Monday, June 30, 2008

Back from 10 Day Medical Mission in Togo west Africa

I arrived back in Augusta last night around 11 PM. Strange stuff- to leave one continent on a Sunday night, spend half a day on a plane, then do a layover on another continent before spending another large portion of a day in another plane. Then you touch down on yet a 3rd continent. One emerges to a different world.

More to come later as an update on what happened. It was one of the more eventful mission experiences with many stories emerging each day. As I recuperate some, enjoy my own bed and my normal diet, I'll ponder what all this means and what doors may have opened for me and for others because of our time serving others.

Campus Ministry Potential

Here's a quick read on campus ministry:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What Year is it in Lexington/Crawford GA area?

I did a double take as the Launderama is looking good. This picture could just as easily be 1965 couldn't it? Or maybe earlier?!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Careful Living

Careful Living

Flagitious fellows know flagrant vice
Outrageous actions considered spice
Quickly change a person once thought nice
So watch your heart and soul each day
For new experiences may lead you astray.

Scott Parrish

Friday, June 27, 2008

Spirit Me!

Spirit Me!

Elate me! Sedate me!
Just don't talk too much and bore me.
I don't want to hear, I don't want to know.

Busy me, hectic me,
No time for You, I'm eclectic me.

I envy the birds who know their day,
Creatures who know Your way.

A thousand voices call to me.
I try to hear Your voice; I try to find my voice.
I want to hear and want to be heard.

Recreate me! Elevate me!
Just help me to really live.
I do want to hear, I do want to know.

Scott Parrish

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Garden of Words

The Garden of Words

Once the word leaves your lips it takes on life.
Our breath creates the seen and the unseen.
Chaos yields to creativity,
creativity yields to chaos.
So, we say the words holy,
and we say the words insane.
A chance to create a garden of delight.
Fear the words that disturb, or distance, or damn.

To garden is hard work,
Calling us to fresh efforts each day.
Calling us to nurture, to grow.
Calling us to careful work lest we grow a garden of weeds.
Calling us to create delight with Water and with Power.

Scott Parrish

Wednesday, June 25, 2008



We now have perfection
Predestined confection
Biotech food to fill our tummy
Cloning ourselves to avoid kids crummy
Too bad we still have war, hunger, & hate
Values even good genes can't erase.

Scott Parrish

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Way of Faith

The Way of Faith

Inside Jitters,
Queasy Flitters.

Nerves on edge, stomach unsettled,
anxious thoughts, uncertain starts.

Where will it lead, how will it end, who will I be?
How will I live if I follow the hard path,
the barely discernible way?

Easier to stay on the main highway,
the well traveled thorough fare.

Breathe a sigh--
Catch your breath--
Take a step!

Scott Parrish

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Theology: N. T. Wright on the Public Meaning of the Gospels

Here's another article from N. T. Wright to chew on. This may be a little more technical at times, but it's worth the effort. He's examining the public meaning of the Gospels and attacks some of the prevailing approaches. See this

Enjoy the challenge and discuss!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dandelion Love

Dandelion Love

Can't be removed
Can't be pulled out
Can't be completely destroyed
Won't disappear.

You can remove some but won't get all the root.
You might make a dent in the population
by pulling a few visible offenders out.
But give it some time and the yard is full again.
Allow one plant to seed and a hundred more spring up.

God's love is like the dandelions taking over my yard,
It's just best to give in!

Scott Parrish

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Theology: N.T. Wright on Evil in the World

N. T. Wright is an interesting character to me. He's a scholar, a bishop, and maybe a troublemaker; I admire that he confronts both conservative and liberal views with his approach. He's got an extensive scholarly and writing career easily found online or in a good library.

I'd be curious how you respond to 1) his way of reading the Bible, & 2) how that ties into his thoughts about evil and our role in the world. I tried this on some of my college student friends and they gave up on part 1 (which seemed boring to them) until I pressed them to go into the 2nd part of the interview which they did find helpful. Check it out & then discuss:

Friday, June 20, 2008



Spirit, like raindrop, here and then gone.
How do you change?
How are you changed?
Do you outlast the moment?

Spirit, like flower seed, floating by wind.
Where are you going?
Where have you been?
What will you grow when you land?

