Posted by: Caleb | July 27, 2011

The least of these – part deux

This is extremely short notice. I realize that.

However, I need your help. My wife & I are headed to Joplin tomorrow afternoon, & I want you to donate foodstuff to Mission Joplin. If you bring things to my house, the wife & I will load it up & transfer it to Joplin for you, free of charge.

Leave a comment if you need directions.

Again, I realize it’s no notice, but I think most people can give an hour or two to make a run to the grocery store & swing by here tonight. Please help!

Things needed: mayo, pasta sauce, ramen noodles, flour, sugar, mixed veggies, Jello, carrots, canned potatoes, paper plates, mouthwash, pull ups, dish soap, yams, peas, pineapple, canned mixed fruit, apple sauce, and crackers. All food needs to be non-perishable, please.

Posted by: Caleb | July 3, 2011

05/22/11

Here’s a video I made for my parents and my siblings. It’s so they can look back, and remember what God has brought them through. It’s my way of saying that I’m proud of them and that I love them, and that the moment I found them safe is one of the best moments of my life.

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. I made it for me, too.

I would say, “Enjoy,” but that’s not really the point, is it?

[Set to “It’s All Right” by Waterdeep, from the Songs For #Joplin benefit album.]

Posted by: Caleb | June 22, 2011

one month

The remains of the neighborhood I grew up in

It’s been a month. How are you helping?

Posted by: Caleb | May 31, 2011

for the least of these (or: how to help joplin)

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:34-40

A lot of people have asked me what they can do to help my parents in recovering from the tornado that destroyed their home last week.  I’ve struggled more than I care to admit coming up with something to tell you; the truth is, a lot of people have it much worse than my parents.  The blessings that God has bestowed upon my parents, not the least of which is simply that they survived, is nothing short of awe-inspiring; they truly have some of the best friends in the world, and I thank God that they can help in areas like lodging and food, areas in which my ability to help is limited, at best.  In consideration of this, I would ask of those that want to help consider the other thousands of people who need help just as much as my parents, and many, many who need it more.

All of these places to donate I can vouch for; your donation will not be misappropriated, or spent/used in a way you would not appreciate or with which you would not agree.

First, there’s my parents’ church, Forest Park Baptist Church; they have a warehouse-type structure on their property that, last week, was filled with everyday items (such as shoes, toilet paper, and shampoo), and people were encouraged to walk through and just take what they needed.  On their web site, there are links to follow to donate money and supplies to the relief effort.

Second, there is another church in town, College Heights Christian Church, which is where I went to school from 2nd grade through high school.  Their entire building was filled with supplies, much like Forest Park’s warehouse, and people were to take whatever they needed.  On their website, they have much of the same information concerning where to send aid.

There are also various charitable organizations that are active in serving Joplin, including Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that sent a team of volunteers to help my parents clear away debris from their house.  There’s also Service International, which is based here in St. Louis; this is the organization that has done a lot of relief work in helping victims of the Good Friday tornados here at home.  And, of course, there is the trusty, tried-and-true American Red Cross.

The next suggestion I would make is concerning physical involvement. I’ve heard several people say things like, “I wish I could go and help.” To this, I would reply, “Why can’t you?” There are so many places you can contact, including either of the churches above, to set up a time to show up and do work. If you’re hesitant because you don’t know where to go or who to call, go here. Click on the “I want to give to meet a need” button, and go through the prompts to find out where to give financially, who to contact in order to volunteer, and where to donate resources. Also, you can “register” for the Boomtown Days race, which has been converted to a day of service to the city of Joplin. The blessings you can give others is well worth the time away from work, or home, or whatever you have to give up to help someone who so desperately needs it.

The last thing I would ask is that you remember Joplin in a month.  Go to your calendar, flip forward a month, and make a note to look again for ways to help; there are so many people in Joplin right now that don’t have anything but the clothes on their backs and the few belongings people (often complete strangers) have given them.  They are jobless, homeless, and hopeless. They need our help, and they will need it just as much in the months and years to come.

And remember, the point of helping these people is not to bring about glory to any of us.

The point is to bring glory and honor to God.

This storm was meant for evil, but God meant it for good. Come, let us be His instruments.

UPDATE: If you’ve used any of the tools I talked about up above, leave a comment and tell me about it! I’d love to hear some stories from you, and I’d love to be able to share them with others, too.

Posted by: Caleb | May 27, 2011

going home

It’s bittersweet. We have a home to go to. Seeing so many people who don’t have homes is hard when you know you get to go to your own bed, your own home.

I miss my boys, of course, but it’s still hard. I’m looking forward to holding them in my arms, and telling them that I love them, and that I’m sorry they couldn’t come with us this time.

We’ll be heading out this afternoon to go back to St. Louis. I’d like to write more about our week, but I can’t really think right now. I have pictures and videos, but they’ll have to wait until later.

Until this evening, then.

Posted by: Caleb | May 25, 2011

Update

I’m trying to post updates as often as I can, but the only time I can get my phone to work is early morning/late evening. Right now, I’m in mu parents’ church, where the internet is actually working. Everyone here is safe; I think we’ve salvaged all we can/will salvage from my parents’ house. Lots of pictures & important documents were saved. I’ll try to get another update out tonight.

A huge THANK YOU to all who are praying & to those who have offered their condolences. To those who have offered help: I haven’t ignored you. We’re still trying to figure out the best way for you to help. Please be patient until we have an idea of what insurance will do for them, & we see things like their living arrangements and such.

