Monday

predicando

Goodness, it's been awhile. Last week was some what odd and exceedingly busy so I just never posted anything. This week is somewhat busy and a little odd because we leave for 3 months on Monday and there are an insane amount of things to do.

I got to preach on Sunday at our home church and that was a lot of fun. Some of you said that you wanted to see it and Jenny recorded a short video so, here it is.

video

Saturday

toons

This morning I woke up. Normal day. Went into the oldest boy's room. He was the reason I awoke. I noticed it was 6:30 and I wondered why we forgot to set the alarm. It was late. And then it hit me: It's Saturday. Woohoo!

I have only lived in two cultures and both of them set Saturday aside as a special day. Even the word - Saturday - looks fun. Here Saturday is often a half work day but by noon everyone's off and they go to the market or to a hot spring or a bath house to soak and warm up. They eat out or shop and have birthday parties. It's a good day for laundry or cleaning or taking a day trip. It's Saturday and we like it.

I'm sure there are roots to it, Saturday being the Sabbath, but for me it all starts with cartoons.

When I was a kid, Saturday was the one day of the week where I was allowed to wake up and just watch TV for a few hours. By about 10 the cartoons had thinned out and it was time to go do something else, but those were good days for cartoons.

See, we didn't have cable and there was no cartoon network. We had CBS, NBC and ABC and if you wanted cartoons, that's where you got 'em. Well, PBS was in the ring and they competed heavily with Marty Stouffers Wild America (still a favorite) but mostly it was cartoons.

And they were 80's Cartoons - with a few late 70's thrown in.

He-Man
Smurfs
Snorks (strange)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
G.I. Joe
Scoobie Doo
Thundercats
Schoolhouse Rock
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Teddy Ruxpin (a brief foray)
Dangermouse
Underdog
Starblazers (my brother just loved this...mainly because it's awesome)
Dungeons and Dragons (and no, I'm not an evil warlock)
The Ghostbusters
The Real Ghostbusters (never discerned the difference)
The Jetsons
The Incredible Hulk
M.A.S.K. (short lived, but VERY cool toys)
Transformers
Voltron (never owned any toys from that - too much like Transformers I guess)
The Super Friends Hour

Of course, separate from all those and standing as a legitimate art form and cultural influence is Looney Tunes. Fritz Freeling and Tex Avery are pure genius. The Rabbit of Seville, Duck Amuck. Chuck Jones, Mel Blanc, Carl Stalling - Leon Schlesinger knew what he was doing. There was no competitor to those guys. Just look at this and tell me what you hear, think, feel, remember:




I mean, you can HEAR the music! It was genius. Cartoon genius. And somewhere my brother has a set of 12 VHS tapes of this. Wow.

So...enjoy your Saturday. If you can catch a cartoon or two (especially from the above list) go for it. A bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs would accompany nicely.

Wednesday

help, please

Those who know me understand that my God given gifts do not include organization. I'm not disorganized in the classical sense; I don't wear shirts backwards or have messy hair. But I am forgetful and I get distracted easily. I just do. I'd rather sit and talk with someone about life and God than plan out how to make that meeting more efficient. My brain is not that linear - that's why I named this blog Ramble Zone - because that's what I do. Anything coherent and sensible is typically the product of re-writing more than writing.

Well, we leave for the Greatest State on Earth (that would be T E X A S ) in about 2.5 weeks. And while that makes our kid's Grammy and Mimi hum with happiness, it's enough to make me start drinking. That's a joke by the way. I already drink. I'd just drink more. More water. More milk. More juice. You mix disorganization with dehydration and we're talking trouble.

Anyway, we have a lot to do. So I made a list several weeks ago. Yesterday I looked at that list and then re-made another list adding all the other things I thought of that need doing and then combined the two lists and then freaked out a little and called in reinforcements in the form of my beautiful and talented bride.

About 10 years ago, God looked at me and said, "It is not good for Brandon to be alone" and he sent me my Jenny. While in the throws of romantic rapture I knew only that I loved her and that I wanted to spend my life pursuing her and loving her more. And honestly, that's about as far as I went. All my energy was turned to romance - and that's good.

Yesterday, however, I didn't need a hallmark card. I needed help. And the Lord has given me a helper who is, without argument, par excellence. She sat me down and helped me turn my list which contains enough work for 2 months into something that I could flesh out and finish in 2 weeks. 2 weeks of non-stop insanity, but 2 weeks. And for that, Baby, I love you. I need you. And I thank the Lord for you.

And now I need to get to work.

Monday

just go already

Friday I went to visit our friends the Ekstroms to get more of their story. I got their timeline filled in from '51 to '80 or so. When you've walked on earth for that long you have a lot of stories. Most of theirs are just too interesting to pass up.

I had a really hard time leaving on Friday morning. Late night. A sleepy, disorganized morning, couldn't find the key to open my gas tank - I was frustrated. But Jenny convinced me to go and I went. I only got about 2 hours talking with them becasue a Brazilian missionary came for an un-expected visit to meet Helen, whose brother teaches at a seminary in Brazil. But while I was chatting with Helen in the kitchen she started talking about college students and how difficult a time they are having here in Guatemala. No one is preparing them for walking with the Lord in college. They have never been taught about the many world views or humanism and how those things are contrary to what they have grown up believing and many, many of them are falling away.

