Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 28 – “Live and breathe”

We just got home from a youth camp counselors' meeting at Mike & Cindy's house.  Mike gave us an update on the numbers.  We have thirty spots reserved and right now all of them are taken and there are two kids on the waiting list.  There are also a few kids from Kel's church who might want to go with us.  As we get closer we may have to rent another van.  He also told us that the youth group from Louise, Texas, that came and cleaned up our property wants to hook up with us when we go to camp.  That should be a lot of fun.  None of them have ever been.  Most of them have grown up on a farm.  Let's take them to the mountains.  We need $6000 for transportation and counselor's camp fees so the kids can do fund raisers to cover their own camp costs.  That's a great place to start praying.


Before the meeting we worked all day at cleaning the church (Chris) and cleaning out two storerooms (me).  We need to empty out one of them so we can turn it into showers.  That will make Seaside a prime place for groups to stay when they come to Galveston to do ministry.  That shower conversion is supposed to happen next weekend.  A group from Brownwood is coming down with a plumber and a building team to create the new Seaside Shower Room.  That same group is also bringing a team to put a roof on our house for us. 


Ned and Nancy came by while we were working.  They were delivering diapers and clothes to Family Crisis Center.  Ned had already filled in ten or twelve holes under the new building.  Those two are great models for all of us.  Sure we have people coming in to help, but we also have a responsibility to work as well.  And that responsibility does not end with our own property.  We need to look outside ourselves and discover where God is at work around us.  There are a lot of people who still need storm help.  But guess what?  There are a lot of people who need help that is totally unrelated to the storm.  Imagine that.  Life goes on.  People live and breathe and work and play and they all need Jesus. 


Ecclesiastes 1:5-6 says, "The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.  The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course."


Romans 3:23-25 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."


Father, help me see – really see – those people who are just living.  Amen.

February 27 – “Alone”

Chris left pretty early this morning to take her Mom to a doctor's appointment. That means she had to drive to Bay City first, then Houston, then back to Bay City, then home. At the outset she faced a big day.

After she left, Nathan and Cailyn came out to give April a few extra minutes of sleep. We ended up watching one of those B rated horror movies from way back. Can't believe Nathan let my granddaughter watch something like that.

I fixed the leg of a sofa we picked up the other day. We broke it when we were taking it out of the truck. All I have to do now is staple the fabric back down. But we no longer have a staple gun. That meant I had to go to Home Depot and get one, right? That trip also gave me a chance to price sheetrock and insulation. Our sheetrock hangers from Arlington will be here in two weeks, so we have to be ready for them.

Next I went to the house to check the mail and see if any more work had been done. I ended up hanging out for awhile. I swept off some of the furniture and things we have in the back yard. I was going to wire brush the fireplace some more, but Nathan called his friend with the sandblaster today. Maybe he'll call back soon and take care of the rest of it for us. I met one of the AC guys today. He came in to make sure the gas lines were hooked up for the furnace. He said they have already talked to the plumbers about what they still need to do – run a drain line. He said they should be done by the time the sheetrockers get here. I sure hope so.

When the mailman finally got there, I headed out for the AT&T store. It has been so difficult to get on the internet here in Omega Bay that we decided to get an air card. It's kind of weird that I even know what one of those things is. If we hadn't gotten free use of one for a few months after the storm I wouldn't know what to do, short of making a trip to use Kel's computer every day. Speaking of Kel, he had his wisdom teeth removed today. It was a big deal surgery. They had to do some bone grafts. I went by to see him. He seemed to be doing fine, as long as he could keep his face on ice.

