Why it’s abundant

Someone asked me where I got the idea of an “abundant life” from in the title of this blog.  It comes from the verse in the Bible, in the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 10:  “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. (NKJV)
It seems that many people take that to mean have THINGS more abundantly, but Jesus said LIFE.  I really believe that if you follow Him you’ll have so much “life” that youwill hardly be able to keep up!  That is sure the way it is in our life. Always, there has been just enough “stuff” and more than enough family and friends and experiences.  His Abundance doesn’t equal financial wealth; it equals a wealth of the experiences of living!
This photo is a great example of this. My little sister and me, standing with our mamma and daddy and grandma (the Irbie of previous postings). Pa, my grandfather, is taking the picture, I’m sure.  It was probably Sunday afternoon by the way my mom and dad are dressed. I don’t remember the day exactly, of course. But I’m pretty sure we had Sunday dinner, changed into our play clothes and headed outside. Except for Daddy’s clothes, everything was handmade, by mom and Grandma. The food was simple, but delicious, and our toys were not fancy.  Even the Barbies wore clothes that my grandma and her sister made from scraps of our clothes. It’s an example of the earliest times I remember, and of how an uncomplicated, poor by many a person’s standard, life can be rich in the things that matter. All because we knew then, and have always known since, to Whom the credit should be given for all that we have.
     Here’s another one of the songs Grandma Irbie used to sing to us at bedtime.
I love to tell the story of unseen things above, 
of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.  
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true; 
it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. 
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory, 
to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.2. I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat 
what seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.  
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard 
the message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.  

3. I love to tell the story, for those who know it best 
seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.  
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, 
’twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.


Grandma’s Bedtime Songs

Spoiled I am.  I grew up with my Grandma. Anyone who has done this knows what I mean. They are right, those tacky signs that say “If mom says no, ask Grandma.”  She lived with us and spoiled my sister and me at every opportunity.  It was blissful!

One of my favorite memories of her spoiling is the time that she spent getting us to go to sleep every night.  Daddy had always put us to bed with stories and silly songs and one verse of “In the Garden”.  To this day I can’t sing that hymn without being a little teary over Daddy.  But, once Grandma Irbie moved in with us, SHE had to sing us to sleep after Daddy did. Talk about finding any excuse to stay up later!
She sang us “Wonderful Words of Life” and “Showers of Blessings”.  She knew lots of hymns and silly songs too. One of the silly ones was about a farmer who planted buttons but all he got was a ‘row of buttonholes!’  Can’t remember the exact words or the tune. I’ve never found that song anywhere, maybe she made it up.
After she sang to us, if we still were awake, she would tell us stories about our mom as a little girl or even stories of her own childhood. She was born in 1899, so she told us about a time long gone, but ever so enticing. We learned about her mamma’s chickens, and how the cows went down the street by themselves to the field and when it was dark they came home by themselves too. We learned about the times during both world wars, the Great Depression, and the Fifties.
I think I’ve mentioned before that Grandma was a school teacher. That meant that, even with all the spoiling, we were expected to do our homework well, and she checked it every time. She helped with spelling, was a task master with multiplication tables, and when we started studying history and government, she was more than happy to teach us all she could. Those 2 subjects were her special favorites. She was very interested in politics, read all she could about it and listened to the radio news all the time to learn more.
From the cooking and handcrafts, and school work, to the singing and cuddling and fun, living with her in our home was always interesting, she added so much. And as we grew up, she was more than a grandmother, she was our friend.
Here are the words, do you know this one?
1.	Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life; 
	let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life; 
	words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty. 
	Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. 
	Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. 

2.	Christ, the blessed one, gives to all wonderful words of life; 
	sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life; 
	all so freely given, wooing us to heaven. 

3.	Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life; 
	offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life; 
	Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever. 
Here is another of my collection of Grandma Irbie’s quilt fabrics.  Isn’t it fun?

More about my Grandma

My Grandma was my friend.  She lived with us from the time I was about 10 and I was with her as much as possible. She taught me to cook, to sew, to embroider. She tried her best to teach me the multiplication tables, but that was pretty hopeless.

Irbie Elizabeth Garner Callis – Grandma extraordinaire! She came to live with us after “Pa” died and life was always better with her there.  She was a teacher in an earlier life, vastly well-read, truly interested in politics and the government.  She was an artist, cook, clothing and hat designer, and gardener. 

Here is a photo of Grandma with her new husband on their honeymoon in the 20’s.

  Of her earlier life, I have bits and pieces.  Of the time I spent with her there is a wealth of stories and memorabilia. That’s what I can write about, because it is what makes me, me.

When she came to live with us, my grandfather, “Pa” had recently passed away.  Grandma Irbie had reached the conclusion that she couldn’t live in their big house alone.  My parents had built a large home in what was then the “country”. (Now a busy section with a shopping mall where the dairy farm used to be. Sigh!)  We added on a bedroom upstairs for her, and while it was being built she stayed in my bedroom and I moved to a smaller room that had been for storage.  It took the summer to build the upstairs addition, and when it was finished it was the biggest, nicest room anyone could want.  I got my old room back, but to tell the truth, I spent more time in hers than I ever did in mine!

Once she was settled in, Grandma Irbie started to make herself part of the family.  My dad’s mom, Grandma Bessie, live with us as well, part of the time.  They worked in the yard together, each with their gardens of heirloom flowers.  Bessie had roses and daffodils, Irbie, iris and peonies and more roses.  Grandma Irbie had brought her yard with her when she moved. Daddy had spent lots of weekends digging up her flowers and bulbs and moving them to our house.  She also had an old concrete trough that had been a watering trough for cows. He moved that to our backyard and made a goldfish pond of it. 

Grandma also became our chief cook! Mom worked and so it was nice to have Grandma to fix dinner.  She could cook anything!  She taught me how to cook, and my specialty was Christmas cookies!  (I tell people that when I got married, I could make cookies and watermelon pickle. Anything else my husband wanted I had to make a quick phone call home to ask how.)  We went fruit picking in the summer, peaches and strawberries, and she canned and preserved and pickled everything that was fresh.  Her fried chicken was unbeatable, and oh!, spoon bread and shortcakes and rolls, so light and fluffy. I’ve learned to make them since, but mine are never the same. Here’s a collage that I made of her cooking pickles. I call it “Comfort Food” because those are 2 of the main things I associate with my Grandma.  She taught me to be a foodie and comfort is what I take from knowing her.

collage by carroll sawyer

Influences from the past

My grandmother was a seamstress and hat designer from the 40’s on through the 70’s.  She never threw leftover fabric or trims away. So when she passed away I inherited not only her love of sewing and design, but also stacks and bags and boxes of fabric pieces, hat decorations and paper patterns from almost every era of the 20th century.  I just kept them for years as a memory of her, making this and that. Then I got a scanner for Christmas!  I discovered that I could scan the pieces and print them out for art projects. THEN, I discovered digital scrapping and realized I could use the fabric and embellishments in a whole new way. Grandma would be amazed!

There are so many pieces and I could never use them all myself. So occasionally I’m going to post an image here.  If you can use it, please do. ****Just remember, the fabric pieces are old, I don’t know who made the fabric or the designs, so please only use them for your personal stuff!!****

This piece was a dress that Grandma used to wear.  She made it and used the scraps in one of her many quilts.