Thursday, September 24, 2009

And the next weekend..

Now we're getting in to some very touchy things. No long trips. No hotel stays. No shopping. Just some more very new and very special pastoral duties to perform.

You see the previous weekend I went to Dallas to visit a very special member of our church and his family. Well unfortunately that church member passed just a few days later. This was a giant of a man in our church and in the church in general. He was a business leader, a philanthropist, a tireless worker in our church up until he drove himself to Dallas. He sang in the choir, took care of money, has done just about anything you could do in the church. A patriarch.

Here's little ole me..just did my first funeral on a 16 hours notice. Now I was being asked to do another just a week later.

I got a lot of input from the family. They were a joy to visit with. I got input from my friends and former co pastors. I did visitation at the funeral home Friday night...then I spent a little time at the Lufkin Panther game.... then I went home, stayed up till about 1:00 a.m. and put together what I hoped would be a message that would honor this man and a message that would please his family and friends.

I was never really very nervous. I had so many of YOU praying for me. I also had a great man to speak about. A rich and full life and a joyous family that shared their love with me.

No doubt. Many people in the church were not sure just how well this green, part-time pastor would do. I did have that other funeral you know...but I didn't write the message for that. That one I was blessed to use the message of my co-pastor..who was suffering from double pneumonia.

So I got up Saturday, went through it a few times. Went up to the church to visit family at their brunch, came back home, put on my not so seldom worn suit and headed back to church.

It was a wonderful service. The singing was great. He loved to sing so I know that would have pleased him. I did what I was supposed to do and then we had a brief reception after.

From the feedback of those there I think I did ok. Something more happened there though. And this may be more inside me than anything that was thought by everyone else in church. I actually felt like I WAS their pastor now. I felt like I had served in an important pastoral role to someone much older than me and that part of the church community now saw me a little differently.. that was probably more my own perception than anything else. But even if it was...it was a nice feeling.

Home and some rest... Up and to church the next morning. It's 8:45 and our guest pastor has not arrived. We had some announcements that morning..and they went a little long.. and I was ok with that. We also started just a few minutes late..that was on purpose. We still didn't have a pastor once I had done communion and so it was time for a message. I had been rolling ideas around in my head all morning in case our guest pastor didn't arrive.

I read the scripture..

Matthew 9

Jesus Heals a Paralytic
1Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."

3At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!"

4Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." 7And the man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

I said a short prayer...and fortunately we didn't have much time left..but I gave a short message.. and nothing that I had planned (in the last 40 minutes) came out of my mouth.. my message went to a place about the discussion of "which is easier" I've always wondered which is easier but hadn't thought it through. Now the Holy Spirit was walking me through. You see I had always thought it would be so easy to say "your sins are forgiven". I know I couldn't tell someone who couldn't walk to get up and walk... and make it happen. But I could always tell someone their their sins are forgiven. Then I started thinking about our modern technology and how we can heal so many things now that so many years ago would have killed us. We have computers and machines and advanced knowledge way beyond those days. We can heal people and make them walk but we are still fragile, imperfect, human beings. What is easier for us to do? Is it easier to heal a man or to forgive a man? So we are called to forgive. but it is difficult isn't it? It's also healthy for us.. for the others as well as ourselves. I said some other stuff but the part that truly enlightened me was that I finally learned what Jesus was meaning about it was easier to heal than to forgive sins... to for give those who sin against us.


Our guest pastor showed up in time for late church. We had a great service. A few hours later I gave the message and led music for the youth that evening. So...it was another busy but blessed weekend.


What's next weekend? Maybe I'll let you know.. after... got to go to bed.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Wow..what a weekend..

well..it started with the fact that we now have one full time pastor on staff... then..
A long time member of our church had a heart attack and had surgery and got very sick.
Another long time member of our church passed away.
Another church family member was having surgery.

I talked the situation over with Kathy..our only full time pastor and we thought it might be a good idea for me to go to Dallas and pay a visit to our church family member that had the heart issues. Kathy was handling a funeral and going to visit our member having surgery.. First I was going to make a day of it..run up there and back...Since Donna was out of town and all I have is a hot, un-air conditioned pick-up truck I thought..hmm might be fun to go with my son and then we could take that new nissan cube.. with a/c. I also checked in with my daughter to see if she might like to have a lunch or brunch with me/us but she was busy going to Tyler and couldn't make it.. oh well..

Spoke to Austin but he had to work Saturday afternoon. I decided to get a hotel Friday night to make the trip less hard and we could bum around together a little along with making the visit to our church friend.

He made arrangements to get off work Saturday night and he thought he'd be through around 6:30 Friday and we could leave then.. sounds like a nice relaxing Saturday with my son..

A party shows up at the FUMC CLC that they thought had cancelled their party.. but I guess they didn't...so he had to stay late.. I went to FCC and moved some things around to make room for Jinx to play on Sunday morning.. I then went to FUMC to help my son move things around so he could leave..

and I didn't plan on this part...but that whole moving red padded chairs around in the gym became an amazing spiritual flashback moment for me that night... hundreds of times I moved those chairs around to set up for Upward Basketball on Saturday morning (we didn't have bleachers) and move them around again to set up for church (Center Court Service) in that same gym. A long time ago I said that gym smelled like Jesus...still does smell like Jesus to me!!

Anyway..the unplanned working late got us out of Lufkin around 9:30 and it was raining. Not fun to drive in. We stopped a couple of times to eat and to wake up etc.. of course I'm doing some twitter/fb posts along the way and my daughter calls me to see if we can have breakfast together Saturday morning since we're coming up Friday night. OK...

I finally get in bed around 2 a.m...

I'm up around 6:30 to try and find out if I had decent service at the Ex and to see if I need to be on a conf call.. and I'm groggy and not moving too fast but we finally get going and pick Hannah up around 10 and have a brunch..well really just an early lunch.. then we drop her off for a meeting she has to go to at 11 and we head back to Dallas...FYI.. DFW does not fully impart how far apart the D and the FW are.. especially in rain and slow traffic.

We go and have a great visit with our church family at Baylor... we then decide that we need to find puma shoes.. we drive around Dallas for a while and finally get to the Galleria... we eat there and the Genghis Grill and it was great. One bowl filled us up.. I know it's just a dollar more for the all you can eat but we had all we could eat.. we hang around go to a couple of stores and it looks like the puma shopping is going to be a zero.. I mean we were leaving the mall and I decided to google puma's and the finish line (which we had never heard of) has them.. we go find it and Austin gets these.

