Annie has been my friend for nearly 25 years. She was one of my first friends when I moved to the hottest place on earth. She helped to bring me out of my shyness. She knew how to be my friend.
Annie has the voice of an angel.
The heart of God resides in her.
She loves children ~ She loves her family ~ She is a lover of people.
Annie is a counselor. She works by day at an elementary school as a secretary to the principal. But, what she really is, is a counselor. An encourager. She has a few letters behind her name, too - she has a counseling business on the side where she encourages those trapped in addiction. Her heart is huge.
Her husband is a teacher of music and song. He leads an award winning band and choir. He was our pastor for several years, until he went back to college to be a teacher. He is gentle, purposeful, wise, and truly - one of the best men I know.
They came to visit.
It was wonderful.
It was easy.
It was comfortable.
Being with them refreshed our souls.
We were loved.
From as far back as I can remember, I have loved stories. I grew up in a story telling family. My mother told wonderful stories at bedtime that were far better than the story books we had. She told of fairies and wild horses and rivers with stones of gold. She came from a storytelling family, I think. I remember fanciful tales that my grandpa told me of flying horses and middle eastern warriors.
My brother is a better story teller than I am - so, I think when I grew up I didn't really know that I could tell a story. His stories were wonderful! He told of visiting the canyons near our home that were filled with dinosaurs, giant tarantulas, man eating tigers, wild horses and a mountain lion the size of my dad's blue truck. I had never ventured down into the canyon because I was a "rule-follower", but he was not afraid of the paddle - and he ventured down to see the diamond caves.
But, I am a teacher. I have always been a teacher. Even as a child it was an easy thing for me to do - a natural thing - to tell stories to children - and so I began to teach Sunday School.
Annie and I taught Children's Church and Sunday School for years. She would lead the music because she sang like an angel - and I would tell the Bible stories. We were a team. It was fun. It nurtured us.
I am still teaching Bible stories. Every day in kindergarten it is my joy to tell my little charges about the Wonderful One who loves us more than we can imagine.
I told the children in September that a very wonderful thing would happen in kindergarten. We would learn to read ~ and then ~ we would be able to read our Bibles.
Today - as a class - we read story after story in our little children's Bibles. All of us. In unison. Their little bookmarks firmly place under each line. It was magical. Reading of the lost little lamb. The centurions daughter. The woman who had been ill for 12 years. It was wonderful. The children were proud - and they were thankful.
Grant said, "God has answered our prayers, Mrs. S. ~ You said He would teach us to read the Bible! He did it!"
I love to tell the story,
'twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and His love.
When Annie came into our home she took me aside and said, "All those years of you dreaming of moving to "this country place" - all your stuff! IT FITS! I love seeing it here!"
I think God was whispering my name for 25 years, each time I found a treasure for this country home.