Friday, April 29, 2016

The Day the Preacher and I Said Goodbye to Target

If you know me at all you know that my favorite store is Target. Just walking into the doors makes me happy. The brightly lit aisles, the clean floors, the bright colored merchandise, the friendly, professional and courteous employees, these are what makes Target stand out to me. So you can just imagine my disappointment upon hearing the news of their new "inclusivity" policy. I talked it over with the Preacher and we decided that we would no longer be able to shop at my favorite store.

I first heard of their new policy on social media. I went onto Target's website to see if maybe someone had gotten it wrong, but no, there it was on their home page. (Along with suggestions on how to celebrate "The Day of the Child", which I found ironic.) 

Since reading Target's announcement I have also read many other articles from people who are very concerned for their safety and their children's safety. One of the articles was written by a woman who had been sexually abused as a child. She has spent many years of living in fear, showering in her underwear and even stuffing a towel under the bathroom door. She talked about how, after reading the new policy, how her heart began to race. She could not imagine how she would react if a man should walk into a dressing room or bathroom right behind her! She understands, as do I, that not all transgender people are predators. What she is afraid of and is saying is that deviant men in this world will use this to their advantage. Just another way to exploit women and children.

I also have read several accounts of men who have been arrested for doing the exact thing we are concerned about. The most recent was a Missouri man who was caught filming women in a Target dressing room. He is not a transgender person, he is just a male pervert going where he is not supposed to be. The article was published April 26, 2016

The Preacher and I do not discriminate against anyone. We try to show love to everyone we meet. Discrimination is not what we are concerned with. The safety of women and children are being overlooked here just so Target can include .03% of the population and be viewed upon as a politically correct corporation. 

On Monday, April 25, the Preacher and I had to go to Fort Collins for doctor's appointments. The week before I had purchased a couple of items from Target, before I had heard about their new policy, and I needed to return them. The Preacher dropped me off at the door, I went straight to the Service Desk, returned my items and I walked right back out. Do you know how hard that was?! Right there in the aisle was this really cute summer display. It took all of my being to keep on task. The bright lights, the clean floors, the bright colored merchandise, the smiling courteous employees, they were all pulling me in. But I conquered, I resisted their pull.

Don't worry, I will get over my disappointment. I will find a new store. I feel good. I feel like we have stood for morality, something that seems to be slowly vanishing in today's world.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.             Romans 12:2

Love from the Preacher and I

While writing this post, I went to Target's website to check on their policy one more time. This time the policy was no where to be found. They have buried it somewhere within their site.  

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friends Are Friends Forever If....

When you are a part of a church you are a part of a community, a family. And when one of your family decides that the Lord is leading them to a new job, a new home and a new town, you know that you are happy for their new adventure and yet you are sad to see them go.

A long time ago, the Preacher and I were Deans at Gold Coast Christian Camp in Florida. We worked the Junior High week. We would have a "talent night" on the last day of the week. On that night the kids could perform at the talent show. Some put on skits and dramas, some would do gymnastics, others would play an instrument, but a lot of them would sing a special song. There always seemed to be one girl who would want to sing Michael W. Smith's song, "Friends". Here is the chorus to help you remember the song:
"And friends are friends forever if the Lord's the Lord of them. And a friend will not say "never" cause the welcome will not end. Though it's hard to let you go in the Father's hands we know that a life time's not too long to live as friends." 
 Invariably, during the song all the girls would begin to cry. They would hug each other and then cry some more and through the tears they would begin to sing along with the girl who began the whole thing. They had made some really good friends during the week and they knew their moms and dads were coming to take them home the next day. They would be going back to different churches and schools. Many would not see each other until camp the next year. Over the years, whenever the Preacher and I hear this song, we moan a little and look at each other. We both know what the other is remembering – 7th and 8th grade girls sobbing.

Today as I sit here at my desk, I was thinking of a friend of mine who will be moving four hours from our church and our town. And guess what song popped into my head? – Friends are Friends Forever....!

Sometimes when you're the one moving the reality of it all doesn't hit you right away. There are so many things to do and think about. You experience a whirlwind of emotions. But when you're the one who is left behind you just think about how you will miss your friend who is leaving.
My friend playing piano during a worship service.
My friend and I have been friends for seven years. She began attending our church a year or so after moving to our little town. We seemed to hit it off right away. She began playing the piano for the worship team that I was a part of, and our friendship grew. Her oldest daughter is the same age as our son and they were a part of the youth group. They became good friends right away. They even went to prom together. My friend and her husband have had us in their home for dinners and we have had them over to our house.
Home-made Skyline Chili. In order to be authentic you have to serve it on an elongated plate
and with oyster crackers and a thin mint.
I remember the time when she had traveled to Cincinnati for work. There she discovered Skyline Chili, one of our favorite restaurants, so we had them over for home-made "Sky" chili. We knew she was the only one who would really appreciate it.

We have laughed together, cried together, shared stories and worried over our children together and we celebrated the birth of her youngest child together.

As we count down the days before her move, I'll be strong and continually pray for her and give her encouragement, but on that last day, the day of the move, who knows I might just be like one of those sobbing girls who sang the song, "Friends", all those years ago.

Love from the Preacher and I

Friday, April 15, 2016

When Your Dog Leaves Your Nest, It Truly Is An Empty Nest

A few days ago the Preacher and I invited a friend over to our house for lunch. During the meal our friend asked, "Where is your dog, where is Sergeant?"

