Thursday, December 16, 2010
As the days get colder and wetter the gardening work is slowing down - and I await the new season. In the spirit of "any work is better than no work" I just want to put this out there, and ask you to consider sharing it with anyone you think interested...
I will spend a traditional work day INSIDE and do about anything I am asked to do that is legal and moral and that I am capable of doing - for $100. Anything. I am NOT a skilled handy man so I can't fix your washing machine or your plumbing, but other INSIDE work like cleaning, moving things, running errands, painting, baby sitting, chauffeuring, sanding, scrubbing, polishing, clearing out attics, insulating, taking stuff to Goodwill I can do. I could also clean up/degunk your computer, rip that pile of CD's to your hard drive, write letters, edit stuff - whatever I can do inside. If I need to drive my car as part of the work I will ask for a per mile reimbursement at standard IRS rates. I am happy to work along side or work alone...So...if you know someone who could use something like this pass it on...
As far as outside gardening work at regular rates, winter is a good time to mulch, clear away Ivy and Wisteria and unwanted saplings, transplant, plan, and so forth.
If you have or know anyone who has a child who needs tutoring in math, science, or English composition, bible or theology let them know about me. I'm pretty good at that if I may say so myself. I am a currently licensed teacher in North Carolina and can provide references.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Every so often I get up the nerve to go by and look at my grandmother Nanny's old house on McGregor Drive. It takes nerve because even though the house itself from the front looks much the same, subsequent owners have taken liberties with the yard that upset me, so it's a mixed bag of emotions when I drive by.
The thing that bothers me the most is the removal of almost all off the Loblolly pines in the front and several in the back. The McGregor Drive Loblolly's are amongst the very largest in Richland County and I grew up adoring these behemoth trees. Nanny loved them too. She also knew that the pines were the lynch pin of the local garden "ecosytem." Cutting down canopy pines leaves Dogwoods and Azaleas with too much sun, and they become stressed and weakened as a result. It changes everything in a garden.
There is this irrational fear of pines near a house falling on the house. Much worse is when a pine not near a house falls on a house. Some people apparently fear pine limbs cracking in an ice storm and crashing through the roof and ceiling. It has happened. But I just don't know how people could buy a place like Nanny's and then with a wave of the hand dismiss its natural and human history like that, and dismiss those great old trees with a wave of the hand and a check to the tree service. It bugs me.
Had the same owners bought Nandina Hills (see article below) I could see them having all the inconvenient rocks hauled off, the place graded, and a barren pathetic little lawn planted on some measly flat place.
When it comes to gardening I appreciate it a lot when people work within the givens of their property. Large Loblolly pine trees are such a given. They determine how light and shade filters to the ground and thus the kinds of plants and trees that will grow well below. Slopes offer opportunity for gentle terraces and not unnatural grading. Creek bottoms create opportunity for entirely different plant and animal systems. I have always thought that it was better to work within the boundaries of what is given, the form before us, and try to make beauty come forth from that. Land is like genre in music, like meter in verse, like the configuration of the baseball diamond. It's what happens within the boundaries that makes great art. Respect the given. Respect the land.
Most of us don't buy houses built on newly cleared land. And thus most of us, when we buy houses, also inherit the choices and loves of others who have gone before.
There is an old bent Red Bud tree on our property in Greensboro. I happen to know the prior owner who planted that Red Bud and what it meant to him so over the years and through various transfigurations brought about by ice, lightening and bad pruning, the tree continues, gnarly as it may be. It would have taken two minutes to taken it down and made the lawn a lot easier to mow, but I chose to respect the choice of my predecessor.
Often when I am pruning an old shrub I can see how the plant has been pruned over time. That pruning has impacted the subsequent growth of the shrub and also impacts the current pruning. As I see that other hands have shaped this plant I am reminded that in most facets of life there are those that have come before, shaping and informing our current choices. We are no more blank slates than the houses we buy. We were born into certain situations and were shaped by many who came before, and we should respect their love and their effort. We may think we can cut out all traces of their influence upon us, which we cannot do, but even if we could we generally don't do such a better job than they did. Likewise when it comes to gardening I feel inclined to respect the work of my predecessor and thus his or her person and memory. Respect what has come before.
