Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Celebration of a Life

So...there are some days when getting a blog post up is easier than other days. Last week, I intended to get a blog up on Thursday about our home. It didn't happen. Please forgive me (I know you are still very sad about this. I'M SORRY). 

Today, I started off with a huge to-do list (not even complaining...so thankful for my work) and then realized that I still needed to write a blog for the week (since a weekly blog is one of the things I stated in my yearly goals that I wanted to do). I feel like after a wonderful family/friends filled Memorial Day weekend, I was starting out the week behind. I'm under no illusion that I'm the only one who has felt this way. 

So here's the deal. Last week's home blog post will probably be up in the next couple of weeks. I'm working on getting another room in our house put together right now and so I'd rather wait and include pictures of that. 

As far as weekly posts - I think for a while I am going to just go back to one post a week. I'm in the midst of wedding season and it gets a little hard at this time to keep up with a couple of weekly posts. I'm pretty confident that you all will forgive me for this, yes?

Having said that, I have a different kind of invitation to show today - one unlike any other I've shown on the blog thus far.

My great-grandma passed away last December. She was 99. She lived a full life and from what my dad and mom told me, she was ready to go.

My great uncle (my great-grandma's son) asked me if I would design an invitation for my grandma's "Celebration of Life" party that they were going to have on what would have been her 100th birthday. I gladly accepted. 

When great-grandma died, I was in the middle of an eight week teaching assignment. I was teaching world history and U.S. history to 9th and 10th graders. It was a very challenging assignment for me, mostly because I had decided long before that my true passion was in this invitation business. I had reluctantly agreed to take the teaching position and I often felt like I was stumbling through my days, just trying to stay afloat (all the while really just wanting to get back to working on invitations).

But during those eight weeks, I taught some pretty incredible stuff. In world history, we covered things like the Spanish Inquisition, the Scientific Revolution, and the Renaissance. In U.S. history, I taught WWI, the Roaring 20s, and the Great Depression. Even if I wasn't 100% thrilled to be in the classroom again, I couldn't deny that these were fascinating historical events. 

So when I read the eulogy my dad gave for my great-grandma at a small grave-side service they held right after her passing, I couldn't help but marvel at everything that happened in grandma's 99 years, from a historical perspective alone.

I'd like to show you the invitation that I designed with bits of my dad's eulogy in between. As much as you might like to hear about the colors and fonts (Copperplate and Melany Lane Bold, blue and brown, btw), I was so amazed as I read about all of the changes great-grandma watched occur in her lifetime that I couldn't go without including them in this post. History lovers, enjoy.

Here's my great-grandma's "Celebration of Life" invitation - the design does not even come close to doing justice to the long life she lived, but I sure did try. The words spoken in between are straight from my dad's eulogy. 

"Grandma began her life in 1913.  How much her world changed!  When she was born, Woodrow Wilson was president.  World War I was still in the future.  The Great Depression was almost 20 years away.  Movies were in their infancy.  TV was a dream.  No planes flew overhead.  No one had ever heard of computers or cell phones or I-pads.  When Grandma was born, Ford was making Model-T’s, milk was 32 cents a gallon, a loaf of bread cost six cents, a dozen eggs 30 cents, a car cost $500, and if you wanted to buy a gallon of gas for it, you paid twelve cents.  On the average, Americans paid 1% in income tax, and they didn’t like that.  In 1913, if you wanted to talk with your neighbor, you would walk outside, across the yard, and have an old-fashioned conversation over the fence, next to the lilacs."

"...And what a life she lived, what a time to be alive.  She lived through two world wars, a depression, numerous recessions, a Korean conflict, a Viet Nam War, two Gulf wars, and 17 presidents.  She endured Naziism, Fascism, Stalinism.  She witnessed the birth of the USSR, saw it develop into a world power, and watched it disintegrate.  She saw a republican President resign; she saw a democrat President get impeached.  She saw three presidents die in office, one of them assassinated.  She lived to see the first black President.  She lived to see billions of pieces of information jammed into a microchip.  It’s as if God dropped her into the world, slapped her on the bottom, and said, “Clara, you are going to see some unbelievable stuff in the next 100 years.”

"In the last 100 years the world has exploded, several times over.  It has turned into a chaotic mess.  Not Grandma.  While the world was falling apart and coming undone, she was building, building stability, building relationships.  Building an environment that would give her family a sense of belonging, and a sense of security.  What Grandma did, she did for those around her."

"Whatever has gone wrong in this world, you can’t blame Grandma.  She didn’t bomb anyone. She didn’t invade any countries.  She had no enemies.  She concentrated on her family and her church.  She built her legacies there.  If they would pattern the world after Grandma’s house, it would be a lot more peaceful and loving. 

Grandma was a remarkable human being, a special gift from above.  She was a woman of simple faith and goodness, and she leaves behind not just longevity, but a legacy that we can all be proud of."


  1. Oh, I just love this so much. What a sweet sentiment and what a beautiful invitation.