Archive for the ‘R&R’ category

Some Time for Ourselves

August 11, 2018

Well, Martha and I were passing through Nashville, Tennessee several weeks ago. On the way through, she saw a billboard along I-40 advertising the comedian Ray Stevens, and she wanted to go to his show sometime. Martha didn’t think she could convince me. However, relatively easy access to the performer’s “CabaRay” and desiring to please Martha, I relented. As it turned out, we both enjoyed ourselves.

Virtually everyone there was a senior citizen! Mr. Ray Stevens himself will turn 80-years-old in January 2019. Certainly, Ray Stevens had more vigor and pep than nearly anyone 20 years younger than him. I wish I looked as good as he does.

To our pleasant surprise, Ray Stevens mingled with any of his fans who remained awhile after the show ended. Martha wanted her picture made with Mr. Stevens, and so we three smiled for the camera.

Ray Stevens is as funny as he ever was. In addition, he gave the audience a history lesson about the budding prominence of Nashville in country music over the past approximately 80 years. The very well-made and decorated facility was the perfect backdrop for the dinner theatre we attended. The band and staff have been with Ray Stevens for decades, surely a family of sorts.

You’ve just got to hear “The Mississippi Squirrel” live from Ray Stevens. Medleys of his famous funny songs and some complete renditions will make happy anyone who has loved the recorded versions over the years. Take advantage of this national treasure without delay.

Replica of the Yesterday

June 27, 2017

Today (June 27, 2017), two of my children, Martha and I made the little jaunt from Lexington, Kentucky to Williamstown, Kentucky to see the “Ark Encounter.” It was a good, all-day endeavor—an hour each way and four hours to trek through the Ark and the surrounding adornments (i.e., petting zoo, etc.). We declined the donkey and camel rides. We took lots of pictures, and here are some of them.

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We took some time to smell the flowers along the pathway of life.

Best Side?

June 26, 2017

On Sunday, June 25, Martha and I took a few pictures, and for Martha’s part, apparently she was trying to capture “my best side”! Evidently, either she failed in that effort—or I don’t have a best side!

That morning, we drove a little over an hour from Morgantown, West Virginia to Belington, West Virginia. Pulling the trailer up and down hills as well as around curves on a 2-lane road was a real drag—literally. It was tiring, too.

Just to make things more interesting, I suppose, the GPS decided to play games with me, falsely promising some shortcuts that did not materialize. The shortcut through Grafton, West Virginia involved getting off of the state route on which we were traveling only to get back on the same route up the road a piece. However, the GPS repeatedly tried to get me to drive over a steep hillside where there was no road, and if there had been a road I would not have plunged my car and trailer over the cliff. I wonder if the van was weary and exhibiting a suicidal tendency.

To salvage the adventure through Grafton, we had to go down a steep, in town, winding grade, stopping at the bottom for a traffic light prior to making a hard right, banked turn. I was saying unkind things to my car’s dash, the home of my GPS.

Still up to its tricks, the GPS tried to get me to take the car and trailer over a divided, 2-lane covered bridge in Philippi, West Virginia. I stopped the car on the highway, until I spied the modern bypass and concrete bridge alternative and current route through and around the village. By the time we arrived in Belington, I didn’t know whether to trust guidance from the GPS or not. I had never been to Belington before.

Martha, Rebecca and I arrived without further incident at the meetinghouse of the Belington Church of Christ, whereupon we were greeted by one of the elders, brother Dave Everson. I doubt that we have ever received a more enthusiastic reception than we received there. I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions,” during Bible class time, and for worship, I preached, “Imitating the Urgency of Jesus Christ.” For lunch, we were led to a local eatery back in Philippi. The fellowship and the meals, too, were great!

Afterward, brother Mike Philips, the evangelist for the Belington congregation, guided us to the rural location of the church house for the Wilson Ridge Church of Christ. Later, once more, I made my PowerPoint presentation, “World Evangelism Media & Missions.” Likewise, there we were honored and appreciated for our work’s sake. For the afternoon before evening worship as well as following church services, brother Bob Jennings extended excellent hospitality to us.

Brethren Mike Philips and Bob Jennings were students at the West Virginia School of Preaching where I had taught for ten years. I count both Christian men as my friends and my equals.

Monday, we three again journeyed onward. We traveled from our overnight lodging in Bridgeport, West Virginia to Lexington, Kentucky. This was in preparation for speaking Wednesday night for the North Lexington Church of Christ. We arrived in Lexington early enough to meet up with and have supper with my son Robert. Tomorrow, the four of us, Lord willing, will drive to Williamstown, Kentucky to visit the life-size replica of Noah’s ark.

