Thursday, November 30, 2006

Marriage, Milk and Potatoes

I have been married for 39 years to Janet. I perform lots of weddings and somehow I think weddings are build on the wrong foundations. I can still see those sleep eyes of love that function in most newly weds heads. Love and Sex always begin the journey and there is hope that the emotional love side will always wins out no matter what.

You see most people do not see the "for better or worse" part !! We miss that unfortunately.

But I have come to realize (heaven help me for saying this !!) that most successful marriages are more like a business partnership. Who will pick up the kids. What time will you be back? Will you stop and get the milk and bread? Who is going to get the car fixed? When do we have time for the financial adviser? Who did you say was coming to eat tonight? How many cavities do you have? When was the last time the oil was changed? Did you get the puppy chow?

Well, I think you get the picture. Yesterday was a long day. I got home at 7 from work and "today the painter is coming" which means we must take down all the curtains (I HATE CURTAINS AND BLINDS FROM EVERY SIDE--PUTTING THEM UP OR DOWN OR WHATEVER), move the furniture, take everything out of the room, move all your books (that is always a chore), get rid of all the wires (Janet has always said, "If I knew all the wires came with you I would not have married you."), keep the puppy from chewing up things !! By the time for bed, I was exhausted and today I am to work late again. And yes, I don't have time to call the financial adviser today ! And, oh no, Christmas tree time ! When will we ever have time to put it up.

Until one learns to live through these business dealings of life we will not make it. To me it is the hardest part of marriage, but this morning I am going to visit a man who has been married for 63 years. His wife will probably die in the next few hours. He has not left her side for days. He holds her hand and cries. Sure they probably had their days, business days that were not fun, empty words that drove one crazy, tasks that were impossible to do, curtains to put up, but ABOVE IT ALL THERE WAS ONE THING THAT WAS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT, "They did it together." Two are better than one says the good book. And the GREATEST BLESSING ANY OF US CAN HAVE is that "someone is there to help us get through the day." That is the true meaning of marriage.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

When words Don't Come

In preparing for winter, I often find myself speechless. Words are empty
of meaning. I just seek the solitude. And yes Christmas is on the way. I
love the lights, and Christmas songs, and surprises, and parties, and
secret Santa's. One of the fun things is to travel in our area and see
Christmas lights. Yes, we know where the best are and see them again and
again. George Jones, the country singer, has had more to do with
Christmas than anyone. In every place he has lived people have tried to
keep up with his lights at Christmas. None has succeeded. I love to see
his decorated house each Christmas. And I go to neighborhoods where he
has lived and the tradition continues. Yeah Christmas !

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

It is that time of year again - THANKSGIVING ! And a time of reflection for the things for which I am thankful.

For Janet who keeps me straight

For Cuddles and Aidan, both who can tramatize and be loved at the same time.

For Mike and Melinda, always with joyous thoughts.

For Doctors who care deeply about their patients.

For opportunities to lead retreats and say prayers.

For music, and banana pudding, and friends who invite me to pray for their meals then give me a free meal.

For Ronald and Jimmi and neices and nephews

For nurses who really see the needs of their patients.

For books and radios and antennas that break and a yard now raked.

For great meals and birthdays and good words that linger from person to

For rocks and mountains and paths through the woods.

For KN and PG and RC and SR and PM and C and DK and B and A and J and MK and LN and MP and AG and KS and a ton of others who make my days memorable.

For hotdogs and filet mignon and tater chips and grass and hot water and soap.

For elephants and giraffes and clear interstates and beautiful fall trees.

For the History Channel and Monasteries and strange stories.

For blogs and emails and trips and Big Sur.

For XM and AM and FM.

For health and God’s Blessings and for you the reader !

AND FOR FURMAN FISHER and his annual thanksgiving column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that I have looked forward to each thanksgiving morning for over 30 years.

Bro. Dan with thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Merton Retreat

We had a really nice Merton retreat at St. Joseph's retreat center. It
was probably the best Merton retreat I have ever had. The group mixed
well, were well versed in Merton, and we just enjoyed being together.
The food is always excellent there. We even took time to watch the
conclusion of the Ohio State - Michigan football game. Hope Merton
approved ha ! Next Merton retreat is in April in Milford, Ohio at a
Jesuit retreat center. Thanks everyone for the prayers.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


If you have neglected to sign up for the retreat this weekend, I want you to know there is still availability. We are going to have a good time studying Merton, seeking God's will in our lives, and enjoying the fabulous surroundings. Check out the details of the retreat.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Robert McCheyne died March 24, 1843. Andrew Bonar described his friend
by saying, "His lamp was always burning, and his loins always girt." Oh
God how I pray that 'my lamp is always burning.'


I received the Memoirs of McCheyne today via Amazon. What a beautiful
memoir and so inspirational.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Something to think about

"We are in too frequent fellowship with outward things. There is little
about our lives which lifts men's thoughts to God and make them take
knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus."
(Bonar p. 12)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jack Stoddard

The headline story in the Tennessean Arts Section today was about Jack Stoddard. My wives family lives in the Dry Hollow Community. Jack has taken some memorable pictures of our family through the years. Yes times have changed. There are very few tobacco crops anymore. Farming has slackened. Some of his first pictures were on the wall of the Old Uncle Bud's in Franklin.

