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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Once Upon a Time: Books!

This week’s OUaT post is inspired by these thoughts from Gussy Sews. Just like her family, one of our common loves is a passion for books. Luckily both my brother-in-law and sister-in-law enjoy reading as much as the rest of us, or I predict they’d be pretty left out! Both my niece (2 mos.) and nephew (20 mos.) have growing libraries – in fact my sister had a book shower for my niece. I think it’s an awesome idea… tucking it away for my future progeny.

A large part of my childhood memories of free time are those spent with a book. Curled on the couch, or perhaps “hot-sitting” – my siblings’ and my term for sitting on a floor heating vent with a blanket. One of the best things my parents did for us in regards to reading, was to only ever limit our book choices for content. I only ever remember being told I couldn’t read a book because it had themes or situations inappropriate for my age, but never because, “that’s too big a book for you.” In fact, I can remember the deep indignation I felt whenever I discovered I’d read the abridged version of a book – what had I missed?

My family didn’t just enjoy books individually, though. Some of my best and favorite reading memories are those when my mom read aloud. Every single morning, after Bible study, before we got going with schoolwork, mom would read a few chapters from a book. Sometimes it was a story from the particular era we were studying in history, sometimes it was a classic she wanted to introduce us to, and sometimes it was one we had picked out. As we listened, we occupied our fingers… my brother always drawing, while my sister and I either drew or worked on cross-stich.

This tradition only stopped when my brother left for college… when I was sixteen turning seventeen. I still love to hear people read aloud, although that isn’t an opportunity grown-ups get very often.

My mom picked the picture at the top when I requested a reading photo from her (she always gets a OUaT preview because I always have to apply to her for old photos). That’s from March 1992. I was 6.5, practicing my reading with a Bible story book we still have – I like to think that some day grandma and grandpa will introduce the stories of God’s people to my little ones from that same book.

A funny anecdote about the photo (besides the fact that, yes, I’m wearing the prairie dress): I think it’s probably taken not too long after my mom got her shoulder-length hair cut and permed. I don’t remember this, but apparently when she arrived home, I took one look at her, burst into tears and exclaimed, “You don’t look like my mama anymore!” Poor mom. I’m sorry! I think you looked lovely and it was in fact more flattering than the longer hair was!

What about you? What’s your history with books?

xoxo,
Alanna

Weekend with Mumsy!

Sorry it’s been so long! My mom visited this weekend… I was out of commission with regards to internet for the most part. Just enjoying mother-daughter time! 🙂 Unfortunately I forgot about Instagram-ing everything after the first day, but sometimes it’s just good to be in the moment and enjoy. So here goes a recap…

She arrived Friday afternoon and after lunch we headed to the Mud Island Riverpark. It’s one of my favorite places in Memphis. It’s actually on an island in the Missippi and the park holds a scale model of the riverbed – from its beginning in the North to the Gulf of Mexico (represented by a large pond in which you can ride paddle boats!). Along the way, the major cities are laid out in slate tiles, with metal showing roads.

Memphis is larger than the scale of the river and it’s fun to find all the places I know. Mom and I even snuck in a quick visit to Graceland (which, by the way, I have never visited, even after 4 years – too expensive!):

It was a hot day (like pretty much every summer day here) but there was a lovely breeze and we waded through the “river.” There are such lovely views from the island: downtown, the forested Arkansas banks across the way… and the famous TN-AR ‘M’ for Memphis bridge. Or is it only famous to people who live here?

The river is still pretty high from the flooding in April and May – I never actually joined the thousands of Memphians who went down to gawk at the flooding (and I kinda regret it). It was amazing to see the high water mark. I couldn’t even fathom that much water. It went from a width of 1 mile to 3 miles. We spent awhile dangling our feet in the pond and wading some more, then headed to the inhabited part of the island. It’s a planned community – a subject which my brother the architect could tell you way more than I can – but what I know is it means is pretty much the most adorable community in Memphis. I would SO live there if it weren’t far away from everything in my life.

I mean, how cute is that? It’s got such French Quarter feel, without the dinginess and drunk people of Bourbon Street. There’s a quaint, little grocery store where we split a [very large] sandwich, The Parisian: brie, ham, apples, and mustard on a croissant. NOM!


During dinner I had a scathingly brilliant idea to go to Seize the Clay, an independent and very awesome paint your own pottery place. We collaborated on a gift for some very special friends. Since I link to the blog from Facebook, I won’t post a finished product. Never know who clicks through! But here’s a couple ‘in process’ pics…

Our color scheme! Which reminds me… I still haven’t picked it up! Oops. Gotta run errands this afternoon, so I’ll add that to the list. It’s soooo much fun to pick up the finished piece and see how awesome it looks glazed and fired. Can’t wait!

My beautiful, sweet Mumsy! Several people actually thought she was my sister at church on Sunday. No one believes she’s old enough to be a grandma! Which is good news for me… we pretty much look exactly alike so I have a great future ahead of me. If I take care of myself, that is.

After this, as I mentioned, I forgot about taking photos. I kinda wish I’d taken some more, but I have loads of good memories of sweet times with my mama. Perhaps that’s best overall. No fussing about pausing for a picture, just enjoying the time together.

Love you mumsy! And happy early birthday!
xoxo
Alanna