Goodbye to a good man

My friend Donny died yesterday. Well, as an adult he was known as Don — by co-workers and others who haven’t known him as long as I have (more than 30 years). I think some of his co-workers probably still called him Donny, though. He had worked at the Kroger in Batesville since he was 16.

I tried to call him Don to his face. But to me he was still Donny, my brother’s buddy.

He was a good man.

Later I’ll write more, when I have permission from Don’s wife to publish a photo of him, plus maybe what the obituary said. She was devastated yesterday, and not at all sure how to tell their son, Josh.

Today is Josh’s 12th birthday.

Pray for them.

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Random things I say to my dogs

In any given week, you might hear one or all of these things uttered at my house, either to or about the furchildren.

“Poop!” (After finding a deposit on the carpet, five minutes after they’ve been outside to potty. This is our most frequent exclamation.)

“Who peed in the office?”

“Time to rassle!”

“Pepper, move over.” (In the middle of the night.)

“Salsa, calm down!!”

“Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty, and I’ll give you a treat. … Pepper, please go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Please potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. Hurry up. It’s cold [or hot] out here. Go potty. Go potty. Go potty. … Good potty!”

“Don’t lick me on the mouth!”

“But we like the mailman!”

“Who turned over the trash can?”


“Who peed on the bathroom rug?”

“Don’t snatch! Be gentle.” (To Pepper, who likes to snatch her treats out of your hand.)

“That’s not very ladylike.” (To Salsa, when she flops onto her back to ask for a belly rub.)

“Dry your feet.” (Salsa’s signal to stop and wait for me when she comes in from the rain. They do have a little training.)

“Don’t bite me.” (To Salsa, who always bites my right index finger after I dry her feet.)

“Who peed in the laundry room?”

“Salsa, down!” (When someone arrives.)

“Who peed in the guest bedroom?”

“Salsa, chillax!”

“Pepper, you’re tiny.”

“Salsa, you’re pretty.”

(Whispering to Bruce) “Where’s the camera?”

“Salsa, you’re going to put my eye out with your tail.”

“Don’t bite me! I’m gonna bite you!” (During a rasslin’ match.)

“You have bad breath.”

“Don’t lick the window!”

“You stink!”

“Who needs a bath?”

“Anybody hungry?” (Just to see their joy as they race to the kitchen.)

(To both) “I love you.”

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No complaints, Day 2

Today is technically Day 2, because I started not complaining yesterday. So I have a day and a half under my belt already!

I did a pretty decent job today, but I want to ask you whether these count:

1. Observing, as I drove home from my job at 9 p.m., that the gas at the corner is 10 cents higher than it was this morning, while remembering that last week it rose 11 cents in a day. That’s a 21-cent increase in less than a week! Does making such observations count as complaining? If everyone complains about the price of gas, does it count?

2. Having the phrase “drama queen” leap to mind in reference to another person. Maybe that’s not complaining; maybe it’s judging.

We’ll work on judging next week, right after I’ve mastered the art of complaining without sounding like I’m complaining.

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It makes a difference

Many of the people in my circle don’t understand why I care so much about recycling, conserving water and other resources or how we use plastic and toss it away without a thought.

Why does it matter that sea life is harmed by the things we use and carelessly get rid of? For one thing, they’re all God’s creatures, just as we are. They may not have the “higher intelligence” that we humans possess, but He did create them, and He cares about each of His creatures. In fact, sometimes I’m not so sure just how much smarter we really are, when we can disregard another life just because we don’t understand it.

We are all part of the circle.

Click here to read how one woman changed her little corner of the world and how that small change started sending ripples throughout the world.

Go, Rebecca.

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Just do it!

“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Philippians 2:14-15

Man, I wish I hadn’t gone to church this morning! Harold issued a challenge that was long overdue for me: Stop whining!

I don’t think he actually used the word whining, but he did quote liberally from Philippians 2, which includes the admonition not to complain, with plenty of explication on why we shouldn’t.

I even copied down Verses 13-17 (in two translations) in my composition notebook while I listened to the rest of the sermon. (Gonna pin the copied verses to my cubicle wall at my job, which is what I complain most about.) It’s funny how you can read a passage many times and be only marginally affected by it until, one day, someone makes it come alive for you. That’s what Harold did this morning when he told me the reasons I should stop complaining. It was like a poke in the eye.

Because I’ve been doing a lot of it lately.

I could philosophize for hours about the virtues of obeying these verses, but all I’m gonna do is commit the next seven days to doing it.

And I have to proclaim it publicly so that you all can hold me accountable. Another thing Harold said is that God not only brought us into relationship with Himself, he brought us into relationship with each other, even those we haven’t met. And we sang about needing each other and praying for each other.

I need you.

Because not complaining for seven whole days ain’t gonna be easy.

So, friends, if you hear me complain, shut me up. But do it gently, please.

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Can't wait to share

Bruce and DJ at farmers market, May 3, 2008.

I cannot share with you the abundance of what Bruce and I experienced this morning — until next week.

You see, we went to the new farmers market in Argenta, but I was taking photos for The North Little Rock Times, because our reporter, Jeremy, had another assignment. He knew I was planning to be at the market anyway, so he asked me to take pics in his place.

Mayor Hays rang the opening bell, and, even though it was windy and quite chilly at 7 a.m., there was a good little crowd to christen the event.

It was wonderful, but I can’t tell you how wonderful for a few days, for two reasons: 1) Technically, any photos we publish in The Times will belong to my employer, so the ones I use for this blog will have to be ones we choose not to publish in the May 8 edition; and 2) Bruce says I have to do my homework first (my online accounting class, and I’m way behind). But I told him I at least have to write a paragraph! And, of course, I got carried away and have written much more than that.

But I had to tell you two things about my experience: 1) The Chudy Farms people got me to like honey. That’s huge! My dislike of honey goes back to some childhood memories of being force fed the stuff when I had the croup. But the Chudy Farms people offered me a sample of their honey on a biscuit, and I became an instant fan. 2) There’s a New Clean Plate Club started by nutritionist Penny Rudder that you’re going to love! I hope to write a sidebar for The Times about that, but I definitely will be talking to her in the next couple of days to get more details, whether it’s for the paper or the blog (I hope to do both).

Can’t wait to tell you more — and share more pics — next weekend.

Oh, and in the photo above is of Bruce (you know him) and D.J., former NLR Times reporter who’s about to start writing for an NLR blog in a couple of weeks.

Off to do my homework …

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