Saturday, May 21, 2005
When I think of our son so many words pop into my mind....full of integrity, truthful and honest, considerate, godly, tender, energetic, driven, strong, faithful, passionate, sincere, generous and kind, funny, witty, diplomatic and tactful, beautiful blue eyes and a million dollar smile...when he combines those two---watch out! :)
Jim and I are so humbled that the Lord chose us to rear James. How grateful that we were committed to being on the same page. I can remember when James was about 2, almost 3, and he had done something which I corrected him for. I was so tired and as soon as I told him not to do whatever it was again, I regretted it, because I knew that he knew I had drawn the line. I sat down and sure enough he 'stepped over the line' and looked at me to see what I would do. As I looked back into his eyes I saw a rebellious 14 year old looking back at me. It was enough to galvanize me into action, to get up and follow through with the appropriate discipline. Over the years I have been so thankful that the Lord allowed me to see that look in our precious toddler because whenever I felt kind of lax...not really wanting to follow through, the Lord would allow me to recall that look. And we definitely followed through with our commitment to love and discipline as the Lord directed.
What is so wonderful about being faithful is to be rewarded with a son who loves the Lord and is walking with Him. To have been so strong-willed when he was younger almost seems like a dream, but today we see a teachable man desirous to do what is pleasing to the Lord; it is so heartwarming.
I use to think that whatever stage we were going through, that is, toddlers or teens or college...was the most important. Each stage is important. The toddler years one is developing and setting the foundation for your child, teaching him what is right and wrong, developing a love for the Lord, etc. The teen years are important in teaching them their value to God, giving them esteem that is Christ centered, holding them accountable for their actions and then following through. All of those years require much prayer. Once he left home for college I realized that the mistakes they make during that time can have far reaching effects, good or bad. It isn't the same as when they are under your roof and you can tuck them at night. As much as I thought prayer was important before, I realized it had far greater importance now.
Today, we can offer suggestions, if asked, but truly our impact isn't what it used to be. And that is where the Lord has helped me to see even more the importance of praying for our son, now that he is gone. We may not be able to sway him one way or another, but I do know that the Lord's power is so much stronger than our son's will. Christ's love for him is so much greater than our love can ever imagine to be. And I know that He is developing him to be the person He has planned for him to be since before the foundation of the world!
So, it is with much joy and happiness that I wish our son HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Enjoy your day, son! We love you....
Friday, May 20, 2005
Come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses....
FOR THE GARDEN OF DAILY LIVING,
PLANT THREE ROWS OF PEAS:
1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul
PLANT FOUR ROWS OF SQUASH:
1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness
PLANT FOUR ROWS OF LETTUCE:
1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another
NO GARDEN IS COMPLETE WITHOUT TURNIPS:
1. Turnip for worship
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another
TO CONCLUDE, THE GARDEN MUST HAVE THYME:
1. Thyme for family
2. Thyme for friends
3. Thyme for each other
WATER FREELY WITH PATIENCE AND CULTIVATE WITH LOVE. REMEMBER: YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW!
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Friday was Track Select which began at 8:00 a.m. We arrived at James' apartment at 7:30 and he drove us onto base in his car. Our day began in the briefing room and they ran through a typical morning. They (the IP's) explained how they entered through a certain door (leaving out the part of kicking it open) and how the students were all at attention. They roll-played some of the typical scenarios that the pilots would encounter and how they were to answer. We met and mingled with all the students and their parents. After that session we were pretty much on our own to go out to the RSU tower where they monitor all the flights and critique them. You can watch them work the pattern, take off and land. After the RSU we were able to go to the Simulator, which looks like a huge mushroom cloud, all black. Once inside we were able to get into the simulator and go through some of the maneuvers. Once I got in the air James led me through the procedure for an aileron roll. He bragged on my perfect roll...I'm sure it was totally due to his perfect instructing! :) We also went out to the flight line, climbed up into one of the planes and generally looked everything over.
