Senior Hall of Fame Monday, Apr 30 2007 

awards-day-at-ehs.jpgOK, Enough moaning and crying over softball. We have quite a few blessings going on at the same time, so let’s take a break from the tears and celebrate some accomplishments!

Mom and Dad are in this pic, but it’s about Ann’s accomplishment, not the old folks hoggin’ the photo op! Ann was chosen by her faculty as one of only ten graduating seniors elected to the annual Eunice High School Senior Hall of Fame. She got to make a speech! And if that wasn’t enough, she learned she ranks in the top 20 (lucky 13, to be exact) of her graduating class.

We’re sad to see softball end, but this kind of stuff eases the painful memories.  Good job, Ann!

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Don’t turn out the lights, Coach Monday, Apr 23 2007 

Don’t Turn Out the Lights
By David Pulling
On the Occasion of Our Final High School Softball Game

Don’t turn out the lights, Coach—
Not yet.
Let us walk across this green field together,center-field.jpg
One last time
Wearing green ribbons and ponytails.

Side by side,
Arm in arm,
Laughing and crying,
Buddy to buddy—
We are teammates.

So let’s walk slow—
Make it last as long as we can.
It’ll be time to leave soon enough—

And leaving tonight will surely last long enough,
As we move on
To green fields somewhere else,
To bright futures yet imagined.

But let the bright future wait until tomorrow.

pitchers-circle.jpg
Tonight, let us hold memories fast
Of wearing our numbers one last time,
Of the field lights outshining the darkness,
Of the flag fluttering in the center field breeze,
Of walking in cleats on this soft Bermuda carpet,

Of the mingled smell of leather, sweat, and dust,
Of winning,
Of losing,
Of playing this little girls’ game–
And now, these ending tears.

But best of all, let us hold memories fast

fini.jpg

Of one another.

Yes,
We are Lady Bobcats, Class of ‘07–
Thanks for leaving on the lights, Coach,
This one last time.

dscf0414.jpg To the Seniors: Ann, Kelli Jo, Courtney, Gretchen–Thanks for the memories!

“If a person wants to love Jesus, will they?” Saturday, Apr 21 2007 

Again, I post the words of my sister’s son-in-law, Tim Moffett. The poignant thought that follows results from the penetrating innocence of a child’s question and her  dad’s contemplation of the answer to that question–but more importantly, in this case, what seems really important is the ability not to simply give the right answer, but to live the right answer.

ma012jesus-and-children-posters.jpg“If a person wants to love Jesus, will they?”

That is the question my eight year old daughter asked me 20 seconds before I dropped her off at school one day this week. In a very limited time, I made some effort to answer the question. I don’t know how much more thought she gave to my answer, but her question has stuck with me.

“If a person wants to love Jesus, will they?”

What I hear is the question, “Is a Godly life doable, or is it a set up for failure?” I recognized that childlike faith and simplicity that Jesus described as critical to spiritual vitality. I heard a deep desire to get it right. “Oh that I may have that same urge in my life,” I thought.

To be honest, I don’t remember what my answer was. I remember it wasn’t nearly as good as the question. I hope she heard that the answer was “yes”. God always gives great weight to the content of our desires. For instance He says,
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of
your heart.” Psalms 37:4 NIV

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for
they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NIV

If you want to love Jesus there will be no stumbling blocks to deny you. His arms will reach out for you. There is no trick or trapdoor.

However, we must make sure we know what it means to “want”. It must be a desire that leads to action, not a thought that leads to a daydream. Regardless of what words I may speak, a cursory glance of my life will reveal the things that I truly want. They are the things I have made a priority. I “want” them more than I “want” other things. If I want to love Jesus, it will show up in every part of my life.

“If a person wants to love Jesus, will they?” May your desire for Jesus grow this week.

–Tim Moffett

Lady Cats Advance: It’s Playoff Time Thursday, Apr 19 2007 

We hung on Monday night in Bossier City.   What a relief that the senior season didn’t end on the road 180 miles from home!  We were proud when the hometown news printed its write-up of the game, daughter Ann was featured in the photo.  The bottom part of the article got cut off in scanning, but Ann’s listed in the line score as only one of three Lady Cats to get a base hit in a really tough pitchers’ duel.  We play the next big one Friday night at home.

ann-outfield.jpg

An audacious proposal . . . about Sunday School literature Sunday, Apr 15 2007 

bible9.jpgThe denominational Bible study material I use for the adult men’s Sunday School class I teach presents some really stale examples and case studies. For instance, one recent unit on I Peter’s teaching about suffering describes a hypothetical church member raised in a “nominally” Christian home who gets serious about his faith as an adult. As a result of his zeal, he attends church three times a week and refuses to drink socially with his parents and brothers and sisters. As a result, his folks make fun of him and his churchgoing convictions. My first reaction as I read this example is to wonder if this guy is really “suffering” more for religion than he is for Christ, but maybe I’m just too cynical. At any rate, I believe the case study is weak. Just another example of our denominationalizing and institutionalizing.

