Archive for May, 2010

“TO THE WINDS”

May 28, 2010

 

CCB Band, 3rd Armored Division

                      Jerry (top row, 3rd from right)

You can tell from my hair this was BL (before Lyndsey).

When I arrived in Gelnhausen, Germany, I had an opportunity to audition for the CCB Band.  This was not a part of the regular Army Band.  We were the band for the combat command where I was stationed.  I say this was an opportunity because I was placed on TDY.  This means temporary duty and it meant I would be placed on special duty away from the normal “GI Joe” activities and training.  It meant no more 3 AM alerts where the troops loaded up and moved into the field for 3 hours, 3 days, or 3 weeks, etc.  In case of alert, we would be attached to the SPs (Special Police), and perform guard duty for a mostly deserted army post.

The post commander believed in good public relations with the German people, so we were able to participate in the local festivals and celebrations.  We marched in parades in the small town, traveled into the mountains for the opening of a new soccer field in a village, and were able to learn much about the local customs.  We also played for all the football, baseball, and basketball games for the army sports leagues.

It was necessary for us to return to our regular company for a couple of things.  Once each month, we would have to return for payday.  There were also times when we would return for training manuevers for three to four weeks.  These were different from the regular unexpected alerts.  The band was pretty much left alone and there were times that I would go for weeks without wearing a uniform….just civilian clothes.  So, this was pretty good duty.  We practiced a lot and periodically put our uniforms on and marched around the command headquarters to let the big boss know we were on the job.  He liked the band and we wanted to stay in his good graces.

“To The Winds” was a manuever we performed sometimes when marching.  While marching, the drum major would blow the whistle, each band member would pivot and march in the direction of his choice.  When the whistle sounded again, each marcher would about-face and return to his original place in the ranks, pivot and continue marching as one body.  It looked pretty random, but it was controlled by the leader.

Each member of the band had a specific musical talent and an assigned position in the marching formation.  It is necessary for each member to use his special music talent and be in the proper position in order to achieve the goal of something that resembles music.  The quality of the music being played suffered during the “To The Winds” manuever because the formation was fragmented and each marcher was going in the direction of his choice.  But, when whistled back to the original formation, the quality of the music improved drastically.

I received this picture a couple of years ago from one of the band members.  He was my room-mate and I had not seen him in years.  One day I searched the internet and found him.  I called, we had a great visit, and he mailed the picture to me.

Last night I was remembering the good times we had as a group.  Whatever success we had as a musical organization was accomplished because each had their own special talent and remained under the control of the drum major (leader).  God gave each of a special musical talent, and when we used that talent as one body, under leadership, the intended goal was achieved. 

Today, as each of us serve in God’s army, whether it be in our family, church, or business, we must strive to use our special talent to the Glory of God.  When we go in our own direction “To The Winds,” we must be listening for God’s whistle to bring us back into harmony.  As we travel life’s road, it’s not about church, family, or business.  It’s about developing our relationship with God.  With that being our focus, all of our activities will have the proper balance and purpose.  By following God’s leadership, we will learn how be the proper team member of our family, church, business, etc.  God’s Spirit gives us spiritual gifts at His pleasure and that creates a team of balance and harmony.  These same gifts are to be used in all facets of our daily lives.  If the different areas of our lives are fragmented like the hard drive on our computers (To The Winds), we must listen for the whistle of our family, church, and business leader to defragment the team.  Then, the team is brought back to harmony to accomplish the goal.  In each of these areas, when functioning properly, God will get the glory.

 

 

 

 

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“UNSELFISH LOVE”

May 26, 2010

 

Bill and Amy Wright

I want to tell a story about two amazing individuals and pay tribute to their “Unselfish Love.”  I am speaking of Pam’s mother and dad.  The story begins many years ago in Virginia and continues today.  They are more than “in-laws” to me…they are my friends.

Bill grew up in Virginia and graduated from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.  While attending LMU, he met Jewel.  He and Jewel married and their first-born was Bill Doug.  Jewel was very ill with asthma and the climate in Virginia was not good for her health.  They moved to New Mexico to be in a drier climate.  Bill kept the homemade travel trailer that he, Jewel, and Bill Doug used in moving across the United States.  It was in the back yard in Panhandle for years.  It looked more like a gypsy wagon than the modern travel trailers we see today.  My point in mentioning this is that Bill has always done what it takes to care for his family.

