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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


As I am wont to do, especially when on the cusp of writing about most anything, I look up the meaning of the word(s) in question, even though I know the meaning(s). The word ‘process’ has several definitions and two of these seem to be going in the same general direction of this writing. These are: 1) a systematic series of actions directed to some end – 2) a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner.

With these two in mind, I have to describe myself as in process whereas it pertains to a list of chores that I want to have completed before Spring, with most crossed off the list before going to Texas in February. The pressure to do these is self applied but pressure nonetheless and what I seem to find necessary to get things done.

The beginning of the process was to make the to-do list – the start of planning. Then it is necessary to obtain needed material – if necessary. Two biggies on my list were to build retaining walls – one in the garden and the other in the rear of “outback” – the storage building. The necessary cement blocks were obtained – plain, ordinary 8-inch blocks for the garden and more decorative, yet smaller ones for behind “outback”.

The reason for the walls is erosion – both the garden and the rear of “outback” are situated on slopes. The wall behind “outback” was completed on Friday past – the same day a contractor installed a garage-type door to complete the building. All that remains to be done with the wall is to fill in some more dirt and a bit of gravel. The building is complete except for some caulking in several spots – and then placing my equipment therein.

All remaining to be done around the building is to make a swale to divert water flow away from the structure, level the ground in front of it and eventually pour a cement apron in front of the doorway. Then I can start on the wall in the garden – to be finished before tilling and planting in the spring. Meanwhile, much pruning is to be done – about half of the muscadines have been done and none of the hazel nuts – both need it before spring.

Also most of my blueberries need to be cleaned out and re-strawed – a slow but necessary job for good fruit production. Several other fruit producers need to be cleaned and pruned – figs, paw paws and a single pear tree. In the beginning stages of cleaning out the blueberries, I was also able to supply a young friend with some excess blueberry shoots to form a berry patch for his family.

Meanwhile, our trash compactor crashed into the past tense – must have been cheaply made – only lasted 28 years. With the aid of BIL, it was loaded on my small pick-up and hauled to the dump. Remains to be seen what we will install in the opening left in the cabinets – most of the newer compactors are smaller.

Mixed in with all the other processes were some baby sittings and other odd jobs. One of these was to install some lights and an outlet in the crawl space under YD and SSIL residence, not necessarily a hard job except for the cramped quarters involved. The recovery of the Spice is also in process – a long drawn out one. She and I are also in process – a beautiful one that has lasted more than 45 years thus far.

My personal relationship with Jesus Christ is in process and according to His Word; this will last for all eternity. ec

Sunday, January 25, 2009


The word nominal is interesting to me in that I only remember it being used in one context. I’m not saying that it has no other applications; I just don’t remember any other common ones. Among other definitions, this word has the meaning: being such in name only, or: so-called, or: putative. Breaking down so-called, it means: called or designated thus or incorrectly called or styled thus. Putative is: commonly regarded as such; reputed.

For most of my adult life I have heard this descriptive adjective used in reference to Christians. Very zealous exhorters would spit out the phrase, ‘nominal Christian’; much like one would forcefully and pneumatically expel a bug that had accidentally entered their oral cavity. It was an either ‘us’ or ‘them’ situation, with the ‘them’ being the ‘nominals’. But I wonder how many of the ‘us-es’ are really ‘thems’ in disguise?

But to determine the real from the pretenders, one would have to determine what a real Christian should be and what actions would come from the life of this forgiven one. The book of definitions gives several of these concerning a Christian, but the one I like best is: a person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ. Or as a short verse in Matthew says: “Therefore by their fruits you will know them”.

So what are these fruits? These have been expounded upon many times but in one message of long ago, every category of Christian fruit was covered. These are: 1) Character – who and what you are. 2) Conduct – how you act. 3) Contributions – what you give (money, time, love, etc.). 4) Communications – what you say. 5) Converts – Actively striving daily to win someone to Jesus. Is the fruit of your life what Jesus desires?