We finally head out of Dallas for L-town and drive in more rain. By the way the cube drives great..rides pretty nice and handled the crappy weather very well. We roll in to Lufkin about 9 and I find out our only full time pastor...Pastor Kathy...has the flu.. Sunday morning was not an issue..really except now I was going to have to get up earlier.. but I now had a funeral to do too. My first one ever..

Up early Sunday..wishing I was still in bed... church was great in both services. I went home and read over some notes.. put on my seldom worn suit and performed my first funeral.. it was a blessing to be there and I was glad I got to be a part of that family's celebration of life.

Then home..sat still for a few minutes then went and did music for the youth.. got done around 8:00 p.m....

and then...do you ever get so tiered and keyed up you can't go to sleep? I was up past midnight.

Ugh!!!! and when that alarm went off this morning I did NOT want to get out of bed...I drug my self out.. a little late and got to the Ex around 7.

I am looking so forward to a quiet restful evening tonight...maybe even a nap when I get home. It was a great weekend.. no doubt about it... but hope I don't have any more like it in a while. I do need a day off now and then.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hello again everyone..

My name is Artie Anderson.. I'm 49 years old..I work for a fortune 100 transportation company and I'm also an associate pastor at First Christian Church in Lufkin Tx and I lead contemporary worship..

Ok, so I've been gone a while. Life has been a little stressful..crazy..depressing at times...joyful at times but this has been one of the most eventful seasons in my life over the last few months and I didn't have the time, energy or desire to blog. Facebook and twitter are my outlets most of the time but I would still like to keep this avenue open for communications that are a little more involved..

I don't want to make this too long.. and Lord knows I can but I'd like to recap the last few months.

Hannah graduated

I had to fire someone that I hired over 10 years ago and cared a great deal about

I was very anxious about my own work situation because of what had gone on with my employee

A friend of mine had that female surgery and experienced some very bad things..got very sick..

My wife had that female surgery... I was of course very anxious about what was going on with her because of what had happened to my friend. (She is doing very well by the way)

I found out that 2 of my closest friends and confidants were going to leave my church and become pastors in other churches

I had to take my baby girl to TCU to start her college career

We had a big send off ceremony for my two friends/co-pastors/

I'm a guy that is not afraid to cry..I find it healthy and cleansing for me...I'm also a big baby and can't help it.

It's strange...I've been very guarded during this time... not on purpose.. I just haven't been weepy.. that's weird for me. Hope I'm not getting old and crusty..

I haven't been very good about my eating during this time..too much stress. Donna is making me get back now.

Fortunately I haven't gained back too much.. a visit to my Dr. let me find out that I was still lighter than when I started this a while back.

I won't be as rigid as before but I've got to get back on the program. I have things I want to do and enjoy doing.

This isn't a blog about dieting but food is a part of all that we do. I hope I don't let it control me.

I'll share more about more as time goes on..

Going shopping for a birthday gift for my son... it won't be too big.. he did get this because of the cash for clunkers program.

Peace folks..

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a short sabbatical from twitter/facebook etc...


First.. a little catching up.

I put new strings on my guitar before church Sunday morning.

I was really tired and it was tough getting up for church Sunday morning... but church was great. Wow, the congregation was singing big time..more than usual.. and we had such a small team Sunday morning too. 2 acoustics and and electric..2 female vocals and myself.. I was really planning to speak to my congregation about why the students could sing so loud at camp but we couldn't/wouldn't in church... but I had nothing to say..they sang out..I don't know why but they were awesome!

Did laundry Sunday afternoon and napped.

Worked Monday and Tuesday at the Ex but mostly catch up from being off last week while at camp... made progress on a couple of things like processing a new hire.. Yay!!

Napped at night..good grief.. it is so hard for me to recover from camp this year. I think part of it is because my allergies are driving me crazy.. I'm also older.. been doing crazy things like playing softball and beach vollyball way before I should (I was making some good progress with my daily walking and was feeling very good but I pushed too much too fast and am now fighting a lot of pain..)

Stayed on my diet pretty well most of camp week until all we had to eat was sandwiches and pizza.. oh well. I've been bad the last couple of days too... Haven't stepped on a scale but my belt notch has not changed...that's a good thing.

I pretty much forgot to twitter Sunday and Monday just because I was too tired and to busy at work to mess with it. Tuesday I realized it and decided to make it another day just so I can say I did. It's been 3 days and no facebook or twitter (besides a couple of replies that I would not ignore..I'm not a jerk).

I'm about to hit the sack and I will get up tomorrow..pack, head to Ft Worth with Donna and Hannah and go through orientation at TCU. We'll stop in Athens on the way and get coffee..

If you are ever traveling through or near Athens Tx and need a coffee go to the Flying Gato.. They have the best coffee I have ever tasted anywhere.. I'm not a coffee snob like Cory but of all the local shops I've tried in Tx and New York as well as the Starbucks I've been to the Gato is the best.. Give it a try some time.

I'll be back on twitter tomorrow..I think I've caught up on my sleep now and hope my allergies are calming down..

If you want to see some vids of camp last week check out Romack's youtube.. camp was great. I love playing with those guys and the kids were awesome. Thanks Cory and the NEA reps for giving us the opportunity to lead worship there. Donna also posted a bunch of pics and vids on her skydrive.. check them out here.. a great week!!!

Ok.. going to sleep now.. Peace out!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

339..on Monday..

Last couple of weeks have been hard. I've been emotionally unsettled because my baby girl was graduating from HS..don't know why...

I'm also short handed at work. Lost a great employee to an electric co-op where he plans to be an electrician/lineman and live closer to home and be near a girl he likes a lot. People at work are having to work out of their assigned work responsibilities... I've got a line on some good folks but right now things are frustrating.

I'm not organized right now. Out of rhythm... Feeling a little overwhelmed with a week of church camp coming, regular weekly required reports that have to be done are getting done late in the week. I've got a great groups of guys I'm going to play music with next week.. I'm really hoping that will help me get back in step. It did a world of good for me in February...this should be fun.

