Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 354 - Taking Down the Tree

Well, we took down the tree this morning. It really looked good here in this house, and I was sort of sad to take it down. But John and I took off all the ornaments and Biddie packed them up in the boxes. Then we took the tree apart and put it it the box. Now all of it is already in the car ready to come home on Saturday. Of course there is still more packing to do, much more. The car will probably be as full going home as it was coming down. But that’s OK. It’s been a great time these past two weeks, and we still have one more day to go. It should be great tomorrow. We are looking for a hig of around 70 and sunshine. We should get some good bike rides in.

I miss the kids and grandkids already. It will be a while before I get to see them. Things are about to get very busy for me these next two months. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow (almost today now) will be December 31st. Christmas is over. I know that I should think about the New Year, and in many ways I am. But it’s hard not to focus still on 2010. I think that it was Charles Dickens in one of his books, maybe David Copperfield, who pinned the phrase “It was the best of times and the worst of times.” In many ways that sums up 2010 for me. Obviously Julia’s passing made it the worst of times. If my focus had remained on just that, then it would have just been the worst of times. But Julia was born in my house on Jan 12th, obviously the best of times. There were so many more things that made it the best of times. Good friends supporting and praying for me. There was BASSM to give me focus. Sozo’s to keep me occupied in ministry. The strong presence of God in worship everywhere I went. We saw prophetic release in cell group by people who had never walked in the prophetic.

There was continued progressive healing for my daughter and others in my family. There were miraculous healings in our healing ministry and out on the streets. My niece had a miracle baby on Julia’s birthday. There was just an increased understanding of God and His goodness in our lives. There was a mission trip to Nicaragua. There was good health in me and the rest of my family. There was an increased understanding of what it is God is calling me to do the rest of my life. There were ministry trips doing sozo and youth conferences in Albany GA and Brisbane Australia.

I guess that I am thinking back over the year because it is what Julia and I used to do as we took down the tree. She always wanted to get it down before the New Year, and most of the time we did. Although we didn’t plan it, it always seemed that we wound up thinking back on all that happened. After the tree was down we could begin to focus on 2011. But tonight as I look back on 2010 in many ways it was a very good year. But the great and terrible loss of my wife will always mark it in my memory as “The best of times and the worst of times.” So, the tree is down and 2010 is fast coming to a close. I hope to spend a little time tomorrow morning reflecting on where I have been and where I am going next year. Christmas is over. It is time to renew my focus. It has been a good time. I needed these two weeks to relax and recharge to get ready for the next season. Already things are beginning to open up. Doors are opening that I feel I am called to go through.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 353 - Releasing

Wow, I watched another favorite movie tonight. Julia and I loved it when we saw it, and the music, with the Righteous Brothers, is great. The movie is “Ghost” with Patrick Swazey and Demi Moore. It’s a great movie, but even through the funny parts with Whoppie Goldberg it really is all about letting go. As “Sam” was looking after his girl friend even after He died, sometimes I think that Julia is close by. I know that she has been close to others this past year.

But probably one of the hardest things we have to learn as we deal with grief and death is to learn how to release. We, no I, just want to hold onto what we had so tightly. It’s like we are so afraid that if we let go just the slightest bit, it will all disappear. I know that through this year I have struggled with this. At first, I was so afraid that I would forget what she looked like, or the sound of her voice. Then I wondered if I would be able to maintain our memories. Later, I wondered if I would be able to see our ministry through.

At every step I had to release. I had to choose to loosen the grip that I had on the past and release whatever it was to Papa. It was only when I was able to do that, then I could move to the next level. Someone once told me that if you hold your baggage too closely, you will never be able to get in the river. For years, Julia and I had to learn to release our Kids into their destiny with God. Shoot, I still have to do that almost daily.

It’s the same process in grief. You have to choose to release the very thing that you are holding on to the tightest. But in this process sometimes as soon as you release one thing, another thing floats by and you grab hold of that. It’s like I want to grab hold of anything that will keep us connected. But what I am learning is this. We will always be connected. No matter what happens, after 38 years, I am a part of her, and she is a part of me. You don’t live together that long and not have that transference. I see it all the time. I find myself doing things because that’s the way she did them. But it’s a good way that I learned, and I am so glad that she was there to teach me.

I see it in my daughters also. They might do something, and I know that is because of the transference from Julia. But back to releasing; I’m winding down to the end of days on this blog. I want to release her and in some ways release myself. From what? I need to release myself from the prison that I place myself in when I hold on too tight. Only by releasing her, can I be free to be what Papa wants me to be.

So, what does releasing look like? I think it looks like living life from the present to the future. The past is a great heritage and a part of my life. But holding on tightly to the past, no matter how good it was, can only mess up the future. As I watched Patrick Swazie’s ghost, kiss Demi Moore just before he was taken to heaven, I could almost sense Julia kissing me saying it’s OK, I’m fine, no I am much more than fine. It was almost like I was releasing her tonight at a new level. That’s good. That’s healing. We need to reflect on love, but release also.

It’s been an interesting two nights with these movies back to back. They weren’t planned, it just sort of happened. Amazing when Papa puts things together. But I don’t think I could stand another tomorrow night. Maybe a good action thriller is in order. But I really am glad I saw them both, even though they both brought stuff to the surface. It’s time, and I am doing well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 352 - Message in a Bottle

I just finished watching a 1999 movie with Kevin Cosner called “Message in a Bottle”. Julia and I saw it together when it was new, and I remembered it being good, but I didn’t remember a lot of the story line. It’s about a news paper writer who finds a bottle on the shore of Cape Cod. The message is from a guy to his wife who is dead. It talks about his love, and his regrets. The plot goes on from there, but needless to say, it stirred up a lot of feelings in me.

Kevin Cosner played the widower, and he lost his wife over two years before. He is doing his best to keep her memory alive in his heart. All of her things are still where they were. Some of what he was doing reminded me of what I have been doing. But not very much. I feel that I am much farther along that the character in the movie, but there were still many resemblances. This whole year, with the blog and everything else I have done, it’s been about honoring Julia and preserving as much of her for my granddaughters as I am able to. But at the same time I have to watch my motives and myself.

It’s all to easy sometimes to make someone or something an idol, even whe all you want to do is honor them. I have been careful, I think, not to do that. Anyway, in the movie it’s obvious that is what he has done. But as he falls in love, he begins to realize his mistake and to change. His question that he ask early in this new relationship is this. Can I love her as much as I loved my wife. His eventual answer is yes. To be honest, I don’t know what my answer would be. I said earlier in the year that I didn’t think I wanted to remarry. I still am not really interested in pursuing that, but I am open to His path in my life. But I won’t ever remarry unless I think I could love the person as much as I loved Julia. I don’t mean the same, but as much.

I don’t think you can ever love anyone the same. I love my granddaughters very much. I feel like I love them each as much as the other one. But the love I have each one is different. So it is with anyone that you love. It must be equal but different for each person. So I guess the question is this. Am I ready to allow another to have a place in my heart? I don’t know. But I have discovered this. I am not ruling it out. If I am supposed to have another to love, then Papa will have to show me and work it out through my hang-ups and give me a desire for another partner. But this one thing I am sure of. She will have to be able to run with me hard after the Kingdom. I will not allow myself to be entangled in a relationship with someone who can’t keep up. In fact, I would hope that I would have to run harder to keep up with her.

Well, that’s enough speculation. I guess that movie stirred up in me questions that I need to answer. Even though I have partial clarity, I still need more. So I will put this on the back burner of my heart until the time that I feel Holy Spirit tell me to bring it to the forefront.

Today was a great day. Lisa got off at 5:15. I got a lot of reading done. I also got a movie done and ran 4 miles and took a 45 min bike ride. Then John and Biddie came about 5:30 and we had shrimp for dinner. It was excellent. The weather will be even better tomorrow so I think it’s time for bed. I have way too much to do.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 351 - Shift Change

Well, Jennifer and Sean left this morning and Lisa and the kids are all packed up to leave early in the morning. So, I guess the question is was it what I thought it would be. I don’t know, because I didn’t have any specific expectations. My goal was to get the family together to have each other as we celebrated our first Christmas without Julia. So I guess it was a success because we all seemed to have a good time. Sure there were a few tears, and some lonely sighs, but we were together, and that’s what mattered.

I love my daughters and it was really good to see them, especially when I could get them both in the same room. It was really great to talk with both of them in person and not just on the telephone. But it was just so much fun seeing and interacting with all of my granddaughters. Each one is so unique. Each one has so much potential and so much destiny. We had a ball. I had so much fun with each of them.

Lisa leaves tomorrow. The roads up north are much better and they are leaving at 5AM so that they can get home before dark and any moisture starts to refreeze. We spent most of the evening cleaning up, washing sheets and towels. But the house is pretty clean and it looks presentable. It doesn’t look like 9 people have been here all week. It needed to be cleaned. John and Biddie are coning in tomorrow and stay here with me until the 1st.

It’s been a great 10 days with the kids and I wouldn’t trade anything for it. But I am looking forward to the next few days of chilling, riding bikes and just hanging out with friends. I need to rest and get recharged. I start off the New Year with a bang. I work on the 2nd thru the 5th. Plus I have homework to finish this week for school. I just finished watching the Falcons lose after watching Tech lose. It hasn’t been a good day in Atlanta for football. At least for Atlanta, they played a good game. Tech just gave their game away with fumbles. Well, that’s what they did for the whole season, so why should they change.

2011, I know that I will probably write more about it as it gets nearer, but I can’t help but think about what was going through my mind in 2010. It certainly wasn’t about this blog or Julia’s death. No it was with excitement of what 2010 would bring. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder about what signs I missed, or where I didn’t hear any warning. Was I so consumed with what we were doing that I didn’t take notice of what was going on around me? Too many questions without answers. I just have to trust that I was hearing and seeing. I have to allow papa and His goodness to wash me over and over hen I get stuck on all the what if’s. So as I approach 2011, I want to take time to step back and examine everything around me. I need to look for anything that would keep me from hearing what He is trying to say to me. I want to heed any warning I might sense in the Spirit. Hopefully in these next few days, I will be able to take some time to do that.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 350 - Snow? In Hilton Head?

