Monday, June 29, 2009

WORLD CLASS


Sunday we had a pre-4th of July Celebration at church honoring our servicemen and giving thanks for God's blessing on our Nation. America is a wonderful Nation. It is the best place in the whole world to live. 

The presentation was super as the choir and singers did an outstanding job under Mike Hammontree's direction. 

It was great. 

The young man in the uniform below is David Rogers. He had just returned this week from months of Boot camp training and participated in the program. We are proud of David as well as all our servicemen who stand guard for our freedom. 




Our special guest was Doyle Dykes and his guitar. Doyle is a world class guitarist who travels the world doing concerts and special events. He has played in some of the largest churches and concerts around the world.


We haven't been able to connect our family tree's, but we must be cousins somehow. He told me that his father had a favorite uncle named Milton. So there must be some connection. When I traveled for 12 years ministering in churches across the South, I would often be asked when I ministered in the Jacksonville area if I was related to Doyle. I had not met him yet so I didn't know who he was. 

On occasion, some would mistake me for Doyle. I would tell them that he must be a really nice looking guy. Ha!

You cannot help but be awed by his talent. He does things with a guitar that just drops your jaw. I sat in church Sunday amazed, inspired, and encouraged by his ministry.

Here is a brief sample.

Enjoy.


video

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'M A HEAVEN'S ANGEL

I'm a biker, a Heaven's Angel.

I gotten into motorcycle riding, or at least I've started. 

For a number of years I have had this in the back of my mind. Several years ago Kristy and I went on a get-a-way in Amelia Island and stayed at the Florida Inn, the oldest working hotel in Fl. It is unique, historic and a fun place with mopeds for guests to ride. We rode one and she loved it. We thought about getting into biking then, but just never followed up.

Several weeks back I mentioned to Wanda that I might like to get into biking and asked if she would ride with me. She said she would so I took
a motorcycle riding course. 

I almost got killed in the safety course, not from the motorcycle but from a tornado that hit the parking lot where we took the course. I survived and now have bought my first bike. My bike that I rode in the safety course is just beyond the damaged cars in the picture. We got off our bikes and literally ran for cover as the tornado came out of nowhere. 


My bike is huge with room for Wanda to go cruising with me. It will be several months before she rides as I am taking time to get comfortable with the bike. A church member, Jim, is training me and up to this point I only ride in a church parking lot around the corner from my house. I have also ridden slowly a couple times in my neighborhood.

A couple of my neighbors have gotten a real kick out of their neighbor "preacher" getting a bike. It is fire engine red and is a Honda Gold Wing. I bought it used and saved a bundle over what a new bike costs.

Am I going through a late "mid life" crisis? 

I don't think so as this has been an interest of mine for a long time. I have a number of preacher friends and buddies who ride. They have been after me to get a bike, and I wouldn't until I saw if I could pass a safety course. Now that I have, I am taken ample time to get comfortable of riding before getting on the open rode. 

It will be an outlet from me, and Wanda and I will enjoy riding together as well as with friends. Say an extra prayer. Cycling is fun but it is also dangerous. This bike has lots of lights, a loud horn, and is fire engine red and all that helps in people seeing and hearing you.  However, it is still a very defensive sport. All eyes and ears have to be focused.

So call me a Heaven's Angel. I prefer that over Hell's Angel. HA!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CALL ME DANIEL BOONE




The raccoon is gone! I caught him in my trap.

Wanda and I enjoy bird watching as we eat breakfast on our back porch, but every sense the raccoons invaded our back yard to eat the bird seed we have been able to enjoy the birds. I bought a trap and set it up to catch the raccoons and relocate them.

My first catch was a pitiful squirrel that I released and let go. The next night I caught this raccoon and he looked so forlorn and sad that I almost let him go too. 

But I didn't.




Sunday afternoon I took him for a ride down Beach Blvd. to find a spot to release him. Eventually I saw some wooded areas behind the Post Office and Sam's that I felt he would enjoy. I got the trap out of my trunk and set it down pointed toward the woods. 

Slowly I opened the cage and released the little guy. What did he do? He turned right toward Sam's and ran as fast as he could. He was gone and the last time I saw him he was peeking around the corner of Sam's trying to find his way. 

I don't know if he went shopping or what, but he isn't in my back yard now. There are probably more raccoons to be caught, but we are enjoying the birds again.

Just call me Daniel Boone. 

"Daniel Boone was a man, yes a real man!"

 Isn't that how the little tune goes?

***

Wed. 8:36 AM

Oops, I didn't have the lyrics right. Here are the words to the tune. Double click below to hear the original version sung.

Lyrics by Vera Matson, Music by Lionel Newman


(Copyright 1964, 1966 Twentieth Century Music Corporation, New York, NY)

Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man!
With an eye like an eagle
And as tall as a mountain was he!

Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man!
He was brave, he was fearless
And as tough as a mighty oak tree!

From the coonskin cap on the top of ol' Dan
To the heel of his rawhide shoe;
The rippin'est, roarin'est, fightin'est man
The frontier ever knew!

Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man!
And he fought for America
To make all Americans free!

What a Boone! What a doer!
What a dream come-er-true-er was he!

Daniel Boone was a man!
Yes, a big man!
With a whoop and a holler
he c'd mow down a forest of trees!

Daniel Boone was a man!
Yes, a big man!
If he frowned at a river
In July all the water would freeze!

But a peaceable, pioneer fella was Dan
When he smiled all the ice would thaw!
The singin'est, laughin'est, happiest man
The frontier ever saw!

Daniel Boone was a man!
Yes, a big man!
With a dream of a country that'd
Always forever be free!

What a Boone! What a do-er!
What a dream-come-er-true-er was he!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A SUPER FATHER'S DAY


Father's Day was wonderful!

As church began Sunday morning, someone grabbed me on the left arm and as I turned it was Julie. She had called earlier Sunday morning and told me she was headed to church. I assume she was headed to her church in Tampa, but she drove up to Jacksonville to share Father's Day with me. It was a great Father's Day gift.

Wanda prepared the most delicious dinner and Max and Darlene came down from St. Mary's Ga. We had a great time together and only wished the rest of the family could have been with us. Jennifer is in San Juan and called, but it was too far for her to come up for a day. We'll have to make a trip to see her later this year.


Dad shared a few thoughts as I interviewed him in our morning church service. It was a treat to have my 84 year old father who is a minister and my pastor in my growing up years in church with me. He has great stories of faith that work. He and Mom have been faithful to the Lord through it all. 

Julie gave me a most beautiful card and a gift to Applebee's. I love my Father's Day ties from Alex and Nic. They are hand made and are very valuable. Nic's card is three D. Love made them. That is what counts on Father's Day.


Friday, June 19, 2009

THREE CHEERS FOR DAD


I have the greatest dad in the world. 

No, he is not perfect, but he is the greatest dad in the world.

Dad is 84 and he and mom still watch over their brood of five children. I am the oldest and the one they most strived to make perfect. I got more spankings than all of my other siblings but Norma. She is less than one year younger than me so I think they tried to make her perfect too, but they didn't do as good a job on her as they did me! HA! 

The picture above includes my younger brother Max. We share the same birthday just a few years apart. 

What are my memories with dad while growing up?

We fished, flew model planes, did skits together to promote youth camps he oversaw for the A/G denomination in Alabama, took family trips, and had long behind the barn talks. No, we didn't have a barn, but we did have some very long talks that kept me on track. Dad is a preacher so I heard years of sermons at church and at home. I will have to admit that he is a good preacher and has some amazing stories to tell. 

I have said that my mother led me to Jesus, but dad kept me saved. His prayers, his base voice, and his belt worked--not necessarily all in that order. HA!

Dad always brought his paycheck home. He never drank, smoked, or cursed me. He has always been there for me--even now when I am approaching 60. 

Now that is a great father.

He prays for me now everyday. He is just a phone call away. He will spend Father's Day with me and we will share Father's Day dinner together. 

Thanks dad for all you have done for me. I am grateful.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

PRIDE JUDGES HARSHLY

Do you know the primary reason for strife? What causes rifts' that cannot be resolved? 

Recent study in The Book of James moved me to look at the issue of pride. God isn't pleased when pride enters our hearts and He certainly isn't pleased with its results. Pride does lots of damage and has consequences that harm us eternally.

We all have different points of view and opinions. There is nothing to be ashamed when we have differences. Couples are bound to have differences and sometimes they are huge. Here is the greater issue. Pride doesn't consider the feelings and interests of others. Pride exalts self and diminishes the importance of others including God.

When we are proud then our point of view exceeds and dominates others. Pride causes personal opinion to overpower personal concerns. When we are proud, then what God has stated and what others feel dwindles and pales in comparison to what we think.

God resists the proud, but He give grace to the humble. 

We judge others because of pride. We point fingers because of pride. We belittle others because of pride. 

Pride stinks and has a way of making the prideful stink tool!

Oh Lord, forgive me for pride. Help me to value others and their opinions and to be willing to listen and show genuine concern. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

HIGH TECH CAMPING



This past week Wanda and I enjoyed having Julie and her boys here for several days. We camped out at Hannah Park here in Jacksonville, and I commuted back and forth each day for work. Wanda and Julie and Alex and Nic rode bikes, swam in the Atlantic Ocean, and the little guys played in the water park.

The pictures are of the "little guys" around the camp fire and of me getting the bike rack ready to load up and head home. 

