Monday, March 30, 2009

kelsey's bus

Katie and Kelsey both ride the bus to school in the morning. They both walk across the road hand in hand - big sister and little sister. Mother or I usually stand in the doorway until they are safely across the street. The bus pulls up at Dianne and Rita right at 6:45a.m.. They usually turn to to us and wave before climbing aboard. They soon disappear amid all the other faces of children seated. The doors close and the bus driver always waves as if to indicate that our children are in good hands.

I found this picture laying around the house last week. I am very impressed with Kelsey's artwork. She really goes for the detail. She's also learning how to spell and read. I don't think this drawing was a school project. She draws all the time - on any scrap of paper she finds. I am very proud of my girls.

Friday, March 27, 2009

politics of a six year old

Gina and I worked late at the office last night. We had the girls with us and it was simply too late go home and cook something. We also needed to do a grocery run, so we decided to eat at a restaurant near the grocery store. In the restaurant, my six year old daughter Kelsey, was sitting across from me. Her face was beaming a precious smile for her daddy.

"What is it Kelsey?"
"Daddy - if you were king of the whole world, what would you do?"
"The whole world?"
"Yes Daddy, what would you do if you were President?"

There was no way I was going to give my little one an answer that she would understand, so I didn't even try. I knew whatever I said would be in grown-up tongues and fly far above her sweet little head. My response from my lips with the quick ease of a Jack Webb monologue. My daughter looked at me across the table the whole time as if she were comprehending every word of my grown-up tongues.

"If I were President, I would make the government accountable to the people and not the people accountable to the government. I would do my best to decrease the power and influence of government upon the individual by over-hauling the tax system. I'd lower taxes and establish a flat tax. People are over burdened by taxes. Government should not be in the business of putting people out of business. By putting power back to individuals hands - their families and businesses can prosper. I would demand that government become fiscally responsible - and live within a tight budget. I would do away with wasteful and damaging programs that promote people's dependence on government - rather enact only those things that encourage individual responsibility and independence. If the people are free to flourish - the nation will flourish."

Gina sat there with an odd look on her face as I briefly laid out my platform to my six year old daughter. A half a moment after I quit talking - Gina looked down to Kelsey and asked her what she would do if she were President of the United States.

Without hesitating (you could tell she had been giving this some thought) Kelsey replied, "I would take care of everybody - and I would build me a big tower."

"Out of the mouth of babes", I thought as I looked at my six year old democratic candidate for President.

Gina looked up at me and smiled, "It's human nature David."

I've got my work cut out for me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

dear friends

I know that if Donnie and Cherry Obermiller visit this blog and see these pictures - I'm going to get it. Gina and I love the Obermillers dearly. I am happy they are on facebook. Donnie signed on last week.

Gina and I met Donnie and Cherry when we were living in Bowling Green, KY. We met them when we started attending Fountain Square Free Methodist Church (1992?). We started hanging out together and it was Donnie that told us about the house that was for sale by owner in his neighborhood. The fun times increased when we bought that little house on Robinhood Trail and were in constant access of each other.

We'd get together almost every evening. We shared in each other's lives. Played countless card games and conversations. We went on evening walks together - back and forth Robinhood Trail in the evening to get a little exercise and always chatting up a storm.

There was a Winter storm that hit Warren County and we were iced in for a week. Our families took inventory of each other's food supply and we shared meals twixt the two households. I remember one of those icy evenings when Gina and I were walking over to their house with our food offering. The street was iced over and we were doing our best not to slip. Well - I slipped. At the time I was carrying a wok filled with pork chops and rice I'd just made. My feet went completely out from under me (like you'd see in a comic strip). I landed square on my back and the fall knocked the wind out of me. I experienced it all in slow motion. I remember tilting the wok as my feet went up. I remember falling backwards and thinking of the pork chops. The chops were the main course of the evening. There I was, flat on my back on the ice - holding the wok right side up. . . a winter storm miracle. I lay there for a moment beneath the street light looking up at Gina's dark form hovering over me. With a concerned voice she asked, "Are the pork chops okay?" I could not speak.

Donnie used to drop by each weekday morning on the way to work for a cup of coffee. It became a little ritual. He'd drop by, have a cup and a small chat and off he went. My coffeemaker broke one day and I didn't replace it right off. Donnie continued to stick his head in the mornings hoping for his cup of morning joe. He told me to go buy a new coffee maker but I kept forgetting. I remember one morning hearing a car pull up in our gravel drive and then and drive off. I stuck my head out the door and no Donnie. I looked down and saw a new coffee pot (still in the box) on my doorstep. The ritual continued the next morning.