Tonight we agreed to babysit Cailyn. First time for Mommy to leave her alone. Problem was, they had to leave before Chris got home. That left it up to good ol' DadDad. Alone. He can handle it, right? I should have expected some sort of conspiracy when April handed her to me and she filled her diaper. And of course, they had to leave right then. Well, I've done that before, so I took care of that problem. She and I did pretty well for awhile. She wasn't supposed to need a bottle until 8:00. I figured Chris would be home by then. Nope. And then around 7:15 Cailyn was ready to eat. And she was letting me know about it. I had to hang on to Cailyn with one arm, and with the other get the frozen milk out of the fridge, thaw it under hot water (and not in the microwave – I had strict orders about that from Daddy), pour it out of a baggies into a bottle, and finally let her have it. Oh, and all the while I had to sing and talk and reassure and cuddle a very unhappy little girl. Once she drank her fill, though, she was fine. She settled right down and started back talking and cooing and looking around at her favorite model fish on the wall. And right about then her Daddy called to see how she was doing. Well, it sure felt good to be able to say, "We're doing just fine. Don't hear her crying, do you?" And speaking of feeling good, Chris got home around 8:30, and I never felt better to see her.

Proverbs 31:10-31 says, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

Father, thank you for my wife. And my Mom. And my daughters-in-law. And that other little woman in my life. Amen.

Friday, February 27, 2009

February 26 – “Happy Birthday, Kel”


I felt some better this morning.  At least that's what I told myself when I sat at my desk.  I had a lot to do today.  I paid some bills.  That's always enough to get you in a great mood to start the day.  The thing I really wanted to concentrate on, though, was the teaching for Sunday.  The scripture was about King Saul killing himself.  Not a very inspiring topic.  I knew it would be tough, probably depressing even.  But it took me all morning.  I remember at one point looking at the clock and it being 10:30.  The next time I looked up it was 12:30.  That meant I was in trouble.  Chris insists that I get up and move around at least once an hour.  Otherwise my back really gives me fits.  Today my back has given me fits.  She told me so.


After a hurried lunch I rushed over to teach at Seaside Christian Academy.  I had a hunch this one was going to be tough, too.  The scripture was Genesis 5 – a genealogy.  Woo Hoo.  On top of that, the headmaster called to let me know the kids were especially rambunctious today.  That wasn't his only message, either.  We now need two teachers – high school English and younger elementary.  He asked me to ask Kel and Christina if they were interested in the jobs.  Kel was an English major and Christina was early childhood/elementary.  They sure would be qualified.  Kel is having his wisdom teeth sawed out tomorrow, though.  I asked him, but he wasn't much of a conversationalist.  He's pretty scared.  He doesn't do well with needles.  He'd also have to keep working at Starbucks to keep their insurance.  We'll see how he feels when he comes out from under the anesthesia.


I went by the house after school to get the mail.  There was a truck in the driveway, so I went on in to see what was up.  It was a carpenter working on some of the final framing issues that have come up.  The thing that first struck me, though was that when I turned the engine off in the truck, I could still hear KSBJ (the Christian radio station).  Come to find out, this carpenter was not only a Christian, but I recognized him.  He had even played a softball game for Seaside a few years ago.  He pulled a muscle, so that was his only game.  I know, it sounds like he had very Seaside-like athletic abilities.  But it was great to talk to him again.  He has six kids and is doing his best to follow Jesus.  He was also doing his best to get the house ready for the AC guys and electricians.


Tonight we went to Kel and Christina's for Kel's 32nd birthday.  Yep.  He's old.  We had supper together (shrimp gumbo), and then some folks from their church came over for ice cream and cake.  I had fun playing with the kids.  Especially Micah and another two-year-old.  They wanted to tackle me and have me lift them up over my head, and roll them around in my arms.  Two-year-olds are great fun.  Why can't they stay that way?  Did I mention that my back is killing me?  But this part was worth it.  Ah, grandchildren.


Psalm 103:17 says, "But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children."


Proverbs 17:6 says, "Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children."


Father, my grandkids are fulfilling their part of the bargain.  They are my pride and joy.  Help me be worthy of the respect of my children.  Amen.



Thursday, February 26, 2009

February 25 – “Ash Wednesday”


We ended up having to use the internet at Kel's again today.  I called to see about an air card.  They can't (or won't) simply reactivate the one I have.  That would be too simple.  Now we have to go into a store or online


Tonight we had an Ash Wednesday service at church.  We got there early so we could get everything set up. We had pretzels for communion bread.  They were made as a reminder of: 1) love (heart-shaped), 2) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (three holes), and hands folded in prayer.  We also had to set up chairs, burn the palm fronds to get ashes for the administration of ashes ceremony, sweep a lot of dirt off the floor, move desks, put away tables, set up chairs, empty trash, eat supper with Mike & Cindy. 


