Monday, December 19, 2011

Healing Memories

My mother loved to laugh. And sometimes her humor included mischievous and subtle teasing. On one of my visits to Mother after she had moved to Provisions Living, she asked me to type some Scripture references and the words of “A Personal Prayer” from a newspaper clipping for her in big type that she could easily read.

When I was back at home after our visit, I typed the Scripture references first. I posted about those references here.

As I typed the words from the yellowed and worn clipping, it dawned on me that she was giving me a sly little Annette Carpenter nudge about the changes that aging was bringing to my behavior.

I also posted that prayer. But I am posting it here again as one of the memories of my mother that Bob Jones shared in the eulogy he delivered during her funeral service. Bob is seniors minister at Main Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg. Main Street was Mother’s church and the church I grew up in. And Bob was a long-time family friend and neighbor.

Here are the words from that clipping. There was no author or date on it. And I still need to be praying for divine help in correcting these bad habits!

A Personal Prayer
Lord, you know I am growing older. Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject. Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone’s affairs.

Keep me from the recital of endless detail. Give me strength to get to the point.

Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains. They are increasing with the passing of years, and the love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by.

Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Make me thoughtful, but not nosy. Helpful, but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom and experiences, it does seem a pity not to use it at all. But you know, Lord, that I do want a few friends in the end.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

After Mamaw's Funeral

Celebrating Mamaw's Life
Front, from the left, are the great-grands of my mother (Annette Carpenter), Luke, Nate, Walker, Molly Kate, Stella, and Charlie Skupien. Back row are her grandchildren, Walt Skupien, Becky (Rebecca Annette), Matthew and Amanda Carpenter, and Jeremy Skupien.

At the fellowship luncheon after my mother's funeral Saturday, Dec. 17,  my brother thought to capture the rare opportunity when all Mother's grandchildren and great-grandchildren were in the same town at the same time. 

My brother and his family are en route home to Virginia today so I haven't seen his photos. But daughter-in-law Katie shared the one above. She also used it as her new header pix on her blog, the Daily Skup

Thanks, Katie! Thanks, Mike, for instigating the photo session. And thanks to Main Street Baptist Church for organizing and providing the meal. And thanks to all those generous cooks from the Main Street family and some from other churches, too, who prepared delicious dishes. As we broke bread with friends and relatives, we relaxed in the chance to laugh, cry and celebrate Mother's life together.

Grandson Nate asked me, "Nana, are you sad?"

I responded with a fairly incoherent "Yes, but I am happy, too." Fortunately, his dad, our son Walt, was on hand to translate. 

Thanks, too, for well wishes, however they arrived, from friends, relatives and sympathetic blogging friends new and long standing.  God bless!  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What I’m Reading Lately

During my mother's last few weeks, I have not been moving forward in this year's read-through of the Bible. Today, in a break from details that are part of the aftermath of the death of a loved one, I took a break to pick up where I left off, at Paul's letter to the Ephesians. 

That letter has been an uplifting read for the circumstances of life right now. And it is added comfort that the Bible I have been reading this year is a study Bible of the New International Version translation that my brother and sister-in-law gave me for Christmas in 1990. Showers of blessings! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Farewell . . . for Awhile

My mother earlier this year with her oldest great grands Nate, left, and Luke

My mother died Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, at 12:55 p.m. I like to think of her being reunited with my father for their Dec. 9 wedding anniversary, sharing their joy at being together with the Lord they loved and served. Below is her obituary my brother Mike wrote:

Annette B. Carpenter, 1919-2011
Annette Byrd Carpenter, 92, longtime resident of Hattiesburg died Dec. 6, 2011, in her home.

Update on arrangements
Visitation is  5-8 p.m. Friday Dec. 16, at Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home of Hattiesburg. Funeral is 10 a.m. Saturday Dec. 17, in the Hulett-Winstead Chapel followed by interment at Highland Cemetery in Hattiesburg.

Mrs. Carpenter was preceded in death by her husband, Cecil L. Carpenter; three brothers, Levi Byrd, Harvey Byrd, and J.D. Byrd; and four sisters: Beatrice Long, Nina Pearl White, Audrey Geiger, and Thelma Clepper. She is survived by a daughter, Linda, and husband Walter Skupien of Ocean Springs, MS; one son Michael and wife Sonya Carpenter of Hampton, VA; three grandsons, Walt Skupien and his wife Sarah of Marietta, GA; Jeremy Skupien and his wife Katie of Prairieville, LA; and Matthew Carpenter of Hampton, VA; two granddaughters, Amanda and Rebecca Carpenter of Hampton, VA; and six great-grandchildren, Luke, Nate, Charlotte, and Stella Skupien of Marietta, GA, and Molly Kate and Walker Skupien of Prairieville LA. Mrs. Carpenter is also survived by sister-in-law Jean Byrd of Beaumont, MS, and nieces, nephews and their families.

Born June 12, 1919, in Perry County, MS, Mrs. Carpenter was a graduate of Runnelstown High School, Jones Junior College and Mississippi Southern College, now the University of Southern Mississippi. She was a member of Main Street Baptist Church where she served for many years as a Sunday School teacher. She was a teacher and retired from the Hattiesburg Public School District. She began her career as a first grade teacher at Runnelstown School in Perry County during World War II and later taught in the Hattiesburg elementary schools Woodley, Davis and Thames.