Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Memories of Vacations

We checked into a motel and everyone was settled down for a good night's sleep. Instead of a boring story of a good night's sleep, let's talk about an early start to the day. I awoke at 3 a.m. to find the light on and Christie up moving around as if she had been awake for more than a few minutes. (A big hint giving cause to this assumption was the computer was turned on.) Her reply to my inquiry if she was o.k. was short and succinct. She couldn't sleep because of 1) my snoring, 2) Zebediah's continual squirming, 3) John and Shekinah talking to each other in their sleep, and 4) the a/c unit alternating between off and on. She had been up since 2 a.m. and was trying to figure out how the room coffee maker worked.
I got the coffee in her hands and we talked for a few moments and then Zebediah woke up with a smile on his face and a little squeal of delight. This caused John to awaken from his slumber and he came over to "check on Zebediah" which inevitably meant enough noise was committed to awaken Shekinah. By 4 a.m. we are all awake! Aaaahhhhh nuts. So much for going back to sleep. Well the good news is by 5 a.m. we were all showered and dressed for the new day of adventure.
Note: It is now 6:00 a.m. and Zebediah and Christie are sound asleep. And John and Shekinah have found switching between Nick and the Animal Planet channel on TV is entertaining so all is now at least calm in the motel room - just in time for the sun to come up and my alarm to go off. So now I will wait for the Cheetahs to catch their food on the Animal Planet channel and for Christie and Zebediah to wake up once again and then the adventure begins for the day. Ah yes. This is the stuff by which we remember vacations!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Move Over, I Need My Space

     A king sized bed isn't big enough.  How has it come to this?  My wife maintains that our baby, Zebediah, sleep in our bed until he is 5 months old.  (Hey, some things are the way they are.)  So here is this baby that needs his space - and that space is half of the bed. 
Amanda Hall holding Zebediah Hall

     Yesterday I mentioned that Zedediah turned over for the first time. 
Now that he has gotten the hang of it he turns from his back to stomach during the night.  Of course he needs room to do this.  This morning I woke up on the edge of the bed and found my wife on the other side of the bed hugging the other edge.  Zebediah was smack in the middle of the bed "sleepng like a baby" taking up 3/4 of the bed!   
     So it has come to this.  I get 18" and the baby gets 36"of bed space..  Oh the sacrifices of being a dad.  I now have a new countdown.  42 days to September 13th - and I can reclaim by space!  Meanwhile, we know who commands the activity in this house.

     The picture here today is my oldest daughter holding her younger brother for the first time.  There is only 32 years, 9 months separating them.  It was good to be able to visit with Amanda for an hour between planes at DFW airport last Sunday.  Since she lives in Seattle, rare moments together are indeed precious.

     Meanwhile, enjoy the day.  God is good and life is good.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Let's Try This Again

19 months since my last post.  Wow.  Time flies by so fast.  I have often thought to sit down and write some posts but as writing is not easy and more of a chore than joy to me it is oh so easy to let other activities take my attention.  Now that I have my excuse out of the way, let me attempt to bring you up to date on what has been happening around these parts the last year and nine months.

     July, 2011 saw my wife and two of three children immigrate legally from the Philippines to the U.S.  The third child is attending college in the Philippines.  This immigration process is pretty slow and costly.  I often joked that it would have been cheaper and faster to fly them to Mexico and walk them across the border.  Once in the country, they would not be sent home since our government would not separate  a family!  Anyway, they are here legally.
     August, 2011 brought school days to this household in ways never experienced before.  Public school for the first time.  Since my first wife (Joyce) and I home schooled our children we were exempted from the "joys" of public school.  John (4th grade) and Shekinah (3rd grade) did really well in school considering they were handicapped in language and experiential knowledge.  They both ended up on the A and B honor roll.
     September - December, 2011  Two fun examples of experiential knowledge learned during this time would be:  Not only does snow cover the ground but it falls from the sky.  Having seen pictures of snow Shekinah knew snow covered the ground, but missed the fact that it actually fell from the sky.  So one missed question on an assignment due to the lack of experiential knowledge. Another example is when the temperature dropped to 70 degrees in the Fall, all three were freezing and thought snow must be just around the corner.  Never experiencing temperatures below 75 degrees brought days of endless wonderment as each noticeable drop in temperatures brought the prospect of snow that much closer.  Finally in October I told them that before snow came the trees would lose their leaves.  This declaration brought funny looks and countless questions and discussions and the realization that there are four seasons in the year.  Needless to say, it has been a year of learning adventures for these three new Americans.
     January - April, 2012 found Christie and I visiting a mid-wife on regular occasions in preparations for our soon to come baby. 
     April 13, 2012 is the day Zebediah Buyan Hall was born and my life reverted back 30 years to the last time there was a baby in my house. 

