Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Moving Forward

I keep telling myself this is not change it is progress. The hole in the ground has now become a congregated, concreted group of blocks that form the basement for our new home. Odd to think of it today that it has been exactly one year since my neighbor, Professor Joel, passed away. Today the crew comes in and lifts what was his home off it's foundation in preparation for moving it to the site out by the cornfield where my wife and I will be residing. God never ceases to amaze me! I never would or could have imagined a year ago the scope of the project that we are now involved in. I'll continue to update this blog as the work progresses. My anticipation of the photo opportunity when this old bed and breakfast rolls down the highway has juices flowing this morning. I pray others enjoy the progress as much as I will. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Project In Process

That is Britany in the background. At the present time I am painting her home and her brother Zack's place. It is a tedious task but one that I am capable of completing if the weather allows. Tonight the temps on the Great American Desert are supposed to dip to 25 degrees. That is cold, but not as cold as it can get. Today I worked on the roof and the areas that require me to be over 20 feet from the ground. You know, I never worried over the height 20 years ago, but this past week I have found myself considering the healing time required should I experience a fall from the heights. Thankfully I would submit that the worry goes away once I am high up in the sky doing the work that I am so familiar with in painting. Perhaps we all have spaces and places that cause us to sound an alarm deep within ourselves. Being uncertain in life is a condition that I can only describe as "human." If you don't get this little feeling now and then you are not truly living. Feelings are a part of our process and experiencing them makes us more than whole, it helps us to understand why we are alive. I've got a hunch that if I should fall from a height greater than mine by factors of four I would probably be thinking about where I'm stopping, more than where I'm going. That is just an observation, but God does know where we are all going! In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some Days Are Diamonds

I know, and some days are stones! LOL....the thing is we have to keep a perspective on is what is happening in our worlds. Today there are folks in California who have lost their whole lives, the home and all that was in it is gone forever! My cousin, Lenore, out there, is safe(spoke to her the day before yesterday)but she does know people who are not. Meanwhile, out here on the Great American Desert we are in the process of building. My job at the present time is one of putting paint on an old structure to make it look "good" for the folks nearby and the people that work in the banking industry. That will work out according to God's plan, I just wish I had an answer or a clue as to what was coming around the next bend in the road!
Scott Narragon is doing the concrete work[if I misspelled please forgive me]. His crew are the best I have seen out here! I observed and took pictures as they worked today. Well oiled and primed for the task are the first descriptive phrases that come to mind. Mind is an operative word. Inside this mind is the brain which still finds it impossible to fathom that my wife, Cheryl, and I have embarked on this journey of construction. Tom, the plumber, was on site today helping me to understand what his needs are for making the home(we'll see how that works out)a workable entity in terms of where we take care of life's business. I need to sit down with a pencil and paper plus a ruler and position the plumbing. Never have I had to do that before. I don't know that I will do it well this time, but I do give thanks to my shop teacher, Mr. Bruggeman, if not for him I wouldn't have a clue as to what to do next.
It does appear as though we have a project in process and that in the next year my residence will once again be altered. I presume that there is a plan in all of this, and that we will be beneficial to\our Creator. I do wish He would fill me in on what part in this I will be playing. Never lose sight of how funny life can be. Lenore(my cousin in San Diego)shared her thoughts following a local news cast interview with some elderly people who had lost their home in the fires. "I guess we'll just start over." What can any of us do, other than start over again. That is what our Lord offers us. The opportunity to begin anew the process of living life to its fullest within the context of God's forgiveness. This is not a one time thing. It begins every day when we reach back within ourselves and choose to begin anew the life(gift)that we have been given. No matter what happens, we can always begin again! In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Hole In The Ground

