31 July 2008

Adversity: in a pit with a Lion


A popular book right now, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson, reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in 300, where the young King Leonidus must prove himself and finds himself face to face with a snarling beast, on a cold snowy night...wedged into a cavernous hole.

The young king understands his foe.....drawing it to himself by luring it into a narrow place in the cavern, then just as it leaps at him it finds itself caught by the narrow gap and the king thrusts his spear into the beast. Man, I love this film!


Several days ago my sister sent an inspirational message to me regarding viewing adversity as opportunity, in believing that at times, we are thrust into situations to "prove ourselves" or better yet, allow God to prove Himself. A few days back my brother sent me a chapter out of Batterson's In a Pit, entitled the Art of Reframing. I have not read the whole book, but certainly plan to now. I was reminded of a time in my life where I was trying to pray away adversity, asking for a clear path (ie: an easy path), not realizing that in these trials God was producing a platform for significant change.

Batterson writes "if God answered our prayer (to remove adversity), it would rob us of our greatest opportunities. Many of our prayers would short-circuit God's plans and purposes for our lives if He answered them. Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and instead ask Him what He wants us to get out of them."

He goes on to say that "no adversity equals no opportunity.....and that adversity can produce an increased capacity to serve God".

There have been several times where I feel like Leonidus, staring down the jaws of that beast that would gnash my bones to pieces, feeling the cold glare of an enemy and the gash from its claw as it rips into my chest. I won't kid you.....while I am confident in the decision to leave my job, I'm scared as the Hot Gates (300 reference). But I have seen where the adversity that has "woven a thread of irony" to this story has created the opportunity to which I am about to embark, and I pray it does produce an increased capacity to serve my King......the one who created both beast and man.

wii = whee

Feeling rather embarrassed for my friend, and uncomfortable to watch this performance myself, I sat in their basement last Saturday night as he insisted we get out their new wii system and play. I'm not really the computer games sorta guy, I insisted. But, you have to know Mark's enthusiasm.......for anything......even stale bread.

So I relented, and he put on the boxing selection and I couldn't believe a grown man was acting this out like he was. Then it was my turn...........oh my word! What a work-out! That boxing was awesome!........I found myself dancing around like Sugar Ray, quoting the great Ali-floatin' like a butterfly, stingin' like a bee! Sidenote: I met Ali once, he did magic tricks for some college buddies and I in McDonalds in Berrien Springs, Michigan....no lie.

I'm ready for round two.

30 July 2008

family friendly fun

Holiday World.

Well, I guess the name says it all, right? This bastion of family fun in southern Indiana is possibly one of the best kept secrets from us northerners. Although, based on the crowds, I think the secret is getting out.

This place is great.....we head there with the in-laws (the whole clan) every other year and it just keeps getting better. Reasonable prices for admission, free drinks throughout the park, reasonably priced food, rides for kids and big kids......roller coasters known throughout the Midwest, and a water park unparralled in the Hoosier State.

One thing I noticed, different from my previous two visits, was several signs posted at rides warning folks to shy away from rides if they have heart conditions, neck injury, recent surgery, pregnancy, recently ill, etc.. I also enjoyed the new weight limit signs posted at various multi-user rides, such as the Raging Rapids where 8 brave souls spin around in a giant inner tube dodging water.......evidently the inner tubes weight limit is 635 lbs. Makes me wonder....

1) How did they find out its limit? Did they start packing robust people on the boat until eventually it was submerged?
2) What prompted the limit listing? Was there a weight watchers' outing at Holiday World that turned tragic on the Rapids?
3) Aren't they opening themselves up for a lawsuit when an innocent teenager manning the ride guestimates the weight and says, "hey, fatty, off the boat!"?
4) Wouldn't you hate to be the last one stepping onto the inner tube, getting glances from your fellow passengers knowing they're thinking, "MmHmm-he just put us over the top. We're going to die."?


29 July 2008

BREAKING FREE

We are free in ways we never should be, sweet release from the grip of these chains

Here we go.....

My last day on the job is Friday, August 1. After 12 years, and the only post-college job I've known (as in started the day after graduation), and the absolute source of my identity in river city, God made it really clear to me.....it's His timing to move on. The obvious question is "move on to what?"

And that's the beauty of it. I don't have the slightest idea. But I couldn't be more confident in the decision. It is a leap of faith, no doubt. Side note: wife is firmly behind this.

