Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cots and Friends and Things

I had the real treat of sharing one of my mentors with friends the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  We set up chairs in the den, put yummy food on the table, put the coffee on and just enjoyed each other.  Add to that, Mrs. Summey’s warm personality, her stories, her confidence, transparency and Biblical wisdom, the night exceeded my expectations.

I have written many words about Mrs. Summey so I won’t repeat all the things that endear her to me, but every time I get to be with her, I am reminded how blessed I am to know her. As of late, I’ve been wishing I had paid more attention to her ways of parenting when her kids were younger.  I have much to learn from her.

The topic she felt led to talk about was the value of friendship~ the difference a friend can make.  The text was from Mark 2 and the story about the friends taking their paralytic friend to Jesus.  They did not give up when they could not walk through the door to get him to Jesus.  A plan was hatched and they climbed onto the roof and DUG a HOLE and lowered their companion down.  Not an easy task.  Interestingly enough, verse 15 says, “When [Jesus] saw THEIR faith......”. God commended each of their faiths, not just the paralytic’s.

In true Mrs. Summey form, she inspired, encouraged and challenged us fully.  I will try to sum it up here.
Our life can change in a day, in a matter of seconds~ completely.  At that point, a foundation of faith is critical.  We may be rattled but when it all shakes out, our feet will land securely on the foundation He’s been building all these years.  We need to remember that a foundation cannot be built in a day.  Foundations are built minute upon minute, verse upon verse, trial upon trial, prayer upon prayer, victory upon victory.  The investment will save your life. We can lean on a friend’s foundation for a time but we can’t take that one home at night.

The friends~ their faith~ dug the hole in the roof.  They got messy.  They hauled him onto the roof.  They let him down.  They went out on a limb for their friend-- in a big, big way.  Would we?  They believed there was something special about this man, Jesus.  Something significant.  Something amazing.  Something “other”.  Something for which they had been waiting.  Do we believe that?  Their faith in this Jesus they had only heard about is remarkable.  They absolutely expected their friend to be changed.  Do we?  Do I believe that my faith might change someone else? What a difference a day made for him.  What a difference an encounter with Jesus can mean for us, for a friend.

The best questions she asked us, I thought, were, whose on your mat?  Who are you dragging to Jesus?  Who are you willing to go out on a limb for-- dig a hole in the roof?  Am I a friend like this?   Am I regularly involved in introducing people to Jesus for salvation-- for them to experience the redemption of the gospel?  For our friends who know Jesus but truly need us to walk through a dark season and need for us to be the one on which to lean and to consistently place them before the Father, am I willing to get so involved that it might interrupt my schedule and might call for a difficult, messy, energy draining plan B?

My answer?  No.  I really, really want to be that kind of friend.  Really.  I may be that kind of friend for a few, for those of whom I am especially fond, for those whose lives are relatively easy, for the ones I know who would do it for me.......  I hang on for dear life to Romans 8:1 about right now.  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”   Because of this same Jesus, I am under the law of the SPIRIT who has set me free from that condemnation that comes so readily......  and steadily. Challenged, yes. Condemned, no.

When the paralytic got up and walked, verse 12 says, “This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”  I have.  I have seen God transforming lives ~ our own, those dearest to us and even strangers.  You have to.

But I bet we have friends who haven’t.

What a difference a friend makes.  What a difference a Savior makes.
902.  a break from teaching

903.  not setting a morning alarm for a week

904.  picture books and popcorn

905.  neighbors, s’mores and caramel apples

906.  the way the Thanksgiving meal permeates the whole house

907.  people to eat it with!!

908.  homemade place cards

909.  half cord of firewood

910.  Sterilite totes emerging from the attic

911.  Julia’s invaluable decorating help and her free flowing hot cocoa

912.  strings of lights that work

913.  Jeff, always thinking with our family’s compass in mind

914.  new Christmas music {thank you, Christa Wells!}

915.  ornaments older than me

916.  these months of house church

917.  trees that stand upright~ yes, it was as awful as it looks

918.  Brighton dancing

919. my Mom’s group who blesses me all year long

920.  toddler in my house

921.  friends who have faithfully placed my cot before Jesus this year

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Jeff added a new word to my suffering vocabulary a few weeks ago.  Pericope.  I can’t say I’d ever heard or read it before.  He was actually teaching when he used it, so unfortunately I don’t think I heard the rest of what he said because I kept thinking about that funny word.  It’s sort of catchy whether you know what it means or not.  First chance I got, I typed it in.

