Category Archives: Family

Cheers To My Dad

Thinking of my dad today – Edward Lee Jones 11/14/43-5/19/10

One of my fond memories of him is laughing together as we stayed up late to watch Cheers (and usually munch on Little Debbies.) I’m planning to travel to Boston this summer, and will be thinking of him again when I visit the real Cheers and the show replica.

The following scene is particularly memorable, as one of our favorites. We both found it really funny, and would bring it up occasionally, to laugh again.

My dad had a great sense of humor. He could tell a story, crack a joke, or simply act goofy and easily make me (and others) laugh. I miss him, but am grateful for the many laughter-filled memories.

Thanks for all the smiles, Dad.

Still love you with all my heart, bricks, and blood.

Whatcha doin’ in heaven today?

Are you sitting on the front steps
of a house with many rooms?
Singing Swaggart’s songs,
all his melodies of old?
Plucking on a guitar
that’s never out of tune? 

Maybe you’re driving a classic car
up and down heaven’s golden strip.
One that never needs repairs
since everything
is always new. 

Do you drink ice cold Pepsi every day?
Enjoy Little Debbies unending?
Taste pineapple upside down cake
any time you want?
Are you munching
on these snacks
with a brand new set
of pearly whites? 

Are you discussing his writing
over cups of coffee with Paul?
Or swapping stories ‘bout your kids
with Isaac and Noah?
Maybe you’re sympathizing
with Joseph,
as one of twelve yourself,
sharing tales of hand-me-downs,
family matters, and sibling woes. 

Are you gathered ‘round the throne,
praising like you never have before,
in church every single day,
when you’d never go on earth?
Standing next to people
from every tribe and nation? 

Are you basking in Sonshine,
where it’s never cold,
never windy,
never raining?
In a place full of warmth,
and radiant colors
unimaginable?
A paradise beyond
your wildest Lotto dreams? 

Are you checking in
on us down here?
Are you allowed
to see the ones you left behind?
Can you read the words I write?
See your newborn grandson
smile at you? 

I’m not too sure
of all the details of heaven.
My Father hasn’t
told me those.
But I bet you quit smoking,
and swear a little less.
It probably helps
that you don’t have to
fix a broken something every day. 

I do know
whatever you’ve been doing,
i
t’s no comparison to here.
So I may cry the tears
you don’t in heaven,
as I miss you in this moment,
but I’ll also smile
as I know you must be.
All pain and sorrow gone,
all suffering done. 

Just time unending with the Lord.
You’re better off,
you’re truly home,
whatever you’re doing in heaven today. 

for Edward Lee Jones 11/14/43-5/19/10

 

If I had known…

Missing my dad today, on what would have been his 70th birthday.

I wrote the following not long after he went to heaven in 2010. I later included it in my book, Random Thoughts.

If I had known it was our last meal together
I would have let you pick what we ate
If I had known it was our last weekend together
I would have made it more memorable
If I had known it was our last conversation
I would have said something more meaningful
If I had known you only had time for one more song
I would have made sure to play your favorite
If I had known this was the last room you would see
I would have made it look nicer
If I had known it was the last chance I had to tell you what you meant
I would have made sure to tell you all the great things you did
If I had known it was my last chance to learn from you
I would have asked you to teach me more
If I had known it was the last time I would hear your voice
I would have asked you to tell me more
If I had known it was our last holiday
I would have made it more special
If I had known it was the last time I could pray for you
I would have prayed longer
If I had known I would not get to see you smile again
I would have tried harder to make you happy
If I had known I wouldn’t get to hear you laugh again
I would have asked you to tell just one more joke
If I had known it was your last birthday
I would have gotten you a better gift
If I had known how much you were suffering
I would have been more sympathetic
If I had known it was our last hug
I would have held on longer
If I had known it was the last chance to get to know you
I would have asked more questions
If I had known how much I would miss you
I would have treasured each moment more

In memory of Edward Lee Jones 11/14/43-5/19/10

Coffee Pot?

Having been married to a teacher for 14 years, I have seen my share of less-than-useful teacher gifts. They are sweet, well-meant, and sometimes very useful (like restaurant gift cards.) But…really, how many coffee mugs do two people need? (Especially when neither is a coffee drinker!)

When my husband came home this week with his end-of-year gifts, I was pleasantly surprised to see a flower in the mix. It came in a small gift-wrapped container, and fit perfectly on our kitchen pub table. Nice, until…the next morning there was petal-filled cat vomit in the foyer. What IS the attraction for felines to eat things that simply make them sick? Ok, this thing is going outside! But…how and where? Planting a single flower in the landscaping seemed odd, and we had no pots small enough to work either.

Aha! Time to repurpose one of those old gifts collecting dust in the cabinet. I sifted through the shelves of coffee mugs, passing over the cute snowflakes, the oversized one that I love using for hot chocolate, and several others. On the top shelf was just what I needed! An extra-tall Christmas mug decorated with snowmen that I found more gaudy than endearing. Perfect.

mug

With my sister’s help, and a few crafty supplies I had on hand, we made the transformation.

