Thursday, July 30, 2009

happy birthday

Yesterday, Wednesday, was Gina's birthday. No cake, no candles, only a few presents. Gina had scheduled her patients so she could kick back. We both got a good sleep and woke up when we darn well pleased. All she asked of me was that I give her a good foot massage. I sat by the bed and gave her a good foot massage.

Katie and Kelsey spent a long time making birthday cards. I had purchased two seasons of Frasier for her. She was very happy. I wish we had time to do more.

Gina had asked me to help her pick up a small desk from storage that she used as a kid. Kelsey is starting first grade this year and Mommy wanted Kelsey to have her own little area to do her homework.

With all the running around today, we didn't have much time to celebrate. I had an evening class and the day seemed to fly by. Before I knew it, I was saying goodbye. She did take the girls to Cracker Barrel while I was in class. I really would like to do something out of the ordinary for her. Maybe we can do something special for her birthday this weekend.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Karl's Pizza

You know the guy. He's the one in every crowd that when it's time for everyone to eat - insists on everyone chipping in on a pizza. He's the guy that doesn't 'chip in' but makes sure that he gets his fair share of the pie. Usually he is more fair to himself than his enduring friends.

I remember a fellow that would be chomping on a slice with one hand while his other hand was on the pan claiming his next slice. When he finished one piece, he'd keep doing the same until he had his fill. I've known quite a few of these user types in my life. I'm sure you've had to put up with your share too.

So when it comes time to pay the bill, he always has a hard luck story or seemingly misplaced his billfold somewhere. I guess he sees all his other friends sitting around the table as more well off financially than he.
His mooching has become so common that he rarely if ever says 'thank you'. For some self-serving justification he feels he's entitled to his free lunch because he sees himself as had having it harder than the rest. Their lives seem to be so much better than his, and they can afford to cover his tab. Why, they are doing so much better in life that it should be their responsibility to take care of him.   I'm sure you've met this fellow Karl before.

Do you get where I am going with this - or must I line the pepperonis up a little more for you?

Friday, July 24, 2009

there is a God, there is a Gina

I guess most people went through it - looking for a love - and hoping that love finds them. I never want to take my love for granted. I remember a time when I was a young adult - wondering if I would ever find someone that would love me as much as I loved. I didn't date around much. There weren't that many young women in my life - very few really appealed to me. The handful of women that I did date - we became great friends and I was heartbroken when each relationship ended. After the heartache subsided, I was always left to wonder if there was someone out there for me. I've always known that I am a strange fellow - a fun date - but who would want to be around me for the rest of their life? When I did date someone, I wasn't dating for dating sake, but looking for Mrs. Right.

Looking back I realized that God had led me to Gina. Many years ago I realized that God had certain young women come into my life that helped me to recognize the love of my life when it was her time to walk into it. Am I making sense? From each relationship that I experienced, I saw qualities in that particular girl friend that I admired. Again, I didn't date for dating sake. There was always something that attracted me to that particular individual. There was a beauty that lured me to each of them. One loved to laugh and enjoyed being silly for silly sake. One was independent and brave. One was all about God and serving Him. As each relationship came and went, God was showing me the traits of the woman that was to become my future spouse. Can one woman be all that?

Gina, I never want to take you for granted. I never want to take your love for granted. I have now known you half of my life and I often forget about the heartbreaks and years of loneliness I experienced before you came into my life. You are everything I ever desired in a woman - and you have shown me so much more. You are living proof that there is a God, and that that God loves me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

off the meter

People on the left these days prefer the name 'Progressives'. Oh the irony. The more apt title of 'liberal' might fade - but they will eventually soil any new moniker they give themselves. If liberals insist on the term progressives - let's tweak them a little and call Neo-progressives. They are what they always have been regardless of the name - never changing their methods and ways. The names have been changed to protect their guilt.

A socialist by any other name...

Socialist always point to the worst examples of capitalism and say, "See, we don't need to trust big oil - they are evil!" Look over there, look at the health care industry - they are dishonest and evil. They'll take on business', bankers, 'big' this and 'big' that and say we don't need to trust those capitalist - we need to trust 'BIG' government instead! Pointing out the few exceptions should give us all the reason to take capitalism down. Let's do away with big evil this and big evil that! Yesterday it was Wall Street, today it's the health industry. We need to put it into the hands of BIG government. That will solve all our woes. They are the ones in whom we can truly trust!


