How ’bout it, Edmond? Just a couple of chickens? And one sheep, to keep the grass down?
Backyard Chickens Making a Comeback, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by way of the The Bulletin in Bend, Ore.
Edward Pinto, former Chief Credit Officer at Fannie Mae (1987-1989), and now resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, thinks the Fed is blowing it — another bubble, that is.
Me, too, but probably not in the Oklahoma City area.
Once again, we are thankfully out of step with the national housing news. It *is* increased jobs and general economic growth that are supporting housing here, in my humble estimation. Low loan rates are the grease on the griddle.
What do you think?
This just in …
Artwork of Oklahoma artist on display at
Beginning May 1, the artwork of Oklahoma artist Brooke Rowlands will be on display at Leadership Square at 211 N Robinson Ave. in Oklahoma City.
Brooke’s floral series is inspired by memories of her grandmother through delicate floral illustrations and colorful monotype backgrounds.
“For this body of work, I invoked some of my fondest memories with my grandmother; those when she showed me how to flower press. The beautiful flowers, fragile and delicate, were preserved like they were placed in the book yesterday,” she said. “Even at an early age I knew how special it was to hold onto these flowers over the years; to remember the day you picked them or received them as a gift.
“For this series, I have taken my love for my grandmother and flowers, and created a body of work translating what she showed me when I was a small child, but with a twist. I created my ‘book’ with monotype backgrounds created using a printing press. The flowers were left black and white to focus the attention on the detail of the flower. Taking the color out of the flower and moving it to the background expresses my love for something much deeper and less superficial.”
Brooke’s passion for creativity began at an early age with her grandmother’s influence in the arts. The self-taught artist, who grew up in Trenton, N.J., has lived in Oklahoma for nine years. Her work consists of refined illustrations of an array of flowers, fish and birds, working in mediums such as ink, acrylics, watercolors and more recently monotype printing.
Read more about Brooke Rowlands.
Read more about Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.
Read more about Leadership Square.
Homebuilders, are you willing to use 5 percent more American-made materials and products to keep and create jobs?
Anders and Jake Lewendal, father-and-son builders from Montana, constructed a home entirely from materials sourced or manufactured in the United States. Read all about them and their All American Home – and their challenge to fellow builders.
Residents asked to lighten up on fertilizer
With summer upon us, many Oklahoma City residents are turning to fertilizer to grow lush, green lawns. Unfortunately this stimulant can impair the health of the City’s lakes and streams when it’s allowed to wash down neighborhood storm drains.
“Local studies indicate that many homeowners unknowingly over apply fertilizer on their lawns,” Environmental Protection Manager Raymond Melton said. “This can lead to polluted waterways.”
According to an EPA study released recently, more than half of the rivers and streams in the U.S. are in poor biological health. The most widespread problem was high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen washing into rivers and streams from farms, cities, and sewers. High levels of phosphorus — a common ingredient in fertilizers — were found in 40 percent of rivers and streams.
Here are some other helpful tips when fertilizing:
- Have your soil tested. Use the results to identify your lawn’s needs to maximize productivity and identify deficiencies. Adjusting your soil pH and fertilizer application will result in a healthier lawn.
- Apply fertilizer during dry weather and wet the ground using controlled watering.
- Fertilize on a day with little or no wind to reduce drift, sweep any excess fertilizer out of the street and back into your grass.
- Bag or mulch excess yard trimmings from sidewalks and driveways to reduce fertilizer and pesticides attached to the clippings from blowing into the storm drains or washing away during the next rain.
- Avoid overwatering. Overwatering can increase the nitrogen loss by 5 to 11 times compared to slow delivery rates.
- Consider mulching to reduce the need to fertilize. Grass blades decompose quickly and can contain about 4 percent nitrogen, 1 percent phosphorus and 2 percent potassium.
- Store unused fertilizer in a dry area not exposed to rainfall or runoff.
- Consider alternative grass such as buffalo grass.
- Never throw grass clipping into curblines, storm drains, channels or creeks. Improperly disposed plant materials can cause serious water quality problems and may clog storm drainages.
- Recycle your leftover fertilizer and pesticides at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 1621 S. Portland.
