KY Fall colors…..

Today was a day of chores. My wife and I were able to get a lot done in anticipation of winter. The pool is closed, the property prepped, the house is Fall cleaned (the 6 month off set of Spring cleaning), and finances set. And as we wrapped up Saturday’s work, the sun peeked through the partly cloudy skies to illuminate the tree line behind the house which was in mid-season leaf colors. Add to the scene the darker sky with cloud ripples and it sure was a nice sight to behold.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

God Bless America…..

I am not a huge baseball fan but sometimes get caught up in the post-season drama — especially when it includes teams that have some significance to me (Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, LA Dodgers). So I was guilty of jumping on the bandwagon and watching some of the World Series games. I did not watch the games in their entirety nor was I particularly passionate — but I was rooting for the Rangers to recover from losing last year. In fact, I was just a few blocks from AT&T stadium when the Giants won the series last year.

I was quite impressed during the 7th inning stretch that they had a talented somebody or other come out onto the field and perform one of the best renditions of “God Bless America” that I have heard in a long time. What was even more impressive was that the entire crowd sang along and, at times, drowned him out. I should not be surprised given that St Louis is smack in the middle of the midwest which is an unappreciated section of our country. Sure, the midwest is not flashy or techie or even blessed with glorious scenery other than the windswept plains. However, their folks are some of the most genuine in our nation and they have a great spiritual foundation. It sure was neat to see them rise to the occasion to sing praises to our God and our country.

I hope they enjoy their Cardinals victory. Especially after the Joplin disaster, it couldn’t go to better folks.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A touching story…..

She jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room. She said: ‘How is my little boy? Is he going to be all right? When can I see him?’

The surgeon said, ‘I’m sorry. We did all we could, but your boy didn’t make it.’

Sally said, ‘Why do little children get cancer? Doesn’t God care any more? Where were you, God, when my son needed you?’

The surgeon asked, ‘Would you like some time alone with your son? One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes, before he’s transported to the university.’

Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said good bye to son. She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair. ‘Would you like a lock of his hair?’ the nurse asked. Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of the boy’s hair, put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally.

The mother said, ‘It was Jimmy’s idea to donate his body to the University for Study. He said it might help somebody else. ‘I said no at first, but Jimmy said, ‘ Mom , I won’t be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom .’ She went on, ‘My Jimmy had a heart of gold. Always thinking of someone else. Always wanting to help others if he could.’

Sally walked out of Children’s Mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there. She put the bag with Jimmy’s belongings on the seat beside her in the car.

The drive home was difficult. It was even harder to enter the empty house. She carried Jimmy’s belongings, and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son’s room.

She started placing the model cars and other personal things back in his room exactly where he had always kept them. She lay down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.

It was around midnight when Sally awoke. Lying beside her on the bed was a folded letter. The letter said :

Dear Mom,

I know you’re going to miss me; but don’t think that I will ever forget you, or stop loving you, just ’cause I’m not around to say ‘I Love You’. I will always love you, Mom , even more with each day. Someday we will see each other again. Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won’t be so lonely, that’s okay with me. He can have my room and old stuff to play with. But, if you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn’t like the same things us boys do. You’ll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, you know.

Don’t be sad thinking about me. This really is a neat place. Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything. The angels are so cool. I love to watch them fly. And, you know what? Jesus doesn’t look like any of his pictures. Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him. Jesus himself took me to see GOD! And guess what, Mom ? I got to sit on God’s knee and talk to Him, like I was somebody important. That’s when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you good bye and everything. But I already knew that wasn’t allowed. Well, you know what Mom ? God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him ‘where was He when I needed him?’ ‘God said He was in the same place with me, as when His son Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all His children.

Oh, by the way, Mom , no one else can see what I’ve written except you. To everyone else this is just a blank piece of paper. Isn’t that cool? I have to give God His pen back now He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life. Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I’m sure the food will be great.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I don’t hurt anymore the cancer is all gone.. I’m glad because I couldn’t stand that pain anymore and God couldn’t stand to see me hurt so much, either. That’s when He sent The Angel of Mercy to come get me. The Angel said I was a Special Delivery! How about that?

