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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


It was a day similar to many others and the Spice and I had kept the local gruntmonkeys for most of 3 days and 2 nights while their Mom was in the hospital. I set out with the three young ones to get them out of the Spice’s hair, since she is the only one of this married couple that actually has hair.

This adventure with the grunts was almost like a biblical epic. I played the part of Moses, with a staff in one hand and a fire in the other (a propane torch) and the three young ones played the part of three members of the tribe of Joseph (their Dad). We did several of our regular things, not the least of which was the burning of enemy hordes (torching ant underwear).

The swings played a part in the adventure, as did the trampoline and then it was on down to the pond. We made many splashes with the small rocks we tossed in and another stone skipping lesson was thrown into the mix – they are still a bit young to get the concept. We hiked up to the brow of the hill on the large adjoining lot to watch the traffic – the lot is vacant except for a cell phone tower.

We finally called a halt to this episode and came back inside to the air-conditioning; it was very warm and humid. We played much inside before their parents came for them.

On another day I was out in the garden, hoeing out the weeds and grass, which so easily besets it. While doing so I was working my way through some of the emotional trauma that had been a part of my life for the last several days. Even though I am not the parent of these babies we lost, I am the grandfather and I had already started envisioning the good times I would have with them.

My eyes burned as I thought about never getting to hold and love on them or carry them around blueberry hill. I wanted to show them the pond and the various trees and such around the place and maybe get to show them some future goslings. I wouldn’t get to see their faces as they ate their first blackberries, or taste blueberries or maybe even figs or muscadines.

Above all I wanted to see them smile and hear them giggle and I wanted to be the cause of them doing that but such was not to be. As I grieved I also thought of the pain my daughter must be feeling because the little ones did not miscarry and since they were too far along to do a standard D&C labor had to be induced. The twins were delivered after over 19 hours of labor.

The staff cleaned them up and brought her the two little girls, each tucked into a small pink knit blanket. I was hesitant to view them but I knew my daughter wanted me to so I went to the hospital and there they were, lying at the foot of her bed. They were so tiny, one six inches long and the other 51/2 inches, yet so well developed for their four months of growth.

My daughter even named them, to help in her grieving process. She is leaning heavily on the Lord and said that she didn’t know what those do that know not a loving God to comfort them. I came home with a leaden heart, yet knowing that while I could not show these tiny ones the love I feel for them, I can continue to show the grand ones that are in this life the love and care due them.

Thanks to the ones that have expressed care and concern – it will just take some time and much of God’s love to heal. ec

Friday, May 23, 2008


It is with a very heavy heart that I report the fact that our younger daughter has lost their twins. We do not know what caused them to cease their journey toward birth at about 4 months and we may never know in this life. While we have many more questions than answers, we are continuing to trust the One that knows what is best for us and are leaning on His strength, comfort and guidance.

Please remember Deana and the family when you pray. If you have any words of encouragement, send them to me and I will pass them along to her. God is still good, all the time. ec

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Last week was probably the busiest one I have had all year. This was made so by a combo of sitting with grands, working in the garden and cleaning out in the three blueberry patches on the place. These activities left me a tired old man but maybe that was close to what I was to start with. But during all this busyness I still found time to be amazed at various parts of God’s creation.

If I am caring for the gruntmonkeys at our place, I try to be involved in other outside chore activities as well, when I can work them in. The most successful of these dual efforts thus far has been the torching of ants. The major grunt entertainments include playing inside, swinging, trampoline jumping, throwing rocks in the pond, cleaning straw and pinecones out of the spillway and hiking.

Added to these standards is the burning of “ant underwear” – this term came about because their parents discourage the use of the word butt. I’m not really sure if YD likes the term. Sometimes the first thing the grunts mention to me is ant underwear burning. When we go they each grab a stick that I have cut for them, I get the propane torch and we head out on our ant ridding adventure.

When we find an ant bed we “knock” on it with the sticks and if anything answers we introduce them to “Mr. fire”. This adventure causes them excitement and helps limit the amount of ants on the place as well – a good thing. Another thing that has also become a standard is riding in the little battery-powered truck. This is usually limited to once around the house with each grunt driving – even the little one, in spite of the fact that he has no concept of the proper steering of the vehicle.

Since the veggies have come up and are starting to grow, a whole herd of small weeds and grass have made their bid to also be garden residents. These trespassing plants were totally unacceptable to the keeper of the garden and the condition had to be corrected. Over a period of several days these invaders bit the air – I was aided in this by a wondrous invention, the hoe.

The growth of weeds and grass is a constant problem but it is much easier to deal with them when they are small as opposed to waiting until they are intertwined with the roots of the veggies, plus this would limit veggie production. This reminds me of the spiritual misdeeds in a person’s life. When these spiritual “weeds” occur, it is much easier to go to God and be rid of them when they are small, before the roots of the wrongdoings go deep in the soul and choke out or limit good results.

