Mowing with Barn Swallows

No matter how hard I try, there is about a month every April and May when I don’t get the fields mowed. It’s usually because we have so much rain in those months, and the tractor would bog down in the mud (well, it’s a good excuse anyway!).  During those two months, the fescue grass grows rapidly and reaches over 3 feet! When the ground gets dry enough, I begin to mow, and it takes about a month to get the grass back down to a decent height. Although it takes the mower about twice as long and the mower pushes half the grass down instead of mowing it, there is a fun and enjoyable event almost a tradition if you will: The barn swallows mow with me.

Barn Swallow

It happened last year as well, and I had forgotten until Thursday. I was mowing, and suddenly I saw a barn swallow zipping past me to the left then dipping in front of the tractor. In a few seconds, I saw two swallows flying around. In about 15 minutes, I counted four swallows circling about. It was like “Barn Swallow Circus”. The best thing I can hypothesize is that my cutting the tall grass stirs up all sorts of insects and as the insects begin to fly, the swallows begin to feast! Several times, a particular swallow came within 10 feet of the tractor in a playful manner as if to be saying “Thank you!” It was so cute, and I enjoyed mowing with my avian buddies.

Call me “Dr. Daddy”;o)

 

In all seriousness, the best title I could ever want is “Daddy”. On Wednesday, I was reminded that I have an Educational Doctorate. Any person that has left the upper echelons of his or her profession/occupation to answer to the summa operis called parenthood knows what I mean. We kind of “lose” who we are professionally. Will I ever be called back to the world of español in the classroom whether it be in a high school or in the hallowed halls of an ivy-covered university? Will I do useful, longitudinal action research studies on the effects of computer-based technology that will appear in both prestigious foreign language journals and technology journals? Will I be sought after and paid to share my research and data? Woo hoo! Oh, the dreams of a Spanish professor!

A Haven-lead personal triumph: My Doctoral Dissertation

 http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1354097

All the above stuff could happen; however, I’m Daddy right now and loving it. It’s where I need to be. When I “Googled” my name (really looking to see if it was associated with my “Haven’s Ideals”), my published, doctoral dissertation popped up on the search, and it brought to mind the things I thought were so necessary to my life in July 2006 when I defended and obtained my doctorate. Five years later, I have two necessary things: Ammon and Carter. My Haven-led Educational Doctorate was a personal triumph, and it was great. However, my God-led blessing of being a father to Carter and Ammon is the BEST!  I am also blessed to be writing and to have you all reading and sharing with me.  

God-led Blessing: Being a father to Carter & Ammon

Lego Blocks

During the past two months, somewhere in some room in this house, there lies a Lego block or two! Carter and Ammon are CRAZY about Lego blocks. It all started about two months ago. As I walked into Mamaw’s house to pick up Ammon and Carter from their play day with Mamaw, I was greeted by Carter who happily shouted, “I build house!”. He then ran to Mamaw’s playroom where she keeps all the grandchildren/great-grandchildren’s toys. I followed him, and there in the middle of the floor stood several “houses” made of Lego blocks. Ammon sat comfortably in the middle of the Lego rubble, looked up, and said, “Hey, Daddy!” and continued with her Lego creation. Mamaw (for late-comers, this is my mother) said, “They have occupied themselves with these blocks for several hours today.”

Several days later, we bought Carter and Ammon their first Lego set for here at our house. We then bought another set for them to play with while Nana baby sat them in our New York hotel.  The blocks are very light, so they pack well and are not heavy for luggage. The two sets we now have are a zoo and the alphabet. Carter loves to build “houses” tall. He also enjoys making different cars with the blocks especially if the Lego set has that wheel base Lego piece. Ammon will build “houses” that are wide and symmetrical. She built one on Tuesday that had an awning in the middle of two perfectly symmetrical columns. Truthfully, I had no idea they would love them the way they have. Thank you, Lego, for your research and production of blocks and sets that challenge the imagination and creativity of youngsters! They really help out when I need to get a few chores done!

Gordon Temple & Suzanne Burch

The congregation of St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church is gaining a full-time rector in June. We are losing our Interim Rector, Gordon Temple, and our deacon, Suzanne Burch. Please follow along and celebrate these precious human beings with me.

What do you all like in sermon from a preacher, rector, or priest? Do you want a sermon on philosophies on religion, or do you want to know how to live a religious filled life? St. Augustine a Christian from the 4th century believed reason to be a uniquely human cognitive capacity that comprehends deductive truths and logical necessity, and I have heard sermons associated to his infusion of Christian doctrine with Neoplatonism (most of us are like..’What the heck, and how can I apply that to my daily life?’) I have also seen and heard sermons from preachers/rectors who use works of Thomas Aquinas and his Summa Theologica (God’s thinking and willing, Aristotelian Ethics, and Jesus protects all in both Heaven and earth) and drone on and on for an hour about such. Folks, I don’t need religious philosophy to live by, I need every day acts that represent how we should serve God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For approximately a year, God saw fit that the congregation of St. Martin of Tours in East Brainerd, Tennessee and I had our hearts and minds filled with these types of sermons from Father Gordon Temple.

