Archive for the Family

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Best Christmas trees around

Running to treeschristmas tree farm

 

If a driver on Washington Pike has a second to take his eyes off the narrow curving road, at the intersection with Childs Road, he’ll see acres of finely trimmed Christmas trees.

That’s just one of the rolling fields of House Mountain Christmas Tree Farm, begun in the early 1990s by my uncle and aunt, Zach and Norma Henry. This video and article from early November, when people were already starting to come to Childs Road to cut their own trees, give an idea of some of the connection and memories that make the farm so much more than just a business.

Some people even make 2-day journeys to get their trees. One year 2 families from the same county in Mississippi showed up in the same field, neither knowing the other was coming.

Beginning this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Aunt Norma will have free cookies, hot cider, and hot chocolate out  for tree shoppers at:

6300 Childs Road, Corryton, Tennessee, 865-687-0324

(Note: Google maps is wacky on this one. On Google, you need to search 6280 Childs Road–that puts you at what’s really 6300. Other maps may be correct.) Childs road isn’t long; look for the big red mailbox on the north side of the road–or just follow the other cars to the most beautiful trees around.

If you’re in the neighborhood (or wanting an enjoyable drive), stop by and Aunt Norma will point you in the right direction for the tree you want. Pick up a saw, pick out a tree, cut it down, and come back to pay for it and enjoy the goodies. Tell her her favorite niece Noël sent you. Maybe that will get you a couple of extra cookies.

Weekends, just down the road, in the field near Washington Pike and Childs Road, there’ll be a tent where I’ll have out some items for sale: hand-knitted cotton dishcloths, decorative eyeglass chains, and Christmas star ornaments. Ask Aunt Norma how to get there.

 

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Monday, November 11th, 2013

Praying and waiting — Mary is there

mary olson

Our niece, Mary, works at the Bethel International School in Tacloban City on the Island of Leyte in the Philippines. Tacloban was at the point of Typhoon Haiyan’s landfall this past weekend.

We prayed and waited as the typhoon approached and then hit and swept its way through the city and across the island. Then we prayed and waited for word from or about Mary and her colleagues. (Photo: Mary on right, with some fellow teachers.)

In roundabout ways, Mary’s parents received the good news that Mary and her coworkers are safe. We are giving thanks for that. But all around them is destruction:   ”All school buildings heavily damaged and most things used to make a school function lost. Hopes for miraculous reopening in January.”

Bethel International School

Bethel International School

Bethel, after Typhoon Haiyan

Bethel, after Typhoon Haiyan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News reports and pictures & pleas from survivors give us here some small idea of how bleak the devastation is and how vast the death toll–10,000 or more. That is Mary’s neighborhood, her city, her friends, her school children. I’m imagining Mary doing everything she can to help her neighbors, but with few resources.

tacloban_destructionThere is a way we can help Mary and her coworkers be Jesus’ hands there. Bethel International School is part of Converge Philippines, an affiliate of  Converge Worldwide, our denomination. Converge has created the Tacloban/Philippines Typhoon Fund.

I am thankful there are numerous excellent relief organizations. But I commend the Converge Typhoon Fund in particular this time, because “funds will be disbursed by our Philippines missionaries in consultation with Converge Philippines president Ildefonso Alfafara,”  and “churches and pastors there are already delivering food, water and other vital supplies. Our co-laborers are well positioned to serve as relief centers and deliver a gospel message.” Mary is one of those co-laborers.

We continue to pray and wait, to hear how God is working.

Lord, please protect Mary’s emotions, her spirit, her health, her strength, and her faith.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

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Saturday, October 12th, 2013

We have no more children who are children

As of yesterday, our last child who was a child crossed the line into official adulthood. I love you, my beautiful daughter.

talitha 2 months

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

talitha 5 months

 

Talitha 2 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talitha 4 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

talitha in hammock chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

whole family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

j-n-trp portrait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jp, np, talitha - 2009

 

talitha bday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Hope and the dream

When I posted the video of Noah’s story yesterday, I didn’t realize that today would be the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream.”

If you haven’t listened to Dr.King’s speech yet today–or even if you have–I hope you’ll take a minute to hear it from the mouths of hundreds of young people who are living and learning that a person’s character is not measured by the color of his or her skin. The video is especially moving to me because our Talitha attended Hope Academy for several years and  here we see young men and women who were children with her then.

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Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

One story

silhouette child jumpsilhouette boat

Last weekend was a special time for me with family– in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren. Next weekend is the Labor Day holiday.

