Racehorses Are Made To Run. Turtles Are Made To Crawl.

horserac

What a difference a day can make.  Monday I was “up to my chin” working on an assignment that merited my full attention.  It proved to take a lot longer than I previously had imagined it would. What made it even more frustrating is that it was a holiday and a piece of who I am wanted to play.

I’m sure the General thought I’d procrastinated for months and the day had come to pay the fiddler.  I do have a way of maintaining that if it weren’t for the last minute, a lot of things would never get done.  However, Monday’s assignment landed in my lap over the weekend and prudent judgment dictated the need to carve out the time and invest the effort.

I almost wrote, “I was in over my head”, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really been in that circumstance.  Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.   I’m not saying, “I can do anything.”  Actually, what I’m saying is quite the contrary.   I’m saying, that I’m fairly cautionary in what I choose to take on.  If it’s out of my league, I’ve lived long enough to know that you’ve got to know “when to hold them, know when to fold them and know when to walk away”. I guess to make a long story short, “I’m not game for being in a losing battle”.

Actually, I wasn’t in a battle at all.  At the risk of your thinking I’m certifiably crazy, the investment of Monday’s effort would have held a very different and captivating dimension if there had been something I could have lost, had I not done my best.  Sadly, it was simply a long laborious task that took concentration, but there was no “winner-take-all” kind of celebration or sense of victory when the assignment was completed.

At any rate, under the concept of “take care of Don”, I took off work mid-afternoon on Tuesday and came home.  Consequently, I made my way to the sun-porch where the General had invested the majority of her day doing cross-stitch.  By the way, she liked the roses I brought to her.  I almost opted not to apologize for my behavior earlier in the day on the outside change that bringing it up again could get me sentenced to the gallows.  However, she graciously accepted my apology without any indication that I was still in trouble.  I then went to my office and thumbed through a book.  Fortunately for me, I was not sitting at my computer when the General came to check.  She had the brilliant idea, “Why don’t you read on the sun-porch?”   So for about two hours, that’s what I did on Tuesday.

There was no sense of hurry.  There was no looming deadline or sense that I had to complete anything.  It was simply a very relaxing, pleasant afternoon and evening.  I obviously should spend a lot more time on the sun-porch.  It was just the dose of medicine that I needed and I wasn’t even sick.

So, how do I process the contrast between the two days and make any kind of sense of it?  I had the thought, “All behavior has meaning.”  Isn’t it true that the choices we generally make have some relationship to getting our perceived needs met?   So why do I opt to go 90 mph most days and I’m perfectly content to tread water at other times?

Actually, the title of a chapter in the book I had been thumbing through came to mind as I contemplated the contrast.  The chapter was entitled, “Racehorses and Turtles”.  How’s that for an unlikely combination?  When you stop to think about it, there are a lot of ways to categorize people and they generally fall into one of two camps.  For example:

  • Some people think Wal-Mart has everything you need.  Other people think Wal-Mart has nothing you need and wouldn’t consider even going inside.
  • (2) For some folks the glass is always half-full.  They are generally positive and optimistic.  Other people always see the glass as half-empty and you can count on them to do their best to “suck the life out of you” whenever you share time.
  • Racehorses are made to run.  Turtles are made to crawl.

Obviously, racehorses thrive on high levels of stress.  Theirs is a vigorous, fast-paced life-style.  That approach definitely falls into the “winner-take-all category”.  Turtles on the other hand, are obviously happier in peaceful, quiet environments.  Isn’t it true that most folks generally fall into one or the other of the two categories?   If either type were required to function long-term in the other lifestyle, it would be untenable.

Perhaps, when it comes to Wal-Mart, the chances of balancing either opinion is outside the realm of possibility. You either shop at Wal-Mart or you don’t. You really can’t have it both ways.

From my perspective, I see absolutely no value in alternating between the to opinions concerning the glass of water. My vote will always be “half full”. That is beyond comprehensive for folks who see it differently. Perhaps, you really can’t have it both ways.

