Joyful Noise

What a wonderful morning of worship. Being out of town the past two weekends, it was great to return to the community I am growing to love. They are of all shapes and sizes.

There is the single mom with her two children; her son quickly making his way to the front to play bongos with the other musicians and vocalists. To my left is Mr. B. with his extra sturdy cane getting hugs from all the children with a smile so broad that it looks as though it might hurt those less accustomed to it. Further over is Mrs. A. who recently lost her mother and has found out her sister is having some muscular problems. She never misses an opportunity to say hello and remind me how great is to see me. To my left is one of our newest and smallest additions to our community; barely five months old.

As worship proceeds, I hear Mr. B. singing with great enthusiasm. I see Mrs. A. with her arm around her grandson and if I concentrate, I can here the little one sucking away on her bottle. The song ends and we are asked to join our hearts in prayer. I bow my head and smile — what a perfect morning.

The prayer begins and I hear a faint pat, pat, pat. Some more prayer and again I hear a gentle pat, pat, pat. The prayer winds down and still, from a nearby seat the pat, pat, pat continues. The prayer ends and there is a hearty amen …and a sudden {{{ buuuurp! }}}.

And Writely So

Google has been up to something for awhile now and it has not been all too secretive. With the arrival of Google Calendar, Google Spreadsheets, Google Reader, Google Notebook and now with the purchase of Writely, it certainly appears that Google is anticipating a major place in the hosted applications market. I don’t think of these Google products are going to dethrone M$Office any time real soon and I tend to find these applications somewhat lacking — that is except for Writely.

Writely is an interesting tool. It’s use as a word processor is ‘alright’, but there is this cool feature with Writely that I think makes it worthwhile to consider. You can use Writely to post directly to your blog. OK, so there are several different tools you can use to post to your blog, but Writely does it smoothly and handles some other tasks (like automatically saving revisions) without you having to think about it. Also, and this is the clincher for me, I can begin a post while at the office and then continue it at home without any special steps to save it. At the office I use w.Bloggar and at home I use BloGTK and it is not a simple matter to begin a post one place and pick it up at another. With Writely I just shutdown at the office and pick it up at home.

Writely seems to handle all the bigtime blog names and for those of you blogging with LwC, I have provided a screenshot of my Writely set up which shows you what you need to know.

Good To Be Back

The family and I were in Pennsylvania last week; where we were able to sleep with the windows open and sit out on the porch until it got chilly. We had some great time with family and friends and thoroughly enjoyed our time together. With the kids getting older, I count these times when we’re all able to spend big chunks of time together as great blessings. Some high-lites of the week included: two and a half hours in Provident Bookstore, Roots Market and Auction, fresh sweet corn and tomatoes, playing Apples to Apples till late at night… oh, and Wilbur Buds.

Yes, we had a great time, but it is also good to be back.

That Day I Was Raptured

It was my ninth summer knockin’ about this planet and growing up in a rural area there so much to explore; even right there in our own back yard.

Earlier that Spring my brother, my dad and I finished building a pole barn. Well, I guess, if truth be told, it was more of a pavillion as it had no sides until a few years later. It was great fun to build. We first fell some poplar and a few oak trees on the back portion of our property. We then removed all the bark — trust me, not fun. Then we used the poles as the structural uprights with cross beams and rafters above. On top of all this we put a ‘tin roof’. It was actually aluminum, but ‘tin roof’ sounds much more rustic.

As with most construction projects, there is always leftover lumber. My brother and I were given the task to store away the lumber up in the rafters of the pole barn. It was as much a project to keep us out of mom’s hair during the day as anything else. My brother and I, and two sturdy ladders, were enough to hoist the lumber up into the rafters. It was slow going at one board at a time, but we stuck to it.

As a kid, I found that it is often in times a physical labor such as mowing the lawn, stripping bark off of logs or doing dishes, that I recieve some of my greatest inspiration. True, some ideas play out better in reality than others, but while storing up the lumber, I developed a killer plan. Now, to convince my brother.

I made short work of conveying the shear brilliance of my idea to my brother and he bit. A fort. Not only a fort, but a secret fort. Not only a secret fort, but a secret fort that was almost eight feet off the ground and had its own ‘tin roof’. Yes, with a couple of hammers, a box of nails from the basement and the two sturdy ladders we set out to nailing various planks to the rafters which then supported the other boards as they were laid out to create the floor. A ‘tin roof’ and hardwood flooring; how cool is that? Sure, it was a little rough around the edges. We toyed with the idea of cutting everything to length, but figured the odds of cutting this lumber to the lengths that my dad would actually be able to use someday was rather slim. Plus, sawing lumber by hand is only slightly more engaging than stripping bark. Instead, we decided leave the excess hanging over the rafter. With the afternoon quickly closing in on the time dad gets home fom work, we hurried.