I remember one day I was returning home from downtown and I noticed an unmarked car with it's lights on riding my bumper. The face behind the wheel was Donnie's. My first thought was to pull over to the side of the road. I could clearly see that devilish smile on his face and then remembered that I had never been in a high speed chase before. We both floored it home - lights - sirens - and burning rubber.

We spent so much time with the Obermiller family that they became part of our family. Donnie's job transferred him down to Louisiana and he did everything he could to stay in Bowling Green. The Obermillers eventually had to go along with the reassignment and leave Kentucky. Bowling Green just wasn't the same after Donnie and Cheryl left. The neighborhood seemed so empty without them just down the street.

Gina and I moved back to Gadsden after we found out that we were expecting. We've seen them a handful of times since our days in Kentucky. We went down to Slidell a few times and later to their present residence in Germantown, TN. They too have made their way over to see us - but it's been a long while since we've seen each other. They are still loved and missed. We would really like to see them again - better yet - be neighbors again.

I remember being back in Alabama that first year - wishing that we had our old friends drop in for the evening for coffee and muffins. Sit around for a while and talk until Donnie nods off on the floor while the news is on. Even our neighborhood in Southside
, AL seemed empty.

I hope that when I die - and move into my final address - that we get our old neighbors back. Yes Donnie, I'll always have a pot on for you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

personal jesus

reach out and touch faith

Monday, March 23, 2009

doing the facebook thing

I opened a facebook account about two years ago. My dear friend, Diane Brouillette, told me that she used facebook over myspace - so I signed on to keep in touch. I had two friends on that account for pretty much all of that time. I'd check my facebook account out every month or so to post a picture or to say hello. That was about it.

Until a few months ago - I didn't see much in the service. Now I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. It wasn't until the past three months that people seemed to pop up everywhere on facebook. I've reconnected with friends that I thought that I would never hear from again. Why I've reconnected not only with classmates from high school - but people I've knew all the way back to elementary school. I've made contact with friends from Camp Bethlehem days (a Christian family in Bonifay, FL that Dad & Mom started taking the family to in the Summer of 1969). I've run into old friends from Christian Brother's coffeehouse days. I've been reconnected with many of those who Gina and I befriended from our years in Bowling Green, Ky. Facebook allows me reach back into span of my lifetime. I've pulled out a long line of friends and acquaintances that go back almost the entire 50 years of my life.

There are some folks that I'd like to see on facebook - friends that I haven't connected with in a very very long time. Who knows, my facebook friends have increased to encompass well over 200 names since January. I'm sure to bump into more and more familiar faces. It's amazing how many people out there we've met along the way.

Friday, March 20, 2009

a nice moment

Gina had a lull in patients today. We've got the whole family at the office because the girls didn't have to go to school today. It must be Martin Luther Forrest day or something. It is a beautiful day here in downtown Gadsden. Gina suggested that we all lock up shop and stroll over to one of the hot-dog street vendors on Broad Street. We usually go to Karen Means, but today we thought we'd try the new guy by the bridge (statue end). We ordered our dogs and walked over to eat them in the shade of the city hall gazebo.

Gina then suggested we walk down Broad and get a small sweet at Chocolates. They didn't have my sugar free turtles, so I passed. Kelsey enjoyed her chocolate lollipop, but Katie didn't care for her chocolate/peanut butter balls. I suggested that we make it right by walking further down the sidewalk and buy her a Reece Cup from Gadsden Variety (formerly Nelson's) Store. I let Kelsey have another treat as well.

The breeze was kind of cool. I enjoyed my children occasionally nuzzling into my side for some warmth and love. I had a little hand in mine each time we needed to cross the street. It was such a pleasant lunch today with my family. It was a great moment.

Gina's with her last patient for the day today. I told her that I would man the phones and let her take off with the kids for the rest of the afternoon. The girls have been real good at the office today - on their off day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

two friends along the way

I have been blessed with many friends. I am not referring to acquaintances, but dear friends that I have met and will forever be connected to and love for the rest of my existence. I have dear friends that I have been blessed today - blessed to see on a regular basis. But there are friends that I have made that I have not seen in decades. Some have gone home, some live too far away. I don't know if they think of me like I think of them, but it really doesn't matter. I love them just the same.

