Sunday, October 31, 2010

October 31 – “A is for …”

Lots of prayer.  There was a lot of prayer going on today related to Seaside.  I could really tell a difference.  Even at discernment meeting.  We started out at 9:15 with three of us.  By the time we finished around 9:45 there were five.  Doesn't sound like much, but it only takes two or three.  


We finally left for home after church at around 2:10.  That wouldn't have been so bad, but we had to be back at 3 for Experiencing God.  We have 17 signed up to do the study.  That's a large group.  And because it's so large, it will be tough to keep everyone interested and focused.  We will have to be creative, I'm sure.  As it turned out, I didn't show the video for lesson one.  There wasn't enough time after we did the relationship building things.  They were definitely needed, though.  The large group also makes for some interesting dynamics.  It'll be fun to see who rises as leaders among the group.


Today was also Halloween. And around our neighborhood that means a lot of kids going trick-or-treating.  We always have a party and give away Bibles and other Christian books along with the candy.  We got home at 5:00.  People started arriving at 5:30.  I had to order 7 pizzas online, and wouldn't you know it, Papa John's chose now to change the format of their website. It took even longer to figure out how to navigate it.  I also had to do this journal page, but I put that off.  Instead I just took note son some ideas.  


Every year I choose some random costume to be the grand prize winner of the year.  It could be anything.  One year it was a fireman.  I didn't think we'd get one, but one little guy finally showed up.  This year, though, I wanted to make it a bit easier to win.    I decided that this year's special winners would be determined by the alphabet.  Anyone with a costume figure that started with an "A" would get special treat.  Anybody with a "Q" would get something really special. 


Little did I know how hard this one would be.  I even asked kids what their costume was, hoping they would say "angel," or "apple," or "alcoholic" (I was getting desperate.  I got excited more than a few times.  Problem was, do you have any idea how much like an angel a fairy looks?  Or Tinkerbell?  Or a princess?  Pretty soon I had just about given up hope.  Finally, though, after hundreds of false alarms, I looked up and saw them.  Not one but two of them.  Avatars.  Thank you once again, movie theaters.  I made them say out loud what they were, and then I grabbed a package of candy and started shoving it to them.  

They thought I was a little crazy, but kids were stopping everywhere to pick up the spilled candy.


We had a lot of fun.  Hundreds of kids came by, and we gave out a lot of candy and two little booklets we gave away at Easter on handling fear. 20 or 30 people were here for the party.  Spread it around.


2 Thessalonians 3:1 says, "Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you."


Father, thanks for each little kid you sent by the house tonight.  Amen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 30 – “Show it”


And the Blazers came home victorious.  Zakary's soccer team took the prize this morning in spite of two goals they made for the opposing team.  I think the final score was seven to four.  Zak actually kicked the ball a few times, and he is really good at trapping.  His Dad has been doing some work at home with him. 


We saw two of our closest Mansfield friends at the game.  In fact they joined us for lunch at the local Joe's establishment.  It's not a crab shack.  Just down home country cooking.  I had a chicken fried steak.  They are famous for their pies, so I was forced to try a piece of chocolate.  Not bad.  Next time I want to try the key lime.  Next time Josh and Christi probably won't be with us, though.  They are scheduled to move next week. 


I got reminded of something this morning.  First, when Caleb and Zakary first saw us, I got a big kick out of their reactions.  Zak put his hands over his face to hide the huge grin behind his fingers.  Caleb just started squealing and wiggling from side to side, making it almost impossible for his Mom to unhook his car seat.  It sure feels good when someone is as happy to see you as you are to see them.  But the boys reminded me that it's also just fine to show that happiness.


Secondly, Chris and I sleep on one of those blow-up mattresses on the living room floor.  Then when the boys wake up, it is part of the "Nani and DadDad are here" routine for them to come in and jump on it for awhile.  They dive off the couch.  We pick them up and toss them onto the pillows.  And they get creative and devise new and better ways of jumping.  Zakary established a new long jump record when he reached two rows of buttons from the end of the mattress.  Caleb just jumped.  Back and forth.  Side to side.  Sit down.  Face plant.  On his back.  And the whole time he was laughing and jabbering his glee.  Showing it.


Those two events were a picture for me of the unfettered joy of being in the presence of Jesus.  If so … I can't wait.


Hebrews 3:1 says, "Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess."


Father, engrave on my mind thoughts about you.  Maybe then I'll be able to think of you in those times of stress.  Amen.

