Friday Wrapup (and a Very Personal Message)

Last Updated on December 26, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to end this week on a bit of a personal note by honoring a very special woman.  You see, today is my maternal grandmother’s 99th birthday.  Her name is Thelma, but we grandkids call her Mernie.  You may call her that, too, if you’d like.

Now I know when most people think of a 99-year-old woman, they automatically picture one who is weak, frail, slow, needs help with basic daily tasks, and whose mind isn’t what it once was.

Well, that’s not my grandmother.  Not even a little bit.  Meet Mernie…

Mernie at party

Isn’t she beautiful?  She is truly one of those salt-of-the-earth types of people.  She’s an amazing woman, and I’m so blessed to be her granddaughter. She is strong, determined, courageous, kind, loving, sincere, hardworking, disciplined and hard headed (in the most wonderful way).  And if there is such a thing as the DIY gene, it was passed to me through her.

The fact that she is still alive today, and still lives such an active, vivacious life is due to that sheer determination and courage.  You see, about 38 years ago, right before I was born, she and my grandfather were in a terrible fire at their home as they were working on their own DIY project…their bathroom.  A product that they were using had very strong flammable vapors, and as the hot water heater in the bathroom came on, the vapors caught on fire, and Mernie was trapped in the bathroom.

My grandfather got her out, suffering burns himself, but Mernie suffered 3rd degree burns over 54% of her body.  The doctors were convinced that she would not live, and were even more convinced that if by some miracle she did live, she would never be able to walk again, would have no use of her hands, and would therefore have to have someone take care of her and do everything for her for the remainder of her life.

But through sheer determination, courage, and excruciatingly painful treatments and therapy, she stared death in the face and told it exactly where it could go.


This is me, days old, with Mernie while she was still in the hospital.

Needless to say, Mernie made a full recovery.  A few years later, she helped put a new roof on their lake house.  She lives alone, does everything for herself, rakes her own yard, helps carpool her nephew’s kids, and does anything else you would expect of a woman in her 60’s.  lol…

Mernie on motorcycle

Mernie on a motorcycle, of course!  When someone told her they sure were glad she doesn’t act her age, Mernie replied, “I have never been this age before so so I don’t know how to act.”  Ha!  I love that!

When I’m going through a difficult time and want to feel sorry for myself, I always think of Mernie.  I imagine the hardship she went through, and her determination and refusal to feel sorry for herself.  I imagine the excruciating pain that she endured, and yet refused to complain.

I can’t even tell you how many times in my life I’ve faced a challenge, and wanted to feel sorry for myself or complain or give up, and then I thought to myself, “How would Mernie handle this?”  The answer is always clear.  She would stare that hardship in the face with steely determination, and she would push through without feeling sorry for herself and without complaining.

Mernie at parade

Mernie was in a parade this past Christmas in her home town,
and rode in the rumble seat of this beautifully restored car.

Mernie is also the picture of faithfulness and selflessness, always ready to serve others, and her love for Christ is evident in her life.  I will be eternally blessed (literally) for the rich heritage that was passed along to me through her faith and her love for God.

Mernie last year

I could go on and on.  Oh, how I wish each of you could meet her and know her.  I can guarantee you that your lives would be richer because of it.  I hope that my words have at least conveyed a small fraction of how amazing she is.  The world is a better place because of her.

Happy birthday, Mernie!!  I love you, I’m so proud of you, I’m so blessed to be your granddaughter, and I will be eternally thankful for the rich heritage that you have passed along to me.

If you missed a post this week, just click on a thumbnail below to go directly to that post.




