Saturday, April 30, 2011

Anniversary Weekend

Last Wednesday Mrs. McGoo and I headed out for a late anniversary trip to St. Louis and Kansas City. Our actual anniversary is actually March 17, but with Mrs. McGoo and I both being in school, this past week presented the best time to get away for some fun times.

We made our way up to St. Louis, only stopping to get some throw'd rolls at Lambert's in Sikeston, MO. I decided to check out following a recommendation by a buddy of mine. It turned out we got a pretty good deal as we secured a $300 room at the Hyatt in downtown St. Louis for only $65 a night. Then we were upgraded to a corner suite when I told the lady we were there for our anniversary. Take a look at our room and view. Not too shabby.

Once there we made our way to the Budweiser Brewery tour and then went to a Cards baseball game. Again, secured a great deal on tickets - 2 $93 seats for $32 total. We ended up right by the first baseline and I got to watch Albert Pujols knock one out of the part while my bride was trying to take pictures. This, unfortunately is not the picture she took. This was taken from the panoramic feature on my phone. Not too shabby either...

After we enjoyed a good time in St. Louis, we headed over to Kansas City where most of my MILC's family lives. On our way over, we had some awful weather getting out of St. Louis. It wasn't until the next morning did I realize that we missed the tornado that hit the St. Louis airport by a few minutes or so. All that time I was blaming the bad tired on our car for the reason it felt like we were all over the road.

Once we got in, we stayed with UILF and AILT for the visit. We got a good steady dose of Mrs. McGoo's cousin's kids. It's neat to see how fast they grow when you only see them once or twice a year. Clayton, the middle child, and I seem to hit it off every time I come in. Last year he had me watching the Backyardigans and this year he almost had me playing Thomas the Train with him. It would be encouraging to see that he can now call me Kelly and not Telly, but instead, he has learned the phrase, Smelly Kelly. Who could have taught him that, I don't know....

Saturday night we had the whole family over for dinner and uFrank had been smoking some brisket for 24 hours or so on his new electric smoker. Unfortunately for him, the meat came out a little dry. This unfortunate happening just allowed us to lather the meat up more so with BBQ sauce than normal. I could tell he was a little bummed, but pushed through it. I think somewhere his son-in-law Dan put a curse on the meat since he referred to the electric grill as "cheating."

The next morning we made our way to church for Easter service and then came back to the house for some grub before we hit the road. We were all set to be treated to a wonderful meal by aTerri when uFrank's string of bad luck on the grill continued. This time on a propane tank. I know...difficult right. Some where on one of the many shows he "Likes to watch" he saw that you can put greasy bacon on the grill and cook them. So he decided to give it a whirl. I don't know if 5 minutes went by before all the girls in the house start screaming. I am playing with uFrank's iPad at the time and asked what was going on. They're all now laughing and saying that uFrank has caught the grill on fire.

Knowing this is too good of a moment for me to pass up, I quickly grabbed my phone and went to take pictures of this kodak moment. Much to my delight, the flames were blazing about the time I got over there. Here, in all his glory is what happens when a bad grilling weekend comes to an end.

After uFrank's Bacon Explosion (kind of funny since he once sent me a recipe called that) we headed back to M-town to try and get in at a reasonable time. It's always a tough place to leave. They treat me like one of their own and really do a great job of taking care of us while we're there.

I know we're missed because we always get the same sad face when we leave.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jesus and the Martyrs

Like most people, I struggle with my thoughts and my faith as I continue to try and pursue holiness. Yet, I continually fail when I let my selfish desires and worldly thoughts get the best of me. In doing so, I am constantly reminded that as strong as I am in who I am, I am nothing without the help I get from God and the sacrifice he made for me.

All that said, I still wrestle with my faith and death and what comes next. My simple mind cannot fathom, on occasion, what eternity is. With Easter just recently in my mind, the conversation has come up a lot about Jesus's death.

