Tag Archives: church

A Time for Everything

I’ve been blogging for almost seven years and writing for even longer. It doesn’t seem possible, but I’ve written more than 500 posts and when I click ‘Publish’ it will be 525. Over that time, I’ve written mostly for me and I have developed a small modest following. I am grateful to the friendships and e-relationships I’ve developed. My mom reads and occasionally comments when we talk, but doesn’t leave public comments. But, the original focus was to develop as a writer and maybe, just maybe, write for a broader audience.

the first crocus of 2017

In early January, I noticed an advert in our church bulletin looking for writers for the Lenten Devotional. The advert in the bulletin asked for a scripture reference and I tore off the slip and dropped it in the office message box. A week or so later, I got an e-mail and it read:

Hi Clay,

Thank you for registering to contribute to the Lenten E-devotional. I have you on the list for this scripture passages: Ecclesiastes 3.  Please submit your devotional to this email address by February 10. I look forward to reading it.


So, I sat down and wrote a draft and came back to it a few days later. When I was finished, I called a work colleague asked for editing advice and she told me I had nailed it and offered only a couple of revision and stylistic edits and I submitted the piece.

Yesterday morning, my FIRST piece of public writing landed in my e-mail box, promptly at 5AM. I had no hint of when my devotional would be selected, but it was first. I beamed. I forwarded the e-mail to my mom, my brothers, and my colleague. It felt good. Then, I went about my day.

Before I left the house for school, I received an e-mail from a friend with the message – ‘Enjoyed your devotion. Great Job!’

Below is the Lenten Devotional I wrote.

A Time for Everything

Seasons. That is what I love most about living in the Midwest. I grew up in Southeastern Texas along the Gulf Coast. Most of my family still lives there and my mom still lives in the house where I grew up. Southeastern Texas has two season – HOT and mild, with an occasional dip into cold.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 1:1

Continue reading A Time for Everything

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!

It is here. Spring has arrived, after what seems like an incredibly long winter.

the Daffodil Glade at Morton Arboretum, April 26.. a beautiful late afternoon

Every year, we visit the Daffodil Glade at the Morton Arboretum for a family photo shoot. It started innocently enough in 2004. Ten years ago, after church, we decided to take in a drive through the Morton Arboretum. It was Easter Sunday, we had our camera and we decided to stop at the Daffodil Glade and shoot some photos. B with the kids among the daffodils, the kids by themselves, or together, regardless it was a beautiful morning. We took some incredible photos that morning. We came back the next year and had similar results. Wonderful photos, memories of children growing, and blossoming like the daffodils. Since that morning, it’s become one of our family traditions, one of our milestones. It’s our sign that spring is here. We’ve missed a couple of years but we have photos and memories going back to 2004.

Spring is here, I can see it. Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!

After Midnight

It is another Sunday morning and the sun is up, the air is cool and crisp, and leaves litter the front lawn. I slept late this morning, or at least later than I should have although I have reasonable excuse – I stayed up too late last night, past eleven – almost to midnight.

I remember (often) the days of my youth when after midnight was truly after midnight, well after midnight. Eric Clapton’s song says it all about what I was doing:

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down.
After midnight, we’re gonna chug-a-lug and shout.
We’re gonna stimulate some action;
We’re gonna get some satisfaction.
We’re gonna find out what it is all about.
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down.
Eric Clapton – “After Midnight”

These days, I can’t hang much after ten, maybe it’s because I have aged or I have gotten wiser, or just that I realize that have to get moving and accomplish something before noon.    Continue reading After Midnight

Life is Good

Summer vacation is three weeks away, a mere twelve class days, but for some reason I find myself mired in EOTSYS – End of the School Year Syndrome. Yesterday was softball and errands and we finished the day playing a fun game as a family. I did not do a darned thing having to do with school. I started to write, but busied myself with other tasks, and now I sit on the deck enjoying the morning and watching Ivy patrol the yard for squirrels. The maple trees are dropping their seeds all over the lilac bush is in bloom, and everywhere nature is working, everyone except me.

The past week presented opportunity for me to reflect and think. Most weeks do, but this week was unique. Continue reading Life is Good

Winter Break

Ivy sleeps, no worries
Ivy sleeps, no worries

Like most, no all, teachers, I eagerly waited for Winter Break. I knew how many days there were between Thanksgiving and break. I worked at making the learning count, while still counting the days until I could breathe. I dreamed. I made plans. Then, I got sick and ruined it all.

Since I have been married, I have spent Christmas in Ohio with my in-laws. I could not have chosen better in-laws, truly. There have been only a couple of times when I woke in my own bed on Christmas morning, and those were times when one of us was sick – me, B, or the kids, and travelling was just not a good idea. And, then we eventually made it to Ohio a day late. This year it was me. This year I had made it all the way to the last Friday Continue reading Winter Break

Under ten


Mostar’s Coat of Arms

It’s Sunday morning and it’s quiet, very quiet. I have an hour, that’s all I have this morning before I need to spring into action and be a part of the family for church and then activities. The weekend has been booked, booked solid with conformation, sports, scouts, and home tasks screaming to be completed. And, to top it all off – I am ‘under ten.’ Continue reading Under ten

Easter Sunday Morning

The alarm ruined it, or maybe not.

I dreamed last night, but when I awoke, the dreams were cloudy, as they usually are. I went to bed thinking about school, writing or rather about teaching writing, the book we are reading – The Giver, and blogging. Interspersed were thoughts about Easter, Easter Sunday, and the bunny. So, you can only imagine my dream. I can’t recall precise details of the dream, but I was at a writing seminar with my peers and writing a blog came up. I remember sharing my blog and the ideas that drove it, that drove the daily topics, or sometimes weekly topics L.

Then the alarm ruined it, or maybe not. Continue reading Easter Sunday Morning

The List – Part 2

Over a year ago, I wrote ‘The List.’ It was blog post about winning the lottery, or more specifically, what I would do if I won the lottery. With tonight’s jackpot listed as $540 million or a half billion, it was hard not to think about it as I drove home, yesterday. I mentioned to grandpa and grandma that a lot of good could be done with that much money and it could. So, I decided to dust off last year’s post, revise it, and repost. Continue reading The List – Part 2

Olivia’s Dad, WOW, what a week

All dressed up and ready to go!

I can hardly believe that the week has passed me by. It was a busy week full of activity and teaching. However, the best part, or parts, was sharing it with Olivia. A normal week, depending on the season, can be spent at basketball games, scout meetings, outings, church, managing homework, and having dinner together. But, this week was different. Our week began with the Super Bowl where I was out numbered 3-1 in favor of the Giants and ended with the Daddy-Daughter Dance Friday night. There was a lot in between. Continue reading Olivia’s Dad, WOW, what a week

Winter Break is over

Thursday night's moonrise and the sunset highlights the trees

Winter Break is over. I suppose that is a good thing. I need to get back to work and have a bit more structure in the day, but I have certainly enjoyed the time to rest, relax, and restore. I have enjoyed cooking, reading, and spending time with family. I have my regrets – I didn’t accomplish as much grading as I wanted, I didn’t clean up my desk and organize my personal office like I planned and sadly, I have been restoring my waist line and not vice-versa. Continue reading Winter Break is over