Help Me with a Dream Interpretation

I guess we all have some very bizarre dreams, and mine don’t tend to often be very upsetting or stick with me long at all. But I am sometimes surprised at the complication involved in the details of a dream.

So, last night – I am umpiring a girl’s softball game from home plate. There are two outs and runners at 1st base and 2nd base. The batter hits a shot into the gap in left-centerfield. The first base-runner scores easily, but the second runner (coming from 1st base) is caught in an extended rundown between 3rd and home. The batter is now also caught in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd, and throws are going all over the infield. So two runners are caught between bases, but the defense can’t finish them off with a tag. OK?

OK – here’s the crazy part. The first base-runner who scored easily from 2nd base on the hit – I clearly noticed – did not stop at home when she scored. She kept right on going to 1st base, around to 2nd, and then – she gets into the same rundown between 2nd and 3rd along with the batter. This, of course, creates enough confusion that the runner between 3rd and home is now able to score (the second run scored on the play), and only after that does the 3rd out get recorded – as the ‘illegal’ runner is tagged.

So… here are my questions:

–          The first run is legit, but what should the call be for that runner not stopping at home but “rounding home” to go around the bases again?

–          Should the second run count, since it was only able to be scored because of the confusion created by the “illegal runner?”

–          If the “illegal runner” was tagged as the third out, was there ever really a third out? I sure hope so, because I might otherwise have to have another dream to sort it out!

–          Why would I have a dream with such complication?

–          Why in the world am I umpiring a girl’s softball game? I have probably watched about 3 innings of such in my life – walking over to the field at WHS to see a cross country runner who played softball in the spring come to bat.

–          If dreams are our subconscious way of working out our real life problems, what sort of problem is this attempting to fix?

Can anyone help me out?

Another Dog

I am almost terribly ashamed! Almost. But it helps to live in the country and far enough away from any neighbors that we can’t really be seen by them nor from the road. And my landscaper son continues to plant trees. This is good.

You have heard me say and write that I love my dog. I do!  Joules the Jack Russell is way cool! At the end of the day, I like anything that runs fast! No rabbits will ever again infest our property.

A friend of mine who shall go nameless (unless I change my mind in a couple of sentences), who lives in Williamsport on a main street and serves currently on my church board, also owned a Jack Russell. I remember one time some years ago when I was at the Sunoco station at Exit 2 in Williamsport, he walked by with the dog on a leash. Feeling a bit insecure it seemed, he said to me, “You know it takes a real man with lots of personal confidence to be seen walking a little Jack Russell.”  I’ve never felt that way about my JRT – she is so cool and so awesome!

However, I can understand how that feeling could be true of being seen with certain breeds and types of canines … and that is where I’m feeling a bit … ah … insecure. It appears we have a second dog in the house. And like the first one (brought to us unannounced by my daughter-in-law), it has also sort of dropped into our lives. It is a stray dog that we have been unsuccessful in all efforts to find its previous owner.

But here is the problem – in terms of machismo … she is a tiny, fluffy, foofie, little bundle of fur. Weighing about five pounds, she makes Joules looks like a Great Dane standing next to her. It is the kind of dog some rich old woman of high estate would have – that would dress up the dog in frilly coats with pink and yellow bows, etc.

I guess the dog is some sort of Pomeranian, maybe even a mix with a Chihuahua or something like that? Her tail sticks straight in the air and with an overflowing abundance of long hair, it looks like a palm tree over her back. She is quite well-behaved, and fortunately is not really a yappy little thing like so many other runt types of breeds.

So, I guess she’ll end up going places with me at times like Joules does … that is, if I can work up my confidence to be seen publically with such a fur-ball.

The thing still does not have a name. Any ideas?  Foofie and cutesy names not allowed!

Jimmy Lynn for a Day

Today was the Sunday that I agreed to come early to church to be the first one there to open up and get the church ready for the morning in the absence of Jimmy Lynn.

Now, I readily admit, it is difficult to fill the venerable shoes of TSF’s church sweetheart and beloved caretaker!  Jimmy is also the meister of miscellaneous information. He has a story or an isolated little-known tidbit on almost every topic.

When I was a kid in the 60s, there was a silly TV show called “Queen for a Day.” A sort of early reality show, it featured fairly ordinary women telling their stories, and through some criteria one was chosen to sit on this huge throne. She was crowned “queen for a day” and regaled with roses and a robe. It was ridiculous, but it was very popular. A famous TV critic has said of it, “one of the most ghastly shows ever produced … tasteless, demeaning to women, demeaning to anyone who watched it, cheap, insulting and utterly degrading to the human spirit.”  Wow!

