45. Really? What happened?
I’d like to think that 45 is not quite mid-life. But then I know lots of people kick the bucket before 90. So maybe I’ve already passed my midlife… So where’s my little sports car?
Ah well, I do know that I’m grateful. I feel great. I still have some hair. (not counting back hair) I am wonderfully related to a stunning and sterling wife who laughs at my jokes, supports me completely, and who I adore. I have two kids who, although know exactly what buttons to push to raise my blood pressure (smacking, interrupting, etc), are gracious examples of God’s wonderful, unmerited blessing in my life.
So on this 45th day of my birth, I expect to live longer. But I know that I’m not promised tomorrow – or even the next minute.
My days (and yours) are numbered.
“O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! (Psalm 39:4 ESV)
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12 ESV)
It is wisdom to reflect humbly on our mortality.
A children’s prayer goes like this:
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Not to be morbid about mortality, but I’m ok with that. I want to keep growing. I have not arrived. BUT… I am joyfully surrendered to the sovereignty of God. I am leaving some good things behind for my generation:
- An amazing woman who knows and loves God
- Two children who have given their hearts to Christ, and for whom I trust the Lord will be mighty warriors for Him in their generation
- This blog – I know it’s silly to you, but it contains many years of writing and reflection that are recorded. May it be used for levity and legacy for all posterity.
- A small book that I hope has a big voice. While I wouldn’t consider Super Center Savior to be my life’s magnum opus, it does extoll my heart’s conviction that loving Christ is best done daily.
- A host of family, friends and church members who have stories and experiences with me that I hope will encourage others that God really does use ordinary people for His glory and the world’s good.
Therefore, on this 45th day of My Birth, Be It Resolved:
No matter how long the Lord allows me to serve Him here in my aging frame, I will tell the next generation about the goodness and glory and joy of knowing Jesus Christ. I have no higher joy and no greater purpose.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18 ESV)
If you don’t know Him in joy and intimacy, please, for your sake – and the fact that your days are numbered too – seek Him and the truth will your heart. I’d consider it a privilege to help you in your journey toward complete surrender to God in a love relationship with Jesus.
Selah. (very psalmish of me)
2012 was the year that both our kids surpassed us in height – Sam towers over me now, and Adelyn is taller than Carolyn. Sam actually passed me by a 1/2 inch last Novemberish, but I stood on my tip toes in our family pictures then, so there’s no visual proof.
2012 was a year of humbling and overwhelming growth for our church family. Beginning last January, we were simply not prepared for the amount of people the Lord brought into our fellowship and sphere of influence. Our leadership and structure has been joyfully strained as we’ve been working hard behind the scenes not just to accommodate those who are attending but to truly help each person know the joy of surrendering all of their life to Jesus Christ.
2012 was a year in which we bought a stinky car and had to return it but took a loss on the trade-in. More on that in another blog entry. The plan was to sell the ’97 VW Jetta (184K miles) and get a largerish vehicle, but in the month of odoriferous-ness, Carolyn’s beloved Prius died (209K miles) – the inverter went out. We eventually wound up with a 2008 Ford Escape, but the experience… stank.
In 2012, Adelyn made cheerleader and captain for the middle school. In just a few short weeks, she also decided that cheerleading was not what she wanted. It was too much of a spectator thing for here, because she’d rather be playing basketball than cheering for it, and she also committed to being on the year-round swim team. She fell in love with Captain America, and has devoured every superhero movie she can find.
Sam in 2012 continued his baseball activities, making the JV team last spring for the second time and played fall ball. His biggest social outlet is Xbox Live where he can be heard throughout the house laughing and shouting in surprise with friends from Virginia and Arkansas on his headset. He is not allowed to play on school nights, so after sporting, hunting, or activities around town with friends on the weekend, you can find him in his mancave of a bedroom. He also started umping baseball as a part-time job this fall, which he wants to continue.
Carolyn joined the Northstar staff as Administrative Assistant, and she quickly endeared herself to the interns by providing them with more structure and discipline than they were receiving. She keeps taking family pictures and portraits without getting arrested for stealing… She puts them back after she takes them. Ba-dam-dum. (Just seeing if you were still reading.) 2012 for Carolyn could also be summarized in one word: taxi.
