Posted by: comedyheirs | December 5, 2018

It’s A Blunderful Life

One of the perks of having two major holidays in such close, chronological succession is a trio of kiddos in piano and choir (vocal and bells) and the daily filling of my house with the rehearsal of carols long before Old Tom the Turkey’s annual unsuccessful negotiation with the Evisceration Board. The Christmasy, annoying hummer-alonger, the-tree-won’t-make-an-appearance-until-December-I-promise, enthusiast in me rejoices.

Speaking of trees in the festive, since we’re obviously past the first, I can confirm the tree up in the corner of our living room, although not without trauma. Alas and alack, the lights for the tree refused to shine their lights as requested (aka “plugging into a convenient outlet), and as all resuscitation attempts proved unsuccesssful? They were replaced via a late night run to WalMart, all of which seems to have ignited a spark or two in my sixth grader who approached me randomly and said:

“Give me oil in my lamp, keep it essential.” Either salvation really does occur by osmosis or my sixth grader’s running on fumes again. Take your pick. Either option’s entertaining.  Speaking of the world of entertainment?  Brace yourself. I can finally let you in on a little secret that changed my life last week.  Here goes.

The Big Reveal.
FINALLY.
I’m beyond ecstatic.

After three years as a seminarian’s wife and seventeen years as a spouse of the pastoral?

My ship has come in.
Side of epic port.
And this star is about to board.

On Tuesday, Steve received an email inviting him to provide the invocation at a future

Bryan city council meeting. He accepted and I am over the moon. You see where I’m oing

with this, right?

FINE.

I’ll explain.

(Insert exaggerated, self-righteous, hypocritical sigh here, eye roll included. Plebians.)

It’s going to go down thusly. Steve will show up at the requested hour, wow them with his articulate theologicalfinesse and next thing you know? They want his phone number, the name of our church

and it’s boom time. Yup, just a hop, skip and jump to stuff like

blessing the Bush library on the fourth of July,

christening one of the Cruz clan and

praying protection over Governor Abbott’s luncheon. (Just in case his catering staff didn’t get the memo to replace the romaine with iceberg)

(I’m still mildly miffed they overlooked him for President George Herbert Bush’s funeral

tomorrow, but hey. Baby steps. Baby steps. Breathe, Maria. Just breathe.)

Televangelism? Here we come! Now The Gospel can spread the way God truly intended

and my stellar talents put to their best and fullest use. It’s going to be the first time, in

history, that an RPCNA congregation adds, “Tammy Faye makeup and wardrobe

allowance” as a budget line item.

No, I do NOT have hubris issues. I’m all about God getting the glory. I just demand my

share of mic time and wholly deserved moment in the sun. I’m going to go ahead and

book our first cruise on that new supersize Titanic with the seed money, which I have

faith is already a done deal. What could possibly go wrong?

Okay, now that we’re back from that side trip in flat out, facetious, let’s get real.

One of the best things about having children is that they constantly remind me how ill-

prepared for and insufferable I would be if my life were a public spectacle.

Like when one of my sons complimented me during dinner. I think. He told

me that I was a “semi-normal mom.”  (I didn’t ask him to elaborate. I didn’t want to

know).Then, he proceeded to elaborate that some parents

“believe everything they read on the internet and freak out about stuff before it even

happens.” Some of his siblings chimed in and agreed that I was more laid back about

parenting than select parents they’ve encountered and that they were grateful.

Apparently, I gave them a wide berth to play in the great (and, by insinuation,

dangerous) outdoors when they were younger:

“You didn’t even know where we were half the time.” Oh, I beg to differ. I kept tabs. I just

tried not to hover. Besides, a played out child is a soundly sleeping child. Capice? Then,

they launched into this animated discussion about their future plans and it’s clear

they’re heading in diverse directions, eager to spread their wings and view collegiate

pursuits away from home as the ideal environment for test flights. So much for the non-

freaking-out-before-it-happens parent. Sigh.

Ah, yes and as we inch closer toward day 25, there seems to have been triggered somewhere in their “Santa’s not real but we’re well aware of his facial hair, so let’s launch a self-inflicted poll.” Here are the festive results:

Long beards – “Gross. Disgusting. You would get food stuck in it and just – ewww!”

Goatees – “It looks good on dad but I’ve seen it totally fail on other people. Well, except

Uncle Dave. His is okay. Probably because he and dad look alike.”

