My mother is an amazing woman. Without being disrespectful, she reminds me of our puppy Poochini. Let me explain. Every time Poochini sees our neighbors he instantly raises his life up a notch for whatever interaction he can make happen. This has ended several times with an excited Poochini being picked up by the neighbor or passing jogger and handed into my arms for his own good. So how does this relate? My Mom is one of the most graceful people I have ever known when it comes to socializing with other people. At the age of 80, she comes alive, getting to another level of healthy living, as she interacts with the people in her life. I have always seen this in her; but when the wife and mother of a young couple that are buying the house next to hers came by to visit, it was reiterated to me again. Always gracious and friendly, I was able to tell the young woman with her baby, that she couldn’t get a better neighbor, and her mother heartily agreed with me.
This visit proved relaxing and comfortable. We were going to try and squeeze in some restaurant time but just found ourselves enjoying each other’s company at home. Billy, Brooke and babies were going to join us Sunday morning for a leisurely breakfast as well as my sister Laurie’s fiancé James. James turned out to be one great guy. He is a rock and roller somewhat younger than me. He was describing his latest ventures into the mosh pits of Sacramento. He currently has fallen into a great place. The military base at O Fallen NV has hired him to provide weekly entertainment on base. He is now one popular guy in Sacramento where he hires the bands to play. Some conversation, Julia and Roman time along with some Malachi time was about all that was going on. My only chore was to repair a collapsed Ping-Pong table so that my Mom could stack her charity goods on it. Joan and I ended up working together making two tables with taller legs and supporting braces. It seems that everyone was pleased with the solution. At one point James was sleeping, Billy was sleeping and I decided to get some sleep before my big night.
My big night was to leave my Mom’s, travel up to Reno to preach for Pastor Louis Oliver and then travel through the night back to Laura Michelle’s house in San Diego. Why? You might ask. Because Joan needed to watch Joshua while Laura Michelle went to her next to last Monday of classes for nursing. Joan would travel back to Reno with the grandkids while I drove the rental up to Reno with a nice Starbucks stop.
I had a good sermon to preach for Reno; et least Billy and Brooke both said it helped many people; in fact it was something Brooke had said that confirmed to me that I had the right sermon at the right time. She had mentioned the battle of potty training Roman; realizing that the hassle it had become was a reflection of her poor attitude and what needed to change was that. The text was from Nehemiah where the rubbish from the old walls were slowing down the work progress of building the new walls. The first point was the need to clean up the rubbish of life. Spring cleaning does more than just organize things, it brings a freshness to life. The first step was to clean up the physical rubbish in your life, get some things done that needed to doing or finishing some half-finished projects. Fairly straight forward. The second point was the need to remove the clutter in your mind. Some different thoughts building upon the first point but when it was all said and done the conclusion is that the best thing you can do to reduce the clutter in your mind is to obey God in the areas where you know what you should . As the verse says “as obedient children” what a picture of clarity! The third point with conclusion was an examination of the “burdensome tasks” of life seen that way by the heart that was not right with God verses the joy of accomplishment in life as seen by the heart that was right with God. The conclusion being the “Why?” So why should we clean up the clutter in our lives, in our minds and get some clarity about the tasks of life? Because God has some things He wants us to do. I enjoyed the sermon, had preached it as much to myself as I had to them.
Had some good conversation with TJ, Pastor Oliver’s son. He will be heading for Madagascar to start a church this summer. What an adventure is ahead for them. His two teen age sons seem ready to go. We talked mechanics of missionary work, but really I was just impressed with the enthusiasm (filled with God) that flowed out of his spirit. Just blessed me!
Said our good byes after church. I found myself preparing for this moment for about 10 days. In order for Joan to accompany me to see my Mom; she had to be back in San Diego by 6:30 in the morning. Their services started earlier than I thought, so we were looking good as we started down the road around 8:00. We were looking at around 9 hours of driving. I wanted Joan to be able to sleep as much as possible since she would be with Joshua for the school day. Mentally and physically; I was ready and drove the whole way without any sleepy moments. It was a great trip. “A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul” and I felt accomplished and had that sweet touch on my soul.
Joe was at school adding certificates to his computer skills while Joan and Laura Michelle were at school. I slept and when Joe came home at lunch we went out and had some Sushi. That’s what you do in Southern California because we are really cool. I have to admit that I shocked him with the amount of Sushi I piled into the gullet. I am just enjoying my time with Joe. That night Joe and I would go to church to hear evangelist Kris Hart preach in the San Diego church. Good preaching followed by some prophecies. It all sounded good to me but I could tell Joe wasn’t as moved as I was. It turns out he had begun to endure prophecies from the same people after almost every service for quite some time and it had lost that special touch it is meant to add to the service.
Laura Michelle and Joshua had made both services Sunday but it was decided that they would take a break Monday night and we would all go to revival services Tuesday night. That Tuesday Joan and I had our last Starbucks in San Diego, turned the car in and spent our last moments with Joshua. Joe was off that day and went to the gym around noon so I headed up the hills surrounding their house. I did some exercises in the sun and then went to the trail head to start the journey up to the cell towers. Another man arrived at the trail head at the same time so we started up the hill together. He was younger than me so I encouraged him to go ahead if he chose. He felt comfortable walking with me so we introduced ourselves to each other and shared the normal facts about life. He was an American of Korean descent named Matt who owned two cell phone franchises in Dallas TX. What was he doing in San Diego? As he said, “just look around; where else can I get weather like this? Where else can I wake up and smell tropical smells like this?” He moved here just to live here and he flew back and forth to Dallas for 3 days of work a week. We talked about this and that and made it to the top and started our way down. This is when he said, can I talk to you about something personal since you are a pastor? We talked about his son Dean. Him looking for understanding as well as counsel. Me; sharing my own supernatural touch from God as well as some common sense thinking based upon Dobson’s “Tough Love”. He asked us to pray for him and his son. So I do and we did in church also.
After that we went to lunch at our Vietnamese restaurant and treated ourselves to the special drinks also. I chose the sour plum, delicious. Pastor Hart was preaching strong and ended the service with some personal words of encouragement to different people in church. I was included with some words noting my good attitude and God’s blessings upon the things I was undertaking, generic except I did have a needed great attitude and I am embarking upon this kind of “one minute bible study” undertaking. So it fit well and was quite the encouragement for me. Joe would get a word and afterwards Pastor Rice would say that so many of the “words” given matched the things he had said in his office to the different people. It was a good night. After church, Pastor Rice invited us all out to his favorite restaurant; Studio Diner. Had a great time of fellowship with Joe, Pastor Rice, his son Joey and Pastor Hart along with all of the ladies at the other end of the table. Was able to share my “one minute bible studies” thoughts with Pastor Hart. Home for our last night and our early departure from San Diego. Baby and Laura Michelle were sleeping as Joe drove us to the airport.
Got home, had my sermon idea down and written on the plane, preached that night and collapsed in sleep. Woke up the next morning for a 6:30 rendezvous with Corey for Ebony’s graduation and life hasn’t stopped since.