Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 262 - Activating the Prophetic

This blog is for Wed September 29th USA. Well we just finished another night of camp. We really finished another full day of camp. We started at 9AM this morning with Prophetic Activation. Scott and Lacey did teaching on ways to hear God and the basics of Prophecy 101. We participated by prophesying over one of the band members first. We all had words for him, and the combination of the words just blew him away. Doing this up front for all to see helped set the stage for Scott’s teaching. Basically the key to the morning is to make the students believe that they can hear God for someone else as well as their self. After the teaching we had the students all divide up and give prophetic words to each other. We also joined in with the students and were able to give some more words for people. It was a good morning and we stayed and watched the guys play cricket. That is really a weird game and I still don’t understand the rules.

The rest of the afternoon was spent back at the house just enjoying the day. We watched a movie down in the theater. Es, the theater has reclining lounge seats with amphitheater seating and a projector screen and surround sound. It is it’s own room with theater lighting and all. Then we went outside and played with the horses. We al rode a little, but Lacey and Joelle actually went on a long ride while Clint Scott Jason and I rode in the ATV. They own over 100 acres and we rode over a good portion of it. It was really a lot of fun. Our hosts are so gracious and down to earth. They have really made our stay here so pleasant.

Tonight was awesome! Scott preached about Elijah and the prophets of Baal. He talked about how people are looking for an answer, and we have to represent God even when we have to stand-alone. But more than that, we have to be able to display the raw power of God as well as His love. The world is looking for leaders who are willing to let their lives burn for God, against all-else. We are to be those leaders. Before he spoke, we got up and each called a person down from the audience. We then all prophesied over that person and prayed for them. God is god, and He showed up as we did this. His anointing and power were present and He used us to impact the lives of these people.

It’s been a long day, and I am really tired. I think that I will sleep well tonight. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I really love this people and land. It would be easy to stay here and live except for my family.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 261 - Youth Conference Begins

This blog is for Tuesday September 28th, US time. We have finally begun to do what we came here to do. The youth conference started tonight. We are meeting in a tent and we didn’t have any rain today, so it dried out o little. Yesterday there was a couple if inches of mud and water all through the tent. The leaders and kids did a great job of helping to clean it out and dry it up as much as possible. Then they put plastic and carpet down up front to prevent a mud whole from developing. Hopefully the chances of rain are decreasing. It looks like a cold front is coming through drying things out as well as lowering the temperature.

Worship was great tonight although it was very loud; much louder that even I am used to. But it was good and you could really sense the presence of God in the place. When I saw the tent for the first time today, I immediately had the phrase “Tent of Meeting” come to mind. Of course that in the Old Testament represented the Tabernacle. I felt that God has chosen to meet with us in the tent as we gave Him the sacrifice of worship and praise to Him. Tonight that was the case and I feel that it will only increase as the week goes on.

Scott talked and did a great job as usual. His testimony always unlocks the hearts of anyone who hears it. Tonight was no exception. He was very anointed and the ministry time was very strong as we prayed and ministered to probably well over 100 kids as they came down to the alter. Tonight was like a time of decision. Are you going after what God has for you? Or if you weren’t a believer; are you willing to trust God and take a step into all that He has called you to be? Anyway, it was a very good night and a great start for what appears to be an awesome camp. The Aussies are hungry for more of God, and I know that He will continue to show up and minister to them.

During the day today, we got to take a walk around the grounds and just hang out outside around the house. It’s absolutely beautiful. It sure is a blessing to be able to stay here. We start early tomorrow with an 8AM pickup, so I had better get to bed. I’m looking for even better things tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 260 - Meeting up with Scott and Lacey

This blog is for Monday September 27th in the USA. The train ride was long, but I still like trains. I think that every civilized country should have a good train system. I loved the trains in England, and here it seems to be almost as good. We arrived in Brisbane on schedule. Which is more than I can say for most flights. But the downside was the 14 hours in the train instead of an hour and a half in the plane. But, there was room to walk around and the seats were bigger than what was on the plane. The kids next to me went to sleep around 9PM and slept though the night. So I was able to get some sleep. I don’t think I slept as well as I did on the plane ride, but I did sleep. However I am getting pretty sleepy so I don’t know how long this will be.

This morning we arrived in Brisbane at 6:30. I wound up on the train for the airport and got there around 7:30. Well, Scott, Lacey and Jason weren’t scheduled to be in until 10:30. No problem, I would just hang out at the airport and get something to eat, maybe walk around the shops a bit. There was only one problem with that plan. When I got to the airport I found out that all of the shops and good restaurants were up on the second level where the gates were. That meant that to get to them you had to clear through security. I had both of my bags with me and one of them wouldn’t go through security. It was my checked bag and it was too big plus it had too much stuff in it that was OK to be checked, but wouldn’t pass through a security checkpoint. So I couldn’t go to the shops like I had planned. It was going to be a long boring morning. I had really hoped to find an electrical adaptor so that I could plug in my laptop and also my phone charger. I was not going to find one there. Then I saw a bus come buy taking people to the “airport village” It’s a place where they had shops. I decided to get on the bus and take a chance out to see it. I was hoping to be able to buy and adaptor.

Well there wasn’t much there, but I did get the adaptator that I was looking for. And I was able to get a Latte so all wasn’t lost. I took the next bus back to the terminal and went looking for a wi-fi connection. Well, Quantas had a wi-fi that you could use for five dollars an hour. Well I needed to check email and post my blog. I was glad to be able to use anything we can to get the job done.

Scott and Lacey’s plane was very late and so they got switched to a later flight to Brisbane from Sydney. So, at 11:30 we finally met up. Scott and Lacey were there but Jason had missed the flight. He had a later connection than Scott and Lacey and wound up missing the Sydney flight.

So we were met bi Jim, the youth pastor for Nexux church. He took ua all around and finally took us where we are going to be staying most of the time. It is beautiful. The house is on top of a mountain. The views are spectacular. The house itself is unbelievable. It has nine bedooms. It is going on the market next week for ten Million dollars. Yes, that’s right. Nedless to say we were sort of blown away. The best news is that the house had wi-fi with it, so I can get the blog posted each night. Well, I can hardly keep my eyes open, so I think that I will call it a night. The action really begins tomorrow. Can’t wait!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 259 - Planes, Trains and Automobiles

This blog is for Sunday the 26th in the USA. My laptop has died. I'm not sure if it's the battery or hard drive. At this point it doesn't matter. I'm on a train typing this on my IPhone. I'll get someone to post it whenever I can email it to them. I think it's the battery. But for tonight it doesn't matter.

I woke up this morning feeling good, but I had a sense that things were in flux. I really didn't know what so I didn't worry about it. I made some coffee and read a little then I went to McDonalds and checked my email and sent some emails out. The Internet connection wasn't great but I did get to talk to John and Biddie via Skype. I really needed to list for my flight and check on other things. I decided to bite the bullet and go BA k to the room to connect with the hotel's Internet at a charge of 20 dollars for the day. It turns out it was worth it. I checked the Qantas flights and they all looked sold out. The Virgin Blue flights looked the same. I tried to list on the quantas flight. free over thirty minutes of holding. I finally got to talk to the agent. She said everything was sold out until after 5PM. I said that I would standby for the 6Am flight Until I got on one.

But I didn't feel right. Normally I would just standby knowing that all I needed was one seat. But I wasn't comfortable. Was it fear or a warning in my spirit? I always figure it is fear and then go against it. But I wasn't sure. So I thought for a minute. I really need to get to Brisbane tomorrow. Australia reminds me so much of England. Intact it is as if God moved England down here with a better climate. If it is like England then it must have a good train system. So I goggled Australian trains and found that there was train from Sydney to Brisbane. The only problem was it left at 4PM and arrived at 6;30AM. 14 hours. Not fun. But I really felt that I needed to check it out. I walked over to the train station and I bought Ticket. No could cancel anytime before 4PM.

So I went sightseeing to Darling Harbor. I ate a great lunch of Fish and Chips with a great view. The more I thought about the train, the more I felt I should take it. Another adventure , why not? So I went back to the hotel to check out. I kept questioning my reasoning. Why was I so sure about not making my flight? Was I being paranoid? Was I giving into fear? Well I was taking the train.

So here I am. Four hours into a fourteen hour train ride. What should have been an hour and a half flight. But here is the rest of the story. In the seat next to me is a nice young lady with two boys. The boys are three and a half and two. So you can imagine how quiet this ride is. The girl is married to a Quantas pilot. Yesterday. Virgin Blue airways lost their computer system and canceled over 100 flights. This overbooked every flight out of Sydney for the next two days. She was riding the train because it was the only way to get to Brisbane. Oh I forgot to say it was a school holiday week. If I hadn't taken this train ride I would probably still be in Sydney two days from now.

Now I know that it wasn't fear that I was feeling. It was Holy Spirit warning me. I have to listen more carefully. I hate fear and always want to fight it. But sometimes it's not fear. I have to learn to tell the difference. The good news is that I did learn to hear the Spirit. So I will be in Brisbane tomorrow. I am learning so much just watching families interact.

That's enough typing with my iPhone. Hopefully my computer will work when it is plugged in. (It does!). So that’s it for tonight. It’s time to settle in for a long ride. I’ve always loved trains. Hopefully I still will after this trip.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 258 - I'm "Down Under"

This blog is for Sat Sept 25th. Now officially I didn’t have a Sat; or it happened somewhere over the pacific. During the flight we crossed over the International Date Line, which means that when I landed it was already Sunday. I also crossed over the Equator which means I’m in the “Land Down Under”. Really it means they have just started spring and when you flush the toilet it drains in the opposite direction than when you flush it in Atlanta. It’s 4:20 Sunday afternoon which means it’s 2:20 Sunday morning. I hope you all are asleep as I write this.