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 29 – “Spontaneous”


I got an interesting email this morning.  It was a notification from the city that the back yard of the house next door has been "contracted out to be cut" and "it should be taken care of by next week."  I'm not sure if that means they will actually clean out the fallen trees and other debris that has been there since the storm.  That would be two years now.  I guess I'm guardedly optimistic.


Cailyn was here again today.  Nathan had to go clean some pools and April had an appointment to get her hair cut somewhere in Texas.  She said it was near the funeral home on I45.  What an interesting way to tell people where you get your hair cut.  "Right there by the funeral home."


Chris got her chance to see Nathan.  It's been awhile since she has been able to just sit and talk with him.  And she had some talking to do.  He just took another job on top of the fire department and the pool cleaning.  He is in charge of safety at a private company.  The problem is that Nathan sees so much that needs to be done, his tendency will be to work all the time.  So Mommy was waiting to chew him out about working too much.  And we made sure to throw in there, "Make sure you spend enough time with your family."


I wanted to do something spontaneous today.  Knowing how Chris responded to being spontaneous on our vacation, I actually proposed this to her earlier in the week.  That kind of takes the idea of "spontaneous" totally out of the picture, but I love my wife.  Anyway, I suggested we drive up to Josh and Christi's to see Zak's last soccer game before they move to San Antonio.  His team will have some more games, but this is his last one.  


We left right after lunch, thinking that would be the best time to avoid Houston traffic.  Not so much when there is wreck on the freeway.  It took us a little over two hours just to get to North Beltway 8.  And there was another delay somewhere near Conroe. 


Chris drove the whole way, as she usually does.  I couldn't stay awake most of the time, so it's a good thing.  I tried to watch a movie on our little portable DVD player.  "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."  It was way too much like a cartoon for me to stay awake.  What I remember of it was fun, though. 


When I finally did wake up after a second nap, I finished reading the book on elders in the church that I started.  I was encouraged.  The guy who wrote it came to a lot of the same conclusions that I did when I wrote A Seaside Saga.  


Ecclesiastes 12:11 says, "The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails — given by one Shepherd."


Father, Josh says he doesn't know what he's getting himself into in San Antonio.  Help him remember to get into You.  Amen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28 – “Trailer hitch ball”


Jachin came over this morning.  Micah had an appointment with the eye doctor, and Jachin was not at all interested in sitting around in a waiting room.  So instead we played catch for awhile (always a diverting activity).  He actually talked quite a bit about just about everything he could think of.  Quite the little man, he was. 


When his Mom and brothers got back, we all went to Golden Corral for lunch.  And the little man turned once again into a little boy.  He and Micah had a great time horsing around and chasing each other around the back room we were in.  Chris was holding Josiah much of the time, so she was enjoying herself as well.


Chris and I were going to go to WalMart for some groceries, but Kel came over after we got home.  He was supposed to go to Santa Fe and pick up our association's trailer filled with outdoor games and jump houses and stuff to use to draw folks in so they can hear the gospel.  He borrowed Nathan's truck since it had a trailer hitch.  But the trailer hitch ball was the wrong size. So he was coming over to install the one he had to buy.  


We couldn't get the old one unscrewed.  It was rusty in some key places, and even with the super anti-corrosion spray, it would not budge.  So we decided to try it on our truck.  We don't have a hitch ball, so it was a snap to screw it into place.  But then we checked out the lights.  The only trailer light connector we had was Nathan's, and it wouldn't fit into the connector on the truck.  I guess Ford and GMC decided to do things differently in the electrical department.  


Kel got frustrated and called the coordinator of the event to see if she really wanted the trailer.  Apparently she did.  I heard him ask if she knew of someone who could help him if he went over there on Sunday afternoon.  It seems the trailer was at a church, and they were closed on Fridays and Saturdays.  She suggested calling the local funeral home.  Wait.  That's not really such an off the wall request.  The family that owns the funeral home is one of the families in their church.  That was that.  He left to return Nathan's truck and wait for Sunday afternoon.

As it turned out it might have been a good thing that we didn't make it to WalMart.  Chris got a little stomach bug, or something she ate didn't agree with her.  She spent the afternoon in the bathroom.  She seems OK now, though.  She is still reeling from the stress effects after her trip to Bay City Monday.  The Christian lawyer we thought we could use from Galveston doesn't drive clear to Matagorda County, though, so we are back at square one.  Maybe her brother will have better luck finding someone. 


