Friday, November 21, 2008

My Beautiful Brother Webb -- posted by John

Last Saturday my brother Webb had a seizure while he was sitting in the big leather chair during the Gator game. It was the first time I ever saw him have a seizure. He's had four that we know of.

My brother Webb cannot walk or talk and yet he is eleven years old. Webb is what they call developmentally delayed or mentally retarded or mentally handicapped. They have a lot of names for not being able to walk or talk at that age. The Bible calls it crippled or lame or mute or dumb or afflicted. It doesn't matter what name you give it because we lift the name of Jesus above every name. You should have heard us on Saturday!

After he had the seizure he looked like he was dead and we Young Guns were crying our heads off. I cried more than I've ever cried. I cried so hard that the salt from my tears built up on my chin and I couldn't open my mouth because it was like my skin was cemented.

I didn't just cry though. I prayed in the Spirit, and I begged the Lord to help him and I rebuked the devil that was attacking my brother. I tell you now that I am devoted to trusting the Lord with Webb because he is valuable. Our life stops for Webb. We pray and fast and minister to him by laying hands on him and loving him hard. We know there is no web the Lord can't untangle.

It's weird to think of Webb being older than I am. But even though he isn't smart, he has a personality that you can find and treasure him for who he is.

Webb doesn't mind the Lord yet, but I know he is getting closer and closer to becoming a holy boy and getting baptized and getting healed. When he starts talking, I will go with him to tell everyone what God has done and we will be like two peas in a pod and two lumps on a camel that always sway the same way.

One of my problems in life is that I can't ever describe the strong feelings I have well enough for you to know them like they are. My love for Webb is strong and deep and it is a part of who I am. I wouldn't be me without it!

After the crisis was over, we worshiped the Lord and sang songs to the Lord and especially the song Give Thanks like never before because we know Jesus is dealing with our Webb.

I know this is going to be my best Thanksgiving ever!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fervent Brotherly Love -- posted by John

In case you missed the addition to my last entry about my exciting birthday, I'm adding it here before the start of this week's entry:

From 11/02/08

"NEWSFLASH: My birthday was yesterday when I wrote this post and I thought it couldn't get any better but today I got a package from Mrs. Sarah in England! You're not going to believe this but she sent me a package of birthday presents! I didn't even know she knew it was my birthday! She sent me a happy rainbow mini kite in a tiny nylon pack that folds up easily. It doesn't have rods and all and it is like a wind sock sort of. It is perfect for our kite flying outing! She also sent beautiful glossy magazines from her hometown and we have already been looking through them. She sent fine organic chocolate bars and I felt like Charlie Bucket breaking off pieces for my family. It is so smooth and creamy! Next was a package of freeze-dried astronaut ice cream! Isn't that interesting! Where on earth did she get that? She also put birthday balloons and candles that say Happy Birthday and stickers, too! Do you want to know another perfect gift for me? Mrs. Sarah got me an Indian cookbook, too! Do you remember when we made the Jalfrezi recipe she gave us? It was so delicious! I feel so full of emotion that I can't describe it. Thank you so much my dear friends."

Fervent Brotherly Love by Johnny Caker 11/14/08

Last Friday evening my mother and father came in the house quickly with a large black trash bag trash bag and a birthday gift bag. I opened the gift bag first and it had all sorts of camping equipment! It had amazing items that would come in handy like a lantern and a camp shovel and water purifying tablets and an old timey fire starter and all sorts of cool things!

Then I opened the black bag and it had a huge set of camping cookware! It looks like the stars in the sky because it is blue enamel with white speckles! The reason my parents were in such a hurry was because Dad was taking us camping again for my birthday and to try out the new stuff!

Some days have a lot of exclamation points that you can't help even when you try not to overdo them. And last Friday was one of those days!

Mom quickly washed the cookware and Sarah Grace had already started the chili and put it in my new kettle with the lid. We also had popcorn to pop over the campfire in the black popcorn popper that hangs by a nail on our brick fireplace year round. Again we ate roasted marshmallows.

