Saturday, May 31, 2008

Surviving Six Flags

Well, I survived Six Flags another year. We took 46 students and adults to Six Flags on Thursday. It was a great trip! We left at 6 in the morning, even though everyone wasn't really awake. The weather was overcast most of the day which made it actually pleasant (I can't believe I just said that about Six Flags). I don't do roller coasters at all! Before I got older and wiser I would ride the water rides with students, but it's so miserable walking around with wet clothes all day when you can't get on a roller coaster and dry out at 70 mph. So this year I rode Monster Plantation and the Skybuckets! Those are just my pace!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

9 Weeks Old

Charlotte is 9 weeks old today. She is full of life and energy. Here are a few pictures we took together while Cyd and Claire were at girls Bible study a few weeks ago.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Heard You Finally Graduated!

A scene in Tommy Boy, one of my favorite movies, has Richard (David Spade) and Tommy (Chris Farley) conversing about Tommy finally finishing college. The dialogue goes something like this, " Did you hear I finally graduated? Yeah, just a shade under a decade too, alright!" Tonight and tomorrow all of the seniors from First Baptist get to participate in the culmination of 12 years of hard work as they receive their diplomas. I remember all of my graduation ceremonies to some extent. Of course I don't remember anything the speakers ever said, but I remember the anticipation of finally reaching that milestone. What a wonderful feeling, that sense of accomplishment that each graduate experiences. I hope that each graduate enjoys this weekend to the fullest as they celebrate with friends and family this achievement.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Strength in Weakness

Do you ever have those days when you don't stop long enough to catch your breath? You know you hit the ground running and almost collapse into bed at the end of the night. Today has been one of those days for me. The hectic nature of the day and the exhaustion I feel tonight are good things though...I would rather feel that way than have plenty of energy and know that I didn't accomplish anything. In days like today it is the kind word from a friend and colleague or the warm embrace from someone you love or the glimpse of grace in a twinkling eye (actually happened twice today) that reminds me that God is present even in, especially in my weakness. The warm sunshine and an encouraging note, phone call, or email help to remind us of that too. Excuse me, I need to write an email to someone.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Maverick and Goose

One of my favorite movies is Top Gun. I remember the first time I saw it like it was yesterday. My dad took me to see it in the movie theater. I remember being gripped by the larger-than-life images of fighter jets and macho guys like Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer with their ever cool names, Maverick and Iceman. The opening scene of that film depicts Cougar another pilot getting spooked in a combat situation and turning in his wings. He was supposedly the best pilot on the aircraft carrier. His comments to his commanding officer are insightful to me lately. He said something to the effect of I'm holding on too tight. I've lost the edge. Those sentences have taken on new meaning to me lately.

Don't we do that sometimes? Hold on too tight that is. We just honored 22 high school graduates at FBC Statesboro this Sunday. The danger for parents is always holding on too tight to their children. The role of parent is to nurture, encourage and support their child, but sometimes that support can become stifling. When we hold on so tight that they rebel or it pushes them away from us. Today, as Claire was climbing up the jungle gym at Mill Creek I realized that if I hold on too tight to these precious, younger years that I will miss the ones to come as she grows and develops. That isn't to say that we shouldn't enjoy each stage of development in our children, but if we are clinging too much to that one stage then we neglect the ones that are coming so rapidly at them and us. I realize that before I can blink my eyes twice Claire and Charlotte will be high school graduates, still I can't help but think that God has incredible things in store for them.

Doesn't that scene from Top Gun remind you that there are relationships that we can hold onto too tightly? Maybe a friendship that grows and changes and eventually the things that you held in common and that brought you together are no longer there. The danger is to hold on too tightly to how it was (certainly remember and treasure those memories) that we no longer can hold onto the edge. I'm learning in my own life what that looks like. It's not easy though. It's difficult to let your daughter climb the rings of the jungle gym with the possibility that she might fall flat on her face, bust her head open, get a leg caught, or break an arm, however that is the tension that must be there as my girls grow and mature. It must be there in friendships and relationships. It must be present in our faith as well. If all we can hold on to is the moment we became a believer in Christ and the first few weeks after that, then our faith has stagnated and soured, we have lost the edge because we failed to continue to grow in our relationship with Almighty God.

