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Christmas’18

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

The past few Decembers I have taken to posting something about Christmas. A song. A devotion I read. A quote. I plan to do that this month as well.

My first post is by my favorite singer probably of all time. He made his mark with a group in the 60s and then went solo in the 70s and beyond. He put out a Christmas recording (what else should I call it?) back in 2008 and it stays close to my truck CD player for the whole month in December.  One year it never left the player. 🙂  What’s funny is I have a compilation of his 40 greatest hits and the title tune from his CD is on it: “I Love Christmas.” When that song comes on it truly is Christmas in July.

Anyway, in keeping with the real meaning and spirit of Christmas, I’d like to feature what I consider one of the highlights of the CD. Hope you enjoy it.

And Floyd: you know I had to do this.  In fact, I included this just for you!

Bucket

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Once a month I read to Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten class for what is called Real Men Read. There are a number of men in Owen County and Monroe County (and perhaps others) who go into a class to read to kindergarten students. This is my 3rd year now for taking part and I honestly believe that I receive more than the students do. Mrs. Lee does a wonderful job with the children and has them prepared for my visit. After the first year I requested the children wear name tags so I can call them by name. She willingly obliged.

But that is not why I am writing this post…although Mrs. Lee and her assistant deserve a lot of praise. It was the book I just read that I want to write about.

The name of the book was How Full is Your Bucket? It was a delightful book about a young boy named Felix whose grandfather told him that everyone has a bucket.  For every kind word said to them, a drop of water goes into their bucket. For any kind thing they say or do for someone else, water drops into their bucket but also into the one who gives the compliment. It works sort of like the old “change in the pocket” idea.

One day Felix was having a bad day and his bucket was about empty. His sister was not nice. He reached for and dropped a box of cereal. His mother yelled at him. A school bully was mean.  He was wiped out. Then came a class where the teacher praised him for his essay. A drop of water went into his bucket. The class loved his story-laughing and clapping when it was done. More water. Another student said something nice to him. Drop.  Soon Felix was complimenting people and putting water in their bucket, but also in his.  He came home with a full bucket. He even put water in his sister’s bucket by letting her build a tower out of his blocks.

The implications should be easy to see. Just one from me: encouragement goes a long way. Not only do we brighten someone else’s day, but we shine some light on our own. While we are putting drops of water in another’s bucket, we are also adding to our own.

I can attest to that. One of the most thrilling parts of my month is my visit to Mrs. Lee’s class to read. They are fun to interact with (I’m sure they can be pistols as well), and certainly fun to read to. It makes my heart feel good to walk into class and hear, “Hi Mr. Bill!”

How much do you add to someone’s bucket?

GetEven

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Okay…so I posted a picture of my office on Monday morning after the young people were done.  You can see it here.  

So when Ryan got here on Monday morning he found his office covered in green balloons. Balloons under his desk and on his desk chair…which he did not see until he got into his office.  I may or may not have done that. I’m not telling. 🙂

Diana took Monday off because her son was married on Saturday (and no she was not in mourning). In actuality, not only was she tired from the affairs of the wedding, she and Jim celebrated their 29th anniversary on Sunday so I told her to take Monday off. When she got here Tuesday morning someone (but I won’t mention Ryan’s name) took the balloons and put them in her office. I should have gotten a picture but failed to. Diana should have been mature enough to stop it but no-o-o-o-o-o-o. What can you expect from a 40 something year old lady?

I got back from a bike ride on Tuesday (I treated myself for my birthday) and I came back to this:

Children! She actually took some time to do this because when I may or may not taken the balloons to Ryan’s office, they may have wanted to cling to whomever did the dastardly deed.  So I did what any mature individual would do the next morning…no I didn’t take them back to Ryan’s office…I took my knife and busted all 25 of them. Such maturity and restraint shown don’t you think? However, it was a pain to clean up all the balloon pieces which flew everywhere.

But there is something good here. Since you are here I’ll take you on a partial tour of my office. At the very top are two puzzles of Titanic I had framed, and display of Titanic books. To the left is my set of the ESV Reader’s Bible. Above that is a canvas sign given by Janna which says, “Life is an Adventure…Enjoy the Ride.”  To the right of it and hidden by something is a picture from several years ago of Braden, me and Optimus Prime we had taken at Pigeon Forge. Just above my desk chair is a card from Jo which she gave me on Valentine’s Day (one of my favorites from her) and to the right of that is a card I put into a frame of George Bailey and his family with “Bill Grandi…the Richest Man in Town” inscribed on it.  To the right are some tricks of my trade: books, Study Bibles, and some note cards. On top is a display of bicycles people have given me.

