this woMan’s Best Friend

3/16/2014  Update:

Louis and I hosted a Memorial Service for Wesley today.  If you want to read that, click here >>>  How to Throw a Memorial Service for your Dog. Thanks again for the overwhelming support, love, encouragement we have received in the form of comments, emails, texts, calls, Sugar Shack Donuts, hugs, and more! We have the best group of friends ever! Thanks for loving us.

_________  ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS ______________

Me and Wesley...missing Calvin

RIP Sweet Wesley “Lover Boy” Williams

September 9, 1998 – March 14, 2014

Be sure to check out the video at the bottom of this post. And also grab your tissues.

When I married Louis, I knew that Calvin and Wesley (2 black labs…the liturgical hounds named for John Wesley and John Calvin) were part of the ‘package’. Love Louis…love his dogs. Calvin – he was nicknamed Houdini. Wesley – well…his nickname was Lover Boy, because he loved everyone very well. He never met a stranger.  In our early time together, Calvin could get out of nearly any situation. His first night sleeping at my home, he combat crawled under the shed and wandered the neighborhood for quite a while before I realized it.  Calvin loved to run…and Wesley, a loyal pal, would follow him anywhere and everywhere. When Calvin passed away on Veterans Day 2008, Wesley attached himself to me. He became my shadow. Wherever I went, Wesley went. Louis remained alpha of our pack, but I became Wesley’s companion, his buddy, his pal.  And…he became mine.

Wesley passed on Friday afternoon after 15 1/2 years of a full life filled with love. Although I only knew him for the last 6 years, I felt like he was mine since forever. He truly was the best dog ever.  If you ever met Wesley, you know exactly what I am talking about.  A wonderful friend to all. He especially loved the neighborhood kids. Loved them deeply.

Wesley was an integral part of our family and our ministry in Southern Barton Heights, because he taught us all how to love deep and to love well, expecting virtually nothing in return.

I am a better person for having known and loved Wesley and to be known and loved by him. Now, I’m thankful he’s able to romp around with Calvin…and it’s comforting to know that they are both back together, pain-free in healthy bodies!

Memorial Service for Wesley

Sunday, March 16th at 2pm  

2101 Barton Ave, RVA 23222

Come on by. Bring your dogs. Bella is a super great hostess…and she’s gonna be kinda lonely, too.  The kids can make cards, write letters, etc. while we all tell stories and share memories of one super great dog.

John WESLEY Williams

Well done, good and faithful dog.

You loved well.

You were well-loved.

Here’s a video of my beloved friend.  My way of dealing with my grief.  Enjoy.

John WESLEY Williams ~ loved well and well loved. from Marti Williams on Vimeo.

Wish I had included this picture in the video. It’s one of my faves… My 2 favorite boys, more found here… My 2 Favorite Boys in the World!!!

wesley and louis

Won’t You Let Me Be Your Neighbor?

On April 1, 2012, my friend, Sara Kennedy, asked if I would speak to a group at her church about being a good neighbor…telling stories of my life in Southern Barton Heights. It was my honor to tell how God uses me and changes me through this experience. Thanks for allowing me to be part of Shalom Richmond at Stony Point Pres.

Dying to Live!

“There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for.”

Elisabeth Elliot, wife of Jim Elliot, missionary to Waodani people of Ecuador

I moved to SBH almost 7 years ago.  I had no idea what God was going to do, or why I was called to live here.  In the first few years, a few things went awry…small items stolen from the yard, neighborhood kids presented minor challenges, etc. However some more challenging things occurred as well, like my car being stolen – what the police suspected was gang initiation because a bunch of Altimas got stolen that night and car windows being shot out on another occasion when kids were having a bit too much fun with a bee-bee gun.  During these times, friends and family challenged me about my decision to move here.  Others asked if I was moving out.  Of course, there wasn’t a chance I was leaving.  The good outweighs the bad.

Nothing was more challenging than the night a man got shot 9 times outside my back door…on my 4th date with Louis.  I didn’t know him, but after the scene was clear, Louis and I responded with first aid, encouragement, prayers and the gift of presence.  I am happy to say that Frank didn’t die in the street that night, but lived.  That was 4 years ago to the day….January 27, 2008 at 8:30pm.  I am sorry that Frank was shot that day.  But, grateful that we were there and sooo appreciate the friendship we have developed since.  I can now say we are family.

While still in the hospital, Frank asked me if I was going to move.  He reminded me that not only was he shot 9 times, but that a bullet also went into my home.  The hole is still in the wall actually.  I’m not sure why we don’t fix it.  It’s like this constant reminder at the bottom of our steps.  If we had moved, who would have been there the night that Frank got shot? Who would have given him First Aid when everyone else ran? It reminds me that we do make a difference, even when things seem hard.  God loves Frank so much that we found ourselves cooking on the grill that night instead of going out.  He loves this community so much that the neighborhood kids were safely in the house that night, instead of being dropped off after Youth Group at 8:30, their normal time.  God is in the midst.  Even when I may doubt, there is no doubt.

If it’s not worth dying for, it’s not worth living for.  There are a lot of other things we could be doing, a lot of other places we could live.  But, this is where God has called us, and this is where we shall stay until God calls us some place else.

Especially after the last week, I am reminded again of how we are being used by God.  I am thankful for the many opportunities we have had to love and be loved.  I wouldn’t trade ANYthing for the last 7 years!  In the meantime, my prayer is that we will follow the advice of Jim Elliot…

 Wherever you are – be all there.

Jim Elliot

Mom….I’m bored!!!!

Mom....I'm bored!!!!