Signed with Love from God, Jesus & Me.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Movie suggestion…..”Courageous”

While we were down in Florida last week, it rained one day. All the dads took the opportunity to take the kids to the movie Courageous. It is an inspiring faith movie that I highly recommend. I hope to actually spend some time and do a movie review on it.

However, if you are a dad, you MUST go see it — don’t wait for my summary. Just go!

And, if you must, for further proof, go watch the trailer at http://www.courageousthemovie.com/.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

My Dave Ramsey souvenir…..

I have mentioned a time or two that my wife and I have embarked on the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class. It has had a positive, if challenging, impact on us which I will need to blog about at some point.

One impact it had on our vacation was the fact that every expenditure was budgeted and pre-planned. For the first time in our married lives, we returned from vacation with no credit card charges. Even better, we returned with excess cash due to some things coming in under budget. How cool is that?!?!?

One category we eliminated was souvenirs. Because, after all, how much trinket crap do you need in your life? And don’t they all ultimately end up in the garbage or garage sale anyway? However, I still wanted to have something other than memories and photos to remember our wonderful beach vacation together. So I relied upon something I have done in the past and I made a special beach souvenir momento. I bought a six pack of cream soda in decorative clear glass bottles (budgeted under “groceries”), enjoyed them on the beach with help from my son, cleaned them out, and put sand and shells in them as a keepsake. Even my wife got in on the fun and made one for my college bound daughter — it shipped to her today.

So I am officially calling this the “Dave Ramsey souvenir”.

1 cream soda – $1.39
Destin beach sand – free
Vacation momento – priceless

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Football funny…..

My football wife cracks me up. As backup history, when we were dating I brainwashed her into liking football. It is now one of those things we do together and she knows more than most guys.

Tonight we are watching the Sunday Night Football pre-show — Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints — and one of the announcers posed the announcer-type questions, “How do you stop the Colts?” (who are 0-6).

My wife replied (to the TV): “What?!?! How do you stop the Colts?!?! How do you START the Colts?”.

I laughed my butt off. She’s so cool!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Morning sunrise picture comparison…..

I did not witness the bright orange ball pop up above the horizon on the day we departed, but I was able to snap a pre-dawn picture before the beach was bathed in light. Compare this to this morning’s sunrise before church. It is very different — no sand and no beach — but still beautiful. God is the daily artist and His canvas is vast, creative, varied, and beautiful.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Long drive home…..

With our vacation over, we woke up early so we could hit the road and begin the 10 hour road trip home. The truck was packed and we had already cleaned up what needed to be done so all we had to do was wake up, pack up the small remainder, say goodbye and grab some donuts for the road. While packing up the small remaining items into the truck, I looked up at the beautiful morning Florida sky and saw the last stars in the dark blue sky resisting the daylight rushing upon them. Venus was bright and hung brightly and surprisingly, was assaulted by a gorgeous streak of bright light — a shooting star. It began my morning off right as we departed and hit our favorite Florida donut store — the Donut Hole. A dozen donuts are split by a family of 4 so we each selected 3 of our favorites — mine being a blueberry cake, pumpkin spice and devil’s food. Coupled with a tall glass of 2% milk in an adult sippy cup, I was geared to drive 10 hours.

We departed Destin going over the cross bay bridge and were treated to a gorgeous sunrise over the water. Due to my wife’s bridge phobia, I was not able to multi-task and snap a picture while I drove across (which is probably a good thing). However, let me assure you that it was a beautiful send off and nice way to end our time down there.

The 10 hour drive home actually took 12 hours due to potty breaks, two gas stops, a shared What-A-Burger lunch in ‘Bama with one of our vacation families, and more potty breaks. We arrived home to the happy whining of the dogs, the upset meowing of the cats and a mildly chilling autumn evening as the sun went down in Kentucky. We loved our beach week vacation but were all so glad to get back to our country home. We thanked God in prayer for our family time, our safe travels, our return home, and the memories that were created with family and friends.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net