THE SCRAMBLING LEGACY
Jane M. Phinney | June 22 ,2019
We all have significant people who’ve impacted us--for life. Their influence effected positive change, & we’ll never be the same because of our relational experience with them. My “older woman” friend, Judy, is one of those people. We met in Denver in the 80’s, when Steve was participating in counselor training at a Christian ministry. We had been married almost 4 years & had a toddler and a baby. Keith & Judy were newlyweds, having been married about a year. As I recall, Keith met Judy when he commissioned some artwork from her. A confirmed bachelor, he had formerly served, for years, as a pastor. Judy was 16 years his junior & a widow. The rest, as they say, is history. We knew of them because Keith had previously ministered to a family member, so we felt a connect even before meeting them face to face.
Judy was a student of the Word… observant, plain spoken, & passionate about her faith, Truth, & life application. She was honest about what she believed, though not all people appreciated that. Judy lost her first husband on a hiking excursion. One minute he was waving at her from the top of a cliff. The next minute he was gone…literally slipping to his death. I can only imagine how that experience formed, & contributed to, her expression of faith & trust in God. She didn’t take anything for granted.
After training, we were invited to come on staff & we moved to Colorado permanently. Eventually, Keith & Judy became our landlords. We also house-sat for them one winter. Coming from farm country, we had never seen a house quite like Judy’s. Built on a mountainside, the spectacular glass windows made you feel like you were a part of God’s handiwork. Inside, her beautiful artwork decorated the walls. A blizzard that year netted 18” which only enhanced the views. It was breath-taking & picturesque.
Judy was practical but adventuresome. She wasn’t afraid to try new ideas while remaining a good steward of what God had given her. She could create something beautiful from simple things. One time when I complimented her hairstyle, she told me that she cut her own hair, attaining the beautiful layers by pulling it all up in a ponytail & then snipping it off at the point of her desired top layer. You never would’ve guessed it! She felt it unwise to pay for what she could do herself. Judy was a Bible scholar in her own right, mentoring couples alongside Keith, & teaching gals who they were in Christ. Her meals were legendary, mostly because of her self-created spices, sauces, & recipe combos. Everyone loved eating at the Fredrickson table! Keith & Judy loved popcorn and ate it nightly for years. She graciously shared the recipe for her special 9-ingredient seasoning with me. We loved it! But when our girls were younger, they refused to eat it, declaring it was “yucky!” Thus, Judy’s Yucky Popcorn Seasoning was officially “launched” from our home. I never did give out the recipe, choosing instead to gift it to people. It fast became a family tradition.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you might have recognized Judy as my “I Can’t Scramble Eggs Without Jesus” mentor, chronicled in the October, 2018, post. I cannot re-emphasize enough how this lesson turned my spiritual life inside out. It still does & always will. Most anyone who is comfortable in the kitchen doesn’t think twice about scrambling eggs. Simply stated, if we need Jesus for something as basic as that, we need Him for everything!
We stayed connected with Keith & Judy, somewhat sporadically, through the years. Seasons of life & various ministry opportunities landed us in different states. They ministered from their home Colorado and later “retired” to a smaller community in Arizona. Truth be known, they never sat idle. Keith passed away in 2008 from an unknown heart condition. (He still walked 3 miles a day in his 80s) But we continued sharing Christmas cards & updates with Judy, reconnecting even more intimately when I had cancer. I sent her copies of my blogs, which she used as a guide to pray for us. I have, in my possession, 250 copied pages of Judy’s handwritten Bible studies /commentaries on Romans & Philippians. Amazing! She never did get much into technology & her steady, beautiful artistic writing style has never wavered through the years. Just this week I reread a letter I keep with her studies…always honest Judy… still encouraging to this day!
On Wednesday, June 12, I sent Judy a heartfelt correspondence with the next set of blogs. Saturday, June 15, it was confirmed that Judy had gone home to Jesus just 3 months ago. I felt numb! Memories quickly flooded my mind like pictures on a digital frame. My next thought was, “She won’t read my letter.” I wish we had known of her passing earlier. Her few distant family members wouldn’t have known of our friendship. I would have loved to share my memories at her Celebration of Life service. More than once, Judy told me that she prayed she didn’t live to be as old as her Mom & Dad (mid-90s). She was ready & yearned for heaven. At 79, God granted Judy that desire.
I honor Judy not because she was a talented artist, a gifted student of the Word, or one of the best cooks on planet earth. I honor her for the investment she made in my life as one of my Titus 2 “older women.” She was that woman to many gals. I honor her because she wasn’t ashamed of the full gospel of Jesus Christ. I honor her because long ago, God arranged for us to meet so that He could turn my spiritual life around-- with a simple cooking illustration. My family will continue to enjoy Judy’s “Yucky” popcorn seasoning, chicken spaghetti casserole, teriyaki sauce & her chilled mushroom side dish. But the shared legacy that matters most is the Truth reflected in her simple confession, “I Can’t Scramble Eggs Without Jesus.”
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; & may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, & He will also bring it to pass.” (1 Thess. 5:23 &24) God was faithful to Judy all her days on earth. He called her & He kept her until He wanted her with Him. She’s now sanctified & complete, in total, with no need to scramble anything. I am grateful to have experienced the freedom that God massaged in my soul, through His vessel Judy. She is one of His redemptive threads, woven into the tapestry of my life.