Monday, December 25, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lasik - One Year Later

I'm so glad I had it done.
Of course, it is not perfect. There is no way they can return eyes to perfection. But it gets very close. I guess that I would grade my vision at 95%. My close-up vision is outstanding. My distance vision is wonderful. My only weakness is between two feet and five feet. It's slightly less sharp there. But Dr. Boothe told me it would be that way. He said that is what he opted for his own eyes.
I was enough sold on lasik that I allowed Carole to have her eyes done a few months ago. She is far-sighted, not near, and so everything about her procedure was different from mine. But she is making excellent progress and will soon be 20/20 or better in both eyes.
It is expensive. But eventually, it almost becomes cost-effective given the annual costs of glasses or contacts. And I never miss the morning/evening routines that accompany contact lenses.
All-in-all, I'd do it all again in the blink of an eye.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

This is Excruciating

Our grand-daughter Maddie has been sick this week. And it is killing me. She is normally high-octane and bubbly. Lately it's been the opposite.
On Thursday, I returned from my A.M. trips and offered to keep Maddie while Carole did some much needed shopping. Usually this would be time spent playing games with Maddie. Instead, she crawled up into my lap and mournfully repeated, "Momma, Momma." At that point, I wished I lived near Galilee in apostolic times so I could track down John, or Peter, or Jesus himself for a touch of a hand to instantly heal.
Of course I'm no different from any other grandparent or parent. But it's one of the few things in life that I let get me down. Whether it's Zach or Ethan in San Antonio or Maddie or Carole or one of my kids, I hate the feeling of helplessness when they hurt. I ramp up my prayers, but I know usually there will be waiting involved. It just sucks all the pleasure out of life.
I know Maddie will improve soon and be good as new in a few days. I know God takes care of us. But please, no more holding me tight and calling for Momma. I CAN'T TAKE IT!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's Time

I'll make this short. As you know, a bi-partisan panel has delivered a plan to President Bush urging a what is basically a steady withdrawal from Iraq. GW is not too keen on the idea. He remains determined to not pull out until the country can run itself. Democratically. He also wants to eradicate any sources of terrorism that may be rooted in Iraq.
Unfortunately, Bush has not learned from history. Just as LBJ got stubborn and let Vietnam become a personal pride issue, GW is unwilling to admit that Iraq has been a costly disaster.
It's time to get out. If the terrorism threat is as bad as is told us, then let's use all that military manpower to protect our borders. It will make a huge difference in our safety...and it won't cost us ten lives a day.
As to whether Iraq can ever run itself democratically, I'm very dubious. The factions there have such deep-rooted hatred for each other that harmony seems out of the question. I don't have the solution; I just know that we shouldn't be a part of it.
Isolationism has its value in some circumstances. This is one of them.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Top 4 Funniest Church Moments

