Monday, February 16, 2009

Why add MORE???

Been to the Republic of Georgia and back.
I have to make sure that I say Republic of Georgia because I didn’t on my Facebook status and someone thought I was in the state of Georgia.

Shannon and Katie Ford, Mick and I left last Tuesday to visit friends there. Mick, Shannon and Katie went on to see some friends in Armenia too… I could not go. No visa is required for the Republic of Georgia but one is for Armenia. My passport is too full to put one more visa in it. I stayed behind and was treated like a QUEEN by our friends in the Republic of Georgia.

While Mick and the others were in Armenia they went to an Armenian Orthodox church and took some pictures. One picture was of a dead chicken being sacrificed on the altar. For a Christian it was a very gory sight.

We were talking about this and how we did not understand how anyone could think that cutting up a chicken and placing it on a altar could do anything about their SIN PROBLEM. Mick remarked that MAN (through the ages) has tried to find some other way to take care of this instead of just taking GOD at His Word and simply accepting HIS gift of His Son.
How uncomplicated it sounds (and is!)
But MAN wants to make it so much harder…to ADD MORE to God’s Word…instead of a single act of FAITH in what has been done for us on the cross…man invented a rigid ritual that must be repeated over and over again. With NO PEACE!
God’s way (according to man) needs some improvement. It needs to be harder!

How sad that is!

But I thought about the fact that often man who has accepted that gift from GOD and knows the truth makes the Christian life harder (or adds man’s regulations…MORE than what God has required!)

When Mick went to Gori (the city in the Republic of Georgia that was hit by the war) back in August he bought some quilts for about $7 each. He came home with two of them. One of my friends in Kiev saw my quilts and wanted one. I told her that we would be going back in February and I’d get her one. To make sure that I could come through with my promise I called friends in Tbilisi and asked them to order me a quilt like the ones Mick bought while there.

They ordered my quilt and told the Georgian lady that it was for Dalese. My quilt was ready when I got there. But because I’m the supervisor’s wife they did MORE…MORE than I required, MORE than I wanted. My quilt was no longer a quilt at all, it was a comforter.
The comforter is beautiful…but if I’d wanted a comforter I would have asked for a comforter. I wanted an inexpensive quilt like Mick had purchased. My comforter cost $30, not $7…and it isn’t even what I wanted…it is MORE!

Why is it so hard for us humans (redeemed or not) to do what GOD says? Why do we have to ADD to His Word?
I don’t have the answer…but I’m praying that I will be more aware of my human tendency to ADD to His plan for me and that I will simply TRUST HIM and ACCEPT my FREEDOM and my simple life in HIM!
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8
Church in Armenia

Friends on Valentine's day in the Republic of Georgia

Little Lizzie

The Corder Family in Gori

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Going to the Chapel and You're Gonna get Married

AND THEY DID…On January 17th, 2009 our middle son, Jonathan Woodard Stockwell, married Katherine Anderson. It was a beautiful ceremony with Mick officiating. This time he only teared up once…we learned why after the ceremony when he told Katie that the secret was to not look them in the eyes! Mick had made that mistake at Christopher and Katie’s wedding in 2007 and almost lost it three times during the ceremony. He figured out how to get through the ordeal without loosing it! Because Mick didn’t cry (more than once) I didn’t cry more than once.

The bride was beautiful in a gorgeous dress. The groom, well, I’m the mom, what am I going to say? He was the most handsome man in uniform at the wedding! There were four others there in their Dress Blues…after Mick pronounced them man and wife (and after having Katherine say her last name!) the beautiful couple walked between four Lieutenants with their swords held high. I am pretty sure this is a West Point tradition but it may be an Army tradition. Tradition is that the newly wed couple walk through the sword line and the last man gives the bride a little slap (with his sword) on the bottom and says, “Welcome to the Army, Mrs. So and So.”
Katherine didn’t get the last part of the tradition. I think it is because the sword line was inside the chapel and the officers did not think it was appropriate. I think it would have been fine!