The trip was long but the only side effects that I have are swollen ankles. I had an aisle seat on the bulkhead and it was OK for being in the back. It was only a fifteen and a half hour flight. But the in-flight entertainment system was broken. That meant no movies, no music nothing except airplane noise for over fifteen hours. I had my Iphone and computer. I finished some of my Bethel homework, listened to music, ate and then took two Advil PM. I slept for over six hours and when I woke up we still had over six hours to go. I read some more, listened to some more music and slept off and on for another two to three hours. So I did pretty good sleep wise.

We finally landed and then went to customs. It took almost an hour to clear customs and inspections. I walked around the airport for a while trying to find a map to know how to get to where I was staying. After a while I found out approximately where it was and I got on the train into downtown Sydney. After getting off at the station, I walked around looking for the hotel for almost 45 minutes. I turned the wrong way out of the station and went the long way to the hotel. Of course it was only 10AM and check in wasn’t until 2PM. So they let me change clothes and I left my luggage in the office and went out sight seeing. It was a beautiful day and I got a tour bus. It is a double decked where you ride in the open air on the top level. It tours the whole city and you can get on and off. They run about every 20 minutes. It’s a great way to see a lot in a short amount of time. I got off at a bout three different places. It really is such a beautiful city. I wish that I had been with someone else to share it with. That’s the bummer about traveling alone. Anyway I rode around and walked around until about 3:45. Then I went back to the hotel to check in.

Don’t ever believe everything you see and read on the Internet. That’s true especially when you are booking a hotel online. The room is clean. That’s about the best I can say. It’s definitely not the Marriott. Shoot, it might not even be a Motel 6. But it is clean. My room has 2 single beds. That’s OK with me, but now I know the reason the beds are single. The room isn’t wide enough for a full size beds; it’ very long and very narrow. The “Flat Screen” TV is smaller than my computer monitor. The biggest negative is that they want ten dollars an hour for access to their wireless Internet. Well McDonalds is just down the street. I guess I will go down there to post this blog tonight. But it is clean, and for two days I can live with it.

Well, I’m hungry and I need to post this. I’ll probably go to bed fairly early tonight. I want to stay up late enough to begin to get adjusted. Anyway, I will try to post again sometime tomorrow. So, from the land of the kangaroo, goodnight.

Day 257 - On My Way

This blog is for Friday Sept 24th. It’s almost nine thirty back home. Right now I’m at 37000 feet somewhere over Oklahoma heading towards Los Angeles. This is my first blog in an airplane. It’s hard to believe that I am actually on my way. All say today as I was packing and cleaning the house, (yes, I left it clean), I kept checking the flights. I really don’t see any chance of getting business class, but I’m still asking for it. But the flights tomorrow didn’t look that much better. I think I will get on the flight to Sydney, but you never know. Anyway I decided just to start and see what happened.

I went to work this morning. I got up at 4:30 and was at work by 6:30. I was back home a little before 11AM. I wanted to run, but didn’t get to. I wanted to ride my bike but didn’t get to do that either. I just had too much packing and “stuff” to do. For one thing, I had to get reservations in Sydney. I found a pretty good hotel on lie for 100 per night. It might not be the best, but the location and price were good. How much am I going to stay in it anyway? After I had packed then I spent the rest of the afternoon folding clothes ad cleaning. The house looks good. I’m sure Julia is happy. I also got to water the plants and I am sure they are happy. That should keep them alive until I get back.

I’m sitting in the back, but I have a window seat on an exit row. I have plenty of leg room. I ate a turkey Cuban sandwich, but it wasn’t really like a Cuban. It was pretty good and I knew that I wouldn’t eat for a while. I really don’t know what to expect in Australia. I do know that I will take the rail from the airport to the city. My hotel is almost across from the main rail station in the city. I will have to get them to store my luggage, and I will have to go sightseeing when I get there. I can’t check into the hotel until 2PM and I will land around 7. Hopefully I will get to sleep a good bit on the flight because I will not be able to get a nap when I land.

My excitement about seeing Sydney and Australia is being tempered by the loneliness that I feel not having Julia by my side. I wish that we had traveled more these past few years. We had so many places we wanted to see together, but we were healthy and had all the time in the world. At least that’s what we thought. If I have any advice for my friends it would be this. Don’t put off what you want to do. Go, travel, have fun and make memories. Time slips away so quickly. So I will go around Sydney by myself. I’ll have fun and see a lot, but in the back of my thoughts will be what it would have been like with Julia. This two days will be the hardest. When I get with Scott. Lacey and Jason. Then we will be too busy in ministry to spend much time thinking about what might have been.

I don’t know when I will get to post this. If there is Internet in LAX, I’ll post it then, otherwise it will be after I get to the Hotel in Sydney. I have probably another blog to do before I get to Sydney. I’ll check the time, I might get to wait until after I get to the hotel. Anyway, bear with me as I go through this adventure. It should be fun.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 256 - Gateway to the Future

I’m sitting in my rocking chair probably for the last time for two weeks. I’m probably 80% packed but I don’t think I will finish tonight. I have to be at work at 6:30 in the morning, so I’ll probably go to bed after I finish this. I’ll come home tomorrow after work and finish packing and clean the house. I have piles of clothes and sheets that have been washed but not folded up. I can’t leave for Australia like that, Julia would come back and haunt me! Seriously I do need to get the house straightened before I go. Today seemed to get away from me. I did some yard work and cut the grass after I got an hour’s run in. Then I’ve been getting clothes together and packing until I went to group tonight. Oh, I did have to go out to Target and get some things for the trip.

The flights don’t look promising. I think that I will get on, but Papa will have to supply a miracle for me to get in Business class. If I wait until Saturday night I have a pretty good chance of getting Business class, but that could change, and I would lose a day in Sydney. So I guess that I will go on and try to make it tomorrow night. I’ll leave here at 7Pm Atlanta time on Friday night and arrive around 9AM Sunday morning in Sydney. That’s a total of 19 and a half flying hours. I hope that I can get some sleep so I can hit the ground running in Sydney. I really want the two days to see some of the sights.

I’ve been thinking about the blog. I plan on writing every day, but I don’t know when I will have Internet access. So it might be a day or so in the middle of the time I’m there that it is posted late. I don’t even know about tomorrow’s. If I can write it on the flight to LA and then have wireless in the airport, I will get it posted. Otherwise I will probably post two blogs when I get to Sydney. Anyway, my promise is to continue to write daily and post them whenever I can.

I’m really excited about this trip. It is more than just the ministry that we will be doing. It’s like this trip is like a door to another realm. As I step into Australia, I step over the threshold into a new level of destiny. I don’t really understand it, but prophetically this is a symbol of what my life in the future is to be like. I feel like I am stepping out of the old and into the new. My love for Julia is still great, and I wish with all my heart that she were here with me right now. But she is not. I know that if she were here, things would be different. I probably would not be going on this trip. I know that I wouldn’t have a motorcycle. So things are different, and will continue to be even more different. Nothing is as it was in my life. I always say that change is inevitable. Right now change is upon me. I loved all the old, but I so look forward to the new. This trip is really the beginning of the new.

Isn’t it funny how Holy Spirit prepares us? I don’t think I was prepared for this trip until all the events of last week transpired. It’s like it took almost nine months to get me ready. I’ve been looking forward to this trip since last March when Lacey talked about going when we were in Nicaragua. But I wasn’t ready for all that God wants to do with me in Australia until last week. His timing is always perfect. So, tomorrow I step into the gateway that is the beginning of my future and destiny. I don’t mean that there will be anything radical happen to me on this trip, although I hope that there is. What I mean is that this is the time and the place to step forward with boldness and confidence into my destiny.

Day 255 - Peace

It’s late. I worked a “D” period tonight and didn’t get home until about 11:30 PM, so it will be after midnight when this is posted. I really do not working this late. It’s bad enough going to school late, let alone working. The good news is that I am off tomorrow. But I have a phone call at 7AM in the morning, so I won’t get to sleep too late. The phone call is to Steven Cooper, my “Life Coach”. One of the benefits of 2Nd year at the school is that you get 10 appointments with a life coach. I was joking with Steven at Panama City asking him if he was going to help me figure out what I was going to do when I grew up.

There is really more truth to that joke than you would imagine. A life coach helps you identify your strengths and your dreams. He then helps you design a plan to achieve your dreams. I’m excited to see how this will work and tomorrow morning is my first appointment. It is scheduled for an hour, and I don’t want to waste any of the time. I’ll probably get up around 6:15 to make sure I’m coherent when I talk with Steven. The appointments should be scheduled for every three weeks. I hope that will work with my schedule.

I’m watching the flights to Sydney really close. They are getting pretty full so I don’t think I will get Business Class. All I really need is a seat, and hopefully tht will happen Friday night. I don’t want to get stuck in Las Angeles. That would be the pits. Hopefully I will be able to make it Friday night. I would really like to be able to spend the two days in Sydney. I have heard that it is beautiful. Well, I will have to make that decision soon.

I had a peace today that I haven’t had in a while. I think it is because of what has taken place over the last few days. I’m totally focused on looking forward and that has centered me into my destiny. Hopefully Steven will help me understand just what that destiny is, and how to fulfill it. The difference between the younger students and me is that I am closer to my destiny than they are. So, when I look at long-term goals, I’m talking 15 – 20 years max, while they might be talking 30 -40 years. But that’s all right; I just want to use what I have to glorify Him.

