I have set out to make as complete a portrait as possible of a unique woman from what is known of her childhood to the end of her mortal life so that those who do not know her as do we who were blessed to be her contemporaries, and that includes some of her grandchildren, all her great-grand children, and generations yet unborn can know by her own voice and words this extraordinary Elect Lady. Norma Goodwin Bray, foremerly Redmonds, was a Woman of Faith, and ‘an Israelite in whom is no guile.’
Her journals, diaries, and notes tell how vital was the faith that became the motivating force of all her life from the moment she obtained a testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ until she fell asleep in Christ as full of faith in her approaching death as she was in life.
Her unwavering faith in her Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ carried her through every crisis she faced as a mortal and as a parent; a task at which she often struggled alone, sometimes in deep despair.
Her Journals are replete with the details of her never failing concern for the safety and salvation of her children, and through the many years of her life when she longed to be part of an eternal family, a desire that was eventually fulfilled.
Her remarkable faith sustained her unto the receiving by divine pronouncement that her calling and election had been made sure, which faith did not waver, and she welcomed the call to return to that Celestial Home from whence she had come sixty-three years earlier.
In the words of Henry Ward Beecher, "Death is kind to those that are fit to die." Norma's passing through the portal that separates mortality from eternity was ultimately peaceful and she was gently eased through the doorway we call Death to claim her crown of Eternal Life in the Heavenly Kingdom of God the Father where she is now in company with God, Jesus, angels, family members, and friends that pre-deceased her.
She is not idle in that place but is serving as a teacher of the Gospel to her eternal brothers and sisters. I have witnessed her there in vision.
This work has been compiled from Norma’s Journals, from notes scribbled on loose sheets, odd scraps of paper, home made notepads, receipts, news clippings, and her diaries. Where journal information has been written in notes and in main entries, all information has been included with explanations where it has been considered necessary.
There is much about Norma that is not written here. Her many acts of service, kindness, and sacrifice for others were not acts that she trumpeted. She had a complete sense of propriety about what she did for others and those that were recipients of her benevolence and loving care have those acts recorded in their hearts.
The work of transcribing the wealth of information Norma wrote was a labour of love that took several hundred hours spread over more than a year to complete, check, format, and edit. Much of the transcription from original documents was lovingly and, at times, tearfully undertaken by Gay Clawson-Bray who came to know, appreciate, and love her sister Norma through her journals.
Notes are occasionally included to expand and explain where it is felt that expansion and explanation will help the reader know Norma better. Information in round parentheses (...) is from Norma’s own hand, whilst that in square brackets [...] is editorial comment added for the sake of completeness.
Some entries are from diaries whose details are not found in her Journals. Every effort has been made to compile as complete a pictorial history of the life of this wonderful woman as possible from all the photographs in her collection, and to this end as much photographic material as was available at the time of the completion of this work has been included.
It was anticipated that further pictures would become available but that prospect has been dimmed by certain unfortunate events and mysteries surrounding the whereabouts of the requisite albums after they had been lent to Norma's children ten pears ago. Things happen and we are to make the best of such adverse situations that bedevil frail humanity's efforts to try to please the unpleasable.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths."
Norma’s favourite scripture by which she lived