A Great Defensive Driving Course for Teenagers: B.R.A.K.E.S. (updated)

B.R.A.K.E.S. — Dedicated to Saving Young Lives

This past Saturday I took my 15-year-old son to a BRAKES defensive driving school at Bristol Motor Speedway.  We really were not sure what to expect, but the experience proved to be fun and educational for both of us.

Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway

B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) is a 501(c)3 organization which provides advanced driver’s education in a program entitled the Teen Pro-Active Driving Course.  Over 5,000 teenagers lose their lives each year across the country in traffic accidents.  While conventional driver’s education is important and valuable, the Teen Pro-Active Driving Course goes beyond that level of training by addressing driving situations responsible for many traffic accidents involving teens.  The course is for teenagers 15-19 who have a learner’s permit or driver’s license with at least 30 hours of driving experience.

BRAKESWe arrived a Bristol Motor Speedway with apprehension and anticipation.   Neither of us knew exactly what to expect, but my son is about to get his drivers license and I felt he needed this kind of training.

We started the four hour course with a video and some classroom instruction.  I have to admit that we both learned something from the classroom instruction.

Then they took us out to the parking lot where a driving course had been designed.  Each of the students were assigned to a group with a leader for every three students.  The instructors even let each parent take a turn on the course.

BRAKES course video 1

The course consisted of five different real world situations: accident avoidance, a distraction exercise, drop wheel recovery, car control and recovery, and panic stop (anti lock braking).  At each exercise the students were shown my their instructor how to properly navigate the exercise, then took turns behind the wheel applying and practicing each technique themselves.  The amount of behind the wheel time was so valuable and allowed each student to try these accident avoidance techniques in a controlled environment with professional feedback.

BRAKES course video 2

If you are a parent with a new teenage driver, I highly suggest going with them to this course.  Look online for the next class near you. Continue reading A Great Defensive Driving Course for Teenagers: B.R.A.K.E.S. (updated)

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Favorite videos from 2013

Here are a few videos that I have enjoyed in 2013.

My son went with me to Guatemala this past summer.  It was such a treat for me to see him ministering to kids in a foreign country.  This short video shows him playing basketball in the middle of their free-for-all recess time.

Basketball in Guatemala

While in Guatemala I found a unique place to enjoy my quiet time in the morning:

Quiet Time in Guatemala

A review of our 2013 mission trip to Guatemala is set to Audio Adrenaline’s “Kings and Queens”.

2013 Guatemala Mission Trip Review

In our community several churches volunteer together for a sports camp in the summer.  We call it Cross Train Sports Camp, and kids from kindergarten up to 8th grade come to learn more about Jesus and get specialized training on their favorite sport.  This video was my daily favorite from the week:

2013 Cross Train Sports Camp: Tuesday review

At work a friend of mine works in an office that used to have three people, but recently one left the company and one works from home.  So this left Roger in the office by himself.  The problem is that he now calls our office to chit-chat and bounce ideas.  SO, we all chipped in and bought him something to talk to.  We call her Polly:

Polly

How to find a “10” for a wife: 10 qualities of a good potential wife

I had the opportunity to talk about dating and potential wives with my son and a man I consider a real good friend last week.  In preparation to talk with them I determined a list of qualities to look for in a potential wife.  We agreed this is a pretty good list of qualities a man should look for in a potential wife.

I believe if the girl you are dating and intend to marry encompasses these qualities, then you are on the right track.

Wedding band

1.  She shares your beliefs

She should understand the Biblical role of a husband and a wife and be willing to fulfill.

Your potential wife should have the same beliefs you have. Now, you may think you can do some missionary dating, and turn that situation around so she will believe everything you do.  You’re probably going to be very disappointed with some bad side effects.  You need to understand your core beliefs first, then be sure she shares them with you.  If you don’t have the same core beliefs….you will be unequally yoked – not a good scenario for either person.

2.  She loves you unconditionally

If she’s trying to change you to be another person, it’s time to move on. Your future wife should love you just as you are. There are certain core characteristics that must be avoided, and you should identify those before you become too involved in a relationship.

3.  She is trustworthy

Can you trust her with her time, money, secrets, and most importantly – your heart.

If you have trust issues in your relationship then I feel you are not ready to move forward with any commitment.  Trust can be destroyed and built back, but you both should be in agreement with how trustworthy you feel with each other.  Also, once trust has been broken it takes a long time to restore.  You may trust each other, but in the back of the mind the offense will linger.

