A Bridesmaid

Bridesmaid:  a woman who is an attendant of a bride…

My first is getting married.  Everything that is going on is “new to me” as mother-of-the-bride.  I’ve been a bridesmaid for many weddings, but never on the mother-of-the-bride side of watching bridesmaids love on my daughter.  I observed careful care of helping her with her “just the right hairstyle for the wedding day”, travel from out-of-town, and giving sacrificially for a dress that, come on, don’t try to convince them they’ll wear it again!
Picking out dresses was a time to see my daughter’s friends showing up and giving and loving so that her day will be special.  After it was all said and done that night at David’s Bridal, we ended up in a circle and my joy was overflowing.  I will never forget your love for us that night.  Folks racing from work, traveling out-of-town, and managing a family emergency in the midst of it all–but you were there and present and full of love.
I remember my day, 25 years ago, and how my friends were there for me wearing their dresses, running errands, serving, and loving.  I remember my sister-in-law and my brothers going way beyond the call of duty to help my day run smoothly. Thank you Marie (she was my maid of honor).
April202014Iphone 174

Anna & Parish, 1989

MomsCameraIncludesEngagementParty 214

Marie and Harvey with Victoria and Spencer

I don’t think I could ever repay her for all she did for me….us…..  One of my bridesmaids decorated the reception hall with red hearts–my favorite.  Thank you.  Every little detail, bridal shower, gift, encouraging word, sacrifice–it’s all coming back to me in this season of my life.  You gave when maybe it was hard for you, but you gave anyway–with joy and hope.  A hope that our future would be blessed with God’s love.  We had so many hands and hearts in my wedding day to make it special, and we are blessed beyond measure.  Thank you to everyone on February 4, 1989,….thank you.  If you tied a bow, blew a balloon up, made food, ran to the store, bought a dress you’ll never wear again, gave a gift, decorated, sang, organized, put up with us in love, ….thank you…..

I guess I feel VERY humbled to have my daughter’s friends doing that for us.  On this side of it all, I realize wholeheartedly, the love you are pouring forth.  You only get one day to be a bride and that day is remembered.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! to all the beautiful bridesmaids who are loving on us.  If ever we seem too busy to say thank you, please know we are truly grateful, and your love will be remembered for a lifetime.  Every smile, every encouraging word, every talent you pour forth unconditionally–thank you.  The greatest love is when we give out of a servant’s heart with joy.  I witnessed that Saturday night and was blessed.  Can I say it again?  THANK YOU!

Looking forward to celebrating with you in the covenant marriage of my daughter to my future son-in-law.  What a joyful day that will be!   Thank you for paving the way with joy, service, and most of all His love.
Thank you Woman of Worth sisters for being there through it all…..
wow2

WOWLOGO

Woman of Worth Mentoring Ministries

wowpicture

MomsCameraIncludesEngagementParty 227
As I was typing this, sweet Katie sent me a picture of a quilt that her Mamaw made of t-shirts–many of them WOW shirts and WOW events–I love you sweet Katie!  Perfect timing sweet friend….
044
004

God created you…

Today is a very special day of celebrating a friend’s pregnancy and soon-to-be with us baby girl. I’ve reflected on all the verses that God has given us to remind us that He created us. He loves us. He has a plan for us. What is so amazing is that He foreknew us, and, in advance, prepared the way for us.

I was reminded by a sweet friend that our faith is founded on God’s Word and Truth, not on the evidence of our circumstances. Today–KNOW– Truly know that He created you!

Psalm 139:13-16
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made … Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me
Job 33:4
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Jeremiah 1:4-5
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”
Isaiah 66:13
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…

Psalm 139:17-18

 

 

Metzger 801 N. 23rd Street Richmond, VA

To spice up our marriage, my husband and I have decided to make date nights an adventure.  We go to unique places and try something new and fun.  We fancy ourselves food critics and have conversations about the place surrounding its history, food, and atmosphere. The story behind the entrepreneur has always intrigued me.  I can listen to someone’s life story for hours!  This combines our love for spending time with each other, my love for writing, and his passion for cooking.

My husband loves to cook and eat meat.  Southern Living recently posted their top 100 restaurants and  a few Richmond area restaurants made the top 100.  Metzger Bar & Butchery was one of the restaurants mentioned. They have a retail and restaurant option.  Metzger is located at 801 N. 23rd St. in Richmond.  For more information on their menu and history, you can click on their name above.

They pride themselves on creating an atmosphere and dining experience of “rustic, seasonal, and German-influenced food”.

