Sad and Glad

Good morning. It is Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Our last full day in Galveston, as we will be returning tomorrow.

Today is Ball Point Pen Day. On this date in 1943, Laszlo and Gyorgy Biro became owners of the U.S. patent for this device, which is still almost universally used today.

Yesterday was a very nice day. After I finished my blog, Christi and I went back to the Sunflower Cafe for breakfast. Stephanie did not want to go on the ferry, so she stayed back at the house and had sausage biscuits for breakfast. After a yummy breakfast, we backtracked to Sonic for drinks, and then headed over to the ferry. We had visited the landing the day before, so we weren’t sure if we would drive on or park and walk, as the line on Sunday was quite long. However, on a Monday morning, there is hardly any line to get on the ferry, so we drove on. I’m glad we did, because we spent a lot of time driving around the Bolivar Peninsula, even making our way to the infamous Crystal Beach. While on the ferry, Christi fed the seagulls.

Christi fed the seagulls
Christi fed the seagulls

When we arrived, we just started driving, not really knowing where we would wind up. I saw this tree that I had to get out and photograph.
After a brief restroom stop at a convenience store, we found Crystal Beach. I have to say, I was not that impressed. It wasn’t any nicer than the beach in front of the house we are staying in. And Crystal is plagued by the same seaweed infestation as the rest of Galveston. But at least they had a tractor trying to get it off of the edge of the water.
Crystal Beach
Crystal Beach

From there, we headed on back for the return trip on the ferry, during which we saw some dolphins playing in the water along the way. Christi got a shot of those with her phone, but my camera battery had died, so I didn’t get any.

We drove on back out to the house, where Christi and I changed into swimsuits and went out to brave the stinky seaweed (have you ever smelled rotting seaweed?) and sandy sinkholes to play in the water with our floaty things. We spent about an hour or so (I actually have no idea how long it was) out there, and then came back in, showered, and went to the Blue Water Grill for cheeseburgers and pizza. If you ever come down to Galveston, you should really try it. The bacon cheeseburger was quite good, as was the pizza, and the place itself is quite interesting. They also make their own ranch dressing which is pretty amazing.

It was a tough night for me, though. A storm blew in late during the night, and as the wind increased, I could hear it whistling around a window. I was able to sleep through it for a while, but it got worse. Around 2-3am, I got up and figured out where it was coming from. There was a side window that had not been latched shut, and was not quite tightened down. I was able to fix that, but then was unable to go back to sleep. I came downstairs and got on the laptop for a while, and listened to the wind blow. When it started blowing chairs around on the deck, I went out and stacked them up, so they would at least stay together. This morning, all the chairs were up against the picnic table on the east end of the deck. On the upper deck, outside our bedroom, the four chairs were flush against the east railing. I wound up going back to sleep around 5:30, but still didn’t sleep soundly. I’m okay, though. Just a little tired.

Today, the only plan we have is to go to a place we went last year for lunch, called “Mario’s.” They had a lunch buffet last year, and I think I saw it still on their sign as we drove by. I seem to remember it being pretty good. I expect we will relax the rest of the day, and I might even take a nap on the deck.


On this date in 1752, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite in a thunderstorm. While not normally a recommended leisure activity, in this case, it is we are, I believe, quite thankful that he did.

It’s the birthday of Neville Henderson, Howlin’ Wolf, Saul Bellow, Judy Garland, Lionel Jeffries (didn’t we just have his birthday a few days ago?), Gina Gershon, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Elizabeth Hurley, Tara Lipinski, and Leelee Sobieski. It is also the birthday of Ron Glass, and actor who has appeared in many things, including Barney Miller, the TV sitcom. We know him best, however as “Shepherd Book,” in the ill-fated, Fox-murdered, most excellent TV series and movie, Firefly and Serenity. It is difficult to find lengthy clips of Joss Whedon shows on You Tube, however, I was able to find this very short clip of one of Shepherd’s better lines.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

(From The Divine Hours)

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:15
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Psalm 119:18
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
Psalm 86:16
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Psalm 18:31
Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules.
You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.
Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it.
I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true.
Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.
Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.

