Honor Your Father and Mother – Wish You Knew my Grandmother "Nana"

Exodus 20: 12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (NIV)

Cora Lou Newberry, "Nana" was born August 4, 1909 in Hempstead County, deep southern Arkansas. She became “Nana” to all when my sister was born in 1957. She had four siblings, three sisters, a brother, father and mother.

She always referred to her father as "Daddy" and mother as "Momma." Great Grandpa Newberry share cropped a cotton farm. Nana arose before the sun to eat, milk the cow, and feed the chickens. Then drive the horse drawn wagon around the farm as Great Grandpa Newberry and workers loaded bails.

Two of her sisters lived into their 90's and were godly women. They would fuss year's later saying, "Daddy always favored Cora." Nana smiled as she related their words, she never told them “Daddy only trusted me to drive the horses as I was the most gentle with them."

I remember the tenderness when she said, "Momma and Daddy" to parent in their 80's. This gave me a brief glimpse of the word "Abba" (no exact English equivalent). Nana truly honored “Momma and Daddy” for the 92 years they lived.

Wagon full, they headed to Old Washington, Arkansas to drop the cotton to a wholesaler. Then all children to the one room school house. She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at age twelve in 1921. Her favorite hymn was the “Old Rugged Cross.”

Though I never thought to ask, Psalm 23 was her life passage. I get this idea from all the needle point, cross stich,bookmarks and poems she wrote on this Psalm. God was her Shepherd and Christ held her life. She knew her Lord and only listened to His voice. (John 10:27 30)

She didn't have a home with complete wood floors until married to my Papa in 1931, moving to Texarkana, Arkansas. No electricity until the 50's. Papa worked the jobs available and their duration during The Great Depression. He finally landed a long-term job with B&O Railroad. God blessed them greatly. He worked for the railroad until retiring after 35 years.

Papa's $12 pay came at the end of the month. They gathered round table splitting money into rent, bills and groceries. If any was left, it was put into a jar for emergencies.

Southern cities in the USA at this time were divided in half by a road. Nana and her family lived on one side of that road. Caucasian side and in segregated south, African-American. My Nana loved people not matter who, what, or ethnicity.

My uncle related two stories several years back at which he cried. An African-American family, whose father was a dentist and more affluent, lived across the road from them. She did their weekly laundry for $.25 a week. Caucasians weren't supposed to work for African-Americans. Nana put the money in the jar.

In her eighties, a friend was placed in a nursing home. Each week she spent over an hour talking to and doing her hair until she passed away. The friend's closest surviving relative was a niece in Los Angeles. Arriving to tend to her late aunt's affairs, she saw how well kept was her hair.

The niece asked who on the staff to thank. They said none of them; thank Nana. The woman was placed in the nursing home with Alzheimer's. She wasn't aware of who, what, or Nana being there talking and doing her hair. The niece thanked Nana and sent her roses monthly until she passed.

She always believed, hoped and stood for the best. Nana said she prayed for me every day, from my birth on March 15, 1960. I never doubted it for a second. She never complained or spoke "ill" of anyone. Not televangelist stealing millions or ones falling from immorality.

In the 1960's, getting a card from her was a treat with taped coins to a card or a $1 bill in an envelope! There was always a note. Though short, saying how much she loved, prayed, and thanked God for me.

She woke before Papa, fixing bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee by 4:30 AM. Papa's lunch for work was packed and breakfast waiting on the table. In grade school summer breaks, the most exciting time was the week stay with Nana and Papa.

I wanted to see their mornings. Around age 9, I asked Nana to wake me. At 4:40 AM, she got me out of bed for breakfast. You could smell the aroma from across the house. Around 5:10 AM, we went to the front porch to the rocking chairs. Each brought their coffee and bibles.

They would read and then look up gazing into the distance for a while. Then look back down to read. I realize now they were praying and meditating on what the Spirit was speaking to their hearts. Nana would usually get them one coffee refill and around 6:10 AM stopped (10 minute work drive).

It was time to get Papa to work at the railroad station by 6:30 AM. We'd climb into their car and drive him to the station.

I would spend days with Nana. We watched birds in the bath outside. Our favorite was the glorious red cardinal, so bright they glistened in the morning light. Their beauty spoke of God's Glory.

In the early afternoon, she would let me watch a couple of hours of TV. Nana would always come check on me; bringing a treat of fruit and a drink. When TV time was over, we would sit and “visit,” until time for us to get Papa from work.

Meals at Nana's were seven course. Vegetables, fruits, meat, rolls and dessert eaten till you were more than full. She didn't want anyone leaving the table hungry. A favorite of mine were the lemon drops in three rooms she kept in the house.

