Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 31 – “Just beyond enough”

I went just beyond "enough" yesterday.  I don't often go there.  At least I haven't since my early days of being an athlete, when it was commonplace.  I well remember those days of playing baseball with a rubber ball over at Zion Lutheran Church or wiffle ball home run derby wherever we could find a spot in the street with not too many cars.  A few were OK.  After all we needed something for bases.  We could stay outside literally all day long.  Or at least until Mom rang the infernal cowbell that meant we had to go home to do something annoying, like eat. 
I reached that elusive "enough" level many times when we lived in Denver as well.  Not so much in the Denver-ish, glory-filled ways like skiing all day on the black slopes at one of the five major ski sites within an hour or so's drive.  It was in Denver that I rediscovered the joy of running.  I never did the jogging thing much until I had my first neck surgery in Mansfield.  That was before the days of titanium plates (I got one of those in a subsequent adventure with neck surgery).  No, my surgery was one of those chip out a hunk of hip bone and stick it in between vertebrae and wait six months for it to heal on its own.  And in those six months the only thing I could do was walk, then jog.  So that's what I rediscovered in Denver.  I worked up to running six or more miles a day.  More to relieve stress than any attempt to get in shape.  But working on hill running certainly drew me close to the "enough" obstacle.
Ah, but I have digressed.  What, then, could I have possibly done that caused me to reach that elusive barrier?  It started out simple enough.  Mow the grass.  Haven't had to do that but once or twice all summer because of the drought.  I started at 8 am.  Certainly soon enough to beat the heat.  But just as I started the first sweep I noticed my nemesis rearing its ugly head – stickerburs.  And in our back yard, that haven of protected grasslands, separated from the harsh realities of outer lawndom for the tender bare feet of tiny Vaughan-ling grandchildren.  So of course I had to stop and immediately pull the offenders out by hand.  Which led to a stop or two to grab other encroaching weeds.  I finally returned to mowing as the sun crept higher into the sky.
Edging was next, always a challenge with our weedeater.  The protective barrier fell off some time ago, so I am careful to wear my sunglasses when I operate it.  Evil has a way of sneaking into the best protected places, though.  As I attacked the weeds on my absent next-door neighbor's fence, something flew up and found its way into the tiny space between my cheek and those wrap-around glasses.  And right into my eye.  Never saw that one coming.  I don't think anything was damaged.  It still bothers me, but Chris couldn't find anything.  I was not deterred, however.  I finished with the weedeater and moved on to trimming the tree, also technically in my neighbor's yard, but I have adopted it for the shade potential.  And after the tree came sweeping and hauling branches to the street, punctuated by a stop to clear out some weeds in a few of the flower beds.  That's when I realized I was there.  It was enough.  But I just had a few more weeds to pull, one more trashcan full of branches to dump.  And I was determined to not leave anything undone this day.  Beneath this antique exterior truly beats the heart of an athlete, right?  I can do this.  I just needed a little more time, a little more energy.  And the project was complete.
As it turned out I also needed a lot more water, a lot more rest, and probably my head examined.  I had a headache for the rest of the day.  My neck was aching as well, not to mention the pain in my back.  I could barely keep my eyes open to watch America's Got Talent.  But I made it.  Once again I reached just beyond "enough."  Maybe I'll try it again.  In six months or so.
Proverbs 24:10 still says, "If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!"
Father, I guess I didn't get your message from this verse yesterday, so here it is again.  Give me your strength, because yesterday I was faltering even without trouble.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 30 – “Sounds of the night”

