Friday, September 26, 2008

Dreams do come true...

In the 1960's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these words "I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

Almost 50 years later I live in an Alabama where little girls and boys of all skin tones do live and play and go to church and school together as brothers and sisters. It's easy to take the progress we've made for granted, so I wanted to make a few comments on my blog today.

I work at an elementary school that is racially diverse. This past week one of the teachers read a book about Rosa Parks to her third graders. She had to stop frequently to discuss the issues raised in the book because these children have no concept of segregation. They were all appalled and confused. So finally the teacher said, "Back in those days the white and the black people did everything separately. They went to different schools and different churches and used different entrances and different water fountains. In fact, black and white children couldn't even play together. So (she point out two boys in the class) couldn't have been friends back then." The little African American boy looked down at his arm and said, "I'm black? I thought I was brown." He hadn't even realized that what we were talking about involved him! And it was in that moment that I knew. We've come a long way. Not that we don't still have a ways to go - but I think Dr. King would be proud of us.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bridging to a new stage of life and a Reality Check

Today our youngest son, Clay, bridged from Cub Scouts into 11 year old Boy Scouts. I'll confess to not loving the whole scouting thing. I know it's good and my boys have liked it - but honestly I'm tired of trying to keep up with uniforms (which oddly we can never find even though we only wear them on rare occasions), remembering to sew on patches, pack for campouts, buy food for campouts, take sons to campouts, worry about sons while they are on campouts, clean up/wash clothes after campouts, visit summer scout camp and watch the same skits performed the year(s) before, coming up with/financing/executing eagle projects, remembering where we put the scout books, earning badges, etc. So I really thought I would be thrilled when the day came that ALL my sons had successfully completed the scouting program. But as of today I no longer have a cub scout and never will have again. And it's not all that fun. So I guess when Clay gets his eagle and leaves Boy Scouts - I'll look back at all that scouting stuff with some nostalgia. And I hope that I'll feel a little differently about the experiences listed above - knowing that each campout I pack for is bringing me closer to my last one.

Anyway, we held the bridging after church. Another boy in our ward bridged with Clay so we had a nice ceremony, an even nicer lunch and a good turnout. The one thing I LOVE about scouts is all the great leaders we've had over the years and all time they put into it. Clay's cubmaster had knee surgery on Tues. but still got things organzied for today's ceremony.

And now the Reality Check part of today's blog. I don't know how things have been in the rest of the country - but in Alabama Hurricane Ike has been FELT. I didn't think we would suffer any ill effects from the storm since we were completely out of it's path. But on Friday as I was leaving school one of the teachers I work with said her brother in law just called and said that gas was up to $4.00 a gallon (from $3.59 on Friday morning) and that it was predicted to reach $5. There was even talk that we wouldn't be able to get gas by this coming week. So she encouraged everyone to fill up on the way home. Sure enough, on the way home I saw that gas prices were near or past the $4.00 mark. I filled up my van and Grace's car and Butch stopped for more gas on the way home from work. All together I spent $200 on gas in a matter of hours. Prices did spike up to $4.99 in one area but have stabilized at about $4.00 and gas is still available for the moment anyway.

But on Friday night during all this 'hurry and get some gas before it's gone' drama my kids and I were talking about it. Clay asked, "So, if there is no gas next week what will UPS do?" I said I guess they'd have to call Butch and say don't come in to work because there's no gas to put in your truck so we'll have to suspend deliveries until gas is available. And if Butch doesn't work - he doesn't get paid. And since we live basically from pay check to pay check - it wouldn't take us long to be in terrible trouble financially.

We have been warned for so long to have our year's supply of everything - including money and fuel if possible. We've been warned to get out of debt and live modestly. And while I think I've taken these warnings seriously and made adjustments to the way we live and spend our money - I have made these changes with the attitude that we have plenty of time and there's no rush. But after this weekend - I plan to take a more serious approach. It wouldn't take much to bring this country to a total economic standstill. And I have a LOT more work to do before I'm ready for that.

On a happier note - work on the final book in the Duty series is coming along well. I hope to have it turned in to Covenant at the end of this month (or the first of Oct at the latest). And the release of Above and Beyond is only a couple of weeks away! How time flies!