Sunday, March 1, 2009

To Lawton

Yesterday, James said his new plates were ready to be picked up. So, we drove to the dealership and picked them up. You must be careful with google earth. They showed three different addresses for the dealership. We discovered that the Seagoville address was not correct. When I drove there with James a few Mondays ago, I knew it did not take that long to get there. Bob does not like to use 360, so he thought he was saving time by going another route. Ha. Spring has sprung along south Dallas, Seagoville, and the interchanges along I-20 and I-45, I-20 and I-35, and I-20 and 67. Now you know. We do need rain, however.

Sunday morning, this morning, at midnight, we heard the Skype thingy on the computer, but I did not get up until 2am to see who had called. James successfully put together a bookcase he bought at Walmart, and re-arranged his furniture.

At 7am, we were dressed, showered, coffee-ed up, and out the door to Lawton. The sun was already above the horizon, and it was windy, but cloudless, and so pretty driving northwest up 287. We stopped for breakfast in Decatur---a pit stop, and a sack to go of breakfast burretoes, and a sausage biscuit and cinnamon melt (cinnamon bun). And a huge orange juice. I took notes this time, as to where the Valero gas stations are located, as well as good places to eat, as I am compiling a map for this route to help jog my memory where the good bathrooms are.

In Oklahoma, just across the Red River, the welcome center is located on an island 13 miles in, and just south of the Oklahoma toll road. Other trips found us driving by, or stopping at the McDonalds, but the wind was blowing so hard, and it was so cold (29 degrees) that I walked south out of the wind while Bob got gas at the Phillips, and into the welcome building. Great bathrooms, and VERY friendly ladies. Found a robin plush toy for Abby that chirps.

We made it to James' church-of-the-week, and enjoyed the friendly folks of Lawton. After lunch at Tres Amigos---I liked the food, but Jamea and Bob gave it sad reviews, (we had helped James install the plates before lunch) ---note to self, Bob needs the foriegn car set of tools.

We decided to head home a different route as it was a beautiful day for a drive. This time we traveled east from Lawton to Duncan, and south into Texas by way of Bowie. This route avoids Wichita Falls completely. Many pluses there. But, if you don't make a bathroom pit stop in Duncan, forgetaboutit until Bowie. Bowie has a McDonalds, and a really nice new Walmart by 287. We found some fruit, and ice cream bars, and got back on the road. Since we were only 44 miles from home, there was NO stopping Bob now. He smelled the barn, I tell you. Silly me to record all the really nice places to stop for supper... And once you hit the crazy traffic that is Fort Worth---best to get home before dark. Only one small detour to Braum's for another gallon of milk. The man is completely changed from church clothes which he wore all day, and out of those cowboy boots he wears for dress---even though they have holes in the bottom of the boots. It will be hard to drag him to the cowboy store to get more. But, I am armed with my Shepler's one of these days....

We did see a huge deer wandering beside the road in Oklahoma near the Red River. Ryan? The deer looked shaggy, like it was shedding its winter coat. The cows in the field nearby had calves. And were feasting on very green, green fields of alfalfa, maybe? The green cultivated fields for hay were stark contrasts with the brown of the rolling ranch land.

And I did not see any cultivated field off 287 from our house to Oklahoma. But, on the way home, I spied one circle irrigater in a field near the Red River. The rolling hills have a layer of rocks that when pushed or worn away leave a layer of clay that erodes and spills into stock tanks---most of which were muddy and cloudy today. A few ducks braved them anyway. And cows were looking for water in gullies. We need rain. There has been a burning ban now for weeks, and the wind today just dried everything out more. Near Lawton, there are a few fields of cotton, and I am guessing green alfalfa or clover. And we spied shetland ponies and lamas near Ringgold? or was that Stoneburg?

It was a fun trip. We laughed a lot. And I had Bob mostly to myself in the car. No phones, no computers, no long church budget meetings to have to share him with.

We so enjoy listening to sermons at Mars Hill Church dot org. In one sermon he was talking openly about their budget. Not many new believers give, and their numbers are astounding. And they are having to meet in several locations because Seattle won't allow a mega church, and it would be expensive to build. They broke it down to $48 a head. a week. It made me wonder about our church budget. Our building is paid for, but we budget salaries for five, at least, tuition for a couple of seminary students, a few missionaries, and of course pay utilities, and it works out to be about $33 a head. per week. WE have not been giving at that rate. I guess we owe God a lot for all those years our boys were small and we could not afford it.

Pastor Mark Driscoll explained it this way, which made sense to me: Suppose you sent your child to the grocery story with a $20 and said, bring back bread, milk, and buy a little something for yourself. And what if the kid returned with a huge sack of candy and ice cream and no milk, no bread? And what if you gave the kid another $20 and said, go to the store and buy milk, and bread, and only a little for yourself this time. And the kid returns with the milk, but no bread, and another huge sack of candy and cake and cookies... Well, what would you do? Is that is how God feels with us? God gives us everything we need for our houses, and cars, and gas, and clothing, and food, and gives us a church where we can meet that is all paid for, and people willing to work and study to give us a great spiritual meal, and we put a pittance in the offering plate to help support the church, and missonaries, and further the Gospel. And we deny ourselves nothing. We eat out, and go to movies, and take trips, and buy plush birdie toys for the grandchild, but where is sacrificial giving on our list of priorities??? God does not need our money, but He gives us the opportunity to "help". And He works through us. Which is analogous to taking your child to work day. Sure, they get to see you work, and they think they are helping, but in reality, it is no help at all. But, good for the child.

I don't know. It just gave me a lot to think about. And while some plumbing repairs loom in our future, and paying off some car repairs are also important. I need to pray about my attitude about giving at church. Seems like it would be easier if I liked the music at church, but I don't. And why would I keep going back to a good restaurant that had great food but horrid music?? Not that I should compare church with a fancy restaurant. But, if I am going to plunk down $33 a head, the service better be great. Eh? I saw a man flick a dollar into an offering plate today. Wow. Hope he got his dollar's worth from the sermon and service. But, since it was not my church, who am I to judge? I did not give anything. Even as I would not expect visitors to contribute to my church service.

$33 an head. a week. $66 a couple. $300 a month. Man-o-man, I am so in debt to God.

It is not going to get me into heaven. Jesus paid that. $33 a head a week only helps meet the budget at our church for a year. And if I vote for the budget, doesn't that mean I am responsible to pull my share? Isn't that fair? But, for $33 bucks a week, shouldn't we be supporting more missionaries?? And cut the stupid music program? And pay our pastors better than starvation wages? Just a thought.

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