Scott Parrish

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Daughter Noise

My "little girl" is now 12. Everyone laughed when I told them she came home from the hospital as a baby talking and making noise. The chatter hasn't stopped! I wrote this at some point during her elementary school years during a particularly noisy day in Greensboro. It's a tribute to one with power and voice who makes sure you are aware of her presence.

Daughter Noise

Talks too loud, laughs too loud
Sings the sun up in the morning
Sings the moon up at night
Challenges the birds for dominion
Fills the air with thunder
Ear splitting, deafening, window rattling
A force to be reckoned with
The power of one voice.

Scott Parrish

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Upcoming Summer Days

I get into some fast paced summer service projects the next few weeks.

This week we meet in Athens, GA for the Annual Conference meeting. That's a gathering of clergy and lay delegates from the area, in our case the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, for worship, business, and setting of pastoral assignments ("appointments" we historically call them) and agenda for the coming year. I'll use this as a time to renew some friendships, swap some stories with clergy, eat some food, enjoy some worship, and relax.

My church then sends out a medical mission team Friday to work in Togo west Africa. I've been there once before and spent time in Lome, in a number of bush villages, and then in the north around Sokode and then Kara. I'm sure I'll have some good pictures and stories from this. Experienced my first idol, witch doctor, and time with a village chief under the "truth telling tree" when I was last there in March 2006. Also ate lots of cous cous and gumbo.

I'll return home for a few days and then we're off to New Orleans to do some Hurricane Katrina relief. I signed up for interior repairs, but mysteriously roofing has crept on the list. Hope I don't have a July roofing experience in New Orleans on my resume! Probably more gumbo to be eaten if I'm lucky.

More stories later...

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Adventure of a Trip

It's funny how a road trip can take you places you don't expect.

Today I worked 2/3 of the day in the office, and then had to leave for some meetings in Athens this week. Methodist pastors have historically gathered for an "annual conference" which serves as a time for worship, business, and the setting of assignments for the next year.

I didn't turn on the radio, and just enjoyed the view. Let my mind wander. Got caught up in some stories from today and days gone by. It almost seemed like prayer though I wasn't directing any words or asking for anything.

Now if you'd checked Mapquest you WOULD NOT have followed my path. I chuckled at the thought of being the "Anti Mapquest." But it's an area between Augusta and Athens that I know fairly well. I hadn't intended on the "back way" though some slow traffic, congestion, road work, etc. seemed to divert me to the back roads. So, I took them confident I'd reach my destination.

I noticed the farmland suffering from the drought and burning under the August heat that's set in on us here in early June.

I took a dirt road at one point. It's Stagecoach Road. Made me wonder if any of the old Methodist pastors from 100 years ago or more would have taken that route. Here I was in my van (a Dodge Caravan :) with a suitcase, a backpack, and a few shirts and jackets for a few days in Athens. Back then they would have their life possessions with them, and not know their appointment for the next year until the Bishop read it out!

As I drove a little further, nearing Washington, I thought of a conversation of the day. A friend I conspire with to do ministry in the inner city had told me about one of the middle school girls who had to move out of her house into my friend's home. The girl lives in one of those situations where her grandmother has custody, yet there are lots of different people "in and out" of the house all hours. Think of a bunch of men hanging out at the front porch and you get the idea. One other teen girl who lives there just delivered a baby, and another girl is pregnant. This child takes the door knob off her door when she goes to bed and barricades the door. Late last week, around 2 AM one night, a man tried to get into the room. My friend found out the next day, and moved the girl out.

That story nagged at my heart and mind for many miles.

As I continued to travel through Wilkes County, just north of Washington, I recalled a visit by my "Navy brother" a few years back. He'd been on ship for a long cruise, had to attend some training on the east coast, and was to then fly out of Atlanta. That gave him a day and a half with us before the flight. He was a little stir crazy after being on an aircraft carrier for so long. So we visited and drove around the beautiful, rolling countryside of Wilkes County. It was a great time together as he dreamed about some farmland and we enjoyed catching up even as we enjoyed getting out.

9/11 interrupted that serenity. His flight was canceled, yet as an officer he had to report to duty on ship in San Diego that Saturday. So, my brother did what any person under command and with a high sense of honor and duty would do. He rented a car and drove nonstop so that he would be at his post.