I did get a ride in this afternoon before work. I didn’t go to the parking lot. Instead, I went to get gas, and then rode down 92 to Due West Rd. I went to Mars Hill Rd and Turned around and came back. It was my first venture into fast traffic and I felt pretty good. The ride itself was fun. The fastest that I got was 60 mph on Hwy 92. I pretty much stayed toe speed limit everywhere. That is how I plan to ride. I might speed in my car, but not on the motorcycle. When I ride the motorcycle, it’s for pleasure so I may as well enjoy it. It’s getting late, so I’m going to end this. I’m off tomorrow but I have a lot to do to get ready for the trip. Australia, here I come!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 254 - Letting Go

Last night I talked about my fear that I was losing the intensity that I felt in my relationship with Julia. I said that I still loved her, no, I still love her. It’s not past tense. But I could feel the intensity waning and that concerned me. No, that’s not strong enough. I feared losing her. Well, I will never lose her, she is in heaven, and here with me in my memories. But things have changed; I have to face that reality. She is not here next to me; or home when I come home from work. She won’t come around the corner in the next minute to surprise me. That part of my life has passed. Whatever happens from here on in, she won’t be a part of.

As I was driving to work early this morning I felt Papa say that the intensity had to wane. That was a part of the healing process. If I kept the intensity of our relationship, I wouldn’t be able to move on. He said that in order to fulfill my destiny, I had to allow that intensity to decrease. I really didn’t want to accept it, even though I knew it was the truth. Then I got an email from a dear friend who had read my blog. She is wise and has walked down the same path that I am walking now. She told me this, and I am going to quote her because it is so right on:

“As you look down at your hand now, there is no ring, it is empty of everything. There is nothing to tie you to the past. As long as you wear that ring, either physically or in your heart, each time you look at your hands you see that memory, and it tugs at you. The Lord has given you clear permission to move on. It's time for you to give yourself the same permission. I sense that you feel a great guilt that Julia died, and that you are alive. It's almost as if the ties to that are holding you back. Every person who loses someone experiences that. But what is, is. Forgive yourself and release yourself to empty hands and a powerful destiny. It's time Tom. Your future is as bright as the starry skies and nothing can change that except holding on to the past. Trust me, you will not ever forget Julia, EVER! But the intensity has to change in order for the new to come. It's a healthy step forward, because it means you are trusting God to bring the "new" and it will be good. I knew Julia well enough to know that she is "shouting" at you to get on with it. THIS is what she prayed for and anticipated all these years. Yes, it looks different because she's not at your side, but she would never want you holding back because of any guilt you feel over her not being there.”

There it was, confirmation for what Papa was telling me earlier. Have I been blaming myself because she was gone? Yes, early on. But I have gone through a level of healing and forgiveness for that. Maybe there is still more, probably so. At any rate, I will be getting a sozo with school and if anything is still there by then. So, I accept the fact that things are changing, perhaps more than I really want. But I have never been afraid of change; no I always choose to embrace it. So I embrace this change now. It’s not a change that I would have chosen, but I embrace it none the less.

I put the ring on a chain around my neck, and it is there still. But I am sensing that I can’t leave it there. I feel like Frodo in Lord of the Rings. I have the ring and I want to put it on my finger, but to do that would keep me from the future. And it sometimes feels real heavy around my neck, while when it was on my finger, I felt safe. I can’t wear it to feel safe. I’m not safe, and I don’t want to be safe. I am called to press forward, to find the edge and dare to step over. I must do this in this situation also.

The funny thing is that this has nothing to do with me wanting to be “single”. I don’t. Right now I want to keep my life uncomplicated. I have enough relationships; I don’t need a romantic one. The ring is all about safety and the past. I love the past, and I will never forget it. I will continue to write about it and relive it in this blog. But my destiny is not in the past or in safety. My destiny is out there. I really want to “boldly go where no man has gone before”. The thing is, I am free to do it. I’m free to do anything and that is a blessing in the midst of all the heartache. To not use the blessing would be to waste all that has gone on in the past few months.

So the flip that I did in the ocean for my baptism really was a prophetic act. When I cam up out of the water I knew things were different. This is the first fruit of that difference. As much as I want to hold on to the past and to Julia, I have to let go. I have to begin to take positive steps to move on. Tonight I take one of the first steps by letting go. Letting go of the safety of the past and the security of our relationship together. Nothing has changed in my love for Julia. But something has changed in me. I choose to look forward and I choose to look forward. I know that I will continue to miss her terribly. In he next few months I have her birthday and all the holidays. There will be times of grief and rightly so. But I know that she wants me to move forward, even as I think of her. So I guess after almost nine months this is the first step of letting go.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 253 - Truth You can Live By

My bed really did feel good last night. I got almost five hours of sleep. That’s pretty good for me on a day that I have to get up early. I hope that I can do as well tonight. It’s a big difference getting five hours of sleep vs. three hours of sleep. I didn’t even need to take a nap this afternoon. I was able to get a run in and them take my bike out for about an hour and a half.

I’m treating my bike like I would treat a new plane if I was being checked out on it. When you learn to fly a plane, a lot of the things you do are easy, and they come pretty naturally if you have ever flown before. But it’s mastering the hard things that make you an excellent pilot instead of a good pilot. I think riding a bike is the same way. I can be a good rider by just getting out and riding around. I’ll pick up enough to do it pretty well. But I want to be an excellent rider. To be an excellent rider means you have to practice. Practice turning, swerving, max breaking, slow tight turns and many other little things. That’s why over half of my time today was in a vacant parking lot working on these things. I did ride all around the Seven Hills Subdivision, and it is very bid. I also went way past it on Seven Hills Blvd. But most of my time was spent doing things like learning to start from a stop on a hill. Slow turns, figure eights. weaving, max breaking and other things that we practiced in the course. It’s a big difference being on my bike and the one we had at school. My bike has a lot of power, and the throttle control is very sensitive. That is the area that I need to most work on. My plan is to spend the next three days practicing and then riding a little farther out each time. I am definitely more comfortable today, and I expect that to continue.

I’ve spent most of the evening on the Internet looking at hotel prices and the flights. The flights are pretty tight, but I still think that I will get on. The cheaper hotel prices are nonrefundable so I don’t want to book them until I am sure, but I think that I will probably have to book them by tomorrow night at the latest. I really hope that I can get on early. Sydney will be a lot of fun. I also have to get a flight from Sydney to Brisbane. Well, I know that it will all work out.

I’m sitting here listening to Love came down, fingering my wedding ring that is on the chain around my neck. I look at the picture of Julia and I and I miss her so, but it seems like we have been apart much longer than we have. Am I going through another level where I begin to forget? I don’t want to forget. I know that I want forget, but I am afraid the intensity of our love and friendship is being lost. No matter how hard I try to maintain it, it seems to be slipping away. I can remember her, remember good times and even bad times, but the intensity is not there. I wish that there was some way to keep that intensity. I wonder if this is normal? I’m afraid that without the intensity she will begin slipping away from me. In many ways, this blog has kept that intensity going. Maybe it will continue it. But that is not really the purpose of the blog. If it is a result, that’s great.

I’m wondering what life is going to be like this time next year? I shouldn’t do that. I have too much to focus on right now, besides no one knows about next year, this year should at least teach me that. Yet at the same time I have to plan for my destiny. I have to press in to all God has for me. So as I look at Him, I can know without a doubt that He has good things in store for me and next year should be awesome. You see how easy it is to get off focus, but it is also just as easy to get back in focus. God is good and he works everything for good to those who love him. So I can overcome anything, knowing that God will use whatever it is to work together for good. That is truth, and I know that I can believe it. I have seen Him do it time and time again. That is truth you can live by.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 252 - Countdown to Australia

Well, here I am back in my rocking chair. I can’t explain the peace that overflows over me when I come back here after being gone. There is just something soothing about being here in the house listening to “Love Came Down”. I got home about an hour ago and I have a 5AM simulator. The fact that I don’t have school for the next two nights is a blessing as I begin to get ready to leave for Australia. So tonight, at least for the time that I am writing this, things are normal. Well at least as normal as they ever get with me.

As I reflect back to the weekend retreat, it was still as good as I thought it was when it was going on. We left around lunchtime so that I could get back to work. I got to meet and know some of the first year students, and bond with my second year class. Overall I feel that there is much better “community” in the school than there was last year. Maybe that’s just because I am trying harder to know other people. This morning we did devotionals and then Scott spoke about the Spirit of Adoption and how Father God has adopted us as His sons and daughters. He spoke about how special adoption is. Somebody has to go out of their way to adopt you. It’s harder than having a natural child. There are more legal ropes to jump through. His message made me think of my own Dad, and what he went through to adopt me. Adoption should form a special relationship, and it sure did in my case.

The ride home was uneventful and pretty easy. Brad and I shared the driving and w had some great conversations about the Toronto and Brownsville revivals. We were doing a lot of comparing about the good as well as the not so good. We also had some good times just sharing all that God was doing. It was great to have Peter and Masha with us to add to the conversation. It definitely made the time pass faster.

So, I work four out of the next five days and I will try to get on to the flight to Sydney, by way of Los Angeles, next Friday night. Last time I checked the flights were getting tight. All I need is one seat, preferably business class. To get there, I still feel confident, but I will check the flights again tomorrow. I have a lot to do to get ready for the trip. It’s not like it’s just around the corner. I will be across the world. I have to make sure everything is in order. I’m not really good at making lists, but I need to make some so that I will know that everything is taken care of.

My bike is sitting in the garage waiting to be ridden. Hopefully I will be able to find some time to start it up and ride around for an hour. I can go over to Seven Hills and do a lot of practicing. I’ll be home before noon tomorrow, so I should be able to work a ride into my schedule. I also have to begin to do some of my BASSM homework. I have to prioritize and accomplish a lot in the next four days. It should be an interesting time. Well, I may as well get to bed. Tomorrow will be an early day. It is good to be home though. My bed will feel good tonight.