I was talking to a couple of parents and grandparents about activities their kids could get involved with this summer.  So, now…we are making a list of activities to keep kids from getting “bored” this summer!   Let me know if you are aware of other activities.  Be sure to provide the details.  A detailed list will be provided…Dates, Time, Location with address and phone number, and other comments (like snacks, transportation, etc.)  If you want a copy of the list, just subscribe to the blog…and you will get a copy when it’s posted!

These free or very affordable activities need to in a healthy and safe environment that fosters inclusion, encouragement, with high morals/values.

Here’s a sampling of the list for Northside kids.  It’s still a work in progress.

  • 6.27-7.1                 9a-12n            VBS Triumphant Baptist on Lamb  (provide snack)
  • 7.5 – 7.29              8:30a-1p        Mega Sports Program Triumphant Baptist on Lamb  (provide breakfast and lunch)  (need to get in early…it’s fills up quickly!)
  • 7.11-15                  3p-6p              VBS STEP @ Eternity Church on Chamberlayne ( provide snack and I am working on transportation if kids will go)
  • 7.18-22                 9a-12n            VBS Commonwealth Chapel (my church)  (provide snack) (last year we had transportation.  i am verifying for this year.)
  • Monday                TBD                Weekly Missional Community (bible study, crafts and service component)
Thanks everyone!!!
Peace, Miss Marti

Fish (and Chicken) Fry on Friday, 8.27 $7 donation

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On Friday, 8/27/2010, STEP (Strategies to Elevate People) will be hosting a Fish Fry (and chicken too!!!) from  11-2 and 4-7.  Perfect for a work luncheon….or a cook-free dinner for the family!  Place your order by Wednesday, 8/25 to reserve your meals by using this Fish Fry Order Form.  (Note:  Free delivery for 5+ lunch meals!)

Thanks for supporting this wonderful ministry to Gilpin Court!!  To learn more about STEP, attend the reception any time from 4-7pm.

My 2 Favorite Boys in the World!!!

Ministry can be hard work sometimes….and requires a little down time.  That’s this afternoon…time to chill.  Louis laid down on the floor for a few moments to stretch…and Wesley had to get right up there next to him.  Well, the next thing you know…Louis is snoring…and Wesley is not far behind.  I captured a few shots before Louis finally opened his eyes.  Enjoy the pics of my 2 favorite boys in the world!  Love ’em both!!!

I’ve got a lot of catchin’ up to do!

So…it’s been a minute since I last posted.  Lame…I know!  But we have had LOTS going on!!!  VBS Arts Camp Closing Ceremonies, Aunti Patti’s visit from Oregon (including a trip to Busch Gardens), a trip to Charlotte to visit Louise (Louis’ mom) including meeting Richard (Louis’ roommate in Charlotte when they served an inner city project, Piedmont Court) and visiting some Charlotte work friends!!!, and lastly, my sister Rebecca and nephew Nat’s visit from Houston (including my First Squirrel’s game and a trip to Water Country yesterday).

Coming up this weekend, we have Everett’s Birthday Pancake Breakfast, The Walker’s visiting from Panama and Commonwealth Chapel Youth Group Service Project in SBH on Sunday evening!  Always something good going on at Miss Marti’s House!!!

So…I will be posting again soon!!!  Not to mention, I have Deshawn and Bishop’s words to post!  So…stay tuned…I’ll be back before you know it!

U-Turn + Miss Marti’s Kids + Commonwealth Chapel MCs = FUN ! ! ! ! !

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Miss Marti’s House partnered with U-Turn and Commonwealth Chapel for a new weekly outreach to the kids ages ranging from 7-12 from Gilpin Court and Southern Barton Heights. On June 26th, we had the kick-off cookout which you can read about in my 6.26 post, It was a GREAT day @ Miss Marti’s House.

Today was the first official trip…with about 15 kids from Southern Barton Heights and Gilpin Court.  Not only did they get to play soccer, but they also got to hear from the U-Turn President and a guy who used to play professional soccer!  In addition, Rikki gave a lesson from 1 Corinthians on how each part of the body plays an important role in the serving and worshiping Jesus.

Watch for testimonies coming from the kids next week!  Many of them had a busy week at VBS Arts Camp and ended the week with U-Turn!

HUGE shout out to U-Turn and Commonwealth Chapel for their support!!!!

Here are a few pics from the morning….

Get Well Soon, Grandma Louise!

Louis’s mom, Louise, lives in Charlotte.  He and his sister have been taking great care of her during and following a recent knee replacement.  Some of the kids learned about it…and wanted to make her a Get Well card.  So…here they are! When Louise comes to visit, the kids like to call her “Grandma” which makes her day…and mine!  Because, we are like one big family!  Her only 2 grandsons are so grown and live on the other side of the country, which makes her miss them desperately.

Yesterday, the boys also decided that they need to have some chores around the house…so they have selected their assignments…

  • Bishop – He will feed and water the birds!
  • Larry – He’s going to water my plants in the backyard!
  • Deshawn – He will care for the plants on the front porch!

They are really great kids…and so polite and wise beyond their years.  It has not taken them long to realize that some of the nonsense that is told to them by some neighbors is just that…NONSENSE!  I’m so proud of them and thrilled they are part of my life.

It was a GREAT day @ Miss Marti’s House!!!

We had a WONDERFUL time today partnering with U-Turn and Commonwealth Chapel this afternoon to reach out to the kids of Southern Barton Heights!!! Over 20 kids signed up for the upcoming Saturday morning events.  Each Saturday the kids will be scooped up to be taken to U-Turn to play sports for a couple of hours.  In addition, they will be fed…both physically with a snack AND spiritually with the Word of God.

Thanks to the Commonwealth Chapel Missional Communities and to U-Turn for killer partnership!!!  You guys are the BEST!!!  May you be blessed for the sacrifice of your time and love!!! Louis and I look forward to partnering more in the future!  Even more…I’m looking to see what the Lord will do with this time!   To God be the Glory!