What about with the racehorse and the turtle? “Yes” “Yes”, sign me up. I can embrace small dozes of “turtle like behavior”. Actually, that could probably be described as therapeutic. But as George Jones used to sing, “The race is on”.

All My Best!

Don

Advertisements

Sometimes It’s The Little Things That Make A Difference

Chevron

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference.  I just spent the last hour grinding my teeth as I drove to work.  By the time I got from “there to here”, I already knew that I owed the General an apology.  I guess you could say, “I left the house in a huff.”  If there was a lack of civility on my part, it was subtle.  My bad mood didn’t have anything to do with her, but she’d probably say, “I stormed out the door”.  I’d prefer to think that, “I left the house with more grace than that.” Maybe it was only slightly more grace than that.

Who knows, “Maybe I got up on the wrong side of the bed?”  When I awakened the first time, I had the sensation of panic that I had overslept.  It was late (probably very late is a better description) when I went to bed. I looked at the clock.  It was 2:27 a.m.  Why was I awake?  That is never a good sign.  Insomnia is generally not an issue for me.  Trust me, my biggest hurdle is staying away.

I eventually quieted my racing mind by purposefully taking deep breaths and eventually drifted off back to sleep.  I slept until 5:00 a.m. when the alarm jolted me from my sleep.  Yesterday the General had suggested that we start using the shower in our master bathroom.  Actually, it wasn’t a suggestion. It was more of a mandate.  Did I mention that I don’t like being told what to do?

We had a new glass surround installed in our shower when we returned from vacation.  It reportedly, needed some time to bond, so we had been using a shower on the other side of the house.  I figured the longer we didn’t use the shower, the longer it would look brand new.  It was a good look.  Why mess it up with water?

I noticed that obviously “out of a spirit of helpfulness”, the General had already put my shaving kit back in our bathroom. Why not?  The die was cast.  It was time to use the new shower.  I turned the water on and walked to the closest to retrieve my towel from the towel rack.  When I returned, I took a double take.  I thought I had turned the shower on.  Was the water running?  I opened the door and confirmed that it was.  Stepping inside, I wished immediately that I had showered on the other side of the house.  For whatever reason there was no water pressure in the shower.

We haven’t yet painted our bathroom “rain” (the color the General has picked out for a spa-look), but if any rain was taking place it was a very gentle flow of water.  You know, we are living in the midst of a drought.  Maybe the shower was rationing water?     I managed to get the soap rinsed and thought to myself, “A lot of good it is to have a new glass surround if you don’t have any water.”

As I was getting dressed for work, the General appeared.  What was she doing up this time of the morning?  I had forgotten Barnabas, her dog, is getting his teeth cleaned this morning.  Poor dog; the last time they cleaned his teeth he came home with at least half of them missing.  I had the thought, “I hope he doesn’t have that same experience this time.”

By this time, the General had discovered the gentle flow of rain in the shower was a lot less than anticipated.  “What’s wrong with the water pressure?”, was her first question?   Before, I could explain that she probably needed to ask a plumber, she asked another question.  “Did you turn off the water outside when you filled the pond last night?”  She then hurriedly added, “I bet you let us run out of water”.  I thought the accusation was a little “over dramatic”.  Hopefully, I could have left the water on last night and it would not have negatively impacted our supply of water.

At any rate, I dutifully said, I’d go outside and look.  Returning to the house, I gathered my briefcase and computer to head out the door. She wanted to know if I had left the water on.  I said “No”.  She then asked if I had filled the pond with water like she asked me to do.  It didn’t serve my best interest, but like George Washington, “I could not tell a lie”.  I truthfully answered, “No”.  As I answered, “No”, I remembered what she said when she found me at the computer yesterday morning. It had something to do with “tomfoolery”. I didn’t take it to be particularly complimentary; probably because it wasn’t.

She said something about my inability to focus on anything other than my computer.  I responded, “You’re right.  I was on it about nine hours yesterday and it was all work.”  If she’d seen the smirk on my face as I exited toward the door, it wouldn’t have served me well.