I talked to Josh for awhile this afternoon.  He has been doing projects around the house to get it ready to sell.  Sounded like he has been quite the little handyman this week.  The movers will be there Tuesday to pack and Wednesday to load up.  Then it's on to San Antonio for the next chapter of their lives.


Psalms 86:4 says, "Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul."


Father, please let this afternoon be the last of Chris' stomach problems.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27 – “We were together, right?”

They finished chopping down the tree this morning.  We counted the rings and best we can tell the tree was at least forty years old.  That puts it being planted sometime in the 70's.  I was a teenager.  I don't remember what the neighbors were doing in the 70's.  I could barely remember to get up in the morning. 


The only thing they had let to cut down was the huge center of the tree up to about fifteen feet or so.  They had to do some tugging and pushing even after it was chain sawed all the way through.  Those hunks were heavy.  We couldn't believe how strong those guys were, though.  They slung big branches over their shoulder and carried them out to their trailer.  They used our hand truck for some of them, and they finally had to bring in their heavy-duty one to get the last few pieces. 


Chris was excited to get to watch the stump grinder.  In fact we made a date of it.  We went up on the deck and she took pictures while he worked.  She wasn't here when he did the magnolia tree stump this summer.  She said he didn't do it like she expected, but I don't know what it was she expected.  I was surprised that they hauled off the bulk of the mulch this time.  Last time I had enough to mulch everywhere.  I asked the guy who owns the company about it.  He said he would bring it back if wee wanted it.  No thanks. 


I'm not sure if she's going to count that ten minutes or so on the deck as a date, though.  We didn't eat anything, but we watched a show.  We got out of the house and enjoyed the outdoors, that's a plus.  But we never sat down.  But, hey, we were together, right?  It's gotta be a date.


Chris finished those doors that she made for her cabinet.  Hung them today.  She also rearranged some quilts and things so that corner looks really good now. 


Psalms 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

 Father, I thought about how hard they worked to get that tree down and how easy it was for you to put up.  All it took was 40 years or so.  Your time.  Perspective is eye-opening.  You are Awesome.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26 – “Farewell, Pecan Tree”


Alas.  Today is the day that our huge pecan tree ends its long and glorious tenure as king of our back yard.  We finally saved up enough money to have it cut down and the stump ground into nothingness.  It was getting much worse.  It had become a haven for woodpeckers of several different breeds.  If they weren't woodpeckers, then they at the very least have a guaranteed headache.  That means there were tiny creatures in the wood, chewing it on toward its demise. 


We are sad at the memories that will fall with that tree.  Nathan nailing blocks of wood to be steps.  Nathan swinging from the tree to the deck and back. The squirrels eating all our pecans and harassing the dogs.  Rick breaking the old rope swing and bringing a new, sturdier one.  Josh Stone climbing up there, attempting to break Nathan's record of the highest height attained.  The web worms that we fought every year until we learned that our options were simple: cut off the affected limb, or pull the web apart and let the birds feast on the exposed critters.  That quickly became my preferred method.  Sitting on the deck in the shade watching the air show or the fireworks at Moody Gardens.  Ah.  They go on and on.


Nathan has requested that we hang on to several of the limbs.  Pecan wood is apparently great for barbeques.  We also want to get the rope down so we can use it again sometime in the future for a new swing.  Chris' brother Mark, who runs a nursery in Victoria, said they will be getting in some 12 to 14 foot pecan trees later on.  Chris jumped at that, and our name is on the list.  I guess that'll mean a trip to Victoria in the truck. 


The cutters arrived around 1:00.  I am amazed at their chain saws.  All different sizes.  One is even at the end of one of those telescoping poles.  I tried to communicate that we wanted three or four of the limbs for barbeque, but I don't know how to say it in Spanish.  They said "OK."  As of now there is a small pile of wood stacked up.  Hope we can communicate that we want more.


Tough day on the pain front.  Kept waking me up last night.  I'm trying all the healthy stuff everybody suggested.  No doctor appointment until November 5.  Hey, that's next week.  Patience.  Patience. 


Psalms 24:1-2 says, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters."