Jewel was pregnant with Debbie during the move and she was born in New Mexico.  Bill had taken a teaching job in New Mexico where he taught math and science.  They later decided to move to Panhandle, Texas where he taught mechanics at the air base.  They wanted teachers to teach mechanics, and Bill learned much about being a mechanic while teaching.  Over the years he kept all the family vehicles mechanically sound.  Pam was born in Panhandle.  Jewel was still in very poor health and died about seven weeks after Pam was born.  Now, Bill has three children to take care of:

Bill Doug, Pam, and Debbie

Bill met Amy while car-pooling to work at the air base in Amarillo.  They later married and Amy brought her son, Kylon, into the Wright family.  Bill’s young family needed a mother and Amy’s son needed a family.  In looking back at their life together, I know that God blessed them beyond measure.  I believe it was a match made in Heaven by a Loving God.

Bill Doug, Debbie, Kylon, and Pam

Bill and Amy continued to care for their growing family with “unselfish love.”  With love and dedication to God, each other, and their family, they later added two more girls (Teresa and Alyson) to their household.  Now they have three of Bill’s, one of Amy’s, and two of Bill and Amy’s.  But, with their “unselfish love,” they treated all as “ours.”

During this time, Bill continued his college studies and received his Master’s Degree.  Pretty amazing with all that was going on with church, work, raising a family, and “mechanicing” on their cars.

The Wright Family

Today, the Wright family has grown and grown to include many grand and great-grand children.  Bill and Amy continue to love their God and family with that same “unselfish love.”  Bill is now ill with Parkinson’s Disease and needs constant care.  There have been many ups and downs during their lifetime, but that everlasting love continues to keep them strong.  Amy, with the strength that comes only from God, continues to care for Bill 24/7.  This is the “unselfish love” that I write about and it is the kind of love that is only possible because of the love that God has for each of us.

After many years of absence from Bill’s home in Virginia (except for family vacations), this July he and Amy will fly to Virginia to attend the Wright family reunion.  There is not one ounce of “quit” in either Bill or Amy.  Not only are they going to the family reunion, but most of the extended family are taking time to pay tribute to their parents for the love they have received their entire lives.

I write about this “unselfish love” because I have not only witnessed it, but I have experienced that same love since I have been included in the Wright family.  I have been treated as their own and am honored to be treated as family.  I say again, Bill and Amy are not my in-laws, they are my dear, dear friends.

To sum up my thoughts, both Bill and Amy are a once in a lifetime experience for each other, their family, and the many friends they have accumulated.  I hope each person who reads this post will pause, and thank God for this couple, and ask for Him to bless them daily as they continue to give that unconditional and “unselfish love” to all who pass their way.

“THE BLUE HOLE”

May 25, 2010

 

Blue Hole by Kristen__.

 

These are pictures of an old rock quarry located deep in East Texas, near the Angelina-Jasper County line.  This old quarry supplied much of the rock used to build Galveston’s sea wall after a hurricane slammed the city in 1900–one of the worst natural disasters to hit the North American continent.

It was not until 1950 that the weather bureau began naming hurricanes, so this hurricane is known as The Galveston Hurricane of 1900.  It was not the strongest hurricane hitting the United States (84 MPH winds), but it was the most devastating.  The hurricane struck on September 8, killing 10,000 to 12,000 people on Galveston Island and flooding the city of Galveston with nearly sixteen feet of water.

Two-thirds of the city was destroyed.  People trying to make their way through the storm were struck by flying bricks and lumber and sometimes decapitated by slate from roofs in the 84-mile-an-hour winds.

Following the storm, using rock from this, and other quarries, Galveston began work on a six-mile long sea wall standing seventeen feet above low tide.  Sand pumped from the Gulf’s floor also raised the island’s grade by as much as seventeen feet. 

After the quarry was closed, it was filled with seeping water and became as blue as a summer’s sky.  It was then known as The Blue Hole.  There are many legends about The Blue Hole.  I heard a few of these legends when I was growing up.  One legend says a small railroad car used to haul rocks out of the quarry was caught at the bottom of the hole when it was flooded with water.

One story says three teenagers came to The Blue Hole in a blue pickup truck, parked it on the cliff above the hole, and decided to go skinny-dipping.  As they were swimming, their truck’s brake failed and it plummeted to the bottom of The Blue Hole, carrying with it their clothes.  The teenagers walked naked for miles until they found help.  The blue truck supposedly still rests at the bottom of The Blue Hole, providing a companion to the old railroad car.

