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Friends, A Cool Invention

Within each lifetime are portions of challenge. Alongside spiraling days of sunshine made glorious by glowing health and abundant prosperity are chunks of heaviness made dismal by days of inky sorrow and of gloomy prospects. True of everyone. None sidestep the issue. Friends are a cool invention, for wisping along with them, as pleasant as any summer breeze, are bubbly snippets of joy. When they come around, invariably along with them come those magical ingredients that whip up some of the happy, unforgettable days of a well-lived life.

Such a joyful encounter was Jerry’s and mine when our friends Pastor Kris Keyes and his charming wife Lisa of Safford, Az. came a couple of days ago to visit in our home.

Jerry and I planned a fine menu. He cooked ribs and a chicken on his beloved smoker that sets on the back deck and I prepared the rest of the meal. I took pleasure in setting a nice table. 20150515-untitled (1 of 1)I chose red plates, used our finest silverware, and stuck floral napkins through the handle of napkin rings made in the shape of watering pots. Winston hung around our feet

20150512-untitled (4 of 19)Winston shocked us by his immediate, almost hero-worship-style of attraction to both of our friends when they arrived. (They had circled around a bit too long on our mountain roads, so finally Jerry went down to our 7-11 and led them to our driveway.) That little Shih Tzu adored them. On Thursday morning he lay at the door of the guest room where they were sleeping, and made sweet, whiny noises, occasionally poking his nose into the space where the door meets the floor. Quite unusual behavior for Winston, as in the past he has generally been hesitant to meet new people, and has not been overly friendly to them.

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20150514-untitled (7 of 19)Stormy weather moved in with plunging temperatures, high winds, and pelting rain that snapped against our windows and doors. It was perfect weather for a long and cozy visit with our friends. We ate the high-calorie food Jerry and I had prepared, lingered at the table, and drank barrels of coffee (well, not quite barrels, but big jugs full.) Jerry kept the fireplace roaring. We talked. And talked.

Kris Keyes is the pastor of an Apostolic church in Safford, AZ. and much of our conversation centered around mutual friends and church activities. Politics, grill types, smoking methods, scriptures and their meanings, recipes, books we’ve read, hiking, and snippets of internet gleanings were among the subjects that filled in the spaces. On their computer, they showed us the pictures of their daughter Sarah’s recent wedding.

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We moved to the study where Jerry riffled through his grill book so that he could print off a copy of his brining recipe. . . and we began saying our good-byes.

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Our society has changed drastically since I was a child; many of the changes are positive ones, making for longer, healthier, more prosperous lives. Some changes , though, fall into the negative heap. One of these is our busyness; bolting through day after seething day, racing to another meeting, grabbing our phones for another can’t-be-missed conversation. Flip open our laptops, for surely people await to read every word that skids through our hot brains, read the news, despair, and occasionally rejoice. Make more money. Buy a newer car, a bigger house, a prettier dress. . .

And seldom do we sit. Sit for long periods. With a friend. With our family. No agenda. No rush. Sit. Talk. Share hearts. (Takes a while to share a heart.) Be quiet. Commune.

Guilty . . .I confess.

During the recent elegant hours Jerry and I spent with these friends I was so touched at one point as we discussed some great spiritual happenings during our  lifetimes, Kris looked toward his wife and said, “I want that. I want that for our church.” Such conversations do not evolve quickly, nor through casual talk, nor through hurried, breakneck-speed words.

I have few answers to the dilemma of our frazzled, rushed society, but I do suggest that much peace and restfulness will likely come about when we ask friends into our homes. When we appeal to our families for time. Just time. Days perhaps. When they come and stay awhile, when we talk and listen. We hear. Our hearts pulse together.

Flowers/Gardening Life Photography Road Trip Journal

A Walk-About in Safford

Summer road trip. Day 19 Monday, June 20, 2011

A rather quiet day here. I took a walk this morning and snapped a few pictures along the way. Jerry and Brother Keyes played 9 holes this afternoon, and when Jerry came in the motor home, he was moaning. Hasn’t played in a long time, and he was already getting sore. Not quite 9:00, and he’s already in bed. 🙂

The streets around here are lined with small cottages and well-established gardens. Stunning flowers were blooming everywhere.

I was intrigued by this scene and couldn’t make up my mind whether the jeans were hanging for “decoration” or whether they were out to dry. I walked over there later, and they were gone. Guess someone’s wearing them now.

I peered about, but although the okra sign was hanging, I saw no sign of a garden.

