Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Day

Christmas was on a Sunday this year.  So is January 1st.  Since several have been asking, I need to let you know our schedule for Sunday, January 1st.

It is our normal worship and Sunday School schedule.  Tomorrow, we will be holding services at 8, 905, 1010 and 1115.  Sunday School at the regular times as well.

So we are back on normal worship and program times.  Happy New Year!

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, December 30, 2011

office buddies

Some years ago I began a small collection of stuffed animals.  The first was the Piggly Wiggly Pig which I have had for over 20 years.  I don't know what came next, but you can see the group.  They live on the top book shelf in my office.

The Piggly Wiggly Pig
Captain Crunch
Eore [Winnie the Pooh's friend]
Charlie Brown
The Star Bellied Sneach

I guess what I like about these guys is that they are the kind, the shy, the overlooked, the benign, the underdog.  For some reason, it makes me feel good to have them around.  I was moving some books the other day and I thought I would share them with you.  Do you know the story of the Star Bellied Sneach?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

diet plan

I don't know how many times I grab something to eat that is quick and flavorful yet has no ability to keep me satisfied. It is a bad habit and a hard one to break. I know it, yet I continue to do it. And I know that it really does me more harm than good...I have a scale to prove it. Lessons on good nutrition can be found everywhere. When it comes down to the basics, the lesson is eat healthy push the other stuff away and the rest will take care of itself.

I make choices in other areas of my life each day on what or how I feed myself. Where I spend my time, my money, what I read, talk about, listen too etc. Just like with food, I have choices on what I will fill myself with each day...the junk or the good stuff.

This time of year many look to what they don't like about their lives....what they want to fix, change or improve on. Maybe the best place to start with change is to work on what we allow ourselves to take in....

Lion's Den Man

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I have a bookmark in my bible at "Job 38-42". This book serves as a reminder to me of how much I do not know or understand and how big God is. With all that happens in our world that is beyond understanding I find comfort in having a God that I cannot comprehend.

Excerpts below of what you may have read before or of a book that you should consider taking the time to read...

The LORD Speaks 

38 1 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: 2 “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

42 1 Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

Lion's Den Man

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

watching them sleep

When the kids were little they would fall asleep in the funniest places.  They would be roaring around the house and then it would get quiet.  You notice this and get worried.  You start to look, and lo and behold you find them.  They got tired and crashed in mid stride.  On a chair, on the floor, on the stairs, wherever.  They were so cute when they were sleeping.

At night before we went to bed we would always open each door and make sure everyone was snuggled in their beds.  It was so sweet to watch them sleep.

Now they are big and grown up.  They come over to eat the food and enjoy the family.  Then, just like in the old days, they fall asleep.  You throw a blanket on them, and move their soda so they don't spill it.  Then you watch them, and they are still so cute.  Sometimes they are joined by various lazy animals that sleep all the time anyway.

I wonder if God ever looks down from heaven and watches his children sleep?  It is a comforting thought that our Father looks upon us with warm and loving care.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26th

Ahhh - the sound of rest.  Christmas is over.  Is it a sin for a pastor to be glad that Christmas is over?  It is definitely high pressure, hard work time.

Anyway, it is over, and it was wonderful [at least from where I sit.]  The gospel choir concert, the jazz band concert, the children's program and the cantata were wonderful.  Christmas eve services were delightful and it was good to see so many of you on Christmas day.

Several have asked about Christmas eve attendance.  Remember, numbers are not about numbers, they are about people.  They reflect who we are reaching.  With that in mind, I am pleased to tell you that we had more folks out for Christmas eve than any prior year.

Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make this Christmas a real celebration of God's love.

God is good, and by his grace we will love those who are here, and reach many more for Christ in 2012.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Clipped from a Christmas card a few years ago, this phrase hangs on the door to the pastor's office at Woods Chapel UMC.

A bell is no bell 'til you ring it.
A song is no song 'til you sing it.
And love in your heart wasn't put there to stay.
Love isn't love 'til you give it away.

                    Oscar Hammerstein
                         The Sound of Music

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Holy Father,

We honor you this day.  We set aside time to worship you.  We bring our gifts.  We pause at the manger to say thank you. 

We consider our lives.  We consider our choices.  Please help us to follow you more fully.  Please help us to leave the world of selfishness and learn to give ourselves away in your name.

