Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31 – “A Quiet Day of Work?”

Josh and his crew left this morning headed for Bay City to see Chris and her Mom and Dad.  It sure got quiet around here fast.  I was all set though to get some things done.  I knew the first thing I had to do was mow the grass.  So as soon as they drove away I headed for the mower.  The actual task didn't take long, but the engine sure sounded funny.  Like it was really working hard just to stay going.  It would surge and rest, surge and rest, the whole time.  It worked, though, and I know nothing about small engines.  So back to the shed it went to wait for next time. 


I was trimming back some of the hedge next door at the abandoned house, when I got a call from April.  Her Mom was admitted to the ICU at St. Luke's Hospital, and she wanted to go check on her and talk to the doctors.  Her Mom has some kind of disease where she reacts badly to some kinds of medications.  So my day of working outdoors by myself came to an end.  She brought Cailyn over to play.  And that as always was a trip.


She was in one of her prowler moods.  She was into everything and had something to say about everything.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have a complete handle on the same language the adults around here use.  So even though she knew exactly what she meant, Mom and I were clueless most of the time. 


Around 2:30 she snuck into one of the cabinets and found a stash of chocolate candy.  Gold mine.  She never even stopped to unwrap the first one, and had another in her grasp when I first saw her.  She was nonchalantly strolling across the den floor chomping away.  Chocolate drooled down the sides of her mouth and onto her chin.  I saw the other piece in her hand, so I knew right away what it was.  I also did not see any wrapper.  So that's when I sprang into action.  Not that the wrapper was large, but it was made of foil and I didn't want her to be setting off the warning scanner next time her Mom takes her to WalMart.  I wiped her face and gently convinced her to spit out the foil instead of chewing it, the thought of which, by the way, was enough to set my teeth on edge.  I can handle fingernails on a blackboard, but not chewing on tin foil.  I'm pretty sure I got most of it out.  But in the process her tiny little feelings were bruised.  I scooped her up.  She hugged me tight and lay her head on my shoulder.  She was almost immediately asleep. 


I put her in her bed so it would be quieter.  By this time Mom was watching 101 Dalmatians on VHS.  After about thirty minutes, she woke up and I heard her crying.  Of course I went in and got her, but she just wasn't quite ready to wake up.  I know the feeling well.  I changed her diaper, but she was back asleep on the couch before I finished.  I let her be.  It's been a long time since I watched that movie anyway.


Psalms 16:11 says, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."


Father, thank you for your presence.  It does help - remembering that you are there.  Amen.

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 30 – “Uncle Monster”


Today we went to the beach.  Always fun for the little guys.  Always hot for us older dudes.  Caleb seemed to enjoy it a lot.  He started out running up to then away from the waves as they came in.  When his Dad finally took his hands and went with him into the water, though, he didn't want to leave.  Josh pulled Jachin around on a boogie board since he was the oldest.  Micah squealed when Uncle Josh grabbed him and "threw him in the water."  Then Micah snuck up on Josh and kicked him in the shin, declaring, "You can't throw me in the water," as he ran away.  Josh became the "Uncle Monster" and chased them all around the sand.  Zakary enjoyed the water, too, but he seemed to be in his element when they were building what had to be a reservoir and an irrigation trench coming out of it.  He narrated a whole scenario to whoever would listen.  Even Josiah made a beach appearance.  He had a little hat on that looked just like a colorful, better conditioned version of the hat I wear when I go fishing.  Christina didn't put him in the water.  We had to keep him in the shade of the umbrella.  But she did grab a handful of sand and rub it between his toes.  Now that's a Galveston Girl for you.  Once you get that sand between your toes, you can never really get it out.  The beach becomes a part of you.  He's hooked.


We all came back here for lunch.  Josh started the veggies and I tackled the rice.  Rice is weird.  I followed the rules on the package, but when Natrhan saw it he asked how much water I put in.  I told him how much and even showed him the package directions.  He just shook his head and said, as kindly as he could muster so as not to hurt my feelings, "You need to out in another cup of water."  Come to find out, there is another set of rules that trumps the set printed  the package when rice is involved.  Pardon me.