The more active the kids have gotten, the more she stays in the car. Which was another reason we mourned when the gas-defiant Prius passed away.
We welcomed a friend into the family in October. Carolyn’s brother Jeff married Emily Harrison. We met Emily when she came to serve at the VT BCM after being a journeyman in Macedonia for two years. Jeff met Emily when he came to visit last year. In January, we went to Hobbs for Christmas, and Emily (then in her hometown of Lubbock, TX) drove over to visit. Jeff’s eyes sparkled, and Emily’s interest piqued. The rest is history. We loved the time we had in Lubbock in October at their wedding.
We had lots of visitors to Blacksburg in 2012 – my folks in April and for Thanksgiving, Michael McDaniel in April, Kristy Hales and kids in June, Carolyn’s mom and sister with nephews and niece in June and then her mom and our new sis-in-law came in December, Jackie and Cedra Flake in September, and the Files family in November.
The conclusion of 2012 also saw a four-year, on-and-off project of mine conclude with the publication of Super Center Savior. It’s short because I didn’t want people to have an excuse not to read it. In fact, most Christians don’t read Christian books, including the Bible. I also didn’t want another guilt-induced, you-can-do-better message. I wanted people to laugh and nod their hands at the Wal-Mart – church analogy. The book came from an overflowing heart of gratitude, joy and passion. I have no idea how God will use this small contribution, but I’m grateful that it’s complete. Book website is here.
Other happenings in 2012:
- A contentious election
- The Mayans dislike of the musical Annie’s signature song, Tomorrow
- The dismal football season for the Razorbacks and Hokies
- Weddings galore of both family (Carolyn’s brother Jeff and our great friend Emily and several couples in our church)
- iPhone 5
- Family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge and Williamsburg, summer lakehouse trip to San Angelo, TX for Caro and kids, Little Rock trip for us all
Thanks for blessing us and bearing with us when needed in 2012! May you drink deeply of God’s love and grace today.
Adelyn posted this
sweet and thoughtful interesting Instagram pic today for Carolyn’s birthday today.
Hello, life insurance.
What a great December it’s been around the Noble house and Blacksburg! During this twelfth month, we celebrate the greatest act of divine generosity the world has ever seen or received. Our family slows down, dons hoodies, decks the halls and digs in for our favorite time of year.
Our kids pen their Christmas lists on magnetized memo pads, and they announce daily from the fridge their wants. Christmas parties adorn our calendar, and since most are Dirty Santa exchanges, it gives us another excuse to “bless” someone else with something tacky, which is not hard to find on a shelf or in our garage.
Coin jars that have collected change over the year are dumped and taken it to the coin machine at Food Lion. That amount goes to our church’s Holiday Mission Offering.
Speaking of church, we love our annual emphasis called December Nights. This is our fourth year to celebrate the birth of Christ with special evening services. Our volunteers particularly love it, since we cancel our morning services and rent facilities for the month. Without having to set up and tear down at the high school, these amazing people have a better opportunity during this month to rest, reflect, rejoice and renew.
This year, we’ve been blessed to meet at the old Main Street Baptist Church facility in downtown Christiansburg. The fellowship that met there built a new facility, and they kindly agreed to rent the sanctuary to us during the holidays. The pictures below tell part of the joyful story of the holidays so far.
One of my singular joys this season was the privilege of baptizing four Virginia Tech co-eds in the baptistry during December Nights. Normally when we baptize people, we use a portable tank that is placed outside the high school building. It works well, but only a fraction of those attending are able to view it since we do it before or after a service.
When we used the baptistry this month, everyone witnessed the faith and obedience of these students, and the applause and cheering after each girl was baptized was heart-warming. Having grown up in traditional churches with baptistries, neither Carolyn nor I were prepared for all the comments we’ve heard since. Everyone loved it, and many of church fellowship said that they’d never seen a baptism in a baptistry before!
