Jury Duty…YIKES

The yellow postcard came in the mail a few weeks ago. I received them before so I’m kinda used to them now.

“You are summoned to appear for jury duty.”

It’s been a few years since I went. I’ve never been selected to actually sit on a jury and hear a real-life trial in person and have to decide the fate of somebody I’ve never met.

Now you know why I put YIKES in the title.

I’ve been called for jury duty in many locations I’ve lived in. I learn something new at each one. I feel like a veteran jury duty person now.

I sat in the big room with everyone else who got a yellow postcard the same day I did. We waited and watched the video about jury duty. They added some funny clips from some movies to keep us awake.

Then they called out some names to go out and follow a nice bailiff somewhere in the courthouse.

My name was called out on the second set of names. A few years ago my name never even got mentioned so they let me go home before noon.

I went with the group to courtroom 4. They seated us in the order our names were called in.

From previous experiences I knew my seat was one of the hot seats.

Lawyers from each side ask questions to get a feel for who they want or don’t want to hear this trial. Each one gets to say who they don’t want. I was in the second row of two and a half rows.

One person in the first row made the cut. Five of us from the second row heard our names called to sit on the jury. Gulp

Fortunately this wasn’t a life or death case. We had to decide which of the young parents was beating up on the other. A daughter was caught between them.

The ex-husband was accused of hitting her in several ways the day after Christmas.

The ex-wife was bringing these charges against him. He claimed she had the anger problem.

From the opening statements from the lawyers it was obvious somebody was lying. That was our decision to make.

The young woman took the stand and gave us a blow by blow of what she claimed occurred.

A very nicely dressed woman brought a piece of paper in and handed it to the ex-wife’s lawyer’s assistant.

Shortly after that her lawyer asked to approach the bench. We were an hour into the trial and were told we’d likely take a break every hour or so.

We were told to go to the back room and wait.

We sat in silence for another hour because we were told we couldn’t even talk about the case amongst ourselves.

When we were finally escorted back into the courtroom the state’s lawyer stood up and told the judge the charges were being dismissed.

We filed back to the back room followed by the judge. He told us this was the quickest case he had ever heard.

Apparently the young woman was involved in another case that was about to cross over into this one and make it a real mess for her.

We were thanked by the judge and told our jury duty status was fulfilled for the next two years at least.

Truth is a funny animal sometimes. It has a way of rearing its head when you least expect it to sometimes.

I have a quaint little hobby of mine I probably shouldn’t get involved in, but it’s kind of enlightening.

I answer some of those spam emails where somebody is calling out for help to accept a large sum of money before they die of some terrible disease.

I send the bare essential information to keep the spam scam going for as long as possible.

It’s amazing how the death bed turns into a visit request or the person is in another country for some reason.

I prefer to stay bound to the truth in my life. The facts are much easier to remember that way.

Of course being adopted by the one who claims to be the Truth is the best place anyone can be grounded.

If more folks found the rest they need in Jesus then there wouldn’t be all this mess in life.

Families would get along better. People would look for ways to help each other rather than trying to take something from someone else.

All I can do is tell as many people about Jesus and the love He offers and the truth that sets men free.

What they do with that truth is up to them.

Help me get the word out.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Another legend went Home this week, Stan Toussaint

One advantage of attending Stonebriar Community Church is the chance to rub shoulders with some remarkable individuals. Many of them are associated with Dallas Theological Seminary.

One disadvantage of this advantage is feeling a deeper loss when they’re called Home to be with the Lord. Stanley D. Toussaint is now in the presence of Jesus.

Dr. Toussaint suffered a stroke a few months back. The long-term effects left him unable to speak. When something like that occurs to one of God’s saints who depended on his voice for ministry it makes you ask God, “why?”

He taught the largest adult fellowship at Stonebriar. It’s called Marathon because it’s made up of mostly elderly folks. Their marathon called life is nearing the end. Stan crossed his finish line…or has he?

Dr. Toussaint has been teaching at DTS since 1960, longer than I’ve been alive. One of his early students was a young marine named Charles Swindoll…he’s now our senior pastor.

Click on the image below and watch the video with it. I’m sure you’ll recognize some names of other students like David Jeremiah and Irwin Lutzer. You see, Stan’s impact is still going out today even though he’s been silenced.