pericope [puh-rik-uh-pee]- noun.  something taken from a whole

These last few weeks there’s been more time to click the shutter than click on these keys.  I think about all these pictures I take and think about the simple stories they tell-- pericopes of this family’s whole story.  Lighted windows into one room of an entire house.  There’s always more to see than what you can see past your nose just beyond the glass.  There’s always more to know about a story because a good one never really ends.  A pericope is just a part of something, an unknown whole.  That’s what these pictures are and these are the parts of the whole I have been enjoying the last few weeks.

This last month, it seems like every time I looked up after 5 p.m., the skies were just overflowing with colors of loveliness that just can’t be enjoyed properly driving home from who knows where.  

887.  beauty in the sky

When Jeff offered to take Brighton camping for his eighth birthday, B was ELATED.  It was THE talk for the weeks preceding.  When Jeff offered to take one of Brighton’s friends along, he shook his head, “No, Daddy.  Just you and me.”  I loved the pictures sent to my phone all weekend.  

888.  Brighton’s connection to his Daddy

Even though I am constantly challenging myself to get this boy with other boys more often, these two really do enjoy each other.  Oh, they argue, roll their eyes, aggravate, grunt and squeal but most of the time they are content with each other.  

After a few days of picking and irritating, this night watching fireworks at Epcot found them back to normal.  Some Disney die-hards would say, “It’s the magic,” but I know better.  This momma’s heart was grateful.

889.  something had changed in one of my children’s heart 

890. tomorrow would be a better day

It’s hard for me to go into my kid’s rooms sometimes.  The messes begin to fill my mind with clutter- and condemnation.  I have to breathe deep and pray it away.  A week or so ago as I was digging CANDY wrapper out of BED covers and tossing the bazillionth microscopic Lego piece into the bin, I was low enough to see this.  His church-- complete with "Faith in Action" banners and a really fun "Kids Zone".  I saw an altar, pews and a center aisle-- and a boy admiring his daddy.  I left Whoppers under his pillow. 

This one may be more difficult to see but we have been watching a miniseries on the first olympics {the rebirth in 1896}.  In this scene, you see the royalty watching the platform ceremonies in front of the track hurdles.  The guy in the red “do-rag” is the Irishman who always wore his little hat.  

890.  Brighton’s playtime creations

I always feel a night is complete if we have all been on the couch at the same time-- preferably talking or reading.  Why?  I don’t know but our kids love it and ask for it any night we are all at home.

891.  couch time with my family-- at what point will we not all fit??

I can’t help but laugh when I am startled by scenes like this.  It took me aback-- like I was back at DisneyWorld in a floating boat of some kind.

892.  dolls still scattered about {Again, I must wonder, how much longer?}

What is it about kids and the kitchen?  They love it, especially if you let them have something with an “on/off” switch.  We got busy freezing Thanksgiving food before we left for sunny Florida.  Brighton enjoyed his first time running the hand mixer and being in charge of the beaters afterwards. Lick. Lick. But my favorite thing about this picture is his hair.  He woke up like this and never once thought about combing it.  This particular “fluff” is mild but characteristic of him.

893. that he still needs a stool~ and help with his hair

894.  that he doesn’t mind the camera

It’s hard for me to believe she is capable of just about anything in the kitchen.  She delights in helping.  She can even cook and compose poetry at the same time.  

Oh onion, oh onion, you make me want to cry.
Oh onion, oh onion, let us say goodbye.

895.  that she made the dressing this year

After the mornings turn cool, when I can’t find him, I know where to look.  Julia, Brighton and I benefit from these morning rituals-- we have no idea.  

896.  that he leads us quietly and boldly

We do live in 2011 with our faces down, looking at our little 2x5 screens.  As much as I fight it, my kids can navigate almost any cyber device they come in contact with.  Here’s the upside-- finding notes like this.  That IS urgent news if you ask me.  And I can even appreciate her creative spelling of “unbraking” because I see God NEVER putting on the brakes when it comes to His love.  It just blindsides us and runs us all over.  Whether I mess up or not...

