Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Who do you think you are?

     Its been said there are only two types of people in this world.

Those who eat pies and those who bake pies.  Let me explain, those who eat pie believe there is only a limited amount of pie so therefore they must take a larger slice of the pie.  Therefore taking away someone else's portion so they will have enough.  Eaters are takers.  Bakers believe that there is enough pie for everyone as long as you bake a big enough pie.  Bakers are creators. 

     I believe that baking a bigger pie is what life is about.  If you believe in a Creator it would serve to notice that new things are created daily.  In Spring you can see new life all around you.  Nothing is taken from anything to make more.  An acorn has in it all that it will ever need to become a great oak tree.  It will need nourishment but it has what it takes already inside of it.

Just as a seed has inside all that it will ever need to succeed and to become what it is supposed to be.  We have inside of us all that we will ever need to become who we are supposed to be.  You won't see an apple seed make an orange.  Nor will you see a watermelon seed make grapes.  The fruit is in the seed and the seed is in the fruit.  Nothing is taken away from an apple to make more apples. More apple seeds are inside the apple.   We are the same, it doesn't take anything away from us to make more.




Monday, June 6, 2011

Daddy's Little Girl

We've all heard it time and time again "Oh, that's Daddy's little Girl" and "boy, she sure has her daddy wrapped."  There's a reason we've heard it said so many times, its true.  Here's the way I see it.  We all have the capacity to love and to be loved.  We have the capacity for both.  It's our choice to do either of the two.  Or is it?  
     The love that is felt between a daughter and her father is something that is truly special.  I had never experienced anything like it until July 6, 1999.  That's when my baby girl was born and it happened to me.  
     I'm sure you can imagine the full range of excitement that is experienced, in a hospital waiting room, on the much anticipated day of arrival.  The volume of emotions being felt are tiresome.  The questions that run through your mind are near endless.  Is she going to look like my side of the family or is she going to look like her mom's side?  Will she be a holy terror or an heavenly delight?  Will she be healthy?  Do I have what it takes if she's not? By the time I was ready to start answering all of the questions and scenarios my mind had made for me it was too late.  She was here.  After the C-section I stayed with mom and they took her away to clean her up from her "ordeal".  
     I can remember it like it was yesterday.  She was so tiny compared to my boys when they were born.  The nurse brought her to the room in a little yellow dress we had bought her, it had the cutest little roses and bows on it.  A rose on each sleeve and a little larger one in the middle.  They had put covers over her hands so she wouldn't scratch her perfect little face.  She was so sweet and didn't cry much those first few days.  She was absolutely perfect.  What had I done to deserve a beautiful angel like this?  Well God knows I always get better than I have deserved.  My children are a true testament to that.       

     We had decided to name her after my mother who had recently passed away about 9 months before.  We found out we were pregnant just a few weeks after mom's funeral.  I was so excited that we were going to have a girl.  We had talked about how cute it would be to hear "little girl" laughter around the house.  Oh the joys we would soon experience with our baby girl.  Here she was, Antonia Faith Laureles, daddy's little girl.  I wasn't sure what that meant all of these years.  The time had come for me to get my lesson in history.  
     We had taken her little booties off to look at her hands.  My sister noticed that her hands looked like my mom's hands.  Alright! that's one for my side.  At the same time I was sad because mom wasn't with us on such a joyous occasion.  She would have been so proud of her new granddaughter.  I could only imagine her rocking her to sleep and singing soft melodies to her namesake.  As much as I would have loved for that to happen it wasn't the way it would go.  I looked at her little hands and just like my sister had said, her fingers reminded me of my mom's hands.  
     Then it happened, without any warning whatsoever, my daughter wrapped her tiny little hand around my finger.  At that moment two worlds collided and she was daddy's little girl.  It was like something you would see in a Disney movie. One of the older ones, without all of the glitter of course.  Just like that, she was mine and I was hers, and we both knew it. 
      Fast forward a couple of years to the time when daddy has to discipline his baby girl.  With boys it wasn't that difficult.  I say stop it and they stop it.  I say sit down and be quiet and they sit down and are quiet.  Girls are a little different than their counterparts.  This was news to me.  I knew girls were different from boys.  I mean come on, but are they really that different?  YES they are, and I didn't get this memo.  It seems that with raising little girls, things had to be altered.  Well I wasn't going to have any of that.  She's just a girl right?  I learned this about girls, they seem to have this thing called a heart.  Don't get me wrong, boys definitely have a heart.  My boys are true gentlemen under their rough exteriors.  With girls though words from daddy can cut through them like a hot knife through butter. 
    Here is what was said "Faithy, stop it, you need to sit down and be quiet".  What she heard was "Faithy I am disappointed in you and can't believe you are acting this way!".  Did I really say that to her?  There's no way she could have interpreted my disciplining as being hurtful could she?  Uh yeah dad she could, and she did.  She stopped what she was doing, turned around, looked up at me with big alligator tears welling up in her eyes and says the words I wasn't expecting  "Daddy, you hurt my heart".  
Wait a minute.  What did she say?  She's only 2 years old.  How could she say something like that?  I'm just doing my parental duty to discipline her.  Why was this her response?  How could she use such soft innocent words to show me what a horrible monster I was for correcting her?  Why was I feeling like the bad guy?  Why did her words burn through me to the core?   Oh yeah that's right she's Daddy's Little Girl, I love you Faithy

