15 January 2008 ~ 1 Comment

R&S to Speak at Legacy Service January 16

For those of you who read this blog on Wednesdays, I just wanted you to know that Selma and I will be speaking at the Wednesday night service (The Legacy Service) at our church – FBC Smyrna – at 6:30PM, in the auditorium. Kyle Goen, our associate pastor, has asked us to speak and we are grateful to Kyle and honored to be before our people once again.

Yes, we will be speaking about our favorite subject. And no, it’s not sex. (although sex will probably find its way into the conversation – it usually does!) We’ll be talking about marriage and how it can be better for you in 2008.

See you there? Hope so.

Coming up shortly on Get a Room: let’s talk about reading in the coming year.

04 January 2008 ~ 1 Comment

Been Out for a Bit

Some of you won’t relate to this at all. I’m showing my age but as the disc jockey used to say when he would actually play songs on the radio, "The  hits just keep on coming". Well, the hits just keep coming on this blog and for that I am grateful. Thanks for reading … and responding!

I am also full of regret for not updating ‘Get a Room’ for a while. Blame it on the holidays. Yeah, that’s it. It’s the holidays’ fault. Not really. I’ve just been out for a bit.

I trust your holidays were good. Hopefully you were able to spend it with family. Given our situation with Mom and Dad these days, I think we had a wonderful Christmas. It could have gone a lot worse for sure.

Will get you a new list of my Top Ten of what I read last year, what I’m reading currently, and what I intend to read in 2008 shortly.

Thanks for checking in. See you soon.

27 December 2007 ~ 1 Comment

A Day of Freedom for a Friend’s Stepson!

It’s a wonderful day to praise the Lord. Every day is of course, but this one is special for me. Here’s what’s going on…

Years ago I served at the Tennessee Baptist Convention through the Collegiate Student Ministries office as State Associate of that department. I worked with Campus Ministers across the state. One of those ministers was Dane Anthony. He worked at Tenn. Tech for a while and then went to Belmont University as their campus minister and chaplain. Dane and I were good friends as well as colleagues.

Dane’s step-son, Eric Volz, recently worked in Nicaragua. Perhaps you’ve heard the story. He had a Nicaraguan girlfriend down there. Shortly after they broke up, she was murdered. Eric was arrested and tried for the crime. Despite, as NBC’s Today Show called it, "reams of evidence" to the contrary, the "gringo" had to pay. Eric was convicted of the crime and has been in prison for over a year.

You can go to friendsofericvolz.com to see all the background. But you DON’T have to do that. This not a political statement I’m making here. I am just saying it is a great day to praise the Lord because Eric was released just last Friday. He was escorted to the airport and flown out of the country shortly thereafter.

Dane gave up his position at Belmont to work full time on Eric’s release. The family has spent their life savings on this effort. And it has come to fruition. Eric is a free man. This family love causes me to reflect on what I’ve been blessed with. And I am very grateful this Christmas for my family.

What would you and I do? Would we give our jobs? Pay out our life savings to save a loved one? As you look at your family this season, be thankful. Thankful for the Lord’s blessings of your family but also of bringing Dane’s family back together again.

Join me in a prayer of thanks for God’s provision for an old friend’s family.

21 December 2007 ~ 1 Comment

A Simple Christmas Gift to You and Your Mate

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the wonderful support you have offered in response to my entry called, "A Different Kind of Christmas". It is an amazing feeling to know people really care about you and your family.

For my Christmas gift to you, I would offer the following blog site where I write for LifeWay. There is a simple idea for how you can share a  "Christmas Marriage Moment" with your mate. There are also some other entries focused on marriage. That blog is really just getting started but it’s got great potential. Some other writers – who know their marriage business quite well – are chiming in as well.

Take a look. Let me know what you think. How can that blog be better?

http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/marriage/

May our Lord bless you with the kind of Christmas He wants you to have … and whatever you experience, may it all be for His glory.

See you on the other side.

14 December 2007 ~ 5 Comments

A Different Kind of Christmas

Selma’s Mom died in June of 1993. It was the first and only parent we have had to die. That Christmas – 6 months later, was tough of course. It opened my eyes to what people go through every year whether I care to notice or not.

