Archive for August, 2014

Book Club Ballot runner-ups

Each year, our book club votes on which books we’re going to read.  This year, I decided that if I had chosen to vote for a book, then I ought to go ahead and read it even if it didn’t make the group’s discussion list.   So, I added these four books to my wait list at the library and forgot about them:

  1. Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker – living in KC, I figured this was a must-read
  2. Emily of New Moon – apparently this is a classic children’s novel (and also a TV series) tho I’d never heard of it
  3. The Fault in our Stars – this book was recently made into a movie
  4. The Rosie Project – I can’t remember what made this appealing but will find out soon enough

In late July/early August, each of the first three arrived.  This worked out nicely since our Book Club had decided to skip the monthly meeting during August (for a variety of reasons) and I needed something to read.

Yesterday, I finally finished the 3rd of those books; that’s a good thing I finished those because I really needed to start reading The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War since it’s the book we’re discussing August 13th and it’s nearly 500 pages long.   Plus, we’re taking a group to tour the World War I museum on August 27*.  Well, I’d just started reading it when I got a notice that The Rosie Project was ready for pick-up. Rosie is going to have to wait a bit because World War I is waiting for me.

I really need to remember who nominated each of these books so I can discuss them with someone.  I’ve already somewhat discussed The Fault in our Stars because one of our youth had read the book and just watched the movie; however, when I spoke to her, I was only about half way through the book so it’s a challenge to discuss at that point. After reading Emily of New Moon, I see why it’s a classic but I also see why I wouldn’t have read it as a child since it’s definitely targeted at teen/tween girls.  Still, I felt both of those books help me in my understanding of children & youth in my roles as a church youth director and also as a grandparent of a 1st grade girl.   The other one I’d read was about Jazz legend Charlie Parker; I already knew a lot of the details but it was well written.  Still, it only cover the first part of his life and I’m not sure if I want to read the sequel that would focus more on him falling apart.

* If you’d like to join us, sign up at the Avondale United Methodist church office and pay your $12.

Categories: Books, Church

Siren Prayer

On Saturday, I drove up to Camp Wilderness for our church’s annual “Wilderness Weekend” – usually this trip takes about 45 minutes but the time was doubled when I-35 North was closed just past Liberty.

I exited at Church Road/291 and drove A-Highway north to cut over to Kearney on C-Highway before getting back on 35 once again. While driving alongside the highway, we saw an overturned semi was the source of the delay and all of the emergency vehicles we’d heard go by us.

This prompted me to share with the youth in my car about what I call a “Siren Prayer” which is along the lines of “Dear God, watch over those in need today as well as the emergency responders.” This covers those involved whether they’re victims of an accident, in the midst of a medical emergency, or even someone on the run from police, It also is offering up a prayer for police, firefighters and ambulance personnel.

It was yet another reminder to be safe on the roads. A close friend was in a motorcycle accident on Tuesday and had surgery Sunday. My hope is that he has a quick recovery and that everyone is safe during the upcoming weekend as we celebrate Labor Day.

Categories: Church, Holidays

Baptism at Camp Wilderness

I’d intended to write a blog about Worship in the Wilderness but since Jonathan has already done so, I’ll repost his … although I may still blog about Saturday at Camp Wilderness (swimming, campfire, astronomy and “God’s Not Dead”) or my Sunday participation in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Be Swift, Be Precise

This weekend was Avondale United Methodist Church’s annual “Worship it the Wilderness” weekend, where the church sponsored a campout at the Wilderness Retreat and Conference Center, and had its Sunday worship service at the campground. It was also when they chose to do the immersion baptism of the three members of this year’s 100th anniversary confirmation class that had yet to be baptized.  My son Nathan was one of the three.


The youth group, which included many of the confirmands and all of the baptismal candidates, gave the sermon for the service in the form of a skit — on the story of the paralytic man whose friends tore open the roof of a house to let him down into the presence of Jesus. In the picture above you see Nathan as the paralytic who has just been healed, and his friends standing around watching in amazement.


That was followed…

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Categories: Uncategorized

Bursting with Quality

On Saturday morning, we went to the Farmers Market (at City Market) and then went to a stand off I-29 and 64th (technically, it’s “Tom Watson” on the West side of I-29) and we got lots of goodies.

I was really impressed by a string trio playing at City Market. I’m really bad at judging ages but they were either high school or college students. All three of the girls were talented and enthusiastic; they were as much fun to watch playing as it was to listen to them.

