Monday, September 29, 2008

Will you adopt me?

The first seventeen verses of the entire New Testament outline Jesus’ genealogy. It begins with Abraham and lists all the fathers and sons all the way down to Joseph, “the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Curious thing, though, because it is Joseph’s bloodline that is chronicled. There was not a drop of Joseph’s DNA flowing in Jesus' human veins.

Joseph was Jesus’ adoptive father. Joseph made the choice to be Jesus’ earthly father. Even though he knew there was no way he could even compare to Jesus’ “real” father, Joseph still chose that relationship.

Which also means, for a time here on earth, Jesus was an adopted son. That is kind of a strange thought, isn’t it? But, it is a statement on what God thinks about adoption. God was willing to put Jesus up for adoption by a family here on earth, which eventually made way for you and I to be adopted into His family in heaven.

Adoption is all about choice.

He chose to do it. For everyone of us. There are no orphans of God.

The next choice is ours.

Adoption is on my mind because today is Scott’s adoption birthday. His mom and dad chose him when he was just 29 days old. Just think of all the lives (i.e., everyone that Scott has ever known) that have been touched and affected because of that choice. I know mine has been.

As a child, they always celebrated his adoption birthday with cake, just like his biological birthday. His parents wanted him to know that his adoption birthday was just as important and meant just as much.

I made strawberry cupcakes for the occasion.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1:4-6

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Mother of all Fiesta Platters

OK. It's confession time. I have done something absolutely crazy. It's something big. I mean really BIG.

We got on the interstate this morning and drove an hour south to a place we don't travel to much. We were just looking for a change of scenery.

We did a little shopping at a store we don't have where we live. Scott got a new pair of socks.

I bought the biggest Fiesta platter ever made. I had never seen a Fiesta dish of this size...and I've even been to the factory where it's manufactured. But when I saw it, I had to have it. I just couldn't go home without it. It cost me almost a week's salary. Well, not quite - it was on sale and then I got an extra % off coupon. Still, I paid way too much for a dish that will be on display way more than it will ever be used for containing food.

I'll have to put it on the dining room table because I have no where else to store it. It's so big it won't fit anywhere else. It might actually get a little more use if it's actually out on the table. Except, now that I spent all my money on the dish, we're going to be eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches for a while.

That's a LOT of peanut butter sandwiches.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Squirrels, snakes, hawks, and heaven

Aarrrggghh. Enough with life lessons from the wildlife and wandering in the wilderness! I told you, I’m a city girl! I prefer classrooms made of concrete, surrounded by lots of roads and traffic and all the pretty lights.

Yes, more stories from the animal planet, aka my yard.

Yesterday, I pulled my car into my driveway and parked. The driveway at our hose curves left, so when the car is parked in the driveway, it is parallel to the street. There is only a few feet of dirt between the parallel driveway and street. I say dirt and not grass because there are two huge oak trees growing in that little plot of land. Big trees and lots of shade mean no sun and no grass. The mailbox at the edge of the yard is directly underneath one of the trees.

I got out of the car and stepped toward the mailbox to get the mail. My cat, Marbles, as she usually does, bounced out of the rocker on the front porch and began to waddle out to me.

This awful screaming started wailing through the air. I froze. Marbles ran under my car and crouched behind a tire. I could tell the scream came from an animal, not a human. I could also tell it was close by. I was still about three steps away from the front of the mailbox. My feet didn’t move, but I looked all around. I realized it was coming from somewhere over my head.

I looked up. In among the oak tree’s high limbs and leaves I saw something that did not seem like it belonged there. At first, it looked like a large piece of crumpled-up, vanilla-colored craft paper (the kind professional movers use to wrap your china in). It was wrapped in and around some of the smaller branches. The screaming was coming from there.

There was lots of noise, but no movement.

As I focused more clearly, I realized that what I thought was wrinkled paper was actually feathers. More specifically, hawk feathers. It was the underside of its full wing span spread out. And then I saw a little fuzzy squirrel tail hanging from the mix of feathers and branches. It was the source of all the noise.

The crying and screaming finally stopped. After several long, silent seconds the hawk took flight with the little squirrel in its clutches.

I stood there feeling helpless. I wanted to cry for the squirrel. I wanted to scoop my cat up so the hawk wouldn’t get her.

I know this kind of thing happens every day.

I know that just a couple of days ago, we were responsible for snuffing out a snake.