Interesting adventure this afternoon as I traveled from Augusta to Athens. I'm reminded of the danger some face, the sense of honor and duty some have, and the mission frontier that still exists and calls for a response.

Maybe I'll take this route again next time.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Religion & Politics

Yikes... have you noticed it is an election year?! I admit I don't expect too much in any of it. It's mildly entertaining. Sometimes it's scary as the attack dogs go after each other. I appreciate the pendulum swing over the course of years which seems to bring us to a norm of some sort, so the change is welcome. But I really don't expect much of the politicians or the parties. I have a sneaking suspicion they'll say anything to the ordinary Joe & Sally, and the Independent, and let the votes fall where they may. Blame it on me being a Watergate/Vietnam war kid. Blame it on me being somewhat distrusting of institutions. Blame it on reality!

How do you keep your life balance, your spiritual center, your focus when the rhetoric rages and the air heats up with politics? I see some get sucked into this, and it's too angry, too paranoid, too absolute for me.

I'm reminded that Jesus didn't follow the way of the political zealot. He didn't fall to the allure or the trap of politics. He wasn't that sort of Messiah. Look back on how the government leaders tried to handle Jesus; interesting stuff. Personal salvation doesn't come through state or national affiliation or through party loyalty. He didn't expect His followers to follow that sort of King. The relationship with God Jesus portrays wasn't defined by politics or party affiliation. Look at those early followers of Jesus and he had everyone from a soldier to a tax agent to a fisherman on his team. So, that faith community is wildly diverse and includes a wide spectrum of the social and political community. I like that, and think the model is worthy of attention. I suspect having such variety strengthens the faith community, strengthens the individuals, and creates a stronger faith which has greater impact upon the larger community. Imagine instead of fragmentation and party rhetoric the possibility of individual and community transformation that is potential.

But we'd need to first get past a significant obstacle. Growing up in south Georgia in the last millenia I'd heard rumors of Republicans and Pepsi Cola, though back then in our county folks had ONLY seen and experienced Democrats and Coke! We'd need to move beyond personal experience and even preference and open ourselves to new ways of living and thinking.

Most of us tend to have our social & political bias, and then merely weave those things together with our religious view. So we might use the Bible to defend/promote our conservative or liberal view. We might use "God language" to promote what we are "for" or "against." Observe that the cultural and political experience dictates much more than faith; faith in this approach is used to validate that which we have already experienced and believe. Side note: pick ANY controversial topic and then try to use the Bible or faith language to defend (then oppose) the position for an interesting experiment.

Check out this blog where Jim Wallis attempts to reason with a conservative who too quickly and easily wants to transform us into conservatives as part of God's will. See the Wallis response to the author of "How Would God Vote? Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative"

Post a thought there or here as we try to learn to live together, to have different opinions, to grow stronger in community, and through it all to follow the way of the Living Christ.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Shade Tree in Wrens GA

Last Saturday we were roofing a house, and all of us enjoyed the shade of a pine tree. While the group was at lunch at the church I stayed behind to keep an eye on the tools and to talk with the homeowner JoAnne. After a visit with JoAnne I had the peace and quiet of the shade tree before the team arrived. I looked up when I heard some noises overhead and a couple of small birds were flitting around and then hanging from the limbs upside down.

I think they were Eastern Wood Pewees. Check them out at

So, I was staring at them as they were staring at me. This is what I saw. I'm curious what their blog shows! :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

This Will Get the Creativity Flowing

Do you know about "Instructables: The World's Biggest Show and Tell?" I found it "by mistake" one night when I was Googling for something. You know how that works sometimes. One thing leads to another and suddenly you find a real curious site. Instructables is a "How to" sort of community where folks send in their great, sometimes strange, often ingenious ideas. It features sections on art, craft, food, games, green, home, kids, life, offbeat, pets, photography, ride, tech, etc. If you need a great idea on some topic in your life or just to get inspired by creative people check out Instructables at

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Attack of the Slugs

I've been outside working on my house and yard recently with some vacation time and the warmer weather. By warmer I mean it's jumped up to the upper 90's to 100 F range, but that's a different story.

Anyway, you notice more when you get out more. Strange how lots of different things add up, and you should notice, which in retrospect you can't understand why you didn't catch the development. Plus my wife brought a recent disturbance to my attention.