When we journeyed north, we stopped at a fruit stand we’d visited previously and picked up a few more items, including two Black Diamond watermelons. We’d had them before and they are sweeter than typical watermelons and are worth the extra expense.  We’ve always had great luck with everything from this location but, this time, when we got home and cut them open they were already mushy / too soft to eat. Fortunately, when I went back up, they stand behind their products and their guarantee is worth more than words. So, we got two new watermelons with no problem whatsoever; she even personally picked out 2 for us.  However, these were also flawed so I guess they got a bad batch.  Still, I’ve been impressed with them overall and plan to be a repeat customer.

It sure is nice when we can appreciate and acknowledge quality.  We might even go back to one or both of these markets on this Saturday morning/afternoon.

Categories: Customer Service, Food, Music

Missions Month

During July, I had three significant Missions & Outreach experiences with Avondale United Methodist Church:

  1. Vacation Bible School
  2. Mission Fair
  3. Youth Mission Trip

While each was significant on its own, having all three in one month really made it a Missions Month.

For Vacation Bible School, I led the oldest group of kids which were 4th and 5th graders although sometimes that meant going into 4th while other times it meant having completed 5th so really it was a wider age range.   I like working with that age group since it gives me a chance to meet older elementary students a year or two before they’re in youth group.  This year, the group kept growing until Thursday (the final day) when they actually shifted some of my group into another group to help balance group sizes a little bit.

The Missions Fair had displays about various items related to our church’s Missions work.  Another member of my congregation has already written a blog discussing it so I won’t go into those details here.  However, the highlight of the evening was hearing from two of our members (Rev. Kristy & Larry Schmitz) about their work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   Read more about their adventures at their blog.  Another element of the Missions Fair was to present prayer shawls to the youth to take with them to the Youth Mission Trip the next week.

The youth left for St. Joseph on Sunday, June 27th.  We returned Thursday, August 1st (so technically the activities of this blog were not all in one month) and in between we worked with InterServ to help the people of St. Joseph, Missouri.   There will be an opportunity to hear more about our trip during worship on Sunday, August 31.

Just because July is over doesn’t mean the Missions field is closed.  I once saw a church that had a sign posted to be visible at the sanctuary exit that said “You are now entering the Missions field” and I think that’ s accurate.  Back in May, we had our church’s Day of Service but in September, the youth will participate in One God, One Day, One Love; then, in October they’ll go to the Festival of Sharing as well as participating in our church’s Trunk or Treat; plus, we’re once again going to be involved in Project Warmth on November 8th.

Categories: Church


So, it’s been two months since my last blog. I’ve had lots to blog about because I’ve been very busy but, because I’ve been very busy, I haven’t had time to blog recently.

In June, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. In July, my friends Garrett & Jessica got married. Today is my nephew’s birthday and my friend Jason’s graduating with his Associates degree. In September, I’m going to be a Grandpa again. Oh yeah, this is also my church’s 100th anniversary.

It was nice to see friends and family gathered to help recognize my parents for their golden wedding anniversary.  The guests included my dad’s younger sister Sara Potts who came up from Georgia with two of her daughters & a son-in-law.  Plus, one of her grandsons took the bus down from Iowa to join in on the fun.  George Greer (from my parents’ Sunday School class) and Kathy Foreman (my daughter) took photographs while Lauren Kelly (my daughter-in-law) provided cake and cupcakes.   While the reception for my parents was on June 29, the actual anniversary was two days earlier; however, they celebrated for the entire month.  We have lots of pictures posted online.

Garrett & Jessica got married on July 27, exactly one month after my parents’ actual anniversary.  My son-in-law was the best man and my son was a groomsmen.  My daughter and my son’s fiance were bridesmaids.  My grandkids were the flower girl and ring bearer (although they actually held signs saying “Here Comes The Bride” due to regulations at the Rose Gardens.   Finally, I was the officiant.  While I’m on staff at my church as the Youth & Communications Director, that’s as a layperson and I’m not authorized to do this type of thing.  So, instead, I went onto the Internet to be certified.  It’s actually pretty easy to do but took a bit of work (both on my own & with the couple) to prepare for the responsibility of playing such an important role in their special day.

My nephew has celebrated his birthday with quite the adventure over the past week but I won’t steal his thunder. If you know him, I’ll let you hear it all from him as I’m looking forward to doing likewise.  Meanwhile, my friend Jason is completing his Associates Degree today.  Completing an education is an important task that cannot be taken lightly.  I’m impressed that he was able to do this while working and being a parent as well.  Good luck on whatever comes next!

It’s been an exciting summer but I’m ready to relax.  However, there’s going to be more family fun with another grandbaby next month and another wedding next year.

Plus, my church’s 100th Anniversary year is just past the 1/2 way point and we still have to finish our book and plan the big celebration for October.

Categories: Church, Family