White, half-runner beans. Not pole beans. Not wax beans. And for goodness sake, not those skinny, little French beans. According to my mama, the only bean worth an afternoon of stringing and snapping are the locally grown, white half-runner beans. As far as I can tell, mama was right. I guess I’ve eaten green beans all over this world, and not one of them has ever tasted as good as the half-runners mama cooked and canned for our family. Course, mama was right about a lot of other things too. I can still hear her talking to me as clear as day:

  • Always look for white silver queen corn at the farmer’s market.
  • Messing with that dough too long is gonna make your biscuits tough.
  • Dress that baby like a sweet little baby. She has the rest of   her life to dress like a grown up.
  • Don’t let your husband leave the house in a wrinkled shirt. You want him to look like he’s loved when he goes into that meeting.
  • Dry your clothes in the sun and the whole house will smell better.
  • Wait ‘til the first of May to set your flowers out. Anytime before that and sure enough, it’ll come a frost.
  • Make your red velvet cake the day before you’re going to serve it. Store it somewhere cool and the next day it’ll be perfectly moist and delicious.
  • At the first sign of a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water. And do it often.
  • Get your ironing caught up so you can rest awhile.

Mama went to heaven last November and this summer all I can think about is how much I miss her. Mama was an amazing care-giver and home-keeper all year round, but she really shined in the summer. Fresh flowers from her yard. Fresh veggies from her “little patch.” Fresh canned beans and tomatoes and chow-chow.

Nothing made mama happier than a breeze through the window, clean sheets on the beds and dinner on the stove. She kept several snap-on aprons at my house and hers. Better coverage. Easier to slip on. I can vividly see her in that apron standing beside the oven, watching the bread and waiting for the family and friends she loved to bless.

I am one of the lavishly blessed.

When mama and daddy came to live down the street from my family, we didn’t know her time left on this earth was so short. We thought the new chemo and the new doctor could make her stronger. And sure enough, the last night we talked it seemed like she was taking a turn for the better. She laughed when I told her a story about one of the kids. She said I should find her jambalaya recipe because it was a good one. She seemed stronger that night and so very much at peace. Daddy and I were thankful and glad.

The next morning mama was barely able to respond and we couldn’t understand the drastic change. A very kind doctor explained that many times a new strength comes just before God calls His beloved home.

God was calling mama home.

I’ve had several months to think about it and I’ve decided that a believer’s weary soul must fill with new strength to hear the Father say, It’s time to come home. I am keeping my promise. You are mine. I have not left you. I have not forsaken you. Come and be with me always.

Looking back to that night in the hospital, I believe daddy and I witnessed the strength of God’s promise being kept. Her Father came to take her home, so our sweet mama said goodbyes to all of us and hello to heaven.

Today she sees fully what we still live by faith. God is stronger than every weakness. He is stronger than our fears. He is stronger than ovarian cancer. And hallelujah, Our God Almighty is stronger than death.

All of us miss mama so much, especially when we’re gathered around a table, but it comforts us to think of her now. The suffering is over. She is healed and rejoicing in the presence of God. She sits at the feast of His goodness and I have to believe somewhere on that table, there are half-runner beans and homegrown tomatoes. And mama is smiling.

You can download a free sample of my new Bible study, Stronger, here