I swam and camped there many times, and even though the water is a beautiful blue and very clear, I have never seen either the railroad car or the blue truck.  The water is 40 to 60 feet deep is most places, and over 100 feet deep in the middle.  So, maybe they are at the bottom.

The cliff is about 30 feet high.  We dived from the cliff and also had a rope swing to take us higher and further  into the lake.  The rope was tied to the trunk of a tree rather than a limb.  Why???  When you swung out over the water, you had no choice but to turn loose and drop thirty or forty feet.  If you failed to turn loose of the rope, you would swing back into the trunk of the tree…so it was an each choice to make…turn loose.

When we were there at night, we would start running towards the cliff and go flying out over the water.  When it was really dark, we were unable to know where the cliff began until there was no ground under our running feet.  We thought that was really exciting.  Now, I realize it was really dumb!

 

This picture will give you some idea of the height of the cliff and the clear blue water.  The Blue Hole no longer exists.  Over the years, people trashed the site and it was finally drained and a fence was placed around the area.  But, it was a beautiful place to swim.

There were probably many life-saving miracles during the Galveston hurricane.  We sometimes witness the miracles and say this must be the Hand of God.  People have been found under debris days after a storm and it seemed impossible for them to be alive.  Yet, they were and we’ve recognized it as a miracle from God.  Then we later forget about the power of God.  It shouldn’t be the storms of life that we remember, but the power of God that watched over us.

Not only does God give us protection during the storm, He provides us with protection after the storm.  Just as God provided the rock from The Blue Hole quarry to give future protection to Galveston, He will continue to watch over us after each storm we encounter.  And, just as it took man’s labor and knowledge to find and remove the rock from The Blue Hole quarry, it takes an effort on our part to receive God’s protection each day.  Our part is praying and building a personal relationship with our Father.

 

 

 

“A LITTLE OR A LOT – UPDATE”

May 21, 2010

 

Here is the ugly results of the major surgery on my three thorn bushes in the front yard.  Pam had a “girls night out” birthday party Wednesday.  When she left for the party, I decided to finish the job I had started the previous week.  This is the job I was able to complete because of the re-scheduling of my hand surgery.

This is the problem hand with the thumb splint on.  I was disappointed to have a delay in the thumb repair, but the good part was being able to finish the thorn bush job.  The “hand” doctor will open up my thumb where it is connected to my wrist.  He then will remove the last thumb joint that attaches to the wrist.  Then he will “harvest” a tendon from my wrist and transplant it where he removed the joint.  “Harvest” is the word I like here.  What it means to me is that he is going to remove one part of my body and graft it in another place in my body.  If he had rather “harvest” the tendon, that’s okay with me…he is the doctor, not me.  Then, a part of the tendon will be wrapped between the second and third joints, two pins placed amongst all of this to stabilize everything.  Sounds logical to me.  I still don’t understand everything and am not real positive I have described it just right.

 

In my post on Wednesday, I said I looked like I had been in a “cat fight.”  The scratches from the earlier surgical procedure on the thorn bushes have mostly healed.  The pictures above do not present what I really looked like on
Wednesday evening.  I have removed all the blood and these pictures were taken Thursday night.  It is also very obvious that I am not a professional photographer.

I believe there is always a lesson in every event of our lives.  As I was taking these pictures last night, this is what came to mind.  I know thorn bushes don’t feel pain, but as I performed the trimming, I felt the paint from the injured thumb along with the thorns.  When it is necessary for God to do “a little or a lot” of trimming on us, we are not like a thorn bush…we feel “a little or a lot” of pain.  I can only imagine the pain that our Father feels when it becomes necessary to do a little trimming in our lives.

Then I thought about the pain I experienced when the thorns scratched my arms.  I remembered the “crown of thorns” that was placed on the head of Christ…and not very gently.

The point of all this is that I realized the pain and suffering of Jesus as He gave His life for each of us.  I also know that if I were the only person on earth…He would have given Himself just for me.  Not only did He suffer physical pain.  The pain He felt in His heart cannot be measured by man.  I am thankful for what my Saviour did on the cross.

