Monday, January 31, 2011

The Reality of Imagination

We have grand imaginations. They are the transporters that beam us to places, people and potential residing as thoughts within our minds. They produce the out of body experiences where we leave one room and travel to another time and place. Through our imaginations we can run away and yet remain, we can find comfort within discomfort, we can sense bliss among thorns.

The imagination lets us visualize answers to problems. We dream of solutions and see our way through. It lifts us above the maze and lets us find the route to the open door. The power of our imagination helps us believe in a reality beyond the present moment.

I am convinced the imagination is a gift from God wired into the faith mechanism that allows us to believe in things invisible. The ability to know for certain that there are things beyond what my eyes can see can only be defined as the “what’s possible” in life. Knowing there is a “what’s possible” becomes a tool which makes trust work.

People who give up have usually lost touch with their imagination. To them doors have shut and cannot be opened. Obstacles have overtaken possibility. And God has ceased to exist.

The imagination allows us to breathe hope into any and all situations, not by giving credibility to an illusion but by removing the hindrances placed there by doubt.

By giving our eyes of faith the opportunity to see what the eyes of doubt won’t even look at makes trust work. When trust works, God smiles.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goober and His Messed Up Manliness

The invitation was to “occupant” but Goober felt inclined to accept.

“You don’t even know what goes on in one of those places,” Grady said.

“Well they’ve been advertising it everywhere, so it must be something good,” he answered.

“And so you think that just because they advertise it it’s something you ought to do?”

“Thought I’d give it a try.”

“Well I think this is about the dumbest thing I ever heard of. They’re liable to mess up your manliness in a place like that.”

Since Goober was walking to the truck while all of this was going on, Grady realized there was no longer any need to argue and went back inside the house. Goober drove off.

When he turned into the strip center, the ribbons dangling from the awning out front directed him to the entrance.

“Welcome to Daisy Spa,” said a cheerful young lady. “Won’t you step inside and experience the finest in beauty and relaxation?” The door swung open and the strong odor of highly fragrant chemicals blasted Goober in the face.

“Whew,” he exclaimed. “Ain’t smelled anything like that since Grady and I stripped the old coffee table.”

The lady at the counter asked, “Now how might we make your life more pleasant?”

“Well, I was thinking about having my feet worked on.”

“So a pedicure?”

“A what?”

“A pedicure. You would like a pedicure?”

“Well, the only pets I got are Jack and Cat but they ain’t here, and even if they were they ain’t sick.”

“No, you said your feet. We will do a pedicure.”

“If that means you’re gonna work on my feet, then sure, sign me up.”

The tub of warm water and soft hands rubbing Goober’s feet put him right to sleep. The toe technician couldn’t rouse him so she picked the color herself. A soft pink, subtle yet distinctive.

When Goober finally woke up he looked at his toes and swallowed hard. He darted his eyes around so see if anyone was watching and quickly put his socks and shoes back on. He got up, went to the front counter, paid his money and left.

“Painted your toes!” Grady laughed. “Why on earth did you let them paint your toes?”

“I fell asleep and they just did it. How was I to know a pedicure meant cleaning and painting my toes!”

“What did you do?”

“I left there and went and walked around Home Depot. Took nearly a whole hour till my manhood came back. But all the time I was afraid somebody was gonna come up to me and tell me to take my shoes and socks off.”

“Well let me see them.”

“Uh uh, these socks ain’t never coming off.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So That's What That's There For

When I started driving, you drove by sound. The whine of the engine told you when to shift. You knew how much strain you were putting on the motor and when you reached the appropriate moment to back off. I can’t even hear my engine anymore. Has nothing to do with my ears, the thing’s just too quiet. In the old days you wanted your pipes to rumble, now they just hum. When the windows are up and the radio’s blasting, I can’t even tell the engine is running, much less when to shift (I drive a five-speed). To help, I have gauges that tell me what I need to know. I watch my tach and speedometer. These tell me how much strain I’m putting on the engine and how close I am to my suggested speed per gear. I can’t drive without them.