Dinner was great that evening and both my brother and I ate well. We explained to dad how we were able to get all his lumber up into the rafters. Surely it would stay dry until he needed it. We decided that was enough information for dinner conversation. Too much detail would have served no reasonable purpose. Besides, my brother and I wanted to play in our new fort.

I finished dinner first and made quick work of scooting out of the house before mom had a chance to remind us of the dishes. Dirty dishes usually had a way of still being there when we got back inside anyway. I made a straightline for the fort. A few steps up the ladder and a quick tug up using one of the rafters and there I was. Cool, I could see all the way down to the house and most of the way up through the woods. Neat! I started adjusting the placement of some of the boards and making more room. I noted how huge it was. Cool!

It was while rearranging some of the boards that I heard something. A perculiar sound. Not exactly a creak, but yet very unpleasant. Then the bottom felt out… literally. From my perch just beneath the ‘tin roof’ I suddenly fell to the ground with lumber of all kinds falling around me. For me time almost stood still, but not for my dad. I didn’t even have time for an explative and there he was, right there standing next to me. In a shaken voice he asked me, “are you OK?” It was precisely when the word “yes” left my mouth that I was raptured. Oh yes, first my butt left the dust of this earth and then my feet as I was taken up. Up toward the clouds, but it was a short trip with a sudden stop.

There before me was my dad. I was eye to eye with the one man who could make my bottom lip quiver just by me knowing he was on his way home from work and I would have to explain why my brother had three stitches above his right eye. The man who could fluster me beyond reason just by asking me what I was up to. Yes, there I was aloft and eye to eye with my father. Then I heard it. Not exactly a trumpet, but still with a most biblical intensity, “Don’t you ever do that again.” I know I tried to respond with a respectful, “yes, sir”, but I doubt much but a stutter of air came out. Just as suddenly, I was back on terra firma. As he walked back to the house I heard him say, “now clean that mess up.” This was actually one time I was thinking ahead of him. You see, I had caught my breath, regained my composure and had already figured out what went wrong. Bigger nails. Yes, next time we’ll use bigger nails…

ESL/ESS

I just got home from a wonderful meeting. There were six of us plus Maria. Maria is just beginning her eighth year of teaching four seperate ESL classes. She prefers to think of them as “English as a Survival Skill” classes.

The six of us are meeting to discern how our church community may become likewise involved in a similiar ministry. One option may be to join Maria in her endeavor, but it was mentioned that the need is great enough and that organizing something in our area of the county will help spread this service across a broader area. It would certainly involve a great deal of Maria’s mentoring and coaching which she has agreed to give of freely. This will be exciting to see unfold.

Maria is about two thirds my height and about five times my energy. She glows of passion for her work and it is contagious. She is a Filipino imigrant who has lived the experiences of what many of her students are now going through. Out of this she has developed a heart for going beyond just teaching people a second language, but also building relationships through which she can share very important aspects of life in the U.S. and maybe help her students avoid some struggles and hurdles that may otherwise be very discouraging and even dangerous.

Stay tuned…

Allow Me To Introduce… Mike

Allow me to introduce Mike. It was almost on a dare that Mike suggested in a recent comment on this post, that I write about something on his blog. I figured, sure. This could be fun! Specifically, Mike proposed that I call him names. Now, I can think of several people who might enjoy such an invitation and to be honest with you, I AM one of them. As I consider past interactions with Mike a slew of names come to mind.

Let us start with ‘father’. It will not take long reading Mike’s blog before you realize that this man loves his children beyond his own earthly capacity. The openess and honesty with which Mike communicates the pain he has experienced as a result of his divorce and its impact on his children can be rather unsettling, but it makes Mike the kind of person I would likely seek out should I ever find myself in a situation even remotely simliar to his. He knows of that which he speaks.

Next would be ‘craftsman’. In fact, I like referring to Mike as my second favorite carpenter… and that’s not second to Norm Abram either. You can take a look at some of his work here.

Let’s see, father, craftsman, oh yes… ‘musician’. This guy can can tickle the white off the ivory. He has some samples of his music here.

For the record, Mike and I do not always agree on issues, but that said, I can always count on an honesty fom Mike that often arrives to the conversation like an out of control freight train, but through Mike I have also seen signs of grace that afford me a glimpse of his Lord.

Maybe Tomorrow

Think you fool, think! There has got to be something worth blogging about today…

Well, the weather is a wee bit damp, but certainly not as hot as last week. Yeah, but blogging about the weather shouts, “I lack the creativity to blog about anything substantial today.” I could blog about some of my favorite movies, but that has been done quite extensively around here lately. Well, I simply refuse to allow another post to reduce to little more than cheap poop humor. So, scatology is out of the question.

Perhaps I just won’t post anything today. Yes, there is always tomorrow…