What a summer!

HI! NOTES (from around the globe and then some) – July 16, 2012

I have sat down so many times over the past few months to write a Hi! Notes update but I am having trouble finding words.  It has been a full and rich summer and I am just now  finding I have a few moments to let my thoughts form into words. So here we go….grab a cup of coffee or tea, a diet coke or bottle of water….this is gonna be (as my mom says) “newsy”!

The summer began as usual–lots and lots of summer baseball for Sam and the OCS (oklahoma Christian School) Saints.   What wonderful boys and families. I love the mom bleacher time. I think I like summer baseball so much because my dad always played fast pitch softball in the summer when I was growing up.  I have only wonderful memories of going to the games night after night.  So summer baseball is that for me…nothing but fun. Even when it’s hot, it’s soooo much fun.

Many of you know that I’m a sports crazy person. I really get into it…I’m a big fan. So a couple fun things happened sports wise this summer….

Speaking of baseball, I was invited to sing the National Anthem and God Bless America for the Texas Ranger’s game in Dallas.  Don, Donnie, Sam, Jordan (Sam’s buddy) Katie  (Donnie’s girlfriend) and Katie’s parents all got to go.  The Rangers owner, Ray Davis, and his lovely wife Linda, spoiled us rotten all day. We got to go on the field, the batting cages ( Sam and Jordan got to hit a bit) and we all got to spend just a moment with Josh Hamilton. I got to spend some sweet moments with Katie Hamilton–Josh’s adorable wife. What a lovely lady. She could be my daughter she’s such a young baby!  I’m not bitter.

The BEST moment for me during the day, besides seeing the Rangers win, was singing old hymns and Gaither songs with Ray Davis.  The man can sing and knows his southern Gospel.  It was awesome.

The other sports thing that was unbelievably exciting for us “Okies” was cheering on our OKC Thunder NBA team.  They were spectacular and made it to the finals of the play-offs.  I got to sing for them too and unlike my losing “Banner” record with the Colts (I don’t sing for them anymore ’cause I love them so much and every time I sing they lose), the Thunder has won each time I’ve sung. 5-0.  I’ll sing for them anytime.

What I loved about the whole Thunder thing was seeing how our community of OKC came together.  Everyone walked around town wearing Thunder colors or Thunder jerseys. People were so proud.  It just united us all. I came away from a game or two and honestly thought that I wish Christians and our Jesus could unite a community as much as the NBA Thunder does.   Everyone focusing and celebrating one goal, one agenda, and everyone working hard to represent that agenda.  Wouldn’t it be something if our daily “jerseys” and our daily ” colors” said, JESUS IS LOVE!  And then we modeled that in each and every situation.   I know that’s a bit heady for a basketball game but never the less those are my thoughts!

I got to spend some sweet time with my entire family in Indiana over father’s day. I had a couple of concerts in Indiana and with all the frequent flyer miles I’ve accumulated over the years, we were able to get all the kids in one place. My parents, and my brothers too so it was a really really fun weekend.  I actually did a concert in Anderson, IN at the beautiful historic Paramount theatre where I did a concert of all songs from my Broadway Stories project. The concert was a benefit for the Community Hospital in Anderson and Anna’s father-in-law was actually the event organizer. Was such a sweet night involving so much family! I “hired” (although they pretty much did it out of the goodness of their hearts) my brothers Mike and Craig to sing. And also my kids John, Jenn, and Aly sang.  Along with Katie, Donnie’s girlfriend, and Audra, John’s girlfriend.   It was such a fun fun night!  The kids who didn’t sing, all sold the merchandise.  They are the hardest working kids ever…… Mollie and Erin.   Anna basically ran the whole show.  And Donnie and Sam were wonderful moral support!

Then the following day which was Sunday Father’s Day my dad directed an amazing men’s chorus at Madison Park Church in Anderson.  They sang 4, 5, 6 part harmony on Ezekiel Saw The Wheel.  AMAZING!!!!!!!

I suppose THE HIGHLIGHT of my summer was getting to go on a World Vision Trip to Ethiopia.  My son, Sam, got to go on the trip with me.  Sheila, Barry and Christian Walsh  went with us. Sam and Christian are so close in age that they had a great great time hanging out. Our new Women of Faith porch pal, Brenda Warner, was with us on the trip as well.

The trip was exciting, sad, encouraging, challenging, fun, delightful, enjoyable, difficult…all at the same time.   A couple of highlights…

Our family has sponsored many WV children over the years.  Sam and I got to meet one of our WV sponsored children..his name is Mausbouden. He was 9 years old and he and his dad came to meet us at the Gechi WV project sight. What a doll!  We brought a few gifts for he and his family. Sam and he played soccer and frisbee.  Christian met one of their WV sponsored children as well as well so it was fun to see that wherever you are in the world, boys will be boys.

I got to visit with Mausbouden’s father who eagerly shared with me (thru an interpreter) how grateful he was knowing his son was going to be taken care of thru child sponsorship. I shared with him that sponsoring his son meant the entire family would be cared for.  He kept hugging me and thanking me. He said he never got passed 2nd grade in his education as he had to drop out to work the farms. He wanted his son to learn the value of hard work but not at the expense of education. The dad was so happy that his son would have a good education.

We visited a village where WV had partnered with community to build a new 5 room cement school. The old school had mud and straw walls and dung and straw floors. The  village elders along with the students all came out to greet us. They sang for us and brought each of us, (Brenda, Sheila and myself) flower gifts.  The elders showed us the old school house and as we all huddled into the small space, the main elder began to speak so beautifully from his heart about what a blessing partnering with WV has been for their village. Now the children don’t get sick from all the dust straw and dung from the classroom. They are able to have more ages for each grade level because they have more space.   We asked the elder what he would share with our boys (Christian and Sam) and with much passion the elder shared words of wisdom something like…

“You are fine boys. You live in america and you have every opportunity.  DO NOT WASTE YOUR LIFE.  You have been given so much.  We have so little and yet we are happy. Be thankful for what you have and give back in your life somewhere. If that is here, we would love to welcome you back. But give back somewhere and don’t waste your life.”

That was all said thru an interpreter but the boys understood exactly what the man was saying. It was a powerful moment for all of us.

In closing, ( ha I sound like a preacher…ha) I am reminded too of what the elder shared with us in that old dusty school house. Just a couple of days ago I was traveling and I just did not have my happy attitude. I was annoyed with EVERYTHING.   After a few hours of making myself miserable, I realized that i can choose grumpiness or I can choose joy.  As the elder shared, we HAVE been given so much here in our country. Don’t waste it. Find ways to pay it forward, or give it back or pass it on.  Help someone else have a great day.   I didn’t FEEL like doing any of that, but decided I would act as though I felt it was true. I KNEW it was true, just had to act upon it.

As I left the plane after landing I quiet,y said to the flight attendant, thank you for a nice flight.  She said, “thank you for saying so.  It’s been such a long day and I needed that”.

Okay God, lessened learned…at least today. You’ll probably have to teach me again tomorrow.

Have a great day one and all and help someone else to have or too…

Sandi

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