We're staying in river city....we see too much potential in areas I believe He is calling us to. I may strike out on my own; it is clear to see God's providing already for this at least in an interim basis. Long term? Well, we'll just follow His lead.

About a year ago I was reading a book entitled "Discover your Destiny" in which the author portrays a mighty elephant tied to a stake to train it into submission. After some time the trainer removes the stake, however, the elephant, still thinking it is chained, remains captive. The author asks......"what are the imaginary stakes in your life?" My immediate response was "my job". Then I thought, no, that's too obvious. But, it is obvious.

There has been much thought spent on this. It began about 2 years ago and has an amusing thread of irony woven into the story-maybe I'll share in the future. I know this: if I do not activate my own pursuits now, then when? It is a strange feeling indeed, both for the remaining days and for what lies ahead come Monday morning. It is as much about spiritual freedom as it is in pursuing the desires God has formed in my heart.

God has been at work on this piece of clay over the last two years. The foggy lake was like a death....a death of my own reason, a death of who I thought God was supposed to be. He's opened my eyes to so much around me, transforming my mind and soul; I recognize now it isn't at all about seeing to the other side!

Another blogger often affectionately calls God "ridiculous" because He is so much bigger and knowing than we allow Him to be in our lives, that when He does move........we're left dumbfounded. I think God's been looking down with a big 'ol smile on His face.........saying, yeah, ok buddy, you think putting on 22 lbs of muscle is an accomplishment.........WATCH THIS!

All that is within me cries, for you alone be glorified....Emmanuel, God with us. My heart sings a brand new song, the debt is paid, these chains are gone....Emmanuel, God with us.

25 July 2008

prelude to the major announcement


Going through some files, I came across some words I penned in November, 2006, when I had found myself at about the lowest point in my life....full of doubt and unable to reason confidently to make clear decisions.

As I read through them today.....I thought they would make a beautiful prelude for a significant announcement I plan to make next week........and some of you who read my wife's blog already know what's coming. We're off to Holiday World for the next several days; be back on Wednesday with the announcement! All I know is.....God is faithful.


State of Haze

I was at a meeting this afternoon, in Culver. It was damp & cool-typical for November. I wanted a warm-up and stopped by the coffee shop across from the town park on the lake. I took my coffee across the street and wandered down to the lake shore. The mist clouded my glasses so I removed them. Of course, no one else was to be found in the park-completely alone.

The fog was intense enough over the face of the lake to prevent a view to the other side. In fact, the cloud appeared to join as one with the lake with little or no distinguishable line. It appeared as if the flock of ducks bobbing in the water were hanging in mid-air. You could see to the left and right side of the lake, but they quickly evaporated further down the shore.

I could not see the other side. I knew it was there. I knew that what appeared to be an abyss really had definition. More than a veil covering the far shore, this was bleak, heavy in the face and all consuming. All encompassing, enclosing.

Why has this decision, once so obvious, been clouded with what is an indiscernible "other side". Is it really a step of faith or is God choosing to remain silent? Is the answer yes and yes? Yes- He will walk with me, in either decision made. Or is it that my eyes only see the abyss? Is it of my own making-did I place the cloud there? Am I listening to my heart or mind? Is this my answer to what I prayed for when I asked God to make it obvious to step aside before it was too late? How can this be an answer?

I am walking in an all encompassing, all-consuming haze. I cannot see the other side, only hear doubts of its existence. And when assurances come by those I am close to-I direct them again to the abyss. It's easy to call it stepping out in faith when you're not the one responsible for making it to the other side. Was it like this when Peter stepped out of the boat?

God-you're going to have to make the answer incredibly obvious to me. If You can't speak to me because I have been so overtaken by the cloud, speak through my friends and give me the courage to trust You in them.

Rochester, on the Michigan Road


My friend over at "Down the Road" is doing a remarkable job documenting sections of the Michigan Road through the state and I believe a collaborative effort is in the future. I thought I would throw in a few pictures of my own and some history on Rochester, Indiana.

