Lessons from Juanita who did not speak Spanish

This is me and my grandma, Juanita Boitnott.  She passed away 3 years ago at the age of 97.  She would have turned 100 this November.  Her birthday was 11-12-13.

Grandma B lived in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia all her life.  Juanita was not Hispanic.  She did not know her name was a Spanish name until my older sister told her one day (to which she replied, “Well I’ll be”).  She loved to talk and tell stories.  But she only told good stories, happy stories.  And she had sad stories she could have told.

For some reason I have been thinking about her lately.  And I think there are 2 things I want to learn from her example.

1.  Don’t worry about something that probably does not exist.  My dad has told me that one day he asked her if she ever heard voices in her head.  He said she looked at him and said, “No.  And you don’t either.”  She told him to eat his breakfast and they never talked about it again.

Now how many moms of my generation (myself included) would have had an appointment with a psychiatrist that afternoon if our child had asked us this?  I often have to tell myself to calm down and just let my kids be kids.  They can work out their social issues at school.  My 2 year old is not demon possessed, she is just 2.  And my children will not grow up to hate each other.  In Jesus Name, “No, and you don’t either!”

2. Healing from tragedy is possible.  When my grandmother was in her early 20s her fiancé died in a car accident.  Not long after that, her mother died in an accidental house fire.  Grandma B had scars on her arms for the rest of her life from trying to put the fire out on her mother.  Somehow she was able to go on living.  She went on to marry, have 2 children, and open up her home to house many others in need.  She had a relationship with Jesus for more than 70 years that obviously carried her through some very dark times.

I have not even come close to experiencing a tragedy like that in my life.  I don’t know what it is like to lose a child or a marriage.  But I do know that if my worst fears came true, Jesus would be there at the bottom with me.


Some of the best life lessons we can learn come real people.  Not movie stars or holocaust survivors but people that we interact with every day.  What are some lessons you’ve learned from your real life heroes? And even further, if you lived to be 97, what lessons do you want your life to leave for others long after your gone?