Rebekah – Born for Adversity

Navy Family

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

(Proverbs 17:17)

Transitioning in and out of military service is a very stressful time for any family.  In the fall of 1984, I finally came to the realization after falling on my face multiple times trying to be a responsible husband and father decided that it was time to grow up.  With a young wife and two babies and no career opportunities looming, I reached out for some in finding order and enlisted in the United States Navy.  The Navy was a little leery of taking on the burden of a young man with a growing family and required several dependency waiver hearings before they approving my enlistment.   Had they realized that number three was on the way (not to mention four other ones over the coming years), my Navy career may have entered before it began. So after boot camp Lynn joined me in Illinois at that place affectionately referred to as “The Great Mistakes by the Lakes”  or Naval Stations Great Lakes and we waited for the birth of our third daughter Rebekah.   Only one of two “yankee born” children. (no Maryland and Kentucky are not in the north, both are south of the Mason-Dixon line thank you very much).


Dorothy_Sarah_Rebekah.jpgEarly Childhood
:  Her early childhood was somewhat of a blur most of the time because we were moving every 6 to 9 months and I was working very long hours and strange hours.  (Maybe that is the reason there are so few pictures of her as a baby, not that she ever noticed that fact).  Anyway, she was less than a year old when we learned her devious nature.  While living in Navy housing in Orlando, Lynn was distraught by the fact that here two good natured little toddlers kept climbing into the playpen and attacking their little sister.  Discipline was stiff, but daily she was having to be rescued from her ogre sisters. Then … one day … Mommy finally saw it in the reflection of the sliding glass door.  Her innocent little child stood up in the playpen, reached out, grabbed her sisters hair, yanked and then immediately sat down, thumb in mouth,  like nothing happened.

RebekahElementary Years: She was always quiet and shy in public.  My sister called her Little Cindy Lou Who because of the way she always looked so shy and innocent with her thumb in her mouth and her index finger twirling her hair. School brought on great amounts of anxiety.  Although she was actually a pretty high achiever, areas in which she struggled brought many tears. (As did not having her hair done quite right)

C & BAlthough she was a bit timid, she was not weak by any means.  She developed a love for sports and was the first to play on an actual team and introduced us all to the beautiful game.  She was not much into the girly things and went through a phase were she and her brother Charles became best friends through of their love of sports.  Together they actually developed their love of all things UK while I was away at sea.  Maybe it has gone a little beyond fandom and they have indoctrinated their youngest brother into the ridiculousness that is Big Blue Nation.  (Could not be more proud)


Middle / High School:
  Rebekah ‘s life had always included being a “Navy Brat”.  As she entered her teen years, that all changed.  A family that had never had roots, suddenly was planted.  New friends, new experiences, even the extended family had changed since we were closer to Lynn’s family and my mother had just passed away.  It is amazing how change drives us to find our core values.

Youth Group with Stephen Blandino brought stability and direction. She began to develop a love for order and leadership.  Little by little she became less of a follower.  It was so awesome to watch her blossom into a confident young woman.

AwfulBut some things never change.  That little girl that pulled her sisters hair and acted all innocent … oh yeah … she was still there.  The most notorious practical joker in the family.  Her delight in scaring people (especially her mother) is a wonder to behold.  Her craftiness, patience, and skill even exceed my own.  Her evil cackles are spine chilling.

Speaking of evil … No one plays a better human video devil than Rebekah.  Her interpretation of an evil puppet master with her friend Kara as the puppet was creepy.  I am still bitter about the score they were given at the fine arts festival.  That was one of the best performances I have seen.  Grrrhhhh!

FriendCollege & Beyond:  The once shy and timid little Cindy-Lou-Who was no more.  Once away at school, this little girl began to “live deep and suck the marrow out of life”.  She threw herself into college life and made the best of the community living out her passion for communication and leadership.  She developed a personal walk with the Lord that is inspiring.  She has developed a wisdom that allows her to be a real friend and be compassionate and yet speak tough love.

She can be serious one moment and having you dying in stitches the next.  I will never forget the one production she was in while in college.  She played a very strange character and made me laugh so hard just by taking a bite out of a cucumber.  She has poured in the lives of her siblings in ways that they do not even know.

