Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our Trip to Scotland

We made it back home last night after 10 days in the UK. We had a really nice trip with our friends H. L. and Shirley Ross. They made it more enjoyable for us because they drove, and I would have been a nervous wreck if I had been trying to do that.

They had left several days before us, and picked us up at the airport in Glasgow, Scotland -- which is on the southwest side of the country. From there, we went along the western coast, spending our 2nd night in a B and B on the Isle of Skye. It was a gorgeous island. In fact, I was surprised at how beautiful Scotland is. The gorse is in bloom, and so there are splotches of yellow all over the landscape. And everything is SO green.

From there, we traveled along the north to a B and B (our favorite one) just outside of Inverness, which is in the highlands on the northeast side of the country. Many of the mountains were still snowcapped, and water was still cascading down from the snowmelt. We ate dinner one night in Dingwall, not far from Inverness. It was the headquarters of the Ross clan, and that area was my ancestors' stomping grounds. We learned that the Ross clan was considered to be fierce fighters. In fact, for anyone who has seen Braveheart -- my ancestors helped fight for Scottish independence under William Wallace.

We also were able to locate my grandfather's birth home in Inverness. While there, we visited with the current owner. He said that the building was 180 years old -- which means that to us it was old when my granddad was born there in 1902.

We went to several castles and relived much of the history of Scotland there.

Of course, the highlight of the trip for me was on Sunday, when we went to St. Andrews. We walked the Old Course for 4 hours. We stopped and had communion and prayer together on the 11th tee box. Think about that if you watch the British Open in July. It's a par 3. After walking the course, I really wanted to play it. But it was such a treat. The night before we walked the course, we ate at a restaurant just off the 1st tee and 18th green, and the next day had lunch just up the street.

From there, it was on to London, where we spent a day and a half. From Saturday (Edinburgh Castle) to Tuesday, I bet Beverly and I averaged walking 6 miles a day. We saw many of London's famous sites: Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the River Thames, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Parliament, Hyde Park. But catch this: About 11:50 on Tuesday, we were walking toward Westminster Abbey, when we saw a bunch of people gathered up and down the streets. From where we were, I could see Big Ben, so I thought, "Oh, they're gathering to hear it chime at noon." We hurried down to join them. It was then that we saw mounted soldiers and marching soldiers coming our way. They were followed by ornate carriages. Only then did we realize that we were standing about 50 feet from the back gate to Buckingham Palace. And guess who was in one of the carriages? THE QUEEN! That's right, we saw the Queen. She had just delivered a speech at the opening of Parliament. What a serendipity that was!

Great trip, but it's always good to be home too.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Daughter's Voice . . . and Strange Food

I finally got up the courage to listen to a saved message on my phone yesterday. It was from Jenny. She had her sweetest "Dad" voice. She had come across a coupon from Home Depot for hot tubs, and was trying to convince me to buy one. She knew I wouldn't because we had had that conversation a number of times before. But she was teasingly trying to convince me how much we needed it.

Oh, I miss her.

This will be my last blog for a couple of weeks. We are not taking any computers with us to Scotland. I think H. L., Shirley, Beverly and I will fit right in over there. We all have such a Scottish brogue.

People keep telling me that I need to wear my granddad's kilt. Right. My granddad weighed about 125 pounds and had a 30 inch waist. If I put on his kilt, it would look like an apron.

I have also been asked if I will try Scotland's national dish, haggis. The answer is NO! Someday I may be hungry enough to eat animal guts. But I am not at that point yet. I often wonder how some foods came to be. I mean, imagine the 1st person to eat haggis. "I think I'll dig through this sheep's innards, take out the heart, liver and lungs, mix them with some onions and oatmeal -- and make a pudding. Yum-yum."

I mean, I have been a Texan for 40+ years, and I have never tried menudo. So I don't think I will fly to Europe to eat haggis.