We had a borrowed trailer from our friends, Don and Sandra, but camping isn't camping without cooking in an open fire.  That was my job after I returned to the camp site each evening. I did cheat with using charcoal, but the charcoal was old and would not catch fire easily. It was supposed to be ready to lite with a match, but that wouldn't happen. 

So what to do?

Well, technology wins again. 

When the fire wouldn't start and burn fast enough, I got the hair dryer out of the trailer with an extension cord and used it to fan the flames. 

Bingo!

It worked and in a matter of minutes we had a great fire to cook our burgers. Everyone liked the tasty burgers and high tech won again!

Just watch:


video

Friday, June 12, 2009

THREE YEAR OLD RIDES BICYCLE

How can a three year old ride a bicycle? 

Lorenzo, our three year old grandson, just started riding his bicycle without training wheels. Jennifer told me about it a week or so ago and I just couldn't believe it. The little guy scoots all around on his two-wheel and proudly tells everyone that he rides a bike without training wheels.

Now for a three year old that is quite and accomplishment. I don't know what the median age for learning to ride bikes without training wheels would be, but it has to be five or older.

Lorenzo told his father, Javier, to take his training wheels off, and at first Javier hesitated. Lorenzo kept on insisting and finally Javier removed them. That is all Lorenzo needed. He just took off and started riding.

Jennifer and Javier are both very skilled cyclist, and Lorenzo has watched them ride from infancy. They are racers and mountain bike riders so Lorenzo gets it honestly. I guess this is just another example of how children imitate and model their parents. 

Maybe there is a lesson here on how we need to model the right things.

Watch the end of the video  that Jennifer posted on YouTube for me, and you will see a slight spill. That's life too, but we get up and try all over again. There must be a parable there somewhere?

I love the picture above of Claudia and Lorenzo at the pool at home. This picture is on screen picture on my Iphone. Claudia beams when a camera is pointed her way, and Lorenzo smiles with big, wide dimples. 

They are too cute!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A MINISTER AND FUNERALS

Last week two of my good members passed and I preached their funeral messages. Through the years I have preached untold numbers of funerals, and have had times where I had more than one funeral in a week. However, thankfully that doesn't happen too often.

I had been Roscoe Creel's and Raybon Mack's pastor for seven years and then all of a sudden this past Sunday neither of them were with us in church. They were in heaven and we all missed them.

Funerals are never easy to preach. They pull at your soul as you comfort hurting loved ones and seek God for direction as to the proper words to share for their memorial service. It is amazing how God directs me to the Scriptures and word to minister, but preaching them still has a tough impact at my heart. 

Last week I was up in the night with one of those dear church members. He  passed into the heavenly world late into the night. My heart ached for the precious loved ones left behind. I know how they feel.

Then, Rebecca, Kristy's sister,  called Thursday right in the middle of ministering in two funerals last week and shared very sad news that her Cousin Tim's wife, Janice, had been killed in a car wreck that afternoon. My head pushed backward in disbelief at this sad news. How could this be? 

I called Tim in North Carolina and offered prayer and my condolences. I knew how he felt, except that Janice left so suddenly and unexpectedly and Tim didn't have the opportunity to say goodbye to Janice. I wept on the phone with him and told him that God would help him and somehow he would make it.

Then Sunday came with teaching, preaching, and caring for a wonderful congregation. It was a good Sunday with an unusual sense of God's love and grace reaching out to people. I saw people worshipping God in spite of all manner of trial and hurt. 

I don't think I will soon forget last week. It was a heart rending week.

Monday, June 8, 2009

MEET ALEX, ALEX, AND ALEX

Wanda and I have 7 grandchildren by marriage. She has 3 and I have four and we have seven. Our math has taken new dimensions.

We have been married a total of 69 years. She was married 32 years to Jim. I was married 37 years to Kristy. That makes a total of 69 years. We have been married to each other just 2 months. 


This past weekend we had 3 of our seven grandchildren here for a few days. She had her Alex and I had my Alex and Nic. That is two Alex's and one Nic. How do you keep them straight when you call Alex and two respond? Well, we decided to compound the problem and rename Nic to Alex.

That gave us 3 Alex's rather than two with one Nic.

When we needed them to come, we just called Alex and all three came. That made for not having to call three names. So what did we do when we wanted just one? Well, we came them by the last name except for Nic. He was just Nic when we need him alone.



We took them to Adventure Landing and they enjoyed the water park and all the slides, tubes, and waves. It was a fun time with more bonding taking place. 

They are good boys and they like water and food. They love their Nana and Papa and had great fun as we spoiled them and showed them a great time.

That's what nana's and papa's are supposed to do. We are here for the fun part!

