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A Positive Experience

This was one week where *real* bloggers could have posted something interesting almost every day. Monday was St. Patrick's day. We received some great pictures of Drew for that occasion. Here's one...

Yesterday was the day the swallows come back to Capistrano each year. Here's a bit of the story...

The famous cliff swallows of the Mission San Juan Capistrano, in San Juan, California, leave town every year in a swirling mass near the Day of San Juan (St. John's Day - October 23), They go to their winter home 6,000 miles south in Goya, Corrientes, Argentina. Five months later, almost to the day, they land at the Mission San Juan Capistrano on or around St. Joseph's Day, March 19, to the ringing bells of the old church and a crowd of visitors from all over the world who are in town awaiting their arrival and celebrating with a huge fiesta as well as a parade.

Then today is the first day of spring. Tomorrow is Good Friday, and Sunday is Easter. As I said, bloggers could go wild this week. I'll refrain from doing so. :-)

Bible Conference has been a huge blessing so far, and there's still more to come! Several have told me how glad they were to learn that they could listen in online as the messages are streamed.

With spring in the air, young people's minds turn to romance. I found something in my files that brought a wry smile to the face, but then I'm a word person. The humor in this one is that the writer has masterfully used the positive version of many of the negative expressions in the English language that, in actuality, have no positive version.

How I Met My Wife - a positive experience
by Jack Winter
Published originally 25 July 1994 in The New Yorker

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.

I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.

So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated - as if this were something I was great shakes at - and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She respsonded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation become more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.


In a message about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah)... "You will be given many opportunities in life to choose whether to bow or to burn. Choose to burn." - Craig Hartman

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Boy am I happy! My IQ Test came back negative!

Early Easter

Our annual Bible Conference is off to a good start. If you'd like to see the schedule or even listen in on your computer, go to http://www.bju.edu/campus/events/bibleconf

Next week is the annual Living Gallery. If you have never been to see Living Gallery, you have missed out on something really powerful. It's not too late to get tickets to go to one of this year's presentations. This year's presentation is about the work ancient scribes did in adorning texts - a work still performed today by artists. The drama, artwork with live models in them, and music powerfully drive the message home. For details, go to http://www.bjumg.org/living_gallery

I've received an e-mail from several people concerning our particularly early Easter this year. I thought it was interesting enough to post on my blog. Because of something I read on snopes, I corrected one of the numbers from the e-mail and added some ohter information.

Why is Easter so early this year?

The date of this coming Easter is quite early this year (March 23). Below is some interesting information as to why.

Unlike many others holidays on our western calendar which are celebrated on a specific date or on an easily calculated day - like Christmas on December 25 or Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November (that is, until Congress changes those dates too!) - Easter moves around from year to year to preserve its relationship to certain astrological phenomena. Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, occurred on the Sunday following Passover. Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is usually March 20, sometimes March 21). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that the Hebrew people use to identify Passover. This is why it moves around on our Roman calendar. The earliest that Easter can occur is March 22, and the latest is April 25.

This year is the earliest Easter any of us will see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have only ever seen it this early once before (see below). And none of us have ever seen or will ever see it a day earlier (March 22).

Here are the facts:

1. The next time Easter will be this early will be the year 2160 (152 years from now). The last time it was this early (March 23) was 1913. So if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that, and probably don't even remember it!

2. The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, obviously no one alive today has seen it that early, and barring some major breakthrough in longevity, no one currently alive will ever see Easter any earlier than this year!

3. The odds are greater for those now living to have seen or to see Easter on its latest date possible date (April 25) since it happened in 1943 and will happen again in 2038. Since I'd be pushing 90 in 2038, I hope I am "with it" to know what's going on around me! Who knows, I may be hiding my own Easter eggs by then!

If you're interested in reading about the date of Easter and seeing the date in any particular year from 1700 to 2299, you can go to this link http://www.assa.org.au/edm.html It's a long page with lots of information.


"No amount of activity in the Father's service will make up for the neglect of the Father Himself." - Robert Murray McCheyne

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How do you tell when you run out of invisible ink?

It’s like What?!

During the spring semester every year I teach French Composition. At times it's hard enough to write well in English, let alone in French, n'est-ce pas?! Today's iv is a list of analogies and/or comparisons that students have supposedly used in papers submitted in high school classes. (I checked with snopes.com and found nothing to indicate that these are bogus.) :-D

Worst analogies found in papers by high school students:

(WARNING - Several of these are truly weird! Make sure you are in a place where you can laugh out loud if you need to.)

The situation had become topsy-turvy - like Christmas in the summer, if you're in Australia.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

The information imbedded on the stolen computer chip was like an explosive so explosive it could explode, creating a massive explosion.

Her parting words lingered heavily inside me like last night's Taco Bell.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

His face looked like an ice sculpture. Not one of those pretty ones in the middle of a cruise ship buffet, but the kind they do in a contest with a chain saw - and it had been out in the heat too long.

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

A single drop of sweat slowly inched down Chad's brow - a tiny, glistening Times Square New Year's Eve Ball of desperation.

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a ThighMaster.

