For Sunday, February 7, 2016


If GOD doesn’t build the house,
        the builders only build shacks.
    If GOD doesn’t guard the city,
        the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
        and work your worried fingers to the bone.
    Don’t you know he enjoys
        giving rest to those he loves?
Don’t you see that children are GOD’S best gift?
        the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
        are the children of a vigorous youth.

Oh, how blessed are you parents,
        with your quivers full of children!

    Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
        you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.

pops and his "arrows", celebrating our 2016 birthdays.

pops and his "arrows", celebrating our 2016 birthdays.

Branching Out

I am not a dendrologist or an arborist. Heck, I'm not even a genealogist. But if this blog proves anything, it proves I'm not afraid to talk about stuff I know little about.

Several years and houses ago, we lived in a house that had an apricot tree in the backyard. It was pointed out to us that this was a special apricot tree--half the tree produced freestone apricots and the other half clingstone. I pretended I knew what the person was talking about with a surprised look and a "Really?!" 

If you're botany-challenged like me, the seed in the middle of apricots and their cousin the peach is called a stone. Sometimes the fruit clings to the stone, sometimes it doesn't--it's "free." Apparently our special tree was the result of a "graft" of two varieties.

Wouldn't family trees be more interesting if we could graft branches and twigs together? Like I said, I'm no expert, but it seems to me like this happens all the time, with wonderful results. When it does, people say things like, "He or she is like family to us." What a beautiful thing that our "trees" can branch outside the biological ties that bind.

I've always enjoyed watching basketball. I especially enjoy women's games because it seems that there's more finesse, strategy, and teamwork involved. Over the past few years, we've followed the women's team at Oklahoma Baptist University. It didn't happen randomly. Our two grand-girls live near OBU, their Daddy teaches there.

"Sisters" Harper, Allie, Karlee

"Sisters" Harper, Allie, Karlee

At OBU they have a tradition (in fact they seem to have hundreds of traditions) where families "adopt" one of the players. So four years ago, our son and his family adopted an incoming freshman from Houston named Allie. Allie didn't really need more family. Turns out she has a wonderful family back in Houston. But somehow when you graft branches together it takes nothing away from either tree, but results in something that enriches everyone.

Not only has this provided an opportunity to watch and cheer for this spunky, speedy guard and her teammates, but it has been so fun to watch the grafted relationship of two families become something, well, special. 

Allie is a senior now, wrapping up a very successful season with this team that could contend for a national championship. But more importantly she is a joy and someone very special to my grand-girls and their parents and therefore to me too. Thank you Allie. Welcome to the "family."

#5 Allie Brandenburg (photo borrowed from the OBU Athletics website without permission)

#5 Allie Brandenburg (photo borrowed from the OBU Athletics website without permission)