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Archive for the ‘I’m glad I know you’ Category

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The Basin Improvement Committee of 1890: it sounds like an exciting group to be a part of, don’t you think? Nestled on the heart of Main Street in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, this marker commemorates the intentional efforts of a small group to make things better and to improve life within the community.

If asked, I would likely say that a basin is a small container of water. According to Dictionary.com, it is that, and more…

noun
1. a circular container with a greater width than depth, becoming smaller toward the bottom, used chiefly to hold water or other liquid, especially for washing.
2. any container of similar shape, as the pan of a balance.
3. the quantity held by such a container: We need another basin of water to dilute the mixture.
4. a natural or artificial hollow place containing water.
5. a partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth, where boats may be moored: a yacht basin.

I must admit, definition number 5 is my favorite. You see, I have a basin of my own, and the improvement committee has been meeting the past two days to make it even stronger. “A partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth…“: it’s called marriage, and yes, it is only partly man made.

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To coin a phrase, I might say “those who go away together stay close”. Little Frau and I first visited Eureka Springs in the Summer of 1991. Yes, for those of you young ‘ens keeping score at home, it was indeed last century. The Frau and I had been married all of about two years, maybe a little less. We were young. We were in love. We were broke. Truth be told, we weren’t really broke, we just didn’t have much money to spend, so everything was carefully allocated to make sure we could do the trip and make it home.

The pinnacle of the trip was supposed to be a day at Silver Dollar City in Branson. Like I said, we were young, and traipsing around an amusement park in the heat seemed like the be all and end all of a good time. As we almost ran toward the ticket booth together, hand in hand, a man called out to me. It seems that he and his bride of 20+ years had gone to Silver Dollar City on their honeymoon, and returned each year as season pass holders. With the purchase of their season passes came one pair of single day tickets each year, and each year on their anniversary day visit, they would seek out a young couple to take in with them for free.

Almost in shock (remember, I was the ripe old age of 24), I asked the man if we could repay them, buy them lunch, or something else. His answer? “Do something nice for your wife with the money, and that will be just what I wanted“. We thought about that couple and their request all day. We looked at kitschy souvenirs. We thought about going to a show. Ultimately, we decided to use the money to spend a night in a Bed and Breakfast here in Eureka.

It’s not that spending a week sleeping on the ground in a $19.99 pup tent from Wal Mart isn’t romantic, but we were beginning to feel the trip growing on us. An indoor shower, air conditioner, and a bed turned out to be a pretty nice break in the trip.

A few years have come and gone since that trip. Life and kids have placed a few demands on the days and the dollars. Little Frau and I don’t get away as much anymore, at least for just the two of us. But, courtesy of kids at camp and a mid week July 4th calendar, the stars aligned for a brief 2 day excursion back to Eureka. We were not so adventurous as to desire a day in the amusement park this go round. It seems this Basin Improvement Committee of two finds catching up with old friends, casual dining, a small bit of kitschy souvenir shopping, reading, and napping more the order of the day. And it has all happened at a little Bed and Breakfast just a few doors down and 21 years removed from the last Eureka meeting of our little group.

I think we may not wait so long to reconvene the next time…

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Greetings from the shores of Lake Pettijohn. As you can see here, it is a lush place. No, to be truthful, much like Garrison Keillor’s mythical Lake Wobegon, Lake Pettijohn is a prairie home companion of the heart and the mind, for the water is just not there. Or is it? We’ll come back to that after a few words from our sponsors.

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I drove a van load of young men down to PSCC yesterday. Prior to the blowout (on the luggage trailer, not our van, thankfully) it was a surreally quiet experience, much different from my sponsor driving past. In years gone by, this trip was filled with caffeinated young men one upping each other and making bold predictions of their planned exploits in the week to come.

Not so this year. I asked them all to buckle up, and they all promptly went to sleep. What was the difference, you might ask? I wondered that as well. My only answer was that they were tired, and more mature. You see, this was no van load of freshmen, these were seniors. They had been down this road before, and maybe they were conserving energy for the true excitement that would lie ahead. Maybe they had aged, both in place and with Grace.

The phrase “Aging in Place” is a term often used in the retirement care industry, in which I have some limited experience or exposure. It essentially means your population is getting older with you while staying in the same place over an extended period of time. In that regard, I should also talk about the run to PSCC not being my only jaunt up and down I-35 South this weekend. And yet, I have not been down this road before.

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We learned a few days ago that my Dad has cancer. The prognosis is pretty good, but the C word is the C word, and it makes you take pause in how you view your world. I spent the better part of a 24 hour window alone with my Dad in his hospital room, just us, and the team of nurses that he is of course now on a first name basis with. Them, and the good folks from Fox News, but I digress.