I was talking to a fellow yesterday who said rich people should be forced to sell off most of what they have because they didn't need all that surplus anyway. "If someone has three cars, let them make due with two. If some one has two homes, let them make due with one." They probably didn't get their money honestly in the first place. They don't deserve it and need it.!" I've heard it all countless times before.

The nerve.

So government is to become some kind of great social equalizer - taking away the fruits of a man's toil in order to "spread the wealth" as Obama clearly put it to the plumber. Yet another irony. There is no such thing as spreading wealth. One earns it. There IS though such a thing as spreading misery. I've had many like conversations with liberals that believe wealth should be taken from those who "don't need all that wealth" and distributed to those who are in need. They like to use the term 'greed' - but let me counter with the term 'covetousness'. Wanting and taking something that is clearly not yours. To take someones wealth is not only theft, but a sin. To covet and act upon it is an EVIL.
If you want what the next person has - EARN IT! It's none of your business what your neighbor makes!

I don't care how rich a man may become. If he earns it - he should keep it without the fear of his government coming along and confiscating it. You take away a mans incentive, and you take away his initiative to produce. Why toil if the rewards are the same as if you didn't? You give to a man that doesn't earn his way, and he will never step up to meet the challenge of life.

More irony? I don't know of any poor people that are hiring these days. You see, we need people who know how to make money - know how to invest, - know how to grow wealth with the talents they've been given and the skills they've honed - to grow this economy - to generate JOBS! We need these so called evil capitalist to bring America back from the brink. Yet our BIG government is bent on taxing business' to death - breaking the back of the businesses who are struggling to survive.

Governments don't generate wealth - governments TAX! Businesses like Gina's and my business that are trying to grow - and yet cannot prosper because over-taxation is constantly robbing our capital. The irony is if businesses don't prosper - neither will government. What's going on today isn't just irony but idiocy. Well, there might be some evil big capitalist out there - but none more evil or as dangerous as that of BIG government.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mmm Mmm Good

Crash Test Dummies 'Mmm Mmm" came out with this one in 1993. This is an unusual sounding song and yet another band that I can't recall a thing they recorded other than this song. Good music videos are very few and far between - this one being a work of art.

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Headline News

A perfect parody of Crash Test Dummies' "Mmm" by Weird Al Yankovic. Weird Al took the headlines at the times (1994) and made this music video. I consider this one of Yankovic's best.

If you are viewing this from facebook - you might want to view the original post at

Sunday, July 19, 2009

what was it about that school?

I just joined a facebook group for my elementary school. It got me to thinking about the positive experiences about that particular school and I can count only a few. I have very few little happy thoughts about R.A. Mitchell Elementary School. Like any red blooded and plastic fanged American kid - I loved the big Halloween Carnival they had there. That was pretty cool. Did you know that the school actually owned the coffin that was used in the Haunted House walk? That's kind of creepy to think that that coffin was always back there behind the curtains of the stage. I remember seeing it back there during the school year. I was stuck back there with a few other 'slow learners' for some kind of *remedial reading class. They didn't have a classroom for us - so they stuck us back there beyond the school lunchroom, behind the stage in a dark cubby of an area amid the P.E. gear - and of course, the school coffin.

*remedial reading 1. specialized reading instruction adjusted to the needs of a student who does not perform satisfactorily with regular reading instruction. 2. intensive, specialized reading instruction for students reading considerably below expectancy. 3. developmental reading instruction set at a different pace, designed for an individual or a selected group.

Everyone feared Mrs. Love - the principal. Mrs. Graves was so demented that she should have never gotten tenure. Even my mother hated talking to her. Mrs. Graves could only talk in your face...literally. She would get right down into your face with her big wicked witch of the South look and talk at you from an inch distance. I thought it was just the kids she tried to constantly intimidate- but nooo - it was moms too! The first cussing I'd ever heard was in her class - from that sailor mouth of hers. Nasty old woman once tried to get my little sister to stand in a trash can because she wanted Cindy to believe that she was trash. I believed it when I Cindy came home with the story because I had been that monster's chew toy the year before.

