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I have been asked before, what makes a “best friend”?  Throughout my 59+ years, I have had several good friends, close friends and many acquaintences.  Yet, I admit, I have been jealous of those women who could say, they had a true “best friend”.  Like, you know, Oprah and Gail.  I also wondered what that meant.  Not until I was in my 50’s was I priviledged enough to truly have one.  She didn’t just fit a mold that I had set.  She just morphed into the mold God had created for me.  I do not mean to boast in the least here.  I just want to acknowledge her and let others know that God hears and sees our desires, and cares.

When I was asked that question, it made me wonder.  What does make a best friend for me?  I realized that it just happened.  I learned “what” it was and “when” it happened.  When there was trust.  I know she would not listen or believe anything negative about me from anyone, nor I her.   Do I think that she is perfect, not really.  But any faults that we may have, I see as her charms, or part of her character.  I most times, think  they are funny and we laugh about them.  Here, I can only speak for my side of this.  She may hate my faults, I don’t know.  Of course, she has never mentioned it to me, we just laugh.

She has been a world traveler.  I am not.  Tennessee is about as far as I go.  She may even go on  adventures with other friends and I really think it is wonderful.  When she gets home, I get to here about what she saw, smelled, ate and experienced.  I love that.  She has brought me rocks from various places and I am completely happy with that.  Again, I am not tooting my own horn here.  It is more natural for me to be jealous, or feel left out.  It is not my human character to be this way.  Praise the Lord, it is His character and He allows this for me.  It is another thing that makes this relationship work.

She has only my best interest at heart and I hers.  I trust that.  I truly know, she would never, ever want anything but the best for me and mine.  And I for her.  When I needed to exercise for my health, she joined the gym and pushes me harder for my own good.  When I face heartache, she cries with me.  She allows me to be me, faults and all.  No judgements, no expectations.  I am accepted for who I am.

Of course, we do have many things in common, which adds to it.  First and formost, we share a love of our Lord.  We share a desire to walk, live and breathe and grow in Him.  We enjoy quiet times alone with our Father.  Another, our husbands each own businesses.  We are alone a lot, her more than me.  We like movies, food, tanning, worship music, reality shows, eating at Chevy’s and Chili’s.  We like books, shopping at Trader Joe’s and WalMart and flan.  We really enjoy people, whoever they are and love to love their differences.  She encourages me to be a better person and to “love well”, to look for the good in people and keep a distance from those who cause us to be negative.  We bounce off of each other that way.  We have gone to the “care home”, just to visit the folks there.  We can learn so much from them and they look happy.  We like to be together and pray for each others families, our church leaders. 

An enormous thing we have in common is our love of dogs.  Not just our dogs, but all dogs, well, with the exception of a few.  To us, our dogs are our children.  My Sookie and her Tahoe are best friends.  They love to be together.   They play,  run, share toys and beds and balls and couches.  They share bones and food.  They have play dates and sleepovers and we love to watch them and are completely delighted in their fun. 

To sum this all up, I think a “Best Friend” is about love, generosity, acceptance, similarities, sharing in pain and joy.  I think it is designed by the Creator of all and a precious gift from Him, whether human or canine. 

How about you and your “best friend”? What do you share.  What did the Lord do?

I love you, Bridge and I am grateful.

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Grad.Spring2009 082Grad.Spring2009 086These pictures were taken at Philip’s Graduation party.  I love both of them, I really love the people in them. Seiji Sparling, is a delight.  He laughs and runs and loves on folks.  He had eaten chocolate covered everything and then needed to have a little “jawbreaker” topper.  We think that is funny because his father used to get Brody “quadruple shots of espresso” when he was in Junior high…Pay back is tough…He is a great kid, and Matt is a super father…

Rhoda, our precious, Rhoda…here she also was enjoying some chocolate covered strawberries.  I have blogged about her before.  She is head of the Sewer’s and Rippers, the Prayers chain, Greets for me and I have learned so much of the Christian walk from her.  I love her dearly.  We had the most fun seeing who could drip the most on ourselves.  The joys of a “chocolate fountain”  break all age barriers.  What a simple thing to bring  joy.

