I attended parts of the Methodist Texas Annual Conference this week in Houston where a good portion of Texas Methodists ministers and lay leaders become involved in the polity of the church. There’s a lot of good going on with reports of older endeavors, the launching of new projects and the always surprising new appointments of ministers. But one of the un-named functions of this get together can be found in the little bunches of people huddled together to renew acquaintance, share war stories, share intimate successes, tell the funniest stories in the universe and even cry a little. Then there’s valuable networking and new ideas from new people. Lots of politicking with actual soul searching about what the issues mean and endless counting of votes, but the real meat of the Kingdom comes when you meet a friend, find two chairs and share not only opinions but personal information. Right on, Greg.
Rita Boyer, otherwise known as Heather’s mother, must have a degree in photography because she took pictures of my retirement party that are crisp, beautiful and caught the spirit of the goings-on. Thank you very much, over and over Rita. The pictures are posted on my face book.
I, on the other hand, am not a good photographer as my hands shake to add a squiggly dimension to all pictures much like those little squares you can click on to make the pictures look like something else. Am trying to take pictures of the gifts presented to us so everyone can see what shoppers from their groups did.
The dedicated Sunday worship and the party are over, and it would seem like I’m retired, but we haven’t found a replacement yet, so here I am for a while.
Next week is my favorite party – fishing – so Bob and Don are getting the fishing rods ready, and we have bait. It’s a contest between baits, mine being cheese hot dogs, and Don’s being (yuk) worms. If kept chilled, packaged leftovers of my bait can be eaten. Okay, Don, you can’t say that about your bait! Tonight is the art show when artists wow us with their products. Each student gets to explain his/her art, and we close the evening with refreshments.
During breathing treatments I have racked up 1,230 wins in solitaire. Last week I added a few more wins in an unexpected way. I was stuck in a small elevator. For the first twenty minutes, I repeatedly punched the alarm bell stopping only when my friend on the outside said that she knew I was in there and they would get me out. Time passed and as it got hot I used my old take your mind to something else trick to forget the heat and the fact that I had been trapped a long time —I took out my iPhone and played solitaire. Won a few games and lost a couple. Then I called a friend and two of my children.
People outside the elevator asked if I was okay and said they hadn’t been able to get it going and were sending for the elevator repairman. My reputation for wheelchair pockets for every thing under the sun kept me in good stead since I had a flashlight, bottled water, peppermints for my diabetes, and a wheelchair that reclines if I wanted a nap. I played some more solitaire. During this time the button lights went off and on a few times, and the elevator cage lurched a bit. I didn’t worry about a big fall down the shaft because I was stuck only between floors two and three. After way over an hour, the cables engaged, I moved and the doors opened to welcoming persons bearing cold water. They were just ready to call the fire department to rescue me when the cage moved. They said the firemen would tear out the wall! Now that would have been a hoot. And I’ve always liked sirens.
A point to be made: someone in a power wheelchair cannot climb up and out those cute little openings in the top of an elevator. Standing, lifting, pulling up. Shoot, I can’t even lift my arms up to properly comb my hair. Maybe all power chairs should have little mounted power ladders attached to the back. Think I’ll patent that.
They said it would be amazing and it was all done in secret, so the surprise was amazing and has me flying! Don’t know how they accomplished so much without me, old nosey, getting into it. During delicious dinner at tables decorated with sunflowers (I’m from Kansas – state flower) a large spread of my life was featured on video starting with myself as a baby! Also lots of Circle of Friends pictures. The Circle of Friends choral group formed especially for this occasion sang on stage, “We Are Marching In The Light of God” with great enthusiasm and hand waving. The drum group started before the singing and accompanied he singing. It was fabulous.
The drama group presented a skit I wrote in the 1980’s called, “May I Come Up and Play?” with adaptations to celebrate me. They created the huge tree that formed a backdrop for the plays tree house on which they slotted complimentary descriptions of me.
There were many tributes two of which were said on speech devices, and another recorded by Dr. Jim Jackson who just retired and is gone to Europe.
The Sunday School group presented posters spelling Bob and Naomi with descriptive words making us out to be saints causing me to suggest to Helen (a Catholic nun and head of Pal’s Place) that she speak to the Pope about getting me blessed. The Sunshine Room boys presented very special glitter art work they made. Pal’s place presented a beautiful commemorative platter with their thanks and my name in the middle and names of all members around the rim. Artists in Action made an exquisite cloth upholstered box containing decorative paper crosses with messages from individuals written on them. I have read them over and over. Some of their famous notecards were enclosed – I can now write thank you.
Bob and I were showered with beautiful, wonderful, exciting, touching gifts.
Oh yes, and a huge, beautiful cake was in the shape of an open Bible and on top was written the Circle of Friends theme Bible verse of the year.
Everyone was in on the act except me, and from beginning to the cake ending the tribute was beyond spectacular, or, as the students say in a shout out, “That’s Incredible.” The amount of love and appreciation could be felt making Fellowship Hall truly sacred space.
I keep groping for a way to say thank you in BIG WAYS. I am overwhelmed with blessings.
A surprise king size retirement party is plannned to celebrate my 19 years of service at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas. During that time I worked to make our church accessible in mental environment as well as ramps and other architectural features. From the disability taskforce came Signs of Grace, and with the help of the taskforce we started a group for adults with functional challenges that has grown from 4 to 60 and we have added a teen group that numbers over 35. When our groups outgrew their one room facility, the generous church build a master room/wing to house them, and we have now outgrown that wing. Other programs are now featured, each with a director. It has all been a team effort, so I’m really humbled by a party celebrating ME. Anyway, can’t wait to see what is in store, since I know the drama group has been preparing, and how could I not overhear the drum group practicing. I’m taking a crying towel. Stay tuned.