CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

COEXIST

(June16,2016)

CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

A recent conversation from Facebook.

R: Speaking of freedom, I saw something recently that I liked regarding Religious Freedom: “The problem is not what you believe. The problem is what you think I should believe.” I wish everyone would take this to heart.

Me: I agree, R. But, does that mean we cannot share our ideas and differences? If one person believes all choices will work out in the end, but another believes with all his heart that some choices reap disaster, wouldn’t it be kinda wrong to not at least share the idea?

R: In my view, what’s important is that we respect the beliefs of everyone, and consider their beliefs as important and as valid as our own. (Obviously excluding murderers, hatemongers, and others of that ilk.)

Me: Good thing, respect. If you saw someone in danger, but it would disrupt their life for you to point it out, what do you do?

R: If you’re talking about a danger that is clear and present to everyone, something everyone can see, like an out of control car hurtling toward someone, of course one should warn them. If you’re talking about a belief system that you believe in, but not everyone else believes in, then no, that sort of intrusion is inappropriate, in my opinion.

Me: So, would you say, in your opinion, that religion is okay if it seems to satisfy a need you have, but, different strokes for different folks? It doesn’t really matter which one as long as you think it works?

R: Again, in my view, what’s important is that we respect the beliefs of everyone, and consider their beliefs as important and as valid as our own. (Obviously excluding murderers, hatemongers, and others of that ilk.)

Me: Okay. One thing I just thought about. Is there any other area of life you would apply that principle?

R: (two days later, no reply)

I’ve been thinking about this exchange, and about ones I have had with others. I have a hypothesis. An hypothesis? Never mind. I have a theory.

I have a niece that, years ago, decided that the God she had been taught about from childhood couldn’t be trusted. So, she sought her own path, her own cures, her own philosophy.

I have to say, she has found something she believes in. I, personally, can’t understand a third of it, but we have some great exchanges, sharing ideas with each other. She believes in something, and it has changed her. She thinks it will help others, so she shares.

Another friend, believes in a lot of the teachings of Jesus, says, “Jesus is my favorite guru.” He comes from a Hindu background, loves the “beauty” of the Hindu teachings. He doesn’t believe Jesus is divine, unless it is through his own goodness, not because he is God. He also doesn’t believe in the resurrection story. But, he honestly tries to be kind and loving in all he does, because he believes in the things he says. I didn’t know him before, but I would imagine that his beliefs changed him.

A shooter in Orlando appeared to most of his neighbors to be a real nice guy. He had beliefs, strong beliefs that changed him.

I looked back on some of the conversations my friend, R had, and he feels quite strongly about certain political leanings. He doesn’t accept the other arguments from the opposing side.

The Theory : A belief in something will drive your life. Opinions mean a little, but if you believe, you will live in accordance to that belief.

Conclusion: I believe that if you have The Son (Jesus), you have life. If you do not have the Son of God, you do not have life.

If, to you, any beliefs are fine, as long as they don’t interfere with you, maybe you don’t have any beliefs.

I love a lively, thoughtful exchange of ideas. I am not afraid of difficult questions; I enjoy having my boundaries pushed by thinking people.

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THE STORY BEHIND THE PICTURE

The story behind the picture:

(June 16,2016)

Five or six years ago, we were having our traditional Christmas Eve get together at Wendy’s parent’s house. We always would eat our snack foods first, then gather around the tree to do our gift exchange.

Wendy’s brother, Craig seemed a little antsy, and he seemed to be kinda pushing everybody into the room where the tree was.

“Randy, sit down here,” He said and walked out of the room.

A moment later, he came back, carrying this picture.

He and Belinda had been in an art gallery in Winnsboro and saw this photo on the wall.

He said,”That’s Randy! We gotta get that!” They got it.

1987 or 1988, right after I had become a full time self-employed chimney sweep, I received a phone call one evening.

“HI! My name is Ray(I can’t remember the last name) and I saw your add in the Winnsboro paper. I am a professional photographer, and I wonder if you would let me take some pictures of you? ”

Hmm.

We made arrangements to meet at a house in Winnsboro where I was scheduled to work the next day.

Dressed in top hat, tails, red shirt and scarf, I met him as planned.

He told me he was trying to get a photo into some major magazine. So, he had me get on top of the chimney, took many shots from all angles.

“Do you think you could jump off that chimney?”

I jumped. (It was my idea to hold that brush that way.)

He thanked me, and left.

I never heard from him again.

Twenty four years later, Craig finds the picture.

I love that picture!

Thank you, Craig and Belinda!

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FASHION SENSE

FASHION SENSE

(Caution: controversial opinions)

” Oh, that shirt does not go with those shorts,” Wendy informed me as I was about to walk out the door. ” Why on earth would you think that that shirt would go with black shorts? What were you thinking?”

I’ll tell you what I was thinking.

