About the house...

It turns out that my house was a community project.


Two young men unloaded a new china hutch and one of them informed my mom that he did the plumbing in the house. The next afternoon, a fellow came running across the street. I was busy putting up the garden hose after watering my camelia and hibiscus I had planted barely in the nick of time before they choked to death on the dust in their pots.

He asked, "How do you like your house?" Then asked again, a bit louder. I thought he was talking to his friend across the street, never dreaming he was talking to me. When I finally heard him, I was thinking, "Great, we'll do a neighbor thing here." Sigh...

He did all the talking and told me about every house he and his crew painted in the past three months and then told me that our house was the nicest of them all, even the new neighborhood that was about 15 miles away.

I'm glad, actually, to know that my house is great and better than other new construction houses. There's something comforting about that, I guess.

It seems, though, that just about everyone in Picayune, except the people at the utilities and phone companies were in my house before we bought it.

Only in a small town!

"What's your address?"

I tell them.
"Oh, I painted the bedrooms in that house."

"What's your address?"
"Oh, that is a great house! I did the floors in it."

"What's your address?"
"I'm sorry, there is no house at that address."


So either a person has walked the floors here or they don't believe a house is on this lot which has been vacant for the past 50 years.

"I promise it's there! No, I get mail at the P.O. Box because my mom doesn't want to have to deal with mail during vacation time. What can I do to show you that there is a house there? I must have my driver's license."

"Go next door and get your vehicle registration. We'll take a tax receipt as proof."

I go next door. "Where do you live?"
I tell her.
"Okay." She types it in, types in my VIN and tells me to write her a check for $307. Boom. I've got my registration and only then do the Dr. Lic. guys believe I live in my house. I should have told the plumber and the painter to go with me. Then I could have pointed to the taupe color of paint on the man's shirt and said, 'That's the color of my bedroom. Yes. I live in that house.'

The plumber could have pointed to the other spot on his shirt and said, "That's the color of the bathroom."

Somehow, I think I'd still have to write that check for $307. Besides, it feels great to be driving around legally. The registration, inspection sticker and my license all say, "Mississippi". I'm a real Mississippian now. My business card says so.

A grandmother's pride

Years ago when I was working for the Picayune Item, my phone rang...

"I just want to know why you haven't put my granddaughter's picture in the paper," came the gravelly voice over the phone.

"Well, I... uh, what's your granddaughter's name?"

She told me and the name didn't ring one single bell. I'm pretty good at remembering names and putting names with faces. Don't test me, because I'll fail if you ask me to tell you who I met today and what their names are. I've got retroactive memory. Forget short term, that's gone forever, I think.

I took down all the information and all the while that gravely voice was talking. "My granddaughter won such and such award and I think that is way more news worthy than graduating basic training. Just about anybody can do that, but not everybody in the military gets such and such award. You need to find that picture and if you can't I'll scrounge around the family and get one, then I'd like to see her story in the paper as soon as possible. I've been waiting months for her picture to get in the paper..."

Whew. I asked around and of course no one remembered getting a military picture. It wasn't in the computer banks anywhere and not in any of the folders in the files. I scoured the internet hoping to find a military picture of this young woman. Surely, someone would be bragging on her if the award was such a big deal.

I turned up one photo of her. She was in New Orleans, handing out candy to Katrina victims with the biggest smile on her face, like she was having the grandest time of her life. The kids were grinning, too. They were having a party. In the background were a couple of helicopters, blades twirling, and soldiers were lifting stretchers out of the helicopters and the tarmac had several stretchers lined up.

She gave those kids a lighter memory than the pure trauma they had endured. That's a real hero. I'll never forget her face, but her name escapes me at the moment. But, her name isn't as important as what she did.

Couldn't find a "proper" picture to go with the award story. It was time to go home any way, it was past 7 o'clock and I was hungry.

Next morning, the picture was on my chair with a note scrawled across a paper clipped piece of paper, 'okay to rerun.' Hmm I didn't know it had run the first time.

I scanned it and wrote the story and ran it in the next edition. And the grandmother was right. It was a really big deal and a great award. The young woman deserved the recognition. But, I'm thinking in the back of my mind, that the real story was the grins on those kids' faces. Mighty Mouse, Tom Terrific, Superman... those are two dimensional heroes. This woman was a real life hero in those kids' eyes. You just can't beat that with a stick.

It Happens Every Spring

Gary Chapman ventures into fiction to illustrate the different seasons of marriage.

I've heard him speak about these seasons and the study we did at church was quite enlightening concerning how communication is everything in marriage. I believe it.

Click on the title of this post to purchase this book.

While this book isn't going to win rave reviews, or make it into the top ten best sellers list, it is a nice way to spend an afternoon. I pray you enjoy it.

