Archive for the 'Random thoughts' Category
I love old houses; I know it’s some kind of a sickness… I just can’t help it.
They are drafty, have obsolete floor plans, lack modern conveniences and people think they’re spooky…
Here’s my old house:
Does it really look so spooky? Well it may be a pain sometimes, but it is not scary!
It is part of the Highland Park Historic District in Rock Island, Illinois. It’s said that Mr. Frank Kelly built it in 1895, choosing the Queen Anne style in honor of his wife Anne. It is, I believe a design from The Cottage Souvenir No. 2 (1891) by famous architect George F. Barber, and it appears to me that it is a modified Design 33, floor plan 2 from that classic catalogue.
Mr. Barber was a product of a time in which people believed that everything should be a work of art, houses, locomotives, furniture, and household items of every description. It may sometimes seem to be a bit much to modern eyes, but designs and patterns were in everything. Note the detail in this photo (sorry for the pole!) and then take a look at the same view in 1899
Yes, those people back in the 19th Century may have used too much ornamentation, but I have a hard time condemning a people who put too much effort and craftmanship, not to mention art, into everyday things when I look at the lack of artistic effort and craftsmanship that we put into things now. It’s like we always take the cheap and easy route… maybe we are the ones who should consider changes!
Well, I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you all that. One last thing: There’s nothing better than an old house in the Fall, when the yard and the neighborhood, like Victorian exteriors and interiors, seem to be a little cluttered and somehow not quite perfect…
Way too many colors to be modern…
Way too many leaves on the old weathered steps…
…and on the old brick sidewalks.
Yes sir, Fall and Victorian houses have a lot in common, and I thank God for both of them!
- George F. Barber homes (caro-interiors.com)
I have been a denier on the subject of the Mayan Calendar and the end, I have even mocked the notion on this blog: I now realize that I was wrong.
I have been looking around the internet, listening to late-night talk shows and reading important items in the press; none of which was very convincing. Now I have seen it with my own eyes!
Here is the proof!!! This is a hydrangea bush on the north side of my house.
As anyone who has ever visited my house in the summer (and it’s still spring!) can tell you, this bush has not bloomed before. I have lived here since 2006, and it has never had even a single bloom during that time. Now there is another hydrangea nearby, look at this:
This bush blooms every year, but there’s only a few white flowers on it. This is a few more than normal. Compare it to the plant that never blooms; amazing.
Now, just to be sure that you see carefully, here is the normal flower:
…and here is the flower on the bush that has never bloomed:
Can you see the difference? The bush that never bloomed has done so in this fateful year of 2012… and the blooms are RED!!! Obviously the world is coming to an end this December because the bush that never blooms has now bloomed more abundantly that any of the others, and the flowers are the color of BLOOD!!! (sort of) If that is not proof, I don’t know what is! I think I am going to write a book, make a DVD and get on Coast to Coast, I’ll bet the National Enquirer will pay a small fortune for the photos!
Now, don’t even think about being a denier like I used to be; we have to get ready for the end. We’ll all buy a bunch of food, maybe 10 years’ worth to hide in the basement. We’ll also run out and buy a bunch of guns and ammo. We’ll build walls around the house and some camo suits and stuff like that.
I’m not really sure what use that stuff will be when the world ends, but remember, I’m new at this!
Oh, I almost forgot: There was a dead bird in our pond this morning; see, that proves it again!!! (and the Cubs won yesterday, surely that proves the end is near)
OK, fine, be a kill joy. Of course all of the above is utter nonsense! The world will end what God decides it will, and I highly doubt that the Mayan Calendar will have anything to do with it. In the meantime, I’m not going to spend an instant worrying about it. I have an assignment, the one the Lord Jesus Christ gave to us and that is to go and make disciples… and that is what I’m going to do from now until He either takes me home, or brings this world to a conclusion. With this plan, I need not worry or sweat about the details; however He has it figured out will be just fine with me!