Every Christmas since  ‘93 my Christmas cards have been unique. I’m not a big card sender (Selma usually does that) but I make a list of people I know that have lost loved ones through the previous year. I write them a brief note telling them I am remembering them during this first holiday season since the homegoing of their loved one. I then keep the list in my pocket and refer to it in prayer several times a day during the holidays.

There are certain Christmases where "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" just isn’t. I have found that taking these people to the Lord and letting them know I am has been one little way I can give to them.

As for our family, this Christmas will be a challenge. Not only is Dad still in a nursing home – going on three months now. But MOM has recently been to the hospital with heart failure and – guess what – is now across the hall from Dad at the same nursing home. She is not as critical as Dad but they are currently residing nearby each other. It’s cute and it’s sad at the same time.

One more: Peb. You might remember the wild story about our beagle, Pebbles. The biopsy was not good. It’s a matter of time. Probably days. Hopefully, after the holidays.

Now, before this gets morbid and you get out your Kleenex (I’m kidding … I hope!) let me turn this thing around. Here is how I pray for people who are expecting a different kind of Christmas. It’s a simple prayer: that God would make His love and comfort clear to that person or family.

That’s how you can pray for us this season – that in the midst of this ‘different Christmas’, God would give us the privilege of knowing confidently of His presence throughout this season. He hasn’t left us yet. Nor will He. He’s made a promise about that.

Our pastor, Pat, shared in a recent message that the good news the angels proclaimed to the shepherds applies to us – especially if we are experiencing a ‘different’ Christmas due to loss or other challenge. God is God. Christ became human. God is working all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Oh yes, there is good news in the midst of our unique holiday!

Some blog postings are lighter than others, but this is where we are today.

Read me again and I’ll try to give it a different look.

02 December 2007 ~ 3 Comments

Top Ten Holiday Movies!

To get us in the season’s greetings mode, let’s look at a Top Ten listing of holiday movies. You will soon note that some of these I developed a ‘liking to’ when our girls were kids. And I’d like your response, but more about that later. Here are my favs:

10. Frosty the Snowman – When you’ve watched #10 and #9 a hundred times they’ve got to be favs!

9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

8. Home Alone – Hard to beat that first original for slapstick humor!

7. It’s a Wonderful Life – Jimmy Stewart is simply timeless as is the storyline.

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The cartoon is best but the Jim Carey version is really good as well.

5. Miracle on 34th Street – Old or new, take your pick. They both are great.

4. A Christmas Carol – You can’t beat the version with George C. Scott as Scrooge. He scared me as a kid. He’s been dead for years, but he still scares me when he yells. "CRACHET!" 

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas – It is worth the hour to get to the end and see something you never see in the papers: Charlie Brown experiencing a happy ending about anything!

2. While You Were Sleeping – Just a good funny and feel-good movie. Chick flick? Perhaps but allow me one once in a while!

1. The Muppet Christmas Carol – We watch it every Christmas Eve. Kermit’s playing the role of Charles Dickens is priceless.

That’s some of what I like to watch at Christmas time. What do you like? What have I left out that is a must for you? Let me know and enjoy your movie time, hopefully with your family.

27 November 2007 ~ 2 Comments

Read About the Leader of the Colts

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning LifeIn his book, Quiet Strength, coach Tony Dungy of the Super Bowl champs Indianapolis Colts, conveys faith, integrity and character. If that sounds boring, it is only because of my lack of vocabulary. This is a genuine work of inspiration.

For us football fans, he takes us behind the gridiron scenes of high school, college and the NFL into private situations. For example, the book begins with him packing his personal belongings in the rain just after getting fired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Who shares stuff like that? ? ?

His faith is threaded throughout but it really comes through as he describes the nightmare of his son’s suicide just a couple of years ago.

Dungy’s references to coaches he has known and now works with reminds me of a Billy Graham interview I once saw with Larry King. Billy was talking about all of the US presidents he had known (beginning with EISENHOWER)! He was nothing but gracious and complimentary about each and every one and their first ladies. Amazing and classy.

Tony is right there with Graham as with every coach and worker he had positive comments, including the one who fired him. Like Billy Graham, amazing and classy, but you will find that that is Dungy.

