Sunday Inspiration

Built to last

We’ve all said, or at least heard that, “they don’t build ’em like they used to.” In many cases, that is completely true. Products today often have a ‘planned obsolescence,’ meaning they things are meant to breakdown so that they must be replaced.

In days gone by, things were build to last. Today people are too poor to buy high quality items, people used to be too poor to waste money on cheap items.

This house pictured is called Grassmere, it was built in the early 1800’s. It has survived droughts, storms, the Civil War, financial problems, and recently… The Nashville Floods. It is around 90% original, a very impressive feat.

One thing that we need to remember, is that we are built to last. We’re not built to be replaced. Grow, improve, become more than we are… Yes, but not replaced.

Like any well built item, we have a purpose; Something we are designed to do. We are also not easily broken. We can last. We can succeed, we can persevere.

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Oh what a tangled…

Some of the simplest things in life are also the most beautiful. What you see here is a beautiful spider lounging in the results of its hard work.

It is an intricate and gorgeous creation. However, it is ultimately fleeting. In a few short hours it will be torn down, hopefully with a meal inside. The spider will spend the day resting and begin the same task tomorrow night.

Many people have told me to kill this spider, but I see it as a harmless visitor to accompany my nightly canine feeding ritual. In fact, his eating of other bugs is actually helpful.

Have you ever felt like your work is temporary, As if you’re doing the same thing over and over? Remember, even the most common, everyday things can be beautiful when seen from a different angle.


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Are you ready for some…

Well, It’s that time of year again. My wife always says that you can tell that fall is coming by the little yellow butterflies. While they are beautiful, and there is a very sweet story behind that, it’s not how I recognize the impending arrival of autumn.

For me, it’s a bit different. I realize fall is here when the focus falls to football. (Yes, I realize that the rest of the world calls soccer, futbol… and that it is the most played sport in the world… yada yada yada) Here in the South, football is a big deal. I mean huge. In small towns like ours, there isn’t much to do on an average Friday night. So, High School Football brings out the town.

You can argue about safety, benefits of organized sports and all kinds of things. But the point is, it brings the community together and gives a common denominator for folks to talk about. Not just football, but all kids sports.

The picture is actually from a Junior High Jamboree. I was in the press box, handling the PA announcements. Now that fall is coming, football will rule the weekends. Thursday brings out the Jr. High. High School follows up on Friday. College gives their all on Saturday. Then the pros bring the show for Sunday.

So here is my challenge, go watch a game. Preferably Jr. High or High School. I don’t care if you are a sports nut, or if you can’t tell a pigskin from a horse collar. Just go watch a game. Then ask yourself, when is that last time I put that much effort into something? When did I last work, train, practice that hard? I’m sure there is something in your life that is worth that effort, so go out and make it. Bring your A-Game. Be the best you can be. Get out there and win one for the Gipper. Because, we need that effort. We need to try our best so we know how good it feels.

If you’ve been just coasting, just making it though the day. Pull out all the stops. Just this once, and see what happens. You might just like it.

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Old F2The last post talked about old things being cool again. They are. A while back, a picture of this truck accompanied an entry on being out of place. Today we talk about patina.

Just in case you aren’t aware, the patina is defined as: “a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use” -Merriam-Webster

In my opinion, the patina on this old Ford is both beautiful and tragic. Beautiful in an old timey, remember your past sort of way, but tragic in the fact that it was left to rot. That such a beautiful old truck could be left to its own devices.

Don’t worry, I’m not just writing about a truck. Because you and I both have a patina, too. We have bumps and scrapes, dents and ding, even a few rust spots. Yet, we keep can keep going. We can still be useful and serve a purpose, even with our problems.

You see, I know more about this old truck than you probably do (unless you’re family reading this). It’s a 1951 Ford F-2, and it’s nearly complete. The engine is there, all the interior parts are in tact. If you look closely, you can even see there are still bulbs in the tail-lights. The point is, everything that made it work is still there. It needs some work, but it’s there.