Here's a random thought for you.  Sometimes I don't want to hear about anything that has anything to do with the church.  It's usually gossip or negative or out and out complaining anyway.  Sometimes I just want to watch a movie or read a book or just sit around and do nothing without the specter of preparing next week's sermon or Thursday's school lesson or returning yet another phone call from someone wanting to come Spring Break or Summer and do relief work or trying to explain why a group that promised help has never showed up. Volunteers are a unique group.  Some are phenomenal and deserve to have a Daily News article written about them.  Others … not so much.


I know I just used this Scripture not too long ago, but it's late and I am exhausted emotionally and just plain tired physically.  It fits.


Isaiah 40:28-31 says, "Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."


Father, I feel like fainting right now.  Help me sleep.  I know it usually feels better in the morning.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 24 – “Almost-Mall”


I spent this morning working on our income tax so I can send it to our preparers.  Most of it was together already.  Not too hard to do since January through August records are mulch somewhere.  I had no idea what to include that would effectively show the amount of loss we had.  I ended up sending the contents claim list we sent to our flood insurance.  I guess they'll let me know if they need something else.  I'm glad they are the experts.


Chris wanted to pick up some stuff for a quilt she is making.  That meant a trip to the Almost-Mall.  That's the one across the street from the real mall.  I don't mind going to Almost-Malls.  Well, I don't mind as much as real malls.  There are never as many people.  The stores are usually easier to navigate.  You can park right out in front instead of in a parking garage or a lot space about three miles away. The other good thing about this particular Almost-Mall is that the Lifeway book store is also there.  I can always spend a good half hour or so looking at books.  After all, I lost a lot of good books in the flood.  Besides, we needed to pick up some communion bread and some anniversary cards.  As it turned out we only had time to pick up those two essentials.  We had to hurry, because I got a call to meet with some guys from Nehemiah's Vision.  They are a relief organization that has expanded services to help people build and rebuild homes.  Looks like they may be able to help out Seaside Christian Academy with framing and sheetrocking and insulation in the new building.  They may help us out at our house some, too. 


We went by the house today.  We were hoping to see some electricians, or at least a green tag from the plumbing inspector.  Our contractor was there.  So was the plumber.  But no electricians.  They are running a week behind.  And no green tag.  Who knows where the inspector was.  When we left the house we went by to see a house our contractor has almost finished.  Hat homeowner is moving in in a few days.  Yes, we were a bit jealous.  We were also encouraged, though.  If our house looks that good, I think we'll be very happy.


We went with Kel to pick up a mattress for Micah's bed.  That meant we got to have supper with them.  And the boys were happy about that.  Micah was ready with his game of choice: "Tackle me, DadDad."  Tweaked my back again in that one.  But we did settle down some.  They each went and got a book for me to read to them.  Want to have a fun read?  Get any Star Wars book and just read out loud the characters' names. 


Proverbs 30:5 says, "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him."


Father, forgive me for wanting to be an "Almost-Christian."  It's so much more comfortable than doing it right.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February 23 – “The Right Tools”

We headed right for the house this morning.  I was ready to do something – anything.  And we were secretly hoping to meet the electricians, who would be busy at work – almost finished in fact – before we ever arrived.  Well, once again that was a dream that failed to come to fruition.  No one beat us to the house.  We found out later, though, that the electricians are supposed to start tomorrow.  We did get to see the plumber again, though.  He came by to see if the plumbing inspector has been by.  No such luck.  I talked to our contractor briefly.  I was trying to find out if March 13 was a good day for the sheetrockers to come in from Arlington.  He said he would call me back later tonight.


