Archive for the ‘Live Love Laugh and Be Happy Now’ Category

The Basin Improvement Committee of 1890: it sounds like an exciting group to be a part of, don’t you think? Nestled on the heart of Main Street in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, this marker commemorates the intentional efforts of a small group to make things better and to improve life within the community.

If asked, I would likely say that a basin is a small container of water. According to Dictionary.com, it is that, and more…

1. a circular container with a greater width than depth, becoming smaller toward the bottom, used chiefly to hold water or other liquid, especially for washing.
2. any container of similar shape, as the pan of a balance.
3. the quantity held by such a container: We need another basin of water to dilute the mixture.
4. a natural or artificial hollow place containing water.
5. a partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth, where boats may be moored: a yacht basin.

I must admit, definition number 5 is my favorite. You see, I have a basin of my own, and the improvement committee has been meeting the past two days to make it even stronger. “A partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth…“: it’s called marriage, and yes, it is only partly man made.


To coin a phrase, I might say “those who go away together stay close”. Little Frau and I first visited Eureka Springs in the Summer of 1991. Yes, for those of you young ‘ens keeping score at home, it was indeed last century. The Frau and I had been married all of about two years, maybe a little less. We were young. We were in love. We were broke. Truth be told, we weren’t really broke, we just didn’t have much money to spend, so everything was carefully allocated to make sure we could do the trip and make it home.

The pinnacle of the trip was supposed to be a day at Silver Dollar City in Branson. Like I said, we were young, and traipsing around an amusement park in the heat seemed like the be all and end all of a good time. As we almost ran toward the ticket booth together, hand in hand, a man called out to me. It seems that he and his bride of 20+ years had gone to Silver Dollar City on their honeymoon, and returned each year as season pass holders. With the purchase of their season passes came one pair of single day tickets each year, and each year on their anniversary day visit, they would seek out a young couple to take in with them for free.

Almost in shock (remember, I was the ripe old age of 24), I asked the man if we could repay them, buy them lunch, or something else. His answer? “Do something nice for your wife with the money, and that will be just what I wanted“. We thought about that couple and their request all day. We looked at kitschy souvenirs. We thought about going to a show. Ultimately, we decided to use the money to spend a night in a Bed and Breakfast here in Eureka.

It’s not that spending a week sleeping on the ground in a $19.99 pup tent from Wal Mart isn’t romantic, but we were beginning to feel the trip growing on us. An indoor shower, air conditioner, and a bed turned out to be a pretty nice break in the trip.

A few years have come and gone since that trip. Life and kids have placed a few demands on the days and the dollars. Little Frau and I don’t get away as much anymore, at least for just the two of us. But, courtesy of kids at camp and a mid week July 4th calendar, the stars aligned for a brief 2 day excursion back to Eureka. We were not so adventurous as to desire a day in the amusement park this go round. It seems this Basin Improvement Committee of two finds catching up with old friends, casual dining, a small bit of kitschy souvenir shopping, reading, and napping more the order of the day. And it has all happened at a little Bed and Breakfast just a few doors down and 21 years removed from the last Eureka meeting of our little group.

I think we may not wait so long to reconvene the next time…



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“Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”

“Well, let’s see…”

I was clearing thru some old files in my office recently, and the memories came flooding back.

Hard decisions, some public, some handled and then buried….good decisions that no one truly understood….and the amazing love and generosity of others.

As referenced before, I work for a non profit organization. The generosity of others is often our life’s blood. Some of our donors go to great lengths to ensure that very few ever know what they have done. “Never let your left hand know what your right hand’s doing”; I think that’s how the saying goes.

How many people have prayed for a million dollars? How many people have prayed for $3 million? How many people prayed for a pot of money and really ever expected to get it? It has been over 10 years since the events unfolded, but I will confess to being in these categories. Times were tough for our organization. We had plans, we had backup plans, and we had parachutes. It seemed as if the plane was going down, and plans A, B, and C had fallen through. We were past the point of anyone parachuting to safety. Finally, I chose to begin my pre dawn arrival at the office on my knees, head down in the desk chair. “God, we need a lot of money, and we need it very soon…”.