I was surprised that he asked. We thought everyone knew that our son had taken Sergeant back to Texas after his Christmas break. 

For those of you who might not know that Sergeant has moved to Texas, I thought I would write just a little about missing our puppy, the Church Dog, and how empty our nest feels. (Click here to read more about how he became known as the Church Dog.)

First of all, I must also tell you that our son has changed his dog's name to Surge. He initially called him Sergeant because he was going to enlist in the Army and wanted his dog to reflect this life change. But, after being in the Army for a year and a half, he realized that he should not take a dog named Sergeant onto an Army base and proceed to shout out his dog's name in front of the actual Army Sergeants. 

The Preacher and I thought at first that we would enjoy the time away from Sergeant.  If you have a dog you know that it's a lot of work. You always have to be aware of the bathroom breaks. Then there are the vet bills. If you take your dog out on an excursion you have to make sure to bring along food, water, toys and poo bags. There's an extra cost if you have to stay in a hotel overnight. All the things that go along with pet ownership.

We had taken Sergeant every where that we went, not only to church, but on shopping trips, camping trips, dog friendly restaurants, every where we went so did he. Now when we go out we immediately remember our Sergeant being with us at certain shops or at certain restaurants. A little bit of sadness washes over us as we remember our Sarg.

On our back patio we have a little garden fountain where the Sergeant boy used to drink from after he played in our back yard. Yesterday we were getting our patio ready for the spring and summer months and when the Preacher plugged the fountain in I immediately remembered that crazy little dog drinking from it.

Little did we know just how much of a hold this little border collie had on our lives.  It's been a year and a half since our son left home and since then he has finished basic training, moved to a new base and was married. It has been only 3 months since our Sergeant has moved away. He is doing well in his new home in TX. I miss both of our boys. 

You think to yourself as your child is growing up that there will be a time when he will be self-sufficient and you think that will be a wonderful thing. More time for yourself. But when that day comes, when he leaves your house, you ache for the days of him needing you. And your nest feels even more empty when the realization hits you that he won't be dependent upon you. I guess the same can be said for a dog.

How can these little creatures get under our skin so much? 

The Preacher and I have considered getting a new puppy. We're going slow with the idea just in case Sergeant comes back. Also, have you seen the prices of a dog lately? That in itself is reason not to get one. I've thought of adopting too but then you are limited with the breeds that are available. This next season of dog ownership I would like a small dog, one that truly can be a lap dog.

For now though, the Preacher and I are truly empty nesters and we'll be okay.

Love from the Preacher and I

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mother's Are Allowed to Cry When You Say Good-Bye

The Preacher and I traveled to Galveston Island, Texas, a couple of weeks ago. Our son and our daughter-n-law came up from Killeen to stay with us for the week. 

We planned our trip for a couple of months, anxiously awaiting the day that we were to fly out. I was so excited to see the kids and to experience some place new. We searched for the best places to eat. We searched for the best touristy type of places to see. We searched for the best of what Galveston Island had to offer. We did them all, well at least we tried to take it all in.

The week went by so fast and before you know it we were saying good-bye.  

Every time I fly out to Indiana to visit with my family and my mother, at the end of my stay I will hug my mother good-bye and I will see that she will be crying. I ask her, "Why are you crying?" I will even scold her a little for crying. I will then tell her, "We'll talk on the phone soon and in no time I'll be back to visit again." 

Now I know. Now I know why she was crying! Even though I had told her I would call, she knew it wasn't the same. Even though I had told her I would visit again soon, she knew it wouldn't be soon enough. Now that our son is living away from us, I too know these truths.

On our trip, if I thought about it enough, even a few days before we left, tears would come to my eyes, knowing that I didn't have a lot of time left to be with the kids. On the last day I cried. I tried to hold it back, tried to not cry in front of our son, but on the ride back to the airport, I let it all out! I cried and cried!

Upon arriving back I couldn't think about coming back to the house, back to our routine lives. We stretched our stay out one more day. Both the Preacher and I were in a depressed mood. Just saying the kid's names in a conversation, would be enough to make me cry. A friend asked me if it was hard to get back to the everyday and of course, I said YES IT WAS!

It's been a couple of weeks now since our trip. We're better, but even now while writing this a tear began to come to my eyes. 

So the next time you visit your Mom and upon the day you are to leave and you see that she is welling up a little, let her! And be sure to cry right along with her. Those tears are nothing to be ashamed of. Those tears are her way of expressing her never ending love for you!

A few people have asked about our trip so I thought I would post some of our pictures.

The pier was across from our hotel. Jimmy's Restaurant was on the top of the pier and this was our first place to eat. We sat outside and watched the seagulls, the fishermen pull in their catches and watched the waves roll in. It was a great way to start our trip!

Surge! (Formally known as Sarge, the Church Dog) came along for vacation too! He was so excited to see us, and we were excited to see him.

I told you we searched out where the best places were to eat! Below, the first picture is of the Preacher eating oysters at the Black Pearl Oyster Bar in old downtown on Galveston Island. The second picture is at Pook's in Santa Fe, Texas. The guys ate 5 pounds of craw-fish all by themselves. And the thrid picture is a little place that had cool swings to sit in, picnic tables, and a really good food truck. The guys enjoyed playing corn-hole.

The next three pictures are all from old downtown and on the Pier.

We also took the ferry over to another island. It was so windy but we had a great time!

My Kids!

Love from the Preacher and I