My Dad’s Salute…

Posted in Personal on May 25, 2009 by Sherman Gardner

I love my dad.  Period.  I am proud of him for serving his country, my country, during the Vietnam War, and the other years that he served totaling 20 years.  My dad is a United States Air Force veteran.  I remember growing up on Air Force bases in places like England, Spain, Florida, California, and Texas.  He is a knowledgeable man who always does his job 110% and takes his responsibilities in his work very seriously.  It’s the only way he knows how.

One of my lasting memories of my dad took place last November, when one of his fellow veterans passed away; his brother, Jimmy.  Jimmy and my dad were always very close.  Jimmy was so much more than just a brother to my dad.  They were friends.  They would talk often on the phone, and would get together any opportunity they could, especially Memorial Day.

Each year, the little church down in Ola, right outside of Kaufman, holds a special Memorial Day Service, that is attended by a small handful of folks, including my dad and Jimmy.  This year, Jimmy won’t be there, in body.  But my dad, is still here.  He suffers with physical issues that leaves him constantly short of breath, and he struggles, and it takes quite a bit out of him to do anything physical.  But, he’s still here.

Last November when my Uncle Jimmy passed away, we had his burial at the DFW National Cemetery, where a lot of our veterans are buried.  At the final farewell to Jimmy, there was a gun salute given and Taps was played.  During Taps, my father, who was exhausted from everything he had gone through that day, got to his feet from his wheelchair, and stood at attention and saluted his brother.  My dad’s salute…will not be forgotten, forever.

Thank you Lord for this country, and all the men and women who have served and are serving and will serve to protect our freedom.  Thank you for our freedom…that comes from you, O Lord.


I Love Saturday Mornings and Being in Neutral…

Posted in Personal on January 10, 2009 by Sherman Gardner

I love to sleep in.  But sleeping in for me is like all the way to 8:00 am!  I’ve worked with teens for 22 years and it has always amazed me that the majority of them can sleep until noon and beyond, without batting an eye!  I guess batting an eye while you’re asleep would be a minor feat!  Not to mention weird.  They say (the experts) that teens need more sleep than adults…I guess teens want to prove the experts right.  Kudos to the teens!

But I really love Saturday Mornings!  I like to get up before the rest of the family and have quiet time.  Quiet time is hard for most of us to come by, isn’t it?  On Saturday mornings I like to sit in my recliner and write, read, pray, design, plan, think or idle my thoughts completely, pray, email, facebook and myspace, pray some more, study…it’s a very liberating time just for me.

I think one of my favorite parts of all that is when I can truly ‘idle my thoughts’. You know what I mean by that?  Just completely at ease…resting and relaxing but not sleeping.  I call it “being in neutral”.  The word says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  For me, being still is “being in neutral”.  That’s some of  the times that I best hear God.

Try it some times…Being in Neutral.  Alone.  In the quiet.  He speaks.  Ahhhhh…Saturday Mornings.

About my Uncle Jimmy…

Posted in Personal on November 16, 2008 by Sherman Gardner

Today heaven got a little sweeter.  My sweet Uncle Jimmy stepped through the gates into a place where he will hurt no more.  I hated seeing him these last few weeks of his life and how bad he hurt and struggled for breath.  But now he is PERFECTLY fine!  Thanks to God!

Jimmy lived life hard and fast for a good part of his life, but he knew the Lord for a long time, and got involved in his church over the past several years.  I was blessed to be able to visit with him about his spirituality over the last several weeks.  He was sure about his eternity, and I am thankful that I had the honor to visit with him about it.

Jimmy was such a great person to visit with.  He was such a mild mannered spirit.  He was pretty quiet and unassuming, but always very very helpful.  He always liked to pitch in.  He never really complained much, except for being in the hospital.  Then the nurses REALLY would have their hands full.

Growing up, I always loved it when my dad’s family got together.  There was my dad Gerald, his sisters Mary and Peggy, and his brothers Wilford, Billy, Dan, Jimmy, and Roy Gene.  When they were all together it was loud and fun.  They would often reminisce about the days of their childhood.  It was always fun listening.  We would all sit around in the living room or stand outside in the garage or backyard to visit.  The Gardner men all had a way that they would squat down when they talked to each other as they would drink a cold drink and smoke.  It’s funny, cause that ‘squat’ was done exactly the same by all of them.

