Thursday, June 29, 2006

Heather, Amy, Jim, Clarence, & Bob Evans

Readers of Brainwaves and Can You Hear Me Now will have already read of this encounter...but this afternoon I was blessed to meet up with a couple of Kentucky bloggers who've become "blog buddies" over the years, as well as an old friend from our church who moved to Kentucky some time back.

Amy arranged it all...well most of it - I knew we were going to meet up with Heather - as sort of a surprise birthday present. I will confess I had my suspicions, but it was still extremely rewarding to have my suspicions...and hopes...confirmed.

Jim from "Brainwaves" and Clarence from "Can You Hear Me Now?" were pretty much as I expected. We were a bit late to the meeting, which knowing us should also be expected, and considering we met at a "Bob Evans" it's a miracle we met up at all.

For those of you who've wondered....this is what Jim and Clarence look like when they are waiting for food.

I realized while driving back to Ohio that there are more Bob Evans restaurants than there are highway exits in Kentucky and Ohio...I'm not sure how that's possible, but there is one about every 60 yards or so, therefore the fact that Amy and I found the right one is somewhat miraculous.

Amy spent much of the time catching up with Heather, who is loving Kentucky and has love blooming in other aspects of her life as well.

In any event, I really don't get the chance to meet face to face with fellow bloggers with the exception of Chuck Sigars and a few folks who stumble wide-eyed into our church looking for "The Real Live Preacher." Most of them have no idea I have a blog and spend the bulk of their time covering up their amusement at the realization that Gordon isn't quite larger than life...:)

Actually Amy placed a call to Gordon which was the highlight of the visit for both Jim and Clarence...I won't dwell on how truly sad that is (hey, if someone doesn't take a few pot shots at Gordon it would be impossible to keep him humble).

In truth, it was very cool to pass around the phone and let everyone visit with Gordon a bit - by this point the waitresses already suspected we were all on leave from the Rubber Ramada anyway.

The visit was too short. The food was good. The company was grand.

I truly hope this is only the first of many such visits.

It's reassuring to find folks whose wisdom you read is not simply something they's something they live. I grow closer to God in the company of true witnesses like Jim and Clarence.....and getting bonus catch-up time with Heather, made it a meal fit for a King...

Thank you all for taking time out of your day to visit with us, but more importantly thank you for allowing us to count you among our friends and as part of the Body of Christ.

As usual, God has gifted me with far more than I deserve.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Fuliginous Start


My father-in-law has one of those "word of the day" desk calendars and today's word is "fuliginous."

To spare you the trouble of having to look it up, I'll give you the basic definition which is sooty, murky...having a dark or musky color.

I'm not sure it applies exactly, but I'm finding it appropriate today, the first supposedly care-free day of my vacation and also my birthday.

I was greeted by a courageous email from the Program Director of one of the radio stations I work with, whom I've never met, informing me that "he hated to do this by email" but they've got a former employee moving back to their city and they're going to hire her to do the job they have been paying me to do remotely.

Fu...fuliginous was the first word that popped to mind (ahem). In truth I don't blame the guy at all, I have been saying for months this was going to happen because of other changes made at my office which have resulted in a poorer quality product being produced both in terms of the "sound" of our radio stations but also in terms of the reliability of being able to provide for the needs of stations in other markets.

My criticisms have been largely ignored, so now we're reaping what we've sown. It's unfortunate that it's costing me money, but it might also finally light a fire under some folks to take a hard look at the future and perhaps they'll see the flaws in our long term plan which I've been prophesying for many months.

This particular station paid me more than most others I work for, so it's a significant financial hit. However it's not the end of the world by any means. I'll still be making enough money to keep a roof over our heads.

I will admit this is not the way I envisioned starting my vacation or marking this birthday, but the more I think about it, the more upsides I see. In fact, it may very well be exactly the "push" I needed to make a course change that I've been on the fence about. God has worked in far less obvious ways in my life, I wouldn't be surprised if 6 months from now I'm not looking back and saying, "Thank goodness that change happened or I might never have thrown myself into this other area."

God is going to take care of us...of that I am sure. Whether we have to struggle a bit along the way is hardly unexpected and we're really fairly well practiced at it. God has used suffering and struggle a great deal in my life and the lives of others to keep my journey pointed toward Him.