Short and neatly trimmed – “Meh. I just don’t like beards really. Period. I’m going to have

a smooth chin until the day I die.”

Straight-up muzzy – “No. Absolutely not. Creepy. Looks like Hitler.”

Sideburns – Instantly denounced as unacceptable to even broach as a topic of discussion.

I wouldn’t worry any of your heads about my opinionated crew. If you saw their “do’s?”

The words, “Don’t,” ” Is that even legal?” and “What in the name of all things follicular is THAT?” would instantly come to mind. Yup. Even with my infusion of Amish and Mennonite genes?

These kiddos wouldn’t know a beehive from a cowlick.

Or a Mullet.

I have to say, though, that their tresses passed for acceptable last night when my youngest three performed in their Christmas recital.  Hurricane accompanied a quartet her sister sang in for a total of five songs. Bugle Boy sang his first ever two solos. He started voice lessons this fall and has taken to it like, well, the proverbial duck to water. I know, I know, parents are prejudicial but I have to tell you. They truly performed in fantastic and I was reminded how much I love it when music makes my heart sing, my soul soar and my eyes leak.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

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Posted by: comedyheirs | November 9, 2018

Why the term, “Divine Appointment,” is Inevitably Redundant

Yesterday afternoon at the pregnancy center looked average on paper. Ah, but then, I had one cancellation and a new name inserted in its place. I sat down with the “unscheduled” client and heard a story of coping with mistreatment and multiple tragedies that had my internal jaw on the floor. While her attitude and resilience were nothing short of astounding, she didn’t hesitate to admit the immensity of her struggles and I mostly just listened.

I asked for her permission to pray at the end of the interview and she eagerly accepted. When I’d finished, I looked up to see her openly weeping. Naturally, I immediately apologized because it’s never my intention to cause another more emotional duress but she waved me away and thanked me.

Profusely.

Repeatedly.

With a smile.

You see, apparently, my prayer (I really don’t remember the words I used) included thanking God for the privilege of meeting this beautiful woman and that she’d rarely encountered anyone who had ever affirmed her thus. Sadly, her experience has considerably reinforced in the opposing and she repeatedly thanked me for my “kindness.”

As she left (and yes, we were both still wiping our eyes), I was reminded again that true and exquisite beauty blooms most proliferate in the soft soil of souls watered with copious tears.

She wasn’t on my scheduled list.
No, ma’am.
Just one more example of His impeccable timing.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | October 15, 2018

Drinka Uppa Cuppa

Just a little homespun Latin from an anglophile to jump start your Monday morning:

Now hear my mea culpa
I live in mega gulpa

It’s how I carpe diem
To be and do and see ’em

I drink it haute or icy
But NEVER pumpkin-spicy..

Oh, beans that reign supremo
Keep me from crimes extremo

My habeus lies corpus
Without your surge in roarpus

If I need intravenous?
Just hang a bag marked, “Beanus.”
I’m never leaving Venus.

Coffee is LIFE, people.
That is all.
The End.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | October 12, 2018

Laurels to the True and Noble Laureate

A Birthday tribute to the true poet in our family-

I love my Sweet Mama

She’s not into drama

 

Just doing and serving

And driving sans swerving

 

She’s not into bragging

It sets her to gagging

 

But just you remember

She’s got a brain member

 

That pens upon paper

Such syllabled caper

 

In metrical canter

As light as its banter

 

She makes it look simple

To conjure a dimple

 

Her pen flows like rivers

Or wheat fields in quivers

 

She’s Queen of the Yodel

That’s NOT anecdotal

 

“Cause when you hear music

In calm or jacuzzic?

 

Your heart’s in position

To flow composition.

 

With lyrics-in-lilting

And wholly non-stilting

 

Her verses rise, rhyming

Crescendo-in-timing

 

To gracious conclusion

Now, you’re in confusion

 

That wasn’t just poem.

You’ve read ’em. You know ’em.

 

No, there’s something deeper.

Her writing’s a keeper.

 

‘Cause short or in long (er-have to keep the flow, right?)

Each poem’s a song (er-it rhymes, okay?)

 

Yes, she’s written tunes, too.

Oh, did she not tell you?

 

So, I sing her praises

In these versing phrases.

 

Oh, State Indiana

Thank you for my Nana (My grandmother, Elizabeth was pretty amazing, too)

And this Sweetest Manna

That shouts me, “Hosanna!”

