samedi, janvier 31, 2004

Today is my third night on graveyard shift. Things have gone pretty good so far. I brought out groceries and cooked for the shift tonight. I cooked a Cajun favourite Pain Perdu (pronounced “Pan” [you have to cut the ‘n’ very short] pehr-du). This translates in to English as “lost bread” but is known by most folks as “French toast.”

Walter D. and Mitchell T. assisted with the cooking. While I was busy with the pain perdu, Walt cooked the bacon and sausage and Mitch cooked some scrambled eggs. We cooked enough to feed fourteen people and we even had a (very) little bit left over.

Tomorrow night we're supposed to have red beans and rice with deer sausage. And Sunday night we are planning on chilidogs. This new shift is going to do a lot more cooking on shift then my old shift. I'm going to have to watch weight.

I don’t have much to place on the blog about home, because my time during the day at home is spent mostly sleeping.

I will sign off now with a very full belly.

Coram Deo,

mardi, janvier 27, 2004

Today was a good day. I got up with Lisa and helped with the kids this morning. Later I went to visit my Pawpaw Adam. We had a great visit. I heard a few new stories and laughed hysterically a couple of times. Mrs. Esther (my step grandmother) invited me to dinner (diner is the true name for what is these day called lunch). Mrs. Esther is an elderly Cajun lady and today she had made chicken gumbo, potato salad and baked sweet potatoes. It was all very good and I left full.

Pawpaw and I did not tour his garden today (this is very rare) because it was cold outside and I did not want him out in the weather.

My mom and sister showed up at Pawpaw and Esther's while I was there. That too made it a good visit.

After leaving there, I ran some errands and then took the little boys grocery shopping. Lisa thinks that I must be crazy to take those two little boys shopping, but I find it to be great fun. They get excited about everything. I remember them getting all excited about some Sponge Bob frozen waffles. (No I did not buy those, I bought the generic [cheap] brand)

Lisa and I have two teenagers and a six and seven year old. Things can be, and usually are, very hectic around the house, but I love the life I have with my wife and children. I would not trade this life for all the boy's toys in the world.

I believe true joy is in the seemingly mundane life of family. It is found in loving and serving your wife and children. Scripturally I am the head of this house, but we learn also from the Word of God that headship and rule means service. The head is the servant of all those whom he rules over.

I fall far short of being the perfect husband and father and I pray constantly that the Lord will make me to be far better than I am and that my children will learn from my mistakes and do better than I have done.

I am a man most blessed by the Lord God.

Dominus vobiscum,

lundi, janvier 26, 2004

Today (now yesterday) was a good Lord's Day. Lisa, the kids and I went to Church. The worship service was excellent. We have started using a different liturgical format which I think is wonderful. The worship service was a great blessing.

This evening I was asked to speak to a group of men that are struggling with some of the teachings at another local Reformed Church. I think we had a good and productive discussion. I hope all these men will continue to persevere in the Reformed Faith.

After that I went over to my buddy TK's house. TK is the one who arranged for me to have the discussion with the men above. At TK's house we had a couple of beers and discussed how things went with the group earlier. We were both encouraged by the way things went.

After that I came home to the family. The little boys were finishing up with their baths. I was able to visit with them a little while before I said prayers with them and sent them to bed.

At 10 PM my buddy MK came over with a couple of bottles of red wine. He wanted to do a blind taste test, so I got four classes from the cabinet and we did the taste test.

It is amazing how wines differ. the first wine was a Beaulieou Vineyard - Costal merlot (2000) and the second wine was a Fonte AL Sole - sangiovese/merlot (2001). The first wine was ok, a good everyday wine, but the second wine was very smooth and nice.

After our wine tasting we went outside to walk around the block (several times) and pray. We had a good time praying before the Lord our God. It's always a pleasure to pray with MK. We've been doing this for 15 years now. Its always a joy.

Saturday I did go to Eunice with JD. We went to the Savoy Music Center and caught the (Cajun music) jam session. It was great fun, and I can't wait to bring pawpaw and my little boys to it next time,

I did buy a tape about playing the Cajun Accordion. I own an accordion and need to learn how to play something.

