Posts Tagged family

My Friend, Joyce Harris Murray

“I give thanks for every remembrance of you.”

Joyce graced my life for more than 60 years. We were classmates at Furman University. We did not run in the same circles. Joyce was a beauty queen and I was not.

When I arrived in Charleston and First Baptist Church, Joyce and Bennett were already here. The four of us Bennett, Joyce, Liz and I became friends. Joyce and Liz shared the same birthday.

Joyce was a beautiful person inside and outside. Her hair was her crown and glory. She had the same beauty shop appointment for more than 50 years.

On my birthday after Bennett died I received a crazy birthday card from Bennett. The return address was Bennett Murray, Heaven. Joyce said she found it in Bennett’s things and knew it was meant for me.

My most cherished memories of Joyce are as Carol’s condition became worse, I started attending choir practice with Joyce, Gene Plyler, and Carol. We would go to Chick-fil-a afterwards for dinner. Joyce and Carol got the children’s meal which contained a small toy. The two women traded their toys for an ice cream cone. Something neither of them should have.

Joyce loved sausage biscuits and would stop at Hardee’s on the way to church to get one. One day when looking for something in that huge purse she had, there was a sausage biscuit hard as a rock. After my Aunt Alice, Joyce made the best ambrosia.

Other than her family, Joyce had three loves: First Baptist Church, the Furman singers and flowers. Joyce never had to tell anyone that she was a Christian. It oozed out of every pore.

Joyce and I differed on many topics and she never failed to chastise me. When I was writing a column for the Post and Courier, Joyce was an avid reader and an avid  critic.  but Joyce was the first to tell me that my efforts at Say Something Nice was my mission.

How do you say goodbye to an old and dear friend? You don’t.

Joyce Murray will be in my memory forever until I see her again. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

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Skip the Stores on Black Friday; Share Your Family’s Stories

By Mitch Carnell  – November 27, 2019 – Ethicsdaily.com

As we were walking from the parking lot to his office, I heard my mother say to my dad, “I’m not sure I want Mitch to get new glasses. He has always said that I was so pretty. I am afraid he will find out the truth.” Dad just laughed.

This is a tiny sliver of my family lore, but if I do not write it down somewhere, it will be lost when I die.

There are thousands of events big and small in my family’s history. Hardly any of them important to anyone outside our family, but are significant in telling the story of our family. They are important in making me who I am.

The same is true for your family. If you do not record your story and your family’s stories, they will be gone forever when you are gone.

Bob Hudson, a former senior editor at Zondervan Publishers, said, “Our story is a part of God’s story.” When our stories are considered part of God’s story, they take on new meaning.

This was a new idea for me. I had never thought of my story in that way until I heard Bob say it. Think of how encouraging your story could be to others.

StoryCorps created a National Day of Listening, encouraging people on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) to sit with other family members to tell and record those family stories.

The benefits of such a day are enormous. You don’t have to join the mob of those pushing and shoving to buy the latest “must have” gadget.

There is nothing to buy and most important of all, you will be left with a treasure chest of family lore.

When I was to receive an honorary degree from Lander University, I walked out on stage to deliver the commencement address and spotted my Aunt Norma and Uncle Jim, my mother’s brother, in the audience.

They had never attended any event in which I was involved, but my father had died and my mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They had come to support me. They could never imagine the depth of my gratitude and joy.

That too is a part of my story and God’s story. It illustrates how important small gestures can be.

My late wife, Liz, was well known for her creative abilities but also as a great procrastinator; consequently, I was astounded when she insisted on making our daughter’s wedding dress.

As Suzanne was about to descend the steps from the dressing room in the church, her mother was hastily pinning up the hem of her dress. Mercifully, everyone focused on the beautiful bride without noticing the pins.

Suzanne only remembers her mother’s love that created the dress. Although Liz died 30 years ago, who would want this story to be lost?

While my sister and I were growing up, our dad was an impatient person. When we were assigned a task by him, he expected an instant response. – “Don’t make me tell you twice.”

After my mother contracted Alzheimer’s disease and could no longer communicate verbally, this same impatient man sat by her side, held her hand and talked to her for hours at a time. Theirs was a love that was stronger than any disease.

Is that an important story? He showed me by example what love really means. I thought of him constantly when my late wife suffered from the same horrible disease.

Don’t let your story die. Don’t allow your family’s stories to die. They are important both to you and future generations.

Get together with whomever you consider family and tell the old stories. Start with a single incident. The rest will come.