They all grew up in Kaufman County and that’s where we would usually get together.  We would gather at Papa’s house or maybe at Uncle Gene and Aunt Betty’s.  Fun times.  I always looked up to them, all of them.

Now, the eight brothers and sisters are down to three.  My Aunt Mary, Uncle Gene, and my dad.  It’s sad to see such a generation get older.  I am very proud to be a Gardner.  I am glad to carry on the name.  I am so thankful I have the history I have growing up a Gardner.

I will miss my Uncle Jimmy…he is a good man.  He is now a perfect man in the presence of God.  Yeah, heaven got a little better today.  I am better because of him.  And for that, I am thankful.

I Double-Dog Dare You!

Posted in Personal on November 10, 2008 by Sherman Gardner

I love Christmas time when I was kid.  All of us kids in the neighborhood would wake up Christmas morning after a long night before of trying to go to sleep and run into the living rooms to see what Santa brought.  You remember those times, that is so exciting.  It still makes my heart skip a beat today.  I vividly remember one cold West Texas Christmas morning waking up and running into the living room to see if I got what I really really wanted.  I wanted a 10 speed bicycle!  All the cool kids had a 10 speed, and I wanted to be cool, so I had to have a 10 speed bike.  And I did get the bike from Santa!  I was so excited and wanted to go out and ride it right away.

The thing to do in our neighborhood on Christmas morning after you woke up and saw all what Santa brought was to take it all outside and show it off.  And that’s just what I did.  I took out my 10 speed bike to show it off to the kids in the neighborhood.  Much to my dismay, it had sleeted and snowed the night before, leaving the roads caked with hard slick ice.  Now I don’t know about you but conditions like that do not look very inviting for a bike ride.  But I so badly wanted to ride my bike.

The boys in the neighborhood also wanted to see me ride my new bike.  So they told me, “go for it!”.  But I wasn’t so sure.  Actually I was quite nervous.  But they kept egging me on to ride my bike.  Then one of the boys, Donald, said the words that no boy could ever back down from…”I double-dog dare you.”  That was it.  There was no way around it now.  I had to ride my bike.  So I did.  I swung my leg over my bike and slowly rolled out of the driveway into the street.  I tried to peddle but the back tire just spun out from underneath me and I busted in the middle of the street, much to the delight of my neighborhood ‘friends’.

When a person double-dog dare’s another person, that’s like the ultimate challenge.  Our church, Christ Community Church, has had a great first year!  We celebrated our first anniversary on November 2.  We have experienced great growth in numbers and in spirit.  Now we’re looking at our second year.  We have a brand-new theme for our second year, Double It Up.  Our church family is being challenged to Double It Up in our efforts, involvement, inviting our friends, financially, prayer life, and so much more.

What about you?  How is your life going?  Is your walk with the Lord good?  Are you being blessed?  Are you being a blessing?  Are you a good employee?  Student?  Husband?  Wife?  Child?  Parent?  Maybe you have too many irons in the fire, too much on your plate…you’re overstressed and overworked and underpaid.  I want to challenge you to STOP.  Take a look around you and see if you truly have your priorities in order.  Because if you don’t then you won’t receive the full blessing that God has in store for you.  So do you?  Do you have your priorities in order?  Because if you don’t, I Double-Dog Dare you to get them in order.

One…followed by Two…etc…

Posted in Personal on November 3, 2008 by Sherman Gardner

Happy FIRST Birthday to Christ Community Church!  We had a great service yesterday morning with the Church family!  We had many interviews with family members who shared how much the church meant to them and where they have gotten involved.  We’ve grown a lot in our first year.  It hasn’t all been easy or fun, but it definitely hasn’t been boring either!  I really look forward to the future for Christ Community Church.  God really has some big things in store for us.