Tonight and the following night, we are lodging in a cheap hotel—to which we have applied both air freshener and bug spray. Thursday, we hope to arrive back in Winona, Mississippi. We are weary.

Morgantown, West Virginia

June 24, 2017

Pymatuning Spillway

Monday, June 19 Rebecca, Martha and I spent a little time with several family members. First, we dropped in on Mike and Donna Rushmore between Greenville and Jamestown, Pennsylvania. My brother is bedfast (or chair-fast if “up”). One of their daughters came by with two of her children. Together, we enjoyed one another’s company and feasted on a couple of Pizza Hut pizzas that we brought with us. Next, we made the little drive to Hadley, Pennsylvania to visit with my father in his home; my mother passed away many years ago. (Last year, his furry, little friend bit a whole through my trousers into my leg; this year, we sufficed with just mutual restraint!) Leaving Hadley, we three moseyed up to Meadville, Pennsylvania and rented a motel room and cleaned up for our pending rendezvous with other family members.

Pymatuning Spillway

Cracker Barrel was our designated venue for the get together. It almost wasn’t our meeting and eating place because a charter bus patron pushed her way in front of us to demand her entire bus be seated before us, and the restaurant complied. We were close to and had already discussed choosing another eatery when we were ushered to our table. (Some people need to be muzzled and put on a leash!)

Pymatuning Spillway

Altogether, there were 13 of us comprised of one of my brothers and part of his family, one of Bonnie’s brothers and part of his family, Bonnie’s sister and her husband as well as Rebecca, Martha and me. My side of the family and Bonnie’s side of the family had never seated themselves at a table together before; this was a first, but it also helped us visit one another more expediently in the limited time available up north.

Cooper’s Rock

Tuesday, we drove to Pymatuning Spillway outside of Linesville, Pennsylvania—where geese, ducks and fish (carp) compete for bread pitched into the water by tourists. We threw three long, fresh loaves of bread over the railing to the waiting wildlife. Thousands of fish and flocks of birds gobbled it all up. Fish were so thick that several were atop their fellows and had to flail about to submerge themselves again. Some sadness, particularly experienced by Martha, was spirited away for a while and replaced with smiles and a giddiness.

Cooper’s Rock

Afterward, we drove to Morgantown, West Virginia and once more rented a motel room. Here we were to lodge through Sunday morning. We worked diligently in our mobile, motel office/bedroom—three computers up and running—on Gospel Gazette Online, The Voice of Truth International, finances, thank you cards, etc.

Wednesday night, we assembled with the University Church of Christ in Morgantown—not far from our motel as it turned out. We renewed and made new acquaintances among good brethren there. Thursday, though, we went on a little expedition to Cooper’s Rock State Forest. We enjoyed ourselves, got some exercise and found out that we can spend money even when deep in the woods! Next, we traveled to Prickett’s Fort State Park, whereupon we stepped back into the history of the early American frontier. Friday, it was back to the office, as well as Saturday, too. I published to the Internet the June edition of Gospel Gazette Online, and we worked diligently on The Voice of Truth International.

Cooper’s Rock

We did laundry twice—a necessity, and I ironed my shirt for Sunday. Last week I procrastinated only to find that the ironing board was hopelessly broken; I didn’t iron my shirt a week ago very well—on a hand towel on top of the bathroom sink!

Cooper’s Rock

The trailer has been unhitched from the car for a few days now; it has been affixed for nearly three weeks as we pulled it everywhere we went. I almost didn’t know how to drive the van anymore without the trailer tugging at it from the aft! Shortly, we will hook up the trailer once more, after we pack the clean clothes in the suitcases and stuff them into the car. Our journey of four weeks is nearing its end. We are longing for familiar beds and surroundings. Lord willing, we will arrive back in Winona, Mississippi sometime on Thursday, June 29—in time for Martha to go to a doctor in Grenada, Mississippi on Friday. Sunday, we will be out for the day at Mississippi preaching appointments. Praise God that we can be found in His service here and there.

Prickett’s Fort

Prickett’s Fort

Middle Ohio

June 9, 2017

Tuesday, June 7, Martha, Rebecca and I rode with my son Raymond from his Newark, Ohio home to Amish country for the day. On the way to and returning from Berlin and Sugar Creek, Ohio, we passed an iconic, old, dilapidated combination one-room school and church house. I took some digital pictures for later use; the sight prompted me to write an article with which I will put this photograph probably in a future issue of The Voice of Truth International.

