Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Look

Good Monday evening to you! We're watching the Braves beat up on the Mets tonight which is a nice change after the recent nail biters. There are just a little over 30 games left in the regular season and then the playoffs begin. Pennant fever is heating up even as football season is beginning. Now for the weather to cooperate and actually feel more like fall.

If you're a regular reader, then obviously you noticed yet another change to the look of the blog. I really don't know much about design, templates, etc. but when I have time, I like to see if I can find something I like. Sorry if you're not a fan of green. I'm not sure I am either, but for now we just have to put up with it until I have another chunk of time or a patient daughter who will help me.

I had a mini revelation a couple of weeks ago when I made an unplanned trip to Orlando. To better explain it, I have to share some background.

I already had a trip on the calendar in a couple of weeks to specifically go with the girls to the parks. There's a brief window of time between everybody going back to school and fall activities gearing up where the lines are basically non-existent. But when a friend needed to meet her daughter down there a couple of weeks ago and didn't need to take an extra car, I offered to drive us down and use the time to spend a couple of days with Tiffany. Since the trip was unexpected, she was working and didn't have a lot of time off. I had my GPS and was fine going places by myself and just learning more about the area where they work and live.

One afternoon, I was driving back to their apartment and was thinking how random it was that I was actually in Florida. And then it hit me - when I had the chance to spend some time with my daughter, I rearranged my calendar without thinking a lot about it and just went. My motivation was simply to be with her in her world, even if it was only for a couple of days. And like a gentle brush across my spirit I heard, "I wait just as expectantly for you to take time to be with me."

The difference is that God is always there and doesn't have to drive seven hours to be with me. Yet, how often do I take that for granted and fill my time with other things knowing that He'll be there when/if I get around to it?

My parent heart responded two weeks ago. Will I respond to my Heavenly Father waiting for me? It gave me something to think about.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Living In Between

Summer is beginning to slowly lose its grip here in the south, at least for a few days.  A couple of "cold" fronts moving through lowered the humidity a lot and temperatures a little and it's amazing how much that can refresh a weary soul.  Only 28 more days until the official beginning of fall, unless you count all the football that's about to start. I grew up a block away from the high school I would later attend and at an early age the drums from the marching band did more to announce the change of seasons than the calendar did.

I have been recovering from a bad sore throat the last few days and am now finally feeling better. I mostly stayed home which sometimes can make life seem a bit melancholy and I'm finding that to be the case again. But I used the time of rest to read a couple of books and can heartily recommend them to you.

The first one was "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis which is the story of Michael Oher and his rescue from poverty and rise to football stardom. It's been made into a movie that I'm sure most of you have seen and the movie is very good. But Hollywood always has to tweak things a bit to fit into a neat package of approximately 120 minutes and real life really doesn't cooperate very often. For me, the book got a bit tedious at times with football details, but they actually help set the stage for why he was so pursued as a player and the details were necessary. It was a refreshing reminder that sometimes the good guy wins and I'm looking forward to cheering for the Baltimore Ravens this fall and Michael Oher.

The book I read today was a much different story that is still waiting for the complete fulfillment of the happy ending.

I've written often about Steven and Mary Beth Chapman's journey in the last two years as they've struggled with the loss of five year old Maria Sue in a tragic accident. The material in the book wasn't really new to me because I've followed blogs, music, interviews, etc. along the way. But the added details and struggles of the entire family broke my heart all over again. It was a very courageous step for Mary Beth to take to relive not only the last two years, but go back and look at her whole life, and I believe God will use it to heal her in greater ways and bring glory to Himself even more.

Pain and suffering are universal conditions that all of humanity deals with at one time or another and sadly, it's something that some use as a reason to run from God. One last book by Randy Alcorn that I've begun reading addresses some of that and while not one to read quickly or lightly, I'm suspecting that it will be worth the journey.

