An Update on A Special Pair

Here is a picture of my grandson, Elijah.

varphoto011 His parents had the most used phone numbers coded in their phone.  The number to my phone was “2”.  While babysitting one night, I taught him to call my number and listen to my answering machine’s message.  I kept telling him to say “Hello, Grama” when the message stopped and he heard the ding.  He wouldn’t say it.  But we practiced calling my phone many times until he could call without my prompting him.

About a week later when I got home from classes, there were some  messages waiting for me.  I listened to the first; it was from my oldest daughter.  Then came the second.  Wow!  It was Elijah.  He said, “Hello Grama”.  There was a lot of noise in the background.  I could hear my daughter and her husband talking.  Don, my son-in-law, said, “Elijah, you are not suppose to play with the phone.”  Then there was a click.  Don had hung it up.  I immediately picked up the phone and called their house and told them I had a message from Elijah on my phone.  Of course, they did not believe me.  So I played it for them so they could hear for themselves.  With a little patience on the adult’s part, a child can learn to do things at a very early age.  This little incident is proof of that.

Here is a picture of Elijah now. DSC05624

He is no longer a boy; he is a young man, attending college.  When he was just a little guy,  I wrote some journal entries about him and his little sister, Charity.  The two were quite a special pair.

charity spanish0009 Charity Spanish 20001

elijah and charity on skis They played well together as evidenced by the photos above.

No Where To Run is an article I wrote about an adventure they had with my cat, Kit.  If you click on the title you can enjoy the adventure too.

In addition, Grama’s Birthday is an other article I wrote about both Elijah and Charity.  It was a joy when they both came to my house to deliver a present that brought with it a lasting joy for me and my cat.  Click on the title and enjoy the adventure too.

Charity has grown too.  Here is a picture of her holding a crab she found on the beach here in California.

Picture 194 She has turned into quite a soccer player too.  She guards the goal and stops the ball from entering.  She does a good job.  Before too long I plan to put some video clips of her doing just that.  Then you can judge for yourself.  In the meantime, there are some still shots.

Charity also sings.  The AV Beat On-line Magazine wrote an article about her in their magazine. They called her the”Singing Soccer Player”.   She sang often for the Jethalks here in Lancaster before games.   Here is a photo of her at the stadium.

Memorial for Nellie Mae Coffin, Smith, De Juan

Dec 13, 1911 through  Jan. 28, 2007

by Pastor Stu

One of the things I found out that just surprised me is that Nellie was a great Elvis Presley fan.  Loved his music and collected his memorabilia, such as calendars, clock’s, key chains, plates, or whatever she found displaying her musical hero.

It is dangerous to describe any individual, as we are very complex, but she was without a doubt good-hearted, kind, loved children, good-humored and adored by her grand children.

Her favorite flower was the rose, and her food was spare ribs or cornbread.  Also chili beans.

Nellie was a special gift from heaven, delightful incense from above, who brought a delightful aroma to her surroundings. 

Nellie was preceded in death by her two husbands (Terry C. Smith and Antonio De Juan) and her oldest child, son George Richard (Dick) Smith.  She is survived by three daughters…..

Peggy Jane Bakke, and husband OB of Cathedral City, CA.,

Trudy Annette Martinez, of Lancaster, CA and

Connie Banez of Everett, WA

Nellie had 12 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren.

Nellie De Juan walked among us as a mortal, tasted deeply of the joys and the sorrows of life, and now has made the upward trip to be with her Lord and master and begin the enjoyments of the heavenly kingdom.

May we give thanks to God for her life and rejoice in all that made her the woman she was.

Memories shared by daughters Peg and then Trudy with Scriptures read by grand-daughter, Kelley.


Nellie Mae Coffin, Smith, De Juan

Dec 13, 1911 – Jan 28, 2007

We are gathered to remember and celebrate the life of Nellie Mae Coffin, Smith, De Juan.

Gathered at this grave side, I am reminded of the old Puritan divine, John Owen.

While he was lying on his death-bed, his secretary was reading a letter he had written in John

Owens’s name and he read,

“I am still in the land of the living.” 

Owens said, stop, change that and say, “I am yet in the land of the dying; but shall soon be in the land of the living.”

