Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Eating Tips

This is too good not to share! I wish I would have thought it up, but didn't. I pirated it from Jamey Ragle.

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has10,000 calories in every sip? It's a treat. Enjoy it Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy.Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass.. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's.You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read these tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"I Never Knew I Could..."

Alright, I’ll admit it… I watch Dancing with The Stars. Whew! Glad to get that out of my closet. While Bruno is a hoot, and the professional dancers are incredible, what I like best about the show is watching the stars… talented people develop, in most cases, a new skill set. And occasionally a star finds her self.

When this season began, Kelly Osbourne, the daughter of Ozzie and Sharon, was not a person I knew much about, or even cared to know anything about. But as the drama has unfolded, she has become my favorite… I’m pulling for her to win the competition. The high point for me was when she responded to the affirmation of the judges, her partner, and the applause of the crowd with words that caused my eyes to take a shower… “I never knew I could be a lady.” Before the watching eyes of the world, she has discovered what she didn’t know that she didn’t know.

In a way, we are all like Kelly Osbourne. We have dreams, but we do not believe them to be a possibility for us. Or due to heavy doses of discouragement from people close to us, we have simply quit dreaming, thrown up our hands in frustration, and settled for something less than what we could be. What we don’t know that we don’t know is choking the very life out of us.

It doesn’t have to be this way. God created us for a purpose and He desires for us to live up to the potential He has placed within us. To do so we must change. We must allow His Spirit to coach us… to bring out of us the person God desires us to be. My friends, if we will submit ourselves to Him, there will come a day when we will say, “I never knew I could...”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just Reminiscing...

She was the second friend that I have memory of. I met her when I was 4 or 5 years old. We lived in the same neighborhood, which was nothing more than a couple of houses on a city block. Though we had played together many times, it wasn't until a hot August day in 1967 that I realized we were the same age.... the first day of first grade.

After a couple of years, her family moved from town to their farm, but our friendship continued. Along with our other classmates, we enjoyed our days as students of Arapaho Public Schools, which all too soon segued to adulthood.

Today I received word that, after a lengthy and courageous battle, Pam Carpenter Cabiness lost her physical life to cancer. Like many of you, I knew she was ill, but didn't realize she was so close to death. I am glad we had been friends, but sad that I didn't talk with her more during the course of her illness.

She leaves behind a husband, two daughters, a son, extended family, and many friends who will no doubt greatly miss her. I can't even imagine the pain they must each feel today. So... as I reminisce I am doing the only thing I can do... I am praying for them. May the God of all comfort hug them close today and in the days and years to come.

Good bye Pam... Godspeed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Be Careful About What You Assume.

Recently I have begun to question much of what I formerly assumed. Notice... I said "assumed". Without going into detail, just allow me to say one should be careful what he assumes!

For too long we have wrongly assumed that what we do as a church naturally produces solid Christ followers. Nothing could be farther from the truth! What we have is a generation of people who wrongly assume that church attendance (pew perching) is synonymous with Christ following. In other words... if I do the scheduled events and attend the "services" I must be following Christ. In fact, it's interesting that those who are called to serve call their gatherings "services". Perhaps this should be changed to provide some distinction between fellowship and actual service (ministry).

Here's the rub... could it be that we have placed too much emphasis on the scheduling, programming, and/or structure of our churches and, thereby, become idolaters? If these things (or anything) become more important to us than our relationship (connection) with God, the answer is "Yes".

Maurice Roberts says... "Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer's soul and they promote sanctification. We are not meant to live without spiritual exhilaration... The believer is in spiritual danger if he allows himself to go for any length of time without tasting the love of Christ... When Christ ceases to fill the heart with satisfaction, our souls will go in silent search of other lovers (The Thought of God)."

It is entirely possible to love the THINGS of the Christ but not THE Christ. It is also possible to love some things that you think are of Christ, but really have little if anything to do with Christ. To do so is to love other lovers.

We need to ask ourselves some serious questions...

  • Do we love reading God's Word for the sake of knocking out a perscribed number of chapters each day, or for the sake of connecting with Him?
  • Do we love gathering on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening more for religious purposes than relationship purposes?
  • Is it more important that we hear a sermon or live a sermon?
  • Does thinking about doing church differently cause us to feel like we are forsaking the faith of our fathers?
  • Are we more about protecting our traditions or advancing the Kingdom?

