Tuesday, April 24, 2012

focused on Glory (forever friendships)

I met Jennifer (the other half of focused on Glory) in 1988, and I know God smiled when he made that introduction. She was part of the singles Sunday School class at Woodland Heights Baptist Church. I remember noticing her because, as I recently told her kids, she was just so nice. There was something pleasant and refreshing about this girl, and I thought it would be fun getting know her.

One day this nice girl announced that she needed help teaching a children's class on Sunday nights. I jumped. I had been looking for an opportunity to get involved at my new church, and getting to know Jennifer was just frosting.

We had so much fun teaching Mission Friends. It was a blast coming up with creative ideas to go with the lessons. A sisterhood was born, and I knew Jef would share my heart for all time. There have been more tears, hugs, heartache, and giggles than can be counted over the last 24 years.

When I moved to NW Arkansas we kept in touch with cards (some actually mailed to each other), letters, a few phone calls (long distance was expensive), and the occasional visit. It wasn't long before Jennifer moved to less than and hour from me, and the heavens rejoiced.

Soon it was time to part again. I returned to college to finish a long awaited goal. After graduation I moved out of state for almost 12 years. Jennifer and I went about 7 years without seeing each other, but that didn't matter. 

Now I'm back in AR and get to see Jef and her ridiculously awesome family about twice a year. Can you feel the grin on my face as I type? It's there!

Jennifer has grow into a whole group of people to love. She married Billy (who is the bomb-diggity as far as husbands and fathers go), and they have four cool kiddos. It goes without saying that they are not a perfect family, but they are pretty great. Billy could teach young husbands about leading and caring for a family, and Jennifer is his compliment in every way. They work hard at equipping their children with knowledge and faith in God. And they are true examples of falling on their faith when it's too hard to stand. God's glory is most definitely in the testimony of this family.

Last Thursday we all met in Conway, and may I just say how cool it was to go back to where it all started. We ate lunch at the Cross Creek Sandwich Shop on Oak Street. It's attached to Jennifer's Antiques and one of my recent favorites. Since JBPBE&G hadn't been there before, it was perfect. The food there is so tasty! 

After lunch I got to snap a few family pics outside the antique store. The girls and I went shopping, and Billy and Peter went back to the hotel to swim. I put in a request for time to stand still, but that didn't happen. I'm grateful for the few hours I had with my beautiful friend.

It looks as if Billy is looking at his sweet wife. I love his expression.

Do NOT miss Jenn's blog this week. She has a fantastic post from yesterday. It's a long but excellent read. You can see it HERE.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Summer Lovin'

It's that time of year again, and I'm a happy girl. Look at what I'm enjoying this week!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

focused on Glory (through laughter)

I told my adorable, little mama that I needed practice catching the light in eyes, and she agreed to be my model. The only problem was that there was very little shade in which she could stand that faced the open sky and setting sun.

The solution? Cram together on the front porch. By the time I had my camera mounted on the tripod, Mama was left with about four square feet to stand with the sun invading inch by inch.

We started out fine, but we quickly turned silly. Silly turned ridiculous, and ridiculous soon produced laughter and snorts loud enough to make the neighbors peek outside, but I didn't care because I love to laugh! Laughing is my favorite.

I know I've said this before, and I'll say it again and again. I am thrilled that God gave us laughter. I bet He giggles at our amusement. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that He delights in us.

Many of the photos were crazy, some candid, and all charming. I hope you enjoy them.

And I hope our laughter made God smile. Mostly I hope that someone will be able to see His glory in our delight. 



This is a bonus from my phone. Mom, Mary, Caitie and I were walking. Caitie and I left the slowpokes behind. When we heard a motorcycle coming up behind us we turned, and this is what we saw. Mama was hitching a ride with Greg. She even stole his helmet. I wish I had been quicker with the camera app because her smile was HUGE!

Don't forget to stop by Ponderings of an Elect Exile to see Jennifer's posts. She's on vacay this week, and that usually means more good stuff!

One more thought.
The reason I put my name and copyright on most of my photos isn't because I think they are worthy of being stolen. I'm very aware of my amateur status.  It's usually to keep someone from taking an image of a loved one. This happened to Jennifer, and I don't want to have to deal with that headache if I don't have to.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There's No Hope for Me

Have you ever wondered what you will be like as a senior citizen? For most people it is as simple as looking at their parents. Many don't want to admit the truth, but they know it's coming. Some are actually able to break the cycle, but only if they possess great strength and discipline.

I'm not that strong. I. Am. Doomed.

In fact, I've pretty much given up. When I am with my parents it is routine for me to utter, "There's no hope for me." At first it was a joke, but now it has become my mantra. Sometimes I don't realize I'm saying it.  

It's just a matter of time before words like watermelom, cantelopem, and chester drawers become common place. CASE IN POINT- there was no hesitation when I typed those words, and my eyes rolled when the wavy red line popped up underneath.