Stan Toussaint filled the pulpit several times for Pastor Chuck. He usually told us he was from Hinckley, Minnesota. “Where men are men, pansies are flowers and the women are all above average.”

He never used notes for his message. His points were usually five to match the number of fingers on his hand. “I know a sermon is supposed to have only three points,” he would quip, “but, I know you’re super intelligent people so I’m using five points today.”

As you’ll see in the video Stan was a gentle man, and a gentleman.

I had the privilege of shaking his hand one Sunday morning during Church. When I told him I was from Michigan he mentioned that he spoke at the Maranatha Conference Center before.

When I told him I was there a couple of years ago for a writer’s conference he paid special attention to that and asked me what I write. That’s the kind of man I want to be when I grow up, always noticing others.

The Marathon class shrunk after Stan could no longer teach. He’s leaving some mighty big shoes to fill.

Polio at a early age left Stan unable to run a marathon. Toward the end he could barely walk, but he kept at it just to please the Lord.

The Marathon class will carry on. There will never be another Stan Toussaint to teach it. It may never reach the number of attendees it once had. The core group of folks there will always remember Stan.

I don’t know if anyone will write anything like this after I’ve gone Home to be with the Lord or not.

I’m pretty sure I’m impacting a few lives in my life.

The only real accolade I’m reaching for is the same sentence I’m sure Stan heard when he saw Jesus face to face. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!”

Stanley D. Toussaint (1928-2017)

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Lessons from the Toddler Whisperer

Another summer with the toddlers has closed for the Toddler Whisperer. Since I never had children of my own I get my grandfather fix during the summer months. More firsts were encountered. More lessons learned by this old man.

God directly answered one of my emails at the very beginning of the summer. When I entered room C119 I quickly discovered there were ONLY 6 cardboard blocks in the entire room. A toddler whisperer can’t possibly effectively toddle whisper with only six blocks…especially when some of those were bent.

So I sent an email to the lady in charge of the kiddo department at my church. She quickly sent in a requisition for more cardboard blocks. When I showed up to whisper the following Sunday I was met with astonishment before I ever got to C119. Somebody donated some blocks during the week…before the requisitioned ones could get there.

It just goes to show that prayer takes on many forms. When we don’t know what to ask the Spirit groans for us. When God’s kiddos need blocks they’re going to get there quicker than a toddler can knock them down. Trust me…that’s pretty fast.

I shared a few posts back about becoming a toddler magnet one Sunday when one of the boys ran straight to me rather than welcome the hug from one of the women volunteering then. Well, the following Sunday I was transferred to a different room with younger toddlers. The exact same thing happened to me there.

I know for a fact I had never seen the second boy. Apparently grandfather fixes work both ways. Some people need to have a grandfather figure in their life too.

They say we’re all built with a God-shaped hole in us that only God can fill. People try every sort of substitute only to be disappointed. Well, little kids need someone with skin on to fill in for God until they understand how to regain that all-important personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.

It’s quite on honor to fill in for God at such a crucial part of a person’s development. I don’t take that lightly.

A third first surprised me to no end. Toward the end of the time together we go to a different room with other rooms of kiddos for story and singing time. It’s called JAM time. JAM stands for Jesus And Me. After then we come back to our room and play until the parents come to claim their toddler. No, we haven’t had one kiddo left unclaimed…yet.

Well, one Sunday I began stacking blocks…as usual. Laughter soon began as the blocks fell repeatedly. My arms were getting tired from trying to stay ahead of the falling.

Usually when the parents arrive the whole world stops and the little toddle legs carry that small person to the door as quickly as humanly possible…not this Sunday. This boy heard his dad’s voice and he started crying. I told you a toddler whisperer can’t possibly effectively whisper without cardboard blocks.

It made me wonder how many people are going to do that exact same thing when the rapture occurs. How many folks will be so caught up in their life on this planet that they don’t want to leave it?

Now me…I’ve experienced so much heart ache and loss I can’t wait to go Home to be with the Lord.

But, who among us will yearn for another month to complete that degree they worked so hard for? How much of a loss will somebody feel when they were so close to making their first million dollars? A woman held her purity til her marriage night only to be taken to heaven the day before her wedding. Will she regret her life here then?

Will there be crying while we’re being lifted off this planet because of unfulfilled dreams here?

I hope not, but I don’t know. I never thought I’d see a boy cry when his dad came to pick him up neither.

