There Is Time

Early on, my grandmother, Mimi, showed me the beauty of reaching out to others with grace and tenderness. I watched as she served her community as a selfless volunteer and Red Cross coordinator. She lived by the principle “There is time in every day to do something for someone.”   She ran fundraising drives, made home visits to deliver baked goods, and if there was extra squash in her garden, she shared it with a neighbor. During my childhood, time with Mimi was spent helping others.

Mimi gave the little jobs high esteem and helped me see how my small part contributed to the finished product. If we planted a vegetable garden in the spring, she would show up with baskets overflowing with produce in the summer. We would keep some,  but give most of the bounty to others. Mimi taught me to value my work at the end of a day and the end of a growing season.

Mimi was once quoted saying “the unselfish volunteer work of individuals is the strength of America”, and in my early twenties I stood on a stage and watched her graciously receive national honor for living out this principle.

My mom also modeled the value of giving back more than you take. By the time I could read, I was by her side as she ran fundraisers and campaigns. I stuffed envelopes and handed out flyers. By involving me, I gained hands-on experience in the importance of volunteerism. Mom also taught me the brilliance of organization and the art of taking on a challenge for a cause.

Shadowing my mother and grandmother taught me that serving others is a beautiful way to live.

My precious grandfather, known affectionately as “Peepaw,” used to say “All I have to do is make the living because Mimi makes it worthwhile.” Today, at ninety-three, Mimi wakes every day to do something kind for someone and to create something beautiful. Both, she considers her duty to God.

There are simple, everyday ways to live out these principles, and I find that opportunities reveal themselves easily if I listen more than I talk.  One summer afternoon I was outside watering flowers, while talking to a friend on the phone.  My friend had run out of time with house guests on the way that evening, and was finding herself a bit unprepared.  I looked up at my hydrangea bushes, heavily weighted down by extra blooms by this time, at the end of summer.  It took about fifteen minutes for me to cut a basket full, and arrange a couple of bunches in some extra florist vases I had in my cabinet. (When I buy orchids or receive flowers, I save the good containers!!)  I put them in a box in the car, and before my friend opened the door to her guests she had pretty flowers on her table.

There is time in every day to do something for someone. To give more than you take. To live beautifully for God and others.


Last month I had the privilege of working alongside an incredible team of volunteers as a co-chair of a fundraiser benefitting Monroe Carrell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt- an event my mother began as a volunteer twenty-eight years ago. It made my heart happy to have her by my side that day!

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  • This is wonderfully beautiful! I am so proud of you Mary Morgan Blackburn Ketchel!

  • Julie Duncan says:

    I look forward to your blog evey week! It always warms my heart and makes me ponder on what I can do to help others and make life more beautiful for my family🌷

  • Carissa Pereira says:

    I so loved being co-chair with you! Hope we have a lot more volunteering to do together!
    Lovely blog post! Proud of you and what you stand for! Carissa

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