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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


It was a day like many others in that as soon as the sun came up, it got light. It was also a bit similar in that I was to keep a gruntmonkey for the morning – GM6. I had slept as late as I could and still get up and dressed for the arrival of the little one. I had already taken my meds and vitamins and got my morning cereal ready when GM6 arrived at the home front.

I walked out to receive him since YD was on a tight schedule to get GM1 to her school on time. As we walked back into the house, the first thing he said was “I want to see the penguin”. This is an oft-used phrase that meant he wanted to go to my computer and play the Yeti batting game. This is a program in which the penguin jumps off the top of a cliff and the Yeti hits it with a club like a baseball to see how far it will go – all the while the penguin is yelling “wheeeeee” – you had to be there.

We proceeded into the kitchen to the end of the counter where my laptop is set up and where I usually do my morning scripture reading from the Bible software loaded therein. I sat, got him on one knee and he very patiently (for him) waited for me to finish my scripture – I read it out loud to him to try to keep his attention. When I got through, we batted the penguin around for a while. Then it was on to the doghouse puzzle until he tired of that.

Then we went to my other computer for the Santa puzzle. Then we viewed a couple of Christmas cards that adds to the scenery as one clicks on certain items. There was a short video that we had to watch at least three times. We went down to the basement, the location of the toy box and also an air hockey table. The first thing he wanted to do was to play air hockey, as I suspected he would.

It is not that he knows anything about the game; he just likes to hit the puck back and forth. He tired of this and went to the toy box for a while and I sat down for a rest. This rest had hardly started when he decided he wanted to go back upstairs. We then played a scaled down version of soccer with a smaller ball and only using hands in deference to all the things that could be knocked off and broken.

He then decided he wanted some Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink and some peanuts. I got him the drink and the peanuts were the roasted in the shell kind so I had to shell them. He was cramming them in about as fast as I could shell. It was sometime during this process that his Mom came for him on her way to get GM3 from K5. I passed him back to his Mom’s care and I proceeded to sit down – something that I had not done nearly enough of that morning.

The Spice came in after they had departed; she had been for an appointment and briefly stopped in at the hospital to check on her Mom. Her Mom collapsed in church on Sunday, got a ride in an ambulance to the ER, has been in the hospital since and they still haven’t determined the exact problem that caused the episode. The family has spent much time in that very tiring institution.

We do not know what the future holds with her Mom but we do know the One who holds the future and I know that He is in control, even in this uncertain situation. God is good, all the time! ec

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I recently went to an eye doc to check up on an eye condition that I have had for a dozen or so years. It can be serious but has been stable for at least 10 years now. I also had my vision checked to update my glasses. I knew my vision was off because things had been a bit fuzzy around the edges for a while – not the warm fuzzies, just fuzzy.

It was then that it occurred to me that I had been using the same prescription glasses for at least 8 years and maybe longer. Anyway, my eyes were checked and the condition was still stable, vision was checked and new glasses were prescribed and ordered – an expensive deal, as you may know or might have guessed. I did get the glare resistant lenses that also darken in the sunlight.

They were ready a week or so later and I went to pick them up. I tried them on, she adjusted the fit and I took my eyewear to the house. When I got home I was showing them to the Spice and she liked them – not as old-fashioned as the others said she. Let me state here that I almost never wear glasses in front of the mirror, not even to shave and I certainly don’t have any hair to straighten up.

When I looked in the mirror I got the shock of my recent life. I had wrinkles on top of wrinkles but at least they were very clear and in focus. Thoughts banged on my brain that wondered how such as this happened seemingly overnight. It became painfully clear why I don’t hang around a large reflecting glass very much. I like the mental image I had of myself before the new glasses – oh well.

The next church service I attended I noticed that I could now identify clearly the members of the choir and even folks on the other side of the church. But then I was also surprised when I was up close and personal with friends before and after church. Some of them seem to have really aged – how could I have missed these aging signs before? Of course I will not name names and maybe will just leave the glasses in my pocket in the future, they are obviously made from defective materials.

