Last week, I began a four-week online class on writing my memoir. A few days before it started, I questioned myself as to why I had enrolled in this class. I’m just a wife and mom, who would want to read my memoir? With the Holy Spirit guiding me on, I realized that the enemy was trying to foil the Lord’s plans for me. So, I “armored up” and quickly put that self-doubt behind me. My story does matter because I am doing what the Lord has instructed me to and with His help, I will be able to accomplish the will of the Lord in my life.
Our assignment for the week was to focus on one childhood memory that has shaped me into the person I am today. After thinking it over and praying about it, I went with the first thing that popped into my head: my grandparent’s farm.
I was blessed to grow up with both sets of grandparents, a great-grandmother, and a great-great aunt, many of whom were still alive to meet their great-grandchildren. In 2014, my Grandma Stauffer was the last of my grandparents to pass away, and her legacy of a faithful grandparent is what I will be focusing on today.
Grandma Stauffer and her great-grandsons in 2013
Grandpa and Grandma Stauffer
As a child, I would spend weekends, or sometimes a whole week, on the farm. I can still remember the smell of the barn with the dairy cows and the barn cats running around. When it came to milking time, Grandpa Stauffer would have me get as close to the wall as possible, so I would not get kicked by a cow. I remember the big silver tank that the milk went into and how the milkman would pull his tanker up to collect it.
Grandma Stauffer was the world’s best cook. Her chocolate chip cookies were perfect. Thin, crispy and perfectly round. I have her recipe, and I’ve tried to replicate it. They turned out thick, burnt and rectangular. The same with her peanut butter buckeyes and Christmas cut out cookies. Perfection at it’s finest! Mine have never, ever turned out like hers. Clearly, her cooking skills were not passed down to her granddaughter! But what was passed down was her faith. I think Grandma would agree that this was more important than anything else.
I remember attending vacation bible school at their church from a very early age. Memories of sticking the Bible people up on the felt-flannel board, singing “Jesus Loves Me,” and playing with the shepherd’s hook remain of the meaning of VBS to me. There was also a thick, orange crayon that I would use every time that I colored. I forgot about the crayon until just now. It’s incredible how I remembered that detail, but sometimes I can’t remember why I walked into a room!
The very first Bible that I ever received was from my Grandma Stauffer, and it still sits proudly on my shelf.
Throughout my stays on the farm, Grandma and I would drive down the lane to get the mail, work in her garden, eat Schwan’s ice cream bars, read stories, and play games. At nighttime, she would read the same bedtime stories over and over and stay with me until I fell asleep.
During my college years, she would send me letters a few times a month with five dollar bills in them. Her letters continued even after I got married and had the boys. Her penmanship was perfect and never changed throughout the years. In her later years, she would give handmade quilts as gifts for big occasions. I still use the one from my high school graduation, and the ones that we received for our wedding and the birth of the boys are safely put away to be passed down to their children.
The Most Treasured Letter I Received from Grandma
After my grandpa retired and the farm was getting too much for them to handle, they moved into an assisted-living apartment. The Stauffer family always gathered on Christmas day at noon, and that tradition continued no matter where my grandparents were living.
Grandpa Stauffer would always give us money, and Grandma Stauffer would give us a little gift. A few years before my grandpa passed away, he handed out the usual envelopes, but this time there was more than cash in there. There was a letter from my grandma. And it wasn’t just a letter; it was THE letter that I would cherish forever. A letter that is taped in my Bible, never to forget.
“Please! Please! Read your Bible, it will tell you what Jesus did for you. Read the book of John & then the last book of the Bible that will tell you what is to come. It will tell you how Jesus came to save you. It will tell if you believe His word & believe in His promises, He will come into your heart & cleanse you from all sin.
You must believe in Him with all your heart to do His will. But you must do this before you die. If you will trust Jesus when you die, He will take you home to heaven where you will be with Jesus forever & ever.
But if you do not, when you die you will not go to heaven. You will go to the place of torment forever.
Please trust Jesus now. He is calling you & please do not turn him away. He loves you & wants to help you & we love you too & want all our family in heaven.”
The treasured letter
My sweet grandma wanted nothing more than for her family, her whole family to be in heaven with her and grandpa. I’m not sure who all got this letter, as it wasn’t discussed amongst the extended family, but I know that my parents did.
Rest assured, Grandma Stauffer, that your granddaughter, grandson-in-law, and great-grandsons will be in heaven with you! I still remember the sound of her voice on the phone when I told her that the boys had been baptized. It was a joyful day!
Please feel free to leave a comment – I would love to hear about the legacy that your grandparents have given to you or the legacy that you hope to pass down to your future generations!
Have a blessed day!