Thursday, March 31, 2011

Contract Accepted!

After two helter skelter days of looking at homes in the Knoxville area, we made an offer on one we fell in love with.  Our offer was accepted!  Praise God.

Our realtor is Jackie Price---a real pro.  He got us exactly what we wanted.  Thank you, Jackie!

It has a nice front porch.  That is a weeping cherry tree in the front yard.

A nice mantel and gas fireplace with instant electric starter

A Formal Sitting Area...Wood Flooring Throughout.

Eat-In Kitchen Off of the Living Area Opens Up to The Rear Deck and Back Yard

Formal Dining Room
We are Trying to Relax a Little Today and Tomorrow Before Heading Back to Texas.  Whew!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Helter Skelter.......

Wow!---it's great to get the chance to blog again.  Every day has been crammed full of activity early morning to night.  We have been exhausted.  But, we were able to make an offer on a home here in Knoxville yesterday, and we were just notified that the seller has accepted it!

In the meantime, here are a few pics of our trip so far.....

This is me---last Friday night before beddie-bye...Cindy was gonna help me with my hair, which is lengthening nicely, don't you think?  Ha.

She's Crazy About Me!

OK, The Back Looks Pretty Good

The Finished Product is a Masterpiece!

Saturday Morning, Dallas Central Expressway, 4:00 AM---Atlanta, Here We Come!

Oh, Boy---Here Come the Torrential Rains

After a 14 Hour Drive, Cindy and I Arrive at My Mom's Retirement Village in Atlanta...Pretty Nice, Huh?

Front Entrance to Mom's Village

The Grounds Are Beautiful---Spring Has Sprung!

This is the View From Mom's Apartment Overlooking the Pool and Waterfall.  There are Fish in the Pool.  Can You See the Phony Owl Standing Guard?

My 88 Year Old Mom Says "Don't Take My Picture!"  Ha.

Mom and Cindy Cook Din-Din in Mom's Kitchen

Mom Spends a Lot of Time In Her Sitting Room Overlooking the Pool

On Monday Morning We Drove to Knoxville.  Just Down the Street From Our Hotel is A Mexican Restaurant With This Human Lime Slice Soliciting Business Out Front.  Sheeeez.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I miss my bloggin' buddies!  Cindy and I are in Knoxville, TN looking at homes.  We haven't had a chance to post anything, and we really miss our friends on here.  As soon as we have a little time we will be back to our bloggin'.  We miss y'all!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Waffle House Moment In Time....

I originally posted this story on July 29, 2010.

I pulled off of the interstate at a non-descript crossroads town near the Louisiana-Mississippi state line. It was nearing the noon hour and I was quite ready for lunch. I spied a Waffle House and that promised to be a quick, inexpensive solution to my hunger.

The cries of "Helloooo" echoed through the eatery as I entered. A small booth in the back was the perfect spot for me to eat while observing the comings and goings of the broad spectrum of patrons.

It was surprising that there were only a few customers present. Usually, at that time of day, Waffle Houses are pulsing with activity. I ordered a patty melt and relaxed in the relative quiet.

By and by, the door opened and a man entered. I would not have paid much attention, except for the fact that he stopped just inside the door and just stood there, looking down at the floor. He was dressed in what looked to be clean, if worn, clothing. He had a beard that needed trimming, and hair that was about three weeks past due for a haircut. One of the waitresses invited the man in, and motioned for him to take a seat.

In a low voice, while staring at the floor, the man asked if there might be any leftovers. He added, "I don't have any money to pay for it."

The waitress turned to the manager, who was also the cook, and told him the situation. The manager eyed the man, and said, "Sit down, sir---I'll give you a little something to get you on your way". The man timidly perched on a barstool at the counter.

He was served a waffle with syrup, a bowl of grits and a glass of water. The man was very meek and courteous, saying "thank you", and "I really appreciate this".

