Verla Mae

I find that having a blog is something like having a diary and making it public on purpose.  Sometimes it is hard to stay in the boundaries of what is ok to share with the world and what is not.  There is a fine line.   I get confused.

Today’s post is ok to share with the world.  Some might find it surprising but I want to share with you about my former mother-in-law.  She recently passed away and was laid to rest yesterday.  My hubs and I went to the wake the night before and I, at last, was able to introduce him to many of my former family, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  My ex-husband’s family is large.  I was nothing more than an immature kid of 18 when I married into it.  The marriage didn’t last long but the relationships did, at least, I think so.  To this day I still feel a sense of family when I am around them.

verla white

Verla Mae White.  1926-2018.  Her funeral Mass was beautiful, a real testament to the lives she touched and blessed.  Her pall bearers were her grandsons, my two sons included.  They were all so handsome and grown up.  And they were proud to lay their ‘Granny’ to rest.

She was a wonderful woman, married for a lifetime to Artis White, bore him five girls and one boy, and was a very faithful Catholic woman with a special devotion to the Blessed Mother.  She was kind, laughed a lot, loved to dance, and adored her family with all her might.  Verla Mae made the neatest biscuits.  They were about 5 inches across and flat.  We called them flying saucers.  Man, they were good!  I loved to watch her make them.  Her small hands making a well in a mound of flour, baking soda and powder, add milk, pull out a handful, shape and pat, pop on the pan and into the oven.  I loved them with jelly smeared on the top.  You couldn’t split them for buttering, they were too flat but they were delightfully crispy on the bottom.  Makes my mouth water to think about them.  There was only one thing she cooked that I couldn’t eat – baked chicken and dressing.  She would bury the chicken under mounds of cornbread dressing and bake it that way.  The cornbread dressing was delicious but the chicken had no color at all.  It came out as white as it went in and looked like – well, dead chicken.  My then-husband said it tasted fine but I couldn’t put it in my mouth to see if it was good.  I understand that she did change her way of baking chicken and dressing years later.  She didn’t have to.  No matter what she cooked everyone knew the finest ingredient she cooked with was love.  And many people loved her.  In fact, her family, meaning brothers, sisters, cousins, and their off-spring, often  visited her home knowing a good time was inevitable.  She had a way of making everyone feel like they belonged.  I remember in the ‘old days’ many weekends and every holiday was spent in the ‘middle room’ of her home playing music, dancing, and cutting up.  She strongly believed in family.

I can honestly say if it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be Catholic.  It’s true.  When her son told her he wanted to marry me, Mama said “she’s not Catholic”.  That sealed the deal and led to my baptism and confirmation.  Bless her heart, she stayed on her knees for her children and their spouses.  I could have learned a lot from her if I wouldn’t have been so stupid when I was young.  A few years ago, I was blessed to see her when I visited her church on a Sunday morning.  She told me then that she always has loved me and always will.  She said she never stopped which is amazing when you consider I left the family way back in 1981.  That was the way she was, the way she is.  Love doesn’t die, it doesn’t pass away.  It is the only thing you can take with you to the afterlife.   Maybe I can learn from her after all.

Wow, those were some good days.  Too bad I didn’t appreciate it then as much as I do now.  Of course, I believe that now is the best time of my life, but there is no harm in looking back and selectively enjoying what was.  Granny’s funeral gave me that, especially with all of my kid’s first cousins, the pall bearers.  It was so good to see them all together.  They still call me Aunt Nancy.  One of them even told me he had good memories of spending time at our house as a child.  He said I was his second Mom back then.  My heart melted, flipped, and rejoiced when he said that.  It was a wonderful revelation.

One more thought afforded to me from seeing this family in reunion was brought about by the sense that my boy’s first cousins, second cousins, etc, seemed to look at me with a different than normal intensity.  At least it seemed so to me.  I figured it out later.  Yes, I did and it was a shock.  Just as I had looked upon Granny, her husband, and her remaining siblings as being ‘old’, now too were the younger ones looking at me and my peer in-laws as old.  Let me say ‘older’ instead.  But nevertheless, we are next in line.  Oh heavens.  How did this happen!?