I know this has to happen for life to go on. I know all about the circle of life and death and the food chain and all.

I just don’t like to witness it personally. The killing seems so evil.

A year ago, maybe two, I read Randy Alcorn’s book HEAVEN. It permanently influenced the way I think about death. Every time I’m faced with death now, whether it is human, plant, or animal, I think about heaven.

Alcorn’s HEAVEN is a 500-page book and very textbook-like, so I won’t try to recap it here. But I will say that he makes a very convincing case about what the Bible says about not only human death, but the death of plants and animals too. All death.

Mostly, to summarize it, there will be no more death once we get to heaven.

That’s what is says in Revelation.

Just think about it for a minute. If there is no death, the food chain as we know it is gone. There will be no killing for food. Plants won’t die. We’ll have perpetually producing crops.

I won’t need to fear poisonous snakes. I won’t have to cry over helpless little squirrels.

I am so-o-o-o looking forward to it. I just have to face my own death to get there. I thank God that I have faced it and settled it before some shovel wielding man or a sharp-clawed hawk comes after me.

I pray the same for you.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." Revelation 21:4-5

Monday, September 22, 2008

Indy, why does the floor move?

City folk. That’s what we are.

We have lived in the rural, swampy lowcountry for almost 12 years and I am still not at home with the forces of nature here. It’s never more apparent that when we have to interact with the wildlife in our yard.

Our cat, Marbles, always knows when our cars are coming down the street. By the time we pull into the driveway, she has bounded down from her perch in the porch rocker or bounced her way back from the back yard. She usually comes out to greet us and either walks all around our legs or just lies at our feet waiting for a stroke. Then she remembers she is not a dog. Her true cat self calls to her and reminds her she should be ignoring us, which she then promptly does.

Last night when we got home Marbles was nowhere to be found. Scott called and called and paced the yard. Nothing. It was not typical behavior for Marbles. We went inside but kept watching the door for her.

She did finally show up later, but it was obvious she had her mind on other things.

At one point Scott stepped out on the front porch to check on her. He saw the shadow of little cat ears peaking around the corner of the house. Marbles does that occasionally if there are strangers around, but not usually with us. It was dark, and Scott couldn’t tell if was Marbles or not (there are several neighborhood cats around). I stepped outside to take a look myself. If that was her, I wanted to see what was spooking her.

While Scott was busy trying to coax the cat shadow from around the corner of the house, I looked the other way and saw Marbles in the yard beyond the porch. She was mighty intent on something else in the grass.

Scott turns his attention to Marbles, steps closer to her, and then he sees the object of distress for all three of us (four if you count the other cat peaking around the corner). A snake. In my yard. Ugh. Granted, it was a small, young snake. But still. Ugh. I can’t help it, I think they are Satan.

The snake was snapping at Marbles. Marbles was swatting at it. Scott started barking commands to both Marbles and me. “Get away from it.” “Turn on the porch light.” “Get something to hit it with.” “Bring the flashlight.”

Now, I know cats are snake predators, and Marbles was probably just having a little fun. But I have heard too many stories from people around here about them finding copperheads and rattlesnakes in their yards. While I have no idea what a copperhead or rattlesnake looks like up close and personal, Scott and I agreed that this little snake looked poisonous. It WAS Satan and it had to go.

I scooped Marbles up, took her in the house, picked up the flashlight, got the keys to the storage building out back, went out there and got the shovel (the first thing I could find in the dark), all the while stepping gingerly to avoid any other native critters in the grass.

Scott did a very good job of disabling and then disposing of the snake so that Marbles wouldn’t find it and continue to play with it. Although, once it doesn’t wiggle any more, she loses interest anyway.

I don’t really know what time it was that all that took place, but I do know it was late. Before all the commotion, I was pretty much ready for bed. Not so much afterwards. I was wide awake, afraid to close my eyes for fear of slithering nightmares. So, today I am sleepy.

This morning Marbles was nestled back in her front porch rocker, but staring blindly at the spot where it all took place last night. I’m not sure if she was just wishfully thinking or if she was actually staring at something else squirming (because we all know that where there is one, especially young ones, there are more!). It must be so tempting for her – all the thrill of danger, excitement, the adrenalin rush, and maybe even in the end, a little snack.

I told her to resist the devil today.

Now, if only I can practice what I preach.

Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do What?