We had a roast in the crockpot.  It tasted fine, but you could tell it was cooked too long.  We even added another can of soup.  I asked Chris what we did wrong, and she asked if we had it set on the lowest setting.  I checked the knob and found this order: Off, Low, High, Warm.  We had cooked it on Low.  Silly me.  Low is not the low setting.  Warm is.  Warm is lower than Low.  Now why didn't I know that?  I am not doing so well in this kitchen thing.  The girls pretty much took over when they all got here, though.


Tonight the plan is to go to Uncle Jerry's and try our hand at some fishing off his back porch.  Zak and Jachin and Micah get the nod on this one, along with Uncle Josh.  Kel and Christina have a church event at their house, so we were going to keep the boys anyway.  Don't plan to buy any live bait.  I'll just crack out some old frozen shrimp we have and see how we do.  If we can just catch a catfish or two to load up the crab trap, I think the boys will be happy


Chris is sure missing being here, and we are all missing her.  Zak said this afternoon, "Why isn't Nani here?  She's just supposed to be here."  Almost made me cry.  Can't imagine what it did to Chris when I told her about it.  But she needed to know she was missed.  We love her.  I miss her.


Psalms 4:7-8 says, "You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.  8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety"


Father, thank you for days at the beach and fishing trips and family.  Amen.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29 – “The Covered Sandbox”


I tried to watch that Clash of the Titans movie while I waited for Josh and Christi movie last night.  I remember seeing the original, and they had the trailer from it at the beginning of the disc.  I was really excited to see the guy cut off Medusa's head.  But when they drove up around 12:45, and I woke up, the guy was throwing the head away.  Disgusted that I missed it, I just turned it off, so I still haven't seen it.  Only cool thing I remember was the sand crabs they were riding on.


Speaking of sand, Micah and Zak discovered our covered sandbox in the back yard.  The area under the steps leading to the deck has never grown much of anything except weeds.  And since we have been trying to get control of the weeds, it has turned into quite a nice little shaded sandbox.  The dogs really love it.  They have dug a hole next to the steps that is probably two feet deep.  They crawl in there when it's really hot outside.  The two guys played in the dirt for almost an hour.  First they were going to fill in the hole.  And then … naaah.  They decided it would be more fun to actually dig clear through to China.  I remember trying that same feat as a kid.  They again got distracted, though.  I think the final project had something to do with building roads.


I think the next event was the most fun, though.  They stripped down to their underwear and Josh squirted them with the water hose.  Even when they ran upstairs on the deck to "get away," they snuck to the edge so Josh could still squirt them.  By the time they went back inside they were both drenched.  Great fun.


I texted Chris to tell her about this great afternoon extravaganza.  She answered back almost immediately, "What covered sandbox?"  That's when I realized that it takes the perspective of a child to look at that worthless patch of dirt where nothing grows and see a venue for excitement worthy of at least an hour of precious kid play time.


Matthew 18:3-4 says, "And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."


Father, when I forget to look at things from your perspective, at least give me the perspective of a child.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28 – “What’s a Kraken?”

I went grocery shopping today.  Without Chris.  It was not fun.  I mean, I got to watch some people.  And the checker was a lady I have started talking to whenever I get a chance, so she recognized me, and that was nice.  But buying groceries has always been a time when we have done most of our talking – as we walk around the grocery store.  I guess that's why it was so hard today.  It didn't take near as long as it usually does.  But it just wasn't nearly as fun.


Cailyn and her Mom came by to check out our stash of coupons before they made their trip to WalMart.  Cailyn had her hair fixed in actual pigtails.  Usually she has her hair all stuck up in one spot in the middle.  Like Pebbles Flintstone. 


After they left Nathan and Allen came by. Allen is one of the guys who used to live with us back in his high school days.  In fact we have know his family for years.  He and Nathan literally grew up together.  Allen moved back to Galveston a while back, but this was the first time we have seen him.  Nathan took him on a tour of the house, since he hasn't seen it since the storm.  I told him he better come back on a day when Chris is here or she'll be really mad.


Found out this afternoon that the billboard advertising Seaside Christian Academy is up.  It's on 69th Street right next to WalMart.  I'll check it out when we go to youth group tonight. 