When we let "nature" take its course around here that usually means (in a garden) that Ivy, Kudzu, Grape, Smilax, and Honeysuckle (ironically most of which are non native and thus not really "natural" at all) will soon cover everything, beginning a very long and slow progression toward a mature forest appropriate to the region. Gardening does not respect the laws of natural succession. It is more concerned with nurture than nature, ideally striking a balance between the two (or maybe coming to a truce).
The shapes and colors and smells that make gardens so pleasing are cultural artifacts. They represent nuture. Gardening is an interference with the principle of entropy. It isn't "natural." It is an imposition. Much thought and energy and action must be applied to keep any space from "reverting" back to nature. But those who impose order and design have a responsibility over the whole. In my mind this responsibility includes respect - as considered above. This respect calls us to balance nurture with nature, that is, we respect the natural land forms and native ecosytems as much as we can. Slope and sun and climate all constitute aspects of that form inside of which the gardener creates. But since these factors also determine which species of plant that are most suitable, these "natural" or native species also constitute aspects of that form with which the gardener works.
I am not a zealot when it comes to native vs. non native species. Some of my favorite plants are non-native. But I have wandered the woods and worked in gardens enough to see the damage non-native-plants-gone-wild can do. And I care about ecosystems enough that it is not just plants that matter in a garden, but also insects and birds and other animal species. Urban and suburban spaces can have more of an impact than one may realize on the health of the native ecosystem, and can contribute to its health or to its slow demise.
But there is no such thing as a true "native" or "natural" ecosystem. If we could turn back the clock to find "original" would we go all the way back before the invasion of the continent by Asian peoples 10 or 15 thousand years ago? It is appropriate to be concerned about aggressive invasive plants and animals and to eradicate them when possible. But we have to be reasonable. Even the common lowly earthworm is a species alien to our fair land.
Likewise, the Southern Azalea and Camellia garden is not paticularly native. The imported Camellia has no more native right to a space than the Japanese Honeysuckle covering it up. But Camelias are not invasive. And as a long-time pillar of the Southern garden they call for my respect. My grandmother grafted and pruned and deeply loved her Camellias and I think of her often when I am trying to nurture an old overgrown (and grown-over) Camelia back to shape. Someone very much like her loved this plant for many years, and I respect that.
Nanny also loved her English Ivy. It too is a non native. One difference between the two is that whereas a Camellia left to itself will get gangly and sick and die, English Ivy left to itsef will take over everything. The same could be said - but worse - for Wisteria or Honeysuckle. As these plants take over and out compete native species which have a more direct relationship with local fauna, thus hurting the ecosystem as a whole. Even well-trimmed English Ivy creates problems for other plants, stealing water and nutrients and shading out leaves.
Nanny had Mr. Dove to keep her Ivy constantly trimmed. Most of us don't have a Mr. Dove and the Ivy (and Wisteria and so forth) slowly conquers our spaces. Better I think to get rid of the stuff altogether.
Not a great ending, but enough for now...
Sunday, December 05, 2010
I asked the owner (who bought the house 50 years ago) about the rocks, thinking they must have been brought in as part of a design. No, he said, they were "native." Apparently there is a quarter-mile band of such rocks that runs across this area of the sand hills. I never knew about it even though I grew up not far away.
This property provides a perfect example of the work that I enjoy doing. Obviously much thought and love had once been put into the design and care of the plants and trees. Time and perfectly understandable neglect had taken its toll however. More recently a daughter has been working as much as possible on keeping up the garden and even adding some nice features to the place, but she is a busy person and things around here just grow so fast! Over the years many trees and shrubs have died. Much of this has been due to the loss of a large number of pines to pine borers, and a few giant tulip poplars to lightning and wind.
Vines of all sorts have swarmed the area choking out desired plants. Large saplings/small trees, many less than desirable, have sprung up all around. Many of them have themselves been covered in vines! Although for the most part this is not a typical traditional southern garden, there are many azaleas and camellias in one of the flatter and damper ares. I have done some pruning of dead and overly-gangly azaleas and camellias and am gradually bringing the area back to shape and health.
