Keeping Time

Grandfather clock

When I was a child, I had the blessing of living a short drive away from one set of grandparents. This meant that I got to see them regularly, many times most months, which was wonderful.

One of the highlights when I would visit them was my grandfather’s grandfather clock. I loved to listen to its ticking, its chimes every quarter hour, and the mysterious whirrings and clickings it made each time it was about to chime. For a little boy with an interest in all things mechanical, simply being around that clock was pure delight.

The best thing about that clock was, well, not really about the clock at all. See, every week, the clock needed to be wound. It was technically an “eight day” clock, meaning it gave you a one-day cushion should you be tardy in winding it. But, nonetheless, it must be wound, or eventually it would stop. And so the best thing about that clock was when my grandfather would turn the key to open the door to its front and let me help him wind it.

Together, we would pull on the chains, and I would hear the whirring and clicking of gears suddenly intensify as we raised each weight up to its full height, there to begin another week. For a very little boy, those weights seemed so heavy, and yet I was able to help my grandfather, strong as he was. He even made me feel as though he needed me to help him do it. The whole experience was heavenly, and I am certain we wound that clock many times when it did not, in fact, need to be wound.

Cancer took my grandfather from us far too soon, and it has been more than thirty years now since I have hugged him or heard his voice. I remember him as strong but gentle, wise yet humble, intelligent but happy to lose a game of checkers to a four-year-old, a man who deeply loved Jesus and his family. He was also a war hero, having served his country honorably during World War II, though I was too little to appreciate that fully while he was still here. All in all, he was a wonderful man, and I love and miss him terribly.

A few years ago, after my grandmother had also left this world, that clock came to me. It had not run in years, and careless movers had broken the pane of glass in the door. Though I tried many times, I could not make it run for more than a few minutes without stopping. So, it stood silently in our home, waiting for us to find the money, the time, and the help necessary to make it chime the hours once more.

Today, thanks to the skillful efforts from a clock repairman who is a true master of his craft, that clock began to run and chime again. I am writing this post as I listen to it ticking and, a few times now, chiming in the background. It is heavenly.

With each second that passes I am reminded of my grandfather and the wonderful legacy he left behind. He made it a point to provide financial security for my grandmother, but his legacy is so much more than that. It is a legacy of faith, humility, hard work, diligence, and love. It is a legacy that still warms the heart of this little boy, even as I look forward to winding my grandfather’s clock with my grandfather’s great-granddaughters and, one day, maybe even with my own grandchildren. Until then, I’ll let the clock count the seconds, reminding me of the brevity of life and the beauty of sharing it with those we love.

In memory of R.H. Cottrell, Jr., one of the finest men I’ll ever know.

Resurrecting the Blog

A tremendous amount has happened over the past year, and I have not kept up on here. I’m going to try to provide a quick recap, as well as a vision for the future of this site.

First, the biggest news of the last year, which I haven’t mentioned previously on here: my wife and I were blessed to welcome our second child, a daughter! She is an incredible blessing but has kept us extremely busy. And although she’s very healthy, she had a number of health scares early on that kept us hopping.

Last year (2018) involved a lot of other craziness, far too much to capture or even summarize in one blog post. Most of that will have to wait for some later time; many of the events in question deserve their own post or entire series of posts.

This year (2019) has not been less crazy. Among other adventures, I haven’t had a voice for most of the last two weeks due to a fun thing called a vocal process granuloma, essentially an ulcer on my vocal cords. This is probably a result of acid reflux that I didn’t know I had. I wrote a long, public post about this on Facebook. My voice rebounded significantly over the last 48 hours, to the point that it was basically normal this morning, but it has faded out again to nearly nothing.

Meanwhile, a lot has changed on here and continues to change. I intend to resume posting regularly. I haven’t been posting regularly for a variety of reasons, one of which is cleaning up the site. Over the 22 years I have been running a personal website, 20 of them on this domain and 20 of them blogging, I had accumulated a lot of, well, junk. There were (and still are) a lot of blog posts and other items on here that are horribly dated, reference broken links, and so on. I have begun the process of cleaning those up. I have simply deleted a lot of posts that are thoroughly obsolete or misleading due to changed links, missing context, or other reasons. I plan to finish that cleanup in the near future, but in the interest of transparency am mentioning it here.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the site, and get ready for much more, better, fresher content!