Josh and Christi and their boys were supposed to come down late tonight for a visit.  But Josh called and said they probably wouldn't leave until tomorrow  morning.  Something about college students being at their house until one in the morning, so he didn't know if he could handle another late night, especially driving.  So is he getting old, or what?  Oh, well, at least that means I won't have to stay awake waiting for them.


I need to make some time soon to watch the movie I picked up.  Heard it was a good one, but I never saw it in the theaters.  Clash of the Titans.  Mythological creatures, blood and guts.  What a combination.  Couldn't resist the tag line … "Release the Kraken."  Have no idea what a Kraken is, but I'm prepared to watch out for it.


Ephesians 3:20-21 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."


Father, it's yours.  Power.  Everything.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27 – “Practice what you preach”


I had one of those "practice what you preach" moments today.  I got the monthly email from our church treasurer showing how Seaside and Seaside Christian Academy are doing financially.  It hasn't been much of an issue since Hurricane Ike.  Right after the storm God led an LPGA golfer from Fort Worth to send us twenty thousand dollars.  That gift from God has carried us through the last two years in spite of the families we lost who didn't return to Galveston after the storm.  We are slowly using up that money, so on paper it looks like we are getting really tight for money after a period of strong financial solvency. 


I have to admit that as I read it I felt a mixed bag of emotions.  It wasn't all one thing.  A little bit of fear.  Something like despondency.  Depression.  A surge of "what can I do to fix it?"  I wondered where else I could work.  What cuts could we make in our budget at home?  My hearing aids are almost paid for.  That'll help.  All valid approaches to the problem I thought.


No.  Not a single one of them.  It took a few texts from Chris to get my attention.  They had to do with how her Dad is handling his wife's dying.  Wow.  What a perspective changer.  The guy's best friend and partner and lover is dying, and I'm worrying about money.  I rebooted my thought process.


First, I got beat up by remembering Scripture.  My life verse is Matthew 6:33, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you."  Do I believe that or not?  Not to mention the lilies of the field verse right before that.  And the command in Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."


Then I remembered that our home group is going through the Experiencing God study.  The basic principles on which Seaside bases our whole existence.  God owns everything, so all the money we get comes from him, not an LPGA golfer.  We are not supposed to have a stockpile of money.  It's too great a temptation to trust the money instead of the Lord.  Since God is always at work around us, our job is to discover what he is doing and join him.  If we are doing his work that he revealed to us, then it stands to reason that he can provide the resources we need when we need them.  If we have money in the bank, then we don't need it yet.  So in a nutshell, we are just approaching where we were before the storm: a position where we have to trust God.  I'm OK with that. 


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

Father, help Seaside to be OK with that, too.  Amen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26 – “Let’s mow”


I made it to Bay City with no problems, other than missing the last few innings of the Astros victory over the Reds.  Chris' Mom was feeling Ok when I got there, but she had a few bouts with non-specific stomach pains, chest pains, and with her feet swelling.  I was able to get their replacement modem all set up, but not after a tedious process of wading through the AT&T web site.  She hasn't been on the internet for quite some time, so they made her reset all her passwords.


This morning I offered to mow their grass for them.   They have a riding lawn mower, so I kind of wanted to try it out.  Never have been on one.  I figured, "How can they say no to an offer like that?"  They said no to my offer.  Seems that when Nathan and April stopped by Saturday on their way to Corpus Christi, he said he would stop by on their way home and mow.  And he apparently said something about the riding lawn mower.  So when my offer came to the table, their reply was, "Oh, no.  Nathan will be disappointed if you mow.  He really wanted to try the riding mower."  Knowing my son as I do, I reasoned with them, "I'm sure Nathan won't mind at all."  Apparently they knew my son better than I.  And besides, they didn't want the old man (being me) to hurt himself.  So I waited for Nathan.


Just before he drove up I found out that they did have a working weedeater, so I made plans to edge and trim.  In fact I got started, and was just reaching the end of the driveway when they drove up.  And it started raining.  So we postponed for awhile.  Nathan and April and Cailyn had some gumbo and we talked about their trip and their time with Cailyn's other grandfather.  Apparently she said, "Grandpa" for him.  That's good.  Of course she says, "DadDad" all the time.


