Tonight I have been going through many, many pictures working on a photo book for Zoe. I am trying to make a photo book for every year of each of my kids' lives. I'll probably only get to year three for Max. I apologize right now buddy. Anyway, I was going through pictures and came to this one.

This is Zoe with two of my favorite ladies in January of 2018. Norma is sitting next to Zoe and Joyce is helping her in the picture. What is Joyce doing here? She is teaching Zoe how to reload a straw wrapper onto a straw so she can shoot it across the room again. This is my favorite memory of Joyce. 

The LWML ladies of my church assemble braille Bible pages on the last Thursday of the month. After braille, they visit their favorite neighborhood bar and grill, The Blue Room. In January last year, they invited me to come along and bring the kids. There we sat in the tiny hole in the wall, Blue Room. Seriously, there might be holes in walls you can see through right to the outside. The Blue Room looks like it may fall down, but I'm pretty sure it should be a national treasure. Anyway, the ladies got Zoe blowing straw wrappers off of straws and when they ran out of ammunition, Joyce made sure to help Zoe reload. Everyone was laughing and having a great time. This is my favorite memory of Joyce because it was just her being her fun self. She was also loving on my girl by playing with her. 

Being the pastor's wife, I am blessed to get to meet and build relationships with people that not everyone is privileged to have. I got to know Joyce through LWML. Joyce was a funny and sweet woman. She was one of those women that you couldn't help but smile when you saw her. She was always sending Nate home with baked goods when he came home from visiting Joyce and her husband Kenny, who was home bound. 

Joyce was diagnosed with stomach cancer in late 2018 and passed away on Thanksgiving a year ago. As the anniversary of her death comes around, she has been on my mind. Joyce was not only funny and sweet, she was a woman of great faith. Nate and I went to visit her in the hospital hours after she had gotten her terminal diagnosis. We walked in. We hugged her. She told us she was fine with God wanting to call her home but was worried about her husband and who would take care of him. She was just told that she was dying and she wasn't scared, she was just concerned for her loved ones. Over the next few weeks, she declined rapidly and passed away. It hit me hard. I was so heartbroken. I sat at her funeral and sobbed. I had only known her for about 2 years and she had made such an impact on my life. 

Once when Nate went to do a shut-in visit with Joyce and Kenny in their home, Nate had mentioned that we have a peach tree. The next time I saw Joyce we were talking about the peaches and I had said that I was afraid of canning the peaches because I had never canned anything in my life. She told me that she was going to teach me how to can peaches. I look out on our peach tree many days and think of Joyce. As I was gathering the peaches with Zoe this year, I couldn't help but be sad that Joyce and I never got to can peaches together. 

Even though Joyce never taught me how to can peaches, she taught me these two things: you are never too old to shoot straw wrappers off a straw and have to have faith in all circumstances. Joyce's husband Kenny died three days after her. She didn't need to worry about who was going to take care of Kenny because God called him home too. One day I'm going to can peaches and I am going to show Zoe this picture of Joyce while we can them. I am going to tell her all about how Joyce canned peaches, had fun, and was not afraid to meet Jesus.

That's all for now. God is good.

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