Day 251 - Markers

Steve Hale spoke tonight. He spoke on our journey to a new identity. It was a great message, one that everyone really needs to hear. One of the things he said that wasn’t really a key part of the message, but something that Holy Spirit highlighted for me was about markers. Steve said that through out our lives, we have markers; things that mark a period of our lives. These markers usually mark something significant like a special time, or a time of change. I believe that this week has been one of those markers in my life.

When I review all that has happened to me this week, I am surprised at all the supernatural activity in my life. First was the two-night vision on Supernatural transference and the second major thing was the visitation and my wedding ring being removed and placed under Julia’s pillow. That act caused me to stop wearing it on my finger and place it on a chain on my neck. Although this act doesn’t in any way change the way that I feel, I believe that it was significant in that it signifies a new era in my life.

It signifies an era of searching out and pursuing my destiny. A destiny that I had no idea I had and is just now being formulated by me. But it is a destiny known by God from the beginning of time. Yes, since He is the Alpha and the Omega. He saw the end, and can adjust the beginning. It is my job as a King, or His son, to search out the destiny He has planned for me. It really shouldn’t be that hard, I just need to follow my heart and my dreams. So, the question is what are my dreams? We spent a lot of time in our second year meeting today talking about the process of maturing and moving into ministry. That question will be dealt with more fully in another post. Now, back to the marker.

Tonight we had Baptisms. They were for some of the traditional reasons. Salvation; first time baptisms for those who were baptized as an infant, and any other traditional reasons. Steve also said that any of us who felt we wanted more from God, or wanted to mark the beginning of a new era in our lives could also be baptized. The baptisms here are special. We do them out in the ocean. Steve and Scott baptize the person, normally when a wave is approaching. We had big waves today, probably because of the remains of Hurricane Karl way down south in the gulf. The waves were probably 3 feet tall. Now Biddie Steed would say they were at least 6 feet tall, but that’s another matter. Anyway, they were tall. Well, I hadn’t signed up to get baptized. After all, I had been baptized here last year, and that time was pretty significant. But the still small voice of Holy Spirit began to talk to me. Tom, you have had a significant week and I am taking you into a new era. You need to be baptized to complete the shift. So, I put my name on the list. As I went up to Steve and Scott I told them that I was entering into a new era and wanted to mark the change. They were excited for me, and were playing like they were going to flip me. Immediately I said to them; “flip me, it will be all right”. So, as a wave was coming I went down for the baptism and they did it. I was totally flipped, feet coming out into the air and then going back in the water. When I cam up, I came up smiling a shouting. It was a new day.

Sometimes the most random spontaneous act becomes very prophetic. I believe that that “flip” in the natural has permanently “flipped” a switch in the supernatural. I believe that I will have more weeks like this past week. I will have more supernatural encounters. I am going to discover my dreams and I will reach my destiny. You see, I am His child, and one of His favorites. He loves me and wants to see me succeed. Australia is coming next weekend. I can’t wait to see what He does with us there. This week has been special. This baptism was a marker that I will look back on with joy and awe as my life moves on from here. God really is good.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 250 - Panama City Beach

Well, here I am sitting out front of Mickey D’s on the strip in PCB. It’s almost midnight Central time, so this will actually be posted on Saturday even though it is Friday’s blog. I’m drinking an imitation Frappichino from MD’s. It’s not too bad, but way to sweet. But it will have to do this late. The drive down this afternoon was pretty easy. Brad, Peter, Masha and myself came down about 1:45. We got here early enough to get our beds made and hang out with most of the students. We had pizza to eat; I think I ate one piece.

The anticipation and expectancy for this weekend is very high. I know that personally I am really expecting God to show up in my life and for the whole school. I believe that everyone here shares this expectancy. So how can he not show up? We just finished two and a half hours of worship. It was very good and completely different from last year. We ended it with a “tunnel of Love”. It’s similar to what we did last Tuesday night, except the emphasis is on the love of God and intimacy with Him.

So, what is it that I want out of this weekend? What is it that I am believing God for, right now? I think that what I really want is just a deeper understanding and knowledge of His love in my life. I have a good understanding, but I know that there is always more, and I want the more. I am believing for an increase in His power, specifically in the prophetic and in healing. I really want to see the kingdom of God released all around me. To see this, I want to press into more of Him. I am willing to step out and take risks. This weekend is just the start of a new year of school, but how we press in here will determine how we press in for the rest of the year. We have to push ourselves, to go after more of Him in every area. We second year students have to set the example.

This will be a fun weekend, but we really need to press in for everything that we can get. To do that I probably need to get some rest. It’s going to be another full day tomorrow.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 249 - Visitation

Today has been a very interesting day. Yesterday I went by the credit union to get some cash in case I liked the motorcycle that I had seen for sale in the newspaper. I was going to see it before work and I knew that if I wanted to buy it I needed to be prepared. In the paper it looked very good and it looked like a great deal. The only problem was that the seller lived in Temple Ga which is about 20 miles west of Douglasville. Well, I didn’t want to make an extra trip, so I figured that I would make an offer if I liked it.

The bike is a 2006 Harley Davidson 1200L It has had a lot of custom work done on it so it really looks like an upper level Harley rather than an entry level. I wasn’t disappointed when I saw the bike. It was in perfect shape. It only had 7700 miles on it and there wasn’t a scratch on it. It has a custom exhaust system that really makes it sound great. It sounds like you would think a Harley should sound. I was able to ride it around the subdivision. It’s the biggest bike that I have ever ridden, and although I’m still not used to all the controls it was a fun ride. I really can’t wait to get to ride it more to feel more at ease with it. There was only one problem, I had to go to work this afternoon and I didn’t have any way to get the bike to my house. That was taken care of as we negotiated. The owner has a trailer, and he said that he would deliver the bike to my house tomorrow morning. The deal was done, and now I am the proud owner of a Harley Davidson. It is going to be fun to ride. My friends want me to take it down to Panama City Beach tomorrow, but wisdom tells me to get used to it around here before I take any road trips. Although I know that it sure would be fun to ride down the back roads with them.

That was all good and fun, but something more exciting and mysterious happened to me this morning. I don’t know if you believe in angelic visitations. I do, and I had some sort of visitation last night in my sleep. I like to think it was Julia, but it was probably an angel, but who really knows. I certainly don’t know for sure if there was any visitation. I can only share the facts of what happened.

Last night I went to bed a little after 11. I was really tired after getting about three hours of sleep a night for the past three nights. I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. I don’t remember anything. I don’t think that I had any dreams. I know that I didn’t wake up until the alarm went off at 7:30. I got up refreshed, took my shower and got dressed. It was while I was getting dressed that I looked down at my left hand. My wedding ring was gone. Instantly I panicked. I didn’t remember taking it off anywhere.

I began to retrace my steps before going to bed, looking for it. But it wasn’t there, and I didn’t remember taking it off at all. As far as I could remember I was wearing it when I went to bed. So I looked under the bed, but it wasn’t there. Then I felt under the sheets all over my bed, but it wasn’t there either. I had to get ready, so I stopped looking for a while, but my mind kept racing. Where could it be? What could I have done with it? I had no clue. I checked in my closet and in the drawers in the bathroom, just in case. No luck! I looked under the bed again and checked in the bed again. Nothing! I was really getting worried. This ring is very special, and to think that I had somehow lost it, well, that was unthinkable. But it had to be in the house, so I would find it soon enough. Now I had to get ready to go. I had an hour’s drive to Temple Ga to look at the motorcycle and it was time to go.

The ring had to be in the bed. So even if I had to strip al the sheets of the bed, I was determined to find it. When I sleep at night I have all the decorator pillows lined up on Julia’s side. I started doing that after she died, just to give me comfort like she was next to me. It kept me on my side like it would if she were still laying next to me. Well, I still sleep like that. But now it’s mainly to keep the bed from getting messed up. It makes it much easier to make up. I admit, it still does give me comfort, like she is still there. Anyway I decided to take all the pillows off the bed and then strip the sheets. I was determined to find the ring before I left. The thought of not having it was just painful.

So, I moved all the pillows and then pulled down the outside cover. There between the outside cover and the blanket, right where Julia’s pillow had been was my ring. I was astounded. It wasn’t under the sheet, but on top of the blanket that was on top of the sheet. Now I was sleeping under the sheet. Normally all my hands and arms are under the sheet as well. How did the ring get up two layers between the blanket and the decorative cover? How did it get off my finger?

So here is my dilemma. I have been wearing a wedding ring for over 39 years. Never once, not once has my ring ever come off in my sleep. NEVER! And how did it find it’s way under Julia’s pillow. That would be hard for me to do, even if I was trying to do it. What happened? Did and angel come and take my ring off while I slept? Did Julia come and take my ring off while I slept? Did I take my ring off while I slept? I don’t know the answer to that. But for over 39 years, my ring has been on my finger when I went to bed and on my finger when I woke up the next morning. I don’t think I took it off.

I think that I wrote in my blog a few months ago that someday I would take my ring off my finger and put it around my neck. Well after that I bought a chain and have been wearing it, waiting for the day to take it off. But I didn’t want to take it off. I just wasn’t sure when I should. This is what I think. You can draw your own conclusions. I think that either Julia or an angel visited me in the night and took off my ring. They then put it under her pillow. This is a sign to me that now is the time to keep it off and put it around my neck. So that is what I have done. The ring is now on a chain around my neck.

