Scrabble, tornadoes, and other “Pics of the Day”

The first image:

1-IMG_1102Interestingly, with the epicenter of Hurricane Florence aimed right at Raleigh for the best part of a week, then veering west well to the south before heading northwest, north, and finally northeast, neatly keeping the worst of the wind, the rain, and eventually the tornadoes just out of reach, it was Naomi in Richmond who had the most hair-raising weather experience.

Several tornadoes touched down yesterday, including one quite near to her work, reminding me that there are layers upon layers of repercussions when something big wanders onto the map, and that when the dominoes begin to fall you could be standing at the end of a long, long line when the one by you comes down and have no idea what set off the chain reaction in the first place.

In the same way we are all connected, not just in our families and immediate communities but all around this state, the nation we love, and the entire planet – a world teeming with life, and diversity, and beauty, and opportunities to learn.

Image Number Two:

1-IMG_1017-002Up there in Richmond our two grandchildren are throwing themselves into learning with passion and enthusiasm and spirits wide-open to grow. David and Beks, riding the big yellow bus together to First-Grade and Kindergarten, a melting pot of five and six-year-olds, all things bright and beautiful, all God’s beloved children.

Part of me wants to keep them in a bubble, safe and separate from all the misunderstanding, and pain, and conflict, and disappointment that humans-beings bring into one another’s lives. But then I remember how we are all connected and that this connection – this community – was God’s central intention in creation, and I am so pleased that David and Beks are in the mix, shining their light and sharing their love and sowing their seeds of goodness.

Picture Three:

1-IMG_E1098Where we live it’s a little quieter. I don’t mean church – that amazing community of beautiful souls is pulsating with noisy, unrestrained full contact koinonia. But our cul-de-sac, where sometimes I’ll venture next door and play Scrabble with my mum, is definitely – and thankfully – a quite zone most of the time.

Mum and I always have an on-line Scrabble game going, but there’s something about setting up the board, shuffling those wooden tiles, and having to come up with a play within a minute or two that beats the electronic version every time.

It reminds me of the days I’d ride my bicycle over to my grandpa Maul’s home in Hove to play. Grandpa would pretty-much always destroy me, scoring in the neighborhood of 400-500 points every time. He was a stickler for proper English and if I couldn’t accurately define a word then I wasn’t allowed to use it. The dictionary was for adjudication, not so much inspiration!

Four and Five:

Our daughter, Naomi, is a genius when it comes to capturing her children on camera. David, as you can well imagine, has decided he will be Harry Potter for Halloween this year. The glasses are uncannily right for him and his wand action couldn’t be more convincing. It wouldn’t surprise me if Universal Studios in Orlando offered him the lead for the next story: “Harry Potter Comes to America.”

Beks is doing her just about most favorite thing, reading. She’s been a book-worm since before she could speak and I can’t wait to see what sort of writer she turns into.

So enjoy the pictures, and have an amazing hurricane and tornado free week – DEREK



Family life photography

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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