At any rate, I’m ashamed of my behavior.  I owe her an apology.  The funny thing, my disposition had nothing to do with her.  She simply caught the brunt of my having had too little sleep predicated by too much work related time on the computer on “Labor Day”.  Sometimes you know why they call it a job.

That brings me full circle.  “Sometimes the little things make a difference.”  I noticed I was almost out of fuel as I neared work this morning.  The service station at the corner of IH35 and Hwy 79 had undergone a complete make-over.  It is now a Chevron station that features a very new look including new pumps.  The best part, regular gasoline was only $2.17 a gallon.

All My Best!

Don

Is Work A Privilege Or An Obligation? Could The Answer Be, “Both?”

Unknown-43

Mine was a simple Google inquiry earlier this morning related to Labor Day. In the process, I didn’t expect to find the tit-for-tat historic evidence of perceived police brutality followed by a labor demonstration and bombing in 1886. The violence took place at Haymarket Square in Chicago on Tuesday, May 4, 1886.

Reportedly, the labor demonstration began as a peaceful rally of striking workers hoping to limit the workday to an eight-hour day. It was also a show of disdain in reaction to the killing of several workers by police the previous day.

What started as a peaceful demonstration at Haymarket Square has been memorialized for more than a century as the “Haymarket massacre”. It proved not to be a peaceful demonstration. Perhaps in some respects “peaceful demonstration” is an oxymoron. The one in Chicago on May 4, 1886 left eleven people dead and scores of others wounded.

It was never determined who actually threw the homemade dynamite bomb at police as they attempted to disperse the public gathering. The bomb blast and ensuring gunfire culminated in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians. Scores of others were wounded.

The wheels of justice moved quickly. Seven defendants (one of whom may have built the bomb) received a death sentence. One other person received a fifteen-year prison sentence. Illinois Governor Richard Oglesby subsequently commuted the death sentence of two to life sentences. Another sentenced to death opted for suicide in jail rather than face the gallows. The other four were hanged on November 11, 1887.

Today labor conditions are governed by a myriad of legislation designed to promote safety, equity and fairness for workers. Yet, one of the major stress factors that many experience relates to their work. In his book “Cure For The Common Life”, Max Lucado makes the observation that, “One-third of Americans say, ‘I hate my job’. Two thirds of your fellow citizens labor in the wrong career track. Others find employment success, but no satisfaction. Most suicides occur on Sunday nights. Most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings”.

My question for you this morning is simply this, “Is work a blessing or a curse?” On Friday I noticed a man standing on the street corner holding a sign. It read, “Anything helps”. I would anticipate that he’d fall on the side of saying, “blessing”. Yet, not everyone agrees.

Bob Black wrote an essay in 1985 entitled “The Abolition of Work”. The essay begins, “No one should ever work. Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.”

I am of the mindset that work is both a privilege and an obligation. The origin of work is described in detail in the book of Genesis. Interestingly God is the primary player. For six consecutive days God was busy with the creation of the world. On the seventh day He rested.

In the process, He reflected on the outcome of his labor. He called it “very good”. Isn’t there something intrinsically rewarding about looking at the investment of our labor and finding it purposeful and productive?   One writer expresses it this way, “God examined and assessed the quality of His work, and when He determined that He had done a good job, he took pleasure in the outcome. By this example, it is apparent that work should be productive. Work should be conducted in a way that produces the highest quality outcome. The reward for work is honor and satisfaction that comes from a job well done”.

Have you ever stopped to wonder, “What God does all day?” Following creation, God did not go into retirement. The psalmist is quite clear that God continues to support His creation. He describes him as a God who “does not slumber or sleep”. In Psalm 104, he states:

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;…

From your lofty abode you water the mountains;

The earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,

And plants for people to use…

O Lord, how manifold are your works!”

Psalm 104

We, too, have a purpose. We are most like God when we use the God given interests, abilities and skills we’ve been provided in some type of meaningful productivity. Didn’t Jesus echo that principal when he talked about bad trees producing bad fruit and good trees producing good fruit?

