Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 31 – “He’s Alive!”

OK.  I know I’m jumping the gun by posting this at 10 pm on the 30th, but my alarm is set for 4:30 am to get me to the sunrise service on the beach, so here it is.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t have to set an alarm, but I helped a boatload of fire fighters help Nathan and April move out to Jamaica Beach today, and I am pretty beat.  I imagine I’ll be sore tomorrow, too.  But I got an email tonight asking if I could do a baptism tomorrow.  Kind of rejuvenated me.  The raging waters of the Gulf of Mexico will be cold, but it is always so worth it. 

Happy Resurrection Day to all.  He’s Alive!

Luke 24:1-6 says, “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen!’”

Father, … well … yeah!  Amen.

March 30 – “Easter weekend”

Easter weekend.  That holds a lot of activity for our household.  We usually dye Easter eggs on Saturday, but this year we had to make some adjustments.  Kel’s church is doing an egg hunt, and Nathan and April are moving on Saturday, so we pushed our family egg workday back to Good Friday.  We missed having Josh and Christi and their boys here, but we did a face time segment with them so all the kids could see each other. 

Our order of events was pretty straightforward.  We started with the dye party right away.  That’s always lots of fun.  Christina came up with a great idea for Josiah this year.  She stuck an egg in a kitchen whisk so he could dunk it into the cups without smashing it.  Worked like a charm.  We need to remember that one.  And of course Chris collected crayon signatures of all there on one egg before putting it into a dye cup.  That one, along with a few selected others, will go into her egg basket to be saved unto eternity.  Or until one of hem cracks and stinks up the house (as has happened a time or two).  Yes, Chris actually saves hard-boiled eggs and displays them in a basket year-round.  As long as they don’t ever crack the insides dry up and disappear over time.  We still have a few eggs from years ago.  I’m not sure how they managed to stick around after Hurricane Ike, but they didn’t break so I guess the sentimental appeal was just too strong to let them go. 

After the dyeing came the actual egg hunt.  Well, not exactly right after.  As the kids finished up, Kel and Nathan and I went outside and hid some plastic eggs.  That was a chore.  Do you know how hard it is to make some of them easy to find for a two and four year old, and then convince the nine and six year old to leave those alone?  Once the eggs were hidden we all gathered for lunch.  Chris had prepared a roast in the crock pot and fixed up a boatload of rice and gravy.  I guess there was a vegetable or two floating around somewhere as well.  Cailyn had helped Chris make some cupcakes the day before for dessert, so we had a veritable banquet. 

And finally it was time for the hunt.  We let Josiah outside first to give him a chance at the easy ones.  Cailyn came next, followed by the old hands Jachin and Micah.  It all worked out for the best.  Each kid had a certain number of eggs they could collect.  Once accomplished they could either help someone else out or head for the front porch to check out their bounty.  This year as far as we can tell, there is still one egg missing out there somewhere.  It’ll probably turn up next time I mow the grass.  The kids were plenty happy with what they got, though. 

The weekend continues with Nathan and April’s move today and then the Easter Sunrise service tomorrow.  And the breakfast to follow.  And the egg hunt at the church.  And the communion service.  And somewhere in there maybe I can catch a minute or two of one of the March Madness basketball games.  Yep.  Easter Weekend.

Luke 23:50-56 says, “Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
            The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”

Father, thank you for all this weekend means.  As Cailyn said in her prayer the other day, See you on Easter.”  Amen.

Friday, March 29, 2013

March 29 – “Julie”

There have been many times over the years when I have been more than casually thankful to be married to Chris.  She was amazing to have caring for me after my multiple neck surgeries.  In fact in any medical situation her inner nurse kicks in and she seems to know just what the best course of action is.  She learned how to keep the books for a basketball game when our boys were playing and I was coaching.  And she became the best, most thorough bookkeeper the organization had.  She is an amazing cook, an especially helpful trait with three boys and a husband in the house.  I could certainly go on and on.

Well, this was one of those times.  Cailyn came over yesterday while her mom took a nursing school test, and as she is accustomed to doing, she brought with her some things to play with.  This time she brought her new doll.  She has toted dolls in here often, but apparently this one was something special.  She usually has a hard time coming up with names for her inanimate charges.  Although not so much for her imaginary friends, but then I guess they told her what their names were.  But this doll, as I said was something special.

It came with a name.  Julie.  Nice name.  I have a cousin named Julie.  But this doll named Julie was famous.  It had an accompanying book written about it.  Strange kind of book, too.  The story line was something about the doll’s parents getting a divorce and the pending major move and separation from friends.  Sounded quite depressing, actually.  I suppose it could be helpful if Cailyn was actually in that situation herself.  It would give her something to relate to.  But she’s not.  So it was a strange kind of book.

Speaking of books, Cailyn also had a magazine – no, make that a catalogue – of all the many accessories that were available to keep the doll decked out.  There were doll earrings and doll makeup and, believe it or not, even doll dogs.  I mean little doll dogs built to the scale of the Julie doll. 

