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Lillian White

I met her when I was 18 years old. Now those two numbers are reversed, and with a bow to frank honesty I acknowledge myself to be 81. (Eighty-one? How can this be so? We will speak to that strange subject another day.) The husband to Lillian was Sam. My Jerry and I called the couple Brother and Sister White. We were all in church work; Brother White was the pastor of a church in Bellflower, CA. and Jerry was an evangelist. We wives toddled beside our men, making our unique contributions to life, and to the Work of God.

We became the dearest of friends. Together we worshipped, traveled, played, laughed (and cried), did business, pastored churches, planned conferences, cooked, ate great meals, celebrated weddings and birthdays and retirements over a period of more than sixty years. By then we had began using close names, and it was Sam and Lil and Jerry and Shirley.

Now, at 98 years old, she is gone, as is Sam (and is my Jerry.) Her sweet funeral was last Friday. (The following pictures compliments of Debbie Akers.)

She truly was a remarkable beautiful woman of God, and I believe it well within the mark to rank her with notable women of the Bible, and to revere her as such.

I nominate her to stand beside the chief women of Thessalonica who were among the first to receive the gospel at the preaching of Paul and Silas. As she labored in ministry with her beloved Sam, she is in line with Priscilla who labored in ministry with her husband Aquilla. I’ve seen her as strong as Deborah, and once when we wanted to begin Ladies Conferences and could be heard rumbles of disagreement in high places, she marched step in step with Esther and said, “If I perish I perish.” She was as capable as Abigail, as full of faith as the Syrophenician woman, as humble as Elizabeth, and as Mary, she was chosen of God. As was Dorcas, she was known for her good works. Perhaps John the beloved says it best when he dedicated one of his books to The Elect Lady.

Now she is gone, resting in the presence of God.

It was five years ago when Sam and Lil were visiting in our home in Crestline that I lined them up near the hearth of our fireplace to take their picture. How beautiful they are. Wrinkled. Used up.

(I would so love for you who knew the White’s well, to take the time to add your tribute in the comment section here.)

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Of Old Age and the Garretts

For some time now–considering that I am 74 and Jerry is 80–I have grappled with the thought that the designation of old age can be appropriately applied to me. 😦 I say grappled, seeing that the word denotes a bit of a struggle, for that understanding is not of gossamer threads floating in the breeze, nor of magic golden-light to which one naturally gravitates. Nope. Not compelling at all. Rankles a bit, the thought of sticking me in there with those little ole ladies who smell of moth balls and liniment and face powder, coupled with the shriveled-up sweet (or ornery) old men who hang about on walking sticks and who sit on benches in their little groups and rehash the same ole stories. You know the tales; those whose genesis lies far back in the day when the stooped little men were dashing young rascals and the darling maidens were swooning at their feet.

Nope, old age is not a desirable destination–well, except for the cliched line that goes like something this: Considering the alternative, old age is rather cool. Agree there.

Now, to the thrust of this post which is not precisely about old people, but rather about younger people and how neat it is when the young and the middle ones and the agey (no such word as agey, they say, but I’m using it anyway, for that is one advantage of being old–people kind of get out of your way and let you do what you will, anyway. 🙂 ) all lump up together. Something to be said, I suppose, for youth groups, and singles groups, and old marrieds and young marrieds, and single moms and single dads, and widows and widowers, and over the hill gangs and moms with toddlers, and those who wear purple hats, or those who eat pork chops, or not. Such as that–get it? But I find it distinctly cool to hunker down with a rank that might include a baby or three crawling around on the floor, giggling teen-age girls and supposedly disinterested boys, a couple fresh from their honeymoon, a mid-life mother and father, frazzled beyond words, an adoring nine-year-old with a checker board, a smattering of pappys in their Lazy Boys and a granny or two bossing around the whole mess.

I know, I know, rather smart that way, for I understand that it is those who, as I, look from this far wrinkled edge of life who may find such a conglomeration more appealing than do those who look from the bud of the other edge, or from the middle. I get it, for didn’t I say myself that I’m not overly fond of being plunked down in the midst of bent little ladies, and our ole cronies of the male variety, but find myself sneaking out and trying to wrangle an invitation to the youth group’s Praise on the Mountain.

Which, at last, brings me to the actual crux of this post: My friends the Patrick Garrett family hang with us, and they pretend to like it! We eat meals together and worship, and make secret plans, and they invited Jerry and me to attend Patrick’s graduation ceremony up here at Twin Peaks and we watched them badge him as a Sheriff’s Department Chaplain. And they posed and let me play photographer on the banks of Lake Gregory and in that cool spot down Dart canyon.

I’m not going to ramble on about what their friendship means to me, for you, my readers, are smart. You understand. You know that’s what all these words are about today. You know they’re directed to you, also, to thank you . . . and to make you think.

Don’t tell Holly and Patrick, but when I know they’re coming, I hide my liniment bottle.

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Family and Friends in Texas

He stepped off the scale yesterday and emerged from the bathroom solemn-faced. We’ve paid the price for the bounty of southern celebration food in which we indulged last week, Jerry and I have, and the digits on our bold and unflinching scale glare an accounting of the flagrant, culinary indulgences.

Of family and friends last week, a distinctly different tale is told, for of nothing save gold and dazzle are those memories. Diamondesque is their shape, exhilarating is their scent, and sweet is their taste. Of generosity, pamper and beauty was formed the atmosphere during those days in and around Houston, Texas last week.

I gazed at the stunning beauty of my great-nieces.dsc_0032_21

…and visited with friends one afternoon in the lovely home of Tommy and Ann Jackson. Down one of the halls was the guest suite where we stayed from Thursday to Monday. dsc_0108

…and listened to Jerry’s beautiful, 86-year-old sister who came from Louisiana

…and rejoiced again with this dear lady, now 97, who last year when Jerry preached received the Holy Ghost. dsc_0067

…and watched as an intense presence of God swept over the children in the Sunday night service. (I will write extensively of this later.) dsc_0064

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Happy 108th Birthday, Olive


Picture from her site……………………………….

EDIT: JULY 13, 2008 On Saturday, July 12, Olive Riley slipped from this earth to the chambers of eternity. More about that here.

When I wrote about her, she was only 107 years old, but through the peculiar doings of a typo and the mere flip of a keystroke, I added a year to her already remarkably aged life, calling her 108. Now, feisty Olive Riley continues to defy the norm, is indeed 108 and recently celebrated with a wild birthday party. The link takes you right to the video that shows school children singing, her birthday cake and her blowing out the candles…and the wild part. It’s a scream.

Olive who lives on the central coast of South Wales maintains her own blog–which she once called a blob–and has with good reason been called The World’s Oldest Blogger. She’s adorable and quite witty. If you have time to check around, you will find lots of material on the internet.

I’ve gone to her site and posted birthday greetings, and in addition I’m using my site to wish her a very happy birthday, continued health, energy, life, and the eternal blessings of God. Let’s make this a gigantic card for this remarkable and blessed woman, Olive Riley. Please add your greeting, and I’ll let her know the card is here.


My devotional blog is here.