In any case, the change will have some immediate benefits. I will be able to sleep in a little later, I'll be able to do a better job for the other stations I work with, and the constant pressure to meet so many deadlines every morning will be gone.

I'll actually be able to be like my co-workers and occasionally get up from my seat and go take a coffee break or chat with folks, whereas for years I have been virtually chained to my computer from the moment I walk in the door to the moment I run out.

I suppose every cloud does have a silver lining...even the fuliginous ones.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We're Here!

Let's see...I overslept and still only got a few hours sleep. I spilled a giant...very hot latte at the airport - thank God Amy flirted with the Starbucks' barista and got it remade...for free.

On board the airplane I spilled spicy tomato juice all over my white shirt.

But we made it!

Joey picked us up at the airport and drove us to Dayton. Then spent a full 4 or 6 minutes showing me his skills drawing my cariacature with his laptop and a pressure sensitive tablet...emphasizing the fact that I look tired...and I might add old.

But we made it!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It's About Time

Gordon didn't preach today...he was presiding over the wedding of our friend Erin in Tennessee. That meant we had to call on one of the many "recovering ministers" in our flock, Tim, who didn't shy away from the task. He preached out of Revelation - not something a lot of fill-in ministers do.

I found it coincidental since only this week I put in a request for a sample copy of "Endtime" magazine. I was led there by some article I read and was curious about an entire magazine devoted to the topic. I haven't received my free copy yet, but I'll let you know when I do - assuming we're all still around.

I certainly hope we're still one big happy blog family. Don't get me wrong, being raptured certainly has a definite appeal to it...but I have one more day of work before Amy and I head to Ohio for a couple of weeks. I'm all in favor of being raptured, but honestly I'd like to squeeze in a little vacation time first, as silly as that seems.

Anyway, I was curious about "Endtime" magazine. I'm always on the lookout for a place for which I might one day write something. Endtime would seem like a good venue for something I wrote when really depressed...who knows. Anyway I figured it couldn't hurt to request a sample copy.

Then I looked at the regular subscription information. You can sign up for a year or most magazines...and the longer you enroll, the better the rate. However there is a specific limit...a maximum subscription length - six years.

That actually makes sense. What if we're already at the start of the seven years of tribulation? It would seem unfair to sell people ten-year subscriptions. What if you're not among the raptured? Imagine trying to get a refund for undelivered about customer service nightmares. Then again, there will be a lot of contentious moments during the time of tribulation I suppose.

Anyway, we won't be here when my sample copy of "Endtime" magazine arrives.

I sure hope when we get back I won't regret having left home without it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Firm Reality

Amy was formally "ordained" as our church music minister on Sunday. It was actually a formality - she's been leading us in worship for nearly 7 years - but still an affirmation that was necessary I think. Amy, like many folks who feel a calling from God, has at times doubted if she was worthy of such a responsibility. I've found, at least in my life, God doesn't let me linger with those thoughts for long...if necessary to get my attention, God has shoved me where He's needed me and I've usually been wise enough to go where "led" even if it took me a while to catch on.

In our church, ordination is very simple...the members of our body lay hands on the person being ordained and we quietly pray, or say words of encouragement to them.
I told Amy she was a gift from God as well as a gift to God....and that I was astounded and humbled to be able to share my life with her.

Amy held it together very well...until Gordon leaned down to share his thoughts.

- Side note: Since Gordon's words were so nice, I was nice enough to crop that photo so as not to show Gordon's bald spot...and believe me that's getting harder to do -

Anyway, the process got me thinking about affirmation.

I'll admit lately I have not been getting affirmation in ways I have in the past...i.e. via my job. I've become disillusioned with some aspects of my work. This is not the end of the job has changed a lot over the will change again. Still, work-life is not particularly uplifting these days...and some days I leave the office simply be leaving the office.

Yet it's funny how things work out. In these stressful days there has suddenly come a balance.

Amy and I have volunteered for a while to provide daycare for Emily. This is no great chore, in fact it's been a great joy.

Especially lately.

There's really nothing quite the same as walking into the house after a hard morning at work only to have this tiny brown-eyed charmer run up, throw her arms around my legs and say, "Mukuyl!"

