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Beth’s month of shame

September 30, 2008 3 comments

Sweet Beth.  Sweet sweet Beth.

Jerry Lewis has been calling my wife on the phone for the past month, trying to imprison her to raise bail and help disabled children.  

Unbeknownst to her, Beth agreed – evidently.

Let me reset this story.  Today I sat down on the couch, ate lunch at home with Beth, and she turns to me and says: “I have a confession to make … and I have known about it for a month but not wanted to tell you … and its not really a big deal.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?” says I.

And here is the story she told me:

A month ago, a woman named Nicole called Beth at work and told her that she was anonymously nominated by somebody as a “happy worker”.  As a “happy worker” Beth found that she was qualified for something very special.

Beth was offered the distinguished privilege of setting up a website through http://www.mda.org, having a police officer pick her up at work, loading her in the back of his squad car, driving to Outback Steakhouse with the lights and sirens going full blast, sitting down for a free steak dinner, and being imprisoned all afternoon in a “fake prison” at Outback.

Not only did she get all of these exciting experiences, but she would also have the distinct pleasure of capitalizing on her “happy” endearment to her friends, family, and coworkers by directed them to her website and, thereby, asking for them to donate money so that she could be “bailed out” of the fake prison at Outback.

Nicole, her “parole officer” (no joke, she called herself this), set her “bail bond” at $1200, to be collected by Stephanie, “the warden”.

Jerry Lewis wants to imprison my wife for charity. 

The problem?  Evidently, Beth agreed to imprisonment when her parole officer called her to let her know of her anonymous nomination for happiness.

One week letter, Beth received an email.

The week after that, a packet of information in the mail informing her how she should go about fundraising her bail bond.

This past Friday, Bondsman Nicole called to walk Beth through setting up her website.  Beth, still stunned into silence, was enticed by the overwhelming kindness of Nicole.  She managed to yammer and stammer her way into a rain check phone call for today Monday.

So, desperate, Beth made her lunchtime confession to her husband.

“What do I do Lee? I don’t know what to do? What do I tell her? I don’t want to do it! How do I get out of it?”

And, finally, “I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so stressed about going to fake prison.  I can’t raise the money. I don’t want to go in the police car with the lights and sirens going.  Should I tell her I am pregnant?”

That’s my beloved wife ladies and gentlemen.  My sweet bride.

This afternoon, we sent the Warden an email to let her know that Beth would not be able to participate.

There was part of me that REALLY wanted for Beth to follow through with it, but I decided that since Beth was worried to the point of being unable to sleep, that we couldn’t risk the stress to the baby.

Sorry Jerry.  You can’t put my wife in charity prison.

I’ll be honest though – I don’t think this story is over.

Stay posted for more.

you’re not cool … if you don’t organize your home library

September 28, 2008 2 comments
Delicious Library

Delicious Library

There are a grand total of four people who read this blog who will be even the slightest bit interested about this post.

I get it, I understand that from the outset – but I am going to do it anyway.

(Also, I know the title of the post is probably not true, but a guy can always hope)

The past three weeks I have been on a quest that only a true bibliophile can really appreciate (as i write this Beth is looking over my shoulder with a quizzical expression – she doesn’t understand).  

For the past 9 months my books have been sitting, lined up in the hallway of our little house, confined to small cardboard boxes.  

They have been suffocating and claustrophobic and sad in their little recyclable coffins.

Fortunately, when my parents and grandparents came to visit a few weeks ago they decided that they were going to pitch in to fund a library rescue mission – we went to Target and purchased bookshelves (more on the bookshelves later).

Having found the shelves, I decided that I was going to do this home library thing the right way.

Back in Louisville, my organization system was downright pathetic.  I knew this was the case even before we moved, but it quickly became obvious that my system would require a massive overhaul in order to be serviceable here in Jackson.  The dynamics of my library have changed from a purely home library to a library split between home and work, with the expectation that I may even -GASP- be loaning out a few books to students and coworkers.

I had to have a game plan, a serious game plan.  I was going to have to get organized.

