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
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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.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Musings, Again

My kids and grandkids are making it tough for me to be humble.

Let's go in chronological order: Brett, the firstborn, recently initiated a blog that deals with Christian budgeting. His brilliance in this area staggers me. Some people live their entire lives without discovering their gift. Brett has used his gift for many years now...counseling couples and doing financial seminars. May God continue to bless him.

Blake, the #2 child, is in the busiest time of his school year. Not only is he starting a new year in the classroom, he is the new head volleyball coach at Dallas Christian. He has always had a winning record as a coach, whether the sport be basketball, volleyball or tennis. Unfortunately, he has lost his best player to a torn ACL, but knowing Blake, he will still pull out a winning season. But frankly, W's don't mean that much to me. His greatest contribution is his Christian example to scores of students and athletes. He will never know how much spiritual good he has initiated this side of heaven. God bless you, Blake.

Brooke is child #3. She was married last Labor Day weekend. (I better do a spouse page pretty kids have married extraordinarily well!). Brooke is beginning her 5th year of teaching in public schools. She is the type of teacher who cares deeply about her students and pours her life into educating them and profiling Christ to them. She and Michael are heavily involved with the teenagers at Richardson East. And, like my sons, they are committed to being smart financially...making tough decisions that are anti-materialistic and pro-Christian. I pray that she never changes.

And, of course, my grandkids are smart and beautiful/handsome. Zach is at or above where he should be academically - this despite a severe hearing impairment. It's an amazing achievement. His teachers and parents are worthy of high honor.

Maddie is 25 months old. She knows her ABC's and can count to 20. You can throw her a ball from across the room and she catches it. This kid has an extraordinary future.

Ethan is a little over a year old and is quite a kid. Even though he lives in San Antonio and doesn't see us much, he opens his arms out to us every time we visit. He seems to be full of love and good cheer. Ethan is a charmer.

So there they are. I'm not bragging. Just passing on the truth to the world.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back to Work, Sorta

It's been bizarre this week. I went back to punching a clock again, but not to teach students...only to transport them. Getting up to an alarm clock felt foreign - vaguely familiar, but not routine. But for the first time in 36 years, I did not have a bundle of nerves on the first day of school.

I have had no trouble juxtaposing how I feel this year with how I felt last year. I vividly remember climbing aboard my bus in the afternoons, totally exhausted and with nerves on edge. This week, I've greeted each new trip with energy and positivity.

And I can report that it was a wonderful week. To be able to let off the riders at the school where I taught and not follow them into the building was a joy akin to winning the lottery, I suppose. I almost found myself guilty for enjoying the feeling so much - like I didn't deserve to be so happy, forgetting that I had stacked 36 years in the classroom into a career.

I've also been able to spend a few hours at home with Carole and Maddie, the grand-daughter we keep during the school year. Those are rich, bountiful moments that weren't there before.

So I guess I'm tiptoeing through the tulips.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cheating is Bad!

We're getting cheated on rainfall.

I can't tell you how many storms have been at our doorstep in the past 3 months. Today is no exception. We have been a couple of miles away from tremendous, soaking rains that would bring soothing nourishment to mother earth and also gladden my grieving heart.

We have massive cracks in the soil between our house and the mailbox. These cracks are getting larger by the day and could any day now swallow up my lawn tractor.

I've been praying for rain. God has answered many other requests, but so far on this one, I've been coming up empty - just like my rain gauge.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Forgive My Giddiness

For the first time in 36 years, I'm not in a "teacher preparation" week in advance of the kids reporting for duty. This has been almost as sweet as the initial retirement rush. I assume I'll also get a surge next Monday when, after letting the Hood students off my bus, I simply drive back to the lot instead of parking my bus and wearily starting another year of public school teaching.

Man, are Carole and I glad we travelled a week ago and not today. Instead of the security torture today's passengers endured, we had the best security experience yet. My knee brace did not set off the metal detector either time. The lines were short both trips. The TSA workers were cheerful and not resentful. In other words, two miracles occurred within the space of 3 days.

Carole had another eye surgery today. This was a re-do for the one three weeks ago when they apparently implanted an incorrect lens. Early results are encouraging. If she's satisfied with how this eye is doing, the other eye gets the treatment in two weeks.

We are in the process of getting bids to fence our backyard. We live out in the country and if you go out our back door, there is quite a bit of empty space. This will allow us to put Maddie (grand-daughter) outside some during the days we keep her. She's 25 months old now and full of energy. We are also gonna put outside play equipment. We aren't just gonna stick her out there with nuthin' to do.

Life is good. God is better.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Incomparable Diane Case

Carole and I have returned from a whirlwind trip to Tampa, a place that is to humidity what the Sahara is to deserts. The trip's purpose was three-fold: to give us a summer break; to give me another airport to shoot airliners (see pic above), and to meet Diane Case.

Carole became acquainted with Diane through internet doll-interest sites. She and Diane seemed to share the same values and the two became close, as close as you can get via the computer.

Here's what you need to know about Diane. Born prematurely, weighing 1 lb., 13 oz. Birth injuries left her with cerebral palsy and no sight in one eye. At age 21, she spent 18 months in a body cast. One leg has no femur. She is our age, has two brilliant sons (ages 24 & 25), and lives alone. She is confined to a wheelchair but drives everywhere she needs to go. To get into her car, Diane pushes herself from the wheelchair seat to the driver's seat. Then she removes a wheel from the wheelchair, putting it in the passenger seat. Then she somehow manages to fold up the wheelchair and put it in the backseat.

It was an absolute joy to meet Diane and be in her presence. She never complains - in fact, she never quits smiling. There is a constant twinkle in her eyes. Through the miracle of the internet, she knows my family thoroughly and praises them unceasingly.

Diane and Carole spent Friday at the hotel, getting acquainted in person and talking about dolls and life. (I was at the airport.) We got to spend most of Saturday together, visiting the beach at Clearwater and shopping at a mall. We had a blast...Diane is a super conversationalist...intelligent and witty. But most of all she is loving. With every reason in the world to allow her situation to deflate her outlook, Diane instead brings sunshine. And she steadfastly turns everything over to God, allowing Him to power her through life's obstacles.

Thanks, Diane, for honoring us with your friendship.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Do You Give T.O. a Chance?

I'm proud to report that my psyche no longer hangs in the balance every time the Cowboys play. Back in the old days, if they played at night, I wouldn't be able to sleep - either too excited or too bummed out - depending on the scoreboard.

In fact I went through a phase when I scarcely noticed them. That was during those years when nearly all the starters had a rap sheet. But then, I gradually came back as the punks were exorcised from the roster.

And now there's T.O. Most of you know (I'm sure Carole doesn't, however) who he is. He is the poster boy for all that's wrong with pro sports. He is the epitome of loud, flashy, bling-bling, me-first kind of athletes that got too much money too soon and thus have an ego the size of the Ogallala Aquifer.

But he has promised that he will not be a bad boy anymore. No more sniping at his quarterback or calling him a "queer". No more yelping to the press about how few passes are coming his way. Model citizen stuff.

Should I be suckered in? After all, he is very good at what he does. He will help the Cowboys' attack immeasurably. Can a leopard change his spots? Should I rejoice when T.O. scores his first Cowboy T.D.?

Or should I just concentrate on doing the NYTimes crossword every Sunday and not give this guy any of the attention he craves?