Friday, July 5, 2013

The long road to Dr. Glenn

Back when Jonah was just a toddler, Dan started the long process of getting his D.Min from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  Tonight, he is completing the final stages before writing his Project Report that is due by August 15 for a December graduation.  This has been a long process for him and for our family.  He took all of his course work in record speed.  He did in 1 year what it takes most people 2-3 years to complete.  We felt sure he would finish his Doctorate in less than the recommended time.  Then, a church in DeLand, Florida called and everything started moving in slow motion.

The program requires you take one year off anytime you move to a different place of ministry.  We thought that was a little crazy until we got here and realized that honestly, a year should be minimum.  A couple of years off would have been a much better idea.  It is almost impossible to be in a new place of service and focus on anything but that place.  So, getting back in the groove of things was difficult.  But, whether you are working on school or not, you still send them money every two months.  So, with each $1300 check I wrote, the motivation factor kicked up a bit.

Last year, Dan worked on it as he could but there were so many pressing church issues and of course, time with his family that took precedence.  He submitted his first draft to the reader in early 2012 and it came back with lots of revision suggestions and corrections.  He got those done then but then the project went to a standstill.  He still needed to develop what needed to be done for this church that would be his project.  After much debate, he settled on one of the most pressing issues he sees here.  That was the need for a New Member Class to help assimilate new members into the body of Stetson Baptist Church. 

In early 2013, he checked the requirements for a December, 2013 graduation only to discover the entire project needed to be completed with the paper written and the first draft in by August 15.  So, he got to work.  He spent many hours at our dining room table after putting the boys to bed.  Just this week, he worked until 2 and 3 a.m. several nights all the while doing his regular church job and daddy/husband duties.  (The guy has an amazing work ethic!)

Part of his project is to train a group of key church leaders to teach a class to assimilate new members into the body.  That class is tonight and tomorrow.  A very special group (12-15 people) agreed to give up 8-10 hours of their weekend to participate in this class and then evaluate it.  Their participation is key to the project.  The people involved can not be paid staff members or family.  So, my responsibility is food!  Two ladies from church have helped me prepare meals, cut fruit, make lists, get snacks and keep those people fed.  

After the class is over, Dan will begin the final writing phase with hopes of submitting his first draft to his reader by August 1.  The deadline is August 15 so if he makes August 1, we will be thrilled.  Honestly, the end is finally in sight.  Graduation seems like a real possibility.  I'm so proud of him for persevering when it would have been easier to just be done.  Weeks like this one where he worked 15-16 hour days then came home and worked several more hours just prove to me what a dedicated man he is.  

December 14 seems like a very real date now.  When you read this, pray for him in the rush to the end.  He has about a month to do some serious writing.  Typically, he would just take a few vacation days to finish but things at the church are especially busy right now.   I know he would appreciate you praying for him.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sleeping Brothers

A few weeks ago, I posted these pictures on Facebook along with the following text.

"From the moment Jonah found out he was having a baby brother, he wanted to share a bed with him at night. Throughout my pregnancy, we talked about it so much that Jonah just assumed it would happen as soon as Micah was born. I remember the first night he was home from the hospital, Jonah scooted over in his bed and then patted the bed and said "you can just put him here!" Needless to say, that didn't happen. But, tonight, his big brother dream came true. He got to sleep in Micah's bed with him. I almost cried when he told Micah "I've been waiting for this a really long time, buddy!"

Me too, too!

 It was definitely one of those full circle nights for me.  It was the culmination of something we had talked about for so long.  It was a sweet, sweet night that my boys are still talking about it.  You might wonder how many nights they have slept together since then.  Well, that would be zero!  They have certainly asked but my word, those boys were up at 5:45 a.m. playing.  For kids who normally sleep until at least 9:00 a.m., that 5:45 playtime did not fly!
We've been talking about doing this again but helping them understand the value falling back asleep after the initial wake up.  Because, that early morning wake up time made this momma tired for the rest of the day!  (But, the sweetness from the night before made it all okay!)

Monday, July 1, 2013

A weekend with "Doctor General Spivey"

On Memorial Day weekend, we had the privilege of hosting Brigadier General James Spivey in our home and church.  To the world, that is who he is, but to us, he is Dr. Spivey, or Jim.  I was his secretary for two years while Dan was in seminary.  At the time, he was the Dean of the Houston Campus of SWBTS and an Associate Professor of Church History at the Fort Worth campus.  

While working for him, I knew he was important but my exposure to all things military was minimal.  So, I didn't quite get the whole "He's a General in the Army" thing.  Now, I do.  And, honestly, I'm a quite disappointed that I didn't get it back then.  I definitely knew him on the seminary professor level more than anything else.  Although, I did handle a lot of army details for him because he was serving as the Assistant Chief of Chaplains during the time I worked for him.  

 Having him in our home was such a sweet reminder of the gifts of friendship we have received over the years of our marriage.  He is one a several seminary professors that we consider to be friends.  He is a wise man.  On Sunday afternoon, he and Dan sat for 7 straight hours and talked theology.  Dan said he felt like he had been in a 1-on-1 Ph.D seminar.  He loved it!  (And, Dr. Spivey certainly got him interested in doing a Ph.D after his D.Min.  Although, I think we will both be happy to have school behind us for a little while after he graduates in December!)

Jonah was especially smitten with Dr. Spivey.  He checked out some books from the library before his visit so he could "understand a little more about the Army."  He had lots of questions for him and even broke out his True Heroes Army Playset.  Dr. Spivey was so kind to Jonah and Jonah just ate that up.  We knew him pre-kids so it was interesting to have the Jonah/Micah dynamic with him here. 

After 9/11, Dr. Spivey was called up to the Pentagon to be the Deputy Commander of the Family Assistance program.  He worked with all the families of those who lost loved ones on the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.  On September 12, 2002, he (along with Donald Rumsfeld) conducted the funeral service for the victims of the Pentagon Attack.  I watched the C-Span video of that as it happened and was so proud of my friend!  Baptist Press did several articles about him during that time.  This is just one of them

If you Google Dr. Spivey (actually if you Google Brigadier General James T. Spivey) you will find so many articles about him.  You will discover what Dan and I know about him, that he is a great man.  But, if you spend just minutes with him, you will quickly forget that.  He is the most non-pretentious person I've ever met.  His list of accomplishments is long but when Dan talked sent him the information he was putting in the newsletter, he crossed most of it out. 

 We sat at lunch with him as people (all former military) would very humbly and sheepishly approach him.  Some called him "The One Star" while others just simply called him "The General."  They were all nervous.  But, within seconds, he had turned the conversation from him to them.  We later commented on that.  We told him how impressed we were that he always made it about them rather than him.  He somehow turned that conversation back to us also.  That's the kind of man he is. 
According to Jonah, he is "Doctor General Spivey!"  I'm grateful to be influenced by him.  I'm grateful that I spent 2 years of my life working with him and for him.  I'm not grateful for the one time he made me cry but that is a whole other story.  After our few days with him last month, I was challenged to be a better American, a better Christian but mostly, a better person.  If only all people could have that type of impact.

Oh, by the way, if you want to hear his sermon from that day, go HERE then scroll down to May 26, "We Remember."


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