How we answer these questions and others will reveal volumes about our walk with Christ or... lack there of.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Church Goer or Christ Follower?

“We are good at producing church goers, not so good producing Christ followers.” These are the words of SEBTS Professor of Evangelism Alvin Reid. They are sobering words. They are troubling words. They are accurate words. They are timely words. They are words that we must hear and heed.

While Jesus walked the earth, he called people to “follow” Him. He did not expect them to cloister together in holy huddles, nor did He allow it. He expected them to do what He did, and they did. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his followers they would receive the Holy Spirit and be His witnesses unto Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the ends of the earth, and they were.

In the New Testament, very little is said about the practice and/or structure of the followers of Christ as a group. Much more is said about their activity as a movement. Yes we are told they gathered with regularity for mutual encouragement, instruction in the Apostles doctrine, the breaking of bread, prayer, and fellowship. But specifics of those gathering aren’t mentioned beyond this.

Has it ever occurred to you that, as one who has trusted Christ Jesus for salvation, you have never “gone” to church a day in your life? In fact, not only have you not “gone” to church, you can’t “go” to church because you “are” the church! As such you are called to follow Him.

These are not crazy words. Nor is this a mere play on words. It is a theological reality. Believers must be the church in the culture. And… to this end, we either follow Christ, or we don’t.

Just a thought… but it changes everything.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Now I'm a Believer!

Since Monday all the weather men have been forecasting a snow of "Epic" proportions for Northwest Oklahoma. Now I'm Sooner bred, Sooner born and... when I die I'll be Sooner dead. In other words, I've been here a while and usually we get a few inches of snow... maybe 7 or 8" during a good storm, but those guys were saying "Epic" as in "one for the ages"... they were even comparing it to the storm of 1971, which I remember. So being the natural born sceptic I am... I wasn't buying it.

Somewhere around 4:00 am Friday morning it began thundering and lightening illuminated the sky. I continued lightly sleeping and could hear what sounded like sleet striking the windows and metal roof of my house. My immediate thought was, "Yep, I'm still in Oklahoma"... after all, where else can you enjoy an early Spring morning thunderstorm accompanied by sleet? Daylight broke and I noticed my truck was covered with a thin sheet of ice, and light snow was beginning to fall, but I still wasn't buying the whole epic snow storm deal.

The day progressed and enough snow/sleet accumulated on the ground that Brenda, Shane, Ashley, Lacy and Tristen (niece and great-nephew), and Lori Davis (family friend) could sled down the slight incline leading away from our house. By evening it had finally began snowing and appeared, by sunset, that we may get several inches. When I went to bed, around 2:00 am, my scepticism was taking a serious hit.

I slept until 8:00 am (probably would have slept longer but the phone rang). When I finally got up and looked out the door, I was immediately greeted by a 5' snow drift that spanned the entire length of our house! As I gazed down our drive toward the main road, the place where just the day before the family had been sledding, I saw drift after drift after drift.

My truck was surrounded by a drift that was better than bumper high, and since my 4 wheel drive stopped working a day before the storm (how convenient is that?), I knew it was stuck. Our Nitro was sitting in less of a drift, so I thought I might as well try to make it out in it. So, I got in, put er' in 4 wheel drive and planted my right foot flat on the floor board... made it about 50 yards before paring in a snow bank for which I was no match. Later in the day, Brenda and I walked about 3/4 of mile, through knee deep snow (in some places waste deep on Brenda) and caught a ride to Tish's house with Shane, Ash, and Lacy. After shoveling a path to our friend's mail box for her, and hanging out at with the grandkids for a few, Shane let us out at our rendezvous point and we walked back home, this time finding an incredible blessing... someone had brought in a tractor and plowed through the drifts all the way from the road to our house (1,000'). God is good!

As I write, Brenda, Shane, Ash, Lacy and Tristen are sledding down the hill just west of our house. Yes it is 9:15 pm and dark outside. But what can I say? It's not often we get an "Epic" snow storm in Oklahoma.

As for me, well let me just say it like Micky, Mike, Peter, and Davey would say it... "Now I'm a Believer!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oklahoma Weather

I haven't been in the blogging mood for a while, but I found a poem that is worth sharing... very relevant to us who dwell in the land of ever changing weather.