How about you? What will your attitude be when you hear that trumpet blast?

Are you so earthly minded that you’re no heavenly good?

Or, are you so working for the kingdom that you can’t wait for it to begin?

There’s nothing wrong with trying to make money, or completing a degree or staying sexually pure. There’s everything right about those endeavors if you have God’s will for you in the front of your mind and heart.

Building a strong family is also important. But, if you’re doing it for your legacy on earth you’re missing the bigger and more important picture of everything.

If you look back and see your family wondering what happened to you as you ascend to heaven during the rapture you will be crying and regretting you missed it all.

It’s not too late to do the right thing.

Pray for wisdom and clarity about your daily life.

Ask God to become preeminent in all you think and do.

Focus on meeting His agenda in building His kingdom by leading your family and friends to Christ before it’s too late.

You won’t care how long your bucket list is when you see Jesus face to face.

I know I won’t anyway.

Keep smiling.   Wade

I Think My Identical Twin is Charlie Brown

I’ve heard it said that everybody has an identical twin somewhere in the world. The longer I live the more I’m convinced my twin’s name is Charlie Brown.

Apparently Charles Schultz watched my life story when he came up with the idea for this fictional character. If he didn’t he sure could have.

You remember Charlie’s friend Lucy? She’s the one who would hold her finger on a football and egg poor Charlie to kick the ball. Then Lucy would yank the ball away at the last second. Charlie was putting so much effort into kicking the ball as far as he could he always ended up on his back.

That’s been my business efforts thus far. I had one guy who was all gung ho about having me create a logo for his young business. He told me what he was looking for. Nothing too complicated for my simple mind to grasp. He offered to pay half up front. I told him to give me a couple of hours to see what I could come up with.

Two hours later I made what he was looking for. I felt good about finally getting this thing off the ground. I shot him an email with the logo attached…nothing. I called him…no answer. I messaged him through the link we met up with…still no response. I sent up a prayer. “Okay, God. Did you kill this guy off in those two hours I was working for him?”

A couple of months later I called again…he answered. He remembered me then said they decided to go a different direction. He didn’t even know the direction I was taking them in. So there I am lying on my back.

Charlie liked to fly kites for fun. The only problem was every time he sent a kite up it inevitably got caught up in a tree. I literally had this happen to me in college during spring break…but that’s another story.

That’s been my writing history. I have a few different books in various genres. I’ve spent several years going to conferences in many parts of the country looking for an agent or publisher who might be interested in what I wrote…cricket chirps is all I get.

So I decided to self publish with a company that gave me a great price to get it done…only to have them go out of business before they printed my copies I paid for. Pesky trees anyway.

Charles Schultz decided to give our friend a bit of a love interest eventually. Do you remember who it was? That red-headed girl was the only thing she was known as if my memory serves me right…which it sometimes does.

I have some advice for poor Charlie. Leave those red heads alone! Wife number one was one…she left after too many failed expectations and such. So I asked God to bring someone else along who He wants me with. You guessed it…another red-headed woman.

Just like our friend Charlie it takes alot of nerve for me to ask a lady out…especially when I’ve been rejected by the love of my life recently. Nothing like having someone rip a scab off a wound before it has time to completely heal.

The difference between Charlie Brown and me is that he’s a cartoon character. He never gets a chance to grow up and change. Me…I have no choice but to grow up and change.

The business is showing hopeful signs of taking flight. It might be as far as the Kitty Hawk’s first flight, but it will be positive progress. From there the sky’s the limit.

I have another self publishing company calling me about reprinting my 100 Prayers of a Writer book. They say they’re interested in showing it off at the world’s book fair or something like that. We’ll talk further about it Monday morning.

I was sent a lead for my middle-grade book, Eek’s Gifts. It’s a Christian publisher expanding into youth and children’s books. Oh yeah, I’m excited about this prospect.

As far as my love life is concerned…well, let’s just say I’m taking it easy for now. I kept berating myself for not talking to the red-head every Monday for too long. It sure looked like God was giving me indications He wants us together. I kept telling myself “if God wants us together it will happen. Just give it time.”

Well if God wants us together then He needs to let red know about His plan, too. Until then I’m waiting for God to send the next woman to rip that scab off. Ouch!

Seriously, I’m just doing the best I can to delight myself in the Lord. It’s up to Him to give me the desires He wants me to have.

