Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beach Week Vacation 2011

Our first “Family Beach Week” was 28 years ago.  My mom and dad, two of my sisters and their families, my brother’s family, and our family spend a week together, each summer, in Galveston.  We have rented different houses, through the years, some more than once.  After a run to Sam’s and the grocery store for food, the vacation is ready to begin.  There is no agenda for the week, but there are some traditions that have evolved…lots of picture taking, eating, games and more games, puzzles, the water slide one afternoon (when Jungle Surf was still in operation), miniature golf one evening (with snow cones for refreshments), sand sculptures, “Required Fun” (different projects Grandmother took for them to make…t-shirts, shell pictures, Uncle Sam magnets…), reading, porch naps, and lots of conversations and laughter.
This summer, 20 of our family were able to come for all or part of the week.  Eight of the ten grandchildren, and both great-grandchildren, were there.  The grandkids are grown now, but several took vacation days so they could spend some or all of the week at the beach.  We missed you Scott, Abby, Randi, and Toby.

Although my dad, brother, and sister are no longer with us, there were plenty of special memories to share of times spent with them.

These are some pictures of "Beach Week" from the past 20+ years.
Grandmom made each grandchild their own flag for the week.

Just noticed that Brad had Chad's cup and Chad had Brad's.

Baseball on the lawn by the beach house.

Decorating t-shirts
The finished product

Scott enjoying one of his favorite pastimes at the beach.

Dad and Mom sitting on the deck.

All four of my guys at Jungle Surf Water Slide  

For several years, Brad and Chad's birthday was during beach week.
Miniature Golf Tradition continues

Games are a big part of the week at the beach.

Larry with his coffee and a book.

It was a tradition to get a "Snow Ball" (Snow cone) after golfing.

This was next to golf one summer, so Andrew and Brad tried it out.  Kirk and Adam did as well.


Brad and Randi painting a popsicle stick Uncle Sam.  Another "Required Fun" project that they really did enjoy.

Uncle Sam magnet

Randi was able to come to beach week, all the way from New Mexico.

Adam designed the shark for the cousins to make.

Brad and Melinda

The adults like to play games, too!

The "Next Generation" experienced beach week in 2011.
Mom and her two great-grandchildren.
Miniature Golf continues at a new Pirate Golf Course.
Love this picture of Mom and Dad walking to the beach.

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when brothers (sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents) live together in unity!
I Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Family Reunion

The Hackney Family just celebrated their 80th consecutive reunion.   And no, I have not attended all 80, but Jo has been to 79 and Mom has been to 78 of them.  The reunions first began at the homestead in Pickton, Texas, to celebrate my great-grandmother’s birthday.  

Now, each summer, the reunion is held at a hotel in Texas.  Whoever is in charge chooses the location and makes the arrangements.  We thoroughly enjoy our weekend with family.  There is always lots of hugging, visiting, game playing, swimming, eating, and picture taking.  We are now into the 6th generation of “cousins”.

Elizabeth was in charge of the 80th reunion this summer and did an exceptional job.  She made a DVD with pictures from past reunions.  Family pictures were labeled with names and birthdates.  It also included the dates of death for those who are no longer with us.  Her father, George, narrated the presentation with stories about my great-grandparents, their history, previous reunions, and the spiritual heritage that has been passed down through the generations.  Time and again, he spoke on the importance of having a relationship with Jesus.  Now, six generations later, that is still an important part of our family story.  Elizabeth made DVD’s for each one of us to have to remind us of our family legacy.  What a treasure.

Another cousin, Jim, had his father’s reunion movies converted to a DVD.  It was amazing to see our relatives “in action” some 60 years ago.  And they ate, played games, visited, and took pictures…just like we do now.  The traditions have been passed down from generation to generation.

The 1st and 2nd generations have all passed away.  The 3rd generation has fewer “cousins” now.  Whereas the 4th and 5th generations are going strong, the new 6th generation is beginning to make its mark.  What a rich heritage.  May the importance of a relationship with Jesus continue to be a defining part of our Hackney Family history.

Psalm 22:30-31
30 Posterity will serve him;
   future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness
   to a people yet unborn—
   for he has done it.

Joel 1:2,3
 2 Hear this, you elders;
   listen, all who live in the land.
Has anything like this ever happened in your days
   or in the days of your forefathers?
3 Tell it to your children,
   and let your children tell it to their children,
   and their children to the next generation.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

One of a Kind

Julia Hanlin Smith was one of a kind.  Whenever she was present, you were guaranteed laughter, twinkling eyes, a big smile, lots of encouragement, a quick wit, stories, and a royal display of God’s love in action.

