I will put about 5 entries for each post so keep checking back!
Thank you for those responsible for our church's first Wednesday Night Dinner. Those that volunteered their time by helping move from Glen Eagle to the Promised Land were invited with their families. Dinner was excellent. Fellowship was important. I'm thankful that unlike ten years ago, every time I turn around there is someone that I can talk to as a friend. It's food for my spirit.
Let's Remember How They Lived
A heartfelt Shout-Out to Allison Parker and Adam Ward for the lives you lived and for the people you inspired. Prayers go out to the family and friends of latest victims of gun violence. Prayers to all victims of any violence. And prayers to those who actually think "Guns don't kill people. People kill people" is actually a logical statement.
I've been working on a short story the last several weeks and has been hording all of my writing time so I've fell behind on some Shout Outs. Here's a hodge podge list of things that I'm thankful for and appreciate that happened over the last couple of weeks - or more.
My youngest brother and I share a love of U2. Recently Rolling Stone published an all-U2 edition of their magazine. I had trouble finding it down here so he bought a copy for me and wouldn't accept reimbursement...although it was a $12 magazine. Much appreciated, brother!
My best-pal (also second-cousin) made a trip south to hang out with me and my family. It's a four-hour drive, but he does it so willingly that it reminds me each and every time how grateful I am to have him as a best friend. I'm thankful for the time spent on the road just to come see me/us. He treated me to a huge Coke and the theater and probably would have given me his own all-U2 Rolling Stone magazine if Ehren didn't beat him to the punch. Dustin, on his way to visit, stopped at a friend's cafe and bought us some Ethiopian and Kenyan coffee. The ingredients - which I do not have in front of me at the moment - are quite eclectic.
Maybe it's kindness of the heart or maybe it's because she doesn't prefer seeing a jungle growing in my backyard, but my neighbor across the street has mowed my front yard a couple of times. I don't own a mower myself - which I hope she realizes - so I have to borrow one from another neighbor. I don't like doing that so my yard doesn't get maintained the way I want it to as often as it needs to be. I'm thankful for her help in maintaining my yard and I'm thankful for the day that I can afford my own mower, have a place to store it and have the time/money to take care of my yard like I want to. This same neighbor has also treated us to a bag of apples that she picks from an orchard each fall. They are delicious!
My mother came to visit the other week. My girls love their Mimi Sue. While here, she kindly treated us to a delicious meal at Cracker Barrel where I finally - after way too much time - got to have a reuben sandwich. Before dinner, we all went to see Minions which was actually pretty good. Clever and entertaining. The movie was a treat from Jeff who gave my family one big gift card to cover all of our birthdays. It was a generous gift with perfect timing.
The other day, my friend Brian - the one that graciously helped me the day my car broke down - took a look at my car. Yes, the same car. When it broke down a few months ago I had the alternator and battery replaced, but it's biggest problem still remained: the stalling - making it dangerous to drive. Brian and I finally found a time for him to look at it and what he thought was going to take an hour took closer to three. He did everything - no surprise there for I am mechanically challenged. He clean the idle control valve and the throttle something or other and when all said and done the car sound much better...at first. The idle was definitely stronger, but completely unrelated to what he as working on, I now had something smoking. So I am truly grateful for his time, but probably even more sorry that I may have to bite the bullet and get rid of it.
I'm getting better at initiating conversations. Still have a way to go though. I am glad, however that I asked an elderly lady walking the shallow waters of Lake Anna yesterday if she found anything good. She was scouring the sandy floor with her metal detector. Wearing headphones and dragging a small netted raft behind her for anything larger than an earring or coins, she responded with a smile, "Oh, yes! All the time!" We talked - rather, she talked - for nearly fifteen minutes. It's her hobby and she loves to do it. The biggest reason being that she sometimes gets to return lost valuables or belongings to the rightful owner. Finders-keepers does not apply to her or her husband, Bill - who is in stage 3 of bone marrow cancer. And I thanked her for this because I was fascinated by the story she told me. I believe I had asked about her largest find and she proceeded to tell me about a $900 ring she had found. It belonged to a highly-ranked Army soldier that served three times in Afghanistan. Friends told her to sell it. She wouldn't hear of it. Since the gentleman's name was engraved into the ring, she was able to locate him. He was in New York. The ring was found in Sandy Point, Maryland. When she called him and he answered, she asked if by any chance he had recently been at Sandy Point. The gentleman knew immediately what she was calling about. "It's about my ring isn't it?" Not wanting any person of any stature to come to her house, they agreed to meet at a library where she happily returned the valuable item. Her main reason, I believe, for metal detecting. Here she could've have made nearly a thousand dollars by selling the ring, but she chose giving joy to someone else instead. It was heartwarming to hear a story of such kindness. I never got her name - I told you I have a ways to go - but, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet this gracious treasure hunter.
The Promised Land
It's been quite the journey, but God made it happen when it was supposed to happen. Yesterday we worshiped for the first in our new church building and the energy was powerful. God's grace was flowing through every conversation and song as well as the emotional and spirit-filled sermon. It was a packed house and as amazing as the journey was and as spectacular the building itself is, it was the presence of God and the ministers (us!) that congregated there that made it a day to remember.
A huge thank you to everyone that helped pack, lift, carry, build and replenish. The community spirit thrived because of your dedication and commitment to serve.
A hundred-year-old hickory stood on that land that the church was built on. An unfortunate casualty, but it's just what happens sometimes. It's death was not in vain. A church member took a chunk of that tree and hand-carved a communion plate and chalice that was used during our communion on Sunday. It is also our duty as Christians to make sure that tree did not descend from its grand heights for nothing. We must be the roots that anchor the church...not the building itself, but anchor the community that resides within. We must be the roots that show what life is like with Jesus. We must anchor ourselves and anchor each other so we can continue to absorb the Holy nutrients that we need to live the life we were meant to live.
I just wanted to say how thankful I am for all the people that glorify Christ while serving others through mission trips - whether here at home or elsewhere in the world. Helping and serving others is so important no matter where it's done. Thank you for heeding God's call. Here are some friends and family that have been on or will be going on missions trips:
Emma will be going to Guatemala.
Ashley is leaving today for Hungary
Gayle has returned from Haiti (I know her husband, Ben, has also been on trips, but not sure where)
Jason has returned from Vienna
Evan and Helena have returned from Nairobi
B.J. is leaving shortly for Uganda
Miton Z., Pamela K., Chris H. and several youth (including Emma - daughter of family friends) are at the airport right now beginning their trip to Guatemala.
Darla has left and I believe has returned from Brazil.
Thank you for your service! Please prayer for those that will be going on their trips and please send me names of anybody that you know that will be leaving on trips so we can start a prayer list.