I have spent even more time trying to conquer the mass of native and non native vines and trees swarming the place like fire ants! Everywhere there is the familiar stuff that grows like mad here, the vines especially - English ivy, honeysuckle, vinca, potato vine, muscadine, moonseed vine, cucumber vine, five leaved akebia, fox grape, crossvine, trumpet vine, and smilax. There is also a lot of native switch cane (which I kind of like but which the homeowner does not), and which I have been digging out gradually. There had been a very large thick grove of honeysuckle bush which has now been tamed, and of course all those saplings - princess tree, mimosa, elderberry, cherry laurel, hackberry, maple, red bud and pine - everywhere. Since there is a large beautiful sweet gum tree on the site - one of the largest I have ever seen - there are thus also sweet gum babies abounding.
I have come across many dogwood stumps. Since the dogwood demise red bud has become the default under story tree, and the owner has wanted the red buds preserved. There are also lots of elderberry of which the owner is fond so have I left those too.
And then there is the nandina...Folks have different and often passionate thoughts about nandina. It is not native and can be invasive, choking out other plants, and the berries, so they say, are not as nutritious for birds as some other native berries. I can take or leave nandinas. But the nandinas have taken to these rocky hills like a fish to water and when they are in full fall regalia they are beautiful. After I cleared much of the unwanted stuff from the hillsides and cleared off ivy and honeysuckle from many of the rocks, and generally just made the place look less unruly, the nandinas have really stood out. And as the sun falls lower into the sky, these nandinas and their berries glisten in the glow. I have to say they are downright beautiful. You could call the place nandina hills or nandina acres!
I once found several little clumps of wild ginger in damp areas between rocks here and there, and have taken care not to harm them. I also found and was able to save saplings of many interesting local trees like sassafras and black gum (the latter being my favorite tree).
Gradually this amazing property is starting to reflect its former glory, and that is very satisfying,
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I am a Christian. Despite the current hip dislike of using the word Christian and the preference for phrases like "Jesus-follower," I am just fine with "Christian."
"Christian" is not a word that describes my upbringing or ethnicity or country of origin or culture. I wasn't born into it.
"Christian" suggests the union of two things about me. "Christian" first represents a collection of propositions that I believe to be real and true; so to say that I am a Christian is to say that I sign on to these basic propositions. Second, to to say that I am a Christian speaks of a personal engagement with and commitment to the One whom I believe to be represented by those notions. So, one could say that I believe that certain things are true about God and the universe and human beings and creation and so forth, but also that I seek to be personally committed to this personal God.
Life, even life including this personal commitment, is a long road, sometimes bumpy, and always a little messy. It is indeed a process, this being a Christian in this real and messy world.
When I was a pastor I was supposed to be some sort of expert on things Christian and theological. I find myself now - post-pastorate - not as the "professional" Christian but just me as a person who is a Christian. And it is challenging to try to learn again what being a Christian is in the normal every day sense.
Back when I was a professional Christian I was supposed to be very committed to a particular set of principles and propositions about God and the Christian faith as embodied in the Westminster Confession of Faith. What I found over time was that that vow of commitment hindered me from being honest about things I was thinking or wondering or discovering as I studied and prepared for sermons and so forth. Our Presbytery changed in my 20 years there from relative indifference to such commitment to very vigilant concern about such commitment.
I have nothing against creeds mind you. Everybody has one, even if it just to say that they have no creeds. I like creeds and find them most helpful.
When I was blogging a lot in Greensboro and interacting with folks who held all sorts of beliefs about all sorts of things, and yet writing and interacting as a Christian, I decided that it was best for me to find my place in the larger general stream of the historic orthodox Christian church - especially as represented by the three "Ecumenical Creeds" - Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. This meant that I stood in a theological stream much wider than that of the particular creed I had vowed to uphold. Rather, I would indeed stand with and find common cause with all orthodox Christians of the Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. As time went on, I found myself being deeply impacted by Catholic and Orthodox writers as well as Protestant writers.
