|This is the prompt. Below are my posts... updated each day.|
I began a little late. Learned of this on March 3... so that's where I begin.
March 3: Enter
So... I was at a Pie Day celebration for The City of Kyle in 2019... and I entered the pie-eating contest.
I almost didn’t enter... but I was encouraged by friends to take part in the event. And... well.. the $50 Visa gift card was a nice reason to do it as well.
I think, in an odd way... God is like that.
Stick with me now...
When someone first learns of God it’s like “that’s awesome and amazing but I’m not good enough to be a part of that... I’ve put up obstacles in my life, made bad choices. I am unworthy.”
But then God is like... “Hey... you’re already a part of it... you’ve always been with me....”
Then it’s up to you... do you enter where you’re wanted and loved... or do you let petty pride or self-doubt lead the way?
Tell you what I do.
Oh... and I am defending my title on 3.14 in Kyle at the old train depot.... if anyone wants to watch or enter. 😉
March 4: Spirit
This is Anne.
Anne is a hoss.
Has been for over a decade.
This woman is strong.
She stands up. For herself. For her beliefs. For her family. For her friends. For dogs. For those who can’t stand up for themselves.
I love her spirit.
Next time she sees me.. she’s going to give me a tilted-head-stare-out-the-corner-of-her-eye look... chuckle nervously and say Something about this in a “oh... you...” kind of voice.
Own it Anne... you’re amazing.
March 7: Saved
We save things that make us smile.
We save things important people in our lives give us.
That means to God each person is important, makes God smile and is a gift.
I saved that too. 🙂
March 8: Celebrate
I’m THAT GUY. I speak up.
I’m celebrating, y’all. I just ordered 2 large blizzards (go big or go home) for under $6.
March 9: Journey
I always knew I wanted to be a part of the Masonic Lodge because my dad and grandpa are both Masons.
It’s often misunderstood and sometimes misjudged.... but it is a group made up of good men. Men who hold each other accountable and are there for each other.
Hmm... what other group of people were also misunderstood and misjudged?
“...we are pilgrims on a journey...
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.”
- “Servant Song”
March 11: Spring
I will actually go there just to get their popcorn in a take home bag. It’s under $4 for a bigger than my head bag (photo for comparison). I surprise the kiddos with a big bag of “Target Popcorn” once every week or two.
It’s inexpensive and it’s delicious.
When you go next time... spring for the popcorn. You’ll thank me later.
March 12: Seeks
So... I parked at the Alumni House... which was across campus from where I needed to go to register... JCK building. As I walked to my destination, I had to walk through Old Main (that’s the church-like looking building that you see when you google Texas State). It ended up being the Mass Communication building (My major).
I happened across the Student newspaper and there was a sign on the door that they were looking for designers. I took a chance and walked in... and there sat Jodie. Literally the first person I met at SWT. She was working the front office at The University Star. I chatted for a minute... got my application filled out and headed to register.
I got the job at the paper in 1996... and in December of 1998 Jodie and I started dating... we married in Oct 2001.
“Amazing Grace... How sweet the sound.
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost and now I’m found.
Was blind but now I see.”
I was literally lost... seeking to register for college. What God gave me was the love of my life...and a family...and His grace.
You think you need what you seek.
Nope... God seeks what you need.
(This is the last picture Jodie and I took together... we’re eating a Michelle Ducote cupcake...)
March 13: Work
I’d kind of prepared myself for it... and I’m going to be surprised if we come back the Monday after Spring Break.
Events are cancelled.
Church services at many places are cancelled or shortened. We’re all going to spend a lot of time alone and/or with our immediate family.
The photo is my classroom.... and some of the posters I’ve collected over the years hung up (showing different graphic design techniques). I’ll have to head to the classroom in the next week to finalize the yearbook... probably by myself. That’s ok. We have the technology to do that.
We have the technology to do school remotely as well... if it comes to that. I can record the lessons direct to the online classroom onto which I post all of my assignments. There’s several learning tools we’ve already introduced the students to that we might have to rely on.
In an odd way, this kind of reminds me of my walk with God. He’s prepared me for for things throughout my life. Things I didn’t even know were coming. Put people in my life who have made all the difference... helped me become stronger... taught me what was important in life... enabled me to live my passion. Loved me in spite of myself.
