Friday, July 3, 2015

Shout-Out!: 007

Shout-Outs are a new addition to my blog. They are to recognize people's accomplishments or to express my gratitude for their good and kind deeds. It's a way to celebrate the little things that may otherwise go unnoticed.

I will put about 5 entries for each post so keep checking back! 

*Updated 7/22/15

Bethel United Methodist

Our own church isn't having VBS this summer due to our big move to our new building. My wife and I are grateful to have discovered Bethel's VBS program. Our three girls enjoyed their five nights there while learning some new songs and how God has the power to forgive. I really liked the fact that their Imagination Station involved some neat science activities. It also provided mom and dad with a nice break :) Thank you, Bethel UMC!

Open Arms

It was strange being in Lancaster and not having anyone from my side of the family home. They were out in Hannibal, Missouri for the Kreider family reunion. My grandpa was there thankfully and my girls got to enjoy another visit to the petting zoo followed by some ice cream and a gift from the gift shop. My girls love being with their Paw-Paw and of course I cherish every moment with him as well. We are thankful for the time we got to spend with him...and of course the homemade ice cream too! Not to mention the staple bonus of farmer's cheese. A delicacy that we can't get down here in Virginia.

With the rest of our family out we stayed at Angie's mom's house. Linda always welcomes us with open arms. We are thankful for the room and board and all she does for us. We are also grateful for Charlie who despite suffering from a nasty, fever-inducing spider bite, still manned the grill for Bailey's birthday party. It was great to see Amy and Matt. Matt graciously gave us some pretzel dogs and cookies. The gift was not expected, but we are truly grateful for the generosity. Amy also gave each of my girls their own gift since she's not usually around on their birthdays. A very sweet act.

Ashley, Angie's youngest sister, allowed my three girls to crash on the floor of her bedroom. Not exactly convenient, but we certainly appreciate her kindness. And finally a big thank you for the rest of the Bird-N-Hand Farmer's Market who treated my girls like royalty. Along with the pretzel dogs and cookies we got flavored popcorn, a jar of local honey and some whoopie pies. Yes, my Pittsburgh friends, they are not gobs. They are whoopie pies.

Also a big thank you to Holly and Autumn for taking care of Indy while we were away.

Thank God for Closed Roads

And I don't mean that as a figure of speech. I really am thankful that 997 was closed as I headed to the mountains. Okay, so I wasn't at first. You see, I don't have the luxury of a phone with cell-service. My yearly trip to the mountains for Brother's Weekend was mapped out - and then printed out - by Mapquest. Just like the good old days. Some of us are apparently still living there. My trip began with trepidation over my car that continues to be a nuisance. I had justification in fearing the car wouldn't make it. But it was doing fine and I was making good time and then out of nowhere, Road Closed. If I was a swearing man I would have swore. Instead, I pulled off into an abandoned parking lot and started wondering what to do. My paper directions didn't not supply me with the ever-so-lovely "re-routing." A very nice Mennonite -driving a black caravan - stopped and told me some rights and lefts. Meanwhile I'm thinking, "Dyslexia, don't spoil this for me and have me turn onto a road that will have me crashing into a farm, bumping my head causing amnesia where I'm forced to live by another name while raising pigs on some family's farm wondering why they look at me like the pig wasn't first on the menu."

Finding my way through back roads with very little civilization and the help of a gentleman, I managed to find route 641. The road that would all but take me the rest of the way to Doylesburg.

The reason I'm glad for the closed road is below. It's my journal entry that I wrote the night I arrived at Brother's Weekend.

Before reading, I encourage you to consider and remember this: The next time you lose your keys or you are down the road a mile and you realize you need to turn around because you forgot something, don't be agitated. Do not fret. But rather ask God to show you the reason for the delay of your timely arrival. Yes, it may be just because you were lazy and didn't hang the keys up or simply forgetful. However, there may be a divine reason behind it all.

I say again, "Thank God for closed roads." Please read on.

Willie Johnson is an Army Veteran. I found Willie lying on the side of the road today as I was heading towards my weekend mountain vacation with my brothers. I was a half-mile away from the cabin we stay in, excited to have arrived safely, when I noticed an elderly man lying helplessly inches from the road. At first – although I don’t know why I would think this – I thought it was an Amish-man taking a nap in the sunshine. As I drove by, I realized the desperation the poor gentleman had been overcome with. Stopping fifty feet passed his location, I backed up, told him to hold on and I parked, got out and hoisted him to his feet. He had been having problems for a year and a half with his legs. He had fallen 100 feet from his front porch and it took us several minutes to move just a few yards. Knowing my brother was already at the cabin, I helped Willie sit down, told him I’d be right back (he agreed we needed a second pair of hands) and drove to get Jason. It was a strange hello between my brother and I because, well, I never had to ask him to come help me pick up an old man off the ground before. Minutes later we arrived back at Willie’s. According to my estimation it took my brother and I a good fifteen to twenty minutes to get Willie seated on his rocking chair on the front porch. On our short journey we met Ray-ray his dog and learned that Willie flew helicopters in the Army. His legs were weak and contrary by not being willing to do what Willie’s mind wanted them to do. My brother and I were somewhat baffled and saddened that veterans such as Willie Johnson are not taken care of by the country they served. Does anybody out there think two holidays a year serves as sufficient celebration and gratitude for what men and women like Willie have done?

If that road wasn't closed, I would have made it to the cabin before Willie fell down and wouldn't have been able to help him. The road running by his home is very lightly traveled and it could have easily been another hour until his wife found him upon her return home from work. This blog entry is not to boast about me helping someone in need. I was happy to do it, but it's more about the condition of our beloved veterans. It comes down to showing love not just finding one more reason to get drunk on those holidays in which we simple say thank you. It's time we show love to those that put their lives on the line in order to protect what we tend to take for granted.

Friends Doing What Friends Do Best

With our church moving to a newly constructed building, my wife is crazy-busy like all staff of Christ Church. With me tackling summer school, keeps me away in the mornings. With both of us busy (while enjoying God's promise that He will provide) we run into some problems of what to do with our girls. They can't come to school with me and there's nothing for them to do while Angie works on her move to her new classroom. This is when you are really grateful for friends. Moving to Virginia back in 2001 created too much distance to have family nearby to help out with babysitting. Something we truly missed. Thankfully we've created a wonderful network of friends that have gotten us out of many jams. Especially recently. A big thank you to Trichelle and Jessica for watching our girls (when each of you already have two of your own to look out for) and for Danielle for picking them up and taking them to VBS. Your friendship and your help in our time of need is greatly appreciated.

A Cabin in the Woods

It's not actually a cabin. It's a house. Bigger than my own so yes, it's a nice getaway. I'm thankful for Mahlon and June for giving people such as my brothers and myself the opportunity to stay at their mountain home. It's just not the great deal that is appreciated, but I hope they know how important and special it is for my brothers and I to be able to fellowship together surrounded by God's mountainous beauty once each year during the summer. It borders Tuscarora State Park which allows not only a majestic scenery, but for lung-exploding-aching muscle-still love to do it bike rides up the mountainside. The next day, my body didn't know what hit it. I'm thankful for my body's capability to heal. I'm thankful for the safe journey there and back again for all of us and for being kept safe during our stay. I'm thankful for no internet. It's nice to get away from it from time to time. 

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