I thought today that I'd mention two of these friends that I haven't seen for a while.

Back in 1978, I was attending Gadsden State Junior College. I was taking a speech class there and had taken two guitars (my Yamaha and Brook's Martin) for a presentation. I believe the speech was to illustrate the differences between guitar quality - what to look for when shopping. The assignment, if memory serves, had to do with showing comparisons. After the speech, while walking across campus to my car, I was approached by a stranger. He told me that he played guitar too and thought that maybe we could get together sometime and jam. I gave him my phone number. I got a call within the week from him and we talked for a good while. Doug Moore and I got together a few times and he started coming to Christian Brother's coffeehouse on a regular basis. He became a Christian during that time and we played together a good bit. I wasn't that good with a guitar at that time, but Doug didn't seem to mind. We always enjoyed each other's company. Doug eventually was called into ministry and moved up to Asbury College in Wilmore, KY to study to become a pastor. I remember when Doug was still living in Gadsden, mentioning that we should go to Europe and sing on street corners, inns, and pubs. He grew up overseas. His dad worked for Goodyear overseas, and so Doug lived all over the world. Doug said that we could sing for room and board and spend a season touring here and there. It sounded incredible and I don't know why I didn't just do it. That's one regret I have today - not jumping on that plane with Doug and become a road side troubadour for a season. I don't see Doug that much - we do keep in touch via Internet and telephone. It would be great to see him again - great to play with him again. It's been too long.
Angelo Gonfiantini was from the Bronx. He lives there today. There was a time about three decades ago that he called Gadsden his home. The first time I saw Angelo was when he dropped by Christian Brother's in his Navy dungarees. He was stationed at the Naval Reserve Center that used to be located in East Gadsden. Angelo started coming regular to the coffee house and became a part of the fellowship. Angelo and I got along great from the start. We both liked to cut up and make people laugh. I used to be the chairman of the coffeehouse committee and I enjoyed it when Angelo and I would co-host evenings together. We'd bounce off of each other and ad-lib a good time on and off stage. Neither of us made a good straight man - but our friendship and humor blended nicely. Angelo tried to find a career in Gadsden after he ended his stint with the Navy. He ended up moving back to New York. Angelo and I spent a lot of time together - opened our hearts and lives to one another. After all these years - I still miss having Angelo around.

Both Angelo and Doug left Gadsden within months of each other. I remember a time - not long after their departure when I realized the loss. I wanted to call - hook up for the evening with a friend - and Angelo wasn't around - Doug wasn't around either. The world had changed within days. I had also been dating a girl at that time that had also moved away (to attend Christ For The Nations) during that same period. I believe the year was 1981. It was a weird time after they all moved on - it just didn't hit me as we all (separately) said our goodbyes. It did hit me hard a short time later.

I know that I will love these people forever - it's just that being in the same neighborhood - the same state - the same part of the world - isn't a guarantee. I will appreciate my friends while I still have them around. I will enjoy each moment and be grateful for the times we do have.

"Life is made of ever so many partings welded together."
- Charles Dickens

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We Surround Them

9/12 Project

The Nine Principles

-1. America is good.
-2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
-3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
-4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
-5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
-6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
-7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
-8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
-9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

12 Values
12 Values

-Hard Work
-Personal Responsibility

Monday, March 16, 2009

capitalism: the record of history

Milton Friedman lectures Phil Donahue about free market. This is a must see.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

and i quote

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them to the real facts."
-Abraham Lincoln

I enjoy reading quotes from great men, especially those of our founding fathers. Quotes give us an inward study into the minds, hearts, and character of good and great men. You can clearly read their intent and purpose for this young nation as you listen to what they still have to say to us. Yes, you can also read deep into the minds of the bad ones too.

