Category: Allan’s Journey (Page 2 of 26)

Thank You, Amarillo!

For a little over eight years, I’ve been blessed to write a monthly faith column for the Amarillo Globe News¬† – actually, it’s a little more than monthly; it’s every four weeks. Today’s column was my last word to the city of Amarillo, a big thank you and a reminder of how good we Christians have it in the Yellow City.

And. Of course. In the printed edition of today’s paper, my farewell column ran with my friend Gene Shelburne’s byline and mug shot instead of mine.

That sounds just about right.

Gene is already petitioning the paper to rerun the column, with an apology, in tomorrow’s edition in a “high exposure page position.” He’s very kind. We’d probably both be disappointed to learn how little this really matters. At any rate, the online version of the Globe News contains the column with my name and cheesy mug. You can read it by clicking here.



Dear Golf Course Road

I can’t adequately express to you the excitement we’re experiencing, nor the tremendous anticipation we’re feeling, for what our God has in store for us together. There’s no doubt in our minds that our Lord has brought us together at this time for very specific reasons. And we really can’t wait to join you in doing his work and his will together in Midland.

We’re so thankful for the faith and confidence you’ve placed in me and my family to represent our Lord and his church at Golf Course Road. That blessing and responsibility are not lost on us. We feel so honored by you and our God. It is sacred to us. We respect it. We cherish it. And we’re going to keep it.

Thank you so much for the warm welcome you’re already giving us. The texts and emails from our new family at GCR are such a source of strength and encouragement, a lot of them coming from people we haven’t even met yet. Even this morning, the offers of assistance and friendly ‘hellos’ keep coming in. We can feel the excitement out there all the way up here. And it gives us great hope while we dwell among the moving boxes and the sad goodbyes.

There’s a weird thing that happens to any preacher who makes a decision to leave one congregation and move to another. It happens the day after the announcement is made and everything’s official, and it continues for at least a couple of weeks. A little doubt. Some questions. Am I doing the right thing? Am I truly following God or something else? Is this going to be better? Or maybe not as good?

It’s funny. You can pray and talk and discern and be very holy with the Lord and your family and come to a godly decision, but something happens right after it’s official. Human nature, probably. In the hours and days right after the announcement, you’re overwhelmed by all the people you love so much. They call you, email you, text you, and come by your office to see you. You’re reminded of all the really great memories and wonderful men and women you’ve had the honor to serve. You’re surprised by some of the things God was doing through you that you didn’t even know about. It’s all really very good and it’s almost disorienting.

But our Father keeps reminding me through the calls, emails, and texts from Midland that he is the one moving us west and the way is already prepared. He’s way out in front of us on this. He is ready. The timing is his. GCR is prepared. The shepherds there are humble and honest men who have hearts for loving God’s people. GCR’s folks are committed to the congregation and to each other and to what God wants to do in Midland and beyond. I’m equipped and experienced, by his grace, to help make a Kingdom difference there. The fit is right. And his will is to do something magnificent in us and through us together. So, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and work really hard and love really well and have an absolute blast in the flood of his blessings!

We’re trying to get to Midland as fast as we can. Each trip out there, every person we’ve met, has been a great blessing to us. Your kindness and generosity is overwhelming. We’re so ready to meet more of you – all of you! – and start returning the favors. And we’re looking forward to many years of faithful service together at Golf Course Road.

“We are delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well, because you are becoming so dear to us.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Be assured that I am in constant conversation with our Lord about GCR and Midland and our new partnership together. Please be in fervent prayer for us as we prepare to join Golf Course Road Church of Christ. May our God bless us richly. And may his will be done at GCR and in Midland, Texas just as it is in heaven.

Your servant in the grace and truth of Jesus Christ,


Congratulations Sherri Coale!

Sherri Coale, the legendary women’s basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma, has announced her retirement after an incredible 25-year run. Coale is the story today. But the point of this post is to direct your attention to me and to my admittedly loose connection to this rock star of a hoops coach.