Which brings us to the event of the day.  This morning (August 2, 2012) at 3:30 a.m. Zebediah turned over by himself.   Forget the Olympics.  This far surpasses anything that will be accomplished in London today.  And so a new day dawns and it is onward and upward (and another diaper to be changed.) 

Also of note.  I will not wait another 19 months to post again.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Salute To My Dad

After 4 months of not posting a blog, I have now decided to enter the world of the blogosphere once again. It was not that there was a lack of things to blog about, rather it was me not being motivated to blog. I was beginning to think I was not going to blog again, but last night I got the urge to post a blog, so ready or not, here am I.

Yesterday evening I attended the Veteran's Day service in Gainesville. It was a pretty neat service with a massive fireworks display for the finale. The local bands and choir were good, the speakers and performers did a good job. But the real stars of the evening were the Veterans themselves who had come out to the event. Most veterans wore something identifying themselves as a Vet. Some came with obvious physical discomforts brought on by their service. All were there with a quiet, classic dignity only a Veteran seems to carry these days. During the service I could not help but think of my dad (pictured above).

A Veteran himself who recently turned 84 last month. On his 19th birthday he got off a troop transport and marched to Pantanella Air Base outside of Canosa, Italy. Courtesy of Uncle Sam, my dad was a member of the 15th Army Air Force, 465th Bomb Group (H), 781st Bomb Squadron. He served as the ball gunner on a B-24 Liberator flying missions over the Alps to bomb Nazi targets in Austria, Hungary, Romania and throughout the Balkans. (The ball gunner is the gunner located on the underside of the plane.)

As a young teenager learning to shoot pheasants, I was always in awe of my dad's ability to consistently hit pheasants flying fast and far away. On one hunting trip I ask my dad how he was able to always hit the birds with seemingly so little effort. He commented that the hours of practicing shooting at fighter planes flying at all possible angles while moving at 275 m.p.h. made shooting at pheasants seem rather pedestrian.

I have found this reply to be fairly typical from Veterans. Having a lifetime of experiences forged into their character in a few short years, they go about their lives with little acclaim and no need for attention. They work, play, serve and bring much betterment to each community where they live. Their sacrifices given in years past seem too easily taken for granted by those never having to serve their fellow man through the military. Quietly productive in most all they do, building our nation up and moving her forward. True champions of liberty are the men and women serving us through their sacrifices of military duty. God bless our Veterans. Thank you one and all. And thank you, dad, for you're the best of them all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Days

So quickly does time go by. One month to go before school season is upon us. The last rush to go someplace before the fall season starts is upon us. My personal trip will be to the Philippines to visit Christie and the kids! In fact, in 4 days, 09 hours 14 minutes from now I will be leaving for Tagbilaran. The first four days of my stay in the Philippines will comprise traveling to and from speaking opportunities. One of these speaking engagements will be to about 30 South Korean missionaries/Christian workers serving in the Philippines. Following this we will head to Baguio City. This appears to be the dream vacation site for the Filipinos. At least Christie is very excited to get to go there. I think it is sort of like us going to the Rocky Mountains for vacation. The big adventure for me in getting to Baquio City will be renting a car and getting out of the Manila traffic alive and in sound mind!

Last week I had the wonderful privilege to host Pete Valdez here at the house. Pete is from the Philippines and I knew him from his interpreting some at a pastor's seminar last January. During the week we moved from acquaintances to friends. It was fun to introduce Pete to Texas culture. As he had been visiting California for a week before coming here, he was privileged to experience the better side of life in America! (Note: This is humor with a tinge of truth for my thin skinned friends on the west coast!) We did spend one afternoon shooting guns. He thought this was much more fun than a day at Disneyland. Pete has moved on to St. Louis and all is quiet for now. Two days after my return from the Philippines will be the arrival of Tomek and Renia from Poland. These are dear friends who were able to spend a week here two years ago. It will be good to have them back in the house again for a visit.

Did you know? Botanically speaking, the banana is an herb, the jalapeno is a fruit, and apples and peaches are members of the rose family. Now you may qualify for a TV game show knowing this trivia! Tonight is a great night for ice cream. So ice cream is on tap for part of the supper fare. Whoever came up with ice cream needs their name etched in immortality. Actually, ice cream dates back to the second century BC, when Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. Tonight as I have a Root Beer Float I will again declare that God is good, therefore Life is good!


Monday, July 12, 2010

How Did You Do That?

The fireworks on July 4th went off as usual. 33 guests came for hamburgers and fireworks. Some little kids shot off fireworks for the first time. The bigger kids were off shooting their fireworks a few feet away. And the really big kids (menfolk) had the best time of all! Amazing how this works.