All the kids remember 'the pink bench' every day. The pink bench is where you were sent to sit to see the principal. Kids sitting on the pink bench were either sick and waiting for their ride home or waiting for Love in all the wrong places. You could tell what they were waiting on by the look on their faces - sick or abject fear.

I didn't really know Mrs. Love, I kept my distance as any self preserving child would do. You kept from her not because she ruled her school with an iron hand - but rather with the mythical
'ELECTRIC PADDLE'. That's right, children would reverently pass her door quietly and with great respect because of the fear of that contraption's existence. It was a tangible myth for a young mind - rumored about from generation to generation. Do they speak of it still?

The walls of R.A. Mitchell were a drab green - and to be herded down those long dark hallways were so depressing. If I were given the task of naming that paint color - I would have named it Institutional Oppresive Green. How many days did I look out the window - thinking that I might pull a Steve McQueen and break out and away from those walls? Countless days and countless times, but I was whipped by fear. All I had to do during recess was casually walk toward the street - look like I'm supposed to be heading in that direction - somehow make it across the bridge and then a few miles home. I knew though, that escape was futile. I did not want to be brought back and test the myth.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

first road

a long time since
walking down that old dirt road
that ran behind our house
surrounded by familiar woods
familiar homes
of familiar neighbors i once knew
i traveled that road a thousand times barefoot
or in shoes
on a trike
on a bike
it was the first road i ever ventured alone
i've been down many roads since cliff road
dirt and paved
near and away
i can tell you stories
but probably none more telling than your own
an old pilgrim these days
no longer innocent
just forgiven
no longer a child
but often feel like i am
always going down new unfamiliar roads
long time from home
long time from you

Thursday, July 9, 2009

nothing much

Nothing much on my mind today. I'm very tired and so my mind is on automatic pilot. I am going through the motions and getting through the day. I have clinic tonight. I enjoy clinic, but there is little energy in me. I know I will do fine - just keep pressing on.

I'm at the office today answering the phone until Gina returns. I'll then head over to the campus. I look forward to the weekend. Last weekend was pleasant - but I came out of it feeling exactly the way I do right now. I haven't really pulled out of that sapped feeling all week.

Bruce Cornutt emailed me and asked me to be on his worship team this Sunday. Of course I accepted. Gina has been wanting me to lay off any and all singing until school is over. I've backed off considerably - but it's hard not to pass up moments of worship and play.
Even Gina, as an Occupational Therapist, teaches the importance of work, rest, and play. I'll cut out a lot of playing - but not all of it.

I am tired. I'd love to find a place to land and take a nap...but that's just not going to happen today. I just took a handful of herbs and vitamins and hope that will pull me up to a higher altitude.

David - over and out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

life goes on

Vacation? What's a vacation? Everybody seems to be escaping life for a week or two. It happens about this time of year. At least it does to most folks that I know. They are coming back with broad smiles, brightened by there darkened skin. They all do look rested.

I don't remember the last vacation we ever took. I know that it was before we opened up the clinic five years ago. Running a business and paying taxes is a continual drain on our overhead and ability to save up for anything these days. We could use a great escape.

Gina's at the office and I'm at the office or at school. Five more weeks to go before I am through with the course work. I keep reminding myself over and over again...FIVE MORE WEEKS!!! I've never wanted a Summer to get over with like I have this one. By the time I get out, Summer will be in our rear view mirror. Katie and Kelsey will be back in school and I will be studying for the national exam. A break would be nice. I envy those who can break away.

I am thankful for this past weekend. Gina decided to schedule her patients so she could have Friday off. She said she really needed a day off. She's been working weekends at nursing homes too! Well, she rescheduled a day for family time. Brook and Jennifer allowed us the use of their most beautiful swimming pool in the whole wide world. We spent the day as a family swimming and laughing together. Saturday afternoon we drove back to their home and joined a party in progress. Plenty of sun, conversation, food, and fireworks. It was about as close to a vacation that Gina and I will be able to get for a while.

