50 Years

Fifty years ago today, the course of our family history stepped onto a new and exciting path. Really, the journey toward this future began some time before June 10, 1962, but it is today that we remember and commemorate my grandfather, grandmother and the legacy that they left behind. Today is the anniversary of the church they started so many years ago.

It was scary. It was hard. It was beautiful and ugly and delicious all rolled together.


Lee and I have thought a lot about the legacy we want to leave to our children. Walking across the plains of Africa has shifted the course of that vision a bit, though, and once again we find ourselves reestablishing this idea of legacy. What are we doing now that will shape the futures of our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren?

We must not take lightly this responsibility we have to create a legacy for our kids. It’s daunting, really, to think that how we guide them doesn’t impact the short term. I don’t know if my grandparents realized the ultimate and forever impact they would have on future generations when they stepped onto the white sands of South Caicos in 1961 with their four young children. Did they know that fifty years later the Carribbean would still remember the family name?

Did they know that fifty years after that first dedication on June 10, 1962 there would be a service at Calvary Baptist Church to honor and remember their faithfulness and sacrifice?

Did they know that fifty years after leaving the United States their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would have traveled the world with the Gospel?

Did they understand the legacy they were creating by the faithful acting of leaving?

My grandfather did not get to see the long-term fruits of his labor. He died in 1973 at the age of 44. But his legacy did not end and it will not because his hands, his feet and his love continues to spread through the Carribbean and the world.

My grandfather wasn’t trying to be faithful to a future he would never see when he left with his family and established a lasting ministry in the Turks and Caicos islands and in the Bahamas. He was being faithful to the present he lived in and he took his family on the journey with him.

Is this how we create legacy? Is it as simple as being faithful to those things that stand before us – the messy, the beautiful, the ugly and the delicious? Is it living fully in the present that allows us to create a legacy for the future?

My grandparent’s journey wasn’t without trial or hardship and not every memory from those years is met with fondness and yearning. But the seed that was planted all those years ago continues to grow and I am so, so grateful and honored to be a part of that heritage – that legacy. I’m proud of my family and the legacy in which we all share.

Messy. Beautiful. Ugly and Delicious. It is our legacy and it continues to grow, not to our glory but to His.

All to His.


The steeple and bell at Calvary Baptist Church, South Caicos


So what about you? What kind of legacy do you hope to leave for your children and the generations that follow?

*Three years ago this month, I had the privilege of traveling to the Caicos islands with my mom to see and feel the legacy that was left for us first hand. Here are a couple of the posts from that trip:

Why I’m in Turks and Caicos 

Another Story from the Mission Field

I’m Coming Home Soon!

A Journey through the Sands of Time

Island Gallery

Sing it out with Nicole Nordeman’s Legacy…

Remembrance and Veterans

November 11. 

Veterans Day.

I never really understood the significance of this day growing up.  I didn’t get the impact that veterans had on our country.  Of course I heard about their sacrifice, but I didn’t really get it until I grew much, much older.  It was so easy as a youth to get caught up in the tales of war and not see them as a depiction of reality.  They just seemed so…commercial.  War wasn’t real to me.

Then I turned 23 and watched a few months later with the world as the Twin Towers collapsed in New York.  I sat on my apartment floor and sobbed.  My heart broke in two for my countrymen who I knew perished.  But it also shook with fear for at that very moment, my brother was stationed on a supply ship in the Persian Gulf.  Everything was uncertain and I have never felt such fear.

And that’s when war became real to me.  It’s also when I realized that our military men deserve every ounce of respect we can muster.  Earlier this year as I stood in line at the airport to fly to New Orleans, a soldier on crutches stood behind me.  It only felt right to let him take my place in line.  After all, he was placing himself in harms way so I could have the freedom to stand in that line.  I found myself increasingly frustrated, however, when the two families in front of me did not let him move to the front.  They saw him standing there.  He was in full uniform.  And he was on crutches.  I wanted to apologize to him for them. 

I am so deeply proud of this country and the men and women who stand in harms way for us.  To any of them who may be reading today, including my brother, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.  Thank you for protecting me and my family.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  And I thank your families as well because they sacrifice just as much.  I honestly can’t find the words to express just how much gratitude I feel…and that’s saying something because me?  I’m rarely speechless.

To read about Veteran’s Day from the perspective of a veteran, visit this blog written by our dear friend, Jeremy.

Happy Veteran’s Day.


My grnadmother with her youngest child, Tammy, on the island of South Caicos circe 1965ish.

My grandmother with her youngest child, Tammy, on the island of South Caicos circa 1964-ish.

This day holds another significance for me.  Today is my grandmother’s birthday.  Mimi would have been 80 today.  Instead of celebrating with us, however, she’s dancing at the foot of the King and has been since March of 2003.  All I can say is I can’t wait to get to heaven to see Mimi dance because for as long as I was growing up that was not an activity she condoned.  I want to see her shake her groove thang on the streets of gold.

I so wish that Mimi were here with us.  I wish she could have met Tia and Landon.  I wish she could have come with my mom and I to her beloved Turks and Caicos islands last year.  I would have loved to hear her talk about her years there as a young mom and missionary.  It would have been nice to hear more of her stories.  I appreciate her so much more now that I am a mom myself.  And I miss her.

Thankfully, I have some of the journals she kept during her years as a pioneer missionary in the Carribbean.  They are a window into who she was as a young woman and I love to hold such a precious key to my past.

I am so proud of the heritage that has been passed down to me through my grandparents and parents.  I am proud of all of my family. They are living out the Great Commission every single day literally all over the world.  I couldn’t be more honored to share DNA with such a fine group of people.

Today’s post is dedicated to Mimi, a woman whom I admire, respect, miss and love.  May I pass the torch of faithfulness to my own children, just as it has been passed to me.