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Christianity/Religion Friends Goodness of man Honor My Home Pentecostal Photography

Honor to Whom. . .

Since I was a friend of his, Holly had said more than once to me, “I need to meet him. I want to thank him and remind him of how he has influenced my life,” or words to that effect. Then when she heard that he and other dear friends would be at our home on Tuesday, she asked, “Do you think it would be okay if Patrick and I come up and talk with them?”

The situation was this: Quarterly, we three couples–friends for most of our adult lives–rotate to our homes where we share dinner, and a breakfast the following morning: Stevensons, Hodges, and Buxtons. Holly and Patrick Garrett, our young friends who pastor a church in Yucaipa, CA., had not met either the Stevensons or the Hodges. It was in particular Johnny Hodges that Holly wanted to meet.

Earlier in the evening, I had phoned Holly and asked if they would be coming up. “Yes,” she replied. “We’re finishing drama practice and will be up in about an hour.” Our scrumptious dinner was over. Jerry had outdone himself on smoked St. Louis style ribs, (that’s another great story in itself), we had eaten dessert and had drunk strong coffee, Johnny had removed his shoes, and we had all slumped about in delicious old-time-Imagefriend conversations when the Garretts arrived. We made the introductions, offered food and drink, then rather quickly, Holly addressed Brother Johnny Hodges.

“I don’t know if you remember all the details,” she began, and then summarized the story. Her parents, Joyce and Richard Pierce, were not serving God, but because of family connections in the church asked Brother Hodges to marry them. Then sometime later when Holly came into the family, the Pierces asked Brother Hodges to dedicate their baby daughter to the Lord. He did so, and during the ceremony he urged them to continue to take little Holly to God’s house. Thus began the conversion of the Pierce family. He became a minister, and years later started a church in Costa Mesa, CA. It was there that Patrick Garrett found God, and where he and Holly fell in love. They married, have two sons of their own, and now pastor a church in Yucaipa.

“I want you to see the fruit of your labor, Brother Hodges,” Holly said as she pointed to Patrick, who was listening intently.

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A sweet presence of God surrounded us on Tuesday night in our living room as this beautiful young lady sincerely honored the man who those long ago years reached out to her parents, and thus “effected” her salvation, and those of her parents, her husband, her children, and those to whom she and Patrick minister today. I admired her for her thoughtfulness and for her sincerity. It was an unforgettable moment.

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Brother Hodges is now 82 years old, declining, and in very poor health. Many do not recall the days of his youth when he was an honored district leader, and was a preacher of rare skill, anointing, and distinction. Holly, too, has no memory of those days, but she has listened to the stories, and has heard their message, and has inculcated its meaning into her very soul. May there be more Holly Garretts in this world. May there be more Johnny Hodges.

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Categories
Children Christianity/Religion Conferences/Seminars Pentecostal Photography

Saturday Faces in Ontario

Faces, Saturday faces, from our Southern California Ladies Conference. What a conference! Dynamite speakers, preachers and other leaders. Top-notch music. Good food, sweet women, cool men, and gorgeous babies . . . How blessed we are.

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Some of the faces were baby faces.ImageImageAlmost a face.

ImageImageImageImageImageBeautiful youth.

ImageImageImageuntitled (9 of 59)ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImagePossibly the youngest ever to attend our ladies conference is Lincoln. Six days old, he is.

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Christianity/Religion Devotionals Friends God Goodness of man My Home Pentecostal Photography

Seven Thousand and Counting

It grieved me to hear that a highly respected elder minister of the Gospel felt in good conscience he could no longer attend the church he had pastored for many years. The relative who had followed him as pastor has chosen a “new” gospel. The names lack significance. The message cracks with consequence.

As a counterpoint to the short piece above that I recently posted on Facebook, and which received many affirming comments, I present a young couple. Their names are Anthony and Shauna Allen.

ImageAnthony Allen is a young minister, and he and his darling wife stand as the antithesis of the relative noted in the paragraph above. On Sunday at the conclusion of their (and his parents) short visit in our home, Jerry spoke a short devotional.

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ImageAs I gave a final hug to Shauna, she spoke soft words me: It is such a blessing to be in a home where I feel so strongly the presence of God.

