And what a gift Connie Pennow was!
During my years working at Warren Woods Church of the Nazarene [as well as being a member and attending there], I met a lot of wonderful people, but one lady in particular became a very special friend. Actually, she was a special friend to many since she was involved in almost every ministry of the church at one time or another.
She and her hubby moved to Virginia in 2013 to be near their two sons, and I was saddened to learn she passed away during the early morning hours yesterday [Dec. 18th]. She'll be celebrating Christmas in Heaven this year with the Savior she adored.
I'm honoring her on my blog today. The last time we were together was to celebrate my birthday in February, 2013.
I was a guest at her dining room table many times. She was the queen of hospitality. If you were ill and couldn't come to her table, she'd bring the food to you. She hosted many Bible studies in her home, and welcomed everyone.
Definition of friend: A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. That's how I felt about Connie.
The photo below is from a December 2000 ladies' dinner I coordinated at church. As always, Connie was there to help set-up the fellowship hall and work in the kitchen. She's pictured on the far left.
We visited many tearooms together, and shared many cups of tea over the years. When I had aspirations of opening a tearoom, she wanted to be my partner. When I became a Sandy Clough tea lady, she hosted my first party in her home.
I had the pleasure of baking and decorating Russ and Connie's 50th Wedding Anniversary cake.
This is just a sampling of photos spanning 35 years of friendship. I was so blessed to have known her.
She loved hummingbirds. For special occasions I gifted her with many hummingbird items over the years - we used to joke that someday her house would spread wings and take flight!
At her passing it was only natural that the lyrics to the old hymn came to mind: "Some glad morning when this life is o'er, I'll fly away. To a home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away..." I have no doubt Connie's flight heavenward landed safely into the arms of Jesus. She was an amazing lady with a servant's heart, and left behind a great legacy.
It's fitting to close this post with the words to Steve Green's beautiful song "Find Us Faithful." Connie epitomized it, and finished well. She's an inspiration for me to do likewise.
We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way.
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace.
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us, let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through Godly lives.
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.
Chorus: Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
"Only one life, twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." ~ C.T. Studd