Daddy & Grandpapa, November 2000Several years ago, on January 1, 2001, Grandpapa Neely (my Dad’s father) remarked to his family as we were all gathered to  celebrate the new year, “I have a feeling that the year 2001 will be different from any other year we’ve ever Kathryn & Grandpapalived.” Little did we know that his prediction would be true in more than just one way! For just a few months later,  while visiting his daughter and her family (our aunt), he was diagnosed with a  Stage 4 cancerous brain tumor. After the first surgery to remove it, he was told that he would have, at most, eighteen months to live. Three more surgeries and seemingly endless chemo and radiation Grandpapa made it a priority to invest in the lives of his grandchildren!treatments later, the Lord finally called Grandpapa with his children: Miriam (my aunt) & Patrick (Dad)Grandpapa home to Himself, in July 2002.  We had been blessed with the full eighteen months that they predicted, and we were left with an unbelievable spiritual heritage. Though we grieved for his loss upon earth, and though we still miss him greatly, we rejoice in the hope that one day we will be reunited in Heaven through the grace of our Savior!

100_2331 Last Wednesday marked what would have been Grandpapa’s 76th birthday. That evening, as we sat around the table after supper, Dad pulled Grandpapa’s Bible off of 100_2318 the shelf. The cover is worn; the binding falling apart; the pages are yellowed and wrinkled with age and frequent use. However, it is a treasure beyond calculation, not only for the sake of the Word of God, but also because of the countless insights that are marked along its pages, and the numerous quotes, poems, and thoughts that he wrote on the Grandpapa with Sunnyflyleaves.  Sadly, almost half of my little siblings never had the privilege of knowing Grandpapa, and some were too young when he died to really remember  him well. But what a TREASURE, a wealth of spiritual  RICHES we have in his Bible!!! So even the ones who never knew him can still partake of the incredible legacy he left for us – how I thank the Lord for that blessing!!!!!!! Picking pecans, November 1999

But getting back to my story… When one of our little ones observed that Daddy had “the wrong Bible” (instead of the chronological Bible that we usually read after supper), he replied, “Well, today was your Grandpapa Neely’s birthday. So I thought that we would read some out of his Bible tonight, and see what he has to say to us.” Immediately, I felt a choking sensation in my throat, and I wondered if I would be able to make it through this without crying. As we read through some of the the things that he had printed inside, some things brought a smile upon recollection; others even made us laugh; many were very thought-provoking; and a few even moved us to tears. As I sat there, I felt as if I had stepped back into time and was once again sitting with Grandpapa, hearing him read or quote these very things…

FAITH – Forsaking All, I Trust Him”


If a sermon pricks your conscience, it must have some good points.”


“Some will hate you, some will love you;

Some will flatter, some will slight.

Cease from man and look above you;

Trust in God and do what’s right.

Though the road be rough and dreary,

And its end far out of sight,

Foot it bravely, strong or weary;

Trust in God and do what’s right.

Perish policy and cunning,

Perish all that fears the light;

Whether losing, whether winning,

Trust in God and do what’s right.

Simple rule and safest guiding,

Inward peace and inward might;

Star upon our path abiding,

Trust in God and do what’s right!” 


If we please God, does it matter whom we displease? And if we displease God, does it matter whom we please?”


One poem that is not written in his Bible, but which he quoted to us regularly, still makes us laugh:

Whenever you feel like a grump, and you look like you’re down in the dump,

Oh, how I dread when you get out of bed, and go moping around like a frump!

BUT… When you can get up and say, “My! What a wonderful day!”

It’s hard to be sad; you’ll surely be glad, for God is Who made it that way!”


Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind.”    – Dr. Harvey Springer


Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right; and nothing is ever settled right until it is settled with God!”


My fear is not that I will fail, but that I will succeed in things that do not matter in eternity.”


“The Clock of Life” by George H. Chandler

“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power

To tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed; to lose one’s health is more;

To lose one’s soul is such a loss as no man can restore.

The present only is our own; live, love, toil with a will.

Place no faith in the future – for the clock may then be still.”


Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”


These are just a very few of the things that are written in Grandpapa’s Bible. However, probably my favorite is a poem called, “We’re Home,” by Willard Thomas. Daddy read this one at Grandpapa’s funeral, and to this day, I cannot read it or hear it being read without the tears coming to my eyes. That night around the table, Dad started to read it, but tears forced him to stop at the end of the first six words. Then he looked around the table, and, sure enough, we were all crying! After some shaky laughter and much debate over whether to finish reading it or not, he finally mustered up the will-power, and read the sweet, heart-stirring lines. This was the heart cry of Grandpapa; one which my parents have taken up and still press untiringly on toward; one which is my heart’s desire for my children someday; and one which I pray will continue to be striven for in our family until the Lord returns!

Over the years when the children would come in, they would call out, “Mom, Dad, we’re home.”

I guess we just always assumed it would be like that, we would never be alone.

But with the passing of time, circumstances, life, and duty robbed our home of this youthful beauty.

Oh, they still drop by from time to time, or call us on the phone.

They stay a while and then they leave because this is no longer home.

Now when Mama and I go out and drive around and roam,

In jest I open the door and call out, “Children, we’re home.”

It just echoes through and empty house and brings my eyes to tears.

They no longer run on little feet to meet us, and fill our hearts with cheer.

Precious memories of two fine girls and a boy,

Thank God memories are one gift of God that time cannot destroy.

One last request I would make to my God, that beyond Jordan’s dashing foam;

That Mama and I could hear our children call out, “Mom, Dad, we’re Home.”


Grandpapa & Grandmama Neely Reuben Herman Neely, our beloved Grandpapa Psalm 16:6 – “The lines are fallen unto me  in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”