Ashley and I were a part of the Bible Study I told you about a few weeks ago. She moved from Greenville to Raleigh two years ago this summer. Since then, she and I have been getting together almost weekly for accountability, bible study, and prayer. Oh, what a blessing this time together is to me. We talk about how special it is all the time. It's a time of safety, of realness, and of understanding. A time with a friend in my current town that knows about people and my life in my former town without me having to explain those people and that place. Even though we do miss our time with the other girls, we know that God placed each of us exactly where HE wants us to be. And how sweet it is of Him to place Ashley and me here together to grow this unique connection He had already formed. And in this really cool way, it's a connection with the other girls, too. One that is deepened with distance. I am in awe of His craftiness. And of His plan. And the way He continues to bless this beautiful, important bond He created years ago. My time with Ashley reminds me of this. And it's a reminder of His perfect plan for every aspect of my life.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another..." Hebrews 10:24,25
Ashley is organized. She finds a way to keep everything in order yet she makes time for fun every single day. I love her energy and her passion. Her flexibility and her faith. Her patience and her productivity. And her spirit, especially her spirit. Her amazingly, happy spirit. Since I have known Ashley, but especially since she moved 15 minutes away from me almost two years ago, God has used her friendship, accountability, and her spirit to encourage me. I am so thankful for that weekly, consistent blessing in my life.
*This is a picture we took with Shannon's camera last week. Shannon came to visit us after flying into Raleigh from visiting Marianne in Texas. By the way, Shannon just started a blog herself. You should check it out and read her perspective of our friendships here.
Just as my Grandpa turned 75 in February, my Grandma turned 75 today. We went Winston-Salem to celebrate with her. We all also wrote letters for her and put them together in a book, just as we did for Grandpa....
Humor and Laughter. Honesty and Wisdom. Thoughtfulness and Hospitality. Faith and Strength. And Love. When I think of you, what I have learned from you, and what I love most about you, these are the words that flow through my mind. These are the things that make me so thankful. These are the things God has used in you to mold me and make my heart so full of praise.
Humor and Laughter. You make me laugh. And I love your laugh. I can hear it right now. I am smiling because I love the thought of you getting so tickled that you can hardly stop. Your laughter. It's a beautiful thing. God has used it to bless me. To make my spirit come alive. And fill my heart with joy. I am so thankful.
Honesty and Wisdom. You are a wise woman. And you are an honest woman. I think those two go hand in hand. Especially when it comes to you. I love that you are not afraid to show and say that you care. You say how you feel and you mean it. Your honest words are wise words. You say the things that need to be said, even the tough things. The wisdom that comes from that is so rare. I am so thankful.
Thoughtfulness and Hospitality. I love your thoughtfulness. Whether you are calling to check on me or sending me a card in the mail, when you remember me it makes me feel so special. And no one can make others feel more welcome in their home than you. Your house is one of my favorite places to be. I feel so peaceful there. It is very special that many of my closest friends have been there with me. I will never forget the love and hospitality you have shown to them. They love and adore you. I am so thankful.
Faith and Strength. I have seen your faith grow since you and Grandpa started going back to church quite a few years ago. I feel that your faith was strengthened through your church family. And when Grandpa got sick, your faith did not fade. I heard you praise God many times even in the hardest and most unclear of times. I saw your faith grow during that time. Not just because Grandpa got better, but mostly because you had to rely on God for your strength. Depending on God strengthens one's faith. It has strengthened your testimony and drawn you closer to Him. I admire you, Grandma, for the way you trusted Jesus. I am so thankful.
Love. I love the way you love me. And you do love me. And you are proud of me. You make it so clear. You make me feel important . And I never doubt that. You tell me and you show me. You always have. Through so many different ways. It makes my heart feel thankful to know that you love me. I am so thankful.
It is truly one of the biggest blessings in my life to be your granddaughter. You are my role model. You are my friend. And you are my Grandma. My beautiful Grandma. I love all of our talks. I love the way we our hearts connect. I love the love we share. And I love that you are my Grandma. I am so very thankful.... I love you.
*Remember a few weeks ago I told you about my friend, Lauren, and her pencil portraits. Well, take a look at this work of art below. It's of my grandparents. I told you she was good.