At the request of one of my sons, I chose this topic for today's blog. When you're as old as I and been to as many church services as I, by sheer rules of probabilities, you are going to witness moments in church where Murphy's Law reigns supreme. Here are 4 I remember.
1. My uncle Raymond was a funny guy who was a born cut-up. But he was deadly serious about his assignment in church. He sat at the back of the auditorium and controlled four dials on a wall...which in turn controlled the various microphone volumes at the front. One Sunday evening, I was a bit late getting there, but wanted to sit with the other high-schoolers down front. It was deathly quiet because we did a Sunday night communion for those who slept in on Sunday morning. Note: Everyone would crane their necks looking around to see who the sinners were because they were asked to stand in order to be served.
Anyway, my path to the front took me past Raymond. As I approached, he just happened to be in the middle of an arms extended skyward stretch. He could afford to do this because he was at the back. When I came astride him, I spontaneously and without aforethought, raised my right elbow and softly (I thought) gave him a nudge just under his rib cage. Well, it must have been a bit more powerful than I thought. The entire contents of his lungs emptied in a throaty roar that sounded like a mating hippo. The entire congregation turned as a unit to see from whence came the volcanic sound. Raymond was doubled over as though in convulsive laughter, except it wasn't funny to him. To make matters worse, long after decorum had been restored to the assembly, I simply couldn't keep my composure as I sat in my front seat. Later, I got it real bad from my mom, a cold, humorless woman.
2. I'm taking my grandmother's word on this next one. She said that one Sunday morning at the Garland Rd. congregation, a visitor of some import was asked to lead the opening prayer. The prayer would follow the usual introductory welcome by the minister. The esteemed prayer guy got a seat on the podium almost directly under the baptistry. The minister has just finished this sentence, "We would like to extend a most cordial welcome to our visitors," when someone from the back of the building, well behind the baptistry, opened a door. A fierce north wind was blowing that morning and someone had left the door to the baptistry open. The sudden gust toppled over a potted plant that had been positioned on ledge of the baptistry and it proceeded to land upside down on the head of the esteemed prayer guy. A cordial vistors' welcome, indeed!
3. I remember a particular communion segment at Peak and Eastside, my home congregation. You must know going in that the sanctuary featured a rather severe incline, back to front, the front being lower. Someone toward the rear dropped a collection plate, one of those shiny metal ones with a felt bottom. Incredibly, it didn't just lay there in a pile of rolled on its edge to the front of the auditorium. The sound was not that different from a slow bowling ball making its way down the lane. How it missed 59 pairs of legs, I don't know. And when it finally got to the end of its journey, it started doing one of those gyroscope-type spins, with the wah-wah-wah sounds getting closer and closer together. Finally, it was over. The entire sequence took probably 25 seconds and few in the audience were able to maintain their stiff Church of Christ demeanor.
4. At Peak and Eastside (btw, our softball team mascot name was the Pekineses), we didn't get air-conditioning until the early 60's. So in the hot months, all windows were opened and the foyer doors left open to hopefully catch an occasional breeze. One Sunday morning, a lonely dog must have been curious as to what was going on up there. There were 22 stair steps leading up to the foyer entrance. After climbing those steps, the dog encountered one Harry Griffith, a deacon whose church status, yea even his salvation, hung by a thread because he was a smoker. Harry's job was hang in the foyer area, answer any phone calls, assist any nursing mom to the cry room, and collect communion trays. He was the pharoah of the foyer.
The pooch seemed to have designs on entering the sanctuary, so Harry reached down to grab him. But this was a quick dog...ugly, but quick. It eluded Harry's grasp. The sanctuary had three seating sections and two aisles, identical to a typical high school auditorium. The dog headed for aisle separating the center section from the right section. Brother Griffith had an instant dilemma. "Do I let him enter the worship area and hope he quickly retreats, or do I chase after him?" Much to the delight of us young people, Harry chose the chase. The dog quickly realized what was happening and took off for the front. The minister was in mid-sermon. As long as I am allowed to live on this gorgeous planet, I will never be able to erase from my memory the sight of this middle-aged deacon sprinting down the aisle with arthritic abandon after that dog. The dog circled the communion table in a fashion not too dissimilar to Jeff Gordon racing through the high-banked oval at Daytona. Harry by this time was too far into this thing to quit now, and probably was wishing that tobacco hadn't compromised his lung capacity. He threaded through the narrow space between the table and the podium where the minister was looking down in horror, his mouth agape. The doggie sped to the other aisle and made for the foyer from whence he came. Griffith now was a visual cartoon. I shall never forget the way his coat was flapping and how his tie had been swept over his shoulder and was whipping in the breeze. The pooch made it the exit and left behind a stunned audience, a minister who forgot where he was in the sermon, and a panting deacon who will live in church-house infamy.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Just Desserts