Father, thanks for the years we were able to enjoy that tree of yours.  We look forward to the next one.  Amen.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25 – “I forgot”


This morning started out hectic, and just got more so from there.  Today was the day Chris had to go back to Bay City and sit in on a court hearing where her Dad was challenging her Mom's will.  She was understandably stressed, but seemed well in control when she left.  Lots of people said they would pray for her, so she was well covered.  We took Mom to water exercise at nine, and then got Chris some gas.  She dropped me off at the house and took off.  After awhile she called and told me about a conversation she had just had with her brother, and she reminded me to go pick up Mom at ten.  We laughed about how I would have forgotten if she hadn't reminded me. 


I hung up, chuckled, and went back to work on the computer.  I was searching out email addresses of local pastors so I could ask if they would let our headmaster speak for a few minutes during a worship service to tell the people of Galveston about Seaside Christian Academy.  Got going pretty strong.  Found several addresses.  Write several emails.  And when I next looked up, it was 10:20.  Yep.  I forgot.  And now I was late to pick up Mom.  Even after we had laughed about it.  Don't you hate it when that happens?  I jumped up and grabbed my keys and rushed over there.  Mom was fine.  She was sitting inside talking with the workers at the pool.  And of course, since Chris is not here, we ended up having lunch at Golden Corral.


I've been thinking a lot about those three random comments I heard yesterday. 

Yesterday I had no idea what they meant or why they stuck in my mind so clearly.  I just knew it was not an accident that they all came together here at Seaside.  Today I think I got some clarity.  God is on the move.  He's working all around us (the Seven Seas guy).  He intends to do a great work out here in the West End and he's letting us know about it (the prayer warrior word).  And Seaside is invited to be a part of it through the way we love one another and accept people into God's community here (the donut guy).  I for one sure want to be a part of whatever it is God is about to do.


In the middle of the afternoon Chris called and reported on the big court case.  Apparently the judge asked her Dad, "Is this the will being admitted into probate?"  Her Dad tried several time to say that it was, but there were some changes on it that he didn't know about.  The judge just asked the same question every time he tried to speak.  Finally he said a simple yes, and the judge ordered it "into probate" (whatever that means).  He told her Dad that if he had questions about the will he needed to speak to his lawyer.  And that was that.  The lawyer spoke to them in the corridor and said that it was yet to be determined whether the will was valid, so the issue is not settled.  We'll see what happens over the next few weeks.     


Acts 11:22-23 says, "News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts."


Father, come on.  Do what you have decided to do.  Here we are.  Amen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 24 – “Random thoughts”


I had three unusual things happen at church this morning.  First one of our guys who always brings donuts stopped me and said he couldn't understand why more people didn't come to Seaside.  He said, "You're a great pastor, and the people here are great."  Then a lady said she had a word from God for Seaside.  She said, "God is poised to do a great work here through Seaside, based on the love and acceptance and closeness of the community of believers here."  Finally, another lady came up to me after worship and asked if I would pray for a guy she had been sharing Christ with.  "You may have seen him.  He is always at Seven Seas (the West End grocery store) on a motorcycle.  He doesn't look like he is in very good health.  He believes that when he dies he will be reincarnated.  He said you usually come back as someone in your family."  She has tried several approaches with him and as yet none has been successful.  


So.  Three random thoughts from three totally different people.  I know things like that happen for a reason.  I'm trying to piece that one together, though.


Our new Experiencing God group started this afternoon.  It's been several years since we have had one going, so most of the people are totally new to it.  We have had a lot of new folks come into Seaside lately, too.  There were thirteen of us there today, with a few who plan to come but couldn't make it today.  We even had one couple come who didn't sign up.  The general feeling among the group was one of excitement.  There is a strong sense of anticipation about what God is going to do next here.  My favorite part of the meeting was our prayer time at the end.  People were beginning to get real before God and each other, and it was just the first session.  I'm looking forward to this one.


John 15:1-8 says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."


Father, make us ready for the fruit you have for us – whatever that looks like.  Amen.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 23 – “Doors”


Project Day.  I didn't know it when I woke up, but Chris had planned a project for today.  I was minding my own business, reading a book I got yesterday, Elders and Leaders: God's Plan for Leading the Church, by Gene Getz.  So far I'm really liking it.  He takes the same approach I did when we were in the middle of figuring things out at Seaside.  He does a chronological overview of what's in Acts and the Epistles.  Then he pulls in the historical events of the time and matches it all up with the cultural setting.  Whatever falls out is what he says his church tried to figure out a way to make it happen in this century.  A great sociological approach. 


