Life Builders: Anna Miller

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Anna Miller – My Grandma

Since my New Year’s Eve gig last month was in Atlantic City (working with the David Caceres band at the Gold Nugget), I decided to go early, take Pearl with me, and spend a little time with my relatives from my mothers side of the family. I had been wanting to write a Life Builders post about my grandmother and I can’t think of a better time to do that than right after we finally spent some time with her.

This Life Builders Series is dedicated to acknowledging the people who have contributed to my success in life. This series is actually an offshoot from the other series I’m working on called Love Is. The Life Builders Series is part of the way that I am exercising “love” as it is taught in 1 Cor. 13. The Bible says that “Love is not proud.” The more I prayed, studied and observed pride and love in my life, I realized that the way that we exercise not being proud is to acknowledge those who have lifted us up. When we fail to acknowledge God and other people for what they have done for us, this is pride in its purest form.

My grandmother contributed to my success in life both directly and indirectly. She contributed to my success indirectly through my mother. Much of what I listed in my mom’s Life Builders page is stuff you can trace back to her mom. But even though I have spent very little time with my grandma over the past thirty years, there are some very specific things in my life that I can trace back to my conversations with her.

A Wellspring of Wisdom

My grandma is a wellspring of wisdom. I didn’t appreciate her in this way until I was older (and she would say that this is normal). The more I grew up, living on my own in a world that often seems so lacking in wisdom, the more I realized how valuable my grandmother is in that respect.

One of the reasons I waited until now to write this Life Builders post about her is because I was beginning to question my memory. Ha! As I get older, I trust my memory less and less. And I was beginning to wonder if I was just over exaggerating. Is my grandmother really as wise as I remember her to be?

That’s something most people know about me who know me well. I am not a person who just says stuff if I don’t mean it. I tell this to my students all the time. I feel obligated to keep saying it, not because it’s not true (yes, I understand that some people believe that if you say something like that all the time, then you must be covering something up), but because most people in society today DO just say stuff that they don’t really mean. I don’t want people to think that I am like that. All of these Life Builders are genuine and I wanted to be certain that I wasn’t just remembering things wrong.

But on this recent trip to see her, my grandmother confirmed my memories and opinions. She said several things that made me think, “wait a second, I should write that down!” He he he… What’s interesting is that she isn’t just TRYING to sound or look wise, in a superficial sense. No, my grandma’s wisdom is really something that just overflows from her personality. She is like a spring that bubbles up every day common sense.

Oh what I would do to be able to spend a few hours a week with her, just hearing her talk!

Watching My Weight

One of the earliest words of wisdom I can remember that my grandmother said to me was that I had the same body type as my great grandfather. She warned me to be careful with my weight. When she said that, I thought she was nuts. I don’t think I weighed much more than 125 lbs at the time. I was always a very skinny kid. But sure enough, I ballooned to 279 lbs by the mid 90’s. That’s when I remembered her warning

Here’s the thing about that… If I remember this right, she didn’t say I was going to get fat. She told me to watch the way I live to avoid getting that way. She made it clear to me, even though I wasn’t ready to hear it or understand it yet, that our health is largely our choice.

In that respect, she continues to be a huge inspiration to me. At 92 she remains very healthy and has set an example that I want to follow. Yes, it is my choice. I do have control over my weight and other various aspects of my health. Thanks in part to my Grandma, I am no longer 279 pounds.

Active Living

I remember when Grandma told me about some girls she worked with who were taking aerobics classes. Long before I ever read this same advice in a book by Stormy O’Martin, my grandmother said that she advocates an active life style over formal exercise classes. Almost word for word, she told me the same things that O’Martin says in her book; to take the stairs instead of the escalator, to walk more instead of driving everywhere, to make choices in your every day life that will require physical effort.

I  try to live that way today. She has inspired me to live that way. When we always choose to do things the easy way, then no amount of exercise can really make up for it. That’s why there are so many people out there today who have “cut” bodies but can’t do anything with them. That’s not healthy. That’s nothing more than cosmetic maintenance. When you live an active life style, you develop strength in the muscles you need most. This is something my grandmother taught me decades ago.

It’s Not Her Age

Before you get the wrong idea, I don’t want you to think that my grandmother is so wise just because of her age. There is that popular belief that wisdom is just a natural byproduct of old age. Well, my grandmother was a very wise woman long before she was “old.”

The Bible says that we should seek after wisdom, that wisdom is better than jewels (Proverbs 8:11) and that when we pray for it, God will give it to us (James 1:5). You don’t have to wait till you are old before you can have access to God’s wisdom in your life.

No Internet

Grandma lives in a quiet town, in a wonderfully peaceful home. She doesn’t have internet or anything like that. So she won’t be reading this or responding online. I guess that’s one of the reasons I have put off writing about her in one of these Life Builders posts. For the older people I want to honor this way, I have mailed them privately, via snail mail, to tell them how I feel and that I appreciate them.

That said, I felt it was important to include her here anyway, so that OTHER people know that I appreciate my Grandma. Please remember that the biggest, most important reason I am doing this publicly is to set an example. I would love to find out, years down the road, that I have inspired others to acknowledge the people who have contributed to their own success. That’s what this is all about. It’s not about me and all the wonderful people in my life. It’s about YOU.

Please follow my lead. Take an honest look at your life to see all the things people have done for you to get you where you are today. Do you want to move forward in your life? Do you want more out of life? This is the way forward! You are the result of many people’s love and effort. If you want to move forward in your life, the first step is to acknowledge those people and the differences they made in your life.

As always, I have not shared everything I could share about my grandmother. I have specifically chosen not to post her picture and I have not given you all the details of how she has inspired me.



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