Monday, July 30, 2007

Le Chat (Eliana)

Eli is 6. She's gorgeous like all my girls, and I tell her often... I tell them all often. That's what daddies do. I was reading while they were picking up for bed, and then the two older girls scampered. "What way do you read?" I pointed left to right and she nodded in understanding. "What are you reading?" Point Man, I answered. "What's it about?" It's about being a man. "But you already know how to be a man," she replied - though perplexed, there was resolve in her tone. I know dolly, I said. But it will help me to be a better daddy and husband, and a better man. "Oh, OK," she replied, matter-of-factly. The she pushed the book out of the way, crawled on my lap and stretched out like a cat. "You're the best daddy in the world," and then she fell asleep. I finished the chapter (ironically about children), and put the book away. I touched her soft face, played with her angel hair and then just listened to her breathe. It was like she was an infant again...only better. Now it was my turn to be perplexed as a wonder filled question came softly - was my heart more warmed more at being "the best daddy in the world," or because she felt so safe laying on my leaned back body, that within minutes she was sound asleep... I think the later, but they're both pretty great.


I couldn't think of a witty synonym to stands for Happy Birthday to me. And don't be confused by the date. It's the 29th here - my blog is on Fiji time - a place I'd rather be!

I'm a dad. That means I get REALLY cool birthday gifts. It starts with sneaking up on me little girls who have this 'I'm up to something look' just before the sing Happy Birthday with smiles as big as China! And then the formal stuff. A cool rock...bigger than most years...but equally cool! A glow in the dark hand to put on my ceiling (I think I'll put it at my office). And a necklace of beads with a silvery cross that is still in the repair stage (at 6, the fine art of tying isn't quite perfected...especially with thread!).

It's gonna be a great birthday today - I can tell already !!!

"Time" is "Priceless"!

So, what do you think the liberal media is saying when a Russian MI-24 is pulling away with America? I suspect that it's a silly media blunder where a clipart guy really didn't know what he was looking at...but then, these days you never know. I think it's great, I think it's funny and for them, I hope it's embarassing!!!

See what a few others have to say. Personally, I love the "Priceless" one!


Saturday, July 28, 2007's what I do!

For all of those of you out there who actually read my pages (...all 3 of you!), I'll be making a change in a day or three. I work in higher education - liberal arts; the problem is - I'm not a liberal ;-)

The Lord has also blessed us with three very charming and beautiful daughters. I want to post images of them, but we're concerned with all the internet predator stuff. So as much I hate to do it, I'll be making my pages invitation only. Sorry : (

The first round of invitations have gone out. If you didn't get one and you read, let me know and I'll see about putting you on the list.




Thursday, July 26, 2007

People and moments

Life is about people and moments, isn't it? When it really comes down to it, aren't those the two things that matter. "Life is not measured by how many breaths you take, but by how many moments leave you breathless." Relationships and brethless moments... A moment is a deceptive concept. There are moments that last a second and seem like a lifetime. And there are liftimes that seem to pass in a second. Or a lunch that touches you in a way you could have never imagined, and now are unlikely to ever forget. My middle daughter had such a lunch, and such a moment. Let me tell you about it.

We were standing in line at a great restaraunt called Jestine's in Charleston, SC. There was an older than us couple standing just behind us. The woman had silver earrings with a larger shiney stone in them. Gavi commented on how beautiful they were. But let me segway about Gav for a second. My bride often says that a strange to Gavi is simply a friend she's yet to meet. Something connected between these two and they became instant friends. All the girls were engaged, but this was Gavrielle's moment. They talked..."you look about 36 she said." The woman gushed with approval at a childs inexperience with age! Soon, we were called to sit. We ordered, and then Gav colored a picture. It had to be perfect. Brown skin, blue shirt, the hair. She did a great job for an 8 year old. We delivered the masterpiece and sat back down. I watched her look at the crayonwork for a full minute...putting it down, picking it back up. I found it wonderful to watch the moment unfold. Though I don't know what was going on in her heart, my daughter had somehow filled a need. Isn't God cool!

The meal was southern and wonderful. Peanut butter with bananna for the girls (yuck!). Fried chicken, okra and sweet tea for me - Wow! The chicken was about the size of a small turkey. Corn fritters for the ladies (my wife and my mom). A charming hostess, a playfully sarcastic other waitress so much fun to watch. And ours was the posterwoman for good southern hospitality.

The woman came back to have Gavrielle sign her portrait. And then we returned to request a photo op. Out came the cameras and the smiles and the hugs. We exchanged e-mails and promised to exchange photos. And then as quickly as it started, with a wave out the window, the moment ended. They didn't share age, or friends, or a city, or even a skin color. But they shared something at the heart...and a love for beatiful earrings (now Gavi's most prized possession - she hasn't yet taken them off!). As for the woman, she summed it up well also, "Of all the souveniers I've bought on this trip, I will treasure this picture the most."

