Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thanksgiving in LA - 2 years ago

Here is an old blog from Nov 2006 that we had on Xanga – now we’re blogging here, and I only wrote two things on that other blog, so I thought I would move it over here:

Nov 2006 - 

We just got back from a weekend in Los Angeles. It was Thanksgiving at it's best - 30 people crammed into my grandmother's house, all catching up on 5 years of life that we haven't shared together. My extended family is very loving when we're together, but not very good at visiting each other, other than when someone like our grandmother calls us all together.

My Grandma told us stories about her childhood in the old south, about the gifts of the Spirit, and about how she forgave her father. She spoke in tongues for the first time when she was 45. Soon after, she felt a heavy pressure on her heart to forgive her father and apologize for the mean things she had said to him when she was young about his drinking. It was really wonderful to see how God moved in her life to bring reconciliation and healing to her family. The day she apologized to her father, he stopped drinking and never drank again.

She told us stories about my Dad and his brothers throwing mice into the maid's room to keep her trapped there while they rampaged through the house -- decorating the windowsills with crayon drawings, drawing on the walls, and knocking things over around the house. They were throwing things out the windows when my grandma showed up to give them a serious spanking. My uncle said that once they realized they were going to be in trouble and get spanked within and inch of their life, they decided, what the heck, why not just keep doing more fun stuff until we get caught?" My grandma said she used to invite her to eat with her at lunch time at the same table, and she never told my grandfather (who passed away 7 years ago) because he wouldn't have approved of such a thing. I don't think she ever protested for civil rights in public, but I was glad to hear that she treated people like human beings in the privacy of her home.

We got a chance to play concerts at a church in Upland and a Calvary Chapel in Redlands. We had a blast playing our songs, and it was wonderful to hear people come up after the concerts and say "I don't know if you were here for any other reason, but I know for sure that you were here to play that one song just for me -- it was exactly the message God wanted me to hear today." Nothing makes our day more worthwhile than to hear that.

Grandma's stories and playing concerts - all in all, not a bad way to spend Thanksgiving at all.


I looked back on some old journal entries when I was a teenager -- all I talked about was grandiose dreams: changing the world, inventing time travel, and learning to be more like Christ to people around me. Every once in a while I would stray from these things to writing about whatever girl I thought was going to be my future wife. I haven't invented time travel or changed the world (at least that I know of) -- but I did find a wonderful wife in Jenna. Or rather she found me. Or something like that.

But contrary to popular opinion, the band that we named After the Chase has nothing to do with romance between us. It does come from an old saying the south "He chased her, until she caught him" -- but it's more of how we relate to God. We chase after truth and God, trying to find what's really out there, what made the universe, what made us -- and in the end God catches us. So if you were ever wondering, or didn't catch the meaning on our own website.

I spent my lunch time yesterday with my nieces and nephews, and talked about light sabers, star ships and teleportation. And my niece pretended to be an alien with little ear muffs on her ears. Then they had to work on their school work (they are all home schooled) and I helped them learn how to add and subtract fractions with different denominators. It was a a good day, even the school part. My sister sure has a lot of work on her hands, home schooling four children. I had fun teaching one of them about negative numbers.

I've got to say - lightsabers were definitely more fun than denominators. But lightsabers will probably never really get invented without denominators.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I went to visit my grandmother a few weeks ago in Los Angeles. I slept in the guest room that she keeps nice and clean downstairs. It was very strange to lay alone, asleep in the guest room downstairs in her house, where 10 years ago my grandfather lay dying. I stared at the cover over the four poster bed, wondering if during those last few months my grandpa stared at the same thing. What an odd thing. I remember the last time I saw him when he was alive, he looked like he was in pain, but he was filled with more love than I ever remembered before. He was a pretty conservative guy, not too expressive most of his life. He was a successful business person, he attended church regularly, he liked to cook breakfast for my grandma, he was an incredible carpenter ... but I seldom heard him speak about Jesus. But from what my grandmother told me, the last thing he did when they were carting him into the hospital was to share his faith with the orderly who was pushing the cart. Wow. Too many things going on there to even write about.

Do you ever wonder what your ancestors were like? Your great, great great grandfather? Did he want to be remembered? We are so disconnected from our ancestors in the US. Unless we have an ancestor that was famous for something, then we brag about it. So many years, so many lives going by that nobody remembers. Nobody but God. I'm sure glad He makes this life worth living.

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