Thank you for the gift of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

worship times

For those of you who were wondering, here are the worship times for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Christmas Eve
10:00 am
4:00 pm
5:30 pm
7:00 pm
8:30 pm
11:00 pm

4:00 pm will be the busiest, and then the 5:30 after that.  Try to arrive early if you want to attend at those times.  Overflow seating is available at 4pm in the lecture hall.  All other services should have plenty of room.

On Christmas day, we are having services at 9:00 am and 10:30.

As always, feel free to invite your friends to these special days.  

It is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

lost dog

Well, I just about lost it all last night.  Such a simple thing.  Let the dog out to do his business and go to bed.  Well, the dog, Lou, went out and ran away.  Ten years old, that is 70 in dog years, and he went around the corner and just kept going.  Maybe he was chasing a possum.  Maybe he has doggie althiemers.

Either way, I am thinking about my wife who is in Florida, my son who is in Kentucky and my daughters who are downtown on a holiday night.  I am the only one here, and I lost the family dog.  Possibly the most important member of the family.

I have been up and down the street three times.  I have called for him.  I have promised a treat.

Finally, after I have given up, after I have made peace with explaining all of this to the rest of my family, I hear a little jingle.  It is Lou.  I find him, and he comes home.  All is well.  Disaster averted.  I am sure that he was unaware of the problem that he caused.

Oh, for the life of a dog.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Turkeys

Driving down a local back road I noticed a yard full of wild turkeys.  It was a bit of an unusual sight.  Since I had my camera, I stopped and took a picture. 

This scene just made me smile.  A little bit of God's creation, right here in the city.  I suspect that they are aware that they could end up on someones Christmas dinner table.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

homeless adoption

I have been adopted by a homeless couple.  Its the reverse of normal.  Usually someone makes a commitment to adopt a needy person.  This couple has attached themselves to me.

They call me all the time.  Yesterday, he called me four times.  Part of me wants to walk on by, but I just can't do it.  I have to find some agency or something that can help them.  I can't do it all.  I don't want to think of them and their needs all the time, but it sure has taken up a goodly amount of my brain.  Maybe that is a good thing. 

They are staying at this motel on 40 highway.  $20 per night.  We forget how blessed we are.  We also forget that the good news is for everyone, not just the folks that live in our comfort zone.  I know there is a reason why all of this is on my mind.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, December 19, 2011

the problem with preachers

Actually there are several problems with preachers.  Today I want to address one of them. 

When the preacher stands to preach there is the temptation to take it all in without question.  There is the possibility that we begin to see this person as the source.  They can almost become an intermediary for us.  We can begin to live our spiritual lives through the lens of this person.

Just like a parent or a grandparent who watches the child play baseball.  We cheer, we yell, we can almost feel ourselves sliding into second base, when in fact we are sitting in the stands.  With great determination we support and defend our kids in sports, as if we were defending ourselves.  Again the problem is that we are not on the field.

So back to church.  Is it possible for someone to live their spiritual life through the stories of their pastor?  Is it possible that we have done this for so long that we don't even realize that we are in the audience and not in the game?  Does it help that some pastors love this kind of attention and adoration?

How about a pastor who points you not to him or herself, but to the Source.  How about a pastor who insists that you get out of the pew, off the bench, and into the game.  How about a pastor who is willing to make you mad and risk the relationship you have with them, if that's what it takes to get you in the game?

Christianity is participatory.  There are no observers.  May we all get out into the dance of life and create our own experiences with our Father.  When we do this, we become a disciple.  We become a part of the story, and we help the pastor find his or her rightful place as a fellow sojourner, a co-worker in the kingdom.

One preacher problem solved.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

noise cancelling technology

Ahh the things that people invent are amazing.  I recently tried out a friends head phones with “noise cancelling technology.”  Have you heard of this?  They are amazing.  You put them on your head and turn on your music.  Good sure, like any other headphones.  But there is this little switch. 

When you turn the switch, something happens.  The headphones emit a sound wave that is an anti-wave to much of the back ground noise around you.  Really.  The noise of an airplane and the sound of the people talking around you disappears.  Their mouths move, but no noise is coming out.  Just the turn of a switch and the distractions are gone.

 And so I have an idea.  If I wear them all the time, will all of the noise of life disappear?  No more sadness, no more anger, no more worry, no more concerns, no more unhappiness.  Now that would be an invention wouldn’t it?

