Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Poetry .. Life is in the living

Life is in the living

We spend a lifetime
Trying to pack a life
Into a life span
Only to find it does not fit

Our deeds always seem
To spill out and over
What we finish lives on
What we start continues
We never finish

If we were to look back
As we come to an end of a life
We would see life
Still rushing to catch us

For all of our care and planning
We are rarely ready
For the day
For the weekend
For the holidays
For the end of days

Herein is the end of it
We do what we can
While we can
And pray it is enough

We make the preparations we can
And wait for life to blindside us
At the last moment
With small details
Or the ‘big picture’
That we seemed to have missed

Still, at the end of the day
We look back
We thank the creator
For the love we have felt
For the tears we have cried
For the battles we have fought

We try to finish one more thing
Before we close our eyes
As if it might give us a head start
For the work of tomorrow

So ..
run ..
fight ..
strive ..
contend ..

Take whatever measure of success
You may find
Relish in it,
For it is fleeting at best

Life is in the living
Not in the obtaining
Life is in the trying
More so than in the achieving
Life is in the running
Everyone cannot be winning

Life is in the living

Live it

Ron Simpson, Jr.
December 29, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

more poetry

Just something that fell out of my brain ..

Lies and Truth: The Life We Live

The words danced neatly,
Slipping through the ranks of soldiers
Polished gleaming white,
Giving no hint
To the faint scent
Of the rancid decay,
Gathered from the backside of the line

Lies are lined
Like a gently innocent picket fence
Surrounding the nearly perfectly manicured
Blades of deceit,
Trimmed exquisitely
To the predetermined length of societal acceptance

How long before the lies we tell
Become the life we live
Or the life we live
Becomes the lies we tell?

If then,
The lies become the life we live,
Are they still lies
Or simply the fa├žade
Of whom we wish to be?

Is this the mask we wear
Until the time we grow beneath
To mimic the features of what we wish to be?
Have we then become
That which we aspired to be
Or are we merely the skin of truth
Stuffed with proper lies?

Have the lies we tell others
Become the lies we tell ourselves?
Harsh truths
Become the revealing x-rays
Of our true selves.

We shudder
At the mention of it
We scurry away
From its presence
Like scared mice
At the sounds
Of its approaching footfalls

We peer at the truth
From our cloistered hiding spots,
Hoping it will wander away
Before noticing our smell

Too late
For too long
Have we lingered
We are captured
In truths unrelenting stare
We can feel its unwavering gaze
Stripping away the layers
Of our years
Of practiced deceit

It works without favor
No malice of heart
It carries no grudge
It is only what it is
The truth

When truth has finished
Its unconscious task
We stand revealed
In our stark nakedness
Stripped of our excuse
Devoid of our pretext
Alone in our own self

Then we can see
Then we can know
Who we are
And where we need to be
When we stand
Sans lies
Sans deceit
Sans excuse

From the humbled perch
Of undefiled truth
Can we begin to build
The building of who we are
Founded on the foundation
Of revelation
Of truth
Of what we are

We are
All of us
Cut from the cloth
For flawed humanity
Of this tapestry
We are all a part

In this
We all belong
We all fit
In the stark revealed truth
Linked
Humanity to humanity
Flaw to flaw
Truth to truth

It was only the lies
That separated us
That created the barriers
That forced the division
Until now

We are now joined
In lies and truth
In the life we live

Ron Simpson, Jr.
December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Poetry

Yes, it has been a while since I posted, but I wrote this for a friend and thought I would share it. It is based on the Bible story of Jarius, a ruler in the synagogue, that came to Jesus when his daughter was dying ..