I have tried to get this post up for three days now. I’m having a little trouble getting it done the way I want it done, which is what this post is about anyway.

Sometimes I just can’t keep up with myself.

I’m not typically a procrastinator. While I do have my moments, I am not a lazy person. I like to get all my work done so that afterwards I will have time to sit down, rest, and do nothing for a bit.

I just don’t rest well if there is something left unfinished that needs to be done. And mind you, I do like my rest.

It's so hard to figure out why it is that the things I want to get done first almost always end up being the last actually completed.

I realize that to some extent, the more important something is to me, the longer I take to think about it before I actually get busy doing something about it. Then, once I get started, I am more deliberate and attentive and therefore probably slower accomplishing the task.

Why do I do it? I guess the REAL question is, why don’t I do it?

It’s not until the stock market has days like it did earlier this week that I remember I need to move some of my itty bitty 401K funds from stocks to bonds. I need to do that because I’m getting old and all financial advisers say the older you get the less risk you should take. I’ve been needing to do that for months now, regardless of the level of the Dow.

Every time I sit on the toilet in our master bathroom, I get a clearer view of the linoleum from a closer angle and I think to myself, “Gee, that sure could use a good down-on-my-hands-and-knees kind of scrubbing.” I walk on that floor every day. I turn out the light on my way out and don’t look back.

After I unload the just-bought groceries, I begin putting them away and open the refrigerator door. It is about at that point that I remember my ice-maker has been broken for months and I should have bought a bag of ice at the grocery store. I really need to call the repairman. Instead, I just keep making second trips back the store to buy bags of ice.

I have a full time job. On a weekly basis, besides my regular attendance at church worship services, I put together the screen presentation stuff for the Sunday worship service, I go to choir practice, ensemble rehearsal, two Bible studies (one I lead, another one someone else leads. Both have homework), and lunch with my prayer partner. I do a lot of other Nancy-can-you-help-me kind of projects for the church, the chamber of commerce, the arts council, the museum, my not really work related practical joke playing boss, and lots of dearly beloved friends. I wouldn’t trade any of it. Especially the last part.

Oh, and then there’s this blog. Which, most days, is what I want to do first but usually ends up being last.

I don’t say all that to prove how busy I am and justify my neglect of the things I don’t get done. It is really quite the opposite. Even in spite of all that I do, I still have time in every day that could be put to much better use. I am not sitting around doing nothing, but still, time wastes away.

Often I do what calls out to me the loudest or most urgently that day. Loud and urgent are not always right. The quiet, unassuming things get pushed back.

The things I want to do , I don’t. The things I probably should put off until I’ve really thought them through. Well, I end up doing them anyway.

Gracious me. I think Paul’s been reading my mail. I guess it’s a good thing someone is reading it because it’s been piled up on the dining room table largely unopened for a while now. . .

I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. Romans 7:15-20

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vili Grem and North Korea

I know I’ve said this before, but because it happens so often, I’m going to repeat it: God uses themes with me. Maybe it’s more like chapters. What I mean is that something or someone keeps popping up in my life. Something about it/them comes to my attention on several occasions within a short amount of time.

Or, maybe it is just a manifestation of the second and third chances He offers me so that I can finally catch on to what He’s trying to show me.

Although it can be, it is not usually a major life changing thing that God’s trying to show me. Often it is just something that heightens my sensitivity and enhances my relationship with Him or someone else.

It has happened again of the last couple of weeks. This time it’s Billy Graham and his family with a sub-plot of North Korea.

Last week on our not-quite-a-vacation, we took a day trip up from Pop’s to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pop had previously been with the senior adults from his church. He enjoyed it enough to want to go again and he wanted us to experience it too.

The grounds and gardens are beautiful. The displays and presentations are very well done. It was all so informative and interesting. You can read more about it if you click here.

I bet that most people, even those who do not profess to be Christians, when asked what they know about Billy Graham, would answer that he had some pastoral association with all of the United States Presidents since Harry Truman(I think it went back that far). That seems to be a well photo-documented and publicized tidbit.

What I discovered beyond that at the BG Library and what I found so amazing was his connection and relationship with so many leaders of foreign countries. There were a couple of photos that really struck me to the point that I just had to stop and stare. One was of Billy Graham with North Korean former dictator Kim Il Sung. How in the world did they ever have occasion to meet?