Third Fulton County Courthouse-1895-96

Newly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, here is an excerpt on the early history of Downtown Rochester from the application for historic status:

Rochester was established initially as a trading post, for use including the Native Americans, in 1831 at the crossing of the Michigan Road with Mill Creek two miles south of the Tippecanoe River. Mill Creek flows between Lake Manitou on Rochester’s east side to the Tippecanoe River. Alexander Chamberlain operated the trading post, along with one in Logansport, another Michigan Road town to the south. Chamberlain and Lot Bozarth filed a plat for the town of Rochester in Cass County in 1835; it was not until 1836 that Fulton County was formed from the northern part of Cass County. The original plat straddled the Michigan Road from Mill Creek (or at present day 3rd Street) south to South Street (now 8th Street); Chamberlain built the first tavern-hotel at 516 Main Street in 1835. In 1836 Lot Bozarth and a man by the name of Caldwell were licensed to sell groceries for one year in Rochester for the licensing fee of $25.00, and the charge applied to “each license hereafter issued for each tavern”. This appears to be the beginning of formal commercial enterprise in the town of Rochester.


Bailey's-a step back in time


Excerpt on the Michigan Road:

Along with the decision to make Rochester the county seat, its location on the Michigan Road also further created commercial activity in the town. The Michigan Road, Main Street in Rochester, was Indiana’s first commissioned road linking Madison, Indiana on the Ohio River in the south to Michigan City, on Lake Michigan in the north via the new state capital of Indianapolis. The State Legislature established funding for the road in 1824 and finalized treaties with the Native American tribes to purchase lands for construction in 1826. In 1828 surveying was completed along the route with construction beginning shortly after. The original plans for the road would have kept the road further to the west, but to avoid the Kankakee wetland areas, the road made a northeasterly route from Logansport to Rochester, and then began a more northerly route to South Bend before heading west to Michigan City. In 1831 William Polke was appointed commissioner for the Michigan Road and brought his family to Fulton County and built a cabin between current day Rochester and the Tippecanoe River. Polke was the first non-Native American to settle in the county. The Michigan Road brought settlement and enterprise to the north central part of the state with weary travelers utilizing the businesses in the established towns along the road such as Rochester.


Rochester's Times Theater

Excerpt on Historic Advertising (I love this story!):

A Mail Pouch Tobacco sign (c. 1930) approximately twelve feet wide by fifteen feet tall is located on the left side of the building (north end of historic district), but an earlier advertising sign (c. 1900) was painted on the same wall for a cigar brand not commonly seen. The sign, approximately sixty feet wide by twenty feet tall, is bleeding through the Mail Pouch sign and advertises 5 cent Henry George cigars with the slogan “I am for men”. It uses yellow-gold and red and white highlights on lettering with a black background. Henry George was a popular political activist and economist during the late 19th century and sold over three million copies of his book “Progress and Poverty”. A cigar brand was named for Henry George around 1900.


This building and its adjoining buildings are some of my favorites in Rochester because architectural they are so intact from their original construction. Great, great grandad operated a saddle and tack shop out of the building with the historic advertising painted on the side....and very well may have been responsible for having it painted.





Fair Fix


Living in Indiana, your options for good entertainment venues are few and far between. So, of course, when the county fair opens.......you simply have to go. It is what we do. We go to the county fair....kinda like eating green bean casserole.

Typically we go on Thursday night because that is when they have the antique tractor parade....several old guys driving their tractors down the dirt concourse, it is also when the sounds of Glen Miller echo from the performance tent by a local big band orchestra. This year we went on Wednesday night and the only entertainment provided was the steer showings and some activity at the horse arena.

We checked out all the animals....turkeys, rabbits and chickens too and I told the kids, "hey, that's the kind of chickens your dad had in 4-H", but I don't think they cared. We went through the exhibit barn, entering through a colonnade of cornstalks in 5 gallon buckets. Regarding a goofy poster board display, I said to my wife..."how does that qualify for a project? " It's amazing what they allow for projects nowadays.

Eating our elephant ears, we watched an old guy in suspenders that now I wished I had taken a picture of near the pork producers tent. Then watched some of the horse shows with one of our former youth group kids who was trying to pick up a girl using his younger cousin as bait.

The 4-H Fair.

24 July 2008

Summer Drive



Being inspired by Indiana Poet Laureate, Norbert Krapf, and our drive home from the county fair last night, I decided to try my own hand at mixing words with artistry......