That means it’s time to turn my eyes to the fall. And that means Together for Adoption 2013 is just around the corner with 6 general sessions, 60 workshops, 50 exhibitors–all there because of One Story. That’s ”the story of God the Father forming his family from every tribe, language, people, and nation,” as young Noah’s wisdom reminds us in this video:


I’ll be in Louisville blogging the event Friday and Saturday, October 4-5. I’ll also be there for the Preconference events Thursday, October 3.

It’s a good time to register. I hope you’ll be there and look me up.

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Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Dear birth mother on Mothers Day

johnny, noel, talitha

 

 

A few years ago, I wrote several posts about our adoption story. (They start here.) So you’ve heard from me, and I hope you’ve realized our gratitude to God for bringing Talitha to us and us to Talitha.

What you might not have heard yet is Talitha’s own heart.

This morning, she got tired of waiting for me to finish sleeping late and slipped onto the bed beside me with a kiss and a perfectly chosen card, and even better, her own thoughtful note written inside.

Later this afternoon, she sat on the living room floor leaning against the sofa where her daddy was sitting. She was intent on something she was writing on her computer.

Only later, when I opened my own computer, did I realize what she’d done. I went straight up to her room to hug her and thank her.

I suspect that some of you are birth mothers whose children are in another family now. This has been a hard day for you. I pray you might receive Talitha’s words of love and thanks as if they had been written directly to you.

Dear Birth Mother,
I have no idea what you are doing right now or even where you are. But know, you are on my heart, especially today. Today I celebrate not just one mother, but two. Two mothers who have been there for me in different ways. One has nurtured and taken care of me since I was 2 months and the other is you. . . .

(read the rest of Talitha’s post)

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Saturday, May 11th, 2013

What I learned by being my Mother’s daughter

 

 

I suppose none of us ever grasps all that God works in our lives through our mothers. I believe that is true even when growing up is hard. I’m thankful that so much blessing has come from my mother in the midst of our normal family–in other words, we are all very imperfect.

And so on this Mothers Day, with thanks to God for Mother, I share this classic post with you again.

Months before the celebration of Mother and Daddy’s 40th wedding, my sister Pamela dreamed of a quilt to honor Daddy and Mother and to express thanks for the years God had given them together.

Pamela recruited squares from each of the sisters and sisters-in-law. . . . Then Pamela assembled, quilted, and stenciled the gift for Daddy and Mother.

As I look over the squares of this quilt, from oldest child to youngest of us 10 children of George and Pam Henry, I’m reminded of a few of the things I’ve learned by being my mother’s daughter. . . .

Read and/or listen to the rest of “What I Learned by Being My Mother’s Daughter”. You’ll also find photos of all the family quilt blocks, the illustrations for my thoughts.

Happy Mothers Day, dear Mother! I love you.

 

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Monday, April 15th, 2013

Retired?

Our Bethlehem family blessed us last night with a grand recommissioning service and celebration marking the end of our 33 years as a pastor’s family and the beginning of our next chapter.

My words to our brothers and sisters there touched on the parallels between Bethlehem’s growth and our family’s.

In 1980, Bethlehem’s Sunday congregation fit well in the old Sanctuary, with elbow room to spare. That summer, we Pipers arrived as a family of 5—2 parents and 3 sons.

You who were part of Bethlehem then, I thank you for making this an easy place to become a pastor’s wife. I don’t recall any times when someone expected me to be or do some certain thing because that’s what a pastor’s wife does.

Instead, you offered me options for ministry and were willing to let me pray and talk it over with my husband and then tell you yes or no. You gave me freedom to be wife and mother and to be involved as I felt God leading me, both within the church and elsewhere. I hope that all of you now will bless Cara in the same way.

 

As Bethlehem grew to multiple services and built a new sanctuary, our family grew too. We added another son and a daughter and so we were a family of 7—2 parents and 5 children. The same year we adopted our youngest child, we also gained our first daughter-in-law—the beginning of the years of sending our sons one by one to their own homes with their brides. And Bethlehem was sending more of its sons and daughters to their new homes, all around the world to spread a passion for the supremacy of God through Jesus Christ.

 

When Talitha was a first grader, Bethlehem’s old sanctuary came down. That year while the new education building was going up, there was no Sunday school. So we used the Children Desiring God 1st grade curriculum at home—the ABC’s of God. Talitha still remembers rearranging the letters of one long word until she got incomprehensible—however much we learn about God and no matter how well we know him, there is always much more.

That education building completed the downtown campus as we see it now. And Bethlehem has multiplied from that one campus to three. Our family has multiplied too, from 5 of us at the beginning of our time at Bethlehem to 23 now—we 2 are rich with 21 sons and daughter, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.