Next year Gina and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary. Wow, hard to believe. I know it's wishful thinking, but I'd love to take her somewhere special. Maine? Charleston? Scotland? There's been places we've talked about going ever since we got married. I hope we can swing it.

Summer by the way, never was my favorite time of the year. Fall is my favorite. Some Fall I'd like to take an extended weekend back up to Bowling Green, KY with my family. It's been 13 years since we left there and I'd like to take my little ones there and show them around. Heck, I might even load up the bikes for the venture. There are people I'd love to see again.

Or...I would like to go to Memphis (via Germantown), TN and see our old friends the Obermillers again. I really miss them. Maybe take in some blues and eat some of that world famous barbecue. That sounds outstanding.

I've been thinking about camp this Summer. My girls have never had a camp experience. I grew up going to Camp Bethlehem. You've read the posts. Next Summer after school, I would love to drive down there with my girls and my guitar in tow. Gina has told me in the past that camp isn't what she has in mind as a vacation. Maybe not - but it always was an incredible experience for me growing up.

Right now I am chained to life and envious of all who can make their way free. I am thinking of all kinds of places that I'd rather be right now. Tonight I passed a validation in massage. Tomorrow night I have a Kinesiology test on all the muscles of the foot. Later in the week I'll be in massage clinic. It's been one hurdle after another, and I am trying my best to run the good race and try not to stumble along the way.

Gina in the meantime will keep going to the office and seeing patients. She's working at nursing homes after she leaves the office. So much time, and always behind on paperwork. She's been running the gauntlet since I started school a year ago. She's working hard so we can continue to work along side each other in the years to come. That's been the dream all along.

For now, we will steal some moments together and make believe we are having brief vacations between the patients and testing. Sun up to sun down - keep our hand to the plow and our eyes on the horizon during this time. Occasionally we'll sit beneath the shade of the tree together to rest and think of far away places.

Monday, July 6, 2009

a little more bethlehem

The above image was taken of Westbrook & Esther Finlayson on the grounds of Camp Bethlehem in the Summer of 1977. I ran across this flyer (image below) dad wrote about Camp Bethlehem. It reads as follows:

Between the Florida sun and sands...where tree and flora grow...Ol' Bethlehem Camp Ground sweetly stands...and Christian friendships glow...Although it's only ten short days...the people come to pray...Ol' Bethlehem's a constant strength...blessing us day by day...We find new friends and greet the old...and memories of the past abide...though we may part when the camp breaks up...our hearts say warm inside...The evangelists are gifted who know the Word...the music is about as a body ever heard...the prayers on the porch and in the pew are mighty in their power...and youngsters clasp the Hand of god...during the Youth tabernacle Hour...The saints of god who grace this place...sweetly bless us with their love...They touch our hearts, encourage our thoughts above...Ere we meet again some may depart...for mansions in the sky...where there will ever be camp meeting the Land of the Sweet Bye and Bye...So as we come to the close of another...Bethlehem Camp meeting sublime..we look to the joy of the coming Camp...and, if Christ tarries, another good time...Please pray, dear friends in Christ, for me...and for all who strive hard to be true...for the wonderful men of god who preach...on down to the kitchen crew...It takes a lot of work, you faithfully harvest God's vineyard today...but little would come of Ol'Bethlehem Camp...if we neglect to pray...God bless you...God keep you...god keep your heart pure...God make His sweet melodies ring...As you take the Good news back home to tell folk...And His praises you continually sing!

-Westbrook Finlayson

Saturday, July 4, 2009


there is nothing truly free beneath socialist rule
except for the chains in which we are bound
someone please define independence for me
our republic for which it stands is falling
colors fading
independence being bled out
for obvious unkeepable promises
allowing our children to be sold into slavery
allow our children to be born into our debt
what of God and country
there is nothing truly free beneath socialist rule
except for the chains in which we are bound

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Lure of Camp Meeting

The following text was written by my dad back in the early seventies about our family's first experience with camp meeting and the impact it had on our lives. The pamphlet/brochure read as follows:

The Lure of Camp Meeting

By Westbrook Finlayson

At this very moment on a farm somewhere there is an elderly couple saving a dime here and a penny there so they can make it to camp meeting. In factories, offices, stores and homes, people wait impatiently for the arrival of camp meeting time.