And clothes.  Clothes out the wazoo.  Clothes that would keep the Julie doll warm.  A bathing suit for going to the beach in Galveston.  And perhaps most frightening, clothes that matched what Cailyn was wearing.  And with so many clothes Cailyn felt obligated to show off.  All of them.  In the world of girls that obviously meant a fashion show was in order.  OK, here’s where my beloved, beautiful, answer-to-prayer wife comes in.  I was able to gracefully bow out of viewing the fashion show.  Chris expediently became available.  And she was actually interested in all the stuff.  So the two of them disappeared into the bedroom to ogle the catalogue and dress and redress the Julie doll.  It must have been fun for them.  April even disappeared into the girlie abyss when she arrived.  I was glad they were able to experience some real girl-type bonding.  I was even more glad when they came out to fix supper.  Did I mention Chris is a fabulous cook?

Psalms 75:1-2 says, “We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.”

Father, thank you for the girls you placed in my life.  Even though I don’t understand them, they are marvelous creatures.  Amen.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 28 – “The Mistake”

I made another mistake the other day.  Not an unusual occurrence, certainly.  Happens every day at least once.  And it was nothing earth-shattering or so disturbing that it must be held apart from public consumption.   I just don’t remember right now what The Mistake was to be honest.  The Mistake was simply one thing that came up briefly in a conversation Chris and I were having.  So why bring it up now?  Cailyn overheard our conversation, taking it all in with that sponge-like four-year-old brain of hers.  She didn’t say anything at the time, but later on she breached the subject with Chris.  With awe in her voice she almost whispered, as if saying it out loud would make it happen again and this time it would be her fault.  “Nani, I didn’t know DadDads made mistakes.”  Ouch.  Scrambling to rectify her disappointment, I had a plan. 

“I know, Cailyn.  It’s awfully hard to believe that larger-than-life, super-hero-ish DadDad is actually just a man.  But occasionally I have to make what appears to be a mistake to the rest of the world so that my secret identity as Super DadDad can be preserved.  It’s the only way my family – and that includes you – can be kept safe from the evil super-geniuses out there in the world.  So you see, I made that mistake on purpose for you.  It was … your fault.”

I know.  That sounded kind of harsh, didn’t it?  Well, I didn’t actually say that. We did use the opportunity as a teachable moment to assure her that everyone makes mistakes.  And even though we make mistakes, there is someone who will love us no matter what.  And that someone is … Nani.  And Jesus.  And he’s better at it than even Nani.

Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “…. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Father, thank you for loving me in spite of my mistakes.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March27 – “The WalMart Guys”

Things are winding down to the big day Sunday.  Resurrection Day.  That means a sunrise service at 6:30 and a communion service at 10.  That means two sermons.  I have the one for the sunrise service pretty much down.  It is always pretty short and sweet, especially if it is cold.  I’m still working on the other one.  Not that it won’t be short and sweet.  It’s on John the Baptist as Worshipper, so I’m reviewing what we are supposed to be doing when we worship.  It’s been a good one for me to prepare for.  Hope it hits home for some folks Sunday.

I went to the Beth Moore Bible study at church.  The crowd is still holding strong around 12 or 13 every week.  It is nice to sit back and listen for a change with no responsibility for preparation.  Although I guess there is supposed to be, since the study is workbook based.  I don’t have a workbook, though.  Think I’ll stick with just listening.  She’s a good teacher.  I did get the sign changed to remind everyone about the sunrise service, though.

On the way home I stopped at WalMart to pick up some Claritin D again.  And again I realized that I had forgotten to pick up a coupon.  And again I heard Chris’ voice warning me not to buy Claritin without a coupon.  And again I responded in fear and trembling by backing out of the pharmacy line.  Besides that, one of my hearing aid batteries chose about that moment to crash out on me.  So I would be half-deaf until I could get home and change it.  Ah, well, how bad could that be?  The rest of my shopping trip would just go a little quieter than usual.  Just about the time I completed my exit from line, two young men called out my name and walked toward me.  I didn’t recognize them.  Well, one looked kind of familiar, but I certainly had no name to go with the face.  Fortunately they immediately began talking about the fire department and me becoming the new chaplain.  I did ask for names, but sadly, the hearing issue kicked in.  I think I heard one of them say “John” but I’m still not sure.  They were very encouraging, though.  They seemed to be genuinely pleased and even excited about me being the chaplain.  I’m looking forward to seeing them again next week when I get introduced to all the shifts.  Not that I will be able to connect names, but at least I may recognize the WalMart guys.

Last night I went to Jachin’s baseball game in Hitchcock.  Just minutes from the field I got stopped by train.  A long train.  And then it stopped, blocking the only way through.  I texted Kel to let him know what was going on.  The train finally started back up, but the delay had been every bit of fifteen minutes.  Come to find out I was the designated official scorekeeper and the game had been unable to start until I arrived, so they had to wait for me.  I was not alone, though.  Three of the other team’s players as well as Christina were all in that line with me.  The game was interesting.  Jachin’s team won 8-0.  The pitching machine pitched a perfect game.  The only kid who even hit a ball fair for the other team was thrown out, shortstop to Jachin who was playing first base.  Ah, baseball.  It’s about time.

