Holiday This and Thats

It’s been a pretty full month so far. Work has kept me reasonably busy, so much so that I wasn’t able to use up all of my vacation time. That is thanks to some last minute meetings that had to be attended. Thankfully that just means starting my computer and getting into a teleconference. I didn’t need to leave the house.

Christmas cards are in the mail and as such I have survived another year of printing labels. Actually, Connie is getting better at it. Tree Sans LeavesLeaves have been removed from the lawn as well (mulched and then large clippings bagged). The picture to the right (tree without leaves) was the sign that I looked for to indicate that it is the correct time to clear up the leaves. I’m sure that my neighbors were happy to see me work on it since every time the wind would gust, they would get some in their yard.

This year Connie added a “Poppa Bingle” to the family of Mister Bingles. I’m not much on the little stuffed … animals? things? whatever they are, but it’s nice to be a part of the big happy family. BinglesThey are take their place around all of the other stuffed Christmas decoration (most of the other play music and as such are multi-talented).

We’ve had a couple music concerts and a youth Christmas party. I missed my work party this year, but it’s pretty inconvenient to make that trip to Houston during the very busy month. I believe that we only have family holiday events from now on out. For my part, I’ve tried to lay low and not move around too much.

Clarence has posted a couple times about Advent and that was a good reminder for me to emphasis it to the kids as well. At meal time when we give thanks, I try to make it a point to highlight the birth of Jesus as the focus of Christmas. Not only his birth, but his sacrifice on the cross. I’m probably one of the most material, gadget oriented members of the family and so it’s something that I have to continually remind myself of during the holidays. The kids are generally better than I am at not being overly grabby. The lack of advertising in the house probably helps with that as well.

Precharged Rechargeables Worthwhile

Amazon Basics AAJust picked up a few more pre-charged rechargeable AA batteries this week for use in our controllers. This time I caught a sale on an 8 pack of Amazon Basic brand batteries. This is my first try with the Amazon Basic brand, so the jury is still out on how they will perform compared to the Eneloop and Rayovac batteries that I’ve used over the past 3 or 4 years. They are all 1900 mAh capacity AA batteries and provide about the same about of life as a standard alkaline non-rechargeable battery. I would give the edge to the standard batteries, but it’s not by much. It would be nice to have some solid numbers to backup that estimate, but its just not practical during normal usage.

The primary use for these rechargeable batteries have been our video game controllers. Our Xbox 360 and Wii have been the most used controllers. Now we have an Xbox One that uses the same AA batteries in its controllers. Now that the Wii controllers are used much less frequently, they still hold their charge when not in use. I’ve avoided using them for most of our toys (remote controlled cars, etc.) since they can get put away for a year or more and I want to keep the rechargeables in a regular use routine.

I can say that after a few years, I’ve determined that it is very worthwhile! For an upfront cost of $30 (+ some electricity), we’ve had a continuous supply of AA batteries for several years. So how many alkaline batteries would we have used in the same time period? I don’t know, but it would have been a lot. There’s also a lot less waste. Instead of just throwing away old batteries, they’ve been reused. This is probably some of the most efficient recycling in which the average person can participate. If you use a lot of AA in your household, make it a point to try the precharged rechargeable AA batteries. Buy the first pack with a wall charger and then pick up a second pack of just the batteries. You can thank me later.

The Sound of Sunday

As an aside to Katie’s blog post, I thought I would throw in my own 2 cents regarding little ones at church. Some people get kind of sensitive to noise during Sunday worship services. To stereotype a little, that tends to be young couples without kids, older people that don’t have grandchildren and a few other groups. I’ve seen myself in there as well. You know the situation, little Johnny is throwing a fit over something and you can see all of the heads turn and the grimaced looks. It’s not really that uncommon. Is there a correct response from the mom/dad or from others? Not sure, but I do have a few thoughts on the big picture.

The Church is not meant to be a place where everyone has their act together. It’s not this group of perfect people. It’s a group of imperfect people that come together to be made whole through Jesus and the power of his blood. So when this group (or members of this group) gets together, shouldn’t it sound more like a community rather than a tomb? I mean, it’s nice if everything works out well. I just don’t see that happening much in real life. Things tend to get messy and that includes Sunday mornings as well. Does that make me uncomfortable? Sometimes it does, but big deal. It’s not about me being comfortable.

To me, Sunday mornings shouldn’t sound like a tomb (or a rock concert for that matter). It should probably sound like a community. If that community is a little more quiet or a little more loud, then fine. It just means that I can probably chuckle a little at Johnny since I been there, don’t that as well. I want little Johnny to grow up to be big John that brings his family.

Fishing Trip, Success Included

Last night Connie fried up the some of the fish from a fishing trip last week to marsh around Lafitte, Louisiana. It’s what I consider the perfect ending to a good day of fishing. Connie’s father planned the trip and invited Clarence and I to go along with he and Matt. The guide for the trip was part of Captain Phil Robichaux’s Fishing Charters.

Now it’s easy for me to go fishing. The hard part is actually catching fish. That wasn’t a problem with our guide Beau. He put us on the several spots that we were able to catch some specs. We didn’t catch at every stop, but we did a lot better than any trip I’ve been on before. The last stop of the day was the most productive though. It was out in some open water of the lake. I wouldn’t have been able to pick this particular spot to save my life, but we caught fish non-stop for about an hour. At the end of the day, we had caught a total of 85 specs between the 5 of us (guide was fishing as well). We also caught 14 other fish which included bass, blue gill and a few reds.

I’m sure it wasn’t cheap to go on the guided trip, but it sure was fun. Nice boat, nice tackle, the right baits and the right location. Just show up and prepare to fish. It was all enhanced by my fishing partners. You couldn’t ask for a better crew. I really enjoyed it and created some great memories with my brother-in-laws and father-in-law. Thanks again Stan. Can’t wait to do this again.

Joyful Thanksgiving

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The thing about circumstances is that they aren’t always good. Sometimes they are terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. In those times, it’s tough to be happy. If fact, it would be pretty weird to be happy in those bad things. Regardless of the circumstance, we have some immutable facts that we can be thankful for and in those things we have joy. Salvation, a benevolent creator and a purpose for our lives.

Tim McReynolds and Hayden in 2001As we greet Thanksgiving day having just said our goodbyes to Tim McReynolds, I’m reminded of so many great qualities that he had. This picture with Hayden reminded me of how he cared for the little ones around him. His nieces and nephews were especially special to him. His mental disease took him from use way too soon and I wish that prayers would have been answered for his complete healing. That didn’t happen and so in this terrible circumstance we must fine our joy. I look forward to seeing Tim again and I trust he is being comforted.

I will say that I am profoundly thankful for my wonderful wife and our children. I’m thankful for physical blessing beyond my own expectations. For extended family and close friends, I’m thankful. It’s in the shade of these and other blessings that I find my joy this Thanksgiving.

Stop by for a few words on what is happening with the Callahan's.