I’m simply doing the best I can, one day at a time, to follow His leading.

That’s all He expects of any of us.

Let’s keep putting one foot in front of the other my friends…to the glory of God.

Keep smiling.   Wade

A Legend Went Home Last Month

Ray was introduced to me by Jim.

Jim was recently widowed. I knew him and his deceased wife from the adult fellowship I attend. He’s in his seventies.

Ray met Jim in another adult fellowship Jim had moved to try to move on from his loss. Ray was a diminutive gentle man in his nineties.

When the three of us went out to lunch together we spanned quite a few years…50’s, 70’s, and 90’s.

The common bond of Jesus drew us to Stonebriar Community Church. The fact we were all without our wives pulled us that much closer.

Jim faded from the scene as he struggled to fit in. I still see him from time to time.

Ray and I often sat next to each other during the second service. He would give me updates about the airplane he was building. I guess a little old guy needs something to pass the time of day with. He completed that project last fall.

Another mutual friend informed me Ray was in the hospital a couple of months ago. He recovered fine from that.

Since I’m volunteering with the toddlers during second service I hadn’t seen Ray in a while. The mutual friend told me last Sunday Ray went home to be with his Lord the previous week.

Two of his daughters were with him as he slipped into Glory. Ray opened his eyes wide right at the end. One of his daughters asked him what he was seeing. His arms lifted off the bed before his body went limp for the last time.

Ray was being escorted Home at last. I have no doubt he heard Jesus tell him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” the next second of his existence.

Ray served his Lord well as a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He was one of those gifted linguists that learned a native tribe’s language by living with them. Then he would develop an alphabet so he could invent a written language for these folks.

From there Ray translated the Bible into this new written word. Ray did this TWICE IN FORTY YEARS.

That’s when he became a legend in my mind.

The second time Ray had to buy a boat because that was the only way they could access the island those people lived on. Indonesia is like that.

With a lack of modern entertainment Ray could be found fixing something. That would endear him to the native folks. Eight children proved there were other means of entertainment that didn’t require modern conveniences.

Ray likely met some of the people who were introduced to Jesus from his work. I’m sure more will follow.

My writing might surpass Ray’s quantity of saved souls someday. Maybe not. That’s not really important.

God doesn’t keep score on such matters. He gives each of as an assignment to carry out.

Ray did the best he could to fulfill his mission. I must now give it my best, too…and so must you.

You probably won’t travel outside of the country you’re in now. I might not either. We don’t have to to be effective for God’s kingdom.

Do your best to touch the folks you come in contact with. Your neighbors may not see another Jesus in their lifetime.

They do know you’re a follower of Jesus Christ…don’t they?

If not then begin there. Live different from your culture if it doesn’t adhere to Jesus’s teachings. Don’t jamb Jesus down their throats. That isn’t very effective.

Show them the peace Jesus offers during your trials. They’ll come to you wanting to know your secret. I’ll give you a hint…Jesus shouldn’t be your secret. He needs to be made known for everyone who asks.

Sometimes translating the Bible doesn’t require a written language. Living it out is often more of a challenge, but that’s our assignment, my friend.

Let’s pray for each other to be better examples of Jesus.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Oh Be Careful Where You Go

Here’s a surprise midweek blog post for y’all to contemplate. Why a midweek post? You ask.

Because my life is so crazy hectic I don’t always have time to write before my self-imposed deadline and/or I don’t have anything to write about.

Well, Monday, while in Amarillo, an experience was lived through that makes for great blog posting. So here goes…

One of the dispatchers called me Saturday to see if I’d be willing to take a run to Amarillo beginning Sunday night just before midnight. My initial response was no, but that didn’t stop the conversation.

When I discovered there was nobody else available for said run that is under contract with the postal service my arm was twisted to take it.

Needless to say I was beyond tired by the time I got to the motel they booked for me. I was there in time to take advantage of the free breakfast so I made a hasty scrambled egg and biscuit sandwich while waiting for a room.

After they discovered all of the non-smoking rooms were in use I decided to take a smoking room…gulp.

My thinking was that the time was ticking on my ten hour break so I could either fall asleep at the breakfast table, which I was already nodding off at, or I could take a chance at getting some better sleep in a bed.

“I’ll survive the experience,” were the words that came out of my mouth.