First, two coats of pretty blue paint. Bye-bye Frosty!

painting mug

Once dry, I sprayed it with sealant. Then, we added a touch of flair from the mish-mash of floral pieces I have left over from previous projects. This included a flower that I painted yellow, to help it really ‘pop’ on the blue.

mug pot

I dropped a few rocks in the bottom, to add some heft against the winds on our patio. Then, the final touch – insert flower!

mug plant patio closeup

My new coffee pot!

A Man of Many Talents

dad kerry drawing fixed2

This sketch, based on a photo of me at age 2, was drawn by my dad, Edward Lee Jones, 11/14/43-5/19/10. Remembering him today, and his many talents.

In addition to displaying artistic ability, he could:

  • keep a household appliance or family car running long after its natural life.
  • be a real-life MacGyver and create whatever was needed for a situation out of whatever he found in the basement. This includes the best mouse-trap vehicle my seventh grade science teacher had ever seen (until he saw it again three years later when my sister had him too.)
  • fill a room with laughter with his constant joking or the retelling of a crazy childhood story.
  • entertain us with his guitar picking. His acoustic guitar was always propped in a corner of the dining room. While he didn’t have any formal lessons, he had picked up enough to strum a few cords and play a handful of songs. Jimi Hendrix or Elvis, no, but it’s still a fond memory.
  • act as chauffeur, ATM, handyman, pool boy, baker, comedian, nurse, musician, and father all in one day.
  • make his daughter feel very loved.

The Whole World

Some friends of mine recently travelled to Pittsburgh, PA. This was not a fun jaunt to visit the sites. They were bringing their seven-year-old son to see the best in the nation for the specialized surgery he needed.

To fast forward a bit, God did amazing things to work out so many details, provide for his health, see him through recovery, and get them all safely back home to Chicagoland. Praise the Lord!

But, let’s back up a bit, to the days they were out east, visiting doctors and preparing for the surgery. From what I saw and heard, their faith was sustaining them. They seemed to be doing well. Strange, then, it was, that I was struggling. My heart was so heavy for their situation. Being so far from home, away from normal comforts, away from many friends and family members, all sounded so tough to me. Add to that the uncertainty of exactly what the procedure would entail and the possible risks involved.

It just sounded like so much. I wanted to be able to be there with them, to pray with them (even though I was praying for them already,) to give a hug if they needed one, to remind them in person they are loved and not alone even though they were so far from home. I felt such a burden for them. God used this to continually bring me to Him in prayer.

At one point, while praying for them, I again had thoughts of wishing I could do more and of concern that they were far from where I or others near home could easily help. It was then that God reminded me, that, though they were far from my hands, He had them in His. I wasn’t there with them, but He was. “I’ve got them.” was the phrase that was impressed upon my heart and mind. It was ok.

Reassurance, relief, gratitude, hope, and peace flooded my soul. Humility worked its way in, too, as I was reminded I can do nothing, compared to God. Who cares if I’m not with them, or where I want to be in any other situation, if God is there?

It was so good to remember this truth. Whatever any of my friends face, He has them. Whatever my family members are going through, even if I can’t be with them, God is. Whatever situations in my life that I try to get under control, it’s all in God’s hands.

“I’ve got them.”

Hands of a Father

Remembering my dad on his birthday today. I wrote this over a decade ago as a gift for him.

Hands of a Father

The hands of a father,
forever extended, reaching.
Always ready to give comfort,
always loving, always teaching.

 Continuously outstretched,
for the child to take hold.
Ready to help her grow,
to help shape and mold.

Never ceasing to provide,
for the needs of the child’s heart.
For in each of laughter, love,
and understanding,
these hands play a part.

Always there to lift her up,
their caring touch will intervene,
in any situation that may arise,
their influence at times unseen.

For from times of gladness, joy, and pride,
to illness, pain, and doubt,
these hands are always helping,
forever reaching out.

Their touch so influential,
helping guide her way.
Hands so selfless in all they do,
show their love day by day.

The greatly needed hug,
the wiping away of tears,
the extra helping hand,
so much care over many years.

And so as the daughter looks back,
she sees again and again,
the loving hands of her father,
always reaching in.

Those hands, so strong, yet gentle, too,
with such a loving touch,
asking for nothing in return,
while always giving so much.

They remind her of The Father’s hands,
which reach from far above,
and her heart fills with gratitude and joy,
that she was given
two fathers,
both so full of love.

Legacy

Remembering my dad today.

Edward Lee Jones, 11/14/43 – 5/19/10

You taught me to pray when I was sick.

You taught me to always have an open door.

You taught me that I am loveable.

You taught me how to make do with what I have.

You taught me how to hug.

You taught me to love my family.

You taught me how to enjoy simple things.

You taught me how to have a good laugh.

You taught me to not give up.

 You taught me that Jesus loves me SO much.

You taught me to improvise.

You taught me to enjoy late nights.

You taught me how to drive.