High noon found me out on the prairielands of the Great American Desert. My concrete man called(Scott is a brother to Rita with whom I shared early college daze)to inform me that it was his opinion that the diggers didn't get the stairwell from the new utility room in the right place. I should have taken the cycle, but owing to the recent onslaught of torrential rains I thought it better to take the journey with my fleet afoot Oldsmobile. I was right, the road in was way to soft for the 1000 pounds of Ultra Classic HD. These are about half of the pics I took of our personal project which I have captioned(for now)"A Hole In The Ground." It was actually a lot of fun to walk around in the midst of our future walls and basement. I threw the tape measure everywhere that I went and built bridges from Scott's planking onsite to get me over the deeper gorges in the earth. It was an adventure, and one that I shall not soon forget. Everything is going according to God's timing, and His is far finer than any timetable I could imagine. One of the more encouraging aspects of my onsite sojourn was the strata of gravel in the earth where the basement will be sitting(hopefully with the house on top of it this year). That gravel at the depth it was at is indicative of great drainage. Even knowing that we are still putting in drainage tile around the perimeter and allowing for the egress windows to drain directly into that and hence to the sump pump in the basement utility area, I found the discovery of much gravel to be comforting. A computerized three stage furnace will heat the home, along with AC, and electric supplements. What a deal! Two water heaters will provide the house with sufficient hot water for at least 10 bath\showers every two hours, and a host of loads of laundry should we ever need them. God is so good! I never even had a dream concerning a project like this. In my wildest dreams even my imagination could not have envisioned the journey that my wife, Cheryl, and I have begun. I'll keep updating as time goes by. There are more important things to consider in life, however. The first is you and how you're doing today. Please know that there is always an option, another possibility. We may not always see it or think it, but it is there if we remain open to the movement of God's Spirit. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dogs, Ducks, & Water

It's that time of the year when we have to consider what plants to keep from the garden and which ones will have to bite the big one with the onset onset of winter's frost. A week ago the children taught me an interesting lesson. Once again I learned that we have to live in the moment. We cannot truly enjoy our lives if we are constantly worrying about the future and immersed in the mistakes of the past. The ducks, I will admit have been a source of much enjoyment(I am now tired of trying to collect the eggs every day, my wife will not cook with them and has informed me that I can't, either), and I look forward to chopping off their heads, cleaning them and having a wonderful roast duck dinner. Cheryl will probably not participate in the process due to her fondness for the ducks, but it has to be. I was reminded yesterday that we do not have to go hunting for geese this year, they are already in the freezer. That's alright by me, I have a house to paint before the weather gets too rough, and a whole lot of other"stuff" to get ready for the builders of our new house\home that may or may not become a reality this year. Life is good! Anytime one can look out the window and enjoy the view it is a blessing. This morning it is raining, again. When the pics above were taken we had a beautiful sunshiny day. Later it began to rain and continued to do so for 6 consecutive days. What do I do when it rains and rains and rains? I spent time in the office trying to build a new computer that will be the end all be all for my studio needs and personal entertainment. How is that going, you ask? Better than it should, and better than I deserve, although I have lost one of my monitors to a leak in the office(another byproduct of constant rainfall), nothing that a little time and a capacitor or two won't fix. The thing is, as with the children above, we need to learn to take time to enjoy the moments that we all have. No matter where we are in our life's journey we will never be able to recapture a single minute that is lost. Take a break, get wet, play with the dog, play with the childre(we can learn much from every one of them)and stop stressing over the "stuff" that needs to be completed. It will get done, eventually, and if it doesn't, well then it was not supposed to be. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What To Do With A Rainy Day

Perspectives seem to change with time. We've had rain every day since last Saturday and I'm afraid of what our building site may look like. I'm certain it won't be as bad as the pics, but it may now have a huge swimming pool where the basement is supposed to be. Ah, the joy of lake living on the Great American Desert! I suppose the worst of it is the waiting for an opportunity to really see things moving ahead again. I think I'm experiencing a bit of depression over the situation, but when I think again I have to shake my head and remember that God is in control and I'm really in the backseat(especially when it comes to the weather). Isn't that the way for all of us? If things are not going according to our schedule we have emotional upheaval in our lives. Perhaps it's just the way I am, or maybe that is part of the human condition. I don't have answers for that, but I do know that when I take one step back and pray for God to be God and let me be me, everything seems to be better about my life. Is that being fatalistic? I do not believe so, at least not from my perspective. To cheer both of us up my wife, Cheryl, and I went out for dinner at George's. Thursday nights they have great ribs & chicken and meat balls and a salad bar, and even though we are in the wilderness it is good to know that there is a guy named "George" who came here from Italy and is truly an American success story. I've never spoken to the man other than to order a slice, but I'm certain he is a devout person, believing in God much as I do. (Now I've prompted\challenged myself to learn more of the person behind the wonderful cuisine) The place(although we don't get there but about three times a year)is exactly what one would expect from a pizza carryout, dine in, delivery restaurant. Entering one is greeted by the immediate warmth of the ovens in front and the scent of cooking in the kitchen. It's a good feeling for all of the senses. Even better when shared with the woman I love so much. It is good to sit across the table from her and look into those beautiful eyes as I feast on food, as well. So much for another rainy day on the GAD . I pray your life is going well and that all of the rain that falls is welcomed. One more thought....The Bible teaches us that the rain falls on the unjust as well as the just. That cheers me up. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wishing I Was On The Road