Phil’s sermon this week was on “Summer Fruits”, the first being “Charity”.  Basically, loving, expecting nothing in return.  Giving to someone, who cannot give back.  I love that idea.  That really has nothing to do with these specific pictures,  except that we can love all  generations, all walks of life.  For someone who “adores” people, it is a freedom I truly enjoy.

I, also, love doing things with my BFF, Bridget..so today, we have some elderly saints in our church who are in little care home.  This is where Bridget’s mom, Rose stayed while Bridge was in Kenya.  I visited her and we both met some sweet  folks there.  We are going to go  visit those older saints, love on them and then go have lunch.  I am excited.  I may even post about that later.

I guess, what I want to say here, is…Loving people is such a priviledge..knowing people from different age groups is a blessing.  What a great gift from the Lord to us…to learn about each other,  to accept one another.  Thank you so much, Phil for the encouragement.  Thank You, Father for Your Word.  Thank for our precious saints.

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love  has been perfected in us.”  1John 4:11-12  and again, I am grateful…  ++++

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It seems as though time just gets away from me somedays, and then I have been a little “reflective” lately..So many things have happened and not happened and that makes me just little “mixed up”.

So, this is one of my favorite trees, right outside our front door.  I love the green and that it changes color first in the fall.  Another expression of the Lord’s care for each of us.

Also, I have a nephew, haven’t seen him in about 22 years.  He is married to a sweet little thing from Bangladesh.  She called about 2 weeks ago, seems he took everything they had and left.  This boy claimed to be a Christian, and I talked with him about once a month.  This makes me sad.  My niece suffered greatly by his behavior.  I found a shelter for her in LA, she moved there until her sister could come and help her.   I have fallen in love with her.  There is just something so sweet about her voice…”Auntie, you come get me, I cooook and I cleeen for you. ”  Now that’s not going to happen, but I really love her and chech up on her twice a week.  Pleae pray for her..

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This little rose bud reminds me, that last week, unexpectantly one of my dear friends daughters died.  She went to school with Kristin.  My heart broke for my friend.  This is the second daughter she has lost.  The memorial service was incredible.  Her parent love the Lord so much.  Their faith and trust is completely in Him.  They chose everything, the music, the flowers and all the food, prepared it and brought it.  This was the last party she would give for her daughter.  They are an example of how the Lord gives strength when there is none.  He is mighty….

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Erin and I attended our church’s Annual Ladies Tea on Saturday.  It was beautiful.  The music was very nice, the speaker was talking on Incredible Joy, something we all want.  It only comes from the Lord.  Love hearing those words.

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This stuff was very fancy for Erin and I, we never do “fancy”, girly, but never “fancy”.  I just love being with my friends, and my daughter.

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There are still alot of things I have on my mind.  It feels good right now to have just emptied that much.  More later…Right now I am so grateful for God making artichokes.  I think I may have one.  Mike always questions with I make them..”who thought about this..to peel back a leaf, scrap the stuff off with your teeth, scoop out the junk and eat the bottom”…who thinks of that stuff????  I don’t care..I love them…

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This is what Zion chose to do for his birthday.  Now, it had been a while since we had been to Chuck E. Cheese.  It was Erin’s 16th birthday.  She had a great time then.  Zion invited his friends and some family.  My BFF, Bridget and her husband Tim were there with their niece.  Since we were not crazy about the pizza there.  We waited and went to dinner together after.  It was very nice.  There was no tension, no stress, just being together and having fun.

