Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Memories of Fred

Fred was truly an incredible dog. The kind of dog that fills a young boys life going through difficult times of high school. He never met a stranger and never started a dog fight. After I graduated from college, I moved to Atlanta and started my first computer job. I settled into a house, and Fred moved from my parents home in South Georgia to live with me. Whenever I would make the occasional trip to South Georgia to visit family and friends, I would spread a furniture blanket over the backseat. Fred would stretch out and go to sleep.

Macon was about halfway on the drive, so I would stop at a McDonald's on the bypass and get dinner from the drive up window. I would order an extra cheeseburger, a small order of fries, and a small cup of water for Fred. We would park at the end of the parking lot near a light post. I would chain him to the light post where he could enjoy the cool grass, break the cheeseburger is small pieces and give them to him while eating my dinner. Then he would catch french fries one by one as I tossed them to him. Once we were both done eating, I would hold the cup of water at an angle where he could get his long nose into the cup far enough to lap water. He would drink the entire cup. I would then give him a short walk, and he was ready to travel again.

Less than 10 minutes back on the highway, Fred would be stretched out across the back seat sound asleep. He would wake up when I slowed down or stopped for a traffic light, stand up on the back of my seat and look over my shoulder out the windshield to see where we were. As soon as we began moving, he would jump down and go back to sleep.

He was always a great companion and an excellent traveller.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Some Holidays Just Don't go the Way You Planned

Smokey and the Bandit - 1977 - Universal Studios

When I was 15 yrs old, I got a basset hound puppy who I named "Fred" after the basset in the legendary movie, Smokey and the Bandit.

Many years later, Fred was living on our 11-acre mini-farm in Southwest Georgia. My Mom came out to the house Christmas Eve and had brought several items to include in the dinner spread. When she arrived at the house, she came in, sat down and visited for a while. After 30 or 45 minutes, she suddenly said, "Oh, I almost forgot, I need to get the food out of the car!"

I jumped up, put my boots on, and went out to help her carry in the food. Walking out the back door, I quickly realized that she had left her car door open when she came into the house. I instantly thought about how long the door had been open and wondered if her car battery might have died sitting there with the dome light on that long.

Then, like a light bulb flicking on in my head, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach as I started thinking about the food and the fact the Fred was out in the yard and had a very good nose. When I got to her car I noticed the Saran wrap on the bowl of Potato Salad had a hole in it and there was a large divot in the Potato Salad. I then noticed that there was this very delicious looking Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese icing sitting on the seat with no cover. On closer inspection, I noticed a big gap in the icing where Fred had gotten several licks of icing.

Fred ended up having a much better Christmas Eve dinner than originally planned and the rest of us had a little different dinner than we had planned.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What is up for the New Year

For those of you that have been curious what I have been up to for the New Year, I have been busy launching a non-profit ministry in our county to address hunger. The ministry is called Feed the Hungry Forsyth, Inc. the website is http://www.feedforsyth.org

Here is a couple brief videos that provide some background:

A Message From Our Founder from Feed the Hungry Forsyth, Inc. on Vimeo.

Assessing the Needs & How YOU Can Help from Feed the Hungry Forsyth, Inc. on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mormons and Motorcycles

Every morning for the last couple of months, I pass this billboard on my way to work. Look closely at the center image. It's a guy riding a motorcycle with no helmet. OK, it is a free country, and you can do what ever you so choose, but I think it is just plain dumb to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. I have been through too much and seen to much not to ride with a helmet whether it is required by law or not. I guess I am a bit confused on the message they are trying to convey, Draw your own conclusions.

Anyhow, I recently spent a week in Central Florida over the holidays. It was warm (low 70s F) most of the time we were there and the weather was simply beautiful. There were motorcycles everywhere we went. As you may know, Florida does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets. So we continually saw a lot of folks of on bikes riding without helmets.

Finally, we saw about a group of 15 motorcycles with riders sans helmet. I looked at them and remarked, "WOW! There sure are a lot of Mormons down here!"

Ride safe and enjoy. Remember AGATT!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Review: Journey on the Hard Side of Miracles

Steven Stiles attended Berkeley in the late 1960s. As he rubbed shoulders with revolutionaries, intellectuals, communist, atheist, agnostics, musicians, artists, witches, homeless, addicts, and street people, he wondered how the American church of the 1960s could speak truth into the lives of the diverse society. One day, a self proclaimed drunk and sinner spoke in his abnormal psychology class. To his surprise the woman was a Christian who spoke candidly about her love of Beefeater Gin and referred to herself as a sinner, a drunk, a liar, a thief, and an adulterer. Instead of someone claiming to be resolved of all their shortcomings, she openly shared her brokenness and failures with the class. To his surprise, the woman received an ovation at the end of the class simply because she was genuine and humble - something most of the students had never encountered with Christians.

Several days later, the woman invited Stiles to join her on a ride as she wanted to show him something. She took him to a campground outside the town where a group of people lived in tossed together shacks and old VW vans. Naked people on LSD trips wandered aimlessly while drums played and the odor of marijuana filled the air. Stiles watched the woman as she passed out store bought cigarettes and cans of coffee to the residents of the commune. They lit up their smokes and sat around and listened as she talked to them about Jesus. Stiles followed her example and became involved in street evangelism.

This is the true story of a youth director and a group of Jesus People in the 1970s that set out on street ministry with little money, limited support, and vague plans. The countless mechanical breakdowns, the joys and disappointments, all make up the journey of following the Good Shepherd. Stiles is completely transparent in his accounts of the groups experiences as he and the Jesus People consider God's intervention in their lives. He does not paint a rose colored water painting of their experiences. Instead he details their experiences and their struggles as they carefully listen and attempt to obey.

I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Book Review: Start Something That Matters

Start Something That Matters
by Blake Mycoskie

After several entrepreneurial start-ups, Blake Mycoskie took off from work to travel Argentina. While in Argentina, he was quiet taken with Argentinian national shoe, the alpargata. He also was moved my the amount of children that did not have shoes and were subsequently exposed to diseases. Upon his return to the U.S., he began working on a solution to the situation he witnessed in Argentina.

His answer was a simple concept, TOMS (Tomorrow's Shoes). He launched a business to manufacturer an Americanized version of the alpargata with better soles and inner soles. For every pair of shoes TOMS sold, they would donate a pair to a child in need.

The first portion of the book tells the story of TOMS, how the business launched, and how it has impacted children in need. The second portion on the book encourages the reader to find their own story - how to start simple and do something that makes a difference.

The story of TOMS is a compelling read and the book is very encouraging. I highly recommend reading this book. It is also available in audio form.