i get it honestly

This is my grandma, Mary Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) Yoder. She goes by Joan, but don’t address letters to that name, please. She’s Mrs. Harold J. Yoder, thank you very much. Even if she did take the word “obey” out of her wedding vows almost seven decades ago because sure, she’d love and honor her husband, but no way was she obeying him. However, she told me something once that I’ve been sharing with women every time I give my “intimacy” talk.

See, I didn’t tell her about Is That All He Thinks About? for awhile after it came out, because, well, she’s my grandma, and I want her to like me. I finally called her and told her I’d written a book encouraging women to love on their husbands. I explained that it was about sex but tried to make it sound really mild and stuff. She was all for it right away and said some things that made me wish I’d interviewed her before writing the book. The quote that stands out in my mind was this–“You know what your grandpa told me?” (He died four years ago) “What did Grandpa tell you?” “He said–you never turned me down.”

Whoa. I share that with women, and they’re all like, whoa. Whoa. Now, coulda been that Grandpa had selective memory. Who knows? But I love it. And as much as I want Grandma to be here with us until she’s 108 (she’s 88 right now), I know she’s itchin’ to be in heaven with her man.

Thanks for praying for a sweet time with Grandma today. It was indeed. And it was a sweet time with my mama. And with our friend, Bek, who is keeping Grandma in her home for awhile and taking care of her 24/7. Please pray for Mom and Bek. They’re doing an awesome job with Grandma, but it’s not easy. God knows the specifics, so if you’ll just pray, I’d be forever grateful.

It’s not easy watching your Grandma’s memory go. We did it with Gabe’s grandma Marilyn a few years ago, and it was just plain hard. It’s tough to know what’s worse–watching your loved one decline or having them taken from you suddenly. I’m just going to treasure whatever time we have left–and trust God that He knows the perfect amount (of time), and that He’ll be handing out the perfect amount of grace to each one of us, come what may.

Grandma can still play a mean game of UpWords. We played twice–me, her and Mom. I beat Grandma both times, but Mom obliterated me. She’s been playing UpWords with Grandma for YEARS. I bet they’ve played thousands and thousands of games of it. I love that Grandma loves words (she’s a book-a-holic, a letter-writing fiend, and a former librarian). My mom loves words too–voracious reader and writer of a zillion journals. Oh, and UpWords Queen.

Grandma’s not Mom’s mom. She’s Dad’s. So, I get this Word Stuff from both sides. And that’s fine by me.

We talked about my Zoo Book. And about my cousin’s new baby girl. Her memory is pretty good when it comes to that stuff. But it’s the little things that get her. Mom was reading a princess book to Nina, and they were on a page about Snow White. “What was that little dwarf’s name?” Grandma asked me. “Dopey?” I said. “Yes, Dopey.” Then I rattled off the names of the other ones. Three minutes later, she looked at me and said, “I know! Dopey! That’s the little dwarf’s name.”

Then Nina made her a green (cookie-cuttered) heart out of Play-Doh. Grandma thanked her and told her it was beautiful, then set it on the table beside her while she was eating her lunch. Fifteen minutes later, while Bek was cleaning up her plate, Grandma picked up the heart, handed it to Bek, and said, “Here–I don’t know where this came from.”

And she forgets how long she’s been chewing her food. And she forgets to swallow and needs reminding.

And on and on it goes.

But it was still a sweet afternoon, and I’m looking forward to more like it. And I’ll take lots of pictures. And enjoy all the moments God gives us. And thank Him for the hundreds of beautiful memories I’ve collected–and treasured and pondered–of my grandma over the years.

I love you, Grandma.

21 thoughts on “i get it honestly

  1. Scott W

    Great post, and great comment from your grandmother. Interesting how each generation thinks it’s the first one to understand sex. I recently spoke to a couple married 60 years. They have such a reputation as a solid couple, they have newlyweds calling on them for mentoring. And one of the things they make it a point to discuss with the younger couples is the importance of sexual intimacy in the relationship.

  2. Lisa


    My precious great-grandmother had to go into a nursing home in the last years of her life, and it was so difficult to see her health and mental functioning deteriorate. At one point, she thought she was living during WWII and that enemy soldiers were coming to take her babies. She insisted until she passed on at age 94 that she was going to get out of that nursing home and live in her own place again. She was tough as nails and tender as could be — always used to keep Chicklets in her apron pocket for us kids. Her name was Emma. I named my daughter after her Sometimes, my little girl is so much like Grandma Emma that it about knocks the wind out of me.

