Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolution

Photo by White House photographer Pete Souza taken at 2010 Presidential Prayer Breakfast
2010 was a wild year in politics.  Like me, you probably applaud some of the decisions made by our elected officials in Washington D.C. this year and have been disappointed in others.  (There's also a good chance that our lists of likes and dislikes don't look exactly the same.)  You and I can grumble and complain all day long about what we don't like about the politics of Washington.  We can argue with one another about issues and decisions and write letters or make calls to our elected representatives with imperceptible results.  We are not powerless, however.  One thing that I resolve to do in  2011 is to pray regularly for our leaders there.  Specifically, I'm praying that
  • God will grant them wisdom and discernment,
  • they will be faithful to seek God as they exercise their responsibilities as our elected officials,
  • they will conduct themselves honorably and respectfully in such a way that their actions reflect favorably on them and our country, and
  • they will be bold to make the right decisions even when faced with opposition.

What about you?  Are you in?

Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas . . .

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..."  Today, I drove about 30 miles south to walk on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.  This is a "white Christmas" in south Alabama.  No snow but some pretty white sand.  Not too shabby looking considering the BP oil spill earlier this year, eh?

May all your Christmas dreams comes true!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Investing in what matters to Him

Over the last few posts on this blog I've shared some ideas of how you and I can honor God and others with our gifts and all of those suggestions have been about involving ourselves in causes away from home.   I'm reminded of Jesus' commission to us in Acts 1:8 where He challenges us to tell His story in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.  In  this context, perhaps Jerusalem represents my own backyard while Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth represent progressively distant or disconnected opportunities for sharing.  In practical terms, I think this means that you and I have both an opportunity and a responsibility to share His love broadly, both close to home and far away. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More than a band-aid

Sometimes I wonder if my efforts to help people struggling in poverty are nothing more than a band-aid on a huge, gaping wound.  Maybe what I do will stop some of the bleeding temporarily but will it really have any impact on the larger problem?  Sure  . . . every small thing done to help impoverished people can be honored by God but what about stepping back and looking at the BIG PICTURE?  How can I come alongside of God by investing in tomorrow's leaders in such a way that they will become the force that God uses to change the course of history and reverse the cycle of poverty, despair and abuse.  Are the ultra-wealthy like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, or Mark Zuckerberg the only ones that have the resources to invest in things that may alter the course of history?  Just recently, I learned about a ministry in Ecuador that is taking on just such a challenge.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finding the perfect gift

Sometimes finding the perfect gift for someone is a tough job.  You think about their interests, dreams and needs and try to match the gift to those goals.  Sometimes you realize that this person already has adequate resources to explore those interests, actualize those dreams or meet those needs.  Does it make sense to just pile on resources on top of resources in the form of a gift just for the sake of gift giving?  How do you honor the unique interests, dreams and needs of that person in a way that honors them and honors our responsibility to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us?  Compassion International has a suggestion.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When enough is enough . . .

Gift giving is almost synonymous with Christmas.  Many of us take great joy in both giving and receiving gifts.  I'll confess, however, that the receiving of gifts is not my primary love language but that doesn't mean that the giving of gifts is still not an important way for me to express my love for another.  Gift giving is not always about satisfying an unmet need and many of the people to whom I give a gift may already have an excess of stuff.  There are ways to avoid contributing to the excess of stuff problem, express love to your friends and loved-ones, and  meet genuine needs all at the same time. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear Santa . . .

Our pastor began his message this weekend by telling us what he wanted for Christmas.  It was a simple request.  He wanted the remainder of the funds to come in to pay for the 2,500 bikes that our church will give away to families of deserving kids this Christmas and for the volunteers to help assemble them this week and distribute them on Saturday.  Sounds like a reasonable request, doesn't it?  I'm betting that he gets what he wished for.

That prompted me to think about what I would like for Christmas this year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Narrow road, wide road, middle road?

Dang it!  Francis Chan just has a way of "getting all in my business," as they say  . . . whoever they are.  I'm thankful that he does.  In this short clip, he reminds us that following Jesus is more than scripture memorization and discussion groups.  Much more.