Xela has more than a dozen colleges and a few larger universities. Don't think University like in the US. Think more the size of a community college - well, smaller - but still a university. Anyway, we live here. And there are lots of college students. And we have a lot of experience with college students and pastors here are often scared to talk to college kids because there is a huge education gap and they feel they don't know enough. And Helen put those things together while we stood in her kitchen.

So now we are looking at how we can serve all those college kids and help the pastors learn how to prepare their kids for the philosophical battle they will face in college; how they can help them remain faithful in a place where their faith will indeed be tested and ridiculed.

I thought I was just getting a story on Friday but the Lord is always working, even when we're grumpy. Meeting with two people who love Jesus as much as the Ekstroms and talking about how God has used them and brought them through almost 6 decades of ministry tends to stir things up a little. This time it gave us a new vision for minsitry. Which is pretty cool when you consider I almost didn't go.

Friday

It's Friday, right?

Man, I need to go on furlough so I can have more time to blog.

Ha. While we will have more 'time' I am going to spend it mostly talking with people but maybe I can squeeze in a few more blogs.

Today I get to drive to a town called Huehuetenango and visit with the Ekstroms, the missionary couple in their 80's. I'll be talking with them about their story and trying to fill in details of 160+ years of combined life. I am planning to write their story and I admit that I am terrified to begin in earnest. I honestly have no idea what I am doing. That's not a reason to avoid doing something, of course, but it makes it scarier.

I hope to be able to begin writing when we are in Texas so maybe more blogs are out of the picture. See, the thing with writing a blog for me is that if I don't get it done in the morning before the kids get up it just won't get done. I feel weird blogging when I have work to do and after the kids get down Jenny and I are often in zombie mode and go to bed at 9:30. But I am trying to at least get more than one a week done. We'll see. The fact that 'blog' is not in the blogger auto-dictionary is just silly.

Last night we had a Canadian couple and their 3 kids over for dinner. It was just a ton of fun. We really, really enjoy just sitting and talking with them. The got here at 6 and left at 10:30 and the time flew by. Their kids are a little older and played with our kids for hours. And to date I have never met a mean Canadian. I'm sure they exist, I just haven't met one I didn't like.

And with that, I need to get ready to leave. It's always fun hanging out with the Ekstroms - they are truly an amazing duo.

Saturday

biscuits and eternity

Well I've been trying to write this blog on being a dad and it's just not really very good. So instead of not posting or posting something that needs to stew, I'll just come on here and ramble.

Today we're going to a town about an hour from here so Jenny can teach at the anniversary of a church's women's ministry. She has been working like a madwoman this whole week because she also will teach on Sunday and life here goes on. She is my proverbs 31 wife and while many daughters are noble, I sure think that she exceeds them all. I've been trying to take up the slack during off work hours so that she can prepare. It's been fun to serve her like she serves me all the time. Not that I don't ever do anything around the house, I'm just doing a little more than usual.

We met some new friends here yesterday. Jenny and I took a date to the grocery store (as busy as we have been, we take what we can get - kid free time is a date!) and met this nice fella from Canada. He and his wife (they are a little bit older than us) came over last night for what was supposed to be 5 minutes and turned into 2 1/2 hours. They just moved here a few days ago and are in that entry phase of utter chaos and had a lot of questions. It was really fun to be able to be helpful to someone and to hopefully make their transition a little less stressful. The Body of Christ is simply amazing.

When I finish here I am going to go make biscuits, a recipe I have finally mastered. The secret to incredible biscuits? Butter and sour cream. And you gotta treat 'em easy. Biscuits are fickle. But man o man, in a country where biscuits simply don't exist, it has been worth the effort. I'm not going to say they are Crackle Barrel yet (they put cocaine in theirs I am certain) but they are good enough to make a southern boy happy, which is about all we need around here.

You know, the Christian walk is anything but static. Anything but boring. God is simply not boring and when He says, "Follow Me" and you actually follow Him, your life will be interesting - no matter what country you life in. If you get arrogant, He will humble you. If you get stagnant, temptation comes to test you. If you are tired, He lets you rest in Him. If you are bored, there is so much to do that every fiber of your being (physical, emotional, spiritual) can be worked to exhaustion. The Word of God is living and active because GOD is living and active and following Him is just that- living and active. It's fantastic! And I'm not even very good at it. I'm inconsistent and selfish and immature and it drives me crazy some days. But the Lord is not surprised by me. He's not freaking out of saying, "What am I going to do with you!" like some exasperated parent of a fit throwing toddler. For crying out loud, He's the God of all creation. All Authority is His. All Power. All Knowledge. All Glory. All everything. And He, at least in part because He loves us, has given us this great adventure of a life lived by faith here on planet earth before we enter eternity where faith and hope will pass away and only love will remain.

So, I'm off to make biscuits. And drive and take care of our kids so my amazing wife can teach some women how to walk with God a little better. And I'm looking forward to spending today with the God who is with me - even to the end of the age. Which certainly includes today.