Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sandcastle Contest Weekend

We spent the weekend in Houston with friends, Karen and Barney Giesen. Yesterday they took us to Galveston Island (which we’re thankful Hurricane Rita left untouched). We wandered among the 20,000 people there for the annual sandcastle-building contest. Eighty-eight groups of architects, designers, and engineers forked over two hundred bucks per team for a chance to win the coveted Golden Bucket award. Entries were often amazing, sometimes hilarious. Our favorite: The Barnacles of Narnia. The actual winner: a MAD magazine pagoda-like castle titled, “Alfred Says Sayonara.” Teams also gave away freebies like sunglasses and Mardi Gras beads, so we toted home all sorts of goodies.

Though tourists packed out the beach, we found ourselves a great spot and set up a canopy, a huge umbrella, four lawn chairs (two recliners), and a cooler full of cooked corn on the cob, drinks, and some fried chicken. After viewing entry after entry in progress and dipping in the surf, Karen and I parked ourselves in the shade on the recliners and talked to our heart’s content while the others played longer in the surf and looked at all the completed entries.

Last night after we returned to the Giesens's, they invited some fun friends over for fajitas poolside. Among them was Leigh McLeroy, author of Moments for Singles. I liked Leigh instantly. Of course. We both love to write. No brainer. And to our surprise we learned we’re both represented by the same literary agency and will be together next month in Denver, if all goes as planned. (Fade in music: “It’s a Small World.”) Check out Leigh’s web site at

Steve Capper, another of the Giesens’s cool friends, told us he had just arrived home from a conference where he heard Newsweek’s editor say, “The media does not have a liberal bias. They have a ‘conflict’ bias.” Yup, where there’s conflict, there’s curiosity. You know the old adage that good news doesn’t sell newspapers? Yeah, that. But it’s not just newspapers. The best literary work in the world would probably sit on the shelf were it not for stuff like a brother getting sold, a king getting tempted, a prodigal demanding his inheritance…God becoming flesh and laying down His life and then He's ba-a-ack!

This morning Gary, Alexandra and I joined the Giesens for worship at City of Refuge Evangelical Presbyterian Church—the most amazing mix of urban and suburban Christians. I had the pleasure—I mean it really was fun—of teaching a Sunday School class giving the background on the Book of Galatians. Translation: we looked at Acts 13 and 14, which covers Paul’s first missionary journey and churches in South Galatia. I’m already thinking about using the material elsewhere. Perkin’ with Paul in Galatians? Gulping with the Galatians? Green Tea in Galatia? So far no titles grab me, but you get the idea.

After church, we bought some burgers and lingered as long as possible in the pool before packing up. Freebirds Alexandra and Barney (left) made up a Rhyme Frisbee game, which they played for more than an hour. (You have to tell a rhyme as you throw.) As we drove north on Hwy. 45, Alexandra raved about her weekend. Alexandra never raves. Ever.

At the EPA meeting a few weeks back, Tim Morgan of Christianity Today spoke about three kinds of poverty and relative wealth. Then my sister Mary, an elementary school teacher, talked with me about seven kinds of poverty/wealth. Both Tim and Mary mentioned material impoverishment and spiritual impoverishment. And while I’m so blessed materially and spiritually, there’s another kind of wealth I was thinking about tonight. Regardless of Bill Gates’s status as a multi-billionaire, I’m convinced we have him beat in the Relational Wealth department. Truly, we are blessed with amazing friends.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Wait. You went to the sandcastle competition and you tell us about it, but you post no photos? ACK!!! How can this be?

I would LOVE to go to that sometime. I adore sand castles. But I stink profusely at making them.