My experience as “Jimmy Lynn for a Day” was a lot better than that. And I have some stories to tell. I often wonder why Jimmy’s stories go on and on and on about various topics. Well, it is because of how interesting his life is!

After checking out the bathrooms and only needing to add one toilet roll, I opened all the doors and turned on the hall lights. I can report that only one door was unlocked! But criminals reading this: don’t dare attempt to steal anything, even if the door is open, because our security system WILL catch you!

I moved on to bug and worm execution and elimination. By my count, we did have actually a more people at church today than we did beetles and inch worms. However, there were likely more of such behind the walls than there were people hiding in the cracks.

Here is what I observed: The worms are more numerous than the beetles out in the hallways, but in the auditorium, there are more bugs. That is clearly because of the distance that needs to be traversed … it would be something of a marathon for the worms to go that far. Also, about 55-60% of beetles were dead – clearly victims of our extermination program (or a Tim Lester sermon).

I was pleased to know that I can still outrun and outmaneuver the worms, but the bugs were more of a challenge (the living ones, I mean). If I brushed them into the pan, there was the possibility that they would run out before I could throw them outside. So, I had to, ah, well, crush them. But here is the problem with that – if I crushed them too hard, they would be smashed into the floor or ground into the tread of my shoe. So, the proper technique I discovered was to sort of pop them on the dome lightly and stun them without smashing their guts all over the floor.

So… all in all, it was an exciting experience. Who knew that the job had so many details to talk about? And what an honor! How many of you have ever been “Jimmy Lynn for a Day?”

Cat Food: The New Forbidden Fruit

Is this where we are headed in Obama’s America? Where all of us end up eating government supplied cat food as our dietary staple? Maybe it won’t be so bad …

The most sought after and fought over food on our farm is the food in the cat’s bowl!

We have sufficiently disciplined our dog to longer sneak around and steal it. But when Nathan and Allie’s dog stays with us, the cat gets little to eat – all this from a dog who rather hates eating dog food and actually eats very little of anything.

However, now our free-ranging chickens have decided they too want to eat the cat’s food. Some of them have begun to come right up on the back porch and eat it all in full view of the feline! As final evidence that the world is turned upside down in Obama’s America, the chickens today chased the cat off the porch and away from her bowl! She has to be thinking, “And this is the thanks I get for not eating you when you were the size of a chicken nugget?”

To desire to have what you are not supposed to have and possess as your own … that is a condition not limited to the animal kingdom. In fact, it goes back to the very first of human problems – the mother of all sorrows and sadness and sickness and death. Forbidden fruit.

Learning contentment within our circumstances is a great challenge. It may, in fact, be at the very center of the primary lesson that God would have us learn – to trust Him today, right NOW, and in spite of whatever is going on around us. Consider these biblical admonitions:

Philippians 4:11-12 … I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

1 Timothy 6:6 … But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Hebrews 13:5 … Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Boy Stories

Each of my five boys has a story or two from their childhood that gets repeated over and over by family members above all others.

For our fourth son, Jesse, it is the time he was about seven or eight years old – celebrating his August birthday. He was opening some presents and displaying a very snarky and totally unappreciative attitude about the whole process. So, to fix it, we took his presents away and did not give them back to him until Christmas! He’s been a thankful child ever since!

However, that story is in jeopardy of being replaced by another that happened here today.  Jesse may be about the most intense and disciplined person I’ve ever known. He is currently on pace to read about 120 books this year; he turns in written assignments to professors a week or two in advance; and he will pack for a trip about four day before departure!

McKeldin Library at UMD

Well, today he called home from the library at the University of Maryland at College Park – where he transferred just this semester to matriculate into the Smith School of Business. Apparently he was studying in a corner of the library, when after a time of encroaching darkness realized upon investigation that the library had actually closed two hours previously! So he called the campus police to come extricate him by unlocking the doors! I don’t think that happened to me at college.

So, what are the other boy stories?  Here is a sampling from each:

Nathan: His little girl Bella is taking after him with a fascination with listening to recorded Bible stories at bedtime. It is amazing what Nathan learned and recalled from this very young, pre-school-age ritual. One night after having gone to bed, he came to the top of the steps and yelled, “Daddy, back in Bible times, people had arms, right?”  And I said, “Yes, of course, why would you ask that?”  And he replied, “Because here on my Bible story tape about the Israelites escaping from Pharaoh, they said to Moses, ‘How can we fight the Egyptians, we have no arms!’”

