Friday, August 25, 2006

The Week that Was

This past week was exciting and exhausting! The Bishop family was very busy with work, orientation, school, and chasing Abigail. I'll review these things for you from how I experienced it.

I am thankful that I am able to keep working for the same company as I did in Austin. In fact, my morning commute is turning on the computer at the kitchen table. I've met a lot of seminary students so far and I have ascertained that everyone is broke. People are working side jobs, scrapping for scholarships and jumping on any free stuff. Things are a little tight for us too but I'm so glad that God has provided for us the way He has. However, I am still working 40 hours a week though and I'm taking a full load of classes so I don't have a lot of time and won't for a while. My free time will be spent studying or working.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I went to orientation here at the seminary since I am a new student. The administrators pumped us full of information about schools, callings, rules, free stuff, how to write a paper, etc. However, they did serve desserts on Tuesday night to sort of kick things off while all us new students wandered among these booths they had set up for different programs and clubs we could join. By the time I got to the booth that had the dean of my school my hands were embarrasingly sticky from eating sweets so I couldn't shake his hand. The chocalate truffle I had to eat there was totally worth it though. Ask Karen to tell you about it sometime. She has a real discerning palate and she gave it two (sticky) thumbs up!

It's official--I am a seminary student. My first day of class was on Thursday. For months we have been busy and there has been so much to do that I thought this day would never, ever come. By God's grace though, I am here and I am excited! The campus is beautiful, the classes are interesting, and the people are super nice. We were promised during Orientation that school would be "a BOOTCAMP but a lot of fun". I chuckled a weird, nervous, little sound when I heard this. Now that I have been to classes and have gotten the assignments and the the syllabus-es (yes, I know it is 'sposed to be "syllabi" but this is the way I talk (like saying "'sposed" instead of "supposed")) I know that seminary will be difficult. That's ok though, because God is going to get the glory for bringing me through this since I CANnot do this in my own strength. I am hoping to come out of seminary smaller, purer, and shinier than the big dull lump of ore that I currently am. Of course this involves fire to get there. For those of you who are thinking, "what in the world is Barry trying to say through convoluted metaphors?" I will put it more directly:
  • I want to be changed by the Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus
  • I want to grow in wisdom and character to be used by God to reach a lost and hurting world with His love and Truth.
We are so blessed to have an adorable 16 month old daughter named Abigail. I titled this section "Chasing Abigail" because we do a lot of that. She has a large bag of tricks. She can run and climb up stairs lickety-split. For a parent this is a little disconcerting because it means that your child can get away from you quickly and in a dangerous position easily. Of course we allow her to play a lot but I feel like I could use a third eye and a few more arms (with extra hands attached, of course). Sometimes we leave the bathroom door open by accident and the toilet lid up (uh-hum, that would be me) and then we hear "splish-splash splish-splash" and Abigail is gleefully playing in the toilet water. Another trick of hers is to climb on top of anything she can--even something as thin as a book lying on the floor and then she will stand on top of it beaming like she is the queen of the world. She is fascinated with belly-buttons; hers and ours. She will lift up our shirt if she can reach to see our belly button. She stopped saying "Mama" some time ago but she says "button" all the time and points to our belly buttons. However, "button" in her language sounds like "Bauww". We love her so much and we thank God for sending her to us. He teaches us so much about His love and our sinfulness through her which are both great reminders.

To close, I want to say that I am a mix of emotions. There is so much more I could write but it will have to wait for another day. The emotions come from being excited about the future, anxious about juggling priorities, sad about missing friends, happy about God's blessings. As you can see, it's a good idea for me to write more when things settle a little bit. Thanks for reading, I'll leave you with a verse. It is popular for people, even those who come from a Christian backgrounds (like Willie Nelson) to say that all religions lead to the same place. Acts 4:11-12 in the Bible says,
"This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Books, Books, Books

Well, I bought my textbooks for my seminary classes today (note: all good Texans start stories with "Well"). With my student discount applied, the total came out to just over 200 bucks. Two of the books I needed were not on the shelf though, so I have to return to the LifeWay store on campus in a few days when the shipment comes in and throw down some more cashola. Actually, the price wasn't as high as I thought it would be and the Lord has provided us with some extra dough lately so I am really pleased. Also, all these books look interesting and look like real keepers--unlike some of my textbooks I had while going to UT in Austin.