I’ve never been much of a fan of Royalty or monarchy. As an American, I’ve generally taken the view that we fought two wars to be rid of kings and queens so who cares about the Royals?
Upon closer study, I still don’t want any part of monarchy for the USA, but there is one thing about Queen Elizabeth II that I must concede: Through a long and tumultuous time, she has demonstrated dignity, poise and class that is impossible to deny and sadly uncommon in our time. In short, I can’t help but to like and admire her.
I don’t have any idea what the “proper” thing is to write at this point, but this I will say to Her Majesty: Congratulations on reaching only the second Diamond Jubilee in history, and may there be many more years ahead! For our friends in the UK, I hope that you have a great celebration this weekend, and that you are duly appreciative of the class that your Queen demonstrates for all the world to see. She represents your great Nation very well indeed.
Over the Memorial Day weekend I had an opportunity to visit Tierra Linda near Galena, Illinois. Tierra Linda is a bed and breakfast, but unlike the ones I have visited in the past, there are no antiques, no crystal glasses and really no frills. What there is made me forget about these other things…but first things first.
The house is a simple old farmhouse, nicely decorated and simple; “homey” is the word for it. There are only two guest rooms, so you don’t have a crowd to contend with, and everything is personal; you get to know people if you want to. It is “pet-friendly” so you get to know their dogs too!
In the evening, we had a cook-out, and while this is not an advertised occurrence and everybody contributed to it, it was more like a BBQ at a friend’s house than anything else, and then there was good conversation around the fire. Note, this was just a spur of the moment kind of thing and they don’t advertise it, but it happened when I was there.
The grounds, 11 acres of them, are not carefully manicured formal gardens; they are simply natural. If you like being in nature, this is the place for you. If you are up early, I highly recommend that you find a nice spot out in the property, a nice quiet one to spend some time with the Lord in nature; I sat down by the pond; there’s just something about time with God in nature…
There are little surprises all over the place, and I will be posting many more over the next couple of weeks; it is a treasure chest if you bring your camera!
I arrived in mid-afternoon on a very hot day, and the pond looked so inviting; there’s even a sandy beach… It is secluded and private and don’t tell anybody, but it looked so cool and inviting I jumped right in!
This blog is not a travel blog, but if you are ever in the Galena area in Northwestern Illinois and you have a pet with you (or not) you might want to check out Tierra Linda at this link.
Today John F. Kennedy would be 95 years of age; hard to imagine…
Of course I’d rather be writing about how he was planning to celebrate today that having to remember him…
Mr. Kennedy inspired a Nation with his unusual blend of optimism and charm. He affected style, fashion and the way we view government and politics in this country. Whether you loved him or hated him politically, you always had to admit that he was witty and had class. For those of us who were too young during his presidency to really be affected by the politics and partisanship of the time, he seems to loom over the stage as someone we’d like to have known better.
In looking back at the history and events surrounding JFK, it strikes me as fascinating to see the mythology that has grown around him. Some today like to claim him as the ideal of modern Liberalism and yet he was the conservative alternative to the more liberal Hubert Humphrey in the 1960 primaries. He served as Ronald Reagan’s model for cutting taxes in the 1980′s and was Mr. Nixon’s rival for being tough on communism and national defense in 1960.
In any event, all politics and nonsense aside, JFK is certainly a man worth remembering, an interesting character, and a model of class in public that our current politicians would benefit from studying.
Today is Memorial Day in the USA, a day in which Americans pause to honor those men and women who have given “their last full measure of devotion” for our freedom and liberty. All Americans, and even many others in various places around the world should pause to ask themselves what the world would be like today had these heroes not been willing to sacrifice for freedom.
I disagree with those who say that these honored dead are the source of our liberties, for Liberty comes from God. However this in no way diminishes their sacrifice or their service. On the contrary it could easily be argued that in defending freedom from tyranny they have been the very agents of God.
Personally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every man and woman of our Armed Forces for what they do for this Nation in difficult times and often terrible circumstances; you are all an inspiration to freedom loving Peoples everywhere. I hope that each of us will take the time this day to reflect upon those who cannot hear our thanks and praise, for their selfless devotion in the service of their country and of decency, peace and liberty which must surely humble us all.