Sherri Coale was Sherri Buben when we were in college together at Oklahoma Christian University. She played point guard for the nationally ranked Lady Eagles basketball team, winning Sooner Athletic Conference championships and competing for NAIA regional and national titles. She was a relentless competitor, a fiery defender, a fearless driver of the lane, and she saw absolutely everything on the court. She was a leader in every aspect of the word.

Sherri was two years ahead of me in school. By the time I became Sports Director at KOCC and began handling the play-by-play for OC sports, I was a sophomore and Sherri was a senior. We didn’t know each other very well at all. But I was on the sidelines and voiced the call for every single dribble, drive, and shot of Sherri’s spectacular senior season. In this picture of Sherri that OC likes to use, you can see me in the background on the left at center court. That’s little 20-year-old Allan calling OC basketball at the Eagles Nest. Sherri looks like she’s about to steal an in-bounds pass or take a charge. I look like I’m about to miss it.

Sherri had coached Norman High School to a couple of 6A state championships when OU came calling. The Sooners women’s basketball team had been famously abolished six years earlier for a lack of wins, a lack of players, and a lack of any real interest. She took the gig as an incredible underdog and quickly rose to the pinnacle of the sport, guiding OU to the national championship game in 2002. All told, Sherri recruited, promoted, and coached OU to 19 national tournament appearances, three Final Fours, six Big XII regular season championships, and four conference tournament titles. She and her long-time OC teammate, friend, and assistant coach Jan Ross coached 14 WNBA draft picks at OU, including six first-rounders. And Sherri was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

It was a thrill for me to run into Sherri once or twice a year while I was Sports Director at KRLD in Dallas. Back then the Big XII women’s tournament was held at Reunion Arena and I would make it a point to attend at least a couple of their games. It was cool to walk across the floor and greet Sherri and Jan while their team was warming up. Again, we don’t know each other very well at all. But we had the OC connection and we both were genuinely pleased with the other’s career successes.

Congratulations, Sherri. I’m very happy for you and proud of all you’ve accomplished. You’ve positively impacted each of the hundreds of young ladies you’ve coached and the countless numbers of others who watch you from afar. You are to be commended for the positive Christ-like influence you have on everyone you meet. I don’t know what’s next for you, but your spirited grit and determination make anything possible.



Spring Break in Amarillo

I was enjoying my iced tea outside on the front porch at Roaster’s yesterday afternoon. Sunny and 75-degrees. Not a cloud in the sky and not any bit of wind at all. Short sleeves. Sunglasses. One of those perfect Amarillo days. But we were under a blizzard warning for the following day. Sure enough, the clouds started rolling in at about 6:00 last evening. The lightning and thunder and sleet started at 4:00 this morning. Right now it’s 31-degrees and the heavy snow is blowing sideways in a 40-50 mph North wind that’s gusting to near 60. The wind chill is minus 17. Visibility is an eighth of a mile.

By the way, we had seven tornadoes Saturday night. And it’ll be sunny and 70 again this weekend.

Unlike the cartoon cat, I’m not complaining. I actually enjoy the crazy swings in weather up here. This is the only place in Texas where you truly get all four seasons and, sometimes, you get them in the same week.



Rolling Blackouts?

As I am penning this post at 9:30am, the outside temperature has warmed to a pleasant six degrees on our way to a downright balmy high of 22. We just experienced our first-ever rolling blackout, 95-minutes of no electricity in a forced conservation imposed by Xcel Energy. Our neighborhood went dark less than 30-seconds before I opened the garage door. I was walking through the kitchen, toward the garage, ready to open the door when we lost power. D’oh! So I disconnected the door, raised it by hand, and it’s snowing. Again.

The temperature hit -1 on Sunday and then bottomed out at -10 degrees yesterday and never reached positive double digits. The low this morning was also -1 and the wind chills have been in the negative double digits since Saturday. I can’t remember the last time we were above freezing — late last week — but we’re supposed to stay below 32 until Friday afternoon. We received about five inches of snow Saturday night and Sunday and are expecting another three to four inches today and tomorrow. But you can’t even make a snowball with this stuff. It’s too cold! It doesn’t stick to anything! It just blows around and piles up! No icicles! Anywhere! Nothing’s melting!