The rain didn't last long, so we did get started on the yard again.  I noticed that Nathan kept stopping and starting, though.  Then I looked over and he had tools in his hands.  I walked over to see what was going on.  The steering wheel on the mower was turning, but the wheels weren't.  He took it apart and we discovered that there was a part made out of rubber that was simply bending too much.  I think it was an engineering snafu.  The part should have been made out of metal.  Nothing we tried was going to make it work.  So Chris' Dad, Nathan and I put our heads together and came up with an alternative plan.  Nathan hooked a wrench on it and finished up by muscling the thing around the yard.  When he finished he was really sore.  That's when I told him about my earlier attempt to mow in his place.  He chuckled meekly and said, "I mowed an entire field for April's grandfather yesterday."  Ouch.


Psalms 125:2 says, "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore."


Father, thank you for being there around me and Chris and Mom and her Mom and Dad and … yeah.  Amen.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25 – “Preparing for a trip”


I'm journaling early because today is the day for my trip to Bay City.  I plan to leave right from church if I can get someone to give Mom a ride home.  Chris said her Mom has had a rough couple of days.  I'm hoping to mow the grass for them and maybe get their computer modem hooked up while I am there.  Her Mom said she wanted to try to go to church, but this morning she wasn't feeling too well. 


It has been interesting doing the preparations for this trip.  Not quite as involved as a hurricane evacuation, though.  I emailed Kel and Christina last night with all the different instructions.  I told them I was planning to go today, but I didn't really get specific with departure times or what needed to happen while I was gone.  The plan is to text them when I do leave town so they will be on alert.


Mom is the primary area of concern.  She has to have eye drops twice a day.  She is also good about not really eating well unless you just tell her what's on the menu (or take her to Golden Corral, of course).  I know Christina will be good at handling her.


The dogs are a bit more involved.  We have Scooter for the weekend.  He is Nathan and April's Boston Terrier.  He's not a problem at all.  He plays well with Fritz in particular, and they all eat well together.  When Lucy (Kel's dog) comes over we have to separate them at mealtimes.  The morning care plan for the dogs is to make sure the door with the doggie door in it gets opened in the mornings, make sure they have plenty of water throughout the day (the three of them really go through the water), and put their food out so they can eat whenever they want.  At night the door needs to be closed and the gate moved to keep them in a more confined space.  Oh, and Fritz has to have his medication.  He has an infected "hot spot" caused by too much scratching in one area.  He has to take pills once a day now.  Steroids and antibiotics.  He does well, though, as long as they are crammed into a little hunk of cheese.  Ah, the joys of pet ownership.  Or of being owned by a pet, for you cat lovers out there.


The camp service led by the teenagers who went to Ridgecrest, North Carolina, is this morning.  I must admit I am kind of excited about it.  Since Chris and I didn't get to go, I really want to hear what the kids have to say about how they were affected.  And I want to see their reactions to the goofy song I wrote based on the feedback they sent me throughout camp week.  "I'm a Nut."  (That's the name of the song, not an evaluation of my personal psychological condition).


Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 says, "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil — this is the gift of God."


Father, sometimes I forget what "happy" means.  Remind me with an unmistakable  flood of your peace and contentment.  Amen.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24 – “Enforced rest”


I was determined to spend today taking it easy.  I felt a lot better, and I didn't want to jeopardize my recovery.  And Chris told me to get rested up today.  But everything that I wanted to get done today seemed to entail something outside or some kind of physical labor.  I wanted to take a Weedeater to the fence line of the abandoned house next door – from their side of the fence.  The wild ivy or whatever that plant is has taken over that whole back yard and is doing its best to attack ours.  I also need to finish cleaning out the stuff in the garage that needs to be put in the attic.  But that means I also need to put down the rest of the flooring in the attic so we'll have a place to put it.  It also means we'll have a little bit of room opened in the garage to start bringing over the stuff we have stored in our friends garage.  She sure has been patient with us.  And if it was up to me I'd probably just go over there and stack it all up to be hauled away with the trash.  But it's not up to me.  And the one it is up to (Chris, of course) is sort of out of pocket for awhile.  So what to do for one whole Saturday inside?