~BJ Gallagher

"Any day I'm vertical
is a good day"
...that's what I always say.
If you ask me,
"How are you?"
I'll answer, "GREAT!"
because in saying so,
I make it so.
When Life gives me dark clouds and rain,
I appreciate the moisture
that brings a soft curl to my hair.
When Life gives me sunshine,
I gratefully turn my face up
to feel its warmth on my cheeks.
When Life brings fog,
I hug my sweater around me
and give thanks for the cool shroud of mystery
that makes the familiar seem different and intriguing.
When Life brings snow,
I dash outside to catch the first flakes on my tongue,
relishing the icy miracle that is a snowflake.
Life's events and experiences
are like the weather -
they come and go,
no matter what my preference.
So, what the heck?!
I might as well decide to enjoy them.
For indeed,
there IS a time for every purpose
under Heaven.
And each season brings its own unique blessings.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Letter to Jaxx

Jaxxon Shane Allen... I love your name. Oh how I wish you could have stayed with us, even for just a few minutes, but it wasn't meant to be.

I held your little lifeless body, and I whispered into your ear and told you how I would have expressed my love for you. But oh little Jaxx... how I weep over not being able to gaze into your eyes, or feel your warmth and smell your sweet baby breath.

You would have loved hangin' out with me! I would have held you up close and whispered "Poppy loves little Jaxx"... just like I do with your precious cousins Bree and Jarrett. When you were old enough to understand, I would have spoken these words to you in Donald Duck... just so I could see the odd expression on your face and hear you laugh. As you grew older, I would have begun teaching you to overcome your fears by facing them. We would have started small... I'd lay your on my arm, hold your little chest in the palm of my hand, tell you to hold your arms out like wings and we would have flown around and around the living room. Next I would stand you on my ottoman and teach you to trust me by coaxing you to jump into my arms. Oh little guy... what fun we would have had... grandpa and you.

Jaxx, there was so much I wanted to do with you. Since we didn't get to, I put a few things in your casket with you. I know you don't know they are there, but I do.

  • An Airplane... since I didn't get to fly you around on my arm, it comforts me to know I gave you your plane.
  • A 4-Wheeler... I would have gotten a bang out of watching you learn to ride and you would have had so much fun.
  • A 6-Wheeler with a hay bale... we would have worked together too. I would have taught you to work just like I did your daddy.
  • 1970 Cuda... me, you, and your dad were going to rebuild the 1968 I have in my garage... all I could find was a '70, so I got it for you. We'll go ahead and build the '68 and name it after you.

Little buddy, I'll never play with my other grandchildren without thinking of you. When I take them fishing, or hunting, or anywhere, I'll always include you. I know, you won't be there in body but... you will be in my heart. And... I'll tell them about you, because they would have loved to have known you too.

Jaxx, I would have loved to have told you about Jesus and of His love for you, and it comforts me to know that you are experiencing His presence and know so much more about Him than I could have shared. He will care for you so much better than I could have. And He'll introduce you to your little cousin who is already with Him. Perhaps He'll even fill you in on who I am. And... in just a little while... I'll see you too.



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Don't Lose Your Marbles!

Note: I do not know the original source of this article, but it speaks to me and I wanted to share it with you.

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.” I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It’s too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital,” he continued; “Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years."

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I’m getting to the important part.It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail,” he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear."

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.There’s nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight."

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 year old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.”

“What brought this on?” she asked with a smile.

“Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

Friend… you don’t have many marbles. So spend them well!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

TV Church...

Brenda and I have both been sick all weekend long, which means neither of us were able to assemble with the believers at FBC Woodward for worship and fellowship. This marks a first for over 1300 Sundays I had not missed a gathering due to illness... until today. Being unable to go today reminded me of how grateful I am to serve with a group of dedicated men who take seriously the command to be instant both in and out of season. Thanks Tony for stepping in with only a few hours notice.