The prayer ended shortly thereafter, and the day began. There were conversations, there were phone calls, and there were visits. What was once viewed as a distant relationship, an old friendship, years removed and separated by hundreds of miles parlayed itself into $3 million arriving in our organization’s account within 10 days.

True story. Even truer are the words penned many years ago by William Cowper:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

So, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

Like many of the encounters and generous acts of the anonymous faithful, the world may never know.

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Rules are rules, and sometimes nothing you can do will change them. Laws are laws, and the same holds true.

The Oklahoma Secondary Sports Athletic Association has rules, and they are meant to protect the sanctity of secondary school sports. I heard an advertisement on the radio yesterday for OSSAA promoting years and years of serving students. As I was driving last night to watch my son play in a Junior Varsity high school basketball game, and watch him sit in the stands later as his teammates and friends played in a varsity game without him, I was reminded that rules are rules. That being said, OSSAA’s “service to students” claim seemed to ring hollow in my ears. Rules are rules, and when they penalize people for moving or making the best educational choice for their kids, the accompanying one year sanctions are like salt in a wound. Sometimes, things are out of our control, and it hurts. Sometimes, people find ways to circumvent the rules, but it always comes at a cost.


Laws are laws. Gravity is one of the most universal of laws. Sometimes, we find ways to circumvent the laws, but it always comes at a cost. The concept of risk/return trade offs is at the heart of this idea. Man taught himself to fly over 100 years ago, and it has revolutionized the world. Good things, great even, like international travel and study opportunities, life saving air ambulance services, overnight delivery, and the like are all a result of man’s desire to learn from his environment. Bad things, horrific even, like arial bombardment in warfare and tragic accidents are all a result of man’s desire to conquer his environment. And conquer it, we may not.

Laws are laws. What goes up must come down. Sometimes, things are out of our control, and it hurts. OSU lost 10 from their basketball family in a plane crash 10 years ago, and it has happened again this week with the loss of Women’s Coaches Kurt Budke, Miranda Serena, and two others in another crash.

What we do know is that there is hope. Its not only about today. There is life after the pain, and there is life after we are gone. Thank God for that.

There is a saying that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I hope that is true for my OSSAA mandated varsity sideline companion for this year, and I hope it is true for those who are hurting in the OSU family today.

James 4:13-14: Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.


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Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Genesis 1:26-31

I had a long Skye conversation with Hannah-Chan early this morning, then woke Little Frau so she could join in the chat.

Eldest daughter and I talked about lots of stuff this morning: Shopping (everything is in Japanese, cause, it’s Japan…), earthquakes (I woke up and wondered why my feet were moving), and eating Sushi (raw is better than “lightly grilled”, apparently). We pretty much talked about everything, except maybe bouquets of newly sharpened pencils.


Her Japanese mom came into the room and said hello to us. It was late there, and Hannah had not come down to join the family in watching television, so she was just checking on her. It sounds like little-chan is embracing the culture, and they are definitely embracing her.

We talk and think so much about our differences, but in this instance, it has me celebrating the diversity that exists in this world. And, all this diversity was in the original DNA from the first creation of man. It makes me wonder what Heaven will truly be like when the whole strand of created DNA is back together and blended in Paradise.

I’m not much for sushi, and right now this all smells pretty fishy. And, may I add, fishy smells pretty good.

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They call her "Gitzen Girl". More on that in a moment.

Yes, it is that time of year, again. It's Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. It's been a year since the writing about Suffering in the Shadows, and Spoons, and such like. As I mentioned it earlier today, Little Frau said she was ignoring it, but admitted she could not escape it's influence. It's just something you can't ignore. And we should not try.

What a difference a year makes; and not. They say the more things change, the more they stay the same. How ironic.