 

Bethlehem’s building with its changes is a symbol that touches just the surface of how much our lives have been interwoven with you brothers and sisters for these 33 years.

I have a gift for you, Johnny. We know that the best gift a person can give often is one that person would also like to have. So this gift to you is to go over our fireplace so that we both can have before us reminders of our life here.

3 stages of BBCDear friends, no one but God knows what a treasure your prayers for us have been all these years. Now I ask you to pray that we will be—as Mary Schmuland said to me a few weeks ago—“Retired? No—refired.”

 

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Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Home Grown World Christians

I’ve been in Orlando for The Gospel Coalition 2013. I led a breakout session in the pre-conference, which had a missions focus.

My session was “My Missionary Call: Missed or Misunderstood?”

One of the resources I recommended is an article I wrote in 2002: Home Grown World Christians. Since then, our children have become adults, but the encouragements and ideas haven’t really aged.

I hope this will be helpful as you pray for and spend time with children you love, whether they are yours or part of your larger life circle.

What other suggestions would you add?

 

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Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Brushing up on the classics

Pop quiz!

Who was Theseus? How did the Aegean Sea get its name?

If you can’t remember, perhaps our 8-year-old grandson can remind you.

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Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Black History: Talitha’s DVD recommendations

(Originally posted 2 years ago, and worth mentioning again.)

These DVDs are recommended by our daughter Talitha off the top of her head. She wants to make clear that there are other really good movies too.

I agree with her in recommending these.

As with all movies, it would be wise for parents to preview before watching with their children, especially  considering the tension, language, and frightening experiences that are part of stories from this swath of our history.

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Glory Road — Story of “the groundbreaking achievement of Don Haskins, who coached the 1965-66 team from Texas Western University to the NCAA championship, using the first-ever all-black lineup in the championship game and forever changing the rules of college basketball. Texas Western’s underdog season is followed from anxious start to glorious finish. . . . This typically wholesome Disney film doesn’t flinch from the harsh realities of racial tension (including player beatings and vandalized motel rooms) that Texas Western’s black players had to struggle against as their victories began to draw national attention” (Amazon.com review).

Selma, Lord, Selma — It’s 1965, segregation is still the order of the day in the South, Martin Luther King Jr. is leading voter-registration drives, and an Alabama schoolgirl gets caught up in the civil rights movement. . .  .Being forced to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar in order to vote and being gassed and beaten for marching are just some of the indignities Sheyann and her friends endure. Parents should know that two prominent characters are murdered. . . . Appropriate for kids 7 and up with adult guidance” (Amazon.com review). Based on the memoir of the same title by Sheyann Webb.

And the Children Shall Lead — “In 1964 segregation is a reality in Catesville, Mississippi, but 12-year-old Rachel doesn’t notice it because she has many white friends. When a group of civil rights activists comes to town, the tension between black and white citizens grows. It’s now up to Rachel and her friends to persuade the adults to overcome the racial barriers that divide them” (Amazon.com review)

The Great Debaters — “Inspired by real events, The Great Debaters reveals one of the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement in its story of Melvin B. Tolson and his champion 1935 debate club from the all-African-American Wiley College in Texas. . . . The film is also about the state of race relations in America at the height of the Great Depression. With lynchings of black men and women a common form of entertainment and black subjugation for many rural whites, the idea of talented and highly intelligent African-American young people learning to think on their feet during debates would seem almost a hopeless endeavor” (Amazon.com review).

The Rosa Parks Story

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

How do you feel?

Beginning August 1, Jason Meyer was Associate Pastor of Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist alongside my husband, the Pastor of Preaching and Vision. Now, as a result of resounding congregational approval, as of yesterday those roles are switched. Now Jason is Pastor  for Preaching and Vision with Johnny as his associate.

This is the next-to-last step in our transition to our next chapter, when–as of the end of March–Johnny no longer is part of the pastoral staff of Bethlehem. We are thrilled with God’s guidance and work in all of this.

Last weekend was Johnny’s last sermon as “senior” pastor. Last night, during his last minutes in that role, he led Bethlehem into the New Year in communion together at the Lord’s table.

As we walked into the house at 12:30 am, he asked, “How does it feel to be the wife of an associate pastor?” Considering that I’ve spent exactly half my life as the wife of one man in one position in one place, that could have been a jarring question. But it wasn’t.

I answered, “Feels just the same. It’s you that matters, you who are my husband.”

One of the things about the he who is my husband is that he’s a man who expresses thoughts of love and life and life events and changes with poetry, as he did in his end-of-the-year blog post at Desiring God.

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