Caught one

Originally uploaded by claypotparker
We have several “favorite people” in Albany, and Robert and Emma Hudman are two of them. Yesterday afternoon they called us see if we wanted to go “down to the river” with them. Not sure exactly what that meant, I had the boys grab their fishing poles, and we rode way back on the Cook Ranch where Robert works as a ranch hand and a hunting guide. Robert has sharp eyes (after having cataracts removed and implants put in) and knows the name of every tree, bush, or weed in Shackleford County.

Robert and I (Anthony) both caught pretty good sized yellow catfish, which we ate tonight together with the Hudmans and the Wilson family. When I say the catfish were “good size,” I guess they were 3-5 lbs each. (In Alabama we ate catfish whenever we could, but even a small catfish plate usually has 2 fish on it. Tonight we fed six adults and four children on these two fish, and we all had as much as we wanted or more than we needed.

After fishing for a while, we drove further down the river and grilled hotdogs, and came back in time to catch the beautiful sunset and quite a few white tail deer.

You can see more photos from the outing on my flickr page.


Tonight was opening night for the high school football season.  Our Albany Lions defeated the Eastland Mustangs (whose mascot is a bull — go figure) by a score of 36-15.  Pretty much the whole town turned out.  There is a lot of support in Albany for the students.  At the game I ate a Kilie’s Custard, which is locally made and available not only in the ice cream shop, but at lots of local events.  Here is the story behind Kilie’s Kustard — just another reason that Albany is the coolest little town in Texas.

Click here to watch the report from KTAB, an Abilene television station.

Sometimes I (Anthony) feel quite out of the loop when some of my minister friends here in Albany get to talking theology and theologians. Largely because of our restoration heritage, I don’t tend to identify my beliefs with any one theologian or theological movement. (Yep, “Just the Bible, ma’am,” that’s me.) Yet I would be naive to think that I haven’t been influenced by greater and deeper thinkers than myself.

I saw a reference to this quiz that attempts to answer the question “Which theologian are you?”on Mark Connell’s blog I was a little humbled to find out that I’m quite medieval. Here are my results:

You scored as Anselm, Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man’s primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read ‘Cur Deus Homo?’

John Calvin
Karl Barth
Charles Finney
Martin Luther
Jürgen Moltmann
Paul Tillich
Friedrich Schleiermacher
Jonathan Edwards

Which theologian are you?
created with

boys & principal

Originally uploaded by claypotparker

The boys got off to their first day of school today. Here they are with their principal, Doyleen Terrell, who was on the sidewalk greeting the students, as usual. Albany schools are the envy of small towns around here; we’ve met several young families who have moved or who want to move here and they always comment about the schools.

Jonathan seemed like a different child (under control) as he waited in the hallway this morning for the bell to ring. Both boys had a good first day.

Birthday Boy

Jonathan’s sixth birthday will be on Tuesday, but we started celebrating early with a party today at home. Tuesday will actually be his 2nd day of kindegarten, so we’ll be supplying all 40 or so kindegartners with cup cakes — just before they go home so they’ll all be wired!

What a blessing Jonathan is to our family and to our lives! He lives life with great intensity. No doubt about it, that can be a challenge as a parent, but we know that it can also be a great character trait if channeled correctly. We expect great things from him. In fact, he is already great!

Maureen worked very hard for the party. Since it was a hot, August day, she choose dual themes of water and ice cream. There was a water slide (thanks Wilsons!) and water bombs, ice cream, a cake that looked like ice cream, and a great ice cream cone piñata. Dad did the shuttle thing today–moving back and forth between the birthday festivities and a funeral I was conducting. (That’s something to comment on — Is it right to let ministry supercede prior family commitments?)

Here are some more pictures from Jonathan’s birthday party.  He choose the “fun house” format for the slide show.  Don’t get too dizzy!