Your friend and loved one left the land of the dying for the land of the living.

It was just a couple of weeks before Christmas, in the year 1911, when the family of George A and Katie Everett Coffin welcomed a new little girl into the family circle.  The new darling of the family was named Nellie Mae.  She was the fourth child in a family which in time would include 13 children.

Though born in Sherman, the family moved shortly after, a few miles north to Dennison, Texas, just south of the Oklahoma border, where they lived on a farm. 

We don’t know a lot about her childhood except that there must have been a lot of birthday parties, with 13 kids, always babies, lots of washing, ironing, cooking, taking care of a large garden, canning, there were chickens to feed and eggs to collect and of course cows to milk, butter to churn.  

When Nellie was 11 years old, her mother gave birth to twins.  Since mother had to work in the cotton mill, Nellie was taken out of school and given the responsibility of caring for the little twins.

Her adolescent and teen age years were filled with the things which pertain to managing and operating a household. 

I am not sure of the particulars but in her early 20’s, Nellie met a man, Terry Charles Smith and fell in love, and at the age of 24 they married in Dennison, Texas.  Shortly after the marriage, they moved to Los Angeles in Southern California. Her husband was a conductor on the famous Red line, (Street Car) and she worked at home as a housewife and homemaker.

To this marriage were born four children, one son, the oldest George, who was killed in a motorcycle accident, and three daughters.

The marriage in time became tumultuous, and in 1946 they divorced. Reading between the lines, I think that even though there was obvious tension, these were perhaps good years for Nellie and the young family. After their separation, Nellie and the children moved to Bell, a Los Angeles suburb.

Nellie moved her family to Banning where they lived for three years and then out here to the Palm Springs desert.  The move was precipitated by a doctor’s suggestion that she move to a drier climate for her son’s health.

In the desert, Nellie blossomed, finding she excelled in the hotel industry.  She worked for many of the major resort hotels in the capacity of a maid, till she got on with the Biltmore, where she worked for over 10 years as the executive housekeeper.  Not bad for a little gal from Sherman, Texas.  She retired in 1977.

Following her retirement she was the personal housekeeper and personal assistant to the former singer & actress Ginny Simms. 

In or around 1979, she moved to Ridgecrest, CA to stay with daughter Trudy and then in 2001 came back to the Palm Springs desert and stayed with daughter Peg and husband OB.

In July of 1957 she married Tony de Juan, whom she met through her work, and they had pleasant years together, till his death July 19, 1971. 

Nellie was an amazing lady.  Growing up deprived of the opportunity to get a high school education, she raised four wonderful children, rose to the top of her profession.  As the saying goes, ‘the cream rises to the top.’

A few things about Nellie before we hear from family:  Nellie was a quilter.   She belonged to the Ridgecrest Quilting Club and entered some of her work at the county fair.  The quality of her work was noted in that she won a number of blue ribbons.   I think all of the grand children have a quilt made with love by Nell, and she also passed on her quilting skills to one of her daughters. 

She had an infectious laugh and the grand kids just loved to be around her as she was such fun and an inspiration.  

Somewhere along the way she learned to make jewelry, and this was a great way for her to bond with her grandchildren, especially the girls.  They remember many fun and funny times with her.

Square dancing and also ball room dancing were activities she participated in and she spent many evenings on the dance floor. 

 Committal Ceremony

It is with joy in our hearts born of years of association with Nellie De Juan, and faith in our Savior Jesus Christ who said:

 I am the resurrection and the life; she that believes in Me, though she were dead, yet shall she live; and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die!

That we bring the body of Nellie to its final resting place. 

Nellie lived the good life.   Nellie fought the good fight.  Like the apostle said, ‘there is laid up for her in heaven a crown of righteousness.

Nellie has gone to take up her residence in that new place her Lord has prepared for her.  

With faith in Jesus Christ, we lovingly bring the body of our sister Nellie Mae De Juan to be buried in its human imperfection.

With confidence in God who gives life to all things, we pray that he will rise up her mortal body to the perfection and company of the saints.

May God give her merciful judgment and forgive all her sins.  May Christ, the Good Shepherd, lead her safely home to be at peace with God our Father, and may she be happy forever with all the saints in the presence of the eternal king.

