Thursday, August 27, 2009

Am I the only one?

Ted Kennedy has died. Am I the only one who is glad that the Kennedy family reign is coming to an end?

Good grief, America's 'royal family' certainly acted as though laws and morals didn't apply to them. Joseph Kennedy, the patriarch, was notorious for his womanizing. His money, that bought most of the Kennedy family's place in politics, was earned by shady stock market dealings and bootlegging during Prohibition.

John F. Kennedy was easily the biggest womanizer in presidential history.

Ted Kennedy was expelled from Harvard for paying someone else to take an exam for him. Then he entered the service and his father paid to make sure he didn't see battle in the Korean War. He was then allowed to reenter Harvard. Interestingly, the Kennedy family gives a lot of money to Harvard.

I remember Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. Ted was drunk and was driving a woman (not his wife) home from a party. Ted ran the car off a bridge. The car landed upside down in the deep water. Ted got out of the car, swam to the surface and left without even telling anyone about the accident until the woman's dead body was discovered. It was proven that the woman had found an air pocket and probably lived a couple hours after submerged in the car. If Ted had gone immediately to a nearby house for help, there was a very good chance the woman would've survived. For this, he received a 6 month suspended sentence.

All that is just the tip of the iceberg. But many, many people choose to ignore all that and set the Kennedy family up on a pedestal. Truly, I don't understand.

Morals and actions still matter to me when I look at public figures. When I exercise my privilege to vote, I look at a person's life and lifestyle as well as their political leanings. I can't separate their talk from their walk.

......end of rant.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The time the alligator ate Randall's flipflop

or... how to make an ordinary afternoon into an adventure!

Yesterday was the last official day of summer. School starts for Russ and Josh on Monday! I wanted to do something different. So I called Jaime and asked if she'd like to bring Russ and Randall and join Josh and Julia and me on a trip to Gators and Friends. We would just make it in time for the feeding frenzy!

So we pack everyone up and off we go. We arrive and pile out and go check out the pile of alligators that has gathered in the water. We're on a bridge over water literally teeming with alligators. And we were only about 3 feet over them! A man arrived with a bucket of food and that's when it really got scary!

We were standing nearby riveted to the scene when Randall stuck his foot between the wooden slats. Then he moved it back. Well, he moved his foot back, the flipflop ON his foot didn't move back. It fell, kerplunk, into the alligator infested water! First, Jaime gasped loudly enough that my first impulse to was catch my breath because that gasp sucked out all the air around us. Then I leaned over to see if anything other than the flipflop had fallen in. Then I took a head count of the g'kids. 1..2...3...4...ok, that's all we brought. We were only down 1 flipflop. breathe in....breathe out...

First thing to do was to let someone who worked there know. So Jaime went in search of someone who might could retrieve the flipflop. A man arrives with a pole. He sees the flipflop drifting under the bridge where we were standing. As he reaches to try to hook the flipflop, he casually mentions that there was a good chance the alligators would swarm to the hook and one was bound to eat the flipflop. Seriously, he said that casually.

And he was right! As we moved further away so we could see if he could successfully snag the flipflop, we watched as that swarm of alligators quickly made its way toward that pole. Russell and Josh thought it was the coolest thing in the world to watch! Julia was not impressed and stayed closer to me than the water. Randall was busy hopping around on one foot. Jaime and I were mostly speechless.

As we helplessly watched, one of the alligators slowly opened his mouth and devoured the entire flipflop. We tried to keep following him, thinking that he'd spit it out and then we could snag it and Randall would have a very cool flipflop. It was easy to watch because it was the alligator that kept chewing! I'm guessing that rubber in flipflops is not the easiest thing to chew up! Right around the time the alligator stopped chewing, we all thought we heard a burp coming from the horde of alligators. Seriously. I don't think I've ever heard an alligator burp before! I've never seen an alligator chew up a flipflop either so it could've been the same alligator.

So the alligators dissipated, all of them off to take a nap after an exciting lunch. I'm betting the one who ate the flipflop ended up with heartburn but we didn't stay around long enough to see for sure. Next we wandered around the rest of the place, hand feeding all the different animals. Jaime carried Randall when the road was too rocky but he managed to get right into it with the other kids.

