Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tide Is Now #2 and #4

One more post about Alabama football and then I will have it out of my system for the week.

Patti just looked up the new rankings for Week #5. I heard a scream come out of the office. I knew it was a good kind of scream. Alabama is #2 in the AP poll and #4 in the important Coach's poll. They jumped from 8th to 2nd in the AP and 10th to 4th in the Coach's poll. LSU and Missouri are ahead of them.

Oklahoma (#1) will be playing Texas (#7) on October 11 and then Missouri meets Texas the week following. I wonder if Texas could beat both of them??? That may be asking too much out of that young team. I'll be rooting for them anyway.

I can say something that I've not been able to say for a long time. I think Alabama will play one game at a time the rest of the season. Any team can get beat on any given Sunday. That's what parity has done for us. I hope I can enjoy each week for the next month and a half! This week I just need to enjoy being #2 and #4 for a change.

We had a great evening last night. Our Children's Pastor, his wife, and three children joined our kids and their three children at our home for the game last night. There were 14 of us all together--8 adults and 6 children. It was a great group. I cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and Patti fixed several other dishes. A good time was had by all, except maybe the Georgia fans who were in attendance.

Today I've already had a noon luncheon where we trained mentors for out new New Believer Track. I will go back to church in about an hour and a half for the Alpha class. I should be out 8:00-8:30, so it will make for a long day. Then tomorrow it will be back to the teaching routine again. I can't wait to sleep again until 7:00 or 7:30. I guess Saturday will arrive in another 6 days.

Hope you have a good week coming up.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Big Game Is Over

It is late on Saturday night and the 2008 edition of the Alabama-Georgia game is now history. Alabama won 41-30 and dominated the first half with a 31-0 shellacking.

Alabama did not play well during the second half. They looked like a team coasting with a big lead. They won it just the same and will probably rise in the polls, hopefully to #3 just behind LSU.

I felt all week that Alabama could whip Georgia convincingly if they came to really play. I just couldn't bring myself to say it out loud. I don't think anyone gave us a chance I think we really are that good, we just can't seem to play for 60 minutes. Like, where were we during the 3rd quarter?

Tonight the ESPN crowd told us that nobody would have expected Alabama to turn around this quickly. They started out the season at #24 and by the end of the month, they will undoubtedly be ranked in the Top 5. That is a quick rise by any one's standards.

Maybe Alabama has made a "return" to the SEC West.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Roll Tide!!

My family and extended family was at our home yesterday for an NCAA Football Tripleheader. We started out the day with the Alabama-Arkansas game at 11:30. I wore an Alabama t-shirt and cap. Patti also wore an Alabama shirt.

Arkansas has always been a real competitor for Alabama down through the years. There were some real duels even before Arkansas joined the SEC. Yesterday I thought it would be another battle to the end. ESPN broadcasters said it would be Alabama by two touchdowns. I wondered if Alabama was ready to win by that much in SEC competition in Arkansas.

The game was over early as Alabama destroyed Arkansas 49-14! I was surprised at what Alabama did to them, but maybe it showed what Alabama was capable of doing, at least to an inferior opponent.

Next week we play Georgia. Then we will find out if we are really any good this year. Maybe it will show us how far we have come after one season with a new coach. Even if that coach is Nick Saban! He was the one this month that became the first coach in the country to ever adorn the cover of Forbes magazine.

Anyway, we have moved up to #8 in the AP poll and we will be playing Georgia, who remained at #3. They beat us in overtime last year, so I am really looking forward to Saturday night's game. Pastor Travis Duke, our Children's Pastor, is a grad of Georgia and is a huge bulldog fan. I warned him this morning that this is the week before the big game and I'm going to give him a hard time. He will probably be the one who gives me the hard time!

After Alabama won its game on Saturday, we tuned into the Florida-Tennessee game and it looked to me like Florida really is as good as we thought they were, if not better.

Whoever wins the West division will more than likely have to face Florida in the SEC Championship game. Imagine having to face Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn before you even get to the championship. There are certainly other teams that could take you out that are not even the above caliber, but they can beat you on the way to one of the "big" games.

Finally last night we watched LSU-Auburn. As an Alabama fan, I always want Auburn to get beat. As the father and father-in-law of LSU graduates, I changed out of my red t-shirt and cap. I then put on a purple t-shirt and sported an LSU cap for the evening nightcap. LSU came from behind 14-3 to win the game. It went right down to the end.

That was a full day of football, but we are huge college football fans. I know that I'm in the minority, but I enjoy college football more than I do the NFL. I have already checked out tickets for the LSU-Alabama game in November, but I think the cost is too rich for my blood. I may just have to settle for a 50 yard-line seat in front of the TV. But, there is something about being on the LSU campus when underdog Alabama comes to town. It is magic for the college football enthusiast.

Well, you know where you'll find me next Saturday night. The sound coming from our den will probably be heard at the front of the subdivision!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fried Chicken Anyone?

Today was my first day back at work at the church. We have electrical power, including computer capability. Sunday will be a normal day for us, so I wrote an e-mail to our Abundant Life University and Alpha leaders, filling them in on what was happening. Only God knows how many will get the note.