Summer Drive

Ah, the aroma of corn tassels flooding
Down the road,
Into my open car window
It distracts me from the bumpity bump of
Tires on the old pitted road
Lined with great forests of straightly planted
Tightly packed dark green stalks.
Between me and that wilderness
Kept at bay by rusted wire
Clouds of Queen Anne’s lace appear as though
They hover just above waves of grasses
And bouquets of blue chicory and pink sweet pea.
Bumpity bump, slowing down
Barely crawling
Watching the sun set through the tassels
Making planted rows shimmer nearly ruby red
A little slower, bump-
ity

Bump.

23 July 2008

Artistry in Stone in Argos

Foker's personal house in Argos; notice the "wheel" and star designs in the chimney

There is a humble little town in northern Indiana, straddling the Michigan Road and long bypassed by U.S. 31. The little town's main identity these days....particularly THESE days.....is the Marshall County 4-H fair. But this little town also boasts of probably the finest collection of stone crafted homes and porches in all of Indiana, executed by probably the finest stone mason the Hoosier state has ever known.

William Foker was born at the dawn of the Civil War. Making Marshall County his home from early on, Foker became enamored with the building projects at the University of Notre Dame and applied himself to the masonry trade working under expert stone masons the university brought from Italy.

Becoming an expert with the pick and chisel, Foker began creating intriguing fieldstone porches, both dressed and undressed (meaning hand cut or not). His fame quickly grew locally where he began to receive projects in a thirty mile radius of Argos including Culver, Plymouth, Bourbon and Tyner. Foker created an identifying trademark he called the "wheel of life" based on his personal religious beliefs. The "wheel" can commonly be found in the large cut stone fireplaces of his commissions. His most important works spanned from about the turn of the 19th century to some of his last projects for the WPA, including the Izaak Walton League Building near Argos.

I would place his stone work up against any other mason in Indiana. It is remarkable both by the craftsmanship of stone fitting against stone, but also by the design work involved in creating the porches and homes.........appearing as though they grew out of the earth themselves.
An oriental-inspired bungalow with Foker's handiwork

My great, great grandad was a contemporary of Mr. Foker's and tried his own hand at stone masonry creating many of the smaller pebble stacked porches and walls in the Lake Maxinkuckee area. Still, no comparison to Foker. And Argos is the richer for having the master craftsman's hand applied to her history.

22 July 2008

McCain-same old, same old

Evidently, since I'm such a die-hard Republican ("they" know....just by looking at your primary voting record.....I'm considered a "Hard R"....I know these things because I was in the trade) I received my free McCain bumper sticker along with a lengthy letter asking for money.

I used to like McCain....I voted for him in protest over Bush in 2000.....but he's sold out to the republican power mongers which really hurts my respect for the guy. Then I get this letter spouting off the same rhetoric we've been hearing for years from my party....here's some excerpts:

"His (Obama's) idea of change is to raise your taxes, radically expand the size and scope of our government........."

"Now that the Democrats' battle-tested fundraising machine-fueled largely by liberal special interest groups, Big Labor, .........is focused on defeating me........."

"....the voters want more than petty partisan bickering. They want real answers to the real challenges we now face-not empty rhetoric or hollow promises-and I am offering bold solutions to our challenges, not politics as usual."

"(Obama) has championed a long list of pork-barrel projects for his state..."

"That kind of careless spending in not change: It is business as usual in Washington, and it's all a part of the same wasteful and corrupting system that we need to end."

"they would impose-overnight-the single largest tax increase since WWII"

"you can be certain your tax rate will increase across the board"

"reckless and dangerous move that would threaten the long term security of our country."

I firmly believe Obama's liberal and naive vision of change....."

I've taken the liberty of highlighting in red the common rhetoric we hear during the campaign season, rhetoric Senator McCain says the other side is guilty of producing. These excerpts were from a 4-page letter outlining the evils of Obama and McCains ability to make real change.

Doesn't everyone know this is just garbage? Don't his strategists know we're on to them? I think I saw a reference somewhere in the letter to Al Gore........they forgot to switch his name to Obama from 8 years ago! I'm not saying Obama isn't guilty of this stuff too, but c'mon, are there really still people out there who get all up in arms over this stuff? Haven't we gotten a little smarter than this?

If I ever run another campaign.....it's going to be like nothing no one has ever seen before. I'll say things like this............"Well, I PAY my taxes" and "I'VE never beat an old lady for a parking space" and "MY dog never poops in the neighbor's yard"........and if it gets really tight, I'll claim to deliver pizza to everyone free of charge or rid the world of cats or something else ridiculous.