"The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence. Abolish all private property."
-Karl Marx
"Democracy is the road to socialism."
-Karl Marx

I don't hear democrats referencing the words of America's founding fathers. Perhaps they have a different father all together. Democrats see in the constitution that which is not there and blind to that which is. You can quote me on that if you like.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Maxine Waters let's Democrat intentions slip

Dan sent me dis'un. Maxine Waters shows her big socialist butt in dis heerah clip. Dems foxes is sen de hen howse! Dems foxes is-sen de hen house! Maxine struts huh stuff - threatening Shell Oil execs dat big gov'munt is gonna to take over duh big oil. Big oil aint de threat Maxine - you is. Das right, das right - I be telling yous. You is de problem. Das right now - Democrats is deh problem.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

this old bird

I go to the Gadsden Post Office every weekday morning to check the OTG P.O. Box. It's usually a quick walk in and out, but Gina had me go in and mail a package. It's been a while since I have actually gone in there and stand in line for service. As I stepped up to the clerk, he said "Hello David". I was impressed that he remembered my name. I said hello back and told him that I needed to send something via certified mail. He handed me the paperwork to fill out and said, "48 pounds". I looked up and said, "What?" He said, "48've lost 48 pounds since January". I told him that I might have because I've been dieting to deal with my diabetes. He told me that I was doing good at it and the subject was changed to this being his last week as a postman. He's retiring at the end of the week. He smiled and I told him congratulations and left so he could call out NEXT PLEASE.

I left the post office kind of baffled. I called Gina to tell her what had just happened and she laughed over the phone. "What's so funny?" I asked. Gina said, "He's a mailman and he's handled so many packages in his life that he can look at you and guess your weight. That's funny!"

"Oh," I said.

I have been loosing weight but have only weighed in only when at the doctor's office (which is rare). I haven't had "dieting" on my mind. I have had on my mind living longer and feeling better. Gina complimented me the other day and said that I've been doing really good on my diet. I told her that I wasn't trying to diet. The diabetes, blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol numbers gave me a shock to really get on the ball. I am not good at dieting, but somehow I am better at living. I told Gina that if I were a hermit, not married and without little loved ones, death would be fine. I don't have a problem with going home for good. I told her that the primary reason I want to stick around and have my health is so I can be here for my wife and my girls. That's how I feel. That's my motivation.

I have been dropping a good bit of
weight as of late. I don't care to look at scales because I don't want to look down. Who knows, if I look down I might fall. I don't want to be consumed by the numbers. I just want to get where I need to be, and feel better.

I've had a lot of compliments as of late. I don't look like all those fat photos. Funny thing is, after loosing the
weight, I see more wrinkles in my face. I think that I now look fifty. It's amazing how much a fellow can loose if he lays off the white bread, potatoes, and fried dead poultry. Weight is falling off like in that commercials. You know the ones I'm talking about - like the one where a fellow finds some one's butt laying around in the park. My friend Debbie Handy was walking behind me down the hall at church last Saturday. She said that I lost my butt. We walked down the hall a little ways talking about this and that. Then it dawned on me. She was in her office and I had just entered the bathroom when I exclaimed, "Hey, why were you looking at my butt?" I heard a giggle come from her office.

My sister Cindy told me last Sunday that I needed new jeans. I told her that all my jeans were new as of Christmas. Maybe I have lost 48 pounds since then. I might be looking better but I don't always feel great. I've got to get used to feeding myself a little every few hours so I won't crash. I crash if I wait too long to eat. I can avoid the crash if I eat a little something before diving. I am just now starting to feel when my body is going into a dive. If I crash, it takes me an hour or two to pull out of the physical funk I experience. I've got to learn to keep the nose tilted up and can't rely on the auto pilot that used to fly this old bird. Every thing is manual from here on out.

Like Dylan sang, "I keep pressing on."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

red label lover

I started learning guitar on my brother's old red label FG-180 Yamaha. Though Yamaha still makes acoustic guitars - they come short of the quality and sound of their labeled ancestors. The old red labels were made in Japan at the Nippon Gakki factory. Yamaha moved most of their guitar production to Korea in the early seventies. The Yamahas are good guitars, but just don't compare.

Brook's old FG-180 had a beautiful sound. Yamaha guitars are not upscale guitars, and they still aren't. Last time I was at a SAM'S CLUB, I could still buy a Yamaha off the shelf for just over a hundred bucks. Brook sold his FG-180 back in the late seventies to my soon to be brother in-law Dan Noojin. Dan still has the guitar. Brook took the money for the sale of his Yamaha and stepped up to a Martin guitar. I missed playing that old 180 of his.

At the time my brother in-law, Don Rakestraw, worked at Laverty Music Company on West Broad Street, downtown Gadsden. Don ruled over the sound and guitar shop. Laverty was a Martin dealer at the time. Both Brook and Dan worked at Laverty too. Dan worked there selling and repairing wooden instruments (etc) and Brook taught guitar there.

