Random Thought Thursday: March 27, 2014

Only one thought today, but it involves Shakespeare, the plague, and rotten teeth, so please read on…

shakesI’m reading a book called William Shakespeare: The World As Stage by Bill Bryson right now. Why, you ask? Well…because I really like some of Bryson’s other books, I love history, I was recently in London where Shakespeare’s plays became famous, and I don’t know much about the man that shaped so much of our English language – so I picked up the book.

One of the things I’m learning is that the now-beautiful city of London was a miserable place to live in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s.

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Food was scarce because of poor farming conditions, a plague struck the city about once every ten years killing thousands each time, the poor out numbered the wealthy by an incredibly large percentage, and injustice – especially toward the poor – was abundant.  It was a bad time to live in London.

One of the common maladies people suffered in London during this time was rotten teeth.  Most people’s teeth were black with rot and many lost their teeth all together.  As a matter of fact, Queen Elizabeth I wanted so desperately to relate to the common people in her kingdom that she purposefully had her teeth stained black!  This was captured in the movie Anonymous released in 2011.  Actress Vanessa Redgrave played Queen Elizabeth and had her teeth blackened to more accurately portray the queen.  Here’s a picture of her from the movie – one that I’m sure will haunt you for some time!

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Good movie.  Good book.  So, get your Shakespeare on and check both of them out!

Tattooed

I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo for years.  As a matter of fact, in 2008, I blogged about it and said that I first began considering it in 1996.  So, after 18 years of thinking about it, I finally did it!

I wear a wedding ring to symbolize my covenant with Michelle, and now I wear a cross to symbolize my covenant with the Lord – both covenants I intend to keep until the day I die.

And yes…it hurt.

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Random Thought Thursday: March 20, 2014

MARCH MADNESS HAS BEGUN!

President Obama made his NCAA tournament brackets known to the public…and so too shall I. However, I’ll just cut to the chase and boil the 68 teams down to 4. My Final Four picks are Virginia beating Florida and Arizona beating Louisville. Call me crazy, but I have Virginia winning the national title.

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I’ve spent quite a bit of time visiting a friend in the hospital this week. My hat is off to the nurses who provide care for the sick in hospitals. The nurses caring for my friend have shown him true concern and genuine care. And, Michelle and I watched as a nurse patiently handled a man who was loudly complaining from another room because he soiled his bed and demanded someone come NOW and change his sheets. Hat is off.

MISERABLE ALLERGIES

Spring is here, and the weather is beautiful here in NM. But, allergies are HORRIBLE right now. Almost everyone I know is suffering from them, and nothing seems to work to stop them. If someone had the “silver bullet” treatment for allergies right now, they could make a lot of money. I’d empty my bank account…

BASTILLE!

I admit that I’ve lost my edge on keeping up with new music, so I admit that I’m a bit behind on the discovery of this band, but in 2012, a new band called “Bastille” released an album that I recently discovered – and absolutely love. A few months ago, I saw Bastille playing one of their songs on a TV show, and my ears perked up. Their Euro-pop style sounded a lot like the stuff I loved in the 80’s, but they had a real modern and cutting-edge element to their music. I bought the extended version of their debut album “Bad Blood,” and I have to tell you, I like all 25 songs. I can’t think of the last album that I liked every song – much less 25 of them! With so many good songs to choose from, I decided to feature one of their more recent singles called “Overjoyed.”

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FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE

My second grandbaby is due one month from today. Melody is due to arrive on April 20th. We’re excited and thankful. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

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Richard R. Potter “Dad” Mar. 6, 1944 – Mar. 13, 2013

One year ago today, I received a call that I did not expect to receive. It was from my brother-in-law saying that my dad had suddenly died.

Yes. I knew my dad had stage 4 cancer, but I had just been with him a week earlier, and although he was skinny and weak, it seemed like he had more time left. He was up and around quite a bit. He celebrated his birthday with the family and even went to church. I was planning to return to Ohio to visit him in April. But on Monday, March 12, my mom said that my dad was having a bad day. So I sent him a text – expecting that I would talk to him soon on the phone or on Skype and then see him in person in a few weeks.

I still have the text conversation with my dad from that day on my phone. I wrote: “I hear you are not having a good day. I’m sorry that you are hurting. I am praying for you and will continue to do so. Love you.” He wrote back: “Think I’m messing around with the flu. Thanks for your prayers and love. I appreciate you so much. Love Dad.” That was the last conversation we would have. He was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night and passed away the next day. March 13.

Death sucks. Losing your dad sucks. Living without your dad sucks. I’m not happy that he’s no longer here. He was only 69 years old. Way too young. I miss him and still experience waves of sadness and disbelief that he’s gone. I know my siblings do too.

I believe that my dad is with the Lord, and I often find myself asking the Lord to tell my dad that I love him, that I’m happy for him, and that my family is ok. This is not something I ever envisioned myself doing – asking the Lord to speak to someone who has died – but death has a funny way of tweaking one’s theology.

I dream often about my dad. Most of the time he’s sick and frail in my dreams and the dark cloud of his impending death is present. So today – on the one year anniversary of his death – I’m posting a picture of my dad when he was healthy. He loved New Mexico, and this is a picture of us after taking the train to Santa Fe and preparing for a delicious NM feast! This is how I hope to remember him and dream about him once the nearness of his death has passed.

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Motorcycle Safety? Nah…

After spending 2 weeks in Egypt and Kenya, I’ve decided to rethink my motorcycle riding habits. I’ve been taught to wear the proper protective gear, to obey all traffic laws, and to never put more than one passenger on the back of my bike. But in light of the motorcycle riding habits I observed in North Africa, I think I’ll lighten-up a bit on all those unnecessary rules. Here’s what I saw…

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