During that 11th hour, Jesus asks his Father to remove the weight from his shoulders and in that small moment, you see the humanity in Jesus. What exactly was the (Cup) weight he was referring to? I often wonder how the Son of God would struggle in the 11th hour with his impending death. After all, if he is the Son of God, shouldn't he know better?

I read this article last week and continue to come back to it for the answers I seek. It's a pretty telling description of the 'Cup' that Jesus refers to and in doing so, explains why he was different from famous martyrs in comparing their deaths to his.

"There are a couple things to say in response to this question. First, it’s reassuring that the Gospel writers tell us about Jesus’ agonized struggle before his death, because it demonstrates that they are honest writers. Who would ever make this stuff up?! There’s no reason to, and every reason not to. It’s a bit uncomfortable to have your God and Savior agonizing, praying not to go to the cross, sweating, and afraid. The fact that Luke reports Jesus’ emotional struggle in the passage above helps confirm that it really happened, that Luke is telling us the story straight.

Second, Jesus’ agony makes sense when we realize that the death he died is radically different from the death of Socrates, the seven Jewish brothers, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s not all that different on the physical level. While Jesus’ death by beating and crucifixion was a terrible physical ordeal, the physical agony of the seven Jewish brothers (for example) was perhaps equally great. What sets Jesus’ death apart from the death of any other person in the history of the world is the spiritual component of his suffering. We have an indication of that terrible spiritual reality in Luke 22:42: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” To what “cup” is Jesus referring?"

It's a pretty long article, so I'm not going to steal a hit away from the author, so take a look at the rest of the article on the link provided above.

It reminds me that I don't deserve anything. There are times when I'd like a new car or new house or new clothes, because I think I've earned it and deserve it. Reading this helps keep me grounded in knowing that my life and debt has been paid for and I am nothing without Christ's redeeming love.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fairweather Fans

One of the things I love about being a fan of sports is that it gives people a chance to grow friendships. I absolutely detest meeting someone for the first time and being asked what I do. It is like they are sizing me up for how much I make or what kind of car I will drive. Annoying to say the least.

However, I do like finding out who a person likes, or being asked what team I follow. It gives someone good insight into who they are, maybe where they are from, and what they like when you find out what team or sport they like. This can lead to good topical discussion and you don't feel like you're being sized up for how big your wallet is.

In finding out who a person likes, it also opens them up for some good ribbing at their teams expense. That's the beauty of sports is that you cannot always have a good year in everything. Or can you?

Back in the early 90's, I once had a friend that never seemed to have a down year in sports. His favorite team had a remarkable run of success. Who was his favorite team you ask? Well, good question...depended on the sport. Duke basketball, Florida St. football, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bulls, and Atlanta Braves. Now, keep in mind this was in the 90's when all these teams were remarkably good and winning a ton.

Now, I don't know where you come from, but my criteria for liking a team is as follows: You went to school there, you played there, you grew up there, your parents were fans, or MAYBE they were good when you were a kid. Oh, and the caveat for colleges is you MUST like all sports, not just one.

For instance, if you are an Auburn fan, you can relish in the fact that your football team is really good, but fan-hood rules require you to suffer through basketball in order to level you out. Again, I am a UK and Memphis fan (Spent half my life in Lex and the other half in Memphis). Basketball fun is leveled out by football frustrations. The Yin and the Yang.

I say all this to say 'fan-code' is being broken by a lot of people I'm around. I see a lot of people say they are UT football fans and Memphis basketball fans. Huh? That same guy that is rooting for Memphis basketball switches his allegiance to UT football in the fall. Sorry, I don't get it. Number one, they are rivals and number two, you should be a fan of the university not the team. I understand it isn't popular to be a fan of Memphis football or UT basketball (especially now), but that's the rules.

Now that we've had the convo about 'fan-code' and what is expected, the world should be a better place. And I'll make fun of your team when you're down....say for instance when you keep losing to mid-majors in the tourney.