The hardest words

I thought I knew the hardest words

When they told me my daughter was ill

The doctors did all they could, but to no avail

She grew weaker every day

I prepared my heart for the hard words

I never wanted to hear


Words surrounded me

Words of comfort and words of dread

Every new test brought words of optimism

Every new result brought the words of despair

The words came and went

But the hardest words still loomed ahead


I heard of a healer passing through the town

He and His followers were crowded by a mob

I heard He held healing in His very touch

I can’t recall now whether it was faith or desperation

That drove me down the streets

Drawing closer to the crowd and the healer in the midst


Words surrounded me as I drew close

The crying of the mob seeking his favor and attention

Everyone was trying to get closer

Just to touch even the hem of the garment He wore

Then suddenly I was standing before Him

And saying what I thought were the hardest words


“Lord, Come and heal my daughter

She lies at the point of death”

Even as I spoke the words

They tore through my heart

To speak them aloud seemed to give them strength

And they became the hardest words I had ever said


He healed others as we traveled

Time seemed to drag as we moved

Then came the messenger I never wanted to see

With the words I never wanted to hear

He held them in his mouth waiting to spill

The hardest words, “Your daughter is dead”


I never thought there could be harder words

Until Jesus turned to me and spoke

“Be not afraid, only believe”


For months, possibly even years

I watched my daughter slowly die

Every doctor’s words were harder than the last

As one by one they extinguished each word of hope

And every hard word became a brick

That built a wall around my heart


Now, the messenger, with the final brick

Brought me the words I thought I feared the most

I had built this dread in the silent place in my heart

Where the words dared not be whispered

Where, there way down deep, still lived a small hope

That was broken irrevocably by these few words


How can He say to me now

“Only believe”


For years I have believed

And watched that belief stripped one layer at a time

For months, through the endless procession of physicians

Each taking a piece of my belief as they shook their heads

And now that the final piece has been swept away

He tells me to ‘only believe’


These are the hardest words I have ever heard

“Only believe”


Today, as I watch my daughter playing with her friends

As I watch her comb and braid her doll’s hair

As I see her giggle at the glance of some boy in her direction

The hardest words still echo inside me

“Only believe”


I give these words to you, today

In the middle of your trial

In the midst of your despair

Surrounded by all the other words

That seek to rob you of your faith

“Only believe”


Hold on to the hardest words


“Only believe”


Ron Simpson, Jr.

December 6, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

follow up

My daughter took her daughter to the DR on Monday for more testing and follow up from the testing on Friday. The Friday testing revealed markers for leukemia.

The DR told my daughter, "I don't know what we saw on Friday, but there is nothing here today."

Her potassium is still low, but vitamins or bananas will fix that.

We are ecstatic over here. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes and positive thoughts.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

prayer request

I haven't been faithful to the blogging thing, doing more posting on facebook. I am finding myself these days more of the voyeur and less of the exhibitionist. What I share with y'all today is more of a prayer request than a post, but a post nonetheless. If you are a praying sort, I am asking for those prayers. If you are not, send whatever positive thoughts or energy you can muster in our direction.

My daughter, Audrey has a 7 year old daughter. Kyleigh is a bright energetic replica of her mom. She had blood work done today pursuant to some recurring headaches. The blood work came back showing high lymphocyte levels in her white blood cells, high creatine levels in her kidneys, and low potassium. The Dr's told her to bring Kyleigh back in on Monday for more testing, but are leaning toward leukemia. It is not a confirmed diagnosis. It is just where they are starting to look. However, as you can no doubt imagine, Audrey is extremely fearful.

I would appreciate your prayers. I know that the God we serve is a healer. I know the power of life and death, health and sickness are in His hands. As you pray this weekend, and as you pray at church this weekend, please include Kyleigh and Audrey and Adam in your prayers.

Thanking you in Christ,
Ron

Kyleigh with her Halloween pumpkin last year ..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Journey

How do you measure a journey
Is it in the time captured
Is it in the number of steps
Both carefully measured
And haplessly carefree

Do you count it in the years
Or the months, or the weeks
Is it in the details of the day
Or in the broad strokes of time
Viewed and reviewed

Is it measured
In the seeds that are planted
Or in the crops that are harvested
Is it in the lasting effect
Or the immediate response

How do we know
When the journey is too short
Or tell when it is too long
For the journey is, simply,
From a beginning to an ending

When and where it began
Can be definitely pinpointed
But the end of the journey
Is never really known
As long as someone recalls

As long as the stories are told
As long as the memory holds
As long as the yearbook is read
And the bold signing beheld
The journey continues on

We will take you to a place of rest
We will sadly recall the past
We will recount the good times
We will measure them against the future
And some will think the journey has ended

We will know
It is far too soon to measure this journey
For while one may count the seeds in an apple
We will scarcely know the apples in a seed

And the journey continues

Ron Simpson, Jr.
October 14, 2009

For Allen Terry
February 20, 1988 - October 11, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

been facebooking

I have been facebooking. Amazing how we make verbs of the nouns we use.

