled it off and had a blast performing our skit. We received loads of compliments.
So when you think you can’t – you just might after all. Then again, you’ll never know if you never try.
Re-reading this quote spoken to me so many years ago still brings up a sea of memories of a difficult place in time.
As you can imagine, I was going through hell. All along thinking I was alone, I never realized that God not only heard my cries, but He knew of my pain too! Just like the song goes: He was there all the time–and in my case–God used someone with skin to not only pray but to reach out to me in my darkest hour.
It seemed like forever that I was blinded and so discouraged; I really didn’t see a way out of my situation. But a neighbor, who quickly became a true friend, made me her business. She wasn’t condemning or pushy; she spoke life over me! She was caring and loving and wise beyond her years. She prayed much and gently wooed me back into the arms of my Heavenly Father. Eventually, I received the support I needed and slowly began to heal. Sanity and wisdom kicked in, and I did what I needed to do for myself and for the welfare of my small children.
What am I saying?
I wrote Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace so that others might find hope beyond their hopelessness and despair. We’re all walking through something. We all have a story. Some are strong enough to stand on their own, while others need a little encouragement and help in finding their way. They may have been lied to, beaten down, some even to the point of isolation. Ever been ashamed of your pain? I was.
No matter what, you can rise above your circumstances. It takes a made-up mind and a determination to change. Allow your experiences to make you a better person not a bitter one. Many times what we’ve gone through can help someone else to overcome his or her own struggle.
There are people around you hurting. Make them your business. A warm smile, a kind word, a gentle touch. Show them love. Give them hope. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Bloom where you’re planted.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11
It doesn’t get any easier, folks. I had to say good bye to another precious saint of God. Mary Anne Copelin, my spiritual mother, mentor and friend, was 91 years old.
This woman of God was a true doer of the Word, believed in having a prayer life, always sitting on ready. She was a Bible teacher, a missionary, an author, a power house, a force of nature! She touched all who came across her path. She knew the Word of God and flowed under the anointing. She always said she’d rather miss God in trying to be obedient, than miss Him in not trying.
Mrs. C first came into my life some 35 years ago. At the time, I was an empty shell. Broken. And undone. Mrs. C picked me up, dusted me off and took me under her wing. Then she loved me, schooled me, and encouraged me. She allowed me to cry countless of times and bare my soul. I didn’t always like or agreed with everything she suggested, but I respected her knowledge and wisdom.
I learned much from her; some lessons took a while to sink in. I came to the realization that I am a spiritual being. I need to be who I am and not try to imitate someone else. I need to love myself first, in order to love others. The self I need to reject is the “flesh” which dominates my soul. The flesh will abuse or misuse my personality. In order for me to have a healthy self-respect, I must see myself as a person of dignity and worth. The one who has no self-worth or self-esteem tends to hide behind a mask. Been there, done that.
Over the years, I’ve met and have come to know many wonderful and dear sisters in the Lord; many are friends to this very day. It was through Mrs. C’s ministry where I met another saint of God, Elizabeth Bearden, whom we also grew to love and even cared for her in her later years until she crossed over to be with the Lord.
Yes, I am grateful that this one woman enriched my life and instilled in me hope for change. Throughout my own personal struggles and setbacks, she pushed me forward and taught me the importance of God’s grace.
So Mary Anne, I say so long for now. Thank you for your life and for treating me like a loving daughter, even when I didn’t feel so loving. I thank God for knowing you and for being a vital part in not only my life, but in the lives of my family as well. We will miss you until we see you again.
“Fred, Eric, Sarah, and Michael – to all of Susan’s extended family and beloved friends: My family and I extend our sincere condolences.”
“My heart is heavy today. Susie was my friend. She reached out to me when I was going through some personal pain in my life. She welcomed me and my family into her heart and into her home some 30 + years ago. Our daughters the same age, became close friends, her youngest son and my son, a year apart, became diaper-buddies. Our husbands (during my first marriage) even grew close!”
“I’d watch Susie. She had such an up-beat personality and her words were always so encouraging. Even when I didn’t feel so ‘upbeat’ and ‘positive’, I couldn’t remain feeling down for too long around her. She had a way of hugging you while she patted you on the back … hard! Being around Susie, I learned how to communicate with my small children. I learned how to laugh with them. Susie just had a way with children – she genuinely liked them! I don’t think she ever met a stranger; conversation simply flowed out of her mouth and she truly cared for that one she was speaking to.”
“Susie had child-like faith, always believing that her Heavenly Father was ready to grant her simple requests. Whether it was the petition for the salvation of loved ones, or to save our nation, whether she sought a miracle for a deformed child or for the healing of herself – she knew that there was nothing too hard for God to handle, and never wavered in standing on His promises. She was a true worshiper. She loved to danced before the Lord and become lost in His presence. I don’t doubt she is up there now, dancing with our Savior!”
“Susie believed in hope. Hope against hope. Hope for a better day. Hope that God had something better. Hope that tomorrow would come. She trusted, loved, prayed, believed, laughed, encouraged, interceded, danced, worshiped, sang, rejoiced, wept, and praised! She convinced me that I could make it, that everything would be okay, that I was destined for greatness, and that with God ALL things were possible to them that believed.”
“I enjoyed being around her, but towards the end I am ashamed to admit that I grew uncomfortable. We sometimes cower in the things we do not understand. We cringe from anything that may appear bleak before our eyes and before we know it our resolve weakens, our faith wavers, our hope diminishes. Yet, our God is constant. Aren’t you glad His love’s unwavering, His tender mercies unfailing, His grace enduring? He doesn’t give up on any of us! He says in His Word His grace is sufficient for us – His strength is made perfect in weaknesses.”
“Susie, thank you for the memories. You will be sorely missed. I rejoice knowing that your pain and suffering has ended. When you took you last breath here on earth, your next breath became your first one in heaven. You get to experience Christmas everyday now, while we plod along doing all we know to do just to make it through another day.”
“And we who are left behind, may we not grow weary as we continue on this journey. May those of us who know Christ, remember that this is not our permanent home. Through every tragedy, every trial and every triumph, remind us Lord, that You, oh God, have something greater in store for us. Although there are times we may not understand Your ways, God, may we remember that we can trust Your heart – for You know what’s best for Your children.”
“They say that I was a great friend to Susie, but it was she who was a great friend to me.”
Doing what she enjoyed doing best.
I’ll always remember my friend, Susie Bubeck, and forever treasure our friendship of the many years we shared together! One day we will all reunite, but today we sadly said goodbye to her.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” II Tim. 4:7
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