Image Our Sunday morning devotion in our living room ended in this way and I was reminded again that across the world there are innumerable honest, ethical, God-fearing people who are not deviating from the doctrines found in the Bible. Young ones, middle-aged ones, and older ones. I recalled that great prophet Elijah who once got to thinking he was the only one doing right. God rebuked him and cited 7000 who had not bowed their knees to Baal.

I smiled. . . and decided to tell you about it.

Categories
Arizona Conferences/Seminars Food Friends Goodness of man Pentecostal Photography

Hotel Bob Allen and Company

When Jerry called Pastor Bob Allen, secretary of the Arizona UPCI district, last week to inquire about hotels for the Arizona On Fire camp meeting we would be attending, Brother Allen said, “Why don’t you stay with us in our home?” Such a gracious invitation, with the added order that yes, they would be preparing dinner for us, led to our arriving here in the early evening yesterday. We had left Crestline at 9:15 . . . long ways over here to Tucson. Chloe is with us, and when we arrived, these precious people greeted us enthusiastically, and the dining room table was set like this.

untitled (1 of 9). . .and then we gathered around and were treated to a luscious meal.

untitled (2 of 9)Adorable grandson Silas is the star of the place, wearing both a cowboy hat and boots, and with a green pacific securely clamped in his mouth. Sister Allen’s father sat at the head of the table.

untitled (3 of 9)The rooms where we would stay made us feel as though we were in a 5 star hotel. Both Chloe’s room and ours were outfitted with generous hospitality baskets and every amenity we could wish.

untitled (9 of 9)In preparing a hostess gift for Sister Allen, I had made the great sacrifice of picking off the ground pine cones and acorns. 🙂 Well, I did put them in a pretty glass container, and I did give her my finest acorns; the fattest, biggest specimens, including one with a double topknot on his hat, and the other with a feather in his hat.

untitled (4 of 9)Gracious Sister Allen exclaimed over the little things I had prepared for her (turned out we were trading food items!) and she loved the acorns. I was so relieved at that, because although I think the acorns are adorable, I did have the thought cross my mind that she might think: “Acorns, why did she bring me acorns?” 🙂

But she loved them–I could tell she really did–and she spread them out along with her own fall decorations and with the pumpkin cups I had given her.

untitled (6 of 9)untitled (7 of 9)Once more, I am reminded of my splendid abundant life, into which, over the years, have come remarkable, wonderful, loyal friends. How rich am I.

Brother Allen has jury duty today, so we’re all on hold until this afternoon when we will take the Allens out to dinner. Opening service of the camp is at the Conner’s church tonight. In the meantime, I’ve located a State Park just 15 minutes away from here. Think I’ll chug over there and snap a few pictures.

Cheers……have a great day!

Categories
Christianity/Religion Food Friends God Goodness of man Pentecostal Photography

The Catch of Friendship (Part 2)

Not enough to serve us a dynamite meal on Wednesday evening, and to engage in hours long sweet conversation, but breakfast on Thursday was in the friendship plan. So at 10:30, we gathered back at the Johnny Hodges place to delve into a sumptuous breakfast; fresh fruit, juice, Eggs Newport, sausage, English muffins…..

It was the middle of the afternoon before any of us made a move to leave. It had been a time of reflection, of reciting the wonders of God, of delving into our pasts, of bragging on Jesus and His people. So overcome with emotion he could hardly speak, Berl recounted how God moved to bring his grandson to be the pastor when he was ready to retire. He opened his heart as he told of the beauty of the transition and their remarkable relationship now as Bishop and Pastor, grandfather and grandson. He wept. . . as did I, and as did others.

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A circle of elderly friends were we. And then Johnny told of the time he and Elaine had been in Israel, and from a distance he had pointed to Golgotha. “That’s where my salvation was purchased,” he said.

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And on yesterday afternoon, we all gazed as he recounted the event, and we were moved to our core, and knew it to be so, and recalled that such a knowing was the glittering, silver cord that connects us six friends.

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We prayed . . . and then left.

Catch it if you can . . . the spirit of enduring friendship.