I think you will enjoy this work. It is inspiring whether you follow football or not. There is much about marriage enrichment for example. It’s gotta be hard to write 200 pages of autobiography without sounding full of yourself. Dungy’s autobio somehow comes across with true humility. (Which probably why I actually fininshed it!)

Get this book. You can click on it at the left. Read it and let me know what you think.

Coming up on Get a Room, let’s look at holiday movies, specifically my Top Ten favs … 

22 November 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Unmined Blessings

Ever heard of the story about the little boy who was always, ALWAYS positive? Just to see how he would react, his parents put him in a room completely filled with manure and just a shovel. That’s right, manure. The smelly horse kind. After about 15 minutes they checked on him. The boy he had manure all over him and was digging and moving the manure around from one side of the room to the other.

His mom and dad asked him, "What are you doing?"

His reply: "I am so excited! With all this manure there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!"

This Thanksgiving season, be thankful, even if you have to "look for the pony" in some unlikely places.

Here is a "pony" that I discovered in the last two days: Recently, I’ve been driving back and forth to Cleveland (TN) a lot to be with my mom and ailing Dad. (See postings called "Lessons from Joe" and "Joe’s Epilogue".) Right in the middle of the trip yesterday the Lord Himself made me aware of what was all around me. It was the most beautiful color of trees since I can remember. I hope you didn’t miss them.

                                                             

What an overwhelming blessing! Simple Middle Tennessee beauty that we weren’t supposed to have because of the drought this year. But He did it. Just to bless me :-)

So, right in the middle of my tiredness (and perhaps a bit of self-pity) He gave me a blessing. I immediately – and out loud – told the Lord "Thank you for eyes to see and for a mind to comprehend what I see – at least as much as I do."

You might have to look for it – but there’s a pony in the "stuff" you find yourself in this weekend. Ask the Lord to open your eyes and give you the excitement of that little boy to eagerly search for the pony He wants you to be grateful for.

This is the Thanksgiving season. And you have things to be thankful for. 

1) start digging 

2) get ready to be blessed

3) prepare your thanksgiving prayer

                                                                     

20 November 2007 ~ 3 Comments

‘Born Again’ in Hawaii (or at least ‘Young’ again!)

Where do I begin boring you, uh, sharing with you about our latest Hawaii trip? (Actually it was our only time there but it sounds "snootier" to say "our latest trip!) It was truly all that we imagined it would be and more.

So many of the things mentioned below are things we had never done before. (I felt like a kid on that surfboard!) And it was indeed like our marriage was born again as it was the beginning of the rest of our life together.

Before we begin, here is what I suggest: read a few of the sights and experiences from one island. Then, if you get bored, STOP. Then, come back later and read about another island. (If you do it that way, you might not be bored and I’ll get credit for another hit or two on my blog!)

I like to look at people’s vacation pics on my own. It takes me about 1/10 of the time to view them. So, in that spirit, here is a glimpse of what we did and where we went. I’ll elaborate later:

ON MAUI …

* We went scuba diving. Went down about 25 feet for about 45 minutes. Saw a shark, all kinds of sea urchins and a huge sea turtle swam right by Selma.

* Biked down a volcano. (No, the lava wasn’t chasing us at the time)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hawaii_2007_104 * Went to a most romantic luau. Got my pic taken in between two hula girls, coconuts and all. (Don’t worry, Selma took the shot and took her pic with the Hawaiian Hunk)Hawaii_2007_125

* Jogged along the beach and had to stop to look at the beauty and sea turtles playing. (You just don’t see that  running on Stewart Creek Road.)

Hawaii_2007_038 * Played a round of golf. Hard to do that well. I kept taking my eye off the ball looking at the breath-taking ocean scenery – another new excuse for my score! Easy to find my stray white ball in the black lava rock.

* Rode in the world’s only water elevator to get to the tallest water slide in our resort. That was … wet.

* Worshipped in a cool church that sang songs we sing in good ole Tennessee.

*Learned a few – FEW – Hawaiian words like mahallo (thank-you), Haleakula (House of the Sun – it was the name for the volcano we rode down) and others. We also said aloha everywhere.

