Category Archives: Family

Burying a Grandmother

We buried my grandmother on Saturday and my dad asked me to conduct the graveside service. It was a great honor and blessing to do this for my family and my grandmother. Far from a pastor, I admittedly borrowed from my friend David Helbig’s previous memorials and a 1920’s era book titled “The Pastor’s Ideal Funeral Book”. I wanted the service to be formal but personal. Everyone seemed to be happy, so I trust my grandmother would have been as well.

Here is the text of what I presented. The spacing was how I printed it to remind me to go slow and take my time out of respect for my Memaw.

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Graveside Service – Ellen Reynolds

 

Processional Gathering

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die.”

 

The righteous live forever and the care of them is the most high God’s. With his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he shield them.

 

We are here to celebrate the life of Ellen Metta King Reynolds, born Feb 26, 1919 in Castle Oklahoma, departed from us January 26, 2009 at age 89.

 

The Invocation

Let us pray:

Almighty God, fount of all life; thou art our refuge and strength; thou art our help in trouble. Enable us to put our trust in thee, that we may obtain comfort and find grace to help us in this and every time of need through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Readings from Scripture

1 Thess. 4:13-18

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

 

When death comes to our loved ones, there are a few things we want to know. We want to know that God cares, that we are not alone in our grief. But even more importantly, perhaps, we want to be reminded that for every ‘exit’ there is an ‘entrance’. We want to know that there is a future for us and our loved ones who we seemingly have lost.

 

THE PROMISES OF SCRIPTURE BECOME LIVING REALITIES IN TIMES LIKE THESE.

 

Jesus said in John 14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

 

Our faith in those promises, along with the presence of God in our hearts, sustains us.

 

One of the most beautiful promises found in the Bible is in Isaiah 25:8, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord will wipe away tears from all faces.” Our exit from this world is an entrance into the next and there is great comfort in the promises of God.

 

 

 

 

One of the great hymns say,

Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come,

Twas grace that brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

 

That’s God’s promise to us as well. For those who love Jesus, every exit is but an entrance. God is faithful to His promises. He has promised us that in our times of need He will never forsake us. This is cloudy for us now. But for Ellen, the sun is shining brightly and someday it will shine again for us.

 

In Remembrance

Today, while we memorialize her, while we remember her life, while we both laugh and cry at the memories and the loss that we’ve faced this week; Ellen is, as we speak, receiving her full reward. Out of our presence, yet in the fullness of the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

There are so many vivid things I remember about my Memaw going all the way back to when I was just a little boy. A few things stand out for me that I would like to share.

 

Her Wit.

We could and maybe should write a book with all the funny things she has said over the years. Quick as could be, you didn’t cross her with your words cause she wasn’t scared to remind you in the mostly lady-like of ways just how smart she actually was. Ironically, the word Wit has a german origination just like Memaw.

 

Her perspective.

She gave people the benefit of the doubt and almost never spoke poorly of people. Neither the lowest or the highest of society had anything on her, but she spoke generously of both. She said to me in the last few years of her life “I want to focus on the positive, what’s ahead of me and not what is behind me.” She taught that to my Dad as well.

 

Her Kindness.

Her heart seemed always motivated with the purest and most noble of intentions. She served us unceasingly and constantly with no burden or sense of duty, but a joy and blessing.

 

Her Determination.

I don’t know if it was the German in her or what, but when she made up her mind to do something she did it. Whether it was raise a son alone for a few years during WWII, quit smoking, annihilate every last germ in her kitchen, or live fully and gracefully until the very last hours, well she just did it.

 

Her Family Focus.

It was always about her family, both those who were coming up and those who were already gone. Family meant the world to her.

 

I found a poem that reminded me of her that I would like you to hear:

 

The Watcher by Margaret Widdemer

She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.

 

And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.

 

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.

 

Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late,
Watching from Heaven’s window,
Leaning on Heaven’s gate.

 

And today, FAMILY is the legacy she leaves behind. Yes, that’s us. You and I. Children, Grandchildren, & Great Grandchildren. All of us were loved deeply by Ellen.

 

Allow your mind to go back today. Go back to a time when she blessed you. Go back to a time when she made you laugh. Remember a time when she made you feel like you could do it. Remember your favorite thing about this magnificent woman. Following our time together here there will be a meal at ____________________ wherein I hope we can all share a few memories of Ellen that we’ll never forget.

 

The last thing that stands out for me about this beautiful woman was:

Her Quiet Faith.