Work is both a privilege and an obligation.

All My Best!

Don

Could Unworthy Human Beings Be On A Mission From God?

Unknown-42

John Ortberg makes an interesting observation in one of his books. He says this: “Here is the story of your life: ‘You are on a mission from God.’ Interestingly, he predicated his observation by referring to the movie, “The Blues Brothers.”

The Blues Brothers is a movie that was released 35 years ago. You may have used discretionary judgment and opted not to see it. I have never been a big fan of Saturday Night Live. Consequently, I opted not to see the movie. However, it was billed as a comedy. That usually gets my attention. Laughter is good for the soul.

According to the storyline, following his release from prison after serving three years for armed robbery, Jake Blues (John Belushi) reunites with his brother, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd). As you might suspect, they are known as the “Blues Brothers”. Immediately after being released from prison, Jake learns that the orphanage where he and Elwood grew up is on the threshold of closing. Unless $5,000 to pay the back taxes can be raised in the next week and a half, the operation will have no alternative but to close.

The two brothers believe the key to being able to keep the orphanage operational rests in their ability to reunite their old band and start making money. However, in the process of playing several gigs they make a few enemies including the police. Despite the opposition, they are steadfast in their determination to “save the day”, so to speak.

Ortberg expressed it this way: “Any time they were asked about their work, they had a standard response: ‘We’re on a mission from God’. They always said it like they believed it was true. Of course, the very idea that two inept, unworthy human beings could be on a mission form God was the primary joke of the story”. Yet, could it be true? Could unworthy human beings be on a mission from God? Could it be true of you? Could it be true of me?

I’d be the first to admit that anytime I can invest efforts at contributing to quality of life issues for others, it is absolutely true of me. I hang on to the concept of grace to keep me going. I wish I were more consistent at getting it right, but broken is the only way I come. I would be a hopeless case apart from the concept of unconditional love.

The ability to see others with compassion and a desire to ease their burden in anyway possible is a privilege. Fortunately, God doesn’t mandate perfection in order to permit us opportunities to participate in the process. He is very skilled at smoothing out the rough spots and capturing the higher, less selfish moments of our lives.

Dr. M. Scott Peck shares an interesting story in his book, “The Different Drum”.  He shares the story about a monastery that had fallen upon hard times. It was once a great order, but it was on the verge of extinction. There were only five monks left and they were all over the age of 70. The likelihood of the monastery’s continuation was time limited.

In the deep woods surrounding the monastery there was a little hut that a rabbi occasionally used when he wanted to get away and simply live in isolation. It occurred to the monks that there was an outside chance that the rabbi might have an idea or wisdom to share that could help them. Maybe he would have some advice to save to save the monastery.

So the abbot went for an unannounced visit. “The rabbi welcomed the abbot to his hut. But when the abbot explained his visit, all the rabbi could say is, ‘I know how it is’. ‘The spirit has gone out of the people. It is the same in my town. Almost no one comes to the synagogue anymore’.

So the old abbot and the old rabbi wept together. Then they read parts of the Torah and spoke of deep things. When the abbot had to leave, they embraced each other. ‘It has been a wonderful that we should meet after all these years,’ the abbot said, ‘but I have failed in my purpose for coming here. Is there nothing you can tell me that would help me save my dying order?’  ‘No, I am sorry,’ the rabbi responded. I have no advice to give. But, I can tell you that the Messiah is one of you.’

When the abbot returned to the monastery his fellow monks gathered around him to ask, ‘Well what did the rabbi say?’ The rabbi said something very mysterious, it was something cryptic. He said that the Messiah is one of us. I don’t know what he meant?

In the time that followed, the old monks wondered whether there was any significance to the rabbi’s words. The Messiah is one of us? Could he possibly have meant one of us monks? If so, which one?

