Monday, February 22, 2010

Just a quick one...

Water heater went out over the weekend. After visions of ripping out and installing a new one, I was rather perturbed last night when, after trying to relight it for the umpteenth time, I flipped the pressure release valve and it wouldn't stop relieving pressure!!

After a few gentle taps with my fist (real intelligent), I realized I just needed to turn off the water inflow valve and worry about the leak later.

Anyway, that night at bedtime I was sitting and talking with little one and said, "Wow, Daddy just doesn't feel good about fixing things like water-heaters."

She responds, "Yeah, but you ARE a tough guy aren't you!"

I don't know where she got it, but it sure made me smile.

(It turns out there is a very small, non-descript button which, when pressed "re-sets" the thermocouple. And the leak...a few more jiggles of the valve and it stopped. So, tonight, I get to relight the thing for once and for all....(and thanks Dad for telling me when I was 4 that sometimes water-heaters explode...I cringe every time I get near it.))

Can't wait to share about the bathroom remodeling!

But I don't worry too much any more...
I'm a tough guy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Funny story.
A long, long time ago I began to "fix" our bathroom. I'm not so good at finally, call it a Valentine's gift, I called a plumber. He is a great guy and worked while we weren't home to get our pipes repaired. He thought he might be able to do it without having to cut through the wall behind the toilet...I wondered and hoped that he could.
First clue that he had to get back there...we arrived home and found our bathroom toilet (green toilet mind you) in the front yard. Ok, after trying to lift it, I understood why he had not carried it all the way to the back yard.
Still, that evening, under cover of darkness, out I went to quickly drag the really heavy old style toilet around to the back. I even turned off the lights in the front to avoid being spotted. Well, of course, right as I got to the middle of the front driveway...along came not one, but two slow moving cars. I would have loved to be one of the drivers seeing a guy dragging a toilet from his front to his backyard, at night, in a robe and slippers.
Oh yeah.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Found This Great Story...

Found this on a blog I recently began following: I really enjoyed it and thought you might too.

A man’s daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The pastor assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.....

“I guess you were expecting me,” he said.

“No, who are you?”

“I’m the new associate at your local church,” the pastor replied.“When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”

“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the pastor shut the door.

“I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man.“But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk aboutprayer, but it always went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I’ll be with you always.’ Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.”“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon.

“Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.

“Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, In fact, beyond strange-kinda weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed.”

Unknown Author

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lonely Assumptions

This is a follow up to "Little Turd" you can read below. While I don't know what has, or is happening today at school, I know that, after a phone call and an email, the educators at my daughter's wonderful school have taken aggressive action to deal with the situation last Friday.

Color me embarrassed. Here I was blaming God, society, myself, parents, little kids, when all the while, this moved as if it was according to plan. What if:

I had not been there to hear it. My daughter would never have even thought to say anything and it is possible it would have continued and even become worse.

But that is not what happened. I was there, at the right time, in the right place, having built recognition in the boy enough that he was not on guard in his comments (I eat lunch with Dora 3 out of 4 Fridays a month.)

While I would like for God to FIX things before they happen, we know that is not the way He seems to move (as far as we know....when fixing something before it happens, it never happens and thus, we never know it was "fixed." This way of intervention made good sense. Bad things were happening, put a "good force" in place to make a change. ("Good force" is in quotes to avoid giving the illusion that I believe that "I" am the good force. I just pray. (As I pointed out to Delma, with maybe a handful of exceptions, we have prayed with/for Dora Diane out loud and together every day for 9 years and 7 months (we started when we found out Delma was pregnant). That's...hold on while I calculate: 7000 prayers (Mine plus Delma's). Add hers in and you have 10500 offered up in agreement as a family over the past almost 10 years. (Not counting when she is sick, or in the morning, etc...)) My wife is positive that, while prayer is not necessarily going to prevent hardship...that it does affect outcomes. I want to agree...I need to agree...but my faith is burdened with doubt. Not all the time. But after events like this...

I ranted Friday night while we were fretting: "We've prayed every day for her since birth and STILL this happens." I went on to spiral down to where I was doubting His existence, bla, bla, bla. (I would have been one of Job's friends...never could I have mustered the faith of the man himself.) Why I was surprised I don't know...We are told that we live IN the world but are not to be OF this world. We have been kidnapped and placed in this false, scary place run by Freddy Kruger and Jason. Sometimes Jason gets his hits in on all of us. But somehow, God is able to overcome. God moves in and out among us, and acts THROUGH us to bring about His plan (which for some reason is not the same as MY plan....though my pea-brain thinks mine could be pretty good if we could just give it a chance...oh wait, that's already happened....yeah, that was a mess.)

Anyway, anyway. I jumped to several conclusions last Friday:

1) God is unable to deal with this, didn't catch it, doesn't care, or doesn't exist.

2) I am alone and thus, on my own to deal with these things.

Both of those strike me as pathetic under-estimations of my fellow man and woman, and of a perfect God.

What I learned so far:

1) God is not only able to work out His perfect plan despite what the world presents or how the world adulterates it...but that He IS working out His perfect plan RIGHT NOW; all around me, and in me. Perhaps He would say: "Just open your eyes Richard, whenever you are ready to plug in to the work I am doing, I'll be ready to use you."

2) I am NOT alone. I am NOT the ONLY one who feels the way I feel about injustice. There are many fellow warriors placed around me who are ready, willing, and able to fight with me. I hope they know the same about me....

To the warriors out there:

Thank you for being willing to be a tool. How do you know when it is happening? I seem to just see it on the other side and realize, "Ohhhh, I was being used as a pair of pliers ingenious."
So, Dora is ok, her friend is ok, the little boys concerned are learning valuable lessons, and who knows how that can develop for them catching it now, rather than later... I guess that makes us just that much more ready to face the next should be coming along any minute now.
Will I be able to use these eyes should it be intractable illness, horrible accident, loss, etc.....
"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10