Mitch Carnell

Mitch Carnell is a member of First Baptist Church of Charleston, South Carolina. He is the author of “Our Father: Discovering Family.” His writings can also be found at MitchCarnell.com.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dear Family and Friends,

As you know our lives have changed over the last few years. I thought that our traveling days were over; however, we weren’t ready to give in so easily. In 2016 and 17, we went to the grand celebration on the 4th. Of July to be with my sister’s family in Lincolnton, NC. For years I have wanted to attend the Christian Writer’s Conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin. Thanks to the help of our helper and friend Jan we took the plunge. We flew to Milwaukee and rented a car. The center is on the lake. We had a wonderful time, learned a lot, and made new friends.

This year we ventured out west to North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments were all that I expected. Devil’s Tower and The Badlands added to our excitement. Jan again did all the driving. Thanks to daughter, Suzanne, we had a wonderful hotel in Spearfish. Spearfish Canyon is spectacular. This trip and the trip to Green Lake were simply great gifts of joy.

Each Friday Ann Cheek comes to play the piano and sing with Carol. On the last two Mondays in each month, we go to hear the Joy Singers from First Baptist Church sing at one of the long term care facilities. I continue with my Monday lunches with the preacher boys. I continue at First Baptist. Jan and Carol often attend Stono Baptist were they have made good friends. The service is far more informal which works out well for them.

Say Something Nice Day and Say Something Nice Sunday continue to gain momentum. They are more needed now than when we started. Ethicsdaily.com and day1.org have been very supportive. I continue to eat with the Wednesday night gang. We have been doing this for over thirty years.

We are grateful when Suzanne makes it down from Nashville. Her son Christopher has been on a ship in Bahrain to fulfill his Navy Reserve obligation. Christina, Nancy and Michael’s daughter, continues at the day care center and their son, Colin, continues at Publix. Our friends Marvin and Kathy Cann come down from Spartanburg once or twice a year. Marvin was my roommate at Furman. We are unhappy about losing the wonderful help from Brandy Brown, but she is needed at home. Cassie Shokes, daughter of our friend Clyde has stepped into the post. Carol’s doctors are pleased with where she is with her Alzheimer’s disease and I am grateful to them. Our friend, Gene Plyler, is a great source of help. Will Wilcox, Liz’s cousin, came from Seattle for a visit. Unfortunately Kay, his wife, could not make the trip. My good friend, Gayland Poole an Episcopal priest in Texas, died this year. Joe Gilliland moved to Birmingham to be closer to his son. My sister, Jean, and Bunky spent Christmas with us. What fun! My boyhood friend, Ansel McGill, and wife Susie called Christmas night. Ansel suffered a severe stroke, but he still has that wonderful deep voice. The call made my Christmas. We are thankful for all of you. We know how blessed we are to have each of you in our lives. We are concerned with the turn our nation has taken away from a, “Kinder gentler society,” but we can each do our part to help restore decency to our national life. May God bless you and your family in the New Year!

Carol and Mitch

 

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CELEBRATING NOT JUST ANOTHER HOLIDAY – Thomas Crowl

PSALMS 95: 2 …Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving and make a joyful noise unto Him in song.

I just opened an e-mail from a dear friend calling upon us to commence an oral history of our dear family. This call is extremely timely in an era of disintegrating morality and loss of respect for others. Only when we honor the values given us by our forefathers and mothers do we have a benchmark upon which to anchor our soul. Only when we celebrate the special high points of our common faith can we raise the discourse from the profane to the sacred. God asks us no less and expects a great deal more.

As I bowed my head to lead the family prayer today at the Thanksgiving feast I called on the Lord to grant me the honor that lived in the day, the special meal comprising a long list of great family recipes was prepared with love and forethought and gathered and prepared by our adult daughter. So many great memories of culinary excellence preceded it and each year it grew in perfection. It made it not just another holiday but a sacred event that bound us together and connected us to God’s blessing.

God gives us such a sacred sampler in life, in a week marked by the loss of a dear friend and newspaper editor, and a struggle with healthcare emerged this special moment to connect us again to His great gifts. Yet we often toss these blessings aside and dwell on the worst of times. We linger on mindless tweets that seek to point out the worst in others that seek to separate us from God’s special blessing.

I call today to my many readers to start a special family history pointing out the best in our kin that made us a family, to list the times we have benefited from their skill, love and care and to use at least one example to build a better life that we share with others. In this way we push back the wall of hatred and ignorance that is urged on us by the electronic wizards of our time. Our examples will grow into a sacred text we can share with our family and provide a cushion upon which to build an honorable life. This is David’s special wish and song…a celebration for all time. May God bless and keep you and grant you peace as we honor Him and each other in verse.

 

DAVID CALLS TO US TO HONOR OURSELVES AND GOD IN OUR MOMENTS OF CELEBRATION AND COMMEMORATION…

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