Monday, November 19, 2007

SEC football and God go together!!

Yes. You read that correctly! SEC football...specifically a UT football weekend and Jesus were in the same spot Saturday afternoon. Together with 105,000 people, I saw some FANTASTIC, THRILLING, DOWN TO THE WIRE FOOTBALL, and some GREAT BIG JESUS. God will go anywhere won't He?? It's just a matter of having our "eyes on" and seeing Him everywhere. I shall start from the beginning of our family adventure Friday afternoon as we made the trip across the state of Tennessee. I got the kids early from school on Friday and you would have thought we were going to Disney World! They were a little EXCITED to say the least! It's fun to see them get happy over adventures. They never get "non-excited." At what age do you stop getting up early because the trip is today or you quit acting goofy and silly because the trip is today??!! Lord, I don't want to grow up.

Ok, we traveled all afternoon to Knoxville and stopped off at Texas Roadhouse to eat just as soon as we got into town. A fun restaurant it is. There were several birthdays that night and everytime they wish the person a "happy birthday" they say "YEE-HAW!" Well, that's just fun. And, to be able to throw your peanut shells on the floor?! I felt like a total wild child!

Ok, we ate dinner....stuffed to the core. Found our hotel downtown that was just a mile from were HIGHLY disappointed that it was dark and we couldn't drive around and see the beauty of UT. Tomorrow was just not soon enough. But, we got checked in and inside the hotel lobby was a big, big, big, gigantic, tv/movie screen that was nothin but ESPN baby! This is boy heaven for my guys. They would have sat there until game time if Momma, the party pooper, wouldn't have made them come to the room!

Ok, lets get to the heart of gameday. We had a glorious breakfast at the hotel and then loaded up and hit the road jack. We got in our wonderful, parking pass lot and then started walking towards the campus. Oh, wait. 1st stop=Starbucks! Ok, mom was ready to go! It was about 10:00am and the tailgaters were all over campus. I mean all over the place. Every restaurant parking lot, every gas station parking lot, every campus parking lot (that is official tailgating I guess) and every open space you could find was some SERIOUS tailgating going on. It's just smellin so good. I just ate a yummy breakfast, but could have easily dived into some hotdogs, hamburgers and chips and dip at this point.

Where is Jesus at this point?? Oh, He's everywhere friends!! The beauty of His creation is among us. The trees were in beautiful form. Take a look at the boys in this gorgeous one....

Ok, here's another one of us as a family. I was the corny mom who said, "Um, kind sir taking the picture, can we face this way so the beautiful trees are in the background?" I always hated it when my mom would do this!! I don't know why.

Ok, so God's glorious creation was just beautifulgorgeousmagnificent this weekend in East TN. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! There He shows off just how creative His artwork can be each.and.every.Fall. I don't ever tire of the change of seasons.

Well, we walked through the very big parking lot heading toward the biggest stadium in the world and saw some AWESOME tailgating. There was a hummer that had a ginormous flatscreen tv in the back. do you do that?? I'm sorry. I'm not a big high tech tailgater so how do you get cable in a parking lot?? And, how do you get that, biggest flatscreen ever made, into the back of your hummer no less?? Anyway, God was here during tailgate time because there were friendships and fun EVERYWHERE!! I love seeing people together with the people they love and having fun with. God made us for relationship with Him and others. I thanked Him for the people I wish I was tailgating with in that parking lot next to that hummer that I don't have a picture of. But, I have their neighbor....they weren't too shabby either.

Onto the game! We got to this crowd of people and I felt ourselves saying, "Lets act like we know what we are doing here. Let's try to not look like we have no clue whats going on and why all the people are gathering here!" Well, I don't know the official name of what was about to take place, but it was kinda like a parade. The band, cheerleaders, and eventually the coach and team (very cool part) came marching through the campus and eventually marched right into the stadium. they are...the band and my kids "high-fiving" Coach Fulmer. At this point they thought they were "it on a stick!" God was here at this point because I loved the feeling of unity and supporting a team. We are all on His team. I can't imagine what His team looks like from the heavenlies as we cheer, rally, and high-five each other in the name of His team!! Whew. I bet its glorious!

And. Now the game. These next pictures just MAKE ME LAUGH. I think you'll see what mattered to Dylan...eating his chips and dip was first and foremost. And, being there early. Notice that these pix don't have alot of other people in the background. It was all about seeing every aspect of what was going on INSIDE the biggest stadium in the world!!

See, I think this might be our Christmas card...of course, with something very clever to say....

And, now it's time to enter the field. It's time to recognize each Sr. who is graduating. This was their final home game. I wondered..."what is it like in heaven as we enter His presence and shake the nail scarred hand of our coach?" Do the heavenly angels sing and welcome us home?? I can't imagine what they sound like! Do we run through anything special?? Do we get high-fives for a "job well done, good and faithful servant" as we enter in?? I bet we do!

Well, the game was GREAT! UT was losing 95% of the time, but somehow managed to come from behind in the 4th quarter and pull out a V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!! Thank you Patti for praying. Because, it worked! :) We won! We won! We won!! It was a nail biter. I sure didn't want the boys first UT experience to be a loss. And, it wasn't. It was a wonderful win.

