It's after 1:00 a.m. and here I sit on the computer. WHY? What on earth do I need to be doing on the computer after 1:00 o'clock in the morning? Let me set the mood...
There is a documentary on China on PBS I'm sort of "listening to" on the TV. There is a cat asleep on the chair next to me (...he's snoring), one asleep across the room on the couch, and one asleep under the coffee table. My wife and the dog are resting peacefully in our bed...And so, I sit and type mindlessly on my laptop. Again, why? Because tonight, my body HATES ME!
I's sure you've seen the commercials of the Michelin Tire Man on television. Tonight, I'm doing my best imitation of that bloated tv spokesman! My left leg and foot are swollen beyond recognition...to the point that my left foot is tingling from the pressure of the swelling. My right foot and ankle look normal, but my right foot is throbbing so that I can feel my pulse quite clearly. I have NO idea what happens to me sometimes, other than my body decides to be rebellious and it SUCKS!!!
I've had half a dozen different doctors, and I've gotten half a dozen different explanations. "Well son, it's caused by poor circulation...", or "...It's probably because you get too much sodium in your diet...", or my personal favorite of all time..."Son, your just fat...it happens!" NO KIDDING??? I AM FAT??? HOLY CRAP! WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN????
Sorry...I get defensive and snarky when I have to even think about the lack of assistance from medical science helping me deal with some of my physical problems. If they can't throw a pill or shot at it, then it just doesn't exist or it just doesn't matter. Two days ago, it was a kidney stone...Tonight, my feet. The battle begins with two ibuprofen for round 1...then a Tramadol goes into the ring for round 2...if the battle isn't over by then, I don't know what I'll do...It's already getting close to 2:00 a.m. and I'm so tired I want to collapse. Unfortunately, I can't lay still and be comfortable enough (yet) to go to sleep...so I'll sit here and try to pass the time without slapping a cat or breaking a piece of furniture. BTW...the cat quit snoring finally!
My whiny rant is over...and so is the documentary about China. The movie RAMBO is coming on. Oh wow...is this bad!!! I can't decide what to watch...CHOPPED, RAMBO, or the documentary called THE AMERICAN RIPPER. Well, RIPPER it is! I'd rather have root canal work done without anesthesia than watch RAMBO and I have NO desire to watch three pastry chefs attempt to make a dish out of "candied crab"...yes...candied crab...real crabs that have been dehydrated and covered with sugar and sprinkles! (It's the end of the world as we know it!!!)
I didn't think that I could be any more miserable tonight, but what do you know? My misery is now complete...I'm now watching a documentary on the "AMERICAN JACK THE RIPPER"...
I'm done...I'll just lay in bed and be miserable!
PEACE LOVE CRABS
24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Last night, my wife and I watched the movie FACING THE GIANTS. I won't be boorish and tell you the plot of the film, but if you haven't seen it, PLEASE DO! Sorry...end of the commercial.
Anyway, as we were watching the film, I realized how powerful the message is! Not that "...sports team winner" thing, but the unfaltering realization that God is in control and we must trust Him! There are so many times that we don't want to turn loose of something we're struggling with, or we think that our solution is better. SOMETIMES we don't realize that sometimes we must get out of your own way, or endure pain and grief in the process of dealing with the issue. BUT, God is there, even when it seems that we have been deserted & forsaken, and we learn and grow from what we experience. It doesn't matter what we did...God will forgive us and help us to overcome our demons! ASK...you will receive!
If you know me, you have to be asking yourself...why do I think I can speak intelligently on something like this. I'm a born worrier and I'm also the world's most cynical critic at times. I don't deny this fact, but what I have learned in the last 8 months is that, even when you hit "rock bottom", God is there with you to comfort and protect you. I KNOW I'm a sinner and I fail daily in this! But I also know that God is there for me and my family...even when we have done things wrong...He forgives us...if we have a repentant heart and ask to be forgiven.
I don't understand why some people can't or won't get this. I'm truly shocked that there are those people who put themselves up on a pedestal and pretend they are better than us lowly "sinners". Sometimes life can be so cruel and people can be evil...even ones that you thought loved you...even your own family! I'm exposed to these "SUPER CHRISTIANS" almost daily...THESE "GIANTS"...Those "GIANTS" who are there every time the doors of the church are open...they are deacons or church leaders...they somehow believe that their lives are sinless or that their "sins" aren't the equal to those "beneath" them. Mind you, these aren't people whom have been sinned against...just people who, from a distance, sit in judgement of us. If it were only that, it MIGHT be tolerable, but these "GIANTS" of Christianity go to the public and spread rumors, act as conduits of misinformation, and in many cases, act anonymously because they are just COWARDS!!! (Yeah...I called you COWARDS!)