Don asked me if I'd like to have a job there too - cleaning up after them. I went down and swept, mopped, and cleaned the toilets. The worst job was keeping the coffee pot clean. They had a habit of cooking the coffee to a nice hard lump at the bottom of the pot. I remember a sign over the toilet that said, "We here at Laverty Music aim to please - you're aim would be greatly appreciated as well." I don't think customers knew how to read.

I don't remember how long I worked there. I enjoyed the job because I got to hang with all the guys. After a month or so, Don came to me and said that he had to let me go. He said Carl Adams (the big boss) said we didn't need a janitor in the string shop. Oh well - it was fun while it lasted. I had not been paid as of yet - so Don and Brooky took me to the used guitar wall. Don said that I could pick any guitar that I wanted from that wall. Wow. There were some nice guitars up there. Brook directed my eye to a Yamaha FG-180. "Hey David, that's just like the one I sold Dan."

I took it down from the heavens and saw that it was good.

Brook told me that it was the store's policy to give two free lessons to anyone that purchased a guitar from the store. Though I wasn't a paying customer, I'm glad that cleaning out their toilet and coffee pot, gave me paying customer status. Brook has always been a patient teacher. He taught me a handful of chords and pushed me out of the nest after the two complimentary lessons.

The tuning keys on the guitar were not that great. That's one thing about those Yamaha's - the cheap keys didn't hold a tune that well. I mowed enough lawns to buy me some Grover tuning keys and went back to the store. I believe they cost about $30.00 back in the day - I think that's right. Anyway, I gave the guitar to Dan and he kept it for about a week. When I returned, Dan handed me my guitar with some fine looking keys. They were not Grovers though. They had stars on them which I later found out were from an Ibanez guitar. I handed Dan the money but he refused to take it. He said that the keys were laying around and that they'd do me just as good as Grovers. He was right. I walked out the door with my guitar all fixed up and the hard earned 30 still in my back pocket. I still appreciate the kind favor.

Looking back, I guess all the guys there were in on the kindness. I was really trying to learn and didn't have a guitar in which to practice. I guess they were all in cahoots to get me that guitar. I still have it today - it still sounds great - better actually.

I bought a red label FG-140 a while back. Brook, Cindy, and I were in Atlanta, GA to see Tom Petty in concert. Before going to the concert, we ate, and went to a music store to kill some time. There on a wall of used guitars was the 140. I walked up to it and took it down from the heavens - and I saw that it too was good. No one was in the department at the time, and the guitar didn't have a price on it. As I left the area to rejoin my siblings, a clerk approached me.

clerk: "I saw you looking at that old Yamaha- are you interested?"
david: "It's a nice guitar - I didn't see a price on it."
clerk: "Those old red labels great guitars man."
david: "Yeah - I've got a FG-180 at home.
clerk: "I'll make you a deal, cause I'd like that guitar to go to someone who'll appreciate it."
david: Not quite trusting his pitch I asked, "How much?"
clerk: "I'll sell it to you for $100.00 and I'll even throw in a soft case."
david: I believed him, "Sold."

When the guy told me the price, I didn't bat an eye. That little FG-140 sounded better than my old faithful 180. It's a smaller body with a bigger sound. Dan's FG-180 (the one Brooky sold him three decades back) has an incredible sound. My 180 always had a full sound but never quite compared to Dan's 180. This little FG-140 has a sound that equals the fullness and resonance of Dan's 180. I don't envy Dan's guitar anymore - I have my own.

There are some nice guitars out there on the market, but I'd have to spend a pretty good bit to get a guitar that sounds as good as my old red labels. I've played Martins, Taylors, and others that didn't have the quality of sound. Oh - I've played many that sound much better - but for thousand dollars more than what I've got in my beat up guitars. I'm more than satisfied.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

whence this comes

i move my pen

make shapes
that turn to pictures
i move my pen
make shapes
that turn to words
the ink bottle
filled with ever drying
cracking ink
seems to somehow bleed forth
a little more
each inch drawn forward
this my eternal soul
is not as shallow or as finished
as i so often think

the lines seldom wavers
curves seem never end
my God
i rediscover
every day it is you
whence this comes
it is you
whence this fountain springs
my God
i discover every day
it is you
to whom my heart still wakes
indeed you
whence all things are
and ever i hope
to always dip into my feeble heart
and find more of you there

-David B. Finlayson

Friday, March 6, 2009

obama versus churchill

Have you heard the recent story over the bust of Sir Winston Churchill? Not long after September 11, 2001, a bronze bust of Churchill was sent from the then British head of state, Prime minister Tony Blair. It was sent to us "as a signal of strong transatlantic relationship". This was not a gift by the way, it was on loan from the Government Art Collection. President Bush kept it in a prominent place in the Oval Office through out his presidency.

