Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mondays with Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob

This afternoon, as I was returning from running at the gym (the skies opened up as I tried to run out the front door), I saw a high school student jump in a car that was waiting to pick him up just across the street and down the block from the high school near where I live. I immediately jumped back to Mondays in junior high, when my Mom would wait across the street and down the block to pick me up so that we could go to my Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob's house. We would swing by, pick up my sister, and then head to their house for an afternoon of lemonade, popcorn, chocolate chips, solitaire, Authors (a card game like Go Fish), and endless conversation, often surrounding current events. My Uncle Bob was a bit of a codger and loved to call all elected officials "turkey." As I got older, I think he enjoyed baiting me with outlandish statements, just to hear how I would respond.

When I was in high school, my friends and I would occasionally go ride our bikes or walk on an old train trail that had been converted to a multi-use trail throughout Columbia, MO. Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob's house wasn't far from the trail, so we would hike through the woods and show up on their back deck for a glass of lemonade.

That house and that back deck hold a million wonderful memories for me. This past fall I mourned the death of my Uncle Bob. He was good about sending me an e-mail every once in awhile just to make sure i was doing OK. I will be forever grateful to my friend who was standing there when I got the phone call that he had died and simply hugged me until I said, "OK."

I was able to see Aunt Jane again at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's been a joy to see her flourish in a retirement community. She was such an integral part of my childhood and shaped the way I understand hospitality.

Anyway, I saw a kid get in a car today, and I was transported back to Mondays in junior high.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Holy moments

Sometimes, in the midst of a moment in life, I'm able to practice that third person perspective taking and see myself in a holy moment. Here are a few I've experienced in the past week or so:

Lunch with Mary Bowles: Mary is a member of my congregation who embodies love and nurture. From day one at Harpeth, she has been so supportive of me. At one point during lunch, we were both sharing stories of hurt and frustration with the way life goes sometimes. I appreciate people like Mary for whom life doesn't always have to be OK, and who doesn't always have to have an answer for why things happen.

Playing music by the campfire Friday night: I can look back on my life and think of a number of times when I was making music and I felt completely and totally alive. Friday night was one of those times. I had sat down with a youth to teach him a few youth group songs on guitar...you know, the ones that use G, C, D, and A. As we sat there working through Lord, I Lift Your Name on High, Every Move I Make (same chord structure), Light the Fire, and Prince of Peace, two of our congregation's more brilliant guitar players/singers sat down with their guitars and began playing. At one point while all four of us were playing Prince of Peace, and folks around us were joining in the singing, I seemed to lose track of where I was. Truly making music with Pat, Bob, John David, Hannah, and Cayla was powerful stuff.

Looking out the window with Sophie: I've blogged about Sophie before. She rocks. Today we had some free time at our church family retreat, and Sophie wanted to show me "this really cool room." It was a pretty cool room. There were bunk beds and even a bed up in a little nook near the ceiling. The two of us sat down on a rather large window sill (kind of like a bay window, but 20 feet long) and looked out the window at the trees that are trying so hard to bloom here in middle Tennessee. We talked about where she might stay at the next family retreat and how much she liked the purple leaves of the dogwood trees. At one point, I looked over at her and she looked back at me and simply smiled and then giggled. We should all probably have more smiling and giggling moments on big window sills.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A good run

On Tuesday, it was a beautiful, sunny, 70+ degree day, so I decided to go for a long run...well, it was also on the schedule for training, but the beautiful weather made it much easier to actually get out there. Anyway, as I was running, I had three "moments of zen" if you will.
  1. Mile 2: I heard a car honk and looked up to see Streater Spencer, and whoever else was with her, in her red jeep with the Ole Miss license plate waving at me. I felt the Harpeth love.
  2. Mile 7: I looked up to see Jadyn Stevens, a fellow Harpeth runner (actually the premiere Harpeth runner...dude qualified for Boston with a 3:01 marathon...sick) and friend driving toward me. We seemed to see one another at the same time. He pumped his fist and honked his horn for a good block after he had passed me. I gave him a responsive fist pump and felt a spring in my step.
  3. Mile 7.5: Shortly after I saw Jadyn, the song I See Love by Third Day came up on the ipod shuffle. It's a wonderful song about seeing love in all that Jesus was and did. Something about the chorus and bridge really lifted my spirits as I was finishing up my run. For a few moments there, I was joyfully aware of the love that God has for me.
So, yeah, it was a good 8 mile run on a beautiful day. Thanks to Streater, Jadyn, Third Day, and God the creator, redeemer, and sustainer for making it one full of love.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Domestics vs Imports

So, last night I went to hear some of my church members perform at a local bar/performance venue. They were awesome, as usual. Their daughter even premiered a song she had written. Only in Nashville, right? Anyway, as I looked at the beer menu I was frustrated, as I often am, to see that under the list of "Import" beers, there were plenty of beers that are brewed, bottled, and distributed all in the United States. For example, on this particular list, there was:
  • Shiner Bock-Texas
  • Sam Adams-Boston (I think)
  • Fat Tire-Colorado
  • Yazoo-Hello, this is made in Nashville...like a mile from the bar!
It probably shouldn't bother me as much as it does, but I think there ought to be a law or something against such false advertising. Here's what I propose for labeling such menus:
  • Beers we charge less for
  • Beers we charge more for
  • Not so fancy beers
  • Fancy beers
Any additional suggestions would be most welcome. :)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bad Technology Week

So, on Sunday, I installed a new programmable thermostat at the estate (which may soon be officially called Bancroft Down, as I'm loving Watership Down), and I was feeling pretty handy. Well, come Monday, apparently all of my technology chops completely disappeared. Here's what's happened this week...so far:
  • Monday evening: I finally found some DVD ripping/converting to ipod format software I liked. I spent some time converting some Cavaliers DVDs so I could put them on my 80 gb ipod classic. As I was fiddling with the Movies settings for the ipod, I clicked the "Sync Movies" button, and promptly ignored the popup screen warning me that all media on my ipod would be erased if I followed through with that. Yeah, I ignored it, assuming it only applied to other movies I had on it, which were none. Nope, it wiped all 20 gb of music as well. The 20 gb of music that I don't keep on my hard drive. This was right before bedtime, and I really thought I might just throw the ipod through the window. Thankfully, I backed up my entire CD collection as I loaded it onto the ipod over a year ago. With some transferring of files and ripping of maybe only a dozen CDs, I'm back in operation. But, that moment of realizing everything is gone is not a good one.
  • Tuesday afternoon: Ran with my ipod shuffle. Listened to a chapter or two of Twilight as I ran.
  • Wednesday morning: Plugged in my ipod shuffle only to see that the remaining three discs of Twilight that I had loaded on it just this past weekend are now gone, along with a number of other songs I know I had on it at some point. Where did all of those tracks go? I have no earthly idea. Did I keep the Twilight tracks (that I ripped from a Nashville Public Library CD) on my hard drive? Of course not. When did I return the Twilight CDs to the library? Tuesday afternoon. I seriously have no earthly idea what happened there. I kind of wonder if I didn't do something in my sleep. Maybe the shuffle realizes when something has been removed from the hard drive.
  • Wednesday evening: Remember how I said I installed a thermostat? Well, I had shut down all the power in the house so I didn't electrocute myself. When I walked in the door tonight at 8:40 pm, I noticed that the VCR was not, in fact, recording Lost so I could sit down with a cup of hot tea, a brownie, and enjoy the next chapter in the Lost universe. Nope, I never did reset my VCR. Brilliant, no?
So, there it is...my bad technology week.