Blooming and Dementia

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While on my morning walk, I happened upon this sunflower, or whatever they call them in the desert.  It had taken root on a twelve foot deep, rock-filled terrace, between the privacy wall and the sidewalk.  It was an amazing sight, even for Odessa; it was the only growing thing among the rocks that filled the terrace.  It reminded me of that old saying, “Bloom where you are planted.”

At the time I noticed the said flower, the sun was behind me and already frying the rocky terrace. Though I was sweating, the flower seemed as happy as a lark. I don’t know if the sunflower was where it had wanted to end up, but it had made the best of it.  And, it looked a lot more content than I was.

It is a valuable thing, to bloom where one is planted.  Not just for oneself, but also for those who live around you.  Like the flower in the picture, blooming brings serenity; when you bloom where you’ve been planted, your contentment becomes contagious.  You become the medicine that folks are always seeking.  It is exactly what our country needs right now..adorable animal bloom blossom

As most of you know, Cookie and I were supposed to be in Lewisville by now, hopefully blooming in our new location.  Unfortunately, we had moving problems once again.  The movers were in an accident on June 29th, as they were driving to our place here in Odessa.  Thankfully, they weren’t seriously injured, since it occurred on Interstate 20, three hours east of here.  However, the truck and attached trailer careened off the highway, causing substantial damage.  And so we had to say adieu to our second mover.

We have now contracted with the Dallas office of “Two Men and a Truck”, and they will be moving us on Tuesday, July 10th.  Actually, it will be “four men and two trucks”, a virtual moving army!  Fortunately, our duplex here in Odessa is still vacant, so we are renting day to day.  Daughter Jen and husband Peter are looking after things in Lewisville, until we actually get there.

Since all our things were packed and sealed in boxes, just waiting to be loaded, we’ve been slowly searching for those essential “needed items”.  And, we’re still blooming where we’re planted, albeit being somewhat worn out.  The good news is I never disconnected my computer, so at least there is that.  And, I’ve got that sunflower if I forget to bloom.  It reminds me of Our Savior, and all the blooming that he’s shared with us.

May you each have a safe and happy Independence Day, wherever you’ve been planted!


Fr Dave



Dreaming & Dementia

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Photo by Cindy Gustafson on

In the past couple weeks, I traveled from Odessa to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  One would be hard put to find two more different ecosystems.  Going from the arid Texas desert to Michigan’s Great Lakes was quite an adjustment.  One would be hard pressed to find two greater contrasts in the weather!

I was thinking about this as I took my last walk through our Odessa neighborhood this morning.  Tomorrow, at the crack of dawn, the movers will arrive to move us to Lewisville, and the new adventures that await us there.  The final day of packing has arrived, which I’m sure most of you are familiar with.

The climatic changes over the past couple weeks reminded me of an ancient story from the Taoist tradition.  A man fell asleep, and dreamed about a beautiful butterfly.  The butterfly flew gracefully around the man, occasionally lighting on various flowers to feed.  The man watched the butterfly as he dreamed, enjoying the peace that it brought him.  Eventually, the man awoke, and realized he’d only been dreaming.

An ancient Taoist master told this story to a disciple.  He then asked his disciple a question.  Was the man dreaming about the butterfly?  Or was the butterfly dreaming about the man?

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My sense is  the Taoist Master was asking the man to think outside the box.  So often we think in a “this or that” fashion.  We search for “black or white” answers.  Such thinking blinds us to other possible options. It prevents us from seeing the other beautiful colors.

I believe our nation is stuck in this black and white cycle.  It’s certainly not the first time, and it won’t be the last.  Once again, we must learn from the wisdom of others.  Most of the despots in world history have thought in black and white only.  It has always been the language of tyranny.

But now, its time to fill up some boxes, and, to get on with our move.  New adventures await us in the City of Lewisville.  I will carry with me memories of the sandy old dessert, and many memories of good friends.  As I work, I will be thinking, “Did I dream of y’all or did y’all dream of me?”


Fr Dave








Moving and Dementia

What’s the worst thing that can happen to you when you’re moving?  I’m sure a number of things will cross your mind.  Damaged goods, tardy movers, pouring rain and blowing snow, the list is probably endless.  But yesterday, we topped them all.  We discovered that our moving company has gone out of business.  No notice, no phone call, no apologies, they just disappeared.  Our scheduled move on the last weekend of June was no longer in service.  6-Mark-36-Nuclear-Explosion

We had contracted with Red Carpet Movers a few months ago to have them move us.  I had a couple of phone calls with them, beginning in early April, and another in late May, to add some items to the manifest.  The woman I spoke with both times had added the items and assured me that the move was on schedule.