 

Happy 84th to the truest and noblest of laureates.

I love you, Mama.

Always.

 

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: comedyheirs | October 4, 2018

Somewhere Between Incarnate and Infinity

Some weeks pass in obscurity.

Most do, in fact.

This week does not fit that category and I submit a few prime examples from yesterday:

“Okay, debate club is over now. Time to get some real work done.” Bugle Boy was trying to reign his sisters in because they were convinced, both LOUD and LONG, that it was King Artaxerxes and NOT Ahasuerus who had taken Esther as his queen.You can’t really blame them for thinking Old Art had more potential to put the Casa in Nova than a ruler who listed “impaling” in the acceptable column for capital punishment options, can you?

Anyway, now he’s singsonging (not a word, just roll with me, okay?) stuff like:

“The Bible tells me that chicken nuggets are good for the soul,”

“Normal people exist, it’s just that they’re not funny,” and some rambling tune suggesting that Luke 4 tells the reader thatChrist Incarnate went to McDonald’s because he wanted a happy meal. Apparently, it’s an obscure reference and you have to read between the lines, but it’s there. This kid’s apocryphal bent comes from the Polish/Irish Catholic gene and that’s DAD’S side, so I stand absolved of any and all blame.

Oh, and now that academia has finally commenced?

There’s a story problem in math, mired in future mortality:

“Well, according to this, by the year 2150, we’ll all be dead.”

Also, some random passing question on whether or not there’s a difference between a fashionista and a fascist. Now THAT one’s easy. They’re both dressed to kill.

Opening exercises at Rock Academy.

There’s no telling which way they’ll stretch but one thing’s certain.

I never bounce back the same.

Annndddd. it’s not over.

This morning’s time/space continuum brought my sixth grader into an unexpected, close, 80’s encounter of the author-on-the-back-of-the-textbook kind:

 

“He looks like he needs to get his priorities straight. Also, he’s going through a midlife crisis. You can tell by his glasses and his weird hair.”

Boy, that kid missed an amazing era, didn’t he?

I thought about suggesting that the photo op didn’t include gold chains around the neck or the apparent crisee (person in crisis) posing next to an RX7, a 280Z or a ‘stang, to affirm his purported stereotype but then I realized that to an eleven-year-old? Referring to motorized vehicles in that vernacular would sound to him like I was referring to a spaceship/alien conveyance.

I reckon that’s what happens when someone in a galaxy far, far away gives birth to the here and now.

“Back to the Future,” just shifted to a whole new level.

In seismic.

It’s an unforgettable ride.

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

Posted by: comedyheirs | September 19, 2018

Caesar Just Got Rendered

“And Steve went forth from the presence of his family unto his grill to offer thereupon a sacrificial chicken. Now the chicken’s entrails had been properly removed as the unwritten decree of western culture had commanded but the skin he did not remove so as to increase the richness of the flavors. So he did turn the grill on low and place the meat on the rack thereof and turned his attention to other matters. Then, after some time, did he return to look upon the progress of his cooking and behold when he did lift the lid on the grill? There was the sound of a rushing mighty wind and the flames did leap from the grill, high and inglorious and did immediately threaten to consume the meat and render it a burnt offering and wholly inedible. Steve gave a prayer of thanksgiving heavenward that his hair was unsinged and that he was indeed, unharmed. Then did he return to his house and spake unto Maria, whom he had taken as his wife from the tribe of Levi, saying:

‘Of a truth I perceive that we shall not be eating chicken tonight due to unforeseen circumstances. Pray therefore that thou prevail upon Caesar, though he be Little, to be pleased to grant us repast, according as we pay him for the food we procure from his hand.’ Then, did Maria enter her Ford chariot and proceed with haste to carry out Steve’s wishes, while he remained behind to toil, with much baking soda and elbow grease, until the grill be restored to its former usefulness.

When Maria returned, bearing the steaming crusts laden with sauces, pepperoni, sausage and cheese, all her house was in an uproar, for her children rejoiced that she had so copiously accommodated their culinary preferences.

Thus, did Steve provide for his household and thank the Lord that his time had not yet come to depart from this world. Then did Maria breathe a sigh of relief, check her pulse and prepare a bath to calm her jangled nerves. (Saints Alive 3:16)

I’m getting too old for this.