Sometimes it is hard to see our spiritual selves very clearly. But when we honestly look at ourselves in the reflected standards of God’s Word, we not only see that we are not matching up but also see what we can become through God’s grace, strength and forgiveness – but it is our choice. ec

Sunday, January 27, 2008


As my vehicle and I hurtled down the interstate, my mind pondered the things of winter and as winters go, this one has been about as barren as any. Along the borders of the highway many trees stand with leafless limbs held skyward as though in surrender to the coldness of the elements. The only deciduous leaves left on the limbs are sparse and scattered, in addition to being dead and brown.

The bright spot in all of this was the green of the pine needles and these trees seem to be doing the best they can with the converting of carbon dioxide into oxygen for us humans. These things were noted along the route of my travel but also noted was the thought that came to me about the fact that we all have a choice as to how we face or deal with the cold barrenness of the wintertime.

We can choose to be stressed, oppressed and depressed about the conditions of the cold season landscape or we can take a closer look at the trees. Inspection shows that every branch and twig of these dead looking trees has buds on the end of each. These buds are the future leaves and/or flowers that will come forth in the spring – the trees and bushes are planning ahead for the growing season, even in the midst of winter. Of course if they die in the winter, they quit planning. Even with humans, death has a way of putting a kink in our plans, especially if we are the dead one.

My reason for being out and about on that particular morning was to meet my good friend for b’fast. For many years now he and I have been able to discuss most any subject with great depth and seriousness or with total vacuity, sometimes in the same sentence. We met at the Waffle House over in Augusta and had an entertaining time eating and discussing the vagaries and vicissitudes of life. We finally had to part company and go on to other chores, appointments and duties of the day.

The geese had really been making a ruckus out on the pond and the neighbor’s pond for most of the day – at least at the times I was able to observe or listen to them. An occasional glance out saw them busy with some sort of pecking order – literally. They would fly or swim at each other in a threatening manner, making as much noise as possible and flapping until one of them gave way.

It struck me that maybe this was a beginning part of the process of planning ahead for this year’s gosling crop. What they were doing really didn’t sound much like romance but it quite possibly was that – at least part of their method of courtship. I did notice during my evening walk that the geese were split up into about three groups, so maybe it wasn’t romance at all and just a big spat – I’m not really sure how one could tell the difference – hopefully they know one from the other – silly geese!

Speaking of silly geese and planning ahead, sometimes we humans don’t plan ahead very well, particularly in the spiritual area. God has planned and prepared a future for us that is really “out of this world” and it would be extremely silly for us not to accept God’s gift of eternal life. ec

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

the driveway

Even though it was a cold blustery day, it became the hour to do my walking and I knew that the driveway was patiently waiting for me. This is the driveway that goes from our street, across the dam of the pond and to the house in which MIL resides – this driveway is where I do my walking – 2.8 miles of it at present. I had dressed warmly to maintain core temperature, so with my recorder in one hand and staff in the other, I stepped out smartly to do what must be done.

YD and all of her crew had driven in to see my MIL just as I was starting the walk – she is aka Mema to her grands and great-grands. By the time I reached the house they had all gone inside for the visit so I continued my efforts. About the third lap, SSIL and the three small boy gruntmonkeys had come back out to ride their bikes on the driveway – their driveway at home is too short and too steep.

The two older boys are still riding with training wheels and the youngest was on a tricycle but none of these things hindered their efforts at having a great time on their little straddle buggies. I continued my walk and enjoyed watching them expend massive amounts of energy at each passing. This expenditure of energy was the major goal of the parents because the young ones had been pent inside to long. Although runny noses were the rule, they really had a blast on the driveway.

I did notice during the walk that the water level of the pond is now up to the point of all the islands disappearing under the water. There are still a few stumps visible but about another foot of water would cover them as well. The young ones were all back inside by the time I finished my walk and I stopped in to visit for a while with them before they departed for home.

Just outside the garage of MIL and near the driveway stands a post that is about 5 feet tall. Atop this is mounted a fairly large bell – about 15 inches across. The original purpose of the bell was to alert its hearers of mealtime but at this location it has mostly been for the entertainment of grands and great-grands, with even the smallest ones being held up to ring the device.

At the base of the pole are two cement rabbits and a duck of like material. These are painted in the basic colors of the live animals they represent, although they are a bit faded now. All three of these imitation animals go by the rule that says an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. The only forces that have affected them are those of weather and the occasional pushing over by the little ones.

