It is time for me to wrap up this blog. And since I have no words to describe what this amazing journey with this amazing woman has really been about, I thought it only fitting to close with the wonderful words spoken about Carol at her memorial service by Steve Chaudet, Phyllis Cooper and Christine Maginnis. They did have words . . . beautiful, eloquent words. And if, by chance, you haven't had a chance to hear them, I thought you might like to read them.
A Tribute to Carol - by Steve Chaudet
This wasn’t supposed to happen. It’s way too early. There were years to live, great meals to prepare, kids to pamper, grandchildren to spoil and trips to take with Frank and friends, and long days at the Shore watching the sun rise and set on that beautiful deck while the family grew around her. But life has a way of throwing speed bumps in our path when we least expect it. Turned out Carol’s wasn’t a bump, it was a mountain. A mountain that she scaled, but just couldn’t get to the other side. This is a life that was well lived and courageously ended. Carol taught us how to live and she taught us how to die. In living Carol defined passion, commitment, and love for all those she came in contact with. Her passions ranged from, her work where she was a recognized leader in the field of ethics and compliance, to her love of God, and commitment to teaching others about the glories of the bible. Where I noticed this passion was Carol’s love of cooking. Carol loved to cook and be the maestro behind the kitchen island, hands chopping, dicing and mixing, moving from one food item to another, all the time holding three separate conversations with her guests. She would typically fly in from some activity and within minutes pull together friends, some on short notice, and a delicious meal that always made for memorable evenings. A dinner with Frank and Carol whether at the Shore or Georgetown was always an event, as you never knew who the other guests would be and you would always be amazed at how good the meal was. Carol loved to share her friends and she wanted you to like and love them as much as she did. She was always mixing and matching different friends. It wasn’t a circle the wagons, these are my friends and you can’t have them, but rather, Steve you have something in common with this great friend and I want you to meet him. Oh, I will miss those evenings, seeing my friend in total joy behind that island, wooden spoon lifted as she began a symphonic concert of friends and food.
The other passion was family. We all love our families, Carol adored and worshipped hers. And she wanted you to feel the same. I loved her for that because she introduced me to three wonderful children who during this tough year have been by her side and provided comfort that reflects enormous love. Carol was always saying to me---- “Don’t you just love Chip, isn’t he the neatest Marine, or isn’t Andrew the cutest guy, and isn’t Christine beautiful and smart” Right on all counts. The other great passion was Frank. What a love story. Theirs was a growing love not a relationship in neutral. These past few months have demonstrated a commitment to love and caring that surpasses anything that I have known. God bless you Frank. Carol would often say to me “Isn’t Frank wonderful”, and Frank would say to me how lucky he was to have found Carol.If Carol had passion for living she had courage in dying and she provides each of us with an example of that dignity. From the day she found her prognosis it was upbeat in her blog and in her demonstrated desire to live. I watched Carol in the hospital and it was Carol who was cheering up the hospital staff, asking about themselves and their families. It was so Carol. Think about someone else, make someone else feel comfortable. A wonderful story I love to tell that sums up so many aspects of Carol’s personality was a time on the big island of Hawaii when Ruth, her mom, called me around midnight telling me that Carol was very sick and was with the paramedics who were taking her to the hospital. I hurried to the back of the hotel and found Carol on a gurney about to depart for the hospital that was it least 50 miles away. I told Carol I would go with her, where upon she says, “no you take me in your car”. Carol I replied I have no medical training and you are sick. “Well she replied it cost so much to take the ambulance. Carol, that’s why you have insurance. Well guess who drove her. She got into the back seat of the car with her pillow and off we went. About half way to the hospital she jumps up from the backseat and informs me that feels fine. Carol I said we are heading to the hospital to have you checked out. We arrive at this little hospital that had to have been built during WW-II. Carol is now totally recovered, it’s about 1:30 in the morning and the doctor says she doesn’t need to stay. Before we could leave the nurse who has instantly taken a liking to Carol asks me what “my wife does”. Well here was an interesting situation. Carol is dressed in a light cotton nightgown and how do I answer. So I say, “She’s a lawyer”. Good answer for the nurse, as she is going through a divorce and wants legal advice……of course Carol engages and what ensues is a lengthy discussion of the nurse’s divorce with free advice from Carol. We finally leave the hospital, Carol is feeling fine, the nurse is happy; I am beat as it’s now 3 or 4 in the morning and we have a 50-mile drive back to the hotel. This little story says so much about Carol. She takes charge, starts giving orders, keeps up a constant happy chat with me on the way to the hospital, makes friends with the nurse, provides advice and off we go. A great adventure for Carol. We celebrate a life that touched all of us, a life well lived and a memory that we must all nurture and keep alive. No one dies if we don’t let them die. If we cherish Carol and what her life meant to all of us she lives on; she lives on through her wonderful Frank, her great mom Ruth, her caring brother and sister-in-law, her three wonderful kids and a great a new son-in-law who will keep her alive for their children, and finally we keep her alive because she was a friend like no other, a friend that loved each of us and only wanted the best for us; and to sit at a table filled with good food and friends to celebrate life. God bless you my good friend, may you rest in peace.
