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A Woman Of Honor

They answer a high call, and walk in a manner that is highly respectable. They live their lives with dignity and purpose, strength and honor.

They perceive what is good. They make good decisions with sound judgment. They are deliberate with the things that matter. They don’t fret over petty things.

They kneel low and they stand tall.

They live principled lives with moral integrity and neighborly kindness.

They stand up for what is right, they look after the needs of others and they enjoy the rich rewards of faithfulness and steadfastness.

They don’t fall prey to the common concerns of this world; neither do they turn their heads to the present needs of the world we live in.

Alvis Long, age 99, is one of those women. She is my great-aunt, my mom’s mother’s sister. She has been there for me all of my life. When I was three, she made me a little pink dress. She laughed when I responded that I had wanted a “lella” (yellow) one. She still remembers that and has laughed about it for years. I have known that I was loved and cared for since I was a young child.

I have also had the joy of knowing that I brought joy to others, and that they delighted in me and the delight that I offered, and this has given me a profound sense of joy and self-worth, far beyond what anyone could express to me in words. I saw it lived out and practiced! Her laughter and sheer delight with the simple things of life will always be a source of deep appreciation and affection for me, and my soul will be enriched and nourished because of it!

When I was in second grade, she gave me $1 for each “A” that I made on my report card. I remember full well, getting a real $5 bill for presenting five straight A’s to a very proud great aunt. I have continued to highly value the opportunity for education because of the value she placed on it. Those things mean a lot to a child, and you don’t soon forget!

Stories matter, people matter, lives matter. She is a hero to many people. I hope that I can be that kind of hero too.

She has faithfully attended the same church all her adult life. She has raised money for missionaries so that they could travel to other parts of the world carrying Bibles and the message of hope in Christ to all the nations. Because of it, our families have been heavily involved with both sending and going, and being a part of ministry and missions efforts.

She has served at the voting polls, and actively worked to increase voter turnout, making sure the people used their right to vote nobly and dutifully to maintain the freedom in government that we have all experienced in this nation. It is because of her effort that many of our family members hold up the political process with high regard.

She has served faithfully on the forestry club, making sure the trees get replanted after harvesting to ensure a sustainable environment and fertile soil for generations to come.

She has served on the board of the bank, making sure her investments were secure and making sure a voice in the community was heard for the investments of the hard-working, and wealthy-wise people of the region.

She understands that her father’s grandparents were from Wales and a part of the Wales Revival before immigrating to the United States. She recognizing that the deed to the land she lives on was granted to those willing to cultivate the land before Mississippi became a state. She is aware that the soil and the land matters to the well-being of the people. The cattle, the timber, the crops and the river, all provided for her people all that they needed throughout the generations to build houses, provide food, to buy and sell, and to transport goods.

She owns land, she oversees the crops, she plants and keeps a vegetable garden, she owns a pistol for safety and she looks after the bailing of the hay, feeding the cat, and paying her helpers. She makes churns of pickles every season, homemade chicken and dumplings and cornbread dressing for every church homecoming, and makes homemade pralines and peanut brittle for beloved friends and relatives.

She has won blue ribbons at the county fair for her beautiful quilts and has made sure that each new bride in the family has her own wedding circles quilt made by the ladies, who are her circle of friends, in her quilting bee, and that each girl in the family has a set of hand-stitched pillowcases made from her very hands, to call her very own.

She gets her hair done once a week and still pays the same $10 price that she has paid for years, from the same hairdresser she’s had for years. She is from a family of 10 siblings, six brothers and 4 sisters. She and one sister are left, but both are full of life and ready for heaven. She was born in 1916 and will turn 100 years old at the end of this year. She has been faithful to God, to her family, to her church and to her friends and relatives.

She sets an example of what it’s like to live a life of honor. She has kept her faith in God, her faith in herself, and her faith in other people!!

She is truly a Hero of Faith!!

May we all be inspired to live such God-honoring, full and faithful lives, and may we all hear the words of our returning Savior say, “well-done, thy good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of the Lord!!”

Copyright © 2008-2015 Debbie Reynolds Harper

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