Traveling Around

Have not blogged in a while but wanted to capture a couple of things shared by my traveling nephew and niece.  Many who have known the McHenry’s know that there is a traveling bug that we come by naturally (or at least some of us do).  My great-grandfather George Austin McHenry had it as he traveled the world as a physician in the U.S. Army.  My Dad has it (and my Mom graciously traveled along). My cousin George has it – he traveled Europe before settling in to make a living and in fact has traveled a great deal since then. I have it (bad). And for sure Chris and Anna Russell have it. 

Chris spent a summer abroad in Barcelona studying between his freshman and sophomore years at GT. Anna, as a senior at Prep, spent Spring Break in Paris. This summer, after his graduation from GT and before he joins the ranks of working adults full time at Microsoft in Redmond WA, Chris decided to take the “grand tour”.  He started in Portugal, has been through Spain including Madrid and a revisit to Barcelona, is now in Provence and headed from there to Monaco, Italy, Paris (to meet up with his sister), London, and then Dublin before returning home.

Two weeks after Chris left, Anna, who will be a junior at MSU this fall, left for a month of studies in Paris (photography and French). Chris will join her there and they will tour London and Dublin together. I am envious. Wow. But (drum roll) Steve and I are going to Belfast and County  Antrim in Northern Ireland in September so I will just have to be cool for now…..

They are blogging there travels. I have read all the posts and looked at all the photos on Flickr. I will only subject you to these two but I think these are significant and well worth sharing.

Chris’ is about his visit to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
 Sagrada Familia

Anna’s is a recording that is now on YouTube from an impromptu concert at Notre Dame when she had gone to the cathedral to have some quiet time. 
 Notre Dame Paris

Both are wonderful. I hope you will enjoy. 

Person of Influence

Often you hear law enforcement types talk about “persons of interest” – fairly sure I never want to turn up on that list!  It would be cool to be an interesting person (along with a lot of other things) – but I am fairly content flying below the radar and just getting things done without calling a lot of attention to it (especially to law enforcement).

During Worship last Sunday, Dr. Page adjusted my perspective on this. His reminder, God wants “persons of influence” – people who make a difference for Him. Hmmm. What would be missed in Kingdom Work, if I were not here? What opportunities would be lost? Can one person make a difference?

The handsome guy to the right is my great grandfather – George Austin McHenry (I like that name – to me it is a very strong name that reflects character).  “Ponnie”, as he was known to his six grandchildren (my Dad is the youngest of those), instilled in us all a sense of adventure, community service, doing what it takes, making a stand for what you believe, leading in church, all of that.  He died long before I came along but it is like I have always known him.


Ponnie was a physician like his father before him.  His son, Floyd, my grandfather, was a pharmacist and (GULP) politician (the first Chancery Clerk of Stone County), but my Dad and my youngest sister followed those same footsteps. He led a group of folks into Mississippi from up north to settle in the piney woods of South Mississippi.  Originally this was known as the Michigan Settlement in what we then northern Harrison County but came to be known as “McHenry”.  He traveled the world, leaving my great grandmother Una and my grandfather in McHenry doing things like building community and building a house (known as the G.A. McHenry House, it will be 114 years old this spring. It should be noted that my great grandmother managed most of the construction of the house and was a force to be reckoned with!). As a family they made a difference. 

G.A. McHenry Family and the House

Ponnie was a Captain in the Army. According to his personal story, he finished his military career as a Major and Brigade Surgeon. He served in Cuba in the Spanish American War and helped in the fight against yellow fever. Again, according to his personal story, he made 24 ocean voyages traveling the world. Yet he returned to that small bustling community in South Mississippi to practice medicine in an “ordinary country practice”. 

Never have I heard anything spoken against him by family or members of the community. He knew them all by name – Bond – Breland – Broadus – Hatten – Lott – names still prevalent in that area today.  He was a “person of influence”. 