Also this month, I have sent in the final edits to my book, Super Center Savior, and it’s slated to come out soon! I’ll let you know when it will be available on Amazon.com, and I’d appreciate it if you’d spread the word when it does! I’ll tell you more and post the final cover image in the near future as well!
I am the main dishwasher in our house. It’s an inherited role. My dad’s dad was a dishwasher, clearing and cleaning up after my grandmother Opal’s delicious meals. My dad was a dishwasher par extraordinaire. Now I carry on the Noble man tradition of washing dishes after family meals. All us menfolk in the Noble family were blessed to have married amazing cooks as well. Carolyn can churn out chicken enchiladas or delight us with dumplings with her spatulas tied behind her back.
My dishwashing routine does have a few rules that are difficult to enforce.
- You must rinse off your plate in the side with the disposal and place the dish/cup in the right side.
- You cannot leave dirty dishes on the table.
- If you use a straw (which both womenfolk in the house insist on doing), you must throw the straw away before leaving your cup in the sink.
It’s this last rule that somehow proves most difficult for Adelyn and Carolyn. I’ve pleaded, cajoled and even threatened, but they insist on leaving straws in their cups. A few days ago, I hid the package of straws in a Barney Fife move intended to “nip it in the bud.” Carolyn threw a hissy fit, demanding replacement of “her” straws.
Well, today another straw was found in a cup in the sink. It is the last straw. We’ll see how the straw war goes.
What are your kitchen pet peeves?
“A book!? When do you have time to write a book?!”
That’s usually the response I get when I share sheepishly about a writing project I’ve been working on. I mentioned it in this blog entry in January 2011. It’s been a long time coming. I think I started it in 2008.
I love to write. That’s probably self-evident from this blog which I’ve maintained since 2005. Most people don’t realize that Notes from the Trail started the entire blogging revolution and is also responsible for hanging chads. I imagine you’re tingling from digital enthusiasm right now. My love for writing expresses itself occasionally here, weekly in sermons and semi-regularly in other venues. It has not, I repeat not, ever expressed itself on a bathroom wall.
With four years to work on a book, it should rival the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series, but mine is more shaped for my attention span. It will most likely come in at around 100 pages. It’s called Super Center Savior: The Joy of Living Between Sundays. I’m anxious about it, of course. We elected to go the self-publication route and chose Cross Books as our publisher. They’ve been amazing, and we’re grateful for their help. Yet all the details of publication far exceed anything I was prepared for. Page color. Cover design. Marketing. Phasers or tricorders.
The message of the book is intended for the Bible Belt. Christians who are more attendance-centric than intimate in their relationship with God will benefit the most, I believe. I’ve used a comparative analogy in the book of Wal-Mart and the church. There are both good and bad ways to compare and contrast the two.
As the last few weeks prior to the publication and promotion process wind down, it looks like it may be set for a December release. Feel free to ask questions, and I’ll respond here. I’ll also keep you updated on the progress. In the meantime, set aside $10-15 so that we can drive up sales when it is released. My goal for the first day is 10 copies… (hear that, mom?) It will be available online at Amazon and other outlets. If you have connections with bookstores, tell them to be watching for the promos for the book in publication circulars in the next few months.
The Noble family takes few “vacations.” We do get numerous opportunities to get away and spend time with family. We love heading to Hobbs or Carolyn’s family’s lakehouse in San Angelo, TX or to Little Rock or to Monticello. When we do those things, we have a blast because we’re with family and friends.
However, as far as vacations go, we take few of them. Part of that is because of finances, and another part is simply because of schedule. The kids are at ages now that they have transformed me and Caro into glorified carpools. Summer is not slow because both are so involved in sports, activities and even jobs (Sam is umping and mowing this summer.).
We were happily stunned a few months ago when some friends of ours informed us that they wanted us to get out and go on a vacation. Their intentions were serious, because they also gave us a dollar amount to demonstrate their commitment to our getting out of Dodge. We were so overwhelmed. It immediately brought to my mind the verse in James:
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:16-17 ESV)
Having resources for a vacation meant we actually had to choose a vacation. That was an unusual luxury. There were several suggestions – the kids and I rejected a vacation with certain bodily injury involved (Caro wanted to go skiing); and though we all were interested in DisneyWorld, we decided we wanted to do something new.
