Sunday, June 12, 2011

Touched By Grace~"Sing to the back row honey"~


Recently, as I continue to change rooms around (something that seems to be on going with me) I gave this wood and iron sign a little redo in a shabby romantic rose direction. Displaying Grace in pink with cottage white iron and roses, it reminds me how blessed I am ~ through God's Grace from above.

Today, as I give thanks for my blessings this beautiful Sunday, I recall back to a time in the 60's when I was just ten years old and sang in my neighbors church one Sunday evening service.
My next door neighbor, in my home state of Michigan, was like a second grandma to me and such a best friend to my mother. I always loved to sing with her as she played the piano. She taught me many hymns and was one of the most beautiful christian women I have ever known, next to my own mother and grandmother.

I was raised Catholic and love my faith, but I was also blessed to visit, on occasion, in my neighbors church which was Baptist.

Now my neighbor was called, by everyone that loved her, Big Momma. She was a beautiful heavy set women, and so goes the nickname. But for me, I could never bring myself to say her name as Big Momma or Big Mom. I was always taught to refer to those older then me as, Mr. or Mrs ~ and their sir name. So I always talked to her using her real name of Mrs. Taylor. She always understood and I would catch her smile when I said Mrs. Taylor. She knew I was afraid of hurting her feelings although she made clear, it would not.

Oh the wonderful times I had with her family and her grandchildren. I was an only child so maybe she felt like she always wanted to include me in some of their gatherings. Not sure really, but I loved it and my parents knew I was in the company of a wonderful human being.

Sunday mornings you could hear her warming up on the piano and singing before church. She sang loud and clear and I was always sure God could hear her voice and praises as far away as heaven.

The Summer I was ten she taught me the hymn, "There's A God Somewhere" I sang and sang and learned every word. I loved music, played the piano too and so this was just pure fun for me.

One afternoon when we were enjoying our musical singing time, she asked me if I would like to sing a special in her church. I was so excited, but said, I would have to ask my parents first. Of course Mrs. Taylor knew that and had already asked my mother and dad if I could. They said yes, so the special was planned.

The evening of the singing, I was a little nervous and scared when I saw all the people filling up the church. Dressed in a little pink dress, I sat next to my parents and Mrs. Taylor as the service began. If only I had some pics of that time.

Anyway, it was my time for my special song and as I took my place next to the piano and the introduction was being played by my beloved older friend, Mrs. Taylor, she whispered to me in her sweet southern voice, "sing to the back row honey."

I quickly realized she wanted me to be heard, so sing to the back row I did.
All my nervous went away as I sang out God's praises. As I looked out over the congregation, I saw smiles and tears. When my song was finished, I heard dozens of AMENS from every part of the church. I went down to my seat where my parents were sitting and they were also crying. I wasn't exactly sure why all the tears, maybe they felt sorry for me I thought. LOL or maybe they were happy and crying tears of joy felt within their hearts.

For me the experience was forever changing ~ for even at ten years old, I knew that by the Grace of God, I was able to sing and share God's praises in song. I knew, "There Was A God Somewhere"

Each day the sun, comes out to shine, the stars and moon they leave on time.
The winds they blow we list~eth where we breathe the living air.
The flowers grow and do not toil, they do not spin or work at all.
The birds they live and get their care,
There must be a God somewhere.

There's A God Somewhere, There's A God Somewhere~ He helps me when my load is hard to bear. When I rise from dark despair and surmount my every care, My heart, tells me surely There is a God Somewhere.

The only thing that I can see that worries God is you and me.
When we are burdened down with care He never leaves us there~
If we call upon His name, wrong or right He's just the same,
Ready to help our burdens share so there must be a God somewhere.

There's A God Somewhere, There's A God Somewhere~ He helps me when my load is hard to bear. When I rise from dark despair and surmount my every care, My heart, tells me surely There is a God Somewhere.
written by: Thomas Dorsey 1951.