So, here is the system that I have developed, and I think it will accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished.  There are three tiers to the system: 1) Library Software 2) Meticulous Shelf Organization 3) Journal Software.

In future posts I will cover the shelves and the journal software, for now I will talk about the library software.

After playing with a couple of different library software options on my Mac, I decided that the Delicious Library software far surpassed all of the other options.  

Why this particular software? It has all the features I need to keep my library organized and, let’s be honest, it looks pretty cool, too.  Here is a screenshot:

Cool-factor aside, I like the Delicious Library software for the following reasons:

  • The library entries are saved and organized on my computer’s hard drive, unlike some programs that save all of your data through the internet.  I prefer the risk associated with my hardware over the irritation of not being able to access my library when the internet is down or unavailable.
  • I am not limited to only organizing my books, it will also track movies, music, and games (though I don’t use it for the last two).
  • I can set the software up to track different “shelves” of my books.  In other words, I can create a “Home” shelf and a “Union” shelf and keep tabs on where specific book are located.  This means that when I am using a commentary on 1 Timothy to prepare for our “Man Up” Bible study, I can take it back and forth from home to work and keep track of the movement on my computer.
  • Delicious Library also has the sweet feature (you may be able to see it at the bottom left of the screenshot) of being able to check books out to individuals.  Not only that, but if I was a total psycho I could set it up to send you a dirty email if you keep my book past the “due date”

All that to say, I am really pleased so far with how things are coming together with this library organization system.  I still have a few books left to load into the system, but it has been really satisfying to watch the total number of books creeping upwards as I add my library into the computer.

I have also found that inputing my books into the computer has reminded me of how much there is that I really want to read.  Considering that the past couple years of my life have been a real fight to regain my love for reading, the small cost of the software and the moderate time commitment to input the books into the computer has been well worth it.

More to come.

debatable miscellanies & minutiae ’08

September 27, 2008 3 comments

There are many people who are vastly more qualified to break down the policies and positions of Barack Obama and John McCain than I am.

That means I am under no pretense that I am an expert when it comes to politics, so here are some thoughts from a pretty normal guy – me.

Here we go:

  • Secretary Gates was mentioned many times.  He was the President of Texas A&M University, the university from with Lee earned his B.A. in English Literature and Beth earned a B.A. in Communication with a minor in Religious Studies.
  • Obama blunders – what is the deal with Obama?  Does he not know who he has been running against for the past several months?  Is in “Tom” McCain, “Jim” McCain, hmm …. so hard to keep that guy’s name straight. 
  • Why is Jim Lehrer so set on getting the candidates to look at each other while they talk?  It is like he is that kid on the playground who stands around trying to stir up the other kids to fight.  “Don’t talk to me, Senator, tell the other Senator what you think about his mama … look him in the eye.”
  • Why are they comparing bracelets? That is a little weird.
  • Baravk Obama knows how to tie a solid looking tie – quality dimple and a good knot.  I am surprised, however, to announce that I think McCain has put together an overall better ensemble.  I like that he bypassed the played out lapel pin.
  • During the Republican National Convention, I was certain that the Republicans were going to get absolutely squashed, if only because of the crabby, angry, unsophisticated tone that was struck by virtually every speaker and by the crowd in attendance.  McCain seems to be doing a good job of being a strong and knowledgeable authority without being a crude bully.  He comes across as downright presidential – which shocks me.
  • McCain: Ahmadinhoodia, er …. Ahmarkid – dang it – (deep breath) … … Ahmadinejad (relief … “now what was I saying?”)
  • McCain: “The average South Korean is three inches taller than the average North Korean” … cool?
  • Obama talks about foreign policy as though he has read about it and watched it on the news.  McCain talks about it like he has been there and done that.
  • I don’t know exactly what McCain is saying about Russia and Georgia … I do know he seems to have spent a great deal of time looking into Vladmir Putin’s eyes … but he is speaking with precision that gives him credibility and outclasses Obama when it comes to foreign policy.
  • Barack Obama looks and listens to McCain when he is speaking.  McCain does a lot of writing when Obama is speaking – even when it is directly to McCain.
  • Barack’s demeanor is that of a Gentleman Statesman.  I think this is a good thing for politics and I hope that it is not an act.  I do wonder, however, if his leaning on the moderator to silence McCain when he goes over time is, pragmatically speaking, what is needed in the personality of our Commander-in-Chief.  I dunno.
  • McCain seems to sense that he is winning this debate.  As the debate has gone later into the night he has been more smirky and confident.  He seems to be pretty loose as the debate wraps up.
  • Last words: Obama knows how to say big things in potent phrases that inspire, but does he know how to bring home the big ideas?  McCain knows foreign policy, he is sharp, and he held his own very very well, but does he inspire his followers and fill them with passion?