When he had finished, the waitress told the man that one of the other patrons had offered to pay for anything else he might want to eat. He stammered, "Who should I thank?" But the waitress said she could not tell him that, but he was free to order anything more that he might want. All he could think of was another bowl of grits and more water, which the waitress brought him. He thanked her again.

When he finished eating, he rose and quietly asked the waitress if it would be all right if he used the restroom. She told him of course it would be OK.

When the man came out of the restroom, he shuffled past my booth. I extended my hand to him as he passed me. He looked at me with a quizzical expression. In my hand was a $5 bill. "Oh, I couldn't take that", he whispered. I said "Yes---this is for you. Remember that Jesus loves you".

I thought I saw tears welling up in his eyes. "Thank you, sir", he murmured appreciatively, as he took the currency and backed to the door.

As he exited the restaurant, I arose to pay my bill. The waitress said to me, "That was a wonderful thing you did. God will bless you for that".

I told her that God has ALREADY blessed me beyond reason.

Leaving the Waffle House shortly after the man had departed, I looked for him to see where he was going. But he had mysteriously vanished.

Since that day, I think of that man often. And I sometimes wonder if God was testing all of us in that restaurant that day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Light Bulbs

Traditional Incandescent
 The US government has mandated that traditional 100W incandescent bulbs be phased out and replaced by Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) by January, 2012

Compact Fluorescent Lamp  (CFL)
Incandescent bulbs utilize a filament that is heated until a glow is produced, thus producing illumination.  Unfortunately, it also produces a great deal of heat as a side-effect, and this results in a huge waste of energy.

Some of the positive features of CFLs are:

---Between 8-15 times the longevity of incandescents (so claims the manufacturers)
---Use only 20%-33% of the energy of incandescents

Some of the negatives of CFLs are:

---These bulbs contain between 3 and 5 mg of mercury per bulb.  Mercury is poisonous and is a threat to the environment.
---Introduction of tens of millions of CFLs to landfills holds the potential to contaminate water, soil and air.
---It is unlawful in some states to dispose of CFLs in landfills.
---It is recommended that CFLs be recycled.
---One broken CFL bulb can release a mercury level that temporarily exceeds U.S.guidelines for chronic exposure.  Strict rules for cleanup of a broken bulb must be followed.
---There as yet is no standardized size for CFLs.  Thus, one must be careful when purchasing them to be sure the size bulb is consistent with other bulbs in the home for aesthetic reasons.
---Very few CFLs are compatible with dimming switches.
---As CFLs age, they emit steadily less illumination.
---The life of a CFL diminishes as it is turned on and off frequently.   The U.S. Energy Star Program recommends leaving these bulbs on when leaving a room for less than 15 minutes. 
---The cost of a CFL is 3-10 times that of an incandescent.

I have replaced all incandescent bulbs in my home with CFLs, except those that operate with dimming switches.  Over the course of the last two years, I can testify that CFLs do outlast incandescents, but not nearly as long as advertised.

Not Quite!
I have not broken a CFL bulb as yet---and I hope I don't.  The cleanup instructions are oppressive.

Virtually all CFL bulbs are manufactured in China.  Incandescents were manufactured in the U.S.A.

What do you think of the pros and cons of switching to CFLs?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Money Equals Happiness......

Oh, how many times have I heard the old adage, "Money cannot buy happiness?"

But it can....can't it?  I mean, wouldn't everyone be happier with more money?  I think I would be happier if I had a lot more money.  I mean, think about it....I would feel much more secure if I had a lot more moolah.  And, I would have the flexibility to do so much more without worrying about depleting my savings.  I could travel more, eat out more, give more money to charity, buy a home at the lake, get a power boat, and so on.  That surely would make me happy, right?

Hmmm.  Well, now that I have thought about it, maybe not.  The first thing that comes to mind is this:  looking back on my life, the unhappiest time frame of my existence was when I had the best job that paid the most money.  I had a big house, a flashy sports car, expensive vacations, and status.  All of that certainly did not make me happy.  I wonder why.......