As soon as I walked into the room all of my senses were under full assault. I just about turned back until a thought struck me. If I can handle the initial impact I can probably still be able to sleep in this.

Unfortunately I was right. After a few minutes I was able to breathe without the gag reflex kicking in. I showered and fell asleep rather quickly.

After about five hours the burning in my lungs told me I had better make my stay in this room shorter rather than longer. The last hour of my government mandated break was spent walking around the motel.

The temperature was about one hundred degrees, but there was a decent west Texas breeze blowing in the twenty mile per hour range. Remember, we do things big in Texas.

The advantage of that was that I was able to (as my father-in-law used to say) blow the stink off from the room encounter.

Don’t worry, it was a dry heat.

Many people feel pennies aren’t worth anything so they drop them on the ground when they discover them in their pockets.

I’m on the other end of that spectrum. I pick pennies, and their more expensive counterparts, up when I discover them on the ground.

Wheat pennies are of particular interest to me since God and I have a bit of an understanding with them. It’s His way of letting me know I’m in His will whenever I find one.

Why I was supposed to be in Amarillo that day is a bit of a mystery unless it’s to write this blog post.

Tails was up. So I knew right away what I had here. The date on the coin was 1955. Copper is a soft metal that is easily damaged…especially after a car runs over it. This penny was nearly flawless, except for some grease that was smudged on it.

I kept pacing about the property and found a few more modern pennies. One was next to a dumpster. It was green from the tarnish of its environment. I had to rub the face of it to discover the date…2015.

Sixty years should have aged that wheat penny more than that dumpster coin.

I thought back to my smoking room I had to take. I don’t often put myself in such unhealthy environments so I can stay as fit as possible for God’s service.

Everybody has their own personal issue they must deal with. Some of us have several.

My most pressing issue is pornography. I know to steer clear of it or it will destroy me one careless step at a time.

For others it’s alcohol, or drugs.

So far I’ve been able to keep myself pure, but I know what a slippery slope it is. I’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest lately.

I know, it sounds innocent enough and it should be. My problem is I focus too much attention staring at the fitness pictures, especially the women wearing too little while showing off great physiques.

When will that not be enough stimulation for me? I don’t know, but it will eventually.

Smoking rooms could become easier for me to sleep in of I do it regularly. Before I know it I start smoking to keep myself awake during through the night drives.

Sin is so like that. I’ve heard it said Satan gives us the best first while God saves the best for last.

I want God’s best for me.

Some days I keep my eyes off the fitness chicks. Some days I don’t.

Pray I can keep posting Bible verses and Christian quotes without stepping in the mud puddles of pornography that are all around me.

I want to stay a coin in God’s pocket that can be spendable for His work for several years to come, not a dumpster throw away.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Do You Pray For Storms to Pass?

I don’t know how things are in your neck of the woods, but here in Texas we’ve been getting a LOT of rain lately.

One of the things I like about living in this day and age is the ability to see where the rain is falling at any given time.

I have this app on my phone that’s attached to one of the local TV stations. It’s also connected to a national radar network. That means I can tap that sucker on and see where the storms are.

It’s important to remember my main source of income is driving semis all over the place. Our storms don’t always play nice neither.

Hail can pile up and ice a road in no time. Wind can knock a rig on its side mooee pronto. Tornadoes can set a semi in someone’s back 40 before the wicked witch shows up in the windshield.

Yeah, this is some serious stuff here folks.

That mini radar on my phone helps me a great deal.

I’ve been known to take an extra long break just to let a storm pass on up ahead of me. I’d much rather be late than not get there at all.

I’ve been stuck in some long backups from folks who didn’t take such a precaution…or just a caution if they refused to plan ahead. Those wrecks did NOT look pretty.

Lately I’ve been “lucky” to avoid any major storms on the roadways. My personal life is another matter all together.

With counselling and planning some life storms can be avoided. Proper nutrition and exercise can forestall some health issues. Following wise advice can help avoid some bad choices in financial and relationship issues.

But, some storms just have to be lived through by some people.

I don’t understand why some couples have to endure the death of a child.

I hate to hear of kids being kidnapped and never heard from again.

It tears my heart out when a woman has to decide what to do with a child conceived by rape.

My personal bankruptcy was so long ago now I’ve lived past the repercussion of it, still it was not fun to live through.

My divorce still leaves me shaking my head. There was no biblical grounds by either of us just a decision by one of us.