More pictures from my walk on my photography blog.

Arizona Christianity/Religion Church Food Friends Uncategorized Vacation Journal

A Sabbath in Safford

Summer road trip. Day 18 Sunday, June 19, 2011

Here in Safford at Harvest Tabernacle, they have their Sunday school classes completely separate from their regular service, which begins at 12:00. Their music is excellent; great instrumentalists, as well as talented singers. Very nicely done music.

Jerry did a great job preaching, using as his text scripture the story of the four men who tore the roof off the building to get their sick friend to Jesus. What a powerful account that is. I never tire of hearing it.

It was after 4:00, I believe, when we had finished eating, and we had gone back to our motor home. The Keyes invited us out to their home for dessert later in the evening–well, more dessert–for we had already indulged at the restaurant. Around 7:00 we drove to their house, where we spent a couple of hours visiting with them, and talking about the things of God. Oh, yes! The dessert: coconut cream pie and strawberry shortcake!

Food Friends Photography Road Trip Journal

Spam and Pulled Pork in Safford

Summer road trip. Day 17 Saturday, June 18, 2011

Just past 7:30 am, we pulled away from the church in Sierra Vista, and before 10:00 we were on the church property in Safford, some 90 miles away. Parking the motor home was a little bit tricky for Jerry, but he is quite good at maneuvering the 40 feet long rig, and soon had it set up.

Brother Keyes had come by, and then called to say they wanted to go out to dinner around 6:00 or 7:00. We went to this neat little Hawaiian grill, where I had delicious pulled pork. I had left my camera in the car, but went to get it when I saw Spam on the menu! Tickled me. Is it common to serve Spam in restaurants in Hawaii? Is it true it is the meat of choice there?

Another neat thing about Safford, AZ.: We have internet connection in our motor home! Fast, too.

Edit: Read more here of late night activities.

Animals Christianity/Religion Family

Beautiful Colleen and Her Chickens

Jerry and I had the great opportunity of being in church services with Pastor Kris Keyes in Safford, AZ. over this past weekend, and we had a delightful time. The church is a long-established one that recently has experienced a fresh surge of growth, and we thoroughly enjoyed worshiping with this tremendous group of people.

One of the highlights of the trip was to become better acquainted with the Keyes family, including their two beautiful daughters, Sarah and Colleen. Sarah is a senior in high school who is also taking college classes. She does a great job playing the keyboard during their church services. Pastor Keyes is a tremendous singer and also plays the guitar…all in addition to being a great preacher and pastor, of course. 🙂 Within the next few days, I will be writing a piece on my devotional blog about Sister Keyes, along with a picture of her, but today I want to tell you about the younger daughter.

Colleen is a vibrant 16-year-old, truly in love with God, and a witness everywhere of His love and power, but especially to peers in her high school, demonstrated by the fact that sitting on the pew with her on Sunday were two young ladies she had brought from her school. Colleen not only loves God, His people and His work: She loves chickens.

Chickens? Yes, chickens.

I had heard rumblings of such attraction earlier in our stay, but it was when we were at their home on Sunday evening, that from the back of the house, here came Colleen. “Want to see one of my chickens?”

Her mom, her dad and her sister smiled at Colleen and her love affair with birds.

“She loves all animals,” her mother told me.

“Maybe she’ll be a veterinarian,” I suggested. Her mom nodded in agreement. “She would be very good at that.”

These chickens are not mature ones–still a little young–and although they stay outside during the day, at night Colleen keeps them in a box in her room. When evening approaches, the little chickens flock to the door to be let inside.

After we had admired both the male and the female Banty and had watched them “kiss” her, she took them from the room and returned  with a beautiful parakeet.

…who obviously loved her.

“Once she rescued a sparrow who had fallen in their yard,” her mom told me. “She scoured the internet to find feeding instructions and nursed the sparrow to maturity.”

“He would come when I called him,” Colleen told me.

“Sometimes after dark we find Colleen outside, checking on her chickens,” her mother added. Many of them roost in the trees, and she wants to be sure they all made it home.

The last bird Colleen brought in for us to see was a beautiful rooster. “I thought he was female when I bought him at the pet store,” she told me. She giggled. “Then he crowed.”

How refreshing is this charming family;  a loving mother and father who have reared beautiful, wholesome, godly daughters.

…and one of them loves chickens.

Cheers for the Kris Keyes family of Safford, AZ.

Click here to see Trees of Safford.