We opted for Williamsburg. With Busch Gardens and historic downtown, we felt we couldn’t go wrong. Then Carolyn discovered there was a Great Wolf Lodge. Deal was done. While I had occasionally heard about GWL, I truly had no idea what was involved. I know we’ve have several friends who have been to a location before, but I had no idea what to expect.
When Lindsay Skipper began singing the theme song for us at lunch last week, I knew we were in for something special. Few BCM staff will prepare you musically in the way she did for our family vacation. She also sent me this link to get us excited, apologizing that it was in Chinese.
We arrived Friday afternoon in our rental car – a bright red Chevy HHR. We had decided to rent anyway, but Carolyn made it super convenient earlier in the week when she ran into the car in front of her after a rainstorm. Almost $3000 in damage to the little Prius later, and Geico was kind enough to provide us with the rental while our golf cart was being repaired.
Since then we’ve truly had a blast. We wore ourselves out walking Busch Gardens and screaming on coasters. We stuffed our faces with seafood. We’ve slid and splashed at GWL.
We’ve I’ve napped, coffeed, read.
We have another day of this special time in front of us, but it’s been fun with each meal to enjoy a special prayer time. You discover new realms of gratitude when you are aware of your own inability to accomplish or attain something. So when we thank the Lord for our food, our day, and our vacation, it has deeper shades of grace than before.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.. (1 Peter 4:10 ESV)
By the way, for your photo stalkers, here’s the album.
Writing a Christmas letter in December and looking back to January is quite a challenge, but the first thing that stands out is the Razorbacks’ horrific loss to LSU last month which knocked them out of contention for the National Championship game. It was just yesterday (last January) that Sam and Jeff flew to New Orleans to see the Hogs drop another clutch game in the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State. They were blessed with tickets by members of our church who also sent our worship leader, Cody, with them since he was an OSU fan. He didn’t rub it in too much. That was the big event for the first week of January 2011.
The first few months of 2011 were tough ones as well. Carolyn had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery as a result of breast cancer coming back. Boobs became a household topic and provided Jeff with an endless source of humor that helped keep things light. Sam and Adelyn were incredibly gracious and a source of encouragement during this time. We are so grateful for the continuous love and support we received from our church family here and friends and family from all over!
The early months of 2011 were spent bundled up. It’s COLD in Blacksburg during the winter, but that didn’t stop us from catching several VT basketball games! With the Hokies getting left out of the NCAA tourney for March madness, we got to see them in the first few rounds of the NIT which were hosted at VT’s Cassell Collosseum.
Sam tried out and made the JV baseball team for Blacksburg High School as an 8th grader in March. It was great experience for him. Carolyn’s brother Jeffrey came to see us in Blacksburg, but we were unsuccessful in hooking him up with any VT gals.
In April-May, we spent many a chilly afternoon at ball parks, with Adelyn engaged in softball (on top of her continued dancing and guitar lessons). Our church’s Volunteer Appreciation Dinner was western-themed, which provoked Jeff and the staff to make some insane videos. Our worship leader got bucked off a horse, and then he and Jeff performed the “My Little Buttercup” dance from The Three Amigos movie dressed in full costume. Scary. Sam took an overnight trip to DC on a field trip, and he and Carolyn planted a garden on the side of the house.
Adelyn’s dance recital was at Radford University in June, and Carolyn’s folks (Pa & Memaw) were able to join us for that extravaganza. Sam got to ump some of the younger kids’ baseball games in June-July, and we were blessed to be able to travel with a team from our church to San Sebastian, Spain. It was our first mission trip together as a family, and the Lord provided every dime we needed! The Nobles came to visit in July, and we took them all over SW Virginia where they experienced Jefferson’s Monticello, UVA campus and Abingdon’s Barter Theater. On the way to Abingdon, they learned their house had been burglarized and their TV stolen. They were good sports, and Gayle began to scheme about how to get a 3D HDTV.
