Archive for the 'Friends' Category

Great visit with Stephen and Sarah!

Today we had an AWESOME (totally amazing, power of God, wonderful) church service, and after lunch, Stephen and Scott squared off in a ping pong match.  I guess I shouldn’t say who won, but it was close, there was a lot of spinning and slamming going on, and they both had enough fun to work up a sweat.  They played with the garage door open and a few of the shots rolled far enough that I called them “mailbox shots!”

Scott then took them to the bus station in Springfield for their ride to the training center in Kansas City, where they and other Chinese hours church leaders will be taught and equipped for two months.

We had a lot of great adventures in their three days here.

They were able to meet with quite a few of our local Mission China partners – in Springfield, in Nixa, and at Scott’s work.  When Stephen saw Larry’s guns, he shared that he has had a dream since childhood to shoot a gun.  It is illegal for citizens to have guns in China.  That dream set Scott’s wheels turning, and he borrowed one of Larry’s guns and some ammo, wit the intent of finding somewhere Stephen could shoot.

Friday afternoon, we were blessed with several tickets to “Joseph” at Sight and Sound, and we were all deeply touched by that production.  Of course, being Sight and Sound, everything is top-notch, and it was an outstanding performance.  Stephen and Sarah were amazed that there’s a CHRISTIAN theater that does the same CHRISTIAN show daily for six months at a time.  That evening, we played pool, and Stephen, Andrew, and I narrowly defeated Sarah and Scott.

Saturday, our life group went for a hike at Lost Valley, a place that’s always beautiful and a big hit with everyone.  As we drove in rain almost the whole way there, we visited the Elk center first (very interesting), and when we came out, the rain had stopped.  We began our hike, the rain resumed, and we trudged on.  As you know, Roberts never turn back.  We found big dry overhang to eat our lunch under, and then the rain really did finally stop.  We explored tunnels, waterfalls, and the rest of them went into the cave at the end of the trail.  I, having been in the cave once before and having not handled the claustrophobic environs very well, always stay out with the gear.

Leaving Lost Valley, we took them to see the Reunion Rendezvous and then to the home ogf our friend, J.R., who had graciously agreed to let Stephen do some shooting.  He had four or five different pistols, rifles, and semi-automatic weapons, and Stephen was an incredible shot!  I wish you could have seen the smile on his face.  He was truly thrilled to have that opportunity.  In fact, I think he was still grinning several hours later!

We went out to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant.  It was, of course, American Chinese food, but they seemed to enjoy it.

So, all in all, we were blessed and they were blessed and Jesus was lifted up, and a good time was had by all.

Three and-a-half hours later

I went out for lunch with a friend from church today.  I have been wanting to get to know her, so I thought a little lunch meeting would be fun.  We met at Panera at 12 noon.  We started eating and talking, and she talked a lot, and I talked a LOT more, and eventually we started laughing uncontrollably.  I think the Panera staff was wondering what on earth our deal was.  We occupied that booth for an extended period of time, and when we left and I got in my car, it was THREE THIRTY PM!

I was actually starting to get hungry again!

Four friends

I asked four special ladies to meet with me from time to time for support, accountability, and encouragement.  Tonight we met for the first time, and it was fun.  We are getting to know each other a bit better, and although I didn’t really have any specific plan for our time, I think they all enjoyed laughing together and hearing some of the challenges various ones of us are dealing with.  The fact that all four of them were willing to take most of an evening to meet with me was very humbling. God is blessing me with special friends, and I am determined to be honest with them and obedient to him.

Got to see Cindy today!

Years ago. . . maybe four or five years ago, I “met” a lady online through a forum where we were both seeking answers for our then 12 or 13-year old sons.  We were both Christian, homeschooling moms, and we both had kids with interesting learning challenges.  This forum let us connect with each other – and with loads of other moms in similar situations.

We were both greatly encouraged, and Cindy and I became good friends.  She lives in Texas, and she has relatives in Delaware, so most summers she and her son make the long trek north, camping in state parks as they go.  A few years ago, they were coming through Springfield, and we met them for lunch.  It was so neat to finally put a face with her name!

Although we had only seen each other that one time, she and I have been prayer partners through a number of challenges.  Her family supports our ministry regularly and she prays faithfully when our folks are abroad on mission trips.  She’s also the one who helped us navigate the treacherous waters of insurance when Scott had his ski accident, giving us detailed tips that ended up saving us LOTS of money on his medical bills.

So, Cindy and her son, Chris, came through Springfield again today, and Andrew and I met them for lunch in Ozark.  It was great to catch up in person.  What a neat lady she is, and what an inspiration to me.  Maybe I’ll be a little bit like Cindy when I grow up.   = )

Awesome Amy

Katie’s roommate, Amy, was here with us for several day.  She flew down to have fun with Katie and also to help her with the two-day drive back to school.  To say that we all enjoyed her visit would be a vast understatement.  Here are some special memories for various ones of us.

> Silver Dollar City in the rain – Wilderness Church service, Homestead Pickers, meeting their college friend from Florida, KATIE ON WILDFIRE!!!