He doesn’t call the equipped... he equips the called.
March 14: Ripe
Happy 3.14 from the Pie Capitol of Texas.
So... the plan was to defend my title as Official Pi Day Pie Eating Champion today at the City of Kyle event. So we didn’t buy pie...
The Pi Day event was cancelled. For good reason.
But then here I was... we didn’t have pie.. in Kyle... on 3.14... Pi Day. There was a unofficial Pi Day event (it was to be part of the official day) that was still happening but I missed it as I’d finished cleaning the garage and needed to take a load to Goodwill... and didn’t get back in time.
So.. I contacted to organizer to see if they had anyone still there... and I’d missed it but they had leftover pie.... and I could have one.
Boom. So you see this cherry pie from H-E-B is our families Pi Day Pie.
This is something that has happened to me my entire life. I make plans and God says... “naw.. that’s not what you’re gonna do... let me provide to you a better way.” And it IS a better way... because it’s His way.
As we head into this next week of uncertainty... God... please help me to remember that it’s your plan. Your time. Your pie.... and you’ll invite me for a piece as soon as it’s ready.
Oh.. and the cherries in that pie were perfectly ripe. 😉
Sidenote: I will continue to represent as the first (and only) City of Kyle Pi Day Pie eating Champion. I’m selfless like that (*smile*)
March 15: Celebrate
May you find love. Peace. Grace. And a comfort amidst this crazy time... nay.... life.
March 16: Revealed
March 17: Light
On to today... A little light went off when I saw a post from my wife in a group that hadn’t been active for a couple of years. ROCK PAINTING.
Remember in 2018 when everyone was painting rocks over the summer and hiding them around town (this was happening in many different cities/states). The base idea is...
1. Find a rock
2. Paint said rock... a picture... a phrase... a positive message...
3. Write a hashtag for your community #ktxrocks is the Kyle, Texas one
4 Hide it somewhere in your area.
5. Join a group or post on your community page the general area where you hid your rock.
The other side is.... the receiving
1. Look for rocks - a lot of groups popped up to tell you where to look in your area... (we are members of Kyle TX Summer Rock Hunt) they usually publish clues.
2. When you find a rock... take a photo of it and post it using the location and hashtag on the rock.
3. If you don’t want to touch... post “left it there” if you want to rehome the rock, take it with you... go to #4 in “the giving” and follow those directions.
It’s a way to stay connected without seeing each other... how to remain a community in isolation. One way to remain active without physical interaction.
It reminds me of the ichthus or the “Christian fish” symbol that was reportedly used in the first century after Jesus died where someone would draw an arc (top or bottom) of the Christian fish and another Christian would complete the fish to note that they believe... a symbol to say... even if we can’t see each other we are here and we are strong.
It’s a note of love... faith... grace... and yes... a little light in these scary times.
These are the rocks my family hid a few days ago in our neighborhood. Maybe you find some rocks to paint and spread some light in your area?
One of the dumbest, most confusing to learn games I’ve ever played. But it also sent us into uncontrollable laughter and was probably one of the most fun times we’ve had in a while.
It’s a card game called Sparkle Kitty.
Playing this card game with my kids and parents... was... Ultra double giggle giggle pony.
If that makes no sense to you.. well... get the game. It’s worth learning the mind-warping rules.
I’ve had that happen in church... Sometimes when you don’t understand a thing, just by being present you have a wonderful experience... and you’re sent to a place you never considered.
|HEB Plus! Kyle, Texas|
March 19: Able
Went to H-E-B today. Actually.. went to 3 H-E-Bs today. Three completely different experiences. The “small” H-E-B in San Marcos was tons of people running around and no restrictions. The “large” H-E-B in San Marcos had a line of 20-30 waiting to get in. The H-E-B in Kyle had a bunch of folks inside, funneling them to a single line checkout through one path and they had these stickers (see photo) at the self-checkout.
Three very different experiences.
I know someone who has completely self-quarantined. I’m trying to stay away from people as much as possible but trying to make sure we have the supplies we need. I know a few people who think the world is overreacting.
I know some people who think God is this untouchable thing that is to be worshiped from afar.