I’ve lost jobs over things that should have been a simple warning.

It makes me look up and ask God that three word prayer, “WHY?”

I seldom get a direct reply from the almighty. I don’t really expect one. God doesn’t answer to me. I must trust Him.

I’m on a few prayer lists. Often people ask for a positive result from a medical test. I don’t usually pray that way.

I’ve heard of too many folks who have endured cancer treatments with the same statement.

“I wouldn’t have wished for that to happen to me, but I’m glad it did since I’m so much closer to God now than I’ve ever been in my life.”

It reminds me of a story told after World War 2. A farmer went to a monastery and asked the monks to pray for the bombs to miss his farm as the fighting drew close. They said they couldn’t do that, but they would pray for God’s will.

The farmer was furious at God when one of the bombs exploded in one of his pastures…until the unexpected happened. Water filled the depression left by the bomb. His cattle now had relief from the drought they were experiencing.

God’s ways are not our ways. We don’t call the shots. No matter what the humanists say.

A year from now I hope to look back and be thankful for the life situation I find myself in…even if none of the plans I have in my mind occur.

This life isn’t about me remaining happy or healthy.

It’s about becoming more like Jesus every day.

It’s supposed to draw me closer to my heavenly Father each step of the way.

Prosperity seldom does that for anybody.

Endure your storms my friends.

Cling to God’s strength when yours is gone.

Trust Him more than the plan in place.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A Long-awaited Newsletter from Me

Hey Y’all

Since it’s been awhile that I’ve written an official newsletter and I can’t think of anything else to write now and it’s almost the end of May here’s a newsletter from Author Wade Webster.

I still don’t have a publisher for my books. I’m still driving my life away. I’m still paying my bills as they come in with not much more to spare. Now aren’t you glad I haven’t been sending these out on a regular basis?

Seriously, you need to stop trying to live vicariously through me and get a life.

Sorry…Mr Curmudgeon sneaks out when I least expect him to sometimes.

By God’s grace I’m staying healthy. Not doing too well on the wealthy front, but the wiseguy seems alive and well.

I suppose that’s all because I can’t seem to work in that early to bed thing old Ben talked about.

The driving jobs have been fairly steady. Which is good for the budget, but remains a challenge for the sleep cycle regularity thingy. I’m glad I’ve come across some great vitamins and supplements to help me stay awake and alive. Prayers are the best supplement I’ll ever depend on, so keep them coming.

The Apainter Paul’s work needs have been spotty. He did get some work from me for a job he needed some help getting done in a bit of a hurry. Everybody came out of that one smiling.

North Texas Biz Assist might be coming to life finally. I have two separate tentative appointments this Wednesday to discuss giving a mobile app to two non-profits; Poiema…a grassroots effort to help find missing girls stuck in human trafficking around Dallas. And The Samaritan Inn…a homeless shelter in Collin County that helps folks get back on their feet. I consider these a first fruits offering to God for the business. The apps will give other business owners a way to help by paying for sponsorships on the apps. Once they learn what I do they might want to do business with me, too. These will be the folks I’ll want to work with best anyway. So it’s the best way I can see to help and be helped at the same time. Prayers for God’s will here are greatly appreciated, too.

I’m attempting to get up the nerve to get things progressing on the personal relationship front as well…gulp. I didn’t expect to be jumping back into that pool at this time in my life, but it is what it is. I definitely desire God’s will here. I thought I chose well the first go-around but apparently not. I’d much rather remain single to be single-minded on serving God at all times rather than being pulled away for potential family issues, but I think God has brought someone into my life who desires the same for her life as well. Oh yeah, I’m bathing this one in prayer, too. Please join me here.

If you have anything you want me to pray for you for leave a comment and I’ll get right to it.

Until next time keep smiling.   Wade

I got a promotion at church this week

Some days God steps in and surprises the gigglies out of me. This Sunday was one of those days.

First, let me back up and fill you in on the week I had that led up to this promotion.

Last Saturday I drove late which meant I slept less than 6 hours before I went to church. A cup of coffee was enough to keep me alert for the sermon. Not that a Chuck Swindoll sermon needs much outside stimulation.

I turned down an early Monday morning driving option for two reasons. 1) I needed a 34 hour reset by federal law…so noon was my earliest start time available. 2) I had an important meeting at church that had absolutely nothing to do with foresaid promotion.