When it comes down to pronouns in conjunction with being a Christian, it is not an ‘us’ or ‘them’ situation but it’s whether or not we are His. ec

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It is almost a sure thing that I have committed non sequitur-isms but I do not remember ever using that word/phrase in a normal conversation – but then, am I really normal or have normal conversations? This last question comes about because quite possibly only one person in the whole world in really normal and everyone else is either below or above that median condition – and I don’t think I am that person today.

But getting back to the word/phrase that started all this – which is defined as an inference or a conclusion that does not follow from the premises – and/or a comment that is unrelated to a preceding one. Following this line of reasoning, would it be a non sequitur to say that we had a youth encounter/retreat at our church this weekend and I was one of the ones there – since I am not a youth but an oldster?

Our spiritual event started on Friday evening at 5: 30 and continued until Sunday morning, concluding in time for all of us to attend the AM service. As mentioned in earlier writings concerning several previous similar events, this one was also an awesome time of drawing away from everyday distractions to concentrate on matters concerning our Savior and the personal relationship possible with Him.

Nitty-gritty is defined as: the essential substance or details of a matter or the crux of it. Crux is defined as: the central or pivotal point or a perplexing and unresolved difficulty. Considering these defining words, especially the latter ones, the nitty-gritty is what the young participants in our retreat got down to. They were given the truth of the Word compared to the lies of our self and material seeking society.

Crux also carries the simple meaning of: a cross and this was what all of our weekend sessions were focused on. Not the cross itself but the true meaning of what took place on a certain cross about 2,000 years ago just outside Jerusalem and what it means to us today. A choice was necessary and urgent.

From outward appearances, most made the choice to follow the Savior. We offer follow up classes to reinforce the truths that were learned in the sessions. I do know for a fact that this oldster gets much of a blessing from being a part of these youth efforts – again the non sequitur appears on the close horizon and possibly this is another one of those – so be it. ec

Monday, January 12, 2009

not yet

A phrase is a sequence of two or more words arranged in a grammatical unit – and entering into this arena of verbiage is the small phrase – not yet. These two small words tend to be very disappointing to the questioner, especially if the curious one is a small child asking if the day is Christmas.

In the olden days, when men were not allowed in the delivery room at the birth of their children – they were “in the way” – they too were disappointed when the nurse told them over and over again – not yet. This answer would also displease our young ones when they ask for the umpteenth time, are we there yet?

This answer also applies when I wonder if the local highway construction is completed. Not yet. This answer is definitely in the negative because I am really wondering if they will ever finish up – no matter what completion dates they keep publishing.

Although these two words are in the negative sense, they can show an amount of faith. The ‘yet’ in the phrase means: at the present time, or up to a particular time, or thus far. To me this means that although an event is eminent and expected, it hasn’t occurred at that present space in time. Or else we might think that we would never have Christmas again, or the child will not be born, or we won’t arrive.

Continuing with this phrase in the positive sense and folks ask me if the Spice is well, I say, not yet, because even though she is improving and is expected to fully recover, she has yet to arrive at well city.

Also if one were to ask me if I was through with the outback storage building, I would have to say, not yet. As far as the building is concerned, it is completed as of Saturday when I placed the last piece of siding but I have not had the door installed, so it cannot be used. Also I have some grading to do in front of the structure and a retaining wall to build in the rear, as well as pouring a cement ramp in front.

I received a small digital camera for Christmas and someone might ask how many photos I have taken already and I would have to say none – at least not yet. To go further, if I was asked as to whether I had read up on how to operate this small instrument my answer would have to be – not yet.

If one were to ask if I had caused enough smiles or joy to be in the lives of young ones – especially our gruntmonkeys – I would have to say, not yet – though I strive mightily in that direction. And if the question to me was – have you encouraged enough folks or tried to lighten some one else’s load enough, again the answer would have to be, not yet – though that is my continuing effort.