Being home on Sunday morning is not something I am accustomed to. So... I thought I would check out some of the religious programing available to me via Dish Network. Surely with so many channels for my perusal I would be able to find something inspiring to partake of. Man... was I disappointed! There wasn't much offered that was of any real value to me, but there was a little. Feed the Children was looping a valid appeal for financial help to enable them to transport 11 million pound of rice from Taiwan to Malawi... enough to supplement 44 million meals for the hungry children of Malawi. This grabbed me and, once Brenda and I talk it over, we will probably get involved. I also heard a message from Pastor Ed Young Sr. that was both challenging and helpful. What was lacking was fellowship... interaction with living, breathing, Christ loving people.

Over the years I have met many people who are more than content to "get their church on TV". And... though I have always known the fallacy of this position, I now have experienced the deficiency of so called "TV Church". Oh sure... a person can hear some preaching and singing on the Tube, but it is not and cannot be "church". Beyond the obvious, a lack of genuine fellowship and accountability, "TV Church" could be detrimental to healthy spiritual development. What I mean is... with the hodge-podge of theology made available by many so called "TV Preachers" one could become seriously confused and permanently stunted spiritually. Granted, some believers have no alternative, but pity the individual who, by personal preference, gets his or her "church" on the Boob Tube.

I know that since imperfect people make up the church (local body of baptized believers) the church is imperfect, but it remains God's choice of organizations whose purpose is to lead people to love God, love people, and reach the world. And while I certainly did not miss the petty church politics of the religious people, I really missed the sweet fellowship with those who are Christ followers that gather every week @FBC Woodward... the church of which I am a participant... the church to which TV Church cannot hold a candle.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

24 with Breeana

Well... since my gifted and talented daughter gave my blog a face lift, thought I might joy down a recent happening...

Thursday evening Bree came to spend the night with us. After playing on her swing set and in her sand box for an hour or so, jumping a couple of times... this would be her jumping from my ottoman into my lap, and flying a few rounds... this would be her laying on my arm and holding her arms out like wings while I fly her around, she decided she needed to watch a movie on the "puter"... that would be my laptop. I found a DVD of the Backyardigans, but it wouldn't load. Since we didn't have any other suitable movie, I headed to her house to retrieve a Goofy movie... at 10:00 pm mind you. I know... she's got me! She watched all of 10 minutes of the movie and decided to crawl into bed with Brenda, who wasn't feeling well. Once there, she watched some of her shows on the DVR and finally fell asleep around 11:30.

Friday morning we went through the normal routine... she lay on the couch watching her shows and I went to McDonald's to fetch her a McGriddle. Around 10:00 am, Brenda asked her if she was ready to go home and she said, "Nah". At noon I went to Wally World to get some Pepsi and popcorn chicken. We ate and drank and were merry and... she still didn't want to go home! So I took her to the "Church Park"... her name for the playground at church... and she and I spent about an together... her playing and me cherishing the moment and capturing a memory.

From there we headed toward her house with her still not wanting to go home. I assured her that she needed to go see mommy, daddy and brother, but she wasn't buying it. When we didn't turn towards my house at the 4-way stop near the entrance to her neighborhood, she begin to whine... the kid has a better since of direction at 3 years old than many adults do! We arrived at her house to find Scott and Jarrett home alone... Tish had gone shopping. Bree began playing with Jarrett, but quickly said, "I want milk, Daddy... in my special cup". Now... the little stinker knew that her "special cup" was at Nonny and Poppy's house and, when I told her as much, she said, "I know, I go with you to get it." Well... as you have already guessed, I loaded her back into the car and away we went to my house where she promptly laid down beside her Nonny and feel fast asleep.

While Bree spending the night with us has happened several times, the events of Thursday evening and Friday marked a first for us... she absolutely didn't want to leave. I am not sure what was up with that, but I sure enjoyed my 24 with Breeana.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

An Afternoon @ Eskimo Slow's

Monday I traveled with the family to the land where the water runs still... to the city whose inhabitants think everyday is Halloween. Tish and Ashley both had appointments with the best doctor in the country, and since it was a good excuse for some great family hang time, I journeyed along.

First up was Shane and Ashley's visit to the hospital for an ultrasound. Anxious to get a glimpse of baby Allen, Brenda and I, along with Ashley's dad and step-mom squeezed into a tiny room with Shane, Ashley and the tech. After determining several circumferences, looking at the heart and kidneys, and assuring us that baby was developing as should be expected, the obvious came into view... yup, the baby is a BOY! Jaxxon Shane Allen is due to be born July 9th.