BTW: I picked up a CD by Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin and Canray Fontenot. The CD is La Musique Creole and it is "WoW" good.

It is late and I need to get up early. I will write more when I can.

Coram Deo,

vendredi, janvier 23, 2004

It has been a little while since my last blog. Things have been busy at work and we or off line at home (computer problems). I will try to catch up on things now.

Last Saturday night Lisa and I went to a Mardi Gras ball that we were invited to. They had a really good band there and we had a good time. Our (Lisa’s) niece, and here boy friend, both belong to the Mardi Gras Krewe (Krewe de Sauvage ) that but own the ball, and we were their guests.

The rest of the time between my last post and now have been uneventful. I have been on day shift (working from 5:30 am to 5:30 pm). Days during the week are almost always busy and there is not much blog time.

When on days I usually get home between 6:00 and 6:30. The little boys have a bed time normal bed time of 8:30, so most of my time is spent with them and helping Lisa get them ready for bed. They have to read to one of us (they both prefer to read to their mom) and I usually read to them as well. We have also started doing flash cards (addition) before bed. I always say their evening prayers with them when I’m home.

Our older children have their own things keeping them busy.

Yesterday I got home a bit late. After work Mitch T. and I went to Gary J’s house. We had a few beers and a good visit. Gary ordered some cigars for Mitch to hand out when his baby boy is born next month. So we had to try each a cigar to make sure it was worth handing out for such a momentous occasion.

Tomorrow I am hoping to go to the Saturday morning jam session at the Savoy Music Center in Eunice. I plan to go with my little boys, and Jeremy D. I hope my buddy David (pronounced--Dah veed) H. can meet us there.

Coram Deo,

samedi, janvier 17, 2004

I just finished watching The Pianist. This is a powerful, heartbreaking film. It cut into my soul.

Adrien Brody's portrayal of Wladyslaw Szpilman surviving the atrocities done to the Jews in occupied Warsaw, Poland is magnificent.

I wish everyone could see this movie. It portrays man’s inhumanity to man. It shows human courage and dignity, as well as human cruelty and depravity. It present good and evil among the Jews, Poles and Germans alike. It doesn’t glorify any one group and demonise another as you might expect. It shows that there were kind, good, courageous people among the Jew’s, Pole’s and Germans and it depicts some from each people who chose evil. This is true of the Germans, Poles and Jews as well.

I was really struck by that part of the movie where Szpilman is shown to be starving. In these scenes his hair is straight and long, he is bearded and his face is gaunt and withered. At this point in the film Brody looks hauntingly like my brother Gerry did in the weeks before his death from cancer last July. I was taken a back by how much he resembled my beloved brother in those scenes. It broke my heart. This too added the power of the film for me, but even without that personal experiance, the film is a very powerful statement.

I am a man blessed so greatly. I know that I am no better than those millions of people swept up and shattered during World War II. I am no more worthy of peace and happiness than they were. Yet I do live in peace and prosperity, while they were swept up in a overwhelming tidal wave of death and destruction. Why? God alone knows.

Time and again in history individuals and masses of people have been brutalised and slaughtered by their fellow man for the most senseless of reasons. We all have ancestors who were brutalisers and who were brutalised. This is part of our common heritage. It is a product of the fall, and only the New Creation in Jesus Christ will finally end our corporate inhumanity and bring true and everlasting peace.

Dominus vobiscum,

vendredi, janvier 16, 2004

This morning I went and picked up a tux for a Mardi Gras ball that Lisa and I are going to tomorrow night. After picking up the tux I went to visit my grandfather. It is always a joy to visit with him.

His name is Adam (pronounced ah-dahm) and he is old. When he passes away my link to the old Cajun world will die with him. Pawpaw, like his generation, grew up knowing little English. French was his first and only language as a child. Even my mom could not speak English before she started school.