But you "GIANTS" don't own us, you aren't better than us, you aren't any less a sinner than us! You live in a fantasy world that you alone are faultless and perfect. Guess what? Your day is coming...David slew Goliath with a slingshot and a stone...a simple young man against a giant...how? He had faith in the Lord and God delivered him. God helps anyone with a repentant heart who asks for his help! No matter how many "GIANTS" stand in our way, God knows the truth and will give us the strength to endure the attacks!
You "GIANTS" however....well, I hope you know that you will have to be accountable to God for your actions and justify how, as such wonderful Christians, you behave this way.
"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her"...John 8:7
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"...Matthew 7:3
Tomorrow, my wife of 27 years will celebrate her birthday! Proper decorum prevents me from discussing her age...that's my story and I'm sticking to it. My mama didn't raise no fool!!!
So, today's post is about my latest project...a special gift to my wife and the story behind it. This picture is of a plaque that was given to us as a wedding gift in 1990. It was hung by the door of our apartment for the 1st year of our marriage and when we bought our first house, we hung it by the door and it was to hang by the door of our home until 2013. By then, it had become seriously "deteriorated" as you can tell by the photo...so it was "retired".
After 23 years of weathered abuse, we took it down and it sat in our garage for the next couple of years...until we moved...and my wife (who is MUCH less sentimental than me) threw it out!!! I couldn't stand to see it trashed and I told my wife that I was going to use the wood for another project...which wasn't the truth. From the beginning, I planned on trying to restore the plaque to it's original state. It was supposed to be an anniversary gift, but my wife had me building tables so I decided to make it a birthday gift...then I had an emergency appendectomy and was out of commission for 2 months. By the time this challenge was overcome, I had to begin making things and preparing for my daughter's wedding...
But I FINALLY GOT IT DONE!!! Sorry, I know I take too long to get a story out. Forgive me, but I do like to be thorough. So, winding this up I want to say to my wife of 27 years...
I LOVE YOU & I SURE HOPE THAT YOU LIKE THIS "NEW" PLAQUE!
Hi...want to participate in a "make believe" conversation with me? GREAT...here we go...
You know, I'm a huge movie fan and I love to watch all genre's of film. Like my music, I'm truly a fan of the older stuff...I'm getting older, so I guess this makes sense. I particularly like some of the classic series (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Godfather, etc.) and I have watched some films 50 or more times. Because of this, my lexicon now contains quotes from some of these movies...MUCH to the dismay of my bride. She gets irritated (almost on a daily basis) with the annoying habit I have of being able to recite (verbatim) lines from these movies...
So, why the heck are you going on about this???
So glad you asked! Let me explain...There is a movie line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that has invaded my brain the last couple of days and just won't go!!! I'm becoming psychotic because of it! Indiana Jones encounters the old Crusader Knight in the room containing the Holy Grail. The knight warns them all to choose wisely before they drank from one of the many cups. The evil Nazi guy drinks and shrivels up like a year old apricot and blows away...NASTY!!! Cool...but NASTY!!! The knight looks at Indiana Jones and says "He chose poorly!"....HAHAHAHAHA...NO KIDDING!!!!
Ok, Jeff...WHY ARE YOU SAYING ALL OF THIS????
Sorry...calm down! My point is this....CHOOSE WISELY each and every day. Your choices are yours for a lifetime! Some of them you MAY (...I say MAY) be able to change, fix, repair...whatever...but for many, these choices are binding and there is no going back on them! My wife chose me...so when she gets angry with me and tells me how moronic I'm acting, I remind her that SHE CHOSE ME!!! SO, SHE'S REALLY THE MORON FOR CHOOSING ME!!! (See the logic here...Aha! I knew you would)
What does this have to do with you (YOU MORON!)???