Three Dog Night sings a song called “One”.  You can see the lyrics below.  I guess they are right for the most part; “One” can be the loneliest number.  But in our case “One” is the most exciting number.  It is a number that starts things.  Counting starts with one.  We have just gotten started.  It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s overwhelming, it’s stressful, it’s unknowing… but it’s all God!  We are a church that is “One” year old because God has allowed “One” to happen.  He has seen us through our first year.  And that would be a sad story if it ended with “One”.  But it doesn’t end with “One”.  It starts with “One”!  And followed by one, is two… then three…   Get the point?

One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one

No is the saddest experience you’ll ever know
Yes, it’s the saddest experience you’ll ever know
‘Cause one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest number, worse than two

It’s just no good anymore since she went away
Now I spend my time just making rhymes of yesterday

One is the loneliest, number one is the loneliest
Number one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest, one is the loneliest
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
It’s just no good anymore since she went away
(Number) One is the loneliest
(Number) One is the loneliest
(Number) One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
(Number) One is the loneliest
(Number) One is the loneliest
(Number) One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do

Three Dog Night
Meaning: The name of a rock band from the 1970s
Origin: An associate of the group named it after an Australian Aboriginal phrase for “a cold night”. To keep warm on a cold night, one could dig a hole and sleep in it with a dingo. If the night was chillier still, one could add another dog. A three dog night was an especially cold one.

Something Different

Posted in Personal on October 27, 2008 by Sherman Gardner

Last weekend was our Annual All Youth Retreat, which was called “Different”. Prior to the retreat I assigned a reading project to every person who is coming. The reading project was a book called “Same Kind of Different as Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It is an outstanding book that I suggest strongly to everyone to read.

I kept telling the teens that this is going to be a very different retreat than any other retreat that they had been on. I think that they agree that this is a very different retreat. We sang Christmas carols, studied art, made videos at night, and so much more. It was great fun and very unpredictable.

One thing that we looked at over and over again was the fact that God is always talking to us. He’s always telling us something. He’s always guiding us to do something. He’s always leading us somewhere. And with God, it will be different. It’s not predictable at all. But He is talking to us all the time.

In the world we are going so fast and so crazy that it’s hard sometimes to hear Him. You know what I mean? There’s so much noise it’s hard to hear anything. But God still speaks, and guides, and leads… can you hear him?

“Be still and know that I am God” says God in Psalm 46:10.

Being still is a very hard thing for us to do. It means you have to stop what you’re doing, stop what you’re talking about, stop what you’re watching, stop what you’re listening to…and listen to God. That, in this day and age, is very hard to do. But the Scripture hasn’t changed. God still calls for us to be still.

Be still…now that’s different.

Friday Night Lights…

Posted in Personal on October 24, 2008 by Sherman Gardner

On many Friday nights you will find me at the football field up in the press box helping film the Cougar Football games (GO COUGARS!).  I didn’t plan on getting involved in the actual shooting the games, but I’m glad I am.  My responsibility is to ‘direct’ the cameras and work on getting the best shots.  I really enjoy doing this.  I like the people I volunteer with too.  It’s a nice diversion to my ‘regular’ week…whatever that is! LOL!

So one of the things I really have noticed about this is the view of the game.  The view from the press box is pretty cool.  You’re up above the crowd and you can see ALL the action.  You can see both sidelines real well, all the action in both stands, the bands, drill teams, cheerleaders…of our side and theirs!

Now think about this…even though it’s the same stadium I’ve sat in for years, it’s different.  The view is different.  I can see better plus I can see more.  It’s the same game…but more is included in my view.  It’s a MUCH better perspective!

Sometimes it helps to back up, or step up a little, maybe squint your eyes some to get a better look at a situation.  Sometimes, it might take a different look from someone elses eyes.  A good perspective is everything.  We need a good look at the things that we are dealing with.

But we don’t always do that.  Sometimes, we go on just what WE see.  In the middle of life’s junk, we make judgment calls and life changing decisions without stopping to take a look…a better look.  Sometimes, we get too proud to ask for help, or clarification.

Want a better look?  Step up into the press box…the view’s great!