School officially begins today for Cailyn's Mommy.  That means we'll be seeing her on a regular basis about three days a week, depending on her Daddy's work schedule.  She was here for awhile yesterday so her Mom could get caught up on the six chapters of reading she had to do before the first day of class.  Welcome to the big time, April. 
I got a kick out of Cailyn's response to Chris' supper plans.  She heard Chris ask if I wanted pasta with some chicken we grilled.  Cailyn said, "Pasta?  No, pasta, Nani."  Later, Cailyn was helping make the pasta.  As Chris got ready to pour it into the strainer, she asked Cailyn, "Do you like to eat noodles?"  The response?  "No noodles, Nani."  And finally, as we sat down to eat, Chris handed her a bowl of those squiggly things.  She said, "Here's your noodles."  And Cailyn, looking quite frustrated, rolled her eyes and replied for the last time, "No noodles.  It's macaroni, Nani."  Get it right there, Nani.
Speaking of Nani.  Have you ever been in bed and just listened to the unique sounds of your house?  Since I usually just get up when I wake up in the morning (why waste time?  It's a new day.  Get started), I rarely pay attention to things like that.  But Chris claims that I have a very noisy routine in the morning.  So today I listened before I got out of bed.  We have an icemaker in our refrigerator.  I heard that.  We also have an ice machine.  Now that really made some noise.  Our air conditioner is right outside our bedroom door, so I heard that every time it kicked on.  Since it was already almost six o'clock, which of course it a great time for everyone to be waking up, I could hear car doors slamming and engines revving.  And every now and then I could hear Mom rolling over in bed.  Not bad for an old dude who wasn't wearing his hearing aids.
By far the most annoying sound we have, though, involves our air conditioner.  We have a unique system of disposing of the air conditioner condensation.  After Hurricane Ike the plumbers ran a pipe through the attic and connected it to the drain in our master bathroom.  So every time the drain pump kicks in we can hear the unmistakable sound of water flowing down the drain.  I have experimented with closing off the sink at night, and that seems to help.  But I never remember to do that consistently, so we finally just got used to it.
Sounds of the night.  I guess this is one of those times when I can praise God in the midst of the adversity of having very poor hearing.  It must be really tough for Chris. 
Proverbs 24:10 says, "If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!"
Father, thank you for the gift of hearing.  Amen.

Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29 – “The inspirational Little Guys”

I love it when pour kids inspire us to new heights.  Sure, in a sense I'm talking about Nathan inspiring me to go fishing more.  Or Kel trying to convince me to get a Wii.  Or Josh encouraging me to keep Seaside going in the same direction and not give up.  But I'm also talking about the little guys.  And the little things. 
I can't remember the last time I was in a swimming pool.  But the prospect of hanging out with Caleb and Zakary drew me right in when we were in San Antonio last week.  I had leg cramps for two days after that, but it was worth it.  And during baseball season, all Jachin and Micah want to do is go outside and play baseball.  Honestly, there were some days when I was really hurting in the old joints – my rheumatiz was actin' up – but the prospect of pitching to Jachin, or watching Micah dress up in his very own catcher's gear proved too much to pass up.  And when Josiah walks into the house moving his little hand back and forth in the sign language for fish, how can anyone resist picking up the little dude?  Not to mention Cailyn's rapidly developing feminine wiles – a cock of the head, flashing her million dollar smile, and her three-syllable, Scarlett O'Hara version of "DadDa-yad."  I voluntarily curl myself around her little finger at that one.
It's not just our guys who are inspiring, though.  I heard about Colton up in Indiana.  He carries around a Minnie Mouse doll.  Now I've been married to Chris long enough to understand that it is perfectly fine – even greatly encouraged – for boys to have a doll.  But what impressed me is that he doesn't call her Minnie Mouse.  No.  That creature he carries around has a new name – Tootles.  Has a ring to it, doesn't it?  Tootles.  Something to do with a character on the new Mickey Mouse Club TV show.  But Tootles.  I like it, Colton.
My most recent favorite came from my little friend Brennan.  He brings his Mom and Dad to our Life Group on Thursdays.  Seems that every time they leave the house Brennan points to certain trees in the front yard, and wants to visit them.  His Dad would obediently take Brennan over to greet the trees and tell them goodbye.  Finally – and here's the inspirational part - Dad decided that since they were spending so much time with the trees each morning, they should have a name.  So he named them (hope I get these right) – Biff, Duff, Quentin, and Zorloff.  Now they have other trees in the yard, but they have no names, so that makes them strangers, and everyone knows you should stay away from strangers.  Great teaching opportunity.  Also creative way to cut down the extra time spent roaming around the front yard before work every day.  Kudos to Corey, but especially to Brennan. 
Keep on inspiring, young ones.  We need you.
Job 32:9 says, "It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right."
Father, that is sure the truth.  Help me to keep on learning, especially from the little ones you place in my way.  Amen.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28 – “Ain’t hardware renovation grand?”