Benjamin: Most of Benjamin’s stories involve the pilfering of forbidden foods – always containing sugar. All the boys did this to some extent, but none quite like Ben. One of their targets was stealing frozen mini-marshmallows from the chest freezer in the basement. On a particular occasion, Diana found a bag of thawed-out chicken parts that had been accidently not put back inside when a theft occurred. She gathered all the boys (only 3 at that time), and demanded to know who’d dun it! Everyone professed innocence. But Ben blew his own cover – while touching the bag and saying, “That’s funny, they felt like bones yesterday!”

Aaron: As the third oldest, he was at times the innocent bystander of conflict between the two older brothers. I know, I know – picturing the Aaron we know today as the quiet bystander of ANYTHING is difficult to believe. One night at the dinner table, there was a conflict between Nathan and Benjamin that caused me to go off on both of them rather severely … or at least such that, when I was finished, a total hush fell over the dinner table. Suddenly, Aaron simply said in a quiet, matter of fact way, “I’m always a good boy!”  Diana and I totally lost it!

Caleb: When he was quite young we were visited by some of our Texas family. We took a day to visit Washington and see the sights there. We were walking through Arlington – where Caleb ran ahead of the rest of us and jumped up and sat on a post. As we got close to him, he said with a slight grin, “I’m stuck, I can’t get down.”  His shorts had bunched up under him, and he could not move in any direction. I really did think he was kidding, and so I just told him to stop fooling around and jump down. At that point, he broke into a flood of tears, “I really am stuck here; I can’t move!!” Since you see his 6’2” presence around church, you know that I did not leave him there!  Actually, just a few weeks ago when in Philly on the way home from the Jersey shore, Caleb re-enacted the situation on a post in front of Independence Hall… and here is the picture:

Dog Shaming is not Biblical

While online recently I have several times come across the mention of a new website called “” – which is a site where dog owners may post pictures of their sinful, shameful animal with a handwritten note describing their vice (as if composed personally by the canine). The idea is, I guess, a whimsical effort to shame the dog by the public humiliation of their sin for all to see … stuff like eating and barfing unmentionables, ripping up and destroying varied items of property, or, well, acting like an animal without human sensitivities and social norms!  There are a lot of humorous pictures!

Being the owner of a Jack Russell Terrier, I was not actually surprised to see that about one-half of all entries were about the deeds of JRTs!

Before I write some thoughts after the pictures, let me just show you a couple of examples from the web page (and then later, one of my own)…

A public confession of sins may be an appropriate activity – especially when the sin committed was a public one that affected other folks. But I have to say that biblically speaking, it would be far more honorable to have a “faming” web page rather than a “shaming” page. Consider this Scriptural thought from Hebrews 10:24 … “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds …”

As I’ve oft written, I am smitten by my dog – which I love immensely for her stellar character and demeanor beyond that most frequently displayed by homo-sapiens. So in that vein, here is my picture of my good friend Joules:

A Theology of the Beach

The Beach as Therapy

There is now scientific proof of something we have almost all sensed and known to be true – that there is something naturally therapeutic about the beach! Oh yes – here’s a topic that will preach! Eric Boutieller will shout an ecstatic “amen” to this one … he LOVES the beach! (I think it has something to do with the sun shining on his head!)

There was a research study done in Europe with 2750 people which found that time spent near the seaside – regardless of the weather – was better for emotional and physical health than time spent at any other place of leisure, such as a park. Some scientists speculate that the atmospheric turbulence caused by breaking waves releases charged ions into the air … producing mood boosting endorphins and serotonin – hormones that cause a sense of well-being. The same thing we know to be true of a good, hearty laugh, and even the Scriptures support such (Proverbs 17:22).

Could we find the same support for the beach?

The only three occasions of the word “beach” being used in the Bible are in the accounts of Paul’s journeys in the book of Acts – so not much to go on there. How about the word “waves?”  It is actually used 29 times, although to be honest, most of those occurrences present a concept of tumult, disarray, danger, and the angry power of nature.

But there is one very positive usage of “waves” as illustrating well-being … even though it is in the context of a rebuke of the nation of Israel for not trusting God and obeying Him. It says in Isaiah 48:17-18 “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”  

Well… that’s good enough for me to build a “beach theology!”  It is God’s will for us to spend time on the beach – the Bible as much as says so! Right?

So … I’m going to go for a couple of days of biblically-based well-being next week!

Occupy Buchmanville

My chickens have become a bit famous at church. Along with a manger scene appearance on Christmas Eve, they produce quite prolifically with the biggest and best brown eggs in the history of eggdom – Caleb thanks all his weekly customers – buy early, buy often! (The price of chicken feed increased $3.00 a bag in one week due to the drought.)