Five or six years ago I asked Memaw if she believed in Jesus. Without skipping a beat she said, “well how do you think I’ve been able to be patient with your Papaw all these years?”.

 

Ellen had a quiet, but sure faith that was explored not through theological education or even busy church involvement, but through a reliance on God for peace and steadfast security.

 

May we ask God to help us grow closer to Him and that the reality of his presence would bring us peace and an impact to those around us?

 

The Closing Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

 

The Benediction

We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Forasmuch as it has pleased Almighty God of His mercy to take back to Himself the soul of our Ellen, we therefore commit her remains to the care of a loving God; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

As we come to the conclusion of our service, we commit her to her burial place, waiting for the day when Christ returns for us when we can spend eternity together. Grace and peace be unto you. At this time, for those of you who are comfortable, you are welcome to pay your respects to family members and to Ellen as well.

Introducing our Third Daughter

[Update] We named her Abby Katherine Reynolds on Sunday… a mere 50 hours after her birth. We thought that was good! Thanks to all who participated in the naming of this baby!

Third daughter born healthy at 8:06 EST this morning. Breathing great and is pleasant.

Here are the stats

APGARES: 9/9
Weight: 7 lbs. 14.5 ounces
Height: 20.5 Inches
Hair: Auburn
General description: Copy of first two, but bigger

Ashley is doing great and is in good spirits in recovery. Big challenge is mashing up (putting together) a name she loves.

Check out these pics

#namethatgirl

Dear LazyWeb,

My wife and I are fresh out of girl names and we have a baby due in 30 hours or so (7:30am Est Friday). Just can’t seem to find the right blend of first name, middle name, and last name.

We are thus crowdsourcing the naming of the girl and asking you to give us what you think would be the best girl name for our child. There is no voting going on here, as the naming of our child is not a democracy. That would be impersonal, people. Still, you come up with something better than what we can… and we just love it, and you get the credit.

Here are the basic boundaries for what we are looking for in a name:

  • Two to two & half syllables or less first name. Three you can’t yell on the soccer field and four I may not remember. It happens.
  • Needs to work for a pale person, as she will certainly be that.
  • Needs to match the last name “Reynolds”. I may never allow her to switch out that last name, so it has to work now.
  • We’d prefer to not reuse our previous children’s names. Besides the confusion it causes, at-least one kid will turn out bitter.
  • I would prefer to stay away from first names that end in “y” since we have three of those already, but my wife is open to it and thinks we are on a roll.
  • Should have a single, common-sense spelling that is understood when given audibly to english speaking people.
  • Should not be the name of someone we didn’t like as a child.

Easy, right? Whateva, we have been trying for months.

Jump in and bail us out one of these two ways:

1. Comment on this blog entry with “Firstname Middlename Reynolds”: http://tinyurl.com/girlnames

2. Tweet “Firstname Middlename Reynolds” along with #namethatgirl

Fireproof the Movie Opening

For awhile now I have been blogging about Fireproof Movie. Want to encourage you all to go see it soon. I was priveleged enough to see a preview of it three weeks ago and I have to tell you it is the best, most authentic movie about marriage I have ever seen. My wife and I are going to see it together tomorrow with a couple friend of ours.

I just got an email from their newsletter list which highlights how important our attendance is to getting the movie into mainstream:

Thank You … Thank You … Thank GOD!
Throughout 2008, you have followed the behind-the-scenes story of FIREPROOF, an action-packed love story about a fireman, his wife … and a marriage worth rescuing.

Friday, on opening day, you experienced the movie firsthand. With friends and family, with small groups and entire churches, you went. And laughter, tears, and cheers filled 839 theaters across the country.

Today, as movie-industry insiders look at all of the statistical data from yesterday, they are trying to figure out how in the world a movie they didn’t even know about was one of the most popular movies in the country on Friday.

That’s right: FIREPROOF was the No. 3 movie in America yesterday! You have thoroughly confounded Hollywood.

Will FIREPROOF stay No. 3 the rest of Opening Weekend? By industry standards, it seems extremely unlikely. The next five movies that finished behind FIREPROOF are playing on approximately 2,500 screens each.

So the key is that people like us keep showing up at movie theaters, both today and tomorrow. Let’s show Hollywood that FIREPROOF is the kind of movie you will support. Let them know that this is more than a movie … it’s a movement.

As we found out with Facing the Giants two years ago and FIREPROOF last night, with God, all things are possible … even in the movie industry. Make that especially in the movie industry.