In Ezekiel 22:30, God was looking for a single person of influence. He found none. “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” God was looking among His people and found no one who would stand up for Him. How heartbreaking that must have been / must be for God to not have someone willing to stand in the gap – stand up for what you believe – stand up for what is sound spiritual truth, stand up as Children of the King, not children of the world, be “Persons of Influence”.

McHenry Methodist Church

As Christians, we have become numb – we know things around us are not right – but we look past them rather than confront them because it is just easier to go with the flow and be politically correct than to stir the pot. Somehow I doubt George Austin McHenry did that. Truth is, he became righteously angry about things he believed were wrong (there are documents that back that up). What if Jesus had done that? I, for one, am thankful He didn’t for if He had, we would be without hope.

II Chronicles 16:9 reminds us: For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. I want to be found when God is looking for someone to stand in the gap for Him. But, the verse does not end there. It goes on to say: “You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”  As a nation we have done many foolish things. I pray that we will turn back as a nation to Him. I yearn to be again, “One Nation, Under God”. 

We are not a people without hope but God expects us to stand in that gap, to be different, to stand for what we believe rather than turn our heads away. He calls us, by name just as great grandfather called the members of that young community by name, to stand for Him. 

Lord, help me to be boldly a person who stands in the gap for you and be that person of influence. I worship you. 

You are Emmanuel – God with us – I believe.  


We had a great day. Everyone from the McHenry clan was here for lunch except Emily and Joel (they stayed in South Carolina and were with friends). Steve’s Mom was here, too – a very pleasant surprise. The dogs, once they got over going nuts when Daddy got here (do it every time) were well behaved. Lucy, in fact was in her element. She is a diva of sorts and she went person to person for belly rubbing and ear scratching.  Buster (who came to us at Thanksgiving four years ago), took the approach of “I am in the room, but will stay here on the edge” – he gets that from Steve I think.

Judy and Mom

The menu was – well – one we are famous for – in fact you can expect these things on the Thanksgiving (and Christmas) tables in our family always – roast turkey, Mama’s dressing, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce (only Emily wants the stuff in the can – not sure where that came from), Ivery’s sweet potato casserole (don’t know how she makes it taste so good but mine never tastes like hers), Anna’s sour cream rolls, Judy’s buttermilk pie.  This year there was also a ham, a great new green bean casserole (per Judy from Southern Living), Jessica’s Mac and Cheese (bringing it from her family into ours), apple dumplings, pumpkin pie. Oh yeah – and of course there was sweet tea.  Needless to say, once everyone was gone and the rest of the dishes were done, I took a two hour dead-to-the-world nap.

Chris, Lucy, and Anna
Ivery and Bob

I am thankful for many things. At the top of the list is good health for all of us – after the cancer years, it is great that the reports continue to be good. Am thankful that Mom and Dad are in such good health and love how they cherish the times like today.

Am thankful for the grandkids (those would be my nieces and nephews and their spouses where applicable). It does freak me out that Emily is 30 now and Anna will be 20 in December (the bookends). Chris will be graduating from Georgia Tech in 2012 and moving to Seattle (we are thankful he already has a job). Anna is a sophomore at MSU. Jordan is the manager of BancorpSouth branch at Colony Crossing. Jessica teaches for JPS.  In South Carolina, Joel is the Community Pastor at The Church at Cane Bay – a new church plant – and Emily teaches in the public school system there.  I am thankful that all of us are involved in missions and ministry outreach and that we are all His children.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

While I am not one who likes to be surprised, I love to surprise others. It is easy to surprise Steve. And it is easier still to do that by doing something I enjoy doing with him.

It is MLB playoff time. We watch baseball from Spring Training to the final out of the World Series. Last year and this year I managed to “pull off” surprise trips to post-season games.  While we enjoy the regular season competition, there is nothing like the post-season.