Dad & BWriting about Rebekah (or Aunt “B” as she is now affectionately known),  is very difficult for me.  Although she me may not like it, she is the child that is most like me which makes writing about her is sort of uncomfortable.  I am not sure that I have ever been this jointed in my writing.  Every time I start to write something, something else pops into my head.  I think that Romans 12 describes well the woman that  Rebekah has grown into. She is the epitomy the word ‘friend’.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. ” (Romans 12:9-15)
 I will close it out with this … I am honored to not only call Rebekah daughter but also my friend  I love you sweetie.

Remembering the Sacrifice – ETC(SS) Hill

21 Gun NavyHonoring the heroic comes so naturally to most of us. The soldier who sacrifices his life to save the life of his comrade is a no-brainer for the average American with any heart at all.  Those who return home from overseas at Dover AFB in flag draped caskets leave an image that draw us all in and helps us to memorialize those who have fallen to protect our freedoms.  We will wince at the report of seven rifles fired three times and the haunting tones of Taps at the graves of those killed in training accidents and un-explainable murders while on duty receive on their home soil.  We rightly honor these service members and acknowledge the their sacrifice.

I have only personally known one individual who died while on active duty.  It is for him and all who have fallen at the hands of an enemy that attacks every service member that has chosen to put on the uniform and served his country in peace time or on the battle field.

Fouled AnchorETC(SS) Hill (Alias) reported to the USS Albany (SSN753) during our post-commissioning shakedown period.  A newly frocked Chief Petty Officer reported to take the reins of the Reactor Controls division.  Chief Hill arrived at a major cross roads in his career and his life.  He was a young ambitions submariner who had risen quickly to join the “Goat Locker” (Chief Petty Officer Mess) at the earliest opportunity. Add to this that he was one of the few nuclear trained black submariners in the fleet: It was obvious that he was a star on the rise.  Unfortunately, he was also making a transition that any career sailor is forced to make – transition to a non-deploying command.  Although not quite shore duty, we were home most nights.

To most, this would be perceived as a great opportunity to reconnect to the family.   To a sailor, this is often the most stressful time in their career.  Life for the service member while deployed although difficult and sometimes wrought with danger is “comfortable”.  Each day is filled with structure, focus, and purpose.  He is doing exactly what he has been trained (programmed) to do.  Yes … he misses his family and the life that he left behind, but that is something he does not have any control over so he loses himself in duty.

What about his family while he is gone?  They have to go on without him.  The spouse takes over the tasks in their marriage that he would fulfill if he were at home.  Mom’s become both Mom and Dad.  Yes … the family misses the service member and they acknowledge the hole that has been left, but that is something they do not have any control over so … they loose themselves in their duty.

CasketDuty changes everyone.  Often times, the end of deployment finds strangers reunited without common purpose.  Chief Hill found himself locked in a battle between family and duty and there is rarely a winner in this battle.  He and the stranger that had once been in love with could not find enough common ground to rebuild; divorce was eminent.  A young, intelligent, and intensely proud man could not bring himself to surrender to defeat and succumbed  to the enemy of our soul.  Without note or notice, Chief Hill took his own life.

Chief Hill represents a casualty of war that is a constant threat; not only to those who put on the uniform, but for those that take up the duty of the military family.  No service member walks away unchanged.  Under the best of circumstances, one may endure and discover renewd strength through the experience, but in too many case families are destroyed and in some cases lives are lost.

No shots will be fired.  Taps will not haunt our dreams.  Heroes rarely are counted in their ranks. But as I reflect today I chose to memorialize the service members and families that have been sacrificed to serve you and me.  The ones who have fallen before the true enemy and author of all war.  I ask that you pray for those that are serving today that they will be stronger and better prepared than Chief Hill to face the unseen enemy of our souls.

Fair winds and following seas ETC. Rest in peace

Navy Bugler

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

Here am I … Sam I am

Sam & Sarah KissLynn and I stood on across town on Hampton Blvd in Norfolk after another post-due-date prenatal visit.  Since this was our fifth overdue pregnancy, we were not really surprised.  It was a nice day and we could not get hold of our ride, but we new her route so we decided to start walk toward the house.  5 miles later, we finally got that expected ride.  The following day, with Lynn exhausted and in pain from our little stroll, Sam decided to grace us with his presence.

9 days later we were back in the hospital.  Spinal taps, little baby IVs and sleepless nights, oxygen tents and quarantine.  (Maybe this is where he got his love for camping)  Sarah had had some health issues, but Sam was trying to catch up quick.  Turned out to be RSV (A relatively new diagnosis back in that day).  This began two years of non-stop ear infections, respiratory issues and camping at the clinic.  Good thing he was the only sick child … oh wait … there were four others, including the also plague ridden May baby Sarah.