Women’s Fashion and men’s fashion are not the same.

In women’s fashion, pants and tops are supposed to match.

Shoes and purses, supposed to match.

Men’s fashion is different.

Simple.

Shirts are fashion.

Ties have to at least hint to the color in a shirt.

Pants are pants.

You have to wear them.

You don’t have to match them to anything.

Especially blue jeans.

Blue jeans match everything.

Skinny jeans are not pants.

Skinny jeans are leggings.

Men do not wear leggings.

And shoes…brown, black, athletic, sandals, maybe flip-flops if your toenails look okay.

Five pair.

That’s enough.

Now, jewelry for men…

Why?

Seriously…who would actually think that jewelry on a man helps in some way?

And makeup?

Are you kidding me?

The best thing about being a man is how fast you can get ready to leave.

About hair style.

Well, style, that’s the thing…

What you want is less than a minute prep.

You have to know that, if you forget to check the mirror before you leave…

Chances are, it’s not that big a deal.

Now, I know that not everyone agrees with these fashion rules.

That’s okay.

I’m sure you think that you are right.

Just remember, I married a girl named Wendy Gayle Wright.

I married into the family of Wright.

They now think of me as family.

I think that means

I am right, Wright?

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SUICIDE IS PAINLESS

“SUICIDE IS PAINLESS..”

EXCEPT, IT’S NOT

I keep going back to the beginning, where it all went wrong.

Genesis.

I know, I know, some of you think that is all a fairy tale, you know, with evolution and millions and millions of years.

But, after the recent couple of celebrity suicides, I realized there is a pattern.

In the beginning, God created…

He daily walked with the man in the garden, the man He made in His image, the one who was to rule over His creation.

The man had an important job, a purpose.

But, he needed a companion, so God gave him a woman as a wife; like him but different.

God gave them amazing freedom and possibilities with a few boundaries to protect His creation.

God knew what would happen.

But, He also knew that the love He created for man to experience was manifest in the desire to obey and please the Creator.

So, the first man and woman crossed the first boundary, tore down the first wall.

And he has been tearing down these walls ever since.

Walking and talking with God.

Marriage between a man and a woman.

Purposeful work.

And it didn’t stop there, because the enemy of God was involved in this whole tyranny.

Ready with the chains of a disobedient lifestyle.

Ready with the blindness that accompanies deadness.

Ready with a promise of self-reliance and accomplishment , and a reward of emptiness, hopelessness, and a desire to end it all.

Ready with the voice that screams over the loving whisper of the Creator…

The One that still whispers, “Come back to me.”

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A WRITER WRITESo

A WRITER WRITES

That’s what they say.

I always wanted to be a writer.

But, I didn’t write…except for that four page story about an invasion from Jupiter I started in the fourth grade…oh, and that attempt at writing in a journal one semester in college (Oh, to find those old spiral notebooks and read how wise I was at 19).

But, until recently, I haven’t written much.

I found a journal app for my phone in 2011, and, I figured, that would be the impetus I need to write.

Yep.

One entry in 2011.

One entry in 2013.

Four in 2014.

In 2015, I began to write…not a lot, but more.

I also decided to write a blog in 2011.

From 2011 until 2015 I made exactly 5 entries.

I was on a roll.

You can find that one at http://myrainywindylife.blogspot.com

Last week, I decided to get serious, so I joined WordPress https://randyepps.blog.wordpress.com

to set up a blog. I didn’t just do the free one…I actually paid money.

Now, I need your help.

Apparently, writers like people to read their stuff.

They write because they think they have something to say.

If I want to ever do more than just get likes on Facebook, I need you guys to follow me on Blogspot and WordPress.

The way you do that: you scroll down past the blog to the comments section.

There is a place to follow, to enter your email address.

Do that, and you will get notified every time I put something on one of these blogs, you will receive an email.

Why is this important?

Well, I never know who Facebook is showing my stuff to these days.

I know I don’t see everything you put on Facebook.

Understand, this is hard for me, this self-promotion, but I am being told that if I want to expand my readership, there is a need to promote myself.

Oh, and one more thing…if you think what I have written is interesting, thoughtful, funny, or inspiring, and you think someone that you know might enjoy it as well, then, maybe hit the share button.

Again, thank you for reading my ramblings, and all the encouragement you have offered.

I can’t help myself but to do what thrills me…and this writing thing…

Well, I guess I’m a writer.

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LOVE, MATH, AND LIFTING WEIGHTS

LOVE, MATH, AND LIFTING WEIGHTS

I love my wife.

She has been feeling pretty bad the last week. It started with a sore throat and progressed to all over yuck.

But, she still finds the energy to fix something good to eat.

“After I finish in the kitchen, I’m going to Lowe’s to get some border stones for the flagpole. I’ll show you what’s available.”

