Friday, June 30, 2006

Even More Fun Times

The situation at our house has settled somewhat. The people who were sick are doing better and Nana is back at her apartment. Nice trip to San Antonio coming up this weekend, but they are calling for floods...which is good - they need rain worse than we do.

My crazy hobby has been a blast this week. I've been in contact with an aviation-image agent in London who is trying to sell some of my shots to a major Asian magazine. That deal is pending, waiting for the editor-in-chief to okay everything.

I've been swapping emails with a reporter in Lagos, Nigeria. There is something of a bruhaha going on there because another reporter wrote a story claiming that the Nigerian president's new 737 wasn't really new at all. The prez had him arraigned in court. I have one of the few shots in existence of the plane and reporter #1 is trying to find out what I know...which is nothing.

The head of corporate security at Southwest Airlines called me yesterday, said he was stressed out, and wanted to know if I'd like to unwind with him by sitting next to the Love Field runways for 90 minutes or so. Uh, yeah, I'd like to do that, sir. So we did and I took 305 photos. About 12 of them are good.

These are indeed fun times for someone who has apparently sniffed too many jet fumes lately.

Monday, June 26, 2006

We're Havin' Fun!

The fun began last Thursday. Carole's mom had carpal tunnel surgery. She's 87 and uses a walker to get around. Naturally, with one arm disabled, she needed a place to rehab where someone could take care of her. So we volunteered.

Then yesterday, Sunday, I had to take Carole's brother, Joe, to the ER. He had a raging fever and shortness of breath. He was diagnosed with pneumonia. I took him because his wife, Laura, was sick and they have 1 year-old twins to care for.

This morning, Laura was getting worse so she went to the doctor and I kept the twins. Carole stayed with her mom and also kept Maddie, our grand-daughter, because Maddie's mom was going to the baby doctor for her first visit with her new pregnancy. (Are you still with me?) Laura was diagnosed with bronchitis and an ear infection. She has had no sleep the last two days, so we offered to keep the twins for the time being. I brought them home with me.

So now we have twins plus Carole's mom. As I was typing this, Carole's sister called and said that Ralph (her husband) was in the same hospital as Joe and had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Ralph is now right down the hall from Joe, but neither is allowed outside their room, so they can't see each other and swap stories.

When this summer began, I prayed that God would give us opportunities for service in His name. I never dreamed he would wipe out most of Carole's family to accomplish it.

I better go. The twins are waking up. Sigh....

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Name Above All Names

Bill Gaither wrote that noted song, "There's Just Something About That Name." I am intrigued by all of the Bible references to the power of God's name and the name of Jesus. Now we give import to names, but it's almost cursory compared to Biblical emphasis.

Noted instances:

"Hallowed be your name." (Lord's Prayer)

"...baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit"

"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me."

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. "

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

"that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, "

And there are a gazillion other examples. It is obvious there is overwhelming power in the name of God and His Son. It makes for a fascinating study.

And this is why it galls me to hear godless folks say, "Oh my God!", or something equally flippant. Better not mess with that name.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

It's Been a Great Weekend

Some of life's best moments when you're 57 or so come when one of your children announces that they are adding another child to the fold. We were informed Saturday night by Blake and Jaime of a new little Perkins baby coming next February. Just think...this child's sex, personality characteristics, and good looks are already set. And God knows what He has created...we humans have to be patient.

We got valuable time with Maddie (baby X's older sister) by keeping her Saturday evening through Sunday morning. She is beyond delightful. My favorite thing she does is to impulsively say, "Hi, Papa!", at otherwise quiet times. (She also says "Hi, Mimi!"). She brings utter joy to my life.

And, we will get to see the other grandchildren in two weeks. It is disheartening in that we don't see Zach and Ethan as much as we like. Zach is making enormous strides with language and comprehension despite his hearing deficiencies. He is so very special. Little brother Ethan is a bit of a mystery to us. We simply haven't had enough time with him to bond and I can't wait to spend quality time with him.

So it ain't how much money is in the bank, how good or bad your health is, how much rain you got from the psuedo-ferocious storms (.24") or the like. It's family. It's God's miracles being played out before your eyes. Nothing brings deep-core warmth and satisfaction than this.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Joy in Mudville

The National Weather Service is talking in terms of "heavy rain" this weekend. Now if you're reading this from a place other than Texas, you must understand just how good this news is.

We're smack dab in the middle of a drought here. The black, clay soil is contracting, leaving enormous cracks in the ground. Our landscapes are in distress because we're under watering restrictions. The heat has been oppressive. Yesterday, I saw a grayhound chasing a rabbit and they were both walking.

The problem is, can we trust the National Weather Service? Didn't they pick the Mavs in 4?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

So Close

It is the goal of every American male to catch at least one foul ball before exiting this earth for the big ballpark in the sky. This act of manhood has eluded me for 57 years. Then, I got my best chance last night.

