Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

We are headed to the Winston-Salem area this evening to spend some time with family. Since the kids are out of school on Wednesday, we have found that we can get down the road and miss some traffic. Amy can work via Internet from most anywhere and I can find some time to get some things done.

We plan to do some yard work at my parents. Plan to cut down a tree and get up some leaves. Sounds like drudgery to some, but I'm looking forward to it. I haven't cut any wood since our last hurricane several years ago, and we never have leaves to get up since the winds keep out yard clean. We'll be able to work hard knowing that we don't have to do that type of work all the time. It also pays off to have two teenage boys that are almost as big as I am.

We will do some traveling and get to see family that we haven't seen in several months. I've been real busy lately, so I'm looking forward to a different change of pace.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Awesome Weekend!

This past weekend was pretty awesome!

Saturday started dark, early and cold at 3am. I went with 3 others to pick up our Angel Food in Portsmouth. We unloaded an 18-wheeler and divided our food out from other churches that were there. We got back to Bagley Swamp around 8:30. A large crowd of Bagley Swampers showed up at 9 to unload and folks began to pick up food around 11. It's pretty cool to be a part of something new and the potential that it has to impact our community.

Saturday was also Kendall's 16th birthday. We went to IHOP and 'loaded the wagon'. It was good. I was ready to hit the sack when we got home.

Sunday's services were good - we had large crowds at both services and God is definitely working in people's lives.

Sunday evening we had our annual Bagley Swamp Thanksgiving Dinner. For the last couple of years we have rented the local elementary school multi-purpose room to have enough room. We needed it. I think our folks fixed something like 10 turkeys and 10 hams. Everyone brought their favorite side dishes and desserts. Can you say Feast? Needless to say - huge crowd.

Went to the YMCA this morning. Need I say more? Feel better now.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sweet 16!

Our son, Kendall, turns 16 today! We are quite excited and proud of the man that he is becoming. Happy birthday, son!

Unfortunately, 16 isn't as sweet as it once was. No drivers license until he completes one year with a permit (NC Law). So, for Kendall it will be sweet 16, 4 months and 11 days when he gets his license. I know he is taking the wait better than I would have.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Well, the snow left faster than it came. Not long after my 10 am post, the snow stopped. When I went out around noon to get some lunch, the snow was gone!

It reminds me that most of the things of this life - pleasures, stuff and the like - are temporary. Our true identity, security and fulfillment need to be based on something that is not lose-able. When those things (identity, security, fulfillment) are wrapped up in pleasures and stuff, we are sunk when the pleasures and stuff are lost, take a nose dive or evaporate like the snow.

I am glad that my identity, security and fulfillment are based on something much bigger and eternal than myself or this world. It is based on the God of the bible, who loves me and you no matter what. That's awesome!

This Counts!

Earlier this week we had a few snow flurries. You know, snow flakes that fell from heaven for about five minutes. In the south, we say it snowed. Some laugh and scoff.

Well, today it has been snowing since daylight and hasn't stopped as of this posting. We have between one and two inches on the ground. For the northeast corner of NC that hardly ever sees snow - this definitely counts. If I remember correctly, we didn't have this much snow all of last winter.

On a down note, the kids had to go to school. Where we are - usually we can count on being out of school when it snows like it has today!
We are excited - the snow possibilities for the winter hold great promise since it snowed here before Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spectator - or - Player

I thought that I would share this from the backpage of our November newsletter . . .

Sports have always been a part of my life. Growing up, we (the neighborhood kids) were always playing baseball, basketball, football or some made-up game. We had a blast. I’ve also followed my favorite sports teams over the years. So, it’s no wonder that my kids have been involved in sports.

The funny thing is that all three kids have played for years a sport that I never played – soccer. I remember playing soccer in PE for about a week when I was in 6th grade. I have been watching my kids play soccer for over 12 years. I even coached the boys when they were real small.

A few weeks ago, Kendall and I went down to the soccer field. I had noticed in the games a few areas that he could improve on - so we were going to work on those. As we were on the field, I realized that a lot of things are harder than they look. And, some things hurt more than what you might think.

That got me to thinking. There is a lot of difference between being a spectator and being a player. A lot of times we think that as a spectator that we’re “in the game”, but we’re not. As spectators, we are good observers but we are not involved in the game, we just watch others. Spectators are good at complaining but we can’t do anything about it. We say things like… that coach made the wrong call, those players are not playing hard enough or those uniforms are ugly. The truth is that most spectators couldn’t get into the game because we are out shape and usually haven’t played the game.

The church – the Christian life – can be the same. Sometimes we sit on the sidelines and watch other Christians (or the church) and think that “such and such” should be done. Well, guess what? The Christian life – the church – is not a spectator sport. All of us are in the game – and – on the same team. So – get in the game!

I’m excited about our team. In fact, I know our team wins. I just want to get as many on our team as we can. Because life is about connecting people with God . . . and each other.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Drink Coffee. Do Good.

Last month Pastor Todd and I went to Catalyst in Atlanta and had a blast. Some of the best things about Catalyst are the connections that are made, the information that is learned, and the ministries that we learn about.

One of those ministries is Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee. In a nutshell (or should I say, coffee bean), this is a company that invests some of it's profits back into Rwanda, where they get their coffee. You can read about that here.

We drink coffee in our Sunday School class, so this week we are making the switch. The coffee that we will be drinking will be helping people in Rwanda. If the folks are interested, we can place orders every so often where for the folks to have the coffee at home (or even work).

I just think that we need to have a missional mindset. I know this is a small thing, but I just like the idea that the coffee that we drink can make a direct impact in lives on the ground where the coffee was harvested. That's awesome!

Our shipment just arrived - I'm pretty pumped! Now there's a little something extra to look forward to this Sunday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Made It!

Amy returned last night from two different retreats. The kids and I survived her being gone for 5 days. Believe it or not, I did cook, the house was clean, and the laundry was caught up when she arrived at the ol' homestead. It did help that yesterday was Veteran's Day and the kids were out of school.

One of the retreats was a pastor's wife retreat that she goes to every two years near Atlanta. She has attended that conference since 1996. In past years, when the kids were quite young, I did real good to keep everyone fed. I remember taking our daughter to church and asking someone to help with her hair. Needless to say, the kids pretty much can fend for themselves these days.

It's kinda crazy, but the next time she attends that pastor's wife retreat, our oldest will be in college. Wow! I imagine that Amy may start leaving instructions for the kids on 'how to take of dad' before too long.

We're glad to have her back!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Big News!

About a year ago our family got serious about getting in good financial shape. We began reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and decided to get on his plan for financial freedom. He has a series of 7 steps to financial freedom, you can check it out here.

Well, last week we completed step 2, we're debt free! We owe nothing to no one! No credit card payment, no car payment, nothing! How freeing! We are now on to step 3, which is to have an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses. We're going for the 6 months of expenses.

Our boys are going though Generation Change right now with a group of teens from the church. Our hope is that they are never in debt!

Huge props go out to Amy and the kids! We all had to be very intentional to make this happen! Also, a shout out to Chuck, Amy's friend and coworker who introduced us to Dave Ramsey and showed us it could be done. Thanks, Chuck!