Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28 – “Day Four”

Word of this day's not the same
Now we're called to go Proclaim
Our teams went to missions zones
Cory's thumb smashed 'tween two stones
Seaside's hike went well for me
With my stick from Finder D
Keith found ants and one cool rock
Hannah`as bear bait? Not good stock
Dinner time brought a cool treat
Special jelly beans to eat
D and Cory guzzled down
Then made faces like a clown
Dog food flavor stopped PK
Bad egg was Lor-a's dismay
Three adults from table next
Tasted, thought they must be hexed
Life is not for competing
It's for God's will completing
Get the roles right – God is God
He made you you – just right odd
When you doubt, one thing's a must
Let Truth take you back to trust
Pray, "You are God, in control.
You're committed to my soul"
What's this "God relationship"?
Lots of tears or hey, that's it?
Feeling may come right away
Or a process, that's okay
Ephesians 4:2-3 says, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
Father, maintain the unity of our group and of your church.  Amen.

June 27 – “Day Three”

Sense it, see it, do it, too'
As for Jesus you pursue
Pursue's our word of the day
Faith, grace, power – that's God's way
Garrett messy games he chose
Chocolate syrup in his nose
Keith's in man track, kayaks too
Found kids friendly here – woohoo!
Taylor duct tape art she knows
Spirit gifts she also chose
Travis went for putt putt fun
Then to see how movies run
PK found some hat d├ęcor
Called to mind our country's lore
Stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni!
Jason, now he did some hikes
Aerobics with girls – he likes!
Kelly, Rita, Jimmy, D
Brought a nursing home some glee
Hannah, Syd, and Lora too
Found some work with kids to do
Sharing Jesus worked before
Some complained though – share no more!
Though the words they had to stop
Jesus' love comes out on top
Chloe, Cory, also Glen
Worked on children's museum
Worship band Ad-di-son Road
Shared how God's love never goes
Pastor Dave turned on the light
With his message – right?  Right?  Right?
Don't compare with other ones
You can be one of God's sons
God's work is not in your past
Past was so for now you'd last
Life is not for competing
It's for God's will completing
Get the roles right-God is God
He made you you – just right odd
Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Father, do some of that salvation work you do so well.  Amen.

June 26 – “Day Two”

Now we go to Mickey D's
Hey, Cory, who's got the keys?
Once we're in New Mexico
Drink some water, don't you know
Syd's air mattress pump just works
In the car, now that's a quirk
Russian ma-fi-a is Glen
Sleeps on parachute day's end
Are guys really color blind?
Jimmy doesn't seem to mind
Waldo's skull is hiding there
Jason's shirt and near D's hair
Ah, tradition, it's so fine
Pictures at the old state line
Gas and break time for our group
Oh, surprise!  It said, "Beep Boop"
Drivers Rita, Mama Chris
Spun some donuts, that's amiss
Hannah, who is Yose-mite Sam?
Travis is the van games ham
Lora's accent English soft
'ello, 'e bit 'is 'ead off
Got to camp and photos done
In girls' dorm no water runs
Guys, however, drew four stars
Queen beds, baths, and coffee bars
All of us from dinner barred
'til our nametags we acquired
This week's book is Ephesians
Pursue Jesus with passion
Our camp Pastor will do fine
Gave Jimmy a pick up line
Church group devos are the best
Even with such little rest
Our location made me sigh
Close to God, we're up that high
Ephesians 2:6 says, "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus"
Father, show your authority over us this week.  Invade some lives.