I don't know when in my life desserts became a major food group. I don't remember very many desserts being served at 3311 Culver St. My folks were tighter than shrink-wrap and money wasn't spent on such frivolities as power mowers, air-conditioners, or desserts.
Maybe twice a year, Mom would make a graham-cracker pudding pie. Once a year, I'd get a birthday cake...until I got to age 6 and Mom concluded that I was too old for extravagances like that.
But I had enough interaction with the outside world to broaden my sugar-filled horizons. I loved church gatherings where entire tables would be covered with pies. Family get-togethers were cool - it was almost as though my aunts were in Olympic competition, and my Aunt Pearl was a gold medalist.
My modus operandi when I know a sumptuous dessert awaits is to rush through the meal proper, deliberately eating small portions to save room for what's coming. Many times, I stomp on Emily Post's grave by racing to the hostess shortly after the prayer has been said and asking for permission to slice the pie. This is while others are still in the process of filling their plates with mashed potatoes and string beans.
Here are some of my favorite desserts, complete with commentary:
1. Apple or cherry cobbler. Of course I love hot cobbler right out of the oven. But in college, I even lusted after the two-day-old cobblers that seemed to be super-glued to the bowls and had to shoe-horned out by an expert (thus giving rise to origin of the word "cobbler").
2. Lemonade pie. My wife can whup up world-class lemonade pie. Perhaps no other dessert juxtaposes taste and texture like this one. The filling feels so wonderful up against the palate that one is tempted not to swallow, but that is precluded by the extraordinary taste...and civility.
3. Blue Bell Ice Cream (in various flavors). Back in my marathoning days, I would spend Saturday mornings running the perimeter of White Rock Lake TWICE. Then I'd hurry home and consume a quarter-gallon of Blue Bell. I considered the morning's two activities an even swap of calories.
4. Banana pudding. Another taste/texture dream. Tastes as good two days later as on day one. It's wonderful with ice cream on top, a little-known nugget of truth.
5. Carrot cake. Carrots are renowned for their nutritional value. This is justification for pounding down on carrot cake. This dessert, however, loses its standing the longer it stands. Luby's is famous for sneaking 2-day-old carrot cake into their dessert selections. It looks fresh. Only when you bend the fork tines do you realize that you've got a refund coming, if not a gift certificate.
I could easily extend this list to 25. But I'd love to hear you expound on your favorites.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Whatta Day

Today began with a 4:15 wakeup I could attend the 5:30 field trip selection meeting at the bus lot. But more importantly, this was the day my mom-in-law gets her knee replaced.

After the morning bus runs, Carole and I met and took Mrs. Robertson to the hospital. Her knee is so bad that any bending causes much pain. She has been looking forward to this day with mixed feelings. She definitely wanted to be rid of a very bad, bone-on-bone knee and all the pain it brings. But due to other health issues, there was a very real chance that she wouldn't survive the surgery. But she is very comfortable with the assurance that heaven is her home and knew that waking up in glory rather in a recovery room wouldn't be so bad.

Carole stayed by her side during the hour or so leading up to surgery. But there was a problem. The blood tests showed fairly serious anemia. The docs huddled and decided the operation was too risky. Then Doris' internist came by and spent half an hour explaining why she should NEVER have the surgery done, how the risks far and away superceded the good that might come from the new knee.

I was worried that Doris would be terribly upset, but Carole reports that she was relieved...that she knew her life was in God's hands and that what happened today was surely His will. Her faith is amazing.

Friday, November 24, 2006

It Was Very Cool

After a hectic afternoon assembled with dozens of relatives, we retreated to our house and kicked back a bit. The neatest thing was watching first cousins Zach and Maddie have extended time together. It didn't take long for them to develop rapport. They actually did the unthinkable...(it's almost taboo!)...they began to share their toys!

For grandparents, it's a way cool way to cap off a Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Beautiful Sunday

After a glorious worship service in the morning, I was treated to another "airside" ride-along with my buddy at DFW. The first thing he did was take me to the aircraft which would ferry the Indianapolis Colts home later in the day. He allowed me to go anywhere I wanted around the plane to get the shots I wanted. The above pic obviously shows the tail, but also just how blue the sky was yesterday.