 And some how I know our Father offers this.  Jesus said, "come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."  Just a turn of our focus and the distractions are muffled.  The noise of life is replace with a quiet peace.  This is the gift of God to all who ask.  As the old song says, “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”

 It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dear Jenny

Dear Jenny,

You had a dream the other night that your father had died.  You were very sad. 

I am writing to you now to remind you of a few things that you must know.  First of all, everything dies.  Dogs, cats and fathers.  One day, I will die.  It is what we humans do.  I have had 54 years to think about this and I am not afraid.

I have spent a great deal of time considering the relationship between myself and our Father.  I have seen the beauty of his creation and I have tasted many of the joys of this life.  I had a close call six years ago with the whole sarcoidosis scare.  I an not a stranger to the concept of eternity.

So, when the time comes, I want you to stand there at the side of my bed and hold my hand.  Talk to me.  I can hear you even when I no longer respond.  My spirit will have moved past the abilities of my broken body.  Kiss me on the forehead and know that I am in good hands.  Never fear or worry for me.  Then leave the death bed and go live your life.  Live.  Love.  Dance.  Enjoy your successes and don't kick yourself so hard over your failures.  Learn to understand yourself, your moods and your thoughts. 

Read what I have written.  Consider my journey, as it will help you.  Also, read the journey and the story of other men and women of history.  They have all passed where you too one day will be going.

Provide for your children better than you have been provided for.  More love, less worry.  More grace and more grace.  Teach them to work for what they have.  Nothing in this life is free.

Smile!  Laugh!  Toast it up.  Here's to the gift of life.  Thank you our Father.  All is well.
Love, Dad

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, December 16, 2011

the face of Jesus

A person was invited to gaze into the face of the Savior.  They could not do it, for they feared judgement and rejection from the Lord.   Yet, they dutifully continued to serve him.   The invitation was repeated over and over, but the person could not look in the face of Christ.  They felt too unworthy.

Finally on their deathbed the invitation came again.  This time, with death at hand, the person looked into the face of Jesus.  To their surprise, they saw no condemnation, no rejection, only love.

They cried like a baby.  They cried for the joy of being forgiven and accepted.  And, they cried because they had lived their entire life without the joy that could have been theirs had they simply seen the Savior for who he was.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pat has a sin

So you know someone who has a particular sin.  Lets name the person Pat.   Odds are, Pat enjoys it briefly, then feels guilty about it the rest of the time.  All in all, it provides Pat much more pain than joy.

Then I know someone who is always talking about Pat's sin.  It seems to be a constant topic for them and they seem to derive much joy from talking about Pat's sin.

Each time I chew on the sins of others, I suspect that the chewing gives me more pleasure than the sinning gives the sinner.

Let's find better ways to spend our time.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Growing points

Following yesterday’s post, I got to wondering what are the topics that I have chased over the last 18 years as pastor at Woods Chapel.  In other words, if you have attended church here all these years, what are the things that I have been going thru that you would have heard me address in sermons?  What are the things that you would have been invited to join with me in the great journey of life? 

Here are some of the things that I have seen myself think about and grow in over the years:
  • Evangelism- that God calls us to reach others
  • Hospitality – making others welcome
  • Inclusivity – all must be welcome
  • Missions – the growing awareness that we must live outside of ourselves
  • A guilt based or a grace based faith
  • Seeing the good.
  • Awareness – being awake in life
  • Compassion for the Homeless and the needy in general
  • Learning to be thankful and grateful
  • Choices about what our children will be involved in
  • The loss of loved ones
  • Overseas missions trips
  • Absorbing the pain of losing friends
  • Finding daily joy
What have you been thinking about these last 18 years?  What are you thinking about now?  Where are your growing points?

It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Physican heal thyself

When you hear the pastor talk or read what the pastor writes, who is he talking to?  Is he or she only talking to others or is he also speaking to him or herself.  This might be a good way to separate those who talk to us and those who talk down to us.
 An honest pastor knows that they put their pants on one leg at a time.  Their spiritual journey isn’t just about helping others “get it.”  They understand that they too need to get it. 

 So when this old boy writes something or says something, please know that it is probably something that I am thinking about, struggling with or dancing with.  We are on this journey of life together, you and I.  We are the same.   And as we pursue and find our Father, we are whole.

It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Financial Problems

I recently finished a book by Larry Burkett called “Debt Free Living.”  It was written 20 years ago, but recently updated due to conditions in our country.

 As I talk with people about their issues and talk with my children about theirs, Burkett has identified some human behaviors that lead to financial trouble that I thought made an interest litany.