June 25 – “Day One”

I'm an acorn, small and round
Lying on the cold, hard ground
Everyone walks over me
That is why I'm cracked you see
Called myself on the telephone
Just to see if I was home
Asked me out on a little date
Picked me up about half-past eight
Took me out to a movie show
Stayed too late and said let's go
Took my hand and led me out
Drove me home and gave a shout
Some at Rita's spent the night
Then at six we saw the light
PK got there, then the Stones
Synchronized all our cell phones
Visual Verses then we prayed
Six-thirty bye bye we waved
Wait! No gas!  Mama Chris cried
Done.  Now seven.  Let us drive
I met Garrett. "I'm PK"
"Can I call you 'P'? he'd say
"Call me any name you please"
"OK, then, I'll call you 'Tree'"
I got exiled – dungeon van
My spies must give me a hand
Stopped in Waco, got Hannah
Ate at Taco Ca-ba-na
What! A burger, Lora said
Jimmy, Jase and Keith there fed
We toured Baylor campus round
Rita led us out of town
Crickets, grasshoppers so far
Chloe gave me a crunch bar
Abilene we split for sure
Mama Chris took a detour
Lubbock Pizza Hut once more
Then worship on their gym floor
Keith's charades we got with hints
Kelly taught Encouragement
Ephesians 1:22 says, "And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church"
Father, help us all remember that you are Lord whether we act like it or not.  Amen.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 24 - "Camp Season"

Cailyn came over for a few hours yesterday.  Nathan was helping April do a car wash to benefit the student nurses association. 
When she left, Chris left as well.  She went to Bay City to pick up Taylor.  I would have gone, too, but I remembered reading somewhere that the individual group leaders were responsible for leading quiet times for our group at camp.  I scrambled to put together a series of Visual Verses based on the daily Bible studies.  Thankfully I already had several done from the book of Ephesians which is what the theme of the week is. Still took all day to finish and get enough copied for everybody.
We are ready now to head for Dickinson and then to Lubbock and on to New Mexico.  I may not have regular Internet access, especially when we get to camp, so I'm not sure when the next post will be, but it will get done.  And it may rhyme.  And seem strange.  Don't worry.  It will all be in the spirit of the season.  Camp season.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
Father, help these guys get the basics this week.  Amen.

June 23 – “Left in the dust”

And camp continues to approach with diligence and speed.  Yesterday we had the responsibility of driving up to Houston to arrange for the rental of the two vans we need to take the kids to New Mexico.  One is a full fifteen passenger van.  The other comes with the dubious distinction of "cargo van."  We actually aren't scheduled to pick up the vans until tomorrow, but we still have to hook up with our niece Taylor's Mom and Dad to get her down here from Victoria so she can join us.  The plan at this point is to meet them at the McDonald's in Bay City.  That makes for about a two hour drive from both directions.  Cory and Rita are working together to actually pick up the vans while we are gone. 
Back to our job.  We wanted to get all the information entered into their computer since we are using our credit card as the transportation bank for the trip.  Van rental and gas there and back will all go on our card and we'll get a reimbursement from the church when we get back.  At least we hope to.  Depending on how much gas is, we could probably be as much as $2,000 to $2500 short on covering counselor camp fees and gas and any help some of the kids might need.  We can settle up all the camp costs when we return next week, so we'll know by then.  Anyway, the vans.  When we arrived we thought it unusual that one of their doors was propped open.  We found out why when we entered.  Their electricity was off.  And it was hot.  Had been for a few hours and would be for an undetermined amount of time into the future.  That was an interesting experience.  There was no copier to give us a copy of all the paperwork.  Thankfully I had made copies of all the drivers' licenses and church tax exempt form and insurance data.  The computer was of course down, so they couldn't enter our information.   They actually handed me a piece of paper and expected me to fill it out with a pen.  Their charge machine was electric, so they couldn't run our credit card.  Chris tried to get them to go old school and just put a piece of paper over it and do a rubbing.  That's the genealogist coming out in her.  They do rubbings of tombstones all the time.  Sounded like a reasonable plan to me.  But the department manager was a young lady less than half our age.  She had another idea.  She scanned the card with an ap on her cell phone.  OK.  So technology has left us in the dust.  I still think it would have been fun to do the rubbing.  I hope all goes well when they go to pick them up today.
We stopped at Lifeway on the way home to pick up some note cards.  Saw our friend Mike, the assistant manager.  Also saw Kelly, our awesome summer youth intern who works there.  We even splurged and went to Saltgrass Steak House for lunch.  Saved enough leftovers to cover supper as well.  Always a plus.
When we got home we each wrote encouragement cards to all the kids going to camp.  Mine rhyme.  Chris' don't.  She's jealous.  Maybe I could have a second career with Hallmark.
Psalms 5:11 says, "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."
Father, begin spreading that protection over us even as we finish preparations today.  Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22 – “The sticker”