  • Do you suppose he meant the abbot? Yes, if he meant anyone, he probably meant Father Abbot. He has been our leader for more than a generation.
  • On the other hand, he might have meant Brother Thomas. Certainly Brother Thomas is a holy man. Everyone knows that Thomas is a man of light.
  • Certainly he could not have meant Brother Elred! Elred gets crotchety at times. But come to think of it, even though he is a thorn in people’s sides, when you look back on it, Elred is virtually always right. Often very right.  Maybe the rabbi did mean Brother Elred.
  • But surely not Brother Phillip. Phillip is so passive, a real nobody. But then, almost mysteriously, he has a gift for always being there when you need him. He just magically appears. Maybe Phillip is the Messiah.
  • Of course the rabbi didn’t mean me. He couldn’t possibly have meant me. I’m just an ordinary person. Yet supposing he did? Suppose I am the Messiah? O God, not me. I couldn’t be that much for You, could I?

As they contemplated, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the chance that one among them might be the Messiah. And they began to treat themselves with extraordinary respect.

People still occasionally came to visit the monastery in its beautiful forest to picnic on its tiny lawn, to wander along some of its paths, even to meditate in the dilapidated chapel. As they did so, they sensed the aura of extraordinary respect that began to surround the five old monks and seemed to radiate out from them and permeate the atmosphere of the place. There was something strangely compelling, about it.

Hardly knowing why, they began to come back to the monastery to picnic, to play, to pray. They brought their friends to this special place. And their friends brought their friends.

Then some of the younger men who came to visit the monastery started to talk more and more with the old monks. After a while one asked if he could join them. Then another, and another. So within a few years the monastery had once again become a thriving order and a place of God given vibrancy and worth.

Does God use people to do his work? “Of course”, is the best answer I know. He doesn’t look for perfect people. Broken is the only way we come, but a heart of compassion goes a long way in meeting others at the point of need.

All My Best!

Don

Memories Too Precious To Forget

IMG_1143

The embroidery from a dresser scarf from long ago took me back in time. The General and I mostly put our sunroom back together after work yesterday. Perhaps we have a propensity for filling a room with too much stuff. For the past three weeks, the contents of that room have been stored on one side (the side for my truck) of our garage while we awaited installation of the flooring in the sunroom.

Yesterday while I was at work, the General obviously worked like a Trojan. Not only did she vacuum and mop the new floor, she also started the tedious and laborious task of cleaning the grout in the tile floor. That sounds like a simple process until you realize that our home is all hard surface flooring. That mean we have lots of tile.

Of course, there are professional cleaners who use a steam-cleaning device and make the laborious task look like an easy process. They also charge and arm and a leg to get the benefit they provide. Despite the cost, it was my recommendation that we outsource the project to the folks who have the right equipment. That is code for: “Don’t ask me to help. I’m not doing it”. Seriously, my body is not agile enough to crawl around on my hands and knees and scrub the floor with a toothbrush or whatever other “special” equipment you can scarf off the shelf at Home Depot to make an impossible task seem possible.

This is the second time in the past thirteen years that the General has taken it upon herself to tackle the task. She started in the laundry room that spills over into my small home office. Did her labor make a difference? I noticed immediately that it looked like Mr. Clean had waved his magic wand in the laundry room and in my office. In addition, the General said that the process was surprisingly easy. Last time she purchased a commercial product to do the job. As is often the case, the ease at which the product worked fell significantly short of the product description on the label. This time she did it differently.

I’m not the only Google guru in the house. The General is pretty adept at finding almost anything. For example, several years ago when she awakened in the middle of the night in extreme pain, she used the assistance of Google to ascertain that she was either having a gallbladder attack or a heart attack. She opted to believe it was the gallbladder. By the time she awakened me, my only responsibility was to hurriedly get dressed and drive her to the emergency room. Of course, my confidence in her medical prowess isn’t nearly as high as hers. Before we made it to the emergency room, I was wishing we had called an ambulance. Initially, the folks in the emergency room thought heart attack rather than gallbladder. In other words, we didn’t have to wait in the waiting room. She got their full attention immediately. The General’s medical self-assessment had been correct. It was her gallbladder.