I did get out my ukulele and practice the "I'm a Nut" camp song that will debut after the youth camp worship service tomorrow.  That was really difficult to write this year.  Since we didn't go I had to base all the verses on text messages, FaceBook posts, emails, and phone calls.  I guess it does provide for more suspense, though.  They have no idea who or what "made the song."


I also drew a Visual Verses picture to present Sunday.  It took awhile, but I finally found out from our youth pastor one of the key Scriptures from camp.  We'll see how many of them remember it in Visual Verse form.


About 11:30 Mom came in and asked if I felt up to going out to eat.  Good thing about that would be that her favorite place has become Golden Corral.  It's a buffet with vastly varying kinds of food.  I was sure I could find something that would set well with my now-tender stomach.  It took us awhile to get there.  The city of Galveston decided that a Saturday morning in the middle of summer tourist season was the best time to restripe some streets on the seawall.  Traffic was backed up for many blocks.  Ah, such a wise decision. 


Kel and Christina and the boys were able to join us, so Mom was happy.  The boys like that place.  Jachin thinks everything is free, since you can go back for as much as you want.  Micah loves their fruit and ice cream.  So they were happy.  Christina didn't have to cook, so she was happy.  And since they had been playing baseball at a local schoolyard, all Kel wanted was to get in out of the heat.  He was happy.  I found some meatloaf and beans and watermelon that did fine within.  So that meant everybody was happy.  Just wish Chris could have joined us.  Oh, well.  I'll see her tomorrow if all works out.


Psalms 68:3 says, "But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful."


Father, thank you for the moments you give me when I recognize that I am content.  Happy is nice.  Amen.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23 – “The visiting professor”


Chris got to come home for a few hours yesterday.  She wanted to take Mom to her first appointment with a new doctor.  That way she could hear for herself what was said and we wouldn't have to guess.  I would have done it, but they wouldn't let me come back into the room with her. 


I hoped Chris would stay at least the night, but her Mom was in a tizzy when she left, worrying about when she would be back.  Chris' sister was scheduled to leave this morning, so she was waiting for Chris' return so she could get on the road.  And I had planned to go to Bay City today anyway.  I figured I could teach home group then get up this morning and check in with the group at Seaside that did our VBS this week.  They were to leave by around 9:30.  When they left I would already be almost to Freeport by way of the San Luis Pass Bridge.  Then I could get to Bay City, set up their computer modem, and learn how to operate their riding lawn mower.  WooHoo.  Then spend the night.  I had it all planned out.


The first guy got to home group early. He works in town so he comes straight over.  By that time I had everything pretty much done.  I finished setting up the computer for our song time and sat down to chat and wait for the others.  The next one to arrive was Mom's best friend.  Had no idea she was coming, but it was great to see her.  She's a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, and has been to our home group Christmas party.  I think she may have even been to home group once when a friend was visiting and wanted to come.  This was the first time she just showed up out of nowhere, though.


About that time the first wave struck.  My stomach started churning, and I felt light headed.  I headed into the bathroom and the battle was on.  I felt like I won the first round.  I recovered and went back to my rocking chair and the group.  But it didn't last long.  I hurried back to the bathroom and didn't emerge again for almost two hours.


Several others from the group got there, and Mom checked on me, but I was gone.  No way was I coming out the way I felt.  I told her to just cancel and apologize to everyone for me.  By around 9:30 I had drug myself into bed and was trying to ignore the rumblings from within.  Mom came in and said that the last of the group had just left.  I realized what time it was, and commented that they stayed a long time.  She then very matter-of-factly explained, "Oh, sure.  We had Bible Study anyway."  Her friend the Episcopalian – the visiting professor -  had found my notes and led the group study herself.  Was that from God or what?


After a brief respite, the bug came back with a vengeance last night.  I was finally able to stay asleep around 4:30. 


Then today I had to get myself going again.  I managed to make it to Seaside to say goodbye to the group, but I had to leave before I fell over.  I felt OK, but I was so weak.  And I still had to go to Randall's to pick up Mom's new prescriptions.