I'm not sure I'd ever need any more affirmation than that.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gifts Given - Gifts Returned

For many years, Amy and I were crazy enough to drive to Ohio each summer for our annual family vacation. Our usual routine was to drive straight through on the way there - some 19 to 23 hours depending on who was awake and watching the speedometer as I drove - and then we'd take our time driving back, stopping somewhere like Arkansas for the night and making the trip home a less stressful, not to mention less dangerous, two- day affair.

I remember vividly that one year we were ahead of schedule so I decided to take a detour into the Ozarks for a bit to show the kids some scenery. Arkansas is truly a beautiful least I thought so.

It took a while for the kids to catch on, but as soon as they did I learned a quick lesson: children imprisoned in a mini-van do not appreciate history lessons, scenery, or even cool curvy roads. They want to "get somewhere...NOW!"

It was the last time I took a detour on our Ohio trek.

Today, I received a Father's day card from Joey in which he said he remembered that "scenic route" decision and "relates" to it now that he regularly drives across the state of Ohio - there's a lady friend involved in his travels, but that's not germane right now.

His comments made me smile in part because many times when the kids were young I would say to Amy, "They may not appreciate this today but one day they will." I'm not sure Amy believed me...truthfully I'm not sure I believed it at the time, but it seemed like the right thing to say.

Of all our kids, I suppose Tiffany was the hardest for me to reach when I first started dating their mother. This was due to a number of factors - Tiffany is the oldest, she has always been the most practical and cautious, and she was by far the most wary of me...probably with good reason.

Lisa and Joey were easier for me to reach, they seemed more willing to accept me. Lisa was the youngest and always the "happy" child...something I thanked God for repeatedly. Joey and I shared a love of video games, computers, drawing and generally goofing off.

Tiffany, on the other hand, was more standoffish and believe me she saw through any overt attempt I made to curry her favor. I really don't think it was intentional on her part, it was probably more my perception than anything else, but it seemed like Tiffany made it clear early on that if push did come to shove she really didn't "need" me.

That sounds harsh, but in all honesty, it was true which made it sting all the more. Tiffany was a great student, a devout and well-read Christian, organized and the age of 12. I often thought, at best, my role in her life might be to show her how things could turn out if she veered off her well-planned course.

Flash forward 13 or 14 years to late yesterday afternoon. Tiffany calls us in a panic. She is in Texas for only a few days to pick up some of her furniture and remember what sunshine is like before starting the next season of her life as a teacher in inner-city New York.

There's all sorts of other piddly stuff she has to deal with, including four parents who all want some of her time. It's stressful, but her primary source of anxiety on this day was the the moving company's nonchalant attitude toward her "schedule." Remember Tiffany is practical, read that "organized."

Suffice it to say Tiffany doesn't appreciate folks who force her to rearrange her time-sensitive "to do" list.

Tiffany needed to transfer a bunch of her stuff from a storage unit on to a moving van - one of these self-load outfits - but the van was delivered far later than had been promised. She kept getting excuses from the moving van folks along with dumb questions, which only added to her exasperation. Meanwhile the people she had neatly organized/commandeered to help her load the van had their own time tables to contend with and by the time the moving company finally delivered the trailer (along with some unsolicited and believe me unappreciated advice) Tiffany found herself suddenly flying solo. Hence the call to me.

I arrived within about 30 minutes to find a very frustrated young woman standing in the 90+ degree heat. She was on this side of the verge of tears. There was a storage unit full of stuff and the empty trailer of a moving van.

I gave her a semi-cold diet Pepsi I had grabbed on the way out the door and we got to work.

It was hot and took some ingenuity to squeeze all her stuff into the 6 feet or so of her contracted space in the van, but after a couple of hours we got everything in, and I think most of it will survive the trek to New York.

We washed off some of the grime and sweat, took a few minutes to slam down a cold Gatorade outside a nearby convenience store, hugged and then I headed back home.

Once again I found myself smiling.

I thought about those times years ago when I was trying to figure out what my role would be in Tiffany's life. I remembered the distance that I felt with her that I didn't feel with Joey and Lisa.

And the words I had said to Amy so long ago echoed back as well..."One day they'll understand..."

To really be needed.

That's something I think we all really need.

