Crystal was born 33 years ago today! I was in my first semester as a student at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA. I distinctly remember that I had a major paper due in one of my classes on the day that Crystal was born, and I was nowhere near completing it. I got a reprieve from turning it in, due to Crystal's birth!
Jason was 4 1/2 years old and Evan was 2 at the time. We were broke with no vehicle. I had to borrow a car to take Sondra to the hospital when her labor pains began to be closer together. It was exciting because we did not know if this baby was going to be a boy or girl. Yes, I was hoping for a girl but was too afraid to hope too much.
It was also the first baby I got to see in the birth room. Fathers were not allowed in the delivery room during birth when Jason was born because of a lawsuit against Kaiser that year. When Evan was born, the nurses could not get to me soon enough to come to the delivery room, as he came so quickly. So, Crystal was the first one in which I was actually in the room during the birth. Special memories indeed.
Here is a picture of Crystal and Shawn and the two little ones (Bailey age 3 and Brynnlee age 7 months). This photo was taken on Bailey's birthday about four weeks ago.
The joy of today is tempered by the sadness we feel because of the loss of a dear friend. Velma Anderson passed away last Friday unexpectedly. Two of my dearest and best friends from college days at California Baptist College (now University) are Bobby and Torie Anderson -- we met in the fall of 1968. Velma is Bobby's mother. When I dropped out of college in December of 1969, I went to stay with Bobby's parents (Bob and Velma) in Rialto. They were special and loving and welcoming and inviting and wonderful. I lived with them until I got my job on a farm driving a tractor in Mettler (a little spot in the road near Bakersfield, where I met Sondra at church there in Mettler) a few months later.
Soon after, I was drafted and served two years in the Army, getting married and growing up. Looking for work, I landed a job at Kaiser Steel in Fontana. With open arms, Bob and Velma allowed me and Sondra to live with them for several months before we bought our first home in Rialto. So, Velma had become like a "second mom" to me.
The funeral will be sometime this week, and Bobby has asked me to officiate the service. Torie has just returned yesterday (Sunday) from a mission trip to China, cutting it short as soon as she found out that her mother-in-law passed away. The arrangements will be finalized today.
I will be attending two other funerals this week. One for a friend, Larry Tarvin, whose gospel quartet came to sing at our church several times. The other is for a sister of a friend and worker (Jesse) at Coronado Stone. The sister died on the operating table during a liver transplant at the UCLA Medical Center a week ago.
In addition, I have been to the Loma Linda University Hospital to visit our good friend, Mr. Kaye Freeman. He had fluid on the lungs and trouble breathing. They are keeping him for a few days as they give him the antibiotics and drain the lungs.
On top of that, in my capacity as Director of a men's sober living home connected with Coronado Stone, there was an incident at one of the houses on Friday night in which I needed to be involved in. It was a late night for me.
On a lighter note, I enjoyed some peach cobbler that Sondra made as Pastor George Nelson (church planter of The Vision Plus Church of Chatsworth) came over last Tuesday evening. I attended the Celebrate Recovery meeting that night also.
I led the daily devotion time at Coronado Stone last Tuesday morning, and I have been asked to lead the devotion time this coming Thursday for National Day of Prayer.
At church yesterday, a lady came forward for salvation and baptism. A man (name of Jim) who has been attending lately with his wife in the last couple of weeks is a singer and guitarist. Knowing he has written his own songs for worship, I asked him spontaneously on Sunday morning to share a song with us. He blessed us with his singing and love for the Lord.
Finally, I bought a tank of gas for under $4 for the first time in a long time last week. I paid $3.99 a gallon at Costco. That's pretty sad when I am happy just for gas to be under $4!