Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spending Time with "The Waltons"

Anyone that knows me well, could tell you that I'm a fan of classic television shows.  Seriously...they just don't make them like they used to.  Those shows where you could sit down and enjoy some TV time as a family without someone swearing a blue streak  or watch a sitcom and it know..funny.  

As of late, I've been watching DVD's of "The Waltons."  I'm very proud to say that I finally own the entire series on DVD...including the TV Movies.  Every time I watch an episode, I'm struck by a few things.

First it is the love of the family.  Not only do all of the Waltons love each other, but they love all those who are a part of their world.  If you are a neighbor, you are family.  If you are a stranger, you are welcomed as family.  Everyone gets along because everyone helps each other.  Now I realize that this is all a scripted television show, but I also know that we, as a country, used to be much more like that than we are now.  We used to take more time to just be with our family.  We were not running from one ball game to dance practice, to band rehearsals or whatever else fills our days currently.  Most people I know are so busy anymore that they hardly can catch their breath.  When did that happen?  Why did we let it happen?  What do we have to do to change it?

Second, they appreciate nature.  I must admit, that while I love to look at nature, I'm not a big one for actually being out in it.  I have always noticed that wherever there is nature...there are bugs.  And I'm not a fan of bugs.  But, when I watch "The Waltons," I love how they adore the nature that surrounds them.  And  of course, since they are suppose to be in the Blue Ridge Mountains...well, it is bound to be beautiful.  Makes me look around my own world a bit more and appreciate the beautiful world that God has given me right where I am.

Lastly, they live simply.  There is not a computer to be found in the Walton home.  Nor is there a television or a cell phone.  They read the paper for news and listen to the radio for more news and also for entertainment.  In a world where we have difficulty stepping away from the internet or our cell phones for more than just a few minutes, sometimes I wonder if we are missing out on the world around us.  Even though we connected to it electronically, we are often disconnected from what is right in front of us.  We know what's happening in Washington, DC, but are we aware what is going on in our local government?  We know how our friends are doing across the world, but have we checked in on our neighbors across the street?

Just a little food for least it has been for me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gas Leaks and Fire Trucks and Police...OH MY!

So today started out fairly normal...but that changed pretty quick.

I went to the office and after I was there about an hour, I heard an incredible BOOM!  Then is sounded like a 747 was idling right outside my window.  I got up and went to look out the window of the youth room and the sound got louder...but I couldn't see anything that was burning or would be making that noise.  Then I went out to the side door of our church and when I opened it...well, I have never heard anything so loud in my life.  Next to the church there is a very small little building where a gas main is housed (or something very similar) and I could see that something was spewing out the pipe at the top.  I realize that gas is invisible, but there was a flame for just a minute as well and even without the flame you could see the gas coming out because it was escaping so fast.

Soon, there were police cars blocking the road, and fire trucks on either end in front of the police.  Now here is the thing...I was alone at the church at that particular time.  My car was in the garage next door.  I walked outside several times (specifically in view of the firemen) hoping that someone would come and tell me what was happening...or if I needed to evacuate.   But no one told me anything.  Finally after this had gone on for about a half an hour to 45 minutes, I walked out to one of the fire trucks and asked what was happening.  He said that there was gas spewing out of the pipe and that while the gas people were there, they were not closing it yet.  I asked if I should leave and told him that my car was in the garage next to the church (which was closer to the leak) and he said that I shouldn't open the garage door because it could cause a spark.  "Should I leave?" I asked.  "Well," he said, "If you see my truck backing up, I'd run like crazy." (Expletive deleted)

So, I went back into the church and went back to my office to collect my things.  That part of the church reeked of gas so I figured leaving was a good idea.  All the while, my Aunt was telling me (via phone...not in person) to "leave the building...go! Go! Go!"  She was quite annoyed that I was humming as I was gathering my things in no huge hurry.  I also grabbed a blanket because I had not worn a coat to my office and it was 20 degrees outside.  Not really a big deal, but I figured I might need to walk a bit, so I wanted to be I draped the blanket over my bag and headed out of the church.