Yesterday, however, I was getting on the freeway in Houston. It was pouring rain, cars were all over the place, and one of my sons called. There were so many distractions I forgot to make my final shift. I had gone nearly to the other side of town and had no idea my engine was straining as it was. I glanced at my speedometer. I was within the limit. Then I looked at my tach. It was much higher than usual for this speed. I reached for the gear shift and made the change. You could sense the engine breathing a sigh of relief to get over the strain.

Usually in periods of personal strain, my tach is telling me to shift, but my distractions, stubbornness or fear is keeping me from doing so. All I know is if you keep revving your engine beyond the point where it needs to adjust, something’s gonna blow. Before it does, make the shift. That’s why you have a transmission in the first place.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

The other day I was driving home after work and a somewhat large box turtle was plodding across the shoulder of the highway, heading into my lane, on a path for the other side of the road. It was a rather busy time, and with the amount of traffic, I couldn’t see him making it intact. I stopped and shared my concerns, then asked him why he was trying to get to the other side of the road in the first place.

He said it was for the same reason the chicken crossed the road. Well, not only was I surprised he was a talking turtle, but really wasn’t prepared for him to be a comedian. But I bit and said, “Okay, why did the chicken cross the road?”

“Simple,” he answered. “It was in the way for him to get to where he wanted to go.”

Hummm. Makes sense. To the chicken and the turtle, the road was simply an obstacle: something in the way of getting to where they wanted to go. Getting across it was his just his way of dealing with that obstacle.

I’ve been on a sidewalk that turns sharply to go around a huge tree. The tree was in the path, so to deal with the obstacle, the designer took the concrete around the tree. It was easier than removing the tree.

When we moved into our house there was a large pine tree in the way of our driveway. The builder chose to go around it. It not only made it impossible to get a second car in the garage, but the cars on the driveway had to be parked in single file. My solution: remove the tree and widen the driveway. We did and the results were gratifying.

Some obstacles can be removed from our path, others have to be negotiated around.
Sometimes you tunnel through the mountain, sometimes you cross over the top, sometimes you go around. But if the journey is important enough to keep going, you have to find a way to deal with your obstacles.

Jesus said we were to “count the cost.” It meant make sure you have what it takes to accomplish what you begin. It means being prepared to deal with what may interfere.

It is not unusual to begin a journey only to experience a detour. When we do, we negotiate it. We follow the directions as given, or we make our own way. We don’t freak out, turn around and go home because our way was blocked. We deal with it. We move it, go over it, go around it. But we don’t stop the journey just because it’s there.

Is the journey worth it? Then deal with the obstacle. Is the journey my marriage and the obstacle is one of my habits? Is my marriage worth it? Then remove the habit. Is the journey my education and the obstacle my entertainment? Is the education worth it? Then adjust the entertainment. Is the journey my family and the obstacle my schedule? Is my family worth it? Then change the schedule.

Obstacles are expected parts to life. Every journey encounters them. Deal with them; don’t be overcome by them.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Grady, Goober and the Baby Dedication

Six inches of snow, followed by a week of freezing temperatures, kept most folks inside last winter. Some believe that contributed to the large number of babies to be dedicated. There were so many, in fact, that Pastor Jerguson had asked Grady and Goober to help him with the ceremony.

Not wanting to fall too far behind in modern technology, Pastor Jerguson wanted the special feature of a slide show on the big screen showing pictures of each baby. Grady had collected the pictures and carefully labeled them with the child’s and parents’ names. He scanned them and loaded them onto a disk.

When the first child was presented, Pastor Jerguson held up the precious little girl and said, “This is Dottie Lambert. She’s the daughter of Ralph and Cindy Lambert.” With full excitement of having a picture of her on the screen behind him, Pastor Jerguson directed everyone’s attention to her eating her first solid food.