You see, “the cancer”, as Forrest Gump would say, is a humbling opponent. It makes you think. As my Dad and I visited Friday night and into the day Saturday, we talked about a lot of things. We talked about where he was when Kennedy was shot (that is President Kennedy, not Al boy’s good friend of the same name, but I digress again), and Reagan as well. We talked about a negative result on a medical test actually being positive, and the opposite as well. We talked about how he has led a good life, with Christian children and grandchildren to show for it. We talked about being strong. It seems that, much like the boys from the van, my dad has both aged in Place, and also in Grace. He knows who he is, and where he is going. My hope and prayer is that I, the boys from Sprinter Van 5, and many others who may follow this road can do as well. And, with no blowouts, prayerfully. If they don’t rock your world, they can certainly wake you up to the possibilities.

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So, with that, we will sign off today from the “Beautiful Shores” Lake Pettijohn. Come on in with us, the water’s Great. It is sweet, by and by….

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I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around

And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Till the landslide brought me down

As mentioned yesterday, we had an adventure, and a story yet to tell. That will come, in time, but as #1 son and I hoofed our way home yesterday, a flood of tunes library memories were conjured up as the music kept me alert and winging our way back home. Mark Shultz reminded me of the Sherpa. Fleetwood Mac, courtesy of Stevie Nicks’ songwriting, reminded me of our mountain trek team.

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

The Sherpa told us on the mountaintop Wednesday how nothing can live up that high. Jesus went to the mountaintop to be close to God, but came back down to minister and to serve.

As I have been home today and dealing with the return to daily life, a landslide of sorts is in motion. I suspect my younger trek companions are feeling the same as they awoke in their own beds earlier today. Laundry, cleaning out the car, or maybe mowing the lawn was in order? Or, was there even more? A loved one’s illness? News of a family in trouble? Knowing that you go into an office full of week old tasks come Monday?

As a child, camp was always an emotional time: good emotional. Coming down off that high was always tough. This week’s mountain experience has been much the same. As an adult, coming down from the Rocky Mountain high is bittersweet, but not all that hard. I’ve been down this road before, and there are potential rewards around every turn, even at 1,000 feet above sea level.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I, I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too
I’m getting older too

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring you down, down

And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down
Oh oh, the landslide will bring it down

Landslides can be good. Emotional landslides can bring us back to a level where the air is richer and the living is fuller. Take heart. Mountaintops are going nowhere fast. You will ascend once again. God promises just that. John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around….

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…cause I eats me spinach…

Whenever our friend Popeye got into trouble, sometimes seemingly at death’s door, he would always eat his spinach and live (and love) to fight another day. He almost always had it on him, ready for the moment, but in times of extreme duress, others answered the call, providing it just when he needed it the most.

What a great analogy for God’s Word. It is always with us, standing at the ready, poised to strengthen us for the fight. And, when we can’t muster enough within us to retrieve more sustenance, others stand ready to provide.

I confess that I don’t eat enough spinach. I don’t feast on the Word, enough, either. Here’s a commitment to do more of both. And, may I be at the ready to offer some to you, hopefully just when you need it the most, and you do the same for me. Sound like a deal?

Isaiah 40:7-9

7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”

Have a blessed Sunday, America, and friends around the globe. I know some of you already have, and I’ve been blessed to be in the room with a few of you. Auf weidersehen.

Yes, and in case you were wondering, these episodes of Popeye the Sailor Man were in fact pre-recorded, but not in front of a live studio audience. The audience was all safely asleep in their beds.

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“Our little baby’s all grown up and savin’ China…”. I could not have expressed my sentiments any better than our mythical friend “Mushu”, and like him, I don’t do that “tongue thing”, at least I hope not.

Anyway, Baby Girl #1 (and one of the best two young ladies on the planet, may I add) leaves later this morning to see the world, starting with China. I’m so excited for her, and I’m gonna miss her.

But, I’m not worried about her forgetting her sword. On the “Digital Front Porch”, among other places, I have found Hank to be one of the most accomplished swordsmen around. If I could tell her anything this morning before she boards that plane, it would be not to forget her sword, and her shield.

Ephesians 6:16-18: In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

So, this morning, I bow to you Bruce. Bruce who? Bruce you. In the words of Fa Zhou “The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter”. Love you girl.

Now, lets get down to business, to meet, the Huns…

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“Wall Street has a credibility problem.”. So says CNBC.com. Thanks for that news flash, although it understates the obvious and what we all are likely thinking and feeling these days. “The Street” has no “Street Cred”, it seems.