I drove home later, deliberately avoiding the radio and any mention of the outcome of the game. Got home and fast-forwarded through the excitement in about an hour. Nice victory!

Good way to start one of the best weeks of the year.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

CIA Intrigue and Yours Truly

Weird story. Back in September, I was photographing at Love Field in Dallas when my phone rang. It was my son, Blake, telling me that a sonogram showed my next grandchild to be a girl. He was excited and so was I. But I had to cut the call short because a very anomalous aircraft was getting ready to take off.

Love Field is home to Southwest Airlines. About 95% of the shots I take there are SW. So it's rare but fun when something different comes along. The plane that was taking off had no markers, no registration number, no decals, no nuthin'. I snapped off a few pix including the one above.

I went home and researched it. Turns out that this plane is clouded with mystery. That thing you see hanging down under the fuselage is a wide-angle radar. Word has it that the plane is being used for some sort of hush-hush CIA (redundant?) activity. It is extremely elusive in that very few photographs of it exist. I've been lucky enough to catch it on two separate trips to Love.

I've been contacted by folks interested in my pictures of the plane from as far away as Canada and the Netherlands. A guy is doing an article for a Navy magazine and wants to use the above shot.

I just hope my doorbell doesn't ring late one night and find me staring at three big guys in trenchcoats.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Don't Go There

There is a movie out now called "Borat". It opened Friday locally and is being lauded as the funniest movie ever. That's quite a boast given that "The 3 Stooges Go to the Moon" is still out there.

It seems every radio station I've listened to this weekend (except the Christian ones) are talking about this flick. All seem to agree that it lives up to the hype.

Folks, Christians have no business going to an "R" rated movie. I don't care how funny it is. I don't care what lame excuses you use (everyone does it, I'm going for life lessons it'll teach me, I can handle the off-color language and sex scenes). There is no redeeming quality about an "R" film that would override your Christian responsibility in this matter.

Two reasons: chances are you'll be seen there and folks seeing you will assume you're open-minded and willing to sample small doses of sin; and it will carefully erode your Christian mindset. If you see enough of this garbage, pretty soon godly thoughts are replaced by worldly thoughts.

Don't give Hollywood your money. Don't treat your soul so cavalierly.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Killin' Time

If you haven't read the previous blog, do so now.

Now, what does the bus driver do when he's dropped the load of students and teachers at a museum or a petting zoo and faces 4 hours of sitting around? Well, I have 3 courses of action, "action" being a poor word choice.

1. I read. I always have at least one religious book I'm plowing through, plus the latest Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, or Texas Monthly magazine.

2. I listen to the radio. If it's a daytime trip, I usually can get all of Norm Hitzges' program.

3. I try to nap. It used to be easy for me to sleep on a school bus. That was back when I was teaching. Anytime I got a chance to nap, I was usually mentally fatigued...and sleep came easily. Now, since most of the stress is gone from my life, I find that I can get locked into the same position, same seats for slumber as last year, but it doesn't come easily. My mind is just too fresh, too sharp. So I pray a lot.

I enjoy field trips. They pay well. I may be slightly crazy, but I like the challenge of taking kiddoes across the city in rush hour traffic to specified destination. I know I'm carrying some parent's Zachary, Maddie, or Ethan on board. That part is humbling. That's what makes me focus to the max on being a safe driver.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Everything you wanted to know about...

field trips but were afraid to ask.

Among Dallas County Schools bus drivers, the only things more highly prized than out-of-court felony settlements are field trips. They are a great way to earn big bucks while sitting on your big butt.

Some trips are highly sought after, some not so. Most attractive are the 9 AM to 2:30 PM trips. If you have one of those, you eliminate the costly trip home after your normal morning bus run, plus you earn an easy 5-6 hours of pay. The trip to be avoided is the two-hour high school swim practice at a local natatorium...too much trouble for the small payoff.