Yesterday, Cookie asked me to call them and add some more items to the manifest.  Called one line, disconnected.  Called a second line, disconnected.  Tried them again, both disconnected.  They were gone, and so was our moving date.  I began surfing the web, trying to find out what happened.  After a hour of surfing, we still didn’t know.  Grrrr!

As if moving isn’t stressful enough!  Red Carpet Movers is a national franchiser, but finding someone who knows something about it isn’t so easy.  I think the worse thing was that nobody called us.  On June 29th, we would have been waiting for the movers to come.  And waiting, and waiting, and waiting!

But the Lord was with us.  As I was surfing the web, I discovered another company called “Red Carpet Moving”, with an office in Dallas.  I dialed them up and explained what had happened.  The guy that I spoke with was familiar with Red Carpet Movers,  but hadn’t heard that they’d closed.  Thankfully, he is able to move us.  He did tell Cookie this morning that he confirmed that the other mover had gone out of business.  Thankfully, we hadn’t had to put down a deposit!j0446419

Needless to say, today is much calmer.  Yesterday at this time, our heads were pretty much up on the ceiling.  Can I confess to you that each of us had a moving experience?

Blessings, and now back to our packing!

Fr Dave


God-Things & Dementia

20180308_163815You might recall our earlier campaign to sell our Toyota Camry a few months back.  After a few nibbles and some inquiries as to whether “we took payments”, we decided to hang on to the car for the time being   The new plan was, we would use it to help with the move, and then sell it when we were settled in Lewisville.  It seemed like a pretty good plan, since we would be hauling three Chihuahuas in their crates. But the Lord had other ideas…20180310_090945

A few days ago I received a note via Messenger, asking if we had sold the Toyota yet.  I replied that we hadn’t, and asked where she had seen it for sale.  Well, it seems that even though I had cancelled the car ad on Facebook several weeks ago, it was still wandering around on the Web.  In chatting with her, I learned that it was actually her younger sister who needed a car.  The younger sister lived in the greater Lubbock area, and their house had been damaged by softball size hailstones.  The hail had damaged their house and roof, broken out windows and caused various other problems.  On top of all that, the hail completely totaled two of their cars!

The younger sister had picked up her kids from their sitter, and had driven into their yard just as the hailstones arrived.  They escaped without serious injury, but the cars and the house were heavily damaged.  They are dealing with insurance adjusters and bankers and such, trying to keep up with the pile of paper work.

There are times in one’s life when one feels that certain events occur for a reason.  Perhaps we might just call it faith.  It occurred to Cookie and I that perhaps the car hadn’t sold yet because it was going to be needed by some other family, that we would eventually meet.  I sent them plenty of car pics, and the two sisters and their father drove down yesterday and picked up the car.  I have to tell you, hugs were exchanged!

I think it was a powerful moment, in all of our lives.  I had never talked to the new owner until she picked up the car.  Her older sister and I messaged and emailed, consulted with our respective families, and everything worked out.  We were glad we could help with one of their challenges-Lord knows right now they have many!


Of course the Chihuahuas weren’t able to vote.  It’ll be a tight ride with dogs in their crates and both Cookie and I.  But I suspect such things have been figured already and we’ll get to Lewisville just fine.  In the church, we sometimes call them “God-things.”  I hope that each of you all know that they can come anytime!


Father Dave

Walking & Dementia

It’s hot here in West Texas.  Our high today will be 106, already following several days of near or over hundred degree temperatures.  Our forecast for the coming week is 107, 107, 106, 98, 104, 106. 107, a  “warm spell”, as the old-timers say.  I’d be profusely sweating, if there was any moisture in the air.  But its a dry heat, a desert scorcher.

Photo by Bradley Hook on

I’ve had to push my daily walks into the evenings, to coincide with sunset.  Even then, the temps are still in the mid to high nineties.  The constant heat has greatly reduced the number of walkers, bikers and joggers; the last two evenings I’ve only seen one other walker.  Even the birds seem to be mostly listless.

Yesterday, I thought I’d try to do some mall walking.  Those of you who know me well, know that I’m allergic to in-store shopping.  But the heat has been so darn intense, I thought I’d try it.  It was 103 already as I drove over to the mall; I searched the entire mall parking lot, seeking shade beneath a tree.  I got lucky and finally found some, though I had to share it with a grumpy old protective bird.

The mall in Odessa is a good-sized one, complete with their own ice rink. There were a number of younger skaters, taking advantage of the cold.  The mall has a nice, long walking path, for walkers much like me. As per usual, there were many shoppers walking around, but I was one of just a few that actually were “mall walking.”  I made it two times around the mall, but my doing so about made me go berserk.  For a guy who depends almost entirely on Amazon,  two spins around the mall were all that I could take!