Watch Alex, Alex, and Alex enjoy Adventure Landing in the video below. Wanda thought she was taking a still picture in the last part of this video. She actually was taking a video that I decided to use even thought it didn't end just right. 

video

Friday, June 5, 2009

A SWEET TRIBUTE TO KRISTY

I recently received the following note from Louise M. Gouge, a writer friend of Kristy,  that is so very special. Louise is a multi-published, award-winning author, and college English professor.  Her note reads:


Dear Milton:

Enclosed is a copy of my novel, Love Thine Enemy, a Steeple Hill Inspired novel to be released July 2009.

I am sending you this book because Kristy was responsible for my writing it, and I dedicated it to her. Even though I've lived in Florida for almost thirty years, it took Kristy's urging for me to write about my own state. I will be forever grateful for the day she approached me at the 2005 ACFW Conference and invited me to be a part of a Barbour anthology with her and two other Florida writers. The anthology wasn't accepted, so I went on to write my novella as a full  novel for Steeple Hill. This is my latest effort to make history fun through fiction. And I owe it to Kristy!

God's blessings to you, 

Louise M. Gouge

*** 

Here is Louise's book dedication as she wrote it to Kristy:

To Kristy Dykes (1951-2008), a godly, gifted author who encouraged me to write about Florida, her home state and mine. Kristy was a beautiful Christian lady, a light in my life, and in the lives of countless others. She is greatly missed by all who knew her.

***

Milton, here:

I will admit I wept when I read Louise's words. They were so touching and so true.  Kristy was all she wrote and far, far more.

Wanda held me as we wiped tears together, and then we gave thanks for a life which was lived to make a difference. 

Thank you, Louise, for remembering and caring. My daughters, Wanda, and I look forward to reading your book. I love the title. I am sure it will be a great read.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

99,999 MILES


Monday evening we went for a bicycle ride out at Hannah Park where Wanda ran into a tree got a black eye and multiple bruises a few weeks back. No, she didn't get on the bike trail, but Alex and I rode one of the trails without incident. It was a refreshing break to get away and enjoy the beach, biking, and fresh air.

As we got into the car to leave the park, I noticed my car odometer was about to turn over 99,999 miles. It intrigued me and I got my camera out to photo journal the speedometer recording nothing by 9's. How many times have you watched your car's speedometer with nothing but the same numeral all across the odometer? Have you ever watched it turn 100,000 miles?
















I love to get the most out of my cars and have driven two of them, both Mercury's, well over 200,000 miles. One of them made it over 250,000 miles. The bodies of those cars looked great and the mechanical parts were still running well too. I hate to make car payments, and a new car isn't new once you drive it off the car lot, hence I usually have at least one car with a ton of miles on it.

Most of all I am grateful that in all of those hundreds of thousands of miles I have not had an accident and have never been hurt. 

Once, I was traveling south on I-75 and watched a car in front of me roll twice as I looked at the undercarriage two times as it rolled passed by me on my right. I thought for sure someone was going to come flying out of that car and I would hit them. Thankfully it didn't happen. I braced myself for a bad accident. That car had just passed me with a guy in the back seat lying down with his feet hanging out the window. He didn't have seat-belt's on for sure so I just knew he would be thrown out in one of those rolls and I would hit him. 

Monday evening as the odometer turned 100,000 miles I thanked the Lord for all my safe travels. I often pray before taking a trip and give thanks to God when I return home. Thank you Lord for 100,000 safe traveling miles and many hundreds of thousands of safe miles on other vehicles. 

I am grateful.


video

Monday, June 1, 2009

STROLLING ON THE ST. JOHNS RIVER


Jacksonville's St. Johns River is beautiful! I love to walk the Acosta and Main Street Bridges and Sunday evening we took at river stroll with Alex. Yes, Wanda has an Alex and I have an Alex. We now have two handsome grandson's named Alex. 

There were tall sail ships and tours and free rides, but we were late getting downtown and missed the opportunity to enjoy a sail. We did ride the water taxi and took in the beauty of the tall buildings divided by the river.


Still the evening walk was fun except we didn't talk the best walking shoes and Wanda got blisters. I asked her if she could walk in her sandals and she thought should would be fine. Toward the end of the walk, she had blisters on both feet.

Our Sunday evening outings haven't been too good to her. First a black eye on bikes and now blisters on both feet. 

Not Fun!




But the stroll gave us fresh air and good exercise.

Enjoy the pictures, but you will have to get your own fresh air and exercise.

The next Sunday outing we will have to be more careful. What else can Wanda hurt? I have to take better care of her. 


She is a jewel!



On a sad note, the little birdies are gone. The wren nest in the geranium is empty with no little wrens in sight. They probably had a ill fate with a snake or some other critter having a lunch of them. 


By the way, do snakes have butts? When I was at the Jacksonville Zoo last week, I over heard a kid asked his father that question. Kids say the most amazing things.