We sang some praise songs before we turned in and I was much better than last time. It was much warmer as it only went down to the mid-fifties. It rained a little during the night but I slept through it. My feet and ankles stayed warm this time.

When we woke up we chopped firewood since the woodpile at the house was getting low. We chopped wood until they called us in for breakfast. We had bacon, eggs, stone ground yellow grits (Great flavor! I hate white grits.), and Sarah's famous whole wheat biscuits.

After Bible time on Sunday we were all talking about fervent love. Mom reminded us boys that we should never become aloof or cool in our relationships with each other and that we should be always happy to give each other big bear hugs when we greet each other. We can squeeze tight and even jiggle each other like we do, but not to let it get painful with hard noogies or collapsing violently, on the floor or chair, into wrestling. We can gently lift Mom and Sarah off their feet a little with exuberant affection but not get rough or have disrespectful manners. It was a great time of stirring up affection in us.

After that, I had fervent love on my mind and I was talking to Webb before he fell asleep because he looked lonely. As I was lying there with my eyes closed, I overheard George and Richard talking about the Lord. Richard would tell George a Bible story he knew and then George would tell Richard what he knew. They took turns telling each other about the goodness of Jesus. I laid there amazed at all they knew, and I felt a nice warmth inside from hearing them.

By the way, gas is down to $1.53 for a gallon here.

Sarah Grace and James started their dance classes and Sarah Grace is going to teach me what they learn. They are learning the East Coast Swing which is similar to the Jitterbug but not as wild.

Our state dance is called The Shag and everybody here knows it. When we have festivals and street dances, grandmothers dance with grandsons, and sisters dance with brothers and dads, and moms dance with sons, and uncles dance with nieces- the whole family gets in on it! I can't wait to learn it all. The Shag is danced to Beach Music which is a kind of music here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Birthday Weekend -- posted by John

Today I turned ten years old. That's good and bad. It's good because I am growing into a godly man and you can never have too many of those. It's bad because I will have more responsibilities and my days as a carefree youngster are coming to a close.

On Friday one of my friends from Diaryland, Miss Maggie Mae, sent me a present. She sent me the best present imaginable because she sent me something really fun and wholesome. It is hard for us to find good presents nowadays because toys in the toy stores give us a bad feeling because a lot of toys are dark. But Miss Maggie Mae bought me a beautiful lime green, and pine green (with a little bit of yellow), stunt kite with a book on kite flying! We know kites, and this is a very nice one and it is HUGE! It is taller than me. My older brother has a nice kite but I'm not allowed to fly it. Now I have my own. Mom suggested we find a nice warm day to drive to the beach to take a picnic and try it out. If we can't make it to the beach before Spring, we will surely have some warm breezy days to take it to a field around here.

Miss Maggie and I met on Diaryland and we ended up caring about each other and I'm so happy she is my friend and I was happy about it before she gave me a kite so don't make any mistake about that! Keep reading and you will see even more evidence of what a fortunate man I am.

Saturday, in the morning, we packed the trailer to take a load of garbage to the dump. That was very interesting because Dad explained to us how the tubes take the gas out of the dump so it doesn't explode.

In the afternoon James, George, Richard and I had a great blessing. Dad took us to the far end of our property near a ravine to camp out! We set up our tents and made a campfire. Then we sent out scouting parties for firewood while Dad got it going. Dad put a hole under the fire to get it lit and keep it going.

We then cut twigs from trees and split them to make forks for roasting our hot dogs over the fire. We roasted them for about ten minutes and unfortunately Richard dropped his in the dirt. He cried a little from disappointment and because he was hungry but Dad put another hot dog on his fork for Richard and he was soon over it. George and Richard and I ate ours in buns but James ate his right off the fork without ketchup or anything like Fagan in Oliver Twist.

After we finished our hot dogs we roasted marshmallows over the fire and ate them off the sticks. Ma said she used to set them on fire, blow them out, peel the black off and then put them back in the fire and roast them again. I burn them and eat the black. It is the burnt flavor of joy.

After the marshmallows we sat around the campfire and sang camp songs like Flea Fly. James said we are all clearly white boys because we couldn't get the beat or the clapping right. Dad said we reminded him of a scene from The Jerk. Row, Row, Row Your Boat was a disaster. We never did get it right.

