There are men in this world that leave legacies and we are blessed to call this one Papaw Jess! This man is by far one of the greatest men I know. I realize now that he has taught me more about life than I’ve ever thanked him for.
Love. His love for my grandmother was and still is unbelievable. The stories he shared about their lives together made me realize what true love meant. How he cared for her, took care of her, enjoyed life with her. Their relationship was a testament to my life and he still shows that love to her today. Mamaw’s picture still sits on the coffee table and we talk about her often! Oh how I miss her, but I can only imagine how he misses her.
Joy. Oh the joy that you, Audrey, have brought into his life. I watch his eyes light up when you run to him. He smiles ear to ear when you play dolls with him or fix him fake coffee. He loves you. And he loves all his great grandchildren. The Lord has blessed him with a bunch of great grandkids.
Peace. Sometimes the peace that Papaw Jess has shown actually makes me mad. While he can definitely still get worked up when the ice maker is rusting, or the wildcats are getting beat, or a telemarketer calls, or the house isn’t hot enough…he is prepared for eternity. His peace knowing that when his last breath is taken that he’ll be with the Lord Jesus Christ speaks volumes. While I hope to keep him around forever, his faith has shown me peace knowing who holds the future. (And speaking of a rusted ice maker…we went by and seen him yesterday and at 89 years old he had the ice maker completely torn apart, cleaning all the parts up because there was some rust on it. And he doesn’t even use the ice maker😂)
Longsuffering. I won’t get into all the details about how Papaw Jess has shown me the value of patience in spite of troubles, but I’m living proof that his patience and prayers influenced my life. While patience is not the biggest virtue of the Keller family😂, we seem to let the small things cause our paitence to wear thin. Papaw has shown throughout his life to be patient when it matters.
Gentleness. Speaking truth in love. We have had many conversations over the years. Conversations about life, love, politics, faith, and much more. We spoke about difficult topics and things happening today that would’ve never been dreamed about when he was a young man. One thing I have learned is that while he has deep convictions and holds firm to his beliefs, he speaks about difficult topics with a loving heart and attitude. He has shown me wisdom in standing strong yet showing love.
Goodness. This man would give the shirt off his back without thinking twice. He is constantly wanting to give to veterans organizations, children’s hospitals, and much more. My first time driving a vehicle was with my papaw. We were way back in the woods in Swiss Colony, cutting wood for people in need to use for heat and he threw me the keys at 10 years old. He was always teaching me to care for others. His goodness is hard to measure because he has done so much for so many.
Faith. As you can already tell by reading this, faith is a huge part of Papaw Jess’ life. His Bibles on the end table have always been worn from being read so much. I will never forget hearing his deep voice singing behind me in the pew at church. And how I tried to mimick the way he sang. Everyone would be singing the melody and me and papaw would be belting out the base line. That’s a great memory. His faith is strong and he’s passed that influence down on all his children and grandkids. And I will do the best of my ability to pass that on.
Meekness. It’s hard to meet a man as humble as papaw. A man that I always thought could do anything but I never remember him to brag about anything. He took pride in what he did but was always humble, never boastful. He taught me a work ethic that you always tried to be the best you can be. Be proud of who you are and be proud of what you do, but always be the kind of person that recognizes someone else before yourself.
Temperance. Papaw Jess definitely taught us that alcohol could bite like a serpent. I only knew papaw to occasionally have a glass of homemade wine. Something that he and all his brothers did to boost their immune system and increase the health. It must work because all of them lived long healthy lives. Fortunately we are blessed to still have Papaw Jess around so I hope he keeps drinking his wine. I actually never knew that he did that until I was probably 28-29 years old. One night I walked in at his house and accidentally caught him with a glass. He was so embarrassed that he ended up explaining to me why he did it.
The fruits of the spirit are ripe in Papaw Jess. A man with a legacy that will last forever. I’m thankful for every day that I have got to spend with him and I hope that we have many many more. His legacy will definitely live on in my life as I try to instill the fruits of the spirits in my children. Thank you Papaw Jess for being such an amazing man. I love you. My daughter loves you. And I know that you love her too!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Last couple mornings I’ve left Audrey crying for daddy as I had to go to work. Breaks my heart. This morning she’s doing the same thing. As I’m trying to figure out how to slip away Kelsey ask Audrey if she wants to go to the park…Audrey looks at daddy…quits crying and says…”you go to work! I go to park! Bye daddy!”😂😂. How quickly I was traded for the park!😂😂
A lot of people struggle with praying because they believe they need to use the right words or feel like they don’t know how to pray or what to say. I’ve been told by many people of getting extremely nervous about praying out loud with others. Some seem to think they have to know and use phrases like “How great thou art oh Lord.” Or they think that they must use King James Version verbatim when talking to the Lord. Or maybe it’s that they want their prayer to sound elegant or maybe even impressive to someone else. The Bible gives many references on how pray, why to pray, and even examples of prayers. (Luke 11:1-13, Matt. 6:4 & 9-13, James 4:8, Matt 14:23, Mark 1:35, and many more) For now, I just want my little girl to learn that God wants to talk to you and he wants you to talk to him. It’s as simple as that. Gods not concerned about your proper prayer format or the words you use. He just wants to hear you!