> swimming in soup-warm water at Big Rock

> Golden Glazed Chicken with Noodles

> painting faces at the Reeds Spring school readiness fair

> teaching Amy to play Bridge

> riding behind Miriam on the four-wheeler

> the Ernests’ totally amazing tree!!!

> riding home from church in a sweltering van

> Apples to Apples

> Amy’s ankle  = (

> the meteor shower on the playroom roof

Now Katie and Amy are back in Virginia, and I am officially registering my vote for paper maps.

At long last

My friend, Danette, lives with her missionary family in Niger (sub-Saharan Africa).  She has a blog where she writes the most wonderful, interesting, and amazing posts.  BUT, she and her family had been in the States for the past six months, getting their oldest son situated in college, visiting their family, friends, and partners, raising support for their ministry, and vacationing.

Before this trip, she used to post maybe every week or two, but in the past nine months, her blog has been very lonely.  I knew that once she was back in Niger and semi-settled, she’d resume writing, so I’ve been checking her blog every few days.  Guess what?  DANETTE POSTED!!!  Join me in enjoying her wonderful writing here.

Blessed beyond belief – and sheep head

Scott and I have known Rick and Colleen for almost 20 years.  We met them when we attended the same church in Little Rock and we have stayed in touch through their many 20+ and our two moves.  They have served as missionaries in Panama, Switzerland, and South Africa, and are now living in Louisiana, where Rick is working as a pharmacist, and Colleen is enjoying being a grandma!

For three days, they are gracing our family in person with their friendship, wisdom, and experience – all of which are in the superlative category.  We are honored to be able to “sit at their feet” and learn, consider, and be challenged.  Wow!  What God has put into these two people is really amazing.

On a significantly less spriritual note, I mention Sheep Head.  It’s a Swiss card game that is extremely cerebral.  In fact, it makes Bridge look simplistic.  Imagine a game in which four people play with only the 7s, 8, 9s, 10, Js, Qs, Ks, and Aces.  All queens, all jacks, and all diamonds are trump.   10s are higher than Ks.  Clubs are highest, them spades, diamonds, and hearts.  Trump cards aren’t necessarily the highest point cards.  Partners are re-determined each hand, but some hands there are no partners.  You never know till the hand starts.

I wrote out a brief chart to cheat with, and even in a trial hand where we all showed all our cards (for teaching purposes), I was still hopelessly confused.  I think if I played it repeatedly, I could probably get it, but I confess that something in my brain rebels at the idea of four different suits being trump at the same time.

Andrew’s been in seventh heaven, having Mr. Rick and especially Ms. Colleen here.  He thrives on adult attention, interest, and hugs.  He wants to cook breakfast with Ms. Colleen tomorrow.  “Would you like scrambled eggs and biscuits?  Would you like to make them?  I’ll be glad to help you!”  It’s his way of making her feel welcome.  = )

I’m so glad they were willing to come stay with us.  We are blessed beyond belief.

The best wedding ever

My dear friend, Jo-Ann, is in her sixties.  She’s charming, intelligent, a snazzy dresser, a great bridge player, and a widow.  She married young, had three children, experienced the death of her oldest (teenage) daughter, and then her husband left her, destitute.  She’s a survivor and she endured homelessness and poverty for a time.  Eventually she met and married Jerry, the love of her life.

When I met Jerry and Jo-Ann a few years ago, they were both about 60ish and had been married for almost twenty years.  They were two of the most in-love people I had ever known.  Jerry was in poor health and I did my best to help her and be a friend through his final days, his funeral, and the terribly tough times that followed.

Jerry died almost four years ago.  I hadn’t seen Jo-Ann in a long time, maybe a year, but she stopped by the house the other day when she saw me out watering flowers.  “I’m getting married on August 30 to Paul Katz, a Jewish Christian man.  We love each other.  Please come.  It’ll be at 10:00 AM, and it’s very casual.  People will be there in jeans or shorts or capris or whatever.  I’m not wearing white!!! (loud laughter)  In fact, I’m wearing orange!  I so want you to be there.”

Scott and I went.  It was the best wedding I’ve ever attended.

The church was full of freinds and families.  Paul had been widowed, too (at least once), and between her kids and grandkids, Jerry’s kids and grandkids, and Paul’s six children, etc., there were more families than I could keep straight.  It didn’t matter.

There were orange and yellow ribbons on the family pews, the only formal decorations in the place.  Two pastors were officiating:  Pastor Barb Johnston (yes, a woman), who pastors Life Chirstian Center where Jo-Ann’s been attending for the past several years, and Pastor Sam Kaunley, who pastors The Sanctuary, where Paul and Jo-Ann have been attending recently and where the wedding was held.

To the song, “You Fill Up My Senses,” the bride and groom walked down the aisle, hand in hand.  He’s also in his sixties and wore gray pants and a yellow shirt.  They walked up onto the platform, and (and this was the neatest thing) Pastor Barb told us all that in most weddings, the congregation sees the pastor and the backs of the bride and groom, but that she knew we really wanted to see Paul and Jo-Ann.  So she turned her back to us, and had the happy couple face us.  How refreshing!

Pastor Barb then explained briefly the three things that marriages are built on:  she admires and respects while he loves and protects, doing the Word of God always, and walking in love.