Sick child equates to miserable pitiful bed ridden child …NOT!  Sam was everywhere and into everything. He was Ninja (mysteriously appeared on top of the refrigerator) and a miniature mechanic (Removed every nut and bolt from my wheel barrow without it falling apart … until I went to use it). He was a good natured little boy, but pretty non-verbal and hard headed.  He seemed to not listen to a word you said … unless he was looking at you. Wait could that be a symptom of something?

Sam i amSam – I – Am.  At two years old, it was finally decided that antibiotics were not the answer to these constant ear infections.  Let’s try tubes.  Did I say non-verbal. Overnight he went from non-verbal to very verbal.  Enter Green, Eggs & Ham.  If you would like … I can quote the whole book to you right now.  If you asked Sam his name, was Sam-I-Am.   Am would talk non-stop for hours.  He did not really care if you listened or not.  I am not sure if liked to talk or just liked to here himself since for so long he could not.

Silence of the Sam: As much as one might think that the constant noise would be a problem, it probably saved his life on occasion, because when the noise stopped, we knew that there was a problem… the silent alarm.  Silence in the back yard – the shed is on fire.  Silence in the living room – crayons in the VCR.  Silence on the stairs – beautiful pictures on the wall.  You get the picture.  We loved Sam’s voice.

The ears were better, but the lungs were not quite right.  After another hospital stay, the doctors finally concluded at age 4 that Sam was asthmatic.  So this non-stop little boy was forced to succumb to the nebulizer several times a day. Five or ten minutes might seem like a short period of time, but to Sam it was an eternity.  He had had about enough.

Faith of a child: In 1994, shortly after moving to Georgia, we were attending a Sunday evening service at church.  Pastor Jim asked if anyone wanted to be prayed to be healed.  Before we knew it, Sam had jumped out of his seat and run up to the alter.  He told Pastor Jim that he was tired of having asthma and wanted it gone.  Prayer was given, prayer was received, asthma … gone.  Coincidence … change of climate … or the faith of a small boy believing in a big God.  All I can say is that we have a nebulizer in the attic that has not been used since that day.

“The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt 23:11,12)

Sam & MalakaiServant: Born with a servants heart, same has always wanted to be a helper.  From the nursery (when he was in it), to JBQ, to youth group and missions trips to Nicaragua and Mexico, and now to the friends, Sam will often work for others and neglect even his own needs at times.  I have often been angered by those that have taken advantage of him and hurt him at times.  People have stretched him beyond his ability to give at times.  Obviously, saying ‘no’ is an option, but it is really not in his nature.  He is happiest when he is helping and feels a part of success.

If struggle makes us stronger, than my boy is strong beyond measure.  He has been fighting and overcoming from the day he was born.   I often envy his determination and drive to learn despite the many difficulties he has had to overcome.  His optimism, although often dampened by circumstances always shines through.  I look forward with great excitement to great things that are in store for this young man of God.

Sam & DadSam, you have been an encouragement to me for years.  God has used you to change me.  Your faith and enthusiasm have bolstered my own faith on many occasions.

I love you Bud and look forward to pressing on with you.

“Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge,and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken,but the feeble bind on strength.” (1 Sam 2:3,4)

“And the Lordcame and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”( 1 Sam 3:10)

The Unseen Farmer and an Unexpected Harvest

 Mark 4:26-34:  More Seed Parables

Again I find myself reflecting on thoughts that I here expressed over and over again.  Thoughts that have flooded my mind at times. Thoughts something like this. “Is this all that there is?  I get up, do the daily routine, go to sleep and then start all over again.  I barely see myself moving much less a move of God!”  I remember thinking this when I had a young family and, although I do not really see the growth in my own life, from that “daily grind” God has produced seven young adults that love God and are beginning to make an impact on the world around them.  They have started their own invisible farming process.

So in goes the sickle and because the harvest is come!  I often do not recognize the harvest that God has already brought.  If I did, I might be more excited for the harvest yet to come.

“Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

Go in, tread, for the winepress is full.

The vats overflow, for their evil is great.

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision!