Let us pray:

Loving God, we give thanks and praise for you created the earth and the heavens and set the stars in their places.  When mankind was caught in the snare of death, you set us free through your Son Jesus Christ.

 In fulfillment of your will, our Lord Jesus Christ conquered death and rose to life to bring salvation and resurrection life to those who belong to him by faith.

 We ask you, Lord, to bless this grave.  Give our sister peace and rest, and on the Day of Judgment raise her to eternal life with all your saints.


The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you , and remain with you always.  Amen.

Warm summer sun,
shine kindly here;
Warm southern wind,
blow softly here;
Green sod above,
lie light, lie light.
Good-night, dear heart,
good-night, good-night.
Mark Twain
Epitaph for his daughter (1896)

For my meditation this afternoon, I share some scriptures   from the book considered the oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job.

The book of Job deals with life as we all know it, difficulty, trials, suffering, questions, doubt and where is God when the going gets tough?

Listen to these words from the ancient past.

  “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.    (Job 14:1)
 He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.    (Job 14:2)
 If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.    (Job 14:14)

Job asks the same question that we have all asked at one time or another.

 If we die, is that it?  Or, do we continue to live in some form or another? 

Life and death or Birth and death.  Beginning and end.

Our human condition doesn’t get much more basic than this, does it?  I don’t think so.

Now Job not only asked the question, but he answers it.

A few pages later, he is found to say:
 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.    (Job 19:25)
 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;    (Job 19:26)
 I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!    (Job 19:27)
Listen to these assertions.  These are not the ramblings of a mad man, but the assurance of faith.

 Job’s soul has touched the Almighty, and he knows, oh how he knows, that death is not the end.

 Death is merely a transition; the moving from this existence to another, better, fairer, and more wonderful than human mind can comprehend.

 Someone has put it like this:  “For the believer, death does not extinguish the light.  It puts out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

 The Judea-Christian traditions are solidly grounded in the fact that Death does not end it all, but rather, that death is the means of passage from this life to the next.

This is the Christian Gospel.  It is good news.   Nellie believed it and I pray you do as well.

(edited by Trudy A. Martinez)

Hello World

 Hello World,

Today I hit the road, visiting one of those grandchildren of mine.  Her nickname is War Bug!    A War Bug is the good bug that distracts all the bad bugs away.  Well my War Bug is a joy; she loves to make little lady bug rocks.   Anyway,  She called me yesterday to give me some good news.  She said, “Grama, guess what?” 

 I stopped being a good guesser years ago.  I like it better if they just come out and tell me what.  But I played the game.  “What, Honey?”  I asked in reply.

“We won!” She said excitedly.  “We won!”

“What did you win?” I asked eagerly. 

“The regional championship!” She chirped out, “Our cheerleading squad did!  We were great Grama. 


 The crowd loved us.”  

The year before the squad did great too and the crowd loved them, but their team was disqualified because their coach clapped her hands and smiled (just like everyone else in the crowd). 

However, the judges declared her hand movements and facial gestures (a smile) were her attempts to coach the girls from the side-line which of course is against the rules.  An attempt was made to appeal the judge’s decision to no avail.  I was a member of the crowd last year when War-Bug came away disappointed and in tears after so much time and effort had gone to not. 

Their squad was clearly the best there.  I am not saying that just because I am her Grama either.  They practiced hard — about 6 or more hours per week.  I let her know that it is all about sportsmanship.  And told her to keep her chin up because next year they would for sure win.  Both the coach and girls learned a lot about competition and the dos and don’ts.   

Sure enough they won this year.   They did!  Last year their coach was female.  This year their coach is male.  He has three daughters and all three are on teams that he coaches.  Their team comes from the Kern ValleyThis years’ competition was held at Big Bear.  “Did your mom take the video camera?  Did she get some pictures?”  

They didn’t take the video camera, but they did get some pictures from the digital camera. 

I hope to post one here for you later.  If not, at least put one in the photo album on my site.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do once it is posted.

This Journal entry is up-dated today with the pictures I promised to post here.   I was told by the photographer of these pictures it was difficult to get

pictures because the girls were always moving.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some Kern Valley wining teams.