The roar from the crowd made him afraid to turn around. Seems when Grady had burned the disk he had laid it on the desk but picked up a different one, one Goober had made of his trip to the zoo this past summer, and took it to the church. The first image was of a rather messy Asian pig’s behind sticking up in the air and his snout buried in the slop in his trough.

Hoping this was a fluke, Pastor Jerguson continued as though the first picture had been an actual shot of little Dottie. “This is Stanley Jones. He’s the son of Wade and Peggy Jones. Here he is getting his first hair cut.”

Again a roar overwhelmed the moment. Pastor Jerguson slowly turned and saw a family of baboons with the mother picking fleas out of the hair of her baby.

In too deep to stop, Pastor Jerguson held up Missy Yeager, daughter of Kyle and Bernice Yeager. He took a breath and said, “This is little Missy singing in her crib.”

The donkey in full bray was more than the crowd could handle. Maxine Johnson grabbed her tissue to wipe her eyes and nose. Her sister, Gladys, began to struggle with her incontinence. Stan Gomez began to snort in a way reminiscent of what the donkey might sound like. The rest of the congregation lost it entirely. Then the babies began to cry along with their mothers. The dads had no clue what to do.  Pastor Jerguson looked back at the control booth. Only Jordan Turner was there. Grady and Goober had left the building right after the baboons.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grady, Goober and Aunt Bertha

“Goober, did I just hear you call your Aunt Bertha a pig?” asked Pastor Jerguson.

“Yes sir,” Goober answered. “Aunt Bertha’s a pig.”

“No, no, Goober, never call your aunt a pig. She may be large, portly, plus-sized, statuesque, jumbo, over-weight, pudgy, fluffy, extra large, gigantic, enormous, rotund, enlarged, but please don’t call her a pig.”

“But Pastor J…”

“No, I insist. You must not be so degrading in describing your aunt.”

“But Pastor J…”

“Goober, you can’t justify this, so don’t even try.”

“But Pastor J…”

“Calling attention to someone’s physical characteristics is inappropriate. You don’t need to add a descriptive word like “pig” after her name. That’s so demeaning. I’m ashamed of you.”

“But Pastor J…”

“What, Goober!”

“Pastor J, Aunt Bertha is a pig.”

“Have you been listening to me? I insist you never say those words in reference to your aunt again.”

Goober went reflective. Pastor Jerguson nodded. Apparently he had finally gotten through.

“Pastor J, Aunt Bertha is a swine?”

Pastor Jerguson went ballistic. He began to circle Goober, waving his arms and stomping the ground. Finally, Grady came up.

“Hey, Goober, I need help loading Aunt Bertha in the back of the truck.”

“What?” demanded Pastor Jerguson.

“Yeah, we gotta take her to the vet for worming and she’s too big for me to handle by myself,” Grady answered.

“So Aunt Bertha is a…” Pastor Jerguson paused.

“Whatever you do, don’t say ‘pig’,” Goober warned. “Pastor J will go crazy on you.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chunk the Junk

I spent last week cleaning out my garage. Yes, the whole week. Seems we had accumulated quite a bit of unnecessary clutter over the years. As part of the project, I reorganized the remaining junk so I could find it when I needed it. Beginning was difficult. It was an overwhelming mess. But with diligence, persistence and a capriciousness when it came to throwing stuff out, I declared the work done at 4:00 Saturday.

The cleanup wasn’t easy and the task wasn’t quick. It was a plodding operation. It took years to get the way it was; it took days to straighten it all out.

Our lives are not unlike my garage. We don’t suddenly find ourselves drowning in debris. We’ve been treading away for quite a while as it rose higher and higher. It’s not until we get pushed under that we become aware of how messed up things have gotten. We blame the last box of crud that dropped on top of us but that wasn’t necessarily the real issue. We could have handled that box had it not been for the room full of boxes cluttering our lives, tripping us up. The last just simply overwhelmed us.