For the day of the Lord is nearing the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:13-14)

 

If in the years that I barely knew whether I was coming or going, God brought about such a great work from the unseen seeds in my own family.  What great things are on the horizon with the seeds that are being planted today.  I am actually getting excited about the harvest that He is preparing today.  Even the smallest word or deed sown today, God can use to bring about new and abundant life beyond anything I can imagine.

Every day seed is planted, everyday seed is growing and every day His Kingdom is spreading it’s branches to make a home for a world that needs Him so desperately.

So I every night I will go to bed with excitement and every day I will get up expecting the wondrous work of those unseen hands and the harvest that is sure to come.

Hand & Seedling

Jesus and His Rocky Family – Life Making Good Soil

If you are following along in Mark I am a bit behind on my posts, I have not talked about Mark 3:31-35 and Mark 4:1-20. So here is a couple of quick thoughts.

Mark 3:31-35: The Family

I What in the world? Jesus seems to blow off His family.  Actually, if you look back at verse 21, His family had actually tried to restrain Him thinking He was crazy, so obviously, they were missing something. In light of this Jesus’ inference that “Here is my mother, and “Here are my brothers” makes perfect sense. These were the ones who were beginning to receive the gospel and were getting the idea that He might be “The One”. His family just thought He was “special“.

As a dad, I know that at times, I have neglected to recognize the full potential of my children. My own prejudice based on past experience has blinded me to the purposes and plans that God has prepared for them. I may say the right words of encouragement, but they see right through that. Imagine if God’s plan for a family member was to be the Messiah … How do you encourage a purpose and a plan that is higher than anything you can fathom.

I pray that I will not only get out of the way, but will learn to encourage my family, friends and others to strive for all that God has for them and not limit my vision to my own sight.

Mark 4:1-20 The Parable of the Sower

This sort of carries on from this previous thought. Jesus’ family thought the problem might be Jesus, His actions and His words (The Seed), so they tried to restrain Him. The challenge actually rested on the receivers/hearers (The Soil). The Seed is perfect and will grow and bear fruit according to the medium that it is sown. Knowing the rest of the story, it is encouraging that His family, who rejected Him in the beginning (rocky soil), in the end fully excepted the Good News and bore much fruit.

Have you ever been discouraged about the prospects of someone receiving the Gospel? I am even discouraged by my own ability to receive all that God offers me, so of course I have difficulty seeing how God is going to get a seed into some of the rocks I have been praying for. I think we can say with assurance that the Holy Spirit can break up even the hardest ground and turn it into good soil

(He can even take our own waste and turn it into fantastic compost!)

compost-toilet-life-cycle

Assembling the Posse – You do the Math

Mark 3:13-19:  The Twelve are Appointed

Twelve: We all know the biblical significance of the number 12. Obviously, to the people of Jesus time twelve was representative of twelve tribes of Israel and only added the excitement that God was doing a new thing.  From my limited study, apparently 10 tribes were still considered “lost” at this time and reconciling the twelve tribes would be very significant.

Bible history and Jewish significance aside, 12 is a really cool number.  A twelve sided shape is a dodecagon, but a three dimensional shape with three flat sides is a dodecahedron, now that is an awesome name for a shape.  As a matter of fact, some scientist believe that the universe is a dodecahedron.

Twelve ToesMathematically, Twelve can be divided by two, three, four and six, making it one of the easiest low numbers to work with and separate into groups, said Dr. Kristen L. Zacharias, a historian of science and philosophy assistant professor at Albright College.  The Romans loved 12 so much that they measured weight, length, and money in units of 12.  That is all great, but when I think of numbers I usually go the source of all mathematical wisdom … “Schoolhouse Rock”.  “Little Twelve Toes” is not one of my favorites, but it does make you think.  Actually, Some ancient cultures did use 12 as the basis of their numbering system. How could that be practical?

Glad you asked.  They counted the joints on their hands, three joints per finger.  Add a thumb, also made up of three joints and you have a very useful hand to perform just about any task imaginable.

So Jesus gathered HIs fingers together to begin the work.  Maybe no great insight here, but it is apparent that Jesus was setting a precedence early in His ministry that there was work to be done and that His people were going to be a part of it.

Work is not easy and it is especially hard on the fingers.  How many times has the wrench slipped you busted those knuckles.  From jammed fingers and scraped knuckles to losing a nail. Years ago, I ran my hand through an electric pizza roller.  It smashed all four fingers on my left hand to a point where the skin actually split. Our fingers are on the front line of everything we do.