Anyway..I haven't been good the last couple of weeks, snickers bars, brownies, shiner, chips, bread, venti white chocolate mochas, ice cream, m&m's. I have not been good. I used food as a crutch instead of a gift from God.

I'm anxious because it's graduation time.. I got a pretty significant cut in pay last January and I just don't have the funds to hand out gifts like I did last year.. that hurts my heart. It's also my pride creeping in and jacking with me and tempting me to run more up on the credit card.. the agent of satan. Grrrr....

I've also pitched my "Rule of Life". A late night of rehearsal... a softball game doulbe header that hurt my knee. I'm out of wack... I need to get me some more wack somewhere.

Things felt so good there for a couple of weeks. I was on the verge of pushing my walk to a jog. I was carrying 5 lb weights with me on my walks and who knows.. some muscular tone might have been the reason for my stall in weight loss.. but anyway...it's not just that...

I haven't picked up a bible or a "spiritual book" in 2 weeks...my spiritual health is suffering through this time.

I'm feeling frantic, stalled, indicisive, overwhelmed, lazy, stupid, angry and frustrated with myself.

I got back on the eating part of the program on Monday.. I weighed 336 this morning... that seems aweful fast but anyway.. I've got to get me a new employee, get back on the walking and reading.. but I've got a family reunion coming on June 27th.. that's throwing some stress in to my life.. I'm looking forward to it but I just hope it all goes well.

Praying for God's peace, wisdom, and joy. I know when I get back on the program..even if my weight loss stalls.. I feel better... dang knee. If it hurts more this Thursday night I'm blowing off softball and focusing on walking and dancing. :-) >

Send me some wack if you have any..

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rule of Life

As a licensed minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) I have an educational component that I have to complete each year. This year that educational piece was spiritual formation. It was taught by Dr. Tim Hessel-Robinson from Brite divinity school at TCU.

It has been a very good class this year and has challenged me as well as convicted me. I had 3 books to read. Soul Feast, Thirsty for God and Practicing our Faith. As I read them in many ways I felt so insufficient in my spiritual walk. A few years ago as a lay person I was very devoted to reading the bible and doing bible studies and had a rich, full prayer life. As my plate became more full as a part-time pastor I began reading other spiritual books but my bible reading stopped. My prayer life was still there but not as strong.

As time went on and some work challenges increased my reading came to a halt and my prayer life became more random. I've really not been very focused spiritually over the last couple of years.. Throw in a Disciples history class with a ton of reading last year and my spiritual disciplines came to a halt...

Enter spiritual formation class. I knew it was something I needed but my life had a bad routine and it was not something that was going to be easy to get back in to. I didn't even get the first book read before the first class.

This discussions in class were very good. I enjoyed how Tim led each class like a worship service. It made it different and cast a completely different atmosphere over the situation had he not done so. We had 3 classes through the year. The first one focusing on personal spirituality, the second on community (church/SS etc), and the third focused on social engagement (justice etc).

As we moved through the class I was really feeling my spirit drawn back to a set of spiritual disciplines like I used to hang on to a few years ago..but I just wouldn't make the jump.

The last session began with some awesome discussions on earth care. It is to much to discuss here (may blog on it more later) but it gets my heart beating thinking about it again right now. Here are some links..

http://www.greenfaith.org/
http://www.webofcreation.org/
http://www.earthministry.org/
http://renewalproject.org/

So then we go in to the afternoon session and we go back to that first book that I never finished.. called Soul Feast.. and we go to the end and Tim begins discussing a Rule of Life. They discuss it in Chapter 9 of the book. "A rule of life is a pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness."Marjorie Thompson (author) has some examples of rules of life different people have had. Different things that they do. Tim then asks us to put together our own rule of life to begin on Monday..

Dang.. just what I needed and just what I was not prepared to do on my own. Groups of us at tables put together our own rules and discussed them with each other and then we discussed them in the class for all to hear.

This is what I came up with.

Rule of Life for Artie

Daily
Morning
Get up and walk for 30-45 minutes
15 minutes of prayer
15 minutes of reading
clean up and go to work
be sure and listen to some spiritual music during the day.

Evening
30 minutes of reflection/meditation/prayer

Weekly- Some kind of recreation -softball, racquetball, dancing, biking, bowling, hiking, whatever but something that moves and is fun.

Quarterly-
24 hours of silence and fasting
serve at cisc, love inc., or other charitable organization
find something I can change about my life to make it more green and do it daily.

Annually-
Emmaus walk or other spiritual retreat
Mission trip


Tim told us to type it up with fancy letters on nice paper and frame it and post it someplace where we would see it daily...in our office, home etc. He also told us to not make it a burden.. it is a framework to live in to create a rhythm for living and spiritual growth.

He also told us that we should try what we put down for a couple of weeks then tweak it and make sure it works for us.

Well I've been at it for a week so far. It has been hard getting up at 5:00 a.m. and beginning my walk.. I've had some late nights and I've hit the snooze and put me a little behind. I've traded a few minutes of sleep for a few minutes of prayer/meditation a couple of mornings but I know I can also do that on the road with God as well.

The toughest part has been the evening time of reflection/meditation and prayer. Too much going on around the house and too much going on in my life it seems. I may have to re-think this part.. either that or just make it a little shorter but I'm going to work on it for another couple of weeks before I adjust.

I've also got to give myself a little time to get over my jet lag or whatever you want to call it. I get in to a sleepy funk every time we do a time change so this has been much like this.. so it hasn't been easy...but I guess if it was, everyone would do it. Well that sounded kind of arrogant..didn't mean for it too. How about this.. If it were easy it really wouldn't be a sacrifice.

So overall, living in to the rule has been good so far and I'm looking forward to my quarterly activities. I really appreciate the fact that Dr. Hessel-Robinson came and taught our licensed minister classes this year. It was a real blessing. He did a lot to enrich my life and the lives of others in the class.

It also got me walking more...7 1/2 miles last week. Big change from weeks before. Kinda holistic I think.. thanks Tim!! Very much!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

329

I finally broke 330. I've lost 33 total lbs since I started. I was pretty disciplined throughout the week walking every weekday and staying pretty close to my eating plan. I'm feeling good and I'm drying my pants now so they will fit me better. Haven't dropped another belt notch yet but hoping to do that in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday Morning Worship 5/10/09

Mother's day service.