 Here is a partial list of ways we get in trouble-

Living beyond one’s means, spending more than they make, being unwilling to lower their standard of living, greed, impulse buying, get rich quick schemes, a lack of planning, being unprepared for future expenses, not having a budget, not being willing to deny myself anything, insisting that I have everything now that I grew up with or have had in the past, an inability to account for where the money went, lack of self discipline, assuming  that lenders would not loan you what you could not pay for, lack of communication between spouses, intentionally hiding things from spouses, wanting too much too soon, trying to match in three years the lifestyle that it took your parents thirty years to accumulate, ignoring your advisers, giving in to “small” indulgences, and finally, not thinking about it – denial.

 There are many problems with living a life that is out of financial balance.  Such living puts our families in danger, robs us of self esteem and is often dishonoring to God.

 There is good news though.  Simply by beginning to practice good stewardship habits, things can improve. For anyone that is interested, we have people at our church who are willing to spend time to advise you.  I am willing as well.  Regardless of the hole that a person may find themselves in, God is good and life is good and things can improve.

It is a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

the board

There is a board.  You have one and I have one.  What board do you speak of Jeff?  I do not have any boards.  Ahh, you are correct if you recognize that this board is not easy for us to see.  It is not a board that is kept in the garage or basement.  It is not a board for a project.  It did not come from Lowes or Home Depot.

The board that I refer to is invisible to us.  We cannot see it, because it is in our eye.  It is the board that Jesus refers to in Matthew chapter 7.  We don’t see this board because we have looked past it for so long that now it just seems to be a normal part of the panorama of our vision.

 Jesus calls us out on this.  It may be normal to us, but he begs us to see this perversion.  This board is unfair, it judges others and it is a blind spot to us.  As long as this board remains, we are unable to see anything as it is.  Not our fellow sojourners here on earth, or our Father in heaven.  We only see clearly when the board is removed.

 Maybe your board tells you that all Republicans are bad or all Democrats.  Maybe it tells you that all Baptists are bad or all Catholics or all Methodists.  Maybe it tells you that KU fans are stuck up or MU fans are something.  [And please do not post a comment saying that KU fans are stuck up.]  Maybe your board tells you that poor people are lazy.  Homeless people should just get a job.  All corporations are evil.  All people in power over me are unfair.  Good looking people are snobs.  The pastor at that church must be………

 And on and on it goes.

 Are you aware of your board?  Do you see it?  Only by becoming aware of our preconceived foolishness can we move into real living.  Only by waking up to our own darkness can we ever move into the light.  May God help us see our boards and remove them so that we might begin to see the world as he does.

It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I hope for a Methodist

If all a Methodist does is say the sinner’s prayer and punch his ticket for heaven, then we will continue to be a powerless lot.  There is so much more to the Christian life.

 I yearn for Methodists that learn to pray when they are unhappy.  That give not their voice to complaint or sadness, but lift up their concerns to our Father.  Their prayers are filled the phrase, “thank you.”  Their prayers are becoming more and more about being in His presence, and in such activity, they are being infused with joy.

 I yearn for Methodists that make their church a priority.  They are present unless sick or out of town.  They see their church’s imperfections and love it and support it all the same.  They teach their children the value of the church and invite the unchurched to attend.  They are so committed to their church, when they roll in for their funeral, it won’t seem strange to them to be in the sanctuary.

I yearn for Methodists who have fought and won the war with our culture.  Who have turned their back on the American dream and learned to pursue God’s dreams.  These are those who know that all that we have and all that we are have come from above.  They look at their possessions, their salary and their 401k as gifts from our Father to be used in his service.

 I yearn for Methodists who serve.  Their time is their Father’s.  They find a place to give themselves in service to others.  Not out of duty, for they have truly found the joy of living outside of themselves.  A church filled with such people is a wonder to behold in the community.  A church not turned in, but a church that is turned out.

 I yearn for Methodists who bear witness to their faith.  Not in scary, guilt laden ways, but with a joy that is based in reality.  They accept people where they are at and are filled with grace.  They are always willing, always ready to share a word with another.  To help them see the good.  To help them see and find the God who is the source of love in this world.

 Give me such Methodists and we will turn a new page in every work place, every school and every community. 

 What kind of a Methodist are you?  What kind of a Methodist am I?

 It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, December 9, 2011


What are you thinking about?  What do you think about during the day?  What do you think about in your best moments?  In your worst?

