Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday musings...

1. Can you believe the rain? Ironically, Carole and I went to see "Evan Almighty" yesterday (OK, you know I'm anti-Hollywood; but this one is clean and non-violent). You probably know that it's about congressman who builds an ark, ala Noah. In the movie, just as he began construction on his ark, we heard thunder and intense rain outside the theater.

2. How did we live without the internet? The weather has forced me indoors for extended periods of time. I pretty much have killed the time by surfing. Twelve years ago, how would I have handled the confinement? Read? Probably. But I much prefer the laptop alternative.

3. Last year, Carole and I went to Tampa so she could visit with a friend. While they were doing their thing, I hung out at the Tampa airport and found it to be a photographer's paradise. Nice, tall parking garage to give me the effect of looking down on the aircraft instead of up. Excellent deep green background of trees with the blue water of Tampa Bay in the distance. Absolutely no hassle from the authorities. So this year, I'm going alone for a photography-intensive 24-hours. I'll be leaving early Thursday morning and returning Friday evening. For some reason, Carole did not want to tag along for this thrill-a-minute excursion.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Step by Step

One of the highlights of the past week was a surprise. Our two-year, 364 week old grand-daughter, Maddie, wanted to sing for us. We were expecting a normal, typical Sunday school song...something like "The wise man built his house upon the rock" or similar. Instead, she trotted out her version of the church song, "Step by Step".

She was dead-on with the melody. The lyrics sounded like this: "Step by step you weed me, and I will folwo you all of my days".

It was one of those magical moments that help define grandparenthood.

Here she is in the non-singing mode:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Inn on FM552

Some unusual circumstances have flung open our doors to family members lately. Son-in-law Michael has been putting in hardwood floors at their house (during his vacation, no less) and he and Brooke have moved in with us. Ordinarily, such a home improvement task wouldn't necessitate a move, but Michael discovered asbestos under some tile and naturally didn't want his pregnant wife around. And he ended up having to wear a filtering mask while he worked.

The job is finished, but they will stay for several days more because Brooke's pregnancy has resulted in her getting nauseous when certain odors are in the air. After church today, they went by their house and discovered that the new floor smell was bothersome to her nose and stomach, so they'll continue to hang here while the odor settles.

Normally when an adult child moves back in with parents, something bad has happened; a financial problem, a relationship problem, or perhaps ill health. This move had no negative factors and therefore has brought us great fun and joy. Carole and Brooke have chatted about pregnancy no end, totally exhausting the subject - then starting over. Such conversation pretty much exiled me to the front yard, where I got a lot of weeding done.

But it's been fun just getting to share memories again with Brooke and Mike, almost like families do at holiday time, without the holiday stress.

We've also been keeping our two-year-old twin nephews at various times this past week as the twins' parents prepare for a move to Kansas City. And, we had grand-daughters Maddie and Macie for 24 hours late in the week.

Busy? Yes. Harried? Surely. Loving it? Of course!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Erosion - You Hardly Notice It

If you have read this blog very long, you know that I'm anti-Hollywood. I think we Christians have our moral judgment base eroded when we subject ourselves to filth on a continual basis.

With this in mind, I found the following op-ed piece fascinating:

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I frequently shop at Wal-Mart, something that snobs would chuckle at. I mean, after all, anyone who cares about status and appearances wouldn't be caught dead there. But as for me, baby, I like to save money and I will not worry about my image.

Not so fast. I'm not the saint I appear to be. Because even among Wal-Mart shoppers, there is class distinction.

The specific WM I go to when vittles get low is the "Neighborhood" Wal-Mart here in Rockwall. It is planted squarely in an area called "The Shores", a very nice, upscale neighborhood bordering Lake Ray Hubbard. I don't live in The Shores (the "The" must be capitalized!), but this particular store is closer than any other. The store's clientele are well-scrubbed, well-educated, and smell good. It's not unusual to see men wearing suits there, buying dog food for their pure-bred Austrian yorkies. The women tend to be thirty-ish, often attired in workout gear, they smell VERY good.