God has in place a spiritual weed eradication program, found in His Word and can be had by just asking for forgiveness and for the bad to be taken away – awesome! ec

Thursday, May 15, 2008

long haul

It was another day, at another time but roughly in the same area. By some brilliant deductive reasoning I arrived at the conclusion that it was morning. The thing that brought me to this great knowledge was the fact that it was now light and just a couple of hours before, when I made a trip to the necessary room, it was still dark – hence it almost had to be morning.

My day started in one of its usual ways – slowly. I was finally getting the body cranked when the Spice departed with a place to go and a time to get there. After a while I donned the bummy clothes and went outside for some of the sweaty type work. The type work that I could do every day and still maybe not quite be caught up – I just knock it down to a lesser level.

This was some work in the garden and then general de-brambling and de-weeding in the blueberry patch. Time flew and soon it was time to come back in to clean up and for the Spice and I to attend the graduation of a friend from the Medical College of Georgia. It was at the Civic Center and when we arrived the close parking was very taken. I dropped the Spice and parked two blocks away.

The place was packed and I thought we were going to be in the nosebleed section but we finally found one in the back and lower down. The ceremonies started about 2pm and lasted a couple of hours. They graduated over 700 from the various departments – doctors, dentists, etc. Our friend’s field is in respiratory therapy and it was a long haul (five years) for this single parent.

We wanted to see her as she filed into the large auditorium and we were fortunate enough to make eye contact with her and wave as they were being seated. She is not blood kin to us but we still claim her as family – and certainly in the family of God – and are very proud of her accomplishment. She has already been hired by MCG to work in that field and starts the job in just a week or so.

She gives God the praise for helping her make it through the course. I’m also glad that we have folks of her caliber and character in the health care field. God is good, all the time. ec

Monday, May 12, 2008


Morning arrived and I wandered out to the kitchen to break the fast. As per usual I opened the blinds on the kitchen window that faces the garden to get my first glimpse of the outside world. When what to my wondering eyes should appear but the whole goose family along with the single parent and her gosling. They were stomping around amongst my tiny veggies.

I took a very dim view of that because geese are also grazers and I could just picture them plucking up my newly emerged plants. I opened the window and made weird noises until they smartly goose-stepped out of the good soil and went back to their own stomping grounds.

My time to do anything outside was short but after cranking up my day in the usual ways I put on my bummy clothes and headed outside to sweat to the yanking up of weeds and brambles. After slaving away for a little over an hour, I cleaned up and picked up GM3 from K5 and took him back home. Then my chore was to sit with GM4 and GM6 while YD took GM3 and GM1 for a doc checkup.

After they left it was quiet for a while since the little ones were down for a nap. I had just finished eating a bite of lunch, working a crossword and started to read when GM4 bounced into the room. He seems to be the real live wire in the group – even though one would have to observe carefully to tell this since all three of these boys are rambunctious to a large degree.

His younger brother joined us very soon to see what was going on. Although I would have preferred to just read and let them play together, that was not their expressed desire and I had to actively play with them. We built a Lego house, put a jigsaw puzzle together and several other activities. Their Mom came home and after we chatted a bit I headed on home.

On the way home I thought about the kind of legacy I was leaving for these young ones. I care what they think of me but more importantly, I am striving to leave them a legacy of belief in Jesus Christ and how that should be lived out in everyday life. I want them to know when they are old enough that there is a source of hope that goes beyond any earthly security – the striving continues. ec

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Daylight arrived and I knew the day was going to be busy, at least the morning, since I was to keep GM4 and GM6 for YD to chaperone a field trip for GM3’s K5 class. I crawled out of bed and endeavored to get some nourishment before the small ones arrived. I especially wanted to read my scripture before then because while I could eat, it would be hard to make any sense out of the Word.

I was able to receive my physical and spiritual intake in time. When they blew in, it was automatically playtime and this old guy was the enabler of such. Right away they wanted to go outside and burn some more fire ants with the propane torch. If your property is not infested with these pesky insects, count yourself very fortunate. These can cause much pain to the young ones if they are bitten.

We stirred up a couple of anthills and discouraged many ants from being alive. We then paused for a while at the swings and trampoline for some recreation. Then it was down to the pond and along the way we brought many more ants to their demise. I don’t know if my killing method is humane or not but does it really matter since they are not human – at least their end comes quickly.

We wandered on across the dam of the pond, continuing to participate in these ant-ridding activities. We paused a moment for them to gaze at the dried remains of the dead snake. This was when we spotted the goose family on the lower pond – the five young ones are growing very rapidly. This would have to be the case because they have just a few months to grow and learn how to fly.

