Tuesday, July 23, 2013

All wet.

I know this is going to be hard to believe but I have a deep thought I want to share.  I was recently fascinated with the thought of how water brings life and how much emphasis God puts on water.  Believe me when I say no big revelations here, I am easily fascinated, amused and entertained.  If I had a tail I would most like chase it most of the day.

These thoughts about water came this summer, as you know if you are one of us living in Oklahoma, when it becomes more of a valuable life giving commodity than other times of the year.  It’s not uncommon for us to go long stretches with days exceeding the 100 degree mark.

Some of the victims of the summer heat are always my three resilient hydrangea bushes.  Side note that may get my man card revoked is they are my second favorite flower next to the zinnia.   My hydrangeas are located next to where I park at home. They are the last thing I see when I leave for work and first thing I see when I return home.  And in the heat of the summer they droop with exhaustion in the evenings.  There have been days when I have wondered if they weren’t toast, literally.  

Now here’s the part that fascinates me!  I can drag all 75 ft of hose across the yard to their remote location and within minutes watch them spring back to life with a drink of water and touch of evening shade! See, I told you I’m easily amused.  But to see a plant go from what looks like near death to life in minutes, come on, that’s pretty cool, right??

Watching this process off and on during the summer made me imagine the power of water.  Think about us humans and how we react to water especially this time of year. We sit around massive concrete holes full of water for hours on end. My beautiful bride can attest to our three kids getting up EVERY morning during the summer and their first question is, “When can we go to the pool?”

Our family just got back from Florida where we saw thousands upon thousands of people flocking to the beach. Not just to see the beautiful white sand dunes, shells, sea turtle nesting grounds and get an insanely overpriced snow cone. They were flocking to the water.  Without the water the others cease to exist, with the exception of the snow cones.  Christy calls the beach her “happy place” and for good reason, water brings life! 

God made it this way.  Think about all the things around us that hinge on the presence of water. 

Recently this scripture blew me away with what it revealed to me. 
Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Did you catch that?  In the beginning there was water and God’s Spirit was hovering over it before he decided to form the rest of the world.  I completely missed that for 37 years!!  What was that like? Wow!

That’s the beginning now let’s go all the way to the end.

Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

That verse comes fourth from the end of the entire Bible.

Water was first mentioned in the second verse of the bible and last mentioned four verses from the end.  In between, it’s used some 450 times in the NIV translation.

Just think about it for a while.  How are we expected to publicly confess of our faith in Jesus? Baptism in the water.  Jesus walked on it and offered his (figuratively speaking) to the woman at the well as the way to eternal life. How unique is our God and the fascination he also has for water?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Realities of vacation. F'real!

Ah, what a great picture of my family all together on vacation at the beach.  How sweet.  Blah, blah, blah!

Now, don’t take my "blah blah blah" the wrong way.  I loved my vacation! I wouldn't trade those seven uninterrupted days with my family for two dozen apricot fried pies!  It's exactly what we needed.

But this picture, as are most of our social media pictures, are highlight reel moments.  I mean come on; we don’t really show or tell people the reality of what’s going on in our lives most of the time. We want people to see the mountaintops of our everyday life.  If all you saw was this picture you would think we just frolicked in the white sands of Florida hand in hand for seven blissful days.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram (@tysonshanebrown) may have seen the highlights we were posting from our trip.  

So in an effort to keep with my promise a couple posts ago about being real, I want to tell you about our lowlights.  Not like the whole trip was a lowlight! I'm simply talking about being real. Opening up the door of my  life just a little farther so you can see everything that happens.  What happened behind the scenes, the tweets, pictures and the token “My vacation was so fun and relaxing…” comments.

Here’s the rest of the story:

What a beautiful sun setting over Seaside, FL. 

Gorgeous!  Beautiful!  And that was the last time we saw the sun.  That was on Tuesday.  This was what Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday were like…

Me and my beautiful bride Christy.  So happy.  So in love. Surround by our adoring offspring that I’ve conveniently cropped out of the picture to enhance our glow.  Reality is that hours before this was taken we were having a heated argument in the upstairs bedroom of the beach house over a very controversial family subject.  Donuts. This is no lie!  Heated argument.

The Big, Winston.  Looking like a million bucks, but feeling like a penny that just fell onto the floor of a truck stop restroom and rolled behind the toilet and came to rest in that spot in back near the wall that they always miss in the biannual mopping. Yeah, that's how bad he felt.  He put on a happy face for this picture but only because we had him on so many decongestants and antihistamines he thought he was posing in front of the Magic Kingdom with Goofy and Mickey.  He was sick for entire week and when we came home and took him to the doctor we found out he had bronchitis.  In retrospect we should have taken him to the doctor while we were there but, “Broncitis!  Ain't nobody got time for that!” we’re at the beach.

The Middle, Wyatt.  Rockin’ the beach hair and looking like he loves his sister.  Literally moments after this picture, in this very location, I was leading him with upper forearm firmly in my grasp. Lecturing him on what a “DUMB move” it was for him to throw sand in his sister’s hair.  Part of my talk contained, “Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to get sand out of that African hair? Any idea??”  Then I came back for round 2 of questioning.  You know this part parents where you ask, “What were you thinking?”  He looked up from the criss cross applesauce sitting location I planted him in, and said as he cried, “Dad, I didn’t mean to throw it in her hair.  I was aiming for that hole over there and I missed.”  Uhhh…not on the list of my finest moments as a Dad.  To my delight he gracefully and mercifully accepted Dad’s apology, though I did not deserve it.  I later bought him a $17 snowcone as a peace offering.

The Little, Zoey Love.  A party looking for a place to happen! The "first time to be on the beach party" was planned months in advance.  That was before she figured out, “Dis water is salty!  Get dis salt out.”  She didn't let a little salty sea water stop the party train, no no!  Guys you know it’s not a party until someone vomits.      [Inserting long pause as I relive this moment in my head.  Hot flash is gone - now I can continue.]         On the trip home, in the middle of Nowhere, Louisiana rocket fueled projectile vomit erupted covering a swath from back seat to the radio including 25%  of the right side of my body.  Thank you Nana for packing Lysol!  Note to self:  Self, African girl whose body never had dairy the first 6 years of her life may not be able to hold down a Wendy’s Frosty during a 14 hour car ride. P.S. Self, the Kangaroo Stop at Exit 126 in Louisiana does not sell baby wipes but there are some lady’s that live nearby who will buy stuffed animals from the back of your parked car.

And finally to close out the trip, but unfortunately not pictured here, were the pretty blue lights of the Oklahoma Highway Patrolman who stopped me for speeding with 20 miles remaining of our 1,900 mile round trip voyage.  

Thank you sir for being conscious of the weariness in my eyes and not offended by the aroma of vomit that permeated from the car. I needed mercy not judgment on this day.

This isn't just the reality of our vacation, but much of our life and I love it!  I’d do the vacation all over again (minus the vomit) in a heartbeat and wouldn't trade for my messed up family.  Because think about it, when I say my "messed up family" all I'm actually saying is my "real family".  I'm only telling you some things that a lot of us hide.

P.S. I don't feel like I can close this out without a bit of props to my sister and brother in-law who went on their first vacation with us.  Hopefully it's not their last!   Love you Jared and Rana!

This is my brother in law serving us up some coffee on the beach.  And the reality of this was, It Was Awesome!!  No candy coating on that, this stuff is f'real!