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Dee

Nathan and Deanie

Nathan and Deanie

My grandmother would have turned 99 years old today. Deanie Flexer passed away in May of 2000 after an 8 year battle (on and off) with cancer. She was quite a character! She was also a business owner, hard worker, beloved grandmother, creative storyteller, and funny person. I miss her dearly.

When I think of my childhood, I think of Dee . . .

Sitting on her lap in the box office at our family’s movie theater, selling tickets and straightening dollar bills as she quizzed me on each president’s name.

Sitting at her kitchen table eating chicken a la king. Watching her cook with an apron around her waist and no recipe book in sight.

Going to the grocery store with her (riding in the car on that fold down arm rest in the front seat!)

Sleeping in church with my head on her lap.

Dee and I (circa 1994)

Dee and I (circa 1994)

Spending the night at her house and listening to her crazy “monkey tales” that she made up as she went along.

Making fun of her for ordering a “tornado” every time we begged for Dairy Queen blizzards!

Thinking back about Dee and all of the memories, I see the impact she had on the person I have become. I see it when I’m not afraid to be the only woman in the room during a business meeting. I see it as I write the “stories” in my book. I even see it when I curse my shape of my legs (the ones most likely inherited from her). I definitely see it when I speak my mind and become more like her each year.

I’m so blessed that I had 25 years with Dee as my grandmother. I grew up with a role model who left home at an early age to work and provide for her family. As a little girl, I watched a strong woman run a business, and it never occurred to me that it wasn’t possible for me to do the same.

Her life made an impact, and I hope my legacy is even half as amazing as hers.

My grandparents with Bob Hope

My grandparents with Bob Hope

Happy 99th birthday, Dee! I love you and can’t wait to see you again someday!

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Article in The News-Democrat from 2000:

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Filed under Beginnings and Endings, Community, Faith, Family, Photos

Shine a Light on Slavery Day – April 9

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Filed under Change, Community, Faith, Missions, Nashville, Photos, Surviving the Dark Places, Who is God?

The Best Advice My Grandfather Never Spoke

Nandy during his Army days

Today, my grandfather turns 90 years old! When I was little, I couldn’t pronounce “Granddaddy.” Instead, it came out Nandy, and it stuck. My Nandy calls me his blue-eyed girl. Everyone else in my immediate family has brown eyes, so I get my blue eyes from him. It’s our special bond.

Nandy is a little unsteady on his feet these days, but he’ll tell you a story about something that happened 65 years ago (or yesterday) in perfect detail. He doesn’t say much. When he does speak, I’ve learned to listen because it’s important. I’ve also learned not to interrupt him. A pause doesn’t mean he’s finished. If you interrupt him, you might miss the best part of the story.

He is not the kind of man to brag or pat himself on the back. Actually, I’ve never heard him talk about himself at all. Unless we’re begging him to tell stories from his younger days. About 8 years ago, our hometown church named Nandy as an honorary deacon. At the ceremony, I heard things I already knew—about his decades of service as a Sunday School teacher and deacon at the church. But I was surprised to learn something I never knew. For years, Nandy led a weekly Bible Study at the county jail for the inmates there. In his typical humble manner, he extended his faith beyond the walls of the church.

During that ceremony honoring my grandfather, I decided something. I want to marry a man whose actions are greater than his words. Nandy rarely talks about his faith in Jesus, but he lives it out every single day. He seldom says much about love, but I’ve never doubted his love for me or our family. Many people talk about love and faith. But it’s rare to find someone quietly and simply acting them out every single day.

Nandy also lives out his love for my grandmother every day. He now does all of the cooking and household chores. He takes care of her basic needs. Recently, she had a short stay in the nursing home. He visited her every day and couldn’t wait to bring her back home. Even though it meant more work for him.

I’m still looking for the man I will marry. Although Nandy and I have never spoken about the topic, his living example serves as the best advice on relationships:

Actions speak louder than words. Love is a verb. Faith is alive.

I’ll keep looking, Nandy. I’ve met a lot of big talkers, but I’ll wait to find the one who simply lives out love and faith every day. Just like you.

Nandy, I love you. Happy 90th Birthday!

Love,
Your Blue-Eyed Girl

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The Month That Was October

October has always been “my” month. It’s my birthday month and my favorite time of the year because of the gorgeous weather, autumn leaves, and excitement about the upcoming holiday season.

Thus, I always get a little selfish during October. I only do the things I really want to do. This year, that did not involve writing. At all. Not a single blog post or article or devotional. Looking back, I think I needed a break from the pressure I often put on myself. I love to write–until it becomes something on my task list instead of something that flows natural from experiencing life.

So, what did I do during October?

* Turned 34 years old; how is that possible? Most days, I feel younger/better now that I did when I was 25.

* Finished my consulting project and gained some much needed downtime.

* Went on a relaxing vacation with my family to Gulf Shores; it was my niece’s first trip to the beach!
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* Chaired an event for Preston Taylor Ministries that turned out beautifully (if I do say so myself!); it was the annual fall dinner banquet to honor PTM volunteers and celebrate joy-filled friendships.

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* Spent time repenting and extracting myself from some commitments that I placed on myself but that God wasn’t calling me to do/continue. There are so many good things that I can do, but I find myself filling up my schedule with these things and ignoring God nudging me in another direction.

* Starting jogging/running. I will pause here to let that sink in (for those of you who know me and wonder who just hijacked this blog post). I have always wanted to run, but never really believed I could do it. I would start a program and give up every time it became difficult (which was always in the first half mile). But someone special in my life convinced me that I could do it. And for some reason, his unwavering belief in me carried me through the tough start. I am now up to 4 miles (and loving it) and I plan to run the Boulevard Bolt on Thanksgiving morning!

Now you are caught up on me, for the most part. How was your October?

Hoping that November brings with it a renewed zeal for writing in my life and lots of time to reflect on our sovereign God.

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Filed under Family, My Crazy Life, Photos, Travel