I miss Chris.  This being a Mom is the pits.  At lunch I was making me some chicken noodle soup.  Always a staple for when you are sick.  And it was the only thing that sounded even remotely palatable.  I let Mom know what I was doing, and she instantly decided that's what she wanted.  No changing her mind.  Now for Mom that is quite amazing.  She won't even pick a place when we go out to eat.  But this was a problem.  There was only one can of chicken noodle.  I got potato.  Could have been worse.  Could have been tomato.


Proverbs 14:30 says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."


Father, Chris told her Mom we are praying the she have peace.  Please grant her that.  Amen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 22 – “Teachable Moment”


This morning I had Jachin and Micah to take to VBS. Their Mom and little brother had doctor's appointments. After a short game of backyard soccer and a few pushes on the swing, we loaded up in the truck and took off.

One thing I have been trying to do personally and have even mentioned in sermons, is try to see people around me from God's perspective instead of mine. I had that opportunity today. As we slowed down to a stop at a red light, a car came up behind us with what appeared to be no intention of slowing down. He swerved at the last minute and raced around us. He cut back across our lane and into the right turn lane, where he never slowed down as he skidded around the turn and sped off down the other street.

Recognizing my opportunity for a teachable moment, I said, "Wow. He was sure going fast. I wonder if he had an emergency at home that he was in a hurry to take care of." I thought, "Now that would surely make its mark, at least on Jachin."

Sure enough it was Jachin who responded. "Or maybe he is hurrying to his job. And he is late. And he is going to get into trouble for being late. And his boss will be mad at him. And he will tell him, 'You can't have any candy at work today.'"

OK. OK. He got it. The rest of the way to Seaside I heard examples of times when he didn't get any candy. My favorite anecdote was the time he did something (he couldn't remember what it was, but it must have been bad), and his Mom imposed the dreaded No Candy Rule. After waiting what he hoped was long enough, he cautiously approached his Mom again and said in his sweetest voice, "Can I have one of those cinnamon rolls?" He said he was sure he could get it, after all, it wasn't candy. But no. Mom wasn't fooled. She wouldn't let him have it. And she proceeded to clarify the Rule. See, it had mysteriously transformed from No Candy into No Sweets. How can you fight something like that? It's one of those "Because I said so" parent kind of things. And once again I was on the receiving end of one of my so-called teachable moments.


Psalms 25:4-5 says, "Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."


Father, keep on with the teachable moments.  I sure need them.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 21 – “Cailyn’s first VBS”

Chris had a bit more to deal with yesterday. Her Dad took her and her sister to lunch. Her aunt stayed with her Mom. While they were gone, Chris' adopted Dad came by to say goodbye. Needless to say that was yet another tense situation. By the end of the day, though, everyone was reassured and relationships were affirmed.

Cailyn was the hit of Vacation Bible School. She went to just about every class at one time or another. Lots of the girls wanted to pick her up. Of course she would have none of that. I had to stick pretty close. You know, just in case she might need me. I was willing to make that sacrifice so her first VBS experience would be a good one. I think it was. She enjoyed dancing and singing, making a t-shirt, and especially snacks. And every time she saw Jachin or Micah her eyes lit up. She wore herself out, though. Just as they were starting the closing ceremonies – a very loud time of singing and shouting and general craziness – a young teenager came over and tried to pick her up. As before, she would have none of that, and turned to me to pick her up. I did. Her head went immediately to my shoulder and she was asleep in seconds. And then the noise began. She didn't move. Slept until I was putting her into her carseat about 45 minutes later. Tonight is parent's night, so hopefully April will be able to go. Nathan is on shift until tomorrow morning.

I haven't mentioned my arthritis lately because frankly, it's better. The doctor said this particular medication would take at least three months to start working. It has been just over three months. My fingers still hurt, and it's still a little tough to get my knees cranking, but over all something has done some good. I go back again next week.

Chris is supposed to come home for a quick visit tomorrow. Mom has an appointment to get established with a new doctor. Hers retired. She really likes for Chris to stay with her for the whole visit, so Chris is coming in. She may stay the night and go back Friday morning. If she doesn't I plan to go to Bay City Friday and spend the night there just hanging out.

Psalms 13:6 says, "I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me."

