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Honoring Grandma Peterson

By Dennis Rainey

She died in the same house that she was born in over 94 years ago…Barbara’s mom graduated from this world to her heavenly home last Wednesday night.

A couple of nights later, I took the sunset picture above. Like the lone star above the horizon, her light shines bright in heaven. She’s finally home.

As a result we cancelled speaking on the “Love Like You Mean It” Valentines Cruise (this week) and we stayed home. Barbara needed time and privacy to process her loss. As she and her brothers are planning the services, we are both convinced that it was and is the right decision.

As I have reflected on her life, my thoughts take me back to a tribute that I wrote to her on her 90th birthday, back in November 2015.

As you read my tribute, you’ll note that I begin by saying that she “kindest person” I’ve ever known. How many times have you ever heard that describe a “mother-in-law?”

Enjoy my attempt to honor her then and now.


Grandma Peterson/Mom/Jean

I have no idea what it’s like for a mom to give her “only” daughter away to a young man, but I do know that it couldn’t have been easy…at least, I’m sure I didn’t make it easy on you. But I want you to know that you sure made it easy for Barbara and me to start our journey together more than 43 years ago and I want to express my profound admiration, appreciation, and affection as you celebrate your 90th.

You make this tribute a privilege and easy to write.

On your 90th, I thought of celebrating you with 90 words that describe you, but instead I decided to something that was really a challenge and select just three words, THE best three words that you embody…here goes:

The first is kind.

You are THE kindest person I’ve ever known. From the start you welcomed me into your family with a welcome smile and your signature corn bread. And even though I’m certain I’ve given you heartburn on more than one occasion, you’ve never stopped being kind to me.

I cannot recall ever hearing an unkind word from you about anyone. Not a SINGLE word. You have always been very kind to Barbara, our children, grandchildren and me. As a result, over the past 43+ years you have been a delight to welcome in our home, to visit you in Camden or the Farm, near Sparkman, Arkansas. I have always looked forward to your coming or to going and visiting you.

Thank you for being a very kind caring woman, wife, mother, grandparent,…and mother-in-law.

Second, you are one of the most consistent people I’ve ever known.

As I reflect back over the years I’ve known you, I can’t help but marvel that when we come to visit you or you visit us, I’ve come to always expect the same easy going mom and grandmother welcoming us there. Whether it’s just the two of us or the Rainey Tribe invading the farm, you have always graciously and consistently absorbed the noise and the needs of our crew.

And I have to add, your chocolate chip cookies that you had stacked to the brim of a red tin cookie cookie container were always there when we came to visited, and consistently THE BEST! I must now confess, I ate more than my fair share. But of course, like any mom, you knew that I did!!

You are a steady and stabilizing force for good that all of us have come to depend upon.

A third word that describes you is loyal. Whether it was 63 years of loyal love to Bob, your tenacious loyalty to your children and grandchildren, I’ve always admired your model of commitment and covenant keeping love. Thank you for fulfilling what you promised and showing all of us what loyal love looks like. You have given your descendants (and me) an incredible gift and a legacy that is remarkable.

In wishing you a happy birthday, I want to say how much I love you. How much I admire you. And appreciate you. You are indeed a Proverbs 31 woman,

“Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come…She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed…many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is fain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Giver her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

Celebrating you, your life and your 90th,


Psalm 112:1-2


I miss you. But I want you to know, I’m going to find that chocolate chip cookie recipe…

Your favorite son in law,



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