Carol Marshall - A Beautiful Reflection of Christ,
Delivered by Phyllis Cooper
Everybody loved Carol. I feel privileged that Frank asked me to share concerning Carol’s spiritual side – her walk with Jesus and her service for Him. For a moment now, use your sanctified imagination: Carol is standing at the pearly gates. St. Peter won’t allow her to pass through until she looks into a mirror. So she does. With a big grin, he motions her in. Two angels are observing:
Q. What showed up in the mirror?
A. Exactly what pleases God the most! Not Carol’s pretty face, but a beautiful reflection of Christ!
Clearly, Carol chose early on to make Jesus Christ her role model for life. Here are three ways Carol’s life reflected her Savior.
I. Humble Service – Jesus healed unclean lepers and washed the disciples’ dirty feet. He said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” Mk. 10:45. Carol, Frank and their family began attending Agoura Bible Fellowship, L.A. area, in the mid-80’s. It wasn’t too long before she began serving on the Deaconess Board and then as chairman.
Her friend Bernice wrote to me about Carol’s many years’ involvement with the church’s Christmas Dinners, which included a big show. “The first year we put on the dinners, when Carol was one of the helpers, we didn’t really know what we were doing…When planning for next year started, Carol sat me down and said, ‘I can’t sing…so I can’t be in the program but how about if you and Jim take care of the program, and I’ll coordinate everything else behind the scenes…’ And in typical Carol style, she jumped in and did just that…Only our Carol could actually make it fun for men to stand around wearing garbage bags as they scraped dinner plates.”
In 2002, Carol and Frank moved to the Washington DC area and began attending McLean Bible Church. Here the Lord used her up-front gift of speaking to impact women at conferences and special events, but the humble servant heart still shined through. Sue Moye, Director of Women’s Ministries, shared the time when Carol was just walking down the hotel hall at a church women’s conference where she was one of the break-out speakers. Sue was desperately looking for some help. Boxes and boxes of books authored by the conference speaker had just been delivered – a big surprise to Sue. Carol saw Sue’s desperation and asked if she could help. You guessed it. Carol – on the spot – took on organizing, finding sales recruits, unpacking and selling those books – books that contained the Good News of the Gospel. See the servant’s heart. See the reflection of Jesus. Beautiful.
II. Heart of love for unbelievers. Like her Savior, Carol had a deep passion and concern for telling the world that Christ had come “to give His life as a ransom for many” Mk. 10:45. As a discussion leader for CBS each year until her illness overtook her, she faithfully shared her personal testimony of how Jesus Christ transformed her life. Then she loved those 15 or so women in her group, including the challenging, “hard to love” ones. Even on a business trip to the other side of the world, she would use her blackberry to keep in touch with her “gals.” Once again, a beautiful reflection of Christ.
God gave Carol the unique opportunity of serving on the Board of Community Bible Study, a group that has a world-wide ministry. The Board members wrote to say, “Carol came on the Board as CBS International was being assimilated into CBS. She was so insightful in helping each ministry appreciate the differences, sensibilities and ways of doing things in other cultures. Her wisdom contributed to the joining together in a God-honoring way…She was dedicated to honoring the authority of God’s Word…”
Even though Carol was virtually overwhelmed with drugs because of her pain in the last weeks of her life, Sally told me how concerned she was that the man who emptied the wastebaskets in her hospital room hear the Gospel.