The new mouse has been a rousing success.  Apparently the old one just wasn't completely compatible with Windows 7.  The new one works like a charm.  And the thing that plugs into the USB port is a fraction of the size of the old one.  It barely sticks out at all.  Ain't hardware renovation grand?
Nathan and I had a pretty rousing day at the beach as well.  I had a time finding bait, but finally got us each a bucketful of live shrimp.  We got into the water around 7:30.  And we were not alone.  Quite a few others were dotting the shoreline hoping for a taste of all the specs that have been showing up lately.  We managed to land a few nice sized ones.  Nathan would have had a few more, but his line kept breaking.  He finally waded back in and respooled his line with a higher test.  And he put a wire leader on.  He never had a broken line again, but he did break a few hooks.  April and Cailyn joined us for lunch, and Chris baked a few of the spec fillets.  She also made some shrimp gumbo.  Can't get any fresher than that. 
It really seems strange to be following a hurricane that is not bearing down on Galveston.  We have several friends on the East coast, so we've been watching their Facebook posts to see how they fare with this one.  You can really tell the ones who have lived down here in Hurricane Alley before, though.  Some of them are making fun of the "local Yankees'" response.  Others are encouraging healthy respect.  Those "Local Yankees" are either extremely frightened and trying to get out of town as fast as they can, or they are treating it frivolously and planning hurricane parties.  Doesn't sound all that different from what happens here. 
Proverbs 24:5-6 says, "A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers."
Father, watch over those folks on the East Coast.  Amen.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 29 – “Computer dummies-1; Geek Squad-0”

I figured out what was wrong with the new computer.  Actually Nathan helped me a lot.  That's what it took.  Two guys who know little to nothing about computers talk on the phone for five minutes and the issue is uncovered and isolated.  We are awesome.  Oh, the problem.  Apparently it had nothing to do with the driver or the graphics card or anything else those customer service geeks were having us do.  The problem was with the mouse.  I had hooked up a wireless mouse because I can't feel much with the tips of my fingers, so the mouse pad that comes with the laptop was hard for me to operate.  I forced myself to use that pad, though, and everything worked fine.  Sure felt silly at something so simple.  I'll get a new mouse today that is compatible with Windows 7 and hopefully all will be well.
Today Nathan and I are planning to do some wade fishing.  I hope we have a good catch.  He doesn't get to go very much.  I also hope we can find some bait.  There are lots of tourists out this weekend.  Better head out quick …
Proverbs 24:3-4 says, "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
Father, help me look for your wisdom.  Help me appreciate the rare and beautiful treasures you have given me.  Amen.

Friday, August 26, 2011

August 26 – “Geekdom, Part Two”

I'm typing on the new computer today.  After an incredible array of snafus and reboots and retries, somewhere in the massive amount of downloads and upgrades there was a fix for the glitch I was having with lists and selections within popup windows.  Whoever figured that out over at Microsoft … hats off and kudos to you. 
I still have a lot to learn about just what is on this computer.  One of the most shocking things that happened in all my setup struggles yesterday came when I was trying to click on the Microsoft Office icon in the programs option.  The glitch was causing it to switch from whatever I clicked on to some random choice further up in the list.  I started treating it like a game.  I started out by lining up the Office icon.  I was even able to highlight it.  Then I would click the mouse.  That's when the action began.  The list would take on a life of its own.  It scrolled up toward the top of the list, sometimes even opening folders along the way, until it finally came to a stop.  The stop could be anywhere on the list.  That's when I got the game idea.  When the scrolling began I tried to click the mouse again to see where it would end up.  I figured maybe I could get lucky and land on the Office folder.  The first seven or eight times it opened the games folder and chose a random game, which loaded up.  I decided that maybe it wanted me to accept the games as a program, so I did that.  The only thing that did was cause it to switch to a different random option. 
Back to the game.  As I mindlessly clicked and double-clicked, I was beginning to fall into that eerie mode dreaded by wives of computer geeks everywhere, computer screen hypnosis.  Suddenly, the curser stopped on a folder I had never seen before.  A new program flew into being and rapidly filled the screen.  (I must say whatever it is that makes computers fast must be doubled or tripled from our last computer).  And there on the screen, looking worn and haggard and very old, was … me.  I almost jumped out of my seat.  What a frightening sight.  I had somehow activated the computer's webcam, and it was looking back at me.  Believe me, I closed that one down in a hurry.
As I said, someone figured out how to fix the glitch, and the computer appears to be working fine now.  Now I can move on to the droll task of installing add-on programs, followed by the drudgery of day to day work.  Ah, such a joy to have a tool like a computer.  And to think that someday all that power and capability will be available in something you can hold in your hand.  Wait a minute.  My iPhone just beeped.  Maybe it's Josh and his boys on FaceTime.  I could check my email while I'm talking to him …
Hosea 14:9 says, "Who is wise?  He will realize these things.  Who is discerning?  He will understand them.  The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them."
Father, it's a pretty simple thing to know your ways are right.  Not so simple to walk in them all the time.  Thanks for the help.  Please keep it coming.  Amen.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 25 – “For geeks only”

