Through The Papered Windows


paper over windows

When we were in the process of  opening up our store Rose In The Woods This nice man with kind eyes started stopping in pretty regularly just to chat. He began showing up even when there was still paper on the windows and we were still setting up. I remember him peeking in one day, he seemed so interested so I invited him in.

peeking through windows

Even though it was pretty much more of a female type store, he said he was sure his wife would love it. I remember him being one of our first customers, buying his wife some little mice figurines.

store

When he was getting his wallet out he mentioned his hands. I don’t think that at that point, that I would have ever noticed them, if he hadn’t pointed them out but he shared that he had been diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s Disease a few years earlier. He also shared how his wife Michele, was  helping to counteract it’s onset by being pro-active with her own research in nutrition and vitamins along with their strong faith in God. We began talking about where he attended church and I remember thinking that I wouldn’t mind going where he went.

micheld and chris

He told me that his name was Chris Pickens and I couldn’t explain it then, but as I look back now, I know he was planting seeds. There was just something different about him. It was as if I’d gone to church and been refreshed each time he visited. He would share a little something more about his life and his walk with God everytime we met and I was hooked without even realizing it.  Once my husband had been behind the counter at his desk working while I’d been talking. I knew he was trying to get a print order out but I was annoyed that he had not gotten up to meet Chris.

frustrated man behind desk

knew he’d like him.  And later told him that next time I wanted him to get up to meet him when he came in if he happened to be sitting at his desk. I also mentioned that if we ever went to church again, I wouldn’t mind going to his. Which I think perked up my husband’s interest because at that point in my life,  he was definitely more interested in finding a church than I was, because I was so busy getting the gift side of the store set up. But Chris told me that they had a great youth group at his church and since we both benefited from youth groups growing up, we wanted our daughter to experience it.

I’d met my husband at his church when a friend of mine invited me and my kids to hers when I was going through a divorce. But when we’d moved to our town where we currently lived, we just never got around to finding one. But we’d recently talked about wanting to find a good youth group for our daughter who’d just gone into Junior High. So the next time he came in, I encouraged my husband to get up and  meet Chris. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to meet him, it just had never been a good time. They hit it off right away. Just as I thought that they would! And that next Sunday, we all showed up for church and it turned out to be the one that my parents had sent my daughter and her cousin to snow camp from the year before, so she knew some people and felt right at home.

A few weeks later, we were invited to a friend’s 40th  surprise birthday party who we’d met at that church and we sat at Chris and Michele’s table and never looked back! We became fast friends. And Chris and my husband became the best of friends and so did Michele and I. They are those kind of friends that you feel you have known forever  and through them we met Art and Pam! Two more best of the best! The guys went to Promise Keepers weekends together several times over the years and served together  as leaders of the church. Until Michele and Chris moved to Southern California to be closer to family and medical facilities for Chris’s condition and Pam and Art later followed to help care for Chris, I was spoiled by being able to just pick up the phone and know that we could get together on a whim. I have a joke about the friends that I especially let into my heart… they eventually always move away! But I understand. And I am in awe of the friendship that the four of them have and that is why they are all my friends too.

art and pam

And  as I look back at our friendship and how it evolved, it amazes me… that we still question and prod God… begging Him to do this and that… not realizng that HE really DOES have it all planned out… all of these Divine appointments… if like Chris… we just listen and look through those paper windows when HE tells us to!!!!

lighthouse

 

Now I know that his life is just naturally Chris’s own mission field. He is like a lighthouse in this world. Regardless of his own storms he has always faithfully served His Lord!  Some of us may choose to go to third world countries, some may do it from the pulpit and some may do it one seed at a time…touching lives as we go! That goes for all four of my friends that I mentioned here! They have all been on their own mission fields! I love you guys and MISS YOU!

jim art and chris

Good Friends!!!!! (Because one listening heart kept peeking through those papered windows!)

 wizard of oz heart quote

*SIDE NOTE:

Please pray for my friends… for Chris and his healing for Michele and her strength and for Pam and Art as they support Chris and Michele and now for Pam as she has recently learned that cancer has returned yet again. We know God is a God of miracles and that He has answered our prayers before! Please join us as we pray for this wonderful couple. I am a firm believer in this verse:

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20 RSV)

Thank you!

 

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Jody


It all started with a phone call. We were young little skinny things. I was 26 and she was 35. We both had boys. And went to the same church. We happened to be cutting up fruit in a mutual friend’s kitchen who was hosting a friend of ours surprise birthday party who we both knew. We had individually offered to come early to help out.

We chatted shyly, not really knowing each other too well, asking all the “get to know you” basic questions back and forth. When the phone rang, she was closest to it, so she answered it.

I didn’t mean to eaves drop but I couldn’t help but overhear her side of the conversation. When she hung up, I was dumbfounded. “Was that your husband?” I inquired. She smiled and nodded. “Did he just call you to apologiiiiize?” I marveled.

“Yeah, she answered looking kind of embarrassed. “My husband would NEVER do that!” I said.  (And he wouldn’t have. Apologizing was not something he did easily. Let alone call me to do it!!! At that very minute, I wanted a husband like that!) It was a funny thing that caused us to really start talking.  Somehow it broke the ice. We started chattering and laughing and found out that we had a lot in common. And that is how our 29 year friendship began.

I have since had a daughter and changed husbands who by the way is the kind that apologizes and has called me many times to do it over the years. Our friendship has taken us on a path filled with many twists and turns caused by life, but the journey we have gone on together is one that I would never trade in a million years.

We have had a billion shopping trips, and learned to stretch many a dollar!

and have had some of the greatest “foodie” moments together ever!

We have gone through births and deaths,  and have become mamas and grandmas all  through the years we have shared.

We have been there for each other in the happy

and sad times and have prayed and cried together a thousand times over the years.She was in my wedding and did all the flowers, lugging them an hour away and not missing a beat, attending the rehearsal dinner and standing up for me. She has been a wonderful Auntie and Best Friend and I can’t imagine having gone through any of my life without her Having her share the journey has made my life better and I don’t doubt just how different it would have been without her.

Recently my daughter who is 24, and I were talking about friendships and she was kind of reflective and envying my relationship with Jody. And I told her that I hadn’t even met Jody for two more years when I was her age….and she thought about it. And I have no doubt that she will have a Jody in her life too! They just come along when you least expect them to, and you pretty much know it the moment you meet them.

 I have some amazing friends. I have been very blessed in my life.  But Jody really knows me and doesn’t judge me even when I am pretty stupid or grouchy. She knows all of my secrets and still loves me.  I love her like a sister.

 

I look back and remember that first talk in that kitchen long ago and realize that it was not by chance that we were there that afternoon almost 30 years ago, it was a Divine Appointment. And oh yeah,  that guy who called her? I love him too! A lot!

Just a few weeks ago…          “Auntie” Jody with me and my baby ~ who wasn’t even born when we met…