There has been much happening. The highest on the list of event has to be Chris' release. Chris was released from Three Forks Regional Jail at 12:01 AM on September 1. The jail told us they would hold him til morning if we wanted, Tammy assured them that would not be necessary. we were there at 11:30 to begin the process. We, being Tammy, me, Chella, Kyle, Sierra, Nick, Cloe, Kiera, Jeff, Michelle, Becca, and Stacy, gathered at the doors. We welcomed him to the outside for the first time without having to return. Then we gathered our train and headed to the parking lot of the Dollar General to meet Granny, Granny was a cook in the kitchen and grew close to 'juggy' as she called him. They visited for a bit while the Beatyville police drove by. It seems that midnight meetings in the parking lot of the Dollar store are not the norm in that town,

It is great to have Chris home.

Nick did his Nick thing again. He went AWOL. Idiot. He has has three leaves while in the Army and has gone AWOL every time. Eventually, he goes back before it become desertion. That would mean time in Leavenworth. He is back in Korea now. Sierra is looking for a new place to live. The drama continues.

I am still out of work and looking everywhere.

We are still paying the bills and keeping the roof over our heads.

Time goes on. I am drawing and writing. I have drawn over 100 portraits this year. It is still fun. I have been thinking of doing some painting. We will see where that goes. Some I have been reading on Facebook, Some I keep up with by email. Some I still keep up with here.

I am sure more will follow ...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kiera Jo

for all my non-facebooking picture viewing life following friends :




Monday, August 10, 2009

Kiera .. born August 10, 2009

Squirt

Everything changes on the face of it

Amazed at how one singular event can do that

Amazing more still is the commonality

And yet complexity of said event


It happens about four times every second of every day

It is a staggering statistic to view all at once

But to each individual involved in this statistic

It is a singularly significant event


Sometimes planned and sometimes not

Eagerly anticipated for months

Building to a physical and emotional crescendo

And topped with a miracle


I wonder if you listened from the inside

While we planned and discussed about you outside

I wonder if you felt the love that held you

Even before our hands and arms held you


I wonder if you fussed in there

When we invaded your privacy

When we took pictures with sound

And examined you up, down, and side to side


Did you feel some bit of understanding

As we touched and rubbed your temporary home

As we awaited your flutters and kicks

As we wanted to feel and be felt in return


Could you sense our impatience in there

As we wrestled with what we wanted the most

And what we knew was the best for you

And how we waited .. and waited .. and waited


Did you know the beautiful violence

That would move you from your warmth

To the warmth of our multiples of affection

And the tenderness of our loving gaze


Will you ever know the fullness of the love

That brought you here to us

Far above the love felt betwixt a man and woman

Until the day of your own singularly common miracle


A little hard labor

A couple pushes

And there you were, squirt


Kiera Jo Faith Bolton

August 10, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

another week whizzes by

Another week and another weekend have passed. It was a not a non-event week. I worked on some commissioned pieces (portraits.)

The week started kind of rocky. I went to town to put some money in the bank. I was on my way when TJ called me. Her brother (51 years old) called and he was in the hospital. He was very cryptic and told us he would tell us all when we came up. I finished my business in town and came back for Tj. We went to the hospital to see James. The news was bad. He has cancer. They didn't know where yet, when wee were there. They were running tests to find all of it. He told us that they did tell him a time frame based on what they did know, but would not share with us what it was. I respect his wishes in that. He was on the 6th floor/Oncology unit.

While I was there at the hospital, I went down a few floors (2nd floor/Cardio) to visit my sisters mother-in-law who was there for fluid around her heart and high blood pressure. I talked with her and prayed with her before I left her room. While there, Mom called and asked if I would visit a lady from her church that was on the 4th floor. I went to the 4th floor and visited and prayed with her before leaving her room to head back to the 6th floor.

