Category: Valerie (page 1 of 10)

Since Thursday

We gut-laughed until we were both crying. We laughed so hard we were hoarse the rest of the night and into the next morning. Jerry Seinfeld went an hour-and-fifteen-minutes Thursday evening in Midland/Odessa breaking our common everyday lives down to the finest hilarious details as only he can. The only way it could have been any better is if he had gone longer. Bathroom stalls, marriage as a game show, texting abbreviations, Swanson Hungry Man TV dinners, bucket lists, the U.S. Postal Service, buffet restaurants — he’s a genius! We were dead center, 50-yard-line, on the twelfth row; they were the best seats in the house! What a wonderful Christmas present from my fabulous wife!

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I was honored to speak at Oklahoma Christian University’s chapel yesterday, the most excruciatingly nervous 15-minutes of my year. I love public speaking — you know I do. I like speaking to small groups of a dozen or so in intimate settings, I like speaking in front of a couple thousand in a conference atmosphere, I enjoy speaking every Sunday at Central. I love speaking to little kids and older adults and people my own age. Speaking to a roomful of preachers, to the homeless people at Loaves and Fishes, to business professionals at a Rotary lunch, or to a ladies Bible class never gives me a problem. But talking to college aged young people in the middle of their school day is brutal. They let you know in no uncertain terms exactly how they’re receiving the message. They don’t hide anything. There’s no pretending.

It felt a little better this time than in previous years. I kept it much shorter than normal and I specifically mentioned some key buzz words that spoke to particular hot-button issues in society and tied my message as directly to those issues as possible. Valerie gave me some good advice. It looked like they were paying attention.

I was blessed to get caught up with my sister Rhonda and her husband Geoff. I was privileged to eat dinner Sunday night at Ted’s (!) with our middle daughter Valerie, her friend Paige, and my nephew Asa. And then yesterday it was lunch at The Garage with Rhonda, Valerie, and Delta Gamma Sigma sponsor Chris Adair, who sent me home with OC and Delta gear for the whole family.

I appreciate Jeff McMillon’s kind words of encouragement and affirmation; if I were an OC recruiter, I’d make sure every high school senior spent an hour with Jeff. And I’m blown away by our Lord who thinks it’s a good idea for me to speak at OC chapel. His grace reaches even me!

Peace,

Allan

His Presence is the Proof: Part 3

I asked Valerie last night if she did anything special for her 21st birthday. She told me that she and one of her good friends, Paige, had gone to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and Valerie had a Dr Pepper for the first time in over a month. See, Valerie is trying to eat healthier, she’s trying to exercise more — just like her old man, she’s really good at it during January and February. She ordered a water with her lunch, but Paige told her, “No, you’re getting a Dr Pepper.” Valerie replied, “I want water.” Paige insisted, “No. You want a Dr Pepper.” So, she got one. And it was amazing. I told Val, “You know, a lot of dads worry about their daughter turning 21 and looking for beer. You’re just craving a Dr Pepper.” She answered, “I love the burn.” Good kid.

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“He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was reclined at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” ~Luke 24:25-31

Jesus calls these followers on the way to Emmaus foolish and slow of heart to believe the Scriptures. “This is God’s design,” he says. “This is how it has to be!” And when he opens the Scriptures, it’s not just a couple of isolated passages or a few random texts. He explains all of Scripture to them, it says — the whole story! He tells them that salvation can only be found when God’s anointed Son takes on our suffering, when he takes the whole world’s suffering into himself, when he dies under the crushing weight of that sin and suffering, and rises again as the beginning of God’s new creation, God’s brand new eternal people. This is what had to happen, and now it has!

At the Lord’s Meal, Friday turns into Sunday.

Their eyes are opened when Jesus breaks the bread. They recognize Jesus at the table.

Now, allow me to say this about that:

Knowing the information is one thing. Getting the correct content into our brains, understanding the logic, engaging the truth with our minds — that’s very important. We shouldn’t neglect that. But let’s also nurture the emotional experience at the table. Let’s pay more attention to the tangible, touchable, tasteable proof we experience in the Church’s Meal.

The future reality of resurrection of us is experienced in the present reality of the risen Lord around the table. He’s here! He’s with us at the table!

Some days it can feel like our sin or the devil has more power than we do. Some years it can feel that way, I know. But we have direct access to the Holy One of God who has already overcome whatever Satan throws your way. He has already defeated everything the devil might possibly use against you. And we have direct access to him! We eat and drink with him all the time!

Peace,

Allan

His Presence is the Proof: Part 2

Valerie Nicole is 21 today! Happy Birthday to our Little Middle! I wish I were there in OKC with you today, Sweetie.  Hopefully Aunt Rhonda is taking you to Ted’s for dinner!

We’re so proud of you, Val, and so blessed by God by your love for others and your joy for life. Have a wonderful day, daughter. We love you!

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If the story of the Prodigal Son is the greatest story Jesus ever told, the story of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus is the finest scene Luke ever penned. It’s got everything: sorrow, suspense, mystery, a little bit of humor, a gradual dawning of light, unexpected actions, and a flurry of excitement. This is such a great story. And it is so about us.

The story is found in Luke 24:13-35. And it opens with the two disciples walking and talking together on the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. It’s Sunday, Resurrection Day. The tomb has been found empty, the women have seen some angels, but nobody has seen Jesus.

