Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Copy this link into your browser. For some reason I couldn't get the link add to work (I'll keep trying). http://gunbarrelcityradio.com/InGodWeStillTrust.wmv.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
As you can tell from the lack of posts recently, life has gotten busy in the Smith household. After a whirlwind July of camp and vacation, August didn't slow down at all as school started shortly after we returned to Memphis. I'll try to catch up on some posts soon to see the journey we've been on for the past several weeks.
One thing that's occupying a lot of time is Clara's participation in a competitive soccer team. The photo is of Clara getting ready to play her latest soccer game (a couple of hours ago). Clara is now a member of the Bartlett Soccer Club. She'd participated in the Bartlett city recreational league for a couple of years. Apparently during the spring season this year the director of the Bartlett Soccer Club (who's also the Bartlett High School soccer coach) scouted all of the recreational teams and invited a few girls to join a competitive soccer club. Clara was one of those invited and we've allowed her to try it out. It's a bit more commitment than the recreational league (a couple of practices plus a game every week), and the games are a bit farther from home, but we think she's having a good time.
Last year, in the 8 and under league, she played on a team where there were only 4 on a team on the field at once (two forwards, a defender, and a goalie). In her team this year, she jumped up to having 8 team members on the field at once, with only 10 total girls on the team (so there's not a huge amount of substitutions). She plays 2 25 minute halves with a five minute halftime. The field is now 80 yards long (about twice the length of last year's field). Let's just say she sleeps well after practice and games. She slept all the way home tonight.
Clara's team is still coming together. Tonight they played their third game (a 7:30 PM start time, and a 1/2 hour drive from home...she played under the lights for the first time in her life). They are now 1-1-1. They tied their first game 0-0, won their second game 4-1, and lost tonight 1-4.
To follow her progress, if you'd like, check out this link. This will take you to the Memphis Shelby Soccer Federation web site. From there, select teams, then in the 10 Girls B Division (meaning under 10-years-old), select Bartlett SC 98. That's Clara's team. You can follow the team all season and see their schedule, record, and team standing in the division. The web site is still being updated, and whomever is posting the game info is about a week or two behind.
We are now officially soccer parents, and spend our time on the sidelines yelling (uh, I mean, cheering).
Saturday, August 26, 2006
If anyone else at all noticed, it would have been hard to tell.
Like everyone else, I went about my business. When I left I noticed that the alarm had stopped. Either the owner shut it off or the car got stolen. Who knows? I had plants to look at...fasteners to buy...
But...it caused me to think. How is it that we've gotten to this point...the point where an alarm goes off and no one seems to notice...or at least take visible action in many cases. Alarms are viewed as more of a nuisance than as an...alarm. I imagine that if it were 150, 100, or even 75 years ago, maybe even 50...the idea that something was wrong or a person's property were being damaged or stolen would probably have brought neighbors running...in some cases a whole town would come out...all ready to do what was necessary to help. Sort of like the old bucket brigades in fighting fires.
What if that were change? Every time you hear a car alarm going off, run like crazy to that spot ready to defend that owner's property. Challenge anyone nearby. Stay there until the owner shuts the alarm off. Call the police on your cell phone and report a theft or vandalism in progress ("come on, officer, an ALARM is going off...something MUST be wrong!!!").
How long do you think it would be before you were either (a) laughed at, (b) yelled at, (c) arrested, (d) assualted, or (e) shot at.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
It seems like a dream at times, especially now that the school year is in gear full speed and the family calendar is getting packed with activities related to friends, church, school, etc. Just a few weeks ago our family spent a week relaxing in this cabin in the East Tennessee foothills in the Fall Creek Falls State Park. Our friends Terry and Renee Wright and their family had a similar cabin not too far away. We had a great time visiting with them and enjoyed the scenery and park activities! But again, given how fast things took off when we returned, it seems like only a dream...
Friday, July 14, 2006
At church recently, my pastor shared a great illustration that some of you may have heard, but I had not heard it before. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, this illustration should mean something. We have a very detailed guidebook (The Bible) that tells us how we should live as Christians. Yet, many of us fall vastly short and end up often giving Christ and His cause a bad name.
I invite you to read through this...let me know what you think. I'm not sure where the illustration originally came from, but I found it online at http://dailywisdom.gospelcom.net.