Moving, the Bar, and Other Craziness

I haven’t been posting very often, since we just took finals, are trying to get ready to move, are studying for the bar, had to sublet our apartment, and have to graduate, still.

Finals: done! They went well enough – each of us ended up reasonably happy with the quarter, especially since the only thing on the line at this point was doing well enough to graduate (i.e., not failing anything, which is not a particularly high bar).

Moving: a huge pain. Shocking, I know. It will be happening, though, in less than two weeks. At that point, we become Texans indefinitely. We’re looking forward to being moved, not so much to moving

Bar prep: a huger pain. After one week, we have covered the introductory material, constitutional law, and contracts. We have a couple hundred flashcards, have already answered around two hundred test questions each, and have nineteen subjects left to cover, not to mention several practice tests (and probably another couple thousand individual questions) to take. So. Much. Fun.

Graduation: parents arrive in less than a week and things get crazy for a few days with all the events.

Life is busy. Feel free to drop me a line, especially if it’s because you’re in Chicago or Houston and want to catch up before or after the move.

Insanity Reigneth

It has been a while since I have written much of anything (useful) on here. Life has been pretty crazy. In the last few weeks:

  • I have written an appellate brief, which I am pretty sure I screwed up in several ways, due to non-law-school stress and sleep deprivation.
  • My sister has spent a week in the hospital (she is recovering at home, now).
  • I have verified that my Windows XP hibernation problems are no more.
  • I have discovered and become addicted to eMusic. (EMusic lets you download 50 free songs, which work on all MP3 players, including iPods, and then has very cheap monthly download plans.)
  • I got a year older on paper.

It has been a crazy few weeks. Right now, I have to be studious and do some reading for our moot court oral arguments, next week. I will certainly be posting more regularly on here, in the near future.

One more thing: go Rice! (Currently the #1 college baseball in the nation.)

This Weekend

I spent the weekend (Friday through this morning) visiting my sister and brother-in-law. The weekend was lots of fun. I caught up with my good friends Brooke and Sarah (whom I’ve known probably longer than anyone else my age) and finally met some of my sister’s friends I knew only in name.

The most interesting event of the weekend, though, occurred only a little while after leaving home. I was driving west on 40 when I glanced over at the speedometer (in the MINI, the speedo is in the center). When I looked up, the pickup truck about 25 yards in front of me was heading into the median at 70 miles an hour. The next thing I saw was a gas can flying out of the truck’s bed and bouncing down my lane. By the time I figured out how to evade the gas can, the truck had spun out, hit the guardrail, and was rebounding across the freeway, sliding sideways and flinging debris (a cooler, plastic bottles, and assorted junk) everywhere. Eventually, it spun halfway back around and shot, backwards and at about 40 miles per hour, into the embankment on the right shoulder. I pulled over to help and the driver said he had fallen asleep. Nobody was hurt, fortunately, but I’m pretty sure the transmission casing was cracked – something was leaking and hissing, directly under the rear of the cab, not a tire or in the engine block. Yikes.

Needless to say, that woke me up! The rest of the trip, thankfully, passed without incident.

Bellsouth, DTS, etc.

Well, today was long and frustrating… I have spent at least 20 hours of Campus Crusade’s time over the last week trying to get in touch with a system administrator for Bellsouth’s mail servers, but without any luck. Between customer service reps who don’t care, those who blatantly refuse to help me, and the vast majority, who simply don’t know how to transfer a call (or to whom to transfer it), I have made zero progress. I’m determined that Bellsouth will hear my thoughts on this one. I’m starting here – don’t use Bellsouth for Internet service. They do a terrible job. Go somewhere else.

Meanwhile, I’m trying (and praying) to find a way to get to Dallas this fall. It’s all in God’s timing, but I sure would like to get on with my calling… I’m contemplating doing some support raising to cover the amount I can’t earn during the year. If anyone is reading this, I sure could use some encouragement and godly advice on that front…

That’s all I know. Have a wonderful Tuesday!