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This past Saturday, Jenine’s mother graduated to glory!  Nettie Kimbrough was a dedicated, loving, influential, and truly “grand” mother to her children and grandchildren!  Her life was dedicated to her home, church, and neighbors.  Thurman and Nettie married when they were young adults and spent most of their lives in the community of Red Rock, Alabama…. a farming community not far from Tuscumbia, AL.  Thurman and Nettie grew up on farms and they, likewise, were a very hard working, farm family raising wheat, soy beans, a “huge” garden, and cattle.

The Kimbrough’s reared five children that have all done extremely well in life as adults.  Each has excelled in what they set out to do because their “mom and dad” taught them to be responsible while making them believe they could do anything because they were all told repeatedly, “you are the best and you are ‘exceptional’”.  Love was the foundation of everything done at “the Kimbrough’s”.  Nettie was excellent in caring for her children and never accepting excuses for any of them doing less than their best.  She “lived” in her kitchen feeding five children when they were small, and then providing feasts for all the children, spouses, and grandchildren whenever we arrived in Alabama.  When the garden’s vegetables ripened, Nettie would can and freeze “tons” of food so that all winter, there were fresh vegetables on the table.

All her grandchildren loved to go to “Mam-maw’s” house.  They ruled the roost there!  They had acres outside to explore just waiting their arrival, four-wheelers to ride, and an endless supply of rocks to throw in a small creek that was not far from the house.  Cake, cookies, and candy were ever present on the counter in the kitchen, and barbecue pork was on the menu for dinner. Guns to shoot and hunting for the guys were an adventure when we arrived at the right time of year.

Nettie devoted her life to her Lord through the Baptist Church near her home in Barton, AL.  The folks that attended there were the very best of what anyone would hope for in Southern Christian men and women.  They helped their neighbors in every way. In times of grief, they raced to see who would be first to show up with words of consolation, and food for family members that would be coming in soon.  Hospital and Funeral Home visitation was as natural as going to school is for children.  Praying for each other was not a wearisome expectation.  Rather it was a first response from men and women who spent their lives loving their LORD, loving their families, and loving their neighbors as themselves.

Tomorrow, Thursday,  Feb. 28, 2019, I have been asked to conduct the funeral service for Nettie Kimbrough at her home church in Alabama.  Though my heart is sad because I will miss her, preaching her funeral is a privilege and not a burden.  She lived her life in such a way that gathering in the presence of her Christian friends in Barton, as we gather in the presence of our LORD, to remember and commemorate a life well lived, and to rejoice that a child of God has arrived safely home to be with Thurman and siblings that are already “over there”….  well tomorrow will be a coronation and graduation celebration.  On this side, we are saying, “Farewell, Nettie”.  And, just over there if you listen real closely, you might just hear Thurman, her siblings, and her friends that preceded her in going “home” gleefully saying, “Welcome home, Nettie!  We have been so eager for you to arrive.  You are going to love it here!”  And you know, she really will ….