Jim and Julia have lived in several states and cities through the years.  Wherever they were located, they quickly found a church home, joined, ministered and served.  We always loved when a move brought them back to Houston and Tallowood because we knew that God was going to be working in and blessing through their lives.  They made a great team. 

Julia and Jim are extra special friends to our family.  Our sons love them and know they are well loved in return.  Even after the boys went to college, they always looked for the Smiths, when they came home, for a hug, laughter and to catch up with news.  They have encouraged, prayed for, and supported all three boys, especially when Scott moved overseas. 

Jim and Julia are big supporters of mission work.  Yard work, moving things, and odd jobs were offered to our sons and others so they could earn money for youth high school mission trips.  Julia provided food and drinks for the workers.  What began as a “Hire a Student” to earn money for a mission trip blossomed into a lifelong friendship. 

Through the years, as the Smith’s moved from one house to another, Brad and Chad helped them transport their treasures.  Julia was a collector of lots of things…antiques, BIG rocks, art work, stories, and definitely friends.  The rock collection was the source of many stories and much comment.  There were rocks in their backyard from Alaska, Colorado and different places where they had lived or visited.  She knew where every rock was collected.  On the mission trip to Switzerland and Hungary, Brad brought back a 35 pound rock from the Swiss Alps.  He hauled that treasure through two countries because he knew Julia would love it.  When they helped with landscaping, yard work, or moving, Brad and Chad had the opportunity to move those BIG rocks several times.  One time, after relocating the boulders, Brad looked at Julia and said, “Julia, have you ever thought about collecting feathers?”

Chad loved the stories that went along with the work as Julia would share details from U.S. or "Hanlin" history with them.

Jim, Julia, Brad, and Chad share a special date on the calendar, too.  August 10th is Jim and Julia’s wedding anniversary as well as Brad and Chad’s birthday.  That made the bond of friendship even sweeter. 

Julia went to be with our Lord and Savior on July 9, 2011.  She was definitely one of a kind…one who made a difference…for the better…wherever she went.  May we do the same.

Philemon 1:7
7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother (and sister), have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Refreshing Rain

On June 22, 2011, after 149 days of drought in Houston, it rained!  The showers were steady, hard at times, and lasted for several hours.   We prayed for rain in church, at Sunday School, as a family, as well as individually.  God provided and the rains came.  The ground and plants were so dry that they soaked up the water.  Even though it rained quite a bit, I didn’t want it to stop.  I opened the blinds and noticed I spent quite a bit of time just watching the rain fall.  When the showers were over, the drops on the grass, flowers, and leaves on the tree sparkled.  It was as if they had all had a bath and were clean, fresh, and renewed.  The grass and flowers seemed to grow overnight.

It’s one thing for our city to experience a drought for 149 days, but I never want to be in a spiritual drought for that long, not even for a day.  God wants me to desire, ask for, and accept His “reign” in my life.  He wants to provide for me.  And just like the plants, flowers, and grass were refreshed by the rain, I need to soak up God’s love as He forgives, cleanses and renews me each day.  I need to thirst for His Word and His teachings.  And I don’t want to be satisfied with just a little growth.   Although I have previously taken rain for granted, I don’t ever want to do that with God’s “Showers of Blessings”.  May my gratefulness for His provision blossom, grow, and make a difference for His Kingdom.

Deuteronomy 32:2
Let my teaching fall like rain
   and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
   like abundant rain on tender plants.

Job 5:10
He bestows rain on the earth;
   he sends water upon the countryside.

Jeremiah 14:22
Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
   Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, O LORD our God.
   Therefore our hope is in you,
   for you are the one who does all this.

Acts 14:17
Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


It’s the first week of July.  Plans have been in the making, since last July 4th, by our nation, state, and city, to celebrate this year’s Independence Day.  It is a day which commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring our independence from Great Britain.  We remember those who fought for our country in the past and are grateful for the men and women who serve today, so that we can continue to enjoy our country’s freedom. 

Fourth of July events and parties usually include red, white, and blue clothing and decorations, flags, games, food, picnics, ceremonies, and concerts to be enjoyed with family and friends.  There are parades of people, bicycles, bands, and even boats.  Patriotic music, whether sung or played, tends to stir our hearts with appreciation and pride for our country.  The evening is usually concluded with a fireworks display.  And then the planning for next year’s celebration begins.

Four members of our family are out of the country this July 4th.  Even though they will not have the traditional events, I wonder what they will do to celebrate.  Since they are not at “Home”, will it be even more meaningful?

Although we go all out on this one day to celebrate our country’s freedom and independence, there is a freedom, because of our relationship with Jesus, which is ours to rejoice in every day of the year!

Psalm 119:45
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

John 8:31-36
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

2 Corinthians 3:17
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Galatians 5:1; 13
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Hebrews 9:15
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Revelation 1:5-6
5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.