The scene is a peaceful one but this would be fake peace since they are fake animals. We do seem to have a lot of fake peace in our world it would appear, at least according to the news and even my own observations. The only real peace in our world comes through Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He made for the forgiveness of all the wrong stuff we have done. I choose the real, daily. ec

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Some time ago I ran across a word in a blog that looked somewhat innocent and as I pranced through the dictionary in the “m” section I happened to think of it and wanted to bring it to light. This and other words I mention here may be in your everyday conversations but this hasn’t stopped me before from running on and on about something that everybody knows but me.

The word that started all this is miasma, meaning noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter and/or poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere. As if this wasn’t enough, the second meaning of the word is – a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere. It’s almost depressing that things exist which made necessary this word to describe them.

Then other words that I don’t usually see or commonly use danced across my computer screen and I decided to put them in also. The word militate is to have a substantial effect or to weigh heavily. It also carries the meaning - to be a soldier and or to fight for a belief. The word mitigate is sometimes used when militate is meant and is considered in error, especially the phrase “mitigate against”.

Sometimes a word comes along that looks very innocent and maybe even cute but it’s meaning belies its looks considerably. One such word is minatory and it looks to mean something small that a child might play with but actually means something menacing or threatening. An act done in these ways is committed minatorily. It even brought to mind Minotaur, the monster from Greek mythology that was all into eating humans.

Mingy is just another word for stingy or niggardly but I don’t recall running across it before. And how often do we use the word minima – the plural of minimum? Then there is the word minuend, a number from which another is subtracted and I remember it from grade school but do they still use it? This compared to subtrahend - a number that is subtracted from another.

Of course I rejoiced when I got to mirabile dictum, Latin for strange to say – marvelous to relate. To misknow is to fail to understand or misunderstand and I am in misknowledge as to why this word is even necessary. Then I came upon misology, a distrust or hatred of reasoning, argument, or knowledge and I realize that I have met and even known some misologists.

Occasionally I run across a word that looks like it means exactly what it means. The word mizzle simply means a misty drizzle, I applaud the simplicity involved therein. Modus operandi is a mode of operating or method of working and the old time cop shows used to use the initials MO to tell of the way particular crooks did their thing. Sgt Friday used it but I don’t know if this is still used or not.

I complete this written soliloquy with the word moil – to work hard or drudge. Another meaning is to whirl or eddy. A cousin word is toil - exhausting labor or effort. A related word (to me) is roil – to render (a fluid) turbid by stirring up sediment but also to disturb or disquiet or irritate. To follow along with this stirring up and disturbing theme is foil – to prevent the success of, frustrate or thwart.

Even though the word thwart doesn’t start with “m”, I’m all for thwarting the plans of the evil one, particularly concerning the young ones of our church, town and world. I was in attendance at a three-day youth encounter with Christ this last weekend and many lives were changed for the better and forever. God is good, all the time. ec

Monday, January 14, 2008


On another day during my evening walk there was a chill in the air. The temp wasn’t extreme, upper 40s, but the wind was on the breezy side, as wind sometimes is. Basically I was getting a bit chilly in my walking shorts and t-shirt. The ingress leg of the walk wasn’t too bad, in fact it was “wind aided” but the egress into the wind was a bit cold. The Spice was to join in the walking exercise shortly, so I rang her up by cell phone and asked her to bring me another shirt to knock off the chill.

She came out later and gave me the shirt as we passed like two ships in the night – except we weren’t ships and it wasn’t night – but we did pass in opposite directions. Then the problem was to put the shirt on without stopping the walk or the timing of it. With my staff in one hand and my recorder in the other, I proceeded to try to don the light outer vestment. I promptly dropped my recorder, the tape popped out and the battery cover was knocked askew. After putting the tape back in, adjusting the batteries and reinstalling the cover, it was found to work properly – it’s tough.

Catching back up with the Spice, she held my extra stuff for a moment – while still moving – long enough for me to put the shirt on and get back to my pace. The wind continued to be gusty, blustery and slightly tornadic and affected the leaves in many of those manners along the route. Could it be that the wind was trying to start a leaf uprising? Maybe instead they were just tumbling and some even appeared to be crawling to get away from this chilling force.