897.  grace upon grace from my children

Mr. Disney had a terrific idea.  I am a huge fan as of last week.  My favorite thing I learned while in the magical theme park was that the WHOLE idea of Disneyland/DisneyWorld came from his Saturdays with his daughters.  Taking his girls out was a Saturday morning tradition and there were some weekends he wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.  And one day a brilliant idea popped into his head and thanks to grandparents, we all enjoyed his dream last week.

898.  the gift of time and energy and lots and lots of fun from my parents-- and the fact they didn’t want miss out on a thing

This castle “wow-ed” me so.  I don’t remember it a bit from when I was a child.  Maybe it was the night time, Christmas-time adornment but I could not photograph it enough.  But this I remembered at every turn......

899. childhood memories

Life hardly gets sweeter than to have special people in your home-- I might should say EXTRA special people.  Brighton says she must be famous because of all the people that came to see her.  I assured him that she was.  Mrs. Summey-- my mentor since college.  I say “my”-- multitudes of others can say the same.  She filled our home with her love and wisdom and her laughter which Brighton told her he really liked.

900.  Mrs. Summey and her cot story

A country roadblock 

I love the country.  We were here yesterday just for a bit.  The wind was cold on the open fields and the drizzle just put a little bite to it.  Julia was the photographer yesterday and I love what she saw.

901.  that His Word tells me the path of righteousness leads to LIFE and because of what Jesus did, that righteousness is now mine.

Our story is not finished.  I can hope Julia and Brighton are just getting started~ at the beginning of a whole lot of life to live.  God gets to see the WHOLE, for He knew before the foundation of the world, but me~ I only get to see parts.  I don’t know where He’s taking us or what He’ll use in our continued sanctification, but I know I want to fully live in each pericope knowing that day by day we are making the WHOLE of what He’s given us.    

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

885.  Wide-eyed here.  

886.  And grateful to Julia and Brighton’s Nanna and Papa.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Little History: It does a body good.

If an invitation came along, without any thought of us, Julia would pack up her most treasured belongings in her suitcase before we could say, “We’ll miss you!” and move to Dallas Heritage Village.  As long as we promised to visit.  Jeff and I often say that she was born in the wrong time period.  She’d pick an afternoon at the antique store over just about anything.  It’s reflected in the books she chooses for her free reading, the costumes she picks for dress up events, and the scenarios she makes up in playing with friends.  Exactly.  What’s not to love about that?  Maybe she’ll ask for a horse and buggy for her sixteenth birthday.

 Maybe not.

Even Brighton has a little soft spot for the “back then” as he uses the term... way too loosely...as in referring to my childhood.  A few weeks ago, he came downstairs with a book in hand.  It was one on Pearl Harbor that I had picked up from the library sale one year.  He was distressed. He had the cover open pointing to the words, “Withdrawn from the [such and such school] library”.  “Why, Momma? Why would they take this out of their library??  Those kids need to know about this stuff.  This is really important!!"

We’ve been to Dallas Heritage Village every year since Julia was in  and it’s our favorite field trip.  Easy.  I always describe it as a miniature Williamsburg-- like so mini that you can see it in a couple of hours but oh so worth it!  They have different programs and activities going on all through the year.  I remember when it was election year, the “citizens” of the Village were in the middle of the election too for that time period.  As we visited their homes, we heard everyone’s opinions and arguments.  I think they call it a living museum.  I won’t go into all of it here because their website will do it just fine.  The craziest part is that it is right in the hub bub of Dallas.  You will see a skyscraper or two in the background of pictures.  It’s worth the trip.

Learning the medicinal qualities of plants

Somewhat different than a Wednesday night at Walgreens.  My Daddy, whose pharmacy practice is pushing 50, said, "NO THANKS!"
A Spectrometer

Trying out the Morse Code-- proving to be quite tricky

Something so simple causing such delight

My favorite house on the property

Resident potter’s handiwork

Forging a “courting candle"


General Store

The General Store has baskets with lists of items for which you can shop.  Julia was eager to please the storekeeper and use her money wisely.  She would have shopped every basket had we let her.  For Jeff, this will be his picture of Julia at 9 years old.  He loved watching her.

Can’t make it to Williamsburg this year?  Or next?  Drive the 45 minutes to Dallas Heritage Village.  Pack a picnic, blanket, camera, and some “slow down” potion and enjoy a little history. It’s good stuff.