Published by the Rains County Leader on April 10, 2018:
Friendship is not easily defined. The dictionary says a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, but friendship is more than that. During the ten years when I was single again, I met Mary one night at choir practice. Before the night was over, we had discovered that we were both raised in small towns in west Texas, we were both single after twenty-three years of marriage, and we both had one child. We had so much in common that we sometimes wondered if I had been switched at birth with her twin sister. We were and still are fast friends. Friendships are often based on common grounds, but sometimes it takes some investigation to discover those grounds.
Ten years ago I read a book titled Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It’s not unusual for two friends to write a book together, but Ron was a millionaire art dealer, and Denver was a former victim of modern-day slavery who escaped only to end up living on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth. Their common ground was Deborah, Ron’s wife whose passion was helping the homeless, and their heart-warming story is well worth reading. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on January 30, 2018:
It’s said that confession is good for the soul, but for a writer, it can also make a good story. Like all stories, though, this one is best told from the beginning.
Back during the holiday season, when the weather was just beginning to get cold, I stood in my closet one morning looking for a jacket. Finding a jacket was not the problem, but finding the right one was proving to be a challenge. I don’t remember exactly what I was wearing that day, but according to my rather limited sense of fashion, whatever it was required a black jacket. The only one I had was too light weight for the forecasted temperatures, so I had to settle for a wool work shirt from David’s Navy days. He outgrew it long before we met, but he kept it around for sentimental reasons. It fits me quite nicely if I roll up the cuffs, and it’s a dark enough navy color to pass for black, so I took it off the hanger while I hosted a mental pity party about my lack of heavy jackets. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 5, 2017:
In 1986 Robert Fulghum published a book titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Over the last thirty years, it has become a standard of common sense wisdom, and the basic ideas of this simple credo can often be seen on plaques, coffee cups, and other gift items. The first item on the list is always “Share everything.”
I’ve been thinking about sharing a lot the last couple of weeks, and for good reason. It seems like every time I turn around, I run into an opportunity to share, sometimes on the giving end and sometimes on the receiving end. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on November 21, 2017:
It’s that time again. For the next few days, every time you sit down to eat a meal or have some kind of group discussion, someone will suggest that each person should tell what he or she is thankful for. I know. I did it with the group of AWANA students I was listening to last Wednesday. I had two girls and a boy who were all first graders. They tired of studying verses a few minutes before time to move to the next activity, so I asked The Question: What are you thankful for? The first girl exhaled such a long sigh that I finally moved on to the boy. He shrugged and gave me a look that said, I got nuthin’. The other girl brightened suddenly and chirped, “Turkey!” That works when you’re seven, but when you’re older, you might want to be prepared when the subject comes up. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 25, 2017:
As children, finding joy is as simple as picking a dandelion or coaxing Daddy into being the Tickle Monster for a few minutes. As the years pass, however, joy sometimes becomes more elusive. More joints hurt, more friends develop debilitating or terminal illnesses, and social calendars have more dates for funerals than for weddings. Joy is still possible, but it takes more work, and it sometimes requires an attitude adjustment.
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, you know it can be a joyless place if you’re not very selective about what you read. Some users post nothing but political tirades and negative news while others give more information than most of us want to know about their long list of medical complaints, medications, and procedures. I’m all for being well informed and also for keeping up with friends and praying for them in their times of need. However, caution is necessary in order to keep all that negativity from sucking all the joy out of life. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 27, 2017:
The world of training and showing dogs is a subculture that most of us never experience except maybe to watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show once a year. My introduction to the culture came when we moved to Florida in 2005 and I met Sue and Sophie. Sophie is a beautiful, pure-bred Miniature Schnauzer, and Sue was a fellow caregiver who had decided that dog training would be fun and might also relieve some of her stress. Sophie was better suited to racing around an obstacle course then to posing and strutting around a show ring, so Sue decided to pursue Dog Agility.
Sophie will soon be twelve years old, and she recently retired with seven MACH titles. According to the American Kennel Club, a dog becomes a Master Agility Champion when she earns “750 championship points and 20 double qualifying scores obtained from the Master Standard Agility class and the Master Jumpers With Weaves class.” I understood very little of what that meant until this weekend when David and I attended our first dog show in West Monroe Louisiana. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on June 20, 2017:
To say that I decided not to plant a garden this year wouldn’t really be accurate. What really happened was that I procrastinated. Taking it one day at a time, I told myself that I would begin the tilling, the preparation, and the planting tomorrow or next weekend. I told myself there was still plenty of time until now it’s almost time to begin thinking about a Fall garden. The amazing thing is, after all that dawdling, I’ve discovered that I don’t need a garden after all. (more…)