Relaxing my grip is not easy, but it is so necessary!

Eight Years Together

So today marks 8 years of blissful wedded life! To say it has all been easy would be misleading, to say it has all been hard would be untrue, to say that every second has been worth it would be the gospel truth. We celebrated in a less than flamboyant way but it was deeply satisfying. I cooked strawberry pancakes and sausage for breakfast for all three of my girls. We then packed everyone up and headed to Mill Creek for some fun at the playground. Today was the hottest day of the year in Statesboro, but the breeze made things feel nice. We returned home to relax for a little bit before we feasted on some fresh veggies from my father-in-law's garden. There is nothing like fresh squash, zucchini, onions, and potatoes for a great home-cooked meal. All of it was simply delicious. I know many people would say, you shouldn't have spent the whole day with your kids, it should have just been you and Cyd. What those people miss is that time with all of them is so important to me. It is rare that we get to spend extended time together as a family because of my schedule, so it was such joy to wrestle and laugh with Claire, hold Charlotte, have adult conversations with Cyd...I even reminded Cyd and Claire "how a cow chews cud!" All in all a wonderful anniversary!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Graduate Recognition

Yesterday was Graduate Recognition Sunday at First Baptist. It was a wonderful time to celebrate and affirm the class of 2008. We had graduates from Statesboro High School, Portal High School, Bulloch Academy, and Jenkins County High School. I am very proud of each of our graduates, and I wish them success and God's blessings for the next phase of their lives.


Olympic Trials

My friend Josh didn't make the Olympic team, but he said that he was really pleased with his performance this weekend at the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting trials. Josh is an incredible guy with big muscles, but an even bigger heart. Here is one picture of him from this weekend.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Olympic Trials

My friend Josh is trying out for the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting team this weekend in Atlanta. Be in prayer for him as he competes with the other top 60 lifters in America. The news story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution mentions a few other lifters from Savannah as well,

Friday, May 16, 2008

Redemption and ER

I don't know if you are a fan of ER, which seems to be eclipsed by other medical dramas on Prime Time television, but I am. I started watching it in college. I'm not obsessive with it, but if it is a new episode, I like to try to be able to watch it, the only show on TV I actually do this with. The list of characters throughout the drama's 14 seasons is long and distinguished. There are times when political and social issues have been challenged and addressed, but last night's season finale depicted redemption in the life of one of the characters. Abby Lockhart, has always been one of the most intriguing characters on the show. The latest turn of events for her was being separated from her husband by the Atlantic Ocean, relapsing into alcoholism, and being unfaithful to her marriage vows while under the influence of alcohol. She hit rock bottom in her personal life not to mention the toll it was taking on her professional life. Her life has been a testimony of grace as she has owned up to her addiction again and her mistake with another man, even coming clean with her husband. Last night after being estranged from one another she and her husband decided to make things work again. Now that doesn't mean that things always work out the way we want them to when we allow sin to wreak havoc in our lives, but what I noticed last night was that redemption is always a possibility. Dr. Lockhart's life was in shambles, completely destroyed, but grace was present in her life allowing her to sober up, renew her commitment as a doctor, and restore her relationship with her husband.

The conclusion to her story last night reminded me that redemption is a real thing in our world, but we usually don't pay attention to it. We forget that what was lost can be found. We forget that what was broken can be mended. We forget that pain can be soothed. We forget that sin can be forgiven. We forget that grace is always available and always free. It's interesting to me that what was an hour of mindless media engagement can remind a person of the goodness of God and the reality of a redeemed life.

Graduate Sunday 2008

This has been a busy week as we prepare for Graduate Sunday at FBC Statesboro. This is truly an exciting time in the lives of our graduates and their families. The Student Ministry hopes and prays that each of these young people will see many happy and successful days in their future. Graduating from high school is one of those milestones that you don't forget. These graduates probably won't remember much of what is said on Sunday or at their commencement exercises, but they will remember the funny things that are bound to happen on these two occasions. For example, I couldn't tell you anything about my high school graduation, but I remember being told on honors day as the graduates had to march in donning their caps and gowns that if I (and some other friends) wore sandals (they were nice Birkenstocks on my behalf) that we would not be able to participate in graduation. Many memories will be made in the next week or so, hopefully each graduate and their families will have plenty to reminisce about in 10 years.