It’s true; we had flurries all day. It was nothing like Atlanta or Norfolk VA, which has over 8 inches so far. But to be at the beach on a barrier island and have snow flurries, that is unusual. Well, I guess it must be global warming. Anyway, it was the worst weather we have had all week. I think the high was about 37 and it’s probably in the low 30’s already. Plus the wind was probably gusting over 25 mph all day. So, we really didn’t do much outside. Sean and Adair braved the cold this afternoon long enough for Adair to run a quick 2 miles. I really think it was so she could try out her new shoes.

So not getting outside and it snowing all day, well it made for a pretty long day. In fact, when it was 6:30, I was sure it was after 9PM. We did get to the outlet mall. We had to take back and exchange a couple of gifts from the Nike Factory outlet store. Then we went to Hudson’s Seafood for lunch. The Nike outlet store was crowded, but we were successful in finding exchanges with our presents, and it was snowing hard with a gusty wind when we arrived at Hudson’s. The food was pretty good and we enjoyed being with each other. After that we made a quick trip by StarBucks and then home.

Jennifer, Sean, Adair and Meleah are leaving early in the morning. They are going to drop Adair and Meleah off to see Sean’s mother in Daytona Beach. They will be there until New Years Day. Lisa is still not sure when they are going back, but it will probably late tomorrow or early Tuesday morning. I’m voting for the latter, but I’m not sure I get a vote. Anyway, my family is once again being scattered over the Eastern Seaboard. I guess it could be worse. I have had such a great time with them. I hope that they have enjoyed the time here. I know that Jennifer had a couple of bad migraine headaches when a couple of the weather fronts moved through. I guess she really isn’t ready to move back up north. I don’t care where they live really I don’t. My desire is to see them fulfill God’s plan in their life.

I’ve been reading Danny Silk’s “A Culture of Honor” this week in my spare time. I have to finish it by the end of the month for BASSM. I’ve read most of it before, but it is really impacting me even more this time. We need to have a relationship with Him, not with rules. Most of my life I have had a good relationship with rules. I’ve been lucky, I obeyed most of the rules and got ahead. But it’s not about obeying rules. It is about holding His heart in my hand and wanting to do everything in my power to protect it. If I do that, then I won’t need to worry about the rules.

For so many of us, myself included, when we blow it, we can’t forgive ourselves. We are so used to having relationship with the rules, so we feel that we must be punished, even when we are the one doing the punishing. But what we are really doing is making the work of Jesus “of no affect” in our life. In reality, He wants us to repent. And by repent, He means to change the way we act, and then move on. Sure, we have to deal with consequences, and we have to clean up our messes. But we have to forgive ourselves; otherwise we are prisoners in our own jail.
As long as we try to have relationship with rules, and not with Him, we will be stuck in this prison. Freedom, that’s what He has given us. Not chains! We are free, but then we put chains on ourselves. It doesn’t make sense, but we have been doing it for years. That is the fruit of religion. I want to help break chains off peoplel, not put them on. I want to give life and bring freedom into the room when I walk into it. And yet, I still find myself being ensnared in the ole “rules” mindset. So I understand that this is easily said, yet to embrace it as a lifestyle requires change on our part. And we all know that change is hard. So, for 2011 I choose in advance to forgive others, as well as myself, when rules are broken. I choose to try and restore relationship to Him and bring freedom and call out destiny to those I walk with. This can be done. It won’t be easy some times, but it can be done. I choose to do it as a lifestyle.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 349 - A Memorable Christmas

Sometimes it’s the sacrifices that we all make that make great memories. As parents, it was often a financial sacrifice to take the kids to Disney World, or to go on vacation in Colorado. But that’s where memories were made. I’m not saying that you can’t make memories at home or in familiar places, you can. But it’s harder because when you are there, you tend to slip into the same ruts. You don’t make memories in ruts. No, you make memories by being adventurous, by pressing the boundaries. So, when I booked this house, and talked to the girls and they agreed to come, I knew in my heart that it was going to be special. It was special. It was a Christmas I will remember, and I think that the granddaughters will especially remember. It has been so much fun watching them play and interact with each other all week. Just to be around them and see how much they have grown. It’s so hard to believe that Adair will be 13 in January, and Meleah will be 11. It seems like just yesterday that Julia and I took them to Disney World. I think Meleah was 4 and that would have made Adair 6. Time really does fly.

It’s been fun watching Julia be the human vacuum cleaner. She walks around the house constantly looking for something on the floor to put in her mouth. And it’s been fun to watch Anna Roan try to coordinate everyone’s activities. She is going to be a tour guide or President. She wants to know and understand what everyone is doing all the time. I really think she just doesn’t want to miss anything. But probably the most fun is being able to spend time with both Jennifer and Lisa in the same house. Last night after the kids were in bed, we sat and watched “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. We laughed for almost two hours. I don’t believe we have laughed together like that in years. I’ve laughed many times, but to be able to laugh with both my daughters at the same time, that’s special.

Christmas started with Santa Clause for the young kids around 8AM. Then Lisa made pancakes for breakfast. After breakfast we opened gifts and then we had Christmas dinner. It was Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and salad. It was delicious. I had thought about having some sort of special sharing about Julia. But I canned that idea. We didn’t need it, she was there with us. She has been with us all week. Occasionally we will talk about her, and comment on missing her especially during the passing out of gifts. That used to be her job, to give the gifts out to everybody. But I have felt her presence, and I m sure everyone else has too. We didn’t need a special time to comment on our love. It’s still obvious.

This afternoon was a lazy afternoon. It was nice here; in the high 50’s and partly cloudy. The bad weather comes in tomorrow. So at about 3PM I went for a 4 mile run on the beach. I think it was the first time I have been by myself for any length of time this week. I really enjoyed the run. The winds were calm and I could just enjoy running on that nice flat hard beach. It gave me a lot of time to think. I feel like I’m at another crossroad in my life. For the past year my life has been in four main parts. First pressing into the Kingdom in school, church and wherever I could. I know that will not change. Second, trying to find time to work in travel to see my kids. I know that that will be the same. Third, work at Delta. That wont change, except I’m still trying to get it to slow down a little. I have to work, so as long as I can, that will continue on some level. Fourth, and this is where the change is coming soon, the blog. After Julia’s death I dedicated this year to write the blog and honor her memory. I have been faithful to write every day. Through this I have been healed, and I know from talking to others it has helped many. But what now? That is the question I was asking Papa as I ran today. I don’t have an answer. I don’t know “what now?” Maybe in the next few weeks He will show me. I know that He will and if I am listening, I will hear Him. But He did tell me this today during the run. Don’t be afraid of what may come. In other words “Fear Not”. I believe tha what he was saying to me was that don’t do something because you are afraid not to do it. He was also saying don’t not do something because you are afraid of the consequences.

I don’t normally get words like that from Him. I usually am not dealing with any fear, and I don’t think I am now. I see it as a warning not to let fear, any fear, dictate my choosing a path. He didn’t give me an answer today, but he said it was in my heart already. So I have the clues, now as a King all I have to do is look for the treasure. So, it looks like I’m going on a treasure hunt these next two weeks. I know that he will lead me with more clues, and I know I will find the hidden treasure. If I have learned anything this year it’s this. God is good. He’s even “gooder” than you think.

Day 348 - Twas the Night Before Christmas

Christmas Eve 2010. It’s hard to believe it’s here so fast. I was thinking this morning that on Christmas Eve last year, Julia and I were leaving Ft Lauderdale after spending a few days with Jennifer and the family. We were flying to Atlanta and then to Mobile to spend Christmas with Lisa and her family. We celebrated Christmas with Jennifer on Dec 23rd. She had to work on Christmas Day. We were in Mobile to see Anna Roan celebrate Santa Clause.

Life was good. We had just had the Sozo team party and Christmas with our friends. There was so much that we wanted to do in 2010. I was in first year BASSM and really enjoying it. Julia was still heavily involved with intercession and we were both still leading the Sozo team. It was such a busy time of year. We would be in Mobile until around the 28th then fly home. We would leave on Jan 3rd to go to a Bill Johnson Conference in Webb Al. Julia was planning on sewing some more clothes for Anna and the new baby, we didn’t know that it would be Julia.

It’s still amazing how things can change so quickly. As I look at my family here in Hilton Head I just give thanks for each of them. As I think of my family back home, I realize that things continue to change. Life happens. We still live in a fallen world, dealing with the consequences of sin and disease. Yes, we are fighting to bring God’s Kingdom down here. God told Adam to subdue the earth. Those are still our orders, they haven’t changed. I want 2011 to be a year of increased anointing and power. I am praying for miracles, and I want the heart and guts to go after them even when they don’t happen.

So here it is Christmas Eve 2010. What can I say, that I haven’t said? I write this to myself as well as to anyone else that is reading. Cherish your family. Too soon they grow up, or are gone. God gave us family to understand His nature. Sure, we aren’t perfect. I don’t know any earthly family that isn’t dysfunctional in some way. But overlook the flaws, and call out the gold. If every father would call out the gold in their children and help them reach the destiny that God has for them, just think where we would be as a nation and in the world. Revival has started; look around you. Even in the US, we are seeing miracles daily. Revival does not have to die. My goal is to help raise up the next generation that will not only keep it going, but help in spread.

So, I look at Christmas Eve 2010 with hope. Even more hope than I did last year, if that is possible. 2011 is coming soon, and I really feel that we are going to see even more. As I look back over the year and reflect, I enjoyed our last weeks together so much. Christmas Eve is a time to reflect on all the promises. Christmas; where God’s promise came down to earth to restore us to His family. So, as we move forward as a family, I hope that we can stand on the promises that we have been given. The promise of the Kingdom; Julia and I chased after all that God had with our whole hearts. My goal is to chase after the Kingdom of God in 2011 even harder than I did in 2010. So, as we draw near to the day, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 347 - Growing Up

Tonight we went to Harbor town for a concert. We thought it was supposed to be a Christmas concert with carol singing and such. It probably was, but it was 47 degrees ane the concert was outside. The performer soent probably a half an hour telling bad jokes to kids and then had numerous kids come on stage and give their rendition of Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. We all got bored and left about 45 minutes into the concert.