But a new one is supposed to work. 
The new computer we ordered arrived while we were in San Antonio.  It wasn't supposed to get here until today, actually, and the FedEX guy was here on Monday.  No one was home so he left a note that April signed for us so it would be redelivered Tuesday.  It was ready and waiting when we got home.  Well, the box was ready.  And I was waiting.
I did some of the initial setup stuff Tuesday night in between watching America's Got Talent acts.  There is a lot to do with a new computer.  All that registering and opening software for the first time and accepting the terms of the user agreements.  But all day Wednesday I spent in front of the screen.  I typed my blog on the new keyboard.  It's very different from the old one.  I didn't realize when we ordered it that it was a full sized one, with the numbers off to the side.  That makes the keys seem closer together.  And the positions of things are different, too.  I kept hitting number lock when I wanted to backspace.  It's just something to get used to, I know. 
I made the mistake at one point of restarting the computer.  And before it shut down it informed me that it would be loading up some updates it found online.  Fifty-two of them.  That took almost an hour.  And then when it restarted, it had to finish installing all of them.  I finally started transferring files over from the old computer.  I got one big file of pictures done, then started on Word files.  That was tough.  I had to go through my teachings file and copy what I thought I might need in the future.  The rest went to our external hard drive backup.  Copying them wasn't all that hard, but I couldn't figure out where to put them in the new Windows 7 system.
All that finally accomplished, I decided to personalize the desktop.  I did what should have been a simple maneuver.  Right click on the desktop and follow the instructions, right?  I got to the box that asked me to choose what wallpaper I wanted and it kicked me back to the first screen.  Odd.  Not to be deterred, I went to the help tool and found out I could go directly to the picture I wanted and do it that way.  It worked, so I moved on.  Back to the right click and into the screen saver options.  But it wouldn't let me choose anything.  It kept defaulting back to "none."  Not finding any help in the help tool, I went to the Windows website help tool.  It ran a diagnostic and said it could be fixed, but I would have to pay for it.  Suggested I try the manufacturer. 
So I went to the help tool again and connected to hp's online help site where I could communicate with someone by computer chat.  I hesitated calling since I've been having so much trouble hearing on the phone lately.  I got a very nice lady who walked me through what I had already tried.  She made some further suggestions, then told me to restart the computer.  When I did I obviously lost the connection with her.  Of course the problem wasn't fixed.  So I had to reconnect and got someone different.  She had access to what I had just done, so we didn't have to start from scratch.  She worked through several other attempts, which revealed that the "run" command was weird as well.  Then she had me delete a specific video file.  She gave me a website to download a new one from.  Deleting the file led the computer to go into safe mode – the one where everything gets bigger and the colors aren't as sharp.  I did the download.  It took 20 minutes.  It wouldn't run, though.  The utility to open it locked up on the screen asking me what language I wanted to use.  So I went back to hp. 
Yep.  I got someone different yet.  He started with the same cheery greetings as the others, so I ignored it and went straight to the point.  He – I think it was a guy this time, but I couldn't pronounce his name if I tried – had me download the file again from a different site.  I told him it would take 20 minutes and asked if he would be the one I talked to when I came back or would I have to start over again.  He stayed with me for the whole time.  Once that download was complete I ran the program.  This time it got to the "what language" page and wouldn't let me choose anything but Chinese.  My techie was just as confused as I was.  He finally typed, "Mr. Kelley, do you have any important files on the computer?"  I knew what was coming next.  All those hours transferring files and registering software were heading down the drain.  And I still had to prepare for Life group and do a sermon.  And install my Bible program, which I had found out in the meantime, had to be installed one disk at a time in the order I bought them – stack about an inch tall.
I finally got the system restore done.  The first thing I did was set up the screen saver.  And it worked.  Now I get to start over with everything else.  And I still have to do the teaching for Sunday and the Bible Study for tonight and meet with our insurance agent this afternoon.  But a new one is supposed to work. 
James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Father, thanks for the computer trials yesterday.  Give me a boost to hang in there today as well.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 24 – “Old dogs and new tricks”

