Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This is the scene that greeted us on Sunday morning.  It was fascinating to see the water bubbling up and filling the ditch in front of our home.  I had never seen water gushing out of the street.  We called and soon the city superintendent and the city water supervisor showed up.  They told me that a water main had broken.  One of the things that led to its demise was how dry the ground was - there was a lot more flex to it.  When we got home from church they had dug it up and repaired the breach.

I told them that watching the water gush had reminded me of Jed Clampett whose errant shot at a rabbit had made him a wealthy man.  But, this was not Texas Tea or Black Gold.  But, it was something very valuable.  Water - clear, cool, drinkable, life-giving water.

I do not give much thought to the fact that for me to get water from my kitchen sink requires a whole system to function properly and efficiently.  There are pipes and pressures and people that keep everything in working order.  It would be hard to be without it - just ask some of the people who live along the northern portion of the eastern seaboard.  Being thankful means noticing and recognizing that every good and perfect gift comes from above and this includes water.  I am seeking to cultivate a heart of gratitude.  So, thank the Lord for the supply of water and the people who keep it flowing and the pipes that bring it to my house.    

Friday, November 2, 2012

Promises, Promises

A little over a month ago, we had an amazingly vivid rainbow appear over Gibson City.  The photo does not do it justice.  Rainbows remind us of promises - in particular God's promise to not destroy the world again by flood - although the poor folks on the East coast may be wondering about this.  

I have been thinking about promises.  Currently, I am reading Living Into Community which is written by Christine Pohl.  I recommend the book.  It is about cultivating practices that are sustaining to us.  One of those practices she addresses is promise keeping.  Negatively she says: "When we break promises, we also betray relationships and erode community. Small betrayals often do a surprising amount of damage.  They involve other broken practices - deception instead of speaking the truth, absence instead of welcome, grumbling and envy instead of gratitude".   Ouch.  Promise keeping can be complex.  But, in most of our worlds, we need to make the call we promised to make, stay faithful to the mate we promised to stay faithful to, pray for the person we promised to pray for, and honor the Lord we vowed to honor.  

The book has been a wonderful reminder for me.  And, it makes me eternally grateful that God keeps His promises.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Brother Tim with daughter Lydia and her husband Tyler
Recently, we were blessed to have family visit.  My brother came up from Louisiana so he could go to my son's football game and we could catch up on all that is going on in each of our lives.  We spent a day hiking at Starved Rock and an evening at my daughter's home enjoying a nice meal together.  It was a great visit. 

The weekend after my brother came, my wife's parents came.  It is an 8 hour trip for them and I really appreciate them making the drive over.  We went to another football game and back to Lydia's again for supper.  It was an additional blessing to have my oldest son and his wife join us.  

I am thrilled when everyone can be together.  There is a lot of laughter and it usually involves some great food.  These visits are treasures not to be taken for granted.  Family is something that you value more the older you get.  They are a gift from the Lord.  

I am grateful for my "physical" family and I am grateful for my "spiritual" family - my brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is also good when we get together.  Like all families, we have our moments.  Ultimately, we are bound together in Christ.  This morning I read in the book of 1 Peter Sympathize with each other.  Love each other as brothers and sisters.  Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.  May it be so.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gifts - A Ride in the Past

Thomas a Kempis: "Be thankful for the smallest blessing . . . Value the least gifts no less than the greatest, and the simple graces as especial favors.  If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem small or mean, for nothing can be valueless that is given by the most high God."

I am a blessed man.  Two weeks ago Eric J offered me the opportunity to take a ride with him in a Ford Tri-Motor.  This particular airplane is 83 years old and is owned and operated by the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.  They did an amazing job in restoring it.  The Tri-Motor was built as a passenger plane.  Later, it proved to be a reliable cargo plane.  Some were used as forest fire fighters.  About 200 were made.

The plane is noisy but comfortable.  I loved the sound of the three reciprocating engines.  We took off from the Bloomington airport and trundled over the city.  It was not hard to image that we were back during the "golden age" of flying.  Ten people could be seated in the airplane at once - not including the pilot and co-pilot.  There was no in-flight entertainment or service!  The flight lasted about 20 minutes.

This is the second vintage airplane I have flown in and both times it was through the kindness and generosity of others.  I was thrilled with the flights. I am humbled by the kindness of the Gifts.  Thanks, Eric, for an amazing afternoon.  Remember - you can click on the pics for a larger version.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


We like trucks.  In particular, we like these two trucks.  Typically, they would be considered "enemies".  A Ford and Chevy - not usually seen together.  One is mine (Chevy) and one is Aaron's (my 16 year old son)  (Ford).  They both come with a lot of baggage - good baggage.  Mine was bought new by my father, was the vehicle I learned to drive in, was owned by my brother, and now resides at my house.  It is a tangible link to a different time in my life and to someone I dearly loved but can no longer visit.  I may drive it, but it is still - in many ways - my dad's.  The Ford belonged to my daughter-in-law's grandfather.  We bought it from her grandmother after her grandfather had passed away.  His wife stood in the street and wept as we drove away but was consoled by knowing it was going to be kept in the family.  Jamey's father (my daughter-in-law) had driven the truck to his job on a daily basis.  He also passed away last year.  Both trucks are haunted by memories and filled with histories.  But, that is okay.  We drive them with gratitude and with the realization they will probably never really be ours. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


We saw these on a recent trip to Indiana.  They were on a train - and there were LOTS of them - I only captured the last of them with my phone camera.  It was a bit of a strange sight to pass all of these blades on a train - a place where they really do not fit. (Push the "play" button to see the video"
I am not sure how I feel about the windmills now populating the surrounding farm ground.  I don't like the way they look, but I do find them intriguing.  I am grateful for the jobs they have provided.
They are one thing to see from a distance, but a whole different thing to stand under one and listen to the "swishing" of the blades.  It gives me a bit of vertigo to stand right at their base.  They look robotic - sentinenals to progress.  I wonder what the folks who farmed the ground 50 years ago would think about it.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I took this picture through my telescope.  It was an American Airlines passenger jet headed south over my house late in the afternoon.  The technology amazes me - all of that weight cruising through the air at 30,000 feet going 550 mph.  It is phenominal. 
But, it is not simply a machine.  It is a vehicle full of people.  People going on vacation, people going to a funeral or a wedding, people who have business to do in another state, people who have never flown before and people for whom this is a weekly occurence.  Who are these people?  They are just like our neighbors, they are just like us.
And so it was, 11 years ago today, that people boarded these technological wonders never anticipating that they would be used as weapons.  Some of those people are now famous, but most are not and never will be.  They were ordinary people doing ordinary things who got caught in an extra-ordinary event.
It is not for nothing (forgive the double negative) that the Bible tells us to take it one day at a time.  This is the day the Lord has made.  Teach us, Lord, to number our days that we may apply our hearts toward wisdom.