The rest of the week slowed down a little bit.

Saturday, we went to see Chris. The jail has limited visits on Saturdays to one per inmate. Saturday was the day before Chris's 23rd birthday. His fiance wanted to see him as did the family. so we coordinated to be there at the same time and all go in as a group. That way, we all get to see him and no one is excluded. TJ and I were giving him money into his account to use for incidentals. It has been an education, of sorts, for us, these last two years he has been in jail.

I used to think, (as I discovered many other Americans thought,) that inmates, while having limited freedom, were getting a free ride on taxpayer dollars. This is not so. Yes, we are paying for the facility to house them. Yes, our tax dollars pay for the utilities and the meals. I suppose that there is a system where the cost of incarcerating some prisoners can be offset by considering the cost of them being free in theft, vandalism costs, and loss of life. For what it costs, spread across the population of taxpayers, it could be considered a good investment.

However, I found other things that surprised me. The inmate has to pay for DR visits and other medical treatments. Inmates pay for incidentals such as writing or reading material, when it is allowed. In some jails, (the one Chris is in is one) all outgoing calls from inmates must be collect. They cannot use calling cards. These calls are limited to 15 minutes and cost the callee $4.95 for the full 15 minutes.

There are many other things that inmates must pay for out of pocket. Since the inmates are not paid, per say, for work in the jail, all the costs must come from families. So, our birthday gift will be used for a candy bar hare and there, a soda occasionally, or a colored pencil or paper so he can write home.

The ride up and back was fun. We left MS and headed up the back roads to Beattyville. We planned to stop along the way and get the money order for the gift. Well, in the 50 miles between here and Beattyville, there are no stores that sell money orders. Once we got to the jail, I dropped off TJ and the kids and headed to the booming town of Beattyville to find a store that sold MO's. I eventually found one, purchased it, returned to the jail, and had enough time to walk in and wish Chris a happy birthday and exit.

Sunday was good. Church was good. Fellowship was good.

Monday, July 13, 2009

the weekend passed (so fast)

It seems the weekends come and go so quickly. It was a decent weekend. We had a great service Sunday at church. Rev. Allen preached for us. He is in his mid 80's and still full of fire. It was a good time.

TJ had a bad back/hip/leg weekend. She spent much of the weekend tethered to the bed. I think the only way she could spend more time in it is if I tied her to it. Then she would hurt herself trying to get loose. The bed is the most comfortable place for her to sit. The problem with that is that (by design) the bedroom is off the main traffic area of the house. when one goes to bed, one wants that cave like experience. One does not want to be bothered. Her being tied there by her pain is worse by the fact that it is out of the mainstream. No-ne sees her unless they are expressly looking for her. She looses the casual contact.

We have one chair downstairs that is semi-comfortable. We will work on making it more so, so she can get back into the traffic areas of the house.

We shall see.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cort shakes

Cloe (if you read TJ's blog) is now in her terrible two's and repeating everything said to her in a two-year-old way. She is like a little mocking bird, which she will repeat if you call her one (see.)

She says all kinds of things in her own way, and as TJ says, sometimes when she does learn to say it correctly, it isn't really an improvement.

One of the recent things she tried to repeat and got it all mixed up was 'short cakes.' TJ called her short cakes and Cloe promptly repeated, "Cort Shakes."

When she was much younger, (if one could ever be much younger then two) she would get aggrevated and we would distract her by talking to her. She would dutifully listen and try to talk back. As she has gotten older (Gasp .. two) she has gotten better about the proper repeating. She still say "bass tootin" instead of 'Rasputin.'

Once, when she was aggrevated while we were going to church, she got stuck on saying 'mommy.' I said, 'Rasputin,' and she tried to repeat it. It became the last resort (or first laugh) when we were driving. I know that one day, she will be in kindergarten talking about Rasputin. I can't wait for that call from a worried kindergarten teacher.

Until then , "bass tooin cort shakes."


Monday, July 06, 2009

Sunday, July 05, 2009

my favorite holiday


Independence Day is my favorite holiday.