How amazing that in this age of luxury and sophistication people still want to spend a week or ten days in rustic surroundings sleeping in sub standard living quarters, sitting on straight wooden benches, listening to a continuous stream of preaching!

Does all this sound to you like pages from the past? It did to me once, but now I have been there. Possibly the only way I can explain it is to tell you how camp meeting got its hold on me. I can recall our family’s decision to go to camp meeting for the first time. We had heard of a camp through an evangelist our young preacher brought to our church. His sermons were full of fire and truth, like some my wife and I had heard as children. They created a hunger for more of this kind of spiritual food. All our family, even the youngest of our six children, loved this dear old preacher from the start and were eager to hear him again when we learned he was to be one of the camp meeting speakers.


We arrived at the camp ground late at night, after a 300 mile trip during which we had absorbed about all the heat and mileage we could take in a day. Most of the people at camp were sleeping, but the secretary gave us a friendly welcome and directed us to our quarters – a kind o f motel arrangement with a drab gray look.

I was clean but with the very barest of conveniences. We stared at each other, amazed to find ourselves in a place like this, far from the luxuries to which we were accustomed. We consoled ourselves that it was an adventure far removed from the routine of our daily life. We felt, as we installed our soap, towels, pillows and linen, that “things would look better in the morning”. Secretly we told ourselves that they had to be better, simply because they couldn’t be worse!

The first night away from home is always restless one for me. No matter how tired I am when I retire, it is difficult for me to sleep well the first night. This was no exception. The overly warm iron bedstead and hard mattress reminded me that our beauty rests and air-conditioning helped make our “sweet home” unlike –well, say, camp! The last look I’d taken at the next day’s schedule hadn’t helped a lot either. The first bell would toll at 6:30 a.m., some time before our usual waking hour.

It must have been three in the morning before I finally dropped off to sleep: and only minutes later, it seemed, the dreaded bell began to ring.


A peep out of the motel room window revealed a kind of early morning bustling which I was not fully prepared to comprehend. People actually did stir around at this hour! In fact, the porch of the big house across the campus was already filling with people--mostly older folk--getting ready for the first prayer meeting of the day. I was later to learn that several such meetings, in informal settings like this one, were the held at different times throughout the day, and that this very communication with God was the real under girding strength and secret behind the success of each camp meeting.

What, really, were we to expect in the days that were to follow? I wondered. Were we dealing with a group of fanatics? Certainly the people we already knew—those who had introduced us to the camp, and the evangelists who had attracted us by his preaching could not be considered “way out” or in any sense off balance. To the contrary, they were good people, intelligent, maybe a bit more serious about their religion than most, but a lot less anxious about material things than the ordinary, every-day Christians we knew. It would be interesting to see what this camp meeting business was all about? We were not too sure we could take a week and a half of it. However, we’d wait and see.

Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. was good. Just plain country eating—bacon, eggs, grits, toast, jelly and coffee. And there was about the dining hall this first morning a feeling of unhurried, loving Christian fellowship, just like one would expect to find in Heaven someday. Food digested better. The warm welcomes touched us. New friendships were being made, and we knew that they would be permanent.


Meeting after meeting, day after day, the friendships became more invaluable, the moments of worship more precious. Business pressures were non-existent. What at first had appeared an arduous routine now became an eagerly awaited series of contacts with humble people of great faith—deep-running souls, constantly seeking a closer walk with God.

And in time, like Wesley, we felt our hearts strangely warmed. One morning as we sat on the porch of the new dining hall watching several hundred teenagers (ours among them) walk cheerfully by us on their way to the nine o’clock youth meeting. I had to ask myself, “Where on this earth, unless in a similar camp meeting, could one find as many young people, with Bibles in hand, going to a little tabernacle to pray and learn more of Him to whom they pray?”

