January 5, 2013

Evelyn Marie Atkins: A Quiet Unassuming Diginity

Sharon (Atkins) Pierson & Her Beloved Mother Evelyn Marie

Evelyn Marie Atkins
September 29, 1936 - January 4, 2013

Well, I thought it was hard watching my father go on ahead to meet Jesus in 2010 but I have found it is just as difficult if not harder to watch my wife loose her mother knowing I can do nothing except provide a shoulder to cry on and listen when she relives the joyous moments of her past with her mother. It seems that when loved ones pass we don't so much learn about this twilight aspect of the sunset of life as we learn about what it meant to be alive. We see the importance of life. In this case Marie's. I was honored to have known her and I will enjoy telling my Grandchildren about her...especially the incident with the cigarettes. Not only because of the humor and the fact that it exemplified Marie's personality but also because she played a hand in getting me to quit and improved my quality of life. I realize now she loved me just as she love all her children.

What can be said about mom? Well...lets take a look.

For the woman of few words, it is only proper that we should use choice words to pay her the respect that’s due. For those that knew mom she was an uncomplicated & modest woman. She would've sooner have worn pants and sneakers, than dresses and high heels.  She was down-to-earth and practical. She was spirited but not overbearing. She had kind eyes, a sweet smile and a heart that shined like gold. She was the soft-spoken woman in public with the Aqua-Net Hairdo and red lipstick.

Proverbs 31:25 ~ “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

Marie was petite, the woman barely stood 5’1”. She would sometimes wryly state that good things come in small packages…and she’s was right, she did.  With little effort she had the ability to move a mountain with a few carefully chosen words. Marie was not one for idle chit-chat or small talk. With this economy of words she drove points home. It was as if she specifically dispensed words for impact and effect and they would nearly always have the intended effect.  As a person of few words, people knew that when she did speak…they should listen. When she did speak, her words usually carried wisdom gained from a lifetime. She would also use old turns of phrase that would stick in your mind such as, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” or “Don’t cry over spilled milk”.

Proverbs 31:26 ~ “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Along with being a kind loving woman, she rarely lost her temper and was usually quite reserved. Of course this would not stop her from saying something if she felt so compelled. As a matter of fact she could become an outright pistol when she wanted to be. First came the evil eye, then came the carefully chosen words to put you in your place. To hear evidence of this fact, a person need only ask the 240 lb. son-in-law (me) that she stubbornly chased around the lawn of his own home to rip a cigarette out of his mouth while emphatically repeating, “Those things are going kill you, don’t you see what they have done to your father?”

2 Timothy 1:7 ~ “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

Evelyn Marie Atkins & Sharon (Atkins) Pierson
on her Wedding day
Marie was completely dedicated to her family, a caregiver and a homemaker at heart. It’s what God made her to be, and she did it skillfully. If there is any doubt of this fact, we need only look at her offspring and their families. If the next successive generation is the indicator of the success of the parenting, we need to conclude that she out-shined many in this task. I speak as first-hand testimony. I married her youngest daughter & thank God for that blessing. I’m sure if someone was to ask the spouses of the other siblings, they will say the same thing.

Proverbs 31:27-28 ~ “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

Marie was not lazy. She did not eat the bread of idleness. She understood the fruit of labor. While at home raising her family she stuck to time-honored traditional values. She liked to crocheting & making Afghans and doilies. She also enjoyed yard work and being outdoors. She did not like cooking per se but she certainly enjoyed the sweets and enjoyed baking. It was not uncommon to see various assortments of cookies at Christmas time along with Rice Pudding, Chocolate Mayonnaise cake in her home. After her children had grown and left home she took on full-time employment upon the passing of her late husband Newt Atkins. Previously she had worked part time to help make ends meet in the Atkins household. As a dedicated employee, she rarely missed a day of work. Being task oriented, she engaged in meaningful employment to support herself. She got things done. She provided for herself. She was not a dependent, she was independent. She never sought hand-outs, but instead she worked with her hands.

A giver, not a taker…it was in these times you saw the hard working farm girl in her come to the surface.

Proverbs 14:23 ~ “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Proverbs 31:17~ "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

True to her humble and unassuming nature, she did not think of herself as a smart person but ironically, she knew what was in important in life…Her family. Whether by birth and blood, or by marriage and friendship, she took a intense interest in those around her. She looked after people’s better interests even when those people didn’t do it for themselves. The truth is… she had all of the intelligence and gifts needed to excel in life.

Proverbs 31:31 ~ “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Seth Pierson, Grandmom Atkins, Bryce Pierson
It is poignant to note that…true to her simple and modest character she seems to have exited this world quietly and on her own terms. She left peacefully at the summoning of Jesus Christ so not to trouble anyone around her including her family. A self-sufficient woman that carried her own weight with a quiet dignity that shined like a beacon of humility and grace. A light…like that of the Savior Jesus Christ. And just like the One she emulated, she went on ahead of us all holding a light when it comes time for them to find the way to heaven also.

Matthew 5:14 ~ “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Through everything including the illness in the end, Mom maintained these quiet distinctive characteristics. Through all the hardship, she managed to keep her priorities straight. What more can be asked of a woman than loving her family?

A dedicated and faithful wife
A doting and devoted mother
A loyal and trustworthy friend
A virtuous woman that put others first

Can we, who are still alive, having been blessed with her presence for so long forget to be thankful to God for this blessing? I think not.

To bring this home for all of us I will state this…

It is said...that it is not what you take with you when you leave the world behind, it's what you leave behind you when you go. What Marie leaves behind is a brilliant legacy and a wonderful example to follow, not only in her actions but also in her children. She acted as a light to the world and helped keep us focused on what is truly important. She focused on what was important not only when life was easy, but especially when it is grueling and difficult too.

Please know mom that we loved you dearly and are quite proud of you. But you wouldn’t have wanted us to shouting this from the rooftops. So we, like you, will remain reserved with a quiet unassuming dignity. We know inside that you were the mirror of a righteous wife, mother, daughter and friend. As such we will let the Lord and His angels sing your praises…

"Well done good and faithful servant. Well Done."

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