Sunday, October 30, 2011

A new look

Daughter and I sat down together this afternoon and she helped me overhaul the blog look with a new background and a new photo.  I could have never done it myself so I am grateful to her and her patience with me as we looked at all the options. 


Older son continues to improve.  DIL went back today and he'll follow this Thursday. He saw his doc a few days ago, got his stitches out and got a good report.

He will be glad to get on with things.  We will miss him but look forward to hearing about the new adventures he and DIL will have in their new home.


One of the cool things about having Older Son here for this extended period of time is that we got to watch the World Series together. He's a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan and I'm a longtime Astros fan, so neither of us had a dog in this fight, so to speak.  As I wrote last week, during one of the rare times he and DIL have been together in their new home, they got to go to the American League Championship Series game where the Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers and won the American League Pennant. So Older Son, a National League guy like me, has adopted the Texas Rangers as his AL team since he lives there now.

But you couldn't help but be happy for the St. Louis Cardinals this past week and for all my friends and family (including my brother and Wife) who are Cards fans. In Game Six, two times they were only a strike away from losing, but they simply would not go away. It was indeed a  "classic Fall Classic" and so much fun to watch. 

For the Texas Rangers, it had to have stung to gotten to the big party two years in a row and come up short. But they're showing improvement. Last year they got swept and this year the series went to seven games.


Wife went to Las Vegas for a software conference this week. Yes, she really did go for a conference. I think she managed to take in some of the sights and sounds but all she'll say is that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

And I'm kidding, of course.  Glad to have her back.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Very thankful

A good friend and I snuck off on a recent Monday morning and did a little fishing.  It was a gorgeous fall day with just the slightest nip in the air -- cool and crisp, the kind of morning that gives you a lift, especially if you are going fishing and not going to work.

When I picked him up at 6 a.m. he was all smiles, allowing as to how this was just what he needed.  I told him I hoped the fishing would not disapppoint (which it didn't) but he said he was, at that very moment, already pronouncing it a successful outing, fish or no fish.

He and I are both allegedly at that "emtpy nest" phase of life but neither of us has seen a sign of one yet.  He was feeling particularly overwhelmed and a day on the lake was just what he needed. He also put me to shame as far as catching fish was concerned. Glad I could help him out.


I am pleased to report that Older Son came through his surgery with flying colors and is recuperating well here at the house.  He and DIL flew in last Tuesday, which just happened to be my birthday, and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with them, along with DIL's parents, that night. 

His surgery was Wednesday and he stayed the night at the hospital, with DIL dutifully at his side, as she has been ever since.  He's still on some pretty heavy pain meds, and takes naps intermittently as they kick in, but he's also getting up and going on short walks and showing steady improvement. 

(Thanks to all who prayed for Older Son.  I appreciate it more than you know).


I might have already mentioned that this is one of the best times of year for a number of reasons, not the least of which are college football and post-season baseball.   Our favorite college team, Auburn, is not having the banner season of last year but there have been some unexpected wins.

As for post-season MLB, well, Older Son, with whom I have attended numerous games over the years, found himself, along with DIL, at the American League Championship Game last Saturday night in Arlington, TX where the Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers to win the AL pennant.  So happy for him to get to do that.

Later in the week I got an e-mail from my friend in Little Rock, who also shares the baseball passion with me and who I met in St. Louis earlier this summer for a game (subject of earlier blog post), with the subject line saying, simply, "Going to Game 2 (of the World Series) in St. Louis." So happy for him too.

Oh, and did I mention that I am so happy and pleased for both of them?  Years ago when I learned in Sunday School that I am not supposed to covet, I was told that it was OK to want something like my neighbor has; I just wasn't supposed to want what he had and wish he didn't have it.

OK. I'm glad my friend caught more fish than I did. I'm glad my son got to go see a team win the league pennant, something I have never done. And I'm just delighted for my buddy in Little Rock who got to go to a World Series game (also an incomplete item on my bucket list) and who, the next time he attends a game with me, will buy his own beer and hot dog.  

I wish I could have caught an equal amount of fish that were mine (not his fish, but the same amount or greater); I wish I could have been at a pennant game; and I wish I could go to a World Series game. 

See?  Did all that without coveting.  And I'll stop grinding my teeth as soon as I'm done writing this.


I jest; you know I jest. Life is good for me, so much richer and better than I deserve and I try to remember to say a prayer of gratitude each day. 


A big shout-out and Happy Birthday to Younger Son, David, who turns 19 years old today.  I could write pages and pages about what his life has meant to me and what a blessing he is to his entire family.  But I won't. 

I have missed him terribly this fall but continue to be immensely proud of him and happy for him as he experiences college life.  Can't wait to have some quality time with him at Thanksgiving.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Like a river

I have often told God in casual conversation that if He would just give me a good glimpse or preview of things to come, I could proceed much more easily with life. 