I found too that it was really not OK to start to reevaluate certain ideas. I had already gotten used to this of course. I remember the look on people's faces when, for example, I would say that I really didn't believe in the "secret rapture" which is a common often assumed idea in American evangelicalism. I mean, for real, could I even be a Christian and not believe that? Maybe I was a "liberal." There were many examples of such things - many such cases, many such issues. As I began to get a better feel for the larger story of the Bible, the almost exclusive focus of American Protestant evangelicals on individual/personal salvation started to bother me. And then suddenly I started seeing a different sort of narrative in the gospels and epistles than that suggested or preferred in Reformed circles, though to me this narrative was a whole lot more consistent with the progressive outworking of the biblical covenants and thus Reformed covenant theology.
None of this has anything to do with why I left the pastorate which is another story for another time - but what I find interesting now is that as a regular non professional Christian I am finding myself comfortable continuing to identify with the larger stream of Christianity as represented by the Ecumenical Creeds. I am and will remain a Protestant, not because I like the name or identify with it but personally but because it more or less describes me. But I will continue to seek to find my way unpressured by expectation to uphold the letter of more definitive creeds. Most of all, I don't want my ability to make a living ever to be dependent on whether I can sign on to Chapter VII, Article I or whatever.
The historic Christian faith is under attack from so many directions at once that I'd rather focus on more general matters, and as best as I can as a Christian kindly defend the most essential core principles as I have opportunity to do so.
But much more important than that I want and need to find my way with the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ. It's hard rebooting as non professional. It's a challenge rediscovering the life of faith as a regular Joe.
And as regards the most intimate aspects of life and faith, well, I am seeking to find my legs and it's taking a while, all the more since I am not where I anticipated being at this stage of life - as one friend put it - needing to work on a plan B (or C). I haven't fully found my legs but I am working on it. The story that began with God starting a work in my Columbia family through my sister mary, the faith that came through the ministry of TEAM, the peace and assurance that came through L'Abri, the opportunities to grow that came in my time at Regent College, the grounding at First Pres in the 80's, life in the trenches as a pastor for 20 years in Greensboro, and of course mostly the joys and sadnesses of family life, well it's all going somewhere, I am just not sure where, except, in the end, in the New Heaven and New Earth, where the curse will be no more and the tears will be wiped away from our eyes and will be as we were supposed to be and will longer make a mess of things. Meantime there is much beauty and joy to keep to me going despite, well, plan B and all.
I am and will remain a work in progress.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Here are some things I can do and of course I am willing to provide resumes and references if needed.
Garden Cleanup – I generally do what one friend calls “jungle taming” work – mostly on the other side of the border grass and mostly with overgrown but otherwise established yards and gardens. Fall is not the ideal time to prune but is a good time to get rid of vines, unwanted trees and other things growing where they shouldn’t, replace old mulch, and plant. I can do pretty much any kind of gardening work that does not require power equipment. Not keen about chemicals.
Tutoring – I taught high school science back in the day and have tutored Physics, Chemistry, Physical Science, Biology, Math, and English Composition over the years. Maybe you know of a family looking for a tutor.
Preaching/Teaching – I am not in a place in my life where I can pastor a church on an ongoing basis, and maybe never will be, but I am ordained and can competently fill in in a teaching/preaching capacity if a need is there. I can do simple verse by verse teaching or if needed I can address thorny issues in a measured way if it would be helpful to a congregation or group of leaders.
Windows Computer Degunking – I have done a lot of it and can get your machine running cleaner and faster. Really, I can.
Photography – I am NOT a professional photographer but I do a credible job at family pictures outside where special lighting apart from the sun is not required – fall family pics and so forth. OR, if your organization or business needs a base of solid photographs for web site and/or promotional items I can provide a large quantity of good photographs to get you rolling.
Writing – do you have an important letter you just can’t seem to get right? Do you have a technical matter you need to articulate? Do you have a crucial report or paper you need edited? I am your guy. Writing is my specialty. If you need editing I am experienced at that as well having been managing editor of a biblical theological journal – oh, and having kids in high school and college!
Web Sites – I can set and manage web sites/blogs using the Word Press platform, and can host such sites on my server. Word Press is a great versatile user friendly platform. I am not a coder, and have limitations but I do currently manage several sites, and would love to manage yours. I am also experienced at integrating web sites and social networking tools, and can be your social networking “meister.”
