A Quiet Wood

A Quiet Wood

Thursday, November 29, 2007

After the Feasting.

Well, the eating and the talking and the eating and the laughing and the eating and the game playing and the eating and the dish washing and the eating...are finally completed. I bask in the warm glow of the memories and the few extra pounds tenaciously clinging to my thighs. I was so blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my dad's family in Alabama. We had close to 40 people there on the main feast day, but of course the celebration spread over 3 days. You can't get everything said in just one day. :) I was reminded of the blessing of a family steeped in love and dedication to our Heavenly Father. Sure we have our faults. Who doesn't?! But knowing each other as well as we do, we choose to drive or fly hundreds of miles to celebrate connections and laugh at each other's idiosyncrasies. So, before I get more sentimental, I'll give you a pictorial journey through my Thanksgiving.

The table was laid.

The stockings hung on the ladder with care.

And the fun began. It seems like at least a few guys are looking at a map at one point or another. I'm sure Phil is giving Brent good advice. :)

A classic pose of some uncles (James & Philip).

My sweet mother and dear Aunt Carole.

The newly married among us (Phil & Dana).

The soon to be married (Josh & Faith).

A classic shot where the background shots are even better than the foreground.

And a few other random shots of the hilarity on the night we opened presents.

And then, finally, we got a few cousins and spouses together for a group picture. Due to poor planning, not everyone was still there. Oh, well. We do the best we can. Oddly enough, we seem to be standing on an incline. In actuality, the house was on a level surface.

Central to our celebration is my precious grandmother. I want to be like her when I grow up!!

Saturday was the big ol' catfish fry. In case you don't know... Greensboro, AL is the catfish capitol of...hmmm...something. Anyway, they raise catfish there, and it is amazing. Some friends with big fryers came to do the honors.

Like manna from heaven.

Well, there are many more pictures I could inflict upon you. Like the guys watching the sky for the return of our Lord. (Actually, David was flying his remote control helicopter. Really cool!)

Or my dear brother wowing the young ones.

Or pics of my wonderful parents.

I could do that. But I think I'll stop now.

Let the basking continue!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In the Quiet.

I sit here in my "chair of power" in the Dean of Women's office, and for one brief, shining moment everything is still. No talking, laughing, running in the halls (grrr). It is quiet all around me. This is a bit unusual for a Thursday morning, but all is calm and (oddly enough) all is fairly bright as well. (Hmmmm, where have I heard that before?) Needless to say, I'm enjoying it immensely. I think the thing that makes this moment so special is its rarity. Something that is uncommon often becomes precious to us, and these minutes are no exception. My life has been full lately - full of kids in crisis (sickness, family problems, major spiritual issues) but also full of joy as I am reminded over and over again just why I'm here; why I have a job where my phone can ring at any hour because someone "needs" me.

I am also reminded that in the fullness of our lives, we can always have a "quiet place" where our ears are tuned to hear the still small voice of our Father. A song comes to mind that has become a favorite of mine in the last few years.

Mid all the traffic of the ways,
Turmoils without, within,
Make in my heart a quiet place,
And come and dwell therein.

A little shrine of quietness,
All sacred to Thyself,
Where Thou shalt all my soul possess,
And I may find myself.

A little shelter from life's stress,
Where I may lay me prone,
And bare my soul in loneliness,
And know as I am known.

A little place of mystic grace,
Of self and sin swept bare,
Where I may look upon Thy face,
And talk with Thee in prayer.

- John Oxenham, 1917

Well, in the process of writing this post, the quiet has been shattered. My little charge who was sleeping next door has awakened, and the room is now filled with his baby gibberish (another wonderful sound). People have come and gone from my window, but the stillness of soul, the quiet place, remains.

May all of us take time this day to "be still (even for a moment) and know that [He] is God".

Friday, November 2, 2007

Aaaaaaand We're Rolling...

Well, lest any of you dear folks out there begin to think that I leave posts up for an inordinate amount of time just to see how many comments I can get and if anyone will notice I'm missing, I decided to actually give you another offering. To be honest, the last month is a bit of a blur due to the amount of activity and lack of prolonged time to actually stop, rest, and reflect. I've worked three of the last five weekends and the weekends in between when I didn't work had major activities associated with them (Homecoming & Youth Challenge/my cousin's wedding). So, as you can imagine, I feel a bit blurry around the edges myself. But time off is coming if I can just hold on a bit longer. (Hallelujah.)

It was really great to meet up with old friends for at least a few brief moments at Youth Challenge. Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of all of you, but the fellowship was sweet (though abbreviated). You know who you are! What a beautiful thing to be blessed with people who know you well and "knew you when" and love you anyway! Wow! What a precious gift. I know some YC pics have already made their way onto other blogs, but I'll post a few anyway.

Like I said, what a blessing!

This picture pretty much sums it up with these young ladies! (I'm actually under strict orders not to post this - which made me want to do it all the more. Sorry, Lauren, it's just too good!)

And what great kids! I won't name them all, but they are pretty cool! (And they know who they are anyway.)

After being Challenged along with the Youth, Brent and I left for Missouri and my cousin Phil's wedding around midnight Friday night. We made it to El Dorado Springs just before 9am, did a quick clean up and change of clothing and were at the church by just after 10:30am. We set up, took pictures, did some last minute practicing, and were in place looking our best when the prelude began at 12:30pm. The Lord was merciful upon our tired voices, and the music seemed to go pretty well. The couple was married without difficulty, and another single cousin bit the dust. As my Aunt so kindly reminded my cousin, Paul, "Well, it's just you, Sonja, and Brent now." Thank you, dear Aunt.

Here is the happy couple (Phil & Dana) with the wedding party - the whole kit & caboodle.

And then there's the Vernon family - not nearly the whole kit & caboodle.

And then you have Brent & I (looking slightly fuzzy around the edges) with the happy couple.

Anyway, there you have it. By 3:30pm I was back in the car headed toward Cincinnati with my Uncle Mike & Aunt Ruthie. Fortunately, we decided to stop for the night, so I actually got some good sleep. (Yay!)

This week has been full of the Leadership Conference & the Inner City Summit held here on the Hilltop. Dr. H.B. London, from Focus on the Family, was here as the special speaker for the Leadership Conference, and he was incredible. What a great man - and really fun to listen to as well! I was truly blessed by his ministry.

Oh, yes, Halloween was this week as well, and my best buddy had a costume. Please indulge me a few moments of unadulterated gushing.

Cool, huh?

Well, that about wraps it up. "Well, it's about time," you say. "Maybe you should post more often," you say. "Perhaps then you wouldn't have to do these monster blogs that we must wade through in the vain hope that you will amuse us," you say. Sigh. You are right. *hangs head in shame* I'll try to do better. ...But I probably won't, so Jesus is just going to have to help you endure...or you could always just quit reading. But you know you don't want to do that. What if, maybe...just maybe, I actually entertain you at some point? Are you sure you want to risk it?

Something to think about this week.