Mrs. T~ knew it was a fitting hymn for a little girl to sing. When she moved away and back to her home state of Tennessee, I was around 15 years old. I cried and cried when she left. I loved her so. Before she moved she gave me her original music of that hymn which was already worn and well loved from years of faithful use. I still have it and it has always been very special to me as her initials are written on the front lower right hand corner. MBT~~ Mary Billie Taylor.



Over the years, Mrs. Taylor came back to Michigan for many visits and even to my wedding. We stayed in touch through phone calls and letters until the day she passed away. I will always be thankful to her for the love she shared and the Grace she was so heavenly blessed with.
I know she lives with God.



May Grace be yours this Sunday and beyond.
With blessings and love, Celestina Marie

This Grace sign so happily fills a shelf in my etsy shop. I hope it will bless someone with joys, as much as I was blessed to redesign it.

12 comments:

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Celestina Marie,

What a beautiful touching story and even at 10 years of age, this has made such a big impact on your life and many others.
It is a shame you do not have photos of you in the little pink dress, singing and this very special time.

Thanks for sharing your lovely post and hope that you are having a wonderful weekend
Hugs
Carolyn

Dogmom Diva said...

Celestina, what a beautiful story and Mrs. Taylor is looking down at you with love I am sure..brought me to tears..the Grace sign is gorgeous, my first grandchild is named Grace, she is two weeks old..

Have a blessed Sunday sweet lady,

Barb

C'est Moi, Julie Marie said...

Oh Celeste, what a beautiful story to start my Sunday morning with... Mrs. Taylor sounds so wonderful, and I can easily see why you love her so... I am so happy and proud of you for singing at her church!... and I know your parents were so very proud of you... once in a while, those truly special people come into our lives and leave a lasting impression that never fades... your Mrs. Taylor is one of those people... and what a treasure you have in the vintage sheet music she gave you... happy memories, thank you for sharing... wishing you a most beautiful Sunday my dear friend... xoxo Julie Marie PS Your Grace sign is so pretty... and what a gentle reminder every day of the words of the hymn...

Diane said...

I'll bet you understand their tears now, being a Mom yourself. :-) That's how I feel when I hear my daughter, Danielle, sing in church. Or sing anytime. Or play the piano.
So blessed!

Hugs on this Sunday!
Diane

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

A beautiful remembrance of a wonderful lady in your life!

Kerri said...

A beautiful story! Since I started sitting up front at mass I am closer to the cantor now. She puts me in the spirit to sing louder and especially during the "Glory to God in the Highest" :)

BTW, I absolutely loooove your GRACE painting!!!

Hugs from sunny HOT Florida,

Kerri
http://kerrihouston.blogspot.com

Melissa said...

What a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it with us. Have a blessed Sunday!

Ruth Welter said...

What a lovely story about yoru neighbor Celeste. Love your sign...enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Ruth

Marydon said...

The beauties in life can not only touch our heart, but our souls. What a lovely remembrance of love for Mrs. Taylor, Celeste. May she rest peacefully. This is absolutely moving ...

And, yes, there sure is a God in every living thing in this universe. He blesses us every single day., for which I am everso grateful.

Your sign is just gorgeous.
Have a beautiful week, my precious friend.
TTFN ~
Love you,
Marydon

Mariette's Back to Basics said...

Dearest Celestina Marie,

What a beautiful post for Pentecost Sunday! That was a joy to read before going to bed... I grew up as Catholic too and back home we were used to two days for Pentecost. Here holidays do end so abrubtly; even Christmas.
But you have cherished the music of that hymn that you must have sung in such an angelic way that it brought tears to the eyes of most at Church. You are talented in many ways.
Did visit your Etsy shop and have liked it on my FB and did Tweet about it. More people should find you...

Lots of love,

Mariette

ginny said...

What a beautiful memory, Celeste! I can see that you have been blessed so much throughout your life. You have once again touched my soul with your lovely words. I love the "grace" sign....almost as much as the "amazing grace" one I bought from you.
Blessings dear sisterfriend!

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

This is such a beautiful post ~ words just fail me. I hear your sweet voice in each and every line! Something tells me Mrs. T was as blessed as you were!

Love you,
Stephanie
Angelic Accents