 As I witness the rise of pornography in our culture I am again reminded of the importance of guarding our hearts and minds.  It can be done.  We can choose to think about other things.  Just because  a thought comes into our brain does not mean that we have to dwell on it.  What you dwell on, you eventually embrace.  What you embrace eventually becomes a part of you.

 If you are harboring thoughts of any kind that are not healthy, you know it.  You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you.  Since we can only think about one thing at a time, we need to remember that thinking on the unthinkable precludes us from thinking about our Father or his purpose for our lives.

 Maybe you are not the same person as you used to be.  Maybe you are not the person that you aspire to be.  It is never too late to change.  Right now, pray.  Give that thing over to our Father.  Ask him to take it away, and begin the battle.  Begin to fill your mind with other things.  You will turn the corner, and around the corner you will find the God of peace.

  8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Phil 4:8-9

 It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

the passages of life

There are many passages of life.  Times when you are in between normal.  We all know what normal is, everything is going along so fine, so smoothly that you think life will always be this way.  Then something happens.  Children are born.  Children become teenagers.  Children graduate.  Children leave home. 

There are other passages.  The day you realize that your knees are so bad that your softball or tennis career is over.  The day you look in the mirror and realize that you actually do look like your father or mother. 

You know a passage has arrived when you enter a period of life that you cannot change and you know it is never going to return to the way it was before. 

Passages.  Life has them.  If you live long enough you will find yourself in them.  Here is the good news.  Many others have been there before you, and they survived.  Change is inevitable.  Adapting to change is optional.  There is good in every period of life, and if we look long enough, we will see it.

Take heart, we have all been this way before.

It is a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

happy birthday

Happy Birthday, yesterday, December 6th to my dear wife Cathy.  She turned 31 this year.  What a delightful, funny, hardworking, compassionate, ornery person she is.  She loves her kids.  She loves to cook.  She loves the cooking channel, the food channel, iron chef, chopped, and any show that has the word chef in it.  She loves Michael Chiarello.  I actually was forced to visit his restaurant in Napa.

She likes red wine, mystery books, gardening and playing tennis.  She has been a great friend and partner for almost 27 years.  If you do not know her, I hope some day you get the chance to do so.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

being challenged

This question from a book got me thinking, "Do we go to retreats, church, seminars, conferences, pray and read books on faith to be spiritually nourished? Or do we do these things to be spiritually challenged?"

Maybe your answer is both, which I think is a good answer. A big part of growth comes from the challenge. A big reason I attend church is because my thoughts, beliefs and understanding were put to the challenge. It made me dig for answers and helped me find the truth. Now, years later I find myself still wanting to be challenged. It strengthens me. It makes me ask questions and seek council. The one thing I can say with certainty is that God is bigger than I could ever allow Him to be. I am not, and hopefully never will be, satisfied and comfortable with what I know or feel I understand regarding God. Sure there are some basic truths revealed to all of us that I find comfort in knowing, but I pray I never limit God or become satisfied, arrogant, or complacent by knowing just those things. I believe God gave to me (us) a glimpse so that we might understand enough to want to seek out more.

Lion's Den Man

Monday, December 5, 2011


Last night the WCC Jazz Band put on another great performance. I am glad it was able to happen knowing that they have had some struggles this year. We are blessed at WCC to not only have this talent but to have it pulled together and used as an outreach ministry.

One very cool thing I learned at the concert was that the Jazz Band was open to youths as well . There was some great young talent on the stage last night and it could not have happened if the opportunity had not been made available. It seems of late that every time I turn around I hear/see of another person stepping up to do the right thing for the youth in our congregation and our community. I have written in past about the positive influence people at our church, in the community, coaches and teachers have had on my kids. It just goes so far and so deep and makes such a lasting impression. So today I want to say thanks to Jim McFall and the WCC Jazz Band for doing so much more than just playing great music....

Lion's Den Man

Sunday, December 4, 2011

the dark night

We think of Christmas as a time of joy and light, and surely it is.  But have you ever wondered about the struggles that Mary and Joseph faced?  Quite a dark night.  Lots of questions, lots of doubts.  How do you get thru carrying a baby on the word of an angel?  How do you traverse a bride to be who is pregnant by word of an angel?  These are questions that no human had ever dealt with before. 

The only way that I can get my mind around such questions is to remember that they had to rely on our Father.  They had to keep pointing their hearts and minds toward the One behind the story. 