Apparently we have unknowingly grown an army of slugs under our back deck. There are so many that they fight one another for leftover dog and cat food. Yes, we have been feeding our pets on the back deck. But they must have a taste for other things so they have also been sneaking into the house. Slugs don't take much of an opening to sneak.

It may have all started though with the gutter that was pulling from the house so that all the water was diverted to the low spot. That water then dripped onto the deck. Add to it that the water faucet (located where else? the back deck!) has a slow drip.

Simple math now-
1) the shade and hiding place of a deck
2) consistent moisture
3) a regular food source
4) some small openings into a house
5) equals a horde of slugs who slime the whole area and enter into the house under cover of darkness

The yucky parade trail has been visible in the mornings. And the dog and cat bowls are absolutely disgusting.

So, we had fought back. You know, with all those home remedy recipes that don't work. My favorite was to go outside at dark and empty a salt shaker on the deck. I'm not sure how fast a slug army grows, but even with my feeble attacks (Note: I was knocking out hundreds!) the invaders continued to attack our kitchen. That's right, I'd take the attack outside, yet the scouts would venture inside after we turned off the lights. Needless to say, the Queen of the House was not happy with this development. I even changed weapons a few different times, yet to no avail, as 4, 5, or 6 scouts would be found venturing into our kingdom.

Finally we had to bring in the big arsenal. The "bug man" had been here before the attack started. He returned, at no charge, to help us in the war with our under deck metropolis.

It was then that he pointed out the obvious to me- I was doing everything right to create the environment for the slugs. Then I was leaving us vulnerable with the small "open doors" to our home. Don't you hate that? I've got to accept blame, and do something about it.

As I took care of the problem instead of merely attacking the enemy it got me to thinking.

I wonder if there are other parts of my life where there are small, somewhat insignificant "issues" which eventually add up to real trouble. Hmm, I might need to think on that while I take care of some housekeeping which will help put our lives back in order.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Church Youth Choir on the Road

My church has been known locally for many years for our strong youth choir. It's the type group that always enjoys lots of teens from other churches who attend their home church Sunday morning, but then get involved with our choir and youth ministry Sunday evening. Over the years they have also developed a website they use when on choir tour in June.

The group just left this morning heading west eventually finding themselves at St. Louis. Check them out at

Oh, and as part of full disclosure my teen is one of the bass players for them! :)

UPDATE: Friday, June 13- I used GIMP to "old picture" a photo of my son posted Thursday night from E-town KY:

Sunday, June 15 update:

Gas Prices & How to Sustain a Budget in a Tanking Economy

Hmmm, what to do?

I just might need to buy a motorcycle.

Or walk.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Snookered on a Job Not Yet Complete

I'm up again early this morning. But this time it really is for no reason.

Friday and Saturday I had to get up by 5 AM in order to get ready, ice up some coolers, then be at the meeting spot before we drove to the Wrens roofing projects. The homes are about 45 minutes from where I live. Wrens is one of those small middle GA towns that's been hit by tornado/spring storms and needing a little help.

We'd completed one roof job in 2 1/2 days in early May, and had two homeowners needing help from us. They have jobs which provide income for the family with children. There's not a dad around. They have no insurance and no means to get a roof. That's where we come in.

Did I mention that our early June weather has been 100 or right at it the last two days? It's a startling jump into the summer. Much more like late July or early August weather than we should have this early.

Imagine asking people to volunteer to roof for 2, maybe 3 days. Then imagine finding out it will be 100 degrees.

I wake up early on this Sunday morning, tired and sore, but mostly thankful. You see, I don't have to make the drive and I don't need to be up on a roof again today! I can lie in bed thinking about what we have accomplished, and sing praise to God for the opportunities we have in life and the people that step up to change the world.

We had an incredible team of people:
  • male and female
  • children, teen, & adult
  • the retirees showed up in force Friday
  • Saturday we had a number of teens and young adults
  • skills ranged from highly skilled to novice
  • EVERYONE showed tremendous heart and determination

We'd allowed for 3 days to complete the job as you never know how a team will gel, what the weather will be, or if you'll hit any snags. We did lose a couple of hours Friday with a delivery mix up, and of course the heat was intense. But I saw miracle after miracle as the 2 teams worked together, tackled tough projects, and took care of each other.