Because it isn't at all about what can be done, or how to lead a city, state or nation......it's all about power-brokering and making up stuff to get people to hate you less than the other guy. Simply stated, I think our democracy is broken folks. I don't know how else to say it.

21 July 2008

train up a tree in the way it should go....


I have this love of sycamore trees. I'm not sure why....it could be the fond memories I have of a handful that grew around my grandpa's woods, or the stark contrast they present against a woods or blue sky.

In 2003 we had an unexpected pregnancy that ended sadly. We decided to plant a tree....of course, a sycamore tree would do fine. We found a sapling growing along the road within eyesight of the farm on which my grandpa was born. I jumped out of the car with a bucket and shovel and brought it home.

The poor thing had a rough start. The sapling was gnawed off at the base by a rabbit during the first winter. In the spring, it shot up so quickly that it soon became an unstable shoot that whipped violently in the wind and split it down the center. So, we started over again....a little more nurturing this time until the tree in the picture above (Father's Day, 2004) now stands3x its height and is as wide as it is tall.

But I never pruned it and its branches were terribly low to the ground. So, Sunday, I got out the loppers and pensively, carefully......and in some ways, sadly removed three lower branches. I know a little more pruning is going to come soon. But I just couldn't help but think of the little twig, having gone through so much, to have to endure some pruning. But it is for the tree's own good should I want it to be a strong and healthy tree some day. And pruning produces growth....another awesome thing to see as the tree, only 5 years old, continues to climb higher into the sky.

The comparison between our little sycamore and our kids is obvious here. Some tough love has been required lately to see some new growth that will ensure a strong man and strong woman in the future. Meanwhile, I keep the loppers handy.

whadaya mean not for adults?

Baking in the heat wave from the last week and fortunate enough to have my son pick out a slip and slide for his birthday......Sunday seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a little wet in the backyard.

I did not plan to take part. This is how it started. The boy was convinced the slip and slide wouldn't work because our hose had a hole in it. He tells Grandpa who bought him the slip and slide and grandpa drops off a new hose. There is no leak in the hose by the way. The boy still isn't satisfied (this happens a lot), but my daughter still wants to slip and slide. So she wants dad to help make her go faster. Quickly becoming familiar with the engineering of the slip and slide, I realized it need to be put further down our small hill in the backyard to allow proper water sprinkling across the slide and provide for greater velocity of slipping by having a greater distance of running toward it.

It works! But now the daughter hasn't truly mastered the slip and slide and so I was trying to explain without getting wet how to make it work for you. Now she wanted ME to do it. Hmmm....oooookkkkaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy. I went in the house and got my athletic shorts on and came out and swoooooooosh! I launched over the end of the slip and slide.

WHOAHAAHAHAO!!! That was kinda fun. I realized though the soaked shorts might have been a little too revealing for the neighborhood. But at this point I was having too much fun to care. Then the boy comes out and thinks "wow-this works". So he gets his trunks on. Now we're having a blast slipping and sliding. Then we holler for mom to come out. Mom says "you know that says it's not for adults? It may cause neck and back injury" aww, mom!

Then not to be outdone by dad acting like a kid with the kids.....mom gets on her suit. I imagine the neighbors were thinking.....it's time to move away, bunch of rednecks! Especially after we hung my boxers on the line to dry.

It could be my non-acceptance of the approaching 4-0 will get me into trouble. My neck was a little sore afterward. Well, there goes my $900+ chiropractic and massage charges.....down the.....er, uh.....slip and slide.

knee deep in James

One of my favorite books of the Bible is James. There are a number of key phrases that come from the 5 chapters of this book I've found myself quoting from time to time. One verse....that never made it worthy of my black felt tip underliner is James 3:18, I'll through in 17 for context.

17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

For some reason, 18 really has me baffled.......rereading and rereading it. I think I've read through all of James five times now since the beginning of May. I've probably read 3:18 50x. So, I'm asking for help out there in understanding this verse. Is it as simple as the "righteous" work we do is to be done in a peaceful loving way? If that's the case, then I know of a lot of people speaking loudly and pushing righteousness that must be a false form of righteousness because it isn't being done by "those who make peace".