I walked down the block past the police and went into a Arby's that was at the end of the block.  It wasn't busy (even though it was lunchtime) because hardly anyone could get to it because of the roadblocks.  The people working in the Arby's didn't know what was causing the roadblock and though they could hear the gas leak (which no longer sounded like a 747, but more like a semi engine idling) didn't know what the sound was.  So if filled them in...and we waited together for the craziness to end.  The marvelous folks at Arby's gave me a free lunch as I waited.  (They really are wonderful people...if you get the chance, stop in at the North Vernon Arby's)

Finally after the gas had been gushing for more than an hour (possibly closer to two), they got it stopped.  Then just as quickly as it had started, all the emergency personnel left and the traffic started to move.  Within about 20 minutes, you would never have known there was an issue.

I went back to the church and called a fire chief who gave me the "All clear."

Praise the Lord for His goodness today.  This could have been so bad.  I saw a flame coming out of that pipe, but it didn't last long...IN A GAS didn't last long.  Amazing!  There were no explosions and no one got hurt.  And as crazy as this day was...I wasn't worried.  Even as I was texting and Facebooking updates to friends and family or talking to people on the phone...I was very calm inside.  I serve a big God and I knew no matter what...He was in charge.   When I should have been frazzled...I wasn't.  God is so good.

How appropriate that there is church tonight.  :-)  "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty!  There's nothing my God cannot do!"  That song (the GO FISH version) has been running through my head today.  Thank you Lord!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Duties of an Aunt...

Alexander Grayson James
Yesterday, was an exciting day for our family.  My nephew, Alexander Grayson James was born in Springfield, OH.  As soon as my Mom and I heard the news, we wanted to go to the hospital and wait there for his arrival.  Rick told us that it would be quite a while before Alex arrived, but that didn't matter.  I was absolutely dying to get in the car and go!  My Dad wanted to go too, but he had some responsibilities here that kept him in North Vernon, so we were sending him frequent updates via texts and phone calls.

Alex imitates Burgess Meredith

Then, at 1:53 am on January 2nd, he arrived.  Alexander showed up and our lives will never be the same.

Now, you may not be aware of this, but while Alex is my first nephew by blood, he is not my first nephew.  Some of my dear friends (Jeremy and Lynnette Page & Kris and Erica Miller), have children who also call me Aunt Toni...well, actually only one is talking as yet, but that is beside the point.  Ha ha!  So, I actually now have 3 nephews (Luke, Byron, and Alex) and 1 niece (Aurora). And they are all very special to me and I am thrilled beyond all measure to be their Aunt.

Being an Aunt is still new for me, but fortunately I have had some wonderful examples of Aunts (and Uncles) over the years that I can look to and this is what I have come up with.  As I see it, there are 5 very important jobs that I have as an Aunt.

1)  Be a Christlike Example:   I want them to know that I love Jesus and that He is indeed my top priority.

2)  Pray for my nephews and niece:  There are lots of things that they will have to face that I never had to face as a child.  They need my prayers.

3)  Be a listening ear:   I know as I was growing  up, sometimes I needed someone other than Mom and Dad that I could unload my problems on or work through an issue with.  I am so thankful that my Aunts were there for me to talk to.  They often had insight into my parents that I needed to hear in order to be able to see my parent's point of view.  I want to be able to do the same.

4)  Provided help when needed:  Over the years...especially when I lived far away from my parents, my Aunts and Uncles have come to my assistance many times in many different fashions. At times it was money, sometimes it was advice, and sometimes is was an earful that I really needed to hear...even if I didn't want to.  (Yep, I was a stubborn teenager...I'll admit it.)  I am truly blessed by my Aunts and Uncles and I want to be the same kind of blessing to my niece and nephews.

5)  Never let them forget that they are loved:  Though none of them live close, I never want Alex, Luke, Byron or Aurora to forget that they are loved by their Aunt Toni.  When I can't see them in person, I love sending cards, letters, and packages and when they get old enough to talk on the phone, I'll do that too.

Thank you to all my Aunts and Uncles.  You have blessed and continue to bless my life more than I can say.  I hope I can be as good an Aunt as you have all been to me.