The meeting was to determine who would be awarded the Howard Hendricks Memorial Scholarship this year. Yeah, it is an honor to be included in anything Howard Hendricksish.

We had to pick which male graduating senior and a female counterpart would receive fifteen hundred bucks for college. The guys were relatively easy since there was only two who filled out an application. Six ladies took a bit longer to sort through.

They blacked out the names on the papers so we couldn’t guess who these folks were. They gave each of them a color for us to keep them straight.

The boys were red and blue. Did anybody think this through? Especially coming off the most contentious national election aver. Boy blue never stood a chance. My buddy Steve’s letter of recommendation helped a lot, too.

The ladies required a lot more attention…as they usually do. We whittled it down to two. I felt I contributed when the last words out of my mouth were, “Yellow has my vote.”

We put the required paperwork in the proper envelopes and packed up to go home.

Tuesday I finally got to work with the Apainter Paul again. He had an interior project the folks wanted done asap so they could put the house on the market ASAP.

Since I still owed Paul almost two full days of work to repay advances he gave me to pay May’s rent it worked out well all around.

Wednesday found me driving to San Antonio before sunrise for a 13 hour day.

Thursday I was back to painting for the Apainter again. We got enough done that he could finish it on Friday…cuz.

Before midnight Thursday I was off to LaLA. I’m guessing that since New Orleans uses the acronym NOLA then Lafayette, Louisiana goes by LaLA.

Even if I’m wrong I was praying I didn’t doze off to lala land while the wheels on the eighteen wheeler were going round and round down the interstate. My eyes were heavily suggesting that possibility was possible just before the only rest area along my route in Louisiana.

Since federal law required me to take a half hour break I lost consciousness with the wheels stopped. Which is a good thing.

A couple of hours later I was killing bugs in a motel room I used for more sleep. Even my boots were stored off the floor whilst there.

I drove home the last half of Friday to get the required time off to drive to Houston on Saturday.

Yes, for any mathematicians reading this that’s six days of work in five days. That’s the type of “it never rains but it pours” life I live these days.

I crawled into bed with a potential of six hours of sleep before corporate worship time. I think I slept about four of them. That’s what I get for trying to sleep at different hours of the day and night.

Pastor Chuck delivered another winner of a sermon during first service. Then I was off to C-119 to fulfill my role as the toddler whisperer…or so I thought.

I recognized some faces of kids and adults in the room when I stepped in. Mild chaos was in it’s regular place.

Then Everett was brought into the room. One of the women held him to try to settle his nerves. He squirmed out of her arms and ran around the table straight at me. Since both of his arms were held high I knew that meant one thing. I was his only best source of comfort in that room.

I picked him up as his momentum flung his body toward me. His head landed on my shoulder before his next sob.

We spent some time in a rocking chair while everyone else ate cookies at the table. Our cookies tasted just fine in that chair, thank you very much.

Everett felt at home after a few more minutes together so I consumed the chocolate cupcake that was brought in for me. I like me some perks, too.

Another boy had a meltdown after that so I picked him up only to have another fella want my attention.

With a boy in each arm Everett decided he needed more of me then, too. The only choice I had was to reach around each boy and lift my little buddy up with my hands.

That’s the moment I was promoted from the toddler whisperer to the toddler magnet.

When one of the ladies in the room saw me she offered to take one of my friends. I said, “No, I got this.”

We sauntered over to a rocking chair until. One by one, the tykes decided to go off and play.

I recognized what was happening there. I was being Jesus to those boys when they needed me most.

Have you ever felt like your prayer request is a nuisance to God?

You think He’s got His hands full with another shooting or war or disaster or whatever. He doesn’t have time for little old me.

Stop thinking that way. His arms are more then big enough to reach around every little thing happening in this puny world we live on to stop and give you the attention you want from Him.

Don’t ever hesitate to tell God what’s on your heart…no matter how small it might appear to you.

God adopted you into His family to spend all the time you need with Him.

Even when everything seems out of control, God will stop and give you His full attention as He says, “I got this.”

Fill your love tank with God every chance you get.

He’s got a lot more energy than this old truck driving toddler magnet will ever have.

Keep smiling.   Wade

I’m back from 3 days at Tres Dias

Tres Dias…Spanish for three days. That’s how long I spent near Lake Lavon for a men’s retreat.

This event had a lot going against it for me.