Psalms 74:16-17 says, “The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.  It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”

Father, we could use some of that summer for the sunrise service Sunday.  But we’ll be ready for whatever you bring our way.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 26 – “Cailyn’s prayer”

Cailyn and I had a regular prayer meeting yesterday.  Well, I don’t know how “regular” it was, but it turned into a prayer meeting nonetheless.  Chris had gone to H & R Block to take care of filing an income tax return on her Mom’s estate.  Quite a confusing task, I might add.  I thought about trying it myself, but one look at the forms on the website changed my mind there.  As it turned out, Chris spent over an hour there wading through all the forms with the guy assigned to work with her.  They finally determined that the tax amount was something like $60.  And the fee for doing the return?  Oh, that was in the neighborhood of $350.  Ouch.

But back to the prayer meeting.  Cailyn and I were having ham sandwiches for lunch.  Our conversation, as usual, had jumped from the meaning of Easter to where she was moving to what kind of birthday party theme she wanted to have when she turned five.  Something happened in our conversation that caused Cailyn to exclaim, “Oh, my God.”  Now there’s something that I learned many years ago, and I decided she was old enough to hear it from me now.  I wasn’t sure if she would be able to grasp it, but I thought I’d give it a try.  I took a deep breath and went right to it.

“Cailyn,” I began, “Are you saying a prayer?”  She looked at me with a blank expression, as if to say something profound like, “Huh?”  I continued on.  “When you say ‘Oh, God’ you are talking to him, like when you say, ‘Hey, DadDad’ you are talking to me.  You just got his attention.  That means the very next thing you say, he will be listening to very closely, because you just started a prayer.”

The wheels inside her little head really started turning then.  “I want to talk to God some more, OK?”

Absolutely.  Maybe this would work.  But she crawled down from the stool she was on and dashed from the room.  Puzzling.  But she tossed back this request: “Come on in here, DadDad.  We have to go pray.”

Now intrigued, I followed her into my office.  She crawled under my desk and invited me to join her.  I did the best I could, still wondering what was going through her mind.

“Now we can talk to God again.  And you can listen to me talk to him, OK?”

Suddenly the whole location thing began to make sense to me.  Sure felt biblical, anyway.  It wasn’t exactly a prayer closet, but I would say it was close enough, don’t you think? 

She began, “Oh my God …  What do I say to him?”

I suggested, “Let’s tell him we love him, because he really loves us.” 

She started over yet again, “Oh my God.  I love you.  Amen.  Now it’s your turn to pray, DadDad.”

I started a prayer of my own, “Father …”  And I was interrupted almost immediately.

“No, DadDad.  You didn’t say it.”  I was confused.  “Didn’t say what?” I queried.

“You didn’t say, ‘Oh my God.’”  Ah, of course.   I began again, properly this time, and expressed my love for God, followed by, “Now it’s your turn again.”  And, oh, did she ever get into the flow of things.  She began – with the proper declaration, of course - and the prayer that followed was one of the most amazing I have ever heard.  She stopped occasionally to let me have a quick turn (as long as I remembered to start properly), but she rapidly picked up the pace on her turns.  Ready for this?

“Oh, my God.  I love you.  I’m sorry you died.  But I’ll see you at Easter, and I hope you come out and say something.  I hope you get an Easter egg.  I love you so much.  I hope I can see Purple.  She’s my favorite fish and she’s in heaven now.  I hope you help me have a wedding and a baby shower and a baby.  Amen.”

Wow.  And Amen.

Matthew 6:6 says, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Father, help me to pray like that.  Real.  Simple.  From my heart.  Amen.

Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25 – “The Accidental Visitor”

We had some families from Canada and Oklahoma join us in worship yesterday.  In fact a couple from Kansas sang a few Southern Gospel songs for us.  The first one went quite well.  The second one took a while to get through, though.  We had some technical issues with the cd she wanted to use as accompaniment.  Between our tech crew and her husband, they finally found the problem and got it going.  The whole time they worked, she came up with topic after topic to talk about to fill the dead air. All things considered, they did an admirable job.                           

One new family was there who live in Sea Isle.  They have three kids, one of which is just barely youth camp age.  I mentioned camp to the Mom, and she said she remembered going to camp every summer as a kid.  Hope she can join up with our guys this time.  This was one of those Sundays where I got thanked for the service several times.  I said thank you, of course.  My Mom would settle for nothing less.  But I did let them know that anything that “worked” must have been evidence that the Holy Spirit was with us.  One thank you came because I “made the idea of baptism so easy to understand.”  The other thank you came from our Accidental Visitor.  We get those from time to time.  This guy had been given directions to a church somewhere in Galveston.  At some point, however, he made a wrong turn or missed a sign or something, because he realized he must have gone too far.  He didn’t turn around, though.  Instead he looked up and saw our church sign.  Intrigued, he came in and joined us.  His thank you was for being a place where the Spirit of God was very evident.  He believed there are no such things as accidents, and that God must have directed him to Seaside.  Oh, and did I mention that he was from Nigeria?  Fascinating guy, but very hard for me to understand because of his broken English.  I heard enough to understand that he loved Jesus a lot, though.  And I certainly agreed with him about his presence having nothing to do with accidents. 