In case you're curious, I have a list below of the books I'll be using this semester. I plan to publish a booklist like this each semester so that you can read along with me at home, if you like. Seriously, a lot of the books I saw in the store for the classes were really good, Christian living/application stuff. Most, I think can be bought on Amazon for not much moola. By the way, Mark Hagen, I saw that Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology and Bible Doctrine are used for a lot of the classes. I also saw Church History In Plain Language by Bruce Shelley.

I want to...
  1. Look at the booklist, because I like books and don't find this post the least bit boring
    Look below
  2. Forget it, because books are for squares!
    Look above and count the number of slang words I used for money. Bonus points are given if you can think of other slang words for money that I didn't use. For those who are competitive, post your list in the comments and see who can think of the most.
Ye Olde Bookliste
So, it looks like I have 4 months to read 11 books.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Austin in the Rearview Mirror

We did it! We are now in Ft. Worth, Texas. Actually, we moved here on Saturday but it took until now (Monday night) to open enough boxes to find the things I needed and make space to set up the Internet. I know, I know, most people in this day and age would have set it up first but, believe me, there was not room enough to sit down unless you wanted to sit on a box. Let me catch you up on how the move went. However, I will spoil the surprise by telling you that God is wonderful and he really blessed us.

I reserved a 17-foot U-Haul truck for our move on Saturday but due to some sort of mix up we ended up getting a 24-foot truck, which is really huge! The funny thing is that Karen had to drive it to our house in Round Rock and she was nervous and going 10 mph. When I saw the truck I thought it was way bigger than we needed to move all our stuff, but at least we would have plenty of room.

I jumped in the truck that night and tried to back it into our driveway so that we could easily load things from the garage the next morning. Several things went wrong. First, I had to circle the block a few times to get the angle right. Then, when I got the angle right, I couldn't back into the driveway without tearing up the concrete. The back of the truck was so long it couldn't go up the gentle slope of my driveway. As I was driving around the block I kept hitting tree branches that hung into the road and rolled over a curb when I didn't take a wide enough turn. This thing really was a beast! And I had to drive it 200 miles the next day. But God relieved me because my Mom happened to be staying with us so that she could help us move. For those of you who don't know, my Mom is a retired teacher who also happens to be an active bus-driver. In fact, she's been driving buses almost as long as I've been alive. So I let her drive the U-haul the next day and she was happy and I was happy. Karen was also happy that I wouldn't be using the insurance on the truck.

Saturday morning arrived and some friends that I had worked with and some friends from church arrived at my house. All of them were strong men. And it turns out that we needed every foot of that huge truck to move our stuff--I'm so glad we got a bigger truck--but where in the world did we get all that stuff? Halfway through loading the truck David, one of the guys helping me, says, "Do you have anybody to help you move on the other end in Ft. Worth?" I tell him that maybe one other person or a neighbor might help. Then he tells me that he and his family are thinking about taking a spontaneous trip to Ft. Worth, and that he can help me unload. I was really taken aback by his generosity. However, it was a win-win situation though because David's brother lives in the same building we were moving to and David had been planning to visit him soon. So of course I thanked David and told him I would like his help.

After we loaded up the truck, Mom, Karen and I cleaned up the house and locked it up. David and his family drove ahead to Fort Worth to visit his brother. I locked the front door for the final time and we left in a caravan made up of the U-Haul, my mom's car, and our Toyota Corolla driven by Karen and carrying the precious cargo of our 15 month old daughter. The drive to Ft Worth was smooth. When we got close there were storm clouds and rain seemed imminent. However, it never rained that night. The storm clouds only shielded us from the blazing sun while we moved.

When I drove up to our new apartment I saw David and his brother outside. They had also also recruited neighbors to help us move in. Not only did they help us move in but they asked that they move the stuff while we direct where it goes. You're probably thinking that this story doesn't get any better. WRONG! I was starving after a long tiring day, but before I said anything, Daniel, David's brother announces that he's ordering pizza for everyone. We ended up having an impromptu party at his apartment. Some old friends we knew even came over to join us. Not only would they let us not pay our share of the pizza but at the end of the night they insisted that we take some extra pizza home. To say the least, I was blown away--blown away by the generosity of friends but mostly blown away by the goodness of God.

If you would have asked me how I thought our move would have went I would have predicted something pretty dismal, even though I prayed that it would go well (and so did others for us.) This shows me how much I need to grow in my trust in God. He is awesome!