Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some Kind of Week

It is Sunday evening, March 25, and I am looking back over the last seven days on my calendar.

Last Monday, I did not do much.  Sundays are very draining physically and emotionally, preaching in the worship hour and spending time with the congregation.  It is a "good" kind of tired!  So, on most Mondays, I rest and get my energy level back up to par.

Last Tuesday, I had an doctor's appointment.  It was set up by the Social Security Administration to verify my health issues, some of which may qualify me for disability payment.  Most of you know that I have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, as well as edema (swelling of the feet) and sleep apnea.  I was sent to an "outside" doctor (one who is not part of my medical team -- personal physician at the Veterans Hospital and other specialists there) for a consult and exam.  I will find out their results in the weeks to come.

Sondra had also planned a trip to Knott's Berry Farm on Tuesday, a birthday gift to Bailey for her upcoming third birthday on April 4th.  We drove down to Buena Park (Anaheim area) with Shawn, Crystal and the two little girls (Bailey and Brynnlee, who is now 6 months old).  It was a gorgeous day, weatherwise.  It was a great day also because there were not as many guests that day.  We all had a wonderful time, especially Bailey, as we spent almost the entire afternoon at the Camp Snoopy area for little kids!

You will notice that I am not in the photos -- I had the camera and we didn't take a picture of me!

As we left the park, Sondra noticed a missed phone call from a cousin (Janet Johnson) in Taft.  Janet's dad (Lester Russell) had just passed away that morning.  Uncle Lester (as we know him, naturally) was so much fun to be around.  Sondra grew up close to her cousins and her Uncle Lester and Aunt Audrey.  Audrey was Sondra's mom's sister (Ima's sister).  We had always spent as much time as we could with these close relatives.

Lester was one who enjoyed playing games with kids and adults.  He was a man who had spiritual depth, serving in every church he was a member of.  He even came down to 29 Palms and helped us build a small sanctuary for our Wonder Valley mission church.  He was 87 years old and will be dearly missed.

We left early Wednesday morning and stayed through Friday evening in Taft.  Alden (Sondra's brother who lives here in Rialto) rode with us and stayed with Alice (their sister who lives in Bakersfield).  Sondra was asked to stay with her two cousins in Taft -- one night with Janet and the other night with Connie.  It was a special time of closeness and sharing during those days and evenings.  As we talked to Janet one day, she was talking of selling her dad's Chevy van to help defray the funeral expenses.  The price she wanted was exactly the price we had previously determined that we wanted to spend for a used vehicle for me.

Since Taft is small, we went right then to the DMV, got the necessary documents completed, paid the upcoming registration and got the smog done.  All in a couple of hours!  It was amazing and they (Janet and Connie) were so happy that we needed it and bought it!  The van is a 1999 Chevrolet Venture van with only 58,333 miles on it.

Friday was the funeral.  I also got to spend some time with my brother John, as he lives just a few spaces down from Lester and Audrey in the mobile home park in town.  I picked up John, and he rode with me to the funeral and graveside service.  John knew Lester and Audrey, as they sometimes attended John's church on Sunday nights.

The funeral was a special time of celebration.  Janet's son, Richard, is serving in ministry at a church in Taft and led the service.  Janet's other son, Jeff, is a member of a singing group called Solid Ground.  Jeff's group came down from Sacramento at the request of the family to sing at the memorial service.  The whole service was emotionally moving and gave peace to the family.  All of Sondra's brothers and sisters were able to attend -- Alden, Sharon, Alice and Danny.

After the funeral, we all met at Danny and Marci's house in Bakersfield for a short time together.  Sondra, me and Alden left Bakersfield around 4:30 pm to go home.  It was a long and exhausting day.  But, again, it was a good day with family and loved ones.

                                                    Alden, Sondra, Sharon, Alice and Danny (all in birth order)

Yesterday (Saturday) was preparation day for Sunday -- worship service and a wedding!  We went over to the church to set up tables and chairs in the sanctuary because of predicted rain today (Sunday).  After setup, Sondra and I took the wedding couple to dinnere at Chevy's Mexican Restaurant close by.  Jack Shelton and Gail Anderson are very special people and we were excited for today's exchange of vows.

Our previous Praise & Worship Leader (now serving in another church), Pastor Mike Yeamans, came for the entire service and led our singing.  I preached on the book of Ruth, as it is a magnificent love story.  This led into the wedding ceremony that immediately followed worship.

The entire worship hour and wedding were broadcast live on the internet, as the couple had adult children living out of state.  The day's broadcast is now on the web and can be accessed for viewing as an "archived" download.  You can watch it (be warned that it is grainy and not very good audio) at  and click on GailJackWedding.  I think my sermon is at the 1 hour 34 minute mark of the video.....ha ha!

Hope your week was eventful and satisfying!

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