I didn’t do a separate Kids sermon this week.  Instead I mixed in a lot of participation with the rest of the teaching.  Boy, did I have some good participation.  The teaching was about baptism.  About time in a series on John the Baptist, don’t you think?  And the kids’ involvement?  Well, at one point we played Follow the Leader.  I was the leader, and had a string of little guys behind me.  We walked and hopped and twirled, and I finally got on my hands and knees and crawled for a while.  That got the older folks’ attention.  The kids did a great job.  Mother May I went well.  Especially for the little guy from Canada who followed commands and ended up getting a bag of M&M’s.  And then there was Will.  I asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to be in a special club.  All you had to do was one thing.  Just got the one volunteer.  Will.  I told him he could be a member if he stood in front of everyone and said, “Hi, I’m Will and Pastor Kelley is awesome.”  That was the name of the club, The Pastor Kelley is Awesome Club.  Will didn’t just say it.  He proclaimed it.  Loud. 

So, the sermon itself was about how baptism is a picture.  How could I teach something like that and not have a lot of images?  A bar of soap showed how baptism represents spiritual cleansing.  A toy boat I carved helped me show the original meaning of the word “baptism.”  It’s what happens when a boat sinks to the bottom – it is completely immersed in water.   I used one of Chris’ little spades to picture baptism as a picture of dying to your old life and being buried and raised to a new life with Jesus.  Playing Follow the Leader with the kids was the next one.  It’s kind of an obvious one, too, isn’t it?  We get baptized we follow Jesus, and he got baptized.  It’s a way to be like him.  The games were going so well, we did a round of Mother May I.  That showed how baptism is following Jesus’ command in the Great Commission.  Next I talked about the culture of being a runner and how once you complete that first milestone race, whether it be a 10K or making it around the block, you are officially considered “one of the gang,” a real runner.  Like that, baptism shows you are one of the family of God.  Then came the new club experience.  That showed how baptism initiates you into a community of common experience with others who have done the same thing.  Finally, good old Mike Bell had his trusty Houston Texans hat on, so we all looked at him and saw that baptism also identifies you with a local organization of believers, in our case called Seaside Church.  After all that, the bottom line question came to light: If all this is true – if Jesus really lived a perfect life, and died, and rose from the dead … for me – then why would I not want to commit my life to him?  And why would I not want to get baptized?

Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Father, thank you for being so … present.  Amen.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24 – “Saturday stuff”

I finally heard back from my Uncle Jerry.  Actually the call came from his phone, but it was his son doing the calling.  Seems the reason I couldn’t find him at the hospital the other day was that he was being transferred into either surgery or ICU again.  He took a turn for the worse and they had to do surgery to remove part of his colon.  He now has a colostomy bag that they hope is temporary.  Two of his three children are in town, so he has had someone with him.  His son said Jerry was the one who suggested they call me.  That visit will be on my docket for Monday for sure.

I did get to watch some baseball yesterday.  Jachin and Micah both had their first games of the season.  I got to be the volunteer scorekeeper for Jachin’s game.  They did very well for a first game against the powerhouse team in the league.  They did lose 12 to 3, but Jachin made a stellar play at first.  He caught one of their guys stepping off the base and tagged him out.  The odd thing at Micah’s game was that they made the kids wear helmets even in the field.  I know it was t-ball, but I have never seen that requirement before.  Kel said he was going to look into it.  He is on the board of the league.  I don’t think they know what they got when they did that.  He will make a lot of noise until they get everything just right organizationally.

Chris and Mom went to a baby shower for Christina during the games.  It was at their church, which is next door to their house, so Chris had a backup plan in place in case Mom didn’t do well.  She made it OK, though.  I came on home after the games and finished adding some hardware pieces to the table we got from a friend.  Now we can lock the extender pieces in place without any noticeable gaps when we open up the table for company. 

Speaking of Mom, a home assessment nurse from Mom’s insurance company came over here the other day and stayed for over two hours.  She had to have all kinds of medical information before she even started interacting with Mom.  Mom did talk with her and smile a lot.  She even did pretty well on the test that is specifically for Alzheimer’s.  But she couldn’t remember any of the questions about the past, and she couldn’t even tell her how many kids she had.  It also hurt a bit when she couldn’t come up with my name.  I don’t know what will come of the interview, but we are praying for the best.

And now on to the preparations for Palm Sunday today.  I have the palm crosses made and ready to go.  Still deciding whether to take some palm branches for decoration.  Guess I’ll take a look at them when I get ready to leave.

Psalms 74:12 says, “But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth.”

Father, come join us at church today.  And bring some of those folks you’ve been working on.  Amen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

March 23 – “Babe”

I made my first hospital visit yesterday as Galveston Fire Department chaplain.  Appreciated the hospital accepting that title and allowing me access to the fire fighter in the intensive care unit. 

Since I was out and about I made a trip into Texas to do some things there.  Chris had an errand for me to Hobby Lobby.  I made the long run into Houston to pick up my Celebrex prescription.  I also got to swing by the new Sam’s that moved across the freeway from its original location in Texas City.  Pretty big place.  Of course the things we always have to get for the church are located at the far back corner of the store from the front door.  Ah, well.  I needed the exercise.

