Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another Auld Lang Syne

I have been struggling with posting yet another auld lang syne blog wherein I debrief the previous year and look ahead to the new one with new resolve and resolutions. I am not the world's best at making and keeping resolutions. Last year I put 2005 behind me and just 3 days into 2006 got hit with the biggest challenge I have ever faced. The fallout from that one day is still there for me each day when I wake up.

Frankly, I am glad that 2006 is almost over. Hands down, I would have to say that this has been the worst year of my life. It has been a year that I can only categorize as a "Year of Losses." Aside from devastating financial loss, I also lost my last remaining grandparent and my dog. I moved my wife and family to Walterboro, SC during the summer. In the five months we lived there, many awful things happened:
  • The transmission on my van blew up...at night...in the middle of nowhere.
  • The water pump and radiator on my truck busted simultaneously.
  • My dog Levi died very suddenly.
  • My Grandma Vick also died very suddenly.
  • The distance between my children and me caused me to become very depressed.
  • Because of our landlord in Walterboro, we had to move right before the holidays, thus we had no money to buy presents for anyone.

It was not all bad, though. During those difficult months, the Evergreen Church family helped us in ways that go beyond anything I have ever seen. Furthermore, the Lord gave me an even deeper revelation of Himself in the midst of my trials. He showed me that my calling isn't and never was to be a pastor--at least not a traditional one. It was a great release for me to finally come to terms with that.

The Lord has also challenged the level of my faith. I have come to realize that after 3 years of loss and disappointment, I have stopped trusting Him. It's true. I believe IN Him, but I have stopped believing Him. I guess I feel that if I just give things up to God, He will just let me down. That is a lie, but I have believed it, and now I am working on changing that mindset. In doing so, I am rediscovering the joy of living by faith.

So...what does all this mean? Simply this: 2006 is behind me, and 2007 holds great promise. I am simplifying my life--scaling down a bit. I am working toward a lifestyle of faith and giving. I am waiting and listening for what God has in store for me next. I have reconnected with some treasured friends, and they have already been a source of encouragement in unexpected ways. My desire is to post again at this time next year with stories of God moving in new and exciting and fresh ways.

I will turn 40 in 2007. There is a saying that "Life begins at 40." I'll let you know...

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Years Day Plans


My Enthusiastic Addiction

During this time of year, many people begin to make plans for New Year's Resolutions, which typically include swearing off unhealthy addictions.

Not me. Not this one. Not unhealthy.

Last year I made a resolution to laugh more. I have found something that really helps me with this. It is the HBO Series "Curb Your Enthusiasm," starring Larry David, the co-creator of "Seinfeld." I can honestly say that I have not been so fond of a TV series since Seinfeld or Frasier. Thank you to James for introducing me to this little gem.

Thus and thus, my New Years Resolution is to own all of the episodes on DVD.

OK, and I will try (yet again) to drop the 30 pounds, read my Bible more, and ...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Great Friends, Great Times

Last night, Tracy and I were able to spend a nice evening with Lori, James & Caryn, Tim & Angela, Ralph & Sandye, and Joseph (Mike) & Renee. It was our annual Christmas Shindig, and it has become the highlight of my holiday season. Those who were not able to come were greatly missed.

Thanks to Lori for hosting us, and thanks to Jane (Hane) and Ma Wilks for opening their lovely home to us. Jane's red velvet cake is still unbeatable on any star system.

Prayers go out to the Rickwell family for quick healing from the flu.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Santa Who Again?

Am I the only one who has never noticed that if you take the "N" in the middle of "SANTA" and move it to the end it spells another all-too-familiar name?

It would certainly explain a great deal...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, Circa 2006

Furthermore, we now live in a world where my 3 daughters each have their own cell phones...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Visions of Griswalds

Today we will be celebrating Christmas with the families. First we will be going to my sister Tiffani's for lunch and then to my mother-in-law's to be with Tracy's family. My sister and her husband have a tradition of decorating their house and yard in a way that would make Clark W. Griswald salute. There is festive, then there is overkill, then there is just plain tacky, and then there is Tiffani and Jason's house. They live for Christmas! I wouldn't change a thing.

Tomorrow I hope to catch at least one showing of "A Christmas Story" on TNT. Later in the day, all of the kids will be going to their other parents for the week, and Tracy and I will be celebrating Christmas with the cats. Before Christmas is over, I hope to view "It's A Wonderful Life" and maybe "Die Hard." All I am asking Santa for this year is a job.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Remembering a Dear Friend



It was on this date six years ago that my dear friend Brenda Smyth succumbed to cancer. Even though it has been six years, it still seems like yesterday. The photo was taken just a short time before her death. We were vacationing together in Pigeon Forge, TN. Brenda and Randy were always so much fun to be with. The smile on my face is mostly from laughter. The two of them cracked me up. Our only concern on this day was choosing which rock to climb on next, and where to enjoy our picnic.

I miss you Brenda. I have a lot of great friends, but there was something special about you. You were more of a sister than a friend. Some people are just not long for this world, but I sure wish we could have kept you around a little longer.

To Randy, Aaron, Tia, and Jordan, I once again wish you a happy holiday season, although I know it is not easy. Your wife and mother made a significant impact on my life, and I will always be grateful for that.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Best Gift Ever

God never ceases to amaze me. Never. How He can take a negative thing and turn it around is fascinating to the mortal mind.

It happened in the living room. I was prepared to lecture the kids about why we have rules in the house, and why it is important to keep them. I would have made Howard Cunningham proud with my warm, compassionate, and firm parental logic. Without warning, the Holy Spirit prompted me to discuss why we break rules in the first place. Because we are born under sin. We are naturally rebellious. No arguments from the kids there.

I then pointed out (like Tim Russert on election night) with dry-erase board in hand, how God cannot allow sin into Heaven. Anyway, after a few moments, it was evident that Christi, Matt, and Nick were ready to fix the sin problem, and so I led them all in a prayer of faith, and they each asked Jesus into their hearts.

Six down, one to go.

Friday, December 15, 2006

On The Superhighway Again

We are back online in our cozy little Leesville, SC dwelling. We are all decorated for Christmas, and Tracy and I will be starting back in the workforce again on Monday. We have reconnected with our church, the Chapel of Redemption and it is good to be back. The Holy Spirit is alive and well, and God's favor is upon us.

I will be sending a mass email today with all of our new contact info, including our new email address. For those who have my GMail address, feel free to continue using it.

It's good to be back online.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Alive and well in Leesville

Still 2 more weeks before my internet is hooked up. We are settling in, getting ready to start working, and praying the cold Christmas weather will stick around. Will post again when I can, and FYI, my comcast email is no longer valid. Please use the "GMail" address until further notice. Blessings!

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Worst Part Is Over

We are now all moved in. We made it with the last load last night at around 10:00 pm. This move never would have happened without the help of my parents. Their help to us was invaluable, and I will never forget it. Furthermore, Tracy's brother and his/our friend Randy made the difference in getting the big stuff out of the old place and into the new.

Not sure what is going to happen with the church in Walterboro. I offered to remain there as pastor, but on a part time basis. I am uncertain as to whether that is what they want. I never meant to upset them; I honestly thought they would be ok with this move and change in status. I miss my kids, parents, and friends. I was very depressed being so far away from here. I tried to create a win-win situation, and I seem to have created turmoil instead. The Lord will need to step in here and clean up my mess...again.

This post is brought to you through the use of a friend's PC. We will be back online in our new home in about 2 weeks.