What kind of life change will it require of you to move from the middle road to the narrow road

Monday, November 29, 2010

Playing the hand that you're dealt

Singer/songwriter John Fischer has a gift for stating the obvious in a simple but profound way.  He did that again today in The Catch devotional when he said, "There are sometimes when there is nothing you can do about sadness except feel it."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pain vs. Poison

Lately, I've been thinking about the importance of being truthful and the cost of not being truthful.  There's someone in my circle of relationships who at best, frequently misrepresents the truth and at worst, just outright lies for his convenience.  He tells one person one thing and another person something totally different.  When confronted with a recent example of this, he dismissively responded, "Don't pay any attention to that.  I just tell her what she wants to hear.  I tell her what makes her happy."  Is it ever good to tell someone what you think they may want to hear or what you think may make them happy even if you know it's not the truth?  If you knew this about me, would it not call into question everything that I may tell you?  What makes me think that I really know what you want to hear or what makes you happy?   Even so, is that justification for lying?  I think it would be a bit presumptuous of me to assume that I need to alter the facts for the good of another person.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mailbox takes a nap

This morning I walked out to find my mailbox like this.  I guess that after standing in the same place for so many years, the mailbox just needed to lie down and take a rest  . . . or maybe someone decided to give it a little push?  Funny thing, my neighbor's mailbox was lying on the ground, too.  We had a day of heavy rain earlier this week and the ground was wet so the good news is that the post was not broken this time.  "This time," you say?  Yep  . . . it happened before a few years back.  If you look closely, you'll see a couple of metal straps around what should be the vertical post.  The last time someone ran through the neighborhood taking down mailboxes, they broke the post.  Rather than replacing it, I decided just to just strap it back together until that person had gotten all this mischief out of their system.  Even years later, I never had replaced the repaired post  . . . and I guess I'm glad that I didn't. 

I don't mean to make light of vandalism but in the scheme of things, this wasn't a big deal.  It took me all of 10 minutes to reset the post back in it's proper place and I decided the police had more important things to do than write-up a report on a simple instance of mischief.  Alas, my mailbox stands up and proud again, ready to receive another handful of catalogs today!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I wish I was going

My friend, Cindy Heyne, leaves on Tuesday with a medical mission team headed back to Haiti.  Cindy may be short in stature (she can't be more than 5' tall) but she's certainly not short on compassion.   She serves the people of Haiti passionately, organizing and leading several medical mission trips there each year through Oaks of Righteousness Ministry, a small non-profit organization that operates out of her home.    There's nothing fancy about Oaks.  It's your classic bare-bones organization that puts every last dime of their money into ministry.  No salaries, no rent, no overhead. Each participant pays their own way and contributes to the cost of medical supplies. Cindy is a RN who works as a home health nurse to support her  ministry and allow her the flexibility to make frequent trips to Haiti.  Everything about the ministry of  Oaks is a testimony to good stewardship. 

I wish I was going with them on Tuesday.  The truth is that I lack the skills most needed in Haiti right now.  It's folks with medical and construction skills that can be of the most help and I come up short in both of those areas.  I'd be honored to empty bedpans or clean up vomit in the cholera camp but those are things that the locals can do and they need the work.  The most useful thing that I can do is to earn some money and support the work that these missionaries are doing.  As much as I'd like to again be one of the "sent ones" as Cindy calls them, right now I can be a "sender."

How about joining me in praying for this team as they serve in Haiti from November 16th - 23rd?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Two steps forward, one step back

I e-mailed my friends Ray and Bonnie VanSlyke yesterday to check on a young boy in their orphanage in Limbe, Haiti who has TB, is HIV positive, and has an enlarged liver.  In an earlier e-mail, I had asked Ray for a picture of Judlin so that I could connect a face with his name but Ray reminded me that this Haiti  . . . a picture of Judlin was not as easy a request as it is in the U.S.  Hence, the picture to the right is not Judlin but one of the many children that we treated at the clinics there this summer.  Ray reported back today that they now have meds for Judlin and he's having some good days, for which they are thankful. They'll have to see how his little body tolerates the treatments.  Ray also reported that Merone, another young man that I met in Haiti this summer and who lives with fellow missionaries Paul and Belle Romeus, has fallen victim to the cholera epidemic and that a clinic we visited near Limbe is now a cholera camp. Life is tough in Haiti.  Two steps forward, one step back.

As we approach the holiday season here, I can't help but think about all the ways that we celebrate in excess.  I don't mean to throw cold water on a season of celebration and a time where we express our thankfulness for the blessings of our lives, but I wonder how we might offer a "cup of cold water" (Matthew 10:42)  to those who are suffering?  People like little Judlin, like Merone, and like Ray and Bonnie. 

Here's a thought:  How about helping underwrite the work of people like Ray and Bonnie and support their ministry to the suffering people of Haiti by sending a donation to:

Grace Mission
PO Box 126
Henderson, NE 68371

On-line donations can be made here by clicking on the eGive button on the top left on the home page. Please specify that your donation be directed to the work in Limbe, Haiti. 

Maybe this will be a better way to express our gratitude for the blessings of our lives. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"If we amplify everything, we hear nothing." Jon Stewart

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was hosted by comedians and TV personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert this past Saturday in Washington, D.C.  Stewart may have made one of the most profound statements of this election cycle when he declared, "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

I've been thinking about how easily we discredit ourselves when we exaggerate the truth.  Perhaps the reason that this has been on my mind is because we're nearing the end of the a political campaign season and we've all heard our share of pseudo-truths from  the candidates.  When confronted, their response is,
  • "I never said that."  
  • "You misunderstood me."
  • "What I meant was  . . ."
and when really backed into a corner, the newly popular non-confession
  • "I misspoke."
As much as I'd like to pretend this trouble with truth is limited just to politicians that I have never personally met, the fact is that it's not. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hilarious look at church planting!

Lest you think I'm just taking a shot at contemporary church plants by sharing this video, let me state that I've been a member of  more than one contemporary church and I fully appreciate their goals.  That being said, this has to be one of the funniest views of the "modern" church I've seen in a long while!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Best idea yet for improving campaign ads!

I don't know about you but I know that I'd be more inclined to watch the political ads that are now running if they "auto-tuned" them as someone did this one.  This makes them much more entertaining!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The reality of heaven and the reality of earth

“The reality of heaven doesn’t make earth less real or less important.”   

This is the reason that I'm a fan of Jon Fischer's writing.   On his blog, The Catch, Connecting life to faith, Fischer manages to challenge and inspire me on a regular basis.  I'd encourage you to read the entire post from which this quote was taken, here.  You and I have just a few short years on this earth and I sometimes wonder how many of those years are wasted on things that don't really matter?  Playing games with your kids, walking on the beach with your spouse, and reading a good book are not the things that I consider wasteful.  Working is not wasteful, either.  What I think is wasteful is the relentless pursuit of acquiring stuff.

Monday, October 11, 2010

You never know who you'll run into at the airport

A couple of weeks ago when Julia and I were traveling, we had a layover at Washington National Airport in D.C.  You never know who you'll run into at an airport but Congress had just adjourned for the fall and we were in the nation's capital so there was a good chance that we'd see a politician or two.

U.S. Senator Roland Burris

When we got in line to get a sandwich at one of the cafes, I recognized that the person in front of us was Roland Burris, the man who was appointed by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill the vacated senate seat of President Obama. You'll probably also recall that his appointment was tainted by "Gov. Potty Mouth's" claim that this appointment was (adjective omitted) "gold" and he intended to see what he could get in exchange for it.   There were questions as to what Burris promised the now ex-Governor. in exchange for the appointment.  When the woman ahead of Burris in line at the cafe told him that he looked familiar and inquired who he was, he proudly replied, "I'm United States Senator Roland Burris." 

U.S. Senator David Vitter

Shortly after that, we made our way to the gate from which our flight would depart and I noticed that a man also waiting to board that flight was David Vitter, U.S Senator from Louisiana.  You may remember that Vitter was the outspoken "family values" guy who's name and private cell phone number turned up in the "little black book" of the D.C. Madam.  Oops!  The day after that was reported, Vitter, who was also linked to a prostitute in New Orleans, confessed to past indiscretions and declined to comment further.  So much for that whole "family values" thing. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meet Williame

Allow me to introduce you to Williame Jacques.  Williame is 10 years old and lives north of Limbe, Haiti.  Julia and I have the privilege of being his new sponsor with Compassion International.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New England adventure, the epilogue

Whenever I return home after traveling, I routinely think about how fortunate I am to live where I do.  When we returned from New England last week, I was happy to be back home but I have to admit that the contrast between where I had been and where I was returning was different this time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day six: Back to the coast

(click on picture to enlarge)

We're headed home in the morning but we spent the last couple of days on the Atlantic coast of Maine and Massachusetts.  The architecture is incredible and the seafood is delicious.  We give an enthusiastic 2 thumbs-up to Cape Ann and the towns of Rockport and Gloucester!  Both are beautiful communities on a picturesque ocean. 

There isn't as much fall color as we saw a little further north in New Hampshire but it's beautiful, none-the-less.  As much as we have enjoyed this trip, we look forward to spending tomorrow night in our own bed. 

Will post an epilogue in a couple of days  . . . .

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day five: Appreciating the simple things

 (click picture to enlarge)

One of the places that we visited this week was the Shaker Village in Canterbury, NH.  The Shakers were known for embracing simplicity.  In that same spirit, I've been intentional about trying to capture some of the simple images that we've seen this week  . . . images like the ones above. There is as much value in the simple things that we observed this week as there is in the historic sites or the halls of great institutions of learning,

I wonder what we miss in life by overlooking the simple things?

More tomorrow . . .

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day four: "Every path has a few puddles"

(click picture to enlarge)

It was rainy, misty, or foggy all day today.  Oddly enough, I noticed a sign yesterday that said, "Every path has a few puddles."  I'm pretty sure that the author meant something much more profound than this but today, our path literally had a "few puddles."  We spent the day driving through rural New Hampshire and on to coastal Maine.  We checked a few "must do's" off our list today, too.  We ate clam chowder, lobster bisque, a lobster & crab roll,  and fresh apple cider.  It was good day with beautiful vistas, colorful fall foliage, and a new appreciation for the diversity of the New England landscape. We'll be back home soon but we'll remember this trip for a very long time.  We're keenly aware of the blessing it is for us to get to do this. 

More tomorrow  . . .

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day three: My favorite day . . . at, least, so far

I think today has been my favorite day of this trip  . . . at least, so far.  We drove through the countryside and just enjoyed the sights of rural New England.  We stopped a couple of places along the way and this collage of pictures was taken at one of them.  Care to guess where it is?

(click on picture to enlarge)
Here are a couple of hints:
  • The center picture of the collage is an image often associated with the owner of this land.  He and a neighbor used to walk this stone fence each spring, putting the stones back in place that had fallen away during the winter. 
  • His grandfather didn't think he'd ever amount to much so he gave him this farm to ensure that he wouldn't end up homeless. 
Note to prospective burglars: Fred Morrison is the other neighbor that's keeping an eye on our house while we're gone.  When I was in Haiti earlier this year, Fred noticed right away that he hadn't seen me out in the yard and came to inquire about me with Julia.  He's observant that way.  Not much gets by Fred.  You'll get to meet Fred if you decide to visit my house while I'm gone. Did I mention that Fred is also really good with a gun?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day two: Where do you think we are today?

The adventure continues  . . . take a look at the pix below and see if you can guess where we are today.  I'll give you a couple of hints:
  • this city is home to one of my favorite desserts
  • if you doubled my IQ., I still wouldn't be smart enough to get into this school
  • I wonder what these people do with all of those "R's" that they don't pronounce
(click to enlarge)

Note to prospective burglars:  Remember the dogs? They're still at home and Mary Maybaum is feeding them sparingly so they're probably hungry and a little cranky. Mary has been honing her shooting skills at the pistol range and she's pretty certain that she can ensure that any person who attempts to burgle the house will be able to cancel his appointment with the urologist for that little "snip, snip".  She thinks that if her shot hits it's mark,  each of the dogs will get a little "treat", to boot!  Just saying  . . .

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lost vs. Wrong

How does it change your perspective if you view someone of another faith as lost rather than wrong?  How would you respond to them differently?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A slice of "humble pie"

Care to join me for a slice of humble pie?  The next time that I start to whine about how hard it is for me to memorize scripture these days, I'm gonna remember this little 2 year old girl.  

Amazing, isn't she?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monopoly, The Recession Edition

by Steve Kelly, courtesy of the Times-Picayune

For much of our nation's history, each successive generation has enjoyed an increasingly prosperous standard of living.  An obvious exception to this would be the Depression Era of the early 20th century when the country experienced a monumental economic downturn.  It was during that time that the original Monopoly board game came into being and provided people with an escape from the harsh reality of the times.  In the cartoon above, editorial cartoonist Steve Kelly does a great job of updating that game to line up with our current situation.  Where did we get the idea that life was always going to be rosy, anyway?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Witness or apologist?

Last week, in our small group Bible study on the book of Romans, the conversation veered off to a discussion about truth and other faiths. The discussion involved how one might talk with someone of a differing faith about the truth of scripture and God's plan for man.  That got me to thinking . . . do Christians sometimes confuse our call to be a Christian witness with a call to be a Christian apologist, a skilled defender of the faith?

Friday, September 17, 2010

I was warned . . .

When I first started this blog, the guy that helped me also warned me to be careful about what I wrote on it because it could come back to bite me.  I didn't think this was what he meant, however.

Thought you just might enjoy this lighter look at blogging.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I learned from the bloggers who traveled to Guatemala

Photo by Keely Scott, courtesy of Compassion International
Lindsey, Ann, Amanda, and Lisa-Jo are four everyday folks who accompanied Shaun Groves and a few other Compassion International staffers to Guatemala last week and shared their experiences on their blogs.  You can read their stories by clicking here.  Here's what I learned from following their accounts over the past few days:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Interested in learning about Compassion International?

Compassion Bloggers: Guatemala 2010

A small group of  bloggers is headed to Guatemala on behalf of Compassion International, one of my very favorite relief organizations.  If you'd like to hear first-hand accounts from folks just like you and me who have a heart for kids and want to be a part of freeing them from poverty, then click here to meet the bloggers and follow their trip.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sitting in the "learner" seat

Tonight, Julia and I will be moving into a completely new role with regard to small groups.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A timely reminder

As the U.S. ends it's combat role in Iraq, it's a good time to be reminded of the debt of gratitude that we owe to those that served in the defense of freedom in this war and the ones that preceded it. 

(My thanks to my friend, Lane Hoage, for sharing this with me and to for this video.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

When Helping Hurts - a book review

Have you ever wondered why, with all of the efforts to help alleviate poverty, there is even more poverty today than 20 years ago?  In their game-changing book, When Helping Hurts, Corbett & Fikkert help us better understand the problems associated with relief efforts to the poor and offer us us practical solutions to those problems.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes you just have to laugh

Census Visits Providing Shut-Ins Once-A-Decade Chance For Human Interaction

This video reminds me a lot of my mom and not just because she's also a redhead.   My mom's been widowed for 16 years, and after a couple of injuries from falls, uses a walker and wheelchair and can no longer drive.  Consequently, she's pretty isolated in her house but that's where she wants to be.  Isolated?  No.  In her house?  Yes.  Unfortunately for her, those two things go hand-in-hand.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm an idiot

I'm an idiot.  Sometimes I think folks like me should not be allowed to have computers. Blogger, the platform that I use for this blog, announced a new feature intended to filter out spam in comments.  I thought I was following their instructions when I accidentally deleted almost all of the comments ever made on this blog in nearly 2 years!

Monday, August 23, 2010

No guts, no glory

Along with Heather's parents, Julia and I recently helped our son, Peter, and daughter-in-law, Heather, move to Baton Rouge for Peter to start graduate school at LSU (Louisiana State University, for those of you not from the south). This was no small task, on many levels. For starters, Peter was going to attend a school against who's sports teams he had pulled for years. Their school colors are purple and gold, for crying out loud! Have they no shame? But I digress  . . .

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The twists and turns of life

A couple of weeks ago our son, Zack, and daughter-in-law, Laura, graduated from Florida State University with Masters' degrees in Social Work.  Both of them had been out of college for several years when they returned to school and met on the first day of their graduate programs.  Who knew that an added bonus of returning to school would be that you would find your future spouse there?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

36 years and counting

This was the photo on the front of the anniversary card that Julia gave to me today.  Pretty much sums it up  . . . she's hot stuff (except that she's hott with 2 t's) and I'm loverboy.  We can dream, can't we?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No escape chute delpoyed here

The story of the Jet Blue flight attendant who quit his job in dramatic fashion by deploying the escape chute on the plane after it had stopped at the gate has been all the talk this week.  Judging from the number of people who have applauded his actions, I think its safe to assume that there are a lot of folks who must want to make a dramatic exit from their jobs and are living vicariously through his departure.  Today marks the one year anniversary of my final day at Crossroads Books and Gifts but there was nothing dramatic about it and I didn't deploy the escape chute when I left.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Journey

I've heard it said that we're all on a journey to the cross.  We may be at different points on the path or even on different paths, but the destination is still the same.  (Lest you think I'm advocating a universalist theology, let me clarify that I'm not, but I digress.)  My journey has taken a few twists and turns in the past few years but that's probably not all that unusual, as journeys go.  Sunday night marked a new turn in the journey for Julia and me.

Friday, August 6, 2010

No good deed goes unpunished

I have a neighbor who is selling her house after renting it out for a while.  Because Mary had moved out of the house last year and into her motor home, she had sold all of her lawn equipment.  I enjoy cutting grass (I know that's weird) so I offered to cut it for her until the house sells.  Her house is just around the corner, has a small yard, and takes me less than an hour to mow.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A bull named "White Boy"

I saw a news story on a local TV station recently about a family who found that their pet bull had been shot and killed.  The focus of the story was on the needless killing of an animal, of course but there was another detail of the story that I found compelling.  The family that owned the bull was African-American and the bull was named "White Boy", presumably because he was white.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Take a deep breath

Magnolia River
Today, I had to take a deep breath.  I took a couple of hours to go kayaking on the upper portion of the Magnolia River where it was peaceful and quiet.  In the two hours that I spent on the river, I saw a grand total of three people.  Two of them were fishing from the river bank and our interaction consisted of:
  • a promise from me to do as little as possible to disturb the fish, and
  • a request from them for me to wake the fish up because they weren't biting.  
The only other person I saw was the river route mailman who was focused on the task at hand.   (Magnolia River is one of the few remaining water postal routes in the country.)  Just three people in two hours is pretty amazing.  Despite the fact that I'm an introvert by nature, I like people and enjoy interacting with them.  Today, however, I needed  a couple of hours to be alone away from home, people and responsibilities.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Missing element

OK, now I get it.  The thing that's keeping me from my goal of becoming a famous blogger is that I'm not famous.  All I have to do now is become famous.  
(I'm indebted to cartoonist Dave Walker for helping me understand this.)

Tell the truth, you wouldn't read Paris Hilton's blog if she weren't already a famous tramp actress personality person, would you?  I really don't know if Paris Hilton has a blog but if she does, you can bet that there are a bunch of idiots people that read it.  I'll admit that many of the blogs that I read, I read because I already know something of the writer. If I hadn't already heard of them, I probably would never have heard of their blog in the bazillions of blogs out there in the blogosphere.  An example of this is Michael Hyatt's blog. I became familiar with Mike as the President of the oldest Christian publishing company, Thomas Nelson Publishers and respected his expertise and success.  I have to admit that he drives me crazy sometimes with some of the things he writes (that's a story for another time, however) but I still follow his blog because I respect his expertise in some areas.  

Monday, July 19, 2010

Worshiping God at the buffet

Ya just can't sneak past God.  I should know  . . . I tried it this past Sunday.  We skipped Sunday morning worship this week and headed up the road to explore the river delta area in the northern part of our county.  We drove over the rolling hills and took in the view of the rivers and bays that we saw along the way.  By early afternoon, we found ourselves in the charming old community of Stockton.  The churches were letting out and the parking lot of the lone restaurant in the town, The Stagecoach Cafe, was already packed.  Feeling a twinge of guilt at having skipped church today, we drove around the community admiring the old homes and  waiting for the church crowd to disperse.  It's not like we were gonna know anybody in the restaurant but I was still feeling a bit self-conscious about going into the restaurant wearing shorts when I knew full well that the place would be full of folks in the "church clothes." 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Princess Shady Nasty?"

My daughter-in-law, Laura, tells the story of a friend who worked at Disney World one summer and had the responsibility of announcing each little girl who attended Cinderella's luncheon.  As each girl entered the room, this person would be given a card with the child's name and then announce the little girl as Princess (insert name here).

As you might imagine, creative names can be tricky and pronouncing them can be a challenge.   He found this out the hard way when handed a card with a name he had never seen before.  With his best announcing voice (and a hint of hesitation), he proclaimed her entrance by calling out, "Princess Shady Nasty?"

From the back of the room an indignant mother responds,
"It's pronounced Sha Dynasty!" 

Maybe Mom should have thought a little harder before naming her child Shadynasty.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Bubba's a Hungarian and I'm a Coon-Ass"

My wife and I made a quick trip to Galveston, Texas last week to attend a funeral and had the pleasure of meeting some really charming people while we were there.  I had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with one couple in particular that I found to be just plain old "good folks."  Bubba and Edith are ranchers in their retirement years although each of them had other careers, he with the railroad and she as a nurse.  They have 2 daughters, 2 grandsons, 2 great-grandsons, 62 head of cattle and a jackass.  I'm pretty sure that I listed them in order of importance  . . . but I could be wrong. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Pardon me, but you're in my seat."

There are many species in the animal kingdom that are territorial but none more so than the regular church-going Christian Homo sapien.  (For you biologically-challenged readers, a Homo sapien is a human, and has nothing to do with said human's sexual orientation.)  Oh sure, mess with a male crocodile's territory and you're likely to run up against some trouble.  Muscle your way into a spider monkey's space and you'll wish you hadn't.  As one who majored in zoology in college, I know this well.  But you ain't seen nothing until you've plopped your little fanny into someone else's seat on Sunday morning at church.   This happened to my wife and me today when visiting a church right here in our hometown.  

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What about me?

I recently spent a week in Haiti with a medical mission team and wrote about that experience here on this blog.  I've been on mission trips to Mexico several times, as well as mission trips here in the U.S. over the years.  This week, I begun to wonder what the people in need that live right around me might think if they knew this.  I wonder if they might say, "What about me? Why do you go to foreign countries or even to other parts of this country when there are people right here who need your help?"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

If I were a therapist . . .

Mercy is a spiritual gift that I don't have.  I'm not mean, I just don't have a high tolerance for whining, not to say that everyone who sees a therapist is a whiner but I'm sure a fair amount of that goes on in every therapists' office.  My wife is a marriage and family therapist and quite good at it.  She has the ability to let the junk just roll off and focus on the real problem without being bothered by the inconsequential stuff.  Me  . . . not so much. I would be a terrible therapist.  This new Geico commercial is a pretty good representation of what I would be like in that role.

OK, maybe this is a little harsh but I'm just saying  . . . .

Friday, July 2, 2010

Picky, Picky

I saw this photo by Cynthia Lake titled Picky Picky recently on the wall of Fish River Grill, a local restaurant.  It makes me smile and I'm going to order a copy for myself.  I guess it's being the father of sons that endears me to this photo.  I love the honesty of kids, even when they're scratching their butts.  What you see is what you get.

What are your favorite things about kids?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vincent van Dog

This is Rags, our Parson Jack Russell Terrier.  We got him for a very modest $25 donation at an animal shelter about 10 years ago.  In the last 8 days however, he's cost us a bundle and the meter is still running.  First, it was his annual shots, an expense to be expected.  Ka ching!  While he was in for the shots and annual exam, it was determined that a cyst on his belly needed to removed surgically.  Ka ching! The next day when I picked him up after the surgery, one of his ears filled up with blood and he had a cauliflower ear like a boxer (as in, a fighter not as in, the breed of dog.)  I took him back the following day to have the ear drained. There was no charge for this visit and that was a relief!  A couple of days later, I had to take him back when the ear filled up with blood again and this time to drain the blood and have laser surgery to "quilt" his ear so that it would not fill up again with blood. Ka ching!

When I picked him up today, he comes out with his head all bandaged up and looking like van Gough after he cut off his ear.  Although I understand that his ear is still under the bandage, he definitely has that van Gough look going on at the moment.

Did I mention that meter is still running?  He's due back to the veterinarian on Friday to have the stitches and staples removed from the cyst surgery, hear the results of the pathology test on the cyst, and have the dressing changed on his ear.  Ka ching! I'm expecting that I'll need to go back to have that ear dressing removed and checked again.  Ka ching!

Let me be clear, however.  I have the greatest confidence in our veterinarian, Dr. Babette Dixon.  I'm not blaming her for the financial explosion here, I'm just saying that a $25 dog can become really expensive.

I think I'm going to have to put one of my kidneys on eBay in order to pay for Rags' vet bill so if you know of someone who needs a slightly used but healthy kidney, please have them contact me.