Magic happens in moments...and in places like Jestines. I have the photos to prove it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sai (sigh)

I arrived at the street my office is on two days ago, it was early and the intersection was covered with emergency vehicals. I drove through instead of trying to turn, noticing a tractor trailer near the intersection. As I passed the soccer field, I noted a fire truck and a helecopter flying out quickly. I assumed the chopper was a news craft. "There was an accident," she said. I thought just a little about it, but mostly about how I would get to work. "It was one of our housekeepers. Sai." I felt a little numb as my mind raced back to the size of the truck and the load it was carrying on the downhill. "Mercy Flight's been called." The helecoptor suddenly clicked. Mechanically I asked, 'how is she.' It was a stupid question.

The morning was busy despite the tragedy, but by 11 things settled enough. I wrote a letter to our churches prayer chain, and then prayed earnest. Small tears came. They surprised me as I pondered how someone I don't know that well, but see everyday, could have such a profound effect on my life in that moment. She was one of us. Unfortunately "was" is the right term. This afternoon the husband finally released what we all knew in our hearts...she had passed from this life. When I arrived home, I gathered my precious girls. Just held them for a moment. And then we prayed. For healing. For wisdom for the doctors. And that in some small ways God's will and glory might be revealed in this tragedy.

Life is so fragile...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

You can tell a lot about a man...

"You can tell a lot about a man on a golfcourse." I'd attribute the words to the man who spoke them in a dry monotone and a smirk yesterday, but I think the quote is famous...or infamous by now. The point is - you can tell a lot about a man on a golfcourse. I have a theory, and it's this. That everyone cheats on the golfcourse. Everyone except those few who don't. We were standing on a fairway behind a tree. 4 person scramble. Player A (with the dry monotone) tossed the marker tee 3 or 4 feet away from the tree with some subtlty. Before he could pick up the tree ball, player B "coughed" and "foot wedged" the ball 3 or 4 feet to the left achieving the same result as player A. Player C would have simply put the ball down where he wanted and swung knowing that he wouldn't be criticized...the old guy. And me? I could care a less, and so I would (and did) wait for all the cheating to unfurl, and simply became an accomplice to the crime. I mean, if three cheaters all had the same idea it must count for something right?!

OK, just was a fun tornoment, and we weren't in real contention for first place. And player A was probobally within the rules (like I would know) moving the ball a clublength (and a little). But it really is true isn't it? You can tell a lot about a man by the way he plays golf!

Maybe later I'll gather my thoughts about Fathers and Sons in the form of the last hole $2 challenge by our most senior player and his son. The game changes when there's pride and cash on the line!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Myrtle Beach

We arrived at 8:45 for a 10:00 AM arrival in Niagara Falls. In fact, we arrived 1:45 hrs. for the flight...that is the arrival. Unfortunately, we arrived 45 minutes late for the departure from Myrtle Beach, SC to Niagara Falls...the next plane out isn't until Friday. What a mess. What a problem. What a blessing.

It took my father 20 minutes to recover (they've had the kids for 3 weeks now). And I had a million work things to juggle now - it's hard to take a week off in the middle of the summer. But the time has been great. We've beached it. Gone to the sculpture garden. Worked on my sunburn. Played. Worked. And today I golfed right after the "Old Guys" bible study. The bible study is really a thing. At 70, my father feels like a "youngster." The oldest man is 98. There were almost 30 men there...most over 70, most strong in the Lord. The pastor referred to the role of mentoring younger men - something appropriate for that group. As I sat there listening, I felt special, priveleged. I was in their world gleaning wisdom and perspective and having a good time as well.

After the study (excellent by the way) we did the traditional pilgrimage to McDonalds for coffee and a cheeseburger, and then off to the golf course for 18 holes. I played with my father, Eddie and Dick. Absolute gentlemen. When you think of the south and what southern people are...Eddie fits the mold perfectly. In fact, I think Eddie is the mold. "Shucks" appeared at every duffed ball! And Dick who is in his late 70s or more toward the end made my day. "You've got three girls right?" Yes sir. "You mind if I give you a little advice?" Please. "Spend time with them. Don't let your career take over your life. I meet too many men who are committees and traveling and doing things with their work. Then one day their kids are grown up and they don't know where the time went." Wisdom from a sage. You know, I try so hard to intentionally love my children, but still it's so encouraging to hear from those who know, that there is a benefit to the labor.

Friday, July 6, 2007

What I do...fireflies

I do my best to be aware of wonder. However, last night it was my wife who noticed first. As we drove down this swampy country road in the dark of the late night, she startled me..."Stop." I stopped, and looked. The field was alight with fireflies all blinking their green-yellow blinks. There were thousands, probobobally tens of thousands. I'm a country boy, and I've seen a lot of fireflies in my life. But never this. The entire swamp blinking like a Christmas tree. We sat there on the side of the road not really caring who ran into the back of our darkened car oohing and aahing at the show. I got out and stood there in the middle of the road to take it all in. The air was coolish and dampish and it beat any fireworks show that might have been baning in the July 4th distance. Of all the silly things in the midst of all the hard things to think of, I thought of this blog site. But here it is, the entry for July 4th, 2007. I stand in the middle of the road on dark evening and watch fireflies with my wife...sometimes that's what I do. (PS - the image isn't real, and I stole it from somewhere on the web).