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A woman of noble character

This morning was Barbara Johnson's funeral. It was a mix of mourning and celebration. So many tears and accolades for this precious saint that passed on who was truly a "Proverbs 31 Woman." It was amazing all that she accomplished with her family, professionally, and her sterling character. One of her best friends put it succinctly this morning when she said, "Barbara was kind. You can find a lot of people who can be kind but the thing about Barbara is that she was kind ALWAYS...ALL THE TIME." She was not only kind but she was a brilliant woman in so many ways.

We were the host church for the funeral. The building was absolutely packed with standing room only, and in addition to every single seat being filled there were people standing in about 3 rows deep all around the back of the sanctuary. To say it was hot in that building was an understatement, even with the air on full blast.

Larry opened the service with a greeting and prayer. I played the keyboard and led in two worship songs - and Velma sang His Eye is on the Sparrow. Pastor Roy Williams from College Hill gave the sermon and many people got saved. Then at the end it was totally cranked up at the end with Rosemay leading, "When We All Get to Heaven". I had asked Christopher to come up and play the drums for that one. I know a lot of people aren't used to that at a funeral but this was different. I felt it appropriate - I knew it would go over great and it did. Rosemay motioned to Velma to come over on the song and the two of them danced all around the stage and sang and got the crowd going. It was an appropriate "homegoing" for Barbara. She will be sorely missed.

The funeral was several hours long and then Larry shot over to make an appearance at the Royal Ranger party but he dropped me off so I could do my usual Saturday cleaning blitz, make dinner and get the rest of the things ready for our vision meeting tomorrow night. I am finally finished preparing everything I'm doing for tomorrow night so that makes me able to rest easy on that. I started on dinner, and completely bombed out. And I do mean completely. I'm so glad we weren't having company although I usually don't make new things for company. I worked so hard on this new dish I was excited about - Chicken Breast with Feta Sauce. (I love feta, normally) Well, for some reason the flavors of everything in the dish just clashed horribly. Balsamic vinegar, thyme, oregano, feta...the recipe SOUNDED so good. I made a bunch of rice and prepared to put a chicken breast atop each one with the sauce over it (it's a low fat recipe too, by the way) and then I took a bite just to taste test what I was going to give my family...and almost threw up! It was some of the most horrible stuff I ever tasted. Just in case my "taster" was off I saved it til they came home and let them decide. They took one look and said, "Yeeeech!" All of the sauce went down the garbage disposal. I put the chicken breasts in the fridge to feed Geena one each day (she LOVES THEM!) Then I pulled out some Stauffer's French Bread pizzas we had sitting in the freezer. That and Edy's slow churned lite ice cream is our dinner tonight. Sound good? Oh well I love to cook but every dish is definitely not a winner.

When it's not a heat wave outside it's thunderstorming. I haven't been truly outdoors in SO long. I miss it much. I am almost done my work for tonight/tomorrow and I'm going to read the Word, pray and go to bed as early as I can for the big day ahead in church tomorrow. I already know of a ton of people who are gone on vacation, etc. tomorrow, including at least half of the worship team. However, God will be there and so will some of His people so that makes for a perfect day as long as we are all seeking Him.

Got a call from Randy tonight. We talked a long time and caught up. Actually he and Larry talked about a week ago but it's never enough when you are away from people who are so dear to your heart. Unless we were living in each other's backyards, we'd always have to "catch up". :-) Anyway... he and Dawn got plane tickets today to come visit. They are coming in August! I can hardly wait!!! It's been too long. We made trips every year there for a while but it has been a long stretch now that we haven't seen them so we are WAY overdue. It will be so good to see them...so good. Let's see, how long have we been in relationship now? About 22 years! Amazing. They were Larry's youth pastors, then they became my boss when I went to work for them at New Morning (Teen Challenge) when they were directors there, and then they became "our" boss and our dear senior pastors when we were their youth/music pastors, and then in addition to being our pastors they became...our friends...and have remained so all this time, only getting closer in our relationship although further away geographically the bond of relationship has only grown. Even today when he called I found myself running three or four things past Randy to get his advice. It's always so timely. For those of you reading who have never met Randy, here is his photo and bio from his church site:

Pastor Randy Visconti is the Sr. Pastor at CCC with over 25 years of ministerial experience behind him. He and his wife, Pastor Dawn, graduated from North Central Bible College and were married in 1981. They are raising four children together. Ryan, the eldest, is a senior at ASU and soon to be commissioned officer in the US Army. Kyle is also going to college and serving in the AZ National Guard. Kirstyn attends Skyline High School where she is an honor student and member of the girls volleyball team. Aaron, the youngest, is in fourth grade and is a future NFL star.

And Dawn...her e-mails, truth speaking and wisdom never fail to amaze me. How I would have gotten through so much without her straight, yet loving talk is beyond me. For those that don't know Dawn here is her photo and bio from her church site:

Pastor Dawn grew up on a farm in Missouri. She was blessed to be raised in a spirit-filled Christian home, accepted Jesus as a small child and received baptism in the Holy Spirit at a Kids Camp. Pastor Dawn was called to the ministry as a teen and attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, MN, where she met her husband, Randy. One of her greatest joys is to be a part of helping people really know God. She also enjoys seeing God's people really love one another and speak truth to each other.

Yes...it will be so good to have them here. They are coming for six days to stay with us and it is going to FLY by way too fast. I remember one time we talked so much so late every night I lost my voice. I love them and miss them and their family so much. :-)

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