Tag Archives: friends

This Place is Perfect

Sometimes it takes others’ eyes to help us fully appreciate what God has given us. Such was the case with me and our house on Lake Tyler.

Built in 1964, situated on about an acre of land and measuring at about 1,400 square feet, our lake house was previously owned by my mother-in-law. Darla was a certified Master Gardener, and “back in the day” she kept the grounds and gardens immaculately groomed. She planted gardens, each with a plant type or color theme and installed brick walkways among them. When we would visit, we always spent the first hour or so walking her gardens with her as she proudly showed us her latest additions. To say that Darla had a green thumb would be a gross understatement; Darla had a gift. She enjoyed nurturing her gift and, even today, we enjoy the results.

Darla moved out of the house in 2008. With no full time resident since that time, the gardens have not been properly tended. Brick walkways that were once beautiful garden pathways are now overgrown with weeds. Garden nooks and crannies, some featuring ornamental ponds and others featuring shaded arbors and park-like benches, are obscured and overgrown. I sat on one of the benches recently and it nearly collapsed as I lowered my weight onto its rotted boards. I no longer mow the lawn, for there is no lawn – now I groom my weeds. The exterior of the house needs a paint job, but first we must power wash the cobwebs from their positions under the eaves. Succinctly stated, the place needs work, and work is what I see when I pull up the driveway. My frustration grew to the point to which my wife and I recently agreed to put the lake house on the market. That was the case, anyway, until last weekend.

Last weekend we had five college friends join us for a weekend at the lake. As the weekend approached I was nervous, and even a bit embarrassed, given the run-down condition of the gardens and the home’s exterior. I was concerned about allowing my friends to see our property in this condition, so much so that I considered moving the event to our home in Keller to spare me the stress. I’m glad I didn’t.

My friends were awestruck. They gushed over the open space and the gardens they could see. They appreciated the lake views and speculated with us how the views will be improved when the brush along the channel is cleared. One fished from the yard and remarked how this would be a desirable vacation rental.

“Really,” said I, “somebody would actually pay to rent this place for a weekend?” I was shocked.

“Of course,” he said. “There are lots of people looking for an inexpensive weekend getaway. This place is perfect.”

“This place is perfect.” That phrase hung in the air as I contemplated the magnitude of what my good friend had just told me. As he continued to fish I looked around me and began to see our house and yard from his perspective. And I was sorry – sorry that I had adopted such a negative attitude about this beautiful gift that God has given us.

Yes, the place needs work. But you know what? My friend was right: This place is perfect. And it is not for sale.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” ~ Psalms 118:1

8.9.2014 Enjoying a delicious home-cooked Brazilian feast courtesy of the Dunn's.

8.9.2014 Enjoying a delicious home-cooked Brazilian feast courtesy of the Dunn’s.

My Facebook Hiatus: Revelations and Resolutions

During my self-imposed Lenten hiatus from Facebook, I missed some things and I didn’t miss others. Here they are, with a few resolutions and some of my favorite pics thrown in for good measure.

Things I Missed

Simple. I missed my friends. I heard from a couple over the course of my hiatus that they missed me, too. Facebook is a blessing in my life. Through it I have reconnected with many friends from my past, and I enjoy seeing what is going on in their lives today. We share joys and sorrows. We share songs and jokes. We share our families. We share life’s highlights and its lowlights. We say “Happy Birthday”! We’ve planned high school and college reunions. We laugh, weep, and pray together. Isn’t that what friends are for? I’ve missed those interactions, and I’m glad to be back. I have a renewed appreciation for all of the wonderful people God has placed in my life.

Things I Didn’t Miss

Political Misinformation. You know what I’m talking about – the supposedly clever one-liners and memes intended to belittle or put political opponents in their place. Such misinformation contributes nothing to our national discourse; in fact, it only serves to contribute to the ongoing weakening of this great country we share. Facebook is full of political misinformation from all sides of the political spectrum – conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and independents are equally to blame. I’ve been guilty of slinging this crap myself from time to time. I didn’t miss this one bit. Resolved: I will continue to post on political topics. Any political posting from me will be fact-checked in support of a candidate or position; I will not sling crap or otherwise insult those with whom I disagree. If we all shared this resolution, Facebook and the good ‘ole USA will be a much nicer place to hang out.

Game Invitations. I don’t want to play Candy Crush. I don’t want to build a farm on Farmville. I don’t care how rad or cool you think the latest game is – I’m not interested. I get tired of game invitations littering my news feed. It’s a pain to go to “Settings” to block them. Play your games and enjoy them. Just please, please, please stop sending me invitations!

Lost Dogs. I’m a dog guy; we have two of them. It breaks my heart when people abuse animals. But I’m not in adoption mode. I don’t need to know how many hours Spot has in the shelter before they put him down or what dog is lost from which neighborhood. Those are depressing and I can do nothing about either. If your kids are lost, I’m interested. If your own personal pet is lost, I’m interested. I’ll help you look for them and pray for their safe return if you ask me to. But please don’t share every animal that needs a home; I can’t give them one. (I do like hearing about successful adoptions, though; that’s cool).

My Facebook Going Forward

With all that said, each of us with a wall on Facebook has a personal space in which to post whatever we like. Perusing a person’s Wall gives a bit of a window into what makes them tick, and that’s really neat. So take what I’ve offered here with a grain of salt and post away! As for me, I’m going to focus on the things that matter most to me: My faith, my family, and my country. I will strive to do so with the utmost respect for those who may wander in and take a look. I’m available to each of my friends (why do we refer to them as “Facebook friends”? I’m going to stop doing that, too. They’re my friends, plain and simple). I’m available to laugh with you, weep with you, celebrate with you, support you, and pray with you. After all, isn’t that what friends are for?

Photo Credit: flipflopspearlsandwine.com

Photo Credit: flipflopspearlsandwine.com

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