There are people in our lives that grace the doors of our heart, and leave unforgettable impressions. I can proudly say I carry the namesake of mine. My grandma, Svanhild Kristoffersen, was strong and reserved, living a life of love for Jesus with her actions. She was intentional about the words she spoke and grace and generosity were part of who she was. My mind is embedded with memories of love from a woman who desired to be a good steward with all she had. She loved much and I am grateful for her.
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
I still remember your joy when I crept around your wraparound porch. You would be sitting, and pondering taking in the sunshine, at eyes view of a beautiful flagpole perched with the American flag, and surrounded with a bed of roses. During the nice weather, I came to expect you sitting out there. You seemed to like routine, and although I wasn’t a very routine oriented person, it brought me some comfort. I remember walking down the slabs of stone to the mailbox nestled between a row of bushes. It was a familiar path that I enjoyed.
You loved things, just so. The curtains would be cleaned, the floors mopped. Your house was neatly put in order. I remember a specific location in your kitchen that would proudly display all your grandkids works of art, they would rarely come down, but rather just added to. They were right underneath your mini spoon collection. Everything had its hand picked place. Your house told a story of time past, because each thing that stayed had some purpose or value to you. Your cookie jar was always filled with Old Fashioned Freihoffer chocolate chip cookies, and your fridge was always stocked with Little Debbie’s brownies:)
I remember thinking it was so cool that you had an office door with so many mini windows. It was unique just like you. Inside, I would love to play with your rotary phone. Even though I only knew two phone numbers, I would get such a kick out of it. As I would sit there, my mind took note that our pictures were front and center in your office, and I would look at them every time I would go in, as though it was the first time I saw them.
Your love for books was obvious, and it passed through two generations, my mom loves to read, and so do I. I remember your two large floor-to-ceiling built in bookshelfs that bookended a fireplace, just in the living room alone. Books that you told me you read multiple times. It was such a treat when you would buy me a new book to read, and encouraged a love for reading through the C.S Lewis and the Mandie books. I still enjoy a good book when I get a chance, although it takes me a lot longer to read these days:) Under your coffee table held photo albums of all those you loved. I would often ask you to tell me the names of people I didn’t know. I was always fascinated by pictures, people’s stories, but had a hard time remembering things. You wouldn’t grow weary of my questions.
As we went into the living room, we knew which closet to look at to find the coveted toys. I am not sure how many toys were in there, because it always seemed like we would go back to the same 2 toys. A box of Lincoln Logs, and wooden American Bricks that would be stored in a old fashioned hat box.
It’s interesting how memories work, how they take you back into time, as though you are right there. Your sitting room was beautiful, with your fancy upholstered chairs, and big mirror. I remember pretending to play on your piano, and hoping one day I would learn and play something beautiful. We celebrated so many wonderful christmas’ in that room. It could have been a room with torn furniture and dirt everywhere. I am sure I wouldn’t have cared, but it was the memories that made that room great.
Boy, could you cook. I remember the feasts at your long table, that seemed to extend forever with mounds of delicious food. I felt like royalty on holidays; your special Currier and Ives china was always set out with a fancy table cloth. You had a way of highlighting tradition, so that it even embedded in a child’s mind that it was a day to pause and appreciate.
You lived simply, and loved deeply. When I was growing up I noticed the qualities I wanted to emulate. Your love, generosity, patience and kindness; but as I started reviewing some letters you wrote many years ago, I saw the hope you carried. The strength that was abundantly evident, but not always verbalized. The reason…why your love was set apart.
Thank you for two wonderful letters, you sure give me great joy and am so proud of you and for being your grandma. I sure miss you and would love to see a great deal more of you. And thank you for yet another letter. If you have any more dreams about loved ones dying, you know if they belong to Jesus they have gone to a much better place and then someday we will all be there together if we trust in Jesus and His finished work on Calvary for our sins. I love you Grace, and I am so proud of you, if you become a nurse I will be proud too. You will make a good one.
I will see if I can find those Mandie books again. Please tell Joel to let me know what he wishes for his birthday.
Hello to everybody
All my love,
I believe this letter was written a few years before she passed. Her heart was being prepared for the next chapter as she verbalized where her hope lied. As I sat reading this letter I was left with a sense of peace that even now she is still encouraging me, offering me hope by the letters that were stored in a memory bin. I am honored, and my heart overflows with such admiration, for a woman who didn’t seek this world’s praise and accolades, but was always preparing for her eternal home, and took the time to instill that in her grandchildren. Love you, Grandma!
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.