Then in the afternoon Cailyn and I went over to WalMart to do the grocery shopping.  Always a treat to have a beautiful girl with me for such a chore.  Especially when she is as observant as she was yesterday.  As we walked down one aisle we saw an older lady with white hair in the indomitable afro style.  Cailyn looked at her carefully, and just we she passed us Cailyn declared, “That lady has spikey hair.”  Apparently spikey hair is a pretty unusual thing in her life, because she then exploded into laughter.  Thankfully, so did Spikey Hair Lady.  A few aisles later two young men were stocking the lower shelves from their knees.  One had quite long hair that was fitted into a carefully constructed braid that ran down past the middle of his back.  Cailyn took that one in in an instant and the giggles returned.  She was obviously trying to hold back, so I asked her what was up.  She again exploded in laughter, just loud enough to capture the attention of the Braided Boy.  She pointed at him and giggled, “DadDad, that boy has long hair.  Girls have long hair.”  And to his credit Braided Boy joined in the joke, as did his companion.  I’m afraid he may not have heard the last of that one.  Miss Observant wasn’t through yet.  Another aisle brought some more employees, these with obvious ties somewhat South of the border.  They were having an animated discussion about, well, I don’t know what it was about since they were taking too fast for me to catch many of the words and apply my vast grasp of high school Spanish.  Cailyn heard them, too, of course.  This time she was a bit more pensive before that look of realization spread with the grin across her face.  She made her declaration in a conspiratorial, albeit rather loud, whisper this time, in the true spirit of “eureka, I have found it.”  Her words, though, were a bit different.  “DadDad, did you hear those men?  They were talking Chinese.”  That time the chuckle that burst forth came from my lips.  And fortunately I don’t think the Chinese Fellows heard us at all.  Her comments on life weren’t restricted to the other shoppers, though.  I received one good zinger myself.  She was doing her best to try out the glitter glue, so I calmly said, “Set the glue down and let’s go on to our next thing, Babe.”  She complied with my request, but in her best muttering-just-loud-enough-for-me-to-hear voice she said, “I don’t like that word.  It’s for grownups.”  I took that to mean she was reserving the use of “Babe” for her future husband only.  I’ll try to remember and honor that … Babe.

Psalms 73:28 says, “But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”

Father, thank you for the delightful honesty of a child.  Amen.

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 22 – “This won’t hurt a bit”

What a way to start the day.  We found out the when Cailyn took her tumble the other day and cut her chin open, she also cracked a tooth.  She started complaining that her teeth hurt.  As the days passed, she wouldn’t chew on one side and finally was able to pinpoint exactly where the pain was originating.  That led to a trip to the dentist which in turn led to the big event yesterday.  I met Cailyn and Nathan at the pediatric dentist’s office around 8:30.  She had to have a crown installed.  And was she ever a trooper.  She took the attendant’s hand and marched right back all by herself.  I don’t know what goes on in the back of a pediatric dentist’s office, but it has to be better than what I had to deal with back in the olden days of yore.  Now, it wasn’t that long ago.  They didn’t use needle nose pliers and tie me to a chair.  Might as well have, though.  The huge needle that “won’t hurt a bit,” followed by maniacal laughter.  That whirring sound getting louder and louder and closer and closer.  And the indescribable pain.  Not to mention the humiliation of having half your face droop alarmingly to the extent that you drool all over yourself.  No.  My dental experiences have not been happy ones. 

But Cailyn’s apparently don’t bother her a bit.  Of course she did get to drink some happy juice before the whole thing started to keep her calm.  That would have been enough for me.  I would have easily slept through the whole thing.  She came out of the experience a little loopy, but ready to “go to Nani and DadDad’s house.”  Daddy insisted she go home and rest for a while first.  She did throw her head back far enough for us to see that shiny silver crown, though.  Quite impressive.  They even gave her the remnants of the cracked tooth in a tiny little treasure chest.  Wonder if the tooth fairy was able to fit some reward money in that thing?  And if so, would it only be half of whatever the usual booty would be, since half the tooth is still in her head?  Actually, I wonder of the old tooth fairy even entered her head?  I’ll have to do some grandfatherly research and find out. 

Obviously Cailyn did fine.  Daddy and DadDad didn’t do too bad for ourselves, either.  It’s been a long time since I saw an episode of Sesame Street.  That’s what was playing on the waiting room monitor.  Much more exciting than the usual talk show with Kelly Rippa (is that her name?) and her football player guy cohost or Price is Right (just not the same without Bob Barker).  And of course we had our phones with us to keep in touch with the outside world (i.e. check FaceBook posts).  We even went to the Fire Department web site.  I was trying to find pictures of the fire fighters so I could learn who was who before I start visiting around as chaplain.  Not so much luck, but he did show me a video of a call he made.  A truck was on fire.  In a parking lot next to an 18-wheeler.  Did I mention that the parking lot was for a gas station?  Danger.  Excitement.  That’s my youngest son.  Maybe I shouldn’t tell Chris about that one.  Sigh.

Psalms 73:25-26 says, “Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Father, thank you for pediatric dentists and fearless fire fighters.  Amen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21 – “Rambling”

Ran out of our good coffee beans yesterday, so today was Starbucks Christmas Blend.  Sorry if it’s your favorite, but this stuff is pretty bad.  I have to put Randall’s on my list today to replenish some good ol’ Sumatra Blend beans.