The pines were still clothed in green and my mind wondered whether or not they were needling the other trees because of their naked limbs. Maybe that was just my imagination and trees are not as competitive as people, at least not in the same way. But I do know that they will try to outgrow each other to get to the sunlight if they take root too close together – this makes for a group of trees that are tall and very skinny. This is serious competition because the loser dies and rots in place.

I have always been very impressed with leaves, in that while they live they use the sunlight to convert the nutrients passed along to them by the roots into food for all parts of the tree. Then as the season changes they die a beautiful death of many colors for all to see. They fall and insulate the roots of trees and other plants with the warm layer of material they make. Then as they deteriorate, the nutrients in them leach back into the soil for the future growth of other plants, possibly growing new trees from the seed of the tree from which they grew or even other types of plants.

The life cycle of leaves sounds a little like an illustration of what Christians should be like. Their lives should be useful by helping others, feeding and nourishing others while they live – whether in physical or spiritual ways. With Christ as savior they can also die a beautiful death, showing His keeping power to and even past the grave. The memory of their godly life can warm the lives of their family and friends and help keep them from the coldness of this world. Then their witness can be remembered and bring to Christ ones that knew them or heard of their lives and this witness can nourish these new ones into a strong life for Christ.

God is into recycling, especially when it comes to His Word and the humans He loves – everybody. ec

Sunday, January 13, 2008

BBH 416

Since it has been a while, time has come for another Blueberry Hill report. My first view of the outside world every morning comes when I look out the kitchen window at the garden area. My view since the end of the growing season has been the scraggly, dead stalks and such that remains from our once green and productive garden. The clutter needs to be cleaned out and any embedded briars ripped from the good soil. This is just another to-do item that is not at the top of my list at present.

This view is not depressing, just a reminder of another thing that needs to be done before spring planting. On one particular morning as I looked out, there was a quite a profusion of birds present, feeding among the dead stalks and plants. In the mix were 7 or 8 cardinals, a blue jay or two, a couple of brown thrush, a few small birds that I took to be sparrows and some that I was unable to identify because of their quick movements. Not sure what they were feeding on but they seemed to be having a very fruitful pecking time. I had supplied them a habitat and didn’t realize it.

A major undertaking on BBH is the recent repairs to our soffit and fascia around the eaves of the house. As it turned out the fascia boards were rotted in enough spots to have to replace it around the whole eave. This was done and the boards were “wrapped” with aluminum and the soffits were covered with vinyl siding. This would have been quite an operation for me to tackle so I got a contractor to do the job – one that just happened to also be my nephew.

This job had been number one on our home repair/improvement list for some time but it was somewhat cost intensive and kept getting pushed back in priority. They did an excellent job and it looks great – plus now I don’t have to paint those areas any more – I really enjoy not painting.

In other news, because of several rains we finally received, the pond has started a turn-around. The many islands and peninsulas slowly started disappearing until only “stump” peninsula remained. Then it too became an island once again and then the island split into a small dot of land and a larger piece of land that was in the shape of a “y”. My tendency in writing is to occasionally make a big deal out of anything or even out of nothing at all but the shape of the island really struck me as odd.

The “y” shape was as if the small piece of land was crying out – “y” oh “y” is this happening to me – I was just getting used to being dry land and I am about to be submerged again. Then there was the dot of land right next to the “y” – maybe the island was making an effort to get on the web with a dot “y” address to let its woes be known to the world.

As the water slowly rose, one branch of the “y” became a small strip of land on its own. Basically the islands were left in the shape of an “l” and an “i”, with the dot island being the dot of the “i”. I saw this as “li” or lie, which told me that the island was in a stage of denial as to what was happening to it and was saying the whole ongoing experience was a lie. Looked at another way it would read “il” and could be construed that the island is just “il” (ill) or sick of this sinking feeling that was happening to it.

