Splashers: Akola

October 9, 2014

It is such a blessing and a privilege today to write about an amazing and transformative organization in Africa called Akola.  (The website is akolaproject.org.) 'Akola' means work in an African dialect, and work is indeed one of the things that the Akola Project is all about.  But it's just one.  In the past ten years, since its founding, Akola has built a three-story orphanage in Uganda, drilled 23 water wells in displaced African communities, built 2 vocational training centers in Africa for the African women who make the goods that are sold in more than 250 U.S. boutiques, and made...

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Not Like Us

October 8, 2014

His name was Wayne, and he and one of his coworkers had just delivered a piece of furniture to our house. We officially have the craziest weather in Texas where just a day or two ago it was 55 degrees in the morning and then 97 degrees about two hours later.  Since Texas weather does not pay any attention to the calendar, the clock, or meteorological norms, it was hot yesterday (even though we're a week into October.)  Hot.  Not the crazy flesh-falling-off hot we get here in the summer, but just hot enough that when you have to go up...

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Big-time Power

October 6, 2014

In Texas we don't tend to do anything small.  In the '80s, only Bon Jovi and the so-called New Jersey mall rats who adored him had bigger hair than junior high and high school girls in Texas had in that same stretch; many of us drive cars and trucks that have been identified by the military as having the size and the off-roading capability of Class C Sherman Tanks; and Big Tex at the great State Fair of Texas, standing 55 feet tall, seems just a little taller than the average cattle rancher. Texas thunderstorms are no different, and last week...

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Interfaith Housing and My New Buddy Marvin

October 2, 2014

Dear Marvin, Yes, it's me again.  I told you I would never forget you, but I promise not to write to you every day.  I just couldn't help writing to check on you and Ebony.  Did you ever make it to Interfaith Housing yesterday? It's just as well that you didn't let me drive you down there.  Our car - also known alternately as The Mobile Trash Can and The Mobile Petri Dish - smelled so bad yesterday and this morning that you might have passed out if you'd ridden in it.  I was dangerously close to that myself, and when you're...

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Dear Marvin …

October 1, 2014

Dear Marvin, We'll probably never see each other again, not on this side anyway, but I know I won't forget you. When I saw you there in that center median at that busy intersection an hour ago, the first things my mind could focus on were (a) your wheelchair (b) your missing legs.  As I drove by along with the hundreds of other cars that go through there every hour, I eventually looked at your face.  You didn't see me; I was just another person in just another car driving by without stopping to check on you. You'd been there at least...

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The Sweet Smell of Skunk

October 29, 2014

[Here's another flashback post while my broken finger heals.  I cannot believe how much my babies have grown in just three years!!!  Oh, my heart.  Godspeed.] September 23, 2011 Our house smells like it was host to a Skunk Family Revival.  Really.  The clothes in my closet will probably all have to be fumigated by some specialist branch of a world-class haz-mat team, and we’ll probably soon have to have that same haz-mat crew pour Anti-Skunk Tonic on every fiber of every one of our area rugs. And I couldn’t be happier. Our beloved pooches, Daisy (‘The Wonder Dog’) and Buster (‘The Moose’) broke...

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Bigger Than ‘Ah-bwee’

October 22, 2014

[Note to my dear readers:  while I recover from a broken finger and can't type any faster than our dogs probably could, I'll be posting some throwback posts.  And doing a lot of one-handed cookie-baking.  God's blessings on you all.] August 15, 2011 ‘Ah-bwee.’ That’s our precious little two-year-old son Blake’s word for water.  Don’t ask me how or why.  At least 27 times a day – you think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? – Blake asks for ‘ah-bwee, no ice.’ When he was first learning to speak, we just chuckled over it and thought it was adorable that he’d invented his own word-sound for...

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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie … But Not If They Are Going to Snore

October 16, 2014

[Finger's still broken, but PRAISE GOD:  no surgery needed any more!  Yippee!  Here's a throwback from three years ago while I still can't type any faster than a camel.  Godspeed.] October 16, 2011 Let’s all agree that, as far as animals are concerned, dogs and horses are God’s greatest gifts to the world.  This weekend, at the end of the kids’ horseback-riding lessons, their teacher sweetly allowed me to ride for a few minutes, and it was absolute heaven.  And dogs?  I LOVE dogs.  They’re loyal, happy all the time, fun, protective, affectionate, and funny. But let’s not fool anyone:  they’re not all...

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Ee-maw at the Scwabble Stritcher

October 14, 2014

O.K.  So we're going to be having Flashback Days on itty bitty bucket for a while since I broke my finger this weekend and, well, that seems to hinder my typing ability.  The story behind the injury is so incredibly uninspiring that I told a friend of mine today, "If only there were an actual *good* story to go along with how I broke it - you know, saving the free world from ISIS domination, helping a bus load of geriatric nuns achieve their lifelong dreams of skydiving, etc., I'd feel less like a total tool." Here's a flashback post about...

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