From the hospital it was off to eat at Ashley's reasturant of choice... Eskimo Slow's. With a little over an hour until Tish's appointment, we placed our orders. After 20 minutes passed they brought out our cheese fries. Our food finally arrived just after Tish left for her doctor's appointment, and just before Ashley had to leave for her's. Shane and Ashley quickly ate and rushed off to the doctor. Now... since Tish had departed in her vehicle, and Shane and Ashley had to take mine, Brenda and I were left at Slow's (I know it's supposed to be Joe's) with Bree and Jarrett doing just what I went to Stillwater to do... hang out at a college dive with my grandkids and wait for a ride! Like I said earlier... going was a good excuse for some family hang time, but this wasn't what I had in mind. Oh well... a memory was made and an impression was formed... I won't be going back to Eskimo Slow's anytime soon.

Finally, Tish returned from seeing the best doctor in the country, and we loaded up and went to Hobby Blobby (No I didn't forget to use spell check). I sat in the Jeep bonding with Bree and Jarrett while Brenda and Tish did the Lobby thing and then we headed West. Since Wally World was on the way out of town, we stopped in for a few things. Once back in the vehicle Brenda decided a Sonic tea would be good for the road so we headed East... yes all the way back to Perkins Road, purchased our refeshments, entered a heading of 270 (Westward heading) and arrived home at 8:00 pm.

February 2, 2009... it was morning and it was night and all in between was good.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The FATHER Knows Best

As a pastor, I have been with many a family during times of grief. I have been the bearer of horrible news to families who suffered the unexpected and tragic lose of a loved one, and I have sat with families while they received such news. I have buried still born infants, children, young adults, and older adults. Each time I have felt helpless and very incompetent. I do not think it is possible to ever walk away from such an occasion feeling good.

Last night was no different. For several weeks, Brenda and I have been really excited about the pending arrival our next grandchildren. The thought of Jarrett having a brother or sister, and a cousin, born within 14 months of him, was precious to us. But then the call came. It seemed that Tish was experiencing difficulty... at first some bleeding... later cramps. We both knew what this probably meant. Shortly after arriving at the Boomer basketball game, Tish called and said Scott was taking her to the emergency room. Somewhere around 11:00 pm it was confirmed... Tish had lost their baby and our grandbaby. Present were my feelings of helplessness and incompetence, only this time... the feelings were much more intense. I didn't know what to do other than hug my daughter up real close, so I did.

On the way home from the emergency room I became aggravated at myself... I should have been grieving, but I wasn't. Yes, I was experiencing sorrow... sorrow for Scott and Tish... sorrow that I wouldn't ever see the little baby... at least from this side... but no real grief. If the lose we had just experienced had been Bree or Jarrett, the grief would have been intense... seemingly unbearable. So... since life begins at conception, and since this little baby was just as much a human being as I am, why was I not sensing grief as I would should anyone else in my family die? It wasn't until sometime in the night that I was able to reconcile what had happened with how I was feeling... even though the little baby that had departed the womb to be with the Savior was just as much my grandchild as the other two are, I had never seen it or held it... never kissed it or heard it cry... the emotional bond hadn't yet strongly formed. This doesn't mean I love less, or lost less, it just means I am a human with emotions.

I feel better. Yes I sorrow for my kids who have suffered the loss of life. And... today I think just a little differently about paradise because this is the first of my descendants to make the journey. But I do not sorrow as those who have no hope.

I do not pretend to know why things such as this happen. I rest in knowing that The FATHER Knows Best.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random Things About Me

1. I learned to ride a motorcycle (mini-bike) when I was 4 years old and was never without a bike to ride, until the last semester of my Senior year, when I traded my 1975 Mach III Kawasaki for a 1970 Roadrunner. The car was fast, but the bike was crazy fast!

2. While riding my Trail 70 Honda in Arapaho, I was hit by a car. I was in the 4th grade.

3. From year 13 to 14, I made my spending money working for a fur buyer… I skinned opossums, raccoons, beavers, coyotes and bobcats. I quit when my friends began telling me I smelled like the animals I was skinning!

4. I played some mean foosball… can still hit it pretty good!

5. I graduated High School… to most this isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but most who knew me back in the day doubted I would.