Finally, I would ask all who read this to approach Almighty God in prayer today, asking that such sacrifices may never again be required of the young men and women of any nation, that His mercy and justice would prevail on the earth for ever.
In 2004 we were shopping for a new house, and I am including two photos we took in one of the houses that we considered. Sadly, this one was not the one that we ultimately bought…
In the photo above you can see one of the modern kitchen conveniences that it contained… it is for cooling baked goods such as bread, pies, cakes and cookies. It is located adjacent to the “ice box” which is an insulated box that contains ice. (Go figure) Next to that on the left is an awesome kitchen convenience, shown below…
This little wonder, located just above the radiator is a bread rising box. You place your bread dough in this nice warm box to rise… Isn’t that awesome?
OK, full disclosure: I bake bread every week. In the cold months, which in this part of the world includes most months, I have to heat (slightly) an oven to rise bread… unless I can wait 2 or 3 hours for each rise. Normally, “sandwich bread” has three rises, you can do the math!
I can’t tell you how much I’d like to have these modern kitchen conveniences that modern kitchens don’t have. As you might have guessed this particular home was built-in 1895. Just to make me a little more envious, the house I live in now is literally around the corner and was built the same year, but along the way some joker “modernized” my kitchen and ripped all of this stuff out! Urgh. I have a 21st century kitchen… and that means more work for me… OK, sort of.
It’s funny how our modern age of technology has squeezed some things out. I realize that most people buy their bread at the store, along with most of the rest of their food. It’s canned, frozen and already prepared… and those who buy it that way are really missing out not only on nutrition but taste… and spend more for food in the process!
Our modern age has also squeezed some other things out like manners, courtesy and often Christ. We’ve replaced conversation and friendship with social media and TV… well, I’ll spare you the entire rant.
I hope, however that all of us can find a little time to squeeze Christ into our modern life of total convenience, you know what I mean, these days of leisure time and effortless living in which we all run around like chickens with their heads cut off full of stress and pressure from every side. We need to find ways to fit Him in…
Ironic isn’t it? We do everything to save time, and most of us are saving so much time that we don’t have a second to catch our breath!
There are some things in life that aren’t worth the effort or the money they cost; lousy food is one thing that comes to mind…
Food is necessary to sustain life, food costs money, food takes time and effort to prepare and food can be something that adds zest and variety to life: Food is important. People in Western countries put a lot into food.
I wouldn’t think that any of this comes as news to you, dear reader…
The great question of this or any other age is: Why would we settle for lousy food if we don’t have to? Yes, friends it is upon such great questions that the fate of civilization rests. In connection with this great issue, I must now confess that somehow I have slipped into snobbery; I am a food snob!
Since I must eat to live, I’d prefer to eat good stuff. If I am going out to eat, I would prefer a place that serves good food to one that slings the hash or tosses the burgers… and I am unrepentant on this point. As an old boss once (maybe more than once, come to think of it) said to me: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
Why accept mediocrity? Why settle for average? If we have the power or the ability to do better, shouldn’t we do better? You see this really isn’t about food at all, it’s about not settling for second best. Martin Luther King once said that if you are a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be. Doesn’t this apply to all areas of our daily lives? I think it does, and I think that it is a firm Biblical concept. It isn’t about showing off or being a hot-shot or arrogant or prideful, it’s about having a great testimony for Christ.
Let’s say you are at work and there is a Christian among your co-workers. This person wants to tell everybody about God and church and that person is a slacker, a sand-bagger and a lazy worker. How do they reflect upon God? Not well!
Back to true confessions: God has provided us with the physical need to eat, and the means to eat well (hopefully). Why eat lousy food? Why not do the best we possibly can within our means, giving glory, thanks and praise to God all the while?
Final note: There is no deathbed; nobody is even sick. But if you’re going to write a title, why not make it a good one?