Genealogy - Give me a couple of days and I can get you jump started on that long neglected genealogy project you've wanted to do but haven't
Counseling – I know, “teacher heal thyself” and all that…I am NOT a licensed counselor but have 20 years experience in pastoral counseling. I am available. Believe it or not I do a good job with vocational and pre-marital counseling too. I know, I know…
Digitizing Photos and Documents – I have excellent high end scanners of all kinds and can work with prints, slides, film, old letters, personal records, and so forth. I can get you jump started on that BIG project you have been putting off for so long.
I am sure there are a hundred other things one may need doing that I could possibly do - idea? Try me...
PS - Feel free to check me out - links are below - references available on request
6442 Bridgewood Road
Columbia SC 29206
blog 2: http://joelgillespie.org/
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
In a couple of months my daughter Laurel will embark on a courageous year of service to some of the most hurting people in the world in one of the most desperate places in the world. This will certainly be a life altering year for Laurel. She is in the process of raising support for this work with International Justice Mission. I have pasted below a copy of her letter, a story about a young victim of human trafficking, and support information. I post this (and tag some folks) mostly in the hope that people will pray for her, and also in hope that this note might get forwarded around, potentially connecting with those who may have interest in this ministry. Thank you for reading this.
“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.” – Psalm 10:17-18
As hard as it is to believe, my four years at UNC-Chapel Hill came to an end in May when I received my degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. I wanted to look for an opportunity that enabled me to incorporate both my academic training and my faith. I could not get the issue of human trafficking off my mind, and stories like the one above made me want to help even more. Various conferences, conversations and convictions led me to discover the work of International Justice Mission (IJM), and I decided to apply for a Communications internship. I was so happy to receive a twelve month placement in South Asia, where I will be moving in late September to work in the fight against unprosecuted rape and forced prostitution.
It is hard to wrap my mind around these numbers, but the facts are sobering. According to a recent article in National Geographic, there are 27 million slaves in the world today, unseen and unheard by most of us in affluent nations. Worldwide, the total market of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion, more than the annual profit of Nike, Starbucks and Wal-Mart combined (UNICEF). The brutal act of kidnapping children, some as young as 5 years old, and forcing them into sexual slavery is happening to 2 million new children every year (UNICEF). Trafficked girls are often allured with the promise of a good job. Some are kidnapped and drugged, only to awaken trapped in a brothel and forced to provide sex to customers up to 50 times a day. In some instances, these victims are sold by family members in order to pay medical bills or family debts. Police complicity often leaves these girls with no one to turn to for help.
International Justice Mission is a non-profit organization composed of Christian attorneys, social workers, criminal investigators and support staff. IJM investigators spend thousands of hours infiltrating brothels and uncovering the world of sexual exploitation. IJM staff then works with local authorities to lead police interventions and rescue victims from this horrific nightmare, placing them in safe homes where they receive aftercare and begin new lives of freedom. IJM lawyers work to secure the conviction and sentencing of brothel keepers and other perpetrators involved. The goal is address the root of the problem by prosecuting the perpetrators in local court systems and making a way for communities to make structural changes that can prevent such abuses in the future.
You can help. You can pray for the work of IJM in the fight against injustice and for the victims. And you can certainly pray for me. Please post the enclosed prayer card as a reminder.
You can also help support me financially. Because the internship is a volunteer position, I need to raise $20,200 to cover expenses such as airfare, visa fees, rent, meals and transportation—essentially all the costs associated with the assignment. This figure is daunting, and I would like to ask you to consider making a financial contribution. By making a tax deductible donation, you enable me to work with an organization that infiltrates some of the darkest places of human suffering to bring the light of hope to the desperate and hopeless victims of human trafficking. If you are able, you can mail a check to me, or you can give online easily by going to http://www.ijm.org/getinvolved/internshipsupport and selecting my name from a drop-down menu. Any amount will help me reach this goal, and all the details about providing financial assistance can be found on the following page.