6. A lot of people say my wife looks like Sandra Bullock… I think Sandra Bullock looks like my wife! Love you honey!

7. I have built my homes with my own hands.

8. Before becoming a pastor I worked in construction, as a commercial roofer, and on jet engine parts at Tinker Air Force Base. I still miss Tinker… loved being around the airplanes… nothing like watching a detachment of F-14’s ignite the afterburners and go vertical just as the sun is coming up.

9. I am over half way to earning my private pilot certification.

10. Brenda and I have 2 children and almost 4 grandchildren; Tish and her husband Scott, who have two children and one with Jesus, and Shane and his wife Ashley, who have one on the way.

11. I love my wife, my kids and my grandkids.

12. I’m thinking I don’t know myself very well… this is difficult!

13. If given the opportunity, I will eat Mexican food 11 times out of 10.

14. Is there a restaurant other than Chili’s?????

15. I hope to gather a couple of partners and buy an airplane.

16. I am amazed that God would give His Son for me… while I was yet a sinner!

17. If broccoli grew on a tree, it would have been on the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden (I don't think it was intended to be eaten).

18. I get to work everyday with some great guys and gals. Thanks gang!

19. Salsa is a beverage.

20. Other than home with Brenda, my favorite places to be are… anywhere with my kids and grandkids; a beach with white sand and clear salt water; at our place on Lake Eufaula; in the cockpit of an airplane.

21. 50 pounds and 25 years ago, I could dunk a basketball… yeah, the white boy could jump a little!

22. I miss the days when our children were small and we lived in Paden, OK. Times were difficult, we always had more bills than money but… life was fun.

23. I dream of FBC Woodward really reaching the world from Woodward, OK.

24. I try to do something everyday that I haven’t done before. When was the last time you did something for the first time?

25. Whew!!! Last but not least… I look forward to Brenda watching me grow old.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Things I've Done

Here is a list that someone created and you must copy and paste the list below into your own post, and then make bold (and/or italicize) all the things you have done.Here we go:

Started your own blog
Slept under the stars
Driven a stockcar
Played in a band
Visited Hawaii
Watched a meteor shower
Given more than you can afford to charity
Been to Disneyland/world
Climbed a mountain
Held a praying mantis
Sang a solo
Bungee jumped
Wrecked a motorcycle
Visited Paris
Watched a lightning storm at sea
Taught yourself an art from scratch
Adopted a child
Had food poisoning
Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
Seen the Mona Lisa in France
Slept on an overnight train
Had a pillow fight
Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
Built a snow fort
Held a lamb
Gone skinny dipping
Been to a Broadway show in NY
Ran a Marathon
Been in three states at once
Ridden in a gondola in Venice
Seen a total eclipse
Watched a sunrise or sunset
Hit a home run
Been on a Cruise
Seen Niagra Falls in Person
Visited the birthplace of your Ancestors
Seen an Amish community
Taught yourself a new language
Had enough money to be truly satisfied
Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
Gone rock climbing
Seen Michelangelo’s David
Sung karaoke
Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
Piloted an airplane
Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
Visited Africa
Walked on a beach by moonlight
Been transported in an ambulance
Had your portrait painted
Gone deep sea fishing
Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
Kissed in the rain
Played in the mud
Been to Grace Kelley’s grave in Monaco
Gone to a drive-in theater
Been in a movie
Visited the Great Wall of China
Started a business
Taken a martial arts class
Swam in the Mediterranean Sea
Visited Russia
Served at a soup kitchen
Sold Girl Scout cookies
Gone whale watching
Gotten flowers for no reason
Donated blood, platelets or plasma
Gone sky diving
Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp Museum
Bounced a check
Saved a favorite childhood toy
Visited the Lincoln Memorial
Eaten Caviar
Pieced a quilt
Stood in Times Square
Toured the Everglades
Been fired from a job
Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
Broken a bone
Been on a speeding motorcycle
Seen the Grand Canyon in person
Published a book
Visited the Vatcan
Bought a brand new car
Walked in Jerusalem
Had your picture in the newspaper
Read the entire Bible
Visited the White House
Killed and prepared my own meat
Had chickenpox
Saved someone’s life
Sat on a jury
Met someone famous
Joined a book club
Lost a loved one
Had a baby
Seen the Alamo in person
Swam in the Great Salt Lake
Been involved in a law suit
Owned a cell phone
Been stung by a bee