Michael Young fouled a line drive toward the area above and to the left of us. "Us" is Michael, Brooke, myself, and Blake, sitting in that order. The ball ricocheted off someone's hands and directly toward us. Michael was first in line to catch it, but he claims he didn't see it. Next in line was Brooke, and the ball hit her on the edge of her hand and was deflected downward.

I looked down and saw the ball wedged next to the rear end of the gentleman sitting in front of us and the side of his seat. Lightning-quick, I reached down to grab the horsehide prize, but the man was quicker. It was his first foul ball trophy as well.

All of the above took place in less than two seconds. I'm left with several questions: What if we had sat in a different order? If Michael had caught the ball, would he have given it to me as a Father's Day gift? If I like macaroni and cheese, why don't I like cheese?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Dark Side of Autonomy

The calling card of the Churches of Christ has been our autonomy, the fact that each of our congregations is a unit unto itself, not beholden to any ruling entity except the Bible.

We have revelled in this individuality and I'm sure it has its good points. However, it has one notable liability - we have absolutely no foundation of coordination between congregations, effectively hamstringing us when there's a crisis that needs a response.

We sit on the sidelines and watch as the Baptist men respond to disasters with trucks and supplies. Interestingly, we care about people just as much as the Baptists but can't pull the trigger and help the critically needy except in a scattershooting way.

I would hope that reasonable Church of Christ leaders would investigate ways we could have a unified response targeting those whose lives have been devastated by some sort of disaster.

It would go a long way in reversing the negativity that one usually hears when the name of our church is brought up.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


1. I've been spending a lot of hours landscaping our property. It's supposed to be very healthy psychologically and physically to "garden" like this. I would tend to agree on the psychological part. But the physical part is somethin' else. Good thing I have a Swedish masseuse.

2. I grew up in home that had no air-conditioning. Our car had no a/c. Our church had none during most of my childhood. How in the world did we survive that?

3. Rebuilding New Orleans is a mistake.

4. Why couldn't the mothers of Dwyane Wade and Isiah Thomas spell their sons' names correctly?

5. I have never seen Christianity and Christians held in such low regard as now.

6. Has anyone tried vanilla ice cream on banana pudding? I think it would work.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Some of the Best

Nothing eloquent from me tonight. But I want you to see some of the great aviation photography that's going on in the world.

Monday, June 05, 2006

No Longer a Cathouse

This is Monday. Hopefully by Friday, our two cats will no longer be tenants at our house. Please don't interpret what I'm going to say as being cruel. We have given a lot of thought to their departure and decided to pull the trigger.

Cat #1 is Darcy, named after a long-forgotten Dallas Stars' goalie named Darcy Wakaluk. She was found in a church parking lot. Luckily it was a Church of Christ parking lot, so we know eventually she'll be saved. She was cute and cuddly early in her life. Now she is an overweight slobola of a feline whose only purpose in life is to shed.

Cat #2 is Alex, Darcy's nemesis. Alex isn't the brightest light in the feline sky. In fact, Alex is more than plain stupid - he is intricately stupid. He meows constantly, never with any good reason. The other day, he was meowing away and went to his bowl for a drink. He continued to meow as he drank, making an incredibly retarded gargling sound. Carole purchased Alex in a fit of ignorance...wanting desperately to have a black and white kitty. If we had only known that he was not only the runt of the litter, but the dunce of the litter.

Depending on how they act tonight, we won't have them euthanized. The plan is to put them in a shelter where other non-suspecting dupes will adopt them and ruin their lives. I'll let you know how the plan goes.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Whom Do You Trust?

God is a rock. He will never fail us. It's important to remember that when we are confronted with human failure.

As a kid, I woke up one day and decided I was a high-jumper. I didn't have a high-jump pit in which to practice, so I built my own. I tied a string around the telephone pole in our parkway and tied the other end to my bicycle, which was standing upright on the other side of the sidewalk. I couldn't really adjust the height much, but as it turned out, my pit was only going witness one jump. On my first effort, I failed to lift my first foot high enough and came down stomach-first on the concrete. It took several minutes to inhale my first post-jump breath. It was as though an invisible cannonball had penetrated my navel.

Today I got the same feeling when I found out troubling things about a couple of Christians...two guys in whom I've put a lot of trust. I can't believe it. It hurts. And what does God compel me to do in times like these?

1. Pray for them.
2. Don't gossip.
3. Lean on Him, the Rock.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Beaten Down

On Memorial Day, Carole and I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with daughter Brooke and son-in-law Michael. It was hot outside so I spent most of the time indoors, sitting directly under a ceiling fan in a cold room.

At some point, I became aware that my sinuses and throat were caving in. Thus began the king of all jungle beasts, the summer cold. Today is Thursday and I am homebound - nose flooding, sinus cavities pounding, and voice very deep and about gone. I had so much planned for the first week of summer and those plans are still on the shelf. I'm getting cabin fever, wanting to go outside but afraid that I'll make myself worse.

The floor is open to suggestions on how to overcome this malady. My current medications include Benadryl at night and generic Tylenol Sinus during the day. I may resort to Benadryl during my waking hours, which will no doubt turn them into sleeping hours. So do I simply outlast this or do I change my approach?