Two more days until we leave for camp.  Got a bit of a reprieve yesterday.  The wedding in Jacksonville that I was supposed to preside over was postponed.  That gave us an extra day to prepare.  We still have to get Taylor tomorrow, though.  Chris plans to meet her Folks on Bay City to pick her up. 
I did the memorial service at the church yesterday.  It went really well.  Great family.  We even went down to the beach while the four siblings waded into the water and scattered ashes.  Quite moving, actually.  One guy who continually identified himself as the "favorite uncle" had us all in stitches after the service.  He told one story about a guy who "was so crooked they'll have to screw him in the ground when he dies to get him to stay there."  Always great to have humor in the face of mourning.
Cailyn spent the night with us last night.  We had to get our granddaughter fix before we left for camp, I guess.  She got here while Chris and Mom were still at a doctor's appointment, so I had a few minutes of "just DadDad" time.  She was going through her backpack showing me all the clothes she intended to wear while she was here.  Very much the girl, this one.  At one point she came over with something different in her hands.  At first I thought it was a sticker of some kind, because she told me, "I stuck one of this on the wall at home.  Mommy wasn't happy."  That got my attention.  As she got up next to me she chuckled and slapped me on the back.  The old "kick me sign on the back" trick, I thought.  Then I remembered that she can't spell.  Or write.  So I figured I was safe in ignoring it.  She wasn't done playing with it, though.  She peeled it off my back and walked away.  She wasn't gone long, though.  She returned with a grin on her face and a pen in one hand.  Happily she handed me the now-folded-in-half sticker and said "Open it DadDad."     And that's when I realized what had been stuck to my back only minutes before.  It was one of those female sanitary pad things.  Apparently her Mom had stashed an extra.  I was completely captured by this time, though.  I peeled it apart and same the few little markings she had made with the pen.  Beaming, she looked up at me and said, "See, DadDad?  It says Happy Father's Day."  Of course.  I told her, "That's really great," and handed it back.  Quickly.  She wasn't done yet.  She opened up her drawer in my desk where we keep scratch paper and pens and pencils.  She pulled out a piece of paper and delightedly said, "DadDad.  Let's make a letter for Nani for put in the mailbox."  That sounded reasonable, so I pushed the computer out of the way to give her plenty of room.  She crawled into my lap, placed the paper on the desk in front of me, and pressed her "sticker" firmly onto the paper.  She took pen in hand and talked out loud as she made her markings, "Dear Nani.  I love you."  How sweet is that?  Then she asked me to write it for her "in letters."  Dutifully, I inscribed the message on the paper, and then asked if she wanted to sign her name to it.  She batted her beautiful brown eyes at me and said, "You do it, DadDad.  Please?"  Of course.  I asked her where she wanted her name to go.  And where did she choose?  Right on the … sticker.  Of course.  And then we had to put it in an envelope and put it in the mailbox "for the mailman to get it and give it to Nani."  I convinced her that we didn't have to wait for the mailman.  I assured her that we could remember to tell Nani to look in the mailbox when she got home.  In fact we wrote her a note to make sure.  And when Chris returned a few minutes later, Cailyn excitedly greeted her at the car with the big news.  "You have a mail, Nani.  It's in the mailbox."  Chris retrieved it and showed great excitement as she opened up the letter.  And indeed there inside was the letter … with the … "sticker."  Chris took it all in stride as only a Nani could, expressing her profound thanks for the letter.  She did cast me a quick glance and whisper, "Was this in her bag?"  Guess that will make its way into the Nani treasure box. 
Psalms 5:7-8 says, "But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple.  Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies — make straight your way before me."
Father, thank you so much for the ability to be creative that you put in all of us right at the start.  Help me to always look for other ways to see and use even the most common of objects.  Amen.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21 – “Get on board”