One house had paper thin water damaged plywood for the roof decking. As we tore off shingles Friday it was like peeling off paper. The shingles and plywood would often pull up all together. There were a number of places we almost stepped through the roof with the shingles on. With them off we were stepping right on through, almost landing on the sheetrock ceiling below.

The homeowner, Joanne, was very thankful for what we were doing for her and her 3 children. Her mom, who owns the house and has lived there since 1968, is now elderly and has lots of physical problems requiring full time care. So, Joanne had quite her job to care for her mother, and they live together.

As Joanne was expressing her thanks to me on Friday for what the team was doing I asked if she'd allow me to videotape her and share it with the congregation. That helps a group to know what has been accomplished, who we have helped, and helps us to help others. She hesitated just a little, though she agreed, and we set Saturday afternoon as our time.

Friday we peeled off ALL her roof decking, re-set it & papered it in preparation for shingles on Saturday. Wrens UMC was providing lunch for us & the team left the site to spend 30 minutes in the AC and enjoy some food. While they were gone I stayed behind and kept on eye on the equipment. Joanne came outside to do the videotape while it was quite. She had her daughter Angelica with her. I asked my question, "What does this mean to you?" She expressed her thanks, but then pulled a fast one on me. Joanne said she wanted to give us something. Angelica stepped up and presented a plaque thanking the team and the church for our dedication and hard work!

That was a first for me. Not only had she snookered me & it was caught on video, but she gave us a plaque. Almost always we get a verbal thanks. Occasionally someone will do a fish fry for us. While we don't look for anything in particular it's always a huge "pick me up" when you know you are appreciated. You should have seen those men when they returned from lunch and saw the thank you for the job not yet complete.

Today I am thankful for all the ways God's grace overflows in my life. I'm thankful that no matter how much we give, we can never outgive the love of Christ which overflows in our lives. I'm thankful for hot days when the Spirit gives us strength and humor and encouragement for the job at hand. And on this day I'm most thankful for Sabbath rest which feeds the body and soul!

Friday, June 6, 2008


A friend of mine, who happens to be a pastor, shares some good stories in his blog. Check out what Rev. Adam writes about "Fruit"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Friday & Saturday Roofing in Wrens

Here is some of the e-mail info I've previously sent to our excellent workers who'll be joining us "close to heaven."

We'll pray the teams gel, the weather cooperates, and the work goes smoothly. I'd hoped to get to some of this Tuesday after my return from some family vacation time, but the lake camp, a late meeting, and our 4 year breaking an ankle changed the plans a little. :) I'm out at the lake camp today but call if you need me- 993-6967. As typical we can always use more workers, so share this freely. Often the type of workers who respond to this do so at the last minute. And as we've found in the past often drive to the location without an RSVP! :) We're also hopeful to pick up some friends from Wrens UMC or the community who might work with us & that is an open invitation as well. These are two solid projects for the novice and the experienced. As we say at communion the table is open for all who will come!

Locations:109 Dayton St. St.-- Note that for some reason MapQuest shows this on the correct end, but one street over! UMC will have a dozen sandwich lunches per site, & between them and us we'll have plenty of water as the day will get hot. If you require something other than water to work tell me now and I'll oblige. As long as it keeps you working! :)We'll also have an extra dump trailer from Wrens. And they'll see about getting those dogs away from the house Tim Smail is working.

Anyone wanting to carpool should be at the WalMart at Bobby Jones/ Deans Bridge Road on the end toward the Popeye's Chicken for a 6:15 prompt departure. It's likely there may be others leaving a few minutes earlier, so if it's more convenient to carpool from your part of the CSRA please contact your team leader.

Teams as I know them:Mccullum St.Tim Smail, Jeff Ferhman, and a combination of their Sunday School class and co-workers. If they have too many bodies and want to send someone to the other location we'll take them!