I did something yesterday I haven't done in as very long time.  I went swimming in a neighborhood pool.  Zak was anxious to show us how well he could swim.  Caleb was just happy to be there, wherever there is.  Great attitude.  I want to emulate it.  
Zak has come a long way since the last time we watched him at a swimming lesson in Arlington.  He wears goggles, so he doesn't have to worry about opening his eyes under water.  That would have been helpful for the swimming lessons I took when I was a kid.  But that was considered a major luxury back then.  So I lived with just keeping my eyes squeezed as tightly shut as I could keep them.  Not a good idea, by the way.  I remember crashing into the side of the pool many, many times.  I also remember never quite getting the hang of the whole breathing thing.  As a result I became a backstroke specialist.  At least that was my story at the time, and I'm sticking with it.  
So Zak was doing a great job of swimming and kicking.  I was hanging on to Caleb when he realized that Christi had thrown some toys into the pool and they had sunk to the bottom.  He let loose with a string of conversation that I took to mean he was interested in the items.  So he and I went over to where they were.  And he took off.  He dove under the water to get them.  He couldn't quite make it, so I helped him up.  He caught a breath and tried to go under again.  This time I went with him, eyes open of course, and helped him all the way to the bottom.  He grabbed the little truck and we hustled back to the surface.  He held it up above his head in an expression of victory.  And of course I cheered wildly and encouraged him.  And he threw the truck back into the water.  And turned and looked at me.  And again he started with the jabbering.  And again he did everything he could to make the dive.  By the time he got tired of diving, my eyes were aching.  But this is one old dog who learned a new trick.  Takes a two-year-old to inspire an old man to break an age-old habit.  
1 Corinthians 1:26 says, "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."
Father, thank you for teaching me through little guys.  Some of your greatest lessons are there with them.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 23 – “Time marches on”

So ends the improbable saga of the Seaside Church Miscellaneous Team.  Unusual way to start, I guess.  I suppose I have been watching too many episodes of the new TV show about a first response police team that tries to prevent the need for a full blown SWAT team response to tricky situations.  I don't remember the name of it, and Chris is asleep, so I can't ask her right now.  On that show the very first scene is always the critical moment of the story.  Then they back track to the beginning.  So you know what is eventually coming.  That's supposed to hold you on the edge of your seat while they fill in the details of the back story.  Great Hollywood tactic. 
Not that there is some tremendous back story about the Miscellaneous Team.  They just accomplished their purpose.  They identified the various ministries Seaside should be doing, and came up with a point person for each one – someone who appears to already be called by God in that area.  Now the group of point people will take over and become the Point Team for coordinating ministries.  Should make for greater efficiency while maintaining our goal of only doing ministries if God has called someone to lead there.  It'll be fun to watch. 
We are in San Antonio.  Not for long, though.  We made a quick trip so Josh and Christi and their boys could wish Mom a happy 85th birthday.  She has really loved the attention over the last few days.  It has been good to see her smile a lot.  She has been struggling more and more with remembering things, and her motivation is harder to inspire.  So some days she spends a lot of time sleeping or just sitting on the couch.  And when there is no external stimulus that catches her attention, she has a habit of making kind of a moaning sound every time she exhales.  When you hear it you would think she's in pain, but when we call it to her attentions she assures us she is not.  And the doctor has found no real reason for it.  It has been a challenge to come up with other forms of stimulation that she can focus on, since she is less likely to do it when she is engrossed in something.  TV doesn't always work because she can't always hear what is going on.  She does pretty well when the Astros are playing, but I think she misses Hunter Pence.  He was her favorite player until they traded him.  Ah, well.  Time marches on for the Astros and for us.
Proverbs 23:25 says, "May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!"
Father, surround Mom with your love today.  Give her a hug.  Amen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22 – “More decisions”