* Ate TONS of fruit. It just tastes fresher over there. I’d almost go back for the fruit alone :-)

ON KUAUI …

Hawaii_2007_197 I* On Hanalei Bay (yes, where Puff lives) I took a surfing lesson. An hour later I took a 12 foot wave in for about 45 seconds. (Then, it took ME in, and under!) Always wondered what it would be like to be on a wave. Lots of fun. Had a super teacher – the current Long Board World Champion! HE was so patient and yet challenging.

Hawaii_2007_261* Took a helicopter ride over the whole island. Saw a 360 degree rainbow – won’t ever forget that. Lots of waterfalls and the guide told us movie after movie that had been made there.

* Got a rock from the northernmost point of the Hawaiian Islands. (I collect rocks from unique settings. For example, I’ve also got a rock from the northermost point on the continent of Africa, but that’s another story.)

* Jumped off a 20 foot waterfall into a VERY cold pool. Look closely, you can see me at the top on my way down. The waterfall was not marked with signs. We found itHawaii_2007_268  by a tour guide book. Had to hike a half a mile through 10-foot sugar cane field to get to it. Selma took the pic. (Do I have a trooper of a wife or what?)

* Drove to Wailea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, so named by Mark Twain). It was a little smaller, but it indeed reminded me of the GC. Commanded our awe and like much of the beauty we saw, it pointed us to the Creator. I cannot see anything of beauty and wonder without thanking God for eyes to see and a mind to comprehend at least as much as I do. This was another of those cases.

Hawaii_2007_257 Hawaii_2007_234

Hawaii_2007_214 Hawaii_2007_220

(Forgive me for getting carried away with the pics. I realize you can see prettier pics in a coffee table book. This is probably more for myself than for you, but I did want you to see a little of what we saw.)

* Discovered "Shave Ice". (Not shaved ice – we were corrected about that.) Shave Ice is kinda like our snow cone, but with incredibly thinly shaved ice, much more juice and a scoop of ice cream at the bottom. After my first, I was looking for them all over Kuaui.

ON OAHU…

Hawaii_2007_336 * Finally, we flew in to Oahu, got a rental, to see Pearl Harbor. It was really the only reason we went to that island. Pearl Harbor humbled me. I expected it to be emotional but when I saw the two or three live survivors there, it truly touched me. At the memorial itself, there was a wall listing those who were entombed underneath us aboard the USS Arizona. Then, the guide pointed out a list of 29 names on the  wall. Those were soldiers who served on the AZ, but had since died and had chosen to be buried with their fellow soldiers. That was gripping. I took a lot of pics of that place.

* We then drove about a mile to where Aloha Stadium was. I just wanted to see where the Hula Bowl that I’ve watched since I was a kid was played.

* Then it was downtown to Honolulu and Wakkiki Beach. Not impressed but not surprised. Not when you have been to Mauai and Kuaui. Many people told us not to spend too much time at Wakkiki and they were right. If you like Miami Beach, this is for you. High rises almost right to the edge of the water.

*We drove past Wakkiki, took a couple of pics of Diamond Head, the volcano that overlooks Honolulu, returned the rental and got back to the airport. We did Oahu in about 4 hours. For us, it was a good move.

It was a 30-year anniversary trip a year and a half late, but well worth the wait. Thanks for letting me brag. I am boasting in the Lord for making it possible. It came at a time when we really needed to get away.

… and if you never come back to my blog again because of all of my boasting, it’s been nice knowing you (but I hope you do return!)

14 November 2007 ~ 1 Comment

Pebbles Update

Peb had surgery Tuesday. Yes, a biopsy for a dog. If you read the last blog you know we’ve had to take special care of her or this dog would go out and find another family to adopt her. Hey, it’s happened before. So we feel like we’re being blackmailed by our own pooch.

Actually, we’d do about whatever we needed to take care of this rascal. She came through the surgery fine. We now find ourselves with cases of antibiotics to feed her. Just like we grownups. We’ll know about the possible cancer in a week or so. Meanwhile she’s doing  just fine, back in the spoiled life of the Wilson’s home.

Thanks for your own dog stories. And for your interest and support of my Peb story, but I didn’t write it. She did. I merely recorded it.