4.  She has ambition

Does she set goals?  Does she work hard?

She should have strength in character and carry herself with confidence. She should be a hard worker just like you. That doesn’t mean having a job is a requirement. I know women who are a stay-at-home wife with kids, and they work just as hard as some people with careers.

5.  She is selfless

She should have a servant heart and giving of her time, talents and treasures

She should care about others. Look at the way she treats her family and her friends. If she’s not close with her family, and doesn’t have any good friends, that’s not a good sign. Watch how they treat a waiter/waitress – that tells you a lot about how somebody treats people down deep in their heart.  Does she care about causes? Does she volunteer? Does she give change to the needy or buy them a meal? These are important characteristics to consider.

6.  She is attractive

In your eyes, she should be downright attractive – I mean put together!   Personality plays into attractiveness as well. Just remember, “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.”  She should be beautiful down to her soul because that kind of beauty lasts forever.  Physical beauty will change with time.

7.  She is wise

Wisdom means to have good knowledge, and then to know what to do with it.

She should be wise, smart, and give you good advice. Her woman’s intuition should be strong. I look to my wife all the time for advice. She is financially smarter than me, and helps guide me where I am weak.

8.  She makes you a better man

Your potential wife should elevate you to new heights. She should inspire you to make yourself better so you can serve her.  You can get a good idea from your friends and family. What do they say about you when you are around her?

9.  She is modest

She should be modest in her dress, conduct and words.  I don’t want my wife advertising what others can’t buy.  It is good for a woman to believe her private body parts are to be seen only by her husband.

10.  She gets along with your family and friends

She shouldn’t be critical of the people who you love and have been trusted by you.  She should be a good fit with the people in your life, and approved by your family – mostly your mom and dad.  Marriage is a joining of two totally different lives that existed prior to your meeting, but will become one after you two join them.

Reference:
Joshua 24:15
Proverbs 12:4
Proverbs 31
Ephesians 5:22-28
 

I would be interested in hearing if you agree or have different ideas.  Shoot them to me if you please to john@johndgrigsby.com.

A Bar Harbor Adventure

If I were to ask you to set out on an adventure today – what kind of ideas would come to your mind?      What ideas, places, settings and time make up an adventure to you?

Adventure is defined as:
a) an undertaking involving danger and unknown risks
b) a new, remarkable, exciting or unusual experience
I would add that adventures can be expected or unexpected.

I look forward to taking an expected adventure.  The anticipation is great, and fun to organize.  Some look forward to an exciting adventure such as riding a roller coaster, going to an amusement park, hiking to scenic views, preparing for an exercise event or participating in a mission trip.

I like to look for small adventures during ordinary events.  On a recent business trip to Maine I found many opportunities for an adventure.  Some I set out to do, and others found by just pursuing the day.

I travel to Maine regularly to meet with customers.  As a Tennessee fella I really enjoy Maine in lots of ways.  I enjoy their pace of life and the lack of big city hustle and bustle I usually see during a work day.  I also enjoy the diversity of the landscape in the state.  From the rugged coastline to the central state mountains, Maine is very diverse and beautiful.

On this trip to Bangor I had made time to visit Bar Harbor for a few hours.  Traveling by myself I am pretty flexible in when I go and how long I stay, but this day only afforded me about 3 hours to seek adventure before sundown.

I knew of a mission house in Bar Harbor that I wanted to see, and I really wanted to get some pictures of the coast.  So I was going to hurry to find this house my brother-in-law told me about and then wanted to get into Acadia National Park before the sun went down.  So I parked in an out of the way public lot and according to my GPS it was not far from this particular house.

Bar Harbor mission house - ocean view
Bar Harbor mission house – ocean view

I knew what this house looked like from Tim’s description so I set out on foot to find it.  The trail from the parking lot led directly toward the ocean, so I figured I could access the house from this trail.  As I started down the trail toward the house I realized this trail was not just any trail, but a Bar Harbor city walking trail that went along the ocean.  Wow – what a discovery!  And what a relief.  Now instead of having to find this house then jet over to Acadia – I could take my time finding the house and take pictures on this new trail I found.  I was just so tickled with my new discovery!