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military generals who ever lived, conquered almost the entire known world with his vast army. One night during a campaign, he couldn't sleep and left his tent to walk around the campgrounds.
As he was walking he came across a soldier asleep on guard duty - a serious offense. The penalty for falling asleep on guard duty was, in some cases, instant death; the commanding officer sometimes poured kerosene on the sleeping soldier and lit it.
The soldier began to wake up as Alexander the Great approached him. Recognizing who was standing in front of him, the young man feared for his life. "Do you know what the penalty is for falling asleep on guard duty?" Alexander the Great asked the soldier.
"Yes, sir," the soldier responded in a quivering voice.
"Soldier, what's your name?" demanded Alexander the Great.
Alexander the Great repeated the question: "What is your name?"
"My name is Alexander, sir," the soldier repeated.
A third time and more loudly Alexander the Great asked, "What is your name?"
A third time the soldier meekly said, "My name is Alexander, sir."
Alexander the Great then looked the young soldier straight in the eye. "Soldier," he said with intensity, "either change your name or change your conduct."
For those who call themselves a Christian, but do not live up to the standards set forth so clearly, change your name, or change your conduct...
I've already posted some shots of Noah's spring soccer season. Clara also played in the Bartlett City League this past Spring. This was her fourth season, her third on the same team. This is a photo from one of the games. (Note: We were VERY fortunate that one of Clara's team member's dad's was a photographer, so we got lots of great shots...I'll post some other ones later).
Again this season, Clara's team lost only one game. They had white uniforms this year and selected the team name White Lightning!! We think Clara is really enjoying the sport and she will play again this fall.
Our dear friend Amanda Lymburner made her annual pilgrimage to Hotel Smith recently, and brought a SURPRISE for Hannah with her. I'd mentioned in a recent post that Hannah's best friend is Taylor Adams, who lives in Dayton, Ohio (where we also lived for 12 years). As a surprise for Hannah, Taylor came with Amanda to Memphis for a recent visit! Hannah was SOOOOO excited.
It's hard to believe it, but we've known Amanda for around 15 YEARS now (give or take). We met Amanda when we first volunteered with the youth ministry at Far Hills Baptist Church in Dayton. Amanda quickly became a part of our family. We actually knew her long before we had CHILDREN!
We've been friends through thick and thin. We saw her grow and mature, stood with her when she ran the family car into the family garage, exit high school and enter college, exit one college and enter another, graduate college and enter a life of teaching and coaching field hockey in Kettering, Ohio. We moved from being a ministry leader for her to being a ministry partner with her (in the early days of The Cellar)...all the while solidifying our relationship as family. It's a treasure that she still keeps us in her annual vacation plans.
See you in October, Amanda!
Yes, as you can tell, I'm playing catch-up on my blog postings. Earlier this summer we were pleased to have our friends Jeff and Tracey Adams, along with children Taylor and Jacob, spend some time with us here in Memphis at Hotel Smith.
In this picture, you see the Adams along with our daughters Hannah (making the fashion statement) and Clara as well as Chloe, a border collie owned by our friend Mark Murdoch.
We've known the Adams for years and years. Taylor and Hannah are best and probably lifelong friends. We had a great visit!
I've intended to make this post for a while, but kept getting distracted. For any of you who haven't already heard about it, there is a new moving being released this fall on September 29 called Facing the Giants.
Personally I'm very excited about it because the movie was made by the church that Diane and I attended when we were first married…Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Coincidentally, our first day there in 1989 was the pastor's first day there. His name is Michael Catt. A dear friend from college, Katrina Hutson, was in town visiting Michael and took the opportunity to introduce us to both him and the church. We were a part of the church during our brief stay in Albany in 1989 and 1990.
I have probably more respect for Michael as a pastor than I do for anyone I know...and I also have a high degree of respect for the ministry of Sherwood. I've kept up with Michael's and the church's ministry through the years and have been happy to see how the Lord has worked through him and the church to do amazing things.
To level set you, frustrated by the content of the movies emerging from Hollywood, rather than cursing the darkness the church made the decision to shine their light.
