- Love the way Rebekah always does a hands-on family "project" with all the nieces and nephews and hangers-on every Thanksgiving after The Big Eat.
- Believe that scrap-booking is modern folk-art at its best.
- Think that our annual "Advent Adventures" crafty-afternoon at church is always the most fun; I show up, I work the room, I watch people unwittingly glue themselves to small children... it's all good.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
- I honestly don't know how someone who seeks to follow Jesus - and incorporate his teaching into their daily life - could applaud (as in a recent email) someone pumping six bullets into the back of a purse-snatcher - "Now that's gun control!"...
- Or laud the actions of the Polk County Sheriff's office when they emptied scores of rounds into a suspected cop-killer...
- Or advocate the killing of Muslims...
- Or go on and on about the 1950's being "the good old days". Are you telling me you like segregation? Jim Crow? Discrimination against women in the workplace? Polio? Locking away the mentally challenged and the handicapped? I guess it was good if you were white, "Christian", healthy and male...
- Or support (without at least asking serious questions) the prosecution of a war that is killing and maiming some of our finest young people when there is scant evidence to suggest that what we are doing is making the world more secure or the lives of Afghans any better...
- Or routinely condemn those working as advocates for equitable and available health-care for all people regardless of personal means...
- Or react with anger (at the conversation) rather than compassion (for the victims) when the plight of systematically abused migrant farm workers is discussed...
- Or dismiss ideas such as social justice as communistic...
- Etc. etc.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
- I want to publish a young adult novel, the kind that wins a Newbery Award. I know the plot exactly, and I've already sketched out the book in rough prose.
- I'm itching to speak to a huge crowd at a big event; to be invited to talk about my work internationally; to guest on Oprah's book club. I want to be on the New York Times bestseller list.
- Another item on my list is to cruise the Mediterranean on an educational study tour. We'd board in Spain, stop at every port in Italy, take in Greece slowly, start Turkey in Istanbul and work our way round like Paul on a mission, tour Israel and Egypt, hug the coast of North Africa and finish up in Morocco. All told, six weeks.
- I'd like to climb Kilimanjaro before the snow melts, see Victoria Falls, walk the Great Wall of China, spend one more full calendar year in England.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Yesterday's long drive landed us in the North Georgia Mountains. We arrived at our friends' cabin (Serenity Pines) around 9:00 and just a little after dark. The location - high in the Chattahoochee National Forest north of Elligay - was a little too much for our GPS so we had to rely on a hand-drawn map for navigation (It was almost a little too much for the hand drawn map!).
- Coffee on the wide deck, overlooking a spectacular mountain vista
- Devotional time with Rebekah, also on the back porch
- Breakfast at the Mainstreet Grill in historic downtown Elligay
- Hiking in the Amicalola (Tumbling Waters) State Park, including a decent climb to the spectacular falls (729 ft)
- Lunch at the park lodge with breath-taking views
- An afternoon of serious work because this is, after all, officially "study leave"
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
- We're interested in growth - but not so much concerned about how tidy it is.
- We want to participate in life, but we're not going to dictate to life exactly how it's supposed to manifest.
- We want to glorify God - but we've gotten over our need to tell God exactly what that looks like, and how it's supposed to go down.
- We value order, respect and decorum - but we're fine with jeans in church, piercings, spiked hair, raised hands, occasional applause and raucous laughter.
- We're motivated to communicate to the world how wonderful this spiritual journey is - but we're not so much interested in browbeating the world into making their journey look exactly like ours.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
31 Years - No easy Answers: Commitment is a choice, faithfulness is a life-style, and following Jesus is a steady pathway
Today, as you may have guessed, is our wedding anniversary. Thirty-one. No big adventure planned, like last year's celebration trip to Italy, but we did begin the day exchanging cards and flowers and gifts. Then, tonight, it will be out to BoneFish Grill.
- Rebekah's career alone has been mind-boggling. She was already attending Columbia Theological Seminary when we married. But very few people had a clue as to what it might look like for a woman to lead a Presbyterian Church - and what it might mean to be a "minister's husband" was about as clear as colonizing Mars.
- We may have only raised two children. But, we more than compensated for the relatively small number by having not just any two kids, but Andrew and Naomi. Need I say more!
