The top 5 things I learned from my 98 year old grandma…

One week ago today, I had the privilige to lead the celebration of life service for my grandma. It was definitley a bittersweet experience. As we celebrated the birth of Jesus yesterday, I couldnt help but reflect on my grandma’s amazing life. 

As I wrote down some thoughts I will be implmenting into my own life, I thought I would honor my grandma and share the wisdom 98 years of life brings. 

Counting down the top 5 things I learned from my 98 year old grandma:

5. Good hair is important 

Most people don’t have pictures of the person who cuts their hair in their memorial video, but my grandma did. My grandma always looked so classy and most people couldn’t believe she was 98. There is something about self care that keeps you young, and no hair out of place that keeps you looking good. 

4. Don’t be left out, when there is fun happening 

It was common to hear my grandma say, “If you are doing anything fun, come and get me, or don’t leave me out of the fun.” What I learned from her was, fun is presence. It wasn’t that she could always do everything we were doing, although that was very rare, but she enjoyed being around her family and friends who were living life to the fullest. And the reality is, her presence made things more fun. 

3. Die young, as late as possible 

My grandma and her good friend Lowell were still dancing 2 or 3 times a week before Covid. Along with dancing, they were still going to the races on Friday nights and Wii Bowling was a regular part of their schedule. The only thing that sounded old to me was them playing cribbage, ha ha. Being young for my grandma was a state of mind, and I think she is the youngest 98 year old I have ever known. 

Not many grandsons can say, I was at the races with my 98 year old Grandma

2. Choose Joy: Tomorrow will be better than today

​Despite the amazing life my grandma lived, it was not without pain and sorrow. She buried a son who was 25, a granddaughter who was 18, the wife of her grandson in her 20’s, her daughter and son in law amongst many other siblings and family members. Despite all the loss and troubled times, she always chose joy. As my Aunt Raine shared with me, regardless of how bad any given day was, my grandma would always say, tomorrow is going to be better. If anyone could have thrown in the towel, my grandma certainly had enough to warrant it, but instead, she chose joy. ​

1. No one ever cared for me like Jesus

​​I always knew my grandma had faith in Jesus, but I didn’t know the depth of her faith until I read over her instructions and choices of songs and scriptures for her memorial service, which she had already planned. There was a clear common denominator in what kept her young, choosing joy and loving people the way she did, it was Jesus. In all the good and bad, it was clear her faith and the assurance that no one cared for her like Jesus, was the driving force. And she made it clear, she wanted everyone to know the love, grace and forgiveness found in Jesus.

This past month has gone nothing like I imagined. Having to postpone my trip to Uganda, Covid going through our family, the loss of my grandma and a beloved great uncle on the same day, and then the loss of another one of my aunt’s was certainly not what I expected or wanted. 

So I am immediatley getting to implement what I have learned from my grandma, choosing joy in the midst of loss and setback. With the attitude of joy we look forward to what God has called us to do. In loving memory of my Grandma, Kathleen Boland.

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Cheering You On In Christ,

Eric Mills


Faces With Names International

I Hate #GivingTuesday…

Come on. You know you have thought it. Or did I just not wait long enough for your inbox and social media to fill up with requests? 

I know our mothers told us not to use the word hate, but have you seen all these requests?

So how did a day set aside for giving to so many worthwhile charities become so annoying and overwhelming? 

Well, too look on the positive side, there are so many amazing organizations doing so much good in the world, and we all need the help of others to do what we are called to accomplish.

On this #GivingTuesday, I was scheduled to be in Uganda, hoping to be sending you pictures and videos about our new partnership there. As you know, because of the political unrest in Uganda, we had to make the difficult decision to postpone the trip. 

Since making this decision less than a week ago, my mom has tested positive for Covid, my grandma and a beloved great uncle passed away on the same day, and we are having issues with our giving page on our websIte during the most important giving time of the year. Not at all what I had hoped or expected. 

But just like this entire journey of relaunching Faces With Names, my trust and hope are on the goodness and faithfulness of God. I heard a quote last night that was encouraging to me. It said, “God can make it rain where there are no clouds.” 

In this process leading up to today, this age old question came to my mind: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound. So I ask, if an orphan cries in Uganda, and no one is there to hear them, can you still hear their cry? 

So this #GivingTuesday, no pictures, no videos, just our imagination of the sound of their cry for help. 

So if you are annoyed by #GivingTuesday, or even borderline hate it, we invite you to give on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday instead. And if you are a rebel, we dare you to give today, on #GivingTuesday.

Will you join with Faces With Names International to care for these precious orphans in Uganda? Here is our temporary link to give:

Cheering You On In Christ,

Eric Mills