“A LITTLE OR A LOT”

May 19, 2010

Back in March my post was about “Using the Right Tools.”  I told about injuring my right thumb a lot and my left thumb a little.  After a couple of visits to the “hand” doctor, it was determined that surgery was needed unless I wanted to continue to live with the pain in my right hand.  The injury caused arthritis in my right hand and it would not get any better.  I could deal with the pain until such time as I wanted to be free of that pain through surgery.  I decided to take care of the problem now and surgery was scheduled for this past Tuesday.  I received a telephone call from the doctor’s office to inform me there was a mixup in scheduling and the surgery was delayed until June 15th.

At first I was a little peeved about the delay in surgery, but my nature is normally to look for the “good” in all circumstances.

I have this group of shrubs in the front yard that Pam and I planted many years ago.  I never can remember the proper names for plants, so I call these shrubs “bushes.”  Well, there are three bushes in this grouping and they are placed around two large pine trees.  For a while they grew very little and were really attractive.  They soon began to grow more and were a beautiful addition to the yard.  I would periodically need to prune the bushes, but not so much that they would be ugly again.  The results of this slight pruning over the years was each time there was new growth, the bushes became wider and taller.  This winter the growth was out of control.  I decided it was time for major surgery on these bushes before they ruled over me.

 

 

 

I started my surgery on the bushes about ten days ago.  I decided to trim them to the point that they became very ugly.  I only trimmed one bush on that Saturday.  I have the “right tools” for this job, but one problem I have is the long thorns that attack me and I look like I have been in a cat fight.  Rather than pull each limb out of the bush as it was cut,  I opted for cutting back one bush drastically and then with my trusty Escalade and a rope, towed the unsightly mess to the woods behind my house.  So now, as you can see, the job really needs to be finished. 

The point of this story almost got lost in describing the problem with these bushes.  The good part of the delay in surgery is that I will now be able to make all three bushes ugly at the same time.  If this drastic surgery doesn’t kill them, I know that they will again be beautiful at some point in the future.  If they die, so be it.  I will not let them take control of my front yard.  I guess I should have been more aggressive in my pruning over the years and this would have eliminated the problem I have today.

Last spring Pam asked me to trim the Indian Hawthorn plants in her front flower bed.  I think that is the name of the plants.  I trimmed them drastically, according to her directions, and they looked awful.  Today, they are pretty again. 

Early in the spring, I trimmed all of the Crepe Myrtle bushes and/or trees in the yard.  They are all ugly again.  But they grow really fast and I know that beauty will come in the near future.

Maybe I have learned my lesson about pruning shrubs, roses, and other plants around the yard.  If I had only realized that everything needs a little trimming periodically.  I have had my hair all my life and try to get a haircut on a regular basis.  When I get a haircut, I don’t just get half of the new growth trimmed.  I get all of the new growth removed.  If I treated my hair like I treated the “bushes” in my current project, my hair would be dragging on the ground behind me like a wedding dress train.

As we travel down life’s road and grow in our relationship with God, He periodically needs to do a little pruning on us.  When our growth begins to stray in the wrong direction, He does a little trimming to get our attention and bring our focus back to Him.  Sometimes, He must do a little major surgery on us and it is both humbling and painful.  But when we begin to heal we are again beautiful in His sight.  I have been pruned on a lot and I have also gone through major surgery.  After experiencing both, I have opted to strive for only regular trimming.  The best thing about the going through either is I have my family to support me and love me.  It is great to know that they are always there just as I know God is ever present.  I have His promise that He will never leave me.

“THE UNEXPLAINABLE”

May 14, 2010

I was listening to the news on the way home for lunch yesterday.  There was a discussion about a young boy who was the only survivor of a plane crash.  All the passengers and crew were killed along with both of his parents and a brother.  The discussion was about how did  he survive when everyone else was killed.  Was it where he was sitting?  Did he have his seat belt buckled?  Was it because he was smaller that the others?

A lady joined the discussion who was also a lone survivor of a plane crash.  She said that her seat belt was not buckled.  She doesn’t remember much about what happened.  Was she thrown clear of the wreckage?  Was it where she was sitting?  How did she survive when others perished?