But the focus of this story, at least here in the beginning, is on these two Jesus-followers. They’re in despair. They’re experiencing grief. There’s been a death and it’s ended their dreams. They feel hopelessness. For the past three days they’ve been in this place between dashed hopes and maybe possibly daring to hope again. There’s maybe a tiny fraction of a glimmer of expectation. But mostly it’s bad. For three days it’s been terrible. And these two disciples have adjusted to the numbness. They’ve accepted the reality of the situation and now they’re moving on. They’re in a haze, but they’ve accepted it and they’ve got to live with it. They’re resigned to the bad news, the bad feelings, and the bad circumstances. They haven’t given up, but they’ve certainly given in.

And they’re talking about these things with each other. Serious things. Life things. They’re not talking about their golf game or the dry weather or if anybody can ever beat the Patriots. This is a raw human conversation about important things, things that matter. And Jesus says, “That’s a conversation I want to be a part of!”

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast.

It was difficult to articulate everything that had happened, how horrible everything was, the despair they were feeling. They couldn’t talk about it. It’s almost like they didn’t want to talk about it.

But Jesus forces the tough conversation. And then he opens up the Scriptures to them: “Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

They arrive in Emmaus and the two disciples invite him into their home for dinner. And that’s where everything changes.

“When he was reclined at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” ~Luke 24:30-31

The story of the resurrection meal in Luke 24 perfectly mirrors our experience as Christians. We go through seasons of sad dismay at the failure of our human hopes. We endure periods of frustration and doubt, depression and despair. Let’s face it, sometimes we can get into a dark place where we question where all this is headed. We wonder if God really is in control, if Jesus really is alive and reigning at the Father’s right hand, if things really are going to work out for me at the end.

Then we take our places at the table and we realize that Christ Jesus himself is with us. He warms our hearts with his truth, he comforts us with his presence, he assures us with his peace.

The realities of the Christian experience are revealed during our meals with the risen Lord. His presence with us at the table is proof that humility leads to victory, that suffering leads to glory, and that, through God in Christ, death leads to eternal life.

Peace,

Allan

Recreating the Laundry Hamper Pic

The first picture was taken twelve years ago when Valerie and Carley were six and eight-years-old. We were living in Kyle and Marti Futrell’s rent house on Mission Hills Road in Marble Falls while I was going to grad school in Austin. The laundry hamper in the master bath was a favorite hiding spot and they played in there often. I have no idea where the ivy on the counter came from.

The second picture was taken today, right after lunch, just before Valerie headed back to OC. Valerie and Carley are eighteen and twenty and they don’t fit in tight places the way they used to. The ivy is twelve years older, too.

Peace,

Allan

Float Duty at OC

Our daughter Valerie surely knows a hundred guys in Edmond who drive pickup trucks. But I got the call last week to pull the Tri-Theta float in Saturday’s Oklahoma Christian University homecoming parade.

Valerie is Theta’s homecoming director — in charge of her club’s float, their window in the student center, and her club’s participation in all the homecoming week activities. The theme had something to do with unity in diversity or love around the world — I’m not certain. All I know is that Theta’s float and window and T-shirts revolved around the country of India. And Valerie and her friends killed it. Theta’s window banner won first place and their Taj Mahal float won second.


According to true Stanglin tradition, there was some controversy with the float that had to be discussed and fixed the morning of the parade. The OC administration took issue with part of the design and Valerie and her crew had to scramble to make it work. A little spray paint in some strategic places took care of the problem to the school’s satisfaction and we hooked it up and took off. We circled the Bible building twice, threw a lot of candy at a bunch of little kids, saw tons of people we knew from a long time ago, and nobody got run over. A tremendous success by any measure.

I’ll also share this picture of the Delta alumni breakfast held earlier that day. Two hours of sausage balls and war stories with guys like Scott Steward, Jeff Hyatt, Dewey Leggett, Paul Russell, Ted Norton, Alfred Branch, and Chris Adair. Mac reminded me of stuff I had forgotten and Paul brought up things I wish he had forgotten. I love seeing the charter members from 1972 sitting in their chairs down front. And I’m still puzzled at how OC President John DeSteiguer keeps making it into our club picture.

God bless Delta and Theta.

Allan

Movin’ On Up

The apartments are better than the dorms at Oklahoma Christian University and our middle daughter, Valerie, has now made the move. It took less than 30-minutes Friday morning to transfer all her stuff from our two vehicles to the inside of her new apartment. But it took another six hours to get everything organized, hung up, and put away.

Bulletin boards and hand-crafted signs, shower caddies and curtains, pillow cases and comforters, and about 300 T-shirts. Half of every thing Valerie owns now is branded with Theta, which is fine with me. A whole bunch of her T-shirts and caps bear Delta logos, which is so cool! But for some reason she owns half a dozen Kappa shirts, which makes no sense to me — I wouldn’t hang those up for her.


After cheeseburgers and cheese fries at The Garage, we made a last run to the store for necessities: chips, ice cream, cereal, PB&J, DDP — you know. Then we helped her clean everything up, took a couple of pictures with Rayna, her roommate, and Rayna’s sister, Markie, who was Valerie’s Theta Big Sister last year, and headed home.

Val is one of the counselors for the Earn Your Wings or Take Flight or whatever they call the freshmen and transfers orientation this week. She had a training Friday night and the orientation begins this evening. And, have I told you? She’s changed her major to youth ministry!

She’s surrounded by really good people at OC, she’s listening to the leading of our Lord, and she’s giving herself to him and his Kingdom. We couldn’t be happier or more proud.

Here’s wishing you a fabulous semester, Valerie. I believe God has you exactly where he wants you. Follow him. Pay attention to what he’s doing in you and through you for the sake of his holy will. Work hard, learn a lot, be sweet. I can’t wait to hear all about your Bible and ministry classes.

Love,

Dad

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