We did get something done.  I went back to scraping rust from the fireplace.  This time I had the drill and wire brush attachment.  It makes the process so much easier when you have the right tool.  I actually finished giving the once-over to the entire outside of the fireplace.  There were several cracks and crevices that I couldn't reach, though.  I need a different attachment that makes it possible to get in tighter places.  I wonder if there is such a thing.  Nathan said he has access to a sandblaster.  That should do the trick, but I'm not sure when we can make that happen.


We went by WalMart on the way home.  I decided to pick up a toilet kit.  One of the toilets at church is on the fritz.  That's something else I can do.  While we were there we passed by the power drill attachments.  Guess what?  There was exactly the one we needed to get into those hard to reach corners.  It was shaped kind of like a cone.  Now I can't wait to use it. 


The toilet didn't take long to finish.  Chris found the booklets for the Ash Wednesday service.  And waiting out in the parking lot was a guy from one of the relief organizations.  He was actually looking for places that need help.  Seems his group is going to have a thousand workers here over Spring Break and they need some more projects.  They were even interested in helping with the new building.  I hope we can put together our list of Seaside projects pretty quickly.


Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."


Father, all this talk of right tools makes me want to be sure I'm one.  Use me.  Amen.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February 22 – “A Discernment Meeting”


Sunday morning.  And a quiet one at that.  Chris and I were the only ones here.  Well, except for Scooter and the fish with the name I never can remember.  But they are both quiet.  It was a feeling I hated to leave, but it was, after all, Sunday morning.  The call of Seaside and teaching and the discernment meeting afterwards was ringing in my ears. 


For years I really haven't liked the entire business aspect of church here in America.  I know we are protected by the government and all, but I honestly believe that we won't be forever.  And it has always seemed to me that there was something inherently wrong with church being run like a business, albeit an efficient one.


I recently reached a peace with myself about the issue.  I revised our church bylaws to show in as clear-cut a way as I could the difference between the church as a New Testament covenant community and the church as an American administrative organization.  Even if Seaside never completely adopts it, I still received great peace in doing it.  And practically speaking, I plan to operate personally under the plan. 


So with that under my belt, I didn't mind wading in on business today.  We call our time of business at Seaside a "discernment meeting" because the idea is to discern where God is at work around us and do what we can to join him with our resources.  We are in the middle of discerning where we need to go next – after Ike – as the Body of Christ that meets here in Galveston at Seaside.  We decided to get some of the "tyranny of the urgent" things done that we have been putting off.  Replacing all the lighting in the building.  Replacing our storm-damaged roof and ceiling.  Buying a portable sound system to replace the one we lost.  God has provided us with some extra monetary resources in the last few weeks, so we'll be able to take care of that stuff. 


But my favorite part of the meeting was the brainstorming time.  I asked everybody to "climb out of the boat" with me and dream.  If money were no object, what would you like to see us do?  There were some interesting ideas.  Take care of all the transportation costs for youth camp.  Very practical.  Buy a van.  We've talked about that one before – and we've even been there before.  Not all that practical when we considered all the extra expenses.  Build some outside storage space under the new school building.  Also practical, and certainly needed.  My all-time favorite suggestion, though came right at the end.  It went something like this, "We need to do something that makes us into a center for ministry in the community.  We need to get outside ourselves and touch the people around us for the Kingdom of God."  Wow.  Somebody got it.


Matthew 28:18-20 says, "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


Father, help us to focus on loving you more than we worry about understanding you.  Amen.

February 21 – “Belgian Waffles”


I knew today was going to be interesting.  We went down to the continental breakfast at the hotel.  They had quite a spread.  Fruit.  Cereal.  Biscuits and gravy.  Pastries of all kinds.  And my favorite hotel breakfast of all time – Belgian waffles.  The kind you make yourself by pouring the stuff in a cup and onto the iron, closing the iron, turning it upside down for whatever reason, and waiting until the built-in timer counts down two minutes.  But this particular waffle iron was special.  It made waffles in the shape of the state of Texas. 