U.S. homebuilder confidence eroded by rising costs for land and building materials, the Associated Press reports.
Well, yeah, as The Oklahoman/NewsOK reported two months ago: Mixed news at International Builders Show.
And again in February: Under the subhead “Demand Unleashed,” see developer’s remarks about shortage of developed land.
And again in March, in this commentary of mine: Oklahoma homebuyers will help pay for national recovery.
You read it here first. And second. And third.
* Yes, yes, it’s a seminary, I know. I’m attending Phillips Theological SEMINARY, in Tulsa. But I’ve always called it Jesus School — because while the classes are broad-based, it all centers on one thing: The Way of Jesus. Phillips’ Identity Statement: “Phillips Theological Seminary offers theological education dedicated to learning the way of Jesus in order to cultivate vital communities, vital conversations, and the public good.” (More here.)
So, it’s Saturday evening, and like a good Jesus School student, , I’m doing homework, working on a presentation for my Supervised Ministry Committee at Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ, where I’m a member and serve as a layman (Christian Education Board, Multimedia Outreach Committee). And part of it is compiling coverage I’ve had the privilege of giving to give to the great work of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, which is my social service ministry site this semester (along with Mayflower, my main ministry site).
So, since I was getting is all together anyway, I thought I’d put it up here.
I heart Habitat for Humanity. Watch and read! Maybe you will, too.
Feb. 7, 2013 — Story and video:
Feb. 9, 2013 — Column/commentary:
Feb, 23, 2013 — Column/commentary:
April 4, 2013 — Story and video:
April 6, 2013 — Column/commentary:
April 9, 2013 — Blog and devotional:
April 11, 2013 — Story and video:
April 27, 2013 — Column and video:
April 13, 2013 — Blog and Internet Temporal Causality Loop
I had the privilege of leading the devotional this morning before the monthly staff meeting at Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity. My double life continues!
It was part of my supervised ministry with Habitat and the church I attend and serve as a layman, Mayflower Congregational-UCC, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, in Oklahoma City, under the guidance of Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa.
I thought I’d share my little talk with y’all. The “Sincerity” and “Forgiveness” magazines I mention are the Character First magazines, part of the Character First leadership development program, used by Habitat and many other businesses.
That’s all the commercials! Here ’tis …
Please pray with me:
O, God of all things sincere,
May we each be honest, open and willing, as we live and work with one another,
For Christ’s sake and the sake of the world,
So that we may see, and be, Jesus, in it,
Whether around the world or up the street,
Sincerely Yours, we pray, Amen.
So, I’m going to share some thoughts with you about two ideas that I hope you’ve taken time to read up on some: Sincerity, and Forgiveness. They sure do go together.
I won’t go over the whole thing but there are a couple of things in here that are particularly worth repeating, considering where I’m going to go with this, OK? And if I accidentally say YOU, I mean WE — because, God knows, I need to hear this stuff over and over again.
First, on Page 2: We need to check the motives behind what we say and do. Take an honest look at what moves us to action. Is what you do for YOUR benefit, or someone ELSE’s benefit, or MUTUAL benefit? I think that usually it’s a mix of all three, at least in places like this where people are working together for something bigger than themselves.
Second, also on Page 2: We have GOT to pay attention to what we say and how we say it — and it has nothing to do with political correctness. Don’t give compliments you don’t mean — or for ulterior motives. We shouldn’t make promises we can’t keep — or that we never intend to keep. And, of course: We should practice what we preach.
OK, that’s good stuff from the magazine. But I want to go a different direction. I want to help us see what sincerity is by looking directly at what is NOT sincerity.
Because it’s not just about being honest versus dishonest. And it’s not just about being kind versus being mean. There’s actually an upside to that: Once you know someone is dishonest, or that someone is mean, then you know what to expect, right?
Insincere people are so difficult and ugly because of something else. It’s a technical term, and it’s right here in this seminary textbook about ethics in ministry. Are you ready? I’m only going to say it once.
When people are insincere … it’s bull —.
It’s right here in this seminary book! Chapter Five. That’s the title.