So much for the tour. I could show you the rest of my office but I don’t have those pictures. 🙂

And in case you read the previous post: Ryan did not inspire the young people to decorate my office with balloons. I got the confession out of Hope. She’s a lousy liar so I simply had to ask and all she said was, “I may or may not have.” Guilty!!

Today is Thursday as I write this. I am finally finding time to do this. Hope your week has been a good one and filled with mischief, good things, laughable moments, (fill in the blank).

Mondaysurprise

Monday, October 8th, 2018

I walked into my office this morning and saw this:

There were actually more under my desk and behind my chair. All told there were probably 20-24 balloons just laying around in my office. Somehow I think the Great Instigator aka former Youth Pastor or Youth Pastor’s wife allowed the teens to go into my office. Actually, I leave my door open during the day so he wouldn’t have had to let them in but I’m suspecting he or his wife may have been behind it.  I was excited though. It actually went with my office decor i.e. Hi-viz lime green bicycle sitting in my office.  (I leave from the office during my lunchtime ride so I just leave my bike here).

What’s the occasion? Well…other than being teenagers (whom I may or may not bug from time to time), tomorrow (Tuesday) is my 66th birthday.  I’d like to think they love me so much this is their way of showing it.  Ice cream would have been much better but then again, it would have left quite a mess. So, I guess the balloons will suffice. 🙂

Ryan & Hope do a superb job with the kids (all ages).  They love them unconditionally. They listen to them. They laugh with them. They go places with them. Ryan visits them at school during lunch time. They even get into trouble with them. AHEM! But he is also teaching them a servant’s heart. This week they are on Fall Break and two of the days will be spent serving.  Wednesday is an all-day event at IDES in Indianapolis.  They will be paying for and packing meals for disaster relief.  They have a little fun afterwards by going to some climbing wall and adventure place. Friday they will be serving in the community after working some around the church building.  Ryan and Hope have servant’s hearts and I’m glad to see they are trying to teach and instill that in our teens.

And what better song for this occasion can there be than this one? Trust me though when I say it was not one of my favorites as a teenager.

So…how is/was your Monday?

 

Disappointment

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

We all have our share of disappointments. Some have more than others and they run the gamut of examples.

Disappointment for a grade lower than I thought.

Disappointment for being passed over for a promotion.

Disappointment in losing the big game.

Disappointment in one of our children making wrong choices (although we don’t stop loving them).

The list goes on and on. I’m guessing there is a different disappointment for every person who might read this.

So when I write about my disappointment it might seem sort of silly. Juvenile. Frivolous even. So be it. We just had some folks come back from Disney World (Florida).  I can guarantee they would have been disappointed if their trip, planned for close to 6 months and costing them some hard-earned money, was not all they had hoped. Fortunately, it was and their three children can attest to that. When you work and plan and work and plan then work the plan and it is not what you thought disappointment is sure to set in.

I’m disappointed. The MS ride I had planned for; raised money for ($800 thank you everyone); trained for and have been looking forward to was canceled. There was a good reason, obviously, or they wouldn’t have canceled it. It is called M-O-N-S-O-O-N. That’s right…a monsoon. I know. I know. Indiana doesn’t have them. Oh yes we do! Especially when Hurricane Gordon decides to send his remnants to the Midwest.  It started raining Thursday night/Friday morning sometime  and eventually developed into that monsoon I spoke about. By the time Jo & I had driven to Indy; picked up Dave (who flew in from Arizona); and made it to the MS kick-off site, they had already canceled it. Friday. The ride was Saturday. Disappointed yes. Wise decision? Most definitely. It would have been totally stupid to ride in the driving rain and on the slick roads. We received somewhere (I heard) between 5-12″ of rain.  I don’t know. What I do know is it was wise to cancel. Not only does the pavement get slick, the lines get like ice. There was a potential for devastating wrecks.  And trust me when i say riding in the rain in wet cycling clothes is no picnic. In fact, it just might give new meaning to “Ride from (you know where).”

So…for all of you who gave toward my ride. Thanks. The money still went to the MS Society. For all of those who prayed for a safe ride. Thanks. It was better being safe than sorry.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though. Sun too. 🙂 Dave has asked me to come to Arizona to ride in the MS ride that takes place in Phoenix this coming March. If we can swing it, I plan to do that.

I’m a firm believer there is a purpose and meaning in all of God’s workings. One of these days I’m sure I will see His reason for this disappointment.

