Friday, April 29, 2011

Wx Challenge National Championship Team

Today in the Palmeiro Center at MSU, there was a recognition  party for the Wx Challenge National Championship Team.  For the 3rd year in a row, MSU has won this challenge.  Go Dawgs!!

That's my eldest on the far left side.

After we left the party, we had to run by the bookstore to pick up her cap and gown.  There was a photo shoot set-up nearby.  You could have your graduation portrait taken while holding the Egg Bowl trophy or the Gator Bowl Trophy.

For a background you could choose the Stadium or the Chapel of Memories (or I suppose a standard gray background.)

Now why would my girl want her picture taken with a football trophy?

Here she is with the National Championship trophy that she helped secure!

Hmmmm.... I wonder if I can work on removing that background clutter and add in a bolt of lightning or a small funnel cloud....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fizzer Is Lowered!!

Monday afternoon, I heard a familiar voice in the hallway at work.  It was our neighborhood UPS man walking through to unlock the door at the other end of the building.  After holding the door for him to unload Sunday School literature, I asked him to see if he had a package headed to my house.   Sure enough, there it was:  the lowering block and shorter side stand for my new bike.

I called Mr. H, who had the day off, and let him know.  He had everything ready for the transformation by the time the parts arrived in his hands.  But I had an IMPORTANT mission to accomplish for some friends before the task was finished and didn't get to ride it that evening. 

Yesterday evening was El's Middle School band concert, and I still didn't get to ride.  Tonight is church night and things were not looking up for me to get on the bike before I turned 51 years old!

However . . .  I am married to the most wonderful man in the world!

He is working from home today and suggested that he could ride the bike to me at lunchtime and let me take it for a spin!  Oooo . . . great idea!

I was wondering if the weather was going to hold out.  I've heard about tornadoes all morning in various parts of the state, but so far, so good. 

He arrived and gave me a warning about vicious winds and suggested the road across from the church (which I am grateful has been renamed in recent years to Harmon Pope Road rather than Cemetery Road.  Wouldn't that have been horrible to have an incident on my first time out on Cemetery Road?)

Anyway, I took off down Harmon Pope and, for the first time, shifted it up above 3rd gear!  This bike is really smooth and quiet.  Very nice! 

That's when I saw the serpent lying across the road . . . in my lane!

Yes, I squealed.

No, I didn't run over it.  I have such a fear of snakes that I believe they have the ability to do incredible things. . .   like fold in half when my tire rolls over them, enabling them to reach back and inject me with their venomous fangs.  No thanks!

Well, on with my ride, having avoided certain death at the hands (or fangs) of a serpent.

I rode almost to the end of the road, but wasn't sure that I could turn around in the width of the pavement.  Most of the driveways down there are gravel and I knew I wasn't attempting that.  I saw a cleared patch of hard red dirt on the right side and decided to pull off there and aim myself back toward the church.  My intention was to do a three point turn - back up, using my feet to reverse, then pull forward in the other direction.  I learned something:  I don't have enough foot traction to reverse in the dirt!  So  v--e--r--y slowly I inched around, with my feet on the ground, because I really DID NOT want to have to walk back up the road and get the guys that had been watching me ride off to come help me pick that bike back up.

And besides there was that serpent in the road back there. 

I am happy to report that there was no bike dropping for me today. 

I am also happy to report that the maintenance guru checked on the serpent situation and it has been dispatched.

All in all, a good day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Have a Fizzer

Last Sunday, Mr. H and I made a trip to Ocean Springs to pick up my new bike.  It's a 2009 FZ6R (we'll call it the Fizzer.)
It's a tad too tall for me at present, but a lowering block is on it's way via UPS. 

Yesterday afternoon, after delivering my previous bike to my friend, Old Bopper, Mr. H and I decided to take the Fizzer for a spin. 

I'm used to riding with him on the back of his Honda ST1300.  Big seat for me and a sissy bar (back rest).  Do you see anything like that in the above picture?  I haven't held on to him that tightly in quite a while.

We went up to Lucedale to the old WalMart parking lot and I actually rode my bike for the first time.  The height of the bike is really only an issue when getting it up from the side stand.  One really does need 2 feet on the ground for that.  Being very careful, I managed to stand it up.  I took off under my own power!

The first thing I noticed was that I couldn't find the foot pegs!!  My Rebel was rather cruiser-ish, with the pegs out front (think of a straight-line down from elbows with arms in riding position).  This bike is more sporty, with the pegs much farther back (almost straight down from my hips.)  Once I located the pegs, and correspondingly, the shifter, I was off to the races (so to speak).

The next thing I noticed was how easy it was to change gears.  I struggled with changing gears on the Rebel.  I thought maybe my foot just wasn't strong enough to raise that shifter lever.  Not so with the Fizzer!  It just took a slight flick of the toes and there you are in 2nd and then 3rd.   I could feel the large smile on my face spreading!

I made several trips around the empty part of the lot, avoiding the gravely bits and the occasional pothole.  When I came back up to Mr. H and stopped, I didn't even realize that I had just put my left foot down flat and kept the right on the peg with the brake.  I thought that was something I was going to have to work at!