10:45 Celebration Service
Gathering Music-Revolutionary Love
Enter the Light of Christ

Welcome and Announcements



Praise Music-

Choral Anthem- Simple Praise

My Hope is You
Forever



Prayer Time and Lord's Prayer
Prayer Response



Children's Sermon
Greeting

Worship Music
Handbells

Open the Eyes of My Heart


Scripture Reading-1 John 3: 1-7
Sermon-Only a Mother could Love



Call to Communion
Prayer for Elements
Communion and Offering

Communion Music - Unashamed Love


Invitation to Respond
Invitation Music- Open the Eyes of My Heart

Going Out Music- Revolutionary Love

This is a part of Fred McKinnon's Sunday Set Lists

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunday Morning Worship 5/3/09

Attendance was down some.. weather was crazy Sunday morning and I think a little pig flu scare was going on too.. but the worshipers showed up..the band rocked the house and those that were there sang out.. oh yeah..God was there too.. a great morning. Here's how it went for us.

10:45 Celebration Service

Gathering Music - Forever

Enter the Light of Christ



Welcome and Announcements

Choral Anthem



Praise Music- You Never Let Go
Jesus Messiah



Children’s Sermon

Greeting



Worship Music- How Great Thou Art
All Creatures



Prayer Time and Lord’s Prayer

Prayer Response Artie (Instrumental)



Call to Communion



Prayer for Elements



Communion and Offering- instrumental



Sermon



Invitation to Respond

Invitation Music- Jesus Messiah



Going Out Music - Forever

You can see more worship sets at Fred McKinnon's blog here



332

Blah blah blah... floating around 30 lbs lost.. being good most days... Hey, I'm 2 lbs lighter than last week.. I'm instituting a change and I'll let you know more about it at a later time.. writing me up a rule of life..from my licensed minister class.. out of a book called Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson. I hope it will help me out in a holistic way..not just physically.. peace out..

Monday, April 27, 2009

334

Grr..

I had my struggles with food last week. I tweeted my bad day early in the week..then I had a celebration at work that brought CAKE in to the building and I had some.. enjoyed some Bock's in Gruene this weekend. I did a lot of walking.. walked in Lufkin, hiked in New Braunfels, walked all around the outlet mall in San Marcos and then danced a lot Saturday night..

Oh well.. I'll just keep at it and hope for the best next Monday..

Sunday, April 26, 2009

unplugged...

Watch out..it's a long one..but worth it I think..

Not unplugged in the way that rock bands do acoustic versions of their rock tunes.. unplugged in such a way that I "went off the grid".."exited the twittersphere"..."unplugged from the net"..."detached from the matrix"...

Lent at church presented some special challenges.. some changes to our weekly worship schedule, a Maundy Thursday drama service, daily noonday services during Holy Week, Easter Egg Hunt on the front lawn of the church, Running back and fourth to Conroe for family events, a youth Sunday service that had the first rehearsal on that Sunday morning (I don't like operating like that), the tension of my daughter doing a sermon that morning (which went very well), and then running to Stafford Tx to a dance competition after church and then turning around and coming back home to go to work the next day..

All very good, honorable, wholesome, healthy things to be a part of.. but between all of that and trips to Chicago and Pittsburgh for my Ex job and a special event week last week at work (while I was shorthanded a manager..and found out I was losing a full time clerk) I was a little physically and mentally drained..

Hannah had a dance competition scheduled this weekend. I was looking forward to watching my daughter's last dance competition and a chance to have some down time.. I knew I wouldn't be watching dancers all weekend so I'd get a break but I'd get to see my daughter dance one last time...

...then last Thursday I found out the dance competition was cancelled.. Hannah was bummed. I was bummed. I really wanted to watch her dance one last time... but no go..

Then I realized I had already put in to place everything I needed to leave town for the weekend. I had people lined up to cover worship Sunday morning, I had no plans at the house for the weekend. I decided it was time to take some kind of break.

Donna and I was not sure what to do but I did some searching around on the Internet and found out Gary P. Nunn was playing at Gruene Hall on Saturday night. For those of you who do not know who Gary is.. you're too young or don't listen to Texas country music or both but he's and old Austin (Tx) picker that we have a couple of his records and we had seen him a few times in our younger years (like 25 years younger) and we decided it would be fun to go dance country and Gruene Hall. Watch the youtube video on the bottom of his web page..maybe you've heard that song.. or London Homesick Blues (I wanna go home with the Armadillo) .. He also wrote The Last Thing I Needed (The First Thing This Morning) which was a big hit for Willie Nelson a ways back in the old days.. anyway...

I got a cheap hotel in New Braunfels on priceline.com and our plans were in motion..

We left Friday night right after work and headed to NB. I notified all my tweeps that I was going off the grid. We stopped in Caldwell, Tx at Sonic and seemed to have some communication issues with the young lady on the other end of the intercom..she was going to charge us like $30 bucks for $15 bucks worth of food.. then she wasn't sure if she brought me a regular coke or a diet.. grrr..

Anyway..we get on our way and make it to La Quinta in NB and the guy checking us in quotes us a price about $45 higher than what our room price was...besides we had already paid..but he asked for the card which I assume was for "incidental" items.. that happens often.. we let him know our room is supposed to be..well a lot less and so he says he'll take care of it..

We hit the sack and get some sleep.

I wake up for some stupid reason at 5:15 a.m. and find the hotel bill under my door.. it shows check out for Saturday..not good.. and it shows me charged and paid for a night in a room..I'm thinking we already paid for this so now I'm wide awake..

I try to go back to sleep but no luck so I got up and did my morning routine and went down to the front desk and got the key to the business center. I checked my on line banking info and there were 2 charges to my card from La Quinta in NB. One really big and one half that but still significant (more than you would expect for "incidentals") GRRRrrr.. I print the info and head to the desk.. they are bewildered and show that they have not charged me for anything and so I press a little more.. they assure me I'm not charged and those will come off my card. They give me the business card for the general manager and tell me to call if it does not come off in a few days.

I head back to the room and read some of my book for my licensed ministry class. The book is Soul Feast and so far has been a very good read..

Donna finally gets up and we decide to go get some breakfast at iHop.. yeah I know.. weak but we wanted no surprises for breakfast..