I had Mom duty for a while again yesterday so Chris could go into Texas.  She wanted to go to Hobby Lobby to get some material and stuff for some sewing projects she has been working on.  We do have another grandchild on the way.  She’s not due until the end of April or the first of May, so Chris has time to make her something.  Actually I’m just practicing using “she” in a complete sentence.  Gotta remember this one’s scheduled to be a girl. 

We had a good visit from some Colorado friends the other day, Jessica and Brent.  I was Jessie’s basketball coach back in the day.  She grew up to become a basketball coach herself for a while.  Hope I didn’t ruin her too much in that regard.  I went up there (literally, “up” there) to officiate at their wedding as well.  Now they have three girls and a one boy.  Jess really liked looking at pictures of our grand-boys.  She was trolling for possible mates for the girls while she was here.  Brent had to keep reminding her that prearranged marriages were not the way it was done in this country. 

I saw a movie the other night at church at Family Fun Night.  It was called August Rush.  I have no idea when it first came out, and I didn’t remember ever seeing it before, but it was one of those that sure looked familiar as the scenes developed.  Can’t say I knew for sure what the ending would be exactly, but it was pretty predictable.  Very music-oriented, too, for all you fans out there. 

I got a call from my rheumatologist’s office.  Seems I was once again approved for the free medication program at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.  Now I can get the Celebrex portion of my regimen for free straight from the company.  Problem is, they will only send the drugs to the doctor’s office.  That’s in Houston.  And that means I now have to take a trip clear into Texas to pick them up.  The office is over near the big medical center, so I have to be careful what time I get there to avoid traffic (as if that is even possible in Houston). 

Well, that means I better get to work compiling my Texas to-do list.  If I’m going that far, I need to do it all at once and avoid another trip.  Chris has already handed me some stuff to return to Hobby Lobby.  Wonder what we need at Lifeway?  And the new Sam’s opens today.  And …….

Psalms 73:23-24 says, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.”

Father, I sure could use a ride-along companion today.  Would you join me?  Amen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 20 – “Three Little Monkeys”

We have had some grandkid injuries over the past few weeks.  Cailyn’s happened first.  She and her parents were just entering a friend’s house.  Cailyn of course wanted to be in on whatever action she could find or make up on her own, so she ran ahead.  Unfortunately she discovered a glitch in her path, a bump in her road, a seam in the tile, something that caused her to get tripped up.  She fell and landed with a smash on her chin.  The resulting gash was significant enough to take her to the emergency room.  She didn’t get stitches, but they did use that miracle medical super glue to hold it together while it heals.  There have been a few residual effects with sore teeth, which will mean a trip to the dentist to get checked out, but all in all she has been a real trooper.

The second incident occurred in the obscurity of Kel and Christina’s bedroom.  From the other room Mom suddenly heard a cry – one of those distinctive, Mommy immediately knows something is wrong kind of cries – followed by fast-talking words of concern from older brothers, “Are you OK, Buddy?”  and “Oh, man.  That’s blood.”   Christina rushed in to find Josiah with blood all over his face, certainly one of the scariest sights ever for a parent.  Kind of like the scare I gave my Mom back in the day when I pulled a basketball backboard down on top of my face.  They lost count of all the stitches I had to have.  Explains a lot about my outward ugliness, doesn’t it?  Christina got him cleaned up and finally located the source of the bleeding.  His eyelid had a gash in it.  Meanwhile Kel began the requisite parental detective work.  Josiah was doing his best to communicate what had happened to him.  The best they could make out was something that sounded like “Jachin punched me,” and with three boys horsing around it could certainly have happened.  So Kel put on his best stern Daddy face and went in to confront the other two boys.  Fortunately he didn’t rush in with guns a’blazin’.  He decided to listen to their side of the story first.  Good move, Dad.  Seems the three boys had discovered a really fun new game that could only be played effectively in Mom and Dad’s bed.  One of them would sit quietly on the bed.  The other one (or sometimes two, I’m sure, because that would be really fun … er, that could have been … er … moving right along) … the other one would jump off any other convenient, adjacent furniture and land with as much force as possible on the other side of the bed.  Now at this point I suppose it is important to interject that Kel and Christina apparently do not have one of those new-fangled beds that allow one person to sleep soundly while the other tosses and turns.  You’ve seen the commercials.  The lady jumps up and down while the glass full of wine sits undisturbed.  So in the absence of such technology, when the jumper hits the bed surface, it transfers the force to the other side and shoots the one sitting quietly into the air.  See, I told you it sounded really fun.  The injury occurred when Josiah was the sitter and big brother Jachin was the jumper.  Lots of force involved there.  Josiah had been launched into the air and off the bed and his eyelid had been cut on impact with the ground.  With a picture of what had happened, and with the actual words of the older culprits, they realized what Josiah had actually been saying.  It was not “Jachin punched me.”  Instead it was “Jachin launched me.”  Indeed he did, Little Man.  Christina ended up taking him up to Texas Children’s Hospital to have it looked at, and after a four hour wait he was declared good to go.  Nothing they could do or really needed to do apparently, other than let it heal.  Well, maybe a quick stop at McDonald’s for a Happy Meal and maybe a rousing rendition of a popular children’s ditty.  How about this one? …

“Three little monkeys, jumping on the bed. 
One fell off and bumped his head. 
Momma called the doctor, and the doctor said,
‘No more jumping on the bed.’”

