Archives For Friends

I heard the sound alerting me to a text message, but couldn’t stop teaching to check it…..thankfully!

After the last student headed out the door I grabbed my phone and slid my finger across the screen…. to discover these words, “Thirty years in the arms of Jesus!” The above picture was attached. The sight of my baby’s decorated grave knocked the wind out of me, as tears streamed down my cheeks! I was definitely glad my students had left for the day!

I live eight hours away from where we laid our little Luke David to rest, and I know very well he’s not there, and his true home is in heaven. Yet there is something I find comforting in this small plot of land near the foot of the Scottsbluff Monument. I haven’t been able to go to his grave for many years, but I have a dear and faithful friend, named Carla, who has continued to decorate his grave for me ever since I moved away.

The day Luke was born into the earth, he was already living in heaven. His twin brother Paul, (whose story you can find here and here), was born 10 1/2 weeks early and emerged from the womb a fighter – and eventually a winner. Not only was this day marked by Paul’s life and Luke’s death, but the twins were also born on their dad’s (Don) birthday, making it a very memorable day indeed!

March, 5, 2012, the day my sweet friend sent this picture, my mind was consumed with a few last minute details for the birthday party we were having for Paul and Don that evening. Always on this day, I think of Luke and how different it would be if he were here, but I never expect others to remember Luke.

As I opened my phone that afternoon, not only was I moved by her labor of love to decorate his grave, but I was deeply touched by Carla’s remembrance of Luke, and of this special day 30 years ago, when my hello to Luke, meant goodbye, and when he went to live life “in the arms of Jesus”!

 

A funny thing happened….

December 28, 2011 — 4 Comments

Christmas shopping can be stressful!

Everything takes longer. Long traffic lines. Long lines at the check out, and long faces on people waiting in line. People are often grouchy and it feels as if they expect everyone else to be the same way. However, I have a “secret decision” regarding this pervading attitude of irritability.

When faced with Christmas shopping — especially as it grows closer to the actual date — I try to make a conscious decision NOT to be a grouchy, stressed person. Instead I try to smile at the people around me, be friendly and especially try to be PATIENT — even when the lines are long!

Recently, I was in line at a busy store. Things were moving along smoothly when the lady in front of me asked the teenage clerk to put some tape on her box so it wouldn’t fall open. Wordlessly, the young clerk stopped checking, walked away from the check out area and began marching quickly across the front of the store. The lady checking out turned to me with the most bewildered look on her face and instantly began apologizing!

However, the sight of that young clerk silently exiting the check out and moving in a stiff stride, struck me as funny and I began to laugh! I told the woman it was no problem and I wasn’t in any hurry. My comment seemed to help her relax and then she began to give me the play-by-play of the clerks actions.

“She looks like she’s marching!”

“Surely she could have just checked with one of the other clerks around her?”

“I’m so sorry!”

“I had no idea she would take off like that or I never would have said anything!” (I began to laugh even more)

“I think she’s coming back and carrying one piece of tape in her hand!” (This brought on laughter that produced tears in my eyes)

“Yes, she only has one piece of tape in her hand.” (More laughter from me — and then she started to laugh too)

“Can you believe this?”

“I’m so sorry!”

“Who would have thought she would take off like that!”

The girl returned to her check-out area and finished up, while I tried to contain my laughter. With her bags in hand, the woman turned to me, smiled widely and thanked me one more time for being so patient! I laughed and waved goodbye!

As I moved up to check out I glanced over my shoulder to find a line of people who had obviously become amused by the crazy situation the two of us had just encountered. It was then I realized that my “secret decision” had become visible and had resulted in turning a negative into a positive! This made me further realize…..

….Christmas shopping wasn’t the only time I needed to live out my “secret decision”! How about all day every day!

 

 

 

 

at sunset

a big red barn

dear friends

precious family

guitar music floating on the breeze

prayer

vows

the presence of God

our son Drew

the love of his life, Kate

their “sweetest day”

You may kiss your bride!

Congratulations Drew & Kate!

 

As Time Goes By……..

August 1, 2011 — 4 Comments

Small vases filled with beautiful flowers, trays laden with towels, bath oils, lotions, and the lovely scent of lavender greeted us as we entered our overnight guest room. I knew our friend had taken great time and care to create this inviting atmosphere, and in an instant it ushered us into such warmth and welcome! Within moments the years melted away and our hearts connected as if we had never been apart. My sister and I had come to spend time with dear friends who recently re-located from a distant city to a cozy university town not far from our city! What a wonderful start to our visit!

We talked….oh how wonderful it was to sit and talk! We caught up on each others families, our loved ones activities and especially our spiritual journeys. We laughed and we cried, but most of all we loved! Loved how God had worked in each others lives over these many years apart, and loved each other more as we shared the good times and the bad! I found it to be a small taste of heaven on earth!