Does that make sense? If the Bible is true, then righteousness cannot be delivered by those doing so in a non-peaceful manner.

The short of it is.......I'm baffled......what is God trying to get through my thick skull?

18 July 2008

wow.

I couldn't think of a better way to start off a new year of blogging than to send you to one of the most powerful things I've seen on line.

Check out the youtube post called "Cardboard Testimonies" on www.lnorsworthy.blogspot.com

Pretty amazing.

geesh-will the madness ever end?!?!?


Well, time to celebrate......it has been a year now since I've started blogging.......and I've got a stack of ideas for more posts about life here in the Hoosier State.


From the first post on HH:


I have found over the years, being a native born Hoosier, it takes a great deal of patience and character to dig your feet into the dirt and choose to love a place you often find yourself rolling your eyes in disbelief over. Outrageous, humorous, and often pathetic things that make me scratch my head sometimes, but then, heck, that's what being a Hoosier is all about.So this will be my tool to express my deep fondness of living life right here in small town Indiana. It will include ponderings on faith, politics, the great outdoors and my day to day life as dad and husband.We have something special here in the heartland.......it's a way of life that I have chosen to find endearing. The reality is.........well, life is good here.


Have an awesome weekend everyone-get out and enjoy the heat!

17 July 2008

At just the right time.

Do you know how God can use someone at just the right time, to say just the right thing?

There is a lot going on in my life right now.......with a lot of uncertainty ahead. I am trusting that God has used the adversity of the last two years to culminate into something quite remarkable on the other side. My beautiful wife certainly believes this to be the case. It was the case for David and I can see parrallels in his life and mine.

My sister forwarded this snipet from Joel Olstein. Not that I'm a big JO fan, but the words were encouraging and came at just the right time.


Seeing Adversity The Right Way

Anytime God is about to take you to a new level you're going to face opposition. There will be new battles to fight and new obstacles to overcome. It's easy to get discouraged and think, "Why is this happening?" But we have to change our thinking and focus on the fact that on the other side of those challenges is a new level of victory--a new level of success.
David would only be known as a shepherd boy if it weren't for Goliath. David's enemy became the tool that God used to promote him. And God will do the same in your life today. He'll use those challenges and difficulties in your life to catapult you towards success! If you are going through a hard time today, if things look impossible, don't give up now. Change your perspective and believe that God is working behind the scenes. Put a smile on your face and stand in confidence knowing that you are a child of the Most High God.
When all is said and done, you're not just going to come out of that difficulty, but you're coming out stronger, wiser, and better than you were before! That problem is going to be the catalyst for God to open supernatural doors of opportunity for you! Stand strong in the Lord today and trust that what the enemy meant for your harm, God will turn around and use to your advantage. He'll take you places you never dreamed and cause you to rise higher and higher in every area of your life!

Joel Osteen Ministries

16 July 2008

revolution

I'm out with a buddy last night and he needs to pick something up from a store and the store manager and I begin a conversation about ordinances in our beloved river city. The store manager told me that a client of his and well respected (sort of) business man told him and the client's employees that in no way was he going to abide by these new ordinances.....that he gave a lot of money to the current mayor's campaign and it didn't matter how much he racked up in penalties for non-compliance, he wouldn't pay it and wasn't complying with the ordinance. My guess is that the mayor will look the other way. Maybe.

Yet another breakdown of sanity, let alone civic ethics, in river city.

I know I've been a cynic and a grass is greener guy...........but I think I'm about at the point where I throw caution to the wind and begin a revolution. Or at least be very LOUD.

I mean, come on, from national to state politics.......how many times do we get lied to, particularly in this election year? Have you seen all the claims that Mitch is making in his ads? Could it be any more transparent what is happening with oil companies vying for Iraq and off-shore drilling with the Bush administration? And local politics in the county and city reek of scandal, puppetry and selfish ambition.

And who gets the short end of the stick?