I still wasn’t sure, but when I talked to Jennifer tonight, I told her what had happened. Before I told her I had put it on the chain she said this: “So, you’re keeping it off?” As I said yes, a tide of emotions just washed over me for a second. I was overwhelmed over what had just taken place. Julia was no longer with me in the flesh, but she will always be with me in the spirit. But it is like she just gave me a sign that it was OK, no, it was time for me to take off my wedding ring. She knew that I wouldn’t do it without some sort of sign. So, here I am, with my love for her still deep in my heart, but my wedding band now close to my heart instead of on my hand. Has anything changed? Not really, but yes really. That is the tension that I live in. Visitation? I think so, what do you think?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 248 - Supernatural Transference

I had tonight’s plan already laid out in my head. I would grill out, nad watch a little TV. It’s the only night this week that I get to stay home. So, the first part went well. I grilled out and made a salad. Dinner was great. Then I started watching one of the two TV programs that I wanted to watch and the next thing you know I was sound asleep. Well, I just woke up and turned the TV off. I figured that I had better get my blog done and then go to bed. I already had a nap this afternoon, but obviously I need some more sleep. So, this will be posted a little early tonight.

On Monday night’s blog I spoke of a vision, or picture, that I had of the sun with each individual ray hitting individual students on the head. It was much more intense than it sounds as I write about it. Then as the sun’s rays continued to hit us, our Spirit Man/Woman was coming as far out of our body as it could, being drawn to the sun. I think that I said that it was as if our Spirit was doing it’s best to interact with the Spirit of God. The intimate nature of worship was just so strong that our Spirit wanted so much to go up, as the Spirit of God was coming down. Well last night during worship at the school that vision continued.

It picked up right where it left off. Our spirit men/women were reaching out of our body interacting with God’s Spirit when something else happened. Picture yourself out in a field on a early morning. The grass is wet from the dew, and the sun is bright. As the sun warms the grass, the dew begins to transform into steam vapor and rises off the grass. That is what was happening to our Spirit man. There was a vapor coming of and rising toward the sun. That vapor was mixing with a vapor coming of the sun and it was falling back down on to us. I felt Holy Spirit tell me that that was our DNA going up to heaven during worship, mixing with God’s DNA and coming back down on us as Supernatural DNA. The longer that we worshiped, the more we were covered with His supernatural DNA and the more we were changed ti be like Him. That was a great vision, but it wasn’t over.

As we were all doing this together corporately we were getting our own Supernatural DNA, but there were Angles around watching. They were smiling and having fun. Every now and then, one of the Angles would move his wing and mix up the air. Then the DNA’s would all get mixed up. We would begin to get the Supernatural DNA of other people in the room mixed up with ours. There was a supernatural transference of gifting and anointing taking place as we worshiped. So corporate worship was even more powerful than individual worship. Yes, we were worshiping individually but that individual worship done together became a corporate event that has reshaped us all.

I believe that this vision is a powerful picture of what actually happens in the Spirit as we worship. Worship is so much more than just singing songs or listening to a preacher. It is a time to open our selves up to the Father. It is a time to become vulnerable to the Holy Spirit. It is a time to commune with Jesus. It’s all these things and more. It doesn’t matter whether you are listening to Hymns or to contemporary music or just to instruments. Whatever it takes for you to release yourself and embrace Him. When that happens, our DNA changes. It mixes with His and becomes Supernatural. Then we begin to realize who we are in Him and how we are made for supernatural acts. Then we begin to realize that we can bring down the Kingdom of God into this world. We not only can, it is our mandate. It is our mandate as believers to release the Kingdom of God in fullness on the earth. The only way to do it is to become like Him. We become like Him as we get His DNA, supernaturally through worship.

I truly believe that this is one of the most important visions that I have ever had. As I begin to live in this revelation, things in the atmosphere around me will begin to shift. I believe that things will shift around you too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 247 - Power Naps are Good

I guess flying airplanes at all times of the day for over 32 years taught me to sleep whenever I could grab the opportunity. In my mind I know that I need to get consistent sleep at night, and I will, but just not this week. Having said that, my power nap this afternoon was great. I was able to sleep pretty soundly for almost two hours. Right now I feel pretty good. I guess the question really is how will I feel in about four hours when I have to get up. The nap was needed this afternoon, and I will probably get another one tomorrow afternoon.

I can already tell that my blogs are going to be late on the nights that I have school. I forgot how late they were last year. It’s hard to come right in and sit down and start writing, but that’s pretty much what I have to do on Monday and Tuesday nights. I don’t know when I will get them posted while I’m at the beach retreat this weekend. Last year I wasn’t writing during the retreat. Last year, Julia and I were at Perdido Key with John and Biddie, and I left them to go to the retreat. Wow, things have sure changed. If I wasn’t working in the morning, I would probably go with some of the students to Waffle House to hang out after class. It sounds like they are having fun, and I don’t really have to be home at any time. It’s different not having anyone waiting to talk to you or share with at home.

My third top strength is adaptability. That really means that I embrace change. That has always been true. I just never thought I would have to embrace this change. But I have, and now life is different. It’s good, but it is different without Julia. By my saying that life is good; I mean it. Life is good. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss her terribly and always wish she were here. But I have to embrace life as it is. So, I choose to have a good life. It’s pretty simple really. In the midst of my complicated schedule, it is really a simple life. I go where and when I want to go, and do what I need to do. That’s simple. In that regard, I like it. I have to get used to the being alone part, but God is good, and Holy Spirit, Papa and Jesus are always with me.

Tonight at school was awesome. When we were on top of Stone Mountain we were told that first year was like being invited to a party while second year was like throwing the party. I can already tell that I like throwing the party better. Last year was awesome. But I can already tell that this year is going to be even better. Tonight was just great. Worship was awesome, and prophetically God did some great things. Also class was fun and we ended forming a fire tunnel for the first year students. We now have 11 students from RiverStone. That’s about 10 percent of the total students and over 15 percent of first year students. I can see that we are going to have an impact on Bethel Atlanta even as they have an impact on RiverStone. It is so good to see all of them in first year. I want to do everything that I can to make them successful.

Well, tomorrow is my last early get up this week. It’s late now, so I had better call it a night. I really hope that I get a chance to visit with Papa before I fall asleep.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 246 - First Night of School

Well, I’m officially in second year. I’m excited as well as being sort of overwhelmed at how fast the schedule has picked up. I work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, have school tomorrow night and spend all weekend in Panama City on the school retreat. Then I come back and work Monday through Friday and get on a plane for Australia next Friday night. Wow, that is busy, even for my standards. I’m going to have to try and pace myself and get a few power naps when I can work them in. I only got four hours sleep last night and it will probably be the same both tonight and tomorrow night. I will definitely get a nap in tomorrow afternoon.

Tonight worship was very good. There is something about worshiping with almost 100 people who are younger than you. There is no way that you can keep up with some of them, but many of them you can. It was just exciting to be in the presence of God. You know that people who are hungry for God draw His presence. I had a neat picture tonight while we were worshiping. It was a really intimate time, and it was like I saw a big ball like the sun. It was huge and bright. Then all of a sudden, the individual rays separated. Each ray from the sun wa focusing on an individual from the school. Each ray was like a spotlight, highlighting an individual that was worshiping. As the music got even more intense and the Presence of God got stronger, I could begin to see each person’s spirit begin to come out of their bodies and sort of float aboe them like a golden fog, floating in their image. It was so beautiful. It was as if the Spirit man wanted so much to be with God that it was trying to leave the body, but it couldn’t. It had to stay attached as long as there was life in the body. But these golden shadows, floating in the sunrays were a beautiful sight. Too bad I’m not a good artist or I would draw it.

Then Steve Hale, the pastor of Bethel Atlanta, got up and spoke about the beginnings and history of Bethel Atlanta and the school. After that we divided up into first and second year. The great thing about second year is that we get to meet with a life coach for ten sessions during the year. During this time I will try to figure out what I want to be “when I grow up”. Really a life coach analyses your strengths and helps you focus on you dreams and how ti activate them. It should be fun and very rewarding.

Part of our summer reading was to get the book “Strengths Finder 2.0”. Then you go online and take a test that determines and lists your five top strengths. The life coach will use this information to help coach you. My top five strengths were : Strategic; Activator, Adaptability; Belief and Connectedness. I was not surprised at any of them. In fact I thought that they were pretty accurate. I guess I will find out more tomorrow.

I think that’s about it for tonight. It will be another early get up tomorrow. It’s really good to be back in school. I’m looking forward the outreach.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 245 - School Begins

Wow, today was really busy. I went down to Bethel Atlanta for church because we had orientation all afternoon after church. So I drove down around 9 and got home about 6:30. I’m excited about this year, I think they have made some good changes to enhance the program. Today was an example. Instead of spending all the class time doing this registration and going over the schedule and rules, we got all of that out of the way today. That means we can actually get started with class work tomorrow night. That really gives us an extra week of actual schoolwork. We have 31-second year students and around 65- first year students. We also have 10 third year students as interns.

I’m co-leading the outreach to Little Five Points. I think that’s great, especially since I used to hang out in that area at my grandmother’s house when I was growing up. Little Five Points is the new age capital in Atlanta. There is also a satanic church meeting there when we will be there. It is a place where the Kingdom of God needs to be released, and where we radical revivalist are going to love on the people and call down Heaven. We will have a prophetic booth and also just minister to anyone on the street that will talk with us. We have to depend upon Holy Spirit showing up in power because this is not a place where just discussion will prevail. W e have to show that our God is THE God. The only way to do that is through power encounters such as healings and deliverance and just releasing the Father’s love into everyone we meet.

So tomorrow night school starts with class beginning at 6PM. I work early in the morning and I will come home and then f=drive back down. That’s a lot of driving but I have to so some things up here, so I’ll just deal with it. This coming weekend we will all meet in Panama City Beach for our school retreat. It will be a good time of bonding and really getting to know some of the new students. We have six new students from RiverStone for a total of eight in the school. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with us this year.

