Monday, November 28, 2011

“I do this every weekend.”

In May of this year, my husband had the opportunity to help lead a team of folks from the University of Kentucky on a mission trip to Ethiopia.  He and Mark Wolbert spent a week with the head football coach and his wife, the athletic director and his wife, the assistant athletic director and two members of the Wildcats football team.  They visited the poorest of the poor living at the garbage dump in the capital city of Addis Ababa, where they delivered food and coal, shirts, soccer balls and footballs.  They painted the walls of a latrine that had just been built at a local church.  They visited a village where they delivered shoes to children whose footwear was in desperate need of replacing.



Pretty amazing to see these guys – successful in college athletics and used to a lot of perks – serving and loving on those who have virtually nothing.


The athletic director plans to send athletes to Ethiopia in 2012 on a similar trip. What a great way to give these young kids a taste of life for so many millions of people in this third world country and a view of the world so different than what they know. It’s an awesome commitment on the part of the school to teach life lessons beyond the football field or basketball court.

Fast forward to a weel and a half ago.  Mark and Jeff were given tickets to fly out to the UK/Univ. of Georgia game being played in Athens, GA.  The guys flew from Seattle to Kentucky and spent the night in Lexington.  Friday morning was a team walk-through for the game the next day.  Mark and Jeff were introduced to the football team and presented with UK shirts and jackets and a plaque, thanking them for hosting the group in Ethiopia. They got a tour of the UK campus and athletic facility. 


They wore sport coats and dress shirts (appropriate travel attire) and drove through the Kentucky countryside to the airport.  Kentucky looks a little different than the Pacific Northwest. 


They boarded a charter jet and flew to Atlanta.  There was LOTS of food.  Football player amounts.  More on that later.


They were met by a fleet of buses…


which took them the next morning from their hotel to Sanford Stadium at the Univ. of Georgia.  They had a police escort – lights flashing.  So bizarre.


My text to Jeff:  Wow, VIP status.
Jeff to me:  I will try to stay humble.

The guys had been given game-day gear to wear as well as sideline photographer and all-access passes. 


They headed to the underground parking at the stadium.


Sure, come on into the locker room!


Here’s the semi that carried Kentucky’s equipment…


Here is Georgia’s mascot.  Does he look like he’s got his game face on?


Danny T, a linebacker, was one of the guys who went to Ethiopia with Mark and Jeff.  He has hopes of a promising career in the NFL.


Stuart H, offensive guard, also went to Ethiopia last May.  He is a big guy.  Like 6’4” 295 lbs big.


This stadium holds 92,000 and this was an especially big game for the Georgia Bulldogs – a win would mean they’d secure the SEC Eastern Division title. There were a LOT of people in those stands. Predominantly red and white.


I can’t really imagine what it felt like to be standing on the sidelines with the players and coaches in a game this big. 

Surreal is what Jeff said.


Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips…


Mark with Assistant Athletic Director Jason Schlafer…


Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart…


Jeff Burns – yeah, just one of the guys.


The Bulldogs won but Kentucky played a great game – one of their best of the season.  


Then, after the game was over, they headed back to the locker room with the team where the team chaplain lead in a prayer...


They got a little box of something to eat for the bus ride to the airport…


because they hadn’t had quite enough sustenance what with the buffet in the press box – you know, turkey croissant sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, every kind of chip known to man, Cracker J.acks, granola bars…

They loaded onto the buses and headed to the airport – where each of the four buses was met with a charter jet bound for Kentucky again.  That’s four charter jets.


Of course they were offered burgers and sandwiches for the one hour flight back to Lexington. Jeff said he couldn’t do it - he couldn't fit one more thing in his stomach.  Until the flight attendant came down the isle with D.ove bars.  The guys may not have played any football but they did their best to eat like they did.

I am SO happy that Jeff and Mark got to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Thanks to the great folks at the University of Kentucky for providing it.  Go Wildcats!


Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Tree 2011

It was a glorious day for a tree hunt.  The day after Thanksgiving is our traditional day to get a Christmas tree, especially now that our girls are home on that weekend.  We were missing Lisa and Ray this year terribly but four of us headed out into the crisp, clear afternoon in search of our tree.


The kids are gone now.  The house is empty and quiet.  And I have to put all of THIS away! 


But the lights are up on the house and the tree!  Christmastime is here!

I hope you’re off to a wonderful Christmas season!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;

Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,

With ever joyful hearts and bless├Ęd peace to cheer us;

And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;

And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;

The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;

The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;

For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
~Martin Rinkhart~


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Such A Sunday!

Step outside my front door and this is what greets you:


Be glad -
rejoice forever in My creation!
Isaiah 65:18





And just think - these leaves are dying! 

Today, I did my Thanksgiving grocery shopping on my way home from church.  As I went into the store, I sensed God telling me to fill a few bags with groceries for our church Thanksgiving food drive (which I hadn't quite gotten around to doing yet).  When I came out of the store, the 'guts' to my car key were gone.  The key was split in two and the buttons to unlock the car were gone.   At first I imagined someone in the store reaching in my purse, getting my keys out of the pocket I keep them in, breaking open the key and stealing the insides, then carefully placing the keys back into the pocket of the purse.  Not likely. 

I searched in the store, up and down the parking aisle, under cars - nothing.  So, I loaded the car with my groceries and figured I'd have to replace the key guts at some exorbitant price. 

Then the car wouldn't start.  The engine turned over but wouldn't actually start.  It finally occurred to me that there must be some sort of security thing that won't allow the car to start without the chip thingy.  God?  Really?  I was just going to deliver the groceries back to the church!  (Like my incredible benevolence should make me immune from bothersome car issues!)

So I got to ride home in a tow truck, with all of my groceries - including the ones meant for the church Thanksgiving baskets - following behind in the dead car.  Today was the last day to bring in food to the church and Jeff is gone so no transportation.

There isn't any great ending here.  I didn't find the key parts.  I didn't get to deliver the groceries to the church.  But as I stood outside watching the guy un-attach my car from the tow truck, I looked up and down the street in front of my house and then ran inside to grab my camera.  I don't know if I would have noticed those five-pointed leaves otherwise.  I scooped up a basket full - not sure what I'll do with them or if they'll even retain their color but I hope they do!

There must be some other place I should deliver those groceries...

I've got some fun stuff to share later this week.  Stay tuned!

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