It’s a new year and this year I’m going to try to keep my goals simple. I have one major goal that I feel called to complete this year. We’ll be producing a documentary about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. We’ve been working on background research and identifying potential interviewees. We plan to start the interviews in February and completing them by May. Target completion date is this summer in time to submit to the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
It was a nice day to catch up on some summer chores. Started with the daily animal feedings. Then weed wacked around a pile of old branches to get ready to burn them. Spent the morning and early afternoon burning branches and cutting up some of the fallen trees. A good days work, but boy am I tired!
Time is really flying. The early bird registration deadline for the 2010 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp is tomorrow (Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010). If you register by Feb. 28th you can save $100. You’ll get six days of intense, hands-on training, all food and lodging for only $599. On March 1st the rate goes up to $699, still an amazing deal.
If you know anyone interested in filmmaking for the Glory of God let them know about this camp. Visit http://www.ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com for more info or to register.
It’s been a very busy year. I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since right after Zack & Natalie’s wedding!! We had a very busy summer at Norwood Christian Ranch. We had pastors and their families with us from the first of May all the way through September. We even have a few guests scheduled for November. This is by far the busiest summer we’ve had in the three years we’ve been here.
In addition to our ministry guests, we also hosted two Christian Filmmaker camps. The first camp was a Film Composers Camp and the second camp was a general filmmaking camp.
The camps went so well we already have a Christian Filmmakers Camp scheduled for May of 2010. Check out http://www.NorwoodChristianRanch.com for more info as it becomes available.
My oldest son, Zachary, was married in Lancaster, CA on April 4th. The wedding ceremony went perfectly. The church and the bride were both beautiful. I made it through the ceremony crying only twice. Once at the beginning and once at the end.
At the beginning it started as soon as I saw my daughter Heather walking down the aisle in her lovely bridesmaid’s dress. As soon as I saw her my eyes teared up and I was wondering if I was going to be able to conduct the ceremony without falling to pieces. As Natalie, the bride, entered on her father’s arm looking radiant the tears began to flow and my nose began to run. As tears fell on my glasses I realized this was going to be tougher than I thought.
After the opening comments and prayer, as Zack stepped down to receive Natalie from her father, Charlie, I took the opportunity to compose myself – and to blow my nose. I regained my composure and proceeded with the ceremony. I had to look at my notes a lot because whenever I looked at Zack or Natalie I got teary eyed again.
I made it all the way through the rest of the service until the very end when Charlie and I gave the couple our “father’s blessing.” I closed my part of the blessing with a quote from Numbers 6:24-26. This is the verse I always ended our family blessing time with each week for the past several years. It is a very special verse for us. As I said the first line, “May the Lord bless you and keep you…” I choked up. Tears began to flow down Zack’s cheek which didn’t make it any easier for me. I regrouped, started over and this time got all the way through the verse, albeit with a weak and quivering voice.
After the closing prayer it was my pleasure to inform the audience that they were about to see Zack and Natalie’s very first kiss. It was their desire to honor God by remaining pure throughout their courtship displaying no physical form of affection beyond holding hands. So their first kiss at the ceremony was not just their first as husband and wife, it was their first kiss ever. After the kiss I beamed as I introduced the new couple as Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Lawrence.
The reception was a blur. There were over 200 people in attendance and I wanted to spend time with them all. It had been almost three years since we had moved away and we longed to get caught up with everyone. That, of course, was impossible to do. So if we missed you at the reception please accept our apologies. We tried to talk to as many of you as we could.
The wedding was fantastic. The rest of our trip, however, was like something out of a B-grade horror movie. Here is the rest of our “wedding vacation” story. The Saturday before we left for California Zack got sick with flu like symptoms. Sunday morning Heather fainted and began showing signs of the same “flu.” Zack called Chris and said he couldn’t get out of bed without feeling like he was going to pass out. So before church Chris went to check on Zack and told him to stay in bed. After church we went to check on Zack and Heather and assess whether it was possible to get on the road with two very sick kids on our hands.
Zack and Heather decided they could do it so we loaded up the van and Zack’s truck and headed out. I had to drive Zack’s truck and Chris drove our van. We did not leave Norwood until after 3 p.m. and we did not arrive in St. George, UT until midnight after driving through snowy, icy roads in UT.
That night (actually, early Monday morning) Thomas, our seven year old, got sick. This is where the horror flick comes in. We were dropping one by one, wondering who would be next. We pressed on and made it to Palmdale, picked up an RV from a friend and headed out to Leona Valley were we set up our MASH unit. We had sick people laid out on sleeping bags and medicine all over the place. It was a sight to see! Tuesday the next family member fell victim. It was Robert, our four year old. Chris and I were the only ones left to try to nurse the kids back to health.
Thursday Zack was feeling a little bit better just in time to go to Ontario airport to pick up Anthony, his best man. Chris, however, was the next to fall. She woke up Thursday morning feeling lousy. I knew my time was coming soon. It was a race to the finish. The wedding was just two days away. Would I make it or would I be the next to fall?
I rode with Zack just in case he couldn’t make it for the three hour round trip to the airport. He did fine. We picked up Anthony and on the way home got a call from the family Zack and Anthony were supposed to stay with asking us not to come over because one of their kids was sick and they didn’t want Zack to pick it up in his weakened condition. So we had to take Anthony to Leona Valley with us. We set Zack and Anthony up in the RV and the rest of us stayed in “the infirmary”
About this time (7 p.m.) it hit me. I was wiped out and had to lay down. Less than 24 hours before the rehearsal and 42 hours before the wedding and I was flat on my back. I was the pastor who was performing the ceremony. I had to find a way to get on my feet, at least for a few hours Friday night and a few hours Saturday.