Oh well.  It is the way of life.  God’s design is quite complex with the end result intended to meet us where we are.  He knows how we need to see the past through older, more mature eyes.  He knows that age and experience tend to put down strong roots and bear fruit beneficial to many.  It’s kind of like “I am the Vine, and you are the branches”, right?

What a good God we serve!  Rest in peace, sweet Verla.  Thank you for everything and please give Him a hug for me.

vision Mary

Please pray for peace, y’all.  The world is a dangerous place.  Storm heaven with your prayers!



As I recover . . .

I thought I would re-post the following from over a year ago.  I’ve got a new post rolling around in my head but everything is still jumbled up from my recent craniotomy so I shall have to let a bit more time pass before I can put two sentences together in a reasonably cohesive way.  Oh, but when I come back!  Wait for it!

enjoy, and please pray for peace in the world.  Don’t forget!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Many thanks to Mike Lince (Applecore for sending me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Yes, it is my first ever, and I am ridiculously happy about it. It’s a big deal to me, kinda like being crowned Mrs. America. Haha, not really, I’m joking. It’s not as big as that. Um, never mind, yes it is.

So, to receive this award, I am required to name at least seven, maybe ten, interesting things about myself including what inspires me. Ok, that’s not hard. If I can’t do anything else, I can talk about myself. The kicker is choosing something interesting to disclose about myself. I think it would be much more interesting if I wrote what other people have said about me. Completely unbiased opinions, of course, and it’s not all good. But interesting? Not necessarily. Maybe insanely funny. Or just insane. Why would I do it this way? Because I didn’t bloom until later in life and grew up without a heck of a lot of confidence. Therefore, it has been my burden to seek out validation of my own worthiness. One could say it is the foundation and inspiration for my late-in-life enthusiasm to pursue goals I have an intense desire to accomplish.

#1. My precious husband and I have been married for 12 years. Being married took some getting used to considering I was single for 20 years before I married him. He said he is very proud of me. My first husband…eh…not so much.

#2. When I published my first novel, my dad said everything I touch turns to gold. Haha, yeah, right. But he was sweet to say it. My mom, may she rest in peace, probably would have said something similar but with more heart. She was my greatest cheerleader and when she died, I very selfishly thought ‘who is going to believe in me now?’

#3. A priest friend said he was very happy to receive a portrait of John Paul II that I painted for him. It’s a fair likeness and I appreciate his kind words.

#4. The librarian in Ville Platte said I must love to read because I sure do check out a lot of books.

#5. Before my God-mother (see this blog post passed away from lung cancer, I gave her a rosary that I made especially for her. She told me she gave my first rosary to me and I gave her last one to her. It was a deeply meaningful moment between us and I am thankful that she encouraged me to continue my spiritual journey in the Catholic tradition.

#6. I had a long career as a respiratory therapist that took me to a lot of places. I enjoyed it (most of the time) and received an accolade or two from time to time. My proudest moment was passing the National Registry Exam to be a registered respiratory therapist. I was 40 years old at the time. I had good grades although in math and related physics, I was known to put my head on the desk and cry because I’m such a right brainer, I didn’t think I would ever get it. I loved helping people, and most of my patients liked me. But not all of them and you have to expect that occasionally when you work with the public. One time a doctor I thought I knew told me I wasn’t all that good at it. Don’t ask who said that, just know that creep isn’t on my list of favorites. In fact, nobody knows where he is now. ‘Nuff said.

#7. Here something odd – As an Air Force brat, I have lived all over the world, but I’ve never been to Canada or Mexico. Can you imagine that?

#8. Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so. Talk about validation! Not only that, I finally ascertained that because of His love I am worthy and I am capable of accomplishment. I became empowered to begin doing those things I always wanted to. Like write. And create. And love.

The #8 statement is my daily inspiration. Now I want to tell you what inspired me to write Secrets of the Old Ladies Club . During my work in health care, I asked many, many patients of all ages how they feel on the inside. The older people told me they felt the same in their golden years as they did when they were 18 years old. Amazing. From that revelation, I penned the motto of the character named Bethany: “Our bodies may grow old but our souls don’t. They just grow”. Think about it and go with it.


very inspiring blogger
Hey ya’ll, don’t forget to pray for peace. The whole world still needs your prayers.