I love to sit and talk to my grandfather. He is full of stories of his child hood. He has a strong old Cajun accent and often he has to stop because he can not think of how to say something in English. He will then revert to French, most of the time I can follow these short excursions. But like most Cajuns of my generation, I speak very little French. I find it very sad that here in South Louisiana, our native Cajun language is almost dead.

Pawpaw has told me many stories from his childhood and young adult years. Most of them I have heard a number of times, but they're always worth hearing again. He's a good story teller, even in his broken English.

Pawpaw, like his father before him (and so many others back then) was a sharecropper. He is a man of the soil, and even now at eighty-three he maintains a garden year around. We have a pattern to our visits. I will sit in a chair next to him and we talk about some current events and family matters. I then ask about old things and listen as he tells his stories.

After a good conversation, I tell him that I need to leave and stand up. He has a bad hip and it hurts him to stand, but he always insists on standing even though I tell him not to. His answer is “I have to get up some times.” We then go outside. He then invites me to look at his garden with him, so instead of leaving I go with him on a tour of the garden and fruit trees. This always takes a minimum of thirty minutes, and I usually leave with something to plant in my own yard. This morning he gave me a Japanese plum tree. I will plant it this afternoon.

We look at each crop, discuss how it is doing and if it is not doing well discuss the reasons for this. Today we looked at the sweet potatoes he dug up this morning. They were mostly small and we talked about why that was so. Next we looked and the mustard greens and cabbages. And on and on.

These times spent with Pawpaw are threads of gold in my life’s tapestry. He is a wonderful man and I love him dearly.

Coram Deo,

mercredi, janvier 14, 2004

This is my last graveyard shift. I work off in the morning and plan to go to Gary J’s house and have a beer or two before going home to sleep. A beer a 6AM is pretty good if you've been up all night working. We just rotated to our new shifts. Gary and I were on seperate shifts of the last year, so we have not been able to do our early morning, after work beer and wine sessions for a while. I an a few ours we begin again.

Gary has some old missionary friends staying with him this week. I have wanted to meet this friend of his for some time. He is supposed to get up and visit with us. These folks are with New Tribes Missions and are serving with some Indians in Mexico, as did Gary and liz.

We started the shift this evening with one extra person on shift, but JW had to leave because his wife’s grandmother is gravely ill, and Craig C. bailed out of here a short time later. Craig wife called and said that the baby was on the way.
Craig just called from the hospital a little while ago. He and his wife have a brand new baby boy who weighed in at 7lbs. 15 oz. Momma, baby and dad are all doing fine.

I've started reading a biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest titled That Devil Forrest by John Allen Wyeth. It was first published in 1899, is still in print and comes highly recommended. This is the second biography of Forrest that I've tackled. Several years back I read Andrew Nelson Lytle's Bedford Forrest and His Critter Company which is published by J. S. Sanders & Company as part of their Southern Classics Series. It is a fine book as well.

Coram Deo,

dimanche, janvier 11, 2004

At work we are, as of tomorrow night, changing shifts, so my beloved shift from 2003 is no more. Friday most of us, along with our spouses (if you had one) got together an went out to eat and then went to OB’s and then Yesterdays to continue our “passing a good time.” Lisa was, of course, most beautiful. The other ladies looked nice as well, especially Dee.

Saturday my daughter, the little boy’s and I went to Longville to visit with family. We had some well seasoned, (Cajun style) boiled shrimp for dinner (the noon meal) and then my dad, brother, young sons and I went outside to do some shooting with our guns. This is always fun.

Tonight Lisa went to see the Elvis impersonation national championship (the prize was $50,000) and the local favorite won. I came home and got the little boys ready for bed and then put them to bed, after that my buddy MK came over with a couple of bottles of wine. We drank a nice bottle of Sangiovese and opened a Yellow tail Shiraz-Cabernet blend before he had to head back home.

I have to get up for church in the morning so I have to shut this down. Bonne nuit.