President Barak Hussien Obama had the bust of Churchill removed from his office and sent it to the British Embassy. Even though the bust was on loan - there are many Brits who strongly feel that this is a snub from our new history making president. Personally, I believe they should have every reason to feel put out. The Britons would like for Obama to return the statue to the Oval Office as that symbol of alliance between our two nations. So Obama, what's the big deal? Why not simply accept the offer from the British Embassy to have it returned?

A spokesperson of the British Embassy stated that “We have made it clear that we would be pleased to extend the loan should Mr Obama so wish.” They have heard nothing from The White House since their kind offer.

I believe this action goes further than the snub. I believe that Obama's ousting of Churchill reflects more about the warped mind of our boy-king president. I believe the presence of that statue in his office might be irritating to him on several levels. The statue is a reminder of 9/11. That day is something most Democrats don't like to believe ever happened. The "unjust" war that followed is associated with that symbolic gift. Churchill's core beliefs are also a great contrast to "progressives" (liberals) like Obama.

When I think of Sir Winston Churchill - I think of his bulldog approach toward the great enemies of his day. He understood the terrible necessity of war and fighting a war to win it. This is a concept that Democrats repel..they'd rather "feed the crocodile" in the name of peace instead. As you read these quotes - you will learn a great deal about what made Winston Churchill great. You will also clearly see the vast ideological chasm between Churchill and Obama. Churchill was truly a great national leader and historical figure - Obama on the other hand - percieves himself to be a great leader and historical figure.

regarding war:
"You ask, What is our policy? I will say; “It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.” You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last."

"The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult."

"Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war"

other great quotes:
"Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon."

"There is no such thing as a good tax."

"If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law."

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy."

"We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


each day is a short fuse
the house stirs as the sun enters
alarm beeps early
children are stirred
nudged to move forward with the day
daddy fixes breakfast
mommy tortures kelsey's head with a brush
teeth brushing laws are strictly enforced
dress - eat - get to the bus
look both ways and off they go
gina finishes her hair and nibbles on breakfast
i go downstairs and stab myself with a lancet
draw blood and get a reading
take pills and off we go to work
every morning repeats itself as if life is skipping
77 traffic
get to the office and open up
the day is rolling
the coffee nectar machine brews a large pot
hot joe to wake what parts inside still drowsy
keep moving until momentum gathers
we roll on until lunch and pass it
pick up the girls at 2:30
home or the office
buy or prep dinner
enforce teeth brushing law again
read a bed time story
tickle a little belly
say a prayer for loved ones and the world
kiss a few small cheeks
turn off the lights
i love yous are always in order
good night till tomorrow

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hwy 77

Yesterday my blood pressure was extremely high - the meds I'm taking are not as effective as I'd like. Gina recommended that I head back to the gym since my blood sugar numbers are down. Jose' suggested the same. I went and worked out and my blood pressure went down to a normal level. I can't depend on pills and diet alone. My energy did not fail me today. I got on the treadmill and used the strength training machines at GSCC.

I crashed later in the day after picking up the girls. I had a headache, but glad the numbers went down. I've got to stay on top of this thing. I dozed off for about an hour during the late afternoon after helping Kelsey with her homework. Gina called and told me to take some asperin for the headache. I got off the couch and did as she asked.

She called me ten minutes later. The van died in a bad place on Hwy 77 - south bound traffic in front of The Fisherman. I loaded my girls into the van and made my way to her. I called AAA and requested immediate help. They usually take too long in response but they were on top of things tonight. By the time I got Gina, she was in good hands. Our neighbor (the FBI dude) saw her van and stopped. He turned on his lights. Gina was stopped on the hill without any lights - alternator related - no emergency flasher. Thank you God for FBI agent neighbors with flashy lights in their cars. Two policemen had joined the light show. One parked in front of our van and the other behind it. Gina's voice was no longer strained - she was out there chatting away and laughing with the officers and our neighbor. AAA showed up and hauled the car off.