Regardless, I am one of the fingers that Jesus has chosen to carry out the work and I am supposed to be on the front lines.  Often times, I am not that enthusiastic about the whole work thing.  As a matter of fact, I can down-right lazy.

“How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?” (Prov 6:9)

He created me with a purpose and laziness is not an option.  It is time to get to work.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)

working-hands-

Want to start from the beginning of Mark?  Good News with Mark

Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand

Mark 3:1-6 Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand

Let me tell you about my best friend Charlie.

Charlie CroppedI was deep into one of the worst years of my life. Due to an injury, I had lost my long time dream of wrestling in college and had subsequently dropped out of school.  I had an on-going conflict with my parents and moved back to Kentucky were my fiancé was coming to school with the hopes that I would be able to rehab and get back into school and wrestle again.  I took a job at Steak and Egg Kitchen and enrolled in a couple of classes.  About two weeks into the semester, she dumped me to experience more fully, the college life.  This was the last straw. I plunged deep into depression and was contemplating taking my own life.

Charlie was a tall, drug dealing, long haired, long bearded, blue eyed (Some said he resembled Charlie Manson) janitor at the University of Kentucky Student Center.  Despite his many short comings, he waws highly intelligent, had an infectious smile and loved to laugh.

CaprisHe worked 3 to 11 and I worked 11-7, so about 11:30 he would wander in and sit at the end of the bar, drink coffee, and we talked.  He might leave for a while if we got busy, but he would be back.  On days that I got off early, he would throw my bike into the back his Mercury Capris and take me back to my apartment.  Sensing that I was unstable and never left until he thought I was going to make it through the day.  He would sit in a rocker and talk until I fell asleep and then he would quietly head out.

Wow has it changed!
Wow has it changed!

After a while, my depression began to lift. I started hanging around with him at the student center until I headed to work.  We pretty much became inseparable. While he did introduce me to some things that were not quite savory, together we both realized that we wanted more from our lives than just a day-to-day existence.  While I explored many different religions and philosophies, Charley never really showed any interest until one day we both stumbled across the Gospel of John.  Together, the two of us tore hungrily into the writings of “the one whom Jesus loved” wanting desperately to know this love.  On the evening of August 12th 1982, on a sidewalk of a busy commercial area in Lexington, that same Jesus came and made Himself real to us and we were forever changed.

Charlie and I walked through that first several months of new life together.  We learned to worship, pray and seek the face of the One who met us that day on the Euclid Avenue.  I was beginning a new life in more than one way.  Within six months, I would be a husband and a father and Charlie was there through that whole transition as well.  My best man and God father to our first child, one would think that would we were destined to be joined together for a long time.

Circumstances and direction can change quickly, but we know that God is sovereign and has a plan that we have no clue about at times.  Only 3 months after our wedding, we moved 600 miles away in hopes of some stability for our family.  Charlie heart would begin to break for a world that, like me , needed to know the love that John had described to us.  He gave and he loved and he told everyone that would listen and even some who would not that they did not have to go through life unloved.

We moved back to Lexington about 18 months later for a short period of time as I prepared to enter the Navy.  Charlie and I had some time to catch up and pray.  We spent one night just before I shipped out praying at his apartment and we both had visions. I saw Him speaking words of love to a crowd and as He turned to leave, fiery arrows  pierced his back.  He saw himself in a pit trapped with an ugly version of himself and he was scrambling to escape.  Needless to say, we were both pretty freaked out. I shipped out and he went back to touching lives.

He had taken in a young, homeless street-wise teenager who was struggling with some very evil influences.  Although the young man knew that he wanted his life to change, he was not ready to give up on his old life.  One moment he appreciated the guide lines that Charlie set for him, and then some outside influence drew him away.  It was frustrating for Charlie, but being patient, Charlie hung in there with him.

I was on hold in Great Lakes, IL awaiting the birth of our third daughter when I received the call.  This young man that Charlie had love and cared for and a middle aged lady had brutally killed my friend, stabling him dozens of times in the back him the closet of his apartment.

Charlie SmileWhy do I tell this story when I read Mark 3:1-6?  Yes, this passage address how the world often rejects the love, healing, and love that Jesus brings and responds with hatred, evil plots, and death.  You could draw the obvious analogies. Maybe, you think it the fact the Sabbath is for healing and rest and that Charlie has entered his rest and you would be absolutely correct.  But the truth is that I will always think of Charlie when I read about these verses because on that day back in 1985, Jesus said to my friend “stretch out yours hand“.   You see, my friend, the whom Jesus loved … had a withered hand.