The clock is ticking. 13 days, 9 hours until I see my wife waiting for me at the Tagbilaran airport. It will have been only three months since we were married but it seems like an eternity since we were last together in the same country. A quick update on the status of Christie and kids coming to the U.S. The papers and documents have been sent to Homeland Security where they will do background checks on the "newest Halls" and determine they are kosher enough to apply for a visa. This usually takes 3-4 months. All in all I am still believing for the family to be here by Christmas. Thanksgiving would be nice, but Christmas is just fine too.

This week I have as a guest in my home - Pete Valdez. Pete is a pastor in the Philippines. More than this, Pete is a godly man and a good friend. In fact, he was one of the sponsors for Christie and me at our wedding. (Perhaps Christie sent Pete here to check me out to see if I was really as good as I appeared to be in April!) Well, as you can see by the photo, Pete has to earn his keep around here. Mowing grass and preaching. What more could a Filipino want to do while staying here. How about golf and shooting guns! This might be a week he doesn't forget.

Now for the "How Did You Do That?" story. I got a call this morning to fetch a set of spare car keys and get to Wal-Mart as soon as possible. Seems someone had flushed the car keys down the toilet! Now I must admit to laughing out loud when I heard the plea to come to the rescue. I was stumped as to how an adult could flush keys down a toilet. Maybe a 5 year old, but an adult? Reaching to give the spare set of keys I had to ask, "how did you do that?" It's really simple. Here's how. The lady is on the toilet and the cell phone rings. Reaching into the purse and moving stuff around to get the cell phone made the keys come alive and crawl out of the purse and jump into the toilet. Well there is only one thing to do and that is to reach in and retrieve the keys. So rising off the toilet to go after the keys, before you could say Jimminy Cricket, the automatic senor activates and a giant "Whoosh" whisked the keys out of sight! Who would have thought about the automatic sensor? Next time she will!

God is surely good on every front. There is always something to cause somebody somewhere to get despondent as they grouse about. But God who is always good and always has good counsel tells us to "Rejoice always" and to "Be joyful always". So I choose to heed his advice and look at the gracious goodness of our Heavenly Father all around. As I do this, I find my 'eyes of faith' are sharpened and my perspective is always shifting into alignment with God's perspective. I may not do this perfectly and consistently, but I am better at this than I used to be before I made a conscious decision to heed this admonition. I find God's grace changing my natural view on things and for this I am grateful.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Farewell June

Well here we are 1/3 of the way through summer. Farewell to June. July is going to be great. July 4th is always special as we celebrate our nation's Independence. For me this means grilling out with friends and shooting fireworks after dark. Next year I get to teach my son, John, how to 'do fireworks'. Yes, papers have been sent in and now someone in the bureaucracy called Homeland Security will decide whether my new family are terrorists or not and give permission for proceeding on to visa application. So the waiting game has formally begun in getting Christie and kids over here with me.

Everyone repeat after me: Kansas is God's Country. The other day I went to open the refrigerator door and there it was. A refrigerator magnet stating, "Texas - God's Country." What? How did that get there? In all the people coming and going through my house someone slipped that thing onto the refrigerator. Under normal conditions I would consider this graffiti. But since it obviously came from a friend, albeit anonymously, it stays as a reminder of valued friendships who love to 'tease' with good humor. (After all, whoever it was who placed that thing on the refrigerator has had to put up with my humor for many years.)

At the end of July, (actually 25 days, 11 hours from now) I will be landing at the Tagbilaran airport in Bohol as I travel back to the Philippines to be with my family for a brief visit. During the trip I will have the privilege to share with a conference of Korean pastors ministering in the Philippines as well as preaching in two churches new to me. As exciting as these opportunities are, they are really side trips compared to spending time with Christie and the kids. The picture posted is a view of the Chocolate Hills on Bohol. During the dry season the vegetation on the hills dry up and the hills look like hundreds of Hersey Kisses have been dropped from heaven and landed in the center of Bohol.

The rest of the summer will have an international flavor here at the house. Pete Valdez, pastor, then interpreter, then acquaintance, then a sponsor to my marriage to Christie, and now friend (this is the progression in our relationship) will be spending week here with me during July. Pete is a wonderful man of God from the Philippines. When August roles onto the scene I have the honor to host Tomek and Renia Bieniek for a week. Tomek and Renia spent a week here two years ago and enjoyed it so much they are coming for a return engagement! This couple from Poland are precious and have hearts so in love with the Lord. It promises to be a great summer.

Before I close I need to share that Hannah Davidson, a college age student from CTC, is now in Tanzania for five weeks. Be praying for her as she serves the Lord among orphans in Tanzania. If you want to follow her adventures this summer, check out her blog at the following link: prayfortanzania.blogspot.com

Blessings to all!