Categories
Family Food Friends Home Music Pentecostal Photography

Dinner with Friends

On Tuesday, I scurried about, prepped, set the food to cooking early, and then delved into the fun part as I set the table with the finest china and silver I own. Company was coming! A missionary couple neither Jerry or I had met would be joining our dear friends the Garretts for a meal in our home here in Crestline. The night before I had prepared the Texas Bites Jerry would grill as appetizers, and had rolled the pie crusts. Now I filled them; one chocolate, one lemon.

ImageThe Garretts had taken the Schreckhises on a little tour of Crestline, all the way around tiny Lake Gregory before they pulled into our driveway, walked up the front steps and through the open door said, “We’re here.”

Missionaries to Honduras, Brother and Sister Schreckhise are here in the States to raise money for their continued support for their vital work in that country. Baby Samuel, five months old, was the star of the evening. He eyed the food on mama’s plate, and I believe from one of her fingers, he sucked off a smidgen of gravy.

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ImageSuch a joy to not only entertain long-time friends, but to make new ones.

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ImageWe three women and Zac gathered about the piano upstairs and sang old hymns of the church, and I heard that Lori Schreckhise had a beautiful voice, and we sang longer, and sometimes we cried because God is so beautiful, and His people are so dear, and we are so blessed.

untitled (42 of 48). . . and Holly brought flowers . . .

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Christianity/Religion Friends Goodness of man Honor Life Pentecostal Photography Social

The Luminance of A Durable Friendship

Even though one of their characteristics is a certain ebb and flow, it is important to maintain them lest they be lost, for once completely unraveled, the knitting back into form may be difficult. Constraints of time and various responsibilities will push against their keeping.

From the relationship laughter will result. So will tears.

Jerry and I have been at this one–this friendship–for about 65 years. At least segments of our friendship with the Stevensons and the Hodges have been that long-lasting, for Jerry and Johnny Hodges met when they were still in high school. Our friendships are sterling, and on Friday they drove up from San Diego and spent the night with us.

Snippets:

untitled (3 of 26)Johnny lost his phone, so strong man Jerry tipped over the chair where Johnny had been sitting, and there underneath was the phone.

Nita wasn’t able to come as she had gone to northern California to visit with her sisters. To punish her we almost planned a dinner engagement at her house…but being the sweet friends we are, LaVelta and I had mercy on her and didn’t mark anything on our calendars.

I’m above tattling on anyone, (by name) but the two diabetics in the group refused the sugar-free ice cream and strawberries I had prepared, and licked up instead wide wedges of lemon meringue pie.

untitled (8 of 26)………………………….   Three Precious Cronies   ………………………………..

Lavelta leaned toward me across the table where we lingered after breakfast on Saturday morning and said,

People like to be appreciated, don’t they?

untitled (9 of 26)………………………….Beautiful friends, the Stevensons……………………….

We talked into the night of our families, our churches, vitamins, and antibiotics. One of the diabetics injected the other with insulin. I grinned. We ate, and drank iced tea and pots of coffee and spoke of Boston and general conferences over the decades, and one rolled his eyes heavenward as he recounted the long waits on the other. Financial reports, board meetings, and the Mary Kay in St. Louis. Jerry and Berl argued about exactly where they were when Jerry prophesied about a certain sort of private matter. 🙂 We talked about holy living and doctrine and motor homes, and about missing Brother Gray. Lavelta showed me pictures on her phone, and from a table I picked up a picture of Nathaniel and showed her how handsome he is, and I bragged about his goodness. Lavelta spoke with pride of the three Manzano children and how involved in the work of God they are. We talked of progress and of dangerous regression. We asked rhetorical questions and pontificated at length on answers.

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We spoke of strokes and of dishes and of souvenirs from our trip to the Philippines, and Berl played with magnets we had bought once on a trip to Silverton, Colorado. We spoke lovingly of Sam and Lil White and I reminded them that Sister Francis had recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

I recalled that from both these men who visited in our home I had heard profound preaching. . . . and I added in Jerry, and excuse me . . . you may want to tune out for a minute, but I knew I was sitting in the presence of three holy exceptional men.

Johnny slept late, and as Stevensons and Jerry and I lingered over breakfast, Berl picked up my Bible which lay close and prepared to read Ephesians 4:32. “This is my life goal now,” he said. “This is how I want to be.” “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

I lined them up on the deck for one last picture. We had prayed inside, our hands joined.