And I can't think of a better Father's day gift.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

No Words Necessary

The father's day gift for the Dad who has everything.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Wild Hares

I can see it from here...our annual vacation. Admittedly it's easier to see after shelling out the cash for airline tickets...watching your bank account descend is something we've all unwillingly observed.
Amy and I had toyed with altering our vacation radically this year, skipping our Ohio trip, going on a road trip, seeing Tiffany graduate and the sites of New England.
Then foundation repairs, plumbing repairs, etc....came knocking...loudly.
So we're sticking with tradition, and that's fine. Since airlines have discovered that gasoline prices are sky high we had less flexibility on flights and such, but we made it....with time to spare.
We won't head up to Lake Erie until the week of July 4th, so we'll have some time in Amy's hometown of Dayton. Now we're thinking of maybe taking a "wild hare" mini-road trip in the little truck that might....we'll see. Kentucky is downhill...we could make it there...who knows.

Speaking of road friend Chuck is planning a road trip - okay an airline flight - for his son John...sending him to Denton in the heat of summer - this is not considered child abuse where Chuck lives.

If you don't already read Chuck's blog, you should. John is a boy who needs to fly and you just might want to join him.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

When PC Turns PG

There's a megachurch in Georgia - I'm assuming it's a megachurch because they make movies - called Sherwood Baptist. They've got a film coming out in the fall called "Facing The Giants."

I've watched the preview and it appears Hollywood will be able to keep a firm grip on the Oscar statuettes. I don't envision there being a groundswell among the voting members of the academy to toss any Oscars toward Atlanta. Nonetheless, it seems like the type of movie that almost everyone enjoys, albeit a bit predictable: a football team down on its luck, a coach down on his luck, a coach's marriage down on its luck, everything riding on the upcoming season. Sound familiar? Okay, so we could probably all sit down and knock out a script for this one.

The interesting thing is this particular movie earned a PG rating. That's no real biggie to me. I've never really understood movie ratings and when I've deluded myself into thinking I finally did, the line would shift. What was PG when I was a kid certainly isn't PG today.

I remember one of my first "solo" outings with two of our kids, Lisa and Joey, was to a matinee movie. Simple, 'em some overpriced food...sit 'em the movie - no real parenting required. At the time, Joey was a huge fan of Jim Carrey and I - being either a new step-parent or a soon to be step-parent - didn't give it a thought when I took the kids to see "Ace Ventura - Pet Detective." It sounded cute, it had Jim Carrey...I didn't know the movie was PG-13...until it started. It was so full of double entendre, crude humor, blatant sexual references that I wanted to crawl under my chair. The kids? They didn't notice that stuff...they saw Jim Carrey acting goofy and they loved it, although they wondered why I was squirming around so much.

I learned a lesson. What looks cute can be crude - and I'm not denigrating Ace Ventura, it was actually a semi-funny movie...but on that day, when I was trying on my ill-fitting "parent" shoes for one of the first times, it wasn't the least bit humorous.

Anyway, what was PG-13 in 1994 is not what's PG-13 today either. The line shifts all the time...and not always toward the more prurient.

I remember as a boy going to my first PG-13 movies and being surprised (and admittedly somewhat delighted) to discover a number of them contained significant amounts nudity. I thought I was getting away with something. But back then the line was in a different place. Those films may have contained nudity - okay maybe not significant amounts, but any nudity to a 13-year old boy, at least this one, was significant back then - but the movies didn't contain "bad language." When I was a kid, it was language that automatically moved a film into a different rating category...the line was drawn at certain words. I find that odd now since at 13 I was well acquainted with foul language, but scantily dressed women were certainly not
part of my life...not even my dream life at that point.

Before letting my mind drift any further in that direction let's get back to a much less incriminating point that this little low budget football movie - that'll probably go straight to DVD - called, "Facing The Giants" has received a "PG" rating.

Personally, I would expect any football movie to have a PG rating. I assume somewhere in the film will be a coach who curses, and there are bound to be bone-crunching tackles that could be disturbing to little kids...but that's NOT why the Motion Picture Association of America bestowed the PG rating on this film. It was rated PG...for "thematic elements." That's a pretty broad umbrella, so when members of the pseudo-mysterious MPAA board were asked to elaborate, the response they gave was that parents should be "warned" essentially about the film proselytizing.

Not foul language, violence or nudity...but Gospel spreading.

According to the Scripps-Howard News Service, the movie was deemed "too evangelistic" for a "G" rating.