 

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | September 11, 2018

When Grief Hits Home

9/11/2001 – Thousands lost their lives in a heartbeat, forever altering the rhythm of life for their loved ones and this country.

9/11/2012 – I lost my father-in-law in a heartbeat and felt the jolt of irreversible change in my world.

Death’s inevitability confirms life’s uncertainty, the fragility of our mortality and the sobering reminder that each of us is only a heartbeat away from its pulse.

NEVER FORGET that the stinging grief of temporary loss, which so much feels like time has stopped and we cannot breathe for the heartbreaking suspension, will culminate in the perfect reunion of healed hearts, again beating as one when time is, finally, no more.

I still miss you, Tom Rockhill.
Something fierce.
So thankful that The Eternal God Who Changes Hearts transformed yours, forever securing my assurance that our reunion will always just be one heartbeat away.

Please remember Steve and the rest of the Rockhill clan today,. The ache in each heartbeat still pulses very real. Oh, and live life as if each day could be your last like Tom did. It’s one way to ensure you’re NEVER, EVER FORGOTTEN.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | August 22, 2018

Under Supervision

Yesterday was an entertaining and enlightening series of firsts. I am a home educator, as you are well aware, and since our move to Texas? Our kiddos have taken a few classes at a co-op known as One Day Academy. One day of classes, corresponding homework assigned for the rest of the week and the opportunity to interact with other kiddos. I picked this one, in particular, because they stress excellence in academics and you know THAT gets my attention.

Baseline requirements they hold for their instructors are an undergraduate degree in the subject or subjects they teach, a strong commitment to their Christian faith and a true love for the students in their respective classrooms. They also offer tuition discounts to parents willing to serve in supervisory roles since kiddos often have times between classes or are waiting on siblings. Anyway, long story longer, I attended supervisor orientation yesterday and met some of the coolest people ever.
You know, other moms like me, hoping we don’t totally bomb this new venture and get fired two hours in.

I met a mom who hails from the greatest state of them all-Kansas. When the realization hit both of us, she said something like: “I thought you looked like a Kansan.” Not sure what she meant but it made me feel right at home. She got her undergraduate degree at K-State, got the heck out of literal Dodge twenty-plus years ago and has three kiddos. it’s safe to say we hit it off big time.

Another mom has four kiddos, one of whom could be the mirror image of one of mine. It’s such fun to bounce ideas off someone who gets you, the uniqueness of certain parental adventures and says to you, “I think we should be friends.” Way ahead of you, pal.

Madre numero tres teaches piano, just moved here from five hours west (yes, that’s still totally in Texas) two weeks ago so her hubby can start teaching something ag-related at Texas A and M and is trying to hunt down some affordable transportation for one of her licensed daughters. Seems her child’s sweet on a boy who didn’t move with them (audacity much?) and she wants to go back and visit him, on occasion. This mom’s requirements? Show me you can keep up with your academics this fall and you’ll earn a trip back.

Boy, do I like what I see with One Day Academy. Moms filling in academic holes for me in stellar ways (when your kiddos want to go to class, it speaks volumes to both the quality of and care inherent in the instruction), living in the decidedly real of where I live and welcoming me as if I just might qualify as a Texan some day.

Top-of-the-line.
Down-to-earth.
Beautiful-from-the-inside-out.
These women seriously rock.

Classes commence next Monday. Brace yourself for a sonic boom or two because there’s at least one supervisor wannabe who holds the distinct potential for the “Loose Cannon” title Let’s do this.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | July 11, 2018

House of Representatives

If you give a word nerd a list of obsolete vocabulary words? She’s going to want a poem to go with it:

I rise first before the mania
Of my progeny’s dysania (someone who has extreme difficulty rising in the morning)

I’m no wimp, no snollygoster (a person who has intelligence but no principles:synonym for politician. Their words, not mine)
I reign fortitude in roster.

I’ll admit to some jargogle (to confuse or jumble up)
Till the coffee hits my noggle (made that one up)

And my elflocks (a word that describes tangled hair, as if matted by elves) slow untangle
While my brain arights its angle.

Now my first of grumbletonians (people who are angry or unhappy with government)
All of crapulous (feeling ill as the result of eating too much)
bemonians (mine too):

“Oh, great gobs that I inhaled
Now their coup o’er me’s impaled.

Hum and dudgeon (an imaginary illness), I shall die!
There is double of my eye.

From each finger and each toe.
Sprout I nails, Oh, soon I go!”

