Been falling asleep a little earlier and waking up a little earlier. Got to take my time eating breakfast while reading some Psalms (I’m in Book III) and leisurely get ready for the day.

I left a message for Konrad and Margie to make sure they were joining our group tonight for dinner. Margie called back and we got to talking a little. She mentioned a recent house fire (I think I actually mentioned it on here) wherein two kids, six and eight, the same ages as her boys, were killed. She said she and Konrad had discussed that, and just wondered how God could let things like that happen. I didn’t know what to say without sounding sanctimonious (I don’t know what it would be like to lose two small children), and it nagged at me after we got off the phone. I took a few minutes to find an article online that I could get behind that would explain it. I called Margie back but didn’t get an answer, so I printed it up, put it in an envelope and dropped it by their apartment. When they came over she said she’d gotten it and thanked me for it. She said it helped put things in perspective a little.

The crux of the article was thus: If God is good and loving, why do bad things happen? Basically it’s because we have free will (which leads people to do bad things, but without bad we wouldn’t know good), and if we didn’t have free will we couldn’t choose to love. That’s a gross simplification of three pages of writing, but that’s the central point.

A little later I rode out to pick up some things Polly Clawson had collected from members of her small group to help them out. I swung by Toys R Us too and picked up a gift card (mostly with a donation from Polly’s group) then went on home to finish working for the day.

A little while back at work we started giving people the option of using pre-designed templates for their site. We had one client choose one, but there were some growing pains and learning experiences that went along with it. The client I met with last week picked one out today and we got it up and running very quickly. There were a few kinks to work out, but overall it went well and the client was happy.

Kyle called this evening and said that Lorin wouldn’t be able to come tonight because she was sick, but he was still going to come, at least for a little while. Lorin ended up coming anyway.

Amanda picked up food on the way home, as we were doing the main course tonight (macaroni and cheese and baked chicken). The group was going to be 50% larger than usual tonight and she got so much that it wouldn’t all fit in our oven, so Amanda called Bonnie Narron, our across-the-street neighbor, and asked if she’d mind us using hers. Bonnie (who wasn’t home yet) didn’t mind at all. Amanda later took her and Dave some leftovers as thanks.

As I was walking back across the street from pre-heating the oven I saw that Konrad, Margie and the kids had arrived. Bruce took a little bit to get warmed up to everybody but Harvey didn’t. Konrad Jr. settled into playing Guitar Hero II (at first I was hitting the buttons for him while he strummed, but after a little while he got pretty decent at it). Kody took to sliding around the floor on his knees and playing with Harvey.

Everyone else arrived shortly after. Rob and Kristen had brought some gifts for the family too- another Toys R Us gift card and a really thoughtful and creative gift. It was a box with popcorn, movie-sized boxes of candy and certificates to the theater. I thought that was really a cool thing to do.

Melissa had some big news- she’d gotten hired at one of the schools (can’t remember which one) earlier today. It’s such a relief and a blessing for her and Elliot.

Before dinner I took Konrad back to the guest room where we were keeping all the gifts so we could talk about how to get everything into their car without the kids noticing (Kristen and I later just walked right out the front door while the kids were just doing their thing). He was so grateful that after a minute all he could do was give me a hug. I told him that we were all honored just to be able to show God’s love to him and his family.

He had some good news too: he had some work this week! Though he doesn’t think it will be long term, every little bit helps.

We all ate our macaroni and cheese and chicken and green beans and sweet potatoes then had ice cream and brownies with fudge for dessert. Everyone hung out for a while then slowly took their lieave until it was just me and Amanda and Konrad, Margie, Konrad Jr and Kody. We said our goodbyes and vowed not to be strangers. The kids were so great- they opened up pretty quickly and I think they had a fun time. Plus I know it was nice for Konrad and Margie to be able to get out and hang out with people who, though not their own age, are a little closer.

All in all it was a good day and a great night.

Karen called this evening before Amanda got home to let us know that Grandma Bolin was being taken off the oxygen.  She’s feeling much better and was fussing that she wanted to go home (although they wanted to keep her for some therapy or something I believe).  She’s a tough old bird, I swear.  Since I started dating Amanda there have been at least three times, maybe more, where it was predicted that Mrs. Sara Bolin was not much longer for this world, and each time she bounced right back.  It’s lamost to the point of being a joke now.  I’m glad she’s doing better though.

Zach Dotsey