"Too evangelistic."

That's a new one. Isn't it?

A spokeswoman for Sony films is quoted as saying the MPAA determined the movie talked about one religion so much that it, "might offend people from other religions."

There's not a doubt in my mind that this movie hammers home a strong Christian theme. I'm not expecting subtlety from a film produced by a church. Heck that is the theme, the plot and half the dialogue I'm certain. It was written, produced and for a large part, acted, by members of Sherwood Baptist Church. I suppose someone could go to this movie completely unaware that it is a Christian film, but it's not like they're hiding it on the movie poster that says, "Never Give Up. Never Back Down. Never Lose Faith."

But would people from "other religions" really be "offended" by it?

We could argue the minutiae of religions indefinitely, but for the most part I think we could agree that - when not interpreted by psychos - most religions make "faith" at least a component if not a cornerstone.

So exactly what "religion" would be offended by that concept? You may very well consider any number or all religions misguided, or even crazy...but would you be "offended" by a movie showing people who believe differently?

For the record, "Fiddler On The Roof" is rated "G." That's a movie that's certainly dominated by a Jewish perspective...Um...because it's about a Jewish family. I love that movie. I'm not Jewish, but I wasn't offended by it.

Do you know anyone who was "offended" by Fiddler?

Me neither.

Oddly enough, the PG rating will probably help the film anyway. More kids are apt to go to a PG movie than one rated G.

Still I find the rating reasoning odd.

So what else is new?

I guess the line moved again.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Accomplished Times

Today was one which offered lots to think about... in terms of accomplishments...moments in time...and entire eras.

Tiffany graduated in the rain...but I awoke to photos she had emailed showing her amid the storms and Harvard heraldry carrying a funky green umbrella and wearing a bright red flower.

I saw joy.

Today my company also honored one of my co-workers, a man I've worked with almost every day since I started at the radio station nearly 21 years ago. At that time, he had already been there nearly 30 years.

We were marking Bob Guthrie's 50th anniversary at amazing accomplishment in any industry, and nearly unheard of in broadcasting.

When you factor in that his career started out with promotional materials such as this:

Well, it's even more astounding.

For the record, Bob is extremely distinguished. He has aged well, admittedly removing the giant Buddy Holly glasses tends to improve anyone's appearance.

These days, there's no way a TV or radio station would use a promotional photo of an employee like that old one of Bob...we are far more focused on glamour even in radio.

So, that was then...and this is now. Today we have Ken and Barbie reading us the news on T.V. - the picture we want to see...the ratings prove it.

I was struck today how beauty and grace...presence and poise...are things we almost expect to be staged.

It succeeds with ceremony and polish...with glamour and glitz...with our blessings.

Yet as the day wore on I couldn't help but think that true dignity must be earned... and sometimes, maybe only once in a while, you can only apprecriate the shining glimmer of joy when there are a few clouds nearby.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Out O' Touch - Top O' Mind

I've been a little out of touch...with consciousness...for the past few days. Apparently, I've been battling some virus which zaps my strength. I stagger into work...schlump home and go to sleep...lather...rinse...repeat.

I'm feeling better today.

Today also marks another major milestone in the life of Tiffany, our eldest daughter. She'll be getting her Master's degree from Harvard. One day she's wrapping up two years of teaching math to kids in Kerrville, Texas, and only a year later she's leaving Harvard with a Master's degree, a job with the New York City public school system, and a future full of even more promise. Not to mention an apartment in the inner-city which I'm trying very hard not to think about.

Amy and I desperately wanted to attend the graduation. Life got in the way and Tiffany decided it wouldn't be worth our time or trouble. Amy is duly disappointed. Nothing would make her prouder than to see a dot cross the stage that she knows is Tiffany. I'm not unduly disappointed, sitting through graduation ceremonies can be ...okay let's just admit torturous at best.

Today's will be cool though. Even though it's probably going to rain, and it's 50 degrees, and the seats will be uncomfortable for those in attendance. I'll get to watch from the comfort of either my office or home....the miracle of the webcast.

We're so very proud of all our kids. Their accomplishments mean a lot. The way they are choosing to live their lives though...that means so much more.

