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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Princess Pics

Here are some fun portraits I had taken of my last little Princess -- Kaley.

Monday, November 24, 2008

first frost at the cabin

I looked out at the pumpkin by my front door last week and saw it sprinkled with a wispy snow. It reminded me of this poem whose colorful language sounds so like the Appalachian region of East Tennessee. When we lived in Alabama, one of our favorite autumn events was "Homestead Hollow," a small, harvest festival held on an old country homestead. There were crafters' booths, a petting zoo, food vendors, and hot spiced cider. You could walk through the homestead grounds and there were people making soap, working with bees, and playing banjos and guitars. In the kitchen, there was all manner of dried fruits hanging from the rafters that had been prepared for the winter days. This poem "puts me in the mind" of a mountain family with their cabin full of summer's bounty gazing at the first drift of snow outside the window. Kind-of makes you want to sit in a pine rocker beside a rustic fireplace.

"When the Frost is on the Punkin"
(James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916)

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in their stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me—
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

rainy day

" Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby."
Langston Hughes

"Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet."
Roger Miller

"Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life."
John Updike

I guess you have to be sentimental to enjoy a rainy day. There is something that speaks to the soul when gazing at the monochromatic tones of gray clouds and silver puddles. Watching the dripping beads outside the window inspires quiet tasks and reflective moods. Maybe we will pen a great poem, savor a beloved book, or bake a crock full of scones.

The folks in London and Seattle have learned to adapt and flourish in liquid weather. Maybe that's why these places turn out famous authors and aromatic coffee. They know the value of a rainy day is not in what you can't do, but in what you can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the cub scout regatta

Last night, Stewart competed in the Raingutter Regatta for his Cub Scout Pack. It was an exciting night. All the boys did so well. You could just feel their budding manhood in every puff of air they blew on the sails of their handbuilt boats. There were fathers standing around, giving advice, watching with pride, agonizing over tipsy sails and slow starts. I wasn't sure how Stewart would do, and I know that sometimes you learn more from losing than winning. What weird emotions motherhood creates in you -- you want them to succeed, but fear they'll not really understand life if they do!

But, whether he happened to get a good position or whatever, he puffed his way to 1st place. I was very proud of him. He competes Saturday in the regional race. He'll need a lot of wind in his sails for that one.
Practice puffing
(no hands allowed in the race)
Getting his trophy

the winner and his stuff

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.

birthdays & bears

Autumn and Kaley have birthdays 2 days apart. We celebrated them separately this year, but they each wanted something from Build-a-Bear. So, they used Grammie's birthday money and had a fun time selecting a bear and clothes to go with it. How wonderful to watch a child cuddle a teddy bear and see the simple joy in her eyes.

Happy Birthday, Autumn

Paying for the bears.

Does this look good?

Choosing the right outfit.

Happy Birthday, Kaley

Sunday, November 9, 2008

it was way cool

I returned last night from an awesome two days at the Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference. The sessions were packed with information -- I learned a lot that I can't wait to use. I saw several friends there and met some new ones. Thanks WPH for putting together a fantastic conference.

On the way home, I drove through Anderson and then the little town of Alexandria, only a few miles from where we pastored in Summitville 5 years ago. I stopped at Gaither Family Resources on Route 9 and bought the newest DVD from Signature Sound and got a free CD -- GVB new Christmas CD! Can't wait to hear it.

What a great weekend -- new information, friends, deja vu, and some cool stuff to come home with.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a post-script

" . . .the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes." (Daniel 4:31)

"He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning."
(Daniel 2:20)

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)

"There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD." (Proverbs 21:30)

" The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." (Psalm 24:1)

Monday, November 3, 2008

makeover nation

In a nation that reveres the new and hot, it is hardly surprising that the buzzword of the election cycle is change. We are the culture that lauds whatever is the most interesting thing out of the gate, as it were.

Our technology and desire for excellence have created this super-hunger for the most appealing. We care about the packaging. We are driven to the brightest colors, the cutest design, the highest rating.

We want glamour and poise on the screen -- give us news anchors and talk show hosts that have charisma and good looks. We're tired of the old wallpaper in the living room -- call in the extreme home team and give us a new look. The cell phone is "so yesterday" -- give us the latest Iphone or Blackberry. We deserve the latest; the worst thing that can be said about us is that we're "lost in the '90's." Horrors! America detests what is dated and adores what is hot.

The fascination we have with media glitz and makeover hype has carried over now into our electorate. When it comes to our leaders -- give us something different, something smooth, something that makes us feel like the new latte at Starbucks or the new fashions on 5th Avenue -- advanced and tight. We are willing to give character a pass if the bubble wrap is cool.

When America casts its vote tomorrow, I hope we get over the "thing" we have with new and hot, and go for what our gut says -- tried and tested is good if it represents what is right and honorable. Lots of "new" things fail on the market, but the values that made America great are always in good taste.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

mental clutter

Life is not flat. It has a shape and texture.

The texture of our days begins in the mind. The mind is life's repository where the files of our days are stored. When all is in order, the files run smoothly. But trust life to get hectic, the car to break down, the money to run low, the schedule to get crowded - and the mind goes into emergency mode.

Sometimes it can resemble a back alley. You've seen those plots behind city restaurants where the cook's assistants discard the cardboard containers. Boxes piled upon each other in no certain order, just a jumble of this and that, needing to be disposed of.

At other times, the mind can be like a shipping warehouse, full of good things, waiting to be opened up and used. The plain brown of the package conceals the potential that's stacking up, needing an outlet.

The mind stores appointments, to-do lists, holiday plans, relationship needs, church obligations, and family calendars. These boxes of this and that stack up, creating chaos and pushing out peace.

Sometimes I need a forklift; sometimes a pair of box cutters. Sooner or later, I start ripping into boxes and try to bring some order to this clutter of mental data.

Time to move this stuff out -- another load is coming.
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