Posted by: comedyheirs | February 15, 2021

When Winter Loses Its Way

Since Texas seems intent on copping an icy attitude, cancelling various activities and wreaking general wintry havoc? I have something to say –

Now it came to pass in the second month, in the region of South Central Texas, in the Valley called Brazos, in which dwelt several hundred thousand inhabitants, there went out a prediction from the criers of the weather that a storm was approaching. This alarm was sounded when Abbott was governor.

Among the citizens, there was much looking into the heavens as the cold descended from the north, even from the Rocky Mountains in the west and as far as the Atlantic coastlines in the east and even from the far, far reaches of the provinces of Canada.

And those who had long lived in the area stated clearly that these threats of snow had long occurred only once a decade and they were much perplexed for they had received this white visitation only one month prior. Indeed, there had been a snowfall of great moistness in the first month of the year, amid much rejoicing and constructing of snowmen outside the citizens’ dwelling places, which stood several days hence before melting under the heat of the midday sun.

Even this had been the cause of much speculation since it had occurred only three years after a snowfall of similar but lesser accumulation.Now there dwelt in this region a family, who had descended from the tribe of Levi (Miller – that’s me!) and had moved them and all their belongings from the frozen land of New York in search of the promised warmth of the southern regions of the country in which they were citizens. They found it to be a goodly valley, warm and inviting, until now

.For they perceived that winter had chosen to visit them in a land where it was not meant to dwell. Yea, in the land of neither salt nor snow truck? Neither man nor beast possessed the knowledge or experience to cope successfully with the hazards of ice and snow as they settled, in all fury, on the unsuspecting landscape.

Now the day before the anticipated weather, one of the Levites ventured forth to procure several items at the local market and found chaos reigning. Indeed, there was confusion in every aisle as the coveted items of milk, bread and toilet paper must be procured for weather predicted to last less than seven days. Plus tax.

As the sleet descended upon the land, the snow came and the winds blew? This family was thankful for one thing. At least in Texas? Winter would not remain in a foreign region long and would soon return to the north from which it descended and where it should have stayed in the first place.

What in the world?

Not cool, Texas.

Not cool.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | February 14, 2021

It’s Not If We Bow; It’s When

Larry Flynt.

Ravi Zacharias.

Two names that have recently garnered national attention keep bringing me back to The God to Whom we all must answer.

He is Sovereign.

He is Goodness.

Men are evil, yet He uses even that evil for His eternal plan and purpose in ways that often remain a mystery to us:

“For your thoughts are not My thoughts; neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord…”

Mr. Flynt made his earthly fortune through the exploitation of women via pornography. His appetite for such debasement of his neighbor was as unabashed as it was financially lucrative. He died last week.

Mr. Zacharias impressed the evangelical world with his apparently exemplary Christianity, superior oratory skills and a commanding personality. Since his recent death, very unsettling accusations regarding his secret exploitation of women have come to light and an apology issued by his founding organization.

None of us know the whole truth about either of these men but one thing’s clear.

They are both dead.

They are both without excuse.

They will both be judged by The God Who has known the intimate details of their life, from beginning to end, from eternity past.

“The darkness and the light are both alike to you.”

” For there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed…”

“We shall ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ…”

Indeed, in the end? It doesn’t matter what men say of us but what God has declared and it is His Omniscience that will, with perfect equity, judge each of us.

May we be found clothed only in His Righteousness.

It is our sole, certain hope against eternal condemnation.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | December 27, 2020

Going With the Conversational Flow

I’ve long contended that the art of good conversation is a highly underrated source of self-improvement.

I crave it.

I actively seek it out.

Naturally, it finds me when I least expect it.

This past Sunday was one of those unexpected treasure troves that’s still spilling into the rest of my week with its delightful overflow. There was a lunchtime discussion with friends covering topics like annual family traditions and our associative memories. Most of them have proven delightful. A few we’d prefer to forget.

We chatted about our ongoing parental challenges, quirky and tried-and-true recipe ideas and a rather lengthy, robust discussion on our innate tendency toward hypocrisy.

Ouch.

OOF.

Guilty.

The frequent outbursts of laughter reminded me what I would have missed if God’s benevolence hadn’t moved me out of my comfort zone and into this particular congregation of His people.

After we came home from our evening church service, (in which it was determined that Andrew would be venturing on his first ever official golf outing), I called my parents. (For the record, he enjoyed it immensely and played a decent game despite that fact that both of his parentals are decidedly non-athletic). I needed to run a couple of things by them and, frankly, I just like to chat with them on a regular basis. The fact that I still can is not lost one me. Also, they kinda like it when I do.