This was as close as I got to the house
This was as close as I got to the house

Luckily the house was only a few yards from the parking lot – in city terms it was about 2 blocks away.  I was able to find it and take some pictures of the house/mansion from the trail.  However, I was not allowed on the the property.  I did flag down and talk to the grounds keeper, but he was not at all amused by my enthusiasm for the house or relationship to my brother-in-law who had been there before.  Neither of my persuading arguments would warm him up enough to invite me in for a closer look.

So now with the house part of my adventure abruptly complete, I had plenty of time to take pictures of the ocean.

The ocean views in Bar Harbor are just spectacular.  The harbor is surrounded by several smaller islands, and the coast is a wash of colorful jagged rocks.  On this particular day and time I was virtually alone on the trail so I took advantage by getting lots of pictures and climbing around on the rocks like a school boy.  I was having such a grand time!

City trail by the ocean
City trail by the ocean
Unique rock sitting by the ocean edge
Unique rock sitting by the ocean edge
Ocean view from the trail
Ocean view from the trail

The only thing to dampen my spirits that evening was the setting of the sun.  It brought my picture taking adventure to an end.  But I had experience a great time with the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean.

The only thing left to do now in Bar Harbor was to eat.  But where to eat this time?!  I thought why not try something new?  Yep – the beginning of a new eating adventure for me!

Mary pondered these things in her heart: the art of pondering

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.  When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.  The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Luke 2:7-20 (NASB)

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is that part in verse 19 where it said that Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.

What did it mean for her to ponder in her heart?

Ponder means to consider.  It means to take what you know, and consider what might be.

Pondering

So what do you think Mary may have pondered in her heart?

I think she pondered the fact that God had spoke to her and that she would no doubt hear Him again.  God had been silent in the Bible for 400 years until the arrival of Jesus.  So the God of the universe had spoke to Mary, gave her a baby, and now these shepherds were witnesses to the authenticity.  I think she just pondered what would be next.  Where would these events take her life next?  Who else would come to visit the baby and how did they know of Him?  Would there be a different way of raising this God child?  She had no idea what would be next, but I think her mind would race with expectations.

I think she pondered on the fact that the birth of our Savior was real.  The witness of the shepherds certainly provided a much needed witness.  She had no doubt heard the reading of the scripture about the promise of the Savior.  She had to have known He would come, but now realizing that those promises were fulfilled in her.  If those parts of the scripture were now confirmed, how much more of the scripture she knew must have totally new meaning.  It was not just tradition and religion, but now it was real!  He was REAL!

I also think she certainly pondered on what the future of Jesus would hold.  With what she knew from the scripture, she knew what was told to her by the angel, and she also knew what had happened with Elizabeth and Zacharia’s son John.  She knew that His life would be much different than any of the other children she knew.  Would they someday live in a different lifestyle?  What would God do with Him?  What exactly would become of this son of hers?  What would be required of him?

What a wonder as Mary pondered and treasured all those things in her heart.

May this Christmas allow you the time to ponder what wonder Jesus holds for your your life!

Christmas lessons from the shepherds

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.  When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.  The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Luke 2:7-20 (NASB)

Flock by night

The Shepherds

During Christmas time I like to read the story given to us in the Gospel of Luke.  He tells of the story giving a highlight to the shepherds who were watching over their flock at night.  We are not told how many there were, but I picture three to five shepherds of sheep.

I noticed the shepherds did three things during this event that I believe would do us all well to follow.

First we see that when the angel appeared they were afraid.  Can you blame them?!?  Here are these shepherds doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing when an angel appears with the glory of the Lord shining, and of course they have never seen this their life!  I can imagine how they probably wanted to run for their lives.  But the angel spoke and said to not be afraid – good news was to follow.  What a tense moment they had to have experienced as they decided in their minds to stay still and listen to the angel.

We see next that the shepherds did in fact stay still and listen to what the angel had to say.  These are startled shepherds and I am sure that the details of what was being said had to be hard for them to remember in their state of uncertainty.  I think the angel waited long enough for them to gain composure and listen intently.  We are not told, but I have my thoughts.

Then after the angel had told them the good news of the Savior’s birth, they were obedient.  They got up and went in search of this baby in Bethlehem.  Notice they did not get their affairs in order, but the went just as they were told.

Two lessons from the Shepherds

I think there are two lesson we can learn from the actions of these untrained shepherds.