The second picture that had me riveted was of Billy Graham and Golda Meir. I don’t know much about the details of her life but I am so intrigued. How did a woman educated in the US get to be Prime Minister of Israel in the 1960s? I need to find a good biography on her!

The whole international phenomenon was unbelievable. In one of the displays there were envelopes of letters to Billy Graham that had very incomplete addresses. Some were from other countries. Somehow, they all found their way to the right place. Here’s my favorite:

One of the presentations was dedicated to his wife Ruth. If I knew it before, I had forgotten that her parents were missionaries and she was raised in China. My ears perked up as the audio/video described her early years. The narrator said she went to boarding school in Pyongyang, North Korea. My eyes widened and I snapped my head around to smile at Scott. Pyongyang?! Really?! We have some dear, sweet friends who are working in Pyongyang today because they have dedicated their lives to God and to higher education and peace and unification - - on many different levels. It reminded me of them and my great need to pray regularly for them and their work. It’s that North Korean thing again.

OK, so fast forward a few days. We’re back at work and getting back into our normal routine. I have lunch with my friend Ginger and I tell her about our visit to the BG Library. She tells me there’s a TV special about Ruth Bell Graham coming on soon. I check the listings when I get home and whaddaya know, it was scheduled to air the very next night. (Thanks for the heads up, Ginger!). There goes God again beckoning me to pay attention!

The next evening we tuned in and watched the program. By the time it was over, Scott and I both were in tears. One interview on the program was with a man who came to the US as a desperate refugee and was struggling to survive with his family. He didn’t know it until much later, but Ruth made the down payment on a house for them. In another interview (a musician, I can’t remember his name), there was a story of the interaction between Ruth and a little orphan girl whose face had been badly burned; Ruth going on about how precious the child was. All Ruth’s children were on the program and spoke of how loving and selfless and silly she was. It was just one of those programs that made you think about your own mama; and your heavenly father.

God still wasn’t done with this chapter yet.

Did you see the news in the last week? North Korea made the headlines. It seems there is a lot of speculation about the health of the current North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. And, apparently there is no groomed successor if indeed he is close to death. All of which would have heavy impact on, well, North Korea, South Korea, China, the US, my friends there, on and on and on…

Oh, and, next week there just happens to be a Franklin Graham Festival about an hour from here. That’s pretty close to home.

So, Pop led us to Billy Graham, which pointed me to Ruth, both of which led me to North Korea, which brought me to the feet of Jesus in prayer for my friends there. And then North Korea shows up on the headlines of my personal computer, and Franklin Graham comes to my area. All in about two week’s time.

What started out as a not-quite-a-vacation ended up taking me halfway across the world and brought me right back to my own little world. Isn’t it amazing what God can do?!

Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Isaiah 12:5

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How big is God?

Here' something I wrote on this day seven years ago. Writing it was my personal therapy that day to remind me not to give up hope.

God is brokenhearted today.

He is brokenhearted because you and I may have at some time in our lives ignored our call and didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to share Christ and to show His love with one of the people killed today. We may have been face to face with them, whether we knew their names or now, and perhaps were afraid to speak up.

Now, a different fear is spreading.

Or, maybe we had just put Christ out of our minds at the time. Just what WERE we thinking? They may have been watching us from a distance at some interstate rest stop or an amusement park or a shopping mall or some other outlet where our paths may have briefly crossed. Had we taken a vacation from our responsibility to Christ as well?

He is brokenhearted that unique pieces of His creation embraced evil. Oh, the blessings He had in store for them. But their choices just blew them away.

As much as it may have physically hurt to have a Boeing jet crash into your office, as much as it may have burned to have the temperatures register hot enough to melt steel, God’s hurt is even greater.

Greater now because some of His precious creations are lost. Not in a pile of rubble and debris, but lost eternally.

He is brokenhearted that any of His creation has to suffer. He, most of all, knows what it means to suffer. It is suffering, however, that causes us to trust God for who He is, not what He does.

And who He is, is bigger.

God is bigger.

As far as those that jumped from the buildings fell, as far beneath the rubble as some were buried, God’s love will go father.

As long as it takes to search, as long as it takes to recover and rebuild, as long as remembrances of these days will be voiced, God’s love will last longer.

As deep as those pictures are ingrained in our minds, as deep as the hurt is, God’s love will always be deeper.