My dad picked up. I told him a couple of my kiddos were headed his way in a couple of weeks over New Year’s Day weekend. Did you know you can actually hear someone’s eyes light up in the delight their voice projects?

You can.

Yes and Amen.

Moving on.

My father was particularly excited to report that his latest batch of laying hens has finally started to produce eggs in a manner worthy of their calling. I don’t know if they assumed they could just fritter their existence away perching, strictly ornamental, in a metaphorical pear tree because their current address is Partridge, but whatever was going on in their birdbrains had left my dad in frustrated straits for some time.

Anyway, he’s delighted that they’ve finally moved on to embracing their highest biological protein value, in-the-whole-shell, production shtick.. He’s also pleased with the rooster-in-residence, who appears to be less problematic than some of those “He Who Ruffles Feathers for No Apparent Reason” barnyard bullies he’s weather in the poultrified past. (“Poultrified” isn’t a word for those getting ready to verify that I just made it up).

I brought him up to speed on the fact that we’d processed our former flock of six straight into the freezer and have a new quartet pecking in our backyard. They’re no brighter than their predecessors. One of those proofs is their ability to get themselves stuck in the trap we’ve set for the squirrels who seem intent on pilfering their food. I’d say they’re adopting the “if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em,” motto but that’s a really big stretch for the general lack of cognition I’ve observed.

Returning to my Dad/someone you can actually converse with, he told me that Christmas carolers had come that evening to their house to grace them with beautiful annual renditions . Those of you who know my parents musical tastes know how this would have brought them particular pleasure. He was generous with his praise, whoever you are.

Then, he had a couple of queries for Andrew so I handed the phone off, listened to the easy camaraderie between generations and was, again, grateful for such a gift.

The phone eventually ended up in the hands of the true chicken lover here and Steve gave him the detailed update mi padre was really looking for on Lucy, Doris, Jules and Goldie, who we hope will start producing the coveted eggs by next Spring. They both really enjoy this whole “flock in the backyard” thing and the “shop talk” gets pretty intense. My favorite part of these exchanges is always the laughing, delightfully unabashed and a reminder that they both embrace life’s inevitable humor. Of course, these birds aren’t exactly MENSA material, so the fodder continues in abundance.

The gift of conversation is a rich mix of love, length and laughter.

Cultivate it.

Feed it.

Savor it.

It’s a great way to grow.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | December 13, 2020

Freddie Candy

What you see pictured is Freddie candy.

Let me explain.

When I was growing up and attending church at Cedar Crest Amish Mennonite, there was a gentleman in the congregation who dispensed his own simple delight. His name was Fred Yoder. If I remember correctly, he served in a diaconate capacity, which included stuff like keeping the sanctuary comfortable for worship services. He’d open up room dividers, open and shut windows and I’d always watch, fascinated, as he quietly just did his thing.

A lot of other pediatrics watched him too. Here’s why. Every child knew that after the church service was over on a Sunday morning, you could approach Fred, recite your Sunday school Bible verse and he’d reach into his pockets and give you a pack of those Smarties. You got them even if your recitation wasn’t word perfect. We called it “ Freddie candy” and were sorry when we “aged out” upon turning sixteen and participating in church youth group.

Well, most of us. I had a friend whose sense of humor just couldn’t quite let it go, so she devised a plan to eke out one more sweet serving. I don’t remember if she did it on a dare but one day after the old benediction? She walked up to him, blurted out, “Jesus wept,” and started to walk off, sorta mortified, sorta not. He called her name and offered her a pack, a big grin on his face. You could tell he was enjoying the whole thing immensely. I still laugh when I recall that scenario.

Cancer took Fred years ago but I’ll long remember his simple kindness to children.

So, yes, Smarties will always be “Freddie candy” to me.

Marie Kondo can spark all the efficient, organized joy she wants.

Fred’s quiet spreading of it beats hers by a country mile.

Posted by: comedyheirs | November 10, 2020

Spin Gonna Cycle

If love makes the world go round, it gets some of its orbital fuel from school playgrounds. I submit a thumbnail proof sketch from yesterday at One Day Academy. Two seven-year-olds were doing their best to stealth their way, in zigzag fashion across a very open play area between two playgrounds. Why the subtlety?

“We’re going to sneak up on S. and surprise her, Mrs. Rockhill,” and watch the ten-year-old object of their affection watch them, wholly unimpressed and diss them thusly:

“What are you guys doing? You’re so weird.” She then marched over to inform me that she considered them a nuisance and asked my why boys act the way they do. I told her the truth and in spite of her dramatic sigh? A grin emerged.