And so, they are not much different than the rest of us.  We all face darkness, discouragement and fear.  We all have questions that are much larger than we can answer.  And we all have choices about how to respond to them.  Do we cower away?  Do we mount the horse of complaint?  Or do we choose to put our trust in our Father?  The way we choose to respond to struggle will tell all about what kind of a day, week, year or life that we will have.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

tacos part deux

My dear friend Sharon had this comment on my post of a few days ago-

Very interesting story...let me tell you mine. I was at that very same Taco Bell a few years ago but had a very different situation. I went through the drive-thru, placed my order and then pulled up to the window to pay. I realized my wallet was not in my purse--I had left it at my daughter's house. I apologized to the lady at the window and started to drive off. She says, "Oh, don't worry about it honey" and hands me my food and drink. I said that wasn't necessary and she insisted that I take the food without payment. I told her I'd bring the money back, but I'm not sure I ever did. But doesn't it seem kind of ironic that there are homeless/hungry people with no money hanging around Taco Bell waiting for leftovers while people with money (not necessarily on them) get their food for free. What's wrong with this picture?

Friday, December 2, 2011

my stomping grounds

Most of the first 12 years of my life were spent in the vicinity of 99th and Holmes.  The local landmark there has always been Gomer's.  I went to elementary school at 105th and Holmes and would have gone to Center South Jr High on 103rd had we not moved to California.

I skateboarded at Colonial Presbyterian.  I rode my bike across Holmes and Wornall roads to visit friends.  I played neighborhood baseball and football in Linden Hill and snuck into the pool at Indian Heights.  I went to vacation bible school at Holmeswood Baptist Church.  When 435 was being built, we climbed the fence, threw our bikes over, and rode up and down the newly poured concrete.  We owned the neighborhood.

My Parents moved back to this neighborhood when we came back from California in 1976.  They both finished their time on earth in this neighborhood.  My sister still lives there.

I guess things are changing in my old stomping grounds.  Besides the homeless people I met at Taco Bell the other day, I guess there are many others in the area.  I hear that they are on the corner of 95th and Holmes, trying to collect money from motorists.  We used to go to the Dairy Queen on the SW corner of that intersection. 

My sister tells me that in the woods just east of the Indian Heights pool there is a homeless camp.  Tents and camp fires and such.  She tells me that every now and then the neighbors call the police and the police run the homeless people off.  Which prompts a question or two- how do you run off homeless people?  Where do they go?

Seems like just the other day we were playing softball at the Evangel Temple field and having bicycle races around Winslow Place Circle.

You grow up a certain way and you expect some things to stay the same.  But we have no guarantees.  God is still good and life goes on.

It's a melancholy day in God's world, lets go look for the good.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

two tacos

I dropped off a couple of books to a Catholic Priest friend of mine over by Rockhurst College.  It is lunch time now.  I am on the way to St. Joseph hospital to visit a member.  Since I am concerned about starving to death before I get to the hospital, I stop at the Taco Bell at 103rd and State Line.  These are my old stomping grounds [but more about that later.]

As I park the car, I notice a homeless man by the dumpster.  I go in to order my lunch.  I get my Taco Bell usual.  Three tacos and a bean burrito.  I really like hitting Taco Bell.  Thank God the food is good for you.

As I am eating, I notice another homeless man who is asleep inside, in a booth.  Arms crossed on the table, head on arms, out cold.  Dead to the world.  Someone has laid a $5 bill on the table at the edge of his arm.  When he wakes up, he will be glad to see this.

As I am eating my food, I keep thinking about the homeless man outside.  I decide that I really don't need to eat the last two tacos.  I go to get a to go bag and head outside.  I go looking over by the dumpster, but the homeless man is gone.

Three people sitting in a car think that I am throwing away the bag.  They try to tell me where the dumpster door is at.  I tell them that I was looking for the homeless man.  I was going to give him these two tacos.  Without hesitation, they all said, "we are homeless."  I took the bag of two tacos over to their dilapidated car.  A young woman in the back seat stuck her hand out the window.  I gave her the tacos.

She was absolutely delighted.  You would have thought she hadn't eaten in a week.

Oh.  Wait.  Well, I guess I don't know when she ate last.  But yesterday, she got two tacos from an old preacher.  And she gave the preacher something to think about.  Is it possible that homeless people hang around at places to eat, hoping that some kind soul will bring some food to them on their way out?

It's a beautiful day  in God's world, be sure to see the good.