Monday, September 12, 2011

It's distant ................but it counts!

I have just discovered that I am a verrrry dissssssssssssstant relative of President Ulysses S. Grant and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The discovery came when I was looking into the wife of my great great grandpa on my mothers side. Matter of fact I've visited the tombstone of that great great grandpa a couple of times, its less than 10 miles from my hometown; and his one son figured into my sabbatical journal as being 'called' to ministry. One day while just looking through my genealogical files on my mother's side I noted that I hadn't really done any exploring into her family history. It really bugs me when I find a relative whose genealogy is almost totally unknown, and besides the previous background info I had on her was seriously I began to explore.

Now I'm still trying to make sure my present info is authentic; and the sources from which I've attained seem to be ..... and if all this checks out I can claim distant relationship to two figures, each of which made a definite impact in their respective country's history ........and each contributed mightily in a time of war. Stay tuned for either further proof or correction - I really hope this stuff is true!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A 9/11 memorial

I just found out while watching a memorial on 9/11, that the steel from the twin towers has been donated to different fire departments in towns across America .........AND one of those towns is the town I was born in in Wauseon Ohio. So I called my mom and told that when I am home for my regular weekly visit next week we are going to the town, and I want to see how they have fixed up the memorial ... this is really cool, I am already anticipating it.

Anything but sleepy summer!!

To say that this has been a bitter/sweet summer is no exaggeration, and I will try to start from the beginning. Family camp was again a wonderful, relaxing experience as I got to worship without being responsible for duties and enjoy the flow of the Spirit in my life. The 'good wife' was able to join me for the last weekend. One of her favorite speakers, Dr.Jim Diehl, was one of the speakers and I was able to purchase all
his preaching cd's.

Sister Gretchen, our towns Episcopal priest had surgery on her arm and asked me if I would officiate a wedding in her church for some members. It was an exciting celebration. At first, I was nervous, but Gretchen graciously provided me with all the words and actions expected and it really turned out well. At rehearsal things were a bit sketchy to say the least, but when it came time for the wedding everyone was prompt and on their best behavior - it was truly a blessing. There are not many Nazarene pastors who can say they performed an Episcopalian wedding in an Episcopal Church ... I shall ever grateful to Gretchen for her confidence in me. She is a wonderful sister in Christ; and her recovery is nearly complete. Gretchen has a story for everything - and each one is really neat!!

Later this summer I was asked by my pastoral friend Jeff if I would fill his pulpit for him. He's the pastor of the largest church in the county and they have a Saturday evening worship and two Sunday morning worships. It was a challenge I just couldn't resist; and though Jeff said he planned to be there, he found out that his brother Rick was battling severe cancer[as though there's any other kind] and since I was filling in was able to leave and fly to California to be with him. HOwever the church has one of the most excellent Worship ministers I've ever met. He is one year older than our son, and has the same first name. My spiritual life was eternally enriched through this experience.

My prayer is that both my Episcopalian and Independent church experiences will be an encouragement to our congregation in building better relationships with the other churches in our community, and that more and more of our people will attend area community special worship opportunities.

The bitter part of the summer was when we found out our oldest granddaughters new husband, they had only been married a few short months, had committed suicide. He was in Special Ops in the Army and had had two tours overseas,[one in Iraq and Takisjanistan, and was battling severe paranoia. They were the proud parents of our first 'great grandchild,' a boy!! While the good wife and I made a quick three day trip to Ft.Bragg, N.C. we enjoyed holding our newest edition to the family! The memorial service, though rather brief, was very meaningful, and his commander and a fellow Ops companion both gave stirring thoughtful memories. From all the comments and special services given for him you would never know he had committed suicide, for
he was described as 'dying in the line of duty!' His ribbons and military schooling are much to detailed to list here, but I have a memorial ceremony bulletin in my daily journal. Our travel on airplanes was uneventful and boring, which is a most positive thing!

We had no longer returned than we departed a couple days later for our vacation to southern Alabama [barely an hour north of the Gulf of Mexico] to visit our oldest daughter, her husband and family. I feel in this day in age, especially in our culture it is always important to tell people that we 'visited our daughter - and her husband, that way people know the family is together. We had a few days of heavy rain from the hurricane in the gulf, but otherwise were spared any serious
consequences .... the weather turned out beautiful! Also my granddaughter had a volleyball game in the Mobile area and we really enjoyed that. This was the first year she school has had a volleyball team, and so when you consider that, I think she did quite well, she has a couple more years, so as the basics become more a part of her game, she will improve. While there I preached the Sunday morning message and really enjoyed that experience; people were complimentary and I believe for the most part probably sincere! [Talk about believing your own press - I'm a fan of that!] My daughter started a ministry to high school students [6th - 12th] called
FUEL. Its takes place on Thursday morning from 6:45 - 7:10AM before the kids go to school. They met at the church and are given breakfast, then there is a five minute
devotional [which I was privileged to present] then divide into small groups and pray for each other. It is neat that the adult sponsors come from the Baptist church, the Assembly's church, and the Methodist and Nazarene churches!! This is a community that 'worships and serves' together!! They do however have a problem that must be addressed very soon - 'THEY ARE GROWING TO FAST' ... this past Thursday they had 102 students and 19 adults. This is a community with a population of a little over 400 - God is blessing! My younger granddaughter loves to ride horses, and so on Sunday afternoon I was able to go and briefly ride horses with her ... that was a fantastic experience. There was one comedic moment when I couldn't get my leg swung up over the horse, and finally Marv had to stand the horse in the ditch while I stood
on the bank and was able to mount Dixie!! That pour horse, I can only begin to imagine what in the world he thought must be going on with that Yankee rider?! ... and I am so grateful neither my wife or daughter were watching. Again our travel was uneventful and this was positive.

Standing in the Atlanta airport waiting for our last flight back to Grand Rapids, I heard my name called a couple of times. Now, who in the world in Atlanta would know me well enough to be calling my name? It was a young man we knew from the youth group who had gone into the Army ... he was coming home from Iraq for a two week leave and saw us there; this was a great time as we talked with him for about thirty minutes before we all boarded the same flight home. His grandparents were picking him up at the airport as he was going to surprise his mom, who incidentally had been very instrumental in helping the 'good wife' through college. They both took the same night classes and alternated driving to and from; and his mom and step dad attend our church.

Well, its been a full summer, and my life has been extremely enriched ... there is one more episode that I will share with my journal, but it has to stay a secret until the appropriate time in the future.