Changing it Up

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

A friend wrote yet another brilliant post on Facebook in the wee hours this morning. He’s a brilliant theologian, scholar, writer, and friend. Many mornings I have to go look up the words he’s using. He’s also brilliant with puns and sometimes we’ll exchange them back and forth until I have to wave the white flag of surrender.

Last night, or this morning’s post was about letting go of the junk or things that clutter our minds. He wrote:

We can all think of mindjunk that should’ve been taken out to the curb long ago. What’s to keep us from starting with something very small this week?

As the coffee began to kick in, I thought about what was cluttering my mind. What could I let go of that is unnecessary, or that is standing in the way of my goals?

Turns out it was the news.

I mean, this country is in a mess. Inflation is out of control. We’re on the bring of World War III. Our current

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leaders are incompetent, or corrupt. Or both.

Even though I “officially” left active politics a long time ago, I’ve hung around the edges, like a fan boy at a theater stage door.

I’ve followed the Twitter feeds. And while I haven’t written about them, I’ve posted at the end of this blog stories that support my point of view.

But, I haven’t changed anything.

My obsession with politics is somewhat of an addiction.

It’s like saying “I’ll just have one drink on my way to an AA meeting.”

Or, for me, it’s like saying, “I’ll just have one Thin Mint.” And then the rest of the cookies in the sleeve just look so lonely.

All this to say that it’s been taking up my time and I’m not really changing anything.

I’ll still stay informed. I’ll still vote accordingly.

I’m just not going to fret over it. Not going to worry about sharing it here.

And I’m going to clean up my Twitter feed…if I don’t give it up altogether.

I tell myself I’m on all the social networks to promote my writing and my art. And that’s true. But there’s a lot of clutter out there.

I may still occasionally post things I think you should read.

I may still occasionally step over and post something at Bearing Drift.

But I’m letting some things go.

I think in the end, I’ll be happier and more productive.

What’s cluttering your mind these days? What can you let go?

Let us know in the comments.

American singer, guitarist and producer, George Strait, was born on this day in 1952.


May 18, 1917
World War I: The Selective Service Act of 1917 is passed, giving the President of the United States the power of conscription. Before the end of the month, my grandfather received his call to serve.


1897 – Frank Capra, Italian-American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1991)
1902 – Meredith Willson, American playwright and composer (d. 1984)
1912 – Perry Como, American singer and television host (d. 2001)
1922 – Bill Macy, American actor (d. 2019)
1928 – Pernell Roberts, American actor (d. 2010)
1970 – Tina Fey, American actress, producer, and screenwriter


The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121:7–8

Getting here from there

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, is first published in the United States on this day in 1900.
Poster advertising The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, issued by the George M. Hill Company, 1900

If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.

Pearl S. Buck

Last week I stood at the graves of my grandparents, Reese and Sena Pyrtle Russell. Also there are my Uncle Buddy (Robert) and a cousin, an RH-negative factor baby who lived only hours after her birth.

I did not know my grandfather. I used his WWI diary as the basis for my stage play: Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy. As far as I know, this diary was never found until after his death in 1948. And most of the family did not know about it until after my grandmother died in 1961.

I have vague memories of my grandmother. I was only three when she passed. I remember her baking gingerbread. And I have a visual image of driving away from the hospital where she was taken in the later stages if dementia.

I stood their graves and said “thank you.” And the word I thought of was “legacy.”

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Because I was in far Southwest Virginia for work I had, as I mentioned yesterday, a lot of drive time. And because I visited Martin’s Station which was the fort settlers would pass through just before heading through the Cumberland Gap, I thought a lot about the people who traveled that road.

My ancestors didn’t make it to Cumberland Gap. They chose instead to settle in Grayson and Tazewell Counties along with many of their other Scots-Irish brethren.

My father’s side made it to neighboring Bland and Giles Counties.

I’ve spent some time doing research, and I want to spent more time. During the first of the lockdown, I took advantage of a 90 day free trial from and built a substantial family tree.

But the free trial ended and other projects were calling. So it sits there for when I have, no, for when I make the time to continue the research.

I finished the weekend visiting my Mother. Before I left my hometown, I visited my father’s grave, along with my stepfather, and my paternal grandparents. Because this is where I grew up, and because most of my dad’s siblings are buried on the same hillside, I’ve been here much more often.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all of this information, or all of these feelings. I have multiple project ideas.

I also have many, many things to get to before I can get to those projects.

But last week’s trip was a little different. Or maybe this has been growing for a while.

Along with those feelings came a new appreciation for the people who have gone before, the people of the mountains, and a new appreciations for the mountains they traveled through and settled in.

I will never know all of the stories that happened over the centuries to get to the place where my grandparents, and later my parents, met and had their families.

Did they wonder about the legacy they would leave? Or was life such a challenge that they merely fought to survive, or to hope to build a better life.

There is much pondering going on here. Much to think about.

Sing it Karen…


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“I do feel like if somebody were to accidentally lean on the teleprompter, it’s going to be like Anchorman,” the CEO added, referencing the 2004 film in which Ron Burgundy reads whatever is written on the teleprompter, even if it would ruin his career. Read More.


1911 – Maureen O’Sullivan, Irish-American actress (d. 1998)
1936 – Dennis Hopper, American actor and director (d. 2010)
1955 – Bill Paxton, American actor and director (d. 2017)
1956 – Sugar Ray Leonard, American boxer


The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121:7–8