Shake well before using

Anna Nicole, Brittney Spears, Lindsey Lohan. Everybody knows them. They’re famous. One is dead and no one knows who the father is of that precious baby of hers. Well, we may know soon. The other two are traveling a road that is fraught with pitfalls.

Where is their security? Brittney was raised in a Christian home, and at one time in her life knew what Christian living was like… at least that’s what she said. Who knows about Lindsey? It is so sad what I see in their lives; the choices they have made,

Give a person a lot of money and loose any restrictions and there goes a walking time bomb. Jessica Simpson had the world on a string. Great job, beautiful home, the “man of my dreams” husband (her words, not mine). And she tossed it all away on temporary pleasure, listening to the call of the world becoming mesmerized by the world like some cobra charmed by the charmer. We all know who that charmer is.

But, their trials are really no different than what you and I face day to day. Sure, it boils down to choices, but if you are breathing, you have problems. We all have problems. Some people’s problems seem bigger than other people’s problems. They are not.

There are several reasons for problems. One reason is that they are common to man. 1Co 10:13 You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test the way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it.

Troubles follow every human. They serve a purpose in the Lord. Yes, even those who are not Believers. Most of the time, it takes bringing an unbeliever to a place so low that the only way to look is up before it finally registers that God is the solution to the problems and cares of this world.

Troubles put a person to the sun test. In Paul’s day, potters would fire a pot and if it cracked, would put a wax in the crack which would conceal the flaw. The heat of the sun would melt the wax and the flaw would be exposed. That ‘s where the word, sincere comes from. Sun-tested. Flaws exposed. The difference is that we have the power and the choice to bring our flaws to God to be worked on, smoothed out, fixed, or skimmed off so that all the silver left after the firing is pure and reflective of our Lord.

Another purpose is the Thorn-in-the-side, purpose. Put there for us to not to concentrate on the pain of the trial but to recognize whence our grace and strength comes. It is there to reflect God’s glory to the world.

Another purpose is to be the witness by the response to the trouble. Do we react like the seed that fell in the brambles? Get all choked with the cares and worries of the world? Or do we put down our roots, confident in the fact that God is much greater than any problem or trouble? The world sees how we react to our troubles and that can be a much more powerful witness than any spoken word.

Remember, an extremely good teacher once said, “Sometimes God must shake well before using.”


We have a metal roof on our house.

It is raining.

The sound is about as soothing as a soft lullaby.

It is 15 minutes before 10 pm.

I'm going to bed.

wash the face

I was washing my face with Ivory soap and that smell sometimes makes me recall a commercial. Maybe you remember it?

This young man and young woman are walking along in the spring time. It just looks like a fresh day. The young man begins talking about how sweet his wife is, hugs her close and continues walking and talking about her. Her freshness, no make up and she washes her face with Ivory soap.

Why would anyone remember that commercial? That was 35 years ago. This young woman would be a grandmother by now. I wonder if she ever said anything in those 35 years, or did she just smile that Mona Lisa smile and say nothing of consequence.

That is so unlike me! I have an opinion about everything and some are good and some need tweaking. I would not like for someone to tell me what to wash my face with unless he is a dermatologist and helping me with a skin problem. On the other hand, I think it quite nice that a husband would care enough to take an interest in how his wife achieves the look that pleases him.

That's when I got to thinking about how much I depend on God to tell me what to do and when to do it. "Lord, what would you have me write on my blog tonight?" "Lord, what would You have me wear today?" "Lord, please take care of my children, guide them and direct them." Do you think that God cares what we do to please Him? Yes. He does. He shows that by caring for us in ways that we can't fathom the depth and breadth of, and that is the sweetest news. Amen?

Psa 55:22 Put your cares on the Lord, and he will be your support; he will not let the upright man be moved.
Phi 4:6 Have no cares; but in everything with prayer and praise put your requests before God.


There is a time to rely on feelings and a time to ignore them. Someone said, I know there are times when I'm not saved because I don't feel saved.


John wrote the believers so that we could be assured of our salvation. There are several things that give us that assurance.

1 John 3 beginning at verse 14

1. We don't just talk the walk but we walk the walk. We show love and compassion to our brothers and sisters. We act like a family.

2. We put action to compassion. We help those we see in need. Like James says we don't just pat them on the shoulder and say, "I'll be praying for you. Be warm." We give them a coat to stay warm.

3. We don't condemn ourselves. Here's the feeling part. God is greater than we are, He knows everything in our hearts. How amazing that we are forgiven before we sin. If we confess our sin then God is faithful to forgive us, putting our sin as far away from us as the east is from the west. Astounding!