So with that view in mind, here’s the hypothetical I would rather see in the denominational literature, because it really hits closer to the mark that matters. It goes like this:

No church member at First Church is a more faithful attender than Joe Blow–Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, special events in between. He teaches Sunday School, chairs influential church committees, serves as a deacon, faithfully tithes 10% of his income and and gives generously to special mission causes. His speech is pure and devoid of profanity; he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t gamble, he doesn’t indulge in pornography; he doesn’t even dance or go to places where others dance. He is as free from moral vice as a man can be! Folks in the church think Joe’s a magnificent servant of the Lord.

But at Joe’s workplace, something else is going on. As a department head, Joe supervises a significant number of people, mostly “unchurched,” who regard him as a grim, legalistic task master. He is humorless, he is racially prejudiced, he is narrow, he is judgmental. One subordinate recently observed, “If that’s Christianity [meaning Joe], then I don’t want anything to do with it.”

Oh, what to do with thee, Joe? I want to know!

I don’t guess we’ll see Joe in the denominational Sunday School literature. He’s just a little too audacious.

And so am I!

To Serve, . . . or not to serve: Ad hoc, or ham hock? Friday, Apr 13 2007 

I had fun with a faculty member who emailed me yesterday asking me if I’m willing to serve on an ad hoc committee he’s organizing.  I  accepted, but knowing this particular faculty member has a sense of humor, I added the folowing P.S. to my acceptance note:

I like ’em ham hoc committees better’n ad hoc committees, because I can eat ham hocs.  I never figgered what an ad hoc  wuz good fer.

200px-ham_hock_2.jpgI thought about ham hocks later and realized that I didn’t know exactly what a ham hock is.  So I looked it up and, as usual, found an informative short piece at wikipedia.com.   Turns out I’ve eaten it a few times without knowing it (or at least eaten beans or greens or something seasoned with a ham hock).   Before that,  I thought only hillbilies ate ham hocks.

Car Buyers Log, Part 2: Dear old dad comes through . . . as usual? Wednesday, Apr 11 2007 

courvelle-toyota.gifThe blue tack on the map of Opelousas above represents the scene of the crime. Our youthful sales rep’s final correspondence to me early Wednesday morning resolves any suspense there might be about the issue. I quote his message in italics as follows:

Mr. David,

It was a pleasure to meet you and your family. I would like to congratulate you and your wife on the purchase of your beautiful 2007 Camry. Rebecca and I would like to thank you for choosing Courvelle Toyota as your dealership as well as the business! If there is anything that we may assist you with in the future please let us known.

You do have a lovely family and best of luck to your son in his educational and athletic career and congrats to you daughter on her senior year and her 2005 Camry.

Best wishes Eric S Halpern

p.s. Dear old dad came through once again.

Mom’s new black Camry is parked under the carport alongside the old black Camry, which is become the daughter’s new Camry. Dad’s old green pickup sleeps outside in the driveway from now on, much like “the old gray mare” that “ain’t what she used to be.”  (But at least the old gray mare’s paid for!)
black_model_website1.jpg

Is your life in tune? Tuesday, Apr 10 2007 

300px-piano_tuner.jpgIf you visit this blog often, you know I enjoy not only posting David Pulling’s stuff, but other people’s stuff that comes to my attention. Through the family email network, my sister from Bogalusa shared the following devotional piece that expresses a contemplative metaphor. I share it, unauthorized and unlicensed as usual, because somebody out there might profit from these thoughts from the pen of Florida pastor Tim Moffett (also the husband of my niece–We do a good job of keeping things in the family). The preface is my sister’s writing.

Janice writes, “I enjoy what others write and enjoy passing THEIR thoughts on to others when they are meaningful to me! I was digging through a file this afternoon in preparation for my KeenAger meeting tomorrow and came across this writing. It comes from a pastor in Panama City, FL written in their weekly mail out back in September, 2006. “

Is your life “in tune”?

The piano tuner was at the church this week. Hearing him down the hall, my first thought was, “What is that awful noise?” It sounded like the worst song ever written. I quickly discovered that tuning was not a pleasant experience.

I can understand why someone might want to avoid the “tuning” of their life.
But even with my limited musical knowledge I am aware that a piano must be tuned. It cannot be or sound like what it was designed to be or sound like unless it is tuned on a regular basis. The truth is that even the highest quality piano will need regular tunings. So, even if you’ve been “tuned” before it is possible you are due for another.

After awhile I noticed that not only was it the worst song ever written, but it seemed to be the longest song ever written. That is because all eighty-eight
keys and strings must be closely examined and evaluated. You see, mostly in tune is not much better than completely out of tune.

Is your life completely “in tune?”