Today is Julia Anne’s 8th month birthday. It’s hard to believe that it has been eight months. But when you look at how much she has grown and how active she is, it’s not hard to think that she is that old. What surprised me as I thought about Julia Anne’s birth today was that I had let the 8th and 11th slip by. I can’t believe that I didn’t remember it was the 8th this month and I was so focused on 9/11 I forgot about the 11th being the day of Julia’s Celebration Service. I don’t know whether that is a goo thing or a bad thing. Part of me wants to feel guilty that I forgot about the days while another part of me says that it is good, just a sign of healing in your life.

I’m not to sure which it is, but I do know that I am not going to worry about it. I love Julia and honor her memory. So if I forget, then it is probably as it should be. If I remember it is probably as it should be. It is still hard to realize that it has been eight months since her death. Eight months, that means I’ve been writing this blog this long. But the hardest part is not seeing Julia coming around the corner in the house, or giving me a call. It’s especially hard that I don’t have her to call and talk to at work or on my way home from school. I really miss just talking to her, whether it was in person or on the phone.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 244 - 9/11/10

I wonder if everybody remembers where they were when the airplanes flew into the Twin Towers. I sure do! I guess there are a few days that have such an impact on your life and the course of a nation that you are bound to remember them. I remember that I was in Spanish class in high school when President Kennedy was shot. I was coming back from a class at Ga Tech when we heard that Martin Luther King was assassinated. My mother died on the day of the opening ceremonies of the ’96 Olympics. Of course I was with Julia when she died. On 9/11/01, I was in a FTF (Flight Training Device – it’s like a simulator except it doesn’t have motion), getting checked out in the B737NG. That is the plane that I instruct on now. I remember that we came out of the FTD for a break; the Sim support guys had a TV on. They were showing the plane flying into the building. At first I couldn’t believe it. Then while we were watching, the second building was hit. We knew for sure that it was terrorist. I couldn’t believe it when the instructor made us go back to work. How could anyone train after seeing that? All that I could think about was what was going on in New York.

I remember thinking as the towers fell to the ground; “My whole life has just changed; nothing will ever be the same again.” That turned out to be a true statement as far as flying was concerned. Security was tightened to the point of ridiculousness. I cam remember threatening to strip down to my boxers after security had given me a really hard time one day. I wanted to tell them that the most dangerous weapons that I carried were my hands. That if I wanted a plane to crash, it would! But, I didn’t want to go to jail or lose my job, so I just kept my mouth shut like everybody else. The results of 9/11 were devastating on the airline industry, and were the primary cause of Delta’s eventual bankruptcy. I love flying, and I would have never taken early retirement if 9/11 hadn’t changed everything. I was just entering my peak earning years. So in many ways, 9/11 affected my standard of living both then and now.

I’m not bitter at Delta or anybody else. You have to learn that bad things happen in life. I think of all those who lost their life, and the survivors of those people. They have my utmost respect and admiration. I really admire all the first responders who put their lives on the line to try and save as many as possible. I don’t even blame the muslim people. In John 3:16 the scripture says “For God so loved the world….” That means He loves everyone, and wants none to perish. I have to have hope that the muslim world will come to know Jesus as Lord. So I have to pray for all people to be saved. I cannot live with out the hope.

But, we are at war. It’s really a war in the Spirit realm that has manifested itself in the natural. To think we are not at war is being na├»ve and really stupid. The war in the natural is one against radical muslims and their Jihad. In the spirit is against principalities and powers over areas and nations. The airlines are still the main target. According to USA Today, they are still the primary choice of terrorist. To think that they will not try to strike again is stupid. They will, and we need to pray for the safety of our nation and the mercy and favor of God over us,

As I look back nine years, I remember calling Julia and talking with her and praying over the phone for all that was going on. I remember what a comfort it was just to talk to her. Not that she had any great insight, but just to hear her voice. Boy, I would love to hear her voice again tonight. I can hear it in my memory right now. I wonder how many years that will last. I hope it will last as long as I live, but I am afraid that it won’t. I can’t here my mom’s voice anymore, although I can still see her face. So as I look back on 9/11, through all the sorrow, shock and pain, my main memory is coming home from training that night, sitting with my best friend and lover. We talked some and we prayed and then we just held each other for a while, as we watched our nation try to pick itself up.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 243 - The Weekend Begins

I had another early day this morning. The good news is that I was finished by 9AM. So I got home a little after 10. It was already beginning to get hot, so I got ma run in early and then after I had cooled off, I just took a nap. I knew that we had training tonight for the Healing team and I wanted to be sharp and not falling asleep. I had planed to cut the grass, but it really didn’t need cutting, so after I woke up I spent about an hour and a half ironing clothes. I had shirts and some shorts that had been piling up in the laundry room that really needed to be ironed. So I watched a little TV while I ironed. Then I spent time on the Internet looking at used motorcycles for sale. By then it was time to get a shower and get ready to meet Scott, Lacy and Sheryl for dinner.

The teaching by Scott was awesome. It was foundational and about the lenses that we read scripture through. How we read and interpret scripture determines how we view Father God. This parallels a book that I am reading for school about Spiritual Salves and Spiritual Sons. The teaching basically went through the old and new testament focusing on the Goodness of God. If we are to live our life as Sons and Daughters, we must believe that God is good. We need to be Sons and Daughters. Sons and Daughters receive an inheritance, slaves do not. Sons and daughters are friends with the Father and He tells them what He is doing. Slaves on the other hand have no idea of why the Father does something. They only know their task.

So here is the question for tonight. Am I, are you, living life as a Son/Daughter or as a slave? A slave will do things because He is ordered to do things, while a son will do things because of his love for the Father. It’s really about relationship. Intimacy is the key to son ship. If we learn to have relationship with Papa, then love will cause us to do everything that He wants us to do. If we don’t have relationship, we will remain a slave, and we will do things because we need to do them to be recognized. I know that for the most part, I am living life as a Son. To me it has become all about the relationship. I don’t have to work to gain approval. It’s just a matter of receiving and being. That doesn’t mean that every area of my life is completely in relationship with Papa. No, what really happens is that most of my life is lived under son ship, but there is some of it that is still listed under a slave mentality. I want every area of my life lived in son ship to the Father. To do that, I have to let Holy Spirit search my heart and reveal the areas that need repentance.

Tomorrow we have training beginning at 9AM and then I have to go to Stone Mountain at 4. That means I need to leave by 3 in order to gat there. So it will be a really busy day, which will lead into another busy day on Sunday. Sunday I will drive down to BA for church and then down to the campus for lunch and orientation. It should be a fun day! Then school starts on Monday night! And so it all begins. I am excited to see what He is going to do through the school this year. Well, it’s late, and I really need some sleep.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 242 - Things Left Unsaid

Tonight was the first night for our small group in this fall session. I had no idea how many people to expect. We out grew the Meder’s house last fall, and last year the numbers ranged anywhere from 30 to 45 depending on the night. We have been meeting in the Grand Foyer of the church for almost a year now. Since we took most of the summer off, we were not sure how many people would make it back. But we had 50 on the email list last year. A couple of weeks ago at church we had another 15 that said they might come. So we had to plan for around 60, just in case everyone showed up.

How do you take a group of 60 and make it small and intimate. It’s hard. I know we shouldn’t have so many people, but what God seems to be doing in and through the group is so good, it’s hard to try and divide it into two groups. So what we are doing is breaking up into five smaller groups for our discussion and ministry time. We come together for the teaching and worship. Well, we had 61 people there tonight, and it worked out well. I don’t know how many will be back next week, but it’s not really about the numbers. It is about what God is doing. We have started a study on the book of Acts. Tonight we were to read chapters 1 and 2. Then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal new truth to us. Give us revelation that we hadn’t fully understood before. And He was faithful to answer our request. One of the things He showed me was that Jesus spent 49 days with His disciples talking and sharing after His resurrection. The only thing the bible says He talked about was “The Kingdom of God”.

That led me to this question. If I knew that I only had 40 days with my family and friends to talk and share before I died, what would I focus on? What would be my main focus as I talked with each of them? It would have to be the most important thing in my life. It would have to be the thing that they would need to know the most to carry on after I was gone. To Jesus it was “the Kingdom of God”. It wasn’t about church. It wasn’t even about religion. It was about the Kingdom. So that is probably where our focus needs to be as we live our daily lives. It should be about learning to release the Kingdom of God in every area that we live and minister. So this was one of the main focus points of my teaching.

But that got me to thinking about my time with Julia. She was snatched away so quick that we never had time to say goodbye, let alone talk about the most important things in our lives. In that regard, I am a little envious of people who have longer times of illness before they die. If they sense that it could be possible to die, they could focus on the important things with their family. I wonder if that really happens though. So many times we just tend to not want to face any possibility of death. I think that you can walk in faith and still deal with the reality of the possibility. It doesn’t mean that you have given up on healing; it only means that you care enough for your family to share things that need to be shared.

We really need to say the things that we often leave unsaid whether we are sick or not. I wish that I had been more loving to Julia. I have so many things that I would like to say to her; things that I will never be able to say in person on this earth. I’m not talking about feeling guilty. I’ve gotten over any feelings of guilt. These are just feelings of lost opportunity. We never should let an opportunity go by where we can praise our spouse and we don’t. Julia was one of the kindest gentlest people that I have ever known. Her love for me was so strong and I should have told her so much.

I never want to leave things unsaid again. Life is too short not to speak life into others. We all need to hear what’s important, no matter how long we have to live. It doesn’t have to be the last 40 days. It can be the last 40 years. Our words give life to others. Don’t hold them back!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 241 - Getting Ready

Sometimes you just get caught up in things that really don’t matter. Last night after I finished my blog I was just channel surfing before I went to bed and there it was. AMC is running Dirty Harry week with Clint Eastwood. Magnum Force was playing and had just started. Sure, it would be 1AM before it was over. Well, I thought I would watch a little of it. Wrong! I wound up watching the whole thing. It was fun and I enjoyed the movie again. But was it worth staying up that late? Probably not. I could have recorded it, but I have so much from last year I haven’t watched that I figured that I would never get to it.