As I was walking out, I was telling one of my grandaughters that she was growing up. She said she didn’t want to, and I said that we have no choice; we all grow up. Then she said that she wanted to be like the lost boys in Peter Pan, except she wanted her parents. I just laughed to myself, because I have thought that many times in the past. Especially when things were closing in on me, and I didn’t really want the responsibility that comes wit growing up. I don’t think that she was thinking about the responsibility. I think that she was thinking about loosing the childhood that she loved. Too often we are so ready to move on to the next thing. I thought it refreshing that she wasn’t pushing to grow up. We all need to learn to love and accept where we are today.

Tomorrow will probably change our circumstances, but we live in the now. We have to not only accept, but love who we are, because like it or not, God made us, and some things we can’t change. One thing that I can’t change is that I am a Dad and a Papa. I don’t want to change it except when I see one of my children or grandchildren hurting. I still want to fix it. I grew up thinking that Dads could fix anything. I should have known better, my dad didn’t fix everything. But for some reason, when I became a dad, I thought it was my responsibility to fix things. I can’t. I could when they were young. I could fix most things even when they were teenagers, but not anymore. It’s too bab I didn’t learn this earlier, it might have helped them grow up in a more reall environment. That’s why I love Danny Silk’s “Loving on Purpose” series. He teaches his kids that they are responsible for their own problems.

Don’t get me wrong; my kids know that they are responsible for their own problems. They really don’t expect me to “fix it”. No, I’m the only one that expects me to “fix it”. I should know better. I do know better. But it’s still hard to watch and not be able to fix. It’s even harder to watch and not even give advice. I pray with people all the time, telling them to release their children to God. Even as I tell them that, I know how hard it is. That is something that I continually have to do. It’s almost a daily occurrence, especially when I am with them. I love them so much that I want to fix everything. But I love them so much that I won’t try. No, I have to let each of them live their own lives. I just pray for all of them that they reach the destiny and calling that God has for them.

So, there is still a part of me that doesn’t want to grow up. There is another part that wants to know what I will become when I do grow up. And finally there is a part of me that is happy and accepting of where I am and what I am doing right now. That is the part that I need to focus on, because that is where the fruit will come from. So, as I approach my first Christmas in 39 years without Julia, once again I choose to do two things. First, I choose again to release my children and grandchildren into God’s hands, praying that He will propel them into their Destiny. Secondly, I choose to focus on my life today. I am going to take the actions necessary to press into my destiny. Only as I live in the now with my head and heart toward the future will I be able to embace the new adventure that Papa has waiting for me.

Day 346 - The Coconut Cake Anointing

Well, I hope that some day this week I will get this blog posted before midnight. But it is not today. It’s been a busy day. It ended when Anna Roan and Julia finally went to sleep around 10PM and Lisa, Hernan and I started watching “3 Days of the Condor” with Robert Redford. It was supposed to be a thriller. But thrillers made in 1975 aren’t the same as thrillers made today. Everything was much slower. “24” really did change the way we look at movies and TV now as compared to back then. Anyway the movie turned out to be pretty good, but it threw me after midnight again writing.

I think this will be short tonight. We went to the beach today. It was 70 degrees and we let the girls play in the sand and run around in the surf. It was a lot of fun. We stayed for about an hour, and Anna especially, had a ball. I think all the girls enjoyed it, but Adair and Meleah were just helping Anna and Julia have a good time. After all, they live at the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. It’s a lot warmer down there. But they did have fun with the other girls. It was Julia’s first time on the beach and she went crazy. She has no fear, and once she felt the water it was all we could do to keep her from running out in it. She was covered inn sand when we left. In fact, she reminded me of the character “Pig Pin” in Peanuts.

Tonight we tasted the Coconut cake that Lisa had made. She used Julia’s receipt. Julia’s coconut cake was to die for. It was her most famous desert, and although she could cook many things, everyone wanted her coconut cake during the holiday season. She would only make one a year. When she made it, it sat in the refrigerator for at least two days. The longer it sat, the better it got. We had to have one over Christmas. It was tradition to leave a piece for Santa on Christmas eve. Julia’s receipt was handed down from her mother, and I think her mother’s mother. Anyway it has been in the family for a long time. Lisa made the cake this year, and I know that Julia left her the Coconut Cake Anointing. It tasted just like Julia’s. She would have been proud. Now the problem will be to keep some for Christmas and New Years. The truth is that Lisa and Jennifer both have more of their mother’s anointing than they even realize yet. My prayer is that someday they will realize what they can just step into. Julia paved the way and paid the price. But eventually they will have to step into that anointing that she left them. Sometimes I see signs, but there is still so much for them to step into. I have faith that they will do it, in time.

Well, the warmest day of our stay is over, now the cold returns tomorrow. That means more bundled up clothes as we ride tomorrow, well really today. Christmas is coming fast. I’m still praying for total healing for every one.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 345 - Through Anna's Eyes

I’m starting earlier tonight. Lisa is getting Anna Roan to bed; Julia Anne is already asleep. Sean has gone to bed. He was much better today,; hopefully he will be even better today. Jennifer, Adair and Meleah are all in bed as well. It’s an early night for most of the clan. Hernan is on the computer in the other room and I am here in the den listening to Christmas music on Pandora radio. I could have started a movie, but I felt led to just reflect and write for a while. It’s been a good day. The sun was shining and we got a long bike ride in. Tonight we all had dinner together, and then we watched “Despicable Me”. It was a great movie, just as I had been told. Everyone loved it from Anna Roan up to me. It covered all the age spectrums. It was a funny story with some great truths imbedded into it.

After the movie, everyone but Hernan, Anna and myself were off in different bedrooms. Anna was talking about the movie and doing her “ballerina twirls”. She was telling me that her mom told her to practice every chance she got. She also said that her mom told her she should learn something new every day. She told me this while she was bouncing up and down on the ottoman next to the couch. I asked her what she was learning new today. She just laughed and then told me she had just learned to bounce like this. I just laughed and went and hugged her. She just lingered in my arms for a minute, hugging me back and she was off twirling and dancing again.

A few minutes later she went to the dinning room table where they had been doing arts and crafts. I had seen her sitting there drawing before I came into the room. She brought me this picture and told me it was for Nana. She said that she loved Nana very much. I looked at her, trying not to cry. I just smiled and asked her where she wanted to hang it. She just said: “ I don’t know where to hang it, I don’t know where heaven is”. I just held her and said that wherever she hung it, her Nana could see it because heaven is all around us. She then looked at the Christmas Tree and said that she knew that Nana would really like that tree. Then we were talking about the bike ride and I told her how much Nana loved to ride bikes, and she would have really enjoyed today.

I guess we spent another ten minutes talking and playing before Lisa came in. I will probably cherish this moment for the rest of my life. How often do you really get to go that deep into the mind of a four year old. Just to have her be open about her love for her Nana and drawing that picture. But what got me the most was when I asked her where she wanted to hang it. The look on her face was one of puzzlement and a lost feeling. I almost couldn’t hold it together. How does a young child understand loss? I’m sure it is different. I know it is, I lost my physical dad when I was three. How did I understand and except loss? I have a few vague memories of him. I really hope that Anna can have more memories of Nana than I did of my dad. Everyone is affected by loss. I know that each of us process in different ways. I’ve focused on Jennifer Lisa and myself,, but what about Adair, Meleah and Anna. How have they processed their loss? I was able to talk with both of Adair and Meleah back in the spring. But I haven’t talked with them since. Maybe I will have a time when it is right to talk with them like it was with Anna tonight. I would like that very much.

So, what have I learned so far this week? One thing is that everything we have done has so much of Julia in it. That’s good. I am learning to embrace her memories and how I see her in the girls and even my granddaughters. At the same time I have not had grief, but only the joy of all the memories that we had together. So I have laughed a lit, and cried a little. There will probably be more of both, but that’s OK. I really believe that most of the tears will be tears of joy from past memories. A;; week so far that is what it has been. Have I turned a corner? Probably. Will I have some setbacks along the way? Probably. But I have truly come to learn that emotional healing is a process. But it is a process that can be sped up by focusing on the Goodness of God. This week is a week for family. I pray that all my family can experience even more healing as this week progresses.

Previously I got interrupted in the middle of this. Otherwise it would have been published long ago.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 344 - Riding Bikes

For the most part it was a fun day here at Hilton Head. I got up around 8 and started looking at the bikes at around 9:15. First I had to see if Adair was going to be able to ride Julia’s bike. It was just a little too big for her. She could pedal OK, but starting and stopping were just too hard for her. Then I put the pedals back on the trailer bike and hooked it up to John’s bike. I got Meleah on it as we practiced riding it around the street. I’ve never done that before, and I found it a lot harder than I expected, although I did it OK. It’s very hard to balance, especially when Meleah was pedaling. I finally got the hang of it, and we rode together all day. Then I had Lisa try out Julia’s and Biddie’s bike. Julia’s was a little too small, but Biddies was just right. So I pumped up the tires, and just after I pumped up the front tire, the tube blew out. So, I was going to have to change it out. I needed to go to the bike shop and get a bike for Adair and the pull behind cart for Anna and Julia. So I took Biddie’s bike to gat the tire fixed. I figure it was easier for them to change it than me. The problem is that I didn’t bring a tube with me, and they didn’t have the right size tubes for her bike. It didn’t matter anyway. They wouldn’t rent just the cart. You had to rent a bike with it. It had to do with insurance on the carts alone on other people’s bikes. So, We got Lisa a bike and a cart and Adair’s bike. I rode Lisa’s bike back to the house, and Adair followed me. Lisa drove the car back to the house.

You might have noticed that I didn’t say anything about Sean, Jennifer or Hernan ridding today. When Sean got her yesterday, he was very hoarse and had sore throat. During the night he started throwing up and had a high fever. So Jennifer was taking him to the urgent care center. Hernan wasn’t feeling good either, so he was staying home. I’m praying that the sickness ends here. I am declaring health over the family for the rest of the trip. So the only people who were riding today was Lisa, Anna, Julia, Adair, Meliah and myself. By the time we got it all together to ride it was about 11:30.