Friday, Zack went to the doctor and got some meds. He was feeling better and so was Heather so we were pretty sure that they would be okay for the ceremony. Thomas, the ring bearer, was questionable but doing better. The odds were against Robert, Chris and I being able to make it. Thankfully, prayers on our behalf were being lifted up in California and back in Colorado. We would need divine intervention for sure.
Somehow we were able to tough it out and make it through the rehearsal. Chris and I didn’t eat much at the rehearsal dinner but we were there. That was a positive thing.
The day of the wedding we were feeling a bit better but operating mostly on adrenalin. We all loaded into the van to head to the church when to our horror the van would not start. The battery in the van was dead! Would the madness never end!?
Zack was gone by this point so we didn’t have his truck available to jump start the van. I had to unhook the RV and pull it as close as possible to the van and hope that the RV battery was on the side closest to the van. Thankfully it was. We got the van started and made it to the church only a half hour behind schedule. Thankfully there was plenty of buffer time for pre-wedding picture taking.
As I have already mentioned the wedding went off perfectly as did the reception. After Zack and Natalie left, my brother, Gary, had to give me a jump so we could get the van started again. We went out to eat with the Lawrence Clan and Chris’ parents. Robert got sick again so I spent most of my time running him to the bathroom. I didn’t get to spend much time with my brothers from Arizona.
Surprisingly the van started at the restaurant. We got back to Leona Valley not too late Saturday night and crashed. We were all exhausted. I had the opportunity to speak at Charlie’s church (Christ’s Church of the Valley in Palmdale) Sunday morning so I had to get up early, jump start the van with the RV again and get to the church by 8:30 a.m. I made it through both services and was actually feeling much better.
We jump started the van after church and headed off to Walmart for a new battery. Thankfully the battery was still under the full replacement warranty so they replaced it for free, including installation. One bright spot in an otherwise agonizing trip.
We finished up at Walmart just in time to take Anthony to the airport. I got back to the house around 7 p.m. Sunday night. Chris and the boys and I went out to eat dinner at Panera Bread where we are able to get on the internet for the first time in a week. As Chris scanned through hundreds of her emails one caught her eye. It was from the owner of our dairy back in Colorado. It seems we didn’t have the flu after all. Several customers had reported the same symptoms we had been experiencing. It turns out we got sick from drinking contaminated milk. The good news is that we didn’t infect anyone at the wedding with the flu since the bacterial infection is not contagious.
Our trip home was uneventful – except for the hour long delay on I-40 as we waited for an RV to burn to the ground (no, not our RV). Oh yeah, and the hotel in Flagstaff did not have our reservations even through I had a confirmation number. Other than that, we made it home safely.
So that’s our story. A wedding vacation to remember, that’s for sure. Thankfully Zack got better in time for his honeymoon and all seems to be going well for them. They will be back home in time for the reception we are giving them here in Norwood on the 18th.
Serving Christ and His Family,
On April 4, just one month from today my first born son is getting married. He has been in a courtship relationship for over two years now. We have known Natalie’s parents since before either Zack or Natalie were born. Their’s is one of those homeschool courtship success stories.
I have been blessed to be actively involved in my son’s life. I will never forget the day he was born. I barely got Chris to the hospital in time. Just 20 minutes after we arrived Zack was born. I can still remember the feeling of holding him in my arms for the first time.
I also remember holding him in my arms again the day I had the privilege of baptizing him. The joy I felt as I lifted him up out of the water was second only to the joy I felt on the day he was born.
And now, on April 4th, I will be part of yet another milestone in Zack’s life. I will be the pastor who performs his marriage ceremony. I thank God for allowing me to be actively involved in my son’s birth, rebirth, and the birth of his marriage.
Zack and I have done a lot together as father and son. We enjoyed many summers at Angeles Crest Christian Camp’s Father-Son retreats. We worked together on the production of The Pastor’s House and Father Child Projects DVDs. In 2007 I encouraged him in his first solo production, the Courtship Formula, a documentary about courtship that was an official selection for the 2007 WYSIWYG Christian Film Festival. It has been such a pleasure seeing this young man grow in maturity and in his walk with the Lord.
We’d love for you to share in this celebration of Zack and Natalie’s wedding with us. We can’t invite the whole world to the wedding so we’ve decided to do the next best thing. We are having a giant celebration sale of the three videos Zack and I have produced. Help us help him celebrate this special event in his life by generation some financial resources for his wedding. Check out the details at http://www.FamilyGravity.com.
Thank you for your continued prayers for Zack and Natalie as they start their new life together on April 4th.
Serving Christ and His Family,
I have been living in Colorado for about 2 1/2 years now. I have come to really appreciate the beauty of God’s creation here like never before.
One thing I really appreciate is the first sunny day after a snow fall. We just came out of a couple days of snow storms and today the sun is shining and everything looks so fresh, clean and beautiful. The snow capped mountains glisten against the sharp blue cloudless sky.
Sights like this help get me through the storms. When it is snowing I choose not to get frustrated with how the storm is interfering with my life today. Instead, I look forward to the first sunny day after the storm. The beauty of that first sunny day makes the storm worth it.
Life is kind of like that, too. We all face storms in our life, but all storms do pass. And when they pass they usually leave us with a new perspective, a new sense of the beauty God has placed all around us, the beauty that we typically take for granted.
So if you are facing a storm in your life right now try not to focus on the negatives of the storm at hand. Instead, try focusing on that first sunny day that is to come after the storm has passed.
Every cloud has a silver lining and every storm will pass, giving way to a beautiful sunny day.
Serving Christ and His Family,
Pastor Ken Lawrence