We had some time to kill before they reception.  We both read some in the books we brought.  I watched the end of one of the Die Hard movies.  We went by and saw Cailyn for a few minutes.  Then we decided to take a drive and see the town.  How long could it take, after all.  I knew this was a small town.  And I knew it was an interesting one last night when we met one of April's uncles.  He was wearing short pants and cowboy boots.  Well, in our little drive we ended up in another town altogether – Aransas Pass.  And on the way we saw such inspiring business establishments as Good n Crisp Chicken, the Hot Rod CafĂ©, and a kayak shop called Soggy Bottoms.  Great names.  And, yes, they had a WalMart.  We stopped at a Whataburger for a chocolate malt.  As we were trying to back out of our parking space, the traffic in the parking lot picked up.  A guy standing at the bed of the truck parked next to us started directing traffic for me until we could pull out.  As we waved our thanks, his buddy reached into an ice chest and showed us … a huge speckled trout.  Had to be 28 or 30 inches.  That's going to be a great meal.


The reception was kind of fun.  We met more of April's family.  Aunts and uncles and cousins, and she had no idea who some of them were.  The invitation said the party started at 1 and went until 7 pm.  We couldn't figure out why so long, even with a full meal.  Which was great, by the way.  Well, around 3:00 I heard April's grandmother tell someone, "We have the place until 7.  That way when most of the people start to leave we can play 42."


The trip home was blissfully uneventful.  We stopped and had a hamburger in Bay City with Chris' folks.  By 8:00 we were back in Omega Bay.  I don't know who was happier for us to be home, me or Scooter.  Let's just say he didn't argue about going outside.


Great names.  Philippians 2:9-11 says of Jesus: "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


Father, thank you for revealing a little more of what you are like by letting us hear your names.  Amen.

February 20 – “Being of Value”


Today's blog entry is pretty late.  Sorry.  We went out of town and I forgot to pick up the laptop.  But here we are.  Now if I can just get on the internet when I finish we'll be all set.


Before we left town we went to check out some living room furniture someone is giving us.  It is very nice.  Nathan and I will have to pick it up next week when we have the trucks and he's off work.


The trip was to Ingleside, Texas, a town near Corpus Christi.  April's grandparents were celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a big shindig, and they invited us.  Mom went to Houston to spend a week or so with Jay and Fran, so we decided to go.  We almost didn't get a room in little Ingleside, though.  Seems along with the wedding anniversary, someone else was having an 85th birthday party, and there was also a big family reunion.  Ingleside was hopping, and all the hotels rooms were filled.  We finally got word of a cancellation, though.


On the way there Chris drove.  She's awesome when it comes to driving.  I watched the movie Braveheart.  I was looking for a particular clip I could use in a sermon.  I ended up watching the whole thing.  It's a 2 hour and 50 minute movie.  Took me four hours.


After we checked into the hotel we went over to April's grandparents' house.  They live right on the bay, and Nathan talked me into going fishing off their pier.  Understand, he had to really twist my arm.  We didn't catch much.  A too-small spec and a piggy.  But it was good to hang out with Nathan.  And then April's uncle joined us.  He was hilarious.  He had a very dry humor, and he entertained us with fish story after fish story.  When he went inside, Nathan said, "You know, April said he likes me, but that is the most that guy has ever talked to me."  I think he was saying something about relationship there.


Speaking of relationship, this morning I read the story of Mary of Bethany pouring the oil on Jesus' head.  The disciples got mad.  But Jesus rebuked them and said in Mark 14:6, "She has done a good work for me."  It was a very rich gift and she did a very ordinary thing with it.  But turns out, it wasn't ordinary after all.  It showed flagrant, outrageous love.  It was not about what she did for him.  It was about who she was to him.  It's not about being of use to God.  It's about being of value to him.


Father, keep me focused on my relationship with you and not what I think I should be doing for you.  Amen.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 19 – “Inside the walls”


Chris had to leave this morning for Bay City.  Her mom had another doctor's appointment in Houston, and Chris has become their unofficial chauffer.  Nathan and April and Cailyn left shortly after her.  They were heading to Corpus Christi for her grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary.  We're supposed to go to that, too.  But we don't plan to leave until tomorrow afternoon.  We have an appointment with the bathtub guy at 8:30 in the morning.  He's going to tell us if our tub is OK or if we need to add that purchase to our list.  At 10:00 we're supposed to pick up some prescriptions for Mom.  Then at 10:30 we have an appointment to see some furniture that someone has offered to give us.  So I guess sometime after that we'll head out.  My  brother is supposed to come pick up Mom to spend a week or so with them as soon as she calls.


