Tag Archives: family

The World of Selfies

Selfies.  A word that I never heard growing up.  Now, of course, it’s such a popular term that it has found its way into the dictionary like the word “Google” has.

Taking a selfie is something I rarely do.  In fact, I really don’t do much with the camera on my phone (or any camera, for that matter).  My wife, on the other hand, is quite familiar with her camera and selfies.  (I’m glad she is.  Otherwise, we would hardly have any pictures of our boys from over the years.)

We were all invited to a wedding yesterday.  I may or may not have mentioned in previous conversations that my wife does Daycare work out of the home.  One of the moms she watches for was getting married and invited us to the wedding.  So, as you can imagine, I’m basically flying blind as I attend this event.  I hardly know the mom and certainly don’t know anybody else in attendance.  My wife wasn’t too far behind me either.  She may have known another person or two, but she was essentially in the same boat as I was.  But that was okay.  Our boys were with us in the boat as well, so we were content as a family to just float along and enjoy the afternoon.

It’s interesting to watch people you don’t know interact with other people that they obviously do know.  Interesting behavior was observed all the way around:  An older couple walked in and were greeted by a woman whom they had apparently not seen for a long time.  She gave each one of them a peck on the lips as they caught up on human events.  A couple of individuals even deemed this celebratory event worthy of bringing an open beer to the wedding ceremony.  But none was more entertaining for us than the young woman who sat directly in front of us.

She wore a skirt short enough that my wife was concerned our boys would eventually see something they shouldn’t see as this woman sat in front of us.  Then, almost immediately, she pulled out her phone.  I thought, Oh no!  Here come the selfies!  She held it out and slightly up in classic selfie fashion.  Her head tilted to one side.  She smiled real big (I know, because I could plainly see the selfie screen of her phone as she held it out for all of us to see).  Click.  (Her head tilts the other direction.)  Click.  (She and the woman next to her lean in together.)  Click.

Then, in what had to be gold medal Olympic selfie speed, her fingers flew all over her on-screen keyboard as she madly texted something.  This seemed to be extremely important as it had to go along with the selfies she had just taken.  The world of Facebook was waiting!

This happened two or three times from the time we first sat down to the end of the ceremony.   At least I can say that I came away from that wedding knowing I was entertained and certainly wasn’t bored!

Stepping Into The Unknown

My family and I have never been in the place we are right now.  Uncharted territory!  Exciting.  And unnerving.  It’s uncomfortable for sure.  Stretching us in every way imaginable, it seems.

But where do you think you find God and His help?  Where it’s comfortable and safe?  Or where it’s dangerous and requires faith?  I’ll bet you already know the answer to that.  Me too.  Namely because that is exactly where I have been finding Him the most:  out where it’s dangerous.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are times that you need a reprieve, times when comfort and safety are a necessity for soul-rest.  So obviously, God is in that as well.  But we aren’t to live there.  And that’s where many of us get hung up:  We don’t want to give up that comfort and safety (after all, it feels good to be in a place like that, doesn’t it?).  Out of those two places we can live, where do you think God spends most of His time?

Where it’s dangerous.

Where faith is required on our part.  Why?  We were created in His image; we reflect Him.  So we are never more alive than when we are living out our “dangerous” faith, desperate for Him to show up and just as confident that He will.  And He does!  Every time.  Because when we’re living out in the unknown, we find that this is also where God is.  And then, to our amazement, we find that He has been waiting for us there all along.  Patient.  And so loving.  I believe it pleases Him greatly when we choose to live our lives like that!  Very little in life  is more satisfying than being in that place of desperate faith and watching Him show up!

So what about you?  Is there something He has been pulling on you to do or pursue and you’ve been too fearful to do anything about it?  Will you choose to step out in faith and trust Him to meet you there?    Watch Him show up for you!

The Bottle-Rocket Launcher

A family that Cindy’s family and ours were friends with when I was growing up had an English Springer spaniel named Cinnamon.  We had one at the same time named Nutmeg.  She had some issues, though, namely the fact that she was hit by a car, so for a while, we were dogless.    In the meantime, this family moved to South Carolina and eventually bred Cinnamon.  They contacted my Dad and told him that we could have one of the puppies if we drove down to get it!  My Dad was ecstatic, to say the least.  So I rode shotgun with my Dad from Michigan down to South Carolina to get Max (the English Springer that I told you about in a previous tale).  And thus begins my story….