It was a little cool outside, but not super bad. Gloves and hats helped a lot, and I only had a shirt and a pullover. I should have worn a little more, but it worked out OK. We were gone a little over four hours. Not all that time was riding, but most of it was. We rode on the trails, on the beach in the sun, back on the trails to Harbor Town. At Harbor Town we played in the playground, walked around the docks, looking at boats and got hot chocolate at the Crazy Crab. So all in all, it was a great day. In one way it was a day of dreams coming true. One of Julia’s and my dreams was to have the Adair and Meleah with us at Hilton Head, riding bikes. Today that dream came true. Life is funny. As I was thinking about this trip with the family I was wondering whether we would have done this had Julia been alive. We had never thought about it. You see, we all get in ruts on how we do things. Our plan probably would have been to visit the Kids separately, just like we did last year. So it’s really hard to say. So I think that this trip is just an outgrowth of her dieing so soon.

Tomorrow’s going to be a little bit warmer, so we will probably ride again. Lisa started her mom’s famous coconut cake tonight. It smells good already. As I go to bed tonight I pray that everyone would be better tomorrow and that they would all be able to join us for a bike ride before the end of the week.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 343 - O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree

It was a lazy first day at Hilton head. It was cold and cloudy this morning, and then the sun came out later in the afternoon and it warmed up a bit. I didn’t get to bed until 1:30 last night, and so I slept in until a little after 8 this morning. Jennifer and Sean got on the road from Ft Lauderdale around 7:30. After spending most of the morning looking at pictures on my computer with Anna, we got a grocery list together and then spent the early afternoon at Publix.

Buying food for 9 people takes a long time. I think that we were at Publix for at least an hour, maybe more. But the sun was out, so we decided to go to the beach after we got all the food put away. By that time it was almost 3PM and as we were getting ready to go, Jennifer called and said that they were about 30 -40 minutes out. So Hernan stayed at the house while we went on to the beach. I love having a 4 year old around. Looking at the beach through Anna’s eyes gives me a whole new perspective. Everything is an adventure. I think that’s why Jesus said that we needed to come as little children. Life really is an adventure. There is goodness everywhere; you just have to look to find it. Anna found shells; starfish and I think Lisa found a whole sand dollar. Anna couldn’t wait to take her shoes off and run down toward, and into, the water. Now I don’t know the water temperature, but it was 48 degrees with wind blowing on the beach. I wasn’t about to take my shoes off. We finally got her interested in digging in the sand some. She used the new sand toys that she had gotten at Publix and had a good time doing that. By then it was time to get back to see Jennifer and the family.

Life is happening here, that’s for sure. With four little granddaughters running around, anything can happen. At first I don’t think Julia know what to think of all the extra people, but it didn’t take her long to join in. Anna, Adair and Meleah took up where they left of last January. I hope that Anna doesn’t run Adair and Meleah ragged. The probably need a little space every now and then. Anyway they were having a great time. We were looking at places to put the tree up. The first priority, of course, was that it be in a place where we saw it. The second priority was to get a location that would protect it from Julia as much as possible. I think that we accomplished both. It is in a corner of the living room, next to the Kitchen bar. It is surrounded on the remaining sides by a sectional sofa. It is almost impossible for Julia to pull down any ornaments. I got the tree up with minimum stress and then all four granddaughters took part in the “hanging of the ornaments”. It was controlled chaos. Everyone except Julia wanted to hang ornaments, and everyone did. I didn’t think one branch could hold four different ornaments but it can. Seriously, I thought I would have to go back and rearrange all the ornaments. But it looks good. They did it and I am not touching it. Of course, I hung any ornaments that were over four and a half feet high.

So all the lights are on the tree, and all the decorations are hung. We had supper, all sitting around the table. Lisa cooked, and we all helped clean. It was a good time together. After dinner, the girls were all playing together again. We played Charades. The theme was “stories from the Bible”. It was fun, but we commented on how Nana wouldn’t have liked the game. Nana wa missed today, she will always be missed. Life goes on, and you make do. You can still live and have fun. That’s the best way to honor her memory.

Tonight Jennifer, Lisa, Hernan and I watched Inception. That’s the third time I have seen it. Tonight I realized even more that in the midst of the weirdness of the movie, there is a lot of truth. You can’t let your memories become prisons. Your memories are good, but they are not nearly as good as the real thing was. No mater how good the past memories, you can’t stay there. That is not reality. Reality is the Kingdom. Reality is that Julia is in Heaven, cheering us on this week, saying, “Go, have fun, be a family, live life to the fullest and surpass even your best dreams.”

So that is what we are going to do this week. To the best of my ability, that is my goal. Tomorrow we get bikes and all the things we need to ride. Hopefully we can go to the heated pool for a swim and also get a run in. I don’t want this week to go by so fast and not do all the things we came here to do. Well I guess tomorrow has just become today. It’s late and time for bed. There is too much to do to sleep in.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 342 - Arrived in Hilton Head

Well it’s 11:59, so this blog that is for Sat will actually be posted on Sunday morning. I’m sitting here trying to write, and Anna Roan is right beside me talking. Lisa is trying to get Julia to sleep. They actually got here quicker than I thought they would. It was about 10:30 when they came in. Ten we had to unload everything. I got here about 8PM and unloaded my car, which was packed to the brim. I don’t think I could have got anything else in it. I was able to get it all unloaded and put away before they got here.

I went to Laura’s today for my family Christmas. Dad and Allene didn’t make it. It was probably for the best. It was cold and rainy. It would have been a long drive and probably very tiring. It’s better he save his strength and try to build it up. Plus little Luke was throwing up last night, so he might have a virus. It was good that dad stayed home. We did have him on speaker phone and had him ask the blessing. So it was sort of like he was with us. We had a good diner, and it was fun seeing everyone. Frank had a mustache and a beard. With my mustache and Gills mustache and beard it seemed like facial hair was “in” this year. We missed Matt and his family and of course Lisa and Jennifer.

I left around 2PM and got to the Sea Pines welcome center around 7:15. I was unpacking by 8pm. The house is very nice. The bedrooms are big, and it is a very rambling ranch. It was probably built in the 80’s but it has been kept very well. I know that it will be a good place for us. Jennifer, Sean and the kids will arrive late tomorrow afternoon. I’ll get the tree set up, and we can all decorate it tomorrow night. That will be fun. Then Monday we will get the bikes sorted out and start riding. I listened to a CD by Graham Cooke today. I listened to it earlier in the year and it had an impact on me, but today it had an even deeper impact. He is talking about living a present future life. That’s instead of a present past life.

What he is talking about is letting your destiny help you in your present life; especially if you are in the middle of a battle. If you stay focused on the present, you won’t see your way through to victory, but if you look at who you are called to be, then act like it, you will be able to move past the battle into your destiny. On the other hand, if you let your past define you, you will never reach your destiny. It is so easy to let your past define you. You are much more familiar with your past. You know it like a glove. Your destiny on the other hand seems so far removed. You have to press into it with faith. You have to not only believe; you have to be persistent in what you have been called to be.

I see that for me, it is extremely easy to fall back into thinking about and trying to relive the past. But to do that is to move into failure. As much as I like the past, no as much as I love the past, it is not going to get me to my destiny. I truly believe that Papa wants me to honor the past, but press into the future. So, as we celebrate Christmas as a family I want ot honor Julia. I want to allow our love for her to flow with tears, laughter, stories pictures and anything else that Papa can use to bring us together in our love for her and all that she has meant to us.

But then, I want us to look at the future and commit to become Present future in our thoughts. I want to call out destiny in all my children and their spouses. More than that I want to bless and speak life and destiny into all my granddaughters. If I can do that. No, if we can do that, then it will be a successful visit. I love my family. I love Julia, but I desire destiny to be fulfilled. We have to be Present – Future minded. I’m glad to be here. It’s going to be a great visit together.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 341 - Packed and Ready

Well, the truth is that I am 95 percent packed. Everything is loaded on the Envoy except my clothes and the cooler. I’ll load those up tomorrow morning. I’ve packed all my coffee, so I’ll have to go the Starbucks early in the morning to get my coffee. Then I will have to get ready to go to my sister Laura’s for our family Christmas. I hope that Dad is strong enough to make it. It w ill be fun seeing everybody and spending some time together. Then from there I will start the drive to Hilton Head. I am guessing that it will take about six hours from Laura’s house. So, if I leave around 2 it should ge me there about 8. Then I will unpack. That will probably take a couple of hours. Lisa and her family should be coming in around 1AM. I guess it will be a short night. Well, that’sthe plan right now. Jennnifer and her family should arrive late Sunday.

Today was busy. I got up and started getting things together. I left early to do a few things and then went to the Chiropractor at 12. After some more running around I got back home about 2PM. It was sunny and about 48 degrees, so I figured that I had beter get a ride in on the Harley if I was ghing to ride before I left. I wanted to crank it up and ride it just to keep the batter charged. Well, it started fairly easly and I let it warm up for almost 10 minutes. I had my leather jacket on and my heavy gloves. As I started the ride I realized that I was still going to be cold. Myhands were fine, the gloves worked good. The jacket worked good too. I wasn’t cold where it protected me. But I was cold, very cold. The jeans that I was wearing were not enough protection in the cold. I was riding on the back roads and not going very fast, but my legs were very cold. Well, I only had time for a short ride anyway, but it was fun to get out and clear my head.

I am getting excited about seeing everybody together. I’m sure it all won’t go smoothly, it never does. The key is to get the Granddaughters playing together. If they can get connected, the family will stay connected. It’s a generational thing. I can see it in my generation. When mom died, Julia picked up the mantle of having everyone together. Now, Laura and Kay are sort of sharing it, but when Dad dies I hope that it will continue. It’s the same with me. When I die, I hope that the girls are so close that thy will be willing to sacrafice to see each other and get together. I could have gone to both places like we did last year, but if we are going to remain a family; we have to get together, at least once a year. I’m learning more and more that being together as a family is important. So, this week is a sacrifice for all of us. It cost me a good deal of money to rent the house. It’s costing Jennifer and Lisa a good deal of money to have someone sit the dogs plus they have a long drive. Is this the beginning of a tradition, at least for the next few years? I don’t know, I’ll tell you after Christmas. But I do know that we all need to be together right now, and by Sunday night we will be.