Ah, but back to the project.  Chris salvaged an old cabinet after the storm from Mom's garage.  She cleaned it up and painted it.  It now looks like a really old cabinet that's been cleaned up and painted.  And it works great for what she needed – a place to put knic-knacs.  But grandchildren tend to get taller, so as they have, they have also discovered a whole new world above about three feet.  And when they bring one of those breakable things over to Mommy, she tends to have a fit.  And if Mommy sees them getting close, she jumps into action to divert attention.  So Nana came up with a brilliant idea.  Doors.  Simple, mesh-covered doors that would still let the things be seen, but at least give the little guys an indication that there are no-no's around. 


So this morning we went to Home Depot to find some wood.  We looked at pine one by two's, but they felt too heavy.  We found some cedar ones, but they were too expensive.  Finally we found some molding strips that were three quarters by a half inch.  That was the perfect size.  We cut us some strips, got some hinges, and headed for home. 


We had to take a break at that point, because it was lunch time, and we were going to Jachin's baseball game at 12:45.  That was fun as usual.  Micah was home sick with his Mom, so the three of us plopped down on the bleachers.  Before long my Uncle Jerry showed up as well, so we had a real Vaughan family presence.  Jachin did well.  He got a hit and almost scored, but the third out was made just before he crossed the plate. 


But back to the project.  Chris made the mistake of asking me to help, so of course I knew just enough to be dangerous.  We tried to cut the edges at a 45 degree angle so the strips would fit together.  I relished the opportunity to wield a power tool, but it was definitely a job for a table saw.  And we don't have one.  So my cuts were less than accurate.  Chris wanted to just glue the boards together and staple them in the back.  We ended up getting the cuts to match as closely as possible and gluing them.  When they dry we'll hit it with some staples to see if it will stay together.  We'll see tomorrow.


She assured me that she really doesn't care what it looks like.  It is just decorative as opposed to functional.  But the function remains the goal no matter what it looks like.  Kind of like worship.  The point is to glorify God.  It may look weird to some people and wonderful to others, but if you are glorifying God, go for it.


1 Chronicles 16:28-29 says, "Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.  Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness."


Father, thanks for the time Chris and I had to spend together today.  That was sure more important than getting those door finished.  But she really wants the doors.  Could you help us get them to work like she wants?  Thanks.  Amen.

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 22 – “The Man”


Trip to Houston today.  It's two weeks before my next rheumatologist appointment, so that means I had to have some blood drawn to check my liver enzymes to see if I can keep taking the meds I'm on and if he can increase them to where they might actually do some good.  She found my vein right away.  Always does.  That's a good thing, I guess.


On our way home we stopped at Lifeway Christian Store by Baybrook Mall.  We drove all the way to Texas, so we had to pile those errands up and get them all done.  I needed to pick up five more copies of the workbook for the Experiencing God study we start Sunday at Seaside.  Two more people signed up the other day.  This could really be a good thing for us.  I'm getting excited.  We saw our friend Mike who is the assistant manager there.  He used to go to Seaside until they moved away to Texas.  Always good to get a hug from Mike.  He's one the most encouraging guys I know.  I also found out that October was Pastor Appreciation Month.  I think that's another one of those Hallmark Holidays so they can sell more cards.  The thought is really nice, though.


We were hungry.  That overrules any thought of another stop until that little detail is taken care of.  We went to "our special restaurant" (if we have one of those).  Actually we stopped at the Saltgrass Steak House on the freeway.  It's where we sometimes go when it's just the two of us and we have been to Houston.  They have a lunch special of steak and shrimp that I get.  I eat the shrimp and bring the steak home for later.  Chris mixes her order up.  Today she had a chicken fried steak.  Well, she had half of it and brought the rest home. 


How could we pass by a Hobby Lobby and not stop?  Chris has been looking for some stuff to spray on some pots her grandkids gave her so the paintings/handprints will be protected.  She also got some cross stitch stuff and I even got a carving block made out of cedar.  Never have tried carving cedar before.  Hope it's not too tough.  It is almost November, so I have to think of something to carve Chris for Christmas.  Any ideas?


As we were leaving the parking lot Chris saw a Best Buy.  We had been toying around on line with some new laptops for a future purchase.  Why not?  We checked them out just for fun.  Something else to save up for.


