Things are slowly getting back to what I suppose is the new normal for my house. Only about half of my floor space is covered in boxes these days, and I'm beginning to get used to the presence of peanut butter (can't stand the stuff) and juice boxes (liquid poison) in my refrigerator. The reality of life with kids, I suppose.
Ah, the refreshing smell of raindrops. You can almost see the trees, grass and plants gulping down the nourishment like a giant dose of elixir. The burgeoning growth in every leaf and bud is second by second. The warmth of the spring air is like a soothing balm, and sleep is so peaceful with the windows wide open, letting in the fragrant aroma and the tiny sounds of the night.
Around this time last year, my little brother graduated high school, and I wrote about how it was weird seeing him all grown up. This year there is another graduation in my family.
I read a recent report about responses from over 5,000 teens who were asked, "What does it mean to be a friend?" Many said evidence of true friends is what they do and/or say to show loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness or willingness to make a sacrifice when you need help.
Saturday, April 25: Grilled chicken on the fire pit. This was the first time the pit came into play this season. Had to shovel out copious amounts of acorns and other debris. On the positive side of things, the snow that fell last Halloween brought down loads of quality oak that should last well into the summer. Showed the boys how to operate the electric chainsaw. The chicken was excellent.
It’s funny how we can change our habits without even thinking.
Last Monday evening, Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg was closed for a private function. Ripley’s apologized for it on a big billboard at the entrance. I do not know if anybody was inconvenienced. I would think a few people turned around, disappointed. Those of us who came to the aquarium to attend this private function certainly felt grateful to attend.
As I waited for my wife to finish work, the wee girl on the bench beside me began to talk about her boyfriend Charley.
Two hundred seventy-three. That’s how many miles I have walked on trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At least since I started keeping track.
Many of us have shared the spiritual journey once again that encompassed the week that changed the world. We gather to celebrate an event, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. Because He lives, we too shall share in life everlasting. I repeat, this is an event text. We don't have to ponder nuances of the Greek or puzzle what knowledge of the culture will further illuminate. We celebrate this event by allowing it to live on in and through us.
"The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming An Individual In An Age Of Distraction," by Matthew B. Crawford, published March 2015, is a very interesting read. It's his second book, following "Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into The Value Of Work." I can relate to both – and so can you.
HBO's popular fantasy television show "Game of Thrones," based on a series of books by George R.R. Martin, is back. And for the first time in a few years, I'm anxious about what is going to happen.
So it's April again, and that means only one thing: pollen. Oh, and Earth Day. For our annual trash collecting expedition around the neighborhood, we were getting ready mentally. Alas, one of our neighbors got ahead of us with her children. During spring break, they spent a few hours collecting trash from the ditches of our subdivision and trash they did collect.
Ah, April. Spring is here. What a wonderful feeling of freshness in the air! Everywhere you look there is something new, vibrant, alive, colorful, and it makes my heart sing.
I've written previously about Dr. J. Winston Pearce, fellow speaker at some of the senior adult conferences I hosted in Gatlinburg. At the time, he was retired as a professor at Golden Gate Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif., and was serving as a writer-in-residence at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. Today I've been thinking again about what this biblical scholar, researcher and outstanding instructor told me in one of our conversations. Dr. Pearce said there is evidence that the energy of every sound, voice and spoken word is retained in the atmosphere. He said it may be possible in the future for some instrument to search out and tune into voices and words of the past. How exciting this could be – and how scary.
Ah, my friends, I have to admit I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. I mentioned last week that my fiancée and her kids moving in; they are to be officially moved in on or before the 15th of this month. That's easy – I'm really looking forward to that part of this. They're awesome.
I stand by what I wrote in my "A Strategy For Winning" book and have said many times at my speaking engagements: Everyone can increase his or her creativity. No doubt about it. Some people think creativity means bringing something into existence that never existed before. Well, God did that, but for humans, true creativity involves taking an idea, an object, a method, a group of people – something that's been around for a while – and standing back, looking at it with a different perspective and giving it a different twist.
I write this from a hotel by Disney World, which is similar to Dollywood with an extra billion or so dollars thrown in. I went into a Norwegian stave church such as the old wooden churches I saw in Norway.
Last year, I wrote about our experience at our first UT Violin Festival. Before I give you the scoop on this year's festival, let's talk money. A professional violin lesson, which lasts 30 minutes, costs $35 to $50. The festival offers 12 hours of seminars and workshops, over two days, as well as two concerts with world-class instrumentalists. It's all for the bargain price of $40.
On my Facebook feed, the excitement began building days in advance.
Those of you who read my Valentine’s Day column about a month ago know I am engaged. Space constraints kept me from mentioning a very important part of the situation: my fiancée has four children who will be moving in as well and, I suppose, will expect to be fed.
Recently I've been enjoying the new AMC television show "Better Call Saul." It's a spinoff of AMC's successful show "Breaking Bad," which centered on a high school teacher turned drug dealer.
"Curiosity killed the cat." Most of us have probably heard this saying from childhood. However, tacked onto that statement is the adage, "Satisfaction (or knowledge or discovery or success) brought it back (to life)." The killing of the cat aspect has usually been used to warn us away from getting involved in unwise or unnecessary investigations or experimentations. Or, as another old saying admonishes us, "Don't stick your nose where it doesn't belong." But the satisfaction, gained knowledge, discovery or success aspect can be rewarding – if we don't experience disappointment or negative results.
In the battle between big cities and small towns, there are no right answers. Every family is different. Some parents have jobs that require them to live in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York or Pigeon Forge. As for me, I recently realized that given the choice between a small town and a big city, I would choose a small town.
For the last 35 years, ever since I had my first apartment, I take the first four days of March Madness off work and institute an ‘open house’ policy in my home. From noon to midnight, for four days, all my friends are welcome to come by. We enjoy some food, partake in a few beverages, and park ourselves on the couch. No interruptions or distractions are tolerated. For pure sports drama, there’s nothing like the NCAA tournament.