Well we get there and once again there is some kind of communication sphere surrounding us preventing those outside the sphere from comprehending us and us from comprehending those outside the sphere..

Some special on the board outside I want but then I find out not really.. I get something else and ask if I can substitute..no you can't because of the difference in the price of items.. Donna decides she wants the special instead of what she usually gets from Ihop ...then when she gets it the meal is not what she wanted.. oh well.. we didn't starve but we're beginning to wonder how this weekend is going to go..

We decide to head to Landa Park and take a hike on the Panther Canyon Nature Trail.

It was a great morning.. it was still very comfortable temp wise outside and I love the hill country and the rocky terrain and this was a beautiful walk and was very relaxing and was very good exercise as well.

We then headed to the San Marcos outlet malls and we picked up some great deals on some clothes for the kids and we found Donna some boots to scoot in too.

We headed back to the room and took a nap..

..then we got cleaned up and headed up to The Grist Mill in Gruene to eat dinner. I wasn't sure what to order but the waitress suggested the ribs...
Read the bottom of the card very carefully...

Oh my goodness... if you ever go you have to try them..they are fabulous!! Donna and I split a rack and it was plenty for the both of us and it was good...very good!!!

Then we're off to Gruene Hall...

They opened the gate at 8 and the music started at 9:00.

The opening band was Michael Shane Borden and The Diesel Kings.. they were great.. watch out for them... they play classic country music and they rock it too.

Donna and I danced a couple of songs to Michael's tunes and had a great time.. then around 10:00 Gary P started up.

....and he did not stop until 1:00 a.m. He played and played..he is so engaging with the crowd. He's like the house band guy that everyone knows and he knows everyone.. played happy birthday.. old school and Beatles style for a young lady..he let a guy get up on the stage and sing one of the songs.. and he played and sang and was just awesome. Donna and I danced and danced and wore ourselves out and had a huge time.. this was the kind of stuff we used to do a long time ago and I was re-engaging a part of my soul that had been dormant for a long time... I'm telling you I had a spiritual experience out there..

...here's a little video so you can get a feel of the place.. the audio sucks because of the conversations around me in the crowd but you can see what it's like there..

video

Dancing with my beloved wife and singing London Homesick blues at Gruene Hall with Gary P playing was just awesome.. a tear came to my eye.. no joke folks..

About midnight he said "well we were gonna take a break but then we saw how late it was so we just decided to play through to the end"... and he did...no breaks... 3 solid hours of classic Texas dance hall music.. wow..

We stayed to the end and Gary is just great with those who want to hang out and visit.. he gives each person such gracious and un-destracted attention you know he is interested in you and I'm guessing he's thankful you are there. I visited with him for a few minutes about how we had swapped hats right there at Gruene Hall way back in 82 and that Donna and I had danced to his music on Congress avenue at the Austin City Limits special they had out there a long time ago. I told him we had such a wonderful time and he beamed..I asked to take a picture and he jumped down off the stage and obliged..

Gary P. Nunn folks... buy his stuff.. go see him play.. there are not many folks like him. You can hear a lot of his music on his myspace . If you like Jerry Jeff Walker Gary P. is the reason JJ sounded as good as he did way back in the 70's . Gary was the head of the Lost Gonzo Band that backed Mr. Walker (Ronald Clyde Crosby is JJW's real name) back then..

Anyway.. we went back to the room beaming like a couple of kids. We found something we lost a long time ago and we know we've got to do this again soon...we've got to get friends plugged in to this.. it's such a great social time to have together..

We cleaned up (we were soaking with sweat) and crashed..

We got up.. Sunday morning about 11:00 and went to Ihop... Donna got her usual and I got a Colorado omelet.. and I was told I could substitute my pancakes for toast or hash browns if I wanted.. hmmm what was different??

Our orders were just as we wanted them and we had a great afternoon breakfast together.. then back to Lufkin..

I rubbernecked twitter but didn't post (except that one pic of the "Snake Farm"which I could not pass on...) I answered a few fb questions via my BB but I stayed pretty detached... I am now re-entering the twittersphere and the websphere on a low speed trajectory.. until Monday..

What a great weekend.. I love my wife and I love dancing with her and I love Texas country music!!! I found God in all that this weekend... I mean it. Thank you Lord for a wonderful experience..

Monday, April 20, 2009

330

Did a lot of traveling this week but was very disciplined. Did not indulge in sweets or bread. Walked a lot in airports...didn't even use the moving sidewalks. In Chicago where I had a 2+ hour delay I walked around the airport.. I also walked at the hotel in Pittsburgh.

When I got home I weighed 336.. man was I in a bad mood. I was so tempted to blow it off but maintained my cool and stayed the course.

Didn't exercise this weekend but was good with what I ate... dropped 6 lbs from Saturday to Monday.

I weighed 330 this morning..That's 9 lbs since we started the friendly competition and 32 lbs since I started this whole deal back in January. Clothes are very loose, I feel very good.. I walked again today.

How I feel is how I want to continue to remind myself what is so good about this. I have good energy, I feel alert, I want to move...in fact I'm parking farther away at places so I can walk more to get to my car. I look forward to continued success.

Sunday Setlist 4/19/09 Youth Sunday

This was a Sunday that was not without it's struggles.. I was out of town during the week so no weekday practice.. It was youth Sunday so youth singing and leading worship..some tech issues with sound.. regular sound guy was cooking fish for the fish fry luncheon we have after every Youth Sunday event.. We had a drummer for the first time in weeks... a new one...trying to blend all that together was a little tenuous... but it all worked well.

Cool thing was my daughter Hannah brought the message. You can see all this at our church website here eventually once it is archived. I was very proud of her..

Below you can see the flow of the service. It was a great day.. our youth did a wonderful job!! You can see how others worshiped our risen Lord here at FredMckinnon.com

Yes...I know there is lots of Crowder... it's OK.. I promise...