Big.

Bigger.

BIGGEST.

Later, I watched a group of girls burst from their classroom’s confines and listen to a most rousing discussing on the definition of “flirting” emerge. The opinions promptly flew hither and yon. Here are a few of the gems I recall. First off, one of the Puberty on the Cusps said that she had been unjustly accused of the crime and stoutly denied any guilt. Another asked flat out for a definition of the word. Oh, the eye rolling from the older and wiser peers.

“Are you serious? You don’t know what that means?” She was then regaled with the nonWebsterian like,

“When someone’s voice goes like three octaves higher when they say his name and EVERYONE can hear it. It’s SO obvious.”

“It’s when your older brother has friends over and you just try to be nice and talk to them and they tell you to stop flirting and you weren’t even doing that at all. You were JUST being nice because that’s how your parents told you to treat guests so you just go to your room mad because you’re innocent but no one believes you.”

“It’s when a girl drops something on purpose just so a boy will pick it up for her. That’s so lame and desperate. Ugh.”

All of this was interspersed with family sagas of their observations of older siblings’ nonplatonic relationships, including a rather rollicking recollection of,

“Oh my word, when he asked my Dad if he could date _______? His (Romeo wannabe, not the paternal holding veto power) face was so red, I thought he was going to explode. It was so funny.” There was some discussion on whether the ability to dance should be included as a prerequisite for romantic eligibility. The vote was divided about 50/50. Lightness of foot is apparently negotiable.

There was further exchange on the appropriate time to commence with the ear piercing/makeup donning/deodorant slathering rites of passage. That’s not written in stone, either, although there was adamant agreement that overuse of body spray should be declared lethal.

Suffice it to say that I now possess enough inside information/dating dirt to perennially enrich the thorns in any potential dozen long-stemmed red roses.

With love aficionado kiddos like these? You’re reminded that some things never change, that they’ll keep your mind spinning along with the rest of the twitterpated universe and that it’s time to ask for an ever lovin’ raise.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | October 9, 2020

Going Home Gently

My Uncle Fred, my dad’s youngest brother, went to be with his Savior this past Wednesday evening. He’d been in failing health for some time and requested no hospitalization or heroic measures should his condition worsen. If I’m correct, congestive heart failure was one of his long-standing, primary diagnoses.

My father now has three of eleven original siblings left and only one brother of an original eight. When I think of this uncle, I think of a true gentleman with an easy laugh who always willing to chat, listen and up for a hug. Uncle Fred lived life quietly and faithfully despite very real heartbreak. His faith in Christ was strong, his faithfulness to his Savior practically extended to those around him and his acceptance of his increasing health challenges wholly admirable.

I often wonder what goes through my dad’s mind as he watches the reality of death increasingly become the norm with his siblings. He doesn’t fear it. I know that. It has to hit home, though, that there are fewer and fewer of those he grew up with which he can interact. He did mention something about not being surprised with the increasing reality of things since chronology places him the third to youngest in his family.

He will formally be remembered at his funeral service next Monday. His memory will long remain with those of us who knew and loved him. The passing of those we love remains one of life’s bittersweet joys.

.I’ll miss Uncle Fred but I’m confident, as was he, that Christ has joyfully welcomed another one of His faithful, gentle servants home.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | October 3, 2020

Why Anne Shirley isn’t October’s Lone Fan

We’ve all seen it with the onset of this month. That famous quote by Anne Shirley where she states how glad she is to live in a world that includes the tenth month of the year. Here’s my elaboration on that and the season it, well, falls in –

The furnace heat of summer wanes

With drumming, damp, autumnal rains

That zigs its zags across my panes

The air grows chill by subtle gains

And Autumn is as Fall does.

The leaves keep willy nilly time

In falling shades of gilded rhyme

With yellowed golds and fading lime

Of scarlets bold with orange mime.

And Autumn is as Fall does.

Now squirrels garner nuts in store

The trees stand skeletal once more

As deeper grows the carpet floor

Upon the vast outside my door

And Autumn is as Fall does.

The football cuts its shooting arc

Now soars the fanning at the park

Encroaches sooner now the dark

We stoke the fires and hold the spark

And Autumn is as Fall does.

The shoreline surges restless foam

The heavens overcast the loam

The gulls in shrieking swoop the dome

We seek the warmth of hearth and home.

And Autumn is as Fall does.