That Crazy Louisiana Weather

Having lived in the south Louisiana all of my (40) young years I have come to expect the unexpected from Mother Nature.  One day it will look like God has taken his paint brush and sculpted the sky in such beauty that it is near unbelievable.  The next day when you have everything ready to go fishing it looks like the farmers prayers have been answered and you won't be using any fish fry anytime soon. 
     We have been experiencing some very unique weather conditions here in Louisiana the past few months.  The Mississippi River basically drains all of the waterways in the United States. 

 After a hard winter, spring thaw, and serious flooding up north the mighty Mississippi can only handle so much.  Flooding along the Mississippi has been business as usual for most of the states north of here.  We have two control structures to prevent the mass flooding and loss of human life that would occur if they weren't in place today. The Morganza Spillway has only been opened twice since it was built in 1954 (1973 & 2011).  The trigger for opening the Morganza Spillway is when 1.5 million cubic feet per second of water is flowing by the Red River Landing.  If the levee were to break it would make a hell of a slip and slide, but I digress.  Then in Norco which is south of Baton Rouge and west of New Orleans there's the Bonnet Carre Spillway.  It has been opened only 10 times since it was built in 1931.  When all bays (350) are open it flows at 4 times the rate of Niagara Falls in New York.  Just yesterday while driving on I-10 to New Orleans the sheer amount of water flowing through the Bonnet Carre Spillway was unimaginable.  Here is a cool video I found with some good footage  The irony happening in Baton Rouge (where I live) is we are under a flood warning and in a drought at the same time.  
 I'm in New Orleans and meanwhile in Baton Rouge a thunderstorm pops up out of nowhere while I wasn't home.  I looked online for some news.  Tornado or not is what I found  I have to say I wasn't too surprised to see all of the damage.  Once I got back to my home tonight the reality was clear, my lawn chairs were all thrown around, the floaties from the pool were all over the yard, the barbecue pit was on its back, and the tomato plants looked like someone came through with a bush hog to take them down.  Tomorrow will be a new day to clean it all up, replant, and repair the things that got broken.  Its good knowing that nobody got hurt and all of those material items can be replaced.  Having been born here I have come to expect the unexpected as far as the weather is concerned.  Rain, hail, sleet, snow, thunderstorms, drought, flood, tornadoes, and hurricanes, we have seen everything there is to see.  The reason I have stayed here my entire life is the people.   I've had many opportunities to live in other places around North America, (with much better weather).  Every time there is a weather related emergency its the people that make sure their friends and loved ones are taken care of.  In the worst of it all I have seen compassion beyond measure, love without bounds, fear transformed into courage, and humanity go beyond what anyone could ever expect from another human being.  It has been said when the going gets tough the tough get going.  With our crazy weather there are so many "favorable circumstances" we find ourselves in to set the bar above our last storm heroics.  What a great feeling to show others how much they are truly prized in our hearts and lives.  There are so many things to be thankful for in this life.  Let me stop and say thank you to anyone that reads this, Thank You!!!  OK, The seasons change all around the world in many beautiful ways.  God actually knew what He was doing when he created it all, I'm certain of that.  Mother Nature has definitely shown us her ugly side in the past and probably even more so in the future.  The most beautiful part of calamity is the graciousness shown to each other by people.  If you are fortunate enough to have 4 seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall just remember this... Where I'm from no matter what the calendar might say there are only two seasons in South Louisiana, CRAWFISH SEASON and FOOTBALL!!!

So, how's the weather in your neck of the woods?