This family had a son named Jeff who was a year younger than I was. By this time, we were both entering the high school years of our youth, not quite able to drive on our own, yet feeling that urge to experience some sort of independence that sooner or later inevitably befalls every teenager–especially teenage boys.  So we did the best we could do at the time:  we ventured out into his suburban neighborhood armed with his bottle rocket launcher and a mess of bottle rockets.  Ok, it was more like he dragged me out there with him as his accomplice to whatever mayhem and malice aforethought he was contriving in that fourteen-year-old brain of his.  I was a quiet, obedient kid and that didn’t change as I grew up.  So this was really taking me out of my comfort zone.  And what made it worse was knowing that once I lost sight of his house, I had no idea where we would be or how to get back if I had to break away and make a run for it (yes, I had a distinct feeling that I would eventually be doing that, any specific reasons for it unknown in that moment, except for the aforementioned  contraband that we both had in our possession).  I had no choice but to stick to him like glue if I ever wanted to see the comfort and safety of the only thing that was familiar to me:  his house, where I knew both our Dads were preparing some amazing steaks that I couldn’t wait to eat.

As we were jogging down the street and began darting between houses, Jeff asking for a bottle rocket and me handing him his first load of ammo as we were doing so, I began to think that our Dads may be picking us up from a local jail cell before this was all over.  What would I say??  “That’s not mine.”  Or, “I don’t know how that fire that burned down five houses got started.”  Or, “Dogs howling and barking all over the neighborhood?”  (I begin to break down, sobbing uncontrollably) “It was him, officer!  I was coerced and forced into this against my will!  He made me hand him those bottle rockets!  I…I….(Oh, no!)  Hi Dad….”

So there I was, trailing Jeff as we jogged down back alleys and became one with the dark that was the night around us (actually, it was a well-lit neighborhood with plenty of street lights, but that’s what it felt like).  At different times we would stop and take up position.  I would hand Jeff a bottle rocket, he would put it in the launcher, light it and tap the rocket down into the launcher.  We would wait an eternal two or three seconds as the fuse burned and we eventually heard a  FWOOP! sound that told us the bottle rocket had left the launcher like a missile cut loose in the water to leave its mark on an unsuspecting target with no way to stop it.   We got this routine down so well that muscle memory took over and we began launching bottle rockets from a full run.  Somewhere along the way, though, one of Jeff’s neighborhood buddies joined us and took over my role (a position I very willingly gave up), so now all I could do was make sure I hid and ran and kept up with the other two.

We made our way to the lit-up tennis courts (yes, this neighborhood had tennis courts) and Jeff proceeded to ask for another bottle rocket.   These tennis courts were nestled in the bottom of an earth bowl, surrounded by trees on three sides (which is where we were hiding out).  I watched his buddy hand him a bottle rocket with shaking hands.  As I got my hands calmed down, I watched as Jeff placed it in the launcher and lighted it.  FWOOP!  We watched as it arced itself over the middle of the tennis courts, an increasingly loud whistle giving way to a very loud BANG!!.  Foul language wafted upwards from the courts as the unsuspecting victims looked up into the sky, wondering what atrocity had just befallen them from the sky above.  Jeff launched another one.  FWOOP!  BANG!!  Now at least one of those unsuspecting victims had turned rogue and was walking in our direction very fast.  We turned tail and ran like the wind for a block or two.  We started to see vehicles driving around more frequently.  They’re on to us.  They’re hunting us like dogs.  We were “on the lam”, fleeing like the criminals we were!

We found ourselves inbetween apartment complexes, looking down a swath of backyard fifty feet wide and fifty yards long.  We all looked at each other and we all knew what the other was thinking.  Me:  No!  You wouldn’t….you really want to, don’t you…..but….  Jeff (and his buddy):  This is perfect!  How can I pass this up?!  Give it to me! (in Jeff’s buddy’s case, Give it to him!).  When Jeff launched that rocket, the whistle it made ricocheted off the backsides of the apartment complexes, making it five times as loud as it normally was.  As a result, the BANG! we normally heard from a bottle rocket was more like a BOOM! from a cannon.

We all  turned and fled the scene, me going the direction I was pretty sure was Jeff’s house and didn’t care if I was right or not, and Jeff pleading with me to go with him and his buddy as they headed off in another direction.  He saw I was done, though, so he acquiesced and walked with me back to his house.