When I was in high school, I was out with some friends one night riding around in a coupe with a rumble seat like the one above.  The rumble seat had been removed and there was just a plank flooring.  There were five of us boys, so three had to stand in the rumble seat area.  I was standing in the back until we dropped one of the boys at his home.  It looked like rain so I kidded the other boys that I was going to get up front and leave them to get wet.  We had not traveled but a short distance when both boys fell from the vehicle.  One of the boys was unconscious.  We were about ten miles from town and driving a slow vehicle.  It was before cell phones, so we stopped the next vehicle and they took my friend to the hospital.  He was my best friend so I road with him to the hospital.  I called his parents (who were my neighbors) from the hospital.  He died in the emergency room before his parents arrived.  I had to meet them when they arrived and give them the terrible news.  That was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do.  The next day I emptied his locker at school and turned in all of his text books.  I had to explain to teachers why I was doing this.  That was the second hardest thing I ever had to do.

Why was I in the front of the vehicle instead of him?  Why did he die and not also the boy who fell with him?  Was it the way he landed on the highway?

At one point in the news program, someone said that there would be people who would claim that the young boy survived because of God.  He didn’t seem to put much faith in the idea, and neither did he get any positive comments that God could be the answer.  As I listened to the program, I thought:  “You have just found the answer and don’t know it.”  I know that Gold is truly sovereign over all things.  I try to look at things from a totally different point of view.  It is sad about those that perish in an accident like this, but it is also exciting when I wonder how God will use tragedy to accomplish His Will.  What impact will each survivor have on others during his life?  Maybe he will impact only one life…but maybe he will impact many lives.

So, I know the answer to the question that was the subject of the news report.  God is the answer to all things!

 

 

“MOTHER’S DAY”

May 7, 2010

 

One_Dozen_LongStem_Pink_Roses

Have you ever wondered how Mother’s Day came into being?

The United States celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May.  In the 1880s and 1890s there were several attempts to establish a Mother’s Day, but they didn’t succeed beyond the local level.  The holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honor one’s mother.  Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration for all mothers, although the idea didn’t take off until she enlisted the services of wealthy Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker.  She kept promoting the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914.  The holiday eventually became so highly commercialized that many, including its founder, Anna Jarvis, considered it a “Hallmark Holiday”, i.e. one with an overwhelming commercial purpose.  Jarvis eventually ended up opposing the holiday she had helped to create.  She died in 1948, regretting what had become of her holiday.  In the United States, Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and the like; it is also the biggest holiday for long-distance telephone calls.

Commercialization

Nine years after the first official Mother’s Day, commercialization of the U.S. Holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become and spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting what she saw as an abuse of the celebration.

Later commercial and other exploitations of the use of Mother’s Day infuriated Anna and she made her criticisms explicitly known throughout her time.  She criticized the practice of purchasing greeting cards, which she saw as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter.  She was arrested in 1948 for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother’s Day, and she finally said that she “wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control…”.

Mother’s Day continues to this day to be one of the commercially most successful U.S. occasions.  According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.

For example, according to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts–like spa treatments–and another $68 million on greeting cards.

Mother’s Day will generate about 7.8% of the U.S. jewelry industry’s annual revenue, with custom gifts like mother’s rings.

***

The history and facts are really boring and do not reflect the feelings I have for this special day.  To me, it is a day to honor our mothers with what I feel they really want.  I believe what mothers really want is to be told, “I love you for who you are and what you mean to me.”  So many times in our lives the most precious things to our heart are the most simple words or actions.

Which of these two will pull at the heartstrings of a mother?  A card picked out by the child, with or without the help of their dad.  A handmade card from school which is created totally from the mind of a child.  I know the answer.  It is the card from the heart of a child and it speaks the truth from their heart. 

I don’t speak against cards, flowers, gifts, or fine dining.  I know what I have always received on Father’s Day…love, honor, and respect.  I know the simple things are longer lasting than grandiose gestures and gifts.  They are longer lasting because they are stored in my heart and can never be taken away.

I believe this is also true of mothers.  Lyndsey will not be with us on Mother’s Day, but I know where her heart is because of the relationship she and Pam have.  That relationship is possible because each of them work at it.  Most of it is natural, but it has to be nurtured to reach the level they experience.  As I hear them visit by phone, or in person, I see that every day is Mother’s Day (even with the ups and downs of life).  Lyndsey is quite creative and seems to always give those very special gifts from her heart that are everlasting.

Don’t take me wrong here.  I am not advocating no flower, dining out, etc.  I will honor my wife and the mother of my child with said gifts, and try to find something that will be meaningful.  I have already planned on something special but I can’t disclose it this early…only on Mother’s Day.  As a husband, I honor her for who she is to Lyndsey and I, because she is the rock that is the core of our home and family.  Most of all, she is a Godly woman and expresses love that can only come from God.