So, here I am, writing my last blog of the year sitting by my fire in the rocker. The rest will be written in Hilton Head. It should be a fun time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 340 - Presents Wrapped

Last night was supposed to be Dinner and a Movie night, but the ice made us change plans. It really wasn’t supposed to ice up, but you know the truth. If a weatherman is moving his lips he is probably lying. Seriously, I know that ice events in Atlanta are really hard to predict, and so I will give them a little slack. But it began to start icing around 4PM. It wasn’t bad, and it was barely drizzling, but the ground was so cold that it started icing before anyone could realize it. So instead of dinner and a movie, we went to a BBQ place. I had beef brisket and Brunswick stew. The stew was pretty good for a restaurant. I still didn’t compare to my dad’s stew. His is probably the best I have ever had, and has spoiled me to any other stew. We ate at 6 and the roads were already getting icy. We finished about 7:20 and we all went home. At that time the traffic was terrible, but the roads were still passable. Driveways were another matter. As I pulled into my driveway, I opened the garage door, hoping to make it into the garage. But I had no idea how much ice had accumulated in the driveway.

My neighbor across the street parks one of his cars in the street most of the time. It’s right by my driveway and I have to be very careful backing out so that I don’t hit his car. You could say that this bothers me a little. Last night it bothered me a lot. Because of where that car was I couldn’t get a wide turn to enter the driveway and keep my momentum going up the hill. This caused me to lose traction on the ice about half way up the hill. No problem, I thought, I’ll just park here until morning. But then the car started to slide. I was sliding down the hill toward the road and the parked car. It was also sliding sideways, trying to turn. I though sure that I was about to knock down my mailbox and then hit the car. I was doing everything I new to keep it going straight, but the driveway is not straight and it was following the contour of the hill. Then it stopped. The front wheel had gone off the pavement into the grass getting enough traction to stop with the brakes on. Thank you Papa. My prayers were answered.

So it was a good thing that we cancelled the movie last night. The roads got progressively worse and there were over 1000 wrecks in the metro area. I’m glad it wasn’t 1001. But that left me in a dilemma. Biddie and Cathy were going to wrap my Christmas presents. I have completed my shopping, but I am not good at all when it comes to wrapping presents, So they didn’t get to wrap them last night. Well Biddie and John came over and Biddie wrapped them. So, now all I have to do is to complete my packing. That is a pretty big task in itself. I’ve started, but the most will be done tomorrow.

It really feels good to have all the packages wrapped. It feels more like Christmas. I have the Christmas tree and the decorations in the Envoy already. My plan is to get the tree up before the kids get there and then to decorate once all the Granddaughters arrive. It will be fun to decorate it together. I probably don’t have all the decorations, but I will have enough to make it special for all of us.

Lisa sent me an email today giving me a list of what to being. I’v got most of that out and ready to pack. Tomorrow will be a day of preperation although I have to go to my Chiropractor in the middle of the day. So, here I am, sitting by the fire, listening to Bing Crosby dreaming of Christmas at the beach. Tomorrow will be a busy day. I plan on making it a special day as well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 339 - Mele Kalikimaka

I was driving back form work his afternoon when a Bing Crosby song cam on the radio. I was listening to Christmas music. The song was “Mele Kalikimaka” That’s Hawaiian for Merry Christmas. I had to smile as I heard this song. It reminded me of our first Christmas together. I know that I have written about this before, but probably not like this. Mele Kalikimaka: it’s a fun word to say, and you can’t help smiling when you say it. We were living in the Ambassador Hotel in Wai Ki Ki, downtown Honolulu when we firs heard the song. We had already heard the words, but they were too hard to memorize. When we heard the song and started singing it, the words were easily memorized. If fact they were learned so well that I still know them, and so did Julia. That became our thing. We would tell each other “Mele Kalikimaka” and grin at each other. It was like, “We did it, and we survived despite all the odds”.

I think back of Christmas in Hawaii with fond memories, especially as I sit here in the cold with icy roads and almost everything shut down for the night. It’s only December, how can we possibly have all this weather so soon. Right now almost all the roads are covered in ice. I have an appointment in Marietta at 9AM in the morning, but I think I will probably have to cancel it and reschedule. It would be nice to be in Hawaii for Christmas. We were there four years ago. Anna was about to be born. Of course we didn’t know it was Anna, as far as we knew it could have been a boy. It’s hard to think that Anna could have ever been a boy. Where would you have released all the drama that she releases every day. She is such a Princess. I love it. The problem is that Julia is already trying to pull her off her throne. It’s going to be interesting watching all this in the next week.

Christmas in Hawaii was all about lights and decorations. Many streets would have contests with all the neighbors going all out. It was great fun to spend Christmas eve just walking around the neighborhood in your shorts and shirtsleeves, watching all the lights and decorations. It was great. In this cold, I really miss it.

Well, I got the list from Lisa, and I think that I am taking all the kitchen to Hilton Head. The one thing she didn’t ask for and I am adding is the organic popcorn and Coconut Oil. I know the girls are going to want me to fix some at night. At least I hope I will have an excuse to make it. Hilton Head will be in the 50’s and for me that will be a thaw. But for Jennifer and Sean, it will be cold. We will definitely ride bikes and walk on the beach, even if it is only in the hottest part of the day.

It’s been a good day, I am happy and ready for the beach and tome with my family. It’s going to be a great time together. Julia will be there in Spirit, and we will spend a lot of time loving on each other. I can’t wait.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 338 - Pressing On

One more day of work for the month, then I have two weeks off. I had two weeks off when I went to Australia, but it didn’t seem like it. I want these two weeks to go by more slowly. I really want to enjoy the kids and the time that I have with them. I am looking forward to being away. Hopefully it will be warmer and we can get out on the beach for a walk or a ride. I have a lot to do in the next two and a half days. I wish I had Julia’s gift for getting things done. She would make her list and not stop until it was finished. Sometimes it would drive me crazy, but she could sure accomplish a lot in a little time.

I got a Christmas card from a dear friend. She is the wife of my “little brother” in my fraternity at Tech. He died of cancer almost a year and a half ago. Last year she wrote a sweet letter telling of her family and how they were all meeting somewhere else for Christmas to be together. I was going to write her and then everything happened and I never got to write. It was her letter that gave me the idea for us to go to Hilton Head for Christmas. It’s funny, I dreamed about him just the other night. Anyway, she is doing well, and they have a new grandbaby. She said the family is healing and she is dating a man that she new when she was in college. They reconnected on Facebook. I’m very happy for her, but that got me thinking. I don’t know anybody from my past that I would even think about dating. No, if I ever decide to date it will have to be someone from now or the future, not the past.

Well, I have had at least 10 people ask me in the last week “How I am doing?” I know that they are lovingly concerned for me, but I begin to wonder if I look frazzled or something. I think that I am doing well, and that’s what I tell them. It’s the truth, I’m doing well, but when I really begin to examine myself, I know that I am in a different season right now. It’s like I went from walking on dry ground to walking in thick mud. Yes, I’m doing fine, but it is taking more work to stay fine right now. Just like it takes more energy to walk in deep mud, that’s how I feel right now.

If I let myself, it is easy to start the slide down into self-pity and grief. I’m not going there. I miss Julia, very much, but this is going to be a great Christmas. We will honor her, cry over her and laugh with her, but I will not let self-pity rob me of the joy that Papa wants me to have. Sure it is lonesome without her, but I am not alone. I have family and good friends but most of all I have Holy Spirit. I know that I am about to be invaded by life. Raw life that comes with granddaughters crying, laughing, fussing and playing. I will enjoy every minute of it. Why shouldn’t I, I don’t have to discipline them. My job is to love and spoil them. I think I can do that.

So I am pressing on. That’s not negative; it’s just the truth. Life is a marathon, and sometimes usually around mile 14 you wind up pressing on. It’s not the adrenalin of the start or the glory of the finish, but it is just as important because it connects the two. So, I guess this week has been like that. In many ways this holiday season will be hard for all of us, but in many more ways it will bring life to each of us. That’s what Papa wants us to focus on. That’s what I’m doing. So, yes, I am doing well. I’m pressing on.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 337 - Laughing at Lies

Tonight was a special night at school. It was a night where our second year class hosted the first year. We gave the party and they came to it; literally. We set up different stations in the room, and they came through a fire tunnel into the room and then we hosted to stations. There were many stations. I know there was a foot washing and massage station, a hand massage station, a prophetic art station, a communion station. They each were given a gift and the prophetic words that we had written out for them. There were also prophetic stations where they could line up and get words. Then there was the laughing Station. That was my station. Joseph, Rebecca, Jason and myself manned the station along with two “tickle me Elmo”s.

I don’t know if it was the most popular station, but I do know it was the loudest. You have to realize that Joy is a third of the Kingdom. The average child laughs 400 times a day. But the time they are adults they only laugh 15 times a day. Obviously we are way to serious. Jesus told us to come to Him as children. Don’t you think it might mean we need to laugh a little bit more. Well, that’s what we were trying to get the students to do tonight. I think we succeeded with those who chose to come to our station. I do know this, I laughed almost constantly for over two hours. That’s hard to do, and I was happy when we were through. In fact I laughed about it.

OK, so what did we laugh about? We laughed about the lies that we tend to believe. Things that aren’t true, but we have spent years believing them. For example we laughed about this: “ You have to work hard to gain your inheritance in the Kingdom”. HA HA! We also laughed about this: “I’m to sick to get healed” HA HA! There were many, many more lies, but you get the idea. The only way to laugh for tow hours is to stay drunk in the Spirit, and I had a dream team for that. We constantly were stirring each other up laughing at and with each other.

The night ended with an hour of worship and it was great. So it was a very good night overall. I hope that the first year students had as much fun as we did. I know that for us last year, it was a very important time.