All of this input in recent days, along with my life in general in the last several years, can be summed up by this quote from Randy Alcorn's book, "If God Is Good":

"We live between Genesis 3 and Revelation 20, between Eden and the New Earth. Things are not all right with the world....Adam and Eve's fall, Cain's murder of Abel, Noah's flood, the tower of Babel, the patriarch's sins, Job's tragedies, Egypt's oppression of Israel, David's psalms of lament, Israel's rebellion and exile, the suffering of the prophets, and the long, lonely wait for Messiah - it goes on relentlessly, so that when Jesus finally comes as the Lamb of God, He comes not a moment too soon. And when He returns as the Lion, again it will be not a moment too soon - nor too late."

That's where I find myself these days - living in between - after evil has entered the world and before God makes all things right. I don't know exactly what that will look like for me or my family, but I think I'm ready for the adventure to continue.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This Is Braves Country

It's Sunday afternoon and I've been sick all weekend with a bad sore throat and no energy. Very sad....

But I just watched the Braves beat the Cubs 16-5 which prompted me to look for a video of a commercial I've seen titled, "This Is Braves Country".  Here is the link to it if you'd like to see it and get ready for the pennant race. :)

I know I've been slack recently in posting and I think it's time for some tweaking.  I first started this blog almost two years ago for friends to keep up with us as we moved to Baltimore.  As time has gone on, most of those friends don't really read anymore because they all visited at some point while we were there and now we see each other fairly often.  We do have a couple of Baltimore friends who check in occasionally, but the reality is we're just not a reality show type family.  While we've had our fair share of adventure in the last couple of years, we just don't have a lot of excitement, I suppose.  So if I keep going with the blog, it will be with a little different focus of which I'm not sure yet.  I'll keep you posted and you can let me know if it even matters to you.

For now, have a good beginning to your week and I'll be back soon for either a last post or a new direction. I'll leave you with a couple of fun pictures from our last few weeks.

This is Hamp, Ellis, and Caleb cooking some of the fish they caught when we went to visit last month.

This is Caleb, Ginger, and Lauren as we enjoyed yummy Pitango Gelato.

This is the ending song of the American Idol Concert that Ginger, Lauren, and I went to. It was actually a well done show and we had fun.

Last, but not least, here's a picture of my kids in 1991 when I let them skip school to go to the Braves parade to celebrate their worst to first season. We almost got trampled and couldn't see anything because of the crowds, but there was confetti and community spirit and hopefully we'll get to experience something like that again in a few weeks.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Milestones and Memories

Today is Sid Bream's 50th birthday. The reason I know this is because I just saw it in an article from our local newspaper. If you're not from Atlanta or have never cheered for the Atlanta Braves, then you'll wonder who this man is. If you know, the same two words unite us all as we remember his importance to Braves history - "The Slide".

And this brings me to another reason why I love baseball and sports in general, I suppose. Every once in a while, things come together in such a way that a family, a community, a city, and sometimes a region are joined together by a common thread and for a little while we forget how hard life really is.

That happened to Atlanta in 1991 when the Atlanta Braves went from worst to first in their division. They won again in 1992 and 1993...and well, for 14 consecutive years. But in the early years, it was sometimes not decided until the last game or the last out or with a fateful slide home.

And Sid Bream, in the twilight of his career and slowed by bad knees, catapulted to fame in Atlanta with a breathtaking slide home to send the Braves to the World Series in 1992.

For those who'd like a trip down memory lane, here's a link to what might be one of Skip Caray's most famous calls ever made as a broadcaster.

I have a friend whose daughter has three children in various stages of life and they recently enjoyed a Rome Braves baseball game together as a family.  When I saw the pictures she had posted on her blog about their trip, I just had to borrow them to further illustrate my point.  Sometimes it's fishing or hunting or building something together that joins the hearts of the young to their daddies.  But sometimes it's sports and I'll close with these shots of memories being made and traditions begun through the wonder of baseball.