Blueberry Hill may need a little work but its residents are too blessed to be stressed – God is good!! ec

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Myrtle 4

The history of January 4th continues. As we walked back down the beach and neared our place of stay, we came upon the freshwater stream that adjoins the condo. It is a fair sized stream that flows from the marsh into the ocean. A large number of gulls were again gathered near or in the water and many were splashing around, in spite of the temp, they were having a good ole time bathing together.

We were out a little over an hour, giving mostly equal time to walking, sauntering and meandering across the sand. Our speed might have been a little heavy on the meandering side because I have to pause and ponder many things along the way. At whatever speed, I’m sure the salt air didn’t hurt us. It was good exercise that was either invigorating or refreshing, and maybe both.

We went back inside and set about to do the difficult job of relaxing for the rest of the afternoon. That night a very unusual thing happened, I went to bed before midnight, in fact, it was shortly after ten – unheard of for me. Another unusual thing happened Saturday morning (Jan 5th), I saw the first sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean that I had seen in many years. Early is not my usual getting up time.

There were low bands of scattered clouds in the east and this made the entire horizon turn a bright pink. I had forgotten that one could actually see the sun’s movement as this brilliant ball of red rises – absolutely beautiful. I went out on the raised walkover to the beach to drink in the scenery – albeit briefly since it was 24F. There was a whole congregation of gulls back along the fresh water stream and at the edge of the ocean, just standing around socializing. The only sounds to be heard were the crashing of the waves and the squawking of gulls.

The gulls were multitudinous that day but the buoys were not to be seen – slight play on words there. There was a group of some type of seabird a short ways out that looked to be feeding all in one spot. My guess would be that they ended the existence of many small fish that day. The cold started creeping around the edges of my jacket so I went back inside to warm up.

This was our going home day so we ate a bite of b’fast and started gathering together our luggage and such. We loaded the van, checked out and went up to Tanger Outlet Mall to give the Spice another chance to look around some before we headed back home. My feet complain rather quickly when it comes to meandering on the hard concrete, so I stayed in the van and did crossword puzzles and she was to call me when she tired of this enterprise.

After a good while, I got the urgency to go see a man about a dog and checked in with the Spice on my way to the necessary room. After the little room we met up for a couple of shops and since she was nearing a winding down point, I headed back to the van to be at her beck and call. I picked her up and we went over to the Steak n’ Shake for a bite to eat before leaving. We had shakes with our meal, these were the shakes that were once beyond comparison but now have to play second fiddle to those of Chik-fil-A because they have them beat.

We came on home with a minimum of ado and just one pit stop for the van and us. Made it home in just less than 4 hours, got the van unloaded and finally sat down in my favorite chair – too much activity for this old codger. I felt blessed by the safe trip, the chance to get away with my favorite lady, the opportunity to see different parts of God’s creation and a home to come back to – God is good. ec

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Myrtle 3

Going back in history again, the date is still January 3rd and after checking out the beachfront, I went back inside the condo because the cold was starting to seep through my light jacket and knit hat. The Spice and I prepared b’fast and consumed the same – and yes, grits were involved. Of late I seem to have an affinity for jams of different sorts and some of this sweetness was also in the mix.

We determined to do a bit of shopping, so we got ready after a while and set forth into the fray. We made several stops, picked up several items and even made another grocery stop for things we thought of since the last trip. When we got back to the condo the sun was just going down, so we hurried to dress warmly and set out for a cold beach walk. The temp dropped rapidly but we were dressed for it and just enjoyed the walking and talking together for about 30 minutes.

When we set out, the painters were still there and the beach was thickly populated with gulls. By the time we returned the painters and gulls had departed to places unknown. We came back in, thawed out, had a bite to eat and just relaxed for the evening. The Spice read and I watched another bowl game until we finally crashed for the night.

We awoke on the morning of January 4th in the same condo and with the temp still very cold. We broke the fast in much the same way as the day before and grits were included again. Grits are not my usual morning fare but on such adventures as this, if they are available, they do get consumed. We dressed for the cold again and went out on the beach.

We had walked north the night before and this day we headed south. It was cold but thankfully the wind had dropped to a breeze. The sun was bright and not a cloud was overhead, only a few bands on the eastern horizon. We have been to this location when the water was a rather angry looking brown but today it was the proper blue-green and beautiful – should that be called sea green?