Like Emeril says, they “kick it up a notch”.  In Atlanta last fall, we saw game 4 of the NLDS. “Fear the Beard” and all of his friends descended on “The Ted” from San Francisco. Great game even though Atlanta cratered. What really got me was the intensity.  Of course it was Bobby Cox’s last year (turned out to be his next-to-last game) and that was huge. Tomahawks going wild in the stands and LOUD!  San Francisco went on to win the whole thing and we could say we experienced a part of that.

Fast forward a year. By now, I have sort of figured out how the post-season thing works for non-season ticket holders (before the left overs get to StubHub and the prices jump up!) So after game 1, I buy two tickets to game 6.  That is totally based on presumption that there is a game 6.  I did read the fine print (Steve often accuses me of not doing that) so I knew that the refunds are automatic if there is no game 6 played.  I even lined up a hotel in Arlington, the dog-sitter (thank you Brenda), and had leave approved. And then I started silently pulling for the Tigers to win two so it would come back to Texas for game 6. And win they did. It was a great series (in fact the post-season to date has been great).  Close games. MAJOR home runs. Lots of strategy (though neither Jim Leyland or Ron Washington made near as many trips to the mound as Tony LaRussa), and without a doubt, bullpen by committee. Amazing.

Well well well – the Tigers took two at home and back to Texas they headed and I got to tell Steve we were going with them.  At least he did not look at me in total disbelief but he had not figured out that was I was up to something either!

So off we head west Friday afternoon.  We have always enjoyed just being in the car riding and this trip was no exception.  Other than the Dallas traffic (and I thought Atlanta was bad the last time we were there), things went without a hitch. Even had some Texas BBQ for lunch on Saturday.

The best combination of things happened. Ranger Win! ALCS clinched! All on our first trip to the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington (which is a terrific facility).

Texas Rally Towels going wild!
Just before the National Anthem, this flag was unfurled.
And then this change happened!
It was my favorite chill bump moment!
Rangers Win! Fireworks go off! Fans go CRAZY!
It was raining red, white, and blue as the celebration began!

We sang The National Anthem, God Bless America, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and of course, Deep in the Heart of Texas and We Are the Champions!

It was a great time together and we are thankful for that. We did see the terrible drought conditions in Texas and pray for those folks and restoration of the land by sufficient rain.

Just waiting now for first pitch Wednesday night (of course, I will be at choir practice but Steve will text me if anything important happens) and I will put it in high gear getting home. I am not certain I care who wins. I do want it to go to seven games (selfishly) because after that it is four months until catchers and pitchers report for Spring Training.  Steve will pull for the Cardinals, no doubt, and I am thinking I will pull for Texas just to make it interesting.

Batter up!

Meet Me In Montana!

Garden and orchard behind the house
Flathead Lake from our porch
Arrived yesterday and it is daytime warmer here than at home. BUT – no humidity and this morning as I sit on our deck overlooking Flathead Lake, it is cool – in the 40’s kind of cool. Behind the lake are the mountains (part of the Rockies but what range I have yet to figure out.) They are under a fire watch here so we were cautioned to be careful with the fire pit.

On the wildlife scene so far we have encountered a very industrious squirrel hiding away pine cones for the winter. Little dude must have hauled five the size of him while we watched. Right now we think he is in the tree closest to us throwing them down! Also saw a complete family of wild turkeys and down at the water last night what we thought was a weird frog turned out to be a bat!

Flathead Lake at Sunset 9-7-2011
Been up too long!!! (P.S. Mom – that is the gardener’s “shack” behind us!)

I hear sounds that are emotionally connected to my growing up years in South Mississippi. Birds chirp. Breeze in the pines and the lake sounds bring back memories from the great summers I spent on Black and Red Creeks and at Camp Iti Kana in south Forrest County. Feel of the morning air is not unlike that of my time as a Scout at National Center West (though it is by far greener here and no rattlesnakes!) I wonder, again, how anyone could believe man created this! 

I went to Psalms 8. Majesty and Glory. How can you not identify with this scripture.

Today we are headed for Glacier National Park. More to come.
Still Choosing Joy!