I was emotionally exhausted.  Spent.  Ready to turn in for the night (or at least turn myself in).

I’ll tell you this:  There’s nothing like a hard night’s running from justice and the long arm of the law to really appreciate a good steak.

The Bus RV

Cindy’s Dad had an interesting idea one time that we all got to enjoy the benefit of for quite a few years.  (When this guy thought of an idea to get something done, you usually paid attention to it.  This is the same guy who helped my Dad equip the back of our van with that bench and table that turned into a bed.)  For a number of years, he was the township supervisor for Bath (the town that I have mentioned in earlier stories where I grew up).  It may have been during this period of time, but regardless, he got the news that a school district was getting rid of a school bus that was in decent condition.  His idea?  To have a number of families go in together on the purchase of this bus and make it into an RV of sorts that all of those families could use whenever they wanted to.  I have no idea how many families went in on it, but ours was one of them (I believe quite a few others from my parents’ Euchre Club that they were a part of went in on this bus-turned-RV as well).  Thus began an interesting process to watch this RV take shape…..

It was somewhere around my sophomore/junior year of high school when this project began.  It took at least most of the summer that year to do it, but I remember quite a few trips over to Cindy’s house to help work on this thing.  I remember being old enough to actually do the help of an adult, but only two things stand out in my mind about that phase of the project:  tearing out the green bus seats (which I totally enjoyed doing–there’s something about knowing I sat in seats like that as an obedient little kid that made me want to take all my aggression out on them as a teenager) and painting over the yellow color on the outside of the bus (again, pent-up aggression that probably came from waiting at the bus stop and seeing that yellow-colored beast coming down the road towards me to take me someplace that I didn’t want to go to be with a bunch of kids I didn’t want to be with….wait, this sounds too much like Calvin & Hobbes).

So when it was all finally finished, it really was a sharp-looking RV!  Some of the seats towards the front of the bus had been reupholstered and repositioned for bench seating at tables (like back-to-back restaurant booths) with the capability of the tables being lowered to the benches to become beds for sleeping.  I’m fairly certain that there was a small kitchenette of some sort towards the back, with storage for luggage, camping gear and food stuff on the opposite side of the kitchenette.  I don’t remember it having a toilet, so as much as us teenagers would have liked to give it a nickname like “The Rolling Turd”, it just wasn’t meant to be.

Quite a few of these families that went in on the bus-turned-RV were all part of an annual trip to a fantastic German/Austrian-based town called Frankenmuth in Michigan, which they did every first weekend of December.  They took the newly-constructed RV every year for that trip, and I remember joining them in the RV for the first time my first Christmas out of high school (and I seem to remember that that may have even been the last time the RV was taken for that trip).

My last memory of that RV is when our family went with Cindy’s family in the RV down to Cedar Point in Ohio and stayed in the campground that’s right there on the funpark grounds.  It makes a world of difference staying there on the grounds vs. a hotel somewhere close by!  You can stay in the park right up to closing time and not have to drive anywhere–just walk back to your campsite.  Then you can get up in the morning and enjoy some breakfast and still have time to be one of the first through the gates when they open.  If you get an opportunity to do something like that, take advantage of it!

Funny thing about that trip, though, is the fact that my Dad never got on any rides.  He never did like that kind of thing.  I can remember plenty of times at the county fairs where he just walked around and watched us kids have all the fun.  I believe he did the same thing at Cedar Point.  In fact, he may have just stayed back at the campsite and took it upon himself to be the official fire-stoker.  Of course, Cindy’s Dad would have gladly joined him in shouldering that responsibility and probably did.

That’s a good memory to end the RV with…..

Ring Around The Rosey–Or The Tire

Where were we?  Ah, yes, the other memory I was telling you about….

