Business Friendships = in Memory of Geneva Gates 1931-2015

Business Friendships = in Memory of Geneva Gates 1931-2015

I have met many people as  a pastor’s wife for over 56 years concurrent with being a seamstress  over 40 years, teaching school 11 years, working for Weight Watchers in the Hillsdale, Jonesville, Battle Creek, and Marshall area, and office manager for a construction company.

Today I post this as a memorial of a dear friend and one of my favorite sewing clients, Geneva Gates.   (click on link to see obituary).

Geneva called on Tuesday, Dec. 7th and asked if I would hem two skirts for a special occasion coming up soon.  I did them right away and called her the next morning to let her now they were ready and I believe she picked them up later that day on the 8th. I was alarmed when we heard on Hillsdale radio obituaries that she passed away on the 14th.

She didn’t make it to those special occasions. God had other plans for our dear friend.

I considered Geneva a special friend as I continued to sew for her over the years from 2009 – 2015.

I especially enjoyed the little  stories she shared with me about her trips and reading her witty articles in “Over the Fence” in the local Tip-Off.

One such article was about a collection of bookmark .  After I read it, I crocheted a Bible Bookmark Cross for her to add to her collection and mentioned to her that each time she passed the book mark in her Bible reading,  I wanted her to know that I was praying for her.  She was a special lady.

The first time she called me, while we lived at the Friendship Village in Litchfield she mentioned that she needed her skirt and jacket shortened.  I have long arms and I told her that she could just buy two outfits and I could use the fabric that I cut off hers to make my sleeves longer.

The apartment there was small and the bedroom was right by the entrance door and she must have  noticed my very plain green bedspread and when she came to pick up her alterations, that “little lady” had a huge bundle in tow.  Yes, she had a beautiful floral bedspread and it appeared to be new… But she said,   “No, I just got a new one and was just about ready to take this one to the Good Will.  Geneva was such a giving person (a tray of cookies, fruit for Christmas, a little Christmas tree, towels for the kitchen a lamp shade) each time she came and went I felt like I should pay her.  

She often had work for me as she was preparing for one of her guided trips, she so loved doing.

As I always do, when I make out a bill for a client I include a gospel tract.  She would always comment how she appreciated them and other literature that we shared with her over the years.

Geneva did not talk about her faith but one time when she brought work to me she mentioned that she had been very ill with the shingles and commented that she had learned a whole lot about talking to God during that hard trial.

Another time she handed me a sack and held on to my hands before I opened it and asked, “Have you ever been shopping and something you saw just called someones name?”  As soon as I saw the word ‘God’ I knew I had to get this for Jane,”  and When I looked in the sack it was a beautiful black and white apron with embroidered words on the bib that said, “Every Day Is a Gift from God”.  The colors in my kitchen are black and white with red decor and in previous visits she had brought me red and black dish towels.

One time she asked me to decorate a hat she had for one of her trips. which I did and I also had another hat that  I thought she could  also use and she was so pleased.  Not to be outdone the next day to my great surprise, the florist arrived with an amazing floral arrangement, in a hat with a beautiful  butterfly in it

While we were visiting last I showed her how we had moved the laundry room up into the kitchen and we joked a bit about how it was hard getting older and I reminded her to be careful on the narrow steps. 

As she left she reminded me that she  was just ten minutes away and if I ever needed her she would come running.  I felt that was so kind and thoughtful of such a very busy lady.

Geneva was a thoughtful, kind and giving person and I love her and I am sure I am not the only one.

This occasion has caused me to be alerted to the fact the we do not know when we will have a last opportunity to show love to someone else.

“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

August 30, 2015    Jane’s Heart to Heart    ….Pastor’s Help Mate

My husband, Ken came into my office, while  our grandchildren, Levi and Grace were visiting and we were wishing it was spring.  He was excited and said, “O.K.,   You need to go out to the breezeway to  see my surprise.”   I figured he did something silly and put Arnie, our stuffed lamb out there on my scouter, so I didn’t get in a hurry to go out.  Not much time passed when he came and with a disappointed tone to his voice, reminded me, “Don’t forget the surprise in the breezeway.

Wondering what he was up to now,  I reluctantly pulled myself up from my chair where I was teaching Grace how to crochet  and wandered out to the breezeway a little agitated  at being disturbed. 

Well, when I opened the door I was a bit ashamed of myself and I was truly delighted because I realized the significance of his disappointment. There in the breezeway sitting in the only place it could possibly fit was my swing which I love. My parents had given it to me a short time before they  graduated to heaven.  On the other side of the room was my “bird cage” swing, a name he coined for my wicker swing that looks like a bird cage. I love to sit in it too,  but it hangs from  just one spring  which breaks periodically and so we removed it from the living room since I fixed it, with three pieces of clothes hanger and that was not very pretty.

Last summer I went out two times into  the yard under our nice shade trees, to sit in my swing and was eaten alive by the mosquitos and bombed by bees. 

Ken has about all he can manage to drag that swing up and down the steps to please me and to keep it out of the weather in the winter and out doors for me in the spring.

What he  was trying to do was make a place for me to get out of my office and close to the fresh air  without getting any more skin cancer and not be eaten alive by bugs.

To do that he had to move my scooter, the generator, and the Adirondack chair out of the breezeway where they were being stored for the winter and into the garage and lawnmower shed.  To move that chair he had to clean out the whole shed to make room for it, which involved a whole lot of work.

I love it!  I love to come out here and relax and read and prepare for my posts. I am so thankful  for my dear man who goes to so much trouble to make me comfortable.

As I sit here and swing  in the cozy country parsonage breezeway, I can see up Hadley Road from my swing  and when the door is opened I can even see the traffic going by and the front of the church,  mirrored in the reflection of the door window.

This is truly  a blessing  that I would have missed it I had just ignored Ken’s coaxing.

This is the way our relationship with the Lord is sometimes.  Jesus coaxes us, Matthew 11:28-30 KJV  ”28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Come aside and rest and enjoy his many blessings!

Psalm 103:2  “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:”


Joyful Words From The Parsonage


The Cozy Country Parsonage