Two years ago I would never have imagined that I would be writing this now. If you know me well, you are aware that this will be a challenging environment for me. Pray for me as I learn to adjust to life in a new and very different culture and manage my responsibilities there. I see this internship as a huge answer to my own prayers that God would give me a way to serve Him that would both use my gifts and take me to a place of real need. This is a life-changing opportunity for me to see and experience firsthand both abject poverty and unthinkable violence, but most importantly how God ensures that "the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish” (Psalm 9:18).
If you would like to receive regular updates of my time in South Asia, send your contact info to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t hesitate to call me at (336) 209-7284 if you have further questions or would like to meet in person to talk about it. I’ll be in touch in a few weeks to follow up with this letter and answer any questions you may have.
Manna lived with her brother and was beaten by him on several occasions. When she was 14, she decided running away was her best option. Passing through the clutter and scuffle of a train station, a young woman noticed Manna crying and offered to help. She listened to Manna and won her trust, promising a job selling fabric. The woman led Manna to a place to rest and slept beside her that first night, but when Manna woke the woman was gone and another woman warned that her life was no longer her own. She would not sell fabric but her body. Manna refused her first three customers, but the brothel keeper pulled her hair, punched her and beat her repeatedly until she gave in to the men who had come to rape her. She tried to run away and even begged the men who raped her to rescue her or call the police. The nightmare continued for two years until another girl whom IJM had rescued led IJM operatives back to rescue more girls hidden in a soundproof dungeon. Manna was one of four young girls rescued from that dark place. She now lives in the freedom of an aftercare home that provides love, safety and schooling where she studies to become a social worker. IJM helped build a case against her brothel keepers. They were both convicted and sentenced in 2004 to five years rigorous imprisonment. With a smile that filled the room like sunlight Manna said, “I came to prison, but I am not alone. God took me from that place to here. I am requesting to God that like IJM saved me they will save even more. What is impossible for men is possible for God.”
There are several ways to give a tax-deductible* donation to IJM…
1) Give online using your credit card or debit card: The easiest and fastest way to give is to go
online to IJM’s website, www.ijm.org. Then scroll over the word “get involved” on the top of the page and click on “Internships & Fellowships.” From there, simply click on the link on the right hand side of the page for “Support an International Fellowship or Internship.” Alternatively, you can also follow this link:
In order for the funds to be counted towards my fundraising goal, you must select my name,
Laurel Gillespie, from the drop-down menu when you enter your donation information.
If you do not see my name in the designation menu, you can also type in my name in
the “Comments” box.
2) Set up monthly giving: Information about setting up monthly giving can be found on the link
3) Write a check: If you prefer to write a check, please make the check payable to “International
Justice Mission” and do NOT write my name anywhere on the check, including the memo
line. Instead, please attach the Donor Information Slip below with your check. Checks written
to IJM that have my name appear anywhere on the check will be returned to the donor. Checks
to IJM should be mailed directly to me, and I will forward the check to IJM’s headquarters.
Mail checks to:
106 East Keeling Road
Greensboro, NC 27410
“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no
more.” – Psalm 10:17-18
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Monday, July 05, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Monday, April 05, 2010
Sunday, April 04, 2010
1. I always pull for Clemson and South Carolina against anybody else, period, always. Though I grew up as a little duffer a UNC fan, I became a rabid SC fan during the John Roche era, and then a crazy Clemson fan when I went to Clemson, and then later I also graduated from SC. If Clemson and SC play each other I usually pull for Clemson unless SC has a lot more to gain by a victory.
2. I always pull for UNC unless they play Clemson or SC. My dad went to UNC and I grew up light blue and pulled for them all the time until the John Roche basketball team captured my imagination.
3. I generally pull for UNC, Duke, WF, and NC State against other ACC teams, except Clemson.
4. When these teams play each other I generally rank it as UNC, Wake, Duke, State - but if one is having a great year I may pull for them.