The highlights were that evening. They began the evening with a "mixer" so parents and students could mingle and eat before the festivities began. Then they began with introductions of the IP's and other distinguished guests. From there it moved into awards. The first acknowledgement was for the five or six pilots who never hooked (failed) a check ride (a final exam flight over a block of knowledge). James was one of those. Then they announced who had received a perfect score on all academic tests...Totaling 514 questions. There was one pilot who aced all 514 questions and one pilot who missed only 1 question. They announced the pilot who did not hook ANY rides at all...that was Kate, the married gal who is going to train for Heavies. They wound up this section by announcing the Outstanding Officer of the class. It was none other than our James!!! It is a very high honor to be accorded! I thought Jim and I would faint dead on the spot! We are still in awe how the Lord has blessed our son over these last six months!
Then it was "On to the Games!" They would take 3 or 4 pilots and pit them against each other in some kind of game...one was musical chairs, another was a race in getting out of their G-suit, running around "something" and coming back to their chair and sitting. Another game was shooting some kind of rocket thing through the Ring of Fire (a hoola-hoop decorated with lit up Christmas tree lights). This was James' game. How you finished in each game determined in what order you would find out your selection. James finished second so he found out second out of the three of them.
My cousin and her daughter were able to be there for the big event. They came down from Auburn, AL. The next day we all went back to Auburn with them to see her Mom and Dad and her siblings etc. Her Mom was my Dad's sister and the last surviving member of her family. We worshiped on Sunday with them, got a bite to eat after church and then headed back to Valdosta.
Monday found James, Jim and I at a swamp which was quite fascinating. I was able to get a couple of cool pictures of a green lizard with a blue dragonfly in it's mouth! We celebrated James' 23rd birthday a week early that evening. Then James came over for a very early breakfast with us before we left on Tuesday morning!
James is waiting for his orders to come in telling him when he needs to report to Corpus Christi NAS. And his Dad and I are gearing up to begin praying him through the next six months of pilot training which will culminate in his earning his wings! Corpus Christi here we come!!! :)
Monday, May 09, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
BREAKPOINT with Charles Colson------------------------------
Lighting a Hollywood Candle
The Films of Philip AnschutzMay 5, 2005
If you happened to stumble across a devout Christian in Hollywood, you'd likely assume he was one of two things: He must be Mel Gibson, or he must be lost. But, in fact, you just might have run into a Christian businessman named Philip Anschutz. Philip has just spent $150 million to film THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, the first of the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis. Anschutz is showing us what we'd find at the box office if Hollywood gave Americans the kind of films we really want to see. When he first considered bankrolling films, Anschutz -- a billionaire fromColorado -- asked the first question any smart businessman asks: What do the people want? After all, with filmmaking, as with all business ventures, the idea is -- or should be -- to make money. The answer was not difficult to find. Of the twenty top-grossing films of all time, not a single one is rated R. Of the top fifty films, only five are rated R. Clearly, Americans want family fare they can take the kids to. And yet, as Anschutz noted in a recent speech, since the year 2000, Hollywood has "turned out more than five times as many R-rated films as it has films rated G or PG or soft PG-13. . . . Don't these figures make you wonder what's wrong with Hollywood just from a business point of view?" -- good question Anschutz asked. The films were not just bad business; they were polluting the culture --the culture in which Anschutz's grandchildren live, a fact that made him mad. So a few years ago, he decided to stop cursing the darkness and light a cinematic candle: He went into the film business himself, forming the Anschutz Film Group and a children's division, called Walden Media. Then he got busy making movies that were not only entertaining, but also carried strong moral messages. He visited groups of parents, teachers, and children and asked them: "What kind of movies would you like to see made? How can we affirm the good, and de-emphasize the bad and the negative?" Among his films is one I enjoyed immensely, the recent Oscar-winner about the life of the late Ray Charles, called RAY. He made the popular family films BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE and HOLES. Still in production are treatments of children's classics: CHARLOTTE'S WEB and BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA. And Anschutz is sparing no expense in making THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, which hits the box office in the fall. If it's a hit, Anschutz may film the rest of the Narnia books. This is exciting news, because films have such a tremendous impact on our culture. And that is why Anschutz, as a Christian, feels that he has a responsibility to fund uplifting, life-affirming movies. Good for him -- a great example of a Christian living his faith. And make no mistake, secular movie-makers understand the cultural impact, because they are willing to lose money making R-rated films few people want to see: It's more important for them to promote their philosophies and impress their edgy friends and film critics than to produce hits. Imagine what kind of place Hollywood would be if every filmmaker wanted to please the audience, make money, and honor God. Around every Tinsel Town corner,we'd find someone like Philip Anschutz -- or Mel Gibson. And we Christians -- to our great delight -- would have to find something else to protest.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
I really like this prayer of Paul's. There is an element of excitement and joy running throughout it. One really needs to back up just a bit to have a little more understanding regarding this prayer. There are three circumstances which brought about this prayer.