Isn’t life like that? We get intrigued about something that really doesn’t mean much, then we say we will watch just a little. Pretty soon, we are totally involved in something that we really don’t have time for and it is totally off track as to where God is calling us and what we are supposed to be focusing on. It doesn’t have to be sin. Most of the time, if we are believers, sin is far from our minds. No, it is the little things, even the good things, which we get caught up in. I think of the parable of the soils and how there was good soil but the seeds and thorns overtook the fruit,

OK, watching a good 70’s Dirty Harry movie didn’t derail me from anything that God has for my destiny. It’s just an example. We need to constantly reevaluate our priorities based on what Holy Spirit is telling us today. The good is alwlays the enemy of the best. Just because we were called to do something last year, doesn’t mean we are to keep doing it for the rest of our life. We are to continually grow in the Kingdom. That means we can’t stand still. We can’t rest on what we have accomplished. No we have to continue to get ready for the next assignment, the next adventure. Too many times I think that because I have done something well that I am supposed to continue doing it. This year has been a year of change for me; that change isn’t over. I really feel as I write this even, Holy Spirit is saying “get ready”. I’ve learned that when He tells me to get ready, that change is coming.

Since my life is so full of change anyway, I have no idea what He is talking about. But I have faith that he will show me as I begin to get ready. Well, I am getting ready. I’m getting ready for school, for Australia. I’m getting ready to lead an outreach. I can only be effective doing so much. I have to work some, so I know that is a part. But as I get ready, I am beginning to get excited. I know that this school year will be an awakening in me. I don’t really know what in me has been sleeping. But I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff with one of those hang gliders. I know that sometime this year I am going to have to step off that cliff and trust that the wind of the spirit will fill my sails and take me to higher places than I have ever been. If you have ever jumped out of an airplane, and I have once, you realize that that first step is where all the fear and what if’s lie in attack. Once you take that leap, then the adrenalin and excitement and adventure take over. You have to take the first step. You have to be willing to overcome fear and doubt. Faith is action. But before you take the first step, you have to get ready.

No matter whether you are riding a motorcycle or jumping out of an airplane or doing something new in the Kingdom, you have to get ready. If you are jumping out of an airplane, you have to make sure your parachute is packed properly and you have it on correctly. Riding a motorcycle, you have to make sure you have the proper equipment and you know how to ride. In the Kingdom, you have to make sure you have heard God and that you are called. You have to be willing to risk and give up all you have done before. We all need to get ready. Times are changing quickly. We are being called to something new, and we must be ready to answer the call.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 240 - Vineyard Summer Camp '94

It was either late July or early August. Anyway it was after we had gone to Toronto. Around the first of the year, Johnny Crist had come to me and asked if I would organize and direct a summer camp for the Atlanta Vineyard. He knew that I had been camp director for FUMC’s Youth camp in ’88 and he said that I was the only one in the church that could pull it off. I was not inclined to do it for a couple of reasons. First, the age groups that he wanted to include were, in my opinion, too diverse and incompatible. I think the kids ranged from 3rd grade up to 9th grade. Second, I really didn’t think I was up to the task, or even wanted to do it. But Johnny was persuasive and so I agreed. All spring I worked with a good team of people. We got counselors and decided to have it at Schoco Springs in AL. I suggested the place because I had been there at Dudley Hall retreats in the past. It was a Baptist campground that would more than house all of our needs. So we were constantly meeting and planning. If any of you have ever been to camp or worked in oe, you know how much planning it takes.

Well then everything broke loose at Mother’s Day in the Atlanta Vineyard, and with what was going on at Toronto, I was wondering what God was going to be up to at camp. I got to pick the theme and design the T-shirts. The theme for the camp was “Fan the Flame” and the verse was 2 Timothy 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. The shirt had flames of fire on the front with the words “Fan into Flame” within. I just knew that Holy Spirit had a surprise for us, and I began to get excited about camp.

Our speakers were going to be Johnny Crist and Tony Cavener. They were both the pastors. We had a good worship team. I was the director, but I wasn’t planning to speak. I called all my friends at First Methodist and invited their children to come. Terry and Patty Cantrell enrolled their daughter Ruth Allen. I think Ruth Allen was either in the third or fourth grade. I was surprised they let her come and after what happened at camp, I was just hoping that we would still be friends.

I think the camp was scheduled to go from Sunday night through Friday Morning. If my memory is right, the first three nights were good. Worship was very good, and the messages by Johnny and Tony were very good. Some of the kids were getting saved and others were recommitting their life. It was everything that you thought a camp would be. But I knew that there was more that Papa wanted to do. Remember what I said about how Holy Spirit always seemed to wait until the senior leaders were not around before He moved. Well, He did it again. A good friend of all of us had a family crisis. His daughter was deathly ill. Tony and Johnny were both called back to Atlanta suddenly on Wednesday morning. It was so sudden and desperate that they just told me to preach or do whatever I thought was best. I was left in charge. I was excited, because I really wanted the opportunity to preach, and here it was. But Holy Spirit had other ideas.

Earlier that spring there was a big tornado in Piedmont Alabama. It went through the center of town and destroyed a number of buildings and houses. It killed over 25 people. In Piedmont there was a Vineyard church. The pastor and his wife were a little older than me. Their daughter and, I think, granddaughter were both killed in that tornado. They were totally devastated. They were so broken that they had taken a sabbatical from the ministry and were still in morning, if not a state of shock. Johnny had asked them to come to camp with us. They were not consolers or on the program. They were there just to be around the kids and hopefully receive healing. All week I had seen them, crying most of the time. Not out loud, but you know, the tears that just seem to flow some times. The same type of tears that I have become very familiar with these past few months. As I was thinking and praying about what to do, I felt impressed by Holy Spirit to ask that pastor if he would preach that night. Now, he hadn’t preached in months and had turned down every offer that he had been given, saying that he wasn’t ready. But this time he said yes. I just knew it was from God and that if nothing else, Holy Spirit would use this to help heal him.

We normally had a consolers meeting before supper. I think it was around 4 and supper started at 5. Then we had evening activities at 6 and the service started at 7:30. Well something happened at this meeting that hadn’t happened all week. When we started praying and invited the Holy Spirit we all began to laugh. The more we tried to stop, the harder we laughed. It got to a point where we couldn’t stand up. We were praying for the service and for the pastor. He began to weep and cry. I think a deep place was touched as we prayed for him. But in the midst of that , we were still laughing so much we were totally drunk in the Spirit. We could hardly stand up. When it continued and got stronger I mad a decision. I decided that instead of the evening activity, we would go straight to the service. If Holy Spirit was moving that strong in us, obviously He wanted to move in the service and I was going to do everything that I could to give Him every opportunity. We were finally able to stagger out of the prayer meeting for dinner. I was able to stay pretty composed for dinner. I made the announcement and coordinated with the worship team about all the changes.

At six we all gathered for the service. Worship was awesome, and although I knew that the presence of God was strong, I didn’t’ feel drunk or laughing like I had in the prayer meeting. I just felt a strong sense of His love and Peace. After worship, I got up and introduced the pastor. Then He got up to speak. So her he was, a broken man. Here was a man who was still grieving over his daughter and granddaughter’s death; a man who hadn’t spoken to a congregation for months because of grief. I had seen this man crying every night. Here he was about to speak for the first time. He opened his bible and tried to read a scripture. Nothing came out. He tried to read again, and he began to laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more. He laughed so hard that he fell down. For a moment everybody was stunned. He continued to laugh and then laughter began to break out in little pockets in the congregation. Then more laughter and more. Then it was almost total chaos. People were on the floor. Kids were crying and laughing at the same time. Adults were frightened, others were laughing. I had never seen anything like it. Shoot, I have never seen anything quite like it since. I knew that I had to do something. The pastor was balled up on the floor in agony laughing. I got up on stage and opened the book of Acts. 2:15

"These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. ven on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy."

Then I pointed out and said: “This is That!” I asked the consolers to begin to pray with the campers. Young people were being instantly delivered. Others were being filled with the spirit and still others were just doing it because they wanted to be like everybody else. This went on for over an hour. I then began to realize that many of the campers had disappeared and I was worried about them. I sent some of the consolers on a search. I was amazed at what I heard about when they came back. Groups of 5th grade boys in their cabin by themselves holding hands and asking God for more. Others were in groups of 2 or 3 just out praying. It’s funny as I look back. The kids were fine. It was the adults I had the most problems with. Some of them were totally freaked out and nothing I could say would help. Others were right there with me going after more.

One thing I forgot to mention. The Shoco Springs staff had been listening to our worship and loved it. They had asked to come and take pictures of the camp and we had said OK. They were coming at 7:30 because that is when we normally started. But we had started at 6 instead. When they got there, we had kids on the floor crying, kids on the floor laughing. We had adults praying with kids and adults on the floor crying and laughing. It was total chaos. This Baptist campground staff went around taking pictures. I remember calling Julia later that night. I was talking with her and getting come advice as to how to proceed. I wanted what had started to continue the next night. But I wasn’t going to be in charge. Johnny and Tony were coming back in the morning. Needless to say, I had a lot to tell them when they got back. We were all in agreement that we had received a sovereign move of God and were grateful. But there was not agreement as to how to proceed the following night. Camp ended, and we went back to Atlanta. I will never forget as long as I live what God did that night. It was probably one of the most awesome manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s power that I have ever seen. I am so honored that He let me be a small part in what He did. Never under estimate what God wants to do in your life or through you, no mater what your surroundings.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 239 - Blessed Beyond Belief

Well, it’s always good to be home. But I do miss the girls already. I guess this is part of the “new normal”. Seeing one set of granddaughters in Ft Lauderdale and then seeing the other set in Virginia. The good news is that we will all be together for Christmas. The bad news is that it’s going to be hard to work in trips to see them for the next couple of months. From now until the middle of October, my calendar is full with work, school or trips. I think that there is something on the schedule for everyday.