DCS assigns trips this way. You show up at your bus lot at 5:30 on Wednesday morning to bid on trips for the following week. At exactly 5:30, an administrator starts calling names of drivers, beginning with the most tenured driver and proceding down the experience list. When your name is called, you get to sign up for any trip that is still available. The rookies tend to get the swim practice trips.

I'm #13 in seniority at our lot but some of the ones above me don't do trips. So I usually have any trip I want. At 4:30 on Wednesday afternoons, another hour of bidding takes place. Once again, they start with the older folks. On this 2nd go-round, the day trips and Saturday trips are gone...leaving the weeknight trips. I usually opt for whatever Woodrow Wilson High trip that's still on the books. I'm partial to them since that's where I graduated 40 years ago; also, their kids are well-behaved and polite.

So that's the system. I'm not a big fan of Wednesdays since I have to set the alarm for 4:15 those mornings. Seems like I spend the rest of the day looking for time and space to take a nap.

My next installment will be on what I do when I'm sitting on the bus with 4-5 hours to kill (but still making $18/hr.). I know you can't wait.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Where Have I Been?

Okay. I'm tired of telling you how much I enjoy retirement.

I have no new airport stories.

The Rangers' season is over.

I have trouble expressing myself about spiritual matters, so therefore the process makes me reticent about launching into religious discussions.

Help! Please leave me any suggestions.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Add this to your prayer list...

The Rangers have fired Buck Showalter as their manager. Idle thought: I don't recall ever seeing him smile in four years. There are about four candidates to take his place. One of those is Trey Hillman, a guy who currently manages the Nippon Ham Fighters (great name) in Japan.

I knew nothing about Hillman prior to today. But I googled his name this morning and found out that he is an incredibly strong witness for Christ. Go to this spot and click on either of the two videos on the right and you will discover a man with no hesitation in announcing his allegiance to Jesus.

I don't know whether God would rather have Hillman in Texas or Japan. All I know is that he would immediately have an incredible platform to spread the good news here in the Metroplex.

BTW, the UT quarterback, Colt McCoy, is also a believer.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Most Uncomfortable Question

I love my new life. When I stepped out of the classroom, the major stressor in my life disappeared.

The uncomfortableness arises when well-meaning young people, particularly my own kids, ask me if I'm enjoying retirement. And I'm sure they are pleased to hear how much I love it. But I know what they're feeling when they query me: "Retirement is so far away, I can't even comprehend it. The Lord will come before I clock out for the final time."

I feel for them. The deal is that I was right there once. I even remember one slow day in the classroom in the late '80's when it dawned on me that I had probably passed the halfway mark in my career. I almost floated the rest of the day, as though I had crested Everest and could now ski downhill.

Best advice I have if your job is tedious and stress-filled is recoup your zest and energy by really, and I mean really, taking refuge in your family. Carole and I poured ourselves into our kids...and suddenly the years were flying by.

And here I am.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dry Bones

Yesterday's weather was a microcosm of our water troubles. The esteemed National Weather Service warned of severe thunderstorms and locally heavy rain. Rain chances were to begin after midnight and last through the evening. In actuality, a single line of storms moved through. The heaviest of the rain, of course, somehow missed our humble abode and the result was a beggarly .13".

Our water supply, Lake Lavon, managed to gain a bit of water, going from 41.09% of capacity to 41.20%. During this drought, the lake typically has been going down around .20% a day. One doesn't have to be a CPA to figure out that the lake won't be around much longer unless help arrives soon.

One ray of hope: at least one hurricane expert expects October to be very active in the Caribbean and the Gulf. While I don't wish trouble for anyone on the coast, Texas and particularly north Texas needs a system to bring us a quick 20" or so.

Monday, September 18, 2006

On my love for Carole...

I love my wife now more than I ever have.