Some think God is the answer for everything and you don’t have to worry about anything or take any precautions in life if you just pray.
To me God is the answer... and prayer does indeed work and are sometimes answered and sometimes that answer is in trusting in experts who know more to help you be able to navigate something.
|Concept Art by Rhiannon F.|
March 20: See
So I found out today that I’m not able to go back to the school Monday. I’m not allowed to set foot in my classroom. The students will be off school for another two weeks... then we will see where we are...
Well... I’m the Yearbook Adviser.
My book is due to the press next Friday.
I’ve got 82 pages not finalized.
Most are done but need one more run through.... about 10 are not complete.
I have to be in my classroom to edit pages. I can’t do it remote.
Of course, with everything that is happening right now, we’re trying to provide some new coverage. This is history being made.
We have a series of “Checkpoints” marked by cartoon drawings of “pins” helping to explain the event.
I messaged one of my staff, an amazing kiddo by the name of Rhiannon (Yes, like the Fleetwood Mac song). I told her we were doing a “social distancing” spread and explained what that was to be... she shot this outline back to be in 5 minutes. She emailed me the final version an hour later.
I’m my editor in chief is working on a sidebar about last Friday.... which was to be the last day of school before Spring Break..... it was also to be “Senior Skip Day”
She got photos and a story.
During spring break... and during such an uncertain Time it is nice to have a few students that “see” the vision. That can put aside their lives to assure this gets covered. This is history.
God sees us.
He has given us the tools to protect us all.
I’m not so arrogant to think that I know everything that is happening right now, but I am also not blind to the fact that if people who don’t NEED to be out don’t heed the warnings and keep interacting with others like everything is normal or as some kind of “I don’t worry because God has me covered” this is going to get MUCH worse before it gets better.
I can see that. Can you?
|Dave Madden leads the Isolation Congregation|
March 21: Listen
This would have been The one day I spend 12 or so hours immersed in music in Austin a year. Instead, we watched the Veronica Mars movie (it’s good) and now we’re watching the new season.
On the bright side... I’ve been able to enjoy live-streamed music from friends and musicians I’ve not been able to see in person for quite some time in the last few days. Probably more Y’all... enjoy these live streams.. tip if you can... buy some merch/t-shirts if they are selling them.
They may not be able to gig right now... but we can help this be a profitable month for them.
When one door closes, some find another door.... others open Windows.... others Macs. 🙂
Sun Radio has compiled a list of local Austin bands/musicians doing live streams.
This picture is of Dave Madden. It’s a screen capture of a live stream he’s been doing. A hymn singalong he’s doing Wednesday’s and a Sunday’s during lent... calls it the Isolation Congregation. It’s awesome.
God is always there. When conventional ways are removed... He finds a way to make himself available to you. Take a deep breath... Just listen. You’ll see.
|Social Distancing Sunday Worship|
March 22: Celebrate.
Where did you church today?
I attended Lakehills United Methodist Church, St. Matthews Episcopal, Wimberley UMC and Kyle United Methodist Church....virtually.
Then my family and I packed some camping chairs and walked around the corner to listen to worship music in our neighbors front yard. This picture is from this event.... which I actually live-streamed on Fun in Kyle, Texas.
We practiced social distancing. Set up chairs 6p’ away from folks that we don’t live with... and listened to gospel music... and then a few Kenny Rogers songs... I was even called up to sing a little.
It felt good. It was fun. It was a great feeling to see people and celebrate God with them. No physical touching... but it was amazingly touching to be a part of.
Y’all... most places that live-streamed a service / church via Facebook allowed it to be saved via their page. Check a few out if you get the chance. It’s neat to see how different churches are doing it.
I hope you had a chance to #celebrate the grace and love of God today.
March 23: Glory
I don’t know where all of these snails came from. I mean... technically I know... “A mom snail and a dad snail love each other very much and....”
But I hadn’t seen this many... pretty much ever. Has there been a population explosion of snails in the last few weeks (much like the baby explosion that will occur in about 9 months)?