Before we reach the final box, I suggest we start cleaning things up. Grab a piece of junk. Take it in hand. Look at its worthlessness and then take it to the curb for heavy pickup day. By declaring it useless to the process of living our lives and taking it away, we have relieved ourselves of an unnecessary burden and cleared space for some blessing.

If we keep it up, our garage or heart will be able to serve the purpose for which it was designed. We might be able to get the car back inside. We might be able to find the stuff we really need to use when we need it. We might be less embarrassed leaving the garage door opened when folks drive past. And we might find it easier to love God with all our heart as He asked us to.

When cleaning out your garage, take each piece of clutter in your hand and ask, “Do I need this?” If not, throw it out. When cleaning out your heart, take each piece of clutter and ask, “Does this glorify God?” If not, throw it out.

If you’re like me, this may take a while. But keep it up. A clean garage is a happy garage.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Grady, Goober and the Sport of Kings

“What the heck is that?” Grady asked, pointing to the large black bird Goober had strapped to his arm.

“A falcon,” Goober answered proudly. “I’m getting into falconry, the sport of kings.”

“You don’t know anything about falconry,” Grady sneered.

“Don’t have to. The falcon’s been trained to do everything. All I have to do is take this cover off his little head and throw him up in the air and he’ll go after the first thing he sees.”

“This I gotta see.”

Goober pulled the string that untied the strap holding the cap over the bird’s eyes and held him up in the air. He then began to jostle him up and down vigorously. Nothing.

“Thought you said he’d take off after the first thing he sees?”

“Wait till his eyes get adjusted to the light. It’s dark inside that cap, you know.” Goober shook his arm but the bird merely climbed past the elbow and onto Goober’s shoulder.

“Hate to be the one to tell you but that ain’t no falcon,” Grady laughed. “Looks to me like it’s a parrot.”

“No way. You ever seen a black parrot before?”

“Well it ain’t a falcon,” Grady said. “I’m saying a parrot.”

Pastor Jerguson walked by, his little Chihuahua clutched tightly under his arm. “Better watch your pup, Pastor J, if he’s the first thing Goober’s falcon sees when his eyes start working again he might make a tasty lunch out of him.”

“Grady, that’s not a falcon.”

“Told you so,” Grady said. “That’s what I told him, Pastor J. It’s a parrot, ain’t it?”

“No, it’s not a parrot, either.”

“What is it, an eagle?” Goober asked.

“Looks to me like a buzzard.”

“A buzzard!”

“Pretty sure,” the pastor answered. “Who told you it was a falcon?”

“This guy down at the Piggly Wiggly,” Goober answered.

“So Piggly Wiggly’s selling birds now?” Grady asked.

“No, this guy out in the parking lot asked me if I wanted to buy a falcon,” Goober said. “He told me he’d raised it from an egg and trained it himself. Said I could use it duck hunting. Save on shotgun shells.”

“How much?”

“Shotgun shells?”

“No, for the bird. How much did you pay for the buzzard?”

“Twenty bucks.”

“Well, that should have told you something,” Pastor Jerguson said. “A real falcon would have cost you several hundred. A trained one over a thousand.”

“Man, I should have known something,” Goober said. “Before I put his little cap on he wanted me to stop at every dead animal we saw all the way here.”

Friday, January 7, 2011

Upping My Want-to

I have two cats that depend on me. Dippy is mine, Buddy lives down the street. They both greet me each morning singing some discordant song as they beg for food. It’s not like they can’t survive by instinct. Dippy presented me with a dead squirrel a couple of days ago. She’s capable. Buddy, on the other hand, couldn’t find a squirrel tied under his neck. He’s crossed-eyed. It’s a Siamese characteristic. But the fact that they both meet me for breakfast is a reflection of their dependency. Buddy, because he has to, Dippy because she chooses to.

