Monday, March 12, 2012

tea parties and friendship

I enjoyed Lanier's blog post today Trusted and True about springtime tea and the spiritual support of trustworthy, faithful, Godly friends. It reminded of a day and time when I was an rabid romantic and relished throwing extravagant tea parties for my students and their moms. It seems so long ago now. And I have so many sweet memories. I do hope I created some as well. :-)

My favorite china pattern, Royal Albert's Lady Carlyle

Her article makes me want to host a cozy tea party for my birthday in September, like I used to when life was simpler, and I did not work so incessantly! Now that I have adorable nieces, it will be so much more fun. I can also identify with her value of friendships. Even though I do not have many, I treasure my sisters and loved ones more and more as the years pass, especially since some are now gone away to Glory!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

prayers for those suffering

Heavenly Father, for those I know who are suffering in mind, body, and spirit, 
or those whose children are suffering...
please strengthen them with your presence and the healing comfort of your Holy Spirit. 
May Your still, small voice bolster them in their fiery trial. 
As they lean on You when they reach the end of themselves, 
help those of us who are able and willing to lift them up
and support them in prayer and practicality, 
as Aaron and Hur did Abraham as he became weary during the battle. 
And as we ask why, help us to remember that Your ways and thoughts are above ours, 
but also that they cannot be recounted because they are innumerable. 
I make intercession, Risen Savior, for our dear ones, 
even as You do while sitting at the right hand of our Father.
Merciful God, You who know our limitations, may we know You in a deeper way.
Sustain us, that we may rejoice to partake of Christ's sufferings, 
"that when His glory is revealed, (we) may also be glad with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:13).

Right now, I know several sets of parents who are walking through a "dark night of the soul," the deep suffering of losing their young children into eternity by illness and birth defect. Several others who have already lost their grown children to the world and the devil. My heart hurts for the ones I know.

Eternity is made dearer by the suffering we experience here on Earth, even though sometimes it seems too much to bear. He is our great Shepherd.


