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 '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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Pint-size Superman

September 30, 2014

If their eyes could have separated from their bodies and become part of the movie, they would have been done that in approximately 27 seconds flat. It was two summers ago and we were on a family trip to Colorado.  We let the littles watch a little morning TV while we finished getting ready for the day.  They were beyond thrilled.  Lunar eclipses happen more often than our letting the kids sit in front of the tube in the morning and so they were ready to accept any show we put on.  I honestly think they would not have complained if...

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Let’s Just Say …

September 29, 2014

Let's just say that one of our littles is having a problem with a grown-up.  Let's just say this grown-up is in a position of authority over this little cutie of mine and the two of them are having a hard time seeing the best in each other.  Let's just say the situation isn't going to change for a while.  Let's just say that I get it. And then let's all say together that this is real life.  Life is beautiful and hard and messy and simple and complicated and challenging and grand, all at the same time.  Some days the...

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The 4H Club, Part Two: A Feverish Pray-er

September 26, 2014

You may never have heard of him, but trust me when I tell you that Hezekiah was a stud. Let’s call him ‘H.’ (You’re welcome, Brian, for a nod to CSI: Miami’s Horatio Caine character. Next time you see him, tell him to go see a chiropractor.) H became king of Judah in 715B.C. when Judah was under Assyrian rule. For the 29 years of his reign, he struggled to regain his nation’s independence and purge its religion, the Hebrew religion, of pagan elements, many of which had put in place by H’s father, Ahaz, who was one of approximately a...

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Pick Up Lines

September 25, 2014

"Your eyes.  Zey are so blue.  I could sweeem in dem." I remember where I was dancing with friends in our early post-college years when a swarthy Mediterranean man with just enough chest hair showing to make his point that he believed himself to be quite the Adonis approached me to, uh, chat, and laid that line on me. What exactly did he think I was going to do ...

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Now, That’s an Idea.

September 23, 2014

Ideas are my friends and oh, do I have them.  Lots of them.  About many, many things.  This is a surprise to precisely no one who knows me; in fact Brian and my brothers would say the only thing I have more of than ideas are opinions, and while they would be right, I have an idea of how to handle them (Brian and my brothers, not my ideas) ...

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