With all that said, your mom and I have been praying with you everyday since the day you were born! We pray before every meal and mommy helps you with a bedtime prayer every night. We always keep it simple. We thank the Lord for our family. We thank the Lord for our food. We sometimes thank the Lord for your toys and even Disney World😜. Mommy prays for angels to watch over you and protection. Most of the time you close one eye while squinting and peaking out the other at mommy and daddy. I think you’ve caught us doing that to you because we’re trying to see what you’re doing😍. Our purpose has always been to teach you that talking to Jesus is easy and important.
Last night, your mommy and I were blessed with you saying your first prayer! We ask you all the time if you want to say our prayers but until last night you have always smiled and said no. But last night, at the Dairy Dart, after being served cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, Mac and cheese, and French fries…..you bowed your head and prayed…
“Jesus, thank you for mommy! Thank you for daddy! Thank you for Audrey! And thank you for this food! AMEN!!!!!”
My heart overflows with joy continuously because of you. I’m so proud of you! I love you girl!
This 45 second video is memory I will cherish forever!
You were running a fever Monday but you still wanted to play outside and it didn’t seem to phase you much, other than your appetite. We laid you down at normal bed time and you went straight to sleep. All was well until about 1 am, you woke up and cried. Since you were running a fever, we quickly brought you to bed with us which was a struggle because you didn’t feel well and were very restless. Next morning, mommy takes you to the Dr and they say you have strep throat!! But, once again you were a champ all day and it didn’t slow you down a bit! You played outside with mommy and was in the best mood when daddy got home! After a mild bath, you weren’t even running a temp at all. We go to put you down to sleep and you weren’t having it! Mommy held you and rocked you for about an hour. Once she thought you were asleep, she tried to lay you down, but nope, you started crying. So daddy came in to relieve mommy. I held you and rocked you for another hour or so, but you would not lay down in the crib. Every time we tried to lay you down…you cried and cried!
So…finally, mommy comes in and says “let’s just put her in our bed.” I carry you in our room, I lay you down in our bed…you reached down and grabbed the covers and tucked yourself in!!😂😂. It was as if you looked up at me, smiled and winked, and then pulled up the covers and went straight to sleep. Mommy didn’t even get in bed right away as she went to the bathroom to get ready for bed, but you didn’t mind a bit. You were like, “I’ll be right here in yalls bed when you’re ready!”😂😂.
This is a memory I hope to remember forever. You’re sweet face as you pulled those covers up! Mommy and I have laughed all day about it. I wish I would’ve got a picture. I love you girl!
She loves Jesus and she holds her own fish…she’s already the perfect girl! I don’t know how I got this lucky, but I’m so thankful for my 2 girls! My beautiful, amazing wife and our unbelievably awesome little girl! “I going fishin’!” “I got one daddy!” “I hold it!” “By (my)self!” I am really savoring these memories! I hope when I’m an old man that I can still remember how sweet your voice is when you say these words! We had a great day at “Sam’s Super Fishing Party”!! You fished and ran and played so hard that you are sleeping really good right now!! I love you girl! You already make me so proud!
We’ve had a lot going on in the last few weeks. We moved, we celebrated your birthday, we celebrated Easter, and we’ve been settling into our new home. I think you’re beginning to understand that this is our new home. It’s definitely been a transition that we’re all still getting used to.
We have our own pond on our property now though so I’ve taken you fishing twice already when we’ve had the time. When I ask you if you want to go fishing, you beam from ear to ear. I have to get you on video saying “We goin’ fishin’ daddy!” I bought some of these toy baits that look like little fish and when they hit the water they enlarge like a big sponge and you loved them. The pictures below are the first one we used. We cast it out and daddy started yelling “You got one! You got one!” You were so excited. Daddy helped you reel it in as fast as we could.
I can’t wait to make more memories with you. As soon as you get some paitience, we’ll catch a real fish and not a sponge. Love you girl!