At any rate, her newly found formula for cleaning grout came from the Internet. It was a simple process. Step One: Cover the grout with baking soda. Step Two: Spray the baking soda with vinegar. Step Three: Wait a brief period of time and then scrub the grout with a brush. Step Four: Dry and clean away the residue and move to the next section of grout. She said the process was relatively easy and far more effective than the commercial cleaner she used the last time.

At any rate, I headed immediately to the sun porch early this morning to pick-up where we left off last night. There were still a lot of things to retrieve from the garage and straighten. The dresser scarf with embroidery had been the handiwork of my mother. It had been on the dresser in the room Ronnie and I shared as a kid.

In the early morning hours, as I placed the scarf on the flat surface of the roll top desk, my mind wandered back in time. Ronnie, Larry and I were loved and nurtured as children. That has never been a topic for debate. Actually, I’ve mostly taken that reality for granted.

Two men stopped by my office yesterday. One of the men had been in placement at the children’s home where I work. He couldn’t remember exactly the year that he came, but he graduated from high school in 1968. From his recollection, he thought he was in care for six to eight years. He couldn’t really remember the time frame. He was hopeful that I could assist him in finding something from his record that he could share with his children to substantiate his past.

I visited with the men in my office for about thirty to forty-five minutes. During that period of time the former alumni shared stories about his time at the children’s home. He was a resident in cottage #7. When he shared the timeframe of his placement, I realized that I had visited the children’s home over a weekend during the time he was in care. In fact, I had stayed in the cottage were he resided. I was part of a youth group from Belmont Baptist Church in Abilene that came to the campus to participate in a weekend revival.

I offered to take the men on a tour of the campus. As we walked past the chapel, the man who had been in care asked if we could go inside. He said, “I have so many positive memories of time shared in that place. I’d like to walk through it one more time.”

I had to locate a key, but gaining entry to the chapel was a must. Once inside, the man was like a kid in a candy store. His teary eyes were wide with memories from long ago. The man accompanying him, a next-door neighbor, asked if he had a favorite song? He answered, “Amazing Grace”. The neighbor sat down at the grand piano and played and sang the song. I watched the reaction of the man for whom the chapel held so many memories. He was lost in thought.

As I drove them around the campus to show them the property, the man who had been in care mentioned the horrific abuse he had experienced as a child from his mother. He said the love and care he experienced at the children’s home was a welcomed contrast. As the two men were leaving, both thanked me for the tour. The former resident said again, “If you can find anything that I can actually touch and see to substantiate that I was here, it would mean so much.”

Perhaps it was with that thought that the embroidery from a dresser scarf that I held in my hand jogged my memory of a mother’s love and a childhood of nurture and love that I should never take it for granted. I am both grateful and teary eyed with the thought.

All My Best!

Don

Don’t Move, Improve

So have we overdone it?  Have we watched so many episodes of HGTV that the General has gone off the deep end?  Who knows?  Perhaps she has been privately viewing re-runs of “Don’t Move, Improve” on British television.  The theme of the series is to help homeowners realize their dream property might be closer than they imagine.  They may actually be living in it.

I’ve always heard that if you don’t update your home at least every ten years, you find yourself living in a house that’s dated.  If you’ve ever lived with shag green carpet and you still have it in your home, then you know what I’m talking about.  Your house is dated!  The same could be said about harvest gold or avocado colored appliances.  If you still have a refrigerator that color, you’ve definitely gotten you money’s worth.

The General is ready for a change.  You’re probably thinking a change in husband’s is long overdue.  Actually, I’m off the hook for now.  She is ready to change the color inside the house.  Reportedly, she wants the master bathroom to have a spa-like feel.  From my perspective, there is a fairly easily inexpensive solution.  Buy new towels!

The week before we left for Florida, we had a new glass surround installed in our bathroom shower.  Actually, that’s not totally true.  The folks installing the surround discovered they made a mistake on one piece of the glass.  The surround is a fameless glass enclosure.  At any rate, ever who cut the glass drilled a hole on the side opposite where the hole needed to have been drilled.  Consequently, the glass had to be replaced before they could complete the job.