So, this is really what Mother’s Day is all about…to express our love to our wives/mothers and place them on the pedestal they deserve.  The love that I speak of is the love that is only possible through God…again, it is the simple words…”I LOVE YOU.”

 

“MAKING A PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY SANDWICH”

May 6, 2010

 

Even if you don’t know how to cook, you can make a PB&J sandwich!  This is a quick and easy snack, or light lunch to make when you don’t have a lot of time.

Things You’ll Need:

Sliced bread or whole bread you can slice

Peanut butter

Jelly or jam

A knife

A plate or paper towel

Get a good amount of peanut butter on a knife or spoon (this amount varies with your personal preference) and spread it out evenly onto both slices of bread so the bread does not get soggy from the jelly.  Be very precise during this operation.  The peanut butter should be spread to about 5/16 inch from the crust.  This gets maximum coverage and guards against eating just plain bread.

Wipe any residual peanut butter from the knife onto the second piece of bread.

Scoop some jelly onto the other slice of bread.  Again, the amount is up to you, but when in doubt, use less rather than more.  Jelly tends to squeeze out the edges and drip if you use too much.  Make sure to spread the jelly evenly.

Gently press the two slices of bread together.  Always put the peanut butter and jelly sides together, otherwise it will be messy (besides not sticking together).

If you are a serious PB&J consumer, grab one of the plastic containers that people store leftovers in.  Take all the peanut butter out of the jar and store it in the plastic container.  That way, you will not create the usual messiness that happens when trying to get peanut butter out of the bottom of a narrow jar while making your sandwich.

If you are lazy, or just have a limited amount of time, consider buying the jars which contain both peanut butter and jelly.  That way you won’t have to waste time spreading the PB&J at different times.  They also come in strawberry.

Warnings:

If you spread on a lot of peanut butter and jelly it will ooze out of the edges of the sandwich when you bite into it.  Make sure you use a napkin to keep from making a mess.

If you only put peanut butter on one slice of the bread, never put the peanut butter slice on top of the jelly.  If the jelly slice is on the bottom, it will soak into the bread and you could have a pool of jelly.  With that said, place the jelly slice on top of the peanut butter slice.  The peanut butter if applied thick enough will prevent the jelly from soaking through the bottom slice of bread.

If you do lick the knife when done, be very careful of sharp edges!!!!

My own personal method is, when you get the peanut butter spread, take a spoon of jelly out of the jar and throw it in the kitchen garbage.  Then place fried bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and pickles (maybe onion) on top of the peanut butter and press the two pieces of bread together and eat.  If you spread peanut butter on both slices of bread, it will help hold all of this junk together. 

So, whether you are creating a PB&J or a PB&J(unk) sandwich, it takes very careful planning.

The Role of Praying and Planning in Leadership:  God controls the future.  Therefore, we should never plan without praying.  If God isn’t in our plans, we waste our time.  At the same time, we should respond to the guidance God gives us.  Once we get confirmation and peace from God, we should act accordingly.  Obedience is a reflection of faith.

 

 

“THE WHISTLER”

May 5, 2010

 

Emerald Hills Golf Resort

 
EMERALD HILLS GOLF RESORT
 
When Pam and I moved to Jasper, I worked for a CPA firm in charge of all the auditing services.  The firm was located in the Belle-Jim Hotel.  This was a hotel I was acquainted with as a teenager.  But, that is another story for another time.  The Belle-Jim Hotel later became a bread and breakfast and now serves lunch each day.
 
We arrived in Jasper in July and the following spring traveled to Toro Hills Golf Course for a weekend staff meeting and planning session.  Toro Hills has changed ownership since then and is now Emerald Hills Golf Resort.  Hodges Gardens is across the highway so the wives spent their time in the Gardens while the men played a round of golf.  I am not sure if “played a round of golf” is the appropriate description for that experience.  I am not the best golfer in the world, but I played a decent game at that time.  The rest of our group were somewhere below being “duffers.”  I don’t mean to be critical of their golfing abilities, but they were better at accounting.  It would probably have been a lot more fun to just hide and watch this group “play” golf.
 
