Friday, February 27, 2009

Mom's House

We had a great estate sale about a month ago at Mom's house. Amazingly, only a few small items didn't sell. We had a couple of investors make bids on buying the house, but not surprisingly, their offers were low. My siblings and I want to be rid of the house (note: did it quit being a "home" when Mom died?), but we also don't want to just wash our hands of it and allow someone else to make all the profit.

About 12 days ago, we noticed that the tile in the utility room was buckling and there was a nice "bubble" forming in the adjacent kitchen tile. Oh, no. Water had leaked from the now-sold washing machine and we had a problem...because the tile from the kitchen wrapped through the breakfast nook, around a bar, and throughout the den. Nothing to do but replace it. But Mom was in good hands with Allstate (nothing like the good hands that comfort her now!) and the financial hit wasn't onerous. In fact, it's probably a blessing that now this house will have something new in it to help it sell.

When the rooms had been cleared of furniture, the obligatory bumps, bruises, scrapes, marks, and bomb craters of 46 years were exposed. Dad had Parkinson's, and sadly there are a couple of dents in the walls where he had fallen hard. But my siblings and I had long since decided that we weren't going to put a lot of time and effort into sprucing the place up. However, the longer I looked at those walls, the more of a punch to the gut the neat freak in me was taking. Finally, I could take it no more. Last night, I had Carole pick out the color and we bought some paint, man! And today, while the tile crew was ripping out the old tile, I was slathering "Sesame" on the walls of the living room, cackling like a hyena.

At my age, painting hurts. Hey, anything hurts. But on the ectasy scale, the joy of covering up scars and blemishes ranks right up there with O.J. going to prison. Tomorrow (Saturday), Carole and I plan to return and paint until we're silly.

I just hope the prospective buyers didn't want "Guacamole" instead of "Sesame".

Friday, February 20, 2009

The doctor will see you now...well, maybe later

I think one of the hardest things a Christian has to decide is when to be confrontational. Of course we should be confrontational when confronting sin. But what about those other situations that seem to pop up in our lives with regularity?

I had a busy morning planned out for today. Leave the bus lot 30 minutes early (and lose half-an-hour's pay) so I could be at my orthopedic's office for a 9 AM appointment. I figured it would be quick because all I needed was another elbow cortisone injection. Then, I would meet up with Carole and Macie and head over to Garland for a 10:30 app't with a floor tile guy. We planned to be back at the house a little after 11:30 for lunch.

Well, I didn't get called out of the waiting room until 10:07, exactly 67 minutes late. The assistant walked me past the doctor who was standing at a counter, writing something in a patient's folder. As we approached the doc, the assistant asked me how I was doing. In a voice loud enough for the doctor to hear, I said, "Well, y'all are 67 minutes late and I'll have to cancel a 10:30 appointment, but other than that, I'm doing great." A few minutes later, a tech x-rayed my elbow and he also inquired as to how I was doing. I told him. Then he correctly put me in my place by saying he was sorry, but that this wasn't his fault. For the first time in many minutes, I started to cool off.

Later, I was escorted to the observation room to wait on the doctor to see me. I noticed there was a Bible over there by the stack of generic magazines. That caused me to wonder about how to handle a situation like this. The doctor clearly was doing his patients a disservice by over-scheduling - you know, booking 3 patients for each quarter-hour so that you start off behind and the mess grows exponentially the rest of the day. But do I confront him? Is it always the Christian thing to do to avoid situations like this? I decided that I had already made my feelings known once to him - when I had walked behind him. I opted to not to say anything and wait and see if he came in and apologized.

He didn't. He was cheery and caring, asking all sorts of questions about the swimming activities that have led to me getting tennis elbow in each arm. The best I could figure out was that he was that he was going to take the high ground...but not apologize. I got the shot (did I feel him sticking it in unnecessarily deep?) and that was that. As another assistant escorted me out, he apologized quietly for the time I had lost.