Psalm 119:137-144

O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
Malachi 3:6
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Taking Inventory.”

“To discern where you really are with the Lord, recall what has saddened you recently.” Here are some possibilities:

“Was it the realization that you don’t love Jesus enough?
That you do not seek his face in prayer often enough?
That you can’t honestly say that the greatest thing that ever happened in your life is that Jesus came to you and you heard his voice?
That you do not regard finding Jesus as your supreme happiness?
That you have denied his last commandment by not loving his people enough?”

Here are some other possibilities:

“Lack of human respect,
criticism from an authority figure,
financial problems,
lack of friends,
your bulging waistline?”

Now turn around and consider what has gladdened you recently.

“Reflection on your election to the Christian community?
The joy of praying, ‘Abba, I belong to you?’
The afternoon you stole away with the gospel as your only companion?
The thrilling awareness that God loves you unconditionally just as you are and not as you should be?
A small victory over selfishness?”

Or was it, rather:

“A new car,
a Brooks Brothers suit,
a movie and a pizza, a trip to Paris or Peoria?”

The final question. . . “Are you worshiping idols?”

Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings,
with loud shouts.

Psalm 33:3

Father, it’s confession time again, while also wondering why I keep reading this devotion. The reason is exactly because of readings like today. I need these readings to keep me honest. While the readings about how much you love me keep me positive and joyful, I have to be brought down to earth frequently to check myself. I confess that the things that sadden me are not the proper things. I am saddened, no, even angered because someone cut me off in traffic, almost hitting me. I am saddened because someone didn’t respect me properly. I am not saddened enough that there are still people who do not know the joy of living for you. I am also, however, saddened to think that I don’t know you/love you enough, and that I don’t pray enough or intensely enough.

What gladdens me? I’m doing better on those. I am so very gladdened that you love me unconditionally, and that there is nothing whatsoever that I can do to change that! I am gladdened to be able to pray, “Abba, I belong to you!” I am gladdened to know that I am elected to the Christian community, that I am, as Father Freyer said, “part of a redeemed community!” I am also gladdened by a trip to the seashore at Galveston. And I don’t believe that is idolatry, because I don’t “worship” the ocean or the seashore. I employ it as a vehicle to get closer to you, acknowledging you as the Creator of all that I see before me. I was also gladdened by that cheeseburger last night. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing, either, as long as I am gladdened by the proper things. I believe that we should thoroughly enjoy all that you have given us to enjoy.

Father, I pray for my spirit to be directed at the right things, especially when it comes to how I am treated by others. This does not matter. I know this, too. I have recognized it for a long time. However, the flesh still has far to go, and I pray for your help by the power of the Holy Spirit.

May this last day of rest and relaxation by the seashore be just that, along with some time to reflect on all that you have provided for us. May I spend some time privately worshiping you this afternoon, as I sit on the deck observing and listening to the waves of the ocean. You are the grand Creator, the eternal God and Father and Lord, and I will praise you and serve you for as long as I shall live on this earth, and then for all eternity after that! Praises be to you, O God!

Your grace is sufficient!

Take some time . . . do your own inventory of what saddens and gladdens you. Where do you stand with God?

Grace and peace, friends.

Even If I Ran Away

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Hump day.

Today is Bear Picnic Day. Oh. I’m sorry. Teddy Bear Picnic Day! Yes. Today is the day to take your teddy bear on a picnic. Obviously, whoever made this list doesn’t live in Texas. It’s a bit hot for picnics right now. Even for a teddy bear.

Christi had another doctor visit yesterday, and the doctor said she could see no evidence of the fracture!!! Hallelujah!! There is one last visit in four weeks, and Christi is still not supposed to do any jumping or standing on tip-toe, but she can return to doing some impact-type exercise or activity. No jogging or jumping, though, nothing that pounds on the feet. That is so awesome!

