Thanksgiving Day

Church was at Rye Preserve today.  It’s not a premier outdoor venue.  There are limited facilities.  The pavilion is old.  The bathhouse is a little rustic.  Several of the “trails” are really fire-breaks and utility roads.  There is no manicured lawn.  The grass is patchy with many bare areas and lots of weeds.  There is a dead tree standing among moss laden, scrubby brush. But, there is much of the 145 acres that is completely untouched.

A couple of us arrived early for prayer.  As is our custom, we discussed some of our prayer concerns – people, circumstances, needs.  But there was constant distraction.  Nature is noisy!

It’s so easy to tune out the glory that is evident in the world Glory created.  We chase after the distractions as if they are the main intent while completely ignoring the main event.  What a waste.  All God has displayed goes practically unseen.

Familiarity truly does breed contempt!

This time, our prayer consisted of praise and thanksgiving.  May I learn how to “in everything give thanks.”

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Accidental Cleaning

It was a morning like any other . . .


My All-Purpose Cleaner of Choice

Except my wife is out of the country, my oldest son, who is home for Spring Break, took my middle son to a track meet at 6:45 in the morning and my daughter is having a DJ over at 9am to plan her wedding and reception sound and music, of which she reminds me at 8:11am as she prepares to go pick up her fiance . . .

Being a very competent, equal partner, I begin straightening in a manner worthy of the standards of my absent spouse.  No problem.  I’ve got this.  49 minutes to spotless.

I open the cabinet door to throw away a scrap of paper – and trash falls out.  Okay, I can deal with an overflowing trashcan.  “J_,” (the youngest son is still home) “come take out the trash.  NOW!”  I pull out the can and remove the bag.  Replacing it with a fresh bag, I go to put the can back in the cabinet when I discover a pizza box, several wrappers of various sorts and a paper plate pressed into the back of the cabinet.  As I reach to the back of the cabinet to retrieve the A.W.O.L. trash, I notice a peculiar odor, somewhat akin to slightly sweetened moldy salad greens with a rancid grease dressing on the side.

Knowing this would be unacceptable to leave once discovered, I grabbed my trusty all-purpose cleaner of choice – Formula 409.  After a generous soaking I scoured all the interior surfaces thoroughly.  While I was there, I might as well do the door, right?  A good soaking, a good scouring – practically like new.

But, what about the cabinets next to the trash door.  In comparison to the newly cleaned door, they look absolutely hideous.  I have a few minutes.  And plenty of 409.  I’ll just clean down to the corner.  7 drawers and a cabinet door and no more . . .But the cabinet door is a split door on a 90 degree angle for the corner.  I can’t just do half the door!  But now, I have turned the corner.  What about the next door.  I’ll just go down to the dishwasher.  More 409 soaking and scouring and sweating (it’s a little warm in here this morning) and now there are two more beautifully clean doors.

You know, I never really noticed how dirty the kick plate on the dish washer is.  Or the upper face plate for that matter.  They’re supposed to be white, for cryin’ out loud, not dingy grey.  More 409.  Lots more 409 – these textured surfaces are hard to clean.  Maybe if I soak it for a few minutes.  Now all I have left is one more corner cabinet.  I can’t leave just one cabinet door uncleaned.

Okay, 8:49.  11 minutes to spotless.  I’ve got this . . .

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Conversations With the Homeless

Conversations With the Homeless.

Dennis Cardiff followed my blog recently and is my habit, I popped over to check his out as I do with all new follows.  His link is above, I would encourage you to take a look.

The reasons for homelessness are as varied as the homeless themselves.  Reactions to them range from pity to loathing, but the worst is probably blindness.  I think there is very little in this world that is more horrible than to be invisible, to be unworthy of notice.

I don’t work downtown in a large city.  I don’t often pass through the areas where the homeless congregate.  I don’t see the same ones daily, or even weekly, but they are precious to me just the same and I look for them as often as I am near their “turf”.  Many I will not see for months at a time, but I never stop praying and hoping for an opportunity to tell them one more time that they are something of value – that they are worth knowing.

Most of my contact comes when they are in jail.  When there are not too many of them, I see them weekly.  Right now there are 8 in the county jail (an 18 mile drive to nowhere, with only 2 visits per day allowed), so I am only seeing them every other week.  I send them books and postcards (our facility doesn’t permit letters – they can send me a 6 page letter, but I have to reply on postcards that are less than 6 inches by 4 1/2 inches).

When people talk about prostitutes, homeless, addicts, bums, etc., I have at least a dozen names and faces in each category.  This isn’t an undesirable mass of sub-human creatures.  These are daughters, sons, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, parents, children, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, grandchildren – real people, with real stories and real value.

Take a chance.  Do lunch with a homeless person.  Make a new friend.  Change a life – probably your own

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


It’s amazing the things we don’t even realize we have until they are gone.

As vital and important as air is to my very existence, I don’t really “notice” it.  Even being winded from a faster than average running pace, or a 90 second arm wrestling match (I believe it is actually 4 of 5, not 3 of 4, Dave), I don’t really think of my dependence on the air.  When it is foul, I don’t tend to reminisce about time I enjoyed fresh air on the heights of Mt. Cammerer, deep in the Smokey Mountain National Forrest.  To the very best of my recollection, the only time I really appreciated air was immediately following a near drowning experience.  With head aching and lungs burning I gulped in a breath and it was the sweetest, most perfect moment I had ever experienced.  In that moment, I truly “noticed” air.  I really, really appreciated it for everything it means. For all of about 45 seconds . . .

How quickly we take so many things for granted.

Today is my wife’s birthday (I won’t mention age, since she is hypersensitive about being older than me).  She’s out of town with my sister, and I miss her – for so many reasons that I usually don’t even think about.  I’ve spent more than half my life with her.

Man, I really miss her.

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