Actually, there’s yet another one that I’ll give you real quick:  another friend of theirs whose name was Dave (may have even been family somehow) owned a motorcycle/dirt bike of some sort that had really fat tires on it (keep in mind that you’re dealing with someone who’s never had any interest in motorcycles, hardly ever been on one and is attempting to share a memory of an incident that’s going way back to somewhere around eight years old).  They had a decent-sized field behind their A-frame house and Dave was over one day riding his bike along the perimeter of the field.  He asked us three kids if we wanted to ride and we said what any kid under the age of ten would say:  “YEAH!!”  Cindy (the daughter of these friends of my parents) wanted to go first, so my brother and I, being the gentlemen that we were, naturally let her go right ahead (the fact that she had been on this bike with Dave before and we hadn’t been had very little to do with it).  She went around the field with Dave and looked to us to be having a great time.  But when she got back around to where we were and the bike stopped, she let the side of her lower leg brush up against the smokin’-hot muffler as she got off the bike.  Once her screaming dropped a few decibels to incessant crying and her Dad took her in the house to doctor up her leg (we watched it blister up almost immediately), Dave turned around to my brother and I and asked which one of us was going next.  Yeah, right.  Like that’s going to happen after we had just witnessed the carnage this demon bike could produce.  No way!  As it turned out, my brother decided to go, but me?  Ain’t me, babe.  Pass on by.  Nope.  Uh-uh.  Then, after some ridicule, pressure and intimidation, I was forced against my will to get on the bike and go for a ride (OK, maybe it wasn’t quite like that, but in that far and distant memory, it sure seems that way now).  I do have a hazy memory of feeling the bike under me hitting every possible bump in the field, watching those big fat tires turn, hearing the horribly loud noise of the bike (you know me and loud noises) and being absolutely terrified of my leg or any other part of me touching the muffler.  Believe it or not, I’ve never had another opportunity to ride a motorcycle since.

So anyway, on to the rest of the story.  As I was relating to you before, the A-frame house that Cindy’s family lived in was at the top of a small hill at the end of a very long driveway.  Her Mom and Dad had a decent-sized tractor tire that they used for a flower bed.  It was laid on its side in the front yard at the top of the hill.  Well, one late afternoon in the early summer of somewhere between ages seven and nine for me, my brother and I were out there with my Mom to weed our garden which was at the bottom of that small hill that led up to the house.  Somehow, I got myself out of weeding (probably had something vitally important that needed my immediate attention up by the house, especially around the wooden playset Cindy had up there) and had eventually gravitated to the tractor tire flower bed.  (Now, what you are about to read about may have been precipitated with a warning from Cindy’s Mom to stay away from the flower bed, but this is inconsequential and should be ignored.)

The flower bed that year hadn’t had much done to it, so the dirt on the surface inside the tire had weathered away in places, leaving small gaps between the dirt and the inside rim of the tire.  These, by the way, are perfect places for hideous insects to build nests–like, say, wasps for example–whose sole purpose in all of God’s creation is to sting innocent children innocently playing on something that they innocently shouldn’t be playing on.  I had the bright idea of stepping up onto the tire and running around the rim of it as fast as I could go. What happened next is somewhat of a blur, but I remember seeing a very mad something of a dark brown color streak through the air toward my feet as I  ran around the tire rim.  Suddenly it felt like somebody hit one of my ankles with a baseball bat and it burned like fire!  I leaped into the air and my feet suddenly became the whirring circle of constant motion that you see on the Road Runner cartoons from the Bugs Bunny Show.  I also noticed, as suspended animation hung me in the air for just a couple very slow seconds, that a large squadron of these vehement creatures was making its way across the tire with supersonic speed to my very sensitive and now highly-charged-with-adrenaline person.  As fast as my feet were moving, however, the wasps still found their mark–over and over again–as I flew down the hill towards my Mom, screaming like a girl the whole way.  They eventually gave up the chase (probably due to my own version of the Road Runner), but they definitely left their mark.

And so goes another sordid childhood memory of years gone by….

A Goal Becomes A Milestone

It took my wife and I longer than most usually do to find each other (shared in “How We Met”).  As a result, we are at ages 46 and 44 (respectively–no reason to let you know which one of us is the older one since carrying on about it and really even mentioning it at all would mean that the chances are highly likely that the woman is the older one so since it is my responsibility to keep that type of sensitive information unknown I won’t say anything about it either way so that you can’t possibly tell which one of us is older and the true identity of all parties is kept hidden as it very well should be in a situation like this) with two boys, the older one being 12 1/2 and the younger one being a little over 11.

