Monday, June 27, 2011

An Organized Garage Is A Happy Garage

Every project I start gets interrupted by someone or something at some point.  The firepit is no exception.  Only this time there was a very good reason for the unintended hiatus.  I had to cut some wood to frame in the bricks for the pit, but I couldn't ... um ... get to the miter saw.

You see, my garage has been the tragic victim of neglect for quite some time now, and the tip-toe dance to get from one end to the other had to stop.  Today.

I hauled a lot of junk out of the garage and onto the driveway and began throwing things into the van to be dumped over the riverbank ... I mean ... taken to the dump. There were a bunch of tree branches, some of which had been cut into smaller pieces for campfires, and the larger ones split and stacked.  The weeds, however, were another story.  There they were in the middle of the driveway, taking up the precious space I needed to organize the contents of the garage.

Are you starting to catch on?  The garage project was successfully interrupted by the dumping of weeds and trash over the riverbank at the appropriate depository.  As I realized that my stomach was grumbling and the sun was setting, I stuffed all the stuff back into the garage until tomorrow, when I will begin the entire process again.

Another productive day.

Just a Bunch of Ramblings

OK, I'm gonna think out loud for a while.  Please don't take offense.

I took two (2) walks today; one to drop off my wife's van, and another to pick up the same van. .  Engine light, leak in a hose, $30 repair - no big deal. 

Walking gives me a chance to be alone and think, an interesting and dangerous thing.  Why don't my thoughts just leave me alone?  Why do I feel this constant prodding of unfinished business?  I thought I got my answer and I was dealing with it.  Why do I still hear that small voice telling me to proceed? 

I won't do it.  Things are getting back to normal. Let's leave well-enough alone.

What do you do when you can't get the Holy Spirit to stop prodding you?  What if no one else recognizes the truth that He is trying to tell you?  WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!!??

Sorry for yelling.  I'm disturbed right now and I am unable to speak fully about it, only in small chunks so as not to offend.

I'm going to have to find a creative way to vent and release the pressure valve.  I'll probably go back to my secret place to deal with it alone.  I didn't think I'd have to do that anymore.  I thought I was making progress.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Build A Shelter ... And Sit Under It.

My first day of summer vacation was fairly productive, though the list continues to grow. *Hi Honey!*  I've wanted a roof over the deck since we bought this place in '03 but we couldn't afford one.  This year I designed a contraption made entirely of run-of-the-mill hardware store PVC and an 8' x 10' heavy duty tarp.  Pretty smooth, don't ya think? The boys and I put it up today, along with two top-of-the-line resin adirondack chairs.  They thought it was extremely cool when it rained and they didn't get wet.

I still have to build stairs down to the backyard from the back of the deck and knock out the rail.  That will have to wait for another day.

Project number 2 involved a creative way to dress-up the grave of our 16 year old dog.  We wanted to do something functional and pretty, as well as make it difficult for the new puppy to dig up the old pooch. 
A place to have backyard campfires seemed appropriate because it would remind us of all the campfires we had with our old husky, and would be a gathering place for our family to make new memories.

In all my first day of vacation worked out pretty well.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go sit under my shelter.  TTFN!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Photo Art

I went for a walk before Big Brother's baseball game today.  I happened to have my camera along and I found some cool subjects for b&w shots!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Journey Is Mine Alone

My journey through life is mine alone.  The Lord has led me by His Spirit down many well-trodden paths, deep valleys, high mountain tops, and a number of passageways unknown to me.  I learned that everyone journeys alone; no one has entire companionship.  Even when someone comes along for a while, before long I am, again, unaccompanied. 

God surrounded me with wonderful people.  He blessed me with a beautiful help meet, a loving family, and great friends; I am beginning to recognize that we exist side-by-side, yet lead separate lives. The intimacy I desire on earth (physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional) may well remain unfulfilled during my life; though my heart was otherwise led for a moment, I might never be known or know someone truly, completely, but momentarily as we connect along the way. 

So, with a high purpose, a bruised but hopeful spirit, and a freshly humbled heart, I travel on, asking very little.  I will acquiesce to the solitude of the journey as well as the closeness when offered, seeking largely comfortable paths, and in so doing, endeavor to cause no harm.   

The journey is mine alone.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Cup of Coffee

Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.  
~ Proverbs 15:16 ~

What do I really want?  I mean really, really want? Why do I want these things?  When I want a cup of coffee, why do I get the large instead of the small?  Why do I look at my neighbor’s car and wish I could have something that nice

Why do I want a new car?  I have transportation to work.  Isn’t that what I really want?  I want new shoes, pants, shirts, ties, etc. (OK, maybe I don’t want any new ties).  I already have clothing to protect me and keep me warm.  Isn’t that what I really want? 