Well, there is a wrinkle in the henhouse right now. One of the hens has decided to stop laying and resort to sitting. In the world of poultry raising, this is called a “broody hen.” The latent natural desire to make a nest and sit on eggs until they hatch takes over the otherwise happy and content coop camper.

But here is the problem – along with no production or work on her part – she spends all of her time finding eggs in other chickens’ nests, claiming them as her own, and sitting on them until forcibly removed. She did not make those eggs, does not own them, has no right to sit on them, but squats there nonetheless. This a case of literally stealing someone else’s nest egg!

I’m calling this fowl activity “Occupy Buchmanville.”  It has many similar features as the other Occupy Movement – squatting, foul/fowl smells, pooping in the place you sleep, trespassing, stealing, arrogance, anger, squawking, and logic the size of a chicken brain. It does little good to evict her; she just waits until I walk away and goes back to occupy the same “spot n’ squat.”

There are some remedies that might work, and perhaps there could be some application for authorities beyond Buchmanville…

1.  I could cut her head off and eat her. This seems a bit like overkill, but would effect a permanent cure for the problem. But my few experiences with animal slaughtering revealed to me that I have little interest in beastly blood and guts. If I had to do such to have meat, well … I’d probably end up vegetarian. Though some authorities might like the human application of this technique, it is probably not especially legal, except maybe in parts of Texas.

2.  The poultry books say to take the broody hen and put her in an uncomfortable and isolated cage by herself, and she’ll soon lose interest in nesting. Well, I don’t readily have that, so, the solution is almost more trouble than the problem. The authorities actually use this technique quite a bit with the Occupy Movement – it is called “jail.”

3.  The poultry books also say that an old-timers solution to this problem is to take the hen and dunk her in a bucket of cold water. Apparently an elevated internal temperature stimulates and continues this problem. I would do this, except the neighbors might see me; and at least one set of them are liberals and may call the SPCA on me (like some church person did a few years ago when I gave a sermon illustration about my goat being tied by a rope … I’m not making this up!).  Actually, the police also use this wet technique with the Occupy Movement – I think the tool they employ is called a “water canon!”

I’m going to give Henrietta a few more days to fix her own problem before making a choice from the list above. But surely you have to agree with me that the similarities between Occupy Buchmanville and the Occupy Movement of other places are quite amazing!

Terrorize a Teenager Day

About 9:30 this morning I received a text message from the 304 area code that I did not recognize. It simply said, “R U up?”  … to which I answered, “Yes, who is this?”

The reply simply said, “David, How R U?”

Unable to think of anyone I know in West Virginia (304 code) named David, my response was, “I’m thinking U have the wrong number.”

Coming right back was, “Oh no, I’m sorry, this is not Amy?”   <pause>  “What is ur name?”

Well, an evil spirit came over me at that point I guess, and thinking this was likely a teenager I wrote, “I’m a big dude named Bubba and I’ve already eaten two teenagers for breakfast; they taste so good at that age, know what I mean?”

All I got was, “Yea.”

So I let it go for a while and wrote, “No problem man … hope you find Amy … I’m sure she is a sweet girl (and was hopefully not one of the kids I ate for breakfast.)”

No answer.

After a while it dawned on me that he could probably Google search my number and find out who I am!  So I’m hoping he has a good sense of humor and is not some angry coal mining giant named Cooter who has 25 cousins.

So … “J K Cooter, hope U R O K 2 laff @ it”


Just TOTALLY Annoying!

What is? Ugh!! The crazies of the world … who get some bizarre pleasure out of creating computer problems for someone else!

Yes, I got one of those stupid virus things – where someone is trying to sell you a fix for a problem that does not exist (a hard drive problem), or sometimes for an issue that they first gave you!

My trouble is likely a fixable problem without the loss of anything … so I’m thankful for that; and I’m even more thankful for my friend Rusty Claman – who is my hero. He came into the staff meeting today to pick up my sorry machine (I’m using an old one now), and I fell at his feet and worshipped! This is a good guy.

Selling a fix for a problem that does not exist – that is how a great many people look at the church and the evangelical gospel message. They deny the reality of the problem (that sin separates them from a relationship with God) and therefore they see the entire process of salvation/sanctification/service to be a sales job for an unneeded product. And they likely find the network of efforts of churches and organizations as about as annoying as I find these crooks who cooked up my computer glitch.

But honestly, to not sense a need for God and to deny the truths that even creation itself screams about this reality … well, it is like running through life without virus protection whatsoever, being fatally infected, and not believing it to be true.

Rusty walked out of church today saying that there will be no technology in heaven, as it is reserved for hell!  I can’t give you a Scripture reference for that, but I think Rusty is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known!