- This prayer arises out of an intense longing to be with these people. Look back at 1 Thessalonians 2:17, "But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while--in person, not in spirit--were all the more eager with great desire to your face."
- The passion and affection Paul had for these people caused him to have a greater concern for others than for himself. He abandons his own interests for the sake of the others. "Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this" 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3.
- Paul thought the worst...that their faith would be completely undercut. He cannot contain himself when he fns out they are still growing in their faith. "But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has broguht us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see s just as we also long to see you, for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about yu through your faith" 1 Thessalonians 3:6-7.
I see four elements to Paul's prayer:
- vs.9: "For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account..." To me, this is a prayer rich in thankfulness to God. Because their faith is growing, he tells the people he has given thanks. Rather than thanking them Paul has thanked God. By giving thanks indirectly (by way of God) the people have nothing to brag about. It's the grace of God working in and through their lives. Think about our society today...we live in an era of self promotion rather than giving praise to God.
- vs. 10: "As we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?" Here Paul prays that he might have a part in their spiritual development. He desired to have opportunities to still minister to them. It makes me think that maybe prayer isn't Christian "service" but a prelude to Christian service.
- vs 12: "And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you..." Here Paul is praying that they might be people who overflow with love toward others. Our love for others should be a visible mark of Christians rather than focusing on our own selves.
- vs. 13: "So that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints." Paul prays that they will be so strengthened in heart that they will be whole and blameless. He desires they achieve a level of maturity in which they would be saintly, not snobbish, which would continue all the way till the coming of our Lord.
Paul opens his heart. He is exercised. He prays for them and his heart opens up. The bottom line is living a life of holiness, step by step, until the coming of the Lord.
As I read through this and looked at it, I couldn't help but see the correlation of parents with their children once they have left home. We are eager (at least this Mom and Dad are) to see his face and to see how he is coping spiritually. We give thanks to God for our son as we hear and see how he is walking with the Lord, maturing in his relationship with the Lord. And, we rejoice to see how he desires to share the Lord with the men around him. There truly is no greater joy for parents than to see their children walking in the Truth. That goes for your physical children the Lord has blessed you with, as well as your spiritual children which the Lord has blessed you with. As you disciple and they in turn step out and away from you, how thrilling to see them carry on, faithfully growing in the Lord.
On a side note, our son had his formation solo today. It went great, a solid flight. Looks like Tuesday for his final check ride. He has his second low level flight tomorrow. He did his first one today and had his solo. It is winding down which means our count down to see him is getting shorter!!
My sister arrived tonight! I am looking forward to having time with her before we leave. Getting caught up in person, face to face, rather than over the phone or through the computer...anyway, I'm not sure how much blogging I'll get done. Probably some but not on a regular basis. I don't think the world will fall apart... :)