Nathan texted while we were on the road that he smelled gas out by our meter.  I can't smell anything with these allergies.  But I sure trust him.  I called the gas company when we got home.  They told us to stay away from the meter until they could get someone to check it out.  OK.  Then she said to leave the premises and stay with a neighbor.  Didn't happen.  The guy who came – Louis - was great.  I asked if he knew our friend Brian who used to work for them, and he knew right away.  He wanted to know how I knew Brian.  I told him he comes to a Bible study here every Thursday night.  He said Brian was a great guy.  Then he said, "You know, more people need to get to be in with the Man."  I lost him for a minute there, but he kept talking and I figured it out.  "Yeah.  Most people believe in the Man alright, but they don't act like it.  They don't live their lives like they believe."  No, my friend.  They don't.


Ephesians 4:11-13 says, "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."


Father, give Louis a good day today.  He speaks well for you.  Amen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21 – “Ice beating on the wall”


I went back to Office Depot this morning and picked up an external hard drive.  It has one terabyte of space on it, so I assume everything we have will fit on there.  I turned it on to back up our desktop computer where our pictures are.  That was three or four hours ago.  It just passed 41 thousand megabytes.  I think that means 41 gigabytes.  Is a terabyte is a hundred or a thousand gigabytes?  I don't know.  I guess it'll fit.  But then again, it's still going. 


We got invited to watch the regatta or sailboat races or whatever that's called today.  Christina texted us, and I understand Micah asked about my presence in particular.  I would have gone, too, but I had to wait around for the ice maker repair guy.  He didn't get here until 4:00.  But they said somewhere between one and five.  He made it. 


Of course by the time he got here the machine was behaving perfectly.  Two nights ago I had to get up out of bed and turn it off.  It was knocking on the wall so loud that neither of us could sleep.  And I didn't even have my hearing aids in, so it must have been really loud.  Some of its sounds I can identify.  There is a whooshing that it makes when it is filling up with water.  There is a sound like ice dropping on other ice when … well … when newly made ice drops on the other ice.  Imagine that.  But the other night the sound was quite distinctive.  More like ice beating on the wall trying to get our attention.  When I got up I opened it up and the inside light was even flickering.  That's why we went ahead and called.  It's been doing this off and on for about a month.  And of course today was the day to be off.  It never did anything even remotely wrong while the guy was here.  He tested did everything he could think of to challenge it, but it never broke character.  I'm pretty sure it was waiting for him to leave and for me to get complacent again.  Then it'll be back with a vengeance.  He told me a few things to watch for if it happens again to help narrow down the search.  But basically this was one of those "I'm sure glad it's still under warranty" calls.


Chris went to Bay City again today.  Her Dad had a doctor's appointment in Houston, so she went to take him.  He was amazed that she was going to do it.  Guess he thought she would cut him off after her Mom died.  But this is Chris we're talking about.  She's awesome.  She wants to maintain the relationship she has been working so hard to establish over the last two years in particular.  I'm praying that God will use Chris to draw her toward Jesus.  Anything can happen.  He is, God, after all. 


Matthew 19:25-26 says, "When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, 'Who then can be saved?'

Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'"


Father, once again, I entrust Chris and her Dad to you.  Keep her safe.  Give her your wisdom.  Draw him to you.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 20 – “Don’t be stupid”


We had to do something about our desktop computer.  Not only was it running very slowly, but it was also giving us messages that our cpu was using a dangerously high amount of space – 78%.  Hmm.  That's not even a B average in school.  But I guess in this case the lower the score the better.  I cleaned it up the best I could, and we decided on a two prong approach to a solution.  Of course that's two if you don't include our other plan to get a new laptop.  One was to get some more memory.  Two was to get an external hard drive to make sure all our pictures are stored safely away.  We have them all on cd's, and I plan to see if I can move them onto dvd's as well.  But one more spot would make Chris feel better.  Of course Kel told me that all of those are rapidly becoming obsolete.  "The thing to do is store them online.  All the technology is going wireless now.  Wireless internet.  Wireless mouse."  OK.  I get it.  I'm an old coot not keeping up with the times.  Just let me move one step at a time.  After all, I read 1984 before it was 1984.  I still have some of that "Big Brother" stuff scarred onto my brain. 


