A Wonderful Life

by Barbara Stanford
 
My name is Barbara Jean Vandiver Stanford.  I was born in Denton County at a little country hospital on August 3, 1940, a preemie weighing in at 3 ½ pounds, to Beulah and Clarence Vandiver and big brother Curtis, age 8.   I am told that they kept me alive by packing hot water bottles around me.  It seems that God’s hand was on me because my mom had lost a precious little preemie girl named Doris in 1932.  I have often wondered if I would even have been a twinkle in God’s destiny if that baby had lived.
 
My dad served in the Texas National Guard and then in the Army during World War II.  He moved his young family back to Lubbock before shipping out to France.  My first Bible was a Gideon New Testament with Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” written in the front and given to my dad by an army chaplain before shipping out.
 
My first memory of Broadway was at the old Broadway and Avenue N building, climbing the stairs as a 3 or 4-year-old.  In Broadway’s archives there is a picture of me as a first grader, sitting on the front row of the auditorium next to Ted Allen at Vacation Bible School.  I had wonderful Bible school teachers and was baptized at age 11, during a meeting with Batsell Barrett Baxter at a Sunday morning service where most of the sixth grade girls, under the guidance of Mrs. Irene Sherrod, chose to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior at the new Broadway and T location . My mother and Marilyn Bartee’s mother, Faye Maner, taught VBS together one year.  Ask Marilyn about closing the car door on her sister Nan’s fingers!
 
My father died suddenly in July, 1956. Sweet Horace Coffman preached his funeral. A few days later, precious Broadway ladies brought gifts for a grieving young girl on her 16th birthday.  Broadway ladies were always good about seeing a need and stepping up, and they still are!
 
Kay Burnam and her soon-to-be-husband, Seymour Evans, came into my life that summer that I was fifteen.  She has been my friend, my Christian mentor, my “sister,” my prayer partner, and a steady Christian influence and encourager all these years.  Thank you, Kay, and Seymour, too.
 
Although we both grew up at Broadway, there was an age gap between us that caused Jimmy Joe Stanford and I not to meet until the summer of 1960.  He was at that time a finance officer at Cannon Air Force Base; and, when the story of our wedding came out in the Lubbock  Avalanche-Journal, one of our elders (Alex McDonald) commented to his wife Lola, “Well, look here. That little Vandiver girl has gone off and married a ‘fly boy’ over in Clovis.” When Lola read the story of our September 13, 1960, wedding at the 16th and Pile Church of Christ in Clovis, she remarked, “Alex, that’s no fly boy. That’s Lillian Stanford’s son!”
 
Our daughters Robin and Renee were born in 1961 and 1962, respectively, while Jimmy Joe was stationed at Cannon. We then moved our young family to Dallas, back to Lubbock, and, finally, to Denver, Colorado, where we were a part of the University Avenue church.  God showed us His sense of humor when He sent us our first son, J.J.,  in 1973.  We returned to Lubbock and to Broadway in 1975, and it was then that dear Floyd Stumbo invited us to join Couples 8 Sunday School Class (now known as Anchors).  Jimmy Joe ultimately served as chairman for that class for five or six years, which was a blessing beyond blessing.  He loved it!
 
Fast forward to 1977 when our family finally was complete with the arrival of Jay Curtis. Emily Ratcliff’s mom and dad, the parents of a fourth baby in their middle years, welcomed us to the “Abraham and Sarah Club,” and we all had a good laugh.  Both boys were baptized during youth activities at Broadway, and another of our family’s blessings during this period was hosting a growth group of young marrieds including Todd and Melissa Knowlton and Jon and Tracey  Horne.  
 
Broadway helped me bury my dad, my brother, my mother, and my beloved husband (after 57 ½ years of marriage).  Sweet Emily Lemley’s dad, Norvel Young, baptized both of us.  My final thank you to Broadway comes as a result of the elders’ placing Jimmy Joe and me in the spiritual care of Garry and Kim Baccus, both of whom are young enough to be our kids.  As  part of Garry’s flock, we were recipients of Garry’s and Kim’s tireless efforts in checking on and encouraging Jimmy Joe during his last years.  Garry has been the big brother that I lost in 1968, and Kim has been the sister I always wished for.  Thank you again, Garry and Kim.
 
Many of you know that I moved August 1 to League City, south of Houston, to be near my son J.J. and his family.  I miss all of you but am so thankful that God allowed me to grow up at Broadway surrounded by such beautiful examples of Christian love.  May God bless you, individually and as a church, and may He keep you close to His heart every day in every way.
                                                                           
I love you,
 
Barbara J. Stanford
                                                                                

One Response to “A Wonderful Life”

  1. Carole Compton says:

    I learned more about your past in this article & how long you were a member at Broadway. Also I learned that you had moved from Lubbock as we did to be nearer to our children. Tell JJ hello for me. Love you & miss you. God Bless you in League City. Hope you enjoy your new church home there as much as we do ours in Sherman.

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