Happy Father’s Day!

This morning, the men of my church gave us such a beautiful gift. Several months ago, one of the men had the vision for a men’s choir. So at their last fellowship dinner (this past Tuesday) they rehearsed and this morning lead us in worship with How Great Thou Art! It was so incredible to see probably 75+ men singing with all their hearts, no matter their musical skill. What a witness to us of what it is to be a faithful, godly man! A role model to our boys, and an example to our girls (including this one) of what a husband should be. To God be the glory!

This evening I was painting tiles for Right Focus. One of the designs had III John 4 on it: “I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth.” Y’all know, of course, that today is Father’s Day. As carefully painted the verse several times, I reflected that is such a blessing to be the daughter of a father (and mother!) for whom this is their greatest joy. All I have to do is follow my Lord and I will bring my parents’ joy. It doesn’t matter what job I have, or achievements I gain… if I walk in the truth, I know their hearts are full of joy. It’s not the reason to pick up my cross and follow the Lord, but it is a sweet benefit.

How do I know this is my parents’ greatest joy? They have shown me, in their attitude, teaching, and words to me, but also in the example of their own lives. I don’t have a perfect family; but walking in the truth has always been our family’s primary focus. From Sunday evening family devotions when I was little to daily Bible study before school, my parents have brought me up in the “fear and admonition of the Lord.” Our faith has always come before anything else. Before school (literally!), before material blessings, before entertainment. I have watched both my dad and my mom spend countless hours preparing and planning Bible studies, VBS programs, Sunday School projects, and youth group lessons, all for the purpose of sharing with others how to walk in the truth. Theology has always been as common a dinnertime conversation topic as the day’s activities or current events. My parents’ example has impressed their joy in my own faith as much as the times they have directly expressed that.

I am so richly blessed to have parents who have taught me and shown me how to follow Christ! It grieves me that many children, perhaps even you, have not had this jumpstart to walking in the truth. Even if you don’t have a godly father to celebrate today, you have a heavenly Father Who is the Truth, the one, perfect example. My own dad, as amazing as he is, is still but a dim reflection of God the Father. He loves you more than any earthly possibly could! Ask Him to give you earthly models… hey, if you’re in Memphis, come over to Advent. We’ve got a lot of men who can be as a father in the family of God!

xoxoxoxo,
Alanna

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2012 30 Day Journal Challenge – Day 1!

This is my third year participating in the journal challenge hosted by the lovely Janel of Run With Scissors. And this is the year I am bound and determined I’ll actually finish it! Haha… I’m a little behind, but here is my first page:

Prompt: an introduction page.

You can see pages shared from the rest of the participants here, or you can also see what I did last year. And it’s not too late to get started yourself!

xoxo,
Alanna

Once Upon a Time: Beanies!

In the past month, I’ve brought two of my little buddies to my house to visit the kitties. You have to understand, this is a seriously exciting activity when you’re two. But there’s something else in my bedroom both of them have picked out immediately: Bongo.

Bongo was my second Beanie Baby. I was 12 when the craze really got into full swing. Still very much a little girl (thank you parents for protecting my innocence), I got the collecting bug easily. I love cute things; at age almost-27, I still get a little melty inside when I see stuffed animals in stores. And at $5, it was the perfect thing for a preteen’s budget. After we moved to PA, I would walk to the sweet little gift shop downtown every couple weeks to check out the new selection and see if anything I wanted had arrived.

I believe my final count was around 90. I did have some of the big ticket Beanies – including both the tie-dyed Peace bear and the Princess Diana bear. Eventually I sorted through them and sent about 25 to an orphanage in Brazil. But I still have all the rest boxed up in my parents’ storage room.

All except a few special ones who accompanied me to college and eventually Memphis (and the one my mom sent me this year for Valentine’s Day :D). But even amongst those few, Bongo has always been the special one. I got him in my monkey-obsessed phase (it lasted several years, I think). But one of the special things about him was that my dad picked him out.

After being given my first Beanie Baby, I quickly got on the TY website and organized a plan of attack for adding more. Bongo was the top of my list. At that time, my dad met some friends every week for breakfast at a church member’s restaurant, which had a Cracker Barrel-style gift shop. I put him on the watch for Bongo and after not too long, he came home with a paper bag for me! But he hadn’t just grabbed any old Bongo from the shelf. He had spent some time looking at each little monkey to find the cutest face. He knew that’s what I would do (and he may have been following instructions).

Bongo has always been my favorite. As you can probably tell, he slept with me for a while. He sat on a shelf above my desk in college and now he sits on my bedside table. He’s just so cute and truly does have a great face (not all of them are sewn as nicely). However… I think a big part of why he’s got a special place for me is that he represents a special relationship and a special person. A daddy who takes a few extra minutes to pick the very best one for his girl.

xo,
Alanna