These are difficult situations for me. For one, I hate confrontations. Two, I never seem to know WWJD. Would He demand a high standard of behavior for all with whom He interracted on a daily basis? Or would He be pleasant and smiling regardless of the circumstances? I'd love to hear how you handle situations like I faced today.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Walter Hoye sentenced today...

If you read the previous blog entry and want to know what happened today at the sentencing of the Baptist minister, click on the link below.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Trying to stop the baby killers is dangerous...

On May 18 of last year, a black Baptist minister in Oakland, California was arrested for obstructing the normal business operations of an abortion clinic. Amazingly, a jury convicted him on two of the four counts being considered. He faces sentencing on Thursday of this week at 1:30.

So, what was Walter Hoye doing? He was walking back and forth in front of the clinic holding a sign that read, "Jesus loves you and your baby. We can help." At no time was he confrontational, at no time did he cause any trouble. He was merely exercising freedom of speech. Click on the link below and see a quick video of what he was doing that day. Note the lady trying desperately to block the message on his sign...she works for the clinic.

Please pray that the judge will be lenient. Pastor Hoye could get two years in jail and be fined $4000. Given what we know about California judges, he may be in real trouble. Pray for a miracle.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The King is Coming...Here!

For the folks in the Dallas area...did you see the sunset tonight (Friday)? It was an easy "top 5-er". Of course, I've seen 30 or 40 "top 5-er" sunsets so the math is funny. I couldn't take my eyes off the rear-view mirror as I drove eastbound on I-30. Is there any place other than the sky where orange, pink, and blue go together?

I've come to believe, after reading a number of brilliant books on this, that our heavenly home will be right here, "here" being a new earth, an earth that has been renewed, redone, restored, reinvigorated, and re-everythinged (see Rev. 21). I think what God is doing with us on this "old earth", if you will, is giving us glimpses of the glory that will be on display in the New Jerusalem. He's giving us a tease, as they say in the mass media. When I see the ultimate sunset here on this earth, God is merely showing me what He is capable of...a gem dropped from a jeweled crown. He's not showing us His full hand - no, that would remove any and all doubt from us and not leave any room for faith. It's much better for Him to dangle glory in front of us in small portions. Those lucky guys John and Paul, who did get a glimpse across the river, had their descriptive powers fail them when it was time to write about what they'd seen.

It's been decided here, under our roof, that we will return to Vermont this October for the sixth time, with the sole purpose of seeing trees color up with such fervor that your eyeballs scream for mercy. Some folks don't get it. The only time I did this trip alone was 1988, and the lady next to me on the plane from Chicago to Albany was the talkative sort who quickly got into some serious prying. She found out where I was from and then wanted to know what business was bringing me to New England. "I'm coming to see the leaves." Well, you could have knocked her over with one of those leaves. "All the way from Dallas to see leaves?" "Yep."

And when I see a Vermont vista like the one above, my will to walk with God gets stronger. 'Cause I don't want to miss the real show. The best is yet to come and babe, won't it be fine!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Surprise trip

I've been sitting on a couple of free round trip tickets from Southwest Airlines, good until the end of '09, wondering how best to use them. I have enough miles on our AAdvantage program for Carole and me to take a trip later this year, so I was free to plan a trip of some sort that didn't have to include her. So I was sittin' around Saturday when it hit me: go to Surprise!

All my life I've wanted to go to a Texas Ranger spring training, but circumstances were never right. Well, I have Spring Break coming, I've got two free's the time! So I called Blake. Sorry, Brett, maybe next time. Blake, of course, was as ecstatic as a hobo with a baloney sandwich. He'd had the same dream of sitting in the warm, spring sun, basking in the warmth of the greatest game ever designed. A quick check with our wives to see if this was okay with them (an incredibly essential and smart thing to do), and full of unselfishness, they gave us their blessing.

So we'll be flying out to Phoenix and then to the strangely named suburb of Surprise, an oasis of green diamonds where millionaire ballplayers assemble every spring to work the kinks out. Another item scratched off my bucket list.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Step Back, Please

I thought it might be interesting to do this: tell me where you were (geographically speaking) and what you were doing 20 years ago this month.