We spent a week in San Angelo, TX in August at Carolyn’s family’s lakehouse. It was HOT! Even Jeff’s iPad was sweating. Temps ranged around 105-110 each day, but we drank plenty of iced tea and had a blast watching all our kids on the jet skis, fishing and card games. Carolyn’s folks were incredible hosts – there were 18 of us, including kids all together for a week. School started that month, and Adelyn began 7th grade, while Sam moved to Blacksburg High to enter 9th.
Our church exploded in August, and in the span of four weeks, we grew from one service to three services. We were so excited about God’s work in our midst. By the end of the year, Jeff had baptized almost 40 people – only one under the age of 12. Adelyn began helping lead worship for the younger kids at church, and Sam began volunteering to run the media for the worship songs for the evening service.
September-October were truly blurs. Even now, we wonder where they went. Carolyn and the kids traveled to Arkansas for a week for a doctor checkup for Carolyn (all clear), and they all got to spend time with dear friends in Monticello. Adelyn turned 12, and she got interviewed by a Roanoke TV station at school about an iPad app that VT had developed for use in schools and was featured on the news. Carolyn and Jeff went to see Bill Cosby at VT for an early birthday present for Carolyn, and they laughed their heads off. (Of course, Jeff still claims that he’s funnier.)
In November, VT quarterback Logan Thomas agreed to come share his faith story at a college outreach event our church hosted. Sam got to meet him and now really looks up to him. (Of course. Logan is 6’7″.) Carolyn continued subbing at schools. She has really enjoyed serving special needs children as an aid. Jeff did several weddings this year, and Carolyn went with him to all them. She took pictures for one of our church couples at a beautiful outdoor wedding in Pennsylvania the 2nd weekend of November. Our church partnered with a new church start in Radford, and since they needed help with worship leadership, Adelyn began helping with some other musicians from our church. We all went to Little Rock to see Jeff’s parents for Thanksgiving and enjoyed the down time. Sam and Jeff slipped down to Monticello for a day. Sam went deer hunting with our long-time friend, Jeremy Woodall. Jeffâ€™s too-short morning was spent reminiscing with a few friends.
Snow flurries began to tease us in November, but so far, December has been relatively mild. Sam has gone hunting here with one of the Cru staffers that goes to church with us, but he hasn’t killed a deer yet. We walked in the Blacksburg Christmas parade alongside our church’s float (which won 1st place!), and we celebrated all that the year has given us – both good and challenging. Just this week, we worshipped with Shane & Shane and Phil Wickham that Northstar brought back to town for a community Christmas concert. Jeff’s sister Amy came to visit and was able to watch Adelyn perform in the Nutcracker at Burruss Hall.
It’s been a wild, wonderful, worshipful year for the Nobles. It’s been so full of experiences, and we’re amazed. This letter can’t contain our gratitude for the blessings and yes, even, the trials we’ve encountered. From cancer to Christmas, from New Orleans to Spain, from Hogs to Hokies, from pictures to baptisms and from quarterbacks to coffee shops, we have seen and testify to the vivid reality of Jesus Christ’s presence in our lives. We yearn for you and your family to experience His deepest blessings and favor this Christmas.
He is the baby given. He is the King reigning. Merry Christmas, one and all!
By now most of you probably know that Sam and I enjoy setting up unusual basketball shots. When we were putting the wreaths on the house earlier this week, we couldn’t resist.
We are tripping back toward Blacksburg on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s called Black Friday. An otherwise benign day transforms soccer moms to hockey players and CEOs into campers. In their rush to get the latest TV or $3 off a spool of yarn, ordinary people become Twilightish vampires, willing to stake out Best Buy or Hobby Lobby three days ahead of time. (And it’s not really the time you can get the best deals… Source).
We had a great Thanksgiving with my family this year. It was just the right blend of laziness, technology, food, entertainment, cheating and football.
Laziness: We left after our evening worship service last Sunday night and finally drove into Little Rock on Monday. We enjoyed sleeping late and laying on the couch watching mom and dad’s new big screen 3D TV.