On Tuesday morning I went in to check on Mom and see if she was up yet.  She was out of bed and sitting in her chair.  I asked her if she had eaten breakfast, and she assured me that she had.  Must have been a great dream – to be served breakfast.  I said OK, but went into the kitchen and got her some cereal ready.  Then I went back in and told her breakfast was on the table.  She got right up and ate.  That's the thing about dream food – it's not very filling.  Then yesterday she shocked us all.  She was up before seven and made her way to the kitchen without using her walker.  That made me a little nervous, but she was ready for breakfast, so I helped her get all set up.  I even got to go in and tease Chris a bit about Mom beating her up.  Er … I mean getting out of bed faster than she did.  Can't remember the last time that happened.  Can't say I remember her ever beating anybody up.  She's always been such a pacifist.
I finished the student desk.  Well, except for the optional seat cushion.  Chris will have to do that.  It looks pretty good compared to what it looked like when I started on it.  I sure hope Christi wants the two desks.  Otherwise Chris will want to find a place to put them here. 
Last night we went to a camp information meeting.  Our fabulous youth intern turned it into a pizza party for any students who were going to camp, parents and prayer partners.  She is a planner, so we had a long text messaging interchange in the afternoon.  She said she wanted to do games, but I couldn't talk her into Red Rover.  So I came up with a few easy ones that even adults would do.  I think it went pretty well.  Everybody participated, and you can't go wrong with pizza.  I liked her slogan for the night.  The purpose of the meeting was to make sure everyone was on the same page, so she went with "Get on Board."  Lots of possibilities with that one.  I settled for bringing an actual board and standing on it.  Thought about seeing how many of us we could get to stand on that one little board.  That sounded very camp-ish to me.  One of the moms suggested that we should have served the pizza on the board.  Or maybe we should carry the board around camp all week.  Then if the teachings go long, we could hug it and say, "I'm board."  She also recommended making known that if anyone misbehaved at camp, they would "come in contact" with the board.  Glad it was a parent that came up with that one. 
Psalms 5:3 says, "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."
Father, I'm really glad you are there in the mornings.  Especially ones like today when I wake up at 4:30.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20 – “Preparation frenzy”

Chris went to Bay City again yesterday.  The life of an after-the-fact executor has little rest.  She had to pick up some more papers for the lawyer.  She did have a bit of an adventure while there, though.  She found herself at the court house, standing under a sign that said, "Birth certificates."  Thinking, "well, since I'm here …" she decided to ask if they had a copy of her original birth certificate.  She was hoping to see what her original name really was.  The one she has a copy of reflects her adoption and name change, which as far as she has been told, took place when she was entering school around five or six years old.  As adventure would have it, they couldn't find any record of her in the system.  To see if she really exists she would have to get a judge to open up any adoption records.  In the meantime, I suppose I will still be married to this mysterious woman who stole my heart and bore my children.  Sounds good to me.
While she was gone I stayed home with Mom to get some work done.  We leave for a wedding in Jacksonville on Friday.  On Saturday we leave there to pick up our niece Taylor so she can go to camp with us on Sunday.  That just leaves a today and tomorrow to get everything ready.  Mix into that preparation frenzy a meeting I have this afternoon, a memorial service I have at Seaside on Thursday morning, and all the camp prep stuff, along with several counseling sessions I have already had, and you get quite a recipe for a full week.
I did run get a haircut while Chris was gone.  That is a must for the week before camp.  It was an unusual visit.  I was the only client with two barbers – or whatever they call themselves now.  They know that I am a pastor, so they took advantage of my "captured" attention and asked every question they could think of about life after death and how they should respond to people who are dying.  It was a fascinating time for me.  Hope they heard some of the message I tried to communicate about a personal relationship with Jesus.
I also got the student desk sanded and even partly painted.  I would have finished, but I had to stop several times as waves of thunderstorms blew through.  It was just enough to remind me that this is the end of June in Galveston.  Hurricane season.  We already have several low pressure systems in the Gulf of Mexico.  Figures.  Just as we are leaving for New Mexico, sounds like there may be some excitement here.  We could do without that kind of excitement, thank you very much.
Psalms 4:6-8 says, "Many are asking, 'Who can show us any good?'  Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.  You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.  I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
Father, walk with me through all this preparation stuff.  It's always easier when I know I'm not alone.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19 – “Dream universe”

