Thinking Out Loud

Sunday, August 4, 2013

She Saved My Life...

She saved my life.  I was there, of course, but I was only an I don't remember much of the event.  As the story-telling temperature escalated to a point that I actually had a convulsion.  My grandmother noticed it and they subsequently rushed me to the ER, where I was quickly placed in an ice bath. To make a long story short, I survived with no apparent side affects, and have lived almost 5 1/2 decades since. She always took credit for saving my life.  On July 27, I delivered my grandmother's eulogy at her funeral...


My grandfather (her husband of 74 years) passed away just 8 months earlier in November 2012. They married when she was 15, and had been together almost 3/4 of a century since. When they passed, he was 96 and she was 90.  I suppose that when they first saw each other in heaven, he might have said to her, "Hi there beautiful. What took you so long?" Until the very end, they had actually never spent a night separated. They were always together, and now, will continue to be so.

Marvin & Mary Thomas

They were the last living grandparents that I had.  A generation is gone. We were fortunate to have been able to capture a 5-generations picture before they passed. It's a rare and priceless treasure for me to keep.  Our 4-year old granddaughter, Savannah, is in the generational picture. My 90-year old grandmother passed on Savannah's birthday.  Such timing and coincidence does not go unnoticed.

Five Generations

My wife, Tami, and I really enjoyed talking with my grandparents about their early lives. They were both born into quite a different world almost a century ago. They've had experiences, hardships, and a lifestyle that I can only barely imagine.  Their stories are not so different from others who lived back then, but hugely divergent from the experiences and conveniences from my life and my kids lives.  In some ways, listening to them proudly speak of their past made me appreciate my lifestyle, yet made me feel a bit guilty for all that we have.  For that, I count their stories as priceless.

My grandfather continued to drive his car well into his 90's, albeit very slowly. Several times, younger/faster drivers would get caught behind them on the road as they made an occasional trip to their local Walmart in Elizabethtown, KY.  Once a frustrated driver behind my grandfather, finally passed him and shouted, "Hey old man! Speed up or get off the road!!" My grandmother was reported as saying, "That driver made me so mad when he yelled at us that I just felt like flipping him 'the THUMB'!".  She may have confused the Finger vs Thumb usage, but she got the idea right... This was not her usual nature, but I appreciate her spunk...

They were wonderful relatives to 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.  Thanks for savings my life, Memaw.  I look forward to see you both again...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zapped by Lightning

This came to mind last week: But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. (Ecclesiastes 2:11 NLT)

On Thursday, April 11, a severe storm passed over North Alabama and left a reminder of this verse for me. We were out of town attending our daughter's wedding in KY when I received a call from a kind neighbor. He said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but your security siren has been going off for the last couple of days...". Bother me? Really? I am so appreciative of this man, whom I hardly even know. Why I wasn't notified by our security system monitoring company is another story. As of this post, they have already been replaced.

We thought it may have been a power surge that caused the alarm, as our neighbor said he peeked in the windows and didn't see any unusual evidence of a burglary. But upon our return four days later, with two granddaughters in tow, we discovered that our roof took a direct hit from lightning, leaving a softball-sized hole, shattering a 2x6 rafter stud, and damaging electrical components throughout our home.

It's stunning that our house did not catch on fire. Stunning! We came home to many inconveniences...phones dead, refrigerators not working, security systems...TVs...DVD players...routers...modems...etc. - not to mention the hole in our roof. But, how much worse it could have been if a spark had ignited...

As thankful as we are to only have the minor inconveniences, honestly, I's all "just stuff". We had family around us and I just recently handed my daughter's hand to a young man who is now an additional member of our family. The stuff can be replaced...but not our family.

It's a great reminder for me to not get hung up on the stuff of this world - it really is meaningless. Instead I need to keep thinking and focusing on the things of eternal value. Thanks for the reminder, God.... And, I'm also grateful for the lack of a spark....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To My Daughter, Caitlin...