109 Dayton St.- Team Leaders: Eric Long & Mississippi Jennie (who ran the camp in Ocean Springs and will take the lead Friday morning). We'll be doing some tear out of shingles AND decking. Both days or until complete- George Hoard, Paul Johnson, Scott & Zeke Parrish (Zeke- help recruit some teens buddy so you don't work so hard!!) plus some others who've expressed interest and spoken to Eric.Friday- Mike Gardner, Earle Maxwell, Robert Smalley, Robert Eubanks. Saturday--Stan Littleton- pastor from Wrens& some of his guys, Sterling Jones, Michael Rigdon is acting interested but just had a minor procedure and will see, Jack Hall- possible 868-0565 (I left him a message and gave my cell phone #). Though it's a small house there is a lot to be done so we can still use people on this project. Saturday- Jason Matthews & friend. Sunday- if needed-Doug Coleman.

Thanks!! Any questions call my cell 993-6967.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


day 3 of day camp at the lake Thursday

hot days in upper 90's

child breaks his ankle- did you read my wife's blog? Add all this together with 3-4 hours sleep

March tornado repairs with 2 roof projects Friday and Saturday in Wrens


To recap the day:

I started off by cleaning up vomit after my little boy got sick upon his medicated return home.

I ended the day cleaning up a bathroom floor that a plugged toilet claimed.

It's just been one of those days.

If My Wife Blogged or "In 2 minutes your life can change"

Today...well, technically Tuesday around 6 PM..., our 3rd child broke his ankle in 2 places. Really it's above his ankle, but we'll call it his ankle. We'd gone to my mom's house to celebrate her birthday. Then we stopped by an old childhood friend's house to drop off some piano books. They have 7 kids. Anyway, they have a trampoline that someone gave them in March. As we talked about how our pediatrician hates trampolines their kids begged for ours to get on. My kids, of course, love trampolines. And so, in some terrible lapse in judgement on my part (at least in retrospect), I said yes. That's when it happened. He'd been on the trampoline for less than 2 minutes.

He was a trooper through it all.
He did cry when it happened, and when he didn't shake it off and start playing again after a while I knew he might need to be checked. That involved a phone call to the aforementioned pediatrician who has warned me for years about trampolines, and I heard a lot of "I-told-you-so's" mixed in with a lot of helpful advice!

So today our 4 year old visited the ER, rode in a wheelchair, endured an oxygen tube and an i.v., had about a gazillion x-rays, and got a full leg cast (a bright cheery Christmas red) and his first experience with morphine. He'll keep the big cast for 2-3 weeks, then graduate to a partial cast. Tomorrow... uh, that would be today..., he's supposed to get crutches. How does a 4 year old manage crutches? I still carry his cup, stuffed animal of choice, and whatever other mysterious bits and pieces he needs for car trips just so he can get to the car. He's not supposed to put any weight on the leg. Pop test...what family just got rid of their last stroller?

At the hospital he'd cry, accidentally pass gas, then laugh. It happened several times. It was the craziest thing, and not something I would normally encourage as tasteful humor. At this point, however, it was the only thing that occasionally distracted him from the pain, so I wasn't about to frown at him!

When the Dr. said his leg was broken he cried. You know, toys break sometimes around our house, and sometimes...well, that's it for that toy. I think it kind of sounded too final. I had to explain that broken legs heal and get strong again. That helped him know that he'd get better and it wasn't broken for ever. I made sure after that to make sure that he knew everything that was going on. He was afraid when they said he had to have x-rays until I explained that it was just a big camera that could take a picture of his bones. He was upset about having to get a cast because he thought the kids at church might make fun of him...until I told him that it would be really cool to have them all sign it, and they might even be a little jealous that they didn't have one, too.

After several hours at the hospital, we were sent home with a new cast, instructions on follow-up care, 2 prescriptions, and a sick feeling in my stomach at the thought of the bill to come. We stopped at the only pharmacy we knew for sure was open all night (it was after midnight at this point), and it took forever. And it was a little creepy. After over an hour, we headed home with our meds and some chocolate milk. Cooper fell asleep on the way.

Finally we pulled up in the driveway. Scott was asleep, so I unlocked the door and went back to get Cooper. Sydney had been with us the whole time (she was lots of help distracting Cooper!), and she unloaded the car while I unloaded Cooper and The Cast. Scott woke up and met us at the door to help. I walked in the door with Cooper, who woke up and immediately vomited nasty chocolate milk everywhere. Sydney grabbed paper towels, handed them over, and decided it was past her bedtime. So, that left me and Scott. I dealt with Cooper and Scott cleaned up...sometimes motherhood does have its privileges!