Congratulations, Tiffany...sorry this is the only picture I have available to post...okay, sorry but it's my favorite from several years ago.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

THPeakiNgh Ength Tugnnnnth

It was late when the fire flew in...a number of upsetting things which had occurred during the day combined with our small make-shift family's shared and unshared stresses, and suddenly I found myself mediating a late night "let's clear the air" session.

It was good. It needed to happen. Our house guests needed to understand some of our frailties, and I think we needed to reassure them that we were able to deal with their's too. We're all under stress, and it was made worse by some last minute church service changes that sort of set off the "discussion."

I walked in midway through since I was looking for any cure possible for the raging canker sore that has appeared on the side of my tongue. Amy was crying, Katrina was close to tears, Simon was looking forlorn and I...I was lisping. I was trying every cure for canker sores I could find, including sticking a small wad of ginseng tea (brought to us by Erin many months ago from China) between my cheek and gum like chewin' tabacky. My tongue felt like it had swollen to the size of a wino's well-worn liver and I was tearing up from the intense pain of the stuff they sell to relieve such sores called "Zilactin-B." It's this smelly, thin, tar-like goo which coats the affected area and eventually relieves the pain. Unfortunately, the Dr. Mengele-wannabe who developed Zilactin-B apparently believes that the way to make people think it works is to induce so much searing pain when they apply it, that when that torturous, seemingly endless period of agony comes to an end you praise God and declare Zilactin a miracle. It's sort of the same premise as banging your head with a hammer to make you forget your broken toe. hurts like the dickens when you apply it and I had just applied some when I walked` into our little family stress eruption.

What started it all...what was said and done...none of that really matters. Besides I'm not really sure I know. What matters is that once I managed to get the message across of, "Okeyyyythgmp! Leaats evveeyr bodyth teurtnth itth down uhhhhhth nawtthch" (let's everybody turn it down a notch) and everyone stopped giggling, we all sat down to a good discussion of our fears, insecurities, worries, and even occasionally our hopes.

Today is Pentecost Sunday. In our church, it's associated with the events laid out in Acts 2 as the disciples received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them

Last night - actually early this morning - after our conversation with Simon and Katrina ended with us holding each other and praying together, I lay in bed and Amy started to drift off to sleep...I couldn't help but smile.

For the moment, I don't speak in tongues, but the fact anyone could understand a word I said during our discussion and prayer with my tongue exacting such misery upon me comes pretty darn close to a miracle in my book.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Believe It Or Not

My mother-in-law doesn't believe in Montana.

She's never been there, doesn't know anyone from there, so she's decided not to believe it exists.

I've been to Montana, but that doesn't seem to factor into the equation.

I've decided that's a good thing. I think everyone should be entitled to one free - no questions asked - delusion.

Actually, lately I think I could be convinced into giving everyone a more liberal dosing of delusions. Perhaps we should all get a half dozen unquestioned baseless beliefs...that seems fair.

I could use up a large portion of my allotment dealing only with events that I'm told have happened in the past few weeks.

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Matthew DeLong.

Matthew is my nephew. We weren't able to attend their wedding, although we tried to get Amy to the nuptials - at something close to a reasonable price - up to the very last second, but we'll see Matt and his bride, Jodi, in a few weeks in Ohio, so that's some consolation.

I find it hard to fathom that Matt is a married man, so I could choose as one of my deliberate delusions to remember him always as the soccer-obsessed kid he was when we first met...but then again I've met Jodi and she's very nice. Blotting out my belief in their marriage I think would short-change me significantly.

Then again, they did get married in Florida and I've never been to Florida....

The above photo is of my niece Sarah...or Sarai as the family members affectionately refer to her. She recently graduated high school. I'd seriously consider selective amnesia when it comes to Sarah growing up. That way she and her sister Emily/EmmaWayne/Erica would forever be the beautiful little girls who giggled at all my corny jokes.

However that would take a lot of imagination. Especially since they're both due in San Antonio tonight on route to Mexico for a missions trip. We may get a chance to see or at least speak with them while they're here and there will be no denying that they're growing matter how hard I try.

This photo of Amy is from our recent trip to Laity Lodge. I love's quiet and calming...and God's presence least to me.

I suppose if I were going to choose a delusion of the day, it would be that such peace and contentment surrounds us every day.

However, come to think of it, once I surrender my cares to God, that seems easy to believe.

**Click on the pictures to enlarge, but be forewarned some are quite me**