A worthy read: See Jack Stoddard

E-mail-A-Friend: Six injured during interstate accident


Six injured during interstate accident. A blown tire may have been the cause for an accident injuring six people and blocking Interstate 65 for miles Saturday night, Sgt. Mike Diaz said. A right front tire on a green van blew out about the 48 mile marker of the Interstate about 6:40 p.m., Diaz said. The blown tire forced the van into the median and into traffic traveling north. The van overturned and collided with a gold Mercury Marquis. For more of this story see below:


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Somber Reflections

I just got home. Exit 65. I just feel like crying. Seeing that car broke
my heart. How anyone could have lived through that is a question.

How close each of us is to eternity. Just 1 second away. It makes me
realize the sacredness of life. If we really appreciated the sacredness
of life wouldn't we live differently?


Mile marker 50. Moving. Just saw the car. Awful. Never seen so bsd.
Total roof gone. Not an unbent part of car left.

Ambulance passes

An ambulance passes with no siren on. A very bad sign.

Bad wreck near Columbia TN

At 6:15 pm 3 miles north of the Columbia, TN something bad happened on I-65 going North. We have not moved in 1 hour and 15 minutes. From our direction I have seen 7 police cars, 3 ambulances, and 2 wreckers pass me. From the sky I have seen 4 helecopters, one huge, land to pick up the critical ones and fly them to hospitals. It is a scarey moment. I am only a half mile from the accident. Interstate traffic is stopped in both directions. What if I had been one minute earlier? Something to think about.

Amateur Radio Operator N4NU

I have been a ham radio operator for over 40 years. I have talked to
over 100 countries and all states. My brother Ronald sent this to me
this morning.

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the
quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's
the unbounded joy of not having to be at work.  Either, way, the first
few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup
of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other.  What began as
a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life
seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my, ham radio
in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came
across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden
voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in
the broadcasting business.  He was telling whomever he was talking
with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped
to listen to what he had to say

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they
pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your
family so much.  Hard to believe a young fellow should   have to work
sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet.  It's too bad you
missed your daughter's "dance recital" he continued.  "Let me tell you
something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And that's when he
began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic.  The average
person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some
live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is
the number of  Saturdays that the average person has in their entire
lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in
any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over
twenty-eight hundred Saturdays." "I got to thinking that if I lived to
be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.  So
I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had.  I ended
up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took
them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right
here in the shack next to my gear."

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it
away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on
the really important things in life.

There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to
help get your priorities straight."

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take
my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last
marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next
Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing
we can all use is a little more time."

"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your
family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band.  This is a 75
Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off.
I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on
the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few
hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey,
I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast" "What brought this on?" she
asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time
since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop
at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles.

A friend sent this to me, so I to you, my friend.

And so, as one smart bear once said..."If you live to be a hundred, I
want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have  to live
without you." - Winnie the Pooh.

Pass this on to all of your FRIENDS, even if it means sending it to the
person that sent it to you.

And if you receive this e-mail many times from many different people, it
only means that you have many FRIENDS.

And if you get it but once, do not be discouraged for you will know that
you have at least one good friend...

And that would be ME.

Thanks and 73s from N4NU Dan


I did not realize how tired I was. I took a nap. Was awaken by the phone. Am reading where Merton became Master of Scholastics. How little time I spend teaching. Mostly saying prayers with the sick and a couple of simple worship services.

This week I bought a new car. Am struggling daily with the guy who put a new roof on my house and did a poor job. Struggle to make every meeting. And find I am more tired than I like.

"There is a great danger of wanting the right thing for the wrong
reason." (Intimate Merton p.107

Saw the movie, A Good Year, last night. First time to movies in months. I enjoyed movie. Not rated very well. I remember how much I love travel literature. And I am still the editor of the Web Surfer Travel Journal.

Rainy Saturday

I have a day at home for first time in 12 days. After a pretty downer
week I am glad! I am rereading The Intimate Merton in preparation for
next weekends retreat at Mount Saint Joseph's Retreat Center. I am
always excited about Merton Retreats. Neat people tend to show up.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pauline "Polly" Robinson

Polly Robinson passed away on November 3, 2006. She was 75. Polly was one of the greatest prayer warriors I have ever known. I seriously doubt if I would be married to Janet now if it had not been for Polly's prayers. When we were without a BSU Director at Tennessee Tech University in the late 60s, she filled in and became a spiritual model for the students. She held us up during a critical time in our lives.

For me personally, she once brought Janet to Huntsville, Alabama, where I was working. It became a pivotal event in our lives. Her prayers were part of that. So, I am thankful for Polly, her love of the Lord, her dedication to a group of students that she encouraged and prayed for, and her example. Heaven is a brighter place today.

Polly Robinson Obituary

Are their people who have touched your life in a critical time in your life?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday Morning Reflections

It is Monday Morning. I have been on the Tres Dias weekend which began on Thursday night and I got home at 9:20 p.m. Sunday night. I did not realize how tired I was until I got to work. It is always good to be home after a few days away. Had a good quote but lost it in the shuffle from work. Here is a great poem Roger Bourland ran as referenced on A's blog:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my childrens’ lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

- Wendell Berry
Delete It Cancel

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tres Dias weekend

I will be a Spiritual Director for a Tres Dias weekend for 3 days
beginning tomorrow. Remember me and 150 other men in prayer during this