Thank you! And thanks for continuing to support FIREPROOF on this all-important weekend.

Hurricane Fay Advice

Non-Floridians like myself are generally unprepared for hurricanes the first time. Have no clue what to expect or what to get ready. Well-meaning people try to describe what it is like to live through a hurricane and what preparations need to be made. Short of two emails, these conversations leave me in a fog.

One person managed to be incredibly helpful and insightful. I will leave out the name of my coworker and friend for now, and if she wants to fess up to being my source of knowledge, then she can do so in a comment. Read the bottom most email first to track my learning progress.
From: MY FRIEND
Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 2:21 PM
To: JASON

ah, my technologically dependent friend – post hurricane you must revert to the old school methods.  you walk outside with an arm full of what used to be frozen meat that is now defrosting from the lack of electricity.  you will soon find neighbors that have all that you list below, minus the gun range. 

you will find folks with large grills but no meat, people with canned veggies but without a heat source to warm them, bachelors with lots of condiments and chips but no water, people with water and enough canned goods to last a year but who long for fresh food. 

you add yourself to this mix of people and you have not only dinner but the beginning of a life group, good blog material and fond hurricane memories.  however, if this lasts more than 3 days you will be over it since none of you have had a hot shower or air conditioning and the bugs have started to hatch in the standing water.

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 2:12 PM, JASON wrote:
Ewwww… smart. I need a ministry finder tool that can schedule my visits and match me up with people who have the resources we Texans need. Gun range, chickens, tators, bbq, and a prayer closet.

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 1:36 PM, MY FRIEND wrote:
however, if you have people over to your house it is ministry.

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 1:35 PM, JASON wrote:
I was going to call it “House Party”, but you are right… 

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 1:26 PM, MY FRIEND wrote:
mooching

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 1:03 PM, JASON wrote:
Perfect. So what does “Visiting Neighbors with Facilities & Food” equate to?

On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 12:39 PM, MY FRIEND wrote:
I like Faye better b/c i have a relative with that spelling.  Glad you asked about terminology, we wouldn’t want you to embarass yourself.  “Hunkering” happens at home, anything pre-storm outside of your home is a “preparation”, post-storm you are “venturing out”.

Front Row Seat at Life

I love that my daughters have the same persistent curiosity about life that my wife and I have. This afternoon’s birthday party had my daughters nudging the other kids for the front row seat at the backyard, portable petting zoo. They love exploring new things.

Here is the run down:
Donkey
Turtles
Rabbits
Chicks
Ducks
Goat
Sheep
Rooster
Piglets

Time to get back on the waterslide or in the bouncehouse or pool. Gotta go.

I Heart Michael Phelps

Ashley and I are sitting here busting a gut. Michael Phelps seemingly impossible 8th Gold Metal has just been won in this 2008 Olympics. The relay race was amazing, but what we are laughing ridiculously about is the fact that right after the last leg touched, Michael Phelps yells “Let’s go!”. We think he is saying “Let’s Go, I can do this all year long.” Seriously, Michael Phelps wants more. Unreal.

Fireproof Movie Trailer

fireproofbanner 

Fireproof the Movie has been promoted in two prior blog entries of mine: Fireproof Movie and Fireproof Movie Details

Fireproof Movie News

I just got some more super exciting news in the Fireproof Movie Newsletter subscription. Thought I would share this with you:

The booking of theaters for the September 26-28 opening weekend of FIREPROOF continues at full force. There are now nearly 550 theaters confirmed, with another 200 theaters or more to be added before the movie opens.

In addition, theaters that are part of the Regal Entertainment Group—Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres, and Edwards Theatres—have posted their opening week show times on Fandango.

That means you can purchase tickets online today for opening weekend if the movie is opening at a Regal theater near you. Check out the link below to Fandango … and be sure to buy tickets for your friends as well!

See where FIREPROOF will be opening
Check out FIREPROOF tickets on Fandango

 

Fireproof Movie Trailer

In case you missed the YouTube trailer I posted previously, check out the Fireproof Movie Trailer:

I will say it again, I can’t be more excited about this movie. Don’t know if I have ever promoted someone else’s stuff as hard as I am this. I just really think this is going to start a lot of conversations with couples about their marriage.

East Texas Burger Company

We are having a fine time at East Texas Burger Company. This has been a regular stop for us for a number of years. Here is a photo of our oldest daughter’s first Gumball (courtesy of a nice patron).

If you have not tried the home-style fries at East Texas Burger Company in Mineola, you are missing something in life and are only now finding out.

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