A few years ago, they made a very low budget film ($25,000) called Flywheel. Yes, when you watch it you might observe that it is low budget because of the lack of bells and whistles that holiday includes, but when I saw it I can personally vouch that the Holy Spirit is using this movie to reach people. Often the media doesn't have to be perfect for the message to flow through. Long story short…Blockbuster picked up the movie and put it in 4000 stores nationwide. The movie was shown on various Christian cable networks and to this day the church still gets mail from how that film is impacting lives. It's about a Christian used car salesman. For a good family evening, check out Blockbuster for this movie.
Ok, that's just an intro…recently the church decided to make a second movie. Again somewhat low budget ($100,000 is all they spent, just to rent equipment). This one is called Facing The Giants. It appears as though God has bigger plans for this film. The movie late last year, pre-release, was picked up by Provident Films (owned by Sony Pictures) and with the help of Samuel Goldwyn Films will be released nationwide in theatres this fall. This film is about a burned-out, depressed high school football coach at a Christian high school. The distributors plan to release the film to coincide with fall high school football season (September 29, 2006). The film has been previewed around the country at places such as national conferences for church activities' ministers and has received standing ovations. Earlier this year it was shown at the Merrimack Valley Christian Film Festival near Boston and over 600 people were turned away from the packed theatre. Next it was previewed at the Greater Syracuse Christian Film Festival where it quickly became the most popular film at the festival. It was most recently shown at the Purpose Driven Worship conference at Saddleback in California.
It appears as though the Lord is wanting to get news of this film to a broader audience. Recently the Motion Picture Association of America released its rating on the movie and designated a PG rating. Their reason? The movie is too evangelistic and may offend persons of different religions. They even used the word proselytizing in their comments. See this article on the rating.
Some Christian groups...and even members of Congress...have taken notice. From what I can read, Sherwood is not angry about the rating...rather they prayed that God would use the rating to cause more people to see the movie. The pastor of the church (Michael Catt) and the movie director/star actor (also the church's media director) Alex Kendrick have been interviewed recently by Foxnews, Time magazine, CNN, and Good Morning America. In other words, word is getting out.
I'm posting this because I think this movie could have an impact on the country. Fro any of you who read this who might be in ministry, there are screenings planned around the country for pastors. Check out this web site to see if there is one in your area. www.filmpr.com/facingthegiants/events.
For more info, including movie clips, please see the movie's web site… www.facingthegiants.com.
For more info on the church, see www.sherwoodbaptist.net.
Let me know what you think!
Some numbers have jumped out at me recently. This is just an opportunity to share what's on my mind...
17 - Approximate rank in US City size held by Memphis, Tennessee, where I currently live.
96 - Current tally of murders committed in Memphis this year. Many...too many...are being committed by kids.
40 - Current school dropout percentage rate in Memphis.
4 - According to the Apologetics on Fire organization, who hosted a conference at my church recently, the percentage of American teenagers who regularly attend church.
Shifting gears, but just a little...
78 - Current price of a barrel of oil.
7 - Number of test missiles launched by North Korea recently.
60 - Number of rockets fired at three Israeli towns by the gorilla terrorist group Hezbollah this morning.
200,000 - Number of Israeli citizens currently staying in bomb shelters.
8 - Number of bombs that exploded in the Bombay transit system earlier this week.
4 3/4 - Number of years since the 9/11 attacks. Our military has been in Afghanistan and Iraq almost that long. That's a little longer than amount of time between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the end of WWII.
A lot of those numbers appear bleak. There are also happy numbers...
2 - Number of work days until I start vacation.
4 - Number of WONDERFUL children I have.
Dozens - Number of friends that I have been blessed with.
2 1/2 - Number of months until the premier of Facing The Giants...a movie I'll talk about in an upcoming entry.
16 3/4 - Number of years I've been married to my awesome wife!
That's enough for now...
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
What a pleasant surprise!! We got an unexpected phone call a couple of Sundays ago from Cindy Mefford.
Bill and Cindy Mefford are friends of ours from our time in Dayton, Ohio. They have wonderful children that we were able to spend a lot of fun time with when we volunteered with the youth ministry and college ministry at Far Hills Baptist Church. Cindy was also a ministry volunteer and helped with many events, including catering unnumerable college lunches for College Life.
Cindy was in Memphis for a few days with their son who was participating in a basketball tournament here. She had some free time on Sunday morning so she came over and attended church with us. We were able to spend lunch and the afternoon catching up.
It was most enjoyable to see her and hear all of the family news and news from Dayton.