It was just so cold this morning that I took the envoy. I think I will take it again tomorrow. It is a much warmer car than the Miata when it gets this cold. Work went well and I do it again for the next two days. It will be colder tomorrow morning, then hopefully it will warm up. I’m still counting the days down until I leave for Hilton Head. I am really missing the kids. I’m so glad that we are going to be together. Well, it’s late, and I need some sleep. Too bad the bed is so cold when I get in it. The good news is that it warms up fast.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 336 - Countdown to Hilton Head

This is an odd Sunday for me. I’ve been out of the house twice today, two trips to Publix. I got up this morning with all the intention of going to church and then to outreach. But after I had breakfast and was ready to go I started thinking of all the things that I had to do before Monday night at class. It was then I realized that I really didn’t have time to get everything done. So I decided to stay home from church, probably for the first time in years. Sure, I’ve missed when I had to work or was out of town, but never just to stay home. But I know that I did the right thing. I was able to worship and watch Bill Johnson in Bethel tv while I worked on my projects.

I had planned to go to outreach, but it kept getting colder and colder, so we canceled it. It’s not right to take the team out on the streets when the wind chill is 14. There probably would not have been many people out to minister to anyway. So that meant I got to stay home all day. That’s a rare treat for me. I am caught up on all my laundry and I have caught up on everything I need to do before work tomorrow. I work the next three days and we have school on Monday and Tuesday night. So I won’t be home very much for the next couple of days.

So I will have a lot to do to get ready for my two weeks at Hilton Head after work ends on Wednesday. I’ll probably spend most of Thursday and Friday packing. I will have a lot to pack. I’m sure the Envoy will be full by the time it’s all packed. I really can’t wait. I am looking forward to seeing everyone. I’m still praying for good weather so I can run and we can ride bikes and go out onto the beach. That reminds me, I probably should take the sand toys to, just in case.

Overall today has been a good day. I’m glad to just get to stay home and do the things that I needed to get done. I did miss seeing everybody, and I know I probably won’t see too many of them again before Christmas. I’m looking at the picture of Julia and I that Missy took last Christmas. It was a year ago next weekend since that picture was taken; it seems like yesterday. I think I’ll take it with me so we can have it there with us for Christmas. I still have a hard time believing that she is not in the next room, wrapping presents. But she’s not, and I still have presents to wrap. Biddie said that she will help ne. We will probably do them next Wednesday night during the movie. I still have a little shopping to finish. I’ll do that Thursday or Friday too. Wow, I can see it’s going to get busy this weekend. But it’s Christmas; it’s always busy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 335 - A Gray Day

Well, I was going to the BASSM Christmas party tonight. I didn’t make it; long story. The morning began well; I slept in because I had been up early all week. I didn’t have to be at work until 1:40 so I didn’t sit an alarm clock. That was my first mistake. The next thing I knew it was after 10AM. I really didn’t plan on sleeping that long. There were things I wanted to get done, and now I didn’t have time to do them. Well, it was OK, I did get a shower and do a few things around the house, but I was not happy that I had slept so long. So, at noon, I went to work. I left early enough that I was able to make a stop at Michaels to pick up some stuff I needed to get for school on Monday night. Then on the way to work I stopped at Starbucks for a Latte to take to work. That was my second mistake for the day.

As I got to work, I decided to transfer the latte to my travel mug. I have done this many times before. I was in the parking lot and when I transferred the coffee, I tipped over the mug and spilled half of it on my pants. That was not fun, the good news is that I didn’t get burned. The bad news is that my pants were very wet. The only good thing I could think of was that I was wearing Kaki pants, and the latte stain wouldn’t be to noticeable when it dried. I immediately tossed my keys down on the console, got up out of the car and recovered what was left of the latte. Then I proceeded to try to dry off my pants and the seat. Then I got my coffee, locked the car door and went to work.

Work went well. I had one student for a check ride ant things were going according to plan. I would hopefully be through about 6 and then go to the party. It started at 6, but I would just be a little late. Well, all was going according to plan. In fact, I even finished a little early. I was walking down the hall, thinking about leaving and stopping by Publix to pick up a Key Lime pie for desert. It was going to be a good night. I reached for my keys. They weren’t in my pocket. I felt my belt, they weren’t there. When they weren’t in my jacket pocket I realized that I was in trouble. I went out to the car, hoping that the keys were not in the car, but when I looked in the window, there they were, right on the console where I had tossed them when I spilt the coffee. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach just made me realize thatit was going to be a long night.

Years ago, Delta Security would be able to help you open your car if it was locked. I know that for a fact. This is not the first time I have done this. But it has been about five years, so I thought that I had learned my lesson. Anyway, times change, and Delta Security no longer does those things. I had two choices. First, I could throw a brick through the window. Yes, I’ve done something like that before. I remember one rainy night I was going to the airport to fly a trip. I was running a little late, and I got out, locked the door and ran to the bus stop with my umbrella. It was then I realized that I had left my bag, keys and ID locked it the truck. I was in uniform with an umbrella. I was about to leave on a four-day trip and my bag was in the truck. I could have left my keys locked in the truck and dealt with it later, but I had to have my bag and ID. So I used the umbrella as a club and broke through the rear window of the truck. Do you know how hard it is to break a window with an umbrella? It took about five minutes before I could get in. I went on my trip and then I had to deal with the broken window when I got back. I didn’t want to do that tonight. There was no need. I would just call a locksmith and have the car opened. I have done that before too.

Well, I had to wait for over an hour for the locksmith to come. When He finally came he said that it would be 200 plus the service call to open the car. I knew that it was a lot, but from experience, I knew that it would cost more to replace the window. So, I reluctantly agreed. Well, I need to become a locksmith; or maybe a car thief. He had the car unlocked in less than two minutes. That’s 100 dollars a minute. I don’t think Matt Ryan makes that much a minute. Oh well, lesson learned. It was definitely an expensive cup of coffee. Next week I will have an extra key made.

So, I didn’t make the party and I was pretty bummed out at spending that much money. But I am home by the fire. It is warm and I am so blessed. I think of all those who are out on the streets tonight and especially for the next few days in the cold. Yes it was a gray day, but God is good, and He loves me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 334 - Wesleyan Fellowship Part II

We were meeting at New Life Church on Sunday Nights. Charles was the main preacher. We were also meeting at New Life on Tuesday nights (I think) and Tom was preaching. Tom’s service was called “The River” and worship was very good. The Holy Spirit was moving and people were free. We had people with flags and some dancing off to the side. Sunday night was different. Charles’ messages were pretty good, but worship was much more conservative. They were trying to blend in hymns and cotemporary songs. In Julia’s and my opinion, it wasn’t working very well. I am prophetic, but it didn’t take a prophet to see that things were going in different directions. It didn’t take long to realize that there were really two different churches under the same banner. (This is not a chronological history. If fact this one post might cover at least a year or more. I’m just hitting highlights, or lowlights, as I remember them.)

If I had been in leadership, I would have stopped the Tuesday service before it got started. That would have forced all the people to come to the same service and get on the same page. But fortunately, I wasn’t in leadership. God had other plans. Here we are, some 600 – 800 strong. We are all wanting a church, but there are probably at least five models and visions that are vying for attention. Don’t ever plant a church with people whose only common vision is what they don’t want; it shouldn’t work, it should blow up. WF didn’t blow up, but it almost did. This was the period that was hardest for Julia and I. We weren’t in leadership and all we could do was pray. So that is what we did, and I know that is what Papa wanted us to do. Under the radar we were beginning to pour into different people. All of our old friends were wanting more, and we were teaching them all that we knew. Whenever there was a prayer time we were there. Sometime during this season, Julia began to teach on intercession. Many prayers were going forth for the church. They were all needed.

Some time during this early season I asked Tom if we could have Ministry teams at the alter for prayer after the sermon. I got his OK and we started the first ministry teams for the Tuesday night service. Eventually they would spread to the Sunday night service but it took a while. Worship at both services was going in two different directions. Neither group was willing to embrace totally the other’s vision. The worship wars had officially began. Some people still wanted choirs. Other people wanted mostly hymns. Others wanted totally Spirit led music. This war, as it was, over worship would eventually cause many to leave the church.

About this time I got a book by Graham Cooke. The book was “A Divine Confrontation – Birth Pangs of the New Church”. It was about what God was doing in the Church today and how the church was in transition. It spelled out almost everything we were going through, or would go through. I read and reread this book for over two years. I got a copy for Tom Tanner and he and Melissa read it to. As I read it over the years, I would cry as I saw what was about to happen, or was happening with us. I would underline passages, only to see them fulfilled. It was a guide to what we were going through, and I truly believe that God used that book to help us weather the worst of the transition.

It’s really hard to stay pure in heart when you are totally against someone else’s vision, and they are totally against yours. There were many times when I was so frustrated that I just wanted to leave. Julia was my rock of stability as usual. She would just double down in prayer and point out that our job was to love, It was His job to change hearts and allow vision to come forth. But that really didn’t help me any. I truly believe that I am a warrior by nature, and as much as I don’t like confrontation, there are certain things that I am willing to fight for. My problem sometimes is that I want to fight people when instead I should be fighting spirits. But with Julia’s help, I managed to maintain my purity of heart, although many times it was hard. The question was still in the air, “Which Vision would win out?” I knew that if the vision of a Spirit led apostolic church didn’t win, I couldn’t stay. I really didn’t want to leave. This tug of war lasted for a long time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 333 - The Gift

I’m back in my rocking chair by the fire listening to Christmas music. It has been a long interesting day. It started early by driving down to Peachtree City to take dad to the pain clinic. Everything there went well, and I am cautiously optimistic that he will be able to turn the corner and get much better in the next few days. Hopefully what we are doing now will take the place of a lot of the medication that he has been taking, and he can get better quickly. He is looking better, so I am just going to keep praying and believing for healing and health for him as we move forward.

Why is it that I can be having fun enjoying myself being around friends and then with out even taking a step, all of a sudden I am miles away, almost seeing and sensing Julia? I don’t have an answer, and it doesn’t happen often, but it happened tonight, and it has happened before. We had been talking and eating when I had Kathy lead us in Christmas Carols. I know the words to almost everyone that we sang. I enjoy singing them, it reminds me of times gone by. I guess the fact that it does remind me of times gone by that Julia memory was going to be strong. I should have been prepared, but I wasn’t.