In case you are wondering, not everyone can be a piano tuner. A piano tuner has to be able to know the right pitch. There is no sense tuning a piano to whatever sounds right at the moment. Instead, tuners carry with them a device which reveals the perfect pitch. The tuner is only as good as his ability to match that pitch.
Are you “in tune” with the right pitch?

I do not know how our church pianos fared this week. I do know that once our home piano needed a follow up session because things had gotten so out of tune. There is no sense in tuning if you are not willing to be changed… even if it is harder than you might want.

I pray that you will invite God to test and adjust all the strings in your life this week.
Your pastor (Tim Moffett)—

Car Buyer’s Log: Entry 1 Tuesday, Apr 10 2007 

black_model_website.jpg I’ve been rehearsing and strategizing all spring for getting a third family vehicle so the little high school graduate will be indpendent and free once she hits the world of work and college this summer (not to mention I can have my pickup back to myself!). So I’m getting ready to wheel and deal. Here’s the thread of correspondence I initiated yesterday with our local Toyota dealer, Courvelle Toyota in Opelousas, Louisiana.

The first entry is the saleman’s response to my initial internet query. He wrote,

“Mr Pulling my name is Eric Halpern and I sell here @ Courvelle Toyota. To answer your questions we do have some black camry’s new and the price that I can sell you an automatic car will start @ 19,490 plus tax title and lisc. I guarantee that I will save you the most time and money. Please call me to set up an appointment so I can show you what I have to offer. I look forward to here from you.
Best wishes Eric S Halpern “

That’s a good basic beginning to the communication. I replied as follows:

“Nice to hear from you, Eric. My wife’s bringing her own 2005 black Camry in tomorrow to the body shop at 2:00 so your co-workers can fix the trunk latch (you know how it is, those cheap Japanese cars!). If I’m not too busy at work, I may tag along with her. But I have to tell you, I won’t buy her a new black Camry unless she really wants one, or if my 18 year old daughter wants Mom to get a 2007 black Camry so the daughter can have the 2005. Women are quite complicated, in case you haven’t learned that. But I’m dear old dad–I do my best to placate them, and fortunately the end result is usually good.

David Pulling
https://dpulling.wordpress.com”

Now, I reasoned, I would find out if Eric has a sense of humor. Eric replied as follows before the end of the day yesterday (Monday):

Mr. David
I’m pleased that you were able to reply to my email. Tomorrow I will arrange to have a new 2007 Camry around to show your wife and daughter the new features and what has changed for the new generation Camry. As a family familiar with the Camry and the Toyota product I will refrain from selling the car ,but merely show the features, the advantages and the benefit of those features.( because the car practically sells itself)Tomorrow will be a time for your wife and daughter to gather information and for me to answer any questions they may have. I do hope you are able to find a few minutes so I can show dear old dad what investment his money maybe going towards.

Notice I’m addressed now as “Mr. David.” (I like that–it shows he’s apparently a young man, and he’s taken clues from my correspondence that I’m an “elder.”) He continues to show a little sense of humor, and I like that, too. Here’s my latest reply to him, sent this morning, in which I take a little more risk, assuming that he has a good nature upon which I can prevail:

“Hmmmmm–Sounds like you’re on the girls’ side, Eric. I guess I’ll have to watch you closely–My Dad always warned me about “slick talkin’ salesmen,” especially car salesmen. You realize that appealing to the weaker sex’s impulse and desire for pretty little things (like new cars?) borders on unprofessional and solicitous manipulation? Yes, young man, I will be watching you closely!

To your credit, you addressed me as “Mr.” David, which shows you have good upbringing. So, for the time being, I must continue to give you the benefit of any doubt. You also sign your messages “Have a blessed day,” which shows further evidence of character. And, you are prompt in your replies, showing a responsible business ethic.

On those grounds, I cautiously look forward to meeting you. Just be careful how you manipulate the ladies’ when you show them the car!

See ya’ later, (hoping the rain stops b/c we can’t bring that car with the trunk tied shut across the Parish in the rain),
David Pulling “

Eric’s final reply (to the message above) shows a certain deference but also a tone of sales-savvy coyness. Hadn’t I better watch my pocketbook?:

“Mr. David
I have a car picked out to show the women in your life and it will be out of the weather under a canopy to protect them from the elements. As for a little back ground on myself I come from a small family, both my parents are teachers of 32 years. I also am happily married and have been for 7 1/2 years with two boys of my own.Your are correct as for young I’m 27years old and have been selling cars for 8 years and 3 of them with Courvelle Toyota.
As for what will be accomplished today is merely a show and tell session. Thanks again for the response and the kind words. Best wishes Eric S Halpern.”

That’s where we’ll leave it for now. By the end of the day, perhaps there will be more, or maybe even “the rest” of this story.

Three days after Good Friday . . . the dance Sunday, Apr 8 2007 

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