She was a strong woman whose smile lit up a room. As a preacher’s wife with a heart for ministry and prayer my grandmother, Joyce Banning, was as steady and beautiful as a southern oak tree. She grew up on a farm in South Dakota but later married my grandfather. My grandparents pastored at a number of churches around the country before settling in Houston, TX at a beautiful church called Braeswood Assembly of God.
As a child I have fond memories of waking up in my grandparent’s home and listening to them tag-read their bibles together. With a table set to perfection, and a delicious breakfast that almost always included fruit and my favorite special cereal. Gran would read a bit, then it was Papa’s turn. Their bibles were loved, and always intricately marked and highlighted.
Bedtime was no different, the tv would be turned off and I would sprawl out on the floor and nestle into their furry white Flokati rug from one of their cherished travels to Greece. I’d listen to them read their bibles, all while combing the rug with my fingers. Even after all these years, I can still hear their voices and conversations about what they read. After they were finished reading, they would pray. They didn’t pray like most people I know. They prayed aloud, and they prayed for everyone. Family, church members, and friends. They prayed over people who were ill, people who were troubled, people who were celebrating life, people who needed a savior, and people who blessed their lives in many ways. Every day.
As I grew older and my family moved away, I would visit my grandparents on occasion. The visits still held the same morning and evening routine I saw as a child, but I began to see my grandmother in a different light. Even though she was a farm girl from South Dakota, she had always fit the southern lady frame to me. Gran always had her face “made up.” Her hair, nails, and clothing were always put together and polished. She kept her home in perfect order with a special love for dishes, heirlooms from her childhood farmhouse, and souvenirs from her and my grandfather’s many mission trips and travels abroad. She loved to host people in her home and always had an especially beautiful table set for family. But the older I got, the more I began to see her love for others, and her deep unwavering faith.
It was during these visits as a young woman where I grew very close to my grandmother and learned a lot from her. Sometimes after church, people would come up to her and ask for prayer. But just as many times, she would seek them out or call them on the phone to pray over them when her heart was burdened for their needs. She and I would stay awake late into the night telling stories, talking about God, and laughing about silly things.
Gran gave me a few things to pass along to my children; her pink depression glass, her wedding ring, and a communion table that was in the small. old farm church she grew up in. All of these things are held very near and dear to me.
This winter I decided to set a table in my home in honor of my grandmother, using her collected depression glass and her favorite color of flowers. I wanted the table to look fresh and bright and remind me of her.
Her vintage depression glass was added to my wedding china and a rustic charger from Pier 1.
I added monogrammed napkins from my wedding as well. I am not much of a “pink girl” but my grandmother was, my mom is, my sister is, and my oldest daughter is as well. It has brought me a lot of joy to bring my home to life this winter with colors that remind me of Gran.
I completed this tablescape weeks ago but it was missing something that i couldn’t put my finger on. I didn’t want to use our normal silver flatware so when I was over at my mom and dad’s house I mentioned to my mom what I had been working on and she suggested I use her wedding flatware for the table setting. She had a beautiful table setting in her dining room and we literally plucked it right off her table and I wrapped it up with anticipation of seeing this tribute for my grandmother come to life. I think the gold, bamboo flatware fits perfectly and is such a sweet reminder of the 38 years my parents have been married.
After all the details were complete I have to say, I’d love nothing more than to sit at this pink table with my Gran and my daughters and listen to her stories again, hear how fondly she talked about going to heaven one day, and see the sparkle in her eyes. She passed away several years ago from cancer and the last my mother saw, was Gran praying herself into heaven. My heart still aches when I think of her. However, when I think of the legacy she left my family and I here on earth, I know now that she left behind much more than earthly things. She was a living breathing testimony of loving others and living for the Lord. There are many types of christians in this world, none are without fault. But my Gran, she lived the life she said she lived. Her actions spoke louder than words ever could. As Joyce Banning’s granddaughter, now in my mid 30’s, it has become much clearer to me lately how to live with intention. Maybe she’s looking down on me now smiling, knowing that she had a great impact on my life.
May we all live each and every day praising our King, loving others, and finding time to put ourselves to the side a little bit more.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read along. My hope is to inspire, lend a helpful hand in your home decor decisions, and bring glory to God in all that I do.