All day long, she has been in the back of my mind. I know that she would have been helping Biddie decorate. I still remember decorating last year. She would have been cooking up a grand appetizer of a great desert to share with the group. She was the ultimate hostess. I just did what she told me to do to get ready. So, yes, she had been in the back of my mind all day. But I still wasn’t prepared for what happened when we started singing the Christmas carols. I was really enjoying singing them. Kathy was in the right key for my voice range and I was just singing freely. All of a sudden her presence was so strong it was as if she was in the room right beside be. In fact, I could almost feel my arm drape over her shoulder and then grab her hand. I was still singing loudly and happily, but I was crying at the same time. There was a smile on my face, but tears were rolling down my cheek.

It’s like “bitter sweet”. There were two strong contrasting emotions, yet neither was bitter, but both were sweet in different ways. I so much wanted to feel more of her presence, but I was grateful for what I felt. I didn’t want it to end, yet at the same time it made me so sad because I knew that I would not be able to maintain that, I was really alone. As I looked around the room at all of my friends, all of Julia’s friends it hit me again how much I love her. Yes I said love, not loved. I will always love her. I know that dad told me that I would find room in my heart to love another, and maybe I will.

Wow, I just lost it. I haven’t cried like that in months. I’m much better now. It didn’t last but a minute and now I am fine. In fact I am better than I was. I love Christmas, Julia loved Christmas, it is my favorite time of year. I declare that this is going to be a great Christmas. We are going to have so much fun at Hilton Head. I cant’ wait for all the granddaughters to be together. Yes, we will all probably cry every now and then. Yes, we will definitely miss Julia. But her presence will be there. It will be very strong. We can either embrace it as a gift, or grieve over her loss. I hope that we as a family will be able to embrace her presence as a gift, an Christmas gift to each one of us. Yes there will be some sadness, that is natural, but we have to choose to embrace the gift of her presence, just like I did tonight. That is what she would want, and that is what I am going to give her for Christmas. It’s all I can give her. So, Julia as I move deeper into this special time I give you my gift; the gift of honoring and embracing your presence when I feel you near. I know that you will be near, because you will be wanting to hang out with your girls, all six of them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 332 - Shining Through

Tonight we did Dinner and a Movie once again. The soup turned out very good, and the cornbread was excellent. Cathy brought an appetizer to die for. It was a split Jalapeno pepper with chicken wrapped in beef bacon. It was right up my alley, the pepper gave it a good spicy taste. It wasn’t too hot, and tasted very good. The movie was “Shining Through”, it was a thriller set in WWII Germany. I had never seen it, even though it was made in 1992. We all enjoyed it. It was entertaining and had a happy ending.

Yes, I do remember, today is the 8th. Eleven months ago Julia got to go see Jesus. I remember the date, but there is no sadness in my heart tonight. I remember so much, but it’s all good. How can I be sad with such good memories? I can remember earlier in the year when the 8th of the month would almost send me spiraling down. Of course for the most part I was able to recover quickly. But tonight there is joy in my heart. That’s the real reason I titled tonight’s post “Shining Through”. It’s not because of the movie title. It’s because His love is “shining through” to my heart tonight. I just think of how much He loves my family and me. I think of how much I have to be thankful for. I truly am a blessed man. It’s Christmas, how can anyone not understand God and His goodness?

I think we got some good news on Dad today. He went to the pain management doctor and he is helping him get back to normal. I’m going down in the morning to Peachtree City to help take him to the hospital for a procedure that should help him get of some of the meds that are aggravating his situation. So I’ll probably leave around 6:15 in the morning. I know it will be cold in the morning. I can’t believe it’s going to get colder next week. It has to get warm before Christmas; otherwise it will be really cold at Hilton Head.

The first birthday of the week occurred today. Sean had his birthday. I wish that I could be with all of them. Birthdays are special. They are God’s way of recognizing that He made us special. Sean, He really did make you special! Happy Birthday. Next is Jennifer’s and then Anna Roan’s. Wow, Christmas is coming fast. I did get some more shopping done today, but I didn’t have a chance to work out. Maybe I will be able to tomorrow afternoon. I hope so because I sure need it.

That’s about it for tonight. I want to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. We have our last cell tomorrow night. It will be a Christmas party. It should be fun and a good way to end the cell.

Day 331 - Soup's On

It has been ridiculously cold all week. Now I remember why I joined the Y last winter. I’m definitely not going out running in this weather. The bad news is that I’m not getting to ride the Harley any either. I think the high today was around 40, but with the wind the wind chill was about 26. Too cold for my thin blood! It looks like another cold front is coming in this weekend so it will be cold next week. I sure hope it warms up before we go to Hilton Head. If we all have to stay in the house all week it could get very hard.

I just got home from school a little while today. It’s been a long day. I got 3 hours sleep last night, and I can feel the fatigue tonight. Plus I worked three periods in about 24 hours plus two nights of school. No wonder I am tired. But now I am sitting by the fire and the house is filled with the wonderful smell of Vegetable soup simmering on the stove. I started it this afternoon. John Biddie Bud and Cathy are coming over for Dinner and a Movie tomorrow. Biddie is going to make cornbread to go with the soup. It will be a great meal for a cold winter’s night. Of course I have been gone a lot, but this is the first time I have cooked since the last time they cam over. I’m of from work tomorrow and Thursday, but I have meetings at the church most of the day tomorrow. Thursday I will try to go down and see Dad. He has had a hard time with some medication and is very weak. Hopefully the Doctor will change his medicine tomorrow. Friday will be busy with work and a Sozo on Friday night. Saturday afternoon I work and then go to a school Christmas party.

I did get all the birthday cards mailed today; Sean’s will be late, his birthday is tomorrow. Jennifer and Anna Roan should get theirs on time. Now I just have to finish Christmas shopping. Maybe I can do some tomorrow after my meetings. But I would also like to work out and then I do need to clean house a little bit. I guess it will be another busy day tomorrow as well. Kenny G just started playing a Christmas song that Julia and I loved to hear. I do miss her so. Will I ever not miss her? It’s been almost 11 months. I’m not grieving, and I am so thankful for her, but I do still miss her. Tonight I caught myself saying something about “our” house. It’s my house now, but it is still “our” house. Well, she would not be happy with the yard right now. The back is full of leaves, but it has been either too cold or too wet to blow them; maybe after Christmas. There is really not much more to say tonight. I’m very tired and it is very late. I think I will call it a night and go to bed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 330 - Birthday Week

While others are getting ready for Christmas, I have more pressing business. I’m late sending out family birthday cards. Today was the day I was going to shop for them and get them in the mail. I planned on having time between work and school. I was going down to Peachtree City to see Dad and I figured I would have time to get then there. Sean’s birthday in December 8th; Jennifer’s birthday is December 11 and Anna Roan’s is December 12. I know that I can get Anna Roan’s and Jennifer’s there on time, but Sean’s is a lost cause. He will just have to give me grace : > ) I know He will. I didn’t get down to Peachtree City to see Dad this afternoon. We had an instructor sick out and they needed me to stay for an extra period. I didn’t really want to, but I was one of their only options, so I did. Well, I have to get the cards on the mail tomorrow.

I really wanted to go to Anna Roan’s for her 4th birthday. I know it will be fun, but I’m working on Sat afternoon and Monday morning. It would be hard to get to Virginia for that Sunday. We will see each other on the 19th anyway, so I guess it won’t be too bad. Jennifer got her present today. I meant to tell her it was coming and not to open it, but I forgot, and sure enough, she opened it. It’s just not right being so far away that you can’t just carry a present over to the house. Well, I am blessed that I can get on a plane to see them.

I’m sitting here listening to Christmas music, and I know that it should feel like Christmas to me, but it really doesn’t; at least not yet. If it wasn’t for the Christmas music it would seem just like another week. Maybe when I get the tree up in Hilton Head. I saw a neat tree in Redding at the River House where we stayed. It was a Christmas Palm Tree. It had lights on the trunk and then on the leaves and the leaves were decorated. Shoot, I might get one if I’m here next Christmas. It was really neat looking, and it looked easy to decorate. It wasn’t your traditional tree, that’s for sure.

Christmas is so special. It is the birth of our Savior and the renewal of hope on the earth. It comes in winter when it is cold and bleak. I can’t imagine not celebrating Christmas. I remember in one of the Narnia booksl I think it was in “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” they mentioned having always winter and never Christmas. No that would be sad. That would be very depressing. So, I will have Christmas! My family will have Christmas; we have much to celebrate and to give thanks for. It’s going to be a good Christmas and a great ending to 2010. But I still have to get ready. What’s more pressing is I have to get those birthday cards mailed tomorrow. After all, this is birthday week.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 329 - Cold Weather Arrives

I have been going to our outreach at Little Five Points almost every Sunday afternoon since the middle of September. We have been blessed with beautiful weather. I don’t think that it has rained once. It’s been mostly sunny with mild temperatures. Today, winter finally arrived. The temperature this afternoon was 36 degrees with a wind of 10 – 15 MPH. That gave a wind chill factor of 27 degrees. The only thing we had going for us was that when the sun was out it felt a little warmer.

Our goal as always was to share the love of Jesus and release the Kingdom where ever we could. But I also told the team that they needed to get inside out of the cold whenever they could. As the cold sets into the L5P area, you can just feel the darkness begin to increase. Any hope or joy that the people out on the streets might have is completely sapped by the cold. It becomes a matter of survival. What can I eat, how can I stay warm? Where will I sleep or how can I get high to relieve all this pain? So our job of releasing god’s love and bring hope will only be more important, and probably a little harder than in the past. But really it’s not about us anyway. We are just to bring the light of His love into the darkness. So the darker, the more bright will be His light and hope,

How do you release His love to someone who has so many needs? You can’t solve all their problems. You can’t fix hardly anything. When you leave, their physical situation will probably be the same. So what can I do? Probably the best thing that I can do is to actually build relationships. These are people. They need to be treated with love and respect. True honor is releasing honor to someone who doesn’t deserve it. So, we need to honor them. We need to listen to them and allow them to have a few minutes of dignity and respect. So, today, that is what I did.