Technology: I sold mom my old Macbook Pro (she’s had an iBook G4 for years),Â and I upgraded to last year’s model (mine was a 2009). I came out even on the sale and used purchase off of Ebay. Helping mom get up to speed with all of her Mac gadgets was fun, and Carolyn even helped “reload” her digital picture frames with newer pictures. Dad is still happy with his Motorola Razr, but Mom is geeking out with an iPad, and iPhone 4 and now a Macbook Pro.
Food: Nuff said. My sister voted her contributions of sweet potato casserole and dressing as best in show on Thanksgiving. We really couldn’t disagree with her. But she was rather smug about it.
Entertainment: Football and more football. Sam, Dad and I saw In Time on Tuesday. Great scifi flick. The premise of time being used as currency is sobering. I loved how they portrayed most people in the movie as having less than a day of time left. When you time out, you die. It was a disconcerting reminder of the danger of living from paycheck to paycheck.
Cheating. We like to play chickenfoot with dominos. I’ve observed that it’s ridiculously easy to cheat at that game – not that I would do so with my aging parents, silly kids, or distracted wife. That would be terrible. However, we did overhear someone around the table say, “I was doing a lot better when I was cheating.”
Football. The only thing that made the end of the week melancholy was the Razorback’s blowout loss to LSU in the Battle for the Golden Boot. It was more significant this year since they were undefeated and ranked #1, and the Hogs were ranked #3. We left Little Rock early Friday and drove hard to make it about halfway to Blacksburg by game time.
We checked into our favorite chain – Country Inn & Suites – just in time to watch the game. Since we did no shopping that morning, the Hog loss became known as our own Black Friday.
We moped around for a while tonight and fielded a few tacky Twitter comments, such as the one from @rebman10 who said:
“@journeyguy are you still riding shotgun or are you off the wagon?”
It was a reference to his wife’s tweet earlier this week that asked me:
“Where were u in the lean years? #bandwagon”
My response to her had been a simple hashtag: “#icalledshotgunonthewagon”
Ok, so maybe I had tweeted excessively and exuberantly about the Razorbacks this season. To my defense, I have always loved the Hogs but not been a big fan of Nutty coaches. Ole Miss fans now know how right I was.
What about you? What characterized your Thanksgiving?
After the basketball showdown, Sam and I also went head to head throwing footballs at a deer target (nice touch of Blacksburg and Arkansas in one game). Here’s the results…
Sam and I went out and played basketball for a while Saturday afternoon, and after several games of 21 and horse, we finally resorted to trick shots. We gave each other 5 attempts each. Here are the results…
So I was sitting in the Lancaster House on Tuesday knocking out tasks left and right on the computer when the Great Quake of 2011 struck. I’m not proud of what happened next. But I’ve never thought through my earthquake preparedness or response. While I am a volcano survivor, I was simply not prepared for the 5.8 earthquake that hit 3 1/2 hours east of us. I was pretty shaken up…
As I sat at my desk, I was suddenly aware of the the floor shaking. My first thought was Brandon Sexton was in the room. Brandon is a former youth minister for our church, and he has a massive nervous leg. It’s always shaking, and there were several staff meetings when he was present that one of us would say, “Brandon! Be still!”
It wasn’t Brandon. As I looked around confusedly, I saw my bookshelves swaying just a little. It was one church movement I didn’t want. About the time I said out loud, “Uhhhhhh..,” Â Cody, whose office is next to mine, said, “Hey! Is your…?” That was almost simultaneous with Intern Jacob saying something like “Hey! The house is shaking!” These are not exact quotes because the whole quake was 20-30 seconds, and it all happened in a blur.
I do remember saying, “I think it’s an earthquake,” almost a second before something fell in the house. At that point, it was time to evacuate, in my mind. It’s an almost 90 year old house, and I didn’t want my 43 year old body taking a short cut to the basement from the second floor.
Jacob and I hit the stairs at a run and were outside in a flash. Cody stayed in the house, huddled in his doorway – I think in the fetal position. Poor little tyke. He said later that he stayed because he remembered an episode of Saved by the Bell which instructed Zach and the Gang to get in a doorway in case of earthquake. My new earthquake philosophy is “Doorway? No way. Get outta the way.”