The first greeting of the day with her, Nana would tell you how much she loved you and reach over and grab your forearm, squeezing it. When the stay was over, she would tell me how thankful she was I came to see her and begin to tear up. Nana would reach over and grab my forearm to tell me she loved me. She couldn't speak without breaking down to cry. Nana's forearm squeeze came to mean over the years, her great love for you.

I would try to call in the late 70's and 1980's, always getting a busy signal. She only raised three boys during the Depression and WWII. Be a stay at home mom, who was at her church whenever the door was open. Then call all her neighbors “just to make sure they were doing alright (no wonder busy).”

Papa died in January, 1991. Months short of their 60th wedding anniversary. On her 90th birthday in 1999, over 500 people came to her party. Nearly all of her friends had passed away. Attendee's were children, grandchildren, younger neighbors and church members. Many used one word to describe Nana, grace.

Nana was “sharp as a tack,” until the last two years of her life. She could tell you all the stories of growing up on the farm. Then she began losing her mental faculties at age 97. When she "no longer was feeling just right,” she was taken to the hospital. On the third day, she was sitting up and saying she was feeling better. As she slept the fourth night and early hours of the moring, she went to her Lord.

On July 4, 2008, Cora Lou Newberry “Nana” passed from this world to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Her Mighty God and Shepherd whom she trusted; a month shy of 99. She is greatly loved and missed. Nana's love and prayers kept, held and saved my life. She was a Proverbs 31 woman.

The Lord answered her final desire though "gone." A friend of who lived to 108, willed money to Nana paying for her funeral. She never wanted to "burden" any, though poor her whole life. Nana wanted no person in debt over her departure for home.The Lord God honored this final small longing of heart.

Psalm 23The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”


Attributions: Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

 Les Braswell
I have been a member of ChristianBlog.Com for 4 years, 3 months and 23 days.
I have published 272 blogs and 1,104 comments.
user_displayRealName: unknown
user_displayRealName: unknown

Dear Les, Praise the Lord you have a great Nana. Yes. Those would respect Lord as mentioned in the Second Commandment of GOD that their descendents will be blessed until thousand of generations. I see your Nana's piety to the Deity that GOD give full blessing to her sons and daughters. May GOD bless you also because strongly believe you will have longevity because of what GOD promised in the Fifth Commandment of GOD. GOD is faithful. HE always live up to HIS promise. May GOD commend your family of a group of submissive, diligent and pious servants of GOD and HE even dance and smile hilariously for you and your Nana. In Christ love, Amen! Raymond

Joyce Bethy Ferguson (@bethy)

this is beautiful.

user_displayRealName: unknown
user_displayRealName: unknown

Les, thank you for sharing this story about your Nana, so full of love and respect.
It would be difficult to describe a better example of a good Christian woman's life than this.
I'm so glad she was able to live a long life, and touch many others' lives in the process.

K Reynolds (@kreynolds)

I teared up as I read this. Your Nana was exactly one month older than my grandmother who passed away in the fall of 2005 after a brief illness and it is apparent to me they were cut from the same cloth. I had to chuckle when you said that from the time she had her first grandchild, she became Nana to all. The same was true of my grandma.

Nana is truly a :princess: of God!


K :princess:

Les Braswell (@doneuntotheleast)

Raymond, Joyce, Sarah, and K.,

Thank you for reading through 1500 words on Nana. I start to well up with tears as I write this reply. I didn't cry for a couple for years after she passed away. It was hard having asking the past 2 years when my sister left the room who the woman was and the reverse when I.

She's at peace with lost faculties, in the presence of our Heavenly Father, Christ, Papa, Momma and Daddy, sisters, etc ... I grieved as she was declining the final two years. Now tear often remembering her great grace, love and tenderness she brought to my life and all through her Lord and Shepherd, God Almighty in Christ Jesus.

If you wish to look again (wrote really late in night as couldn't stop), made some corrections for a bit easier reading and content. A book could be written on her life of Christ and loved lived to all. As my Dr. in Portland, OR said in 1983, "It was the love of God and love and prayers of your grandmother which saved your life. Amen.

I'm grateful you took time from your daily schedules to share in one so dear to me. One honored and loved by all around her and our Lord. If Jesus places her crown in her hand, it'll never make it to her head. Her first thing would be to cast it before Christ Our Lord.

Grace and peace to each of you,

John Knox (@watchmanjohn)

I just wished I had a Nana like yours. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


user_displayRealName: unknown
user_displayRealName: unknown

What an inheritance. Thank you so much for sharing. I could read so much about your Nana!