Everyone is finally sleeping...for how long I'm not sure. I am exhausted but a little wired now. I guess I should head to bed - I'll be sleeping with Cooper tonight to make sure he's okay. I hope the three of us (me, Cooper, and The Cast) fit in the bed okay, and nobody (okay, me) gets bonked in the head with a Christmas-red cast. (Cooper is like a little tornado in the bed usually, so unless the cast weighs him down considerably, I see this as a real possibility!) If I survive, I may give an update later.

Until then, wish us luck. I think we'll need it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wear Shorts Back to Work After Vacation!

What compares to the first day of work after vacation? Is there an easy way to wade through the e-mails, voice mails, letters, make up meetings, and general details?

I think I have an answer. Today, my first day back after a week of vacation, I went to work in swim trunks and a golf shirt. So, my co-workers bragged on my tan AND envied how comfortable I still appeared! Now, I did have a valid excuse. I'm just saying it's the BEST way for a nice re-entry from vacation back into work.

I covered all the make up territory I needed to in the first half of the day, and then went to a lake day camp that our church and another church are sponsoring for inner city kids. These elementary aged children come from two poor neighborhoods in Augusta and also include some children from local transitional shelters. These are the children who do not know how to swim, who've never been on a boat, who have already seen things in their young years most of us only view on TV or imagine in a nightmare.

What made the day special wasn't my attire. Instead, I saw first hand how we might change the world by investing in children.

So, enjoy your vacation. But when you go back to work return with a renewed spirit, ready to have fun, and eager to change the world doing the most important things!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Rediscovering Old Wisdom

It really is amazing how much our predecessors knew that we have forgotten. We suppose we have everything figured out, and that we are much more advanced than the
"old timers" though I'm not always certain that's correct.

Take, for example, the old southern U.S. style of home building which helped folks survive the heat and humidity of the long summers. Tall ceilings, windows in all the rooms which opened both at the top and bottom, and a kitchen removed from the main house were all typical elements of southern construction. People today enjoy the "quaint" old construction, yet the reality is that it's just practical wisdom employed to survive the days.

Another example relates to the ways most people raised a good portion of their own food. No matter where folks lived they'd have a garden, some nut or fruit trees, and at least a few chickens around the yard. I still see this in most of the world though urban areas often show a marked decline in such self sufficiency.

I wonder as the economy continues to tighten, as gas prices leap higher each day, and as food prices reflect all of the above, how people will respond. Will we return to "old ways" where everyone was somewhat self sufficient? Will we remember old skills which help us to survive while spending very little money each day?

While our Depression era parents and grandparents knew how to live in such a world these are all old lessons we must learn again today if the economy continues its slide. This shouldn't bring fear though it is a change from life as we have known it the last few decades. After all, those characters with such strength and personality are the ones who achieved so much. Maybe we too will "grow up" and in doing so create a stronger world.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Have You Read The Shack?

The Shack is getting some press as one of the top selling books in most book lists. Some religious types don't like it as the book doesn't match their doctrinal views. But numbers of people are drawn to it, and it is proving popular among college students. I'm curious if you have read any or all of the book, and what your thoughts or questions might be.

The author, William Young, was raised among a stone age tribe in New Guinea by his missionary parents, but don't let those credentials fool you as his life is a mess. The intrigue in his life, and the major element of the book, deal with a profound loss in his life and his struggles around that loss. It sets the stage for the age old question "Where is God in our world of suffering?" While some critique the book for its lack of solid writing and solid theology it is an interesting discussion starter about real life and real faith (some of my favorite topics!). It might also be an opportunity for us to share our stories with one another without fear of judgement.

Warning- Some reviewers say the book is a real challenge to their thinking and others even state it is so contrary to their view of Scripture that it's dangerous! That's what got my attention and interest. :) Note that some admire this quality while others find the material so removed from their experience or thinking that it is the main negative for them. Bottom line- check Amazon and you'll see people tend to give it one star or five stars. All in all, I think the book provides us an opportunity to examine our own stories and to meet in The Shack to share our deepest hurt and pain.

I haven't finished the book yet, but already curious if anyone else is checking out what the larger population is reading. This could be a book worth a study group to engage friends from the community or campus in discussion. Just be prepared for an emotional journey which might cause you to ask some questions.