Gathering Music (Glory of it All- Crowder)

Enter the Light of Christ (Tyler Day)

Welcome and Announcements (Cory)

Greeting

Children’s Sermon (Lauren Skelton)

Praise Music (PT & youth singers)

O Praise Him(Crowder)

How Great Thou Art(Hine/Baloche)

Call to Communion (Shelby Garcia)

Prayer for Elements (Mariah Melvin)

Communion and Offering

Communion Music (Never Let Go-Crowder)

Worship Music (PT & youth singers)

A Beautiful Collision(Crowder)

Here I Am Lord(Schutte)

Prayer Time and Lord’s Prayer (Scott Skelton)

Scripture (Dylan Goodier)

Sermon (Hannah Anderson)

Invitation to Respond

Invitation Music (Surely We Can Change, Megan Yeager(Crowder))

Benediction/Prayer for Food (Brax Turner)

Going Out Music (How Great Thou Art)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Excuse me..but did you give me the right room??

Had to fly to Pittsburgh Pa for a meeting that folks at the Ex wanted me to attend..

I'm staying at the Crown Plaza..along with everyone else and it's where the meetings are being held..

After an evening with my nephew and his wife and kids catching up and visiting Jason dropped me off here..

They gave me my room key and my room #.. and I found this....


















You can imagine my surprise when I walked in.. I was wondering who really had the room and I was barging in.. but no.. it's my room.

Too bad my family is not here to enjoy it with me...

I guess some times it really pays off to be added to the meeting a few weeks late.. Only thing I can figure happened is that they had booked all the rooms but this one and then I got added to the meeting and this was all they had left..

I'll suffer through it I guess.

Monday, April 13, 2009

336

It kind of bums me to type those 3 numbers up there... but I have to look at this in the big picture of things.... I will eventually get to where I want to be.. where I want to be changes every now and then..actually I'm already where I wanted to be.. at one time.. but now I look forward to another place I hope to be.

I feel better. I have greater energy. I go up and down stairs much easier..

I don't have to shove my body in to the booth at Cheddars like I'm stuffing a sausage. I actually have a little space between me and my table now.

Anyway... I will eventually get to where I want to be..and I have to know that I will have weekends like this...visiting family, Sunday School class parties, festive holiday time food all around... and instead of putting unreasonable demands on my psyche I want to fully enjoy and revel in those times..

...and then I want to return to my norm..lose the pound I gained during that weekend/holiday and contine living a thinner healthier life.. I have to practice that along the way to know that I can do it when I get there.

So I had some major indulgences this weekend and I gained a pound (over last week). I was very busy and church and at work last week and didn't walk a single day. I forgot to eat my breakfast when I should have which is not good for my metabo either... busy, busy, stressful week (which I ended Friday at 332 lbs) but then had a fun weekend, laughing, drinking, eating, and enjoying myself.

This probably is not good for me in my race agains Katie and Cory but in my overall scheme of things.. it's how I have to live every now and then. Now I must get back on task.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Song set April 12th Easter Sunday!!

Handbells were awesome today.. The choir's arrangement of "He Arose" was great..festive. We had 4 baptisms, the praise team rocked "Here is our King" and " Better is One Day"..it was just a Spirit filled wonderful morning...here's how it went..

Easter Sunday

10:45 AM Celebration Service

Gathering Music – True Religion (Brenton Brown)(Praise Team)

Enter the Light of Christ

Choral Anthem-He Arose

Call to Worship

Welcome and Announcements

Praise Music

Jesus Messiah-(Tomlin, Carson, Reeves, Cash)

Wonderful Cross-(Reeves, Tomlin, Walt, Watts, Mason)

Children’s Sermon (Cory)

Greeting

Worship Song – Here is our King-(David Crowder)

Act of Christian Baptism

Through baptism, we are buried with Christ, that we, like Him, may be raised from the dead to walk in newness of life.

Worship Song – Better is One Day-(Matt Redman)

Prayer Time and Lord’s Prayer (Artie)

Prayer Response (Handbells)

Call to Communion (Mike)

Prayer for Elements

Communion and Offering

New Members’ First Communion

Scripture (Cory)

Sermon (Mike)

Invitation to Respond

Invitation Music – Jesus Messiah

Going Out Music – Jesus Messiah

See how others worshiped our risen Lord here

Monday, April 6, 2009

335


Did a little walking this week and a little working in the yard.. 4 lbs.. I'm happy with that.


Oh yeah..Cory Glover is in the mix now..



one more person that I can ridicule when I win!!
See his picture..he's eating ice cream.. I'm just sayin'!


Follow his progress here

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Song set April 5th, 2009..Palm Sunday

10:45 AM Celebration Service

Gathering Music (King of Glory, Praise Team)(Carr/Avery/Powell/Lee/Anderson)

Enter the Light of Christ

Opening Music (Handbells)

Welcome and Announcements (Artie)

Praise Music

He is Exalted-(Paris)

Sing Alleluia-(Stassen)

Procession of the Palms (Sing Alleluia) – FCC Children

Children’s Sermon (Kathy)

Greeting

Worship Music

King of Glory- (Tomlin/Reeves)

You Alone-(Crowder)

Prayer Time and Lord’s Prayer (Artie)

Prayer Response (possible choral anthem)

Call to Communion (Cory)

Prayer for Elements

Communion and Offering

Sermon (Mike)

Invitation to Respond

Invitation Music - You Alone (Crowder)

Going Out Music -King of Glory (Tomlin/Reeves)


See what other people did for worship here

Monday, March 30, 2009

339


Ok, that's 23 pounds as of this morning that I have lost..


It's also very important because it the starting weight for my weight loss contest against this girl..



Katie such a funny sweet silly girl, she thinks she can lose 30 pounds before I lose 60 pounds.


Heck, she doesn't have 30 pounds to lose..when I drop another 60 lbs I'll still weigh 279 lbs. I'm thinkin this is a slam dunk..silly little girl.
Now she has posted her weight loss progress over here. Check it out if you want...
Silly little girl..

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Setlist 3/29/09

March 29

Gathering Music (announcements on screen; lighting of candles)

Wholly Yours - Crowder



Welcome to FCC



Teaser (dramatic reading/monologue of portions of Psalms 51 & 32.)



