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Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 3.30.37 PMBuilding buildings is a grandiose task that will negate the energy of an army of very good men and women.  But, we need a new building.  This is not an option.  If we do not then we will severely limit our growth.

The one we have has been under repair for years. We repair that wall, fix that office, reconfigure the desks, spruce up the classrooms, upgrade the equipment, rearrange office space, et cetera.  The major items like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, windows, roof leaks and the like leave us shaking our heads.

However, it is not the maintenance that keeps us wondering.  Instead, it is the space.  Enrollment has been steadily growing in our extension campus for successive years.

More students mean more faculty and staff.  More personnel means more office space.  Square footage has been as creatively sliced and diced as much as possible.

Parking is a big deal.  We have 275 students and only 50 parking places.  The neighboring streets are lined with cars and students have to walk to class in the dark.

A serious graduate school needs a research library.  Our little library has tripled in size over the last three years and it has overflowed the room where the stacks cannot be spaced any closer together.  We converted a classroom for an auxiliary library space.

It was time to move.  Hours of meetings, real estate conferences, drawings and discussion ate up time and resources.  Money was raised, donors smiled, prayers were lifted up and God blessed.

The new building was chosen, papers were signed, demolition began and architects designed the space.  Soon the dust will clear and new walls, halls and spaces will be set up.

Parking will not be a problem in the foreseeable future.  The library is the centerpiece of our new digs.  Offices are grouped for growth.  Class rooms are designed with intention rather than adapted to whatever is available.

Our Communications Office produced an artist’s conception of the new configuration.  Everyone is excited about the future.  It is just around the corner.

This summer we hope to move into the new location for DTS-Houston.  Plans are shaping up for our move.  Everyone is talking about the excitement.

Soon we can concentrate on seminary education at the highest level.  The puzzle of what to do with what we have will be a historic dialogue.  All of the energy that poured into short-term fixes will now accelerate outstanding seminary education at the highest level.  Now, that is bodacious!

photo credit: DTS Communication Department

IMG_4335There is a steady feed of videos and pictures that come our way from our daughter and son-in-law.  We never tire of watching the action or taking in the details of the pictures.  The excess of 1000 miles of separation between us and our grandson is salved by these digital exchanges.

We love being a part of his growing up.  Every day he is changing.  His size and his locomotion are the news of the day.

Once we visited and he was a mere infant.  The next time we visited and he was crawling like a spider from one place to the next.  On this last visit he was on the verge of walking.

Progress is a special reason to celebrate every day as he grows.   So much of life is wrapped in growth.  Progress and new developments give us a reason to cheer.

When he was an infant and his little body was all about rest, I looked forward to the day when his smile and laughter would make us all treasure the joy that he was bringing into all of our lives.  Videos give us a chance to be a part of those moments.  His laughter infects the cheer center of our souls.

Whether he is looking at funny birds, entertained by animals at the zoo or taking in the comical otters at the Aquarium, we love to hear him laugh.  He is all boy so his climbing adventures always include spills and falls.  When he takes a tumble, he bounces back with laughter and tries the feat again.

A distraction enters into view and he stops to look.  Curiosity is filling his brain with all sorts of entries into his life experience.  Creation is all about differences and variety.

He is easily amazed at new things.  They make him smile.  His countenance is all about the thrill of experiencing life.

Some day I will give him the Grandpa lessons of life.  I will have the thrill of filling in the details.  When his spirit is stirred and he loves what he is learning, there will be no comparison of satisfaction.

Next, I am dreaming of our conversations.  The questions are on their way.  Those inquiries are moments that I am going relish.

They will be forays about life, reasons for this and how these things work.  That is the world of grandfathering.  I am ready to give my heart to this bundle of smiles.

photo credit: KB photography

IMG_2145There is a fascinating topic of discussion.  We have had it with our new neighbors.  Friends who have come to our home have joined our conversation.  None of knows what kind of tree is in front of our house.

We know that it is some kind of palm.  The leaves certainly are palm tree specific.  But, what kind of palm tree it is, we do not know.

Admittedly, we have a lot more on our plates than to discover the name of this tree.  It will not change our lives much to know what species of palm it is.  Nor will it do anything for us other than satisfy a simple curiosity.  Some day I am sure, someone will tell us the name.

In the meantime we are just enjoying it.  It is growing.  The flower is amazing.  It is striking and colorful.

Originally, the flowering part of the palm captured our attention.  The yellow contrasted against the brilliant green leaves.  Then, each day I noticed how much more that flowers were growing.  It was massive growth.

In some ways they remind me of two ears of corn.  They started out yellow and oblong.  Then, each day they grew and grew.  It was fun to watch.

Fruitfulness is a healthy part of growth.  When life demonstrates itself there is fruit.  It is the celebration that life is present and growing.

There is a persistent argument among Christians.  It sometimes pertains to strategy, expansion, facilities, programs or staff.  The topic is always “growth”.  Do we want to grow or not?

IMG_2149A genuine argument does not really exist.  It is just a flurry of words that ventilate emotions and biases.  People get in their minds to dig in their heals and pick an issue to hang it on for all to hear.

The actual word is “change”.  Few will bring it up.  This what the real issue often reflects.  People do not like change if someone else is taking over, they themselves are losing influence or jealousy replaces the true expression of Christian living, namely, love.

Instead, there is something that marks the presence of life.  It is change.  What is growing is never the same today as it was yesterday.  Tomorrow will be even more different from yesterday.  Today’s results will even change, putting greater distance from what occurred yesterday.  Change is a natural consequence or even better a symptom that true growth is taking place.  I like my palm.  It is changing.  It is alive and growing.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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