Lately, I have been gratefully remembering so many people who have touched our lives and/or been family friends in the past 25 years:
  • Paul & Mary Landis (our wonderful and hospitable introduction to the Mennonites at Rod & Staff in Crockett , KY)
  • Jere & Janoah McWinn family (making strawberry freezer jam for the first time, so many fellowship meals)
  • The Hogan clan (playing outside at night, Alice's blueberry crumble recipe)
  • The Glover family (ACE, homeschooling, seminars, penpals with Amy)
  • Richard & Nita Parker & the elderly Lillian home group folks (opening their hearts to us, our Wednesday evening socialization for several important years)
  • Allen Avery (giving us girls a chance to spread our musical wings with Liberty's church orchestra)
  • Helen Martin (who gave us all oh-so-cheap violin lessons and enabled us to be trained as worshipers, went out of her way to invite us over as kids to watch Disney's "Avonlea" episodes every Thurs. night)
  • The families from our Chattanooga fellowship that I remember: the Carrolls, Gills, Coopers, Bowmans, Gibbs, & Queens (so many memories!)
  • Fred Williamson (peaches, zeal for God, missionary & guitar inspiration)
  • Jimmy Cash (my birthday twin; I still have an original painting he did for me.)
  • John Barnwall & Norm Charland (who gave us $ to buy groceries when we first moved to Florida and Daddy couldn't find a job)
  •  Mrs. West, our Lillian, AL landlady (who sent her sons over with sacks of staples/groceries)
  • The McManus family and the Liberty Bible College students (who invited us over and gave Dad a remodeling and carpentry job with their crew)
  • The Ramages, our Scottish friends (guitars and praise, dinner on the back of a fork, so many great memories!!!)
  • The Nokovich twins (my first youth pastor) and babysitting Jobie's baby Katherine (my first "job")
  • James Zeyr (his passion for China was inspirational, China videoas, Bible smuggling)
  • Frank & Betty Longino (his introducing us to sacred music, her being the first children's church director to inspire and censure us girls, Harvest celebrations, bulletin boards, Armor of God, first VBS's)
  • The three Allen girls- Sarah, Mary & Jessi (unconditional love, taught us many ministry lessons)
  • The Snyder family (homeschooling, my middle-school friendship with Tabitha, my intro to Anne of GG and "kindred spirits")
  • Faye Dorman and the Tree of Life Bookstore (spent many hours in her shop, my purity ring, first teacup)
  • The Odom family (much fellowship, many babies)
  • Mr. Scott Berry, conductor of PCC's String Symphony (who gave us three girls an unprejudiced chance to play some of the most beautiful music in the world; it was thrilling while it lasted!)
  • The Balentine and Robinson families at PCC (who gave us the opportunity to work in Campus Church's AWANA program and gain so much positive friendship and experience ministering to kids, Olympics and Bible Jamboree trips, "Keep Your Sunny Side Up!", teaching Bible stories with flannelgraph while my knees were knocking in fright!)
  • Pastor Michael Collins & Bro. Jerry Ireland and their families of Charity Chapel (who have blessed our lives in too many ways to count, giving us our first opportunities to get started in independent full-time ministry)
  • Brent Brummet & the Anderson clan ("Nebuchad-sneezer" and Morris Courts, inspiring, creative and out-of-the-box; we paid attention!)
  • The Gygax family (yard saling, Bram's birth, Felicity parties, quilting and cross stitching, our dear adopted younger bros and sisses)
  • Tom & Kathy Thompson & family (homeschooling and WFHESL back in the stone age, great fellowship, Kathy's cast iron potholder collection, playing games, our intro to ATI & IBLP, intro to bread baking with whole grains, letting me "babysit" her Bosch mixer while they were on vaca)
  • The Touarts- Uncle Greg & Aunt Rosie- and the Haights & Paynes (a lifetime of friendship and memories, Aunt Rosie's many Southern cookin' recipes, valuing beautiful old things & traditions, childhood swimming days, annual Christmas Eve's, inspiration to be a good homemaker, seeing the old Batman and MJ in concert on tv for the first time)
  • Lynn & Rocky Clements (for giving us the CIAS "in a box"; how it has grown and evolved into what I do everyday)
  • Globe Missionary Evangelism (Bob Bishop's "beautiful feet," all those childhood missionary conferences that changed my life many times over!)
  • Angela Storm (for taking the time and effort to teach my fumbly-fingers how to crochet afghans)
  • Lesley Dingwall (for calling every weekend, caring friend, you are our sunshine)
  • Lori Gherman (the best roomie a girl could have AND the best prayer partner; for challenging me to deal with unforgiveness, advise that changed my life!)
  • Cindy Lewis & Tia Morris (for teaching me how to pray and intercede, and then to leave my burdens at the foot of the Cross)
  • All my students over the years (for teaching me HOW to teach, giving me the most hilarious memories and nightmares, giving me prayer targets and a mission field, testing my faith)
  • Corinne Walters, my Great-Aunt Rene (for letting us take care of her in her old age, teaching us lessons about life and appreciation that no one else could, helping my parents financially)
  • Olivia Boland, my paternal grandmother (for giving us a place to live when we first moved down here, doll house and lifesize play furniture, genetic musical talents, her bequeathed collection of flower bulbs, buying first computer and Ford van, teaching me lessons of spiritual life in her death)
  • Peter Marshall (whose life inspired me to dedicate mine to the Lord wholeheartedly)
  • Nancy Avery (whose personal prophecy over me came true, and in the meantime ministered to my fragile little heart as a young teen)
  • Rodger & Judy Gergeni (who chose Tricia and I to be leaders when we were so inexperienced, in the process breaking open our sheltered shells and encouraging us to grow and learn and stretch in ministry gifts)
  • Nita Parker & Sandy Paoletti (for teaching me how to ice and decorate cakes)
  • Brenda Rice (my first penpal, cute little gifts that she sent over the years are tucked away in my childhood trunk)
  • Keys for Kids & Bread for God's Children (ministries that encouraged me when I was very young)
  • Nature Friend (my artwork was first published within their pages)
  • HopeChest Magazine (honing my writing skills, companionship of like-minded young ladies) 
  • Lee & Pat Hutchinson (for over 20 years of steady friendship, devotion to God, faithfulness)
  • Gentle Spirit Magazine (for inadvertently launching our headcovering business into "deeper waters" of worldwide business, and thus supporting several of us girls for many years)
We have experienced so much favor, kindness, and hospitality!
I know I am missing many...I'm sure I will think of more.
Thank you all so much!!! Your rewards in heaven will be rich.
"If ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto Me."

I'll add more "gratefulnesses" to this as soon as I finish studying today...and as I remember more people. ;-)


Wise thoughts from one of my favorite saints, John of the Cross:

"Very few people have the courage to be happy.
It is difficult to tear the heart away from the things of earth,
from riches, from honors.
Yet happiness is not outside us, in these things:
‘The kingdom of God is within you.’
For the kingdom of God does not consist in food and drink,
but in justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

 Convicting word from someone who counted the cost of living for Christ alone!

just say no

This is an issue I am so passionate and COMpassionate about. 

I watched my Dad die from smoker's cancer, and it was HORRIFIC. I am on the PSC college campus quite often and and see SO MANY young people (teens-30's) get out of their cars/trucks and leisurely light up before class. 

It saddens me to know the terrible future that awaits them because of these choices.  :-(
May they have the courage to just say no (to begin with) and count the cost to life and health later on. Smoking is linked to so many "evils". And 30% of all cancers are smoking-related! Honestly, I wish it could be banned completely. 
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