Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
When I was a young girl, my very best friend was my great-grandmother Hortense.
She would come to visit us in the summers and give my Mom a "break" with us kids.
I adored her.
She would get up early in the morning and make homemade pancakes.
The warm aroma would pull me out of my bed and into the kitchen, where she had plates set out neatly and glasses waiting for cold milk to fill them up.
She would watch me play outside and listen to me rant on about my imaginary adventures I had that day.
If I were "misbehaving" or had come "in and out" too many times through the storm door, she would make me sit next to her and watch The Price is Right and The Young and the Restless.
It was torture!
If I even thought of moving an inch, she would show me the fly swatter she held in her hand.
Boy, do I miss her.
She passed away at the wonderful age of 97.
What a life!
When I became a teenager, the tables had turned a bit.
It was I that would go over to her house in the summertime and on weekends.
It was an opportunity for me to be with her all by myself.
She would "hire" me to do things for her like; clean her house, paint her toenails and fingernails, roll her hair and check her mail.
I know now, that she just wanted to free me from my mother for a while.
She was my safe haven even in her nineties.
She would cook me cheese toast and make me warm milk.
We would sit down together and watch The Price is Right and The Young and the Restless, which I now loved.
She would hold her fly swatter beside her, in case the flies had come in the door as we came in from our walk together.
She didn't want them to land on our cheese toast.
Boy, do I miss her.
I remember one particular time that I was there visiting her for the weekend.
She asked me to clean out one of her closets for her.
As I removed the boxes, she would tell me what to keep or throw away or what I could have as a memory from her.
I pulled out a box with photo albums in it.
She told me to bring the box to her so we could look at the photos together.
She grabbed an album out of the box, and I kneeled next to her rocking chair to look at the pictures.
She began to explain how her and my great-grandfather traveled to many fascinating places.
She showed me pictures of when they visited The Holy Land and told me stories of the people and the beauty there.
Her eyes lit up as she glided her fingers over the pictures of her and my great-grandfather together.
She giggled as she continued to tell stories.
I could have stayed forever in that moment with her.
She continued on showing me pictures and then came upon the pictures of their visit to Rome.
Her words grew with excitement as she explained the uniqueness and history behind the city.
She said it was her favorite place out of all of their traveling adventures together.
As I watched her eyes shining towards the pictures, I said,
"Maybe I will get to go there one day."
She looked down at me and said,
"Oh, I believe you will."
I can still remember the way her eyes looked and how confident her voice sounded when she responded to me.
Boy, do I miss her.
Years later, I had my first child, Amber.
I hadn't seen my great-grandmother for a couple of years, and she had heard from my sister that I had just arrived home from the hospital.
She insisted that my sister pick her up and bring her to see Amber.
I was elated to see her walk through the door.
Standing holding Amber in my arms...
I was so proud in that moment.
She sat on the couch and asked to hold Amber right away.
With her shaking wrinkled hands, she took Amber into her arms and smiled the biggest smile.
Boy, do I miss her smile. She had the best smile.
She looked up at me and said,
"Can I see her toes?"
A little perplexed with her request, I laughed out loud and began taking Amber's socks off of her feet.
She looked down at them, smiled and rubbed them gently with her fingers.
"They are perfect." she said.
We stood quiet watching her hold her tiny little toes.
Never taking her eyes off of her little feet she said,
"Feet are very important. They take you wherever you go. And hers are good and strong."
I smiled proudly.
I didn't realize then the wisdom in those few words.
Boy, do I miss her wisdom.
As I wake up in my house this morning and sit down at my laptop to type this blog...
my daughter Amber is in Rome.
She is on a missions trip with her fellow classmates sharing the Gospel among the hurting people of Italy.
Her feet are walking the same ground that her great-great-grandmother once walked almost 59 years ago.
Her eyes are seeing the beauty that my sweet Hortense once saw.
Words can't express how happy and proud I am for her today.
I hope and pray that her eyes and heart take in all that is within her reach.
I pray that she witnesses a powerful move of God within the city streets of Rome.
I imagine, that one day...
Amber will be sitting with her grandchildren and sharing her stories too.
Well, maybe I haven't gone to Rome like she hoped I would, but my Amber sure has.
So I guess...in a sense, a part of me is there.
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"