Thursday, September 30, 2004

Granny's Quilt

When I was young, I can't remember exactly when, my Granny made me a quilt. In my house this quilt is always referred to as "Granny's Quilt" and it holds a special place in my heart.

To anyone else, this quilt would look quite ordinary...a simple quilt not too much unlike others you may have seen here or there.

To me, it's priceless.

Made of simple fabric and very colorful, a patchwork of all kinds of patterns and colors, not unlike looking at farmland from the air. It's heavy, warm and soft.

It's also durable. Yes, over the years it has lost just a touch of it's former brilliance, but to me it's more beautiful now, than the day I first saw it. It's been everywhere with me. All through college, on Chorus trips and late nights in the lobby coloring with my future wife. It was there when I left home and followed my own path, there when I married my wife. It was there to keep me and my baby boys warm as I put them to sleep.

It's always there when I am sick to keep me warm and make me feel better. There on those cold nights at home spending time with my family, enough room for two to watch a favorite movie. It's there when we take trips to snuggle up in the car for a nap or to read a book, there for every picnic, to watch fireworks on the 4th of July, there when my son and I saw Michigan for the first time at Michigan Stadium to keep us warm. It also makes a great tent to watch Saturday morning cartoons in!

Granny's quilt has brought warmth, care, comfort and love for me and my family, just like she did and always will. When I wrap Granny's Quilt around me I can imaging Granny's soft arms holding me as a child, singing to me and making me feel completely safe, secure and loved.

Granny is now with Grandaddy, but her quilt is here and so is a part of her. Like the quilt, just as strong as ever, always ready to comfort, warm and love anyone that comes in contact.
Thanks for the quilt, granny.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

We're not in Kansas anymore...

OK, so we are looking for a new Church to worship with. This has been going on for sometime (it SEEMS like a long time, but probably isn't). Some of our friends that have left the congregation we were attending went to the Christian Church "down the road". We have HEARD a lot about this Church, but had never gone there. I decided that before I dismissed it that I needed to see it for myself. Off we went.

Knowing full well that the Christian Church and the Church of Christ have the same descendants I felt that there might be some familiar things, but I also knew (again, from what I had HEARD) that there would be differences. What I experienced was just about what I expected...but not exactly...

Our first impression was good. One of the parking lots is across a small street from the building and there were greeters at the sidewalks when you crossed the street. That's cool, a real person greeting you with a smiling face. There wasn't any more to it than that (there could have been) but that was a good start. The fun, though, was about to begin...

It's one thing to talk about instruments in the worship place as being "OK", but it's another thing altogether to see them there - knowing they will be played while you are worshipping. We walked into the auditorium and it struck us in the face, the courage we had mustered to get this far was wavering...why?


There was a drumset up there, also two or three guitars, a piano and another keyboard! I turned to my wife and wispered, "we can still get out of here if you want". We both decided to hold our ground, despite our uneasiness.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


So, I'm sleeping away in my bed and suddenly there is a strange arm touching me. It startles me, so I wake up and after I re-orient myself, I realize that the "strange arm" is mine! It fell asleep, a strange thing for my arm to do considering that it's never really conscious! It is now (briefly) a useless appendage, and it seems very strange because it doesn't seem to be part of me.

Of course, I realize that I have been sleeping on it strangely and it doesn't have enough blood so I give it some more by flexing it and eventually I can start feeling with it again. Now, this also brings a funny sensation...pain. The tingling in my arm slowly turns into needles poking every square inch...ouch! At some point, the pain subsides and I am back to sleep...arm working as it normally does.


That would come closest to describing my spirtual "mood" right now. It's not dead and it will certainly work fine again, it's just that I'm having difficulty feeling anything right now, just like my arm when I wake up in the middle of the night. I look at it and seems lifeless, I try to flex it's muscles and they hardly respond (if at all) and when they do, they move very slowly.

