What can I say about Loreta? I only knew her for a couple of decades out of a long and full life.
I can say that when I delivered meals on wheels to her home, I always signed the book. She had a book and everyone signed it.
Often, some of the other churches would come up short on help for meals on wheels and I would get the call to deliver. I would tell Loreta that I was just here last time and my name was already in the book, but she insisted that I sign in again anyway.
What can I say? I can say that we have one of those doylies-sort-of-things with SPENCE on it. I have been told that she made more than 300 but not quite 400 of those. She made them as long as her hands would let her. The general consensus is that she made 370-something of these.
I’ll bet that she kept a book with all that she made.
What can I say? The GOD LOVES YOU – LOVE ONE ANOTHER wristbands that we have given out for years now, were a little too small. She would have to stretch and stretch and if she wore it, I am pretty sure that her blood pressure was more on one side of the band than the other.
We know Loreta had a big heart but she had some big wrists too.
What can I say? I served her communion while she was in the home at Corn but was not quite ready for the company she had. By that I mean she had a twin sister and then another set of twin sisters. The only time that I got to talk was when I said, “This is my body…”
I imagine that I know some other things that will come to mind in a week or two. That’s the way my memory works these days, but I was told of some very interesting things.
I don’t think that Oklahoma has a Rose Parade. That’s a southern California thing. But western Oklahoma had a Rose Bush Queen. I don’t think that there was a pageant or parade or even a football game to go with this title, but evidently, Loreta was the “go to” person for anything having to do with roses and rose bushes.
I’m guessing this was just a title bestowed upon her by family or family and friends, or family, friends and anyone who needed to know anything about rose bushes.
I was told that she liked to cook, can, and crochet. I mentioned her crochet skills earlier.
What I haven’t told you is that she was also renowned for her Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. Pam told me that she tried to make it but it didn’t come out the same and come to find out that Loreta used Miracle Whip in her chocolate mayonnaise cake.
Pam put in real mayonnaise. Now I didn’t know Loreta back in her cake baking days, but if you grew up in Oklahoma, everyone knew that Miracle Whip—even though the label says salad dressing or something like that—Miracle Whip was mayonnaise in Oklahoma, unless you were some of those really rich folks that splurged on real Mayonnaise.
Pam, you are going to have to take a shot at making that cake again before the next fellowship meal.
I am sure that I did not cover so many things that many of you know. I hope that you shared them during the meal and all are welcome to return here later just to have a place to gather and share such stories. Many younger folks will only know Loreta by what you share.
Loreta loved being a mother, grandmother, and a farmer’s wife. There are countless stories and testimonies in all of these, but here is the thing that stuck with me after visiting with family a few days ago.
Loreta had a peace about her. She had God’s peace abiding in her.
If there was potential trouble on the horizon, Loreta would say, “We will cross that bridge when we get there.”
As I listened to her family talk about her and her twin who had preceded her in death was sort of her opposite, I thought to the story of Mary and Martha in Luke’s 10th chapter, just after the story of the Good Samaritan.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Now, I am not going to skip over the fact that Loreta ran the good race, fought the good fight, and kept the faith. I like to do that when I know that the service is for a believer.
I am not going to leave out that there is in store for her a crown of righteousness. There is. I’m sure that she has tried it on a few times. It’s way better than what you might have gotten her for being the Rose Bush Queen.
And don’t worry, I will remind you that there is a crown of righteousness in store for you as well—for all who have made Jesus Christ Lord of their lives.
So let’s go ahead and share those words of Paul to Timothy.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
I always enjoy those words. Maybe someone will say them at my funeral one day instead of recounting the number of corny jokes that ended up in the sermon.
When I think of Loreta, I think of Mary who had a special peace, a special countenance about her.
I think of someone who took the Lord’s counsel and did not worry about tomorrow. Today has enough to deal with. The Lord provides for the flowers and the birds and for the crown of his creation.
Loreta somehow had this divine peace dwelling within her and as Jesus spoke to Martha about Mary, I think he speaks to us today: What she has will not be taken from her.
Loreta trusted God and lived in his peace. As we think of her life stories, I commend you to think of her example. Think of her trust in the Lord. Think of living in the Lord’s peace.
I think of someone who lived the 23rd Psalm.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Now she does dwell in the house of the Lord and will do so forever.