Our visit was short, but oh-so-sweet! As we drove away, I watched as she and her husband stood arm and arm and waved good bye to us. An overwhelming sense of gratitude filled my heart as I realized ……. though many years had passed, we were still deeply connected and our friendship had remained strong. Who would have thought one lovely day together could bring such refreshing to our souls!

Throughout our time together one thought continued to bombard my mind…….friendships are a treasure! They are gifts to our lives and are to be honored ……for they reflect the very heart of God!

As I write this post I find myself hoping you, who read my blog, have friends such as this in your life. True friendships really are gifts given to us by God.

Please take a moment and share what you enjoy about your own friendships! I would love to know…..because I want to learn from you, and cultivate this area in my life!!

Heart-to-Heart

May 17, 2011 — 2 Comments

Our dear friend Betina seated on the deck of her apartment in "The House"

We are presently traveling in Denmark and Sweden and loving it!

Copenhagen was our first stop and we found it to be a “magical” city! A beautiful old city, where people prefer to walk to work or ride their bikes, and where mothers have their babies out in strollers for at least an hour a day — rain or shine!

One afternoon we sat with our friends, Frank and Betina, above the busy streets of Copenhagen at Cafe Norden and enjoyed Danish pastries and coffee while watching the continuous movement below. As we watched we felt a great sense of wonder. Where were they going… what cheered them.. or what troubled them? We sat silently for a while pondering the continual motion of humanity below with a great awareness of God’s amazing love for every nation, tribe and tongue.

The majority of our time in Copenhagen was spent with Frank and Betina, and a group of 22 amazing believers who live together in one very large house. At 7:00 each morning they met to worship Jesus and pray together for half an hour before they left for their respective jobs and obligations. One family has a six month old baby named Esther, and even little Esther loved being in the midst of their early morning worship and prayer! No one who mentioned this early gathering spoke of it with dread or a sense of obligation, but with anticipation and a desire to start their day together with God and one another.

At the end of each day, they gathered again for the evening meal. The task of preparing the large family meal rotated from one person to another each day, until all had their turn — and then it would start over again. The family atmosphere around the table was filled with conversation and laughter! The depth of their relationships could be felt as they talked about their lives and their desire to see Jesus use them to reach their city! God has been preparing them and has been revealing His plan for this House. Before long, the work God has done in them will expand outward past the walls of the House and have a far-reaching effect in Copenhagen and beyond!

Our time with them refreshed us and at the same time, challenged us! We worshiped together, had several teaching sessions, opened our hearts and were deeply knit together with them. The best way of expressing what we experienced with them can be found in I Thessalonians 2:8.

“Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”

Worshiping with our friends!

Reflecting on Good Friday

April 23, 2011 — 1 Comment

 

This year Good Friday held a deeper meaning for me than it has for quite some time!

I teach a Bible Class to the Jr. and Sr. High students in our school. They are precious kids, with hearts open to God and His Word. As the season of Lent approached we discussed fasting and and a desire to focus on God throughout this time. Each one made private decisions to fast in certain ways and we also did specific times of corporate fasting. Our commitments would continue until Easter. As we moved into the last week we decided (with parental approval) to watch The Passion of the Christ, by Mel Gibson.

I told them before the movie, they could leave at any time if it was too much for them, or they could listen with their eyes closed. They all stayed…. and watched….or listened. Their hearts were deeply moved by seeing the true price He paid.

As the movie ended, some sat silently with tears in their eyes, stunned by what they had seen. Some openly wept, some held each other and cried on each others shoulders, while others buried their faces in their hands.

Letting them sense the agony of what Jesus did for us, was difficult for me to watch. After what seemed like hours, but was only minutes, I gathered the girls in my arms and asked them what was happening in their hearts. One of them cried, “That was us doing that to Jesus!”

With that we talked of His amazing love and how He knew– even before He created us — He would have to die for our sins. And we wept some more as we realized how incredible and incomprehensible His great love was and is for each of us.

Those moments together brought gratitude to our hearts and connected us to Jesus and to one another in a very deep and living way! It was the perfect ending to a season of sacrifice. It changed us!

His sacrifice changed us!

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13  NLT

 

Holly & Katie! Great friends!

Smiles and laughter!

Sometimes tears and sadness,

Love covers.

Each one celebrated.

Teenagers and elementary students together.

No peer pressure

Playing Hide ‘n Seek

Backyard Hide/n Seek

Prayers for friends in crisis.

Answered prayers.

Worship to our Jesus who is Good!

Teenage leaders!

Disciples in the making.

Austin, Sara & Julia leading worship on Honor's Night

Friendship with fellow teachers.

Birthday’s celebrated.

Hugs and more hugs!

Brooke, Jared & Sara

Songs created.

Little dancing girls.

Spring classes outside.

Lessons learned.

Grace for the hard days.

Silliness and pranks.

Austin! LOL!

Fun!

Holly

Sum it all up and it = LOVE!