Father, you have been good to me. A great wife, sons and daughters-in-law, grandsons, and a precious granddaughter. Thank you. Amen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20 – “A gift of peace amid chaos”


Chris' first text of the day said something about the birds singing that woke her up.  I had to answer that one.  After all, I am the morning person, and she is not.  So I replied, "Way to go, God!"  Now how could she say anything against mornings after that?  It would be like speaking against God.  Her reply?  "He could have waited an hour."  Not bad.  But could I just let it go?  No.  I said, "But you would have missed a whole hour of a great day."  She then admitted that God knew she would need that time to help her recharge after listening to her Mom and Dad, helping with whatever was needed, and walking with them both through what was obviously a chaotic time.  OK.  That was really deep.  All I could say to that was, "Right! It was a gift of peace amid chaos."


Jachin and Micah came to Vacation Bible School today.  They are using the same curriculum that First Baptist Church did earlier in the summer, so the boys remembered the songs and even the hand motions.  The guy leading the singing was watching the, since they were new today.  After a few songs he said to Jachin, "You either know this stuff already or you can sure pick it up fast."  Jachin beamed at the attention.


Christina ended up staying the whole time.  So did Josiah.  So before too long everyone was in the building and we got started.  Jachin and Micah were pretty shy at first, so Christina handed me Josiah and went with them.  And me and Josiah hung out for the next few hours.  I was the most popular one there.  Everyone wanted to see the baby.  He did great, too.  Took a nap.  Watched people walk by.  When we went outside he got really animated and smiled and talked to me.  Some of the Seaside teenagers asked where Cailyn was.  They only had classes for four year olds and up.  They said, "Bring her.  We'll play with her." 


Just so happens it was Tuesday.  Mom wanted to go to her new Lubys … Golden Corral.  And everybody came with us.  Kel even got off work for awhile to meet us there.  Mom was in heaven again, surrounded by her offspring.  One of her friends came by.  This lady used to talk to us at Lubys all the time.  Seems she has found a new place as well.  Mom was proud as a peacock to show off her great grandkids.  I sure missed Chris, though.  I took a picture of everybody with my cell phone and sent it to her so she could join us.  Not sure if that was a good idea or not.  She said she liked the picture.  I know she wishes she was in it, though.  So do I.


Deuteronomy 8:10 says, "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you."


Father, are we supposed to pray after we eat instead of before?  Interesting idea.  I guess the important thing is not the when, but the fact that we communicate with you.  Amen.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19 – “Everybody’s happy”


Vacation Bible School began this morning.  I still don't know how many children were there.  There were around thirty workers, though, from the Haltom City church.  Plus five or six of our teenagers.  Those little guys each had at least one person assigned to them.  Of course some of them needed more than one.  The songs were really upbeat, and some of the youngsters didn't need any help at all getting excited and crazy.


Speaking of crazy, we sang Father Abraham.  That's a kids' song with a lot of motions and movement to it.  It can get really wacky if everyone gets into it.  I got into it.  Flailing arms and legs and head bopping up and down.  Just what I needed for today.  Of course it didn't take long to figure out that I could sing or do the motions.  Not both.  No longer physically possible. 


I stopped at the bank on the way this morning.  We found out that through some kind of computer glitch, the only signature card they have on file for the church account is dated sometime before 2003.  Only one of those people are even still alive.  Luckily she is still at Seaside and was on the new list as well.  When I explained what we needed, they said it would be no problem to generate a new card for us to get signed … as soon as their computers came back on line.  They are supposed to call me.  Hasn't happened yet.


I also went out to Bay Harbor, a collection of homes west of the church not far from the end of the island.  For the last three days I have had this couple on my mind along with the instruction, "Pray."  Now I don't know if that means I was supposed to be praying for them (which I did, every time I thought about them), or if I was supposed to enlist them to pray for us.  I guess it wouldn't matter either way.  They were happy to do it.  He wasn't home when I got there.  She was leaving with her daughter to go shopping at the mall.  Not the most exciting thing, I thought.  But they said he was down at the pier fishing.  Now you're talking.  Great example of appropriate behavior in a marriage, don't you think?  She went shopping.  He went fishing.  Everybody's happy.


Psalms 145:8-9 says, "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made."


Father, be with the people doing VBS.  And the kids coming.  And be with Chris.  She's being appropriate as well.  Amen.