Psalms 72:18-19 says, “Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.  Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory.  Amen and Amen.”


Father, heal those bumps and bruises and cuts quickly so they can get started on the next round.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19 – “The new chaplain”

Well, as of yesterday afternoon I guess I am the new chaplain of the Galveston Fire department.  I met with the chief and assistant chief for about an hour to see what their expectations were.  Sounds like they are really on board with the position.  It was also fun to hear bits of their own God-stories.  They seem very excited about having someone available who has valid ministry credentials and who also has a connection to the department and to Galveston.  That would be me.  Guilty on all counts.  I officially signed up for the chaplain training conference weekend.  It will be held at Southwestern Seminary in April up in Fort Worth.  Even before the conference I’m meeting the assistant chief for three days in a row the first week of April.  He wants to introduce me to the fire fighters on each shift.  After that I will have access to each station to make visits and get to know the guys a little bit.  The assistant chief apparently wants me to have a uniform, too.  He mentioned it four times while we were talking.  He also said they would get me some business cards and add my name to their website.  The secretary wanted to know my cell phone number so I could get on the pager system they use for major fires.  The chief just wanted to know what to call me.  I told him most folks at Seaside call me Pastor Kelley, but I get called a lot of things.  His compromise name was “Chappy.”  I could live with that.

After the meeting I went over to the hospital to check on the little premie baby we have been following as well as Uncle Jerry.  Haisley is doing great.  I had no trouble getting in to see her this time.  I finally made “the list.”  She was tucked away in her isolette, so I just prayed for her and left I’m pretty sure she winked at me before I walked away, though. 

Uncle Jerry is another story, though.  He has been in there for two weeks now, and they still don’t know what caused the internal bleeding.  They have one more scope test scheduled for today.  He told me one story while I was there.  Seems he was having an ultrasound done, and the tech doing the test was constantly complaining about the quality of pictures he was getting.  He finally finished, and went into the next room.  The door didn’t close, though, and Jerry overheard him say he was going to delete the last two pictures.  Jerry lost it.  He screamed at him that it was not his decision.  It was up to the doctors.  Sounded like he really reamed him out.  A few hours later the doctor came by.  Jerry had been telling the story to everyone who would listen, especially doctors, so this one was no exception.  This one, though got a concerned look on his face.  He said he hadn’t seen those pictures yet, and left to take a look at them.  He returned about an hour later with a grin on face.  He said, “Those two pictures that you stopped him from deleting were the very ones we needed to determine that we don’t have to do surgery.”  Jerry still tears up when he tells that one.

Before I left another doctor came in with his entourage of medical students.  All the students were female, by the way.  He asked about the test scheduled for the next day, then quietly sent the students into the hall.  I thought he was going to do an exam of some kind, so I was trying to get myself out of his way.  He stopped me, though, and proceeded to tell an off color joke.  Something about a nurse misunderstanding a doctor’s orders and giving a patient Bud Light instead of a butt light.  Proctologist humor. 

Psalms 71:23-24 says, “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you — I, whom you have redeemed.  My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long”

Father, thank you for the new opportunity to minister in the fire fighter community.  And could you reveal some information to the docs doing Jerry’s test today?  He’s looking really tired.  Amen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18 – “Just happened”

We had a pretty full house at church yesterday.  About twenty of them were college students from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor.  They are spending their Spring Break here in Galveston doing different ministry activities around town, and they are staying in our Retreat Center. 

They helped out in worship as well.  Three of them led us with some praise songs, and four others shared testimonies of crisis events in their lives such as the divorce of his parents, a close friend who died, a friend who turned her back, and an attempted suicide.  They then shared how they responded to the event emotionally and how God invaded their situation and brought them through it.  They all did a great job, both in sharing the heart-wrenching stories and in doing it in front of a lot of people. 

The testimonies fit the teaching really well.  It was on how John the Baptist pointed people to Jesus – how he testified.  God draws people to Himself, and as they walk down their path toward him, they are often led to bump into Christians along the way.  Those Christians must be ready to point them on their way to the next milestone of their journey to God.  That may mean giving them some encouragement that they are on the right track.  It may mean referring them to a particular scripture or to another person who can more adequately communicate with them.  Or it may even mean sharing with them how to become a believer.  Remembering that we are just cooperating with an already-begun work of the Holy Spirit takes all the pressure off of us.  We are, after all, just pointers … like John the Baptist. 

Oh, and that’s what the kids’ sermon was about.  I introduced them (through powerpoint pictures) to the six dogs we have had over the years: Gideon, Becca, Taffy, Mitzi, Heidi and Fritz.  Then I went through pictures of different breeds of dogs to see if they could guess what they were.  Interestingly enough, everyone knew right away what the breed was of the pointer.  That made transitioning easy to the idea of us being pointers to Jesus for our family and friends. 