I’m not sure if I was Dippy I’d be so consistent. I don’t like routine.  I don’t like the same thing for breakfast every day. I like variety. But Dippy gets the same cat food day after day. Buddy seems content to get whatever’s served.

In reference to me coming to the Lord each day, which cat am I? Do I come to Him because I have no other choice or do I come because He is my choice? Am I devoted out of necessity or am I devoted out of delight? Is He fulfilling His obligation to me or is He overwhelming me with carefully designed provisions? Do I come because I need Him or because I want Him desperately?

Obviously all of the above is true, but my response to Him will be different according to my attitude. Dependency without choice creates rebellion. Got any teenagers? Choosing dependency actually is an expression of devotion which produces a healthy relationship. God demands dependency but desires it to be an offering not a debt.

God doesn’t want us to meet with Him while wishing we were someplace else, or doing so only because we feel obligated to do it. He desires fellowship.  

I like Buddy, but I prefer Dippy because after she eats she hangs out with me. Buddy just goes back home.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Grady, Goober and the Noodling Adventure

The water was cold and the current strong, but Goober stood firm, confident he could noodle out a big catfish from the indention in the bank. Pastor Jerguson’s old waders that Goober found in the church dumpster were keeping him dry, at least from the chest down. The rip torn in them when Goober baptized Francine Peters had a generous hump of duct tape holding back the river. Because of the current, Grady had tied a rope around Goober’s waist and held him securely from the bank.

“Alright,” Grady said, “I’ve got you. Reach in there and wiggle your fingers around. When you feel that old catfish take a bite, just pull him out. Ain’t nothing to it.”

“Wait a minute. I thought I was just supposed to grab him, not him grab me.”

“Too slippery,” Grady answered. “Anyway, his teeth will latch hold long enough for you to pull him out then you can grab him with your other hand and throw him up here on the bank. Just don’t get stuck with one of his fins.”

“What? I ain’t so sure I want to do this anymore.”

“Of course you do. Just stick your hand in there and wiggle your fingers around. Trust me.”

Goober looked into the murky water rushing past him, took a deep breath, closed his eyes and stuck his hand into the bank. “You wiggling your fingers?” Grady asked. Goober slowly spread his fingers apart and extend them, then pulled them back. Nothing. He tried again and SNAP!

Goober’s scream was something between a cat getting his tail underneath a rocker and a two year old seeing how high her voice can go. He jerked his hand back. “Throw me the fish,” Grady said. But the oblong, four-footed creature attached to his hand wouldn’t let go. “Goober, that ain’t no catfish, it’s a snapping turtle. Let go of it and go after the catfish.”

“I’ve done let go of it,” Goober yelled. “It won’t let go of me!”

“Well, shake it real hard.”

Goober tried but the turtle was securely latched to his hand.

“Need thunder,” Grady offered. “Snapping turtles won’t let go till it thunders.” He looked up to the sky. Totally clear. But as he did he let go of the tension in the rope.

Goober felt the current taking him downstream. He staggered over some rocks and went under. The waders quickly filled with frigid water and began dragging him down. He forced himself up, coughed and sputtered, then went back under. Grady looked back down from checking out the sky and Goober was gone. He heard the splash and looked down river. Goober had lodged himself in the fork of a tree limb. The waders were floating on by themselves. He hung there shivering.

Grady walked out on the limb and pulled him up. “Where’s the turtle?” he asked.

“Guess he let go at some point,” Goober said.

“Good, now let’s go and noodle out that old catfish.”

The second scream was more like a wounded wild cat about to spring ferociously on its attacker. Grady felt it best to quickly find his way back to the truck. Goober was right behind him, yelling, “You want to see some noodling?”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rekindling the Flame

One of my facebook friends, Jan Nell, posted this quote today: A position that exceeds passion often settles with appeasement~B. Moore. I’m not sure who B. Moore is but I found myself captured by the statement.

Settling is always a dangerous approach to life. Settling sounds like we’ve given up hope of anything better. That no matter how much longer the road, we’ve come to a dead end.