Where cider mulls in steam on stoves

And apples crisp in orchard groves

Where geese wing south in v-shaped droves

And scholars fill their knowledge troves.

And Autumn is as Fall does.

The stalks blow whistling and thin

We bring the full of harvest in

With grateful hearts and process din

Before the icy fingers spin

And Autumn is as Fall does.

The wind kicks up its northern pace

We feel the pulse of time and place

This season with its timeless grace

Whose etchings warm each chilling trace

And Autumn is as Fall does.

Just because.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | September 27, 2020

When Exercise Cramps Your Style

I’m a big fan of regular exercise.

I have been for a very long time.

I caught the bug, as it were, during my high school years and have enjoyed its benefits ever since.

I feel better when I’m active.

I eat better.

I sleep better.

The problem now, though, is that I have to work much harder to get the same results. One of my methods for combating the reality of this metabolic challenge is to change up my workouts, try new instructors, basically peruse YouTube until I find something that looks promising.

My latest trend has been toward toning as a way to combat gravity’s inevitability. My muscles protest on a regular basis so I take that as a solid sign that I’m moving in a positive direction. It’s not translating to numbers on the scale heading down but I’ve long ago relegated that detriment to my fragile ego as an instrument of the enemy of both body and soul. No, as a matter of fact, I don’t prefer the digital option I own because that documents “failure to budge” to the right of the decimal. Sigh.

Anyway, these exercise instructors are inevitably in spectacular shape (you’d be motivated too if someone PAID you to jump and hop and generally cavort) and just a teensy weensy bit too happy. I’ve grown so accustomed to their overachieving I just view it as motivation but last week?

Oh, boy.

There she was.

Except that she was noticeably “with child,” as they say.

Did that stop her?

Nope.

I will say that she did exhibit a bit of ungainliness with certain parts of the workout, her abdominal girth being gestationally enhanced and everything.

It was a comfort, small but significant.

I take encouragement wherever I can find it.

She was still breezing through her moves and I was still wheezing through mine. I distinctly remember much workout huffing and puffing on my part during each of my pregnancies with enough exhaling power to flatten my entire neighborhood, not just the little architecturally challenged porcine dwelling we remember from the story of the big bad wolf. Maybe they just muted her for recording purposes but I’m sure that’s just wishful thinking. Her face certainly didn’t look like the cross between a hyperventilating slab of beef and a watermelon on Hospice like mine inevitably felt.

Cool as a cucumber, she led me through, in her snooty little British accent, a move she called, “Curtsy to the queen.” That one was relatively simple, although I guarantee my form would have gotten me nowhere the throne room, much less a peek at Liz.

We did a fun little move called “side planking,” with her admonition to, “keep a neutral back.” There is nothing nonpartisan about this move. You are trying your desperate best to align your body on its side, midair and hold it in that position until SHE decides you’re done.

First, you’re thinking you might survive the ordeal. Then Charlie the Horse comes trotting up and starts to cramp your style. You have no choice at that point but to drop, rub the rising inferno from the offended muscles and hum the opening theme to “Chariots of Fire,” to keep your spirits up. By the time her smiling face tells you to relax? You collapse on the floor and realize you’ve just survived the longest sixty seconds of your life.

Does she care?

Does she empathize?

Meh.

I’m assuming the term “plank” references your ability to mimic the rigidity of a board. I’m mimicking a solid jello at this point, so that has to count for something, right? Maybe next week I’ll improve to the Knox Blox Gelatin stage.

Overall, despite the ongoing scale mutiny, I’m definitely rediscovering muscles I knew were there but had systematically ignored. One thing’s, for sure. They do tend to talk back when you’ve given them the silent, adipose tissue treatment for too long. I can’t say I blame them.

I’m happy for her as she welcomes that new baby.

I have news for her, though.

All the exercise preparation on the planet won’t change the fact that labor and delivery is much more about the former, much less about the latter and that her soon-to-be very non-neutral back is going to be huffing and puffing at her in ways that she’s not going to forget any time soon.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | September 15, 2020

Monday, not Funday

September 14 started off with a bang here. Literally. Just after midnight, I heard a decided thump from the girls’ room. Steve went to investigate first. I don’t know how she did it. I don’t know how she does it, but she is my emergency room special, so that’s the best explanation I can give you.Yes, somehow, my ambitious Katrina, who sleeps on the top bunk, safety railing intact, mysteriously managed to catapult herself over it and land on the floor with a decided “kaplunk.”