As far across the earth as the repercussions have been felt, as far as those rescue workers and relief efforts have increased the boundaries of our generosity, God’s love will stretch even wider.

Our God is bigger than any tragedy.

God is in control.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 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. Ephesians 3:14-19

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mamma Mia!

When I entered the seventh grade I joined the band. At first I started with the drums, but every time I hit the sticks on the drum head I blinked my eyes. That made it difficult to read the music. And those drum rolls, yikes, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. So, I switched to the bassoon. (Exactly why I chose the bassoon is a story for another day. Let’s just say that even back then my inability to actually make a choice was prominent).

I didn’t even really know what a bassoon was when I started. I soon learned that it wasn’t exactly the easiest instrument to play. It also was not a very popular instrument. Both of those worked in my favor. It didn’t take much to be considered a half way decent bassoonist. Just a little practice and not much competition.

Because I was one of the two or three bassoonists in the county, I had a few opportunities that I don’t think would have otherwise been afforded to me if I had chosen a more popular instrument like the clarinet or the trumpet.

One of those opportunities was the summer musical productions presented by the county school music department. There were about 15 or 20 high schools in the county. Band, orchestra, and choral students from all of them would audition for parts. We would practice all summer long and would close out the months with a weekend of performances.

I always made the cut. Like I said, not much competition in the bassoon section.

It was during the rehearsals and electric performances that a love of mine of solidified. My love for THE MUSICAL. My first exposure to musicals was actually in movie format. As a little girl, I used to love it when the Sunday night movie on TV was something like Oklahoma or The King and I. I loved them long before I ever even knew they were based on an actual live performance. Once I discovered what Broadway was I felt like my love had found a home.

Funny thing, though. Even though music is his life, a Broadway musical is Scott’s least favorite form of music production. I guess maybe because they are not exactly “serious” music. And, I have to admit, they are not really true to life. No one in real life ever has a full chorus of back-up singers when they need to emphasize a point.

Anyway, since we had to forfeit our beach trip this past weekend and stay home, we took one afternoon and went to the movies. Scott humored me and took me to see Mama Mia! He was able to tolerate it because it was at least 70’s music, which is one of his favorites.

Really, overall I think it is more of a wait-for-the DVD kind of movie. However, there were a couple of scenes that made it worth the trip for me.

One is the scene with the Dancing Queen song. Oh, how I wanted to be in that dance line. I wanted to drop everything that was weighing me down and skip through the alley ways of some Greek island singing “having the time of my life...” See for yourself.

(Sorry, I tried to embed the videos, had a little trouble. Just follow the links instead. Go ahead. You'll be glad you did)

Scott had a significant moment too. He got a big kick out of watching me snort and laugh until I cried at Pierce Brosnan singing S O S. In Scott’s words, “it was a stretch.” It wasn’t so much Pierce’s singing; it was just the way he looked doing it. It’s just not natural. See for yourself.

Those, my friends, are two reasons why I love musicals. Real people finding a song in everyday situations, and still singing it even when you’re not good at it.

Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Psalm 100:2

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's raining here, what's it like where you are?

We had reservations at Myrtle Beach for this weekend. As the weekend and Tropical Storm Hanna both drew closer, it looked more and more like they would converge together sometime on Friday. So, we stayed home.

At home we basically did some things around the house and monitored the storm. The local television stations kept broadcasting updates all day long. Local schools were closed. They were not expecting Hanna to hit us directly, but from everything the meteorologists said, I felt sure we would see a significant amount of rain and wind.

We kept waiting and anticipating. Around 5 pm Scott and I went outside to bring the cat in. She is truly and outdoor cat, so it was not an easy task. We just didn’t want her to be outside in the storm.

We waited all night long. We saw a little wind and a few raindrops, but nothing big. Our electricity stayed on. There was one point for a couple of hours when we had no water, which was odd. Even though we had bottled water in the house, I think Scott and I both realized we could live without power a lot longer than we could live without water. Ahh, I think that’s a metaphorical lesson for another day.

But the whole storm thing...We spent our entire day looking for it. Waiting. Anticipating. Planning. Rearranging our plans. For us, it turned out to be just another day with no extreme weather.

The whole episode has brought home a sermon I heard about two or three weeks ago. It bothered me and I’ve been carrying it around in my mind ever since. It wasn’t that the words of the sermon convicted me of some great sin or anything, it’s just that I realized how much we put words into the mouth of God that aren’t really there. We keep looking for storms that aren’t really there.