5. I ALWAYS pull for ACC teams - no exceptions except against South Carolina. Even the new ACC teams.
6. I almost always pull for the mid major teams and underdogs - except when playing ACC or South Carolina.
So, as to Duke vs. Butler...as much as I'd love to see Butler win an NCAA championship, the ACC trumps a mid major, so I'm pulling for Duke.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Today I saw a bald eagle flying lazily over a swollen Congaree River. I saw a raven-back-blue Carolina night sky - and like an excited child followed the line from the big dipper right to the north star. I heard the southern wind gusting wildly through the swaying pines. I breathed in deeply the sweet goodness of a big yellow dandelion. I felt the sun warm my tired eyes and almost fell asleep waiting for the bus.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Mary Oliver, from Thirst
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Here is the link - http://joelgillespie.blogspot.com/2009/02/great-snow-of-73.html.
Would love to hear of any memories you might have of that snow fall.
Friday, February 05, 2010
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
It's hard for me not to envision that horrific photo taken from the same spot in 1865 looking out on the city burned and destroyed. I try to picture in my mind that horrible day and week, and I give thanks that the cause of so many of my great great grandfathers (and one great grandfather) did not in the end prevail.
It's perhaps part of the uniqueness of southern culture and identity that I have always had a tendency to consider myself first a southerner and South Carolinian, and then an American. I exaggerate somewhat but the association with my home state and region is deep.
And I always thought it a profound offense to the people of my home state to have the Confederate battle flag flying on top of our State House. I say that as a son of the Confederacy many times over.
What surprised me last summer sitting up top of the State House steps was finding the Confederate flag in such a prominent position on the grounds. Looking FROM the State House steps toward downtown it is the Confederate flag one mainly sees. Approaching the State House from Main Street the flag is perhaps even more prominent now than when it was on top of the dome. I had just been unaware of this the last ten years, and was quite taken back.
I wanted to write about it then but a SC friend suggested it would not be appreciated and might close doors for me as to work in my state. It's pretty sensitive stuff apparently.
Southern secession, the Civil War and the Confederate Flag are an unexcisable part of the history and heritage of South Carolina and many other states. I'm not sure these things should be celebrated, but they should be remembered, and there is a place for monuments and flags and exhibits in their memory. Just not in front of the State House. It its current position and prominence the Confederate flag's presence feels more like a celebration, or if not that a direct statement as to a current identification with the Confederate cause.
The Confederate flag is also, quite understandably and rightfully, a cause of profound offense to a very large part of South Carolina's population. Try as many do (in needful revisions to revisionist history) to disconnect slavery causally from the Civil War, well, it is just not credible. In fact the inordinate political turmoil and sectional politics of the latter first half of the 19th century was due largely to the slavery question and rooted deeply in and around the institution of slavery. There is a direct organic line of causality between the very first importation of African people's here as slaves and what eventually became our darkest hour as a nation. There is no way to disassociate the Confederate flag from the unspeakable inhumanity of the enslavement of millions of human beings by other human beings. I know the hundred objections that may follow. I also know that not one of them holds water.
The Confederate flag in its current placement and position is morally, socially, and spiritually oppressive. It is an unkindness of gargantuan proportions. It's time to finish the job and move the flag - again.
The Memorial honoring the Confederate dead is appropriate and quite prominent enough. One might like to see a Memorial honoring the enslaved dead given as much prominence. And I can see a Confederate flag placed on the west side of the Grounds perhaps, accompanied by a sober and non celebratory Memorial, one that honors the profound deep historical significance and human/cultural/economic cost of the War Between the States.
In the end the Confederate cause is one not worthy of celebration. The untold human stories of bravery and kindness in the midst of the conflict may well be worth celebrating, but not the cause itself.
To this day when I read books about the Civil War, and about battles where the Confederate side lost, I feel a kind of aching sadness. I cannot watch the Ken Burns documentary without coming to tears over and over again. At some visceral level I identify with the South even in her very worst moments. But waking up from pulling again for the military underdog (when I wish that we had taken Little Round Top and wished Lee had not sent Picket up that hill) I give thanks for defeat, and feel a deep sorrow for the centuries of oppression and enslavement that ultimately led to those two great armies clashing in the fields and woods and hills of Gettysburg.
And now, today, we need to stop poking our African American neighbors in the eye, or maybe more accurately, in the heart. The flag needs to move. Let's finish what we started in 2000. Love demands it.