He spoke with the wisdom that can come only from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underwear in a dryer without Cling Free.

The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

The politician was gone, but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

She had a voice so husky it could have pulled a dogsled.


My wife Becka and daughter Nora arrived home safe and sound Tuesday evening. The weather was beautiful, the roads clear, and the traffic not bad. Thanks to any of you who prayed for their safety. We're all getting caught up and ready for Bible Conference next week.


"There's nothing I can achieve that won't pale in comparison with God's glory." - Dr. Drew Conley

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May your troubles be like a redneck's teeth - few and far between.

Cool Birthday!

We celebrated our grandson Drew's first birthday this past weekend. I have way too many pictures to pick from, so I will show as much restraint as possible. Here are some of the stories and some pictures....

Grandma and Nora traveled up as planned. They got stuck in a horrible traffic backup in Tennessee, not far from the state line to Kentucky. They got off at the next exit the traffic crept up to to try to find a restroom. Several men from the DOT pulled off to see if they were OK. Becka asked the one man why the traffic was so backed up, thinking he'd say it was an accident since the southbound traffic was flowing fine. He told her that the some of the mountain had caved! Yikes! We were thankful that it had happened before they got that far. He told them that if they continued on the road at that exit, they would come to a gravel road that would eventually take them to Jellico on the other side of the place where the mountain had caved. It was after dark, but they could see well enough to know that the left side of the gravel road was a sheer drop-off! I was very relieved when they called me from Jellico!

On Friday they managed to stay ahead of the snow storm that hammered Ohio. Below is a picture of them at lunch time in Perrysburg, OH, with some of the snow from earlier last week.

What Becka and Nora didn't know was that a few weeks ago I cashed in some frequent-flyer miles to fly up for the weekend too! I was supposed to arrive in Detroit at about midnight, but because of the snow, our pilot was delayed in arriving from his flight from Toronto. So my three hour layover in Chicago O'Hare became a six hour layover! (reminiscent of the theme song of Gilligan's Island ... a three hour tour!) When I arrived in Detroit at about 3:00 a.m. my son-in-law (who was in on my surprise) was there waiting for me. It was so fun when I slipped into our bedroom, kissed Becka to wake her up, and enjoyed her complete surprise!

We all really enjoyed being together on Saturday as preparations were going on for the "friends party" at 5:30 that afternoon. Meg and Jim asked me if I would give Drew his first trim to try to reduce his "baby mullet." Here are a couple of pictures of the process....

"Hey, Grandpa, what are you doing to me?!"

A lot of preparations went on in the kitchen for the food for the party the theme of which was puppies. Nora set up a cookie factory on the kitchen table....

Here's a tray full of the finished product....

Megan made a cute cake she'd seen online....

Drew also got his own cupcake - his first taste of cake! He enjoyed the cake, but he didn't want to touch it.

Drew really enjoyed the presents....

Grandma loved being with her boy....

It's hard to remember his being such a tiny preemie a year ago - he's such a fine, upstanding boy now!

My flights home Sunday were less eventful, and the delay in Chicago O'Hare was shorter than Friday night's delay. What's kind of sad is that 10 hours of my weekend were spent at O'Hare! Yuck! Becka and Nora are driving back to South Carolina today (Tuesday). It will be great to have them home again!


My recent trip up north, where they are experiencing one of their hardest winters in a long time, reminded me of the horrors of global warming and of an e-mail I received recently about the Northern Lights and a frozen Antarctic wave.


Yellowknife, named after copper, is the the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories. Here are a few pictures of the Northern Lights over Yellowknife and living in teepees at 37 degrees below 0....

It's beyond cool!

Below are some pictures of Antarctica. In the e-mail I received, what you see below was attributed to a quick freeze of a wave in super frigid air, but according to snopes it's actually the result of melting and refreezing. Whatever the situation, that's one cold place!


"It's nice to have the things money can buy, as long as you don't lose the things money can't buy." - Kevin Johns

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If it's zero degrees outside today and it's supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?

New License Plate Game

My wife Becka and our daughter Nora will be leaving this evening for Detroit. They plan to drive to Kentucky, spend the night in a hotel, then continue their trip Friday. Their thinking is that if they had decided to drive the whole way up on Friday, they would have arrived in Detroit right at Friday rush hour. They'll drive back here on Tuesday.

They are going up at this time to help celebrate the first birthday of our grandson Drew on Sunday. It's hard to believe that he's a year old already! There will be a friends party on Saturday afternoon and a family party on Sunday afternoon.

When our children were little, we used to pass the time on roadtrips (trying to ward off some of the squabbles) by playing that old favorite - The License Plate Game, seeing if we could see and write down a plate from each of the fifty states before the trip was over. I think the best we ever did was maybe 37 or 38 different states in one trip, surprisingly bagging Alaska and Hawaii on one trip or another!

With Becka and Nora's upcoming roadtrip to Michigan, I thought I'd give them something to do that ramps that game up to a more sophisticated level - identifying a car's home state or home town by looking at the the driver or other car features, before looking at the license plate for verification of your deductive skills. Maybe some of my readers could add comments giving other helpful tips for IDing drivers from their part of the world or tendancies they have noted in various locales....