Les Braswell (@doneuntotheleast)

wmj and kbird,

Thanks your gracious comments. Nana loved her family and all around as Christ called her.

If you read the blog about my Papa where he had rheumatoid arthritis the last 7 yrs. of his life. Their devotion time was moved to his bedside when no longer able to walk. Always closed with his favorite verses: "in my Father's House their are many rooms." (John 14)

My Uncle cried telling the stories I believe because he suffered taunts and teasing at school/friends. A Mom humbling as Christ to love others and provide for her family, when in the south in the late 30's/40's - the laundry duties were supposed to be done in the reverse.

She suffered the suicide of a granddaughter, her youngest son quitting his bi-polar medication 26 years ago after being "made redundant" and wife divorcing in '88. Then Dr. making her break a promise to Papa; never put him in a nursing home.

6 yrs of taking care of an invalid man +55 Kg's heavier and +60 cm taller was breaking her body down. Dr. said either Papa in a home or in 6 months both. Broke her heart she wasn't by his bedside, holding his hand when he went to the Lord in middle of the night.

Nana was always a peacemaker. When she couldn't not make things "right" in the power of Christ, she just prayed more. If you needed someone, she was there for you at "the drop of a hat" in the power of the Spirit.

After the Vietnam war and relocation of 100,000 Vietnamese to the US in '75, she took meals to a young relocated couple from Vietnam with small children who moved next door to them. Nana wanted them to know she was thinking of them and cared. She took them under her wing.

Whether you were 80 or 18, she was calling all the women in her church to make sure everyone was OK, if not pray and find a way to meet the need. Same with neighbors in a four block radius.

She'd even call me in college (late 70's/early 80's) when phone rates were astronomical and tell me in 3 or 4 minutes, "just wanted you to know I was thinking of you, how are you doing? I love you and am praying for you."

There are many Proverbs 31 women who are prayer and encouragement warriors here on CB! I believe contending for me as she now watches over all us and is in the presence of her great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. There's also powerful men in The Lord too.

In Him,

user_displayRealName: unknown
user_displayRealName: unknown

This is a beautifully penned tribute from beginning to end, Les; and I love the imagery of these paragraphs below from your blog:
Nana arose before the sun to eat, milk the cow and feed the chickens. Then drive the horse drawn wagon around the farm as Great Grandpa Newberry and workers loaded bails onto the wagon.

She woke before Papa, fixing bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee by 4:30 AM. Papa's lunch for work was packed and breakfast waiting on the table. In grade school summer breaks, the most exciting time was the week stay with Nana and Papa.

I wanted to see their mornings. Around age 9, I asked Nana to wake me. At 4:40 AM, she got out of bed for breakfast. You could smell the aroma from across the house. Around 5:10 AM, we went to the front porch to the rocking chairs. Each brought their coffee and bibles.

Many times, grandmothers hold a place in our hearts that no one else can touch, and you are truly among those of us whose grandmothers' love has so tenderly and lovingly won that place.

God bless you always

Les Braswell (@doneuntotheleast)


Thank you as always for your kind words. I had to stop writing to wmj and kbird because I could go on and on; a book could be written on Nana would take a long time for all the stories and tearing up over the blessed memories.

She serves our Lord and Great Shepherd Christ Jesus forever now. I long to see her one day. Until then, I'm blessed by one's such as yourself and others on CB, who stand in her place. Lifting me before God.

I thank Him for you and all here on CB who've touched and blessed my life, in a manner like her. Their are no words for my gratitude.

Grace to you in Him,

Les Braswell (@doneuntotheleast)

To all,

Nana would have been "thrilled to meet you"and you would have "meant the world to her," each and everyone of you!


Beth M (@blest)

If Jesus places her crown in her hand I don't think there's any "if" about it!

Lovely lovely tribute to a beautiful woman, inside and out. (She's gorgeous!)

Nana would have "thrilled to meet you"and you would have "meant the world to her," each and everyone of you!
And she will, Les, she will. And we will all be thrilled to meet her.
Thank you for sharing. :cry: just lovely.

Les Braswell (@doneuntotheleast)


Thank you for your loving words of one so dear to me and Our Lord. Yes, there is no doubt or "if" on the crown. Knowing our great loving Lord Jesus, He will have you bow your head to place the crown you. She'll intermediately raise her hands to grab and cast it at His feet!

I 'm getting a bit teary, because I know she'll be as thrilled to meet you as I too, face to face.

I'd say be blessed in Him but you already know this to be so true!

In Christ,