4. We then have a clear conscience. Not only that, but we are blameless. Imagine it! Blameless in the eyes of God.

5. God answers our prayers. Sometimes He answers immediately. Sometimes He says, 'Wait'. Sometimes He says, "You are not ready for that, yet." The condition is praying for things that are within Jesus' character and within God's principles. Like praying for someone to get saved... or for the wisdom of our leaders. We must always rememer that God's ways and thoughts are much higher than our own. He sees all the consequences of every action and if just one thing is out of kilter, that could hinder someone's walk with Jesus. It would be better for that person to have a millstone around his neck and be tossed into the sea. That's how strongly Jesus felt about a stumbling block.

6. We obey God. We keep His commandments and we don't "fudge a little" here and there. It is part of our having a clear conscience. Walking with God doesn't allow for fudging.

7. We want to please God. It isn't a matter of "trying to be good." It isn't a matter of being fearful of what might happen. It is a definite, deep and deliberate desire to please our Heavenly Father. That stems from loving Him.

8. We believe Him. We not only believe in Jesus, but we believe what He says in His word. How can we trust unless we believe?

9. Believing, we believe. What follows is abiding we abide in Him. All that happens because He first abided in us. The Holy Spirit ignited our souls into life, Spiritual life and the combination of the Holy Spirit with our soul made a brand new creature. That is so exciting. We are not at all "just human". We are something quite different, and precious in God's sight.

Sacrifice. That word that means the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

God gave His Son. Jesus willingly laid down His life in sacrifice for us. God says it and that is enough. Believing or not believing does not make it so or not so. God did it. That settles it.

This is how we know beyond any doubt, beyond any question that we are saved. These things are outward indications of the inward change that the Holy Spirit caused to happen. Amen and Glory be to God.

I am old

I might as well face it. I am old.
Someone caught me today playing around with my picture erasing my wrinkles. I know she saw me because she told me that one of the computer guys "fixed" up the ad girls by removing wrinkles. One of them looked like she was a pasty ghost so she put her wrinkles back on, flipped her hair and told them to let it fly (her picture in the paper, that is.)

In the newspaper business, you are not supposed to fool around with photos, you know. But, I figured if we get rid of that little wrinkle there, it wouldn't look like fly away hair around my mouth... then I needed to take care of that wrinkle there, and then the ones around my eyes because the rest of me looked so young and my eyes looked so old.


I might as well age gracefully.

Brigitte Bardot said, "It is sad to grow old, but it is great to ripen."

So, there.

I'm ripening.

I'm not ripe, yet.

God is the gardener after all and when I get ripe, He'll pick me. That's the way it goes, right?

So... I have my bathroom settled. We've been here for a month today and all I have settled is my bathroom. How much is there to fixing up your bathroom? Guys would say, "Not much!"

They'd be right because all they need is a bar of soap, a towel, a razor and hopefully, deoderant.

I don't. I've got all that plus a bunch more stuff like three kinds of skin lotion, two types of face lotion -- got to at least try to soften those wrinkles. Make up and all those empty face powder compacts. What do you do with those anyway? I've used about 20 or so since my divorce and I've got every one of them. Empty except for a mirror. What do you do with them? They are too good to throw away. hmmmm

Well, anyhoot, my bathroom is just peachy. So, now I must really try and focus on my bedroom. It's almost done except for curtains and perhaps a border. My sister was right, the thing is a blank palatte. It will be interesting to see what pops up in there next. No... I'm not going to take a picture of it.

I think I'll go to bed and get some sleep wrinkles to go with the crow's feet -- oh, wait, women have laugh lines, and I'll ripen another night.

My evening

Sit down at computer to write blog post.
Plug in phone line.
Plug in battery back up and then plug in computer, speakers, DSL, Wireless to battery back up.
Affix a screw into the wall so the DSL filter can be attached (only have three of them).
Take packing wrap from around box and office chair.
Hunt for and find scissors.
Hunt for packing razor to no avail.
Put drawers in small desk.
Bring small desk from other room and place beside bigger table.
Dust off bigger table.
Bring bigger table into office.
Open window in office.
Find a place for the three boxes and the grinder on top of the bigger table.
Move chest across the room.
Unpack chest so it could be moved from across the room.
Turn on the TV in the office.
Dust off the TV in the office.
Found lost electrical cord for TV.
Look for and give up looking for remote for TV.
Eat sandwich.
Unpack small desk in bedroom.
Unravel electrical cords of all the computer stuff, internet stuff, DSL stuff.
Find computer speakers.
Look in boxes in garage.
Bring in cat food.
Drive in driveway and put car in garage.
At 4:00 PM decide to leave work a bit early to relax and get a good start on everything I need to do tomorrow.