Etching faux her epitaph
Hugger Mugger (secretive or covert behavior)
marked my laugh

Turn I next to see a youth
All of zwodder (to be in a drowsy, fuzzy state), long in tooth

Fresh from tepidaria (a warm room next to the ancient Roman public bath)
Shampooed by America.

Honed this groke (someone who stares at you hoping you’ll share your food) upon my brekkie
Parched, emaciated techy

Had I cooked him toast with eggs
For the hollowed of his legs?

Had I cinnamoned those rolls?
I was leading wide the polls.

Then he spies the nearly dead
With his twattle (to gossip idly about unimportant things)raised her head.

Rued his cockalorum (a small man with an inflated opinion of himself) boss
He the mugwump (someone in charge who affects to be above petty squabbles or independent in politics)
‘mid the dross

Oh, the fudgel (the act of giving the impression of working but actually doing nothing) of his peers
He theslave beyond his years
(I was almost moved to tears)

Yet perusal of his room
Shouts a vestibule of gloom

Clearly spelled in layered dust
That in God remains my trust

Sister resurrects her state
Loud decries the reprobate.

Puts the peg into her puff (peg puff-a young woman with the manners of an old one)
Independent crushes fluff.

Yet the truth doth singe her ear.
Hammer rings on anvil clear.

For she knows her room’s decor
Leaves but pathway to the door

Clearly there’s a disconnect
In the psyches of my sect

“Twixt the promse and the do
Trumpery (things that look good but are bascially worthless) is nothing new.

Ultracrepidarian (someone who gives opinions on subjects they know nothing about)
That’s the vote they’re carryin’

Long live Mom the President
Lone productive resident

I, the Queen, this institution
Stout rewrite their constitution

On this there is no debate
Time to put the churched in state.

Here’s a bucket. There’s the broom.
Time to clean house in your room.

Overhaul it till it shines
I will watch you to the nines
(failure will result in fines)

Power’s never what you see.
Power’s always what you be.

THIS is why I run the show.
THIS is why I drink the joe.

Soli deo Gloria

Posted by: comedyheirs | June 22, 2018

Happy Campers

Any new venture encapsulates our emotions in one word-anticipation. We wonder what’s going to happen.  Will it be all we thought?  Will we be disappointed? What will we learn that we didn’t know before?

Our family’s recent “first” of attending family camp not only did not disappoint, but far exceeded our expectations. Here’s how it all went down.

Several months ago, we’d discussed whether or no we’d venture to Colorado to attend our denomination’s Midwest Presbytery annual family camp near Westcliffe at a locale named Sky Ranch Horn Creek.  Then, unexpectedly, it became mandatory.  Well, sort of.  Steve was asked to consider serving as the speaker.  THAT was new, for sure.  So, now we were newbies, without a doubt, doubled.

He said yes. The kids whooped. I started packing.  Hey, someone has to be the practical one. You don’t travel without a plan, a suitcase or a stash of snacks. Java and Hurricane had attended their first youth retreat in our new presbytery the previous fall and Java had attended our seminary’s Theological Foundations for Youth program last summer, so they were looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces.  It was still a bit daunting. This was our first debut as a family and Steve’s as a speaker.  What if we totally bombed the entire shpiel?

We went anyway. As we packed our bags, we talked about how our bodies would adjust to the reality of recreating at 9000-foot altitudes, what the waterslide we’d seen in the brochure actually looked like “in real life,” and secretly wondered if Pastor Johnston (who had asked Steve to orate) was prepared for the Rockhill onslaught.

We headed out,  the highway before us stretched long and open and set out sights for Amarillo, Texas.  Yes, you know Texas really is bigger when you drive a full eight-hour day and you still haven’t crossed the state line.  That’s when you start questioning the “better” claim of the proud natives. Several highlights on the first day included stopping at a rest area with grain bin-shaped facilities and signs warning us to “Watch for Rattlesnakes.” There was Java asserting, after a particularly rousing discussion:

“We should be a reality TV show for our existent, existential lives.” He forgot, ‘egotistical.”

Bugle Boy’s rationale for repast:  “We have these things called stomachs.” There was also a generalized plot to hit up the Golden Arches and place an order for Happy Meals.  Why?  Apparently, the current “toy” in said sack lunch is a “Connect Four” game piece or some such thing. The threat never materialized.