 

Nostalgia#2

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Last week I decided I would do a short blog series on my Top 5 songs of all time. My #1 song of all time is Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James and the Shondells. Floyd was not surprised (see comments).  🙂  I guess I’ve written about him quite a bit for him to know.

My #2 song is another one which does not seem to fit the times I grew up in. I was born in 1952 so that means my teenage years were during the ’60s. I graduated from high school in 1970 so my high school years were smack dab in the middle of the “peace, love, sex” era. Woodstock. Haight Ashbury. Black Power. Drugs. LSD.  A whole host of other recognizable markers. But it was the music which set it apart from previous generations.

Before those formative high school years music was different. I can remember a classmate named Chuck. In 8th grade he listened to The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Four Tops and others. Come 9th grade his musical tastes had changed to rock and the early psychedelic music.  Definitely a 360. But I hadn’t quite latched onto the new music…not yet. That’s where my #2 song of all time comes in at.

There was this group made up of 4 singers. One guy, though, had a really unique voice. Once they hit it big with songs like Dawn (Go Away) and Sherry that voice was never mistaken. In fact, every recording had a signature: “Featuring the sound/voice of Frankie Valli.” I liked the 4 Seasons…still do. I still listen to them. But this one song hit me the first time I heard it and never left. I listened to it over and over (I’m sure my mom got sick of hearing it). I wore out the 45 (remember those?). Then I wore out the album it was on. Even today, I never get tired of hearing it. It featured Frankie’s tenor but not his falsetto voice.

Here is my #2 song of all time. Hope you enjoy it and maybe it will even bring back memories.

Nostalgia

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

I’m feeling nostalgic for some reason. I didn’t post a song last week because I know my style of music is not most of my reader’s style. But lately, even as I drive and workout or cut grass, Spotify has been on several of my “oldies” lists. So I decided to wax nostalgic for a few weeks. Over the next 5 weeks I’m going to post my Top 5 favorite songs of all time. I don’t know if you have ever done this but I do rankings in my mind a lot. I’m going to start from Top to bottom as opposed to bottom to top.

The ’60s was an age of upheaval and sometimes strange music. A war that seemed to have no beginning; no rhyme or reason; no ending dominated the airwaves. Campus unrest was the norm. Long hair on guys became more common than short hair. Many women went with the long, straight look. Clothes were definitely a different look than the ’50s more prim and proper suit with the straight leg pants.

But the music! The music! Once dominated by doo-wop and lounge-type singers and Elvis suddenly turned 360 degrees. Strange sounds were coming out the guitars. Long guitar and drum solos. Loud music. Songs which talked more openly about sex and drugs were pretty much across the board.  It was during this time I was in my teen years. Jimi Hendrix. Led Zepplin. Vanilla Fudge. Grand Funk Railroad. Even the Beatles were still slightly in the mix (although I never was much of a fan).

Into this mix came my favorite group. Psychedelic they were not. Not by a long shot. I was in Junior High when they hit it big with one song dug out of a bin by a DJ in Pittsburgh. Hanky Panky became a song which launched Tommy James and the Shondells into the atmosphere.  But in time even they were influenced by the music of the Woodstock generation and they released Crimson and Clover. (I always liked the longer version).  But while I like that song, it was the next one which was released that caught my attention and is still today my #1 song of all time. Tommy says it was inspired by his reading of the Bible. He was searching for meaning to life and an escape from the drugs which had begun to take over his life. He read the Bible. His book tells how he accepted Christ but still struggled with his demons. I believe he has put them behind him now. His voice today has lost some of its upper register (as is typical) but it is still rich and soothing.  And yes, I still listen to him…a lot.

So to start out this Top 5 series, here is my #1 song of all time.

From 1969

From a live concert at the Bitter End.

Hope you enjoy!

Miscellaneous

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

I’ve been somewhat absent here this week. Life has a way of doing that you know? Tuesday afternoon I made an hour trip to Greenwood to visit someone in the hospital. Cancer is an ugly disease and what he has is especially vicious.  Please pray for Billy & Becky as they pray for God’s healing or His will. He has fought for two years with an incredible will to live.  This is where I wish I was Jesus…I could speak the word and he would be instantly healed. But I’m not. I just believe in the power of prayer, but also the reality of God’s sovereign will.