Coram Deo,

jeudi, janvier 08, 2004

I did make the trip to Lafayette Tuesday, but My son and his friend bailed out on us so it was just me and Israel “Izzy” P. It was his first trip and we had a good time. I enjoy climbing but just as fun was the trip over there. Since it was just two of us, and not four as we originally planned, we did not go in the minivan as I had planned. Instead, Izzy picked me up in his Corvette Z06. (his Z06 is yellow like the one in the pictures)

This is a fine automobile and was fun to ride in. Izzy did show me some of what it is capable of. All I could say was WOW!! I am very impressed with this beautiful car.

After we climbed around at the Rok Haus for a few hours, we went and got us a bite to eat and headed back to Lake Charles.

Izzy invited my son and I to go to his place and play video games. He has three computers hooked up together (LAN) so we were all in the same games. We played Desert Combat and Battlefield 1942. This was a blast and my 17 year old son thought it was great. When we left he told me that we needed to get set up like that.

Izzy and Christian both did a lot better than me. Izzy’s really good and Christian was pretty good. I was glad I was able to do just a little bit of good in the game.

On Wednesday I ran a few errands and then took a nap so I could work tonight. I am here now and it is quiet. I have 3 1/2 hours to go. This is my last day on shift with my 2003 crew. Next week we go to our new shifts and I am loosing three of the five guys that were on shift with me this year. I really like these fellows and hate to part with them.

Our crew and the crew of the unit we share a control room with are scheduled to go out to dinner and then to a club Friday night since we will not all be together next year.

Gotta go to work.

Coram Deo,

lundi, janvier 05, 2004

LSU did it. We won the Sugar Bowl!!!

What a game! Lisa and I went to watch the game at the house of some of our friends. We ate, drank and watched the game. I also paced back and forth, chewed my nails, cheered, and moaned. Lisa said I was the most energetic and loud person there. The Tigers scared me a few times but the came through it victorious.

After last night Nick Saban could be elected dictator for life if there were plebiscite held in Louisiana today.

Now back to the daily grind I am at work again today, but tomorrow I am off and hope to do a couple of important things. I plan to visit with my grandfather in the morning and then tomorrow afternoon I hope to go to the Rok haus with my son, Izzy and perhaps Paul S. and do some indoor rock climbing. I will be the oldest and the plumpest person in the group, but I think I can still hang (somewhat) with the younger crowd.

I have to go so I so can finish up my work and head home.

Coram Deo,

dimanche, janvier 04, 2004

Today is the last day in our work week here at the refinery, and at days end I will have put in 76 hours this week. I can’t complain because they are paying me nicely for working all the overtime.

Today has been a pretty typical Sunday. Things are going well and it is quiet out here. Yesterday was a busy Saturday so a slow day to day is welcomed.

We had and awesome dinner (lunch for those addicted to modernity). It was a gumbo with wild duck and deer sausage. The deer sausage was very good and the duck too was very tasty. We also had the requisite potato salad to go with (in) the gumbo. It was a true South Louisiana Cajun feast. Walter D. and Mitch T. provided the ducks, the sausage and then cooked everything. Those fellas can cook!!!

I finally got around to reading Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard. It was certainly different. Kierkegaard is arguing against Hegelian concepts that are not at issue today, so much of the book is (IMHO) no relevant to our day. At the same time I did find some of the discussion and insights in the book to be very interesting and wonderful.

Lisa and I are going to some friends house to watch the Sugar Bowl this evening. I hope LSU can pull off a victory tonight. Geaux Tigers.

Coram Deo,

jeudi, janvier 01, 2004

New Years eve has come and gone. I was awake at the stroke of midnight, even though I had gone to bed at 11. I purchased some fireworks for the kids and Mike S. came over with his son and we all popped firecrackers and other assorted items. The little boys had a great time.

Lisa watched television while we did the firework thing and our daughter went to her cousins house to bring in the New Year. Mike and I enjoyed a bottle of Yellow Tail Merlot while we popping the fireworks. Yellow Tail is an Australian brand of good inexpensive wines.

We did not celebrate at midnight because I had to get up at 4:30 this morning to come to work. This morning has been a busy one for me a few others, but I hope we can still have a nice day here at work.