Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our Baby Turns, Uh, Well Older. Happy Birthday Courtney

Our baby girl, Courtney, is some odd number of years old today. I am happy to say, once again, that she survived in spite of us.

I remember her talking to the green frogs in the mobile over her crib and to the bright pink caterpillar in the poster on her wall. Many a night I crawled under her crib in the dark to find her pacifier. We had a backpack baby carrier and she would chew on my ponytail when she was in it.
When we lived in base housing while I was in the Air Force, I found Courtney standing in the hall staring up at the light bulb in the ceiling. She asked me if Jesus lived in the light bulb. She had heard them talking about Jesus being the light of the world in church.
If these aren't just a couple of the cutest pictures you've ever seen, then you must be looking at some of our grandchildren's pictures. Then again, they do all look like their grandfather.
I wish we could take some credit for how she turned out, but God gets it all.
This is Courtney, with her youngest, Lila, today. Happy Birthday Little Girl! You'll always be my little girl, sorry that's just how it works.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day

Christmas morning started a little late, getting to bed at 2 AM didn't help. Going to 4 Christmas Eve services was great, but it tends to wear you out. We started out our day with Jeremiah, Kate, and Leah. We had breakfast and opened gifts.
Leah had more fun with the paper and ribbons than the gifts. Children are so easily entertained, too bad we grow up.
At noon we headed to Joanne's cousin Charlene's house for lunch. When we got there Charlene told me to get ready for a real redneck Christmas. All Charlene's daughters were there with their families. The lunch was great and she overstated the redneck stuff. What's a little beer, chewing tobacco, snuff, gun shooting, and mud trucking among family?
We all sat around the living room opening gifts and telling stories on each other. We had a lot of laughs and a fun afternoon.
We then went to my folks house for dinner. My sister Karen was with us this year and Jeremiah, Kate, and Leah joined us. We had a great evening; eating, laughing, and sharing gifts.

A Christmas day with family and friends, it doesn't get much better than that. That is unless we had been able to be with more family and more friends. For those family and friends we unfortunately didn't have with us this year, I hope you had a Merry and Blessed Christmas.

Christmas Eve Service X 4

It was Christmas Eve and I had the day off from the doctor's office. Here I was again and I needed a shot of Christmas spirit. I know I'm not the only one who works up to Christmas day and who has been running like the proverbial headless chicken. I know what Christmas is all about, but I need to get it pounded into my head again and fast. So we decided to attend multiple Christmas Eve church services.

We started out our day by attending services at Shiloh UMC. They started their service at noon. Shiloh is the church where Joanne grew up and where we got married.

At 5 that evening there was a service at Timberlake UMC. Timberlake UMC is where I worked before moving to the Mount Airy Charge.

At 7 PM we attended the Christmas Eve service at Victory Christian Fellowship. We have been friends with the pastors, Ken and Becky Parrish, for many years.

At 11 that night we attended services at Mead Memorial UMC, where Joanne works as church Secretary.

As Christmas Eve turned to Christmas Day, we had worshipped with 4 different churches, where we have had connection. We sang caroles and hymns of Christmas, had communion with brothers and sisters twice, and we lit candles remembering that the light had come into the world three times. No two services were alike, but the messages were all clear regarding what the day was truly about. Was it worth going to fours services? Yes, it was.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wedding for Chinese Students

About a month ago, my friend, Gordon Goh called and asked if I would officiate a wedding for a young couple from China. They attend the Lynchburg Chinese Christian Fellowship at Beulah Baptist Church and the pastor had a prior engagement. They are both students at Liberty University and had only been in the United States since August 2008. I was very happy to be able to help.