 

Chillin’ in His Crib

Mark 2:13-17  – Jesus Calls Levi

Capernaum Israel

I have to admit that it is still blowing me away that I never noticed this.  I have no idea how many times I have read the gospels and if you count the sermons and discussions about them, one would have thought I would have picked up on such an important fact.  Second time in two days …

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. (Mark 2:15)

He was in His house!  He invited these cats into His house!   I always thought of Him going into other peoples houses.  I actually kind of thought of Him as sort of homeless. It might actually be Peter’s house, but He was at least at home in this place.

So who cares?  Why is this a big deal? Maybe to some of you it is not.  Many of you may go out, make friends with questionable characters and then bring them home with you? It is one thing to go hang out at the rescue mission, it is entirely different to bring those fellows back to your crib. (I don’t really talk like this, I am just trying to expand my vocabulary).

Of course, Jesus probably did not have much in the way of material possessions, to worry about (which is kind of a point in itself), and no wife or children to protect so this might have been no big deal to Him.  We already know that He was not too worried about what people thought, so His reputation was not a concern. So maybe there is not much of a comparison between Jesus and me.  After all I have a family, electronics, and standing in my church to be concerned with. (Sarcasm is a virtue … I keep telling myself that)

Seriously, when I think of the heart of Jesus, I think of someone that goes out brings people in just as they are.  He does not go out, heal and restore them and then bring them in.   At this point, Jesus has called 5 people, 3 fisherman and a tax collector.  He took the fishermen from their boats and a tax collector from his toll booth, right where the were living.  No probationary period, no qualification … He just took them in, wrapped His arms around them and loved them.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! (Matt 23:37)

I am not really talking about opening my house up to anyone that I might run across in my life. As a man with a family, I do have to be discerning when exposing my family to outside influences.  I do however have to open my heart to those around me.  Jesus did not pre-qualify people before building relationships and neither should I.

GoldilocksI hate that my mind is continually sizing up (judging) those around me.  Some are too high and lofty and others are to low and disgusting for me.  I am looking for the ones that are “just right”.  Ones I can handle and are not going to drag me down.

Good News … Jesus set a table for me and anyone I want to bring.  He has already sent the invitations.  Until I overcome my own insecurities, I can just bring everyone to His house.

Grafting of the Family Tree _ Michael

I have a backlog of half written blog drafts.  So it appears that my blog is going to be confined to paying homage to the one’s most dear to me for a while.

Grafted_blossoming_tree_unidentified_white_pinkAs the father of seven wonderful children, obviously I have devoted a great deal of my adult life to cultivating the Farley family tree.  After many years of fertilizing (pretty good at that by the way), watering, pruning, and protecting God has blessed Lynn and I with a wonderful topiary.  As awesome as the path has been, we could not continue this endeavor forever. Fortunately, God had a plan for that.  Grafting!

Unbeknownst to me, the Ichthus Festival (christian music festival/teenage garden center) would bring a multi-colored … spike haired, zebra like stick into the life of our second branch Sarah. Pre-Michael Sarah (PMS) was a country music hating prissy little princess.  Somehow the rapid climate changes of Ichthus (Dust, heat, rain, frost …) over three days altered her DNA somehow.  Country music, demolition derbies, county fairs, truck & tractor pulls suddenly became a natural part of her life.

Me and MichaelMy relationship with Michael … grew mostly out of his uncanny ability to show up right at meal time.  As we all know, christian fellowship revolves around food and Michael wanted to make sure that our relationship was grounded in our mutual faith.  Additionally, he understood the importance of resting in the Lord and would consequently fall asleep on the couch at every opportunity.  He always new his purpose in those times of fellowship and proved his faithfulness by never showing up without a bag of ice.

MantleI will always count it a special day when Michael asked for Sarah’s hand in marriage.  Good has shown Lynn and I a great deal of favor by providing a warm, loving, hard working, fun loving, man of God to care for our Sarah.  On the day they were married, there was no doubt that God had seen fit to continue adding to our tree in a wondrous way. He gladly accepted the mantle of gardener that I placed upon him that day.  He has shown himself to be a faithful husband and loving father.  I am honored to call him a son and coworker in the family tree business.

Happy Birthday Michael.