031030

We started with choosing from the daily selections of meats and cheeses for an appetizer.  I was blown away with all the different names of meats and cheeses.  Have no fear!  We had an amazing wait staff to explain each one.  She shared what it would taste like, what you could compare it to, and she was extremely knowledgeable and passionate.

024 

The tables and chairs were in the style of rustic butcher shop, but they pulled off romantic fun, too.  The music and lights adjusted as the night went on to accommodate a soft but fun ambience.  I noticed little things, like the sunset over Richmond and the pink and purple colors in the sky flooding through the windows.

032

Little things like the wait staff making sure everything was clean and perfect.  I actually saw the waiter hold up a glass to examine its worthiness to be used by the customer, and little touches like votive candles on the table.

My husband ordered the pork chops

025

KASSLER
Smoked Pork Chop, Mushroom Spätzle, Arugula,

My husband loved the fact they took the time to produce “grill marks”.   I ordered the chilled soup and bacon German potato salad.

CHILLED SOUP
Corn, Creme Fraiche, Speck, Dill

There are some things you should not do out in public–just bad table manners, but I could not help myself.  The pork chop was so tasty, I just had to —

029028027

If you are looking for good German food in a friendly, romantic atmosphere, I recommend Metzgers!  Their menu changes to keep it fresh and fun, and they offer unique dishes.  My husband is the best “meat cooker” I know.  This place came very close if not matched his skills.  Street parking is available.

God’s Love Language

God’s love language is worship. Yesterday, Pastor Stan, shared this message at Cloverhill Assembly of God.  If you want to show God just how much you love Him–worship!  God is an emotional God.  The Bible shares that God can be angry, show pity, be merciful, take delight,……  God is not a computer or machine, or unapproachable!  He desires to be in relationship with you and worship is an amazing way to connect with God.  Imagine a child running to his parent desiring to be held and loved.  Our arms open wide to embrace and show affection.  When we, with outstretched arms, worship God, He shows up with great love and compassion.  It does not mean we don’t enter worship with burdened hearts, confusion, or distracted minds, but within worship we can put all of our earthly troubles and struggles to the side and worship the One who provides a way where there seems to be no way.  It’s within worship we can connect to Him and find peace.  This may seem one sided but it’s not!  As you read through the scriptures you will see the benefits of worshiping your Creator–He is a generous and amazing God!  Worship brings healing!  On your feet now!  Applaud God!

Psalm 100 (The Message version)

On your feet now—applaud God!
    Bring a gift of laughter,
    sing yourselves into his presence.

Know this: God is God, and God, God.
    He made us; we didn’t make him.
    We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
    Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
    Thank him. Worship him.

For God is sheer beauty,
    all-generous in love,
    loyal always and ever.

There are 7 different meanings (Greek and Hebrew) of “praise” in the Bible that explain this type of worship.

1. Halel—to rave, boast, celebrate, clamorously foolish

….they who seek the Lord will praise him (Psalm 22:6)

2.  Yadah–to acknowledge in public

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart (Psalm 138:1)

3. Barak–to bless by kneeling or bowing; to offer yourself to Him

Praise the Lord, o my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name (Psalm 103:1)

Romans 12:1 (The Message)–Love this translation of this verse!

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

4. Zamar–making music to God with strings

Psalm 150

Hallelujah!
Praise God in his holy house of worship,
    praise him under the open skies;
Praise him for his acts of power,
    praise him for his magnificent greatness;
Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
    praise by strumming soft strings;
Praise him with castanets and dance,
    praise him with banjo and flute;
Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
    praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
Let every living, breathing creature praise God!
    Hallelujah!

5.  Shabach–to address in a loud tone, to shout

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name, I will lift up my hands (Psalms 63:3-4)

6.  Towdah–to lift hands in adoration

He who offers praise glorifies me (Psalms 50:23)

7.  Tehilah–exuberant singing, enthusiastically, overflowing

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips (Psalms 34:1)

 

Because He Lives!

Keep it moving. Life is filled with twists and turns and unexpected surprises. My mom’s favorite quotes for me ring true

Bloom where you are planted.

Face the challenge “line upon line”.

When you have a day in which every category of your life seems to be a cacophony of questions and unresolved issues, you keep it moving.  After addressing the issues at hand to the best of your ability with God as your center, you move on “line upon line” and “bloom where you are planted”.

