Saturday, June 27, 2009

Important Lives

It has been a really sad week hasn't it? The loss of three "cultural icons" this week seems to be the main topic of discussion in the last few days. Although it may be necessary to mention the passing of these celebrities here, I tend to think the news media is doing their usual job of keeping these headlines alive. They don't need my comments added to keep the stories going. And while Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson may have been important people to our culture, and will be missed, I think it is important for our family to keep things in perspective.

There were countless other people in our country that fought and lost brave battles this week. There were also many others that left us too soon, and we are still in shock of the suddenness of their passing. We may, or may not know their names, or have relationships with their families, but their lives were important as well.

Our community of Brownsburg Indiana lost a few important lives this week. Their families will be greatly impacted, and our little town will be as well. The two young Warnock girls watched as their estranged father crept into their house and ended their mother's life in front of them. The Ophoff family lost a teenage daughter to an auto accident, and another young man lost his life in a fast burning fire. These three lives were important. . . equally important as the three celebrities that passed this week, maybe just not as well known. In the eyes of The Lord, all lives are cherished and important.

So after looking at the 9000th photo of Michael Jackson and "Thriller" tonight I just wanted to say to the Warnock girls, the Ophoff family, and the family of the teenage boy in the fire, on this night you are being remembered by our family. We are thinking of you, missing you, and praying for you. Your loved ones lives were important.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Little Story For Father's Day

A Father's Day Story in pictures. . .
Once upon a time, ok not THAT long ago, I was born. That's me and my dad. c. 1964. I was the first born, and was loved very much by Dad and Mom. It wasn't long however, before the truth about the plans my dad had for me started to come out. Here's proof:
Do you see that? He was planning early on to show me the love of what I affectionately call "dirty work" You know what I mean, yard stuff, raking leaves, picking up sticks etc. He has always had a tremendous work ethic, and still does to this day. So I know deep down, he was just trying to pass this on to me like all good dads do. My Grandpa even joined in on the action!
(By the way, at the age of 12 or 13 I wasn't allowed to mow the grass anymore. I would mow about 5 feet away from the trees and Dad would just have to re do what I did. Smart huh?!)

So I grew and a couple of years passed and Dad continued his quest to teach me the value of hard work. Not only did I have to learn by watching his example, I had to actually DO the work in order to get the full effect. Unfortunately, the opposite reaction started to take effect

Do you see that look on my face? That was the expression I had throughout much of my childhood everytime I had to go outside and "help" with some "dirty work" By the time I was in my teens, I had a great system going, where after I had worked for awhile I would say, "I have to go to the bathroom" and hurry back into the house until he caught me, and made me go back out again. My skill was legendary, and our family still talks about it today. I thought no one would ever match up to my finesse of getting out of work. . . Then this happened
Meet my oldest son. The ultimate shirker of hard work. I just know this child is my payback for all those trips back in the house to get out of my duties!

All I can say is that I'm so glad my brother came along a couple of years after me.
He likes all that dirty stuff! He even wrestled in mud to try and catch a pig and a cow once. But that's a story for another day. Here's my Dad and Brother more recently
They are farmers, fathers, and very hard workers and I couldn't be more proud of them!

I asked my kids to tell their Dad today some of the things they had learned from him. Their answer was lame. . . "How to mow the grass"

Here are some things and famous phrases I learned from my dad
  • Don't turn your back on a Ram sheep (ouch)
  • Dragging and throwing branches on a brush pile, and splitting wood in the dead of winter didn't kill me after all
  • School work is important
  • Girls aren't supposed to call boys. The boys are supposed to call the girls!
  • "Nobody said it would be easy" (the main one I heard in college)
  • And, "Don't pick the first apartment you look at!" (and I did, every time!)
In all seriousness, I have really learned some of the most important life lessons from my dad. He showed me what a great husband was (and I have one), and he taught me how to "think" and be smart. He is often silent and really thinks things through before acting. I'm so glad to have inherited this trait from him. It has served me well throughout my adulthood. And about that work ethic, this week I worked about 60 hours in order to get all my work done. So I guess some of his efforts sunk in after all!

So Dad, when you read this, I hope you are relaxing, not working too hard today, and are having a great Father's Day. I love you, and wish I could be there with you! Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's that you say, "No blog posts since March?"
Well all I can say for myself is that like most things in my life, I'm just hit and miss. I get going on one project then skip from one thing to the next leaving a trail of unfinished, not updated things in my wake. As always, I'll try to be better at posting more often. Now, on to better things...

One week ago today was a pretty tough one here at the Boyles homestead. Oh, it was nothing that serious, just one of those early summer days that starts out great then goes downhill as it progresses. I had made a couple of big blunders that impacted the whole family and made for some pretty ugly inconveniences for all of us. By that evening, I was ready for the whole day to be over. Keep in mind that the first week that school is out for the summer is always challenging. The kids fight over everything, I'm not used to them being home and wanting my attention every waking minute, it's just a whole mess of trying to get re-adjusted to each other.

So when Mr Boyles came home and said, "JJ, you've got to come outside and see this," my first thought was, "oh great, now what!" I dragged myself outside to the front porch to see what was so important. Well, the night before, we (he) had divided up our Morning Glory plants and tied strings to the pillars where they are supposed to be climbing. I knew they were ready to start vining and needed the strings, but I didn't know it would be that soon! There they were, little tiny vines, timidly making their way up the strings. That was surely a good sign our (his) efforts were worthwhile. AND, as if that wasn't enough, I turned around to check on the other plants we're growing and immediately saw this-

In that instant, the whole rotten day was transformed! (Actually my first thought was to hurry and get the camera before this lovely sight disappeared!) We called all the kids out to see it, because who wants to miss a Rainbow! After sufficient ooohs and aaahs everyone went back inside, but I stayed out for a little longer. As special as a rainbow is, this one was definitely more significant for me than other ones in recent memory. To me, it was my very own personal reminder that the Lord was watching over us through our whole crazy day. Really I had known that all along, but to have a tangible reminder was.... well, I can't really put it into words. Whenever I see a rainbow, I'm always reminded of Noah,

"And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth"
Genesis 1:12-16

What a beautiful display of His love and Grace! So now when the days get rough, or I have another big blunder (I'm certain there will be more!) I'm going to look at this photo I've put up on my wall and tell myself, "It's only money," or "the kids won't grow into adulthood fighting like this." I'll be gently reminded that The Lord is always with me, no matter what.

Have a great Thursday!