Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cops and Robbers and Alarms and Quests

I got up early this morning.

I think our alarm went off about 5:30 am or so.  Alene has a habit of just hitting the snooze and rolling over every ten minutes for an hour until it's time to get out of bed. I'm more of a "set the alarm for the time you want to get up, then get up" kinda guy, but whatever.  Her way, with a little extra snuggle time in the morning, is pretty good too.

The problem for me this morning was that I had worked a long 15 hour shift yesterday.  When I came home last night I was very tired, but I couldn't get to sleep. My mind was still kinda adrenaline soaked after working on the radio during a particularly gnarly bank robbery and vehicle pursuit earlier in the evening.

The robbers walked out of a bank, followed by a cop who'd been in the bank on his own business and saw the robbery go down.  He followed the suspect's truck and gave updates on the radio until marked units arrived and took over, after which the chase was on!

The bad guys took off and wound around several neighborhoods, up onto a crowded rush-hour freeway, down the right shoulder and up and down several off and on ramps.  After about 20 minutes, the driver crashed their truck into a canal about a block from their home.  They both got out and ran, and after a short scuffle with several police officers and a K9 partner, were taken into custody.  From the looks of one of the bad guys afterwards, it was pretty clear the officers and their K9 won the fight pretty convincingly.

My job, I must admit, has it's cool moments.

Anyway, I didn't sleep much last night.  I think I got to bed around 1am.  When the alarm went off, I had planned to get up and go to a men's bible study at church.  I laid in bed and considered my options.  Get up, go fellowship with the guys at church, or sleeeeeeeeeeep until about 9am.

I bet you can guess my choice.

So I drifted back to sleep as Alene got up and went into the living room to do her morning Bible study.

All of sudden, my eyes opened and I was awake! I began to think about the men's study and how much I'd been looking forward to it.

The study is about a men's fraternity, a curriculum called The Quest for Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis.  Seeing as how it sounded very similar to book I'd read some years ago called Wild at Heart by John Eldredge (which, by the way, provided the title and inspiration for this blog),  I was curious to learn more.  Wild at Heart changed my life. Made me think about what it means to me a man in today's world, and got me to rethink many of the ways I approached life.

I also didn't want to disappoint one of the guys I'd made a commitment to when I said I'd be there.

So, it came down to God's will, or my will.  All I really had to do was brush my teeth (for the benefit and comfort of others in attendance), slip on my flip-flops and go to church. So, at what I'm certain was the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit, I got up and toddled off to church.

Via McDonald's for coffee, but I think that's a given.

It turns out I'm very glad I did get up and go.

I met with a group of about 7 or 8 other men, all of whom I'd seen before at church, very few of which I knew well.  It was a good time of fellowship, listening to some teaching, and sharing a little bit in discussion. The subject matter seems to be very close to what I was hoping it would be, which got me excited about the study.

As I go through this study I'll probably make some posts about things I learn and changes I make. Naturally I'm not going to talk about too many specifics or anyone else's journey. Each man has his own journey, and can talk about it or not to their own desires, but I'll not be breaking any confidences here, anonymous or not.

So I'm tired and sleepy, but also eager to see where God guides us.  I'm looking forward to making deeper friendships with some of the men in my group, and to becoming a better, stronger man for the benefit of those around me.

Especially for my family and the woman I love.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coffee and More

So yesterday I woke up early.  It was Monday after all, "Breakfast with Dad" day,  and I wanted to spend a few minutes with Alene before she left for work. Mondays are one of MY days off.  It kills her that I get three days off every week.  I don't blame her, but it still kills her.  

Anyway, we chatted a bit, I kissed her goodbye, and I sat down to a cup of coffee. Yuban Dark Roast was the coffee of choice that morning. Strong, dark, and aromatic.  Then I make it blonde and sweet.  Yummy stuff.

(Coffee purists, please don't harangue me about how cruddy Yuban or Folgers is, and how by the time you open the coffee can it's already stale coffee.  I know.  I occasionally grind fresh beans, but this morning was just good ol' Yuban.)

After sipping that cup for a bit, and getting myself a second cup while doing some work on the computer (hahaha did I say work on the computer?), I drank that and poured myself another cup, sipped and worked some more, then got myself ready to go down to my dad's house.