You're only a "Bolte" for a few more days... but you'll be my daughter forever!  So many memories... so many laughs... so many arguments... so many unanswered phone calls... so many delicious cherry pies... so many reasons to love you... so many smiles... so many decisions in the past, and in the future... so many years as a "Bolte".

But as of Saturday, April 13, 2013, you'll become a "Burchett".  We've prayed for you so much throughout the years... for many reasons.  One of the most important topics was your future husband.  Michael is a wonderful young man from a wonderful family. We already count it a blessing to have him as part of our family.

So, on Saturday, I will count it my honor to have you on my arm for our walk down the aisle toward your new husband and future life.  You are the last of our three children to wed, but the wait will be worth it.  Michael and you will be a beautiful addition to our family.

May God abundantly bless you as you strive to seek and follow his will for your lives with a laser-like focus.  Please remember that we're always here for you both, during good or tough times.  It doesn't matter if you're a "Bolte"... or a "Burchett".  Caitlin, we will always love you.  Please know how proud we are of you.

Love, Dad

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Cords Attached!

Tami's New iPhone

The Boltes have their first iPhone... well Tami does. I am still faithfully using a company-provided BlackBerry. Since Mother's Day, Tami has been on this new iPhone adventure. Now let me clarify about Mother's Day. It really wasn't an outright MD gift. She actually "needed" a new phone anyway. But, it's like "killing two birds with one stone", right? Get Tami a cool MD gift AND replace her worn out phone at the same time. I also remember her telling me many years ago after I gave her a truly wonderful gift with a cord attached, "Don't ever get me another gift with a cord attached!". I don't remember exactly what it was, but I'm guessing it was something like a waffle iron, curling iron, or electric drill... So, even though the new iPhone 4 needs a cord to be recharged, she hasn't complained far.
Here's the thing. When Tami had her old cell phone, it didn't do much more than call people. It was internet-capable, but not very user-friendly. It did have different basic features like speed dialing and a phone directory (contacts list), but she rarely used any of them. She would actually memorize the numbers of her most frequent calls and dial them manually.... who does that!?! Now Tami has this fully loaded, state of the art, user-friendly smart phone that she is struggling to learn. I mean it's like going from that dial-up internet connection to our super fast, home wireless can never go back.

Tami & Lauren using "Facetime"

But I'll give her credit, she is trying. Even though I've had to show her some things multiple times, she is getting the hang of it. She's using Facebook, Voice Mail, Text Messaging, Facetime, and even playing a few games. She LOVES "Words with Friends". It's a kind-of Scrabble game. She's actually getting a little obsessive with it. "We" were playing each other at midnight the other night...
So here's to learning new things. Here's to Mother's Day gifts that keep on giving. Here's to keeping up with the latest technology. Here's to my wife who never gives up. By the way, she hasn't beaten me in the Words with Friends yet... she's so obsessive!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hey Lyla!

It won't be long now! Soon we'll meet and I'll get to see and hold you for the first time. Frankly I don't know much about you yet....other than you weigh about 7.5 pounds so far, have chubby cheeks, will have the name of Lyla Grace Windsor, and have a big sister named Savannah Hope.
But by the same token, you don't know much about me either. So let me give you some inside information. I'm really good looking, have lots or hair, abs of steel (I'll explain what abs are when you're older), find joy in interior decorating, don't watch much ESPN, and hate sweets. You'll learn more about me once you arrive and we can spend some time together. But, for now, those are the key points...
I'm looking forward to your arrival in less than two weeks. But I do have a favor to ask. I'll be out of town from May 22-24, visiting Washington DC. So if it's not asking too much, could you show your pretty face either before or after that time? Now I know your Mom wants your birthday to be ASAP, but don't let her influence you. Take your time...just not too much time. Your sister was born near Sydney, Australia. You'll be born in Huntsville, Alabama. I really appreciate you arriving a bit closer to our home. It'll be a much shorter trip to the hospital for us.
It appears that everything is ready for your grand entrance. There have been showers (you know, gifts, games, and stuff), many wardrobe purchases, lots of new diapers piling up, several doctor visits, and overnight bags packed. All we need is you!
Someday when you get to read this, I hope you'll realize how much we anticipated your arrival and how much we loved you already. So until we meet face-to-face, simply know that your Granddaddy may joke around sometimes, but not when it comes to how much he cares for and loves his grandchildren... Love you Miss Lyla... See ya soon!