Sorry...this line "HE CHOSE POORLY" won't leave my head. See, I was sooooooo burned out on woodworking since my daughter's wedding, I agreed to work on some stuff INSIDE the house for my *beautiful, *wonderful, and *understanding spouse. (*Just in case she actually ever reads this!) Things (I thought) that wouldn't include saws, chisels, sanders, stain, etc... But I goofed!!! I'm PAINTING!
See, paint and I have a love/hate relationship. It loves to hate me!!!. I can get paint on the floor, my clothes, the cat, or the furniture...without any help from ANYONE!!! I'm two rooms in and have 3 to go...and one of these rooms has 10 foot ceilings and 4 doorways. It's only been about a week....7 days...1/4 of a month...But it feels like FOREVER! And the part that just chaps my tush...I agreed to do this!!! Now, all I hear is "HE CHOSE POORLY!!!"
I KNOW....I have no one to blame but myself! Now...do you get what I'm sayin'??? CHOOSE WISELY!!!
YUP...Your wife's right!!! YOU ARE A MORON!!!
Well, the next chapter of the book of my life has begun. My daughter was married on Saturday and my wife and I officially became "empty nesters"! Happy and Sad...there is no other way to describe it....part of me is ecstatic for my daughter and new son-in-law, but another part is trying to come to grips with the fact that my youngest child is an adult and begun the next chapter in her life as well!
Having moved to the Gulf Coast about 6 months ago, this really is the beginning of something new. God has been good to us and I'm so blessed! Below is a link to a little video I want to share...
Father/daughter dances aren't my specialty so don't hurt yourself laughing at the old fat guy trying not to fall down. The video quality isn't very good, but you get the idea...
Humor me...please! This isn't bragging...it's...well, a bit of disbelief that my old & slow butt could move this fast. One thing I've NEVER been accused of in my life is being fast! (...unless you count me jumping in line when it's time to eat!!!) Ask anyone who ever coached me in a sport, or my mom, or my wife....I'm slow!
Today, as we began the task of wrapping, boxing, storing, preparing, etc. all of the STUFF that has to go to the church and venue where my daughter is being married this weekend, I paused to take stock...and...the more stuff I wrapped or prepped, I began to realize that I have had a VERY busy month!
In 4 weeks & 3 days, my little garage shop has been hopping...I've been making so much stuff, I had NO idea (until I sat down and counted) how many different pieces I created in such a short time. So, this isn't bragging...honestly...but I'm putting this list here so I can really see it...
OK...I'm lying if I claim I'm not bragging a little bit! I'm not a professional craftsman...I'm just doing this for fun and the enjoyment of making something a friend or family likes...but you have to admit, I did accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.
SIGNING OFF UNTIL AFTER THE WEDDING!!! Praise and Glory to GOD for the blessings and gifts he has given to me in my life!!!
How many times have you been sitting and just casually thinking about something and then this random thought invades your head...and you realize that the random thought is REALITY and it just walked in and smacked you in the face!!!
Ok...you know what I'm talking about! I'm sitting in my shop right now and I'm reeling from a blow to my psyche...like, a right cross/uppercut combination blow! In 5 days, my daughter, my baby is getting married!!! NO...that can't be right. She's 11 years old and we're late for soccer practice....she's got a dance recital this weekend...or was it a show choir competition??? What's happening here??? When did reality & real life invade my happy space and steal away my baby's childhood???
This feeling of incredulousness (my new word) is growing and compounding by the minute. My son just left to go back home to Georgia this morning. He was here for a friend's bachelor weekend and brought his new girlfriend to meet us. He is dating this lovely and delightful young woman...and I don't think I've EVER seen a light in his eyes like I do when they are together. This look is giving me the vibes that we may be doing this wedding thing again sooner than I EVER anticipated! NOT FAIR!!!
I'm soooooooooo sentimental! I save every memento of every event, no matter how minor...and I lose my emotional stability with something as simple as looking at an old photo. I'm getting teary just writing this down right now. OH MAN...how will I ever get my baby down the aisle and married if I can't control myself any better than this??? What do I do if they both get married just a few months apart???
If you are reading this diatribe right now, you're saying to yourself, what the heck is his malfunction?!
I DON'T KNOW! But to quote Robin Williams (Mrs. Doubtfire)...
"Ever since my children were born, the moment I looked at them, I was crazy about them.
Once I held them, I was hooked. I’m addicted to my children, sir."