In counseling, your therapist will encourage you to make time to “contain” your issues within a symbolic or tangible “box”, and live.  Talk about something different, do something different, and most importantly engage with Jesus’ love for you.  If you are one of my counseling associates reading this, I highly recommend Lisa Ferentz for therapy techniques on this subject matter.  Her website:  http://www.lisaferentz.com

This was beautifully played out yesterday in my home.  My husband and I had issues to resolve that could not be settled in one morning.  We discussed and problem-solved.  What do you do after that?  God showed me in a very real way.  My teenager decided to read outside.  My husband tended to the pumpkins to try to clean the mold growing on the leaves.  My youngest decided to study fun facts about the different states.  Each time she would read a fact out loud, she would quote Paul Blart from the movie Mall Cop –“Here’s a fun fact for you.”  That line has become a family favorite.

“Did you know Wyoming was the first state to allow women to vote?  Why couldn’t women vote mom?”

A discussion occurred that took us all the way back to Adam and Eve and God’s perfect design for man and woman, sin, the different cultures, Susan B. Anthony, the women’s movement, and most importantly the God-given roles of a woman that we should never deem “less than”, or sacrifice.  Dad became involved when the question came up –“Why does the Liberty Bell have a crack in it?”

We did not stay in this state of simplicity–life happens.  Errands, disagreements, bills, unexpected turn of events……

Yet for one brief moment God showed us.  He showed us the importance of knowing when to pull away and rest or engage in your type of fun.  God reminded me that life will be crazy, but you got to keep it moving, bloom where you are planted, and do the next thing with His joy and confidence.  Most importantly, when you have a day in which you feel you did not win mother of the year, father of the year, or best citizenship award, you remember who made you “right” or “righteous” –Jesus.  His love for you.  His grace.  His mercies are new EVERY morning.

A sweet mom shared this on Facebook:

Tonight was one of those nights. The one where mommy has a “moment.” They usually follow a long stressful week and expectations are not met. Usually accompanied by telling children calmly to follow a direction 4 times and they still don’t do what mommy tells them to do. All I can do now is try again tomorrow.

One of my favorite hymns from my childhood is “Because He Lives”.  We sang this at my wedding as a congregation.  “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  Because He lives, all fear is gone!”

I was inspired this morning from a friend’s blog on marriage.  It’s incredible to see other families striving with their own personal God story.

I love you Jesus.  Thank you…

Thank you for the constant reminders of Your promises to never leave nor forsake us….

001 002 003

 

 

A loving heart is the truest wisdom (Charles Dickens)

This post will be short and simple in nature; yet, it has the most profound meaning to me personally.  Yesterday, after managing “much” as a mom, student, and school social worker, I felt the typical robotic scatter brain feelings. Being a robot with scatter brain is not a good thing. To overcome, my Jesus-talk began to cheer me on,  “Just do the next thing with joy and confidence, Anna.”

043

 

My youngest knew I was headed to class, so I did not say goodbye the moment I left.  I was loading my car and getting all my bags straight when this precious girl comes running barefoot to my car.  The only goal she had was to hug me and say “I love you” and “goodbye”.

“Is that all you wanted?  You came out here to my car in ouchy bare feet to say goodbye?”

The biggest and warmest smile came over her face and her eyes shined with the love of Jesus.  “I wanted to say goodbye and I love you!”  No hidden agenda.  No attitude.

I lingered in her eyes and hug and told her the priceless gift she just gave me was perfect timing.  She ran back to the front door of the house and waved me on with a smile and one last look.

What a joy to receive unconditional love.  Love in action.  And, not an action out of duty, but pure motivation of “because I wanted to…I love you……”

A child’s heart motivates and brings the purest of joy…

IMG_5527 019 020 017 018

 

 

Forerunners

Forerunner


a person or thing that precedes the coming or development of someone or something else.

John the Baptist, named by God, and the forerunner of Jesus, devoted his life to preparing the way of the Lord.

The child will be named John. When God names a child, that child is especially significant in God’s plan.This child will be great before God. In Luke 7:28 Jesus says that no one greater had been born of woman before John. His greatness emerges from his prophetic role and from his function as a forerunner to Jesus.(https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Luke/Announcing-Forerunner-John)

John Baptizing Jesus

My father is part of a group called Forerunners at his local church, Ironbridge Baptist Church.  The group consists of a group of strong and dedicated Christian men who desire to act as catalysts to those in need of the love of Jesus.   My youngest participated with her Papa in making their logo.

010

 

Hebrews 6:19-20

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

The men serve to point others to our forerunner–JESUS.

What a joy to see men serving Jesus and caring for the next generation.  The t-shirt has become one of my daughter’s treasures, and she wears it often.