We went out for a fireworks display in a field. The fireworks were fabulous. There was family, food, and fun .. and rain. But that was okay. The rain did not dampen my spirit for the holiday. I celebrated my freedom by doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, where I wanted to do it, and how i wanted to do it.

Today, I heard someone had said something about how our freedoms were really earned during WW II. Now, I am not going to dispute the importance of WW II. However, our freedom was won way back in the Revolutionary War. It was then that this great nation was formed and fought for its fledgling freedom. Wars since have protected that freedom. There is little difference between gaining something and keeping it when a battle is involved. The speaker then went on to expound about our religious freedoms and how he cherished them. Then he said something about other religions in a less than flattering sense.

Some people just don't understand freedom.

Years ago, when I was younger and a comic book reader, I read in a Captain America comic, Steve Rogers (CA) said, "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it."

This is how freedom works. If I seek to take away your freedom in some area, I must yield my freedom in that area as well. My right to proclaim my religion comes at the cost of allowing others whom I may or may not disagree with, to proclaim theirs as well.

You cannot both hide behind civil liberty and deny it at the same time. Your right to disagree with me is standing on the foundation of my right to disagree with you.

Many want to proclaim freedom, their brand of freedom.

Freedom isn't freedom until you offer it to someone else without reservation. Freedom for one is tyranny for all.

Feel free to disagree.



Friday, July 03, 2009

huh ?

One-One was a race horse.
One-Two was one too.
One-One won one race.
One-Two won one too.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

good Tuesday

Tonight was a good night.

Tonight was church. The service was good. The teaching was good. However, it was what happened after that was so rich. The church officers had a meeting following the service, so most of the people hung around until after it was over. There was great fellowship. There was personal sharing. There was rich in depth conversation. It was a blessing to me.

Blessings can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blame it on Patrice

Patrice over at Blessings Amid Chaos posted a wonderful poem she wrote about her boys. It got me thinking (Danger danger) and this popped out of my head.

That little boy I miss the most

He was always in mischief it seemed
His best efforts to behave oft met with defeat
His path was easy to discern
Just follow the broken or messed up places
Toys were usually left anywhere the interest left
His day was a meandering progress
That brought him each day to a dream filled sleep
That little boy I miss the most

He wasn’t plagued by self doubt
He knew he could do
Whatever came to his mind to do
Those things he knew
He knew them without question
No wall was too tall
No valley was too wide
No task was too daunting
He faced each day as an unfolding adventure
That little boy I miss the most

There were scraped knees and skinned elbows
There were bloody noses and black eyes
There were falls and tumbles
But, there were conquered mountains
There were crossed rivers
There were spanned valleys
There were hands raised in victories
And new challenges eagerly anticipated
Just over the next hill or around the next bend
For that little boy I miss the most

You may wonder what happened to that little boy
That I would miss him so much

Time passed

Toys gave way to girls and cars
Grade school gave way to high school and college
Adventure gave way to jobs and a career
Boyhood gave way to manhood
Being a kid gave way to being a parent
And then, even a grandparent
Simple choices gave way to complicated decisions
The walls got taller, the valleys wider, and the rivers deeper

Still, every now and then, that little boy comes out to play
In my heart he runs and jumps
He tumbles and dives
He kicks up leaves and swings on vines
He knows what he knows unquestionably
He does what he does without fear
Until it is time for him to return home once more
That little boy I miss the most

Until next time

Ron Simpson Jr.
June 25, 2009

summer ?

It seemed that Winter was not going to relinquish her grasp on us. She fought valiantly. The cold weather held on. It stayed cold and snowy for a long long time. People cried and bemoaned the weather.

Then, when winter did slightly relinquish her grasp on the temperature, the rains came. The cold retreated but the wind and rain moved in. Day after day the rain held on. There was talk about an ark. People cried and bemoaned the rain.

Finally, in the last day or so, the rains moved out (or so I thought) and the heat rushed in like an avenging army. It turned sweltering. Summer arrived with a vengeance. Temperatures ballooned into the 90's and 100's. (Just as I was starting the part about the rains leaving, it began thundering here.)

However, as the heat finally arrived, (lights flickering here .. might lose power) people cried and bemoaned the heat.