    Speaking of… she’s in the tub now needing help getting scrubbed, so off I go! I can’t wait to catch up with you… it’s been weeks since I visited here (and yes, I am ashamed of that!)

    Love and blessings,

  3. Donita

    Since we’re sharing, I’ll tell you a little story about my Grandma Baxter. One year after Thanksgiving dinner a group of us were sitting around the table chatting. Someone asked the question, “If you didn’t know how old you were how old would you be?” My beautiful and sassy 79 year old grandma shook her hair and lifted her chin and said, “Sixteen.”

  4. Sarah

    What a precious picture! Grandma’s are unbelievably special and I’m glad you had time with her today. I don’t get to see mine often because we live far apart, and I miss her dearly….think I’ll give her a call :-). Thanks for sharing about your day with her.

  5. Kaye

    What a special day for you. Nothing in the world like the love of a grandmother…..I’m sure you and your daughter were h.u.g.e. blessings for her yesterday.
    Have a wonderfully blessed afternoon,
    Matthew 21:22

  6. EmilyC

    I loved your post today. It makes me miss my granny very much, she’s been gone for five years now and it was so hard to see her slip away. She was such a sweet and gentle lady and the picture of your grandma reminds me of her so much. I’m glad you had a nice visit with her and I’ll keep your family in my prayers.

  7. Sandi Faulk

    Agree w/Amanda. Soooo romantic – the teenage girls that I teach about purity and God’s plan for sex will love that. We’re so hard-wired for romance as women, aren’t we? May I use this when I teach them this year?
    As a matter of fact, I think I’ll go blog about another romantic story…

  8. Stephanie

    That’s something I’m learning to deal with in living far from home. I think of everyone and everything in terms of how it was before I moved, and it’s hard to get it into my head as things change because I’m not there to experience it firsthand. I just can’t picture Grandma forgetting things like that – it’s like it isn’t real. There are even times that I forget that Grandma Figley is gone because she died after we moved away. It’s weird.

    I just LOVE that picture, though. So beautiful.

  9. Nichole

    I’m so glad you shared a special day with your grandma~ making sweet memories.
    I’ll be praying for your mom and Bek and all the details of caring for your sweet grandma.

  10. Sandi

    This may be my favorite Marla post ever. EVER. And I’m curiously close to tears. Your grandmother is so beautiful – how much this world has forgotten about true beauty.

  11. Jamie Nygaard

    Your grandma is just beautiful! I love the photo.

    You know…I love it when our grandparents can open up to us and share from their lives, that they can be honest and be such a wealth of information. And I love that they can still be a hoot!

    However, it is so sad and saddens me when you see them aging. I will be praying.

  12. deanna

    I’m very lucky in the fact that I still have both of my grandmothers AND a great-grandmother still living. Every chance I get I try to take my son to see them because I want him to have as many memories with them as he can. They really are special!

  13. Justamom

    Very sweet picture and thanks for sharing a little bit about your Grandma. I’m also going through the journey of watching my Grandma through her “last years” if you call it that as she has gone to a nursing home in the past year at 93 years old. She wants to get out and is working on getting better – but we just don’t know if she will ever be able to take care of herself well enough. I’m just thankful that I have lots of awesome memories with her to cherish and can keep cherishing and making MORE!

  14. Missy

    I have an adorable picture of Leah with my grandmother (in the same state of mind as yours) from before we left PA. We spend several days with her in the two weeks before we left, and while it was a crazy time to do that, I don’t regret it. Everytime I wish we were closer so I could see her, I think on those times. Beautiful picture of Nina and Grandma! 🙂

    OH, and BTW, I’m pretty sure I learned about baby Stellan from your site initially, but (www.mycharmingkids.net) he’s unexpectedly quite sick. Thought you might want to know!

  15. DarylG

    That’s so sweet Marla. We buried my granddad on Monday and my Grandma passed away 3 years ago. I am very sad this week but I have some great memories like these to. I know they are both hangin out in heaven and that makes me happy. Definitely enjoy every moment with her. Hope you guys are well.

  16. janelle taviano

    As Reesey asked me the other day, ” Grandma, what age will you be when you go to Heaven? “…. or I cleaned Dad’s house and re-hung a chime ” Grandma’s are a special blessing ” ( not me ) but YES THEY ARE ! Glad you had today !

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