Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween 2015

Halloween is often seen as a controversial holiday, filled with evil and demons.It is seen as a fearful time of Satan worship.

Maybe the holiday had questionable origins. Maybe it was shrouded in superstition, but that was a long time ago.

Now-a-days Halloween is about playing dress-up, community parties, and general fun.  Yes, there is still a hint of the macabre, but for the Christian, celebrating the defeat of death should be common practice.

On Halloween, scary things are out in the open for all to see -- and to avoid if you choose. It is the other 364 days that I worry about. On those days, evil is more hidden and can often blindside the unaware.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


A few weeks ago, I hopped into my car to head to church. I turned the key in the ignition and nothing happened--NOTHING! Perhaps I left the door ajar or the lights on and the battery was drained.

My son jumped the car, hoping that would solve the problem, but it didn't. I'd recently replaced the battery and the alternator and that completely ended my knowledge of electrical things that make the car stop working.

We eventually realized that the brake lights were remaining on,even after the ignition was off. That was what was draining the new battery.  After Ariel, Adam's fiance, did an Internet search, we found that a little plastic piece, connected to the brake, had broken. That was what permitted the lights in the car to shine, even after the ignition was turned off.

It was only a $10 piece of plastic that popped right onto the back of the brake, but when broken, it ultimately caused the same result as the expensive alternator. It didn't matter that the piece wasn't shiny or interesting looking, it was still necessary to keep the car working.

The same is true when a team forms for a social purpose, whether it is in a sport, employment, or a place of worship.  When each member finds his purpose and does his work well, the group thrives. When that person fails to do that job and no one is brought in to replace him, the group becomes dysfunctional.

We see it all the time, schools that are no longer reaching academic success, churches that are no longer impacting their communities, business that are going bankrupt, and charities that aren't serving the purposes they once served.  We have the talent but the talented no longer have the drive. That one little piece is missing.

The Apostle Paul wrote about such a thing happening to the early church. 1 Corinthians 12 gives an example of the human body and how it works. No one part of the body is better than the other, because all the parts are necessary for the body to work most efficiently.

It's not about education or beauty or age or money. It's about everyone doing his part and doing it well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What Does Your Behavior Say About Your Past?

My grandmothers didn't talk much about The Depression, at least not that I remember. They didn't have to. I knew it must have been a difficult time, because of the habits both my grandparents developed.

My grandparents were members of the Empty Plate Club. If you put food on your plate, you ate it. There were hungry people in the world and to waste food was disrespectful. Leftovers were never thrown away. They were warmed over or recycled into tasty stews and soups.

Both my grandparents knew how to can and preserve foods. The even made nourishing meals out of odd foods. One grandmother made watermelon rine preserves. My brothers loved them. The other once pointed to a weed growing in the yard and called it Polk Salad. I asked her to make some for me and she replied that she hoped she would never have to eat it again. That sentence spoke volumes.

They were the real recyclers, too. Clean aluminum foil was reused. Paper bags were save and reused--no plastic in those days. Coffee cans were painted and used as flower pots. Everything was used until it was used up.

They knew how to survive.

I knew The Depression must have shaped their thinking, their way of behaving.

It makes me think. What will my grandchildren see in my behavior? How will the assess me? What will my behavior tell them about my past and what I've learned?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Most of us have a special place, a room, a workshop, a place to call our own. I used to claim my Grandmother's house. It was a place I could visit, year after year. There was a second place, a state park near about an hour away from her home. Now that my grandmother's place no longer exists, Natchez Trace State Park is the place I call my special place.

When I was a child, I went on school field trips to Natchez Trace. I remember one year during our annual school picnic, a group of hippies in brightly painted school buses were camping in the park. They eventually bought property in Nashville and The Farm, their settlement, exists to this day.

I remember how exciting these people in their bright buses and unusual clothes were to me. That sunny day, swinging on the swings, listening to pop music trailing from the camp store was one of the happiest I had that summer.

 When I had a family, 2 foster children stayed with us and I wondered what kind of vacation I could manage with 3 hyperactive children. I remembered the fun I'd had at Natchez Trace. A cabin by the lake made a nice family trip.

My son, Adam, spent many summer trips at Natchez Trace.  Over the years, when finances were tight, the park was an affordable weekend get away. It was nice to see him enjoy the place I loved.

Last year Adam surprised me. On a family retreat, he proposed to his fiance on the dock overlooking the lake at Natchez Trace. Now, the park has sentimental value for another generation. This weekend, as we packed to leave the park, he suggested that next year we should make the trip a little longer.

The 12 year old girl, swinging on the swings, listening to pop music, and watching the hippies walk past, could have never foreseen that in her future.