We have actually been home since Monday, but dealing with waves of illness, colds and such.
I joined my family on Thursday, December 2, 2010 in Florida for a vacation. They drove down to Florida after Thanksgiving and I took the convenient route and flew down. With all of the hype surrounding the TSA, I was not sure what to expect. Thankfully, I was surprised and made a point of being extra kind to the TSA agents because they do not have an easy job. No problems with security and I had plenty of time to wait before my flight left that day. I made my connection in Atlanta with ease and arrived in Florida on time.
The next day I found myself doing some yard work and raking leaves. I did not mind doing this, in fact, I miss doing yard work since I live in an apartment. I enjoyed being able to work outside in short sleeves while the temperature was in the 60’s that day. I also enjoyed being able to spend time with my nieces and nephews (4 of them) along with my sister in law and brother in law.
My in-laws have a beautiful home and it will suit them well as they stay there during the winter months. It will probably be hard to come back to MN in the Spring/Summer because this home is so much larger and spacious than the home they have here in MN. They also have a plethora of orange trees in their backyard which the kids enjoyed eating oranges!
The first Sunday, we visited a church where the music director was an old college friend. While we enjoyed the sermon, the music was a bit over the top for us. Much too contemporary for any of us! Seeing this made me appreciate the conservative music that we have at Fourth Baptist Church. This trend in contemporary church music is troubling because it takes so much of the world and integrates it in the church through music, etc. I will not mention the name of the church because my intent is not to impugn them just because I disagree with their musical philosophy. They are a Bible-believing, Gospel preaching church.
My wife got sick Saturday evening with the stomach virus that I eventually got. She was out of action for a couple of days.
Monday, I had the opportunity of cooking the evening meal for everyone (there were 11 of us total, kids and all) I made a cassoulet recipe that I had previously made here at home and I changed a few things and added shrimp to it. It turned out to be a hit with the little kids, with my nephew eating two bowls! There was not much left over when we were done.
Wednesday we went to an aviation museum in the area and Joseph had a lot of fun seeing the various types of aircraft and climbing in the cockpits of several different jets and helicopters. I knew that I wasn’t feeling well and the stomach virus that hit my wife, hit me hard. I was down Thursday and part of Friday. I have not been that sick in years, but during that time, it made me very thankful for the good health that I have had this year.
Saturday, we celebrated Christmas a bit early with the family. We had a wonderful meal and a great time together. This will be our first Christmas apart from my in-laws.
The two Saturdays that we were there, I took Joseph to the local Lowes Kids Clinic where we built two train cars (the caboose and the passenger car). This was a good experience for both of us. For Joseph, it was good because he learned to follow directions and put something together. It was good for me to be able to spend some time with him and it was definitely out of my comfort zone because I am not good with building things. We finished the train yesterday at our local Lowe’s store. The Lowe’s store in Florida could give a few pointers to the stores here in MN on how to run these Kids Clinics.
We ended up coming home a day later because of a flight cancellation on Sunday. We came home to a great deal of snow on the ground! Even though our flight was cancelled, we were able to go to dinner as a family and enjoyed some really good seafood and some ice cream as well. My wife and I went to see the spot where we were engaged 7 years ago.
Overall, we had a great time in Florida, and it made me appreciate the time with family. The weather was warmer than here in MN, but unusually cold for this time of the year. I also had some time to reflect and think regarding the future and ministry. Still not sure where we will end up or what we will do!
While we were away, I did receive an email from the First Baptist Church of International Falls, MN, letting me know that they called a classmate of mine, Ted Clarke, to be their next pastor and he has accepted. I had the opportunity to preach at FBC Intl Falls in the Spring and Summer this year. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to preach/teach there during their search for a pastor. I am thankful that Ted Clarke will be the next pastor and I am confident that the Lord will bless his ministry there!
We are praying that we will all get over the colds that we seem to have brought back with us. We have spent the last week getting caught up from being away. I was able to work some overtime.
This week, we will be getting ready for the Christmas holidays and before we know it, a New Year (2011) will be upon us.
Thanks for reading… comments are welcome as always.