We have no idea if she was dreaming and things got hairy with whatever was chasing her down or vice versa but thar she blew. Of course, this is the young lady who is hoping to pursue a degree in animal science and ranch management with her sights set on working cattle in the wide open spaces of wherever some sweet day, so anything’s possible, I reckon. I’m thinking she was riding off into the sunset after some imaginary errant cattle and things turned nocturnally memorable.

Poor kid. Steve took her to get examined by some kind, competent medical professionals who sent her home with a few stitches above her upper lip. For the first time in her one year working history? She called in due to injury/illness. For those of you who remember her illustrious medical history? She’s the one who lives life at a speed that’s landed her in emergency medicine on multiple occasions, including the breaking of both arms in separate incidents.She’s currently sacked out on the living room sofa.Please pray for her swift recovery.I hope it moves as fast as she does.

Crazy girl.

Boy, do I love you but, EGAD.

The trauma you inflict on your poor mother’s equilibrium.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: comedyheirs | July 28, 2020

Putting the Picnic in Lunch

Yesterday was an adventure in high definition, emphasis on lunch.

Our church welcomed a new couple, relocating from Idaho. They’d worshiped with us for several weeks earlier this summer when they were settling a relative’s estate in the greater Houston area. Their trip was dual in purpose, they informed us. They were also looking for employment and permanent housing in our area, their former home. We were delighted when they told us they’d found what they were looking for, would be relocating and gave us their specific arrival date.

That was yesterday. Our church family showed up in happy force to help them unload that moving truck that always looms so large.

Especially in July.

In Texas.

After four days on the relentless rhythm of ribbon roadway.

We made short and fast work of it. You know, stuff like bed assembly, bringing dining room tables up to speed, organizing stuff that makes a kitchen usable, and making sure sofas are properly secured and able to be safely sat upon.

There was copious amounts of young energy holding fitness contests to see who could arm wrestle, plank, push up and, well. You get the muscular picture. I should have taken video footage so you could appreciate the noise the competition produced.

Naturally, such work whet’s one’s appetite for actual food, so we left to find lunch and leave the newly relocated to recover from the swarming Presbyterian throng. We looked up potential eating locales as we drove along and thought we had a couple of good options that might be willing to accommodate our group of around twenty. We pulled up on Main Street in the town of Navasota, still not quite firm on our final choice but, ah.

Yes. There it was. Dairy Queen. Wait. We’d parked a little too soon. It was still three-tenths of a mile down the street. We could do it, we surmised. It wasn’t that far, so off we trotted. Enroute, we passed some really cool, BIG old houses that clearly hadn’t been occupied for some time. Those of us domicile-maintaining types remarked about the fun it would be to extend hospitality with that kind of square footage at one’s fingertips, mentally buckled under the thought of trying to maintain such an edifice and completely lost our equilibrium at the reality of the energy bill such a feat would entail.

We got to our destination but what was this? Drive Thru Only? We debated. We were hot and tired, the kiddos were “starving,” and we weren’t sure where the next closest ingestion option was. Could we walk through the drive through? Ah, but all was not lost. An employee came out and told us she would take our order and we could eat at a park across the street.

She took our orders and we waited. This is not a group that waits quietly, though. Out came a phone or two because the under-twenty-one crowd still had energy and to spare, in spite of their claimed impending food deprivation demise. Did you know that you can entertain a whole line of drive through customers with impromptu, clearly unrehearsed dance numbers?

Oh, my word.

They had a ball.

Right there in the unoccupied, shaded, front-and-center parking spaces to Dairy Queen.

They even coaxed some of the reluctant among them to at least try some fancy footwork. Were my three youngest among the toe tappers? The question’s rhetorical. ‘Nuff said.

Ah, finally the food came. The long awaited, quickly devoured, much appreciated oasis for the spurting of growth. No, lunch definitely went down differently than we anticipated but ended up far more entertaining than we could have imagined.

Oh, and since we had to trek/wend/waddle back to our vehicles when we were done chowing down? Another heavy decision awaited us. There just happened to be an ice cream place located close to the end of our trek back. Would we stop there, too? We would. We did. Sundaes, cones, water ice, you name it. It was cold, sweet and spot on.

When I think about how things unexpectedly unfolded, I’m thankful. So grateful that the best memories we create are almost inevitably the ones that don’t follow the script of our day planners.

Our church rejoices to welcome new servants to our congregation.

Pray for them as they settle into their new home with new saints who welcome them with gratitude.

God is faithful to grow His church.

May we reflect His faithfulness to those around us.

No matter what lunch looks like.

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

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