It started as we were walking up to the main area. We had already decided that we were going to by some people coffee. This homeless guy with one eye came up to a couple of us and asked for money for food. We said we couldn’t give him money, but we would buy him a coffee. So we took him with us to the coffee shop. He said that he was hungry so I bought him a sandwich and a large cappuccino. Then I sat with him at a table in the coffee shop and I listened to him talk and asked him questions for probably over an hour. His name is Joseph and he grew up in the Atlanta area. He was in the service. I didn’t find out how old he was, but I know he was younger than I was even though he looked much older. He had no place to sleep tonight and I pray that he finds a warm spot. He never ate his sandwich. We bagged it up when we left. But he did drink his cappuccino as we talked. He is a believer, and I prayed for healing for his hand and for peace and a warm place to stay. Like most of the homeless that I have talked with, Joseph doesn’t like the shelters and only will go to them as a last resort.

After I left Joseph, I ran into Digger and Tim. Digger is a Viet Nam Vet. He served in the Big Red 1. He is suffering effects from Agent Orange and is fighting with the VA for benefits. He has a son who is a pilot in the Air Force. He and Tim seemed very nice and looked prepared for the cold. It’s fascinating to talk with these guys. Some are mean and won’t talk, others are friendly and just want company. They all have problems, obviously. But there but the grace of God go I.

It’s all about decisions and consequences. It’s about our attitude and how we react to problems. What did I learn today? Today I learned that all men and women need respect and love. I learned that God loves them in spite of their wrong doings and failures. They are His children, and He wants the best for them. I can at least meet with them over coffee, try to build trust and relationship and then hopefully bring the Kingdom to bear in their situation. Today was a good day. I hope that it was as good of a day for Joseph, Digger and Tim as it was for me. I know that God met me at L5P today. I think He met those guys too.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 328 - Christmas is Around the Corner

Well, I’m sitting by the fire in my rocking chair listening to Bing Crosby singing Winter Wonderland. It’s one of the Christmas songs in my “Christmas song list” on the Ipod. Yes, Christmas is coming fast. I’ve been so busy this week that I haven’t really thought of it. Yes, I have done most of my shopping, but just to sit down and think about Christmas, I haven’t done that until now. I could sit and listen to Christmas music all night. All of a sudden I am just very lonely. It’s amazing how fast the loss of Julia can overtake me, and the how fast it can pass. I am coming to realize that there will be lonely times, but I have to focus on the good memories that we shared and not the fact that she is not here. That is why I am so glad that we will all be together at Hilton Head this year. I know that she would have loved that.

Julia didn’t really like Bing Crosby that much as a singer, but she knew that I was very sentimental at Christmas, and I had grown up listening to all his Christmas songs as a kid, So, she let me pretty much pick out the selection of Christmas songs. I guess since I was a singer as a child, I was more into all the songs, and I tend to love the old classics at Christmas. So tonight and for the next couple of weeks I will be listening to all these old songs that Julia and I both ave listened to for year after year. It will be fun, but at the same time I’m sure that there will be tender moments as well.

The flight home tonight was uneventful. On the drive from Redding to Sacramento we had a rear tire that was going flat and we had to change. Ben did most of the work and it didn’t take very long. We were able to change it in a service station and not on the road. So we left Redding at about 10 EST and I got to the house at 9EST, It was a long travel day, but over all it wasn’t to hard. Tomorrow is church and then outreach. We have face down tomorrow night, but I might pass on that. I have homework for school to do and I have to work on Monday morning. So it will be back in the groove this next week. I work four days this week and then three next week. That’s it for the month. It’s really going to be cold this week, hopefully it will get warmer when we are at Hilton Head.

Thinking back to the summit, when I was in the prison outreach I realized how prophetic these two people who led the session were. You could just tell when they talked. Well, at the end of the session they prayed for us and imparted gifting in us. As I was finishing, I had been holding Les’s hand as he prayed for me. Before he let it go he just looked into my eyes and asked me if I had been beaten up in the Spirit. I just looked at him and briefly told him about Julia’s death. Then he prayed for me again, brushing things off and breaking things off. Although I didn’t realize that I still carried much of the pain, evidently I did. It was a good prayer. I am amazed at the goodness of God, and how he uses the gifts of the Spirit to minister to people.
So, although I think that I am totally healed sometimes, in reality it is still in process. But I am doing well, and God just used Les to move things along a little bit. I am so blessed to be in the culture of revival that I walk in, both at RiverStone and at Bethel. I can’t think of anywhere else in the world I had rather be right now. Truly He is about to perform wonders beyond our imagination.

Day 327 - Friday Night at Bethel

Today was a great day. It didn’t seem too busy, but it really was. We had two workshops and then we had the Friday evening service at Bethel. So we started at 10AM and basically finished at 10PM. Last year Julia and I were here at the Summit with Ben and Kerri along with Terry and Patty. It was fun, but they really didn’t do a great job on the summit. I was concerned this year that I might be wasting my time coming out. I wanted to come out to be here at the church no matter how the summit was. But I was totally wrong. The summit this year was very good. Everything that they did was better than last year.

Today we had a breakout session on Shabar, which is another advanced tool. Teresa did the training and it was excellent. She was concise and answered questions very well. We learned how to integrate this tool into a regular Sozo. She was still herself, nothing will change who we are, but she did an excellent job presenting the material and sharing her heart. That was good and combined with what we had on Wed and Thursday, it just topped the whole thing off.

For the second session this afternoon, I wanted to go to the prophetic workshop with one of my favorite people, Faith Blatchford. But I relay felt impressed by Holy Spirit to go to the prison Ministry breakout instead. I was intrigued when I heard that the person leading this session was doing group sozos and having great results. I wanted to learn all that I could because I have been sensing that God wants me to begin to do these group sessions as I develop “A Company of Fathers”. I wanted to learn as much as I could. I wasn’t disappointed. I took a lot of notes, but it has to be totally led by the Spirit, and I can see where I’m just going to have to step out in faith the first few times I do this. It will be like walking a tightrope for the first time without a net. If you fall, you will definitely crash and burn.

Tonight we went to the Friday evening service at Bethel. We found out that Steve and Wendy Backland were going to be speaking. I was excited because Steve and Wendy had been to BASSM last year, and they were great. I knew that we were in for a fun night with Holy Spirit. To top it off, Kelley had some friends save us seats on the second row right behind the staff. I have never had such good seats at Bethel before. As worship started, I could almost see Julia. I hadn’t been to s service here without her, and I just missed her terribly. It was such a sudden rush, then the worship team played “Love Came Down” and I really missed her. But the version was in such an upbeat tempo that I began to focus on Holy Spirit and Jesus rather than Julia and all of a sudden. I was in His presence worshiping.

I’m getting ready for bed; we leave tomorrow. It’s been a quick week, and I am pretty tired from all the traveling over the past 10 days, but I am so glad that I came. I believe that God is giving me keys to the future, and being here helped me more than I realized it would. Tomorrow night I will be back home. It will be fun.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 326 - The Glory Womb

Outside it was an overcast, rainy day most of the day in Redding. We started off with breakfast at the River House and we had to be at Bethel by 9:30. We got there early enough for a coffee at He Brews, the Bethel coffee shop, and then we met in the hallway with the intercessors. They gave us a rundown on what would take place for the next two and a half hours. They said we would be going into “the glory womb”.

The glory womb was a place where we would soak and allow Holy Spirit to do what ever was needed in our lives. It wasn’t a time of prayer or bible reading. We were not to take notes or try to make something happen. Our one objective was to rest in His presence and allow Him to do what ever He desired in our lives. The room was set up with a gold ceiling, representing the glory of God. The floor was covered with gold and white cloth and the outside was surrounded with blue cloth, representing the river of God flowing from the throne room. There were golden ropes hanging from the ceiling representing umbilical cords that we could grab onto and feel more of Hid presence. Then at the last half hour, the intercessors were going to come around and anoint us with different fragrances, representing the fragrances of God that we carry with us at all times. It sounded fantastic, but it was very different than it had been last year. But it is always different; God is always doing new things. The head intercessor said that we might get a word, but they really didn’t give prophetic words anymore. It’s all about His presence. They were the builder that built what He wanted to release and impart. Today He wanted to make all things new.

As I walked into the room, I could feel God’s presence. It was very strong. I found a pillow and layed down on the gold cloth and just began to allow His presence to wash over me. The first thing that came to my mind was the phrase that Mary told the Angel when He told her she was going to be with child. “Do it unto me according to your word”. I just wanted Holy Spirit top have His way in my life without me having to do anything. Almost immediately I began to see my chest being cut open. Iit was cut open and pulled apart and then I saw two big hands go into my chest and pull out my heart. They began to massage my heart and make it more pliable and soft as they continued to massage it. I knew that this massaging was bringing healing to my heart. I was lying on my back on the floor and I began to quietly cry. It wasn’t painful, but tears were gently rolling down both my cheeks as I allowed Holy Spirit to bring healing and flexibility to my hard heart. This must have gone on for over thirty minutes. The longer it went on, the more relaxed I became. I never went to sleep, but I just lay there in His presence.

I lay on my back for about an hour and a half and then I sat up. I was still just resting in His presence for the next thirty minutes, until we had to stand up for the last part. The smells were wonderful. Different intercessors had different fragrances, and as they went from person to person, they all began to intermingle. I was still so relaxed, but I knew that I had been touched. Nothing the rest of the day could get me out of that place of rest.

The afternoon was great, more impartation from the sozo team at Redding. We went to supper ath the Cattleman’s steak house, and Kelley Smith joined us for dinner. It was great to see her and hang with her a little. Kelley is one of my favorite people, and I have really missed her since she left RiverStone. We got to catch up on all that was going on, and we split a meal for tow. The steak was excellent, and I am glad that we did the meal. We both got dessert too, and I shared mine with the table. I was totally stuffed.

Tonight Steven DeSilva spoke. I am totally amazed every time I come here. It doesn’t matter who speaks, ther is so much wisdom and grace that flows from them. Kelly stayed and then went back to the River House with us after the meeting. We were just talking about all that God was doing. Ben, Kerri, Kelley and me prabally talked two hours after we got back. It’s always good to debrief afer a mission, and we definitely had a lot to talk about. Tomorrow we have more workshops and then we attend the evening services this Friday. Time is passing fast. Satursay morning is coming fast. I am so glad that I came, if for no other reason than this morning. It is really great when you have to get refreshed and encouraged. I wish all my friends could come here if they ever get the chance.