The debate is over and now the talking heads will swoop in the pick at the bones.  I have to wonder if it is the debate itself or the commentary that follows which carries the most weight in swaying voters.  I wonder if the talking heads really just muddy the water and take away from the “purity” of the debate as a rhetorical art form.

I happen to be watching FOX News because Wold Blitzer drives me nuts on CNN.  One of the commentators said something I agree with entirely – when Obama attempts to narrow down his message to the specific nuts and bolts of policy, he falls flat and lifeless.

Time for me to stop blabbering about the debate.

I will close with a rhetorical/comment-able question:

“Can we really ever know who “won” a presidential debate like the one we watched tonight? If so, where do we look for a decisive answer to that question?”

world missions are not a game.

September 25, 2008 1 comment

Let me begin by noting that security prevents me from sharing much detail – my apologies.

This week is GO Week at Union, the week that we devote to emphasizing world missions.  Practically speaking, this means that we announce the 17 Go Trips that come out of the Campus Ministry office while reminding Union students of Christ’s call to make disciples in every nation.

I was reminded and sobered that the call to world missions is no joke – the gospel is a matter of life and death, and proclaiming it can be a dangerous thing.

This afternoon I received a phone call from a country in Africa where one of my closest friends is serving.  

A few nights ago my friend was awoken by a late night phone call.  A call that informed him that a close friend and fellow missionary was in grave danger.

The worst of the danger had passed, but the situation was volatile.  

The situation?

Late in the night a mob of thieves snuck up to the high security compound that my friend’s friend (“Peter”) and his family were sleeping in.  They managed to enter the house and began looking for items of value.  

Bypassing some of the details, two men entered Peter’s room.  Miraculously, Peter woke up in time to defend himself and – miraculously – managed to physically drive the men through the house and force them – all of them – out through the doorway they came in.

We are talking about one unarmed man against half a dozen armed thieves.

Having driven the thieves out of the house, Peter notified the surrounding community – who came to the family’s aid in a hurry.

This is the life of the missionary.  This is the life of a family called to devote a lifetime to the cause of the gospel.

Having heard a story like this one – there are countless of them that would cause this to pale in comparison – some Christians would be inclined to respond, “Uh-uh, not me, no way, I will pray and send money.”

Agreed, pray and pay, but is Christ not worth more?  

We are not promised safety and security.  In fact, we are promised that if we follow Christ we will face hardship and persecution (Matt. 10:25).

This persecution will come to Christians, in some form and at some point in every Christian’s life.

Let us not shrink back.  Let us follow our Savior, even if it means our life and our safety.

Categories: Gospel, World Tags: , ,

the first of July

September 24, 2008 3 comments

 

Beth holds everything in place while her mom ties her wedding dress

Beth holds everything in place while her mom ties her wedding dress

Life is often marked by soaring highs and sobering lows.  Sometimes both extremes take place simultaneously.

July 1st was one of those days for the Wilson family.

As many of you know, Beth’s sweet mama, Paula Kirby, was diagnosed with a unique form of cancer this past May.  It was on the first day of July that she began six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. 

We knew weeks in advance that we could expect to experience a low day that day.  We had no idea, however, that July 1st would also be a day of tremendous celebration and exaltation in the kindness of God.

As Paula found herself in the doctor’s office, being tattooed with small blue “x” marks to guide the radiologist’s treatment, Beth was in a doctor’s office of her own, being examined and informed that she was indeed 7 weeks pregnant.

