Looking at these pictures you would wonder what fancy restaurant at which we were eating but it was the Bob Jones University Kambach Dining Room (the newly remodeled main dining room). It just so happened that the opening night of the BJU faculty/staff meeting and dining event fell on the actual evening of our 35th wedding anniversary. So I teased Roy that he went to a lot of trouble and expense to add so many friends to our guest list and so much gourmet food to celebrate our anniversary. Bill Apelian even came to our table and beautifully sang Happy Anniversary to us. The Armark Food Service folks did an amazing job with this event! The menu included roast beef with a variety of bread options, brushetta and a gourmet salsa, delicious grilled fresh vegetables, fried ravioli with pasta sauce, chocolate fountain with lots of fresh fruit and marshmallows for dipping, and variety of other desserts so beautifully displayed. This dinner was the first big event served by the food service folks following a summer of complete renovation of the back kitchen and preparation area. All the fine renovations that you see in these pictures were done last summer. This summer they had to dig up and redo everything in the back area starting with the drains in the floor and the floor itself. So this was the summer to replace the fryers, ovens, vents, steamers, dishwashing machine, etc. etc. So it was a celebration evening for Roy to see all the work he was responsible for coming to a complete end (except fine tuning stuff of course). Praise God that this remodeling project is done! The students have just about the finest college dining facility available. Thanks to Adam Summers for leading the Armark folks.
This summer I have had the pleasure of meeting once a week at a friend’s home to discuss a book we are all reading: Twelve Extraordinary Women (“How God shaped women of the Bible and What He wants to do with you”) by John MaCarthur. This group is made up mostly of women who meet during the school year for the structured Ladies Bible Study (LBS) at HPBC but others have joined for the summer. The group has become so close and thrive so well on the weekly study that they decided to continue meeting during the summer in the home of one of the willing members to do a book study. Last summer they studied One Thousand Gifts.
Each chapter features a different woman in the Bible. We have already studied Eve, Sarah, Rahab, and this week Ruth. This morning I reread the chapter on Ruth and reflected on the blessing of my two daughter-in-laws. They come from two very different backgrounds but each have taken their gifts and talents and developed them in commendable ways. They both are teachers with some training in the education field; one teaches college students who need help making up deficiencies in basic study skills (English, math, study methods, writing. etc.) and the other teaches her young children whose deficiencies are their natural bent to selfishness and laziness set in our immoral society.
My greatness joy comes from seeing the way my Jennifers love my sons. Lord knows, I could never have selected or arranged better matches for each of my young men. I know it isn’t easy to live with hard working, strong willed, driven men yet that is what makes them leaders in their careers. Their backgrounds are similar and not perfect either but God has used their specifics talents and gifts to develop them into the “teachers” and leaders they have become. The neatest thing is to see how they have become more like friends; respectful of their differences. They both chose women who are very attractive yet have an inner beauty that is commendable.
I read this morning on page 80 of our book of Naomi’s reflection on Ruth, the “faithful Moabite girl who had so graciously proven her loyalty, generosity, diligence, and strength of character.” I wrote in the margin, “these are the characteristics of my Jennifers. Naomi stated that her daughter-in-law, who loved her, was better to her than seven sons. So on a lighter note, I will say I only have one more son, who I would even allow to marry another Jennifer, if she would be as wonderful has these two but Lord knows, I don’t think I could have survived living in a house with 7 Hulehan boys. Three almost did me in!
I was so excited today when I sewed the third dress like this for the store Little Pampered People. I wasn’t pleased at all how long it took me to sew the first dress off this pattern. Another seamstress turned the project down because she said she didn’t “do” zippers. I guess that is equivalent to a house cleaner who doesn’t clean windows. Well, I needed a sewing project because my sewing drawing account was almost empty. The first day of sewing seemed to take all day. I did some studying on speed sewing and got some ideas. I tried the sewing tips on the second dress and cut my time in half (now 4 hours). Today I mastered them and finished the machine sewing in 2 hours! Yes!! Now I might be able to earn minimum wage. I just reminded myself that it is all for the cause of sewing so I can buy supplies to sew and send dresses to orphan girls around the world. It is timely that I am reminded of my mission because four years ago today my brother, Paul, was ushered into the Lord’s presence. Paul’s love of orphans and their care inspired me to use my love of sewing to create this ministry of The Samaritan Sewer and sew for orphans.