And the Blog was Carol’s way to articulate to everyone who would read it, her walk of faith in a dark place. Above all, she wanted God to have the glory! All of us who sent her verses and tried to be supportive, found ourselves strengthened by her authenticity and simple trust.
III. Joyful encouragement –Like her Savior, Carol was an encourager – always with a smile, always with a positive outlook. Always cheerfully generous. The Holy Spirit enabled her to see people’s gifts and encourage them in those gifts. How do I know this? Carol encouraged me – and her carefully chosen words made all the difference for me in a difficult situation. She was the reflection of Christ to me!
Could it be at this very moment Carol is standing before the Lord and hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant – your life has reflected your Savior beautifully! Come, enjoy your heavenly reward.
A Tribute to My Mother - Christine Maginnis
Thank you all for coming here to celebrate my mom’s life with us. The outpouring of love and support from all of you, whether it was by email, the blog, phone calls, or even facebook has meant so much to my family and has served as a reminder of how amazing my mom was and how many lives she touched. She was truly a remarkable woman. It is safe to say my mother touched and taught each one of us something special – for some she taught us about the love and amazing grace of the Lord, for others she might have counseled you on government compliance, and to all of us she showed us what a friendship is.
My mom taught me a multitude of things - all that have shaped me and molded me into the person I am today. My mom taught me of the importance of family. As you just heard from Steve and Phyllis my mom was involved in everything – we used to joke that it wasn’t that she “couldn’t say no” to opportunities to help and get involved – it’s that she didn’t WANT to. Growing up my mom was involved in our church, school activities, as well as working full time, and I can honestly say that I never felt like I had to compete with anything for her love, affection, and support. Speaking on behalf of my brothers, my mom never made us feel like we were pulling her away from something more important or that there was anything else she’d rather be doing than spending time with us. I think my brothers will agree with my, that my mom was our biggest fan in everything we did – big or small.
My mom also taught me how to me an amazing wife – the love my mom and dad had for each other is something that I was constantly in awe of…when Erik and I were preparing for our wedding, the pastor we met with us asked us what we expected in our marriage…I said, without hesitation, that I want the kind of marriage that my parents have – I want Erik and I to look at each other and care for each other the way my parents looked at each other and cared for each other after 20+ years of marriage. It is impossible to ignore that what made their marriage and love for each other so incredible was their love for the Lord. My mom taught me something that was taught to her before she and my dad got married. She said that their marriage is really a picture of a triangle. With my parents at each of the bottom corners, and God at the top point….as each of them drew closer to God, knowing Him, -- they grew closer to each other. She went on to say “We can tell you…that’s true. And we believe it is the secret to a strong, wonderful marriage. ---and I can tell you it’s great”
Finally, my mom showed me what it was like to be unconditionally loved - I was given an incredible gift to have Carol Marshall as my best friend and mom for 26 years and I thank God everyday for that gift. I miss my mom so much – but I look forward to the day when I can see her again and we can celebrate together.
When I sat down to write this – I was using my mom’s computer and got sidetracked and started browsing her documents…I came across a file called “No matter what…remember this”. I don’t know if this is something my mom wrote or just found encouragement in, but either way I want to share it with you:
These are good to remember:
Absolutely God is in control, no matter what.
Absolutely God is good, no matter what.
Absolutely nothing is impossible for God, no matter what.
Absolutely God works all things for good, no matter what.
Absolutely I am thanking and praising God, no matter what.
Before we read the 23rd Psalm together, I would like to read an excerpt from my mom’s blog that she wrote on Sunday, May 10th after a particularly rough week:
… at one point during the night I found myself thinking of a verse that I hadn’t thought of in a long time…The 23rd Psalm. You know how it says “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. HE makes me lie down in green pastures, HE leads me beside quiet waters, HE restores my soul. HE guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” It was particularly meaningful when, as I was thinking of the verse, the way it says: Even though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death, I WILL NOT FEAR, because YOU are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me….” Well that was amazing as that verse came to me b/c I thought, that’s how this feels – this feels like a SHADOW. And I am not alone. I felt as though I was covered. Does that make any sense? I can’t explain it, but it was just so amazing that that was the verse that came to me. I was feeling like I needed a Rod and Staff to get through the scary parts…
Please join me as we read the 23rd Psalm together and remember that this verse is a verse of much encouragement as we all encounter our own “Shadows”:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD