Friday, April 30, 2010

Simple pleasures

I was working in my yard when I noticed Emily and her grandmother admiring the honeysuckle growing on the fence by our driveway.   Five year old Emily and her parents are moving in across the street from us this weekend.  It seems that this little girl had never seen or smelled honeysuckle before and a thoughtful grandmother wanted to introduce her to one of life's simple pleasures.  Honeysuckle is a common vine that grows here in the south and produces an unremarkable tubular bloom with a sweet smell  . . . hence, the name. 

I'd rather not think about how many dollars I've spent in the 25 years that I've lived in this house purchasing the plants that comprise the landscape.  But Emily didn't come to admire any of them . . . she came to admire the honeysuckle that grew there naturally and that many people would consider a weed and a nuisance.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Everbody needs a "Dutch Uncle"

In The Last Lecture, author Randy Pausch tells the story of a man he called his Dutch Uncle, the person who spoke truth into his life.  Pausch was a talented young college student at the time but one who's cockiness and lack of tact hampered his effectiveness in relationship with others. Recognizing this, a professor for whom Pausch served as a teaching assistant in college, took him for a walk and spoke frankly but tactfully to him.  He told Pausch that the fact that people perceive him as arrogant would limit what he would be able to accomplish in life.  It was a truth that he needed to hear and it became a turning point in his life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

They don't like birds, either

Here's a nice follow-up to Friday's post about cats.  Cars don't appreciate it when birds poop on them, either.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wedding Day!

Today's the BIG DAY!  Zack and Laura get married today and begin their life as a married couple.  All of us are very happy for them and we think Laura is a wonderful addition to our family.  The more that I see them interact, the more I see that they are a great complement to one another.  It's obvious that they love and respect one another.  They share the same values and passions and together, they will make the world a better place.

Welcome to the fam, Laura!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Even cars don't like cats

I'm not the only one  . . . even cars don't like cats.  

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Madder than a wet setting hen

I stopped by to visit my 88 year old mom Wednesday night and she was "madder than a wet setting hen", to use one of her expressions. I'm a city (or town) boy.  I wasn't raised on a farm so I don't exactly know first-hand what a "wet setting hen" is.  I suspect this is a chicken who is obligated to sit on a nest of eggs but has had the unfortunate experience of being rained upon and is not happy about it.  (Of course, if it was a Presbyterian hen, it was predestined to be rained upon.) That's my guess but I could be wrong.  The last person I wanted to ask for clarification tonight was my mom.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sharing the bounty


I took this picture of a fig on the fig tree in my yard today.  It's one of many that this tree will produce this season and one of many that the birds will eat.  Every once in a while the birds leave one for me to enjoy but most of time they're one step ahead of me.  I watch the figs carefully as they begin to ripen but somehow the birds are watching just a little more carefully, I suppose.  I tried the net strategy a few years ago but without much success so I decided just to be patient.  The tree is now over 7 feet tall and nearly as wide so I'm hoping that this will be the year that they'll be enough figs for the birds and for me, too.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Investing wisely

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matthew 6:19-21 NIV


This is a home on Mobile Bay just 3 or 4 miles north of my where I live.  When it was built about 15 years ago, it was featured in newspapers and magazines.  On top of the purchase price of the property, the owner reportedly spent more than a million dollars on site preparation to redirect some natural springs even before laying the foundation for the main house.  I'm told that the house measures approximately 31,000 square feet, was built for just 2 residents, the owner and his wife, and featured a ballroom with imported marble floors and separate living quarters for the staff. The entire project cost several million dollars, of course.  

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A welcome gift

The more that I'm around my elderly, widowed mother and elderly, widowed father-in-law, the more I realize how much they value someone giving them some of their time.  I took my father-in-law to buy some new clothes this week for one of the events leading up to his granddaughter's wedding.  Over and over, Ed thanked me for taking the time to do this.  He called later that day to thank me again.  In our conversation that day, he recalled a visit from Kathy Blessing, one of our friends, when he was in an assisted living facility recovering from surgery about five years ago and told me how much he appreciated her taking the time to visit him.  He talked about how much he appreciated old friends in North Carolina  taking the time to call him occasionally.  His memory is quite bad these days.  He couldn't tell you a material gift that you gave him last year, last month, or last week but Ed can vividly recall the gift of time that Kathy gave him five years ago.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

I didn't think anyone could top Miss Teen South Carolina but I think she's met her match in this California girl offering her suggestions on how to fix the economy in her state.  You have to listen carefully all the way to the end to fully appreciate her brilliance, or lack thereof. 

Genius Plan to Fix California Economy - Watch more Funny Videos

Friday, April 9, 2010

Nice teeth!

This is my son, Zack, and his fiance, Laura  . . . hamming-it-up inside Jaws.  You can probably tell by this picture that they are both very serious people, sensitive to projecting a professional, mature image at all times.  You may also be able to tell that they both have very nice teeth.  In Zack's case, it's thanks to the miracle of orthodontia.  I've never asked Laura about her teeth  . . . that would probably be presumptuous of a soon-to-be father-in-law, although I have been so bold as to inquire if she came with a dowry.  It's sad to say, but it looks like her family won't be presenting us with a herd of goats in two weeks when they get married.  I think this is a tradition that faded away too soon, but I digress.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Technological obsolescence

A couple of times recently I've needed to give someone directions to my house.  Giving directions verbally seems to be easy enough but understanding them and actually successfully arriving at the desired location is not that easy for all of us.  With the popularity of GPS systems, I suppose that this problem will be resolved.  My wife has that capability on her iPhone but I haven't taken the time to learn to use it  . . . I'm still a "map guy".  I like to have a document in my hands that defines the plan and a map does that for me. I like to be able to see the route from beginning to end, as well as alternate routes.  I like to be able to fold the map to narrow the focus, if and when I want to.  I guess all of those functions are also available in electronic form now, too but I still like holding a paper map in my hands.  I'm sure that there are errors on paper maps but I've never personally been steered wrong by one.  The on-line direction applications are another story, however.  I can use one of those services to chart my course of a 1,000 miles and it will almost get me there.  The first 998 miles will be flawless but the last mile or so will invariably send me in the wrong direction. 

I suppose paper maps are becoming technologically obsolete.  I'm just going to have to give in and learn to use the GPS but not without some "wailing and gnashing of teeth."

What's your preference?

Monday, April 5, 2010

The lasting power of words

Courtesy of Mississippi State University "Writing on the Wall" project

Twenty six years ago, my wife and I moved back to our hometown with our two small children, then 4 years old and 6 months old. Julia initially accepted a part-time position teaching at a local university.  We hired a young woman from our church (the church secretary's daughter) to babysit while Julia was teaching and later found another excellent woman, also from our church, who kept them in her home.  Even 26 years later, we are still friends with this wonderful woman and our sons love her.

 Like many other parents, we regularly volunteered in the church nursery to help the nursery director, herself a single parent of 2 sons.  During one particular service where we were assisting her, Miss Sandi as she was called, launched into a tirade about the evils of mothers who worked outside the home, knowing full well that Julia was a "working mom."  We both stayed busy with babies and elected not to engage her or interject into her comments.  In her most condescending voice, Miss Sandi declared to all of us working in the nursery that day that, "I'd sooner take in laundry, than let someone else raise my kids!"

Friday, April 2, 2010

Stuff happens and life goes on . . .

This week, in studying the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus, I was struck with one particular passage found in Matthew 26:31-32 NLT.  After the Passover meal in the upper room, Jesus matter-of-factly tells his disciples, "Tonight, all of you will desert me."  After he quotes Zechariah 13:7, a passage that foretells that betrayal, he goes on to say, "But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there."

Just like that.  You guys in whom I have poured myself for the last three years are going to tuck tail and run tonight.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going  . . . out-of-town.  Stuff happens and by the way, I'll meet you in Galilee after I come back from the dead.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Michael Card has long been one of my favorite singer/songwriters.  His lyrics are inspired and I learn something from every song he writes.  I spent a couple of hours tonight just listening to his music and trying to decide what might be his best one for this Holy Week.  The truth is that there are too many that would be perfect so I just chose one.