I’ve never been in a place where the temperature was below zero. Not once in my life. Or where it stays below freezing for a full week. The high here Sunday was 3. Yesterday’s high was 7. I don’t know how to do this. We’ve had all our cabinet doors opened and every faucet in the house dripping since Saturday afternoon. Still, something’s frozen up with the water supply to our washing machine. The pipes come in through the garage, which never gets below freezing, until now. It’s 21-degrees inside the garage!! So, no laundry, maybe until late Thursday.

This feels bad. And big. Like, how much worse are things going to get? Tom Brady won the Super Bowl. It’s snowing in Galveston. Texas is in a power crisis. J. J. Watt is gone from Houston. The Stars are on an eight-game winless streak. Amarillo is experiencing its coldest temperatures in two decades. And rolling blackouts? That’s always been something that happens to people who don’t live in Texas. People we feel sorry for. People and conditions to which I’ve never been able to relate. Will 2020 never end?!?



Thawing Out

I joked with my friends in Edmond/ OKC today that if they would just move to Amarillo they wouldn’t have to worry about losing branches because we don’t have any trees here. That’s obviously not true. I’m not even sure it’s that funny.

We lost about a fourth of the biggest tree in our front yard last night when the weight of three days of ice and snow became too much. We hadn’t been out of the teens and 20s since Sunday evening and we had experienced three straight days of deep freeze temps and a constant wintry mix of precipitation. Light snow, sleet, freezing rain, freezing mist — it fell for three days and just kept accumulating on the tree branches that were still full of leaves. It’s not supposed to do this in October!

I was worried about all our trees, but especially this one on the east side of our front yard. I don’t know what kind of tree it is — the leaves look like Chinese Elm but it’s not and the branches look like Hackberry but it’s not — but the branches were sagging big time. I checked on them through the kitchen windows every couple of hours and fretted that I couldn’t do anything about what might or might not happen. They were predicting 5-8 more inches of snow last night before the slow-moving system finally cleared the Panhandle. That’s what concerned me. It looked 50-50 on whether we would lose the whole tree or not suffer any damage at all. I couldn’t tell. We’ve not been in this situation before. Ever.

The blizzard hit at about 6:00pm and lasted about four hours. A classic Amarillo snowstorm: big, wet, fat flakes blowing sideways and sticking to everything. By 7:00 I knew we were in trouble. I spent about 20 minutes in the worst part of the storm with a long rake, trying to knock the snow and ice off the branches of the trees in the front yard and the back. I spent the most time and paid the greatest attention to this one tree that looked like it couldn’t take another five minutes. All the major branches were bowing and sagging to within three feet of the ground. I must have looked like a fool out there, but I managed to knock enough snow off the branches that they were about seven or eight feet off the ground.

At 10:15, as Carrie-Anne and I were getting ready to go to bed, we both stood at the window and looked at the tree. The branches were about halfway back to where they were before. I said, “They look so heavy.” It was still snowing.

And at 10:45 it happened.

It looks like we got around seven additional inches of snow last night during those four hours. And it was too much. Thankfully we only lost that one big branch. This is nothing like what they’re suffering in Edmond this week where my sister Rhonda lost almost every single branch off every tree they own — nothing but bare trunks in their once beautiful yard.

Today the sun is shining for the first time in about a week and it’s climbing into the upper 40s. Clear skies, no wind — it’s an absolutely beautiful October day and everything’s melting. Almost melting too fast. The streets and sidewalks are flooding all over southwest Amarillo, cars are getting stuck in rushing water on Bell Street and 45th.¬† And I’m shoveling our driveway that is always too big after a snow.

I’m grateful we only lost about a fourth of the tree. It’ll be fine. I’m thankful it mostly missed the house — just a nick or two, it looks like, to a few shingles and the gutter. The skeleton-ghost thing I had hanging in the tree survived. And now I’ve got something to do on Saturday when the temperature is supposed to be near 70.



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