Well, this has been a crazy night.  Lots of tossing and turning and even a weird dream here and there.  One of them in particular has me puzzled.  It was a jumble of thoughts drawn from a story I told in the sermon Sunday about when I coached girls' basketball in Colorado, mixed with the Astros' near-collapse after leading 9 to 2.  They eventually won 9 to 7, but only after Kansas City scored five runs in the ninth off of Houston's closer who was just going out to get in a quick inning of work.  So what do those two things have in common?  And how could they mesh together to form a dream? 
As is often the case with a dream, I don't have the big picture.  All I can remember is that we were at a basketball game that was following slightly different rules than usual.  One point for free throws.  No different there.  Two points for shots close to the basket.  Three points for longer range shots.  And in this universe, four points for really long shots.  And the other big variation was that the team that scored kept possession of the ball.  Now, one of the teams in the dream world was ahead by a large margin, but their opponent had possession.  Instead of driving to the basket or running an offensive play like one would expect, they made one pass, just inside of the half-court line at the corner of the court near the out of bounds line.  There stood one of the ladies who used to go to Seaside.  Barbara caught the pass, took one dribble, and let fly with a four-point shot.  It banked off the backboard and into the basket.  What a shot.  Her team recovered the ball and lined up for another throw-in.  Same play.  Toss to Barbara at mid-court, about where Meadowlark Lemon used to hit hook shots for the Harlem Globetrotters.  One dribble.  Long shot.  Four points.  The huge lead was dwindling fast.  Barbara hits again.  Finally time ran out before she could win the game with yet another impossible bank shot. 
Any thoughts on a deeper meaning behind that one? 
Psalms 4:5 says, "Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord."
Father, that's a great verse to pattern a life after, isn't it?  Help me to do that.  Amen.

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18 – “Distraction alert”

Camp is obviously approaching rapidly.  This week promises to be quite full of the usual getting-ready kind of stuff.  I heard from our volunteer youth intern for the summer (great girl with a great name, even though she spells it wrong – Kelly).  She posted on FaceBook that with the receipts from the garage sale and other donations received yesterday we hit our goal to cover the costs of transportation.  Great news.  I will be starting on my own personal list for the week as soon as I finish here.  It has things on it like "get a haircut," "write a wedding ceremony" (I have a wedding Friday evening in Jacksonville, Texas), write a memorial service" (that one is Thursday at Seaside), "arrange to pay for vans," "go to the bank," well, it goes on and on.  A typical week, I guess.  Just has "leave for New Mexico" at the end of it. 
Church was fun again yesterday.  Lots of visitors, as is usually the case on a fine Galveston summer morning.  We are getting close to the end of the study of the Book of Esther.  That has been a fun one.  We'll be moving back into Ezra to stick with the chronological flow of things, and then moving on into Nehemiah. 
At some point this week I'd like to go over to Home Depot and pick up an electric drill.  When I start scraping on the last student desk I'd like to finish it without having to wait for the battery to recharge.  I also want to look for a little pad to put on the seat.  I don't know if the wood is salvageable or not, but a pad would be an easy and most comfortable fix.  I'd certainly prefer one if I could squeeze into the desk.  Have to remember to put paint and stain and mineral spirits on that list as well. 
Whoa.  Major distraction alert.  Chris just handed me a homemade waffle.  That'll be all for today.
Matthew 6:25-27 says, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
Father, you are the most Awesome Provider, of money for camp and of a great breakfast-maker.  Thank you.  Amen.