The Sum of a Life

I stand in the back and fidget, waiting my turn to address my ninety-year-old grandmother at a celebration in her honor.

She sits up front and center – poised and gorgeous – in a cool, celadon suit. Blessed with Norwegian blue eyes, silver hair, and flawless skin, the woman is breathtaking.

I sweat and grow splotchy (how elegant) groping for words that will sum up a lifetime of inner and outer beauty: How best to honor such an influence in a two-minute verbal tribute? 

crw_1522_jfrShe has seen nine decades pass;

Thirty two thousand eight hundred and seventy-two sunsets

Were created for her joy.

She prays as she breathes, and sings while she works.

What will be the sum of my life when I’m ninety?

She has raised four children well;

Her fourteen grandchildren nestle close around her,

Arranged like sparkling jewels in a crown.

All her great-grandchildren are remembered – prayed for by name – every single day.

What will be the sum of my life when I am ninety?


She was a plucky pioneer, plowing soil and watering souls in a foreign land:

“She’s a pistol I tell you!” You don’t mess with grandma.

True in her words, with actions to match,

She is not afraid to call a spade a spade, or show unmerited grace.

What will be the sum of my life when I am ninety?

She is ready to go home when her Father calls her;

Her handsome love waits for her, singing loud, in heaven’s courts.

Both have run the race well.

She counts her blessings in prayer and song every single day.

What will be the sum of my life when I am ninety?


She is the rarest gift to those who come behind her;

We all know that prayer needn’t be fancy, but frequent.

A cloud of witnesses remains to testify:

“That Jesus loves you, and so do I.”

What will be the sum of my life when I am ninety?


I love you, grandma.

Happy 93rd Birthday to a woman who is infinitely more than the beautiful sum of all her parts.


11 responses to The Sum of a Life

  1. Andrew says:

    Beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing. The love of your grandmother flowed through to you and has radiated out through your life’s work to hundreds of thousands if not millions more. She was the seed that grew the sturdy trunk and limbs which now bear fruit by the truckloads.

    Where will you be at 90? How about being the seed growing the tree for the next generations to bear even more fruit for the kingdom. God bless you and your family

  2. Nancy Winslow says:

    Beautifully put – definitely from your heart. Loved reading it. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Given Breath says:


    Your imagery and encouragement are both beautiful to me. Thank you for your words – they are salt and light.

    God bless you, and yours.


  4. Winnie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful grandmother with me. Such a blessing to see her radiant face and hear about her. What a sweet, adoring family surrounding her. Nothing can buy this kind of happiness and the legacy she gifts to those she loves. Praying every day for all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren by name….just amazing! Praying God continues to bless you all as you glorify Him with your love for each other.

  5. Stephen Buckley says:

    When you honor her in this way, and with depth of heart you show here, you are on the path to becoming the likeness her example always hoped you would be.

  6. stewcarol says:

    So sweet, beautiful lady. Reminds me of my grandma’s 90th almost 20 years ago. She made it to Christmas Eve about midnight of her 96th year. What a blessing she was in my life!

  7. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful, loving tribute to your Grandma. My Grandma will celebrate her 95th birthday in December, and your words describe her perfectly, too. Such a blessing.

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