When he saw that I wasn't having much difficulty, Mr. H offered to head back to the house and get his Honda, so we could ride the roads a bit.  My next pass around the parking lot led us to re-think that idea!  I came around in a wide circle and decided to do a quick stop in front of Mr. H.  I made the stop, but apparently didn't have something under control and the bike went slowly over.  The only thing you can do is let it go.  I rolled out of the way and picked myself up laughing. 

I do need to work on being able to pick it back up when it happens again.  It may not happen soon, but it will happen.  And if that lady in the link can pick up a Harley,  I should be able to manage the lighter Fizzer.

Well, that's about it for the first day's adventures.  I'll keep you posted.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hard vs. Easy

I'm learning something new again:  sock knitting.

I don't think I ever appreciated the structure of a sock until I tried to create one!

I've got a book of instructions.  I've got all the necessary supplies:  needles, yarn, row markers.

What I don't have is experience.

I do have a little bit of knowledge to build on.  I have some basic skills.

And until I attempt this, I will never achieve it.

Yes, I'll face disappointment.  (actually, already have - I ripped out the entire 6 inches of my first attempt and started over.)

But from those setbacks, I'll learn valuable lessons. (ex:  I learned that dividing 44 into 3 equal sections works better as 14+16+14 rather than 14+15+15)

I learned that if you fix something early, you won't have to live with an error forever and you won't waste your resources. 

The message in my fortune cookie last night sums it up:  Everything is hard before it's easy.

If nothing was ever hard, we wouldn't know what easy was. And we probably never learn anything new.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Recognizing What You Need

Today, I read the account of David's anointing and Saul's decline.  1 Samuel 15:27-16:23

Saul was so disobedient that God just couldn't stand it any longer.  He had His prophet Samuel go to Bethlehem to anoint another as king.  As soon as David was anointed, God's Spirit came on him.  And at the same time, that Spirit left Saul.

Verse 16:14 says that an evil spirit from the Lord tormented Saul.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  Maybe the Lord didn't intervene when the evil spirit came, therefore allowing it to remain. 

Maybe the evil spirit's name was "Emptiness."  Saul knew what the presence of God's Spirit felt like.  What did His departure feel like? I don't ever want to know!

On the other hand, when the Spirit is with someone, other people notice.  One of Saul's servants had seen David and knew that something was different about him.  When David played his lyre for Saul, relief would come to Saul.  I can't help but believe that he could sense in David's music the very Presence that was missing in his own life.  He may not even have been aware of it.  If he had recognized it, he would have probably tried to kill David right then.  Yet Saul was comforted by David being there.

Is there a Spirit in you that brings comfort to those who don't know Him?  The world should be able to sense that Presence in those who call themselves Christ-Followers.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Mr. H is in Peru this week.  Right now he is in Canta, which is 107 km (a bit more than 66 miles) northeast of Lima, which happens to be where his luggage is.  But Delta says he should have clean clothes tomorrow.

I saw Facebook posts by him last night and this afternoon, but we haven't been able to connect since Sunday morning (during Sunday School, while I was manning the Children's reception desk, but I WAS chatting with a missionary on the field, now, wasn't I?)

With technology, distance is skewed.  Even though we were using the written word to communicate Sunday morning, it was a real conversation.  Many long years ago, the summers when we were in college, we exchanged letters (which I still have by the way!) but they weren't really conversations.  They were narratives.  I told him what I was doing, how I was feeling,  how much I missed him.....  He told me about his job, trips he was planning, how much he missed me....

A conversation flows back and forth quickly.  I ask:  he answers.  He says something funny:  I respond appropriately.  That immediacy makes you forget the distance, which I was going to tell you after I looked it up on google maps, but apparently you can't get there from here, because this is what I got for directions:  We could not calculate directions between Lucedale, MS and Lima, Peru. I figure somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 miles.

Hmmm.....Where was I?
I think I got lost somewhere between here and there.

There was a point to all this, but what it was escapes me now.  Maybe that is the point.  With him so far away, I feel . . . That's just it. . .  I don't know exactly what it is that I'm feeling or thinking.  It's as if the North Pole has disappeared, and my compass is just drifting around.

note: it just proves how drifting I was when I wrote this that I let the phrase "I have saw" appear in public.  Thankfully, I saw it today (4/12) and fixed it.  *shudder*

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Feeding My Addiction

My name is Mrs. H and I'm a yarnaholic.

I had to take Mr. H to the airport yesterday and Hobby Lobby is just 2 blocks farther down Airport Blvd.

I couldn't help myself.  I bought a book with 40 sock/ slipper/ legwarmer patterns in it.  There is even a pattern for the cutest little ladybug baby booties that I intend to make for a friend's expected granddaughter!  I can't wait to see how they turn out.

But first of course, I'll have to attempt some basic tube socks before I try something more complicated.

See, any excuse works!  And what did I ask Mr. H to bring me back from Peru?  You got it:  local yarn.