Hope you have a great weekend!  And don’t forget about this link party this weekend.  Come show off the things you’ve been working on!!  Since Sunday is Easter, I might try to post the link party on Saturday evening if I have time.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Amy @ Increasingly Domestic
    April 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Wow Kristi! What a heritage you have in that woman! I am totally bawling my eyes out right now.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    You are so lucky!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    You are so luck. Happy Birthday Mernie!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Oh Kristi, I love Mernie! Wish we lived close just so I could visit her. Happy birthday to her. Isn't she so beautiful? Lord bless you both. Vicki

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    We haven't met but I am quite sure you are very much like your grandmother. And, like her, you are an inspiration to so many of us with your drive, and interest and willingness to tackle new things and to share your love of that with others. Your post was very touching. Count me among the weepers….
    And Happy Birthday, Mernie!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Mernie sounds like an incredible woman. She is a beautiful woman and doesn't look 99.

    This is my first comment on your blog. I come here daily and love all your creative ideas.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    This is such an inspiring story. Mernie is beautiful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Kristi-
    What a nice tribute. I hope I can live that long and stay as active as she is. Bless her.

    My best- Diane

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Vivienne @ The V Spot
    April 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Holy Cats! Mernie is AWESOME! Happy birthday!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mandy Snow
    April 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    hi there..i discovered your blog this week and love it…what a great post…i am mum ti 6 kids, ages 9 to 20 and honestly, for the past 5 years my hubby and i have been trying to come up with names for when we are grandparents..lol…silly i know!!!!BUT…you have just given me the name…hope you don't mind….but MERNIE…wow…i was going to be marnie but my sister has gerabbed that…but Mernie…what a great name and such an inspirational woman…you are one lucky girl to have her…hb Mernie…xxx

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Mernie I love you! I have just adopted you -or I guess I should say I have adopted myself into your family! Kristi – thanks so much for sharing Mernie's story – incredible, beautiful lady! And I'm so glad that you realize how special she is. YOu might should add a regular "Mernie Update" to your blog!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Hi, Kristi! What a precious post about a precious lady! You are so blessed to have her in your life. What a wonderful tribute you've written. I feel like I know her!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi's mom
    April 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    That is beautiful, Kristi. I talked to Mernie earlier to see if she had seen your post. She hadn't because she got a message that her computer has a virus and she can't get on the internet. Hopefully it will be up and running soon. I know she will appreciate your post though.

    Yes folks, Mernie has a computer and keeps up with her large and expanding family on Facebook. She is amazing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anne Sullivan
    April 23, 2011 at 12:04 am

    That was such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing! It made me tear up and wish that I could know Mernie too. 🙂 What an amazing woman, your words about her have definitely inspired me!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Matthew Linauer
    April 23, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Mernie is an incredible person for sure. I don't know if she still does this but she used to drive the old ladies to church…ya know the ones in their 70's. I say Mernie for president 2012.!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    mom blog
    April 23, 2011 at 5:17 am

    I loved this post. Readers like to see emotions, something that tells them that you're a real person with the same feelings as they have, and not just a computer generated author. The pics in this post were amazing, they really show your love and tell your story. Great work on this post. I write a mom blog http://www.BlogWithMom.com and like to share ideas and posts from my readers. I thought your post was very appropriate for your blog! It shows you are a caring person, someone who I'd like to "follow" if I had to pick which blogs I would read on a weekly basis. Now, on the decorating subject, I have just gotten into the Scentsy Fragrance Line and have opened my website http:BlogWithMom.scentsy.us Do you use decorative warmers in your home? I thought about using the plug ins for when company came to "light" their way to the bathroom. I love holiday decor and Scentsy always has cute holiday warmers. I know you can't use these year round, but I am a sucker when it comes to holiday decor. Thanks again for sharing Mernie's story!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    mom blog
    April 23, 2011 at 5:20 am

    My Scentsy site is http://BlogWithMom.scentsy.us I was so "into" writing my comment that I didn't provide the right link info.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mid-Century Homes
    April 23, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Wow grandma Mernie is really blessed. I also have a grandma she's 80 years old.
    And she's not that strong like grandma Mernie she live's in Mid-Century Homes