Friday, October 22, 2010

What To Do?

What to do on a day off....? I have a vacation day today, Friday, and next Monday. Four days of prime time opportunity in North Alabama. What to do??? Frankly I enjoy just relaxing and resting. Usually I don't get to do much of that. But, on the other hand, Tami doesn't want to just sit around and do nothing. So, I should "do" something that she will enjoy but that also is "relaxing and restful".

Here are the ideas on the table:

1) Go to Stem & Stein tonight to hear a friend perform
2) Go to a high school football game
3) Take the dog with us on a hiking trail across Green Mountain
4) Go tailgating with friends at the Auburn / LSU game
5) Prepare for leading the Young Adults on Monday night by studying Luke 13
6) Visit the Nashville zoo with Savannah
7) Catch up on chores around the house that need to be completed
8) Post to my blog about things to do on my vacation days...

I suppose I will do several of the above after it's all said & done. No matter what we choose, I just hope to spend some quality time with my lovely wife and get a chance to recharge the batteries.
It's a beautiful day in North Alabama - I'm sure I will maximize the opportunities...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thanks to you all...

This is post #100...

It's a good time for me to hang up the blog... it's been a bit over one year...

Thanks for reading and checking in.

As of today, Thinking Out Loud has had 10,073 hits.... Wow! Never thought that would ever happen.

It's been great reading some of your comments on my blog. Thank you all...

Many regards..... Jim

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Favorite Verse

My Bible...

Being a logical-thinker is a big part of my make-up. Sometimes I don't realize how much it plays into my day-to-day judgement and discernment - but it does. Tami will even tell you that, at times, I'm obnoxiously logical. Where God gave me a full measure of logic, I often come up short regarding compassion. Whereas Tami is gifted in the compassion-arena & tends to be more free-spirited and risky, I am "Mr. Conservative" for the most part. I wrote about this in August of 2009.

Here's an example.... while reading my Bible last night before going to bed, I asked myself, "What really is my favorite Bible verse?" If you look at my Bible you'll see that I have hundreds of verses underlined and starred. There are so many that are so meaningful and that have instructed and helped me for decades... But which is my favorite...?

Maybe you'll be surprised. Here it is:

John 14

25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
27 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.

John 14:26 (NIV)

OK... not so inspiring, right? It's this part, though, that means so much to me:

"the Holy Spirit - he will teach you everything and remind you of everything I have told you."

Since becoming a young Christian many years ago, I had always struggled with the question of how did the writers of the Bible get the facts straight? How did they record actual quotes from everyone, including Jesus? They didn't have iPads, Post-it-Notes, Google Blogger, or smart phones to capture the actual comments or events. I've always had this very logical & practical question. (...told you I was too logical...) Then I came across this verse, John 14:26, where Jesus is speaking to his disciples - telling them that he will send the Holy Spirit, once Jesus departs, and the Holy Spirit will remind them of everything! That's it! That made logical sense to me. This one verse really tied it all together for me. Too logical, right! Anyway, it has always been a very important verse for me. The Bible, God's Word, gets it done for me. It's the best way to know and learn more about the character of's the best way to know the best example to follow - Jesus. He's who I want to be more like... that's my journey in life... be more like Christ... I'm trying... be patient with me...

As I post this page to my blog, I realize it is my 99th post - in just over 1 year. I've enjoyed writing and expressing some of my thoughts as I've been "thinking out loud". I hope to print the posts in book-form and keep it for years to come. I might get a kick out of reading some of this thinking in the future. Thanks for reading...