Friday, October 13, 2017

Two Responses

Last Sunday, my pastor pointed out that being confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ can lead to either the softening OR the hardening of men’s hearts.  In my reading in the book of Matthew today, I saw this portrayed in stunning fashion.

In Matthew 8, Jesus and His disciples arrived in the region of the Gadarenes, where Jesus drove out demons from two demon-possessed men.  The demons begged Jesus to send them into a herd of pigs, which then rushed down a steep bank into a lake and were drowned.  The sheep tenders reported this in the nearby town.  “Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus  And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.”  That’s the response of the hardened heart.

In Matthew 14, the very day after Jesus had miraculously fed a crowd of at least 5,000, He and His disciples came to Gennesaret. Verses 35 and 36 tell us: “And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged to him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.” What a contrast to the response of the Gadarenes!

I believe an encounter with Jesus always demands a response.  Some may say, “I don’t believe in miracles, or demons, or faith healing.” But at some point in our lives, the question is not so much what we DON’T believe, it’s what we DO believe in.  Joshua put it so well: “Choose you this day whom you will serve. . . .  But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

What about the little storm (of grandkids) that hit OUR house last week!?

When you're already retired, holidays shouldn't matter
so much, should they?  That is unless it means you're going
to see more of your grandchildren!  YEAH!
That's exactly what happened for us Labor Day weekend, as
our Georgia Talberts spent a fun-filled long weekend with us.
Much of the time the Kirby crew joined in, so we had
the Fabulous Five in action.  Here are some highlights.

Because we were so proud of Hunter's rapid advancement in
Tae Kwon do, I promised to let him pose with my two swords.
This is Sting, a replica of Bilbo Baggins' spider-stabbing blade. 

Hunter has the courage and character of heroes of old.

Bri has had similar outstanding achievement in gymnastics,
though hers don't involve sparring and weapons!  But she gets
to wield the sword, too.

Don't mess with me.  And don't let the smile fool you.

This is Gandalf's elf-forged blade, Glamdring, or Foe-Hammer.
It's a load for an almost 7 year-old.  But he handles it fine.

Likewise, Bri carries it with poise.  But I think they'll both need
to grow into it.

On to less war-like pursuits, such as community building.
Anything can happen with these imaginations.

Bri and Hunter meet our new friend, Kitty.  He/she isn't ours,
but doesn't turn down a good meal.  

No, we haven't added a redhead yet.  Bri and Hunter had dear
friends over for a playdate, including bikes, wagons, and rides
on the Green Machines.

And yes, they were all swingers.

Bri still has the knack of walking on these # 10
cans with exceptional balance.

Yes folks, America's got talent.  Bri has 10 tops spinning
simultaneously.  Top that!

Brotherly love.  But not brothers.

Do you recognize Chewbacca?  One of Hunter's early birthday
presents.  We celebrated early because we won't be anywhere
nearby on his late September birthday.

Hunter demonstrates part of his martial arts form for his
grandparents AND great grandparents.  Bri also amazed with
some of her gymnastic stunts-- back bridges, front splits,
and side splits, among others.  We were all duly impressed.

Jennifer and Ryan dropped by before picking up Claire and Evan
from school.  Ryan had only seen cousins Bri and Hunter once
before, but you'd never know it.  What camaraderie!

School's out. And all five kids become medical professionals.
All they need are victims-- er, I mean patients.  Looks like Evan's
about to get THREE shots!

Guress what this is.  Give up?
A slinky added to the end of a Hot Wheels track.
And it worked!

When it comes to toys, Ryan especially likes the big ones, the
noisy ones, and the ones that do cool things.  In other words, he's
just like the other kids.  That's the way they're wired.

Hunter got to select a bonus present at our beloved Sandhills Coalition
thrift shop.

It didn't take Hunter and Stephen long to make it operational.
And deadly.

Saturday night was FAMILY NIGHT, our traditional get-together.
They're not monthly now that the Talberts are in Georgia, but
we take advantage of every opportunity.

The older four team up to go wild on the big tire.  I can still
remember when we had it at the old house and the kids were a
little intimidated.  Now I'M the one who gets scared just watching!

Family night also included birthday cake for Hunter.  AND for
all those in attendance.  Yummy.

Open wide for ice cream.  To help the cake slide down, of course.
Note the match box.  A few minutes later, Evan brought it to the
dining room where the adults were.  He laid it in front of Judy and
declared politely but sternly, "Keep away from children."

At dusk we moved outside, where the kids were outfitted with
Glo-Sticks.  They frolicked all over the back yard as it grew darker.
During the excitement, Evan knocked out a loose tooth on a fence
rail.  That slowed him down for about 3 minutes.  The tooth hasn't
yet been found.

This is one of the pictures we will always treasure.

And so is this.

Up on the housetop . . .

Now can we go play?

A shout out to my girls.  Ultimately, Judy gets credit
for our girls and grandkids.  Without her, I wouldn't
have them.  And we couldn't be happier with how
Jennifer and Matt and Amanda and Stephen are raising
them up.  We're sure they'll take good care of us.
In our old age AND now!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Half a World from Myrtle Beach to China

It was the annual Kirby/Talbert/Loyd Beach Trip!

With Hunter ...

and Bri ...

and half a world away, Claire, Ryan, and Evan!
 Yes, the annual trip was missing the Kirby's, who were
around the world in China, welcoming four-year old Ryan
to our family.  The rest of us will have to wait a few days.
But we await the homecoming with great anticipation!

 For now, I can share what I witnessed firsthand
at Myrtle Beach.
Hunter's seashell collection

A gorgeous day followed several rainier or cooler days (when
I wasn't there).

What's this-- an alien bounty hunter?

The female is pretty fearsome, too!

Actually, they're pretty friendly when humored.
So I humor them.
 At the Pavillion
In one of those airborne projectiles, upside down are Brianna
and cousin Caleb.  It was their first ride and may have been
a little surprising.

The Fun House is about to get a lot more fun when these three enter.

Lauren chaperones the kids on the Saucers.
I don't do round-and-round rides any more.  My inner
ear can't handle the radical changes, apparently.

Bri braves the next ride alone.

This ride is a little tamer.  In fact, they're not even real!

I've heard of a fish out of water, but these boats
were a new twist. This pair make great stunt drivers.

Watching an electrician fiddle with thousands of volts while our
grandchildren sailed through the air et cetera really inspired
confidence, let me tell you!

This tells me that 16 will be plenty soon enough for Hunter
to get to drive for real.

Bri and Stephen rode the swing to end all swings.
Can we say G-Force?

Even the Ferris Wheel seemed calm after some of those other rides.
Now you see 'em ...

now you don't.  But they're up there somewhere.

I'd heard Myrtle Beach was a haven for rough tough biker gangs.

Sure beats the slide at home.

Nope.  None of our crew is up on the Bungee ride.
So Amanda's record is safe (you'll have to ask her).

A slide turns into a magic carpet ride.

I slipped away to get a picture of the beach without all the people.

Even a beach needs a break (er) from all the activity.

Some real swingers.

There was no adult roller coaster this year, but the kiddie one
was low-stress.

Hardly death-defying, but still fun.

My last beach picture was this collection in the Golden Griddle
Pancake House where we enjoyed our Saturday breakfast.

We loved our beach trip.  Now we can look forward to
a Kirby/Talbert/Loyd get-together on dry land real soon!