Then, I get to thinking about all of these well known folks who are wealthy and who are obviously very UNhappy.  Now, that seems odd, doesn't it?

Jesus said we should "store up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal".

In this context, Jesus was saying that all material possessions here on earth are temporary.  He is saying that we should be concentrating on our next life---the only one that is important.  The next life is not about material wealth, but is about spiritual wealth.  When we make material things important to ourselves here on earth, our concern for them interferes with our ability to focus on our spiritual growth for the next life.

Your thoughts, please.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What is the Nicest Thing Anyone Has Ever Done For You?

When Cindy asked me this question a few days ago,I was stunned that I could not really give her an answer.   Part of the reason for that, I think, is that so many people in my life have been so very kind to me that I cannot name just one.

Of course, our parents have been extraordinarily good to most of us.  Our grandparents and other nurturing relatives have given us much needed love and encouragement.  Our teachers, clergy, and friends have supported us on our journey.

But, what about the countless other times---often by nameless, transient individuals---over the years when someone has done something for us that has made a big difference to us at the time?

My fifth grade teacher, Mrs Shoemake, taught me a very important life lesson that stays with me still.  

A counselor once moved me to tears by being so insightful and kind that I learned to really know how important it is to be that way with others in my life.

A preacher friend of mine, Reverend Wendy Curran, once supported me in a way that was very important to me---to this day, she doesn't really know how much her support meant at the time.

While it is difficult to single out one specific instance in our lives that was "the nicest thing anyone ever did", I have found that just thinking about that question brings up a flood of wonderfully kind things many people have done for me.  I hope I have been able to give just a part of that back.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Contract

Our Happy Home
Ten months ago, we listed our home for sale.  I had retired from work, and Cindy was homesick for Tennessee and the grandkids. 

Our Beautiful Sunrises
Although we love living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, life goes on, and we decided to make (hopefully) one more move in our life---back to the American southeast.

Our Beautiful Sunsets
I thought our home would sell quickly.  But, the week we listed our home, the economy went in the tank. Plus, the government program that offered first time home buyers an $8,000 rebate came to an end.  Thus, although a lot of people traipsed through our home looking at it, it did not sell.

Our Beautiful Roses
This can be a problem, because you have to keep your home in pristeen condition at all times.  There was a lock-box at the front door, which meant that a realtor could bring customers inside the home at any time.  There was one time that I was in the pool naked as a jaybird when a realtor showed up in front of the house.  Fortunately for them, Cindy alerted me in time and a funny situation was narrowly avoided.
Our Beautiful Pool  (With Visitors)
Anyway, after two days of haggling, we accepted an offer on our home over the weekend.  After the contract was worked out, the buyers wanted to bring their relatives by to see it.  So, we obligingly got the house spiffed up yet again for one final showing.

Our Beautiful Neighbors
The buyers showed up with their relatives---9 of them by my count---and they spent an hour inside the home.  When they emerged, they took pictures of themselves and the home on the front lawn.  I think they are emotionally attached.  I hope they are---and if they are, I don't blame them, because we have loved our home and our neighbors and our town.
Our Beautiful Church
Now, let's hope the buyer is able to get a loan!
To see Cindy's view of the weekend, visit her blog at

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

When I was growing up, it was understood back in the deep and dark recesses of my mind (though I never thought much about it at the time) that when I turned 18 years old, I would magically and automatically know what I was going to be doing the rest of my life.

I seemingly understood that the act of graduating from high school would somehow convey the wisdom to know what my life path would be.

Only problem is......that didn't happen.  Off to college.  Still didn't know.  I was amazed that the other freshmen and sophomores at school seemed to know exactly what career paths to take.  Not me.

So I took a course of study that was strictly liberal arts.  I learned a lot of history and English and biology and geology and journalism and Spanish and military science and sociology and psychology.  Then, I got a degree.  Still didn't know what I was going to be doing.