They got to hand feed a zebra, llamas, Scottish cows, deer, lots of miniature goats, miniature horses and a camel. For the record, I was the only one who fed the camel. It was a bit scary when I turned around and we were eye to eye! And the camel had a huge mouth. I fed it twice and that was enough for me. Julia decided she liked the little horses the best because she likes horses most out of all the animals and these horses were just so cute and little and wouldn't it be cool if she could have one and she was probably going to dream all about little cute horses that night....

As we climbed back in the car, I told Randall that he made our trip into an adventure! We'll always remember 'the time the alligator ate Randall's flipflops.! Randall smiled, but I don't think he's convinced it was worth it. And I'm thinking that there is a certain alligator that is thinking the same thing!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

God has no grandchildren

This morning's sermon was on Ruth and it really gave me a lot to ponder. One of the things I saw was that, in the Old Testament, just about every 3rd generation turned from God. Think about it. There was Moses, then Joshua and the next generation turned away.

Judges 2 tells us,

"Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel."

We as people sure seem to have a short memory and attention span. What usually happens is that someone experiences God in a very real way. They live for God and their children hear about this God and the stories of what He did in their parents' lives. Then the children have children. When the grandchildren hear about God from the grandparents, it sounds like good stories. Stories, just stories. Not real, life changing experiences of a living God, just good stories. How can the grandchild base his life on good stories? Good stories don't give you hope or a reason to live or eternal life.

By the 3rd generation, God becomes watered down and seems far away or something relevant only to the grandparents. Twice in Judges (Judges 17:6, 21:15), it says, "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit." By the 3rd generation removed from a personal encounter with God, it becomes very easy to do 'as he saw fit'.

Until the grandchildren have their own relationship with God, there will be no reason to live for God or follow His ways. Where there is no relationship, there will be rebellion.

Our job as parents is to give our children opportunities to know Jesus on their own, not rely on our relationship with Him. We can't take the easy way out and hope that our experiences will be enough to keep our kids and grandkids going in the right direction. It won't be enough because God wants a personal relationship with each of us. He doesn't want to become a distant memory. Always remember that God doesn't have grandchildren.

Just about the time I feel so unworthy to have an impact on another generation, God reminds me that He completes His plan through ordinary people.

In Matthew and Luke, Jesus's genealogy is traced back and 2 women are remembered by name, Rahab and Ruth. Rahab was a prostitute and Ruth was a Moabite. Both were ordinary women who embraced a living God. Rahab's past was forgiven and she raised a good man who married Ruth. And they became part of Jesus' past and heritage.

The times that past regrets try to choke me, I remember what Corrie Ten Boom once said, "When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever ... Then He places a sign out there that says No Fishing Allowed!"

I want to be an ordinary person, used by an extraordinary God.

(thanks for a great sermon, Troy)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Heart warming

This picture of my new police officer son-in-law kissing Ally goodbye is not only sweet but it makes me proud too. This young man was made to be a policeman.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Mystery Tour

This weekend was a mystery trip for the jr hi and hi school kids. What we really got was a mystery wrapped in an adventure and topped off with a casket! Yup, you heard me right! So let me tell you about it...

There were 21 of us. That broke down into 6 adult sponsors and 15 teens. Then we had 4 vehicles and one of them broke down on the way to Dallas.

The adventure begins. Because of our reservations in Dallas, we have to leave Mr. T at a rest stop with his car that has 3 wheels, one 'donut' spare tire and a missing lug nut. It felt like we were abandoning him but it was the best choice we could make.

Poor Mr. T. It was 8pm outside of Dallas and tire stores were all closed. He finally located one north of 635 where he could park the car for the night. Imagine driving on 635 with a very unreliable spare tire. Everyone was zooming past him while he was trying to not go over 45mph! There were a lot of friendly people who waved at him when they passed him. It must have been a condensed wave because they only used one finger....