P.S. You TOO can appear here. We LOVE visitors at any time!! Others have made their way to and through Memphis recently...photos coming!!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Item #457 on my personal to-do list is to update the "On The Nightstand" section of the blog to share the books I'm enjoying. You probably think I'm the slowest reader in the world, because that section hasn't been updated in a long time.
Truth is, I haven't really finished any of the books currently there, I just took a break from them when things got busy and other books came across my path.
Since updating that section is a little involved, I thought I'd simply share one of the books I'm currently enjoying...Blue Like Jazz. It's an easy read, so if you have a couple of days or a business trip coming up, I highly recommend it.
Blue Like Jazz is by Donald Miller. The subtitle is "Nonreligious Thoughts On Christian Spirituality." I won't spoil it for you, but for now, just note that I'm about halfway through and have been both entertained and challenged.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Here are a couple of shots of Noah on the soccer field. One of the things that has occupied a lot of our time over the past several weeks is soccer for Noah. Noah played soccer for the first time this year in the spring city league in the town where we live. Practice one night a week plus a game every Saturday morning. The last few weeks every other practice night had a game scheduled instead of practice. I think he had fun, and I think he began to actually get it towards the end of the season. At least he paid attention to the game and didn't stop to stare at passing trains. He's still young, so it'll be a year or two before he gets very competitive. For now, it's all about fun.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
I can use this weekend to catch-up...on my blog posting...
Since the last "real" entry, a few things have happened...I'll summarize here and add specific entries (and photos) as time permits...
- Elijah has kept on being cute. If you say "night-night" to him, he will drop what he's doing and walk to where he sleeps and stand by his bed. Giggling. He loves his sleep.
- Noah has started his first soccer season. He has yet to score, but his team has won a couple of games. He plays twice a week (at least one game plus practice). Noah couldn't care less about the games, he just enjoys running and kicking the ball (regardless of which direction he kicks it in).
- Clara has played three soccer games this season. She's now scored two goals and her team is undefeated and I think they've only been scored on once. Who would have thought 8-year-old soccer could be that intense?! Game before last every player on her team scored at least one goal. Last Saturday she played in a very cold (50 degrees) windy (gusts over 40 mph) rainy game....scored one goal and her team won 3-0. Clara also plays at least twice a week (at least one game plus practice).
- Clara had her 8th birthday party. 15 girls here for a pajama-party sleepover. Oh my. What were we thinking?!?!
- Hannah has continued with her piano lessons (she's now mastered the bass cleff) and has taken this year's TCAP's (the annual aptitude tests at school...a week-long event). We finally got her scores from last year (apparently lost when she changed schools due to re-zoning here).
- Clara also sang at a recent PTA meeting.
- Some questions have been answered about how the new contract between EDS and GMAC will impact my job, things are a little more stable...I guess.
- We spent a few evenings here and there huddled in the downstairs bathroom as the tornado sirens wailed...some nasty storms have come through this year.
- Our neighbor's house was burglarized...in broad daylight...while Diane and the boys were here. A little excitement in the cove...
- We were able to see Mama Clara, Granddaddy and Grandmommy Mitchell (Diane's parents) and some other family members in Mississippi one Sunday.
- The University of Georgia Women's Gymnastics Team won the National Championship (yes, I have to throw in a little school pride here and there).
- Some neighbors we had become friends with in our neighborhood found out that they (she) had received a job promotion and they relocated just this week to Reno, NV (yes, that is now a new Smith Family vacation destination). We were able to help out during the quick move by being a pet-sitter for their dog (and cat sometimes) while their house was being shown and by (Diane) helping coordinate a going-away dinner (for Gretta).
- A nasty little stomach virus wove its way through the family over a period of a few days.
- Spring (with all of its wonderful landscaping) has sprung. I never realized how an aerator can man-handle you.
So...a few distractions here and there have kept me from the blog, but I am returning...
Monday, April 10, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
On Thursday of last week, we welcomed Angie Fulks along with Sydney, Dillon, and Sylvia for a visit. Dean and Angie Fulks are dear friends who now live in Columbus, Ohio where they, along with some other families, have started LifePoint Church. Dean is serving as the Lead Pastor. Angie was in the Memphis area for Spring Break last week.
Unfortunately, we didn't get a photo of Angie and the kids to share on our blog! The primary reason is that Diane and Angie spent basically all day chasing all of our children around the house and the yard, so any photo that I would have posted would be blurry at best.