That day Beth was able to call her mom while she was still in the hospital and tell her that, in his great providence, God had elected to overlap these two life-changing moments.  She was able to share news that was of profound encouragement to Beth’s mom.  

We thank God that his timing is perfect, that he is the giver of tremendous gifts.

Today, we want you to join us in giving thanksgiving to God for another tremendous gift that has been given.

Just as Beth called her mom with good news on July 1st, today Paula was able to return the favor by calling Beth to tell her that the tumor is gone.

The cancer is gone.

Such good news, such gratefulness to our loving and sovereign God.

Before wrapping up this post, allow me to request a moment (or more) of your prayer for Mama K.  The doctors have told her that the tumor is gone, but she experienced discomfort during her exam that necessitates further follow up by her oncologist.  Pray that the discomfort was merely tender scar tissue or agitated tissue, nothing more.

To hear more from Mama K, check out her blog.

 

Mama K, Holly Chism, Beth

Mama K, Holly Chism, Beth

gender discovery day

September 20, 2008 8 comments

 

Lee & Beth pumped with excitement in the elevator

Lee & Beth pumped with excitement in the elevator

Woke up this morning with a burst of energy.

Today, we got to see our sweet little baby for the first time.  

The doctor’s appointment was at 8 am and we were there right on time, giddy with excitement.  I know you probably believe me but, if not, we have photographic and video evidence (below) to prove it.

The talk of the morning? 

Will it be a boy or will it be a girl?  

Almost from day one, we have both thought that it was a little boy.  We were pretty convinced.

It didn’t hurt that we had a name for a little boy almost immediately, but struggled to come up with a name for a little girl that we were equally thrilled with.  Maybe that just meant it was going to be a little boy?

As we sat in the waiting room, beaming with excitement, we both had to acknowledge that it would not surprise us if the Lord, in an act of cosmic irony, would give us a little girl – and a scramble to figure out what her little name would be.

The nurse called us into this room with a crazy big machine, a patient table, and a huge flat screen television mounted on the wall.  Before the nurse could tell us “no photos or videos” Lee took the following:

So, you get the idea.  We were bursting from excitement.

The nurse got right to work.

Heart … four chambers, beating just brilliantly

Spine … just like it should be.

Arms and legs … check. Fingers too.

Liver … stomach … brain … umbilical cord … flawless.

HEALTHY BABY!

Now completely at ease, knowing all is well where it counts, we (Lee, actually) were on the edge of our seat with excitement (Beth had to lay still on the table).

The printer started to hum, producing the first photos of sweet little baby Wilson:

 

 

this one is Beth's favorite photo (check out that bicep)

this one is Beth's favorite (check out the killer bicep)

 

our baby is going to be a model, check out that pose with the arms

our baby is going to be a model, check out that pose with the arms

 

this is Lee's favorite, I love the big beautiful smile

this is Lee's favorite, look at that big beautiful smile

Holding our first photos in our hands, we waited to hear the answer to our big question.

Boy or girl?

The answer, and I quoteth the technician: “50/50 its a girl”

“Wait a second,” thought the Wilsons, “those are the same odds that we had when we walked through the doors – what gives?”

That’s right, wonderful friends, our baby – as much dancing as it did during its thirty minutes on the big screen – never slowed down and cracked its knees apart enough for us to get a good look!

So. Barring any reason for a second sonogram, it looks like we will be going old school – the first time we get to hold our baby will be the first time that we know whether baby Wilson is a little boy or a little girl.

It looks like we will be painting a shade of green later this fall.

Feel free to help us with some ideas for a little girl, it would seem that everything is still fair play.

Much love.

a night in the life

September 18, 2008 1 comment

We thought you might be interested in a video update to accompany our recap that Beth posted earlier (be sure to check it out – Beth is awesome!).

A couple nights ago we were hanging out in our den in our little house, watching television, and … well … just watch the video to get a look at a night in the life of our little pregnant family.

As always, we will keep you posted.