Our older son, William, is built like his Uncle Brad:  stocky, tall and ruggedly handsome (as awkward as it is to describe my Brother-In-Law that way).  We could tell even at the ages of 2-3 that William was going to be on the tall side.  So much so that all through his childhood, he’s been a head taller than any of the other kids around him.  As a result, it has been his focus–nay, his quest, his life’s mission, his God-given purpose at age 12–to surpass the height of his Dad.  Now, growing up, it was my brother who ended up being taller than my Dad.  As we both got into high school, it was evident to all of us who the taller son was going to be.  (And, as a side story, we wrestled all the time as kids [remember the story about Max?].  But when he got to being taller than I was and I could no longer pin him to the ground for Max to play with, I became uninterested in such suddenly childish things to do.)  So I never experienced the heady sensation that a son being taller than his father can bring.

William asks for hugs all the time.  So, last night being no exception, he asked and I gave.  Only this time, something was different.  It felt like I was hugging someone taller than me.  Now, it must be noted here that for the last month or so, he’s been hovering at a 1/2 inch shorter than me–my height being 5’8″–and this fact noted a mere 3 weeks ago at Uncle Brad’s house of all places.  So I bring him out to where his mother is in the living room and have her check us out.  She begins to laugh and gasp and generally make a scene as she tells us that not only is William taller than I am, but he’s taller by a good inch and a half!  Here’s what she saw:

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Which means that he grew two inches in three weeks.  To say he was ecstatic is an understatement.  Whooping, hollering, smack talk (something about being the tallest man in the house now…I don’t know, I forget…) and other indecent behavior emanated from this 12 year-old that I now literally have to look up to.   If you find this hard to believe, coming from such a sweet-demeanored boy, here’s some hard-core proof of the preposterously out-of-place and distasteful behavior that I was subjected to last night:

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See what I mean?  You know, you think you raise them right–respect for their elders and all that–and this is how you are rewarded.  What’s a guy to do??  How do I live this down?  Thankfully, I don’t want to.  I couldn’t be more proud of our two boys and the mighty men of God that they are growing up to become.  I must say, it does feel oddly milestoneish having one of my sons taller than me, especially knowing that the height difference and the heckling that will come with it is now only going to get worse.  I say “oddly” in an effort to describe that sad feeling that comes with the significant events of a child’s life that remind you the little boy isn’t a little boy anymore.  But I wouldn’t change that for anything.  I love our family!  The God of the Bible is the center of it.  And everyone sees that.  I love that about us.  We’re not perfect.  Just genuinely seeking to walk with God as close as possible every day of our lives.  My boys see that example and the benefits that it brings, and they are far more likely to set that example for their own families one day.

Yup–choosing to walk out this life hand-in-hand with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit certainly has its advantages!

Reflection And Vision

It’s that time of year again.  Through the fun times with family and friends, there has probably been a growing sense of something drawing to a close and something else starting anew inside each one of us.  Whether they want to admit it or not, everyone is–at least to some degree–reflecting on the previous year and looking ahead to the new one.

But what does that really mean for you and I?  Some people out there genuinely don’t care about this.  Come what may, they’re simply focused on their next paycheck so that they can party some more.  I’m sure you’d agree that if that’s all they want out of life, they’ve already reached their goal–with nowhere else to go from there (and if that’s where you might be, just know that “You can’t get there from here.”)

I think most of us, though, are keenly focused right now on where we’ve been and where we’re going.  So what does that mean for you?  I’m all for expressing my sense of humor, but there’s also a time for expressing some meaningful questions:  Where have you been?  And where are you going?  I wish I was face-to-face with you right now–as we walk this northern trail together in our snowshoes!–because I would love to hear your answers to those questions.  Maybe you don’t even have decent answers to either one of them right now.  That’s OK–at times, I haven’t either (and for years, the answer to that second question constantly eluded me).

This is just my opinion, but I can assure you–based on many years of experience (remember, a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with a theory)–that there is a world of difference between a person trying to figure out the answers to those questions on his own and another person relying on the God of the Bible to reveal those answers to him.  If you don’t believe that, don’t be offended that I do (because I’m not offended that you don’t).  We simply respect where the other is coming from, right?  Many of us believe different things.  That’s our God-given right and ability:  Choice.  But it’s at that point that everything separates and branches off into all kinds of different directions.  So how do you know which one is the right one?  Is there more than one?  These are things no one likes to address or bring up–mostly because they make people feel uncomfortable, and who likes to feel that way?  But doesn’t everything begin there?  If we’re truly honest with ourselves, we have to admit that there is a void inside of us that we are constantly trying to fill with something or someone (even if it’s filled with nothing but ourselves).