I went to Office Depot to check out the memory.  I figured that and the new laptop were the aggressive approaches to the situation.  The others felt kind of passive and reactive.  I found the memory section with a little help from one of the Nerd Herd guys.  He didn't stick around to help me any more, though.  So I picked up the first package that looked like it was the same length as the one I saw inside our computer.  It was a lot shorter, though, so I wasn't real sure about it.  It did have two gigs of memory.  I stuck it under my arm and walked over to the external hard drive section.  Lots of choices.  And several were on sale.  I read through the cards on a few of the ones that hold a terabyte (or however you spell that).  Kel said don't get any smaller than that.  I found one on sale for $79.99.  Didn't get it though.  I had yet to do my homework on how much to expect, so I wasn't sure if that was a good price or not.  That's when I decided to check out WalMart. 


I headed for the front of the store.  And I had second thoughts.  I saw a different Nerd Herd guy at a computer back in the tech section, so I went back there and asked for help.  Hear that?  I asked for help.  I showed him the model info of our desktop and asked if I had picked the right memory card.  He quietly took it from me and switched screens.  It took him about a minute to find the right site.  And he said the one I picked up would basically fry my computer.  He said it could only hold one gig of memory, so I should get a different one.  I thanked him and went back to the appropriate aisle.  New problem.  There were two choice that were only slightly different numbers.  They both looked just like the one in the computer, so I knew I was on the right track.  But I had the Nerd Herd right around the corner.  I took both of them back and asked which one.  Looking a bit put out at my ignorance, he switched back to the other screen.  I noted that he hadn't closed it out entirely.  I'm sure he expected me to come back.  A few key strokes later and he handed the right one.  And he spoke his last words, "This one." 


I had my answer, so I paid for it and headed out.  WalMart in my sites.  Didn't take long to get an answer there.  They had no external hard drives any more.  Routers covered the spot they used to hold down.  Did I ask for help there?  No.  Honestly, no one looked much like a Nerd Herd member.  Another day.


The installation went well, once I turned it in the right direction.  As far as I know I didn't break anything.  I powered it back up and tried it out.  Now that's how a computer is supposed to act.  Still not the fastest I've ever used, but it will definitely do.


Ephesians 5:15-17 says, "Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."


Father, I think that's the "don't be stupid" verse.  I sure felt stupid today about computers.  Help me avoid that everywhere else.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19 – “The Meeting”


We got Mom all signed up for water exercise.  It's officially not water therapy any more.  Medicare won't cover it.  Now she pays $75 a month for 3 times a week doing the same thing.  Not too bad.  Better than a health club.


Kel called and asked if I was going to the Galveston Baptist Association meeting today.  He had to be there, so I agreed to go with him.  It's one of those business meeting things for the group of Baptist churches in Galveston County that cooperate to do ministry.  Not my favorite Tuesday afternoon and evening activity.  


It was held at a church in Dickinson.  They have a school on site as well.  Same one that I used to coach against when Nathan was playing basketball.  I had a really hard time staying awake in the afternoon session.  The preacher was good, but I couldn't get interested in all the reports.  I had a book of crossword puzzles, and that helped some, but I still dozed off for awhile.  They provided supper.  The chicken was really good.  The green beans with bacon were worthwhile.  There was also some kind of mush that Kel said was from India.  I tried it, but couldn't get past the consistency.  Reminded me too much of grits.  The salad was unusual as well.  Actually the salad was kind of nasty.  It had some kind of mush in it, too, topped with sour cream and tomatoes and other stuff that should have been sitting on a baked potato somewhere.  No one sat at our table, so Kel and I got to talk a lot.  That was a definite plus.


The evening session started out with singing like I haven't heard in a long time.  In fact it was so slow that I'm surprised we aren't still on the chorus.  Blessed Assurance and How Great Thou Art are great songs.  But they are exciting.  We wanted to speed things up.  A lot.  Made me once again appreciate Lanny. 


One of the speakers said that we shouldn't desire "manly wisdom."  Just what is "manly wisdom"?  Is it different from "womanly wisdom"?  Is it wisdom that pumps iron?


I texted Chris a few times.  My phone is on that setting where it guesses what you might want to say to save you time.  She asked me something about the Gideons, and when I answered I tried to type "Gideons."  It came up "Hideoms."  That sounds like some evil way of speaking in an obscure part of the world.


The keynote speaker was great, though.  Definitely worth the whole day.  He was from a really fast growing Hispanic church in San Antonio.  They do a lot of community ministries in creative ways.  I talked to him after the session and asked if I could give Josh his name.  He seemed excited to meet him and work with him.  I think Josh could get a lot of help from him.  


Romans 13:12-13 says, "The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."


Father, bless that guy from San Antonio.  And bless Josh through him.  Amen.