I’ve started this post several times. I can’t seem to figure out where to start. In the beginning or at the end…at what year…in what place? On top of the fact how do you say all you want to…without it turning into a book…although that is what she deserves and more!! But she would only want Jesus to shine…not her! And He did shine through her, in so many ways, to each and every person, multiple thousands I’m sure, she encountered in her life. And add to that the untold numbers that benefitted from the ripple effect of her giving heart, as she served and shared, to spread His love.
I’ll start with…We are sad our mentor and friend, Joy Fredrick, passed from this earth on August 17th. We’re sad because we can’t see her, hear her infectious laugh or speak with her again. We had plans go to Colorado this past July, she was on the list of people to visit but a personal issue came up and we weren’t able to go. We are sad we didn’t get to see and hug her one last time. But we know she is happy and well in her Heavenly home. I can easily imagine her walking the streets of gold, talking to her “neighbors”, laughing, whooping it up and hanging out with her BFF…Jesus, her Lord and Savior…and the rest of the Heavenly family. She isn’t sad and wouldn’t want us to be either. She loved and served her Lord every day. I have no doubt when He welcomed her home, with open arms, He said “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I have known Grannie Joy, as she liked to be called, since I was in elementary school and lived in the same neighborhood. She had peacocks in her yard, I think some just migrated from her neighbors the Tinkle’s yard. I would warn my friends spending the night, don’t be scared if they heard screaming…it was just the peacocks hollering…lol. I sold her and other neighbors rocks I had picked up from someone’s driveway. I used those nickels, dimes and quarters, if I was lucky, to go to the corner store and buy a little, brown bag’s worth of penny candy. I also picked up the beautiful molted, “eye” peacock tail feathers and sold them to other neighbors…for you guessed it…penny candy.
Later in life, married with small children, we ran into Grannie Joy one day. In catching up she invited us to First United Methodist Church and the Sunday School class she taught. She and Charles, her husband, taught the Serendipity Class, for many, many years. We weren’t happy where we were attending church so we tried her class and ended up joining the church. Lauren and Taylor were about four and two, respectively, and we all grew up under her guidance and mentoring. She got us all involved helping and participating in church activities and missions through the years. We played roles in An Evening in Bethlehem the church put on each December. We built wheelchair ramps, cooked quarterly for God-Tel, a local shelter, helped put on VBS at smaller churches, painted houses for people in need and more. Once our SS Class even raised money to buy a man a good, used mobile home because we couldn’t repair his. Grannie Joy had an infectious laugh, joy and spirit about her and it could be hard to tell her “No” sometimes…lol. So we did all kinds of things…loving almost every minute of it…sometimes it was hot, sweaty, dirty work. If you were on the receiving end and tried to turn her down…”Don’t deny me my blessing” was her favorite phrase! She truly wanted to “bless you” with had she had or could do for you because she wanted to share and spread the love of Jesus. She had a servant’s heart and was truly the hands and feet of Christ.
Lauren picked and asked Grannie Joy to be her Mentor, a year long commitment, for Confirmation in sixth grade. Lauren had made a profession of faith and had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior in the third grade. That Christmas Grannie Joy gave Lauren a hand beaded, scalloped sea shell ornament…a symbol of baptism in Christianity…and still hangs on our tree every Christmas. Grannie Joy delighted in Lauren accepting Jesus and helped her grow her faith even more. As her mentor, they got together several times a month, visited and did activities together. They would go see Grannie Joy’s Nun friends at the Infant of the Monastery Jesus. They took food to the bereaved in the church or to people in need. They baked cookies for Kairos, a prison ministry. Sometimes they would just go get ice cream and chat. It was a very special year for Lauren and I believe Grannie Joy too…they formed a tight bond. At the end of their year together she gave Lauren a James Avery Fleuree Cross charm and necklace. I have no doubt that was very likely the start of Lauren’s love of JA Jewelry. She loved and wore that cross necklace often and had it on when she passed away. I now wear that cross, with a new chain because it was broken in the hospital, every day since Lauren passed 11 years ago. Only taking it off to clean it periodically but putting it right back on. It’s a special piece that is now doubled…in memory of my daughter and a dear family friend…it’s value to me is immeasurable.