I am not sure where everyone has been, but usually, there is a period of cold (we call it winter) followed by milder wetter weather, (we call it Spring) and then the heat arrives and fans and A/C's begin to overwork (we call it Summer.) It has happened this was for a long time.

Some of you must be new to the planet.

Welcome to Earth, third rock from the sun.

Friday, June 19, 2009

the attack

In our upstairs bathroom, there is a rack that works in conjunction with the toilet. It has three selves that set above the toilet and the sides go down to the floor. There are various sized baskets on these shelves and other bathroom accoutrement's.

A few moments ago. I go to the bathroom to pee. I position myself properly in front of the bowl. I lean in to assure there is no drippage accidents. In my peripheral vision I see movement at the top of my head and feel something touch my hair. I look up and am looking into the eyes of a snake that had just struck at my head.

I was taken back for a moment until I recognized Ava, our ball python. Now, Ava does not have free run of the house. She is generally in a 55 gallon tank in the boys room. She has, apparently escaped and for some unknown reason, made her way to the basket at head level on the shelf above the toilet.

She is nervous. She didn't actually strike me. she struck at me in a manner of defense as my head came quickly closer to her and her hiding place. She did not act with any malice. I called TJ, who was amazed that she was in the basket. We got a towel and took her out of the basket and put her back in her enclosure without further incident.

I just wonder what kind of life it is when a snake in your shampoo basket, while not common, is not altogether unheard of and does not cause nay undue alarm.

Just another day in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brannen

My Grand Niece, Brannen

Monday, June 15, 2009

Home

We made it home late this afternoon. It was a great trip.

We went to the Dayton Ohio area. We stayed in Beavercreek. We went up on Saturday. Saturday night, we had dessert with Gina and Victor Vera. Victor is pastor of the AX church. AX stands for Apostolics of Xenia. Gina is a gospel singer and songwriter. She is quite fantastic. They just finished the second phase of their new church building project. Sunday night was the dedication service.

Sunday morning, we went to church in Dayton. Pastor Horst Krauss from Ausberg Germany was preaching. We have been talking via email, facebook, and phone for the last couple months. He is on his deputation/fundraising through parts of the United States. It was great to meet him. He preached an outstanding message.

Sunday evening was at the AX church. We saw old friends that we hadn't seen for years. Gina, I have known for probably more than 30 years. I met Victor before he and Gina began dating. It was a joy to see them. Last time I saw them was Dad's funeral. Rev. JH Osborne preached the dedication service. He preached an outstanding sermon.

Monday morning, we had breakfast with Pastor Robert Smith, another old and dear friend. We enjoyed it. I was catching up. Tammy was meeting he and his wife for the first time. The food was good. The fellowship was better.

Then came the drive home. We made the 3 hour drive in just under 4 hours. We stopped several time for TJ to rest.

All in all, it was a great trip.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

wowser

Has it been a week or more since I posted ??

I have been fighting the cold thing and not been up to posting much, as I have not been doing much. This thing, with it's coughing at night and not sleeping well keeps ya tired.

I did get out this morning to take TJ to local yard sales. She is the thrift store and yard sale queen. If she cannot get out to them she starts going through withdrawal. No one wants to see that or be around it.

School ended for the summer for Kyle. He is excited. He has a trip up coming with the band. they are going to Kings Island Amusement Park. TJ says it isn't fair. She would be allowed to go as a chaperon, but she can't ride because of her back. She just discovered her love of roller coasters just before she started having major back problems. Now, she is relegated to standing or sitting on the sideline, watching.

Mom is coming home from Germany this week. Next Sunday, I plan to go to Dayton, Ohio to meet Brother Krauss, the missionary in Germany. Mom attended his services while she was there. He is in the US visiting churches for sponsorship. We have been trading emails and talking on Facebook, so we have made plans to meet when he is here in the states. As a curiosity, I checked on prices to fly to Germany. I was shocked to find round trip prices under $500.

well, the sun is out, finally, today. It has been overcast and rainy for weeks now, it seems. I am going to try to enjoy more of the sun. Perhaps I will go out shooting. (photos)

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

family night finally

We finally got it together for a family night. It is rather difficult at times with so many things being done by so many of us. Tonight, it came together.