Something occured during the game that is also worth noting....we had a father and son behind us. The son was probably 14 or so. The dad was obnoxious. He drove me NUTS! Nothing positive, productive, or encouraging came out of his mouth. Now, I am a competitive human being, but I pray I have the discernment and wisdom to know when to "SHUT UP!" This guy was going on and on about how bad everything and everyone was. The type of dad that is just embarrassing and he needs to keep his mouth closed. I truly felt sorry for his son.

But, in front of us was a very different father and son. This son was severly handicapped and in a wheelchair with so many pieces of medical equipment hanging off it that it made me anxious. This dad was loving on, talking to, making sure his son was warm, cheering with him, clapping his hands for him, stroking his hair, and continually made sure he was warm and covered up. Can I just say it was Jesus with skin on in this father. I have never seen such devotion, love, and attention paid to another human being......during a football game!! I would catch myself just watching them together. Don't you think that is exactly how Jesus is with us??? NEVER EVER taking his arms off us....NEVER EVER taking his eyes of us......cheering us on even when we can't see or understand what is going on right in front of us. That daddy was Jesus with skin on. It was beuatiful y'all. Just beautiful.

I don't want to be that person complaining, criticizing, tearing people down or being thought of as a negative person. I want to be looked at just like I saw that other father being with his son. I bet we all do.

we have so very much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week. I'm thankful for Jesus in my everyday world. He is in all things that we do. Even at a UT football game. I pray you see Him in ways, places, and people you wouldn't normally be looking for Him.

We had a fabulous weekend. It was some great family time. I am thankful for the precious people God has placed in my life. I love Him for giving me the gift of family and friends. I thank Him, daily, for you. I love you all. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

1 Chronicles 17:8-12

"O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles....."

Thank you Jesus for Who you are and the great things You do.


Lindsee Lou said...

SO fun...

But, I have to admit...

This whole time I was just positive you were talking about the University of TEXAS...not Tennessee!! Oh bless...That's how I know I'm from Texas!!

Your family is just precious!

Glad y'all had such a good time. And, no, I too DON'T want to grow up!!!


Jenny said...

Fran you have an ADORABLE family. You are a mighty blessed woman! Glad ya'll had fun!

ocean mommy said...

That sounds like a heavenly weekend! We are UT fans as well, but for this season God has us on the mission field. 40 minutes from Athens, GA. You can imagine.......


Unknown said...

YAY! I loved reading this! Sounds like an amazing time!

BethAnne said...

Love the picture with the sunsphere in the background. I remember when I was little and we went to the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville and we ate up in the sunsphere - I thought I was top dog. Sounds like you all had a wonderful time (in east TN every day is wonderful, amen? I guess I am a little prejudice). I have never had a bad time at a UT game - and you are right Vols fans are the best tailgaters in the world!

Patty said...

Oh Fran I loved reading every bit of your sweet post about our team!!! I was laughing and smiling. It takes me back to all the games I have been to at Neyland and it is the best stadium in the world!!! The parade you were talking about is called VOL WALK. It is tradition. They all march down to the stadium and it is soooo much fun . The Hummer with the t.v. , they have been doing this for years. I have always said if God ever lets me remarry I was going to have an orange and white gown, the bridemaids would wear orange and carry pom poms instead of flowers (LOL) and I would walk down the aisle to Rocky Top. ROFL!!! Just kidding. Tempting but just kidding. The whole experience is just to hard to describe. Oh Rocky Top you'll always be home sweet home to meeeee, Good Ol' Rocky Top, Rocky Top Tennessee!!!! I did pray for you all. I said, God, please let the VOLS win because Fran took her boys to see them play for the 1st time, please don't let them lose and spoil their weekend!!! :o) I feel like I was with you all!!!
P.S. GO VOLS!!! Beat the Wildcats!!!

Anonymous said...

Fran, loved the pics! Your family is beautiful and your love for Jesus contagious my friend.

We visited UT this summer and boy howdy I wish I could've sat beside you for that game!

Joanne :O)

Hillary said...

I have to give a BIG AMEN to your post title! SEC is by far the best conference! And even though you're a TN fan I decided I could over look that and leave a comment. You beat us (the Razorbacks) pretty badly a couple of weeks ago. In fact, I got so mad I stopped watching it and started helping my mom clean the garage! Anyway...I know this is a RANDOM comment but when I stumbled upon your blog and read your post I knew I had to leave one! Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Kelly said...

I just saw you commented on my friend Hillary's blog so I clicked over and I love this post! I'm a hog fan too! The part about the father with the handicapped son brought tears to my eyes. I hope that is the kind of person I could be.

Kelly said...

I live in Bentonville (northwest AR). I'll link to you so I can come back and visit!

Profbaugh said...

Oh I loved this Fran. What a precious family you have. You've done a wonderful job of capturing game day!!

We're also in the Football mood here, just a little below the UT league. Our high school team is playing in the IL State finals on Friday. Yup, they'll be in Champaign, IL playing on University of Illinois' field. Woo Hoo!! Wish us luck.


Alana said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE East Tennessee.

Looks like you had a fabulous time!

Thank you SO much for the sweet, heartfelt prayer you left for my friend!

jennyhope said...

Girl your family is so adorable like you!!! love jenny

I blog so you can get a glimpse into my life as wife, mom of 3 boys, and someone who simply wants to bless others along the way. Have fun and be sweet :)

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