Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kat

My wife and I arrived home from choir practice tonight to find our granddaughter's car in our driveway. At this season of her life, it's good to see her anytime. She had come by after play practice this evening to relax and work on her "human geography" homework before she drove the rest of the way home. I fixed her a cup of hot tea and we talked about life for a few minutes. But in just a wink, she was putting her tea into a travel mug and heading out the door. "Bye, Nana, bye Papa. Love you."

Kat is extremely busy as a second semester high school senior. She's taking a full load of honors classes, and serving as a student body officer, president of a service club, as well as preparing for the senior play. I get worn out just thinking about her schedule.

Kat has been a blessing in our lives since she first came into the world on April 1, 1992. In fact, for the first five years of her life she and her mom lived with us, so she has been, for all intents and purposes, almost like another child. And for 13 years I was the only father figure in her life. But she's got a great dad now, and I was all too happy to move over to make room for Steve.

So it's bittersweet to consider her impending high school graduation. This fall she'll be headed off to college, and life will be forever different. We're excited about what the future holds for her, because we know she'll do well at whatever she undertakes. But I'm going to miss coming home and seeing her car in the drive when she comes over to visit, however briefly, as well as those occasional granddad/granddaughter lunches.

Happy birthday, Kat. You're a blessing to everyone who knows you, but especially your grandparents. Love, Papa.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reaping the results of good will

It's a worthwhile practice to always strive to do what's right, no matter what good may acrue to you. In my mind, that's the essence of the Golden Rule.

Now I'm not a model practitioner of the Golden Rule, but sometimes I get it right. One example that comes to mind is my friendship with some special needs adults that I see at church regularly. These are grown men who can offer very little to me from a worldly perspective. This past Sunday I encountered a few of them and got to spend some time just enjoying their company. We exchanged hugs and some fascinating conversation. Life for these friends of mine is simple and unselfconscious. I'm blessed to be considered their friend.

The particular example of reaping the results of good will, however, goes back to my days as a church administrator and associate pastor. Some years ago the church I served hired a heating and air company to install a new unit. It was only after we had hired this company and the work had been completed that I learned from a competitor that there were some questions concerning the license and credentials of this company we had hired. If I had made a big deal out of it, this contractor would have gotten in hot water and possibly have been put out of business. But I decided to practice a little grace and give him the benefit of the doubt. The result was that the work passed inspection, he got his licensing issues cleared up, and his company has gone on to become one of the most successful heating and air businesses in this community. He has told me several times how much he appreciates my giving him a little slack in that awkward situation.

I talked to him on the phone today to ask if he would allow me to work up a commercial property and casualty quote for the church he attends. To say that he was accommodating would be an understatement. Of course, he may have allowed me to offer a quote despite his being appreciative, but, again, doing the right thing certainly didn't harm my chances.

The lesson in all this: Do the right thing just because it's right, expecting nothing in return. In the fullness of time, your good will may pay dividends you would never have anticipated. Or it might not. But do what's right anyway.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Christian militia?

According to news sources, a "Christian militia" group in Michigan, known as Hutaree, was raided over the weekend.

Their website carries this mission statement: "Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive"

The Fox News story reports that this group's website carries the following statement:

"We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. ... Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment."

This raises a couple of questions in my mind. First, since when does the testimony of the followers of Jesus need to be protected? If, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the testimony of the true followers of Christ has been kept alive despite persecution for two thousand years, why do these people feel the need to take matters into their own hands?

Secondly, where do they get the notion that Jesus wants us "to be ready to defend ourselves" with weapons? Show me the biblical passage. The only weapons that true Christians need are Scripture and prayer. Paul points this out clearly in Ephesians 6:10-18 and in 2Corinthians 10:4-5. As a pastor friend of mine once said, "If it's a weapon that the world can use, it's not of Christ."

Monday, March 15, 2010

350 CID lunch

One of the perks of my work insuring churches is being able to sample the local lunch fare across 16 counties.

Today I'm dining at Chevelle '66 in Murphy, NC. This cozy place on the main drag gets its name from the muscle car. The decor is checkered flags and related paraphernalia. There's even a mechanic's creeper mounted on the wall.

The lunch choices include burgers to order, from a basic 283 (based on the old cubic inch displacement, the way we used to measure the size of our engines) all the way up to a 427, which is a burger with all the works.

I decided on the 283, figuring that it supplied sufficient gastric displacement. For under $7 I got a side salad, two yeast rolls w/seasoned olive oil, a burger fixed to order, cole slaw, and fries.

This is my second, but certainly not last, visit to this charming spot. If for no other reason than the trip down memory lane. I told the waitress that it reminded me of the '70 Ventura Sprint 350 that I used to drive. I wrecked it twice and got 3 speeding tickets back in the days when we had to transition from 70mph on the interstate to "double nickels." As Archie and Edith would sing, "Those were the days, my friend."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leg room

I got my company car back today, after several days of driving a rental while the bumper was replaced following an encounter w/a log on the interstate. Man, are my knees relieved.

Now, it's nice that my company provides me w/both a car and gas, and, when my car needs work, a rental. However, the agency from whom my company leases tells me that I'm eligible for a full-size vehicle to rent, but the outfit they rent from, a national company that promises to "pick you up," thinks that a Mazda 5 or a Toyota Prius are full-sized cars. My knees know better. I've been cramped behind the wheel for days, so when I got the call today that my Taurus was ready, my exclamation, "Yes!" was audible to the passengers in all the nearby vehicles. But, did I care?

I wanted to drive around for the remainder of the afternoon, cruisin' and enjoying being reunited with my friend, w/whom I've logged 60,000 miles over the last 18 months.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Madness is just beginning

Hoops hysteria hits our whole family, but none like my son and his dad. He's a huge UK fan, a characteristic that his mom and I instilled in him at an early age. There is a proverb about training up a child in the way he should go....

Tim came by the house this morning on his way to the school where he teaches PE. He wanted to show off a new UK warmup jacket that one of his students had given him - a student who has an uncle in Lexington. This jacket appears to be much like the one worn by the UK football team at the Music City Bowl this year. He's wearing it proudly right here in the midst of Tarheel country.

Apparently I'm in the wrong profession. All my apparel has my company's logo.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's March

And March means madness. Conference tourneys and the "big dance" are on the horizon. All fans of college hoops are jazzed to see this time of year arrive.

This year's tourney is wide open. There is not one team that stands out as being a lock on winning it all. It should make for a great month of March.