Her dinner last night with her friend went very well, and she got some very good advice. That’s pretty much all I can say about that right now. Everything is else is humming along normally. I’m continuing to learn new things at my job, even if somewhat randomly. The training process leaves much to be desired. 😀

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)

On this day in 1099, the “greatest of Spanish folk heroes, knight and conqueror, scourge of the Moors, faithful defender of Christian Spain,” Roderigo Diaz de Bivar, known in history as El Cid, died while the city he ruled was under siege. At the age of 56, El Cid was ailing, and King Bucar of the Moors was attacking his city, Valencia. But he gave deathbed instructions that were followed. “El Cid’s generals waited twelve days and then strapped his armored body upright on his faithful horse Bavieca. At midnight, with El Cid in the lead, the entire army rode through the city gates. Then, as the noble corpse moved forward with the baggage train, the Spanish knights turned and attacked the sleeping Moors from behind.” A contemporary account described it as such: “It seemed to King Bucar that before them came a knight of great stature upon a white horse with a bloody cross, who bore in one hand a white banner and in the other a sword which seemed of fire and he made great mortality among the Moors . . . And King Bucar and the other kings were so dismayed they never checked the reins until they had ridden into the sea.” El Cid’s body was taken to the monastery of San Pedro de Cardena where it sat on an ivory chair for ten years before being buried. “Not surprisingly, a superstitious cult soon grew up around the tomb.”

Today’s birthday is (in spite of it being John Calvin’s birthday), Ron Glass, born on this date in 1945. While some may know him from his stint on Barney Miller, all the really cool people know him as “Shepherd Book” from Firefly, and Serenity. I found this cool vlog about him on You Tube.

Honorable mentions go to Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010, Fred Gwynne, 1926-1993, Arlo Guthrie, 66, David Brinkley, 1920-2003, John Calvin, 1509-1564, Phyllis Smith, 62, Gina Bellman, 47, and Bela Fleck, 55.


Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalm 80:7
But you, you are to be feared! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused? Psalm 76:7
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
Psalm 33:6-11

“O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your servant who calls upon you, and
grant that I may know and understand what things I ought to do, and that I
also may have the grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through
Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (The Divine Hours)

Father, I pray that you would teach me something that I may take through the rest of this day.

Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “I Alone Am Left.” The scripture reading comes from 1 Kings 19.

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life. (1-3a)

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. (4a)
And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. (5-6a)
And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (8-10)

Elijah goes in to the wilderness, once again, for refuge. It might be wise to note that he wasn’t exactly looking for God, in this instance, as he was running from his life from probably the most wicked woman to ever grace the face of the earth. “But even in Elijah’s running away, God met him in his solitude.” Even Elijah, this man who lived an amazing life with great power and firsthand experiences with God, needed some solitude and refreshment, where God could meet him alone. Now, here’s the question? When have we sought solitude for some other reason than meeting God? I know I have. But the amazing thing is, sometimes he meets us there, even though we aren’t exactly looking for him. There is just something about being alone that allows us to commune more intimately with God. And if the place is “desolate,” away from everything else, that opportunity seems to be even more heightened. For me, I keep going back to the ocean. I “ran away” to Galveston, not necessarily seeking the Lord, just getting away from the normal drudgery of everyday life. Yet, as I sat on the beach (not totally alone, but kind of by myself), God came to me and communed with me. He will meet us in the most amazing places.

This reading reminded me of one of my current favorite worship songs, “Your Love Never Fails.” (Not the fake Newsboys version.) There is a line in the song that says, “Nothing can separate, even if I ran away, your love never fails.” You see? Elijah was running (not so much from God as from Jezebel), and God met him! Even when we try to run away, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus! His love never fails!!

Father, I confess that I run away too often. I am shamed by the number of times in my life that I have run away. But you meet me, nonetheless. I praise you for your consistency with me. As I continue to seek out places of solitude during my days, I pray that you will meet me. Your love never fails!

I pray for this day, Lord. May our work day be smooth and productive. May Stephanie be drawn closer to you. May your blessings continue to rain down on our family, no matter where we may be.

Your grace is sufficient.

His love never fails, even if we run away.

Grace and peace, friends.