I’d like to avoid a deep and philosophical exchange today, but given this contemplative time of year, wouldn’t you agree that it’s almost unavoidable?  Regardless, I trust that you can at least see this:  Everything has to have a foundation.  If yours is shaky, whatever you build on it will fall (Jesus told us that).  He also told us that everything bears fruit……everything.  If you take an honest look at the lives around you–including your own–those that show the healthiest and largest crops of fruit are going to be those that have a vibrant and intimate walk with Jesus Christ.  (A couple of things to note:  look deeper than the surface at the fruit you notice in others’ lives; it may not be as healthy as it looks.  And secondly, note those key words: vibrant and intimate.  It’s sad but true that many of us know plenty of people who claim to have Jesus in their hearts that live dull, lifeless and boring lives.  Rest assured:   That is not what truly having Jesus in your life is like!  It is the most exciting–and dangerous–thing you could ever decide to do.)

As you look behind you to glean what you can from your previous year and look ahead to what potentially lies before you, are you going to choose to go at it alone?  Because if that’s what you want, God will honor that (just know that it was never meant to be that hard).  Maybe you’re even struggling with the feeling that life is ultimately meaningless and pointless.  If all we’re living for is to try to better ourselves and those that live around us, what lasting value does that really bring?  Don’t you know that you were meant for so much more than that?  Wouldn’t you like to reach the end of your life and know that you fulfilled everything you were meant to fulfill with it?  And then to hear the King of Kings and Lord of Lords tell you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  Enter into the joy of your Lord!”  Talk about an eternal purpose!  That certainly gives your life true meaning.

I am excited for you!  What will your life look like in a year?  What are you really living for?  What changes will you make this year that could have mind-blowing, far-reaching effects that you can’t possibly imagine?  Let me know what you think and let’s find out together!

Moving Day

We recently helped my brother-in-law and his family move.  What can possibly go wrong on a moving day?  With prayer to the God of Heaven, for us it was much less than has probably happened for others.

So how did we watch the hand of God move for us?  My thoughts turn first to hearing over my brother-in-law’s phone that his wife got rear-ended by another friend’s wife who was also helping.  They worked everything out together, no one got cited for it and the damage appeared to be minimal.

Later on, I was following the moving truck as we headed to the new house.  This move was happening in Indiana.  Ever driven the roads there?  I don’t know what Indiana’s Department Of Transportation was thinking when they designed their road system, but between giving their roads numbers instead of names and making them barely wide enough for two oncoming vehicles to pass, I tend to think that alcohol was involved.  So, as I was following the moving truck, I noticed that every time an oncoming vehicle approached, a friend who was driving the truck had to hug the shoulder of the road.  Actually, “hugging the shoulder” in this case meant something more like “riding-the-edge-of-a-cliff-with-half-of-your-tire-hanging-off”.  Really, it was probably even closer than that.  More like literally becoming one with the pavement…and dirt…and grass.  Or so I thought as I watched the dirt and grass that were right on the edge of the pavement grab the rear passenger tires and start pulling the back-end off the road.  So much so that it was shockingly evident how quickly this was becoming a very bad situation.  But he got the truck back up on the road with a minimal amount of fish-tailing–and probably some brown stains on the backside of his pants–and, upon arriving at the new house, we found that hardly anything had moved around inside the truck through the whole event.

There were a couple of other things that happened:  by God putting me in the right place at the right time, I was able to prevent one of the kids from falling off the truck ramp as we unloaded (and he would have fallen hard); and on the way home, out of nowhere, a buck suddenly ran up onto the shoulder of the road–its trajectory matching that of the front end of my Avalanche–and just as suddenly as it appeared, it suddenly changed its direction of momentum and ran back off into the field it had come from (I know the use of “suddenly” is being slightly overused, but that’s what happens in a situation like that…everything is “suddenly”).  It was like the guardian angels that God has promised me and my family in Psalm 91 put themselves between my truck and that buck.  I’m telling you, the way that buck reacted, it was like it was being shewed away.