Call me crazy...but if this is crazy...I don't want to be sane! I love my kids and I am not going to ever change that for anyone!!! So, break out the tranquilizers and muscle relaxers for me...I'm gonna need 'em! They are a gift and a blessing from God, so I figure, he'll just help me figure it all out! In the mean time, please be patient with me...I'm really not ready for this!!!
It is so easy to become cynical in today's world. There is so much hate and ugliness out there that it makes me sad just to watch the news or read things I see on the internet.
People that you love and care about can also leave you in a state of despair at times. I have found that those whom we love the most, are often the one's who cause us the most grief and despair. It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of some of these issues, but it strikes me that no matter how hard you might try to be the best spouse, parent, or friend, often times it is out of your control. You can't make people love and respect you...quite the contrary...many times I feel like the harder I try, the worse I am disappointed.
I guess there are other forces at work here as well. I'm not sure how well I am coping with the fact that I'm getting older and more set in my ways, likes, dislikes, etc...My kids are grown and don't need their dad the way they once did, my own relationships are constantly changing, and I don't deal with change well. My baby girl gets married in 11 days...11 days....
I am sitting at my desk, absentmindedly gazing out at the rain, the winds whipping the bushes and trees, and the darkly ominous skies...I suddenly am feeling very nostalgic and melancholy. I'm not feeling sorry for myself. In fact, if anything, I am taking stock of the blessings I've had in my life. GOD has been good to me and I am truly thankful.
Time to move on to the next task...
Well, it's almost 3:00 a.m. and I'm still up playing with the computer. Why? Good question....
I got some computer work done for the museum website that I am the administrator for. I should have finished it 2 weeks ago, but with my daughter getting married in 2 weeks and my body being rebellious right now, I just haven't gotten it done.
Just watched ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ...good movie, but not really worth 3:00 a.m. status! Sometimes, you just can't get yourself to do what you are supposed to do...like right now! I should go to bed, but I'm still typing...
OK...I'm finished arguing with myself....I WIN!!! Time for some sleep. Thank you GOD for your LOVE, GRACE, STRENGTH and the BLESSINGS you have given me! I don't deserve them!
It may seem cheesy or sentimental to some, but for us, it is a symbol of being HOME! I hope this is the last time I do this....and I don't mean that in a bad way.
We've been blessed to start a new chapter in our lives and settle in a new home. This is the most "at home" I have felt in a very long time and I pray that this is our final stop. I see myself growing old here and living out my final days working in my little shop and getting in trouble with the wife for tracking sawdust and dirt into the house...you know what I mean!
Thanks for stopping by and visiting! That concludes today's message...please return to whatever you daily chores may be. I'm going to sand and stain a piece of wood!!!
So, two weeks ago, I watched my baby girl walk across the stage and receive her college degree. In two more weeks, I walk her down the aisle and she becomes a bride. Are you kidding me???
Where did the time go? I get so overcome by my emotions when I think about it, I can hardly function. I am such a sentimental person. There is no logic in my melancholy...she isn't going anywhere, she isn't leaving my life, or becoming unreachable. But, there is something defining about these moments that I hate.
As her daddy, she will always be my baby girl!!! The love I feel for her penetrates the depths of my very being and will never end! Just thinking about all of this is giving me a terrible headache!!! Ok...that's enough of that!
In the immortal words of Forrest Gump...
"...and that's all I have to say about that!"
When I was a kid growing up, I lived with my grandparents...my mom's folks. Through the years, I grew extremely close to my grandfather. He became the most influential person in my life and I can honestly say that he was my best friend. We spent many a day and night hunting, fishing, or working in his shop. He taught me so much about life...not just about how to shoot a gun, or clean a fish, or drive a nail straight. He taught me sooo many little things that I'm only now, at 50+ years, learning to appreciate.
My career took me from home and in 1988 I landed in the town of Laurel. I met a wonderful young woman and within 2 years, I was married and starting a family. Sadly, my wedding was a major event for another reason. It was my granddad's last function on Earth. He suffered from serious health issues and coming to my wedding weakened him and 6 weeks after my wedding, he passed. He was my best friend for so long and I really was blessed that my wife (...a gift from GOD) was there to see me through it.
When I moved to Laurel, I also met another wonderful and influential man....one whom quickly became a great friend and I truly believe would have become my grandfather's friend if they had known each other. His name is Jimmy Bass. My first memory of Mr. Bass, the first week I lived in Laurel, he and another man visited me and invited me to church....now that's a special memory.