Shingles are more than just those things that cover your roof. Meth(o) is not just something cooked up in backwoods locals.

"R.A.S." has passed on. "Warm Socks" entered the hospital just this week. And Gitzen Girl is Looking Homeward.

20110915-090819.jpg. She is 29, and suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis. This week, she's learned the end is near. I've never met her, and I've only read her blog a time or two, but her words and her spirit mean so much to many who share her pain, and Little Frau is but one of the many who are saddened as she is preparing to move beyond, to reunite with the father who gave her the nickname GG.

My objective was not to depress with this post, but I admit that could be one effect. The true hope is to share a level of awareness that I confess even I often lack living under an "RA framed" house with a "shingled roof".

Denial is more than a river in Egypt, or so they say, and it sometimes flows right thru my subconscious plain.

"They" are all around us. Friends. Family. Co-workers. People with chronic illness; Invisible chronic illness. And they look so good. And, truthfully, all they want is someone to understand, or at least to try. No assuming. Just caring.

Lest I leave things on a total down note, I would hope to say it almost as good as Gitzen Girl might. Read her blog and see if you agree. Live life, embrace it, and don't be afraid to laugh, even at the painful or the uncomfortable realities around us, however invisible they may be...







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Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. (Luke 1:1-2)

Richard Wright pointed out to us this morning in a discussion of Luke’s account that inspiration does not necessarily require originality. Touché. Arigatou gozaimasu – thank you very much, in Japanese.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was written in the 1950’s by children’s book author and theologian C.S. Lewis, and was the third tale in his Chronicles of Narnia series. It details a young hero and heroine being drawn back across time and space to the land of Narnia, where good is at war with evil, not all is as it seems, and heroic voyages and responsibilities call forth to the characters present.

Sounds a little like the present day. However, in this era of modern narratives chronicled by digital photography, the world wide web, social media, blogging, and the like, we often see the story unfolding before our eyes, seemingly as if the final plot has not yet been written.

Our young heroine boarded a ship last evening, not of wooden sailing vintage, but of Cathay Pacific Airship caliber. And, much like the mythical Starship Enterprise, time and space are relative as she seeks out new frontiers.


As she began her voyage at 1:00 AM PDT, family and friends had already lived those measured hours, restlessly sleeping at a time zone two hours removed. As the airship ventured out into the blackness over the Pacific, our Dawn Treader and her faithful companions were literally flying “toward the past”, over land and sea measuring points historical in time, until such point that they “warped into the future”, courtesy of the international dateline. One man’s Sunday afternoon is another woman’s Monday morning, but who can decipher which is which? Quite the “time/space continuum”, indeed.

Prince Caspian, as we will refer to him today, has remained behind on the distant shore with Little Frau, myself, and a cast of thousands. His swashbuckling exploits will await another day, as this narrative journey unfolds before us.

Returning to our original “source of inspiration” narrative for today, that being the book of Luke, we see it ending as follows: “So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.” (Luke 24:52-53)

Amen. Sail on, Dawn Treader. We will spend our time in the Temple, and await with great Joy your return and the forthcoming real time tales of life across the seas.


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“Our little baby’s all grown up and savin’ China…”. I could not have expressed my sentiments any better than our mythical friend “Mushu”, and like him, I don’t do that “tongue thing”, at least I hope not.

Anyway, Baby Girl #1 (and one of the best two young ladies on the planet, may I add) leaves later this morning to see the world, starting with China. I’m so excited for her, and I’m gonna miss her.

But, I’m not worried about her forgetting her sword. On the “Digital Front Porch”, among other places, I have found Hank to be one of the most accomplished swordsmen around. If I could tell her anything this morning before she boards that plane, it would be not to forget her sword, and her shield.

Ephesians 6:16-18: In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

So, this morning, I bow to you Bruce. Bruce who? Bruce you. In the words of Fa Zhou “The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter”. Love you girl.

Now, lets get down to business, to meet, the Huns…

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