It was an idyllic place for walking because the tide was out and the beach was wide and almost flat. The waves were about 2-3 feet and the sound effects were very calming and peaceful. This particular stretch of sand bordered many private residences with only an occasional condo or motel. Not far out in the water a pelican dove from the height of about 20 feet to try to catch a fish for lunch. I couldn’t tell if it was successful or not but it spoke to me of God’s methods of provision for His creations.

All along the beach the gulls were in evidence just at the edges of the waves, some in groups and some just standing alone, as though they had been bad and were in time-out. Waves are the very symbols of turmoil and unrest but as we walked along with these symbols crashing into sand, they were only speaking peace to my soul.

Certain sections of the sand were covered with many shell fragments of all sizes and as we walked along they popped and crunched beneath our feet. These shells were once part of an organism that was vibrant and alive and these broken pieces are all that is left. This reminded me of all the ones gone before us and we are now walking in what they left behind – this could even include our tenets of faith. Will the world we leave behind be a better place to walk or just more littered with what we discarded - in a physical and spiritual sense? ec

Monday, January 07, 2008

Myrtle 2

The beach trip saga continues. The day was still Jan. 2nd and all the gruntmonkeys were in from the pool and the three young ones were put in an assembly line to get dried off and their clothes on. They then loaded all their baggage up to head back home and we all went up to the Riverside Café, a couple of blocks north, to have lunch together before they departed.

The name of the place seems to be a misnomer since the only body of water nearby is the Atlantic Ocean – one can see the waves from their porch. It is a local hangout that probably has the best hamburgers in the Myrtle Beach area. It is especially popular in the summer; in fact, one can hardly get in the place. It is also a bit odd in that everything on the walls and even the walls are filled with magic marker graffiti – mostly names, dates and hometowns – just something they do.

We ordered hamburgers all around and they were excellent. The Spice also had an order of fried onion rings – they were huge and delicious as well. We had a good time with the gruntmonkeys – they seemed to be fascinated with the odd wall decorations, especially since they were all written upon. One could say that we really saw the writing on the wall. It was a bit sad when they all had to leave but they had to get two of the young ones back to resume school the next day.

They headed back to North Augusta, SC and the Spice and I went by the grocery for a few items to sustain us during our stay. We then went back to the condo, unloaded our stuff and just sat around and enjoyed the evening. We watched a movie together and then I watched a bowl game while she read – we are such live wires. The wind was high and the temp low but it was warm in the condo.

We awoke on January 3rd to a very cold, yet bright sunny day and as soon as I could plug all the brain circuits back together, I gazed out the sliding glass door upon the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean. I was a bit puzzled by the change from the night before in that the beach, right at the water line, had been filled with gulls and today none were in evidence. It turned out that they had just moved down the beach a little to an area that was blocked from my view.

Upon going outside a little later to check out the scenery, my memory was refreshed as to why the gulls were there in large numbers. There is a fresh water stream flowing from a marsh across the road from the condo and they were congregating in, around or near that water as it was flowing into the ocean. Looking way up and down the beach, I saw a few hardy souls but even these were tightly wrapped against the biting wind and cold of the early morning.

Our place of stay has nine floors and we usually stay on the 7th floor and enjoy the excellent view from the balcony. Our stay this time was on the first floor and while I miss the panoramic view, one also doesn’t have to constantly traverse the elevators – or stairs. The only time I used stairs was the three steps necessary to get to the pool when we first arrived.

As I started back inside, I heard a noise and turned to see the edge of an aerial platform on the end of the building up around the 7th floor. Checking this out, I was surprised to see three Hispanic men up on this long platform just painting away. The surprise was multifaceted in that (a) it very cold – less than 20F – (b) it was very windy and (c) the last time I read paint directions it said that one should not paint below a certain temp and I was almost sure the temp was too cold for this application.

I guess a man has to do what a man has to do. God is still good, whether it is cold or not. ec

Sunday, January 06, 2008


On or about 7:30am on January 2nd the Spice and I broke free from the gravitational pulls of Clearwater, SC and cast ourselves forth upon I-20. Our means of travel was our Honda van, the direction of travel was east and our destination was Myrtle Beach, SC.