Settling for appeasement means we have chosen compliance over pursuit. Just getting along, putting in my time, staying out of trouble, taking the easy route, none of which moves us any closer to the goal of a passion-filled life.

But to have a position without passion is like having a fireplace with no wood. It looks good, but with no heat coming out, what purpose does it serve? We have one of those in the front living room, far removed from where we hang out. Supposedly it’s good for resale but completely useless to our lifestyle.

Passion is a love-based word. It’s the fire in our belly which makes us care so deeply that we give our lives away. Whether in a marriage or a job, and whether that job is inside or outside the home, we do it because something drives us from within.

When we’ve lost the drive, we begin to settle into a routine that occupies our time but robs us of our imagination. We punch the clock, do our work, and look forward to something else. And we’ll pretty much stay there until we restore the ultimate reason we do what we do.

See, passion is not an emotion but an undercurrent of motivation. It’s the why. Look at your job. Why do you do it? Is it: interest, training, skills, money, convenience, what was expected of you? All legitimate reasons but none imply passion.

Passion connects us with calling. Calling draws us to look at the bigger picture. When calling meets passion I have confirmation I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. If the passion to do what I do has gone away I need to start asking why. Not why it went away but why was I drawn to this in the first place. If the reason is appropriate, the why will reconnect me with the passion.

Remembering why we got married, why we relocated, why we had children, why we bought the house, why we chose that profession, why we joined that church, why we made that decision, why we committed ourselves to God, will keep us on track.

When Jesus told the Ephesians to return to their first love, He had obviously noticed that though they were busy, they had lost the reason for their busyness. They had settled for routine over adventure, maintenance over growth, comfort over service and, unfortunately, meaninglessness over life. To restore that life, they would have to remember why they started doing it in the first place. That why would reignite the flames of passion.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

When Things Just Can't Be Fixed

Fixing things is a way of life for some. Take me for instance. I am wired to fix stuff. I love building, repairing, remodeling and doing the kinds of things that makes the broken usable again. I thrive on it. Things I can’t fix distress me, such as: a broken heart, a dissolving marriage, a rebellious teenager, an adult child struggling to make his own decisions, a doctor’s diagnosis, an unsaved person’s unwillingness to accept God’s salvation, a flesh-driven Christian unaware of what exists on the other side of surrender, a viral infection, another person’s regrets, issues, disappointments or baggage, an unexpected and sudden death, the loss of a job, the selfish actions of others that leave scars one carries into adulthood. Of course I could go on and on until I mention something you’re dealing with that remains unfixed, but you get my point. Some things just can’t be fixed by desire, effort or wishing. And for those of us who think they ought to be, that becomes quite heavy.
Answer? Obsess over it or see what the Lord has in mind. With Paul’s thorn issues, he asked for removal only to be told these thorns serve a greater purpose. If he would let them, they would drive him to grace. They would make him desire, receive and cling to the sufficiency of God. It wouldn’t make them any less painful or undesirable, only useful since they then would fulfill a purpose unachievable it they were taken away.
Strange that we would need distress to make us seek God, but how else would be become hungry and thirsty enough to desire what He has? Hunger and thirst are the results of distressing our bodies. We have restricted the intake of what sustains them to the point that cravings take over. Those cravings drive us to the source. I will search for food and water and then eat and drink until I am satisfied.
So the key must be, not to have everything fixed but to reach the point of being satisfied that God is engaged in my life where it touches my need. Discovering His sufficiency is a greater result than having my thorns removed. I’d rather live by the outflow of His grace than have a life with all my stuff fixed.  Because then what would a fixer do? You’ve got to have some things around you that need fixing otherwise you might just forget how important God really is.