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This is the sweetest thing.  Seiji was invited to the party.  He is our Pastor Phil’s nephew and son of his brother Matt and his wife Yuki.  Seiji had never been to CEC before, his parents were out of town, so Uncle Phil brought him. I thought that was the sweetest thing.  Seiji had a great time.  Creating memories with his uncle is awesome.  I think I may have mentioned, that this is the same pastor who sits during our Worship set with a widow in our church when she is alone.  When I think of having a shepherd, I am so grateful for ours.. He is an example of Jesus..Loving and serving..and I am once again for grateful.

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winter-2008-09-018Last night I was invited to a gathering for this sweet young lady.  We have known her her entire life.

Phil and Ruth have done the important thing for her older brothers and now it was her turn for this gathering.  They celebrate a “coming of age” time.  Many cultures have ceremonies to recognize the passage from childhood into adulthood, but America does not have a set tradition for this, as it is a melting pot of so many cultures.  So they have established this in their family.   Amanda makes a list of women in the church that she respects, they gather at her home on a specific date (last night).  We were sent a paper to fill out with 3 important things to share with Amanda.  The first, her strengths that we have seen in her.  Second, a bit of wisdom from which she may draw.  Lastly, Bible verses we would want to share with her as she matures.  The evening ends with prayer for Amanda and then we eat things we probably should not eat at that time of night…like decacent chocolate cake with fudge poured over it, and more amazing things.

One of the many things that I have seen in Amanda, is that her faith is her own.  Even as a child, the faith she had, though, of course, taught to her by her parents and grands, she took very seriously.  It became a “part” of her.  It truly is “who” she is.  At 17, she is who some of her peers come to, she is someone adults can rely on and communicate on a spiritual level with.  She is kind, loves children and teaches Sunday School and receives great joy when they “get it”.. she plays piano, softball, and has been a cheerleader.  She is a leader in the Youth Group at church.  She sings and is a true friend.

Thank you, Miss for being a part of our lives…It has been a privilege to be a part of yours.

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I have thought a lot about the word “resolutions”.  I have never done them. For me, it is sort of setting myself up to fail.  I can always find an excuse for not doing what I should.  I am really good at that.

This year though, the Lord has impressed upon me this….I just want to be better.  I want to be a better daughter of the King, a better wife to Michael.

I want to be a better mother and grandmother and friend.  I want to be more quiet and listen.  The list goes on and on.  Again, I wonder, am I setting myself up to fail…the Lord says “no”.  This time it is in His hands.  I will not be all these things at once, but in His hands, little by little I can change into being what He has planned for me.  I can trust that !!!!  So this year, I want to claim for myself and my family and friends…..

“These are the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans for  welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  Then my part…..”Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart…..”  Jeremiah 29

Now that’s what I want for the New Year….

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I realized something this week.  When we were in TN, I felt at home.  We have been there several times now.  We can get to the Target, Taco Express, the Kroger, etc.  We know the streets and we can easily get to the surrounding areas, no problem.  Of course being at the kids house, they allow us to feel just like we are home, we cook and clean and do laundry.  We are welcomed by some of their neighbors very kindly, and the reception at their church was warm and welcoming.

Like I said, we feel at home.

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The top picture is the view from Brody and Kristin’s back deck.  This picture from Mike and my deck.  To me they are both beautiful.  They both fulfill my love I have for the things around me God created.

When we came home, of course our kids and grands here greeted us lovingly and we knew that we were missed.  But I would be very negligent if I did not mention how we felt when we arrived at church that next Sunday.  Mike and I have been in this church, through the ups and down for 25 years.  People have come and gone, but this is where the Lord has us.

I am very grateful for the love of those sweet folks, who hugged on us, kissed our faces and said welcome home.  Equally, I am grateful for the folks who also ask, “how are the kids, can we see pictures?”   I came home that day walking 6 feet above the ground.  I felt loved and missed and welcomed home, and also that our kids are still loved and missed.

Thank you AGCC, my friends, my family for your love.

This is what I realized, home is where my family is.  Home is where I feel loved, and accepted and cared for.  If God is there, Tennessee, Auburn, People’s Church or AGCC…I am home….but then, that’s just my opinion….

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