How to identify where a driver is from...

Changing lanes or turning without using a blinker or speeding up when he sees your blinker rather than letting you change lanes, running red lights, pulling out in front of you from a side street when there's nothing behind you, waiting at a side street halfway out into your lane, driving down the middle of a street rather than in his lane: Greenville, South Carolina

Knee up against steering wheel, one hand on Tim Horton's coffee cup, cell phone in ear, accelerator to the floor, applying makeup, doing crossword puzzle in the morning Free Press, knocking down orange barrels, changing lanes without turn signals: Detroit (please pray for Becka and Nora since this is not the kind of thing they're used to here in Greenville) :-D

One hand on wheel, one hand on horn: Chicago

One hand on wheel, one hand making rude gestures out the window: New York

One hand on wheel, one hand making rude gestures out the window, cutting across all lanes of traffic: New Jersey

One hand on wheel, one hand on newspaper, foot solidly on accelerator: Boston

Foot lightly on the gas pedal (usually driving 5 or more mph under the speed limit), both hands on steering wheel, or if one hand isn't on the steering wheel the other hand holding a cup of Starbuck's coffee, seat pushed all the way up to the steering wheel, driving a Toyota Camry: Cleveland

One hand on wheel, one hand on nonfat double decaf cappuccino, cradling cell phone, brick on accelerator, and with a gun on lap: Southern California

Lowered Honda, can't see over dash, driving too fast or too slow, car sounds like a bee as it goes by: Los Angeles

Both hands on wheel, eyes shut, both feet on brake, quivering in terror: Ohio, but driving in California.

One hand on laptop computer, one hand at on-board navigation/Internet console installed in dash board, cell phone attached to head with microphone earpiece, having a executive meeting with half a dozen people on speaker phone, palm pilot wedged between knees to observe up to date stock quotes, and shoes kicked off, and feet crossed because traffic hasn't moved in the past hour: California (Bay Area / Silicon Valley)

Both hands in air, gesturing, both feet on accelerator, head turned to talk to someone in back seat: Italy

One hand on a 12 oz. double shot latte, one knee on wheel, cradling cell phone, foot on brake, mind on the game on the radio, banging head on steering wheel while stuck in traffic: Seattle

No use of turn signal, or left blinker on for 26 blocks ... also cradling cheap cell phone: Dubuque, Iowa

One hand on wheel, one hand hanging out the window, hunting rifle between legs, feet alternating between both being on the accelerator and both being on the brake, keeping speed steadily at 70mph, driving down the center of the road unless coming around a blind curve, in which case they are on the left side of the road, throwing a McDonald's bag out the window: Texas male

One hand constantly refocusing the rear-view mirror to show different angles of the BIG hair, one hand going between mousse, brush, and rat-tail to keep the helmet hair going, both feet on the accelerator, poodle steering the car, chrome .38 revolver with mother of pearl inlaid handle in the glove compartment: Texas female

Both hands on steering wheel in a relaxed posture, eyes constantly checking the rear-view mirror to watch for visible emissions from their own or another's car: Colorado

One hand on steering wheel, the other hand waving gun out the window and firing repeatedly, keeping a careful eye out for landmarks along the way so as to be able to come back and pick up any bullets that didn't hit other motorists, so as not to litter: Colorado resident on spotting a car with Texas plate

Beat up 1983 Dodge Ram pick-up truck, right hand holding a Dunkin Donuts coffee, cigarette dangling from mouth, greasy hair shoved underneath an oil stained cap, oldies blaring from the radio: Maine

Both hands on the wheel, seat as far forward as possible, head fixed only looking forward, ignoring people behind and beside you, stopping and waiting for the road to fully clear before making any forward progress: Toronto

Both hands clenched on steering wheel, driver staring directly forward, cutting in front of you and slowing down to 40 in a 60 zone then looking in rearview mirror in wonder as to why the car behind is flashing high beams: Ontario

Engaged in heated political discussion with espresso in one hand and croissant in the other, aiming for pedestrians who have the mistaken notion that crosswalks are for them: Quebec

One hand on wheel, other hand reaching out window trying to catch the windshield wiper to snap the ice off the blade: Minnesota

Four wheel drive pickup truck, shotgun mounted in rear window, empty cans on floor, squirrel tails attached to antenna: West Virginia male

Junker, driven by someone who previously had a nice car and who is also now wearing a barrel instead of nice clothes: Las Vegas

One hand on the wheel the other waving at every car that passes as if it were his neighbor: North Carolina

One finger on steering wheel of a jacked up 4x4, country music blaring from speakers, dead coyote in back, hay leaves blowing out of bed while going down the highway: Montana

Both hands on wheel, chunks of rust falling off by the pound: Nebraska

Two hands gripping wheel, blue hair barely visible above window level, driving 35 in the left lane on the interstate, with the left blinker on: Florida "seasoned citizen" driver, also known as a "no-see-'em"

Both hands on the reigns: Pennsylvania


"Is the gospel good news for you, or is it just good information?" - Dr. Tim Keesee

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Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he'll never be able to edge his car out onto a freeway.