We finished our round, the wives returned from the gardens, and we all met later in the restaurant for dinner.  The dining room and bar were together.  There was a small group of musicians entertaining the guests.  Suddenly, we heard this whistling sound, and looked up and we had a “whistler” performing with the group.  He was not a part of the group and he definitely wasn’t a musician.  The diners made a terrible mistake at this point.  They applauded!  This made him believe that everyone enjoyed his performance.  So, he continued to whistle, whistle, whistle, whistle, and whistle.  He didn’t recognize the first applause as the guests just being polite.  Someone, somewhere, sometime must have complimented him on his musical whistling talent.  His performance was way beyond terrible and not something that was enjoyable on a full stomach.  He finally finished his extended performance and the applause was tremendous…he was finished!
 
I always try to have a lesson in each story I write about.  I remember the experience very well, but I am now at the point where I must find where the lesson is.
 
God gives each of us spiritual gifts to be used as the Spirit directs.  This makes us a part of His team, to do His work, and bring glory to His name.  When we serve God in our area of gifting, there is both ease and power in our actions.  I once taught a class on “Spiritual Gifts” and how the different gifts were the source of our motivation.  It is very enlightening to discover why different people look at the same circumstances from a different point of view.  It is also a help in our marriages, because if we know the gifting of our spouse, we better understand their actions.
 
 Now, after I found the lesson, I realize that some people aren’t gifted to be golfers and some are not gifted to be whistlers.
 
 
 

“THE LONGEST GAME”

May 4, 2010

 

                                                                                               R  H  E
—————————————————————–
Texas Longhorns…… 020 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 1 –  3 20 3
BC Eagles………………  000 101 000 000 000 000 000 000 0 –  2  8  0
—————————————————————–                                    

 

Austin Wood

 On May 31, 2009, Pam and I were at the NCAA Regional Baseball tournament in Austin.  We set a personal record that day.  We arrived for the first game at 11 AM and then the second game a 6 PM.  The second game was between the Texas Longhorns and the Boston College Eagles and lasted until after 1 AM.  We were at the ballpark for over 14 hours.

Compared to the NCAA Baseball records set that day, ours was nothing.  Besides that, we enjoyed every minute of it.  The records set:

Longest game – 7 hours and 3 minutes – 25 innings.

Texas & Boston College combined to set NCAA records with 42 strikeouts, 222 total chances, 69 assists, 192 plate appearances and 171 at-bats.

Texas’ 91 at-bats, 103 plate appearances, 115 total chances and 75 putouts set new NCAA records.

Preston Clark’s 33 putouts set a new NCAA record for most single-game putouts.

Travis Tucker and Michael Torres set the NCAA single-game record for at-bats at 12 apiece.

The evening was highlighted by the relief performance of Austin Wood.  The Longhorns left-hander entered the game with one out and a runner on second base in the seventh inning and proceeded to pitch 12.1 innings before yielding a hit.  For the game, Wood pitched 13.0 scoreless innings, scattering two hits and four walks while striking out a career-high 14.  He logged 169 pitches on the evening, while throwing 122 strikes.

There were many heroes on both teams.  As you can see from the box score above, it was an evenly matched, very competitive game.  When Austin Wood was replaced on the mound in the 20th inning, the entire Boston College dugout came on the field and gave him a standing ovation.  Boston College had a runner on second base who remarked to the second baseman:  “Thank God he’s gone!”

 This was a game of “sportsmanship.”  That is my kind of game.  I witnessed great sportsmanship this weekend at the three-game series between Baylor and Texas.  Friday night at Waco there were about as many fans from Texas as Baylor.  Again and again, I witnessed Texas fans applauding great fielding plays by the Bears.  The same thing happened in Austin on Saturday and Sunday.  I think it is great when that kind of appreciation is expressed during the heat of the battle.  I have also attended games where fans spend more time harassing their opponents than rooting for their own team.  This kind of bad sportsmanship ruins the reason for the competition….in my opinion.  I had rather see each team give honor and appreciation for a game well played.

How can a team play over 7 hours and 16 extra innings at such a high level?  It takes leadership.  A leader steps up and is willing to do what is necessary for victory.  A leader brings the team together to play as one unit.  God is busy building a team to achieve the most important victory of all.  His desire is that none should perish.  This team must be strengthened by His Spirit in order to be victorious when the time comes for extra innings.  Each of us is a leader in some way.  We must go forward in boldness to achieve victory over the things of this world.  Each of us must be a team player and be willing to serve under our Leader.