Mean what you say; say what you mean. Why is that so hard in 21st century society? I will confess it is tough for me personally.

Why so? Great expectations? High demand? Limited resources? Unrealistic dreams? A twisted view of self worth, not to mention true value?

Is it Competition? Competing demands; competing loyalties; competing.

Consider the following excerpt from “WiseGeek.com” and then compare it in perspective:

In hip-hop and inner-city cultures, respect is something one earns through tangible accomplishments, not empty posturing or superficial bragging. The truest measure of a person’s trustworthiness and expertise is often expressed as his or her street cred, short for “street credibility.” Street cred can mark the difference between a talented rapper or break dancer and someone who’s only posing, or deliberately exaggerating their skills.

True street cred is not easy to achieve, since it is based on real skills or true experiences. A rap artist who gets signed to a known music label, for example, might earn his “props” (proper respect), but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has earned street cred yet….

The term street cred has actually worked its way into mainstream popular culture. A professional in the legal, financial or medical fields, for example, may have to earn a certain amount of “street cred” in order to attract the best potential clients. A cosmetic surgeon often builds up a significant level of street cred by performing high quality work on A-list clients. The same could be said for a stock broker who earned his street cred by selecting the best stocks, or a lawyer who earned street cred by successfully defending high-profile clients.

Street cred in the inner-city or hip-hop communities is not always a permanent arrangement, however. Someone who shows disrespect for those in his or her former community, for example, may suddenly discover his or her street cred is no longer assured. Exposure as a fraud or a cheat can also seriously affect a person’s street cred. It is important to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk” when it comes to maintaining true street cred.

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I’m reminded of the scene from the classic movie “Napoleon Dynamite” where he asks Pedro “you got any skills? You know, bow staff skills, nun chuck skills…”

We feel compelled to make our case, but in so doing, do we ever weaken same said case?

I think Jesus earned plenty of “Street Cred” with those around him:

Matthew 5:33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

So, it’s time to go out and make it a day; to “earn my Props”, so to speak. If I slip up, maybe Pedro’s cousins will be there to back me up…?

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A certain young man is currently attending basketball camp on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University. He is staying in a dormitory named Warlick Hall. The young man’s given name is Alexander. There are six degrees of separation, at the most, and multiple degrees of “interconnectedness”, to say the least, between young Alexander and
Mr. Warlick.

The 1st degree: On November 2, 1992, Oklahoma Christian president Dr. Terry Johnson announced the dedication of the Henry E. Warlick dormitory. Warlick’s daugher, Mrs. Zada K. Tull of Norman, Oklahoma, gave a major gift award that was used as part of the three-year, $3 million student housing renovation project.

“My father was one of the founders of Oklahoma Christian when it was at Cordell. The school has been near and dear to my heart, and I felt that it was something that I needed to do,” Tull said in an endearing address to the student body at the dedication.

“Mrs. Tull’s gift is a tangible demonstration of her desire to perpetuate Henry Warlick’s zeal and commitment to Christian education,” Dr. Johnson said.

Source: (http://blogs.oc.edu/ochistory/index)

I should add here that Mr. Warlick was a traveling preacher, a minister of the Gospel. More on that in a moment.

The 2nd Degree: Kerry Newell Pope. Kerry is a niece of Zada Tull, who was the sister of Rowena Newell, Kerry’s mother. Kerry attended Oklahoma
Christian as a student in the 70’s.

The 3rd Degree: Max Pope. Max is married to Kerry, who he met as a student at Oklahoma Christian. Max came OC originally on a baseball scholarship to play for Coach Max Dobson. Max is the younger brother of Linda Pope Bingham.

The 4th Degree: Jeff Bingham. Jeff Bingham is the son of Linda. Jeff and his siblings, fellow OC alums Julie Bingham Titlow and Jennifer Bingham Connally, were introduced to OC by Max being a student there before them. Jeff is currently the CFO for OC.

The 5th Degree: Sherry Bingham. Jeff met Sherry after graduating from OC and moving to Texas. They met in the Church (West Berry Church of Christ) in Fort Worth where Jeff’s parents grew up. Sherry was introduced to a relationship with Jesus and is a faithful Christian today because of the influence of Billie Fry Alexander, her grandmother.

The 6th Degree: Billie Fry Alexander is the mother of Gary Alexander, who is the father of Sherry Alexander Bingham, who is the mother of our Alexander, the young man currently attending basketball camp on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University.

How does this all tie together, you may ask? Well, Billie Alexander was introduced to a relationship with Jesus at a gospel meeting preached by a young man named Henry Warlick.

Are you beginning to see the bigger picture? I stand amazed…

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