The glass company was scheduled to be back on-site the day after we returned from Florida.  At noon that day, I received a text message from the General.  The message had nothing to do with the glass surround, but I initially thought it was a joke.  The General wrote: “I went out to clean up after the goats.  I obviously got carried away and three hours later I have filled eight trash bags of stuff I trimmed!  Your job is to haul them out of the yard.”   Did I mention the General doesn’t do yard work?  In addition, she doesn’t like being outside.  This had to be a joke, or was it?

It is true that the goats currently grazing on our place figured out a way to open the front yard gate.  That adds a whole new concept to “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”  “Hatchet job” is the best phrase I know to describe the aesthetic value of their prowess.  In addition, they devoured more than grass.  They obviously filled their stomachs with English Ivy and then had a hefty helping of rosemary for desert.

Of course when the General saw the condition of the rosemary, she said, “It needs to be cut down. It won’t grow back.”  She knew me well enough to know that I disagreed with her assessment.  Of course, it would grow back.  If you really want to know why the General opted to invest three hours of her day working outside in the yard, her motivating is easy to determine.  She either wanted to be extremely helpful or she wanted it done her way.  Perhaps the best answer is both.

So how much difference does color make?  The General wants our bathroom to have the “feel of a spa”.  We have a new glass surround.  Bingo!  She now has what she wanted.  “Yes?”, “No?” The answer is “Not quite yet.”  The bathroom has to be repainted.  She has selected a color called “rain.”  For inquiring mind that really want to know, the color is really light blue.  She also selected a color for our bedroom.  How does “moody blue” sound?  If left to me, I’d opt for “upbeat and always positive blue”, but I didn’t find anything with that name when I looked at the color chart.

At any rate, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been calling an independent contractor to get an estimate for having the house painted. Did I mention, when the General is ready for new paint, she is ready for new paint.  Historically, I’ve always painted the interior of our homes.  In fact I’ve repainted several room in our current home.  Our bedroom has a cathedral ceiling.  I don’t have a ladder that is going to enable me to reach about 22’.  This job is out of my league.  I’m not doing it!

The General has a simple solution. We can rent scaffolding and do it ourselves.  Are you kidding me?  I’m not hauling scaffolding into our home.  It sounds like the formula for falling on your head.  I’ve always maintained that she wanted my death to be accidental and work related.  Somehow, the risk of falling on my head while painting our bedroom doesn’t seem congruent with anything remotely okay with me.

I’ve been texting back and forth with the painter.  I assured him that he needs to hurry.  Time waits for now man and the General is ready to move on to that spa like experience.

Yesterday folks installed a wooden floor on our sun porch (actually, it looks like wood – it is a product that isn’t adverse to water).  We obviously are in the midst of “Don’t move, improve.”

All My Best!

Don

Dripping Springs – A Destination of Choice Requiring More Than A Pocket Full Of Change

Unknown-41

Yesterday I was a little disappointed. The man I had talked to at Central Garage in Dripping Springs on Tuesday had asked for my business card. I didn’t have one with me, so I did the next best thing. I gave him my work email address. He had suggested that we might meet for coffee to talk. He expressed interest in my work and indicated an active interest in serving as a volunteer. I checked my email toward the end of the day on Wednesday. There was no message from him.

It may be projection on my part, but I suspect if I don’t hear from him in the next couple of days, I probably won’t. You know what they say about good intentions. If you don’t strike while the iron is hot, you probably won’t strike at all. Selfishly, I found that disappointing because I wanted to hear more of his story. At the same time, I know what it’s like to have good intentions. Too often they evaporate when pressing demands crowd good intentions from your thoughts.

The man had voluntarily started sharing details surrounding his move from Long Beach, California to Dripping Springs, but was interrupted by the announcement that his car was ready. Consequently, he hurriedly provided what I considered to be an abbreviated version of some of the details he initially set out to provide. At least, that was my take. Because of the constraints of time, I didn’t get to ask half a dozen more questions that instantly came to mind.