We had pizza and pasta from Pizza Hut. We had some old school games. We played Loaded Questions and Password. Chella was downstairs watching Bones while we finished eating. When we called her upstairs, Tj had coordinated a surprise. Once she was fully into the sitting room, adjoining our bedroom, she was attacked by three manics bearing cans of silly string. She had her own can and the war was on. There was string everywhere. It was a blast.

Then we cleaned up and settled down to play the games. We played until about 10 PM. We had fun. we laughed. We laughed. Then, we laughed some more. It was a great night.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial

Freedom

It has been well said that freedom is never free. It is easy sometimes, born into freedom, to consider it a birthright. We might lose sight of the price, being so far from it. I have never fought on any foreign shore. I have never spilled my blood defending this glorious nation. Far removed from the smoke of the battlefield, it is easy to lose the cries of freedoms battle.

The sound of freedom is not the big brass band. That is the celebration of freedom. The roar of the crowd is not the sound of freedom. That is the triumph of freedom. Summer dogs and burgers are not the taste of freedom. Sparklers and fireworks are not the fire of freedom. They are just the glitter.


The sound of freedom is the last gasp of a soldier. It is the soft sob of a mother clutching the folded flag. The taste of freedom is the acrid mix of gunpowder and blood. The fires of freedom burn in the hearts of men and women, not in the burning metal rods we wave. The band, the roar, the dogs and burgers, the sparklers and the fireworks, are all good if we don't lose sight of the price of freedom.


Sometime in the middle of your reverie, take time to remember. Take time see the flash of freedom. Take time to taste the coppery taste of freedom. Take time to hear the gasp and sob of real freedom. Find a way to feel free.


Ron

Friday, May 22, 2009

the plague

I have the plague. I am sniffling, sneezing, wheezing and dripping. This morning I got a nosebleed. I liked to never got it to stop. I have had it on a milder level for the better part of the week. I haven't done much this week.

I did do this drawing recently. It is Dad. The lower right is him at 19 years old and in the US Air Force. The upper left is his 50th year wedding anniversary. I still miss him so.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Plumbing, Germany, Carpet, and TJ

Yes, it has been 5 days.

It has been a busy few days for me. There has been errands, and family, and driving, and drawing. Mom called me Sunday morning to let me know her brother-in-law (my uncle) Joe had passed away in Germany. I had to make arrangements for international calling on her cell phone as she was flying out on Monday. She was planning a trip to Germany in July. This moved her plans drastically.

I was in Church Sunday morning/afternoon in Flemingsburg (home church) which is 33 miles one way. When I got home, I had enough time to sit down and then drive to be in church with Mom in Lexington (42 miles one way.) So, it was a busy Sunday. While I was driving and churching (I am sure this should be a word. Active church going must be churching,) TJ and Kyle pulled up the carpet in the downstairs foyer. It is hardwood floors underneath. We will be sanding, varnishing, and shellacking. We intend to also remove the carpeting from Kyles room. there will be more sanding, varnishing and shellacking there.

Thursday, I dropped of the necessary metal for the welding shop to make my meter key. It was done on Friday. I now can turn of my water whenever I need to do so. I have several pending plumbing jobs to do. This gives me much more flexibility in doing them. We plan on replacing the stand alone pedestal sink in the bathroom. I am not sure if it came with the house when it was built about 100 years ago or not. However, it is old. It might be worth something once it is removed and cleaned up well.

We are also working on coming up with a workable plan to rework the bathtub faucets without having to put out the $1500 to $1700 estimates to replace it. I got some great ideas form the guy the runs the plumbing shop in Winchester when I was there looking for replacement parts (which seem not to exist.) We are looking to incorporate a shower of some sort into the deal.

About mom: She arrived safe and sound in Munich. She met Brother Horst Krauss, a missionary in Germany, at the airport. We have been in contact with him for some time. I spoke to him yesterday on the phone to let him know about mom's change of plans. He had intended to see her while she was in Germany in July. He had to be at the airport to meet a friend about the time mom was arriving. I spoke to mom after her arrival. She made contact at the airport.