Choral Anthem: "Create in Me a Clean Heart"



Praise Music

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)Tomlin/Giglio/Excell/Reese

Change My Heart, O God-Espinosa

Here I Am, Lord-Schutte



Children's Sermon (Kathy)

Greeting



Worship Music

Open the Eyes of My Heart-Baloche

Pure Heart-Caraway



Prayer (Cory)



Communion/Offering (Kathy - meditation)



Communion Music - Take My Life-Powell, Carr, Avery, Lee, Anderson



Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34 (Artie)



Sermon (Mike)



Invitation - Here I Am, Lord



Postlude - Pure Heart


See other cool Sunday sets here

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Setlist 3/22/09

March 22: Restoration

Prelude (announcements on screen) - Restored (Camp) -Artie Anderson

Enter the Light of Christ

Opening Song- Everything Glorious (Crowder)

Welcome to FCC/Announcements

Youth Ski Trip Video

Praise Music- Take my Life (Holiness) (Underwood)

Enough (Tomlin)

Children’s Sermon (Kathy)

Greeting

Worship Music- Better is One Day (Redman)

- Empty Me (Way/Comer)

Prayer Time & LP (Mike)

Prayer Response

Communion/Offering (choir - It is Well) (Artie at Table)

Sermon– Cory w/Youth (scripture embedded: 2 Samuel 7:1-16)

Invitation- Enough

Going Forth- Everything Glorious


Check out other cool Sunday Setlists done today here

Friday, March 20, 2009

More from Hannah and her trip to Italy-Venice!!

Fw: Walking in venice! From @hannahstar on TwitPic

Fw: Look familiar? :) from @hannahstar on TwitPic

Feeding birds in venice fr @hannahstar on TwitPic

@hannahstar feeding birds in venice italy on TwitPic

@hannahstar On the gondola in venice on TwitPic

More on ancestors..

Donna was very interested in the info we had uncovered at the San Jacento battlegrounds about my ancestor... so she did a google search.

She found this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More pics from Hannah in Italy

Hannah at the church of St Francis of Assisi. The writer of my favorite hymn..

Hannah at church of st francis on TwitPic

Hannah at Assisi with the Tuscan countryside behind her.

Hannah at assisi looking over tuscany on TwitPic

The Tuscan countryside..

Tuscan country side. Hannah's spring break trip. 2009.  on TwitPic

A pic from Hannah

Hannah is traveling in Italy during spring break.. something I have not gotten to do.. She's loving it. Here is a pic she sent via text of the Vatican.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

San Jacento Battlegrounds.. and ancestors..

The San Jacento Monument. La Porte, TX

Below is an e-mail my brother sent me and others.. it starts with comments from him about our family and then most is a message from Senator Hutchinson. I knew my family had deep roots in Texas history but didn't realize it was so deep and strong... by the way my mom, Christine Lena Williamson, was raised by her aunt..Artie Lena Thomas, not her mom. So you can see the immediate connection... Interesting. I've added pics from our visit to the battlegrounds today.

From my brother.....

My ancestor, David Thomas signed this document, he's below Sam Houston. They both represented Refugio County. David was Secty of State, and later additionally acting Secty of War. He was traveling in a stagecoach when a pistol discharged and wounded him. He was taken to De ZaValla's home (the VP of Texas) where he died the day before the Battle of San Jacinto (April 21st). He is buried in the De ZaValla burial plot, located south of the Battleship Texas, behind the huge sundial. A red Texas Granite tombstone sits over both De ZaValla and Thomas at each corner on the plot.
Thomas is on the maternal side of our family.
Some claim that one of the reinforcement troops from Gonzales, Tx to the Alamo was one of our family, a Williamson, who died there.
doc anderson




Texas Independence Day Honors Our Tradition of Patriotism
February 27, 2009

Nearly 173 years ago, two very different groups of Texas patriots led a double-barreled effort that would eventually secure Texas’ independence from Mexico and change the future of the United States.
On March 2, 1836, a convention of 54 men drafted and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence at a small settlement called Washington-on-the-Brazos. Among the signers were my great-great grandfather, Charles S. Taylor of Nacogdoches, and his friends Sam Houston and Thomas Rusk, who later became the first Senators to represent Texas. On behalf of all Texans, they declared, “We, therefore . . . do hereby resolve and declare . . . the people of Texas do now constitute a free, sovereign and independent republic.”
During this time, 189 Texas soldiers were under siege at the Alamo in San Antonio by an estimated 6,000 Mexican troops who were determined to extinguish this newly created republic. Under the valiant leadership of Colonel William Barret Travis, these Texans, outnumbered 10 to 1 by Mexican forces, fought courageously in the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution.
Though Colonel Travis and his soldiers were willing to lay down their lives in service to Texas and in pursuit of its freedom, they knew that without reinforcements they would not be able to withstand the much larger Mexican army. In a final letter to all Texans shortly before the fall of the Alamo, Colonel Travis wrote:
Fellow citizens and compatriots: I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man – the enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison is to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demands with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the wall – I shall never surrender or retreat.
Then, I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and of everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country – Victory or Death.
William Barret Travis, Lt. Col, Commander
The sacrifice of Colonel Travis and his men made General Sam Houston’s subsequent victory at San Jacinto possible. As cries of “Remember the Alamo!” were delivered during the final battle of the Texas Revolution, General Houston and his soldiers won independence for Texas.
The Texans leading the fight against Mexico weren’t alone in their sacrifice. The signers of the Texas Declaration, like their forefathers who signed the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, risked their own lives and those of their families when they put pen to paper. They were considered traitors to Mexico as they used their voices, professions, and positions of influence to wage a critical battle in Texas’ struggle for independence.
My great-great grandfather’s own loss was significant. While he was doing the work of the Republic, all four of his children (ages seven and younger) who remained back at home in Nacogdoches died during the “runaway scrape,” when the women and children in the Nacogdoches Territory fled toward Louisiana because they feared Indians and Mexican troops were headed their way. Our family story did not end there, however. Charles S. Taylor and his wife, my great-great-grandmother, went on to have nine more children who were blessed to lead lives of independence and opportunity in Texas.
It is important that every generation of Texans pause to remember these patriots: each soldier who gave his life at the Alamo and Goliad; the 54 men who met at Washington-on-the-Brazos, putting their lives in danger by signing that Declaration of Independence and becoming heroes for a cause; and every man, woman, and child who struggled to make Texas the marve lous place it is today. While few of these Texans could have predicted Texas’ future prosperity and achievements, they all knew independence and freedom were worth any sacrifice.
Each year on March 2, I am honored to recognize our history by reading Colonel Travis’ letter on the floor of the United States Senate. The late Senator John G. Tower, who served in the Senate between 1961 and 1985, initiated this practice, and I am proud to carry on the tradition today. It is my hope that this ritual will last for generations to come, as our children and grandchildren carry on our state’s legacy of freedom and patriotism.


