Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The ABCs of Thanksgiving

A - Apartment Life: employing me, stretching, ministry focused, and hardly ever boring
B - Benton and Babymoons: an unforeseen development at an opportune time
C - Crossroads Life Group: launched in the fall, provides opportunity to use my spiritual gift
D - Doughnuts: kids love 'em & the Kroger near us makes a mean creme filled long john
E - Elam Ministries: a unique opportunity to ministered to and be ministered by the persecuted church
F - Fall: Georgia's falls are the most spectacular I've ever experienced: colorful and long
G - Generations: Nanny, the GGs, Grandparents, the Carpenters, Campbells, & the Williams
H - History: listened to a lectureship on Rome (50+ lessons); I love history!
I - iPad (and iPhone): love them
J - Jack: my new boss, a gifted leader and valued friend
K - Katherine: my very pregnant wife - still need a name!
L - Ladies Ministry: seeded the idea to read through the Bible in a year
M - Monty: joined the PCBC choir and learned that I am a first tenor who loves choir
N - No commute: 0.9 mile commute and access to anything we need within a 3 mile radius
O - Operations and Strategy: skill sets that I've been able to leverage in work and church
P - Presidents: have read several great bios this year
Q - Quality time: errands are a joy, Saturdays are fun, and horizons are ever broadening
R - Radical Group: deepen my commitment to share my faith and has strengthened my walk
S - Simpsonwood UMC Retreat Center: prayer mornings are savored here
T - Tents: Luke and I have taken several adventures plus our Labor Day trip with PCBC friends
U - Uga-mugas and Noggin-noggins: just too affectionate to annoy me for too long
V - Vacations: Two new places: Savannah and Asheville
W - Weekends: finally learning how to enjoy them - work in the morning and then R & R
X - Chi: the Greek letter x which stands for Christ who is and continues to transform my life
Y - Youngblood: the unique middle name of my friend Tyler: PCBC, Radical, Turkey, Crossroads
Z - Zoos: my family loves the zoos, especially panda bears and lions

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not your Average Joe!

God has blessed me with quality friends! I first met Joe in the Fellowship class of First Baptist Dallas where my wife decided that he and I should be friends. A long shot at best, as Joe is a pretty low maintenance guy and had room for only a few select friends. Well time passed and I began to co-teach the Sunday school class, Ella was born with GBS, Joe and I began to run, and our friendship began to deepen. Joe is a servant extraordinaire and has done lots to love on our family ranging from bringing us dinner the night K went into labor with Luke to buying my son his first basketball hoop a year later.

We share the common values of sports, frugality and practicality, and our mid-western roots. Joe sold me the nicest car I've owned to date and the only car that's ever been professionally detailed - an act of kindness that didn't go unnoticed! This last weekend Joe (and his bride!) flew our entire family into Dallas so that our families could be together. That's just Joe! Cheer wine, the Rangers, McDonald's play lands, and a sweet fellowship of old friends declaring God's faithfulness over the last two years highlighted our time together. If memories are the fabric of friendship this was a good one to add to others: running in the cold around white rock, visits to the ER, pre and post-delivery meals, moving parties, Snuffers, Nobu - the first time I ever tried Sushi; why not start with the best, Fogo de Chow (loved the lamb!) a cruise of a life time, a cane (the elephant - strength and consistency two qualities Joe possesses), a handshake, a hug, a smile, a friend to connect with on Sunday mornings, a call to catch up, and many random acts of kindness and love along the way . . . Joe is a lot of things, but one thing he is not is average! Thanks Joe!

My Little Lion is Four

I'm all for having birthday parties for kids under four as long as it's economical and we're all honest that the party itself is for the adults. I'm also a little wary of a 4 year old getting 30 presents - a bit overkill if you ask me. I mean, "happy fourth birthday" and to make sure that you are well on your way down the road of materialism and being consumed by stuff here are 30 gifts . . . probably need to save that for a later blog post :). With that said, Luke's birthday party was great! Both sets of Grandparents came down from Indianapolis and Uncle David joined us to help us celebrate this momentous occasion. Highlights included the Lightning McQueen birthday cake, a pirate hat, the "storming Nortons!" (my own title), and the grandparents! K and I gave Judah a set of Lincoln logs (again, probably more for daddy) and our old digital camera - hoping to get the artistic juices flowing early. The gala was held at the park a mile from our house and was replete with lightning McQueen accessories (paper plates and napkins), hors d'oeuvres (a veggie tray), and an amazing entree (PIZZA!) Throw in a lightning McQueen balloon and this party was a true success coming in just shy of the $50 mark.