Some of the major fallen utility poles on 518 were resurrected today. Next will come electricity, businesses opening, and gasoline pumps up and running. I think we will see a major difference on 518 by Monday.

Patti cooked for the family tonight--six adults and three children. Patti surprised all of us with fried chicken! That may not be much of a shock for you, but Patti has not prepared fried chicken in more than 30 years! Our kids have never tasted her fried chicken. They were as flabbergasted as I was. Patti said she was just tired of eating food off the grill when we were without electricity.

We had a great time together. We ended up going over to Tiffany and Jared's house because that's where our family's four dogs were being lodged. We had coffee and ice cream over there and watched a movie together.

Now it is about 11:00 and my eyes are telling me that I am tired. Whoever reads this, I hope you have a blessed Friday and weekend coming up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day #5

It is just past noon on Wednesday. As I look out beyond my backyard, it is a beautiful day with cool temperatures of 75 degrees and blue skies with high clouds. I just saw a butterfly flying around Patti's flower garden. Still, disaster is all around us.

I heard this morning that 60% of the Greater Pearland area still does not have electricity. I wish that were the worst of the problems. As we view television reports, it is obvious that some folks have lost everything they have, thousands are receiving food and water, while huge problems plague Galveston to the point of increasing fear of disease. It is bad.

I spent some time this morning working on lesson plans for next week. We assume that school will be back in session by Monday, but who knows? I'm just trying to be ready and it felt good to be doing work like that again.

I am looking forward to being at church tonight for our Wednesday night Prayer Meeting. We are going to meet in the Fellowship Hall. We lost our church steeple during the storm and that allowed water into the auditorium. Electricity was restored yesterday. It smells musty as you walk through the building. I'm looking forward to seeing my fellow staff members, as well as our members. It will give us an opportunity to just be together, hear from each other, and pray together.

God bless you wherever you are!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Four Days Into Ike

This morning we returned to our home and we found that the electricity had been turned on. That was a fantastic sight! We walked inside and felt cool air. We got the refrigerator going and it wasn't long before we were back in business again.

Patti spent the day clearing the ground floor of our garage. The middle of the floor has been filled with boxes since we moved in over two years ago. Not any more. We could park a car in there now and two cars if I rearrange the yard equipment.

I've had more than 30 boxes stored for over five years. The boxes mainly contain books and office knick knacks. I went through every box today. I finally ended up with five boxes that I want to take to my church office. I discovered one box that had my most valuable certificates and knick knacks in it. That put a smile on my face.

There are still a lot of homes in a Pearland tonight without electricity. Maybe tomorrow will be the day to get their power back. There are more fences down than I've ever seen and of course, many trees and utility poles. Some of Pearland looks like it was hit by a tornado, or several of them. Not many businesses are open. A few grocery stores, a couple of drug stores, and a few convenience stores pumping gasoline with long lines. It will be awhile before life returns to normal, whatever normal happens to be.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Ike" Was Here

It is about 60 hours since Hurricane Ike left Pearland. I didn't care for Friday night or
Saturday morning in the least. It was a long night of listening to the loudest howling sound of wind that I've ever heard. I haven't been in the middle of a hurricane in about 20 years, but Ike will last me for a long time.

Friday morning was beautiful. I cut the grass and spent most of the late morning outside. The sky was blue with few clouds. By 1:00 the clouds began to take over. As each hour passed, we knew that the storm was getting closer.

Sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 we began to lose our electricity. It would go out and then come back on again. About thirty minutes later it went out for the last time. By this time the wind was whipping up pretty good.

About 10:00 we went to bed. The house was warm. I had covered all the windows with plywood 24 hours earlier, so we couldn't tell what was happening outside. The sound of the wind was ferocious on the north side of the house, but our bedroom was a little bit quieter comparatively speaking. The sound of the wind was awful. We had a battery-powered radio going in the bedroom.

I think I must have dozed off and then woke up about midnight. They were saying that the eye wall was approaching the coast, but the center of the eye was still two hours away. I realized that we may have still been 2-4 hours away from the worst. That was a difficult conclusion to swallow if it seemed that bad at that moment.

I guess I woke up every two hours or less after this point. I remember how they described the havoc that Ike was having on Galveston. It sounded really bad. When I woke up about 4:00 I wondered if our homes would stay together. It really was worse than I had expected!

We got up about 7:00 and went out to the back of the house. The fence was down across the north, backside of the lot. It was a terrible site, but when we reviewed the rest of the house, we knew how grateful we needed to be.

We have two pine trees in the front yard. I guess pines are known for shallow roots. These two trees were planted a little over two years ago. I was surprised to see them still standing and not even slightly bent. Many newer pines in our subdivision did not fare so well. I guess out roots were just deep enough and strong enough to hold during this stressful time.

I am reminded that we also need to have some deep roots when the going gets tough. We had better know where our strength comes from, whose we are, and who is our strength. If not, we will just lean over during the "storms" of life. That is a simple rendition of a complex truth.

Most of Pearland is still without electrical power. It is terrible to be in the dark! That is really true spiritually isn't it? Yet, life goes on and hopefully we will learn some valuable truths from this experience. Thank you Lord for being with us and so many people along the Gulf Coast.