Many of our friends and family members joined us for the occasion. All three of Jonathan’s living grandparents were with us. Uncle Evan was an usher. Other birth aunts and uncles came from as far away as North Carolina. Two great aunts graced us with their presence. His Mr. and Mrs. G were there…better known as Kenny and Teri Pope to you. His IMB uncle Rodney and aunt Debbie were in attendance also. And Dwain Gregory, long time friend and adopted member of the family was also able to share in the joy of the day.
Long time friends from our home church, Houston Northwest, drove up and celebrated with us! Some of these Houston Northwest friends live in Arkansaw now...but they show up for every major event!
Mrs. Lori Smith came all the way from Hawaii. Her husband, Col. Smith, couldn't come with her but she represented her family well.
We are so thankful for all who came…who supported us and the new couple with your love and who will continue to support them with your prayers!

Wow, after they were hitched we went to celebrate and EAT. I got to the club too late to get any of the chocolate covered almonds and pecans…but I’m told (by several) that they were VERY GOOD! Glad someone got to enjoy them! I did make do with the other candy provided before the delicious meal was served.

Jonathan and Katherine were announced and danced to a song that they had not picked. The DJ never found the right song…but who cares, they are married and all is right with the world! Katherine and her dad danced to a cute song and she cried most of the way through it. Sweet sight.

It was now Jonathan’s and my turn…we danced to “I Hope You Dance.” I didn’t get to Jerry and Bonnie Methvin's house or hotel room for a refresher course (took dancing lessons from them before Christopher and Katie got married.) I should have known we were in trouble when I got on the floor and Jonathan started telling me what to do. Did we look stiff or what??? It doesn’t matter…we had a wonderful time being mother and son. I don’t care what we looked like, we were enjoying the quiet time together. At one point I saw a tear in Jonathan’s eye and said, in amazement, “Jonathan, why are you crying?” He replied, “Because you are, mom!” I wasn’t UNTIL then…at that point the tears flowed from both of us…we messed up the messed up dance and just stood there hugging each other. One of us started moving again and we tried to keep up our pretence of dancing while we kept crying!
I will treasure that dance until the day I die!

Well, the day came to an end (all too soon!) The happy couple took off in a limo to spend their first night together as man and wife.
We went home to Mee-maw’s and a house full of guest. The After Wedding Party.
We watched the DVD that was made for Jonathan and Katherine by Jonathan’s IMB aunt Becky Dewett and talked about the day.

The house phone rang. All weekend long the only person who had called on the house phone was Jonathan. I said, “I know it isn’t Jonathan!” BUT IT WAS…he needed to talk to Daniel about some of their gifts Daniel was dropping off at their place in Georgia on his way back home.

The next morning we went out to eat at Denny’s (the same one we went to in 2007 the day after Christopher and Katie wed.) While there we called Jonathan and Katherine. They were on their way to Georgia. Going to their new home. Their home!!!

Why did I tell you about the After Wedding Party and breakfast at Denny’s?
Because, though we have only done these things twice now, they are traditions for the Stockwell family.
There are other traditions…Mick having his daughter-in-loves finish the sentence, “It is my honor to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. ______.” He stops and, so far, Katie and, recently, Katherine have said, “Stockwell!”
We follow traditions set forth at Christopher and Katie’s rehearsal dinner too.
We love traditions…they bind us together when we are far apart.

In our lives we are going to be far apart. The Lord has ordained that. Christopher and Katie are living in Houston for the time being, Jonathan and Katherine are about to move to Hawaii, Daniel is in South Carolina, and Mick and I are moving to Prague soon. Many miles between us.
But we know that doesn’t mean that we are not bound…by tradition and LOVE.

I’m thankful that I also know that I don’t have to live near my children to watch over them. How could I pick which one to live near anyway? I can rest assured that they are in God’s hands and that He is better at watching over them than I.

Weddings are fun…they enlarge a family and the Lord enlarges our hearts to embrace new members of this Stockwell clan!!!

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain..." Psalm 127:1
GOD, we invite you to build our houses and our homes!

My two Katherines...Katherine on the left and Katie on the right!