I had done the math. Circumference equals two times pi times the radius. For two layers, fifty stones should do.

I sent her pictures of the four choices on sale for 1.28 instead of 1.98.

She liked the lighter one. “It looks more like Texas limestone…why don’t you get sixty.” She never did trust my math.

I love my wife.

I got sixty.

To load this cart, I had to get on my knees on the concrete floor and empty the pallet, being careful to stack them so they wouldn’t shift as I pushed the cart. (I had hoped they would be out on the parking lot so I could just pay and pull up in my car to load them. But…no.)

Eighteen per layer, 3 layers, that’s 54, plus 6 on top.

I tried to push the cart to the checkstand.

I grunted. It was slow going. I only weigh 150…I think the cart outweighed me a little.

“I think I overestimated my energy level,” I said to some random lady customer. She smiled.

I saw an old friend walking into the garden center.

The checker had seen my plight with the heavy cart. “You can just leave it there. I can check you out from here.”

My friend said, “Oh, Randy, are you going to put all those in your car? You don’t think they will flatten your tires?” She made a good point. Or ruin my shocks? I hadn’t thought about this.

“That will be 83.14,” the checker said. “Would you like some help loading these?”

“….I think I would. After loading the cart…I think I would.”

“You loaded these by yourself?” I think she was impressed, but she may have been thinking ( silly old man should have gotten some help.)

“Just push that cart out there, pull your car up, and I’ll call someone to help you.”

So, I followed instructions.

I figured I could load a few while I waited for the help.

Help never came. It was a nice theory, though.

As I drove home, every bump seemed to go to the limit on the shocks.(I think they call them struts now…shocks were better…back in the old days.)

I made it home…went in for some water.

I told Wendy about loading them alone, twice.

“Oh, honey! No one helped you?”

She had the right amount of compassion in her tone.

I love my wife.

“Be sure and use a long level. You don’t want an unlevel border, because it will make the flagpole look crooked…and, you’ll probably have to dig out where the ground is higher.”

She was right.

I actually hadn’t thought that far ahead.

Digging a trench.

That’s why I never became a plumber.

So, I did it, trench and all.

I think it looks nice.

I am pooped.

I went in to take a shower.

Just out of curiosity I took one of the stones in to see how much it weighed.

I had figured originally before that probably five pounds apiece was the weight.

For the story, though, I hoped at least eight to ten pounds, so you would be impressed.

I put the stone down, and stepped on the scale.

149.

Hmm. I think I lost some weight.

I picked up the stone, stepped back on the scale.

170.6!

Math…is that right? 21.6 pounds.

Each stone weighed 21.6 pounds?!

I’m glad I didn’t know this before.

Just so you will be impressed…

60 stones

Handled three times

That’s 180 stones

Times 21.6

Equals

Are you ready?

3,888 pounds.

Oh, and I carried that one stone in.

That makes 3,909 pounds.

That is almost two tons!

I am pooped!

I do love my wife, though…!

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OUT OF BOUNDS

OUT OF BOUNDS
It seems like I mow the yard a lot.

I like to mow…the noise allows me to think, to reflect, to consider things.

Like, why is this golf ball laying in the street by my curb?

That would be some drive, considering I am about 7 miles from one golf course, and 10 miles from the other!

It reminds me of a good drive I hit one time.
I was about nine years old, went with my dad (to be his caddy) to Tenison golf course in Dallas. (The West course.) So, on the second hole, while we were waiting for the group in front of us to get out of range, Dad told me I could take a swing.
This fairway ran parallel to a street off to the right.
I teed up the ball, took my dad’s driver, and swung with all my might.
I toed the ball with the tip of the driver, and it shot out to the right, across the street, hit the pole of a street sign, ricocheted back across the street, down the fairway, 250 yards.
I never duplicated that shot.

You weren’t that lucky.

But, it doesn’t matter how great a drive it was, it costs you a stroke…it’s out of bounds.
Plus, I assume that, since it is still laying here, you lost it…that’s another stroke.

Life is kinda like that, yeah?

You go through life, swinging for the fences (oops, baseball term, sorry), uhh, shooting for the green, and you cork one, a huge drive that felt so good, you figure it’s the best drive you’ve had all day, maybe ever, and it hits one tiny branch over the fairway…one tiny branch… and It ricochets off into the woods, and you never find it.

Does that ruin your game?

Well, if you’re keeping score, it may.

But if you are out there because you love the game, the scenery, the walk (or, I guess, the ride in the golf cart) you laugh and go look for that little white sphere and continue the game.

When you live your life for the One that made you, you’re gonna hit some branches, and life is gonna ricochet away from the plans you made.

You’ve got some choices to make… trust Him, knowing that He is making your entire life purposeful,

Or, regret that you ever started this game.

But, if you are still looking for your ball…it’s right beside my curb in the street.

Nice drive!

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