We all become afraid at times.  Some people do not like to admit this emotion, but we all have times we fear for our health, finances, death, family or future.  Some people fear these kind of situations on a constant unhealthy basis and some of us just fear them quietly in our heads.  I think the key is to recognize the emotion and determine it’s source.

Then like the shepherds we should take these fears and let the glory of the Lord shine on them.  For us that simply would look like committing it to prayer.  Ask God just what I need to do with this fear.  Is there truth in the sources of the emotion?

Once we consult and hear from God, then we need to follow the example of these shepherds and take action.  Take positive action just as God lays out for you.  Don’t add your thoughts to it, but be obedient to the Lord.

I think if we follow these two steps from a time of fear, then we also would be blessed by our actions.  The shepherds were blessed beyond measure by being a witness to Mary about the message they heard from the angel about the baby Jesus.  Then they were one of the first on this planet to lay eyes on God who had come in the form of a human to be it’s Savior!  Wow – how they were blessed!

Mount LeConte – view #2

2013 LeConte Group

Well after reading last week’s post on my hike to Mount LeConte I hope you did not get the feeling I was disappointed in our hike.  I did have a lot of pain and it was foggy where we had no view, but I really did enjoy the hike.

This week I want to share some of the positive details about the hike, and my experience of llamas, a bear, cabins, food, friends and the views.

Llamas

Mount LeConte is accessible only by trail –  hiking trail that is.  There are no roads to access the mountain top.  So to get provisions to LeConte Lodge, they employ llamas to deliver the goods.  Three times a week eight llamas will deliver about 70 pounds each of perishable food, clean linens and mail to the Lodge.  They take about 4 hours to hike to the top, where they will eat lunch, and then hike back down Trillium Gap trail to the parking lot.

We had the pleasure of passing the llama parade on our way to the top of the mountain.  I found the llamas to be a pleasant animal who enjoyed their routine hiking.

Llama close up
Llama close up
Llama parade
Llama parade

Bear

There had been an uninvited guest at Mount LeConte a couple weeks before and leading up to our stay.  A bear had found a liking to the availability of food as it prepared for a long winter’s nap.  The staff at the Lodge had been trying to discourage the bear with a variety of methods, but nothing was deterring the hungry intruder.

We saw lots of signs, but did not actually see the bear – which I did not have a problem with.  During the night I had to get up to go to the bathroom of course, and my stroll to the bathroom down the trail was on high alert.

Bear activity
Bear activity

Cabins

We stayed in a three bedroom log cabin.  A bedroom consists of a room big enough for a bed.  Actually they are bunk beds and queen size at that.  There is no electricity in the cabins, so an oil lamp is the only option for light unless you bring your own flashlight.  There is a gas heater in each room as well.  In spite of the drafty walls, the gas heaters do a pretty good job heating the cabin over night.

Cabin fireplace
Cabin fireplace
LeConte cabins
LeConte cabins

The food

Once you get to the top of the mountain the first thing you have available is the much talked about hot chocolate.  I had a cup of it, as soon as I could.  As far as hot chocolate goes it was ok, but something hot on a cold wet day was super welcome.

I have to tell you I think just about any meal prepared for me would have tasted great.  But having a nutritious meal to feed my hunger and restore energy was just what I needed.  With your overnight stay supper and breakfast are included.  For supper we had potato soup, beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, stewed apples, peach half and chocolate chip cookies.  Breakfast was scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, biscuits, pancakes, grits, coffee and Tang.

Again there is no electricity, so meals are by candle light.  The staff prepare food and deliver to each table with a reliable routine.  The meals are the same each day, but they have figured out a way to prepare hearty delicious family-styled meal that is nutritious and fun to eat.

Supper table
Supper table

Friends

We had a few friends who hiked with us of course, but in such a small place LeConte Lodge is a great place to meet new friends.  The office has a large common area where hikers gather to play board games, share stories, and get to know each other.  With one heater in the room and only a few lanterns, the rich ambiance takes you back to a more refreshing simple time.

Common heater in the office
Common heater in the office
Office area
Office area

The views

The only disappointment is that I cannot show you any views from the top.  I will share a few of the other beautiful scenery we were able to enjoy.

Log bridge
Log bridge
Mountain view
Mountain view
Grotto falls
Grotto falls
creek
creek

I am so thankful that I finally got to hike to Mount LeConte.  I hope to do it again – in much better shape the next time!

Blackberry Wisdom

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