Tonight we had dinner and a movie over at the house again. I grilled chicken and onions while Biddie brought a salad and Cathy brought some vegetables. It was a great dinner. The movie was Godfather II. It’s over three hours long and we just finished. It has always been my favorite and it was great tonight. It’s still hard to believe that Bud and Cathy had never seen the Godfather series. Julia and I used to watch it at least once a year. OK, Julia really watched it because she loved me, not necessarily the movies. But this series is one of the classics that you have to watch again from time to time.

Looking back on the weekend I really had a good time with Lisa and the girls. There is just something about a 4 year old and 8 month old that always keeps your interest. There was never a dull moment. I know that Lisa wishes that there were a few more dull moments, but I was laughing most of the weekend at all the things the girls were doing. This morning saying goodbye, Anna just hugged my neck and wouldn’t let go for a few seconds. Right then, I just could have stayed and as I walked into the airport I was thinking about Julia and how much she loved all the girls. So Julia, I know that that hug was for Nana too. Anna said at least once that Nana was in Heaven and some day we would be there to, but it would be a while. She is so right, someday we will be there, and it probably will be a while.

The flight home was easy and I did get a run in. So here I am in my rocker. I just sit here thanking Papa for my family; all of them. I am truly blessed and I know it. What I realize as I sit here is that I really don’t take the time that I should just to thank Him for all that He has done in my life and with my family. We were talking tonight about how people are so quick to blame God when bad things happen. We have to look at our lives as if they are being played out in an environment with certain rules. God initially set up the rules to give us free will. How could we choose to love Him, which is what He wants if that was the only choice we had. So Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had a lot of good choices they could make. But there was one bad choice. There had to be that ability to choose against God or we would have been slaves instead of Sons and Daughters.

But with the choices came consequences. The consewuence for choosing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was that sin and evil came into the world. Now, we cant just blame Adam, we have done enough to being it in if he hadn’t. But with sin came sickness, disease and every other bad thing. The “rules” have them just play out where they will. But as we are learning, we can “bend and sometimes break” the rules. This occurs when we call the Kingdom of Heaven down to Earth. When Heaven shows up, the rules change and so do the results. The main problem we have is that we really are just learning our authority and power to be able to call Heaven down. I believe that Papa wants us to bend and break the rules a lot more than we are able to do right now. It’s our job as believers to continue to seek to release the Kingdom of God, thus bending the rules wherever we go. That’s what I want and what I am going after. It’s exciting. There is no one to blame; it’s just how it is. We need to learn to color outside the line a lot more. Why not join me?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 238 - Churches

One of the most difficult things about moving to a new city is finding a new church. Sure there are hundreds of churches to choose from. Surely it wouldn’t be that hard. Well, think again. Lisa has been looking for a couple of months. She has found one that might work, but was hoping to find one that was a little bigger. If she was looking for the basic Baptist or Methodist church, there would be no problem. There are many of them, and I am sure they are all pretty good. I know that Jennifer is having the same problem in Ft Lauderdale. The problem is that what they want in a church is what I want in a church. It is pretty hard to find. I am so blessed to have RiverStone, and there is also Bethel Atlanta and even a couple of more in Atlanta that I would consider. But that is probably less than ten churches in the Metro Atlanta Area. How many churches are in Atlanta anyway? You get the picture, our requirements for a church are very stringent.

So, what makes a good church anyway? Well many things, and first among them is to have a friendly congregation that welcomes newcomers. But many churches have this. So what else? I have to have a church that focuses on releasing the Kingdom of God into its area of influence. It has to focus on the Kingdom and not on its programs. It also should be about community transformation or revival. Of course it had to preach the word of God and not only preach it, but live it through the release of the Gifts of the Spirit. The church should not only “believe in healing,” but actually pray for people and see them healed.

Hopefully my church will have good contemporary worship that is relevant to the next generation. You see, it’s not really about what I like but more about equipping and releasing a new generation for revival. Speaking of the next generation, the children and youth are very important, so there should be classes for them that do more than play games and babysit. If they aren’t learning to do the works of the Kingdom, we will never see more than one generation go after the things of God.
So here we are back to Lisa’s dilemma. She has found two churches that are trying to do these things. The problem is that both of them are really just church plants. There are not enough people to really do everything that they have been called to do. I’m sure they will get there, but they just need to grow for a few years. Julia and I were involved in church planting for years. I know what is involved and the commitment it takes to plant and grow a church. I also know that not everybody has been called to be a pioneer in this area. It is definitely a call from God.

At this point in their lives, I don’t think that Lisa or Jennifer is called to be involved in a church plant. They don’t have the extra time and extra energy that it takes to be committed on that level. So, right now Lisa is still looking. There is one more place that she wants to go. Hopefully she will be able to find it next Sunday. I pray that this will be a place where she can get plugged in and make new friends. I pray it is a place where Anna and Julia can grow in the things of God, and in the heritage that is theirs. I know that both my girls will find the place God is calling them to be, it’s just that after being with us for so long, not every church will do. And for that I am so thankful.

Well, it’s back to Atlanta tomorrow morning. It has really been a good visit. The girls are growing up so fast. I can see so much of my Julia in Julia. She is definitely going to have the fire that Julia had. I even think she “roars” much like her Nana. Lisa says it’s her cat sound. It sounds more like a Lioness to me. School is fast approaching and so is my trip to Australia. The rest of this month is really going to fly by. It’s still early and Lisa is putting the girls to bed. I think I will read a while, and then maybe watch a movie with Lisa before I pack and go to bed. Tomorrow night I will be back in my rocking chair. It will be good to be home too.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 237 - A Little Nostalgia

Today was a beautiful day, in more ways than one. It seems that the cold fron made it through and this morning was very nice. The afternoon high was in the low 80’s with beautiful, clear blue skies. It was a perfect day to be outside and that’s where we were almost all day. This morning we were deciding whether to take the girls to Williamsburg, Yorktown or Jamestown. Lisa hasn’t had a chance to take them very many places since moving up here. I have been to all three, but the hard part was trying to figure which would be the best for an almost four (going on 15) little girl. We really wanted to keep Anna Roan occupied. Julia is just along for the ride at her age. It turns out that she is happy anywhere, as long as it’s outside and she is moving.

Well we finally selected Jamestown. I remember that Julia and I had been there a number of years ago, and I remembered they had people dressed up like Pilgrims and Indians. There were ships and buildings. It sounded great for a 4 year old. So we looked it up on the GPS and started out. All three places are pretty close to Lisa. I think they were about 25 miles away. It only took about 40 minutes of driving to get there. I was really a beautiful drive, mainly along the bay. Anna Roan is fascinated with boats. She said that she wanted to tide in a Kayak. I told her that she would have to paddle in the Kayak. Her answer to me was classic: No, Papa, you can paddle and I will tell you where to go. That’s Anna’s attitude in a nutshell. If anyone needs any directions, she is always ready to give them. After a good laugh, I said that she was probably right.

We wound up at Jamestown, but it was not like I remembered at all. This was the national park, which included the actual settlement. There were no Pilgrims or ships or Indians. But it really didn’t matter. It was a beautiful day and there was plenty to see. We put Julia in the stroller. Anna wanted to walk so we left her out of the stroller to start with. Jamestown was founded on an island surrounded by water and marsh. We had a long walk over a footbridge to get out there. Anna really loved the footbridge. She was constantly running ahead to see things and them come back and report. There is something about that age. Maybe it’s the excitement or enthusiasm, but it’s contagious and we were all having a great time.

We probably spent three hours just walking around and exploring. Well we did stop so Anna could have a “picnic”. We hadn’t brought much food, and she was getting hungry. So she ate what we had, and I munched on some nuts. In fact, I think we had two “picnics” while we were out there. Finally we had seen enough. However, Lisa had seen a sign about a glassblowers cabin when we cam in to the park. It was about a mile outside the visitor’s center where we parked. Luckily we had brought Lisa’s jogging stroller. It is a double stroller with big wheels. So we loaded both girls and started walking. It was such a beautiful day. Well, there was a guy there blowing glass. Anna got to watch him make a vase. He had the stone kiln all fired up. It was really neat to watch. I’m glad that Anna got to see it. We were all getting hungry by now, so after we walked back we decided to try to find something to eat in Williamsburg.

Lisa has never been to Williamsburg, and she couldn’t believe it when we drove into the city center. After we parked, we walked around the shops and looked for a place to eat. There are many good Restaurants in Williamsburg, but today it happened that we wanted to sit outside. Didn’t I say what a beautiful day it was? So we finally chose one. It was “The Trellis” restaurant. This restaurant happened to be one of Julia’s favorites. In fact the first time we ever came to Williamsburg, we ate there twice. At home there is a book of recipes from the Trellis called “Death By Chocolate”. The really do have great desserts. Anyway, as I sat there this afternoon, and as I walked around Williamsburg today, my mind and heart were never far from Julia. I know that she would have enjoyed the day so much. We had a lot of fun today, but I really missed her. It wasn’t a hard day, it was just that I was having such a good time; I just wanted to share it with her.

It’s still hard to believe that she isn’t with me. Why it was last October we were walking the same streets that I walked today. Julia and I came up to Williamsburg and Washington with John and Biddie. It was such a short time ago and yet so much has changed. So yes, today was a great day. It is so good to be with family. Life is such a joy, and I enjoyed every minute of it today. At the same time, the nostalgia of remembering such good times with Julia was there too. I guess that is the way it will be sometimes. You know what? I can live with that. I just thank God that I had those times with her and I can remember all the good things.