- Now add in mortgages, and medical challenges, and financial ups and downs, and moving, and my work in exceptional education, and mid-life career shifts, and the everyday realities of parents who pass away and siblings who divorce and a church full of people who need a little attention once in a while.... And children get married, and they move to far-flung ends of the USA and Europe and beyond.
- We've owned three homes and over 20 cars; lived in four cities; earned five degrees (counting Andrew's); taken care of three dogs, two cats, and countless stray people.
- We have travelled to more countries than we can count, hauled our children on dozens of epic family vacations, and thrown ourselves 120% into life with a continuity and consistency that hasn't let up since we were 23 years old and really didn't know any better.
No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him..."
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
- if we carry it to breakfast...
- if we use Jesus as a filter through which we pour the content of every day...
- if we take it with us...
- if we move away from relegating the reach of the Gospel to incoming calls on a rotary dial phone at the end of a decaying wire...?
Monday, August 16, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:9-10 - read the whole chapter, it's awesome!)
Thursday, August 12, 2010
- Did God give me a brain? Well, am I using it to it's potential?
- Do I have a "middle-aged" body? So what am I doing to make sure that I can stay "in the game" longer and serve God to the best of my ability?
- Have I been given the gift of faith? If so, then how am I engaging the world vis-a-vis my responsibility to be an active, full-time follower of Jesus...?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Today we are here to celebrate – not so much an 80th birthday as the wonderful person who happens to be entering into the blessed state of octogenarian-ism.
We love Myrt for many reasons
- We loved her first because she made granddaddy Bob happy
- We loved her because she then chose to love the balance of the Alexander family
- We love her because she has loved us all so eloquently, so graciously, and so generously
- We love her because she is such an outstanding Presbyterian!
- We love her for her courageous efforts to keep a significant section of Central Florida grammatically correct
- We love her because she forgives us our own grammatical ineptitude
- We love her because she has such a hospitable spirit and such an open heart for people…
When Myrt first came into our family we wondered what it would be like to have a new stepmother and step-grandmother… It’s a path we really hadn’t considered before…
But it didn’t take long to realize that Myrt wasn’t a step-anything at all – she was – and is - a family member in her own right.
Which is why it hasn’t been at all difficult to maintain our family ties since Bob passed away in June of 2007. Myrt simply belongs at Maul Hall on Thanksgiving with the hoards and masses – and in Orlando July 4th and New Years Eve, to watch uncle Joe attempt to blow up the neighborhood, and the nieces and nephews.
And we belong here, to help celebrate 80 years (and counting) of faithfulness and commitment. Myrt is living her faith out loud. There’s a phrase I like to use that sums up how I feel about this gift of life. “We all should live like we mean it – because God most certainly does.” Well… it’s obvious that Myrt certainly does too, and she does it with elegance, she does it with élan, she does it with flair, she does it with style, and she does it with class.
There’s a scripture from Philippians chapter 2 that comes to mind when I think, “Myrt got us together for this party – so where should we go from here?”
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
Monday, August 9, 2010
- The first would be the small-groups I lead at church; that's my Men's Room, my Sunday Morning class, and POGs (the Sunday-evening small group with young-adult children). All told around 50 people.
- Then the second constituency would have to be people who read my books and people who have listened to me speak. This is difficult to pin down. Best guess (as of this summer) is around 20,000 copies sold - but no telling how many have been passed on and re-read by others? I know I've spoken, all told, to several thousand people in ten states... but did any of them listen? And have more than a handful read any of my books?
- The third designation is more slippery still! I'm talking about The Internet. I know tens of thousands of subscribers read my contributions to AllProDad's "Play of the Day." I have work that pops up once in a while on the "Guideposts" website. Who knows how many people log on to my Chicken-Soup for the Soul contributions? Do only Methodists read my columns on e-review?
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I may whine and complain about the west-central Florida heat (and the mercury has been pushing 95-98 here in Brandon pretty much every afternoon for the best part of 10-weeks!)... but the unique climate in this part of the world undoubtedly produces some of the most spectacular skies you'll ever see.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won't be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd's rod makes me feel safe.
You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, LORD.