I always enjoy a meal in Sugar Creek at Dutch Valley Restaurant. We all ate from the expansive salad, main meal and dessert buffets. It was delicious! Afterward, we wandered around in various tourist traps and antique shops throughout a 15-mile stretch of highway.

Wednesday evening, we assembled with the Pickerington Church of Christ for midweek Bible class. Following the devotional with which the church began, I spoke to the “mission team,” which was preparing to travel to Switzerland for a couple of weeks.

Rebecca, Martha and I enjoyed some precious moments from late Sunday night through Wednesday night. Thursday, we traveled to Mineral Wells, West Virginia to meet up with Martha’s family. Friday, we three caught up with family of Martha’s late husband, Bob. In both instances, we rallied at the Cracker Barrel in Mineral Wells. On Friday, we also visited one of Bob’s brothers and his wife in their home nearby the same location.

Friday and Saturday, brother J.D. and sister Denise Conley—with whom we are lodging these few days—and we are gathering literature, songbooks and communion ware to load in the trailer behind our minivan. Along with material already collected and other sites yet to be visited, we will recover additional materials, which we will ship to English-speaking brethren overseas.

Over the next couple of weeks or so, we will continue to visit congregations in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Also, between meeting days, we will visit more family members—namely, my family and my late wife Bonnie’s family in Pennsylvania. We might even get up to New York and visit one of my brothers who I have not seen for years. There is work to do, for which we are thankful.

Playdate in Georgetown

March 8, 2017


Sunday, March 5
, Martha Lynn and I worshipped once more with the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana, South America. Again, it was my good pleasure to teach the morning Bible class for the congregation. Outside of assembling with the saints, I diligently worked on the next issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Likewise on Monday, I applied myself throughout the day to preparation of the February edition of GGO, as well as working some on a future quarter of The Voice of Truth International magazine.


Tuesday
, Martha and I had a playdatedouble-date plus one—a day off together—with brother and sister Milo and their 10-year-old son, Zab. Around lunchtime, we five headed into Georgetown, about an hour and a half away. However, before we could eat lunch, we stopped at a tire shop to have a tire changed for the church bus; each action and every direction traveled must be exercised by soldiers of the cross so as to extract as much benefit from the minutes (Ephesians 5:16)—even when on holiday.

Next stop, we were off to the new Chinese restaurant atop the new America-like grocery store—which has become a favorite of ours nearly every time we passed through Georgetown these past six weeks. After all, it was only a 1,000 feet off of our necessary route of travel between Linden and Georgetown.

The five of us climbed the stairway to the second story eatery and were taken aback by the elegance of the panorama that unfolded before us. Everything was pristine, ornate and immaculate. Real tablecloths and cloth napkins adorned each table, and the staff was costumed in fine and culturally appropriate attire for a Chinese backdrop. This was neither a café nor a diner, but it was destination fit for royalty—and a little pricier than some neighborhood haunt. The food was delicious, and the fellowship that we enjoyed was to be cherished forever. On the way back down to ground level, Martha, Zab and I discovered and used the glass-walled elevator that clings to the outside of the building as it escorts its passengers between floors.

Next, we went shopping in the grocery for the last time prior to our return to the USA. I’ve hooked Martha on Cadbury chocolate bars—to go with our Coke Zero, cereal bars and Pringles potato chips. As always, Martha managed to find several discarded coins on the ground, which she will take home for souvenirs for herself, for grandchildren and for young ones along our stateside travels. Patrons of the store throw the coins away because they have no significant value, but the store gives them out in change anyway just to be honest and fair.

Parting from there, we headed to “the Giftland Mall.” We most looked around, and none of us made any noteworthy purchases; Martha and I bought a cheap plastic bowl to safeguard the Amerindian headdress we bought while in Monkey Mountain. The highlight of that stopover was Dairy Queen for four of the five of us; brother Nigel doesn’t like sweets.

By now, most of the day was spent. Nevertheless, we scurried over to a series of two home wares businesses, looking for an area rug and floor mats for the Milo kitchen. Just in time before the metal gate descended to secure the department store for the night, we made our purchase and stuffed it into the small Toyota family car in which we were riding.

Granting Martha’s expressed wishes, a little before dusk, we made our way to the narrow ribbon of beach on the far side of the seawall so my dear wife could feel the sand between her toes and wade in the surf, which was a distance from the shore owing to the low tide. Making good use of her tetanus shot before leaving the United States, Martha promptly stepped on a board with a nail in it! That little incident hardly slowed her down, and she was not seriously injured.

Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, we stopped at Pizza Hut before leaving Georgetown for Linden. As far as eating goes, it doesn’t get much better: tasty Chinese food, Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait and Peperoni Lover’s Pizza—besides the breakfast sister Jasmine fixed for us hours earlier. I informed brother Nigel and sister Jasmine that with treatment like that, I might decide to stay and not go home!

The journey back to Linden seemed much longer than it had earlier or at any other time we had passed that way many times over six weeks. The ride was much more taxing, not only because we were packed into the small, 5-passenger auto, but because of the wheel and tire in the trunk, along with the carpet, four mats, groceries, and satiated, contented, slightly heavier car occupants doubtless taxed the suspension as it battled bad spots in the roadway. In addition, we were all tired, and Zab fell asleep, leaning on the shoulder of his recently acquired additional grandma—Martha.

It was a good day! We double-dated, more or less, plus one very fine young man. Days don’t get much better than spending quality time with beloved Christian friends such as the Milos. Of course, I enjoyed being with Martha, too!

Wednesday, I reworked the newsletter and postcard files, and then, I resubmitted them electronically in a different way to a printing company in Michigan; I hope the files are satisfactory this time. Having received the last article for the February Gospel Gazette Online, I was able to publish it to the Internet and apprise subscribers that it is ready for viewing. I continued to work on the March 2017 issue of GGO. At 5 p.m., we participated with local hospital visitation, before attending the Wednesday evening Bible class of the Amelia’s Ward congregation. Tomorrow morning, Lord willing, Martha Lynn and I will start our journey back to the USA, aboard Surinam Airways from Georgetown to Miami. From there, American Airlines should deposit us in Memphis a little before midnight, whereupon our daughter Rebecca will retrieve us. Two hours difference in time zones between our starting and ending points, plus changing the clocks for Daylight Savings Time, will likely keep us a little confused for a few days.

By the blessings of Almighty God, we do what we do, intending it all for His glory. We serve a risen Savior and endeavor to follow the Spirit’s Guide Book—the Bible—as our roadmap from where we are to where we want to spend eternity. Please make that pilgrimage with us to a city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10).

Long Day in Jacksonville, Florida

July 3, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016 found my daughter Rebecca and me in Jacksonville, FL. We started the day out in Ocala, FL, where we had been from Monday evening last week until this morning. We spent some quality time with our dear friend and sister in Christ, Martha Noland. She was my late wife Bonnie Rushmore’s best friend, aside from our daughter Rebecca – and perhaps me, too. Martha was widowed about six months ago; her husband Bob had been an elder and a preacher over the years, and he was a friend of mine also.

On Wednesday, we three worshipped with the Central Church of Christ in Ocala. Otherwise over several days, we dined out, made abundant use of the pool – a first for me since I am skittish of more water than needed to shower – and did a little work around Martha’s home.

Sunday morning, though, Rebecca and I left at 7:23 a.m. and headed to Jacksonville, nearly two hours away. First, we met with the Chaffee Road Church of Christ. I made my PowerPoint presentation “2015—2016 Mission Trips” for Bible class and later preached with the aid of PowerPoint once more, “The Deity of Christ.” We were privileged to enjoy with these brethren a fellowship meal, preceding a second worship period, whereupon one of the elders presented a lesson.

We were wonderfully received. The Chaffee Road Church of Christ participates with me in my mission work, and it is a great encourager as well.

Sunday evening, Rebecca and I worshipped with the Riverview Church of Christ, where again, we were received so well. I presented “2015—2016 Mission Trips” for a second time during that congregation’s evening worship service. In the case of Riverview, individual families came forth to fund my mission efforts.

Incidentally, I spoke at both congregations today in the absence of their preachers. Last week I also spoke in the absence of the preacher with the church with which we worshipped outside of DeFuniak Springs, FL; next week and one additional week in July, I will be preaching for a Mississippi congregation in the absence of its preacher.

Tomorrow, on July 4th – Independence Day, Rebecca and I will begin our trek back to Winona, MS; we will divide the journey over two days. I hope that the holiday traffic is bearable and that we travel safely. July 5th, while we will also be traveling, Rebecca will experience an uneventful birthday, riding as front seat passenger alongside of me. We have been out and about for more than a week, and it’s time to return to Winona. Besides, we have guests coming to my home in connection with the annual team meeting of World Evangelism associates. Yes, I’m still working on the July edition of Gospel Gazette Online, and there are other activities calling for my attention – like preparation for speaking in a Gospel meeting next week, too. Never time to get bored, I press on and forward.