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Yvonne and I left our very comfortable room in the Lodge and headed over to the family center. There was an objective in mind.  A goal was part of afternoon break.

We passed by the Sweet Shop. There a wonderful selection of ice cream treats and fast foods invite hungry people to stop in for refreshments. But, our destination was further on.

Next, stopped in to look at the craft shop. Long tables filled the room with samples of crafts that a person could build, paint or decorate. You can buy the kit that suits your fancy and sit at one of the long tables and put it together. We didn’t stay there for very long.

Finally, we walked into the gym. It was empty. One long full length basketball court welcomed some friendly competition.

Yvonne took one ball and I another. She stood at the foul line and took a shot.  Air ball!  Like wise men before me, I said nothing.

Next, I stood at the line. My eyes lined up distance, height, ball weight, geometrical possibilities and I let the ball fly. Swish!

My competition rolled her eyes. I was not intimidated. She took her shot from the same spot. The ball hit the back board, bounced high up from the ring, came down on the iron again and slipped off without a score: “H”.

Shot after shot flew from our hands. Some went in the basket. Most missed the hoop. But, Yvonne spelled “HORSE” first and I smiled.

We lined up for the second game. I missed my shot. It looked like a legitimate miss. But, to an experienced eye, I rushed the shot. Someone may even have concluded that I missed with intention.

Yvonne made her shot. I responded with a miss. With bold proclamation I called out, “H”. She took another shot, I followed suit. Back and forth we went. It was neck and neck on the scoreboard.

Ultimately, we both had “HORS”. Yvonne took her spot, smoothly made her shot and I had to answer with a bucket or lose game two. It was decided, destined from eternity before I ever released the ball. She won!

After her celebratory dance, the obligatory victory shot, she looked at me with a penetrating stare, “Did you just let me win that game?” What husband would ever say anything, but, “You won, honey! Congratulations! You won!”

photo credit: brucefong photography

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Returning is a wonderful word.  It speaks of times in our past where we found meaning, significance and goodness.  Memories come alive and refresh the value of days gone by.

Yvonne and I have returned to Michigan.  Our special treasures are with great friends.   These true friends have been anchors through both thick and thin.

We flew the four-hour flight from SFO to Cincinnati.  During that long leg of our journey, I saw faces in my mind’s eye.  A smile would erupt on my countenance when I recalled goofy times during our decade plus in the Land of many lakes.

Our plane touched down in Ohio.  We settled into the typically uncomfortable waiting area seats.  Our eyes entered into the world of imagination through books that we had brought.  The fantasy worlds that we were in suddenly ended when the attendants announced that it was time to board our final flight to Grand Rapids.

The short flight to GRR reunited us with landscapes, buildings and sites that were very familiar to us.  More important than the place it was the people.  These were not just those who populated the area, but they were friends, true friends that made our hearts leap.

There were episodes of laughing, reminiscing and vows of what we would never do again.  At our season of life we can lie to each other and still laugh about it.  We took off from where we left off the last time we were together 160 days ago.

It was time to go to work.  Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference had invited me to be one of the keynote speakers for week #9 of their summer schedule.  Tim, the conference director is an old colleague.  We have done many events together.  He steered me straight.

The hospitality team of the conference is experienced, efficient and hospitable.  They make a speaker feel comfortable, at home and honored.  The mark of Christian service is the honor bestowed on those who work hard to be faithful in service.  Maranatha rates high on the chart for their care of visiting ministers.

In between speaking duties, I take in the sights and sounds of Lake Michigan.  The pulsating crashing waves relax the soul.  God’s gentle breath felt in the breeze washes away all stress and welcomes me back to the soil where I invested eleven years of my life for the glory of the name above all names. 

photo credit: brucefong photography

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