Here's a real "kicker" of a habit I just noticed that I've picked from my daddy. (Ugh. I cannot believe I am admitting this.) When my father wants to get out of his recliner he gives a kick-start by raising one leg and kicking down to propel himself up. A few days ago I was lying on my bed with my legs danging off the side, and I kick-started my way to a sitting position. (Typed with gritted teeth.)

There are other symptoms as well. I like to stick my face out of the front door to test the weather like my mom. I also like to dance around as I do simple things around the house- just like Mama.

The knock-out blow to my transformation came over the weekend when I realized that I had burned/cut my hands/fingers every week for the last three weeks. In case you don't remember that little nugget of family history, you can read it here.  At least it wasn't one of my frumbs.

Now I can do without burning and cutting myself, and I realize the need to work on my abs (no more kick-starts!), but it isn't all bad. I like to stick my face out the door to test the weather. I like seeing the day for myself. And dancing around while cooking and cleaning? We should all be doing that! 

There's also the generosity I see in action through my mama that is worthy of imitation. And what about the work ethic of an 82 year-old who still works 40 hours and plays 18-36 holes of golf a week? (Okay, he's not actually 82 until the 23rd of this month... still!)

So there's no hope for me.

And I kind of like it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

focused on Glory (such creativity)

I delight in flowers. I guess I'm a characteristic girl in that fashion. They make me smile. (I'm actually smiling as I type this!)

Yesterday I grabbed my camera and headed three doors down to Miss Ruth's garden. She was so accommodating and told me I could move whatever I wanted to take pictures. What a doll face. She is in her early 80's and tends her flowerbed every day. She's a gem and her little garden is beyond charming.

One of the reasons I love flowers is because they show, yet again, the boundless creativity of my God. I hope you will share my awe with a look through my lens. Beware, some shots aren't your typical flower picture. I wanted details, and I tried to capture them to the best of my and my equipment's ability. 

There is glory to be seen.

I hope you smile.

Be sure to click on the photo for more detail. 
God is amazing in the details.

The center of a clematis.

This is a newborn snapdragon. The buds are the size of 
the end of my pinkie finger.

The pollen is clinging to the hairs on the petunias.

These little violas (aka Johnny Jump-ups per my friend Kristi) were in Miss Shirley's flowerbed next door to Miss Ruth.

This beauty is from Mr. Marshall and Miss Mary's front step.  

Look who was in my camera bag. Being named Blossom Flowerpot, I had to let her enjoy the flowers too.

Stop by Jennifer's blog for her foG post HERE. Maybe she will show Granny Marks' honeysuckle, but that's just a guess. 
I can't wait to see. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

focused on Glory (sentimental notions)

My parents had a NASTY surprise this week. There was a swarm of termites in the garage. The creepy critters were covering the wall shared with the living room. A call to Terminex summoned a technician who treated the obvious bugs. He scheduled a follow-up for further treatment. 

The termites had a different schedule. They decided to take action before the follow-up appointment. My mother woke up Monday morning and discovered a swarm covering the wall INSIDE the living room. When she turned on the light, hundreds of termites began buzzing the light fixture. They were EVERYWHERE, and it was CREEPY! They were sprayed and swatted until few were left moving.

My sister and I helped take pictures and clean up, and another- more urgent- call was placed to Terminex. The technician arrived, looked at the pictures and a few of the dead insects, and reassured us that they were subterranean termites. He gave us a good education on the this particular type of bug and told us the ones in the house were swarmers and died not long after getting in.  The next several hours were spent with two gentlemen drilling in the garage and digging a trench around the house. They treated the soil under and around Mom & Dad's house. (We also learned that the colony could be as far as 100 yards away under a neighbor's house!) We were lucky to have caught this before much structural damage.

Unfortunately the wall between the living room and garage has to be replaced. This is such a disappointment but not because of any inconvenience during reconstruction. The disappointment comes from a sentimental place. Our kids have been measured against the garage wall for the past eight years. We can see their physical growth as charted on that wall. Now the wall is going to be torn out, and my heart is a bit sad.

The alternative is to have an unsafe living environment, and that isn't acceptable. The best decision is to take down the wall. 

I think God works like this our lives sometimes. There are things we cling to, even things that seem innocent and harmless. If those things do anything to keep us from drawing close to God, then they are hiding a dark secret that eats away at our relationship with Him. If that is the case the wall separating us must come down, and a stronger union can be established.

 I will miss the wall, but maybe we can start a new tradition with the new wall. The pictures I have are from my Olympus P&S. There is nothing dynamic about these photos. They represent the sweetness of watching my kids as they have grown. We are so blessed to have such good kids in our family. Thank you Father for such favors.

(The names look messy because the pencil markings were written over with pen.)

As always, stop by Jennifer's BLOG for great information and encouragement.

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