Saturday, July 16, 2011

One of a Kind

Julia Hanlin Smith was one of a kind.  Whenever she was present, you were guaranteed laughter, twinkling eyes, a big smile, lots of encouragement, a quick wit, stories, and a royal display of God’s love in action.

Jim and Julia have lived in several states and cities through the years.  Wherever they were located, they quickly found a church home, joined, ministered and served.  We always loved when a move brought them back to Houston and Tallowood because we knew that God was going to be working in and blessing through their lives.  They made a great team. 

Julia and Jim are extra special friends to our family.  Our sons love them and know they are well loved in return.  Even after the boys went to college, they always looked for the Smiths, when they came home, for a hug, laughter and to catch up with news.  They have encouraged, prayed for, and supported all three boys, especially when Scott moved overseas. 

Jim and Julia are big supporters of mission work.  Yard work, moving things, and odd jobs were offered to our sons and others so they could earn money for youth high school mission trips.  Julia provided food and drinks for the workers.  What began as a “Hire a Student” to earn money for a mission trip blossomed into a lifelong friendship. 

Through the years, as the Smith’s moved from one house to another, Brad and Chad helped them transport their treasures.  Julia was a collector of lots of things…antiques, BIG rocks, art work, stories, and definitely friends.  The rock collection was the source of many stories and much comment.  There were rocks in their backyard from Alaska, Colorado and different places where they had lived or visited.  She knew where every rock was collected.  On the mission trip to Switzerland and Hungary, Brad brought back a 35 pound rock from the Swiss Alps.  He hauled that treasure through two countries because he knew Julia would love it.  When they helped with landscaping, yard work, or moving, Brad and Chad had the opportunity to move those BIG rocks several times.  One time, after relocating the boulders, Brad looked at Julia and said, “Julia, have you ever thought about collecting feathers?”

Chad loved the stories that went along with the work as Julia would share details from U.S. or "Hanlin" history with them.

Jim, Julia, Brad, and Chad share a special date on the calendar, too.  August 10th is Jim and Julia’s wedding anniversary as well as Brad and Chad’s birthday.  That made the bond of friendship even sweeter. 

Julia went to be with our Lord and Savior on July 9, 2011.  She was definitely one of a kind…one who made a difference…for the better…wherever she went.  May we do the same.

Philemon 1:7
7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother (and sister), have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

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