Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day: Can You Dig It?

Photo: NASA
So today is Earth Day. You know--- Earth, as in the planet. Earth, as in the big blue globe we loved in the elementary school classroom. Earth, as in "In the beginning, God created....."

Or, Earth, as in--- dirt.

Yep. While millions of conservationists, environmentalists, and even the commander of the International Space Station (in a tweet from 240 miles ABOVE Earth) are celebrating Earth Day... Drexel is thinking about dirt.

One of my earliest memories is of digging in the dirt. One grandmother loved planting Texas Bluebonnet flowers in her front yard.. the other loved planting tomatoes, peas and butter beans. Both gardens required digging in the dirt. And, they let me help!

I loved using my little spade to dig, turn over and break up the soil. I loved reaching my little hands into the dirt, pulling up a fistful of the dark, rich soil and squishing it between my fingers. I loved watching the funny-looking roly-poly bugs and earthworms crawl in the earth.

If I was lucky, at the end of the digging and planting, my grandmothers would let me dig a hole outside the perimeter of the garden, turn on the water hose, fill the hole with water and make mud pies! 

It occurs to me that life is kinda' like digging in the dirt. Sometimes the dirt is hard and dry and we have to pound it, till it and water it to get it into a workable form. Sometimes the dirt is soggy and we have to expose it to sunlight and air. Sometimes the dirt is barren and we have to feed it and nurture it. Sometimes the dirt is filled with weeds, and we have to cull what's choking the goodness.

Sometimes, though, life---like good soil---is just right. Like the dark, rich Southeast Texas soil I dug in as a child, sometimes, the soil is just right for growing what is beautiful and healthy.

On Earth Day, I'll leave the celebrations of the planet to someone else. I'll just go digging in the dirt of my life. Gonna' feed it, weed it, water it, squish it between my fingers and see what grows.

If all else fails, I may make a mud pie! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Little Wobbly, But Hangin' In There!

Drexel Gilbert

Look at what caught my eye in a Pensacola, FL park after church today! Those of you who know me, or who read this blog, know that I often look at life through a tilted lens. This artwork made me stop---look---tilt my head---and think. 

My title for this piece has to be:
"A little wobbly... but hangin' in there!" 

Ever have those days?

Ever wish the wobbles and bobbles would straighten out, already? "Just think how much better life would be," we think. 


Then, again, maybe it's the wobbles and bobbles that help us determine who we really are, how badly we want to reach a goal, and how hard we are willing to work to get there. Maybe the wobbles and bobbles cause us to exercise our faith; stretch outside our comfort zone; balance wisdom with imagination; stay focused on the top (the goal) and keep on climbing---one wobbly step at a time.

Next time you are feeling a little wobbly, remember this photo, start stacking up your faith; regain your balance; get creative; and keep climbing. 

The view from the top just might be an eyeful!  
Hebrews 10:35 "Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards." (CEV)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Time to Clean the Pot

"Darryl," I said to one of the morning studio camera operators. "The coffee is GREAT this morning! What did you do differently?"

Shrugging his shoulders, he replied, "I cleaned the pot."

I thought about that long ago "morning-news-moment" yesterday--- as my coffee maker was spitting and steaming, fussing and fuming and taking FOR-EV-ERRR to brew. When it finally finished, my coffee tasted---well, let's just say, it was down the drain with that cup-o-joe. So, I tried my old friend Darryl's approach, and---

I cleaned the pot.

It's amazing how much better coffee tastes when the pot is clean. And, that thought led me to this one: 

What's in the pot of my life---the pot of my mind---the pot of my mouth... that needs to be cleaned?

When we are on the fast-track of life (and who isn't?) it's easy to just 'rinse and go' instead of taking the time to really clean out the pot that brews our thoughts, attitude, actions and words. Before long, we may find that our "pot" is filled with the residue, build up and debris of life's hassles. We may find ourselves acting just like my coffee pot---spitting and steaming, fussing and fuming, and taking FOR-EV-ERRR  to do what we need to do--- the way we need to do it.

Although I like to think my pot is not all that dirty, I admit I've been running so fast lately, I've been in the rinse-and-go mode... and even a little build up can cause thoughts and actions that leave a bad taste. So, today...

Photo: WikiHow
I'm cleaning my pot.

Just like the  variety in the row of cleaners at the supermarket, there are many ways to clean your life's pot. This is what I am going to do---at least for today.

Step 1: I am going to scrub away negative thoughts that have built up in my mind. Just for today- just for the next 24 hours- every time I have a negative thought or reaction, I will write it down on a piece of paper---then cross it out.. 

Just. Like.This.

Step 2: Just for today--just for the next 24 hours--I'll  replace that negative thought or reaction with something positive or constructive. Example: Negative- I don't have enough time. Positive- I have the same 24 hours everybody else in the world has each day. What 10. 15, 20 minutes do have that I spend on "this" that I might shift to spend on "that"? 

Step 3: I'll clean up my words. Trust me... I have one of the most boringly clean mouths around. when it comes to "those" words. But, in general conversation, just for today--just for the next 24 hours-- I'll  replace spitting and steaming (I'm not being literal here, folks) with steadiness and self-control. I'll speak words that encourage, uplift, and unify.

Step 4: Quality in- Quality out. Sometimes, I buy the discount coffee brands. I'm always disappointed. The little  I save isn't worth it, because the quality of what my coffee pot brews is not first rate---no matter how clean the pot. So, just for today-- just for the next 24 hours-- I am going to only feed the pot (my brain) quality material. I started with my scripture and devotional readings this morning. I'm going to be more aware throughout the day of what's on my car radio, my television, and my laptop screen, my conversations.
Christopher Meder from

The next 24 hours might be very cleansing. And, to think. It all started with a cup of coffee... brewed in a freshly washed pot.

Monday, April 1, 2013

No April Fool

It's a new day.. a new month.. the beginnings of a new season. What will you do with it?

At the start of the year,I came to a deeper realization that time is precious and should be used accordingly. I resolved to try and do one new thing each day. See:  2013: It's Time

I've been pretty good at keeping that resolution, even if the 'new thing' was something simple. Some days I cooked a new recipe.Some days, I read a book, or story, I'd always wanted to read but had never found the time. I began running again, and some days I  take a new route.--- just because. I met a friend for lunch, when I once would have given into the "I'm just too busy" excuse. I took a few risks with my career choices. Some paid off. Others-- I'm still waiting.  Some days I visited a chapel I'd never been to before. (See my Lenten blog series.) 

One day, I decided I would talk a lot less and listen a lot more. Amazing what you can hear when you do that--- both spoken and unspoken.

But enough about me.

Would you like to consider this day to be a fresh, new start for you? Then, do it. It isn't always easy. Trust me, I know. Really. I do. The first step is usually the hardest.

It begins when you say, "I'm ready." 

I don't know what your new start looks like. Maybe you don't know yet, either. Maybe you want to get a job, quit a job, paint, write, build, plant, create, invent, improve, help... or heal. What I do know is that once the first step is taken, it's easier to take the second, the third, the fourth.. and before you know it, you just may be off and running! 

For centuries, April 1 has been reserved for pranks, jokes and hoaxes. What if you made April 1, 2013 your day to get serious--- about doing whatever it is that has been on your 'to-do' list for so long? 

It's a new day.. a new month.. the beginnings of a new season. Take that first step. And, let me know how it goes.

April 1 is shaping up to be a good day. No foolin'.