Seriously, everyone had a great time, and we always enjoys catching up with Angie and the events occuring in the Fulks' life.
We met Dean and Angie a few years back in Ohio. I've already mentioned that Diane and I volunteered with our church's college ministry at Far Hills Baptist Church in Dayton. At that time Dean was the collegiate ministry strategist with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio in Columbus, Ohio. We spent some time together at a few state collegiate retreats and Dean spoke at several of our own collegiate events. Dean and Angie moved to Memphis in 2002 to be a part of the new Highpoint Church and Dean served on staff at Highpoint for a couple of years. Now he's back in Buckeye Country.
We're already looking forward to our next time that we can share together. We were able to spend some time with the Fulks in Columbus last fall and might possibly see them again on our next trip to Ohio.
No...I have no idea.
Some of the readers of this blog are friends and family who know that I work for EDS, and my assignment is to support the computer operations of General Motor's (GM's) GMAC Division...their finance arm.
Today there are many stories on the newslines about GM selling off a majority stake in GMAC. This has been in the works for some time and we have known about it internally at EDS for quite a while. At this time, I have no idea if or how this might impact my job or my job assignment. Internal rumors are that at worst case it would be a number of months to a year before any impact is realized and at best case no impact at all.
A sale of this size ($8 billion) will definitely require some time for details to be worked out. I'll keep you posted on any impacts to me. My most immediate concern is the project I'm currently managing which is scheduled to take me until late August to complete and will be of a sizeable financial benefit to GMAC so I'm fairly certain it will not be impacted.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
We met Tom a few years back in Dayton, Ohio when he was a student at Cedarville University. When Diane and I led our church's college ministry, we were able to hire Tom as one of our ministry interns. It was of mutual benefit. Tom needed the internship for a graduation requirement and we needed an intern. Over the summer just after he finished his coursework at Cedarville, Tom needed a place to live and we had a spare bedroom at Chateau Smith (our first home in Centerville, OH), so he moved in with us for a few months while he completed his internship. It was a little more than Tom bargained for, because about the same time he moved in we started a full remodel of the house (and landscaping) in preparation to sell it prior to our move to Memphis. Tom was one of the many who helped us with that remodel, and helped me greatly with the landscaping. As a final parting gift, Tom literally packed everything we own into the U-haul truck for us on moving day(s). Tom is a great friend. He is now a full-time staff member at Far Hills as a primary job with at least one other venture on the side to take his time, and even though he has a different landlord he's still managed to be a part of a remodeling venture.
Mark is also from Dayton. We didn't know him as well then because he was very busy with a new job and being part of the worship band at Far Hills. He married a friend of ours from the church. Mark and Amy actually moved to Memphis for a short time and have recently moved back to Dayton where Mark has re-joined the staff at Far Hills.
We had a great time with Tom and Mark catching up on the events of the past few years. Hopefully our travel plans will take us to Dayton in the not-too-distant future and we can return the visit. Maybe we can grab some pizza from Marion's like we did on one of our recent visits to Dayton.
Our children had already had Spring Break, but this was the week for the Wright's...so they decided to be unique and drive north OUT of Florida for Spring break (this is a foreign concept to me, as I've always equated Spring break with driving INTO Florida).
Terry and Renee and their children...Madison, Carson, and Parker...are dear friends of ours from our time in Ohio (and beyond). We met Terry when he joined the staff at Far Hills Community Church and we volunteered with the church's college ministry. Terry is now the pastor of Dunn's Creek Baptist Church in Palatka, Florida. Renee and Diane have become very close over the years, as have Terry and I. (In fact, it was Terry who was patient with me when I played my first 18-holes of golf that wasn't best ball). Our children have literally grown up together and have always been close friends. In the photo are Renee and the three Wright children along with our three oldest.
We've had many fun times with the Wrights. We've shared many meals together, both in and out. We've worked together in ministry. We've supported each other during life's ups and downs (and there have been some very up ups and some very down downs that we have experienced together). We've enjoyed several vacations together. We've even spent a week in paradise together.
We had a great visit with Renee and the kids...basically just relaxing around the house and letting the kids play. They played hard.
We're already looking forward to our next time together. I'll post other pictures from their visit in a later post.