We also espied something that I had not seen before and this was another goose with a young gosling. This appeared to be a single parent with only one offspring – and much smaller than the ones in the other family. Another parent was not apparent although a couple of geese were hanging around near this one. The two later flew away – almost sounds human with the absent father thing.

We stopped by the spillway for the boys to push a few pinecones down this small waterway from the upper to the lower pond. Then it was back to our side of the body of water to throw rocks therein. We were in the full throes of “bombing enemy ships” when we were summonsed back to the house to bid farewell to the Spice. She was off for an appointment and a couple of errands.

After the young ones were picked up, I went outside for some chores for the rest of the afternoon. I’m trying to do the more physically demanding jobs in small increments because my energy is still not back to what it used to be. This mostly involved digging brambles out of the blueberry patch and the trimming of dead branches from the fig trees – I know you are saying, “what fun this guy has”!!

Sometime during the outside adventures I remember smelling the sweet odor of honeysuckle, which is presently in full bloom along the border of our property. God is so good to provide the wonders of nature for us to enjoy – to see AND smell – if we choose to do so. ec

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


The day started in the usual way, especially the part about the sun coming up – very glad about that. The partaking of b’fast and scripture happened as per usual, with the same usual elements involved. The Spice and I had an appointment with the same heart doc and this was where the variance from the norm began. The main part of the unusualness was that this was our first time to see this doc.

The cause of the new doc was the fact that our other heart doc suddenly quit his practice and dropped out of sight without giving anyone any notice. There were other circumstances but nobody knows exactly why this happened – but the end result was that we had to get a new doc.

As soon as we went into the office, checked in and sat down, most everyone seemed to be looking in our direction. Was it because we looked very much in love? Possibly. Or was it because we were very fashionably dressed? No – I had on casual slacks and a t-shirt. The only other thing I could think of was that the TV, giving forth news, was mounted on the wall just above our heads. Maybe.

This was an initial get acquainted/check-up visit and all things came out OK. He seemed to be a very personable and thorough physician that came to us highly recommended. We departed there and headed to grab some take-out lunch because the Spice had to shortly go to pick-up GM-1 from school and take the both of them to the back-cracker for an appointment.

When that appointment was finished, we met over at YD’s place for hot dogs and to celebrate the birthday of GM3 – he is 6 years old today. It doesn’t seem possible that he will be graduating from K5 in a couple of weeks and will go into 1st grade next year. Of course tomorrow is GM1’s birthday and she turns 15 – that is a shocker as well. Even when life is shocking, God is good, all the time. ec

Monday, May 05, 2008


Monday morning arrived after a very busy weekend at church. The day started slow because that was how this old body was feeling. After the usual intake of cereal, yogurt and scripture, I went outside to check on and cultivate the garden, something it was in the beginning stages of needing badly. Tiny invaders – weeds and grass – were starting to grow, unwanted and uninvited.

Out of 28 tomato plants, only one looked in need of emergency treatment – a case of the wilt and may have to be replaced – I still have three spares. The cucumbers were up and growing like a herd of turtles with only a few “hills” that had not emerged from the soil. A little over half of the squash had pushed their way above the surface, hopefully with the rest to follow shortly.

The okra is usually a bit slower but in this case was showing sprouts in about half of the spots that were planted. Since I save the okra seed from year to year, I am generous in sowing the seed to insure sprouts in every spot. This generosity necessitates thinning of the growing plants until only one strong one is left per “hill”. This veggie is a heat-loving one and does well in our area.

With my trusty hoe in hand, I started ridding the good soil of the plant invaders. The “middles” (the walking paths between the beds) were cleaned out one at a time and the dead plant carcasses were raked out of the garden unceremoniously – they didn’t deserve a ceremony. These dead plants included several sprouting brambles in spite of my eradication efforts in the off-season.

During my work I observed a pair of hawks circling high above the upper pond and the first thought that struck my mind was the young goslings, because this is their usual habitat. After I got tired of the heat and came in for a rest, I went back out later to check to see if they were safe – not that I could have done anything for them. I found them all swimming in the lower pond, safe and sound.

The aforementioned weekend busyness was another of our youth events, an “encounter with the cross” that started at 5:30 on Friday evening and went straight through to Sunday evening church time. As before, this involved many training sessions and much prayer with the young ones. My role was one of prayer during these sessions – hopefully beneficial to them and it certainly was to me.

This event also served to impress me once again with the young men and women that are in leadership roles in this area of our church ministry. Their sincerity, dedication and godliness shined through in all their efforts. Not only do they “talk the talk” but they also “walk the walk” and examples like these are what youth all over the world need to show them that there is a better way in Christ. ec