Pastor Sam forgot to have them read their vows, and when reminded, we all laughed.  We laughed harder when Jo-Ann told us all that she had written out her vows and put them in a VERY secure place.  And that they were still there.  = )  She then spoke from her heart her commitment to Paul, and he did the same to her, with all of us as witnesses. Then he kissed her, and Pastor Barb had to say, “not yet, Paul!”  So he kissed her again, and we all laughed. . and cried.

A grandchild seated on the first row had charge of the rings and she trotted up when asked and gave then to Pastor Sam.  Rings were exchanged.

Communion was served to the couple up front and to us in the congregation while a woman played and sang a worship song.  Her ability and anointing reminded us both of Carroll Posey at Agape.  It was so peaceful and special.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Katz were officially presented by both pastors in unison.  Then Paul followed Jewish tradition and stomped on their communion glass to shatter it, saying joyfully, “Mazel Tov!”

It was over.  There was a big lunch reception that we chose not to attend, but we did wait in a short line to greet Jo-Ann.  We all just hugged and cried with joy.  She has a husband now who loves her to pieces, will treat her like a queen, and is financially secure.

God is good, and it was the best wedding ever.

You’ll never GUESS who called today!

At 5:45 PM, as I was preparing for Scott to arrive at 6:00 PM, less than 24 hours after we learned of the “removal” of T’s canoe from the creek, the phone rang. As usual, my secretary, Jessica, answered it. “Mom,” she called up the stairs, “T. H. is on the phone!”

My stomach sank. I immediately realized what had happened: Scott had called T and been unable to reach him. He had left a message on T’s phone, and now T was calling back. However, since Scott wasn’t yet home, *I* would be the one to have to tell T about his, uh, missing canoe.

“Hello, this is Patty.” (scrambling to think how to word this)

“Hi Patty, this is T.H.”

“T…….. H……. Well, hi. How are you? (deciding to be direct)

“I’m fine. Listen, I was just wondering if you guys still have that canoe that we loaned to you for storage five or six years ago.”

“That canoe? Well, actually, yes. . . and no. In fact, we used it yesterday.”

“Well, we’re going to be going away for Father’s Day and we were thinking of taking it to the lake.”

“Wow, T, that sounds fun, but we’ve had a little problem, um, with the canoe.”

I then proceeded to tell him the whole story of the sinking and later raising of the good ship T. H.

He laughed and laughed and laughed. He said he couldn’t believe that he would call (after five years) on the DAY AFTER we lost the canoe. He kept laughing at the mishap and saying, “this is a really great story!”

I told him how bad we felt and that I would ask Scott to call him back to work out whatever kind of payment needed to be made. He said he was just glad that we had been able to use it so much over the past five years, that things happened, and it was no big deal.

I did mention that we had another canoe, and maybe he could borrow that one and sink it in the lake.

A few hours later, Scott called him back, and T reiterated that no money needed to be paid, that it was a great story, and that he was really happy that the canoe hadn’t spent the past five years unused in his backyard.

T.H. gets points for being a really nice guy, as well as for having had a really nice canoe.

Boy, did we have fun with the Childs!

We only get to see the Childs family every two years, because they are missionaries in Niger, Africa. You might call it “NYE-jur,” but it’s really pronounced “nee-ZHARE.” It’s a land-locked country in the southern Sahara desert, where most of the people are Muslims, but more and more are becoming Christians!

Actually, this time we only got to visit with 80% of the Childs family, because their oldest son, Trae, now 15, is in high school there and had to stay until his semester ended. We really missed seeing Trae, but we all had a lot of fun with Neal, Danette, Tanika and Tobi.

Tanika and Jessica are good friends (read: talk and giggle, talk and giggle, talk and giggle), and Tobi and Andrew are also very close. The little guys spent a lot of time on the trampoline and in the sandbox, I’m not sure where the girls were, and the adults talked and talked and talked – usually the females carrying on one conversation while the men carried on another conversation, all in the same room.

They were only here for less than 48 hours, but we made the most of that time.  They will be driving about 10,000 miles during four months in the States, in order to see their families, and many of their partners and supporting churches. We are very honored that they were willing to include our family on their itinerary.

Thursday was cool, rainy, windy, and about 52 degrees.  That’s FREEZING if you are used to 105!  Friday was much nicer, and we all went to Silver Dollar City. Various people rode various roller coasters, resulting in various intensities of headaches and various levels of nausea. I rode NO roller coasters and my neurological and digestive systems experienced no unrest.  = )

After everyone had ridden everything he wanted to ride (and let it be noted for the record that certain children rode Wildfire, the upside down roller coaster, EIGHT times), we wrapped up the day with a walking tour of Marvel Cave.  Some people may not know that the cave came first, and Silver Dollar city was built on top of it. We had a great guide and overall it was just plain fun.  Tobi had never been in a cave, so he was quite impressed. He kept saying, “so we’re in a cave under the ground? Under the ground???”

Danette continues to be a wonderful model for me. She never raises her voice to her kids, never gets angry or even flustered, always looks great, and is always ready to smile. When I grow up, I wanna be like Danette.

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