Congrats Class of 2008 from Tony, Kate, and Jimmi in the Student Ministry Office!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Place Cafe

I'm in Atlanta for a wedding and had a few extra minutes yesterday and today so I found a cafe about a block from the site of the wedding that had free Wi-Fi so Cyd and I checked it out. It's a quaint little place with some good food and beverages. The neatest thing about it is the original artwork adorning the walls that is for sale. A really cool atmosphere to say the least. The name of the cafe is Our Place located in College Park, GA. It's on Main Street across from the railroad tracks. If you are ever in the area check it out. The staff was overly friendly as well!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Prom 2008

It's official all of the schools here have celebrated Prom 2008! Seeing pictures from students of their prom adventures reminds me of my prom experience. Prom was a fun time each time I went. I think my most vivid memories are my junior prom. I had a beautiful date! Luckily, I still have her. I remember the restaurant but not the food, the car ride but only because I burped, the way Cyd looked as we stood in her parents backyard taking pictures, how her face seemed to be radiant with light. I remember how cool I thought I looked with tennis shoes on instead of the traditional patent leather shoes. I remember the cap I wore, in fact I still have it. My Harvard cap has many memories too but that's for another time. I remember taking pictures with our friends. I remember that one of our friends couldn't wear shoes to prom because he got sun poisoning on the top of his feet. I remember that nervous feeling as I picked Cyd up and helped her in and out of my truck (trucks aren't really made for formal wear). It was a fun, magical night as we danced for hours with good friends and made memories to last a lifetime. I hope that all of our students made good memories that will stay with them for a while at their prom.


Someone recently gave me this devotion written by Philip Yancey, one of my favorite writers. Yancey has a way of dusting off key components of a biblical faith and give them new life and new meaning. A growing edge for me lately has been forgiveness. Both as someone who forgives and one who seeks forgiveness. Yancey writes, "Forgiveness is achingly difficult, and long after you've forgiven, the wound lives on in memory." Those words struck as I read, causing me to pause and think about the pain of forgiveness is not usually the act itself but the memory that is left on our hearts and minds. Then I thought about the cross and the forgiveness that is offered through it. In that case the act of forgiving was painful because it was in the shape of a cross. I am thankful that with God the memory of the would that I cause when I sin is separated as far as the east is from the west.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Holocaust Rememberance

As I thought about the Holocaust the last two days my mind can't stop asking this question, "Where was the church in Germany?" Sadly, many of the members of the Nazi party were part of the state church in Germany. The power that the Nazi's held prove to strong and great for many to stand up and boldly denounce their policies and practices as completely in contradiction with the Christianity. Some did. Some very brave and courageous people who would not cower before Hitler. I had a professor in college who always said that the hatred for the Jews was so great in this country just before Hitler came to power that the Holocaust could have happened here. I don't know if that is true, but I know that yesterday is a reminder to me to search my heart and root out the hatred that might be there for anyone or any reason.

Sleepless Nights and Fun Filled Days

Sleep seems to come in stages these days at the Pagliarullo house. I have figured out that I don't ever get to sleep late until my daughters become teenagers and then I won't be able to from years of getting up so early with them. Donald Miller has some interesting observations about how children prohibit an adult from getting sleep in To Own a Dragon.

Claire and I have been able to spend a lot of fun time together the last 2 days. Did you know that a 2 year old can take an hour to eat a kids meal at Zaxby's? Our adventures have included meals together, going to work together, the always fun trip to Wal-Mart, watching a movie, and of course several potty breaks. Claire even got to spend some big girl time with Kate Foil and her roommate Danielle last night while I taught the guys Bible study. I think the three of them giggled and smiled the whole time they were together. Like I said the last two days have been jam-packed with fun.