I tag anyone who wants to do this.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thump - Thump

Yesterday I took the afternoon off and Brenda and I drove to Cheyenne to help my mom move her motor-home to Weatherford. Due to minor difficulty, a trip that should have taken about an hour and a half took a little over three hours. We rolled into town just as darkness engulfed us, leveled the vehicle and hooked it up to electric and water. After a brief dinner break at a place called Vinicio's (I think that's an Italian name, but the Mexican food wasn't bad) it was off to Wal Mart and then back to the RV park where I tied up some details and headed home.

Somewhere south of Thomas, Brenda's phone rang. Unbeknownst to me Shane and Ashley had rented a device to detect and listen to the heart beat of their growing baby, and they were calling us to let us listen. So... as we spead through the dark West Oklahoma night, we were blessed to hear the thump-thump... thump-thump of grandbaby #3 via a wireless connection. What a time to be living!

God is GOOD!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crazy Love

Lately, I have had a blast re-connecting with old friends on Facebook. I know... 99% of Facebook users were probably born after 1980, so I am definitely in the minority here. But my generation is catching on.

This morning I met one of my old friends for breakfast at United. He lives in Yukon, but comes to Woodward once a month on business... and has the entire time I've lived here. This I never knew, and probably would have never known, had it not been for Facebook.

The times have changed... but more importantly I have changed, and so has my friend. When Darren and I left Arapaho High School we threw caution to the wind and lived fast and hard. Back then our conversation would have consisted of something quite different than our conversation this morning. Today we discussed, of all things a book! That's right... "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.

Friends... today I rejoice in the fact that I have been arrested by God's "crazy love" and... so has my friend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Limited View

Yesterday afternoon I completed yet another step of the journey toward becoming certified as a private pilot. Upon leveling off at an altitude of 3500 ft, Randy (my instructor) handed me a view limiting device which I slipped on over my glasses. Up until this moment I had been trained to navigate by the horizon, but now my view was literally limited to a set of gages directly in front of me. For the next 30 minutes Randy instructed me to perform turns to various coordinates by trusting nothing but the gages. There were times when it seemed as though the gages were lying to me... my mind literally was in conflict with what the gages were reading... I was experiencing spatial disorientation. But since I know the gages do not lie, I trusted them rather than my own deceived intuitions. Friends, this brought a new meaning to the phrase... "Living by faith instead of sight."

In a very real since, we live out life under a view limiting device. Many times along the journey, we come to a places of uncertainty and we aren't sure which way to go, or what to do next.... we become spiritually disoriented. These are critical moments because the decisions we make here affect our destiny. Our tendency is to go with our gut, but doing so could be disastrous. There is a different way... a way that is safe and sure.

Proverbs 3:5-6... Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your ways.

Today, while you journey, you may loose your way. You will know what to do, but your intuition will challenge you to do the opposite. Don't do it! Like properly calibrated avionics, God never lies. Trust Him and enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm Inspired

I'll admit that I am more than a little weary of hearing all the hoopla over an African American man becoming President of the United States of America. I could care less about the color of a man's skin... I am much more concerned about the content of a man's character. My hope is that Barrack Obama is more than a sauve politician, a passionate orator, and a brilliant campaigner. Time will tell.

Whether a fan of the man, or not, one cannot overlook the fact that his journey is inspiring. His rise to the highest office in the land reminds each of us that America is still the land of opportunity... that in America, if a we make the right decisons and are willing to work hard, we can be what we want to be. Unfortunately, many will settle for far less.

So... today, as I wonder what the outcome of his leadership will mean for America, I applaud him. No doubt little people told him he couldn't do it... that he didn't have what it takes... but he didn't succomb to the doubting discouragers. He must have rather chosen to surround himself with people who shared a common belief... a belief far greater than an African American should be elected... a belief that he espoused a set of ideals that were good for America. Today, because he set and stayed a specific course, he will be given the chance to test his ideals.

As I watch segments of the celebration (probably replays) I will not see a America's first African American President... I will see a man who, because he lives in America, had the opportunity to come out of no where to be President of the United States, and he took it.

I'm inspired.