A new friend who saw my Etsy dresses asked me if I would make matching dresses for her and her 5 daughters for Mother’s Day. She said she liked the navy and white chevron peasant style dress on my Etsy Site. I ordered 10 yards of the fabric and started doing lots of sewing. Only 8 1/2 yards of the fabric came initially so I suggested the Mom’s dress be made out of a solid fabric. She selected all white and I made the scarf and pin to decorate her dress. The girls wanted the ruffle on the bottom of the dress and I added the ruffle around the neck to balance out the hem ruffle. So I finished them within the 2 weeks that I had and she sent me a picture of the group dressed and ready for Mother’s Day 2014. So cute!
A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling a little unsure if this sewing venture is something I am capable of completing. That afternoon I stopped at Miracle Mart (MM) to see if they had any fabric donations that I might want to add to my stash. I also needed some small white buttons to use on a garment I was sewing but I didn’t want to go all the way to the fabric store to get. Much to my surprise I found at MM a huge ziploc bag full of small white and PINK buttons! I felt the Lord was saying, see I will provide what you need and more. Since sewing for little girls and dolls will definitely involve pink and white notions.
I think I found some fabric that afternoon but more importantly I found this hand painted miniature sewing machine, complete with a Singer label. It was right there on an eye level shelf and only $1.00. Once again I felt the Lord was saying in a humorous way, “keep on sewing on that old Singer machine you have!” (I use my Bernina too though.)
I was convinced earlier that this sewing ministry was what I was to supposed to be doing but some days it is nice to get a visual confirmations!
Last night I finished sewing a special order dress for a little girl, the daughter of a young mother who started showing interest in my sewing ministry and picked out one of the dresses I had already sewn as one her daughter would love to have. The only problem was the size. So I agreed that since I had extra fabric in her daughter’s favorite color of purple, I would custom make a dress to fit her. It was fun to sew that dress and to picture in my mind the little girl and to even pray for her. I thought about all the other girls that will receive the pillowcase dresses from missionaries or in orphanages where I will be sending the dresses Mom and I are sewing. What a contrast! You see the little girl receiving the purple special ordered dress is the grand daughter of a mission board director, the niece of veteran missionaries to China, and also niece to missionaries headed to Cambodia. Her parents could probably afford to buy her a brand new dress from most any department store but they chose to support my cause. She is surrounded by loving family and extended family who could all provide for her needs yet she will smile and twirl, showing off her new dress just as happily as the orphans will when they receive their dress. So as I stitch, I smile and pray for the girl who will one day soon be the wearer. I wonder too, what treasures each girl will hide in her pocket and more importantly, in her heart.
I thought I should explain my new sign off “counting gifts”. For the last year and a half or so, I have been reading and rereading the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She challenges her readers to journal and to write down at least 3 gifts you “receive” each day. These are gifts He bestows. Not of gifts I want but gifts I already have. They are just common things; maybe even things I don’t realize are gifts until I write them down… like birds chirping, mail in the mailbox, hearing the wind whistling etc. This was a stretch for me since I was not a journal writer. So now Ann has stretched me enough that I am even journaling on my lap top on Word Press. I am now up to 1429 gifts I have counted! Of course, I am on my 3 journaling book. But it has served as a new practice – the habit of gratitude. To look for things in my life that are good and pure and lovely and beautiful. Phil 4:11-12 learning to be content with what I have. Learning to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty. It is a secret worth spending a lifetime to learn. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. It is sold in Barnes and Noble, on Amazon, etc. I am with my second group of ladies, meeting once a week, doing a simple book study following One Thousand Gifts. Ann’s writing is so deep and creative that you can read it several times and always glean something new. So I sign off today – Counting His gifts,