My guess is no. My guess is, like the snail, we have all slowed down and are noticing things we may have otherwise overlooked in our hurry to do life.... work, play, appointments, bills and the like. The business of life takes away from the quality of living. We are now faced with the business of life slowing down and we are focusing on who we are, our loved ones and figuring out what is indeed important to us. With all the bad that is happening right now health-wise... if you take the time to find what’s truly important to you... that’s perhaps a little good that can come from this scary and unprecedented time.
I feel finding the Glory of God is kind of like those snails. Much of the time I’m just so busy that I know it’s around... but I miss it a lot. It’s not until the distractions I place in my life are consciously set aside that I can focus on glorifying God. Not just in the “repeat after me” prayers on Sunday morning... but in every facet of my life.
For a moment try and put the reason the world has ground to a halt aside.... and focus on what you can do to Glorify God. How blessed are you? How much grace have you received throughout your life? You know... that’s free. Grace is not earned. You’ve always had it and you can’t lose it... The Grace of God has been given to all people. (Titus 2:11)
What are you going to do about it?
|Towdah waits for a run.|
March 24: Awaken
This is Towdah... aka the best dog ever.
She gets up with me at 4a to run at 4:30a. This is her at 4:28 this morning as she watched people show up to run.
She usually jogs along side me pretty well... but when we’re running with others, it awakens in her a spirit of competition... especially other dogs... and I have to pretty much run fast to keep up with her. As I’ve gotten more in shape it’s gotten less difficult... but when she bolts... it’s serious.
Oh.. and sometimes she stops. Just hits the breaks. She wants to turn when I want to go straight? She stops and won’t go unless we turn. If I pass our run team leader, Jennifer, whom Towdah sees as the Alpha... full stop until ￼Jennifer passes.
In February we started a weekly Monday morning 5a bible study with a group (we met via Zoom yesterday). The conversation is always good and it makes me think past the words on the page and more into the meaning behind it. The participants are all students of the Word in different aspects. One has all the reference books and can give background. One is a pastor and has both that knowledge and a lifetime of service. Others are laymen who serve in their church. I’ve never considered myself a student of the Bible but this group has helped awaken in me the desire to understand more.
Sometimes running in a group helps you achieve more... or changes your path when needed.... or enables you to see who is actually in charge.
|My new friend Fabio|
March 25: Go
This is my new friend, Fabio. Although when I took this photo his name was Francis. Met him when my 12 year-old saw him follow a jogger around the corner towards our house and noticed that he was not the joggers dog. We were working outside so offered to let the dog into our fence and look for the owners. My kiddo called him "Francis."
He and our dog, Towdah, had a great time racing all over our small front yard. Those dogs could go! Running in circles.
I posted a picture on the neighborhood FB page and my wife suggested to check to see if he was chipped. So... we drove to Pet Smart and he was... and we sent a message to the owner.
Of course, Facebook was faster than the chip and by the time we got home from Pet Smart the owner had posted about her missing pooch.... which ended up living the next block over from us. Since we were in the car still, we dropped him off.
(He’d just had a bath and escaped from the backyard through the slot in the fence when the owner let him out to use the restroom and looked away for a minute)
What an awesome adventure to keep ourselves busy on the “shelter in place” mandate day.
I’ve kinda follow God in the way that Fabio took his adventure... Unconventionally. My faith may look a little “sneak out the fence and run with it” but I look for Him in everyone. Because I believe (and pray) that by finding God through all of my adventures in life, wherever I go that will eventually lead me Home.
Glad to have met you, FabioFrancis!
|The Golden Ticket outside "The Peninsula" in the Plum Creek Neighborhood.|
March 26: Live
March 27: Heard
Folks in my neighborhood have put on a little challenge to folks who are at home right now. They put up a challenge, you solve it and go find a “golden ticket” that is hidden where your clue leads you in the neighborhood.
In the midst of the pandemic, we live on. We entertain ourselves (with help sometimes... thanks PC folks!) We stay away from others. We don’t touch things. We sanitize.... we are safe and sane. We’ve heard the warnings and heed them.... and we’re spending a lot of time together (thank God we like each other)... we yell, get annoyed and talk out of turn... but we’re 80% awesome. Hope you are too.
I’m also praying a lot more. Taking all of the precautions.... and praying. Prayers are heard. Also... My bible study is being done via Zoom. Live from our computers or phones for free.
Life continues.... virtually at this point.