Again, thank you so much. Keep praying for those who lost loved ones, & for however many are still missing, and their loved ones as well. It’s going to be a long road to whatever kind of normalcy they’re going to achieve.

Posted by: Caleb | May 23, 2011

the house i grew up in

At approximately 6 pm yesterday, Sunday afternoon, my brother called me. He was frantic, telling me that a tornado hit my parents’ house, and that my mother and my younger sister were in the house when it hit.

The bottom fell out of my world.

After getting off the phone with my brother, I made contact with my older sister in pretty short order; she was out of the path of the storm, and was okay. I then spent close to two hours trying to make contact with my parents. I must have tried my mom, dad, and my younger sister’s phones a hundred times, without getting through. When my phone rang, and it was my dad, it was too much. I can’t quite describe how good it was to hear his voice; I talked to both my parents at this point. They told me that everyone was safe, and uninjured. After getting off the phone with them I just broke down. It was the most stressful hour and a half I’ve ever experienced.

My parents’ house doesn’t have a basement. My mom and my 14-year old sister and their dog were hunkered down in a pantry under the stairs when the tornado hit. My dad was at Wal-Mart, and didn’t have any signal in the middle of the store. My brother was out of the path of the tornados, and was fine, along with his girlfriend.

The tornado was estimated by some to be a mile wide, and to have touched down for 2-3 miles. In a news story my wife read last night, it’s estimated that the tornado will be classified as a class 8-9 on a 10-point scale.

The only thing I can think to say is God is good; my family is safe. I don’t care about the house. It can be rebuilt. My family members can’t be.

My wife and I are going to Joplin today or tomorrow. If you’re interested, follow me on Twitter (@deerbelac). I’ll be posting updates there when I can, as well as on Facebook, and here on my blog if I have access to the Internet.

Here’s what my parents’ house looks like now:

Posted by: Caleb | April 29, 2011

oh how i miss you, number 15

I found this video on YouTube today. It’s a highlight reel of a bunch of Tommie Frazier’s best plays from the late 90’s. It made me nostalgic for 1995, when being a Nebraska fan didn’t make people label you a frontrunner or a fair-weather fan. It made me wonder what some of our receivers could’ve done this year with a quarterback like this. If you think Tommie couldn’t throw, I hope this will change your mind. I’m not sure what he was thinking when he chose the soundtrack, but the video still shows how awesome Tommie Frazier was.

(take special note of the last play, his 75-yard run against Florida in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl, in which he broke about 57 tackles)

Posted by: Caleb | April 20, 2011

it’s not you, it’s me…

The HBO show is awesome, but...

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I absolutely love George RR Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. I was turned onto it by a good friend of mine sometime around 2003, and I’ve read each of the four books — A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows — several times, and each reading is just as good as the last. This series is just awesome.

About two years ago, Mr. Martin announced via his self-labeled Not a Blog blog that HBO was in talks to acquire the rights to film an adaptation based on the Song of Ice and Fire series. I have to admit, I was really excited. I looked forward to it until this past Sunday, when the pilot episode premiered. It was awesome. I loved seeing this world that had previously existed only in my head projected in beautiful HD on my television. The world was beautiful, rich, and engrossing. The opening credits were nothing short of incredible. The casting is, so far, very good, although I honestly think it will take a few episodes to really see this. In short, I really loved the premier.

It was awesome, but I may not watch it again.

Castle Black, setting of many of my favorite chapters.

The reason is pretty simple: I’m a book guy. I know a lot of people who won’t read books, so they don’t ruin the movie. I’m the exact opposite; I don’t want movies to ruin the books. I have a vision of Westeros in my head, and I like my vision of Westeros. I like the way I’ve built Winterfell, the Eyrie, and the Red Keep in my head. I like what Cersei Lannister looks like in my head; I love the way Ser Jaime Lannister and Ser Loras Tyrell fight in my head. I love Arya arguing with Sansa, and I love seeing the Wall in all its impossibly long, impossibly high, impossibly smooth iciness in my head. I love watching the Battle of the Blackwater in my head, when the soon-to-be King Robert Baratheon, first of his name, defeats the Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen with his impossibly huge warhammer. I love the frozen tundra Beyond the Wall, and the perpetual summer-like heat of Dorne. I’m not sure I want all that corrupted by someone else’s vision, no matter how good it might be.

I guess the point is this: it’s just not my Westeros.

I haven’t completely made up my mind yet. I may watch it, but right now, I’m not sure. I’ll keep my DVR scheduled to record it, of course. Maybe, when the books have finished the story, and I have the entire thing storyboarded in my head, in my Westeros, in my Seven Kingdoms, I’ll be able to fully enjoy someone else’s vision.

Have you ever skipped out on a movie version of a beloved story, simply because if you did, it wouldn’t be your world anymore? Your Narnia, your Middle-Earth, your Whatever?

Posted by: Caleb | April 6, 2011

the little man

My younger son, Elijah Zane, turned one this past Saturday. For those unaware, his middle name is a family name; my maternal grandfather’s name was Zane Rex, and it was in his memory that we chose Eli’s middle name.

We had a small-ish party/get-together at our house; if you’re interested in what you missed, I put together a little highlight reel: (soundtrack is Josh Wilson’s “Amazing Grace (Instrumental)” from his album Life is Not a Snapshot)

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