I thought about this today when I had to go into a Wal-Mart that was a bit down the snobbery scale from The Shores. The clientele here was considerably different - a real melting pot. They were of all races and ages. A lot of them had the words "hard life" etched all over their faces. The attire ranged from suitable at best to severely indecent at worst.

And lo and behold, I found myself feeling so very superior.

Is this the by-product of a culture that puts so much emphasis on appearance and being "with it"? Did I think I was the only person in the store that God had entrusted with a soul? Exactly how can one justify such arrogance? (Pssst - he can't.) There is only one thing I can hang onto from today's experience that gives me any hope. At least the Holy Spirit grabbed my stuffed shirt with both hands and shook a little sense in me. Since leaving that store today, I have thought about all that Jesus had to say about arrogance and, to put it in today's vernacular, a "sense of entitlement". It's almost as though He were preoccupied with our view of self compared with others.

I better jettison this holier-than-y'all attitude and beg for opportunities to serve those less fortunate than I. And beg for forgiveness, too.

Sunday, June 10, 2007 in "I feel bad"

Yesterday was tough. Found out early on that we will require a new water heater installed. And due to its location in the attic, it'll cost a bunch extra. I was delayed getting to task #1 of the day, mowing the front yard, and it was 10:30 when I started. By then, there was a ghastly mixture of heat and humidity going on and it took an hour to finish the job.

Task #2 was to begin work with Carole on a home improvement project - installing a chair rail in our den and painting the wall below it. There was a lot of going in and out and lot of heavy lifting (a borrowed power miter saw). But we got a lot done.

The first indication something was wrong was during the night when a tough backache insued. I couldn't find a position that afforded any relief. So I was awake from 3:50 on. When Carole awoke I told her I was a no-go for church. After she got up, I finally dozed off.

Later in the morning, I managed to get up. The back still hurt and I felt wasted, like somebody had pulled the plug on my energy and will-to-live.

Just another indication that the good ole days (when my sons and I would do 17 yards a day) are permanently over.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sunrise Reflections

One of the great revelations I've had in photography is something that should have been obvious from the beginning: it's all about light. I've wasted hundreds of hours at airports taking shots between noon and 5 PM. You can take a lot of okay, average pictures in the middle of the day, but the killershots come early or late...if it's a sunny day.

I got up at 3:55 yesterday morning in order to get to Love Field by sunrise. I was hoping for optimum conditions: enough clouds to diffuse the light but not enough to create dreariness. It worked out beautifully. There were opaque clouds for the sunrise shots and clear skies for the "morning" shots.

I had a blast. I was all alone, perched on the top level of the parking garage at Love, sitting in a lawn chair and waiting for the next flight. When I got there, it was still totally dark. I saw the gradual arrival of pink-orange skies in the east. I watched the big city shake off slumber and come alive. I must admit that it did not escape my attention that while I was playing with my grownup toys, hundreds of thousands of citizens around me were slogging off to work. I immediately thanked God for the moment.

Hope you like the shots. Be sure to click on them for an enlarged version...these small ones lack a lot of important detail.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Summer's Here and the Time is Right

What oldies song gets you going the most? I'm not interested in anything recent. I don't think anything decent and catchy has been written or recorded since 1975. (That's a scary thought: good music is not being written now! What on earth kind of garbage will my grandkids be exposed to?) Anyway, the song that never fails to get my foot tapping is hinted at in the blog's title: Dancing in the Streets.

Now there is nothing overwhelmingly intellectual about this choice. Not much of a heavy, life-changing message in the lyrics. Just a contagious beat that has always lifted my spirits. Here are few others that are high on my list:

1. Twelfth of Never (Johnny Mathis)
2. The Two of Us (Edye Gormet and Steve Lawrence)
3. Cracklin' Rose (Neil Diamond)
4. She's a Woman (The Beatles)
5. Devoted to You (Everly Bros.)

OK, chime in with yours.