At first blush, such a statement smacks of lunacy or delusion. After all, how can one outdo the consuming love of courtship and engagement...when every minute away from your love is agony and every minute with her is ectasy? Or how could I possibly feel more love now than I did in our first year of marriage, when we were experiencing life together for the first time and understanding what God had in mind for two people who love each other?

I think I can best explain this by relating an experience on one of our October trips to Vermont. We had timed the turning of the leaves perfectly, and after an hour of so driving country roads and beholding the expanse of red and gold trees, we would declare that this was God's penultimate handiwork on this earth, that nothing...absolutely no place on this planet could match what our brain was seeing through our eyes. And then, we would go around a bend and see a valley down below, awash in every color between gold and crimson, with a white-steepled church in the middle. And we would have to expand our minds even more.

That is what my love for my wife is like. Without selling short any measure of love I've had for her in the past, I must say it is deeper now. Perhaps it is because when I hold her now, hold her tight, we both can feel what we've been through together the past 34 years...the triumphs and the tragedies, the work days and the vacation days, the children and now the grandchildren. You really can sense all of that in an embrace. And it reaches to the depth of your soul.

The neat thing is, God willing, we have many more bends in the road yet to travel through. And when we're approaching the end of our stay here, I will love her even more.

Thank you, Carole, for all you mean to me.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nice Gesture

Every day at DFW Airport, troops are brought home from Iraq. Some of them for good, others for a brief couple of weeks.

They all get the same treatment. The fire/rescue people give the arriving plane a water-cannon salute (see above). And once the weary troops (the flight originates in Shannon, Ireland) step off the plane, dozens of local volunteers form a double line and applaud as each soldier leave the gate.

Very cool gestures by very nice folks for very deserving men and women.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pain for the Lord

One of the things I've been able to do with my retirement-induced free time is help with our "Sharing and Caring" ministry at church. Every other Tuesday, we get a shipment of food from the North Texas Food Bank. It has to be unloaded, brought into the building, and stacked.

Yesterday, we had over a ton and a half of can goods, pinto beans, and milk. Al Fannin and Herb Tyler helped as we lifted the boxes twice...once to get out of the truck and again when figured out where to stack them.

So today, I have a pulled muscle in my back. It's a muscle that is halfway down the left side and seems to disappear under the shoulder blade, effectively hiding from any attempts to massage it. But in a way, I'm glad.

We have such a comfortable life as Christians, seldom suffering persecution or pain for our faith. It's really a dangerous state in which to be...comfort attracts Satan, in fact the slithery "father of all lies" probably created the comfort in the first place. Comfort encourages self-congratulation and self-reliance, both antithetical to our quest to be Christ-like and Christ-dependent.

So my little muscle pull is, in a small way, bringing me some satisfaction this morning. I took one for the team.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Volleyball is a girlie game.

That's what I thought prior to this school year. I'm a basketball guy. Born, bred and raised on roundball. My kids all played b-ball and played it well. But I found girls' basketball tedious and tiresome, a stuttering ordeal punctuated with squeals and turnovers.

Somehow during all those years, I managed to not see a single v-ball game. So my preconceptions lingered.

But now I've seen several games of high school volleyball. And I'm amazed at the differences between girls' basketball and girls' volleyball. Gone is the clumsy effort at dribbling, replaced by graceful, acrobatic, violent spikes. Gone are the squeals of frustration by girlies trying to rebound and shoot - replaced by helpful screams of "I've got it" and "Short!".

In short, it's a match made in athletic heaven.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Twenty-something Jesus

I've got a lot of questions I want to ask God when I get the chance. Of course, my mind may be somewhere else when I get to heaven, just as it is here in Rockwall, TX. But I am curious about the timing of things in Jesus' life.

Why did His ministry begin at age 30? Why was he baptized "late"? Why did His ministry last only 3 years? I don't really understand the quiet years when Jesus was in his 20's. Was this decade needed to harden Him emotionally for the volatile times ahead? Why was the time not right yet?