This morning I watched the YouTube video “Life Is Like A Cup Of Coffee.” (If you haven’t seen it, I posted the link below.)    The idea that we need “A,” but we want to have it packaged in “B” before we will enjoy it, is an astonishing eye-opener for me. 

For example, why do I drink my coffee from a Disney Dopey mug every morning?  Does the mug improve the flavor?  Why do we paint our houses with so many special trim colors?  Do the colors provide better protection against the elements? Would a single color offer less protection?  Could the house be painted faster, leaving more time to enjoy, say, another cup of coffee? Why do we pine after sleek, new cars?  Will we be better people if we own them? 

This principle applies not only to things, but also to other “non-stuff” wants and needs.  Countless people wait for the perfect conditions before they step out and do something they desperately want/need to do. They wait too long, or wait for the right “this” or “that” before reaching out to a friend, a relative, or a spouse, never making the effort to really understand the other person’s needs - too wrapped up in restrictions to bother trying.  The shame is the lost opportunity for a true, intimate connection.  Many folks wait too long and lose the chance forever.  Why wait for perfection before taking action?  Will the situation ever be right? 

OK … end of rant, I’m off the soapbox.  What do I intend to do?  I’m going to decide what I really want, and get it, then chuck out the rest.

I want:

  1. a closer walk with Jesus.
  2. to find a way to grow closer to my wife; I want us to know one other completely.
  3. my family to be gentle and loving to one another. 
  4. a comfortable home, compatible with our lifestyle.
  5. to be healthy and relaxed.

A short list.  Impossible?  Will I accomplish it, or give up in disgust?  Will I order my life to reflect the truly important things?  Will I continue to grow in my relationships?  Is it foolishness to think that I can simplify my life in this way?  I’ll have to get back to you on that. 

Meanwhile, I’m going to have a cup of coffee.   


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Proud Moment ...

I just found this video among my computer files and I felt the need to share it.  I taught most of these kids from first grade up.  This was either a dress rehearsal or a school concert a year or so ago.  They have come a long way from elementary school. I'm was so proud to see them up there all sing-y and dance-y and stuff!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Small Summer Project

We’ve been sprucing up the yard, trimming bushes and trees, weeding and planting.  The two big projects this summer will be the campfire pit and a PVC roof over the deck.  With a little smart shopping and leftover parts from other projects, I think I can do both for around $100. 

For the deck cover - I have a bunch of 1-inch PVC pipe and fittings in the basement and garage that I can use for the roof part of the structure. The only thing I should have to buy is a custom heavy-duty white tarp for the top, and possible some screw caps and various clips.  Possibly a new saw, but I might still be able to use my old one. 

For the campfire pit – I bought some bags of sand, and I have a pile of stones behind the garage.  I’ll dig a shallow, square ditch layer the bottom with stones, then pour some sand and arrange the bricks ( I have most of the bricks I need, may have to buy a few). Then I’ll frame it with treated 1x4 lumber, pour sand over the top and brush it in.  After that I’ll put three cement blocks (already have ‘em) on the bricks, and set a steel washing machine drum (getting it from a friend) on top of the blocks, and voila – a fire pit!

Add a few chairs and some marshmallows, and we'll have a pretty cozy summer.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Girl and Her Puppy

At the end of March we got a new puppy.  I know, I know ... thousands of families get puppies, and isn't that big of a deal.  Of course, that's true ... mostly.

I say "mostly, " because the puppy has caused our oldest child to think of someone besides herself for a change.  She and the puppy have bonded in a way that I never thought I would see.
  • She feeds him
  • She takes him outside to do his "business"
  • She cleans up said "business," inside or outside the house
  • She plays with him
  • She disciplines him (without going overboard) when he's bad
The puppy is drawn to her - he goes to her when he has to go out, or when he's hungry or just wants to play.

This is an encouraging thing to see, because Big Sister has always been more than a little strong-willed, with a slight hint of bully on the side (when we took the family personality test, she came out as the lion).  Puppy has somewhat changed her attitude for the better, at least for the moment.  She is finally looking outside herself to meet someone else's needs in a very unselfish way.

That is a very big deal.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I wish I Had The Nerve - Part 2

Here is another song that I would perform if I could.  The subject is quite deep, yet so real, one can actually imagine being there.  He communicates the intimate lyrics superbly, and adds just the right amount of melancholy.  His piano skills ain't bad, either.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bucket List

I don't want to make a habit of this, but I'm going to link to a post on someone else's blog.  In his blog, Neal's Notepad, Neal Cordle explains in great detail the thinking behind his "bucket list," and why he crafted it differently than the usual list of "to have's" and "to do's."  You can read his full post here.

He gleaned four questions from Bobb Biehl to expand his list from the usual litany to:
  1. Who do I want to be? 
  2. What do I want to do? 
  3. What do I want to have? 
  4. Who do I want to help? 
This is such a cool idea that I'm actually toying with the idea of breaking