Monday, January 3, 2011

One Word at a Time

Blank pages are amazing! I stare at them and see words, hundreds of words waiting to fill them. Words that will entertain, teach, enlighten, amuse. Words that will connect, refresh, confirm, inform. Words that will tell stories, relate instructions, define life, recapture moments. Blank pages just sitting there waiting for the words that make them come to life.
I’ve tried to rewrite yesterday. But since history is history I have found that I can only edit the words in order to make things clearer. You can’t change the story. I’ve also tried to write tomorrow today. But that’s not a real story. It hasn’t happened yet. It’s called fiction—the stuff we imagine. No, I can only write what’s going on right now.
We’re all writing a 365 page book one page at a time, each page an expression of the present as it’s happening. If I keep reworking yesterday’s page I’ll not give sufficient attention to today’s assignment. If I try to write tomorrow’s page today, I’ll lose the value of the moment. Today just won’t mean as much as it’s supposed to.
Advice: stay current, don’t get behind and don’t work ahead. Enjoy today’s stuff.
Jesus said: “Don’t worry about tomorrow for today has enough to concern yourself with already in it.”
If I relive yesterday or spend too much time imagining tomorrow I’ll miss today. Today’s the day the Lord has made. This is the day I should rejoice and be glad. Yesterday’s treasure was once tomorrow’s hope but was found in today’s privilege.
I love blank pages. They’re just sitting there, waiting for the words to be written. Now…I wonder how today’s adventure is going to add to the story.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goober, Grady and Almond Milk

Ms. Waddell slammed the refrigerator door in exasperation. “What happened to the almond milk?” she fired. Everyone went deaf and silent. Waddell’s coffee was crucial to her having a good day and the almond milk was her new-found luxury of both taste and health. Once she found out she was lactose intolerant switching to almond milk made life more pleasant not only for her digestive system but also for everyone at the daycare.
Goober was there at the church dropping off Sally, his little niece, and happened by the opened door to the kitchen when he heard Waddell screaming at everyone. “Ms. Waddell, you want me to run down to the Piggly Wiggly and get you some milk?”
“Not just milk, but almond milk. Goober, do you even know what almond milk is?” she asked.
“Well, I reckon it’s milk you get from almonds,” he answered.
“Yes, now hurry up and get back here with it,” she ordered.
Grady was waiting in the truck when Goober came out. “I think Ms. Waddell is playing a trick on me,” he said.
“How’s that?”
“She said she wanted me to go to Piggly Wiggly and get her some almond milk.”
“Ain’t no such thing as almond milk.”
“Sure there is,” Grady said.
“Yeah, right, I ain’t that stupid, Grady.  You can’t milk an almond.”
“Man, you are that stupid, of course you can milk an almond.”

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Year's Resolution

Considering matters of the New Year, the description of Solomon bothered me this morning. It said, “Solomon loved the Lord, walked in His statutes, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.” Seems he started well but finished poorly. Made me wonder about the “excepts” in my life.
You know what “excepts” are. They are those things that usually follow something really good that once mentioned, make what was really good not so good anymore. “Except” automatically excludes. You can have a great list of stuff going and all of a sudden it falls apart when you throw in an except.
I really love you…except. I had a great time…except. You’re really special to me…except. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done…except. I thought it went pretty well…except.
Describe a person’s beauty, skill or talent, then say “except” and most people forget all about the first stuff and measure by the except.
I read of a super model who by all opinions was gorgeous but said she didn’t like her nose. She saw some flaw that was imperceptible to everyone else. In her opinion that exception made her not as perfect as she wished she was or as others thought she was. Whenever she saw a picture of herself the first thing she looked for was the nose. Sad.
I’m thinking I don’t want any excepts in my life this coming year. I don’t want to end 2011 with a long list of good and great and then mess it up with except this one thing or these two moments or this period of… Excepts become our regrets. I don’t want any regrets.
So my resolution is to try and live honestly and carefully, to consider the consequences of my attitudes and actions, not in terms of the trouble I might get into, but the reflection it has on my commitment to the Lord.
I don’t want someone to say of me one of these day, “He was a good and godly man, except…”