There are times when I wish I were on the road. The trains this time of night remind me of those feelings as I listen to their mournful whisper proceeding down the tracks through our town. I grew up never very far from the tracks(that is because out here on the Great American Desert there is no place to grow up other than close to the tracks. That is where civilization began and where it still is today)My next door neighbor, Milo Schull, was an engineer. He was home every week and his wife and he did not mind neighborhood children in their home as long as they were polite and respectful. Irene often baked pies and cookies and my best friend, Kim, and I would often benefit from her culinary efforts. As children we were taught a more than healthy respect for the railroad(by the time I was 10 there had been 6 RR related deaths in my town of 385 folks)and we were taught to stay far away from it. We, of course as children, paid no heed to the adult advice and played right in the midst of the locomotives crushing pennies and feeling the thunder of the rails in over passes as we laid as close as one would dare another to the tracks. Fun, one might think so, but one kid lost a leg, another an arm, and David(another good buddy fell off the top and broke many pieces of his body trying to keep up with an accerating train as we all hopped across the tops and ran down ladders. God has a way of teaching us many lessons. For the most part I have all my parts and survived the dares and challenges of youth only to emerge into adulthood ready to take on any challenge. The greatest challenge is that of maintaining one's faith in the very midst of circumstances beyond our control. Lose a limb, lose a life, lose a child, lose a wife; and another song is born from speaking out here. I thank you for the opportunity to believe that there are people who care. Have I ever looked back and attempted to contact any of the people that I write about tonight.....NO. That is not because I do not care, it is because I would prefer to remember them as they were then, and now, right now, in my memory. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Everchanging Colors

This morning I wonder if we shall ever make it through the transition from this house to the new home we are building 6 miles from here. There is soooo much I will not miss. First of all the constant sound of traffic from our spot here on the main thouroughfare in Brookings. Our new place is so far removed from the street that the silence may turn out to be deafening. Then there are things I may miss immensely. The plants Cheryl has grown here the past several years have been amazing. Then there is the question of moving the entire barn, potting shed, and trellis affair with cute little brick walkway under construction. So much to think about, and it seems that time has slipped away from us this fall. Shortly we will be buried once again in that white fluffy stuff that people seem to really enjoy when it first arrives, but that wears really thin after the first engagement with the shovel on drives and walkways. For now I believe the best thing I can do is enjoy the beauty that God has provided. Continue to pick up the eggs from the patio(the duck insists that this where they are supposed to be)and learn new ways to prepare them so they do not go to waste. In cake and brownies the eggs add a wonderful richness. When I give that thought a second to percolate along with the coffee I realize that God does that for our lives, adds the richness! He gives us the opportunity, even out here on the Great American Desert, to grow and bloom where we are planted, much like the flowers in one of this year's creations. Cheryl is ever so careful with how she puts her large pots together. Even more so is the care with which God puts our lives together for His purpose if we are willing to take direction and thrive in our surroundings. Fall is coming to life all around us and the colors are wonderful this year! Perhaps on one of my journies to our new piece of barren ground on the desert I can pause long enough to capture some moments worth sharing. I pray your life is filled with moments worth capturing. Treasures you can enjoy for years to come. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Reflection

Out of bed way too early and much in need of coffee I began the morning with a gasup stop at our 6th street Casey's.Tom and Lynn(the guys doing our digging)preceded me by less than 20 minutes. I suppose when one puts together a new house thing that this is important to do. Check, double check and then go back and find out if what you checked on was correct as you saw it! I'm still trying to figure out where to put the driveway and the turn around for folks with larger than life rigs and these guys are here to make certain I have water and sewer connections. I appreciate that! After all, what good would a new home be without a place to poop and pee!

My grandmother(paternal side)passed away at the age of 93. When I asked her what she thought of as the most important things she had witnessed in her lifetime(she passed in '83)I fully expected her answer to be something like electricity, radio, television, or perhaps the moon walk and space flight. Nope, quite readily she informed me that the most important thing happening in this world in her lifetime(she began life in 1889 in a sod home on the Great American Desert)was indoor plumbing. Pretty cool! I would not have thought of that, but then I did not come from her era in American history. Today I appreciate that comment. Because of the guys that know where to put the holes our new home will have superb indoor plumbing in all four bathrooms. This is a good thing! Right now it is still difficult for me to accept another shift in location. I don't think my mind is totally prepared for pulling up the stakes and moving 5 miles west, but it would appear that it shall become a reality.

