Archive for September, 2012

“OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW”

September 19, 2012

We’ve lived in the same house for the last thirty-two years.  We live on a rural route and have a mail box that came with the house.  It wasn’t very attractive when we moved in and it hasn’t improved over the years.  I did replace the post shortly after we occupied the house.  Pam has spent much time and effort making a home of our house and has done a wonderful job.  She takes care of the inside and that leaves the outside pretty much to me.  In regards to the old mail box, I haven’t done a real good job.  It became an eyesore and we have talked about replacing it for years.  We have looked at new mail boxes for the last few years and just put off replacing it.  A few weeks ago, I had to do a little repair work on it, so Pam and I went to Lowe’s and bought a new one and a new post.

This is the old mail box leaning on the wall of my shop building.  It’s really bad, isn’t it?

We get a lot of mail each day and some of it is real mail.  Just like everyone else, we get a load of catalogues and junk mail.  Our new mail box is much larger and will cope with all the junk that arrives by the mail carrier.  We also needed to replace our rural route box number with the new 911 number.  Instead of being on a route, we are now on a county road.

Lyndsey came home to visit a couple of weeks ago, and while she was here I replaced the  old mail box.

After installing the new box I wondered why I waited so long.

We still get the same amount of mail, catalogues, and junk mail, but it is not crammed so tightly in the box.  This makes it much easier to remove the mail and the new box looks so much better.

*****

I realized this morning that God provided us with a mail box when He created us.  It’s our heart.  During our life we receive a lot of junk mail in our mail box that influences the way we live and the relationships we have.  When we ask God to give us a new Spiritual mail box, we experience “OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW.”  This is the mail box that receives no junk mail from God.  It is a special place in our heart that God sends his message to us.  We receive forgiveness as well as daily guidance for all things we encounter in life’s path.  It is up to us to check this Spiritual mail box often.  Mail arrives in this box more than once each day and it is necessary to open the mail when it arrives.  We will never be able to read and understand the mail unless we open the envelope.  I am happy to have a new mail box for regular mail, but I am truly blessed to have been given a Spiritual mail box to depend on for all my needs.

God does not prepare the path of life for us to follow.  He prepares us for the path that we will travel.

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“PARK BENCH REHAB”

September 18, 2012

I am somewhat of a pack rat.  I save things because I have the idea that I will need them later.  There are things I save that become entirely different from their original use.  Sometimes they are used again for the same purpose.  Other times they take on a different form and/or use.  But, to be honest, I have to take inventory of my hoarding and make a trip to the trash dump.  The great thing about reducing inventory is that I can start collecting again.

We replaced a park bench a few years ago.  It had been exposed to all kinds of weather for years and as a result the slats became rotten.  I just knew I could find a good use for the metal frame.  Well, a few weeks ago, Pam decided she would like to have a sitting area by my shop and thought the park bench could be repaired if we could find new slats.

One thing I save is all sizes and kinds of lumber.  I told her I probably had the material to make the replacement slats.  A friend of mine had given me some cedar lumber and I thought I could use that for my rehab project.

This came out better than I could even imagine.  One more coat of finish and reinstalling the metal braces and we will probably move it to the front flower garden area.  It looks much better than its replacement.  The cedar also matches the post for the new mail box we just purchased.  The old mail box looked about as bad as the old park bench.

As soon as I am finished with the bracing on the park bench, I will be able to start of one of the new projects I have waiting.  I am building a shelf for a friend.  It will have a place to display her son’s baseball bats and will be shaped like “home plate.”  In my mind, it really looks great.  Let’s hope it comes out  that way.

Pam has spent a lot of time and effort in our old hot tub room.  It has been converted to a sunroom and really looks great.  She starts her day (early before her walk) in this room.  It’s her “quiet time” room.  Well, she found a new (old) table for the lamp Lyndsey gave her.  She wants the table refinished, so that’s on my project list.

Lyndsey sent me a picture of a bedside table she wants, so that is also on my list.  I am in the plan drawing stage of this project.  It will be custom-made for the height of her sleigh bed and will include four drawers and a pullout panel.  It’s a  little more complicated than Pam’s refinishing job.  The sides and drawers will have raised panels, so my habit of measuring twice and cutting once is really important.

*****

I usually try to find a lesson in all things.  I thought about this old park bench and the shape it was in from years and years of exposure to the weather.  It was really in need of some rehab.  It occurred to me that we all need to have some rehab because year after year we are exposed to the things of this world.  The park bench became rotten from weather and unless we have continued Spiritual rehab, we become rotten also.  I had waited too long for maintenance on the park bench, so it took major rehab to bring renewal.  If we continue to seek Spiritual  maintenance for ourselves, it will keep us from needing major Spiritual renewal.  It is also a lot less painful.

“THYME TOGETHER”

September 11, 2012

A few years ago, Pam and a group of ladies formed a gourmet cooking group.  After pondering many names for the group, the one chosen was ‘THYME TOGETHER.”  Their goal was to gather monthly and share gourmet recipes.  I believe the first meeting was at our house.  The meetings rotate each month and each lady has the privilege of hosting the group.

I am not talking about a meal of hot dogs and chips, etc.  That is not even close.  Once each year the husbands get the opportunity to share one of their meals.  So, I am not guessing when I say the meals exceed 5-Star quality.  Any 5-Star restaurant would be proud to have these ladies in their kitchen.

Not only do they share some very fine food…they also do some fine visiting.  I usually lock myself up in the far end of the  house and give them free range.  I even try not to eavesdrop on their conversations.  I’m not sure if it was the first meeting or not, but it was one of the earlier meetings.  They were all sitting around the dining table when we lost the electricity due to stormy weather.  We have a propane storm light on the wall in the dining area.  I came from the back of the house to shed some light on their party.  I lit the propane light and all was well.  I was really amused because there was not panic.  I’m not sure they knew the lights were out. Their conversations continued in the dark until I lit the storm light.  I always kid the women because their was never a lull in their conversation.  They were able to talk just fine with or without lights.

Last night Pam was the hostess.  This means she was in charge of the meal planning and all the members share in cooking the meal.  The smell of the house is wonderful.  It’s very hard to eat warmed left-over pizza in the sun room while I smell the aroma of their meal.  Of course, they always provide enough dessert for me to share with them.

Pam has spent many years making our house a home.  Because of her we have a “homey” home.  Each time we have visitors, I can see they feel right at home within our walls.  For the “THYME TOGETHER” meetings, Pam’s decorating skills are something to behold.  Not only would a 5-Star restaurant welcome her to their kitchen, they would benefit from her decorating talent in the dining area.  I am unable to describe the beauty of the table and dining area…you will have to take my word for it.

Last night I spent a couple of hours working on Pam’s computer.  She was having problems connecting her wireless printer to the router.  I spent my evening on a chat sessions with the printer support person.  We finally got it fixed.  Many times during their meeting I spend the time in my shop.  At present I am in the middle of replacing the slats in a park bench.  If I had spent two hours in the shop instead of on the computer problem, I could have finished the park bench project.  I am not complaining.  I enjoy doing both.  The good part is I still have a project to work on.  In truth, I still have three projects to complete.

*****

God desires that we spend TIME TOGETHER with Him, and that should also be our desire.  When times are bad, He is always there.  When times are good, He is always there.  That is what spending TIME TOGETHER with God is all about.  He really wants to be a part of every small part of our daily lives.

“LOVEBUGS”

September 5, 2012

The lovebug, Plecia nearctica, is a member of the family of march flies. It is also known as the honeymoon fly, kissingbug, or double-headed bug. The adult is a small, flying insect common to parts of Central America and the southeastern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast.   During and after mating, adult pairs remain coupled, even in flight, for up to several days.

File:Lovebug Plecia nearctica.jpg

File:Lovebugs.jpg

Localized lovebug flights can number in the hundreds of thousands. The slow, drifting movement of the insects is almost reminiscent of snow fall except that the flies also rise in the air. Two major flights occur each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer.  Mating takes place almost immediately after emergence of the females. Adult females live only three to four days, while males live a little longer.

Localized lovebug flights can number in the hundreds of thousands. The slow, drifting movement of the insects is almost reminiscent of snow fall except that the flies also rise in the air. Two major flights occur each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer.  Flights extend over periods of four to five weeks.  Mating takes place almost immediately after emergence of the females. Adult females live only three to four days, while males live a little longer.

Immature lovebugs larvae feed on partially decayed vegetation in the landscape and, in this respect, are beneficial. Adults feed only on nectar during this brief life stage.

While lovebugs are not a favored food of most insectivores due to their acidic taste, lovebug larvae—and some adults—are food for birds such as quail and robins. Arthropod predators include spiders, some predatory insects such as earwigs, at least two species of beetle larvae, and centipedes.

I have never found a good use for lovebugs, but if quail like them, I guess they have some use after all.  I love to hunt quail in South Texas, but I still don’t care for lovebugs.  My first experience with lovebugs was in Port Arthur.  They were also called telephone bugs because people on the Gulf Coast said they said “hello” and “hung up.”

Here in East Texas we experience the lovebug season twice each year when hundreds of thousands suddenly appear on the highways and commit suicide on our automobiles.  Sometime they are so thick they make it almost impossible to see through the windshield after their collision.  The front of our vehicles will get covered and if not removed by the next day the acid will damage the paint.  When they have been baked on by the sun and heat, they are very difficult to remove.  You don’t just collide with one lovebug…you hit them in pairs. You can buy bug removal products, but it still takes “elbow grease” to remove them.

When I am mowing the grass, I have learned to keep my mouth closed…they taste really, really, bad.  They also will get between my eyes and my glasses.

On one of our trips to Austin during the Longhorn baseball season, I went to the car wash near our hotel and the attendant asked if I had been in East Texas.  I don’t think Austin experiences the inconvenience of lovebugs and wondered how  he knew about them.  I told him I was from Jasper and found out he was the nephew of my attorney.  Small world.

I hate lovebugs and don’t look forward to their appearance each year, but I just make the best of it.  The cost of a car wash is a small price to pay to watch Longhorn baseball each spring.  My reasoning is that my Escalade needed washing anyway…and it usually does.

If you have never experienced these pests, I don’t recommend making the trip just to see them first hand.  Take my word for it and experience life without lovebugs.

*****

There are many things I don’t understand in life.  I don’t understand all  the ways of God.  He allows the difficulties in life as well as the good things.  There is one thing I do understand.  God is in charge of all things.  If we love Him, all things work for our benefit.  I am sure lovebugs teach me some lesson…maybe it’s patience.  Maybe He is only saying, “it’s time for a car wash.”  Maybe He wants me to take care of all He has provided for me and continues to do so.  All I really know is that I am truly blessed.