Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Throwback Thursday

Also this is my post from about 10 years ago today!

Miss Rosie is filling most of my nights and days leaving little time for much else!

I did want to share these stories though.

Marshall Column: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph

Eddie Gran By Phillip Marshall Columnist
Date: Jun 3, 2005

Little Sydney Gran was to be laid to rest today, her race on this earth run before her sixth birthday. She never spoke a word and never took a step, but she touched more lives than many of us ever will.

I got the sad news Wednesday as I was preparing to leave for Tallahassee and Auburn’s baseball regional at Florida State. Suddenly, I wasn’t thinking anymore of whether Auburn had enough pitching to make a serious run or whether the lower half of the order could provide some offensive production. I wasn’t thinking about what to expect next football season or who Auburn might schedule for a 12th game in 2006.
I picked up the telephone and called the residence of Eddie and Rosemary Gran. Rosemary answered. Her voice was strong. I wasn’t surprised. Eddie, Auburn’s running backs coach, and Rosemary are strong people. More importantly today, their faith is strong.

Sydney was born with Holoprosencephaly (HPE). The overly simple description of that affliction is that her brain quit developing in the first three months of pregnancy. She wasn’t expected to live more than six months.

In October 2000, I talked with the Grans for a story in The Huntsville Times. I was struck then by their strength and faith. As the years went by, I was overwhelmed by it.

In July 1999, Eddie and Rosemary got the news that would test them as they had never been tested and ultimately bless them as they had never been blessed. The neurologist at Children's Hospital in Birmingham had said the words coldly, almost matter-of-factly. Little Sydney, not yet a week old, had a rare birth defect. She probably wouldn’t live six months, he had told them. He handed them a slip of paper on which he’d written the name of the condition and left.

“I’m sitting there with that piece of paper in my hand looking down at my baby,” Eddie said. “He just gave us that sheet of paper and walked out of the room. Talk about turning your life upside down. You don't know what to say. You don't know what to do.”

As the Grans wept and prayed on the two-hour trip home, they had no idea that their little girl would so enrich their lives, deepen their faith and touch their very souls.

“She's changed our family so much for the better,” Gran said. “I treat my other girls different. I coach different. I'm a better father, a better husband and a better friend. The Good Lord gave her to Rosemary and me for a reason.”


A friend of mine has a baby with a heart defect, and to keep family and friends updated she created a CaringBridge Site. These sites are free and are such a blessing to the folks that create them and read them. The stories are compelling and heart wrenching. You can read more here.


Margaret Baxtresser, a concert pianist and pillar of our community died last week at age 82. I had the chance to meet Mrs. Baxtreser several times through my flute teacher, Anita Exline. I even performed in her home once. Mrs. Baxtresser lived her life thoroughly, wringing every minute for all it was worth. She was gracious, stylish, and self- giving. To me she was a another shining example of what a Proverbs 31 woman could be. May she RIP.