Like my granddad, Mr. Bass was a WWII vet and has worked tirelessly for the last 20+ years paying honor to those who have served this country in uniform. He was one of a group of Veterans who founded a museum in Laurel to honors those who have served. He still works there 1 day a week and NEVER misses a special event or ceremony at the museum. Oh yeah... he turned 90 years old this past Saturday!!! Yeah...90 YEARS YOUNG!!! I was so proud and honored when my wife and I were invited to attend his birthday party.
Just so you know, Mr. Bass is a bit of a celebrity in his own right...he is retired now, but for MANY years, he was a photographer in Laurel and the surrounding area. There are few people who live in the Laurel/Jones County area who haven't had their picture taken by him....including me. He was the photographer at my wedding and has taken ALL the portraits of my children when they were little. Oh YES...I forgot, he is also the grandfather of former N'Syn singer Lance Bass. He has a very close and special relationship with Lance, and it hasn't been lost on me that Jimmy and Lance remind me a lot of me and my granddad.
Ok, so I'm slow developing my story, but bear with me. Because Mr. Bass has been such a special friend and this is such a special event in his life, I felt like I needed to get him a special gift. What do you get for a man that's 90 YEARS OLD??? I was talking to my friend Peg and she said something about "...sharing memories". My wife suggested I do something with wood (since that IS my passion now-a-days). Sooooo...this is what I came up with. Mr. Bass was in the US Navy during WWII and so I created a plaque in honor of his time on the USS Harding.
This creation is also special because I was able to share a part of my granddad with Mr. Bass. The plaque base is one created by my granddad and me when I was 12 years old...almost 42 years ago. It just seemed right to share it since there are so many things that Mr. Bass and my granddad had in common.
Ask anyone and they will tell you that there are people that crossed their path in their lives that helped shape them into who they are. My granddad was, hands down, the most influential in my life, but Mr. Jimmy Bass has always been and still is a big part of me. The epitome of Christian gentleman, loyal friend, and untiring servant to his fellow man, there is only ONE Jimmy Bass!
If you ask me to define the term "real man"...Mr. Bass' picture appears in my mind!
And I'm proud to say that he is and always will be my friend!
At one time in my life, I was a very active participant in social media and I was constantly posting pictures and sharing posts and tweets...about ANYTHING...causes I cared about, things that angered me or I felt needed to be commented on...pretty much anything. Unfortunately for me, I believed in what I was saying and doing to the point of becoming obsessed with the reactions and comments of "friends" and family. All I really cared about was seeing how people reacted to my posts or what they were saying...
Recently, my entire life changed forever. Although I had no direct control over events, everything and everyone whom I have ever called "family or friend" were altered in the blink of an eye. (It is a very private matter to which I will offer no further explanation...please don't ask)
Because of this, I have been afforded the challenge/ opportunity to look at life from a different perspective than I have at any time since I developed conscious thought. My first conclusion was to get off Facebook and Twitter. The totality of the lack of character and humanity that I felt towards me and my family was stunning. Sooooo many judgemental and self-serving people in this world. But, I digress...
I was amazed at how free I felt when I quit the "social commentary" for the sole purpose of fitting in. I did it because everyone else was doing it. I can remember when I was a kid...everyone's heard this before...your mama would say "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?". It had become a tool from which to share lies, gossip, and launch heartless attacks.
Unfortunately, there have been many times in my life when I would have done exactly that. You don't fit in anyplace...so you change or adapt yourself to fit the world around you. Well, not anymore! I don't care if I fit into anyone's mold of what I should be. First of all...who knows what or who I should be better than I do? Too much conformity in this world. Are you IN the world, are you OF the world, or can you tell anymore???
I created this website for myself...that is to say, I created this website so that I have somewhere that I can express myself...Now that may sound arrogant or narcissistic, but it's not. Simply put, I enjoy what I do! I enjoy doing my woodworking and I enjoy being able to share with family and my small circle of true friends, which is the sole purpose of what I'm doing here...not bragging or showing off. In fact, I'm sure there are those who look at what I do and snicker because it is amateurish and simple. But then again, I am an amateur and in the immortal words of Ronnie Van Zant..."BE A SIMPLE KIND OF MAN"...good advice if you ask me.