Jacob and I were caught off guard by what we found outside the house. Joggers blissfully trotting by. Students on bikes heading to class. Traffic. Normality. No one cared that we had barely escaped with our lives. No news crews to interview us and comment on our remarkable escape. Nor were search and rescue prepared to extract Cody’s body from within the church office.
What we learned later was that many folks in our area missed the earthquake. Oh sure, the earth quaked underneath them, but it depended upon where you were, what type of building, etc. as to whether you knew it or not.
As we returned sheepishly to our now non-shaking house, Cody helpfully reported that Facebook had blown up with the fact that it was, indeed, an earthquake.
By the way, on Wednesday morning, I discovered a little damage in my office from the quake. It was what fell. Here’s a pic:
What’s your story about the Great East Coast Quake of 2011?
(By the way, I didn’t take the picture of the lawn furniture above. It’s gone viral since Tuesday. If you know who took it, or where it originated – with the text added – I’d love to hear about it.)
The family gathered around the laptop tonight to listen to Carolyn’s cousin, Mike Graham, sing. Mike is a Texas Country musician and songwriter. He’s incredibly talented. He was featured with 2-3 other musicians on The Ranch 99.5. Here’s a selection of his music from the broadcast below.
Also, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the DJ tell him that his cousins are listening in from Blacksburg, VA. We sent a message to Mike via the radio show’s online chat, and it was cool getting to hear him say hi back to us on the radio.
|“Our Texas chauffeur” From Summer 2011|
We’ve had a blast in San Angelo the past few days. Yes, it’s been over 100 each day. But with no humidity to speak of, you can sit in the shade with iced tea and actually be comfortable. Caro and the kids make this annual trek to their family’s lakehouse, but I only make every 3 years or so.
With eight grandkids (4 are 5 and under) in one lakehouse along with eight adults, it’s quite an unruly crowd. Yet, the days pass quickly with fishing, jet skis, more fishing, card games, a little TV and, of course, major meals.
I brought 5-6 books with me, thinking I’d devour them while away. With water-logged days and heat that saps your energy, I find that I can’t stay up late. When I slow down or lie down, my eyes quickly rebel against my desire to read, and zzzzzzz…..
We drove further south today – to Junction, Texas – to meet Carolyn and Cortney’s grandfather for lunch. We rendez-voused at Cooper’s BBQ (simply amazing) where the kids found and chased kittens around the exterior of the restaurant (amid warnings of “watch for snakes”) while the adults swapped stories and enjoyed the simplicity of a no-schedule, nowhere-to-be day.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch… (I’m sooooo Texan), our church family back home participated in Blacksburg’s annual town festival called “Steppin Out.” Essentially, it’s a massive outdoor restaurant combined with craft booths and live music. Toss in a few hula hoops, cops on bikes, and things made out of grass and granola, and you’ve got Steppin Out.
Since being away this summer, I’ve had a few observations about life. Here are five for your musing:
- There’s no distinguishable difference between 100 and 110 degrees, with humidity being constant. Hot is hot.
- Coffee shops are a great
escapeopportunity for reflection during family vacations.
- While noodling (fishing for catfish with your hands while fully immersed in water) looks fun on TV, 10 year-olds claim that accidental noodling for snakes is decidedly not as adventurous nor fun.
- Installing two ceiling fans to cool down a back porch in west Texas is where they got the expression “blowing hot air.”
- Ski ropes can instantly foul up the prop on a jet ski.
Windows. As an operating system, I’ve enjoyed jokes at users’ expense since 1988 – the year I became a computer user, and a Mac Plus was the happy recipient of my digital affection.
However, the crashing windows I’m dealing with now are not on a PC. In the past three months, 75% of my door windows on my 97 VW Jetta have broken.
I was dismayed last year when my AC compressor gave up he ghost, but I figured that I could get by since the climate is so mild in Blacksburg. I’ve apparently gloated too much about our wonderful weather, because my power window motors have broken in this order: passenger side front.. passenger side back.. driver side back.