Today is my daughter Janna’s birthday. I will not tell her age but simply say she is less than 40. Just less than. 🙂 God blessed me and Jo with two beautiful girls-Tami & Janna. I am proud of both of them.  But this is Janna’s birthday and a tribute to her. I am so thankful God blessed us with her. She and Tami were so-o-o-o different. Where Tami would sit for long periods of time with me and let me read to her (and eventually turning that around), Janna would have nothing to do with that.  Her learning curve was different. “You won’t teach me how to put those little shape things in that box. I’ll do it myself at my own speed.” “I’ll learn to read when I’m good and ready to read.” (She did). I am thankful God gave her to us. I am thankful for the woman, wife, and mother she has become. (Both those latter ones she was not interested in for awhile). I am thankful she still loves her dad (and mom), even though we are getting old. And I’m thankful she loves Jesus. I don’t have a song from 1979 that I liked. It was the disco era and…well you know…  But I did find the song we danced to at her wedding. She was a Stryper fan as was I so this is the song she chose. Yeah, I know…the hair.  🙂 🙂 🙂  Happy Birthday Janna!

Today I get to meet a camera crew. The folks from RoadID are coming to film me for a promotion video.  For those who may not know: I was hit while riding my bike by a hit-n-run driver on November 7, 2016. I was pretty much recovered from that when I had a more devastating wreck while going downhill on February 17, 2017. I broke my collarbone, 3 ribs, did a face plant, split my helmet in 3 places and had other abrasions. When the squad came I pointed to my RoadID for them to get contact and medical information. Click on the sidebar to find out more information. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. Hope you have a great day.

AdditionUpdate

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Okay…so we have been working on a building addition for over a year now.  Let me rephrase that: we have been physically working on the building addition for over a year. We have been working (translated: saving) on this addition for probably close to 3 or 4 years. We made a commitment we would not borrow money for it. We saved until we had enough to put it all under roof. We then continued as we had the money. Funny: work never stopped. God was so-o-o-o-o faithful and so were His people.  Three Sunday’s ago the Preschool class meet in their room because of the need to renovate the check in room and what will become Ryan’s office. This past week the Elementary kids made the transition. I thought I’d have a little fun with this post and show you what was and what is now.  My computer crashed several months ago and I lost everything, including pictures. So I painstakingly went back in time (where is Doc Brown’s DeLorean when I need it?) to find the post where I showed some early inside photos. You can see that here:

http://billgrandi.ovcf.org/wordpress/?p=14180

Below are some photos I took today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From top left to right: (1) What the room looks like as you walk down the short entry hall past the bathrooms.  (2) Inside Jo’s classroom from the door. it is the door on the right in the first picture.  (3) Middle left: Another look inside Jo’s classroom.  She chose to have vinyl flooring laid for ease of movement and cleaning. Each classroom has a TV (Wifi accessible) and a white board. (4)  The stage area (which is not quite done yet. (5) Looking across the from Jo’s classroom. Classroom on right. Mechanical/storage on left. (6) Girl’s bathroom.

Pictures don’t tell the whole story but if you take a look at what was and what now is, we have come a long way. God has been so faithful and so good! I honestly believe He honored our “no borrowing money” policy. We were the recipients of some anonymous gifts which greatly blessed us. A lady left some money so we took 10% for missions; paid off the remaining mortgage; and put the rest toward the addition. It allowed us to start construction. The folks at OVCF were so faithful in their giving and even in offering some physical labor but, to be honest, we went with professionals to do most of the work. In the long run, it saved time and money.

I’m going to share some more pictures of renovation we are doing in my next post.  Hope you enjoy rejoicing with us.

4th

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Happy 4th of July!

Not much is planned on this end. Jo is not “feeling” a cookout so we will be doing something else. After an early morning bike (I hope) for me (while she sleeps), we will be heading down to our church camp to visit some campers. Every week there are campers, either Ryan or I make a trip to camp to visit them. Two weeks ago Ryan was a co-dean for a Senior High Wilderness week. After a week at home, he and his family headed back to camp for a Middle School/Jr. High wilderness week. Yes…you are reading that right.

He is a glutton for punishment. He’s also a whole lot younger than me. He and Hope are younger than both of our girls! AAAAAAH!! (cue in MacCauley Caulkin in Home Alone after putting on after shave).  So anyway, we are heading down to visit them.

After that I have to go to Menards in Columbus, In. We are doing renovation and remodeling to the church building and the Menards in Bloomington did not have enough wainscoting. But Columbus had enough so I will combine two birds with one stone.

Jo gets a treat out of it. She gets a meal out. Yeah…she likes to keep me company. Do you think it might be for some other reason than my charming personality?  I do.

Something for me (an early morning ride).  Something for the campers (me!! 🙂 ). Something for Jo and Tami (who likes to tag along when we are eating out).

Have a remarkable 4th remembering what we all need…Freedom. I’ll encourage you to visit my friend, Martha, for her excellent post. She says it better than I can.