About the worst thing you can do to an introvert is plunk him down amidst 150 guys he doesn’t know. Let’s see how long before he comes out of his shell this time. Gulp!

Another thing this country bumpkin didn’t appreciate is being next to a lake with no time to enjoy the nature of the setting. We hardly had enough time to use the restrooms let alone time of solitude.

And whose idea was it to use a liturgical theme for this event? This free spirit appreciates more spontaneous prayers and such. Why did we have to recite from page 14 of that little book again…and again?

Don’t even get me started about that silly chicken song they made us sing before we could eat a meal.

Does that drummer really have to break my eardrums on every other beat?

Why are so many men discourteous about others when it comes time to go to bed? Can’t those loud conversations wait until daylight…please?

The tradition of this retreat began a long time ago in Spain. That silly chicken song came about while a broken down bus was awaiting a repair returning from one of these retreats. There were originally 99 verses to it. We only had to sing three of them. I guess they were broken down a very long time.

When I remembered the church I’m a member of supports at least three sets of missionaries to Spain I realized this world has sure changed.

The main thing this retreat had going for it is it’s a Christian retreat. As long as they’re honoring God and trying to get us to focus on Him I can put up with some discomfort.

Symbolism was huge here. I appreciated that, too. We don’t use enough of that in this country in my opinion.

One of the first things they did was offer us a white handkerchief to use as a surrender flag if we declared our surrender to God for control of our life. I had mine conspicuously hanging out of my pocket for the entire event.

At one point they gave us a small piece of thin paper and told us to write down the name of someone we needed to forgive or something we needed to forgive someone for. I wrote my ex-wife’s name down.

That evening they gave us time to write down on other slips any sins we wanted to confess and/or something that we desired to give up.

When we finished they had us fold the papers and nail them to a cross, literally. By the time we were done that cross was covered in nails and bits of paper…until they set it on fire.

In a matter of a couple of seconds the things we wrote down were burnt up. We were told we can now let those things go from our lives.

Saturday evening was extremely special. They treated us to a fabulous meal. Then, as someone prayed they snuck a few dozen women in around us. They began singing when we opened our eyes.

My sponsor, Marcia, was one of the first women I saw…before my eyes got too wet to see anybody. I was immediately missing Barb all over again. Not because Barb could sing, but because this was something I wish I could have shared with her.

The other time I cried was when they brought us into the chapel after a talk on prayer. They had some of the cha’s (Christ’s Hands in Action) praying for the speaker there. They explained that they do this with each of the speakers. Then they showed us the papers on the wall that listed the names of folks from all over who signed up to pray for us during this retreat.

They hadn’t given my 100 Prayers of a Writer book out yet. So I couldn’t let anyone know why that spoke to me so profoundly.

Other than my book being given out to everyone there I didn’t know what to expect at this retreat.

The first surprise was when I discovered I was a candidate. Candidate for what I didn’t know. I thought the election was over.

I learned that this was the first step to being able to lead this retreat in the future. Marcia’s son was the rector for this particular retreat. It takes serving at several retreats over many years to get there. I would have been extremely elderly by the time I got there.

I may go back next week on Saturday evening to sing to the women who will be there to repay the favor that was bestowed on me. Other than that I’ll wait on God’s leading about whether to go back to help with other such retreats.

I mentioned cha’s earlier. That’s the first round of entry into this “club.” Many of them actually carried our trays to the tables for our meals. Some of them spent most of their time there praying for us. A few were assigned to kitchen duty.

While I appreciate the ideology behind this it just isn’t quite my cup of tea, I guess.

At my first meal I sat across from a guy who has been divorced slightly longer than me. He lives in Frisco. I got his number so we can connect in the future. I guess God had a reason for me to come out of my shell quickly.

Marcia hoped I could get to know her grandson while we were there. We were both assigned to the same discussion table for the event.

Another guy at the table gave me his number and invited me to call him whenever I need to talk. I told him there’s a good chance I’ll take him up on his offer.

While I missed four days of potential work and a Sunday of worshiping at my home church I’d say the time was well spent for me.

I’ll be keeping my spiritual eyes open to anyone who I feel will be a good fit for this type of retreat.

At least six guys committed their lives to Christ and a couple dozen others re-committed their’s so it’s working to build the kingdom.

De Colores, mi amigos.

Keep smiling.   Wade