After I taught A Seaside Christian Academy, I went by the house to check the mail.  Then I walked around looking at the new plumbing.   I am fascinated by all the stuff that's going to be inside the walls.  There was a little box in the wall for the washing machine connections.  There was also a new cleanout access on the outside of the wall for the washer.  That should make it easier to clear next time it gets stopped up.  I noticed some of that pipe insulation on the new pvc that runs near the outside walls.  Our old stuff sure didn't have that.  The gas lines had been run for the stove top.  There was a question about exactly where to put it the other day from the contractor.  It looks about centered on the wall.  That's where it looks like it should go to me.  I checked out the back yard water line.  It was still not hooked up.


Finally, I went up on roof to see the new holes for the hot water heater vent.  Actually, I went up there just because I could.  There's always something about the roof that appeals to the little boy in me.  Forbidden.  Dangerous.


While I was up there, the plumbers came back.  I saw their truck and ran to offer to move my truck out of their way.  They said they would only be a few minutes.  They were actually just checking to see if the inspector had been there yet.  Now that sounded like good news to me.  He asked about the gas line for the stovetop.  He said we should have about a 30 inch leeway – as long as it fits inside that lower cabinet we should be fine.  I asked him about the back yard line.  He said thanks for reminding him.  He just didn't have the right elbow piece yesterday.  He excused himself and went right over and fixed it up.  Then I told him I had never seen the insulation on the pipes near the wall.  He said the place pipes most often freeze is right at the elbow nearest outside wall.  Sounds like the man knows his stuff.


After they left I swept the floor.  I wanted it to look nice when Chris gets there in the morning.  I need to get a taller broom.  My back is sore now.


Hebrews 4:12-13 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."


Father, it has been enlightening to see what is usually hidden beneath our walls.  It has helped me understand how incredibly merciful you are when you see all that is hidden beneath the walls I try to put up.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February 18 – “Spirit Food”


We heard from our contractor this morning – several times.  The plumber should be finished by the end of the week.  He's doing the gas lines now.  One holdup is we need to get a measurement from the cabinet guys so he'll know where to put the line for the stovetop.  That email has been sent.  The electrician is supposed to start at the end of this week.  The AC man is poised to begin when the electric guy is done.  The windows and patio door have been ordered and should be in next week.  The front door looks like it might be salvageable.  Not so much on the side door.  And Chris really wants a storm door in both places.  The garage door looks OK.  We just need to replace the opener and make sure no walls shifted (!!).  But it rolls up and down.  And with an opener, it should lock fine.  We can buy sheetrock and insulation locally.  The group from Arlington is definitely planning to hang the sheetrock.  We may need to get someone else to do the insulation, though.  All of that is supposed to be done before the cabinets are delivered the third or fourth week of March.  We may have to go to Houston to see some tile samples for the bathroom wall by the tub, the shower, and the kitchen backsplash.  Chris has already selected the floor tile and the wood floors.  Our contractor is focused on getting us into the house as soon as possible, even if it's not completely finished.  That's OK with us.


I heard from the church group in Brownwood.  They confirmed that they would be here the first weekend in March to convert our little storeroom at Seaside into showers.  They are also trying to get a team together to come down starting on the 9th to stay at Seaside and put a new roof on our house.  That will be great on both counts. 


We got back home around 7:30.  It was good to see our little Cailyn.  We started right in comparing her with Caleb.  Wonder how long that will last. 


Right now I'm pretty tired.  I know Chris is beat.  She drove the whole way.  And she has to drive to her mom's tomorrow to take her to Houston to the doctor.  We're supposed to go to Corpus Christi on Friday and come back Saturday.  Where's the chance to rest?  Not to mention get ready for teaching at school tomorrow and church Sunday.  I think I need a little spirit food.