Third Sunday dinner on the grounds after church was a feast as usual.  In fact, even with the twenty extra students, there was plenty of food left over.  I shared my lunch time with the girlfriend of a guy who has been in our home several times, both after Hurricane Ike and for a fishing trip of sorts.  Across the table from us was a local couple visiting for the first time who “just happened” to come to Seaside for the first time and were amazed to see that students from UMHB “just happened” to be everywhere.  Seems they and their children were graduates of the school, and the director of the group had even been to their daughter’s wedding.  Old home week for them.  They made a point to give me a phone number so we could let them know about future events.  I think they’ll be back.  “Just happened”?  I don’t think so.

Psalms 71:19 says, “Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like you?”

Father, thank you for the impact these students will have this week as they minister for you.  If you have someone you are drawing your way, I know where there are some good folk they can bump into.  Amen.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17 – “Security issues at the Y”

Chris and I had some quality time together yesterday.  We spent a good part of the day working in one of our flower beds.  She pretty much cleaned out all of the ones in the backyard by herself, so I offered to join her in attacking the dollar grass that invaded the bed in the front.  It’s the one that gets overrun by periwinkles during the Spring, so I don’t imagine it will be long before the same thing happens again.  She has transplanted some other stuff in there to give it a different slant this year.  We’re waiting to see how that comes out.  One of the transplants was the Easter lilies.  Of course those things should really be called Mother’s Day lilies, because they never bloom before sometime in May.  It should be quite colorful, though, if everything blooms at once.

I pulled some babysitting duty on Friday.  One of the single Moms in the church had to work the evening shift and she couldn’t find anyone to pick up her little girl from day care at the YMCA.  I made the journey all the way over to 39th and L to pick her up.  Interesting experience there.  I was asked to sign her out, but no one asked for my ID.  The Mom had told them someone else would be picking the little girl up, but it just seemed strange they didn’t want to verify who I was.  Then I couldn’t find her name on the list, so the worker found it for me and asked me to initial next to her name.  Finally I was told to go on back and get her.  I didn’t know where “on back” was, so I started in the general direction of her point.  To her credit, one of the workers did join me for the journey, but she peeled off as soon as we reached the big room.  I did see the little girl, and she did recognize me, so we managed to make the necessary connections there.  She didn’t have the backpack I was told would be with her, though.  The worker assured me she hadn’t come in with one.  Guess that’s something her Mom will have to sort out.  I had no trouble getting her.  That was the thing that troubled me.  I would sure recommend that they take a look at security measures.

And now to look over the teaching and the kids’ sermon for church today.  We have another group visiting.  This one is from University of Mary Hardin Baylor.  They are going to intro the teaching with some kind of testimony/skit.  I’m interested to see how it works out. 

Psalms 71:17-18 says, “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

Father, I guess I have made it to the old and gray part.  I have seen you do some pretty marvelous things.  Don’t stop now.  The fact that you are still at work makes it so much easier to point the next generation to you.  All about action, these young ones.  Amen.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

March 16 – “Memorials”

I couldn’t see that comet that was supposed to be in the sky the other night.  We tried several times, and even went up on the deck in the cold, 50 degree wind.  Still no comet.  Guess it was a case of too much light in the big city.  Sigh.

I led a memorial service the other day.  The son of the dear lady who died handed me a thank you note after the service, a pretty common occurrence.  But what was inside wasn’t quite so common.  There were no words of any kind written or printed on the card other than the factory embossed “Thank You” on the front and the Hallmark stamp on the back.  But inside two one hundred dollar bills had been folded in that origami kind of trick folding.  They were shaped into the form of two perfect hearts and stuck onto the page with a tiny dab of glue (so they wouldn’t be harmed in the removal, I suppose).  Thing is, I don’t want to remove them.  I texted a picture of them to Josh, and he said to unfold them would be like destroying a work of art.  I agree.  Maybe I won’t need them any time soon. 

Kel and Christina and the boys stopped by yesterday after a trip to the library.  I ordered some pizzas and they joined us for lunch.  I have always been fascinated with the way Moms can understand what their kids are saying.  Sometimes siblings have that knack as well.  It appears to be much rarer for Dads, and especially Grandads, though.  I certainly don’t have it.  Josiah has quite a vocabulary and I can sometimes make sense of what he says.  I needed an interpreter for most of it yesterday, though, when Christina was encouraging him to tell us about his recent experiences.  What better way to develop speaking skills than by lots of practice, right?  Way to go Mommy Christina.  At one point the two of them told a story about what they had seen on a trip to the YMCA.  Seems some cows were playing basketball.  That much I got.  Christina clarified that it was, indeed, cows.  The Chick-Fil-A cows were there to visit with the kids.  It was the next thing Josiah said that confused me, though.  Best I can tell he said, “Then those cows ranned outside and ran in the street and we runned ober dem.”  Christina was just as surprised as we were over that particular development to the story.  He was pretty much done by that time and his mind moved onto brighter thoughts.  I would have liked to mine his thought a bit more after that one, since we had the Mommy/Interpreter and all.  Ah, well.  Perhaps I should prepare a memorial service for those Chick-Fil-A cows.  We could serve steak …

Psalms 71:16 says, “I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.”

Father, bring on some of those mighty acts.  Amen.