I hadn't really acknowledged the addiction until our Spring Break get-away last week.  I had planned on doing free hair wraps  as part of our beach ministry.  Well the rain, 20 mph winds and 50 degree temperatures put the nix on that.  We (I) decided that we'd take the mission to the outlet mall in Foley.  After all, when you can't go to the beach in Gulf Shores, shopping is the next best thing. 

So we made salvation bracelets to hand out to shoppers.  I had the necessary supplies packed with the craft stuff intended for our beach mission.  I showed the kids how to put them together and we made them until we ran out of the leather cord.  I even got to do a few hair wraps on the girls that were on the trip (and for one of the guys, but that's a different story!)

That night, after the trip to the mall, I was talking to one of the other mom's.  We started talking about things we just couldn't pass up when we saw them in a store.  I admitted that I couldn't go down the yarn aisle in Hobby Lobby without buying something.  And I had now been 3 days without touching knitting needles.

She started laughing!  She pointed out that the hair wraps for the girls and the bracelet making for the mall had all been ways of feeding my addiction.  And she was right! 

I'm so glad my Creator gave me the desire to make things.  And I'm glad that He lets me use that desire to spread His love.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Long Journey

For the last few days, I've been talking about journeys that we take in life.

Some are short trips that we take everyday:  to school, to work, to the mall.  The Lord knows we make those journeys and He has a plan for them.  He knows the people we will see and talk to.  He is there with us.  He wants us to include Him in every aspect of our lives.

Today, let's look at a different kind of journey from the station.  Sometimes you get on the train and you know you're not coming back, at least not to the station you started from.

I have some friends who have made that kind of journey.  They started at Vacation Bible School and ended up in Lima, Peru.  Quite a journey, don't you think!!  You can check out their blog here.  They have learned a new language and new customs.  They have made a life in a new place.

And there is yet another type of journey:  a journey that leads you to a place where there are no stations.  That's what Mr. H is doing this week.  He is going to Peru to see those missionary friends.  But they are going farther than Lima.  They are headed up into  the mountains to places where there are no churches.  They are building relationships with the people who live there, to tell them the Good News.  Eventually there will be churches there, and they will act as train stations, sending out travelers on short journeys and maybe even some long ones.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Journeys from the Station

Yesterday I posted about comparing the church to a train station.  The important thing is not going to the station; the important thing is the journey you take from the station.

There are all kinds of trips.  In Europe, some people travel by train every day.  They ride into the city to do all sorts of things:  to work, to shop, to visit friends.  Short trips and then home.  Things we use cars for around here.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians about those short trips.  The Message puts it like this:  
I want you to get out there and walk- better yet, run!-on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere.  Ephesians 4:1 (The Message)

So while we're on those short trips down the road that God has called us to travel, what are we supposed to do?  Paul talked about that, too. Just a bit farther on in the 4th chapter of Ephesians, he talks about the gifts we all have.  Things we're good at.  Things we like to do.  Things we know how to do.  He gave us all different gifts and He expects us all to use the ones we were given.  We need to use them on every trip we take.  On the trip to school, to work, to WalMart, to the beach. 

And He wants us to use ALL the gifts He has given us, not just the fun, exciting gifts, either.  He wants us to use our talents, but also our muscles and our money.  Our voices, but our feet and hands, too.  He wants us to be just like Jesus.  He wants us to love.

Paul talks about that, too. Ephesians 5:1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (The Msg)

Essentially, that's what the real church is here to do:  to spread love around.  That's the main message:  that God loves every single person that you see today.  Ask Him to let you see them as He sees them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's Not About Going to the Station

I was sitting in my office a few weeks ago, listening to a discussion.  All the pastors at ABC were in the big Fellowship Room, which is just outside my doorway.  They were talking about what "church" means.  It's not the building or the services.  The real biblical church is the congregation, the people.  We don't GO to church:  we ARE the church.  It is wherever WE are.

I decided then that our spring break would still be a mission trip.  Even though Mexico hadn't worked out, we were still going 'on a mission.'

That made me start thinking about journeys in general, and led me to this analogy:

Think about a train station.  It's a place to go to begin  a journey.  Yes, I know, there are other ways to get on a train, but the safest, most orderly way is to go to a train station.  They can be large or small, but they are all buildings where people come and go.  Things happen on schedule.  There are people to help you, point you in the right direction.  There are people all over the place.

Why are those people there? meet friends? soak up the atmosphere? be seen - wearing that new Easter dress of pair of shoes - or with that new boyfriend or girlfriend?

NO!  They are there to catch a train that is going somewhere.  What would be the point in building a train station that no train left from?  What would be the point of going to the train station, but never intending to get on any train?

Now look at it in the light of Ephesians 2:10  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. (NLT)

Does going to a building count as one of those "good things He planned for us" to do?  Not hardly!  And yet that's all the "good work" some people have to show for their lives.  Just Sunday School or Worship Service attendance.  Period.  Nothing that ever spread the Good News of the Savior.

If you went to a train station, you would purchase a ticket, then you would use that ticket to get on a train and go somewhere.  The church building is not the end destination:  it's the very beginning of the trip.  It's where you can find opportunities and inspiration for your journey.  

But you have to go on the journey...