Thing is, I don't think God is that interested in my having an easy life. He wants me to have FAITH and to be FAITHFUL.  I love the verse of scripture that Kelly has on her blog home page about how we walk by faith, not by sight.  But if I could just have a glimpse . . . .

OK, so I'm a slow learner.

Wife share with me just a couple of days ago that she and her Bible Study group were studying the "peace of God" and how there are references in the Bible to peace being "like a river."

"What do you think about when you think about a river?" Wife asked me.

I told Wife that I think about rapids. I thnk about swifly moving water, about currents and eddies. And then I think about stillness, where the water is more calm.

"Exactly," said Wife.


These past few months have been interesting, to say the least and our faith has been stretched.  Older Son and DIL announce they are moving away.  Younger Son goes to college. Daughter starts a new job.

Kind of like those rapids I just referenced.

Earlier this year, long before his June wedding, Older Son shared with us about some pain he was having in his back. He went to his doctor and she referred him for some physical therapy. It helped some, but not a  great deal.

He had a cortizone shot before the wedding.  About a month ago he told us the pain had come back and was, in fact, a little worse. He was also feeling some tingling in his legs. 

Back to his doctor he went. This time she referred him to an orthopedic surgeon, who scheduled him for an MRI on a Thursday, the day before he and DIL would be leaving for Dallas. On Friday morning he saw the orthopedic to discuss the MRI.

Older Son has a herniated disk which is causing a pinched nerve, which is causing the pain. He gave him some options, one of which is surgery which should give him fairly immediate -- and permanent -- relief.  He talked to DIL and he talked to us and did some research. We all prayed and Older Son came to the decision that this would be the best option. Short term discomfort and inconvenience for long term benefit.

He was supposed to have flown to Dallas this past Friday night to stay permanently.  He did, in fact, go, but he and DIL will be returning to Nashville this Tuesday the 18th. On Wednesday the 19th Older Son will have surgery and he'll recuperate here with us for at least a couple of weeks. It is supposed to be a fairly short (about 45 minutes), minimally invasive procedure and, as I said, he should get relief from the pain.  And his surgeon has assured him this should be an isolated matter that will not give rise to a lifetime of chronic problems such as this.


Of course, if I could, I would trade places with my son. In a heartbeat.  That's what parents do.

But I can't.  So I'll join him in walking by faith, not by sight, and trusting God for that peace like a river.

I'll look forward to sharing a good report with all of you later this week. In the meantime, please send up a prayer on Wednesday.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Doesn't get much better

It's Friday night.

We made the trek to Dallas last weekend with Older Son and DIL.  We drove their two cars and a rental truck filled with their earthly belongings. 

There have been many mixed emotions since they announced their plans to us back in July.  Wife and I wanted to be supportive but still felt an overlay of sadness about it. As time went on and we talked, and processed it, we became more accepting. Still sad, but accepting.  As Wife quipped recently, "I believe God's in it but I think I'm mad at Him." 

Wife and I both know that God is plenty big enough to handle our being mad. Or whatever else we might be.

Anyway, we went as far as Little Rock last Friday night and spent the night with Wife's parents. We arrived in Dallas around noon.  Their new apartment is in a lovely, tree-filled neighborhood, right across the street from a golf course and next to a very nice walking trail. The apartment complex is probably 20 or so years old, but very nice and very well maintained.

Their apartment is small but it's a good floorplan and has plenty of closet and storage space.  Older Son and DIL were excited as we unloaded their stuff and got them settled into their new home.

Older Son had wisely hired a couple of moving company employees to help us on that end and they had the truck unloaded in less than two hours.  That was money very well spent. Of course Older Son had an ulterior motive -- to see the entire second half of the Auburn-South Carolina game which had started at 2:30 central time.

By 4:30 we were in a bar and saw the exciting second half.  This was NOT a sports bar so it was a very sedate atmosphere. The bartender, in fact, told us we had some of the best silent cheers he had ever seen.
Best of all, Auburn pulled out the win.

On Sunday my old college buddy, who lives in a Dallas suburb, brought us lunch.  Great to see him, as always, and I'm comforted by the fact that he'll be there where Older Son and DIL are.

I also have a wonderful cousin who lives just up the road from them. Older Son and I went by to see her and her husband Sunday afternoon while the girls went shopping for some provisions for the apartment. Great to see them too and, of course, they are family so it cheers me that they'll be there too.

Early Monday morning DIL took Wife, Older Son and me to the airport and we flew back to Tennessee.  Older Son is wrapping things up at work with Wife this week and next, and staying here at the house with us.

Of course Daughter is here too and last night Younger Son called and said he would be coming home today for the weekend.

So this weekend our three little birdies are all back in the nest.

It's no secret that Wife and I have struggled a bit with all these changes taking place.  And you know what I think?  I think someone immensely wiser than ourselves knew exactly what we needed and gave us this wonderful gift of our intact family this weekend.

We know that all good gifts come from Him.