I would imagine that Christ had so many mixed emotions during that time. He probably lay awake at night...not wondering where the materials for His current carpentry job would come from, but imagining how politically incorrect his mission would be...and what His apostles would be like...and how tough it would be to cast aside friendships when he switched from carpenter to evangelist...and maybe even how cold, rusty nails felt when driven through palms.

I wonder how much He missed His heavenly father. And surely He worried about Joseph and Mary, and how difficult the 3 years would be for them.

Surely, no other twenty-something human ever dealt with such a mental burden.

And yet, He saw it through. He did not cave in, capitulate, or cower.

Our Savior was quite a guy.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Cool Shots

I thought it had been too long since I shared the some of the latest shots in aviation photography with my legions of readers. I threw in the Southwest Airlines shot and the American Airlines photo to leaven the loaf. Uh, they're mine.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

He's Listening

I saw this today and thought I'd pass it on...since we all need to be reminded of His omnipresence:

(Reprinted from January 31, 1998)I cannot help but notice her as I approach my gate seating area at Houston Intercontinental Airport. Medium build, cropped brown hair, loose fitting slacks and shirt, and only one arm. We are both an hour early for this flight to Lubbock, where I am to speak six times over the weekend about God's guidance I am carrying my Bible and notes in a cloth tote bag that says "State Bar of Texas." The plane is late. We have another hour to wait.As I take a stretch break, I word a silent prayer. "If there is anyone here, Lord, with whom you wish me to connect, please call it to my attention." I walk to the window and watch the planes taxi on the runway. Just then she rises and comes over to me. "Are you a lawyer?" she asks, looking at my bag. "Yes," I say, "for a living. But I am on my way to Lubbock to talk about God's leading in our lives.""Really?" she says. "I am going to Lubbock to witness to some friends whom the Lord has put on my heart. I hope they will be open to the gospel. God sent you to me. I was just praying for God to provide me some encouragement to go on."As we chat, there and later on the plane to Lubbock, I learn that Shawn had lost her arm to cancer, but she feels blessed to be alive. She now does research in the cancer hospital for the same doctor who had treated her. There she shares God's love with other patients who face the loss of limbs. Although her doctor is an atheist, he sometimes sends her to pray for other patients whom he knows need encouragement.Shawn always wanted to be a missionary, she tells me She wonders if she is out of God's will because she is not. I assure her that she IS a "missionary" -- exactly where God has put her -- with an authority and credibility which only her unique experience could possibly provide. And I tell her how God used her to answer my prayer, providing me with a living illustration of one who turned great adversity to God's service, and who faithfully glorifies God in the place he has planted her. No human being in that airport could hear the silent prayers Shawn and I had offered up at almost the same time. But God, who knows the hearts, heard us both, and he provided just what each of us needed at that very moment.
__________________ Copyright 2006 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby granted to reprint this gracEmail in its entirety without change, with credit given and not for financial profit. To visit our multimedia website, click
here or go to .

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Two Items of Good News

Item #1: I heard a guy on the radio this morning discussing oil prices. He has a show devoted to automobiles, but he's not just a mechanic. He's brilliant, and always includes a segment on his show highlighting some amazing event in American history. In short, he is well-spoken and well-read.

Today, he talked about the current crude oil situation and how favorable the prices at the pump are - compared to even a month ago. Then he went on for about 10 minutes about how oil reserves have picked up lately, about how Iran is renting enormous oil tankers to hold surplus oil that they can't even sell. He said that many experts are predicting oil to drop below $50/bbl soon.

Now, my mommie didn't raise a dummy. I'm aware that the Middle East is enormously volatile and that there will be a hurricane in the Gulf next week. Things change very quickly. And I know you can't believe everything you hear on the radio. But at the very least, it was interesting.

Item #2: I saw geese flying south for the first time today. I mentioned this to Carole and she said she hoped they weren't just looking for water. Ha-ha. To me, it's the first real sign that cool, crisp days are around the corner. Hopefully, cool, crisp, wet days.