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Categories
Children Christianity/Religion God Goodness of man Life love My Family My Home Pentecostal Photography

Fathers and Sons

A father who has a son who says, “Let me pray for you Dad,” is blessed beyond description. If he has three who do so, it is as though rubies have been heaped about him, and he is a rare man, indeed.

A father who has a son who then says, “Pray for Shawnna and me, Dad” and then the two kneel before him, has been granted life in an elevated plane.

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Categories
Christianity/Religion Death Pentecostal Religion

Death of Rev. T. L. Osborn

Interesting, that as we grow older bits of our life are pinched off and exist no more. When I was a student at Apostolic College in Tulsa, I worked in the afternoon for the Rev. T. L. Osborn Ministries. A few hours ago, he went to meet the Lord.

The year was 1956, and I was chosen from the office staff to do some work in the Osborn living quarters which were upstairs over the office area.  I recall the excitement of being with them and talking about their experiences. Rev. Osborn traveled extensively and held large missionary campaigns around the world. Within their living area were numerous artifacts they had collected and had tastefully displayed.

I wish their family comfort.

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Writings of T. L. Osborn discussed here.

Categories
Christianity/Religion Culture Goodness of man Life love My Family Pentecostal Photography Valentine's Day

Our Love Story

Sometime back either on facebook or on one of my blogs, someone asked me to tell our love story–Jerry’s and mine–and a few days ago she reminded me of that for I had promised to do so. This is the perfect time: Valentine’s Day 2013.

I had graduated from high school and just turned 17 when I packed up my things at home in Springfield, MO. and was driven to Apostolic College, a bible school in Tulsa, OK. I had always attended small to moderate-sized churches, so when I arrived at that great school that was a ministry of a dynamic, unusual church pastored by Brother C. P. Williams, and in addition lived on campus in the girl’s dorm, it was so wonderful I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The stars were aligned, romance for me was in the making, for Jerry was already a student there. He had enrolled the year prior after already graduating with a BA degree with Northwestern State College in Natchitoches, LA. The first time I recall seeing him was in the basement of the church where we had prayer meetings before services started. Someone had received the Holy Ghost and he was dancing as he stood atop two opened folding chairs. He was already a leader among the student body, spoke in some of the services and led in worship. I was a peon from Mo. Somewhat later, someone said to him, “I know someone who has her eyes on you.”

He dismissed the news.”Aw, she’s just a kid.” I must have been a pretty effective kid, though, for soon it was obvious the attraction was mutual. Strict rules were in effect concerning dating, one of which was that a new student could not have a date during the first semester there. We were with each other in the dining room, snack bars, chapel services, other church and school activities, until after the first semester when I could have a date. All dates, though, were chaperoned, and everyone was eager to pick certain chaperones–those who weren’t too strict or too “eagle-eyed.”

I don’t often have extra-sensory, unique things happen to me, but once during this time, I walked into a room where Jerry was–don’t recall exactly the room–and a kind of knowing came over me, and I knew I would marry him. Strange. I didn’t tell anyone–didn’t even tell Jerry until years later that had happened to me. We didn’t have many actual dates, for Jerry left before the end of the school year to go evangelizing. We communicated extensively by letter.

…and then came the day at Swan Lake when he had come back to Tulsa. We were in the back seat of a car, chaperones were in the front, and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. I don’t remember saying it, but Jerry says I answered, “You knew the answer before you ever asked.” 🙂

Flowers at the Edge

We were married in a preacher’s home a few weeks later: June 27th, 1956. We had a two-day honeymoon traveling by car to our first revival in Russellville, Ky.

In the summer of 2011, just after we had celebrated our 55th anniversary, we revisited Swan Lake in Tulsa. Click on either of these pictures to see many more pictures.

55 Years Later

A few days ago as we drove over to Lake Arrowhead, we stopped to admire the scenery and I snapped this picture of my beloved. Lucky, aren’t I.

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(Did I tell you that once in the snack bar, he kissed me! A terrible thing!)

Update: 2/14 12:18 pm Jerry just read this and reminded me he did not kiss me in the snack bar. It was in the ping pong room! 🙂

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What about you? Today is Valentine’s Day. Let’s hear your story.