 You taught me to have a sweet tooth.

You taught me to enjoy the outdoors.

You taught me to be creative.

You taught me so much.

You taught me from my birth

to your death

and, in your passing,

you taught me about loss.

My Father takes over from here,

continuing the lessons he began through you,

and teaching me new ones

as I grow through the pain.

A Mother’s Heart

A heart so good,

full of patience, kind.

A heart more loving,

no child could find.

 

This heart, warm and gentle,

strong, yet ever humble,

always loving the child,

through each victory, every stumble.

 

Never giving up,

always faithful, never weak.

A strong support of love,

the child can always seek.

 

Through joy and sadness,

each laugh and each tear,

the child knew her mother’s heart,

could love away each fear.

 

So full of comfort,

so full of care,

no burden too heavy,

for her mother’s heart to bear.

 

Always giving,

never taking.

Forever loving,

sometimes aching.

 

Offering support,

asking nothing in return.

The value of this love,

the child begins to learn.

 

For as the child becomes a woman,

this love continues its flow,

showing itself in so many ways,

helping the child to grow.

 

Providing wisdom and guidance,

an example of pure love.

Demonstrating to the child,

grace as from above.

 

This heart has loved the child

through all that she has done.

The child’s eternal gratitude and love

this mother’s heart has won.

 

So thank you, Lord, for my mother’s heart

that has given me so much.

A heart so pure and perfect,

I know it has your touch.

 

Thank you, Lord, for my mother’s heart,

with love so deep and wide,

that has blessed me all my life,

helped me grow from child to bride.

 

Written for my mom at the time of my wedding, May 29, 1999.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Catchphrases Caught

Swampeast Missoura.

This is the description my dad often gave for where he grew up. For those of you who are not familiar with the lingo, that translates to southeast Missouri. More specifically, Charleston, MO. It was in this small town, current population 5,000, that my dad was raised.

This phrase is just the first in a long list of quirky sayings that my dad regularly used. Attribute them to his home town, his family, or just his personality. Whatever the reason, there are things I will always remember him say:

“God must really love ugly people, because he sure made a lot of ‘em.” – What can I say? He was an honest man.

“Want to see an old Indian trick?” – Not too PC in this day and age, but my dad didn’t care. This question would precede the explanation of an easy way to do something (like smashing up jelly in the jar before scooping it out so it spreads easier.)

“Here ain’t somebody.” – Gazing out the window, to get you to look for someone. Followed by:

“Made ya look, ya dirty crook, ya stole your mama’s pocket book.” – Ha!

“Rise and shine! It’s time to get up in the morning!” – What I heard in grade school, before I got older, got an alarm clock, and got myself up.

On frustration:

“Son of a biscuit-eater!” – A light-hearted version of the more common phrase. Not the version used when doing car repairs.

“Cotton-pickin’…” – Could be followed by any person, place, or thing.

“Cotton-picker!” – Was the person, place, or thing.

On fashion:

“Shamed up hussy!” – Scantily clad woman.

“Naked as a jay bird!” – Pretty self explanatory if you’ve ever seen a bird.

On complaining:

“You’d gripe if you was hung with a new rope!” – People loved to argue with him on this one.

On banking:

“Bring me back a nickel’s worth of twenties!” I never really got this one, but it was a frequent request.

On bathing:

“Use soap and water!” – His advice if someone announced they were about to take a shower.

“I bathe once a week whether I need it or not.” – To produce shock on listeners’ faces.

On visitors:

“Leave the door open and who knows what will walk in!” – When company arrived.

“Come back when ya ain’t got so long to stay!” or “No use rushin’ off in the heat of the day.” – When company left. The length of their stay did not affect what saying was used.

“Want some stump-water?” – Offering a cup of coffee.

On eating:

“That’ll do ‘til you can make supper.” – After finishing a large meal, to razz the cook.

“It has a whang to it.” – Something with a funny after taste.

“My breakfast is gettin’ pretty thin.” – He hadn’t eaten in a while and was ready for dinner.

Lastly, and most importantly, on affection:

“Bless your little pea-pickin’ heart.” – I’m not sure what makes a pea-pickin’ heart different from a regular one.

“I’m proud for ya.” – Not ‘of you,’ but that’s what it meant. Man, I miss hearing this one.

“I love you with all my heart, bricks, and blood.” – This one actually originated with me. I was sitting on my dad’s lap, just barely old enough to remember it. My dad had said he loved me, and then added, with all his heart. I then asked if he loved me with all his blood, too. Yes, he answered, smiling. With the logic of a small child, I tried to come up with something else we were “made up of” and asked if he loved me with all his bricks. Thus, the phrase was born and has been used ever since.

“The only one who could love you more than me is Jesus.” – If you’re reading this and know the love of Christ, this needs no further explanation. If you do not know this love, I pray you will. There is nothing like it. It makes this by far my dad’s best saying. I am very grateful to have heard it many times. What a gift to be loved so much. What a precious phrase that has been imbedded in my mind and heart.

Thank you, Father.

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