The bravest adventurers when it came to food may be the ones who 1st decided to try mountain oysters. I mean, REALLY! What were they thinking?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Praying the Psalms

This week I have begun praying through the Psalms. I am reading them from The Message. The 1st verse of Psalm 7 has absolutely captured me. I can't get it off my mind. It says, "Go! God! I am running to you for dear life . . ." That SO describes my existence right now.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows what a huge Jack Bauer fan I am. In my previous life (before this February), violence didn't bother me. Either that or I was in denial. But now, I can't stand to watch life cheapened like that. So while Beverly and I are going to finish out this year's "24," I am kind of glad it will be ending. The episode Monday night was one of the goriest ever. And that is saying a lot for "24."

I want to refer you to an incredible video clip. Of course I think so because it is my son, Josh. He is beginning a series on the fruit of the Spirit, and so he is going to show this clip. You can download it and watch it at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day -- A New Tradition

Yesterday (Mother's Day) was a challenging day. In recent years, I have come to realize how difficult this day is for many people.

For some, it is because of the pain of memories of a mother who was toxic. What a challenge it is to honor one who brought such emotional pain.

For others, the day is painful because they WANT to be mothers -- but are unable to.

And for others, it is painful due to loss. And that is where we found ourselves yesterday. In the bitter-sweetness of honoring Beverly and her mom and her sister -- while at the same time our hearts breaking due to Jenny's absence.

The sweetest (yet difficult) part of the day was at 3 PM. That's when we headed to Chili's -- all nine of us. Malaya had told Beverly a couple of days ago that she wanted to start a tradition of going there each Mother's Day to share in Jenny's favorite dessert -- White Chocolate Molten Cake.

It was a sacred moment.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Royal Priesthood

As our trip to Scotland gets closer (11 more days), I find myself becoming more excited. I also find myself more interested in that Iceland volcano. I hope it will behave itself for a few weeks.

Today I am going to lunch with my granddaughter. I have been trying to do that once a week for the last few months. She is an incredibly strong person, and I am so proud of her. Today: Chick-fil-a.

This Sunday I am going to begin a series on the Ten Commandments. As I have read in preparation for this, I was struck by God's words to Israel in Exodus 19: 5: "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole world is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."

These words are strikingly similar to Peter's words to us, the new Israel, in 1 Peter 2: 9: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

In both cases, God has called a people to Himself -- not to insulate us from the world. But for us to be priests! To mediate between God and the world.

Israel failed in their calling. They thought "called out" meant isolation.

I'm wondering if we haven't often made the same mistake.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Catching Up on the News

Beverly and I spent late Wednesday night through early Saturday afternoon in Memphis. We had a really good time with our Tennessee family. We went to what I consider to be the best zoo I have ever visited (that even includes San Diego). We ate BBQ (In my opinion, pork barbeque has beef beat). We went horseback riding -- something I have not done in, well, since I got thrown off a horse in Honduras. It was GREAT! That is, until I lost my wallet -- in the middle of the forest. Our gracious host and I got on 4-wheelers and retraced our ride. I had about given up hope of finding it. But sure enough, he found it.

And, of course, our reason for being in Memphis: We stayed for Truitt's 3rd birthday party. It was quite a scene as 20 kids played in the garage while the air sirens went off warning us of tornados.

We drove back through some heavy rain, but most of it had already passed us. As we drove across the Mississippi River into West Memphis, we saw many houses with water right up to the door. And I really doubt that the water had crested at that time. Really sad.

It saddens me to hear about another terrorist attempt in New York City. I don't get it. I know terrorists prey on our fears -- but to what end? Their tactics don't endear them to anyone except other terrorist extremist. And I can't think of any terrorist event that has changed our lifestyles -- other than the added security measures now taken. They simply further marginalize themselves from the world with every attempt. And I can hardly think of anything more cowardly than the wholesale killing of innocent people. So I don't get it. But Beverly once told me in respect to another situation that rational people cannot understand the thinking of irrational people.

Where are you when we need you, Red Adair?