Wednesday, July 11, 2018

back to the beginning

The eight of us met about fifteen years ago in little  Wilore, Kentucky, while the guys were enrolled in various graduate programs at Asbury Seminary.* When we first started meeting, we were all in our first fewish years of marriage. None of us had kids yet which made things like sitting around and having nice meals and enjoying long talks fairly easy.  Fast forward to July 2018 and now we’re four families and 18 kids strong.  Getting together can be tricky as two of our four families live on the other side of the world but we fight schedules and calendars to make it happen.  

And I’m so thankful we fight that fight.  Life hasn’t been a joy ride for any of us so the getting together and the encouraging each other and the praying for one another and the truth telling and the blessing one another really really matters.  It is an epic pick-me-up, a reminder that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, that He is WITH us.  God has given us each other FOREVER and I couldn’t be more thankful.  

If you don’t have a group like this, pray about finding them and then make a meal and open your door.  Don’t try to find how-are-you-doing friends but how-are-you-really-doing friends.  You’re looking for how-is-your-heart friends and let’s-pray friends, I-don’t-care-what-your-house-looks-like friends and let-me-help-with-your-kids friends.  We’re so thankful we have this in these awesome humans and some key people in Shreveport and Texarkana and Atlanta and Colorado and Alabama and Texas (the list goes on- stop moving away everybody) as well because it makes all the difference.  

Fifteen years seems like a really long time ago but it’s really nothing.  We talked about coming back to our little spot in Stanton, Kentucky in the year 30 billion 18 and I can’t wait.  These friendships will endure because they’re built on the hope of eternal life and the love of a God that has promised to make all things new.  These last fifteen years are really just an eye blink but the love that remains a constant is a gift and it’s something we’ll take with us always.  

Thanks be to God.  

*Truth be told, we would have never met these people if I hadn’t shared a laugh with this spunky girl from Northwest Arkansas who happened to be in my bible study group in Lexington and whose husband happened to be at the same seminary as my husband but that’s another story. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

creativity’s catalyst 

Boredom is a breeding ground for creativity and there was no more fertile soil than these past two weeks at our house without camps or programs or schedules.  To cope, my brilliant teenager created, organized, and implemented "Fun Week," and I think the photos speak for themselves.  To say I’m thankful for her genius may be an understatement.  This past week was one we’ll always remember- even if it was just a "boring" week at home.  It was hot, messy, loud, and at times crazy-making, but it was good and I am forever grateful for these kids and their friends and the community we share.  Eucharisteo! 

Monday, June 18, 2018

tenacious for beauty

"I will make everything around me beautiful- that will be my life."  Elsie De Wolfe

If you're lucky enough to have met Edna Dunaway, you know that her expressions of delight and surprise are quintessential Edna.  She met and married my husband's grandfather a number of years ago after having both been widowed and now, the more I'm around her, the more I am enraptured by the joie de vivre that comes not from having an easy life or a trouble-free life, but quite the opposite.  She's faced formidable odds and difficulty in her life and while she'll mention it, she will not dwell on it- it is only a stepping stone in her story, a matter of fact but not a root of bitterness.  She's like a wildflower that is determined to grow through a crack in the sidewalk- Edna is fiercely tenacious in her mission for beauty and love and grace and it's nothing short of wildly inspiring.  She didn't pick up a paintbrush until she was 42 years old, but she now has a house full of her paintings, her walls an gallery of love and color and joy.  Edna is a master storyteller and the kind of hostess you want to learn from (I take mental notes every time I'm around her).  So of course, she invited us over for tea when we were in Baton Rouge and of course it was thoughtful and sweet- the kind of event at which you feel completely at home but also like the most honored of guests.  "Not for the king, just for the people I love," she said.  But somehow she makes everyone feel like royalty.  

Saturday, June 16, 2018

because I want to 

"... unless I tell it because I want to, it’s as if it never happened; it gets closed off and then it’s lost." Tove Jannsen from The Summer Book

All these images are stories and gifts I want to remember not necessarily because of their inherent greatness (although they are truly awesome) but because they make me look up in thanks.  It’s a wonder we’re here and that we are given so much. Our Creator God, Master Gifter, is a wonder.  I tell these stories because I want to.