Richards Family Visit

We enjoyed a visit with my family the weekend after Easter. After some time visiting family in Georgia, they were able to see us on the way back to Zion. John’s class hit the flight line that week, so while we didn’t see much of him, we made the most of our time together. 
We walked around historic downtown Columbus admiring old buildings, budding flowers and sipping cool drinks from Coffee House on 5th….except Anna. She’s a bear.

We wandered through a few antique shops, of which there are MANY here. It’s a shame antiques have become so trendy. My parents bought and refinished our baby furniture from an antique store back in day and I’m certain they didn’t pay anywhere near what these stores are asking! 

We passed by the first home of Tennessee Williams, Columbus’ claim to fame. I don’t think the Pulitzer-prize winning playwright actually lived in this house very long, but it still seems to be a big deal around here. 
Possum Town Stranglers, anyone? 
The girls loved on Kaia and my dad enjoyed several walks around the neighborhood with his “grandpuppy”.

Who needs stickers when you can show off your family in pollen? So thankful we don’t have allergies! 

On their last night here, we enjoyed Hanks BBQ for dinner and watched “Wreck-It Ralph” with chocolate chip cookies. 

The first cockroach of the season (in our house, at least) was smote by my rubber band-wielding father. Thanks, Dad. 

All in all, good visit! 

thankful: November 23-25


1. I’m thankful for a great assembly this morning where we talked about how God’s Word is the “Maker’s Manual” for our lives.

2. I’m thankful for lots and lots of dirty dishes, which means lots of people here for graduation this weekend.

3. I’m thankful for time in the kitchen with my Aunt Laurel and Carlene. What a blessing it is to travel to the other side of the world and have the opportunity to serve with family.


1. I’m thankful for the chance to be here for ZEBS graduation, which you can read more about here. What an awesome picture of God’s faithfulness in this ministry!

2. Dancing. I don’t dance, but I’m beginning to wish that I did, or think that maybe I should? Worship isn’t about how I feel. It’s not about me at all!

The Bible is full of dancing. There’s something about an outward, physical expression of joy before the Lord. When I watch the amaZioni dance, I witness their love for God.

Psalm 149:3 “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”

3. I’m thankful for the satisfaction of absolute exhaustion.

4. My Uncle Dick’s cookies.

5. Watching the first half of the first Christmas movie of the season with everyone here at Sunbury. The most climactic kiss of White Christmas was interrupted by a power outage, which we all thought was perfect.

6. The power outage also meant an early bedtime, which was much, much needed.


1. An awesome sermon this morning by Paul Esteves at Community Connection. The gospel, the true Christian life is not about rules; it’s about grace lavished upon your life. When you understand this grace, you will leave the old self. We are free; let us not continue to live as though we are enslaved to sin.

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” – Colossians 3:5-10

2. Coffee and conversation with Uncle Dick, Aunt Laurel and Kyle at Zara’s, a cute little Greek cafe, after church.

3. Uncle Dick treating everyone to a delicious lunch.

4. Simple roasted vegetables.

5. The Piano Guys. The joy they experience through their music drives me to worship our Creator.

6. The other half of White Christmas. Any excuse to have popcorn again….especially stovetop popcorn.

thankful: 11.9.12

1. Friday was a long day. After assembly in the morning, Amy and I drove into Ballito (about 40 minutes away) to run some errands. We made it back just in time for my  back-to-back tutoring sessions. By the end of the first, I was tired. Just really, physically tired. I love being with the kids, but I wasn’t sure if I could muster the enthusiasm for another group without a few more cups of coffee.

The coffee wasn’t going to happen. I breathed a prayer for miraculous energy as I drove back into San Souci and loaded up the next group.

My prayer was instantly answered. The entire way back, the voices of the children drowned out the roar of the bakkie and instantly lifted my spirits. How could you listen to a chorus of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” followed by a harmonious rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” and not have an immediately improved mood?

As we pulled into Sunbury again, they sang the song we’d sung that morning at assembly. I learned the song when I was last here and taught it to the first grade Sunday school class back at our home church in Zion. Then, just a few weeks ago, the South Africa team from this summer introduced our congregation to the song during their convocation report.

“Akekho Ofana no Jesu” — There’s no one, there’s no one like Jesus. There’s no one, there’s no one like him!

2. My grandma, Neda Petreman, who is celebrating her birthday today. Decorating the church, working on craft projects, having sleepovers, games in the car, eating popcorn, birthday lunches, trips to the beach, trick-or-treating, campfires in the backyard– so many wonderful memories over the past 21 years!

3. The smell of rain. 
4. A sea of green sugarcane blowing in the wind. 
5. Great thunderstorms (particularly great thunderstorms that don’t lead to power outages!).