Well, I don’t know how you folks who live in big cities manage, because life in a small town is busy enough! We’ve had a good summer, doing mostly small town things. Only one family trip to the big city to use the boys’ free tickets to Six Flags over Texas. It was a wet, rainy day, but did clear up in the afternoon in time for us to catch a few of the “big” rides. We didn’t really want to do too many. Jeremy did get me to ride the “Superman” with him — one of those huge towers that you go up in a chair facing out — yeah, it’s that thing that the girl got her legs cut off on. It zips you straight up at a jillion miles and hour and then leaves you hanging upteen stories (325 feet — isn’t that over 30 stories?) in the air for several seconds, before you fall back to earth. Jeremy was sure he wanted to do it, but about half way through he was sure he didn’t want to do it again!

This past weekend we got to participate in the Relay for Life, a fundraiser walk-a-thon type event for the American Cancer Society, that seems to be the town charity of Albany. Our church team raised just shy of $4,000 of the $39,000+ raised by the town. It was a hot 100 degree day, but cooled off enough at night in time to have some real fun at the noon ’til midnight event. One of the highlights was the “box car” race. Have a look.

Jeremy found this on National Geographic and thought it was cool (and freaky)!

Click here to watch.

Selah.  You’ve probably seen the word in the psalms, on the right margin bettween verses.  It’s generally thought to indicate a rest, a pause, or a musical interlude was intended by the author or editor.

Maureen and I had the opportunity to take such a pause last week at the Selah Inn at the Ranch near Mount Vernon, Texas.  We attended a retreat sponsored by the Pastors Retreat Network.  The emphasis was on rest, renewal, and enriching our relationship with God and with each other.  It was truly a wonderful blessing in a wonderful setting. 

The retreat group was small — five couples and a female counselor whose husband was not able to attend because of work, and our facilitator, Betty.  The religious traditions representated were diverse — from charismatic to Episcopal.  Interestingly, the Episcopal priest grew up in a Pentecostal church, so there was some very good-hearted and fun intereaction.  Among the five couples, two of the women were pastors.  We had many differences, but much more in common — especially the need to rest.  I was also somewhat intrigued by the fact that, on the evening that we gathered for informal worship, the music began as contemporary instrumental, but moved quickly and naturally to a capella hymns, which seemed to form a uniting thread through the traditions.

Furnishing at the Inn were, to say the least, a notch above what we’re used to, but there was also a homey, comfortable feeling.  I was reminded by the lavishness and extravagance of God’s grace (especially since the retreat was a gift provided by PRN, and was offered freely, like God’s grace, to us). 

Banquet Table

I was reminded of the old youth group song, derived from Song of Solomon 2:4 (albeit slightly out of context), “He invites us in to his banqueting table, and his banner over us is love.”

With all the rain, we didn’t get to do much fishing, and even when we did, we had no luck.  But when do we have a chance to relax like this?

Gone Fishing

But, next to the time with God and with one another, the best thing about the retreat was the new friends we made.  Here’ Maureen with Barbara and Betty.

Maureen, Betty, Barbara

Oh, and did I mention that the week was kid-free?  Jeremy was at camp and Saint Rhonda Wilson kept Jonathan for us.


Stage Coach in Ft Griffin

Originally uploaded by claypotparker

We attended opening night of the show and were very impressed by all the talent in our little town.  The scene below shows a stage coach arriving in the town of Fort Griffin — a true wild West town — which was the precursor to Albany.

OK, now I’m on a roll. This is Fandangle time in Albany and there are lots of extra activities going on. Any time of year, we are blessed to have the Old Jail Art Center, and tonight they hosted an exhibition called “Harmony in Stone,” featuring the works of Jesus Moroles, 2007 winner of the Texas Medal for the Arts. Moroles himself was on hand, and the kids got to join him in “playing” some of his sculptures. His primary medium is granite and he “tore” a piece of granite for us as he played it. He also does some amazing work in paper, creating amazing 3-D photographs from images of granite. I discovered that his largest sculpture is the 1991 Houston Police Officer’s Memorial.

The video below begins with Jeremy (sometimes looking lost) “playing” one of the sculptures as Moroles helps out.