When the first window broke, I had the shop block the window up so that it would just stay up. It wasn’t a big deal. When the next window slid into the door and refused to rise again, I had to make a decision.Â With no AC, anytime it’s wet outside, I have major fogging problems. With just two windows working on one side of the car, it was like a rain forest inside whenever it rained outside.
So, after much thought, I elected two weeks ago to have the front passenger window motor repaired. I now had three working windows again.
Last night, when I pulled in to the driveway, I rolled all three windows back up. Right after I turned off the car, I heard a “thunk.” In dismay, I whirled around to see my back driver side window slowly sliding into the door. Sigh.
It’s like Volkwagon had a shelf-life for window motors or something. I wonder what it is that made three of my window motors go kaput within 6 months. And of course, I don’t trust the life span of the remaining driver window now.Â Looks like other folks have hadÂ a similar problemÂ with this model of VW.
I wish Apple made Windows… They would just work.
Our five year-old niece is visiting us for a few days. She’s from El Paso, and she is quite loquacious (i.e, my ears are losing weight because of the workout they’re getting). However, she’s pretty entertaining and fun, and I thought I’d record some things she’s said to us during her stay. Keep coming back for more “Things Mattie Said” (TMS):
- Upon arriving in Raleigh-Durham where it had been raining: “Look at those ponds!” (speaking about water puddles – they don’t see much of those in El Paso…)
- To Sam on the way to McDonalds: “Your voice used to be different.”
- Since she’s been here, she’s been texting all the time.. on a toy calculator.
- “I think God made me do that because I didn’t do that.”
- I love that show. Spongebob. He’s a good actor.
- Nanny, (what she calls Carolyn) why did you wear your hair like that? Did you not have time to fix it?
- Everything looks good on me. (she’s not a big believer in humility)
I’m so exceptionally proud of my wife this morning. She took our son to Roanoke early (5:45a) for a flight out to visit grandparents. The trip has been planned for some time. US Airways refused him boarding due to age.
They told her, “Say he’s 15.” in refusing, she may have lost a flight, but she has strengthened her faith. She’s waiting now to talk to a supervisor to see about an exception, but she is the exception.
We all need clearly defined moments when we make tough decisions solely on the basis of our belief. When we choose to lose rather than lie to fly, it may be painful for a moment. Yet it solidifies for us and those around usthe authenticity of our godly ambitions.
I’m proud of her, and I hope that the super grants her favor. But even if he doesn’t, the favor of her Father is greater. Because of her integrity, she’s flying higher than US Airways could ever take our son.
On June 23, all of us – Jeff, Carolyn, Sam and Adelyn – will board a plane in Roanoke with a team from our church. Our destination is San Sebastian, Spain, where we will be working there to minister to the Basque people.
The Basque are one of our world’s “unreached people groups.” Less than 2% of the 2.5 million people in this group have a relationship with Jesus Christ by faith. The region is predominantly Catholic, but mainly in name and ancient history. (Source: The Joshua Project)
We’re in process of raising the money for our trip (estimated to be about $1600/person, so $6400 for the family). If you’re open to giving to help us, please click the button below, and the money will be given directly to Northstar Church with a memo for the Noble’s Spain trip.
The Personal Blog of Jeff Noble
Info: From the misty hills of Virginia, "Notes from the Trail" seeks to encourage you on your journey. Written by a graphic designer-pastor, this blog is a blend of humor, insight, and faith discovery.
Check out my Tumblr site for other thoughts, pictures and randomness.
Also, my about.me page can link you to my other digital hangouts on the web.
- New episode of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom: Snake Handler
- An intro to Jesus Manifesto
- The Cove and personal spiritual retreats
- A la carte: Are you doing team leadership wrong?, Interns, and 3 Issues Churches Must Answer
- Goodbye (again)
- Liddle Women: Virginia Tech softball, faith and cancer
- A la carte: Evernote app ideas for speakers, Chris Broussard
- Take a free temperament test by Keirsey
- Sometimes it takes a ballpit
- Review: The Lost World of Genesis One
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