 Psalm 18:30-33 says, "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in him."


Father, thanks for being there with food when I need it.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February 17 – “Cause to rejoice”


Today was actually one of those "we didn't do much of anything" days.  We stayed around the house, except for one quick trip to an Ace Hardware to check out cabinet pulls.  Chris found one she liked style-wise, but it didn't come in the color she wanted.  I'm not sure if that means back to square one or settle for the next one.  We'll see.  We got two emails from the Amish cabinet guys.  They had several detail questions after a phone call to the Amish family who would be making the cabinets.  Sounds like we might get some cabinets in the next month or two. 


We heard from the folks who own the Omega Bay house.  They were wanting an update on when we might be back in our house.  They have had some questions from friends about use of the house.  I offered to go ahead and move out, but they were very gracious and insisted they did not want that.  These are some amazing people.  God is going to honor their sacrifice.  I just pray that it is in a way that knocks their socks off.


I got a phone call from a pastor who was interested in bringing a group down this summer to do some work.  He said they would have skilled people (electricians and plumbers) as well as "grunts."  I wish they could have come several months ago. 


I kind of got chewed out by Chris today for working.  I spent quite a bit of time on the sermon this morning.  Then I tried to organize my disaster relief folder a bit.  That's when she got me.  I had piles of paper spread all over the floor.  I'll get to it some day I guess.


When I get to experience a day like today I kind of default back to Philippians.  There is so much in that book.  Check out Philippians 4:4-9:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."


Father, thank you for giving me cause to rejoice.  Help me to live it.  Amen.

Monday, February 16, 2009

February 16 – “Happy Birthday, Josh”


We are in Mansfield today.  It has been great to play with Zak and experience his youthful reckless exuberance.  That's another way of saying I lay on the floor and he jumps on top of me.  Then we roll around and wrestle a while.  Then ol' DadDad has to take a break.  A long break.  Then he's ready to start all over again.  That's what it means to be two years old.


Caleb is growing.  He has a lot of hair and in some light it has a bit of a red tint to it.  MeeMaw is happy about that.  He also has a favorite time to be awake.  Sometime between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., he decides that it is time to be awake.  Wide awake.  And that usually means vocally awake as well.  He fusses and cries off and on for about two hours every night sometime during those time periods.  Then he goes to sleep and is fine for the rest of the night.  That's what it means to be five weeks old.


We made our usual visit to Panchos today.  Can't beat that TexMex all you can eat with those great sopapillas.  Glad I remembered my Zantac.  Mom loves it.  We miss it. 


We stopped by Josh's church to perform a rescue operation.  Seems Zak had dropped a small toy down the leg of a chair support in their sanctuary.  Christi had an idea for the rescue.  She pieced together two wooden dowels and put a piece of chewed bubble gum on the end.  She hoped to fish it out by sticking it to the gum.  It stuck to the gum all right.  But the gum came off the dowel.  Every time they tried it.  Josh then tried turning a piece of masking tape inside out.  Still didn't work.  Even duct tape wasn't working.  Until I had the idea to tape a bent paper clip to the dowel and then put some duct tape sticky side out around it.  The concoction actually worked.  We rescued not only the small toy, but also most of the gum that had found its way down there.  A nasty, sticky mess, to be sure.


Tonight we had a little birthday party for Josh.   Nathan sent him a carbon monoxide detector.  That's what it means to be a fireman.  Nathan also helped me pick out what Chris and I got him.  It was one of those high falutin' academic theological dictionaries.  Nathan and I chose it.  Not because it was two or three inches thick, though.  We picked it because of the guy's name who wrote it.  Vanderhooven.  Now that's a name to wrap your arms around.  It just sound like a fun name to me.  Have no idea where it comes from.  Doesn't matter.  It's a cool name.  Vanderhooven.  Happy Birthday Josh.


Philippians 2:9-11 says, "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


Father, thank you for the name my parents gave me.  I'm proud to be a Vaughan.  But thanks also for the name you have given me – "Forgiven."  Amen.