Jul 242008

Tasha and I saw an opportunity during our morning devotional time to take our family hostage from 3pm until whenever today. We decided that the phone could ring and all of our other ‘tentative’ plans could fall by the wayside so our family could have some fun.

We ended up at Willard Beach in Battle Creek. We hadn’t been there before. It was a ‘big’ city park full of clutter and people. There are plenty of bad things that can be said about C/W. But it just feels cleaner and safer here than there. A presumably hungry homeless person checked on our garbage while we were finishing dinner. Tasha said we should invite him to take our extra food. I paused and asked her to let him go by. There are too many scenarios that ran through my mind about how this person could pose a threat to my family.

But I told the family to make him a plate to leave behind. We had the extras. As we were all loaded up I saw him in the distance. I said, “sir, help yourself to the plate we left behind.” He thanked us with a big smile and was sitting at the picnic table as we drove off. It is important to help others, but it can be challenging to do so in a safe way.

God, please help that man out of the challenges he faces. I pray he feels Your presence now and every time someone reads this prayer. I pray for him to follow the path you have set for him. A path that can surely be better tomorrow than it was today.

Jul 242008

On my day off I came into the kitchen and see my 13.7 year old daughter, Marena, standing there. I say, “Would you like to take the bikes down to Pokagon for a bike and run?” I know her well enough to see the wheels spinning. Her thoughts, “If I go with him, my friends won’t be able to get my attention…” I pictured it from her point of view as being some kind of hostage situation.  But she decided to go with me anyway.

There are so many stories I could tell from this one day. We biked. I planned to bike along side her while she ran – but she had a surprise challenge in store for me. “Daddy, will you run with me?” Now I’m scared. Just the other day I did an 8:00 warm-up run with my team and had to act like it didn’t hurt a bit when I thought I was going to die. Marena was going for a 10-12 minute run! What’s a dad to do? I say, “Sure, Marena. I’d love to!”

I motivated myself the whole way thinking about putting my steaming feet into the lake at the end of the run. We finish and I didn’t do half bad, and we get to the water. My feet are cooling for about 30 seconds when Marena says, “Ok. Let’s go home.” All total I think she spent 1.5 hours biking, 0.5 hours in the running process, 1 hour at lunch, 1 hour in transit, and 3 hours on the phone! But I’m grateful just the same. I love you, Marena.

Dear God, thank you for a wonderful day with Marena. A beautiful child of God. Please help me to always remember and cherish these moments. I can screw a lot of things up, but today’s memory can never be taken away. Praise God!

Jul 092008

My dad used to always laugh at the troubles he’d encounter when he was ‘satisfied’ with life. My current situation is a flat tire on the family van. I’m going to make up a story about my dad but it fits with his character.

Picture this – we are on a family trip to Niagara Falls. The family van is; modern, leather interior, DVD player, etc. And it has a flat tire along the freeway. Dad would think it was too bad. But he’d be on the phone calling the car service and would chuckle at the end and say it was a ‘high-class’ problem. He was living a wonderful dream to be able to have such a nice vehicle that could go on such a great family trip. Nice to some would be a limo or private plane, but to dad it was exactly where he was at!

Ahhh…Gratitude (g.brayton). God, thank you for the family van. Thank you for the x-number room home on x-number acres attached to a park with x-number square footage. Thank you for the x.y car garage that I am sitting in as I type this blog. There are flat tires, digital cameras that don’t flash, but thank you, God. Thank you for a blessed life. Thank you for the high-class problems.

Jul 062008

Some kids decided to do a little vandalism to the church while I was swatting mosquitoes. They had no idea how easy it was for me to catch them. They picked the wrong night!

It started with four kids walking around the neighborhood throwing firecrackers at each other. Not that big of deal in my book. But I could hear the firecrackers doing a 360 around my neighborhood and ended back at the church. Then I heard what sounded like kids on the roof. Not uncommon by the way – wish I could fix that. So I chased them down and had a little Clint Eastwood moment.

I know there are more than a couple of schools of thought on this. But I eyeballed the damage and it was really small and could have been a lot worse. So I challenged the kids. I let them know that if anything bad happens in my neighborhood, the police will get a call from me first thing. That includes my place of course!

I’ve been meaning to install an external surveillance/motion system anyway…I know I should have called the cops and thrown away the key but not this time. Lord, help those kids to feel Your presence tonight. Help them to realize that having fun and causing damage are two different things. Help them to know that not everyone would like the firecrackers…but NO ONE likes vandalism.

Man Vs. Mosquito

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Jul 062008

I’m sitting on the deck and just lit some tiki torches. The photo isn’t my deck but it looks pretty darn close. My camera is with my wife, Tasha, and my daughter, Marena, on a FBC-Coldwater youth mission trip to Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago.

I contemplated putting a picture of a mosquito on my blog but I was afraid I’d get a bill for someone reading my blog that smacked the crap out of their monitor. I tend to keep score a lot and let me say that the mosquitoes won tonight. By the time I lit the torches and put on Off! it was too late. My legs are itching sooo bad.

Thank you, God, for mosquitos….Ok. I’m not that spiritually fit. Good night all.

Pouring Iron

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Jul 032008

What a photo…

That is me pouring iron. I make it look kind of easy but I knew the boss was taking the shot. I had a control that moved the 2700 degree iron in the 3-ton ladle (I can’t remember what it actually weighed so be patient with me ACM). The other guy doesn’t work there anymore. There is another photo and 2 out of 3 of us don’t work there, either. We were grunt labor. But I know we were important even if the others didn’t. It takes those grunts to pour the iron that needs deburred, that needs machined, and that needs attached to our cars.

What a wild world. God was my source back then even though I really didn’t want Him to be. Strange, huh? It was a crappy job. But He made me make it. He knew it was temporary where I did not. I interviewed for the next job for the first time in my life having prayed before the interview that God would direct me. Ever since then my life has been so physically easy that I’ve gained 20 pounds.

There are so many other photos and commentary that I could give you about that job….But praise God for Tim Long and Eric Johnson. There were others. But they are special to me and I don’t even know if they know it. God bless you guys. Amen.

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