When Jesus was here on earth, he taught with simple parables (everyday life situations that have heavenly meanings), and that is what I need and appreciate in a sermon. Those are the kinds of sermons Gordon Temple preaches.  I love Gordon’s sense of humor, his smile, his genuine concern for everyone around him, his love of family, and his love of children. The joy this man has in the tone of his voice and the sparkle he has in his eyes as he talks about his wife, his children, and his grandchildren are priceless. He simply loves children. On Father Gordon’s last Eucharist on Sunday, I was holding Carter when he handed me the communion bread. When Father Gordon blessed Carter and touched him on his forehead, Gordon had such a twinkle in his eye, and he tapped Carter on his nose. Carter’s face lit up with a grin. Gordon doesn’t think he is a good teacher in the classroom, but he is great. I don’t know how many times we went past the “hour allotted” in our Sunday school class because we had asked questions and we were intently discussing and enjoying his answers. I also love the fact that he was raised in Chattanooga. He is living history for all of us living in this city. Father Gordon, we love you, and you are an inspiration to all you come in contact with. Thank you for being a reflection of Jesus Christ and for being such a great preacher and shepherd for St. Martin’s.

Gordon Temple: May 15, 2011

We only saw Suzanne act as a deacon for a year, but we saw her love and enthusiasm for taking care of the physical needs of the St. Martin congregation and the community during the 2010 Christmas season. She was glowing during the whole month as we gathered and gave in the name of Jesus Christ in honor of his birthday. She like Gordon uses such finesse in weaving everyday thoughts and feelings into sermons from the Bible especially in the life of Jesus and how we should live like him. Wherever she goes, the congregation will be so lucky to have her. Suzanne, we love you and God bless you.

Suzanne Burch and Gordon Temple: May 15, 2011

A special thanks to our church buddy, Jerry Thurston, for taking these pictures on Sunday and sharing them with me so I can share them with you all.

Okay, I finally have my “About Me”

You will find this on my permanent “About” Me from now on…however, I am using it for Monday May 16, 2011 as well…LOL

Carter, Haven, & Ammon: May 2011

 

My name is Haven Caylor, and I am a married man with two wonderful children, Ammon and Carter. I am a stay at home father who teaches on line for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I am a Christian, and my main goal at the point in my life is to raise my children in “…the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). My second goal is to write, and God is blessing me with wonderful opportunities especially with this blog.

When I started writing several months ago, a friend who is an editor for an international magazine commented that she liked the way I write because it is a “slice of life”. One problem I have in writing is when I “get lost” in details. When I am writing my blogs or my short stories, I have to review, and “reel in the details” so people will not get lost while they are reading.  All the way through my doctorate in education, I have had to read and whittle away at the details of a reading to get to the main point of a story, an action research study, or a novel, and when I write my blogs, I try say what I mean with as little “fluff” or details as possible. However, when I do write my novels, I will expand as far as I can without being boring.

Thank you for visiting me/us on my blog. I hope you can glean something for yourself, put it in your heart and mind, and apply it to your own life. God bless you all. Haven

Nanny Caylor: Birthday

Nanny Caylor

Her full name was Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor.  She was born May 15, 1918. May 15 was also her father’s birthday who was born in 1875. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, but she grew up in Atlanta. Her father worked for Southern Railroad as an engineer, and he was killed outside the tunnel at Braswell Mountain near Rockmart, Georgia when his train exploded in June of 1935. Nanny, her mother, and sisters moved to Varnell, Georgia where her mother (My Nanny Alexander) was born and raised in January of 1936.

Two years later, she married my grandfather, Troy Dewitt Caylor, and 10 months later my father, Oliver Haven Caylor was born. Their second son was born in January of 1943. She outlived her parents, her sisters, her husband, and my father. There was a part of her soul that was like Naomi from the Bible especially when Biblical Naomi told the people to call her Mara which meant “God has dealt bitterly with me.” However, she leaned on Jesus Christ as her strength and her redeemer and never forsook him. She was a great mother, a spectacular grandmother, an exemplary Christian lady, and a great friend to me.

She was my Bible study confidant, and we loved to talk about world traveling and world events. We also shared good short stories, classical literature, and she was a walking treasure trove of family, oral history. I could listen to her talk about our ancestors and her childhood forever. Literally, we could sit up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. simply looking at pictures, family Bibles, or family heirlooms. We had to make ourselves go to bed. When my father died in 1982, she and I leaned on each other in our bereavement. I was so glad God let me have her for three more years. Nanny died on August 10, 1985. She has been dead for over 25 years now, and I still dearly miss her. It is also a treat when I dream about her and her house, but, of course, a part of my heart is lonesome when I awake and she is only, once again, in my memory and in those dreams.

I cannot wait to share all these things plus tons more with Carter and Ammon. Nanny will live on through them. Happy Birthday up there in Heaven, Nanny. We love you!

Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor (Photo Date: March 1982)

Orrin’s birthday/Texas Roadhouse

1st line of business: Happy Birthday to our great-nephew and Ammon and Carter’s cousin, Orrin James Mynes. He is 4 years old today, and it is so hard to believe! We love you, and we hope you have a terrific day!

Orrin and Haven

2nd: Since I began this blog in March, I’ve wanted to magnify and laud the name of the restaurant Texas Roadhouse. I have to begin with saying that it has delicious food: Steak, hamburgers, chicken, and pork! Their vegetables have great seasonings. Even the green beans taste good! Our favorite meal is no longer on the menu, and you have to “special order” it: The Hot and Bleu Salad…grilled chicken with hot, bacon and honey mustard dressing topped with bleu cheese crumbles, yum, yum, yum! It is also worth mentioning that like many other roadhouses, they have delicious peanuts and rolls.

If we’re in town without a special function (church dinner, family birthday party, etc.), we go to Texas every Friday evening for dinner. The people (maitre ds’, waiters, bar tenders, assistant managers, managers (manager’s wives) have become our friends and part of Ammon and Carter’s family. We are so blessed to have all of them. I would name them all, but I would leave someone out, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. However, folks at Texas Roadhouse, we love and appreciate you all, and thank you for loving and playing with Carter and Ammon since the first day they were carried into the restaurant in their baby carriers.