Our family (by that I mean me, Chris and Mom) received an interesting birthday present from our children.  When they were over Saturday for our little family brisket-eating festivity, they presented us with a rather large, long, slender festively-wrapped box.  None of us could even come close to imagining what could be inside.  Micah and Cailyn and Jachin were pretty excited about us opening it, though.  They even pitched in to help.  And with that assistance, it wasn't long before the wrapping was crumbled up on the floor.  There before us was … we still didn't know.  We saw the picture.  We read the packaging.  We still weren't sure.  What in the world is a sound bar? 
It seems that all our children were concerned that we have to turn our TV volume up so loud to hear it.  A sound bar connects to the TV and acts as an amplifier to increase the volume option and clean up the sound quality.  There.  Did I get that right?  It felt like I was creating a commercial while I typed that.  Anyway, this sound bar had an extra option that looked quite promising.  With a touch of a button a little drawer opened up.  You could place your iPhone into the drawer and the sound bar amplified the sound of whatever music you had saved on it.  The hope for me was that if we downloaded the Netflix ap, that we could use the phone to watch movies on the TV.  We had never had Netflix, so I had been looking into it.  Man, I sound so tech savvy right now. 
Kel and Nathan got the contraption hooked up and turned it on.  And we turned the volume up, expecting to be blasted away by the intensity of sound waves that would explode from within.  And … there was no difference.  No blast that made our hair stand on end.  No feeling of being on the front row of a 60's rock concert.  To its credit, though, the iPhone drawer worked just fine.  And the music from the phone did respond to the call for more and more volume.  Alas, however, the hopes of a Netflix connection were dashed when we read the fine print. 
The boys were furious.  They unhooked the offending machine and packaged it back up.  Off we went to find a replacement.  Once at the store they began to do more research.  Kel had an ap on his phone that allowed him to take a picture of the bar code on an item and it would look up all the pertinent information about the product.  Nathan had my phone and was looking up something else.  I was browsing the movie aisle in a somewhat more conventional manner.  They finally settled on trying a different brand of sound bar, this one without the iPhone drawer.  Kel said it had much better internet reviews anyway.  And we were off.
They had it hooked up in no time.  And then came the moment of truth.  And … no different.  What?  Impossible.  Troubleshooting minds went into high gear.  How does it work with the DVD player?  We tried that.  And strangely enough, it worked just fine.  Got extremely loud.  Even Mom complained about how loud it was.  Apparently that was a telltale symptom of an entirely different problem.  The sound bar was not at fault after all.  The problem was with our cable.  So I called the cable company.  It took awhile to get through, but I finally hooked up with someone and began the slow process of determining what was wrong.  Somewhere in that process Kel heard me say something that flicked don a light bulb in his head.  He jumped up from the couch and ran over to the cable box.  He made some kind of adjustment that took about two seconds, grabbed the remote, and turned up the sound.  And there it was.  The sound explosion we were looking for.  He told me to hang up on the guy; he fixed it himself.  I thanked the cable guy before I hung up.  I'm sure he was shaking his head at the knucklehead who called for nothing.
The problem was a simple one.  The sound level was being restricted at the cable box.  All Kel did was turn it up to the maximum.  Hmm.  It seems we didn't need a sound bar after all.  The boys told us we could keep it or take it back and get something else.  Maybe a Wii or Xbox or something we could use to subscribe to Netflix.  That's just what we needed for our birthday … more decisions.
Proverbs 23:24 says, "The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him."
Father, thank you for giving us sons we can be proud of.  Amen.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 21 – “Happy birthday, Oralee”

My Mom turned 85 years old yesterday.  Way to hang in there, Mom.  
The beachfront has been amazing lately.  Fairly calm waters.  Almost clear.  Green.  Near perfect fishing conditions.  I had another chance to wade fish yesterday morning.  It was difficult to get started, though.  I woke up early enough, but my favorite bait shop on the island, Tucker's, didn't have any live shrimp.  In fact none of the bait shops seemed to have any live shrimp.  I ended up having to drive into Texas and buy some at Tiki Island.  I hate to go there.  They are very proud of their shrimp.  They cost about 30% more there.  But I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.  Most of the shrimp were big ones, too.  The kind that should be eaten on their own merit.  But I was going fishing.  And I wasn't disappointed.  Those big shrimp did their job.  Once again, every cast I either caught something or lost bait.  I didn't catch as many as last time, but they were certainly bigger.  Limited out on red fish.  That's three good meals right there.  Only caught seven or eight specs, but they were some hefty ones.  Can't wait for our next family fish fry.  
In the afternoon we had a family party for Mom.  It was actually to celebrate all three of our birthdays, since they are so close together.    Kel and Christina and their boys and Nathan and April and Cailyn all came over.  Chris did a big brisket, and we roasted some ears of corn on the grill.  Josiah had the cute kid moment of the day as far as I was concerned.  He came over the other day while I was cleaning the fish from the last trip.  It must have had an impact on him.  When he saw me, he immediately started signing and saying, "Fsshhh."  Even when they got into the car to leave and he looked back at me, there was the sign and that unique whooshing sound.  That's my boy.
Today promises to be another long one.  After church and dinner on the grounds and a meeting of our miscellaneous team, we are heading to San Antonio.  We won't be staying long; we're coming back Tuesday.  But we can't wait to see Josh and Christi and Zak and Caleb again. OK.  Not necessarily in that order.
Proverbs 23:17-18 says, "Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.  There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off."
Father, thanks for the 85 years you have given Mom so far.  Give her one of your hugs.  Amen.