Charles and Joy moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2005 to be near their two sons and families. We all missed them dearly but kept in contact, catching up on each other’s lives, by emails and phone calls, several times a year. We went to go see them in September of 2009 and visited for several days. She happily showed us her new church there and where she helped homeless individuals in her community. They were enjoying their new lives and activities, their sons, grandchildren and soon great grands. Funny story here: We went to Colorado, in our RV, in the summer of 1998 and one stop was a few nights in Manitou Springs, which is near Colorado Springs. We went into a Sam’s Club for supplies and Bryan spotted a young teenager with a Crown Colony t-shirt on. He said ” I gotta ask them how they got the t-shirt and tell them we are from Lufkin.” Well low and behold…it was their granddaughter and daughter-in-law…we all had a good laugh!! Later we called Grannie Joy, back in Lufkin, and told her who we had run into in Colorado…lol.
As most of you know Lauren died from injuries sustained in a 4-wheeler wreck on March 7th, 2010. She was an honors student at Stephen F Austin State University and about to graduate in August with a degree in Hospitality Management. Because she was so close to being finished, SFASU posthumously graduated her in May 2010. After a brief explanation from the University President, he and Dr. Roy Dean Alston, her grandfather who had taught there for 40 years, handed her diploma to Taylor and Bryan Alston, her brother and father.. amid a standing ovation from the whole stadium. Had Grannie Joy still lived in Lufkin she would have been one of the first ones at the hospital and our house, doing anything and everything she could to help us through that tragic event in our lives. Because you never expect to bury a child, you don’t think about planning their funeral, you’re not prepared and are in shock. But we knew quickly, in the planning stage, we wanted Grannie Joy to do the Eulogy and Clay Walker, her former Youth Pastor to handle her service. Thankfully she said “Yes, I will do this for you and Lauren” and so she flew in from Colorado. She did a wonderful job speaking from her heart, about Lauren, their experiences together and Jesus.
Grannie Joy was also the kind of person who personally hand wrote letters, cards and notes and I still have some I received through the years. Her handwriting is pretty and so destintive. One letter is even more special than all the others. When she arrived from Colorado to do Lauren’s eulogy she came to our home and gave us the letter and told us what it said. She said, with a strained half laugh, “You might think I’m crazy when I tell you this.” She had heard about Lauren’s accident on Saturday and had been praying for her since then. She went to church on Sunday morning and had her church praying too. After she got home from church she sat on the steps leading down to her livingroom, looking out the big picture windows, at the big, puffy, white clouds. She was praying for Him to heal Lauren’s body and for us and Taylor. She said “Jesus, I give you my friend in faith Lauren, I’m trusting you and handing her into your care for you know what is best for her.” She continued to pray and a few minutes later she said, “Y’all I saw in those beautiful, puffy, white clouds Lauren running into Jesus’s arms. Just plain as day, I saw it.” We briefly sat there stunned, soaking it in…then started crying. We told her “No, we don’t think you’re crazy and we believe you. What you saw is a comfort to us and confirmation of where she is…with Jesus in Heaven.”
Grannie Joy impacted our lives and we will never forget her! She was a beautiful woman inside and outside. She lived her faith every day and we will honor her memory by continuing her legacy of helping others.
Joy Anderson Fredrick Obituary https://obits.gazette.com/us/obituaries/gazette/name/joy-fredrick-obituary?pid=199847460
PS: I’m going to miss her comments on my blogs. She always had positive and encouraging words to say. Her last comment was a post in February.
Love you…I’m gonna miss you my friend! 💛❤💛