The sermon was based on Matthew 14:22-33. It’s the story of Jesus walking on the water.

Stop a minute and think about what you know about that story. What was the weather like that night?

Was your answer “stormy”?

And how about the disciples? The three gospels that tell story describe them as being afraid. What were they afraid of?

Was your answer “the storm”?

And if you had to sum up a lesson from the story, what would it be?

Did your answer have something to do with Jesus coming to us, being with us, in the storm?

Well, I read and reread that story in all three gospels (Matthew 14, Mark 6, John 6), and the only evidence of weather I could find was wind. Just wind. No rain, or thunder, or lightening.

And, it seemed the wind wasn’t swirling, it was merely blowing hard from the direction they were headed. They faced a strong headwind. That’s all.

It reminded me of being on the beach on a very windy day, when the sun is still bright and hot and the water it still cool. The high wind blows sand all over my towel and the waves are numerous and frequent – good surfing weather if I were a surfer. Not exactly what I would call a stormy day.

And the gospels all say that the disciples were frightened with they saw Jesus. Their fear had nothing to do with the weather. They were afraid, so the scriptures say, because they thought they saw a ghost.

I think the story is more about the disciples being faced with the miraculous, divine, power of Jesus. They were faced with it and challenged to believe that it could be theirs, and it scared them to death.

It’s kinda like being handed the reins or the car keys or whatever for the very first time, only on a more giant scale. A power you’ve never had before if now available to you. It is frightening.

I’m not sure why we so often associate a storm with this story. Maybe it is because we don’t want to believe it or face it or admit that the miraculous can actually be ours, so we let ourselves become distracted by the weather. We forfeit the power Jesus displays and assign it to the weather. And before you know it, we have convinced ourselves there really is a storm out there even though we don’t feel or see the rain.

It’s a lot easier to just talk about the weather, whether it is actual or merely forecast. But to really know that the power that makes the wind blow is available to you, now that’s something to talk about.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
Matthew 14:37

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'll be happy to pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today

This past Sunday, Scott and I made the trip upstate to Scott's dad's house (we both call him 'Pop'). We made the trip so that we could celebrate Scott's birthday with Pop. Scott's birthday fell on Labor Day this year so we both had the day off from work. We also decided to take the rest of the week off too so we could spend a couple of days with Pop.

Yesterday(Monday), even though it was Scott's birthday, Pop is the one who racked up all the loot. We set out first thing and headed to a huge electronic/appliance/furniture store. Pop came home with a 52" flat screen HD TV. Good gosh, it's the biggest TV I have ever seen. Oh, and a stand to put it on. And a blue ray disc player. We spent the rest of the day getting it in the van, out of the van, in the house, and set up (had to make a second trip out to get more cables and wires for all the component hook-ups).

After we got it all set up and hooked up, Pop admitted that it was larger than he thought it was going to be and maybe a smaller one would have been enough. But, oh well, he has it now. And, really, he spends a good portion of every day with it, so why not?!

Today (Tuesday) we took a day trip up to Charlotte, NC (more on that later). On the way back to Pop's we detoured on a side trip through the county for a visit with Scott's sister Peggy. I just thought I lived in the middle of nowhere. Gracious me, she lives even further away from anywhere than we do.

The small, two-lane country road to Peggy's was curvy and hilly and long. I was riding in the back seat of the van. At first I was trying to read. I bought The Shack for the trip and had just gotten to the suspenseful part. But trying to read about other-wordly, ethereal, existential things while winding and bumping along was a little more puke provoking than I could handle.

Thank goodness I had my iPod (and my camera).

I think, however, that maybe I waited a little too long to make the transition from reading to listening because I began to hallucinate and see things that weren't really there.

My ear buds...

..looked suspiciously like Olive Oyl's feet...

And I had a strange craving for spinach.

Maybe I waited a little too long to take this vacation.

Well, I guess vacations are supposed to help you escape for a while.

The latter part of the week and the upcoming weekend we have non-refundable reservations at Myrtle Beach. And Hurricane Hanna is headed that way. Oh boy.

Who knows where we will end up, in reality or in my head. Either way, I'm sure it will be a memorable trip!

Honor and enjoy your Creator while you're still young, Before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes, Before your vision dims and the world blurs And the winter years keep you close to the fire. Ecclesiastes 12:1-2