I was glad that help reached her before I could. I was glad that Gina wasn't out there without lights as cars came up that hill.
Every time we have that van hauled away, I wonder if it's the last time. We really can't afford a big fix or a new used vehicle. Our neighbor (the FBI dude) looked at her odometer and remarked how those Caravans aren't made to roll that long. Gina likes her old van - I don't know why - most of the buttons, doors, and switches don't work anymore.

Something interesting
happened to me this week. Yesterday while pulling out from Leota onto 77, I noticed shattered glass on the road. I stopped the car and looked at the glass. I saw oodles of pennies. As I looked, I saw other coins too. No one was behind me, so I put the car in park and picked up as much of the found money as I could. Eventually a car stopped behind me and I decided to move along.

This morning I did the same thing. I didn't see as much money. No quarters, dimes, or nickels this time - not at first. I decided nevetheless to do the Ben Franklin thing and go for the pennies. Funny thing, almost every time that I reached down to pick up pennies, I saw dimes and nickels. I would try to stand up and look for silver coins but I didn't see any. I only saw the silver coins when I reached down to pick up the meager pennies. It wasn't until I lowered myself to grasp that which was of the least value - was I able to see the reflection of a coins of greater value.

I don't know if that means anything to the reader, but it meant something to me.
There I was picking up pennies amid the glass and finding something of greater value in the process. The glass caught my eyes first and then the pennies. I only caught the sun's reflection in the silver coins as I bent down to pick up the pennies. I looked at all the found coins - they weren't very pretty after being in the road all that time. Dented coins - but still of value. Pretty cool moment.

Monday, March 2, 2009

roads to and fro

Cindy had purchased concert tickets for her, Brook, and myself for a Lucinda Williams concert in Atlanta. We took off Saturday afternoon, early enough to have time to drive out leisure drive out and sit down dinner. I like outings where you're not rushed to get there and find the place. I like outings where you can have a good conversation. The conversation is usually 90% of the fun in my book. Brook told us about his venture with Jennifer to Brazil to see his son West. West turned 21 and they wanted to be with him and had a good excuse to see what his life was there was like. They had a great time. I'm proud of West, glad my brother and his wife are at a good place in life to make such a trip. I'd like for God to increase the fullness of their life even more. I'd like for God to show them the abundance that they already have and give them even more. God bless them even more. I mean that!

The concert was fantastic. I had never heard of Lucinda Williams before the concert invite. I am not a big country fan - though I did enjoy listening to some of the new country/rock music of Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Juice Newton and the like in the early to mid 80's. It was only at the tail end of the concert that Brook said that it was Lucinda that wrote the song Passionate Kisses. I loved that song, and remembered turning up the radio every time I heard Mary Chapin Carpenter sing it on the radio, back when Gina and I lived in Bowling Green, KY.

I have to tell you that as much as I love to write music, I don't listen to it much on the radio. I don't know why. I listen mostly to talk radio. If I listen to music - it's usually to a CD - but rarely that. My radio is broken in my mini-van and the radio in my VW only gets one channel. Speakers in both vehicles are wasted.

Back to the concert. I heard songs that I had never heard before. Every one of them solid works. I enjoyed listening to the talent of someone new to me. I especially enjoyed the band traveling with her - Buick 6. They blew us away with their eclectic choices / compositions and musicianship. I don't know how to explain it - but I was simply drawn in to their sound. Every last one of them were fun to watch and listen to. I am going to be watching out for them.
We got back in town around one o'clock. We talked there and back, enjoying each others company. Brook played some of the Buick 6 CD he bought there. The time and miles passed quickly.

Katie and I woke up Sunday morning ready for church. Jim Bentley led worship. It had been a while since I had heard him. The team consisted of who ever showed that happened to bring an instrument. I kid you not. It was a good moment. A vale was torn and worship flowed freely. Jim really ought to lead more - he's anointed in leading worship and releasing others to do the same.

We had a great worship leaders meeting afterward. I can't explain what all happened Sunday afternoon. These past months God has been waking something in all of us, stirring parts that were once asleep or abandoned. He is indeed waking the dead in all of us. He is doing a new thing - creating something new. I know this is all vague. I don't really want to speak specifically, because I am still watching pieces being put into place. He is putting something into place - I am just happy to be here and a willing part and piece of it. It's one thing to see circumstances change and opportunities open- but God is doing an inner thing in each of us - preparing us for what is coming next. I know that collectively - our hands are open.