There was some Texan thrown in, too:

“Hey, Dad, can we stop and get some sweet tea?”

Ah, but then things really headed south as we trekked northward.  Those claims Texas makes about wide, open spaces?  They’re true.  That’s not a problem.  The issue arises when that vastness carries with it a lack of convenience stores that generally also fill a traveller’s basic lavatorial needs.  Yup. We needed a bathroom, or rather Bugle Boy was the one in particular straits and nothing was available so we did what we had to do.  We pulled up alongside an apparently unmanned series of tractors with conveniently camlouflaging weeds and solved our temporary dilemma. Bugle Boy went on his way rejoicing, erupting in “Hallelujah” at random points after our stop, signaling his satisfaction with his updated status.

We made it to Amarillo, found our hotel and enjoyed dinner at the International House of Pancakes.  I’m a fan of breakfast food any time of day, so this place was right up my alley. Fun little fashion faux pax happened here, too. After we were seated, we noticed that we were color-coordinated with the person facing us across the table. We asked our waitress to photograph the obviously pivotal moment in history.  I think she thought we were nuts but she politely obliged us.  Hey, at least, she’ll remember us, right?

That was Friday.  Saturday morning we toured Palo Duro Canyon, viewing a decidedly breathtaking part of God’s creation.  Think the Grand Canyon on a smaller scale.  Yes, Texas, there are places that have you beat and that’s okay. It’s fine. You’ll live.  We hiked a place called Sunflower Trail and saw firsthand our diminutive status as we gazed at red rock formations towering above us, viewed the shrubs and trees dotting the vastness of the canyon floor and looked up to see a sky in pristine, dazzling blue. We stopped at the gift shop and picked up a couple of fun souvenirs before heading to friends in Colorado Springs for the night.

What delight to arrive at their home, catch up with where life had taken each of us since seminary days and look out their windows to the breathtaking view of Pike’s Peak. They truly live adjacent to some of God’s spectacular handiwork.  After attending church with them, we headed to camp and a week of unforgettable memories.

Sky Ranch Horn Creek is a place like no other. The cabins are decidedly non-rustic, the staff friendly and helpful and the food exceptional. One of my first impressions as we checked in was a young lady named Hannah who was Hurricane’s cabin counselor. What a beautiful role model of someone truly serving where God has placed her with joy, enthusiasm and creativity. I knew then and there that we were in the right place.

But Steve wasn’t on vacation. No, sir. This was a week of work like none he’d ever experienced so pray, pray and pray some more, we did.

That God would work through our overt weakness.

That the featured speaker would stay well.

That God would sustain his voice through two sermons, four lectures, question-and-answer sessions and the endless interactions that accompany this kind of gathering.

God was faithful, true to His Word and gracious.

Steve spoke first on knowing God.  Then, he lectured on God’s attributes.  He started with the incommunicable-aseity, immutability, infinity and simplicity, breaking down the beauty of why God being different from us is what we so desperately need.

When we broke for lunch, I had the privilege of sitting at the table with two first graders, cousins, who filled me in on their school year.  One of them told me, in confidence, that every time he moves up a grade, it sends his sisters into a tizzy. Apparently, this fall, when he commences second grade, they will be in fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively. It so happens that changing schools will be a necessity for the two elder sisters, so he’s under the impression that his moving up a grade is causing all the educational relocation ruckus.  Don’t you just love the kid?  His missing tooth made the diatribe cuter.

Another highlight of day uno was prayer time with the cabin adjacent to us, whose occupants are young ladies in the “collegesque” stage of life. We prayed for the church around the globe and there were more than a few tears shed for our brothers and sisters facing real persecution while remaining stedfast to Christ’s cause.  We, in the West, do not know what true suffering is.

My middle schoolers then went to their “night session” with their instructor, Mr. McFarland, also referred to as, “Johnny Mac.” Amazing gentleman. Gifted instructor. Undisputed hoot. As Bugle Boy put it:

“He’s so funny, Mom.  I don’t want to ever leave the middle school class because then Mr. McFarland won’t be my teacher any more.”  Kudos upon kudos to him, is all I have to say.

On Tuesday, Steve addressed the communicable trio of “omnis,” or God as Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. After his lecture and before the question and answer, led by a very capable pastor, Mr.Sapp, I had a few moments to hug and cry with a beautiful couple who recently buried their three-month-old who apparently died of SIDS. I still can’t wrap my mind around the tragedy they’re dealing with, how their faith in God’s sovereignty is being tested as they try to explain to their remaining three children the reality of their baby brother being taken so suddenly and the strength it must have taken for them to attend this gathering. What precious saints processing this incomprehensible grief.  Pray for them.