I gratefully walked out to my car, and turned the a/c to stun.  When I got home, I gave a contented sigh of relief as the house was like a freezer.  Cookie asked me how it went; she’s been a bit unhappy with my taking late evening walks.  Not so good, I replied, “Mall walking drives me insane, as you surely know.  I’ve grown even more allergic to the act of shopping.”

And so, at 8:30 last night I left the house, just as the sun went down.  It was still so warm, that even the birds looked peaked.  I walked a couple miles, about all that I could handle.  As I walked, I got to thinking about Jesus and his disciples.  The latitude they had traveled in was much the same as ours.  And yet, they had no malls to walk in, and none of the blessed air conditioning.  And yet, they walked from well to well and town to town, spreading Christ’s loving message.  Perhaps the Word they both lived, and spoke, gave them the strength and grace to do it.

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Fr Dave












Chaos & Dementia

Wowser.  Our long weekend trip to Lewisville this past week turned out to be a dandy!  We arrived there prepared to sign a lease on an apartment, and ended up renting a three bedroom house!  1200 square feet with a two car garage and a fenced backyard for our three chihuahuas!  We will be Lewisville residents, with the City of Flower Mound just a couple blocks away.   

The discovery of the house, and the subsequent negotiations, put all our other plans on the back burner.  The owners were working on the house, getting it ready for the next tenants when we arrived to see see it.  We quickly realized that wanted to be their next tenants, and the negotiating started.  We sent our deposit electronically to Lewisville this morning, and now the house is ours!

We’ll be just a fifteen minute drive from Jen & Peter’s place, and from our grandchildren, Ari & Will.  We are looking so forward to spending time with them!  Cutting the drive time from six hours to fifteen minutes will make such things so much easier!  Our move in date remains the same, Saturday, June 30th.

The whole chaotic process left us both exhausted!  We decided to drive home to Odessa on Sunday instead of Monday, since we have lots to do.  Things were going fine until traffic began to back up west of Abilene.  We ended up in a ninety minute traffic jam resulting from an accident (not ours, thank you Jesus).  It was one of those accident scenes where everything was gone when we finally got to where the accident had occurred!  We had neglected to fill our gas tank and we made it into Sweetwater, with nothing left but fumes!

We’ve spent the last couple days resting from our trip.  The whole thing left us both exhausted.  Tomorrow its back to work, amid all the packing chaos.  Now if I could just remember where I packed some things I need!  I suppose it’ll be at least six weeks before I finally find them.


Fr Dave




Traveling with Dementia

We will be traveling to Lewisville this coming weekend, visiting family and taking care of some pre-moving business.  Though our move isn’t for several weeks yet, we’ll be traveling a lot in June, and are trying to take care of some details ahead of time.  On Saturday, we will be signing our lease, and taking some measurements, making sure everything  we bring will actually fit into our apartment!20180324_125929.jpgWe will be staying with daughter Jen and husband Peter, and our grandkids, Ari and Will.  Their house is centrally located in Lewisville, so our stops will be easy to get to.  As you might imagine, medical care is a big deal for us, and we’ll be carrying referrals from Maurice, our Physician Assistant extraordinaire.  We hope to connect with a clinic in Denton, just up the road from Lewisville.

One of the most difficult parts of traveling is the medication each of us take.  I take a number of different meds each day, along with a number of vitamins.  Since I take them at three different times during the day, it requires some degree of organization.  Memory is becoming a major issue for me these days, and I have to be really careful in keeping track of things.  I’ve already had some unpleasant experiences taking my medication, but I’m pretty well organized now.  It does take me some practice!


One of our priorities is finding another Episcopal Church to attend, and fortunately there are several of them in Lewisville.  We will be visiting one of them this Sunday, the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation.  We are looking forward to finding a new church family!  It’ll be a challenge, though, to find one as welcoming as St. Nicholas, Midland!Snoopy

Having no yard at the apartment, our dogs will soon be getting introduced into the fine art of going for walks outside.  Paco is pretty good with it, but Shelly and BB are rather poor students.  We hope to cure them of their bad habits before we actually move to Lewisville!  Rumor is, the Apartment Complex supplies doggy treats to all the apartment critters; I’m sure our dogs will quickly learn where such things might be available to them!

Cookie and I want to thank you for your prayers and best wishes.  It’s getting a bit harder now to write these blogs.  I’ve always been able to write them in my head, and then put them down on paper, the same way that I used to write my sermons.  That is changing now, but I plan to keep on writing as long as I am able.


Fr Dave