Dear Bro and Co.,

     Recently, Amanda bought these new air fresheners.  They hang on the wall and dispense their potpourri magic every 26 minutes or by motion detection (i.e. if you get too close).  So, every work day for the last couple of weeks when I get up for work at 0400 and trudge down the hall in a zombie-like haze, I get assaulted by this blasted fragrance fogger.  Not only do I get covered with “fresh linen” residue; I get the wits scared out of me.  I’ve actually swung wildly a couple of times, forgetting what it is that’s attacking me.   One of these days – I won’t miss.

     …..Speaking of being safe at home – with the baseball playoffs going on (I actually pay attention during the postseason); I was recently reminded of one of my most vivid sports memories: the time that Pete Rose ran into and over the catcher at home plate, effectively dislodging the ball from the catcher’s hand and turning the catcher into a grease spot at the same time. The result, of course, was that Rose was SAFE at home!!!

      “Radical!!!” I thought. Baseball actually looked fun. Combining baseball with football……now we’re talking. I decided to try it the next time we played baseball in P.E. I wasn’t very good at baseball; for once I was looking forward to it.

       First at bat, I struck out…..too anxoiuos I guess. Second, I popped one up and they caught it. Third time at the plate was a charm…..CRACK….it was a hard grounder toward shortstop. I was running as fast as I could. On first base stood an obnoxious kid named Roger – he had this coming! 🙂

       Boy was he surprised! Didn’t know what hit him or why. Nevermind that I had just broken another pair of glasses – I WAS SAFE! I knocked the ball loose and the kid silly, just like Pete Rose had done! Awesome!!!!  ……..until Mrs. Penske got ahold of me that is. I went from beaming with pride to crying inside:

       ……maybe a little on the outside too. That P.E. teacher was livid. Turns out that you’re not allowed to run over the first baseman in baseball. Also, you’re not allowed to run over anyone in grade school P.E. class. The double whammy?!!!!  ……I got in trouble at home for breaking my glasses.  Baseball stinks!!!

      Home safety… I’ve devised a plan to put up signs in certain areas of the house to warn of potential hazards. Starting in Mathias’ room – my wonderful son has the not-so-wonderful habit of shedding his socks during the night, forgetting about them, leaving mounds of foot funk in the tornado of sheets at the foot of his bed. Of course he denies doing it; and of course he runs out of socks every two weeks. The other theory is a diabolical sock monkey.

  

 

      Kiara keeps a zoo full of critters in her bed to snuggle and play with at night. It usually requires a box for all the stuffed animals and plastic pets when changing her sheets. Of course the big fear is that one day you’ll reach down and find a real bear or rattler. HAVE MERCY! I think we’ll limit her to two bedtime buddies-no snakes, no diabolical monkeys.

 

 

 

   

       I’ve been told that when I’m really tired I snore loud enough to shake the roof off. Although it’s probably true, I’m still gonna deny it. I can’t pawn it off on Amanda; that would be  trouble. I’m gonna have to go with sock monkey on this one. 

 

 

           This one was unanimous – we all agreed. Sorry sock monkey. We feel bad dumping all the blame on you. : )

            Of course there is no place like Mom and Dad’s for an obstacle course of potential hazards. Aaaah nostalgia! It always takes me back – to a simpler time when Mom would tell us not to do stuff, you would immediately do it anyway – almost die; and I would be scared poopless.

            At times it was like living with Bobby Boucher’s mamma off  the Waterboy movie; but instead of, “It’s da Devil!” we usually heard, “Do this; or don’t do this and you’ll die!” And to a degree, on most everything Mama was right. Of course the big one was drinking – you did almost die a couple of times. Then there was, “Don’t go anywhere without calling me first!” Sure enough, you did it and fell into a pit of boiling water. I developed two things at an early age: 1) a strong prayer life – you were my brother and my best friend; I knew that God was the only one who could save you from yourself; 2) great respect for the things that Mama said, especially the ones that might kill me.

           For the most part Mom kept the menu simple – she stuck to the half-dozen or so dishes that she was good at cooking. That was always appreciated. On occasion though, she would break from the staples of mainstream foods and vegetables, deciding we needed some rare or exotic vitamin or nutrient, and fix some heinously disgusting vegetable in a heinously disgusting way. While other kids’ moms would have fed them some campy line about being strong like Popeye; our Mom gave us the cold harsh reality:

           Ultimately, she told the truth.  Me, being a kid, I thought in the short-term like overnight or next week – that was a long time back then. (In fairness and understanding to Mom – I think I’ve told our kids much worse to get them to eat certain foods.)

             The absolute worst was boiled okra in stewed tomatos – YUCK!!! I reluctantly gagged down the minimum portion, promptly excused myself, and went to my room to start praying for you and your colon.

            I could be wrong but I think you were still at the table when I got up for breakfast the next morning.

             … so when we took the kids over to Mom and Dad’s a couple weeks ago – Mom immediately started through the checklist of all the things that could be fatal. And, as the kids gazed up at her with eyes big and mouths gaped open in fear and wonder…. I couldn’t help but smile.

              There’s something safe and comforting in seeing our parents again. Even though we’re carving out our own lives with separate houses and such; there is a warm blessed feeling and sense of security and love when we go home – whether it be Mom and Dad’s or Troy and Janie’s. Even when a visit doesn’t go as smoothly or pleasant as we might want, it’s still good to go “home.”

                    …Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.

                    Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name.    -Psalm 100: 2, 4

              And so it is, all the more so, when entering into our Heavenly Home; whether by prayer and supplication before the throne of grace or our final destination when we have finished this race. Our Love, our Hope, our Strength, our Comfort, our Salvation, our Treasure is in Heaven.

                   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

                    Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.    – Romans 8: 38, 39

           Satan is a fool and a liar. He’s trying to keep us from going home and though he says he can, he can not.

                    …The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, “Destroy them.”                                                                                 – Deuteronomy 33:27

           So, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24 – don’t trot, jog, or gallop; run to win!