The Blessing of Having (and Being) an “Aunt Bibby”

Do you have an “Aunt Bibby” in your life? Do you even know what one is? 😉  I say that with a smile on my face this morning because today is my Aunt Bibby’s birthday, and I could think of no better way to celebrate her than to introduce her to you.

Aunt Bibby is my mother’s sister, and though she never had any children by birth, she lived with our family when I was a tiny girl, and treated us as if we were her own.  She made sure that I had ballet lessons, fancy dresses, and knew the important details of life – as in how to eat shrimp cocktail and fondue, how to drink from a china teacup and saucer, and most importantly… how to shop with layaway. (And all of this was before the age of 5!) Haha.

I remember her taking me out to do what we would call “Strealing” – which was our version of window shopping and browsing through some of our favorite stores: Goldsmiths at Oak Court (with the candy counter), and the vast retail variety in the Summer Shoping Center {If you’re from the Memphis area, remember… think 45 + years ago ;-)}.  Often our Strealing would end up at Baskin Robins on Summer Avenue for a scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream – which is still the best ice cream out there (in my humble opinion!).

When my family moved to Mississippi from Memphis, she married and bought our Memphis home, and still lives there today.  She has been involved in numerous interesting things over the years, but the most fascinating to me has been her making of miniature scenes (like tiny doll houses, but smaller and better… where the place settings are real china and silver and cost the same amount or more as one of our life sized china plates!) Yep!

Look at some of these rooms she has created. If you didn’t know they were only 12-18 inches wide, and couldn’t see the glass reflection or the shelves, wouldn’t you think they were life sized???  I mean… look at this food!

Miniature 1920's Dining Room.

1920’s Dining Rom


1920's miniature dining room.

Look at the details on this food!



Miniature Farmhouse Kitchen.

Miniature Farmhouse Kitchen.


Miniature Formal Parlor.

Miniature Formal Parlor


Miniature formal dining room with authentic English hand painted china and silver.

Miniature formal dining room with authentic English hand painted china and silver.

The next time I visit, I’m going to uncover others and take pics of everything to do a whole post on her art. It truly is amazing!!

My mom is a wonderful mother, but like every mom, I’m sure she needed a break from time to time. And looking back from the viewpoint of a mom myself, I’m also sure that when Bibby would take me Strealing, sometimes it was to give my mom that needed relief. But at the time, I had no idea! She made me feel like this was “our thing” and it never occurred to me that anyone would be helped because we were doing it.
She met a need in my life by being another person to pour love, acceptance, and time into me. And, I’m sure that we met a need in her life too.

My question is:

Do you have an “Aunt Bibby”
who pours into you or your children? If not, maybe you can begin to pray for one. You certainly don’t have to be blood-related. She may be a Sister-in-Christ, or a neighbor, or someone you’ve yet to meet. She may not be able to provide dance lessons and fancy dresses for you, or share the sport of shopping… 😉 But she will have something to share. And it will be something you or your children need.

This kind of sounds like modern day mentoring, doesn’t it??
As my children have grown, God graciously filled my empty arms with some precious children I’ve had the privilege to “Bibby” over the past 6 years. (I would do this with my own nieces and nephews if we lived closer!!!)

These are the children of my heart, children of our friends and pastor – and I’ve known and loved them all since birth. So has our whole family. And do you know what? Sometimes to give their mom a break, I take one somewhere or to my house. But I also do it because they fill my heart with joy!!



James and I decided we didn’t want them to call us Mr. James and Mrs. Jennifer, but a more personal name. So after tossing around lots of options, I came up with the name “Coco” for myself and we landed on Poppy for James.  Now even my nieces and nephews call me Coco. And so do most of the children at our church!! I love it!!!!!

Is this not the sweetest look on her face???

This past month, I got three new girls added to my tribe, daughters of our new youth minister. We’ve already bonded and Coco’s arms are blessedly full!

I think this is what God means when Psalm 113:9 says

“He makes a woman who is in a childless home a joyful mother.”  Psalm 113:9 (GW)

That’s certainly what God has done in my life as I’ve invested in these He has brought into my heart and home.

How about you? Can you be someone’s “Aunt Bibby”?
Is there a young mother who could use a  few hour’s break? Are there some children who could use some extra pouring into? Could your arms and heart use a little extra fullness and Joy?  Just something to think about on this day, on my “Aunt Bibby’s” birthday. 🙂

Aunt Bibby, thank you so much for the 49 years of love and investment you have made in my life. I am blessed to have you, and I love you!!

Happy Birthday.





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About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at


  1. Sweet tribute to Aunt Bibby.