It may seem like an anti-climactic part of the day’s events, but there is one other rather significant occurrence that is worth noting.  That morning, I was picking up donuts and getting gas in the truck.  I got the donuts without incident–including all of the donuts still being present and accounted for upon arriving back home.  But as I pulled into the gas station and approached the gas pump that I had in mind to use, I noticed that a black quart-sized container was lying on the pavement in front of the pump.  It looked like an empty black bottle of motor oil.  So I just figured that, whatever it was, the truck’s tires would either push it aside or crush it as I pulled up to the pump.  What’s the big deal in crushing an empty quart container, right?  I’d just throw the crushed container into the trash can when I got out.

As I slowly pulled up to the pump, I heard a very loud “POP!” and suddenly saw the pump, the brick column of the gas station, my windshield and my window all sprayed with transmission fluid.  I got out of the truck and looked to the back driver’s side tire where the so-called “empty” container was still lying on the pavement–with an exploded crack in the side of it now–and red fluid all over the wheel-well, black plastic trim of the back door (it’s a four-door Avalanche) and the chrome running board bar.  Red fluid slowly ran down the chrome wheel, looking every bit like someone just got shot by my back tire.

I knew that I had very little time to deal with this, so I thought I would at least try to spray it off at the carwash that was just down the street.  I got there only to find that I was a quarter short of the $1.75 needed to use it.  Which meant that my only option was to drive to the other end of town to the other carwash that takes debit cards so that I could get this nasty stuff off my truck.  Well, that worked.  Or so I thought.  But instead of spending $1.75 on a manual wash, it cost me $6.00 on an automatic wash.  All because I didn’t have one more quarter.  And it didn’t even wash it off.  All it did was smear it everywhere.  (I found myself in a situation that David speaks of in Psalm 103.  He tells himself, “Praise the Lord, Oh, my soul”.  That’s just what I had to do.  Tell myself how to handle this….challenge.)

So later that night, my wife remembered that one of the parents of the kids she watches for her daycare business also does car-detailing on the side.  We told him the situation, dropped the tuck off, and later picked up a truck with no trace of transmission fluid on any of its surface!  He did a great job!  Here’s a picture of my “restored” externally-applied-transmission-fluid-and-buck-free truck:

image

God is good!!

How We Met

You ever feel like you’re so close to something BIG–something that you know God is leading you into and at the same time knowing it’s so much bigger than you currently realize–so close you can taste it, smell it, feel it?  Yet nothing has physically changed (but it could at any time.)  And there are things that have happened in the last few weeks that point to it, making it that much more obvious.  Yet nothing has physically changed (but it could at any time)….

That’s where I am right now on this Journey north with you.  The only other time I have been so sure of something involves my wife.  So let me share that amazing story with you….

No One tells our story like she does!  So I’ll just share my perspective on a few things.  We met when I was 30 and she was 32.  In an online chat room, when it was just beginning to happen (and even then we both had the common fear of only finding freaks, weirdos and perverts).  We met in a Christian Singles Chat Room on the MSN website (it was only my second time in the chat room and I haven’t been back to it since).  We “met” on Sunday night, May 27th 2001 at 10pm (and chatted until 4am the next morning); we  then met face-to-face on June 6th (her birthday); we were engaged July 2nd; and we married October 6th!  You might think that this moved pretty fast–and it did–but when you’ve been preparing for your soulmate since you were thirteen (which we both had been) and praying for him and her every day of your adult life, you’re pretty much ready for things to “move along”. (And because it’s part of our story–and almost unheard of nowadays–I also want you to know that we both remained virgins all those years of waiting and praying.  That is a priceless gift we gave each other that no one will ever be able to take away and that eternally remains with us.)

So, with that being the timeline, let’s focus in on the time leading up to and just passed the wedding.  My side of the family is from Michigan, my wife’s from Ohio.  So both of our Moms took care of mailing out invitations for their respective sides, with the wedding taking place in Michigan.  We had waited a long time for each other, and when you do that, there are a lot of people who you want to celebrate with!  So we had a LOT of people invited to our wedding.  But when the day came, the church sanctuary was maybe half-filled with all the people we had invited.  (Why?)  And then, for the next couple of months after the wedding day, we would encounter people we knew we had invited who would ask us, “Why didn’t you invite us to your wedding?”  (The plot thickens, Watson…)

It was then that we found out some rather crucial information from my Mom:  She mailed out the last batch of wedding invitations around September 10.  The day before 9/11.   So as a result, our wedding invitations were lost in the mail and, to the best of my knowledge, they have never been seen to this day!  A rather unique aspect of our story, to be sure….