Am I ready to meet Jesus, either by my death or in His second coming? YES!! If faced with the same question, my hope is that you would not have to say – not yet – because Jesus is ready to receive you anytime you call on Him. ec

Monday, January 05, 2009


It was Sunday AM and I was on my way to church. The weather was dreary, foggy and cloudy with drizzling rain. This was a solo trip since the Spice has been sick for over a week now. My mind was pondering many things about word definitions and such. The blues was one of the ponderings, as was gloom, discouragement, downheartedness and one that I really didn’t think of right then, melancholia.

Of course there is always the old catchall, depression – a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason – this is straight out of the dictionary. Mind you, I wasn’t feeling according to this or any of these definitions, I was just pondering them and wondering why they rule and ruin the lives of so many people.

While considering these deep thoughts and conditions, I was on I-20 about to cross the bridge entering into Georgia. As the crossing occurred, a small opening in the heavy clouds appeared and the sun lighted my passage all the way across. Then the clouds reasserted their rule of the sky all the rest of the way to church. I considered this short view of sunshine somewhat odd but also very meaningful.

Since the definition of epiphany is: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into reality or the essential meaning of something – often initiated by some simple, commonplace occurrence – I guess that is what I had. Considering the words I was pondering, what I drew from this occurrence was that God is able to bring His light into any depressing situation and dispel the darkness of the gloominess involved.

It naturally follows then, since Jesus is the Light of the world, that by inviting Him into our lives and into every situation, all darkness would have to flee. The relief may not be instant at times but at least we have Someone to be with us to help work out a solution, because no matter the problem, Christ is still the answer. ec

Saturday, January 03, 2009


January 2nd was to be the day that the Spice and I were to fly to Texas to visit with OD and crew but it had to be postponed. It seems that my favorite lady has come down with pneumonia (Dec 31st) in both lungs and I am sticking close to home to ‘nurse’ her back to health – this while fighting off some sort of bug myself. I am grateful that she did not have to be hospitalized but she is still one sick lady.

New Year’s Eve marked the date of our play presentation – ‘the money in Uncle George’s suitcase’ – and it came off without major incident and from all reports was hilarious. I was a bit busy during the play but the laughter sounded great. My bro and SIL were able to attend and enjoyed it. YD and GM1 were also there – they approved of the performances, especially that of their ancestor – me, aka ‘Uncle George’.

Even though I was very concerned, the Spice also attended – with her doctor’s reluctant permission – but only if she wrapped up and sat in an isolated spot. Our play director sent one of the backstage help with a chair and she sat on the walkway that overlooks the gym/fellowship hall – she also enjoyed the event.

The play made me glad on several accounts – I was glad that I was able to learn my lines, glad that I didn’t forget my lines, glad to have been a part of a talented and hard-working team, glad that it brought laughter into many lives and finally I was very glad when it was all over. I will remember most of the lines for months and will probably never forget a few of them – funny how the mind works.

The cast stayed around to welcome in the New Year along with about half of the audience – the place had been pretty much packed out. We counted out the old year and welcomed in the new one – I with mixed emotions since the Spice had to go back home after the performance, she had ridden with YD and GM1. I got home about 1am and was much too keyed up to sleep – I finally wound down about 3am.

On Jan 1st, I went out to the airport to tell them that we would not be able to make our flight. This fact was entered into the computer and the date will be changed when I go back out Monday with a letter from our doctor validating the Spice’s condition. We plan to go back sometime in February.

Many winter weeds are in our garden, but the only thing growing on purpose is turnip greens and I had picked, washed, cut up and cooked some of these for our PM meal, aka supper. Then I also cooked up some black-eyed peas, potatoes for mashing and a pone of cornbread – this latter required a trip to the market since our meal had gotten stale. The Spice felt well enough to mash the potatoes.

We thoroughly enjoyed this traditional southern meal that typically starts our new year in this locale. We welcome the New Year with some concern, much hope and absolute faith that God is still in control of our world, no matter what the news networks are reporting. ec