I don't know what it would take to begin a change........certainly a revolutionary approach to engaging in politics. Possibly honesty and integrity....but they don't get you very far. Again, I may be on a rant and within a few weeks you may more fully understand why. What's that quote, oh yeah, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Alas, everyone is too lazy to care.
by the way.....the new jibjab is pretty funny. http://www.jibjab.com/

15 July 2008

the garden


I just hated working in the garden when I was a kid. Our soil was a hard clay and the benefit we received from the low production of produce was hardly worth the effort. Our "job list" always consisted of hoeing or weeding 1 or 2 rows. If there was a punishment to be handed out, it would be double that.
Now that I have my own small victory garden, I long for the expanse that my parents had to stretch out potatoes, tomatoes, green beans and corn and everything else. We've got great soil in town, just not a lot of room to plant things. That, along with the thought we were going to be gone over a chunk of the summer led us to plant a much smaller garden this year. We're calling it our "salsa" garden. Due to a small section of volunteer cone flowers, we were pushed to get everything into a 8' by 5' space. Tomatoes, cilantro and bell peppers. Unfortunately, the narrow rows are causing a problem for weeding. And with the head start the weeds had while we were our West, I'm not sure our garden will be very victorious this year in producing salsa.
What I'd really like to do is move the garden to a sunnier spot in our backyard. However, my wife feels like we need someplace for the kids to play; still, I could quadruple the size of the garden and have enough room to get my mower between the rows like my dad does! Speaking of dad, my son kinda stands like him.

14 July 2008

did you feel the earth move?


Something went terribly wrong yesterday. Did you sense that something, somewhere was out of whack in the Hoosier cosmos? That the order of the universe was somehow off-kilter?

I think I know why. It was the green bean casserole-less family reunion I attended yesterday. On our 1 1/2 hour drive to Ockley, Indiana the tantalizing thought of someones great aunt Betty's scrumptious green bean casserole landing on my taste buds was nearly impossible to put aside and concentrate on my driving.

And then, upon arrival in the wooded glen surrounded by corn fields, to find on the tables spread out in the garage...........no green bean casserole. Once I got to the end of the line, I looked back in confusion as to how I could have missed it. But no, it was not there. Leaving with my baked beans & potato salad, like a kid who didn't get what they wanted for Christmas, I looked back once again in bewilderment.....no, no green bean casserole.

How could this be? Everything else was in place. The old people, the masses of kids whom I do not know, the tent for shade, the horse shoe pit, even the flies.

My sad countenance was hardly changed by the dog who kept jumping into the creek and shaking off, getting all those around him wet.

I looked at my wife enjoying her paper plate feast on a blanket in the shade and in my head thought....."how can your family call themselves Hoosiers?"


I bet there will be our official state dish there next year, if not three or four.

10 July 2008

Join us on our Westward Trip!


I have set up a sister blog with pictures and short stories from the recent vacation out West.




And I'll get back to Hoosier Happenings soon. Enjoy!

09 July 2008

to Own a Dragon

Another great book by Don Miller and unlike his other books. Purchasing it to give a friend, but wanting to read it first, I had half of it done before we left on vacation and finished it in the last two days between South Dakota and Minnesota.

Don reflects on his growing up without a dad.....certainly a growing trend in today's society....and how that has affected his maturation during adulthood. Employment, finances, sex & relationships, relating to other guys and relating to God as our father all find a place in this quick read. He quotes incredibly high statistics of men in prison who grew up without dads and men who leave their wives, who also grew up without dads.

But 5 short years of youth ministry also point me to another major problem in the American family and that is of the absentee dad. The dad who might as well not be home because he's too busy at work or on the golf course, or hanging with his buddies. Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer that guys need guy time. I'm talking about ignoring the family, wife and children, because of either being sucked into corporate ladder climbing or selfish ambition. Their kids may be just as likely to suffer from the same fate Don speaks of in his book.

I would encourage any guy to read it who might relate, or who has kids. I think the most profound thing I am realizing is that based on the eroding concept of "father" many people, particularly guys, have a hard time grasping the concept of what God as father means. God isn't walking around with a stick to beat us, He isn't bothered by us when we want to talk to Him and He certainly doesn't leave us hanging. The bible says He "delights" in the prayers of His kids, and His plans are to make us secure..........just like a real dad. Miller does a much better job than I on explaining this. Highly recommend it!

08 July 2008

For better or worse....I'm back

4,020 miles........13 days..........8 states........and God only knows how much cash......later, I'm back home again in Indiana.

Man, I wish I were still out west. I've already been told "the grass is always greener". I'll hit some high lights from the trip and maybe create a link for photos. Been catching up on all my blog reading........and work......this morning.

All things considered, I'm glad to be home.