Instead of demonstrating for “freedom” by violently burning someone else’s building or destroying a section of a city somewhere, these youngsters were giving themselves up as love-slaves to Christ. Instead of smoking “pot” or shooting “horse,” they were feasting on God’s Holy Word and opening up new prayer veins between their hearts and God!

The young at camp seemed to say that if the world is to be won to Christ it will have to be won by a band of brothers and not be a cold, shallow, competing church, or by a group of exclusive-minded religious sects departing too often from God’s Word and Christ’s example.


The early rising, the porch prayer meetings, the promising teenagers, the inspiring sermons three times a day, the morning Bible hours, the sun, the mosquitoes, the watermelon cuttings, the fellowships, the new- found books a the book store, the late-night youth prayer sessions—all these are camp meeting. Some say they come away with holiness; in their hearts, “sanctified: they say, sometimes in hushed tones for fear those tender biblical words might be confused with or distorted by other sects or groups who have discredited these precious scriptural truths. Call it what you will, my wife and I and each of our children were changed by the Holy Spirit through camp meeting preaching and prayer.

Since that time our lives have not been the same. There have been rough episodes since, but the One we sought that summer six years ago has seen us through, always without fail. Our four oldest children are now active in a weekly prayer meeting and various other religious activities. The younger ones have their own set with whom they worship and learn. My wife’s testimony rekindles the warmth in my heart each time I hear it. My own witness has been set ablaze by the touch of His Spirit that came one summer’s night.

Jesus said in John 17, “I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through they truth; thy word is truth” (vv. 15-17).

Camp meeting is where we first saw His blessed plan for us in this light. And through this Truth—His Word—we have been set apart, sanctified, if you please: So, by authority of he Scriptures we are not now of this world but of His Kingdom. We must live in the world, but we are set apart by His Truth and are a very real part of his Kingdom, here and now.

The anticipation of seeing old and sainted friends and of being with the youngsters again each summer is with us constantly. Over the past six years some dear friends we first met at camp meeting have gone on to “that land that is fairer than day.” Those of us left behind have had a preview of Heaven and the hosts that must now surround His Throne. We can no longer live as we did before. We have met the Savior. We have fellowship with His people. And it began at camp meeting.

-Henry Westbrook Finlayson

Dad’s, bio was also on the pamphlet that the above text was printed. It read as follows.

Westbrook Finlayson, JD, is a practicing Attorney and Counselor at Law in Gadsden, Alabama. He is the founder-president of The Extended Ministries Association, a Wesleyan-Arminian Evangelical organization, the purpose of which is to bring outstanding evangelists to cities for “Downtown Camp Meetings” in the fall and winter of each year. Dr. Finlayson is a lawyer and a member of the United Methodist Church.

A little background from one of the kids in the backseat.

The Lure of the Camp Meeting was originally published around 1973 when The Extended Ministries was in full swing. It was later made available through THE HERALD out of Wilmore Kentucky as well as reprinted in a few Christian publications

Dad started by mentioning an old evangelist who’s “sermons were filled with fire and truth”. The evangelist became a close friend of my dad. His name was Dr. John R. Church. Dr. Church was invited to our church to preach a week long revival at Bellevue United Methodist Church by our pastor Rev. Randall (Randy). VanLandingham in the Winter of 1966. I remember those nights because I became a Christian on one of them. I was eight years old.

Our first camp meeting experience is reflected in this little pamphlet that dad wrote. Mom and dad packed the station wagon with six children plus luggage. Dad’s description was pretty accurate. Dr. Blanchard was a featured evangelist at Camp Bethlehem in Bonifay, FL that year. Randy VanLandingham was also the camp’s president and probably encouraged dad to drive down and experience it. Hearing Blanchard preach again was probably what lured my parents in making that long trek. We pulled into Bethlehem after dark one summer night of June 1967. It was a very surreal moment and I remember it well.

You can tell by dad’s reflection of the youth of that time, “smoking pot, shooting horse and rioting for peace” reflected a shared concern toward the youth back in the late 60’s. Not being a teenager at that time, I don’t know what shooting horse was all about. It sounds much harsher than tipping cows. Other than the sixty’s reference, I believe dad’s Lure of the Camp Meeting article is timeless, describing what countless families down through the years have experienced in kind.