TJ is still overdoing it routinely. However, she is recovering more quickly. trips still wear her out, but a shorter rest is required after each one. I will accept this as a good sign.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

wowser

Close Call.

I was driving on the interstate this morning driving to Lexington. A Nissan Xterra passed me at one point. I had my cruise set on 80mph, so he was going 85mph or better. About a minute after he passed me, I came upon the Xterra on it's hood against the median wall divider. I pulled over immediately and back up to see if there was anything I could do. Several others stopped as well. As I was backing up, the drivers door opened and the man driving crawled out. There was not a scratch on him.



He was passing on the three lane highway when someone cut over in front of him, cutting him off. He locked up the brakes and flipped. The cut man kept on going as the Xterra flipped in his rear view mirror. Tadpole. One of the guys that stopped told us what happened as it happened right in front of him. He is in the light blue jeans in the pic.

After making sure he was okay, I left to go on to town to run my errands. On my way back, about 2 hours later, the wreckers were just starting to try to get the Extera up.

Someone was watching out for that guy.

And for me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

small town minus / small town plus

I lived in big towns most of my life. Lexington population was nearly 650, 000. It is the second largest city in Kentucky and the 66th largest city in the United States. It ranks 10th in college education with 39.5% of the residents having at least a Bachelors Degree. I was born there some 51 years ago and lived there for about 45 of my 51 years. Anything and everything, wanted or otherwise, can be found there and at anytime, day or night.

Just over 2 years ago, TJ and I moved out of that sprawling, traffic infested, 24 hour-a-day city and to a small town called
Mt Sterling. Our sprawling population is 5,876 according to the 2000 census. It is a small town. The old adage about rolling the streets up at 8 o'clock is nearly true here. We live inside the city. We are just about 3 blocks from the courthouse. It is 0.27 miles from our house to the main intersection of downtown. It is 0.25 miles from my house to the police station. It is 0.15 miles from my house to the water company, which brings me to my point.

Last night, around 11:15, I went to fill up a water bottle to put in the mini-fridge beside the bed. I noticed the floor was wet, but Chella had just taken a bath and I thought she had been a little messy and had not cleaned up after herself. However, this seemed to be more than it should be. Further investigation revealed that the connection of the waterline to the faucet was leaking. This presented a problem which would lead to other problems.

Problem #1: There is no water shut off at the sink. There is no water shut off anywhere in the house. The only water shut off is the main shut off at the street at the water meter. In spite of my best efforts, that shut off would not budge.

Problem #2: It was the upstairs bathroom. The water would leak through the floor, ruining the floor in the bathroom, through the ceiling below, ruining the ceiling, and on to the hardwood floors in the dining room, ruining them.

I called a guy I knew that was a plumber and had done work for me in the past. He said he could come by in the morning and turn off the water for me. WHAT ? In the morning ?? Hello ! Water leaking NOW !

I called the water company. They have no emergency number. If it is a water main break, you can call the water treatment facility, but anything short a a water main, and you are on your own. "Hello, insurance company, I need to report some water damage."

I went to the internet. I found three plumbing outfits listed for this town. I called number one. his response: "I cant come out there now at this time of night (it was now about 11:45.)" I called number two. It was a residence of a plumber and I got their recording. the recording included all kinds of helpful information, including cell phone numbers of every family member, but no way to get hold of anyone to turn off my water.

I gave TJ a number to call while I was trying another number. She woke up an older lady who woke up her husband, who agreed to come to turn the water off. He came within 30 minutes and turned our water off.

Here are the small town minuses:

NOTHING is available 24 hours a day.

There is a reason they roll up the streets. It is because everyone goes to bed at 8:30.

On call service simply means the phone rings at the house. If we are asleep, we are asleep.

Here is the small town plus:

He didn't charge me to come out at midnight to turn of my water in an emergency.

I talked to him about installing a shut off inside the house. There waterline passes through the basement, so there is access. He said his son could do that. He gave me his sons name and number and told me that if they did the work, he could just add the service call to that bill.

The shutoff addition I can do myself now that the water is off. With the shut off installed I can fix a few other problems as well. However, if I do the shut off myself, I will still call the son to settle up with our Sunday night midnight call.