There are some people you meet and intuitively you like. In addition, I also liked the man’s son and daughter. They were neatly dressed and well mannered. They also had the ability to engage in conversation. They probably were preschoolers, but I had the thought that if they weren’t, they were probably home-schooled. They seemed really bright, focused and engaging.

Historically, I’ve thought folks who opt to home school were doing their children a disservice. A family that previously attended church where I do dramatically changed my perception of that educational venue. They were extremely bright, engaging, sociable and values driven. There was something about the man I’d just met and his two children that reminded me of that family. They, too, had moved from California to Dripping Springs. They stayed in the area four or five years and now live in Florida. I still periodically hear from them via Facebook.

Yesterday another friend on Facebook expressed concern that Dripping Springs is becoming a destination of choice for folks from California. He sounded like one of the locals. You could hear it in his question, “What are we going to do for water?” I got the sense that he thought we’d reached our peak (perhaps comfort level is a better description). The thing I found funny is that the man expressing concern moved here from California. I guess he thought he got here in the nick of time and now we should be a closed community to others wanting to live on the edge of heaven.

Getting back to the man who hasn’t contacted me, I hope to reconnect simply because I want to know more about his family’s story. Seriously, how does someone from another state who, by his own admission, can live and work anywhere wind up in Dripping Springs? Frankly, I think the man’s family made an excellent choice, but did they like Abraham and Sarah, simply head out not knowing and rely on God’s leadership? Did they blindfold themselves and throw a dart at a map? Did my friend who thinks we need to shut the gate and keep newcomers away leave a trail of bread crumbs when he and his family moved from California?

Seriously, at some level it seems like the “California Gold Rush” in reverse. On January 24, 1848, James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. I guess you could say that following his discovery, good news traveled fast. In the next seven years, 300,000 people from the rest of the United States and abroad moved to California.

“The gold seekers, called ‘forty-niners’ (as a reference to 1849), traveled by sailing ship and covered wagon and often faced substantial hardships on the trip”. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, there was a substantial number who were not. San Francisco had been a tiny settlement before the gold rush began. In a two-year period the population exploded from around 1,000 people to over 25,000 people.

It is interesting that a century and a half later folks are discovering that what at face value seemed like gold, is no longer golden. I think it’s true, the rush is on and folks are heading to Dripping Springs! Over the past six months, I shake my head whenever I drive any direction from Dripping Springs. It seems like almost on a weekly basis there is evidence of a new subdivision under construction. I can only imagine!

Mostly, what I imagine is an unbelievable traffic jam getting through Dripping Springs. Spell it out anyway you want, but all roads ultimately lead to Hwy 290 or Ranch Road 12. Throw in a 2,000-acre housing development and a 1,600 acre housing development on RR 12 and let the fun begin. It may add a whole dimension to road rage. Did I mention there are several other housing developments going in off of RR 12 as well? Don’t even get me started on Hwy 290. The rush is on! Some people call it progress. Others call it unfortunate. Regardless of your take, Dripping Springs is in the midst of change.

One of the biggest changes is the price of real estate. It really is a gold rush of sorts. Perhaps reverse gold rush is a better description. Folks obviously are heading our direction to embrace quality of life issues. Dripping Springs has much to offer! In the next couple of years, it will have a lot more to offer. We are a community in the midst of an overhaul. Tomorrow will not look like yesterday.

It really is a reverse gold rush. One of the discoveries that people are making is that you need more than a pocket full of change to call Dripping Springs home. I read somewhere recently that the average price of real estate in Dripping Springs is upward of half a million dollars. Treva and I’ve recently looked at some open houses. Actually, we’ve looked at several located on postage stamp size lots. The rumor is true. If you want granite counters, hard surface flooring, lots of windows and an open space, it’s going to cost you. It is going to cost you a lot.

I’m grateful I already live here. If I were in my thirties and just starting out, I doubt that I’d have the resources to call Henly (the edge of heaven side of Dripping Springs) home.

All My Best!

Don