Afternoons are recreation time and a time to get to know new people.  There were plenty for me to choose from and I didn’t come across a solitary soul that wasn’t friendly.  These people are as warm and open as they are down-to-earth.

They also like to put the “west” in Midwest because one of the traditions here is Western night. What that means is if you are partial to that style of garb?  You don it, come to the BBQ set up outdoors and end the evening with a barn dance.  Well, I’m not familiar with two-stepping but it was fun to watch people who were nimble on their toes. That includes Hurricane and Irish Eyes who’ve had tutorage in high stepping at youth retreats, so they were right at home and delighted to show what a couple of cowboy boot shod feet could do.

On Wednesday, wisely, we had an open day, so we went to Westcliffe for some sightseeing.  More adventurous souls went mountain climbing but we opted to stroll and address a slight laundry emergency.  We enjoyed taking in a flea market, meandering in and out of shops and picking up the odd souvenir, which included chocolate. First things first, you know?

Wednesday night hosted another tradition-talent night.  It was preceded by Geneva College’s president, Dr. Calvin Troup’s challenging us to respond to the call of Christ in our lives. Dr. Troup is a faithful servant, gifted communicator and an undisputed blessing to our family. Or, as Java put it:

“Give me Geneva or give me death.” The indoctrination is working, as you can see.

Talent Night?

What fun.

What gifts.

What a finale.  You see, Pastor Johnston, his family and another from their congregation in Topeka, Kansas, had a special parody planned for the unsuspecting church planters from Bryan, Texas.   They took the country song, “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” and changed it to, “If You’re Gonna Preach in Texas,” and digressed from there.  Mr. Johnston (bless his heart) also “found” some photos on facebook and incorporated them into a slide slow of sorts to up the entertainment factor.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

Funny thing about Thursday.  People were moving a lot more slowly coming to breakfast.  I guess all the busy does catch up with you.  This was also the morning Steve lectured on the “Feel Good” attributes of God.  He, indeed is truth, goodness, love and patience. What comfort to be reminded of these promises.

I met another pasor’s wife here and heard the delightful story of how she met her Mister. He invited her and two of her friends over for a proper tea at his bachelor pad, delivered on his promise AND served them a four-course dinner. I love hearing people’s stories because God is always creative in the ways He brings people together.

I can vouch for the waterslide’s fun factor because I tested it out that afternoon. I forgot how quickly gravity kicks in when you’re heading downhill but it was delgithfully, wet fun. Totally worth the ungraceful landings into the pool at journey’s wet end.

Then, I had to hug another friend because she lost a seven-year-old nephew in a tragic drowning accident, facilitating their need to leave camp and be with family in southern Indiana. Pray for her, too.  Many of her family don’t know the love of Christ. Grief is decidedly one of life’s inevitable realities.

Steve’s second sermon on Thursday was a call to faithfulness in our witness for Christ to those we meet, to share the beauty of His Gospel and to never forget His sacrifice.

Friday was our final day at camp and, of course, Steve’s final lecture. He covered the “terrible” attributes of holiness, righteousness/justice, jealousy and wrath. We were reminded again of our tendency to define terms by our own experience instead of Who God Is.  Words are inadequate to capture an Infinite God, but He uses them to give us a glimpse into the immensity of Who He is, who we are not and how He perfectly filled, fills and will fill that chasmic divide through His Son.

 

Friday night ended with campfire songs, rich in laughter, memories and a whole passel of very tired, decidedly happy campers. It didn’t stop Hurricane from staying up ALL NIGHT with several friends.  Why? I guess to prove that they could and I don’t think the rationale really went much deeper than that.  Suffice it to say that she was a decidedly somnolent traveler for the first several hours when we left camp the following morning.

What a memorable week of God’s family showing us such affirmation, friendship and encouragement.

We came empty and uncertain.

We were filled to overflowing far beyond anything we could have anticipated.

The kiddos are already begging to attend in 2019.

Steve? He’ll think about it.

Right now?  He needs a vacation.

We stopped in Kansas on our way back but don’t worry. That’s an adventure for another post.

 

Soli Deo Gloria.

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