A view of the battle grounds from the monument.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Houston we have a problem....



Today we went to Space Center Houston.. Man this place touches me way down in my inner child. I grew up watching people blast off in to space to try and get us on the moon. I was a little over a year old when Yuri Gagarin had made history by being launched in to space.. Alan Shepherd made the trip not to long after that and yada yada yada when I was 9 Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon (see more here)... it was that yada yada yada that was a part of my growing up.. tang, the space race, coupling that space race with the cold war, bomb shelters in peoples back yards and the fear of just what the russians would do to us from the moon if they got there before us made the whole space thing very important to almost all of us growing up back then.

I also used to lay on my back in the yard at night and use our binoculors to look at the moon.. believe it or not it always looked closer and more detailed than by the naked eye..

I had a map of the universe when I was in first grade and I would pull it out and look at it over and over again. I used in school for presentations several different times as I grew up. Space, NASA, all that stuff was just a part of me as I was growing up...

Also..schools in the Houston area went to NASA often.. Not every year but we went pretty often.

So...going to Space Center Houston today was something I was really looking forward to. The last time I had been to NASA.. it was just the Johnson Space Center.. there was no Space Center Houston. I had heard a lot of good things about Space Center Houston (SCH) so I was looking forward to today..on many levels.. I had a real good time.. you can see the pics I took here.

Unfortunately... it wasn't nearly as good as when it was just JSC... probably because I imagine how great it could be. Basically me and my family stood in line for over 3 hours today to go on 2 tours.. shop a little and go home. I studied recreation and parks in college and so did Donna. Donna even worked at Disney in Florida and knows how important it is for things to go right for there to be a quality experience for visitors....guests..whatever term you want to give to those poor suckers that come in the gate in the morning and hand you a pretty decent stack of cash to spend the day on your property..

Here are just a few things that need some attention Houston...

Tour guides or hosts do not need to be texting friends while guiding your group.
Tour guides or hosts should not make sarcastic comments about the place they work while on duty in front of guests.
Tour guides or hosts should not bob their heads to the music on the guide video no matter how sick they are of "The flight of the bumblebee".
Videos used on tour buses should be less then 10 years old.
Audio files used on tour trams should be less than 10 years old.
Security screening should be done at the beginning of the que line while people are waiting to get on trams..not at the end of the line so that people are delayed boarding their trams.. It must have taken at least 15 minutes (Donna's guess.. I think more) to load a freakin tram.. 3 minutes tops to get everyone on...maybe a tad more if you have physically challenged guests. This was insane!!
Don't tell people to return to the tram at the end of a tour and then tell them they should be sitting in the same seats they left AFTER they return to the tram.
If you are going to have flight simulators in the flight simulator part of your facility you should have more than 2 of the 10 working.

We didn't get to see anything else because it took so freakin' long to do these two tours. I'm sure I would have seen more that needs attention.

I know that JSC specializes in rocket science.. but this isn't rocket science.. it's hospitality, expectations, follow-up, leadership and respect....but then again this is a government agencey (NASA) and I'm sure SCH is the lowest bidder.. I really don't know how this was put together...it could be so much better..

and bobble head host told us today they were only expecting 6000 guests but would have over 8000 tomorrow with all the parking lots full including the staff parking lot.. good luck folks..the tram lines don't go too fast...and the security people that are going through your stuff and scanning you with a hand held metal detector are in no rush..which wouldn't matter except that the tram is waiting on you and the 80+ people behind you to get on... yawn..

I really hope to go back some time soon so I can spend more time in the main facility and skip the tours because they took forever but it was what I wanted to do today. I didn't get to look at any space capsules up close like I have every time I've been to JSC. I didn't get to see any rocks like every time I've been to JSC. Again.. it was the choices we made, they were long slow choices with a lot of standing still but I'm ok with that.

I'm not mad..I love the place.. I want to see more.. I just know with some minor changes that would cost nothing so many more people could be serviced with no extra effort put fourth by any of the underpaid, under motivated hosts on staff.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A little trip to Houston..










We didn't go on the church ski trip... Austin nor Donna wanted to ski.. Hannah was going to Italy so we didn't know what we would do for our little spring break jaunt.. Austin had a neat idea.. let's go to Houston and do like we do when we go to New York.. in other words.. let be tourists in Houston..

Having grown up in the Houston area and generally having a disdain for the city because it's hot, and humid, and un-zoned, and humid, and has never seemed to have the hiways it needed to move people around like it needs to I really wasn't fired up about that right off the bat but then I thought better of it.. so that's what we're doing..

I went to priceline.com and bid on some 5 star hotels in downtown Houston and got a nice deal on a room at The Inn at the Ballpark.

This morning we had church..and in the midst of church Hannah took off for Italy.. once church was over we headed to Livingston to have lunch at The Courthouse Whistlstop Cafe.



A very nice cafe with very good food and good sized portions. Service was excellent even though some of the Sunday specials had been eaten up by a large after church crowd. We had lunch with family there (Donna's mom, sister, brother-in-law, and our nephew John). After visiting and eating we headed on to Houston..











We had been toying with the idea of going to a hockey game.. it was looking like we weren't going to miss much of the afternoon game of the Houston Aeros so we went to the Toyota center and enjoyed the sport from the great white north.

The Aeros won and we had fun..minor league sports are a hoot because they do so much to keep you entertained.. same with minor league baseball.. anyway, we had a good time and then checked in at "The Inn".













Room is spacious and the bed is heaven...it's huge and comfy.. The lobby, bar and cafe all beautifully appointed with baseball memorabelia.. well so is the room.. even little baseball stickers on the toilet paper rolls... we really did get a nice deal now that I've seen it.













We go eat in "The Ballpark Cafe".. food is pricy but good. Donna had the ballpark burger..I had the ballpark hot dog (a foot long that was about 18" long..stuck out about 2 inches on each end of the bun)..and with ballpark dog I had to have a bock..Austin.. always one to watch cost of items on the menu had a $6 salad and the fried shrimp.. The bill was ... well alot for a burger, a dog and 5 shrimp but the place was nice and the waiter was fantastic.

Back at the room taking it easy.. contemplating going here tomorrow..