Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who says you can't go back home again?

Philosophers have always said “You can’t go home again”, but I will kindly disagree. I am not only doing it once, but twice, albeit to two different homes. This trip is to Florida, where I spent two and a half years of the best days of my life. Historically, minus my wedding and the births of my three children, living with the people here in Kissimmee might have been some of the best times I ever had. They were the years where I finally found out how to live a Christian life. I had been a Christian for six years before I moved here, but this is where Jesus took me to the next level and built my desire to give to others what He had given to me.

The family arrived in Kissimmee after a nearly 18-hour drive from Effingham last Monday. After getting the kids to bed, I collapsed. I was starting not to feel well on the drive, but the flu became full blown during the night’s sleep. My sinuses got to their worst, my chest felt heavy with all the phlegm, one ear had pretty much closed in the mountains of Tennessee and now I was having all this green puss flying out of my eyes every time I watered up. I also looked like someone had been punching me under the eyes. Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling so pretty.

After getting medicated and resting most of the day Tuesday, I found out my plans had changed. Instead of waiting until Thursday to go to The Magic Kingdom, we were going on Wednesday. This was not quite the trip that my wife wanted it to be. Every time we were near riding a ride, one kid would have to go to the bathroom. Every time we got in a line to get pictures, someone complained. We did get our picture with Mickey and Minnie and the kids got pictures with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Belle. We tried to get pictures with Tigger and Pooh, but my oldest girl got a little nervous around Tigger when he started bouncing. I know this is what he does, but please have some restrain around little kids. Yeah, like he’s gonna listen to me. Anyhow, the all day adventure turned into a four-hour nightmare because my kids really weren’t ready for the culture shock of the entire population of Effingham in the theme park all bunched together. They weren’t ready to watch people push each other just to get a toy that there was only one of, leaving me to think about the day after Thanksgiving.

So thanks to the short day at Disney, I got the opportunity to go back to the church that changed my life on Wednesday night. After six and half years, things weren’t nearly the same. I did catch the new pastor in his BBC debut. I admit I like Rick Flowers as a preacher pretty well. I hated missing my old pastor, Joe Williams, by one service. I would like to have seen him one more time to thank him for being part of my journey. It’s amazing that as you grow in the Christian walk, you learn to respect the people who taught you some important life lessons even more than when they were in your presence. I would equate it to the friend equivalent of absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Speaking of the heart, I found it breaking a little as I heard that one of my heroes of the faith, Charlie Pullen, suffering from cancer, as well as many others being sick and or hurting from all the change at the church over the last year. I had the chance to pray with a few friends over the needs of the church at the end of service. In all, I probably saw ten or so people I knew from my days there. I wasn’t sure how to feel with all the change, but I’ve also realized that it is what comes in life, whether we like it or not. But sometimes it is necessary and it’s not always bad.

Thursday was a down day as it was mostly a rest day. We visited with both families and then I prepared for Friday by buying a new picture card for my camera. Friday would be the day for the concert in Orlando (see last installment for the review). Knowing that I would be going to the concert with my friend James, he asked me to make a day of it and go to the movies first. So Friday became a guys’ day out.

After checking the movie listings for Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island Cinemas, I found several movies I’d like to see, but knew that we only had real time for two. Getting to see two was a big deal since the last movie I saw in a theatre was Passion of the Christ. Yeah, I don’t get out much to the movies and have to watch most of them at home on the small screen. I’ll have another installment sometime this week reviewing the two movies. The first movie we saw was The Cross, the life story documentary of Arthur Blesshit. The second feature was the new animated Aliens vs. Monsters. Both were good, but you’ll have to wait for the reviews to see how good.

Before the concert, we had time to hit Cici’s Pizza over on John Young and Sand Lake. I remember it being better the last time, but it was still pretty good for a $6 meal. I had time to also check out the Family Christian store while I was over there and I was so glad I did. I finally found my Fireproof, Never Leave Your Partner Behind shirt and several other great deals including Israel Houghton’s new CD. We headed to the concert and saw the show(see the review last installment).

Saturday was the first ninety degree day and the family decided that it would be today to travel two hours to Clearwater Beach. It was beautiful, but it was so windy that the kids really only enjoyed it for forty minutes or so. It was not worth the half tank of gas and the $30 spent at a McDonald’s for food. The food wasn’t terrible, but they know that they have you on the beach almost as well as the hawkers at the Disney food places.

Sunday was party day for three of our family and extended family after a morning church service and Sunday school. My two daughters have early April birthdays and my niece had a birthday on the 31st of March. Opening presents is always wild, but surprisingly only one present was opened incorrectly by the wrong party. After three and a half hours of hearing eight children scream and play, I decided to take my mom back to her house and head to evening service. The relative quiet and seeing a few other good friends made the evening worthwhile. It truly has been nice to see the healing begin.

Monday was just hectic and I think it became the day of the vacation breaking down before building steam to finish it out. I took some major heat because my wife was really tired after my youngest has continued to wake up during the night. By the end of the day, I was so wiped out that I was in bed by 8:30 EDT, which is truly amazing since I am usually a better night owl.

Today though has bounced back. My wife and I had a date night at Applebees and I have to tell you guys that regardless of how crazy life becomes or how overwhelming and daunting the task, it is vital to have a date night. Most of the time, you get to have great conversations of getting you and your partner on the same page for the short term and often get to share some of the long term hopes and dreams. After only having one in 2009, we’ve had two in ten days this month and it helps see how much that she loves me and gives me a chance to show how much I love her. I hope I never forget this.

The last three days of Florida before the drive should be all good family days. I do have a couple meetings with friends (I hope) and I do hope to get back to BBC on Wednesday night to be able to see my friends there one last time before I hit the road. I think Friday will be celebrating my daughter Megan’s birthday before the drive on Saturday. Her birthday is Saturday and hopefully we’ll find a cool restaurant that gives her a piece of cake or cookie. I still don’t know if we’ll try to do the whole trip back home on Saturday or if we’ll split it into two days (which I prefer). If we do the whole trip in one day, it is more than likely we won’t make it to church on Sunday, but if we split it, that we may try to go where we stop. I’ve got my map circled where I want to stop, I’m just hoping I can get that far.

Anyhow, I am kind of excited to get home because of a few new ideas for the web page that I’ll share with you in the coming days. Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, so watch out for pranksters. If I get something up tomorrow, it will be something useful as part of the new updates.

I love you guys!

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