After picking up dad we went to our favorite restaurant, Lumberjacks, for breakfast and what.....?

You guessed it. More coffee.

We ate, talked, and solved the world's problems (as we do each time we go), over several more cups of coffee. I like Lumberjacks especially because they have these neat, big, coffee cups.

 No little thimble cups that you take about two sips from and the cup is empty.  Oh, no.  These are almost like those old "Friends" TV show mugs that hold a bunch of coffee!

(I actually asked the server if they sell the cups, and they said no.  She said if they did, they'd run out because everyone asks to buy them!)

Next we went to Walmart to get dad his monthly supply of sundries.  After that, on the way home, dad got a sort of thoughtful look and asked, "Mike, do you have time to stop by Starbucks for a little cup of coffee?"

Now, by this time I'd truthfully had enough coffee, but who am I to turn down Starbucks? I actually enjoy taking dad to Starbucks, because it is a nice place to sit and talk and solve the world's problems that had cropped up since the last time we solved them about two hours ago. We're good at that, trust me.

If only I were King of the World, I tell you what I'd do.....

Anyway, I do enjoy my time with dad, and the coffee habit I inherited from him.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Full Bellies and Flying Shows

Saturday, September 11th, we marked by daughter Lindsey's 22nd birthday.  

Lindsey enjoys her birthday candles.
Alene and I gathered the kids together along with the grandparents and had a wonderful time of fellowship and celebration for Lindsey.  

Grammie Dorothy and Grandpa Bob
Camie and Emily

Liz and Grammie Dorothy
The fellowship was close, the conversation sweet, and the love was warm.  Alene and I cooked and kinda over did it.  Pork chops, lasagna, corn on the cob, green beans and bacon, watermelon, and garlic bread. Throw on top of that coffee, tea, and birthday cake, and most all of us rolled away from the dinner table with full tummies. 

Can you really over-do a birthday dinner?

Sunday was equally wonderful in a different way.  I began by sleeping in (thank you baby), then coffee and my bible study.  Reading in Psalms 19 about how God has wonderfully revealed himself to us through nature and through life was uplifting and reassuring.  Church, as usual, refilled my heart with the faces of friends and my ears with the word of God.

Afterwards Alene, Liz and I had plans to go over to Kelli Stewart's house and have a picnic.  She and her husband live out near Mather, and since the 2010 California Capital Airshow was happening this weekend, she invited us out to see what we could see.  As God would have it, Kelli felt moved to invite Brian Bennet with us, and I'm glad she did.  He's a neat brother in the Lord and I really enjoyed getting to know him more. 

As sandwiches were being made in the kitchen, I kept hearing the sounds of jet engines outside.  I'd run out, and of course by the time you hear the jets they're usually already passed by, so it was hard to get a good look over the rooftops, but..... as were standing out front setting up some lawn chairs, I looked up and coming directly over the house was a screaming F-18 Hornet at about 500 feet! 

Ok, this isn't the actual plane that passed over us, but it looked just like it!

I yelled at Brian, "Dude, straight up!" pointing up, and the Hornet howled and shrieked as it passed over us at what seemed close enough for us to touch.  It was just amazing to feel the thrum of the engine actually shake my chest as the plane passed over. 

After eating we drove a few blocks to an open area on Excelsior Road where we could see the flight line.  The Patriots performance team were doing their show, which I'd seen before up and Beale AFB, and is a pretty good show for a private team.

The Patriots air performance team.

Later, the F-22 Raptor took off.  I was excited about seeing this futuristic fighter up close for the first time. 

F-22 Raptor

P38's and an F-22 Raptor in formation.
After the show we headed back to Kelli's place for some much needed water and fellowship before heading home.  

All in all, as I look back and think of all I've been through, I count myself highly blessed and very thankful.  The love of a good woman, the respect of children (at least I think so!), and the joy of a wonderful extended family of friends and relatives, combined with the love of the Great Healer and Creator,  make life not only good, but worth living, with purpose and joy.  

I know crappy-crappy-crap will come my way in the future.  It always does, and it always gets dealt with.  Having joy, though, makes it a lot easier.