Then, I went into the army for two years.  When I got out, I still didn't know.  So I did what a whole bunch of folks in my situation do---I took the best paying job I could find.  Did I enjoy it?  No.  Was I good at it?  I give myself a "B", but I wasn't particularly fulfilled or happy.

Well, it turns out that I am not the Lone Ranger, as they say.  It turns out that most 18 year olds do not really know what they will be doing as a vocation---even though they might think they know.  It turns out that a whole lot of those freshmen and sophomores in college who said they knew what they wanted to do with their lives did not.  It took them several wrong turns to find that out.  It turns out that is normal, whatever that is.

No, it turns out a lot of people who were trained as engineers in school end up as artists or beekeepers or accountants.  And lots of other folks who thought they were going to be nurses or doctors wind up in sales or retail or government work.

It is nice if an individual knows precisely what their interest is at age 18 or 22 or even 30---but most folks require some life experience to finally arrive at their desired life work.

How about you?  Did you know what you would be doing with your life when you were 18 or 22? 

What twists and turns did your career take?

What advice would you offer to young men and women trying to decide their future careers?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Onions, Onions, Onions.......

I cannot imagine a life without onions.   I mean, I couldn't---and wouldn't---even consider eating a hamburger without a generous slice of onion on it.  And look at all those dishes that have onion included in the recipe.  Why, a world without onions?  No, thanks.
I Am Old School---I Like My Onion Rings Fried, With A Light, Crispy Crunch That Allows the Flavor of the Onion to Shine 
The onion is closely related to another food additive I love---garlic.  Onions are popular around the world---every culture uses onions in its diet to one degree or another.  They can be sliced, chopped and powdered, as well as simply eaten whole, which I have been known to do.  Depending on the variety, they can be spicy, tart, pungent, sweet, sharp or mild.

Onions were first cultivated around 3,000 BC.  Claims regarding their health benefits include the common cold, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, heart disease, and many more.

Personally, I prefer the Vidalia variety.  This particular onion is grown in the area surrounding Vidalia, Georgia (US).  It is a wonderfully sweet variety that is heavenly.  Close behind the Vidalia variety---in my humble opinion---is  the Walla Walla, Washington sweet onion.  But, my main point is this---no matter where it is grown, or what the flavor might be, onions are a necessity of life, not to be taken for granted.
Cindy reminded me of what her mom used to tell her when she would go on a date---"Don't eat any onions".  But hells bells, if a date is offended by the smell of onions, he/she ain't worth gettin' serious over!
I Like to Grill Vidalia Onions.  Oh, Yeah, Babe...
What would this tired old world be without onions?  If God made anything better, He kept it for Himself.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another Friendship Issue......

I got some really good comments on yesterday's post concerning friendship.  Several commenters raised some thought provoking questions, and that got me to thinking last night about an enormous issue that is going on right (literally) below our noses.

We all know there is a revolution continuing in our world, and it grows every day in every country---electronic communications.

Up until only about 20 years ago, people the world over socialized and made friends and sustained friendships the same way they had done it since human beings first roamed the earth---they met each other in person, conversed in person or by telephone and sustained their friendship by actually knowing one another by having a face-to-face relationship.

Today, that age-old method of creating and sustaining friendships is changing, whether we like it or not.

Today, our children "meet" other people on the computer or on their cell phones.  They "converse" by texting or E-Mailing.  They will tell you that most of their "friends" are people they have never met---and may never meet.
Even we adults are creating relationships on Facebook, MySpace and Blogger with folks we have never met.  This is a huge revolution in social interraction.  In another 20 years, I cannot even imagine how we will define "friend" or "friendship".


---Is a follower on Blogger---someone you probably will never meet---a true friend?  In 20 years, do you think your answer will be different than it is today?

---Sociologists say that children of today are losing the ability to relate in a face-to-face manner.  What kind of world is this creating?

---Do you have any strictly on-line relationships that you would classify as "friendship"?