It's very strange, because (unlike my arm) this is a new sensation. Now, I am not suggesting that I have never gone through low points in my spiritual walk, but I may not have recognized them at the time (like not waking up while my arm is asleep - I can only conclude that my arm falls asleep more than I know, I just don't wake up during it). Usually I look back and realize, later, that I have walked through a low spot once I get to the other side. But, this time it's like I'm watching it happen - in slow motion - and I have little or no control over what I am watching. It's like those few moments when your arm is still asleep, and it's just not responding yet. It's like watching a movie for the 15th time and screaming at the screen, "Don't go in there!". You know what is going to happen and you are watching it, but you don't seem to able to control it.


I looked the word up in the dictionary and the definition was chilling. "Deprived of the power to feel or move normally...too numb with fear to cry out...Emotionally unresponsive; indifferent". Emotionally indifferent. For the first time in my life, I have no burning desire to be "at Church" ("at Church", meaning "going to Church", "going to the Church building"), but I have an intense desire to worship, however it's like my brain is telling my numb arm to reach for my pillow and there is no response from it. Normally if I want to grab the pillow, I think it and my body does it, but during that time of numbness, my arm is not able to comply.

Either is my body able to comply to that which my head knows to do. The words "go to Church" just don't mean the same thing to me anymore. My head says, "it's 5:30PM, time to get ready for Church...", but my body does not respond. It lays helpless like my arm in the middle of the night.


If my analogy is true, then when the blood starts flowing again and my body responds, then I can expect...pain. Woopee.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Things I've Learned in the South - Part I

"And now for something completely different..."

I grew up in Michigan and I still consider myself a "Yankee", however I have lived here in the south for over 12 years and I could end up living longer "down here" than I did "up there". There are a number of things that I have learned about life in the south that I would like to share. First let me say that (unless otherwise stated) when I use the term "Southerner(s)" I am referring to those that grew up down here and call this "home" (and always have).

  • Life is slower here. People say it all the time, but it really is true. Southerners just move at a slower pace. When I first moved down here I worked for a truly southern bank, and I was often asked as I was walking through the halls where the fire was. Now, there are two schools of thought here and I think they both apply depending on the person or situation. (1) They just enjoy the journey as much (or more than) the destination or (2) there is nothing worth getting "all worked up about".

    Understanding this slow pace is key to every Northerner getting along and playing well with others here. If you push a Southerner to do something faster than they want to then it will just make them mad.

  • "No Parking" is slang for "Park Here First". I have never lived in an area where people seem to be more "lazy" when it comes to walking from their car to the front door of the store. Now, (unlike Northerners) they are less likely to park illegally in handicapped spaces, however they will, without a second thought, park RIGHT IN FRONT of the door RIGHT NEXT TO the sign that says "NO PARKING". I really don't understand it.

  • Tea. Sweet nectar, the liquid of life. As a Northerner, I never appreciated "Iced Tea", it was something you had every once in awhile (usually at my in-law's house). But once I moved down here, I became enlightened!

    When you say "Tea" down here, there is only one thing you mean - Sweet Tea. If you ask for "Tea" in a restaurant, you will get Sweet Tea, unless you specifically ask for that red-headed-step-child called "Unsweetened Tea" (it even sounds funny). You will also find that some people go to specific restaurants just for the tea, because not all Sweet Tea is created equal. The chains are not the best place to get good tea, usually the best places are the local places (barbeque places have the best tea). The way you make Sweet Tea is to START with the sugar. You boil water and then add the sugar (alot) and THEN put the tea bags in and then later add more water.

    Making tea "sweet" by adding sugar (or some pink or blue stuff) later is NOT "Sweet Tea", it is still "Unsweetened Tea". Also, good restaurants do four things with their Sweet Tea, (1) they have LOTS OF IT and (2) they never let your tea glass get more than half empty, (3) they serve it in a large "To Go" cup, and (4) always give you a "traveler" (some to take with you in your "to go" cup). Drink up!

More later...

"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18