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nancy Ulrich
    April 23, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Mernie Motorcycle Mama! Woo Hoo! I want to be just like you when I grow up!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Fong Liliana
    April 23, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I"m so touched by your story about Mernie!How lucky you are to have such a wonderful grandnie in life!She came through so many hardship moments and that shaping her to become the today loving Mernie!May God bless her eternally..and wish her a very happy birthday!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Fong Liliana
    April 23, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I"m so touched by your story about Mernie!How lucky you are to have such a wonderful grandnie in life!She came through so many hardship moments and that shaping her to become the today loving Mernie!May God bless her eternally..and wish her a very happy birthday!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    What an amazing woman! Happy 99th birthday to Mernia – she looks fabulous – I only wish I look half as good as her when I reach 80, never mind 99! She looks so chic, too!

    You are definitely blessed! Thank you for sharing her story!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    She is a genuine treasure as my mama is to her grandchildren and TO ME! :`)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Julie @ The Hopple Family
    April 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Happy Birthday Mernie! What a sweet post, Kristi! Happy Resurrection Day!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi's mom
    April 23, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Well, Matt, they have all died, so she just goes to church alone now. She does still drive though.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi's mom
    April 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Virus is gone and she is back on the internet!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I feel like I DO know her through your beautiful descriptions. My paternal grandma, BonneMaman, lived a beautiful life until the age of 99. Your Mernie reminds me so much of my BonneMaman.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 23, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    What a heart felt tribute to this amazing lady! Kristi, you and your family are tremendously blessed !

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 24, 2011 at 1:20 am

    She sounds like an amazing woman with a wonderful family 🙂 Happy birthday to a special lady! So fun to read about someone so determined and dedicated. Go Mernie!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    April 24, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Happy Birthday, Mernie. I want to be YOU when I grow up!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Joan Summers
    April 24, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Wow, I must say I got a little teary eyed with this post. A very heartfelt post and I feel honored that you shared a part of yourself to us.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Kristi,
    Your grandmother is a remarkable woman…she is beautiful. Please wish her a Happy 99th Birthday for me!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 25, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Wow, I hope I look that great at 99! You're so lucky to have such a wonderful person in your life to inspire you and to look up to. I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating her birthday~

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing your "Mernie." What a beautiful lady on the outside and beautiful spirit on the inside. We should all be so lucky to have a "Mernie" in our lives, or better yet, be half the woman she is. God Bless!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Aw, your Mernie just sounds wonderful! Reminds me alot of my mom. Although she is only 80 she give me constant inspiration!. You are a lucky girl!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 27, 2011 at 1:07 am

    OMG…She is beautiful…thanks so much for posting. This is an amazingly encouraging post. Thanks so much again.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 4, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Thank you very much for the post about your wonderful grandmother "Mernie".  I have chronic major depression and I wish I had had either a parent or a grandparent that could have set a wonderful Christian expample for me as your grandmother does for you.  I honestly believe that being brought up by a mentally ill mother (depression & other demons) and the abuse we kids suffered at her hands led me to this quamire (sp) of life I lead.  No one knows how difficult it is NOT to be able to do the things you want to do and be the hopeful kind of person I would like to be.  I give encouragement to others and I am heartily thanked for it.  However for myself I don't have "it".  You are so blest to have a grandmother like Mernie to encourage you and give you hope and determination throughout your life.  I enjoy your decorating and the manner in which you write of your projects.  I am certain Mernie is very proud of you and boast of you as you do her.  Mary S.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kostas Tsipos
    November 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    YES Kristi She is truly one of those salt-of-the-earth types of people!!!!!!
    Your grandmother is a Beautiful and Looks Very Kind person …YOU ARE so LUCKY!!!!!!

    Birthday posters

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I am proud of my maternal grandma too. Aren't grandmas great. I especially like your photo of Mernie on a motorcycle

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Chelle Ellis
    April 23, 2020 at 1:48 am

    Happy Birthday, Mernie!