You and I are the same way. We may have problems. We may have even broken down, but our parts are still there. The things that we need to keep moving forward are still in place, we just need to do some restoration. It can be hard work to bring a rusty classic back up to showroom quality, but it can be done. If you’re willing to put forth the effort, you can do the implausible.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too old, too young, too broken, too hurt, too impossibly optimistic. Because, we can all be restored.

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We’ve all heard it said, actions speak louder than words. We all understand the fact that the things we do have a greater impact than the words we say. We can tell someone we love them, but when we take them somewhere, maybe fishing or a ballgame, we show them that they are important.

What is funny to me, is that this truth comes to us from such varied sources. This morning I read an article in a health magazine telling how to be a man. The point was that being a man doesn’t stem from some great epiphany, but from continuously doing the things a man should do.

This was from a completely secular source, however we get the same message from religions. The apostle Paul taught that faith, without action, was dead. In order for what you believe to have any real impact on your life, you have to do something about it.

This blog is not meant to be a religious one. However, that is part of life in the South. If you are reading this, and do not subscribe to these beliefs, I thank you for keeping an open mind and staying around long enough to read this final point…

Do something, get up, get out, and help somebody. Play ball with a kid, buy a meal for the hungry, build a bookcase. Unless you’re doing, you’re dying.

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Comfort Food

At some point in our lives we all need comfort. Someone to tell us things will be alright, to put their arms around us and tell us they care. In our community, a good man passed away last week. So we have had the opportunity to love on, and care for his family. Here in the South, we commonly do that with food.

This may happen everywhere, but being as I’m not from everywhere, I really don’t know. You may wonder, why do we bring people casseroles when a family member dies?¬† Does a bucket of chicken have innate healing abilities? How will potato salad help people deal with loss? Yet, we keep bringing this food to people.

Well, the answer is three fold. First, and most obvious, no one wants to cook in a time of suffering and loss. However, you gotta eat, and homemade food is much more comforting than a fast food hamburger. Second, it shows that the person bringing it cares. We don’t always know what to say when death comes along. We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing and making our friends feel worse. So instead, we bring meat and noodles mixed in a baking dish. Showing that we at least care enough to make something for them.

Finally, the sneaky part. If you’ve ever taken food to someones house after a funeral, or met at the church to eat, you know that there is always too much food. More that they could ever eat. More than their family could eat. Being that this is the South, we don’t like to let food go to waste. So the only logical option is to surround ourselves with friends to help us eat it.

Maybe you can see where this is going. When you are surrounded by friends, people that care about you (and that just brought you a Taco Salad), it’s hard to stay upset. That many¬† people, and that much food quickly turns a sad time of mourning, into a celebration of the life of the person who has passed on. Memories and stories are shared around the table, tears fall and laughter creates smiles.

As Truvy Jones would say, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

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Double Time

Ever feel like things are rushing by, like you’ve got to work twice as hard just to stay where you are?

One of the classic Southern Stereotypes is that things are slower down here. To an extent that is true. It gets too hot and humid to get in much of a rush. However, with the world getting flatter and deadlines not caring about slowing down, we’re starting to pick up the pace around here too.
I thought that maybe you felt this way as well. Maybe you are working (or whatever you do instead) harder and faster, and you don’t feel like your making any headway.

So what I am doing about it? What can I do to help you feel less overwhelmed? Why is there a picture of buses on this post?

Well, to be honest, a single rainbow isn’t always enough to encourage us. So, I though you could use a double.


(Yeah, I know I posted this on Saturday night, but that’s close enough for Sunday Inspiration to me)

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Some days you feel lucky

My wife finds a four-leaf clover anytime she decides to look for one.

I think there is a message in that. When you decide to look at your blessings… to look at how lucky you really are; you find so many things you never knew were there.

Take a moment and find the blessings around you. Find the things in your community that make you lucky to live there. You’ll never know what you will find until you look.

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