Anyway, I have to sleep for a little while today, it is now 6:41 AM. I pray your home is warm and secure and that all your problems have nothing to do with plumbing. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Everyone should have a friend like ours. His name is Snickers and he has been living here for about a year and a half. He was originally a gift to lead singer Jackie Bird in Atlanta, Ga, but her travel schedule did not allow space for a pet, not even a 3 pounder. He made the circle of family members and was much loved and cared for, but folks with busy lives did not have sufficient time for the poor little guy. He was born on October 31st two years ago, and shortly we shall celebrate his second b'day. One afternoon I received a call from the lead guitar player. Gordon and his wife JoAnne were leaving town and they had a gift for Cheryl and I. The gift was Snickers. Although we have rather involved lives as well, we also have a circle of dog-loving friends here in Brookings. Snickers has a lot of canine friends, but no girlfriend as yet. That's something we have talked about considerably, and perhaps one day the right lady of similar breeding will come along. He'd like that, and we'd get to host his kids for awhile. I stopped for a bit this afternoon to share a few thoughts, and as always, Snickers was ready to share conversation, lunchtime and a little good hearted play. By the way, Snickers really isn't my pet, he is much more fond of Cheryl. When she is here they are inseparable. He has grown on both of us, though, and is really a good traveler, as in 8-10 hours down the interstate to three states away. In his own way he has adopted us as "his people" and commenced to training us to be the folks he would like us to be. He doesn't like winter out here on the Great American Desert, so his humble hovel of a doghouse inside has it's own heat by way of a heating pad and blanket. Days like this when it is cold, rainy, damp and windy outside he spends his downtime in the little house cuddled up in comfort . I have to be out in the weather some today, so I take my comfort along. My Savior accompanies me everywhere and provides everything I need to be happy, and warm, inside and out. Maybe not always as warm on the outside as I might like(it gets down to 30 below zero up here at times)but I have a smile that provides a ray of sunshine for the inner me. That and the knowledge that I am loved. I think that is what makes Snickers life really good, he knows that he is loved, and we all need that. If you have a need to feel loved I can assure you that all you need do is ask. No matter the circumstances, God loves us unconditionally and wants for us to be happy and after all, is that not what love is all about? Have a wonderful day, and share some of it with a friend. In Christ's Love, Preacher.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

View From The Dashboard

Life Life is just easier on two wheels. I may have to wrench it, I may have to polish it, but it doesn't get any better than this. Laying on my back with my favorite piece of carpet beneath my head and talking on the phone to a buddy who knows more about how to fix what I'm working on than I have ever dreamed of knowing. That's why I called Crusader Richard, and while we were talking about the red, blue, and white wires I had time to look at the view from where I was right at that moment. Pretty cool, huh? It was for me! Then there came the other thoughts concerning the greater "family" that I share with folks all over this planet. The guys and gals who share my passion for being"In The Wind" and knowing the language of the road. I don't have first hand knowledge of this other than at the rally where I've met folks from all over the globe, but I'm working on it through the interesting venue of our "internet" connection. It would appear that no matter where one goes(even out here on the Great American Desert)there are people of faith who love to be "out there" on two wheels. The upside of that is that we get better gas mileage than 95% of the 4 wheeled type vehicles, and we get to meet lots of great people that share our passion for the ride. The adventure does not end there, though, when you place in the midst of experience our passion for sharing the Gospel message of a Savior coming to our personal space to free us from sin. That is a good thing! As we get closer to this year's celebration of the 31st of October, please know that not everyone gets off on goblins and ghosts. Some of us decorate with a thought in mind toward All Hallows Eve a venerated celebration of saints that have gone on to victory before us. A lot of my friends in the biker world share the faith of christianity and they do it in more ways than one might ever imagine. Children seem to be a theme that repeats across the length and breadth of America. If there is a kid in need the biker community stands foursquare in their backup. Then there are the multitude of ways in which we try to make lives better for little ones. We collect toys all year through for Christmas(even some of the really "bad dudes" go get toys for tots. Now what does that tell you about the people on two wheels? Then there are the events specifically aimed at raising money for such worthy causes as the "Make A Wish" Foundation. The list is actually endless, and this year we are gearing up for the greatest season ever for Harley Davidson and the world at large. Watch for the blessings as they come down by the Grace of God. In Christ's Love, Preacher.