The trip came about because YD had scheduled a week in a time-share condo for the last few days of school Christmas vacation. They were staying from Saturday through Tuesday night and we were invited to finish the rest of their week out because two of their young ones had to get back to school that was restarting on the 3rd of January. This left us with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, a very nice little getaway.

When one plans a trip to the beach, winter or summer, one consideration that is usually involved is the weather. We had learned from the weather channel that the temps we would be facing would be the coldest of the winter season and certainly of the New Year since it was only two days old. The report that the Spice read stated that the temp would struggle to reach 40F in the daytime. While I was not sure at all that I wanted to be in the midst of a temp struggle, nevertheless we were going and were determined to enjoy it.

During the ennui of interstate driving, one’s mind tends to wander and wonder about various subjects. I have often wondered about the wider wooded areas in the median of the interstates, especially those that have streams or other sources of water. The wondering had to do with whether or not a whole species of critter could live and do well without ever leaving that area. Their existence would be dependant on them not trying to cross the road since they would likely get squished and dead – and death complicates life considerably.

Since most all animals have some form of communication, I also wondered whether or not the critters living so close to the highway might have their “speech” to each other changed by the traffic noises. Future generations might evolve into a form of communication not greatly unlike the sounds of the autos and trucks. One can almost hear them “talking” to each other using little beeps, honks, tiny tire squeals or a roaring like a very small diesel truck. Maybe I should just listen to the radio.

As we passed through the Columbia, SC area, it dawned on me that this was the peak traffic time of the morning. There was a bit of white-knuckle driving but I was glad that I-20 didn’t pass directly through the city since that would be considerably worse. We made it through without incident and stopped a short while later at the Camden exit for a break and to get a bite of b’fast. The name of the place started with “McD” and while I don’t care greatly for fast fare, my taste was suited that day.

We came on in to Myrtle Beach without incident, arriving about 11:30am and at the condo we found all the crew except for YD in the covered and heated swimming pool. She had gone to take a shower and to get ready for the young ones when they got out. The water was warm and even though the wind was giving the pool cover quite a workout, it was clinging to its framework. It was good to see the gruntmonkeys again, even in their wet condition. We helped get them back inside, wrapped up in towels against the cold. God invented “grands” – He is good, all the time. ec

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Standing on the precipice of a brand new year, looking out over the valley of the coming days, three questions came to my mind that will face all of us in one form or another in 2008.

First and possibly the largest one is – What will I do with the past? The enemy of our souls would have us held back and trapped by the bygone days. Will we be frozen and immobilized by the binding of the chains of guilt, mistakes and the “if onlys” – unable to go forward because of the seeming insurmountable issues of the past?

Have you made mistakes or even “on purposes” that you feel are unforgivable? Has someone hurt you in ways that you can’t forgive? Are you miserable and trapped by the feeling that you married the wrong person? Have you done stupid things that you will have to live with the rest of your life? There is Someone who is willing and able to forgive you and either change your situation or enable you to conquer it – and even enable you to forgive those who have wronged you – as hard as that sounds.

Whether you believe it or not, the Truth and only source of help we have is Jesus Christ and He is able to help you to break the chains of the past and even help you forgive yourself. I am not a theologian but I know what I was before I invited Christ into my life and I know the peace and joy that is such a part of me now. No longer do you have to be held back by the past, allow Jesus to help.

Second would be – What about the future? Even though it is not here yet, we have the choice to face it with great expectations or with a soul chilling fear. Yes I know that there is a certain amount of planning that has to be done but even the best plans go awry. Face the future by placing your life into the hands of the One who created all things – Jesus is the answer for the future as well.

That brings us to the last one – What about the present? Will we be held back by the past or controlled by the fear of the future and not really live and enjoy today? It is rightly called the present because it is a gift from God. Will we choose to enjoy and savor life as it comes? Will we admire the colorful bows and wrappings of the present – in anticipation of what it holds yet so much enjoying the unwrapping?

My choice is to be awed by all that is around me, even the minutiae – the tiny things life holds. I choose to be blown away by and captivated by the love and grace of an all-powerful God that cares for someone like you and me. May you allow His grace, mercy and forgiveness to be a part of your life this year. ec