With B.S.’ers, you never know whether they’re shooting straight with you or not. It’s not just outright lying. It’s not just telling people what you think they want to hear. It’s not just telling them what you think will make you look good.
It’s spin. It’s not just false — it’s PHONY. It’s BS.
Barbara Blodgett, in this book, says that the difference between a liar and a BS’er is that a liar deliberately steers people away from the truth, and a BS’er just doesn’t care what the truth is in the first place.
BS’ers could not care less about the truth — so they could not care less about relationships. They couldn’t care less about me, or you. Or us. BS’ing is about attention — getting it and holding it. It’s about POWER.
It’s not joking around. We all do that sometimes. It’s not just being a class clown — although class clowns can be prone to BS: You can tell by how alone they are when they’re not in front of an audience.
BS’ers BS to get attention, and power, and to keep it — and that’s why some politicians, and some preachers, are so good at it. So, we should be on guard for BS, our own, and others’.
Now, on to forgiveness!
Here are some high points from the magazine, from Page 2:
Forgiveness begins when we accept the pain from others’ offenses — accept it, not deflect it, or swallow it, or ignore it, or wish it away, until the next round, so we can get revenge.
Forgiveness is not a simple, one-time decision: It’s a process. Sometimes it becomes a way of life with someone who has harmed or offended us.
Forgiveness takes TWO — at least two. I cannot forgive someone else until that someone sees the damage he or she has caused me, and ASKS for my forgiveness, and then we makes amends and work together toward reconciliation. And one who I have harmed or offended cannot forgive me until I ask for it. And then we work it out.
Notice that word, WORK: Forgiveness is not a matter of saying some words, saying a prayer, and going on as if nothing ever happened. I have a friend who likes to say: “Forgive and remember.” Of course, that doesn’t mean “Forgive and hold a grudge” — because that’s not the way it works.
Tamping down emotions, making promises, kissing and making up — that’s all well and good and potentially helpful. But forgiving takes TWO — at least two — and it comes during peace time.
Forgiveness is just a word if there’s still a war on. If we’re at war with someone, we have to work for peace — which means somebody surrenders rather than being destroyed — only then can there be forgiveness and reconciliation.
Why go to all this trouble? Well, I’m in training to be a preacher, so I’ve got to preach. It’s in Matthew 6: 14-15, right after the Lord’s Prayer.
Remember, Matthew 6 is a lesson. The disciples came Jesus and asked, “How do we pray?” And Jesus said, “Pray like this, and that’s the Lord’s Prayer, you know: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by thy name …” and so on.
But then Jesus goes on. He said: “If you forgive people their trespasses against you, then God will also forgive your trespasses against Him. But if you forgive not their trespasses against you, neither will God forgive you.”
Now, that’s not because God is a big mean ogre in the sky. It’s because God is all about reconciliation, this way — (MOTIONING UP AND DOWN) — and this way — (MOTIONING SIDE TO SIDE).
And if it’s not happening this way — (SIDE to SIDE) — then how can it be happening this way? (UP AND DOWN).
If someone says it’s going on up-and-down, when it’s not going on side-to-side, then they’re not being very sincere.
Here’s a roundup of recent developments on Oklahoma City’s Gold Dome.
In my column in The Oklahoman Saturday, I wondered whether The Flaming Lips Could help save the Gold Dome.
Meanwhile, dome owner David Box had let it be known he is willing to give the dome structure away — plus $100,000 – to whoever wants to preserve it.
I’d say that’s showing pretty good faith.
And, let’s face it: Box paid $800,000 for the 17,830-square-foot Gold Dome, on 2.4 acres, at a sheriff’s auction — a steal. I’m pretty sure that those 2.4 acres at NW 23 and Classen, minus the dome, are worth more than that.
The good stuff: Here’s the Gold Dome’s registration documentation for the National Register of Historic Places.
Some other stuff:
The OKCTalk blog has a good thread on it, going back to when Box first sought a demolition permit.
There’s the Save OKC’s Historic Gold Dome Facebook page.
Interestingly, here is the still-active Gold Dome web page from when Dr. Irene Lam still owned it.
Here’s the Gold Dome Wiki page, which has some interesting links.