We also sang praise and worship songs which we handled better, and we played Simon Says. It was so dark we could see millions of stars in the heavens. It was a night of happy childhood!

Finally, we put out the fire to get a little shut-eye. Richard woke up nearly every hour to go to the bathroom. One time he thought he saw a little Indian boy with a pet eagle. He got scared because he figured the boy's father must be near and surely he was a big Indian that might destroy our camp. I don't know what movies he's been watching.... maybe Davy Crocket. He also got scared of bears. One was spotted in Lexington not long ago. If it made it to Lexington, it probably came through here first.

It didn't take long for it to get very cold. Unfortunately I forgot to get my warm socks like Mom said and I was wearing footies throughout the night. I can't describe how cold my ankles and feet got. My ankles were frozen. My feet were frozen. But my body was warm because Georgi and I cuddled up to keep warm. Still, my teeth were chattering on and off throughout the night. It got down to 40 degrees.

One time George woke up crying because he couldn't find the door or zipper to the tent. It was like he was having an awake dream. He thought he was trapped in a nylon cage. Dad tried to comfort him from his tent. George finally cried himself back to sleep.

We didn't take pillows with us because we wanted to rough it. Mom thought that was hilarious when she found out Dad checked out the college football scores for us on his Blackberry.

When we woke up this morning I'd had so much fun that I forgot it was my birthday until George said, "Happy Birthday!" We made another fire to warm up but shortly Mom called us in to a pancake breakfast with bacon. She also had built a big fire and Sarah Grace had made us hot chocolate as we came in the door. She warned us it was hot, but thinking she was just being a girl, we all drank it anyway and we all burnt our mouths. I burnt part of my tongue off.

After breakfast we took our showers and headed out for lunch at The Pancake House and Bible study at Ma's house.

I ordered Chicken Mornay and it was delicious! At the end of the meal, Mark, the owner, and his employees came out with a cake and sang Happy Birthday to me along with the whole restaurant! I've never had a whole restaurant of people (and there were a lot of them) sing to me before. I was stunned and amazed and kind of embarrassed. It was so exciting!

Ma had presents for me, too. The first one was that Ziploc gadget that sucks the air out of the bag so you can freeze leftovers. She acted like that was my only present for a while and then she presented me with another gift bag. I reached in and felt it was kind of heavy and you will never guess what it was! She bought me a silver and golden pocket watch so I don't have to wait for her to die to get one. On the front there is a train engraved on it. The good thing about this is my favorite vehicles are trains and I've always dreamed of having a pocket watch! All night I kept pulling it out of my pocket to see the time.

After lunch we had Bible study and then Ma took us to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream. When we took Ma back home, we went in for Sarah and James to perform. Sarah played the guitar and they both sang. They did a great job with songs from Evita.

My birthday was better than any birthday I've ever had and I haven't even gotten my present from my family yet! What a wonderful and unforgettable day.

NEWSFLASH: My birthday was yesterday when I wrote this post and I thought it couldn't get any better but today I got a package from Mrs. Sarah in England! You're not going to believe this but she sent me a package of birthday presents! I didn't even know she knew it was my birthday! She sent me a happy rainbow mini kite in a tiny nylon pack that folds up easily. It doesn't have rods and all and it is like a wind sock sort of. It is perfect for our kite flying outing! She also sent beautiful glossy magazines from her hometown and we have already been looking through them. She sent fine organic chocolate bars and I felt like Charlie Bucket breaking off pieces for my family. It is so smooth and creamy! Next was a package of freeze-dried astronaut ice cream! Isn't that interesting! Where on earth did she get that? She also put birthday balloons and candles that say Happy Birthday and stickers, too! Do you want to know another perfect gift for me? Mrs. Sarah got me an Indian cookbook, too! Do you remember when we made the Jalfrezi recipe she gave us? It was so delicious! I feel so full of emotion that I can't describe it. Thank you so much my dear friends.

(I'll add this portion at the top of my next post for those who already read this entry and missed this part.)