Bing Yang and Wenzhuo Zhao were married on the 20th of December 2008. When we had the rehearsal the prior evening they both had quite a bit of difficulty with the English phrasing in the wedding ceremony. So, they copied all the words that they would have to recite, took them home, and practiced them Friday night. By the time for the wedding on Saturday they had it all down perfect.
It is my understanding that they do not have church weddings in China. You got to the court house and get legally married. So neither of them had any reference to what to do and how it would all go. Fortunately they had an abundance of friends to coach and help them.
The two flower girls were a class act. They came down the isle dropping handfuls of rose petals. As soon as the made it to the front of the church their got them. He said that they had been practicing and he was afraid that they would go back and pick the petals up out of habit.
Now they may not have known a lot about the ceremony, but they apparently knew about feeding each other cake a making a mess of it. They did that very well.

This is Gordon Goh and his wife, Anna with Joanne and me. I worked with Gordon at the hospital for over 20 years. When Gordon and Anna got married almost 25 years ago, I was an usher in their wedding. I was honored when he asked me then and I was honored that he thought of me to officiate the wedding here. Gordon is one of my oldest and dearest friends. When I left the hospital to work at the doctor's office, I missed being able to sit and talk with Gordon most of all. God brings people into our lives that we would not imagine and enriches our lives through them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lets Say Thanks

If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second.Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you.

Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do. We can never say enough thank you's.Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Recognition of Hopkins Pediatrics

My "Civilian" job is at F. Read Hopkins Pediatrics. I am a Medical Technologist and manage the office laboratory. I have been on staff there for 18 years. The office was notified that we had won recognition in the "Lynchburg" magazine, only no one is sure just what was the distinction we won. It seems they have a yearly poll of their readers and apparently enough of them liked us for something. The only thing we're sure about is that this picture of the staff will be in the next issue and we'll know then in what category we were thought to be best.

Just in case you haven't found me, look for the old guy behind the doc with the red bow tie. I'll let you know later why we were recognized.

Open House at the Mt. Airy Charge Parsonage

We had been looking forward to doing this ever since last Christmas. We wanted to open the parsonage for a Christmas Open House, so the folks from all three churches could drop in and see all the work that has been done on the parsonage.
We tried to have it all fixed up and decorated. We even had a fire going in the fireplace. I had no idea just how much heat that thing put out. The Living Room was like a sauna and that's with the thing monitoring itself to keep the room at a temperature of 72. But, even though it was arm, it looked cool.
We put up a Christmas tree (artificial of course, since we won't be there most of the week) and decorated it with our Disney movie ornaments.
On the mantel we had scented candles burning and family photos displayed.
We loaded the bookcases with books, mementos of travels, and more family photos.

Joanne said she wasn't too sure about my having a camel pulling Santa's sleigh, but I thought it worked, Besides, I wanted to see if anyone else noticed.
We even placed our Christmas Mickeys and Grumpy under the tree.
We covered the old stereo cabinet and put the Nativity set that my parents gave us there.
As our folks arrived they migrated to the Living Room and sat around enjoying conversation and snacks.

Joanne had worked overtime on the food for the Open House. She had been up until 1:30 in the morning getting everything prepared. My job was to decorate the tree and stay out of her way.
There were ham biscuits, fruit with dip, veggies with dip, chicken salad, cake, spinach dip, chutney, a cheese ball and a cheese log with crackers. Also, a selection of cookies and cheeses. No one should have left hungry.
We had a cranberry punch and a large pot of coffee,
Our table centerpiece had Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
It was a good time of fellowship, just enjoying each other's company and the food.
We had a really good crowd, members from all three churches came. Some had never been inside the parsonage, while others had not seen it since all the work had been done.

We had enough people there that there were cars parked on both sides of the driveway. We very happy so many were able to join us.
One person mentioned that they didn't even know the house had a fireplace.

We really wanted everyone to see "their" house. A lot of work had been done and it looks so good. We are very thankful to have the parsonage to use and wanted this to be a small thank-you for all our churches do for us. Most of all we really like hanging out with these folks. Being the pastor of the three churches of the Mt. Airy Charge is a Christmas present I get 365 days a year.