While Mr. T. was s....l....o....w...l...y making his way into Dallas, the rest of our group made it to Whirlyball. We reserved spaces for 20 folks and had 20 folks with us. As we learned how to play Whirlyball, some of us learned quickly, some of us learned more slowly, and some of us tried to accumulate as many bruises as possible. Kudos to Lauren for the biggest bruise. And many kudos to the teens who were so patient with each other, regardless of how well they played. That was definitely a fun part of the mystery.

Next we all went to pick up Mr. T. Trying to caravan through Dallas traffic can be an adventure in itself. We all managed to get off course, lose each other, and accidentally split up at least once during the weekend. That simply added to the mystery (will we find each other again? do we know where we're going? where is everyone?) and high adventure. ('high' meaning like high blood pressure)

Then we took off to where we were going to spend the night. Nobody guessed a 4 star hotel. (which is good 'cuz they would've been wrong). They were all pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Dallas Christian College. By now it was pretty late and the girls were tuckered out. They were actually amazing. I simply told them what time to be packed and ready to go in the morning and in the morning, they were packed and ready!!

Morning came especially early for B.E. and Mr. T. Poor B. had to drive Mr. T to where his car was and then pick up breakfast for the group and get back to the college by 7:30am.

After a delightful repast of donuts and juice, we were all ready for the adventure ahead. Our first stop was Cornerstone Baptist Church. This is an amazing church. They have come into this community and are redoing it one piece at a time. Where there were drug infested apartments, there are now clinics, transition homes for foster children, food pantries, places to get free clothing, a kitchen for meals for the homeless. It was amazing to listen to this godly pastor who truly walked his talk.

Our first project was to help set up extra chairs at the church. We didn't know why, we just did as we were asked. As we were looking around the sanctuary while waiting for chairs, we noticed a big display of Redskins fan memorabilia. Then we noticed that it was all focused around something that looked out of place.... something like a coffin....and an open coffin at that! So, instead of wondering if it was a real person there, I walked over to check it out. And oh my goodness, it WAS a real body in a casket!!!!!

breathe slowly....we're making memories here....memories, not nightmares...We find out that we were actually setting up chairs for this man's funeral. It was just very odd to have the scene all set up and no one else there. That definitely upped our freaky memory scale.

Next we were off in 2 groups. One went to an apartment full of donated clothes and household stuff. There we organized and folded and folded and organized until it was all nice and tidy and we were all nice and sweaty. We were completely locked in, not just the regular door, but also the metal bar door with heavy metal screen over that! The rest of the group went to the kitchen to help prepare and serve the meal for the homeless. There were 3-4 groups there to help so our kids got more time to hang out with the people. They played dominoes and just talked. I was just amazed at how willing the teens were to do whatever was asked of them. It was hot, it wasn't a pleasant job, but they would jump up immediately when asked and I heard a number of the kids asking folks there if there was anything they could do to help. I was sure proud of that group!

Our next stop was at a local public school. Another church in Dallas, The Village, works with Cornerstone to bring crews in every summer to clean and paint and repair the neighborhood elementary school. (small world sighting - the wife of the pastor of The Village was Jaime's college roommate!) We got there at the end of their last crew. They were doing the final cleaning before school starts. The school was amazingly clean, polished, buffed and painted. We washed walls - the award for wall cleaning goes to M & P who reached the high spots as M perched on P's shoulders! We cleaned windows, lockers, scraped paint, swept, mopped and helped collect the cleaning remnants. Again, all the kids were great workers.

Our next stop was back to the church after the funeral. I am glad to report that the casket was gone. (whew). The kids folded up tables, rearranged chairs, swept, emptied trash, etc.. to get ready for church the next morning.

By this time, we were all dragging. Everyone had worked hard in the heat and was pretty worn out. So the last surprise on our mystery trip was to Bahama Bucks, truly a taste of paradise. I'd never tasted such amazing shaved ice!

One final stop for supper at Canton's World Famous Dairy Palace. They're world famous, just ask them. We rolled into Longview around 9pm.

It was a mystery trip and an adventure combined to make a most excellent memory!!

About Me

My photo
Longview, Texas
In the autumn of my life, I am very content.