Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baby Names

In a development perhaps not unexpected in a Catholic Church setting, three members of my church Community Group are pregnant. Two things may surprise you by this statement. The first is that my church is not a Catholic Church, we carry more of a Protestantarian nature. The second is that all of those that are pregnant are females. Well, maybe this latter bit is not unexpected, but the first is pretty interesting. There are only about 10 of us in the group and none of the women were pregnant when our group first formed. I can only wonder who will be next and what it was that our hosts put into the crab dip that first night.

Anyhoo, I am getting diverted from my planned discussion for today. I want to instead focus on the huge decision each of these women will have to make in the coming weeks and months. What will they name their offspring? You may think that this is not a big deal. Just pick some name at random from the "internet". Or if that seems too technologically advanced, they could name them after the second cousin on their mother's brother's side. In response to this, I say "Hold on there cowboy!". Names are crucial, absolutely crucial to our futures. With the wrong name choice, you will most certainly doom your children to very specific career choices. Let me illustrate with some convincing and chilling examples:
  • Jeeves - butler
  • L. Ron - cult leader
  • Orenthal - glove model
  • Cher - drag queen
  • Jemina - syrup magnate
  • Scarlett - drama queeen
  • Sirhan - assassin
  • Blackbeard - pirate
  • Hannibal - cannibalistic elephant wrangler
  • Ghenghis - Mongol emperor
  • Rasputin - mystic monk
  • Caligula - insane tyrant

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tears of a Clown

Don't you just seethe when someone is given credit and lauded for something they didn't do? Perhaps they completely botched the job from end to end, but due to crazy happenstance, they came out smelling like a rose. It's enough to put your panties in a bunch as they say. Well, I must sheepishly admit, that this has happened to me. This is my story.

Many years ago, I was invited to the wedding of my good friend Frank. Frank was a wonderful and dear person, don't get me wrong, but I believe it was universally agreed that his choice of a bride-to-be was, well, quite faulty. This woman always seemed to come across as mean-spirited and rude, not to mention that she was difficult to look at even in the most flattering of lighting. I used to joke with Frank during his engagement that his choice of mate would force me to speak up at the wedding ceremony when the minister asked if there were any reasons for these two not to be joined.

Now the wedding day came. I found my way to the church and took my seat amongst all the relatives and friends. When reverend asked the $64 question, Frank turned his gaze away from his bride-to-be, looked straight at me and arched his eyebrow. This sent me over the edge. I was laughing so hard I began to pee myself. The trouble was, I could not enter into full guffaw mode as I was in a sacred ceremony, so I struggled to hold it all in. There was so much pressure on my tummy that I was doubled over in giddy agony. Tears were pouring down my face. All of the old ladies surrounding me were soon moved to tears because they thought that I was the most sensitive man they had ever seen. I could hear their comments about how dear a friend I was, how compassionate a person I was, that the world needed more people like me. To this day, I am not sure how I made it through the ceremony, but I did. I made a spectacle of myself and yet it lifted all of those around me. Whew. I now feel better for having gotten this off my chest.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gentle Thunder

I just complete my third Max Lucado book of the year, A Gentle Thunder. This trilogy of books was given to me by my mother for a Christmas present. On my 5-star scale, the first two books, In the Eye of the Storm and He Still Moves Stones, received 4-star ratings. I gave this most recent book a 3-star rating. The book's main theme is that God will do whatever it takes to get our attention, but he will leave the choice for action to us. God's thunder is still gentle, and his gentleness still thunders.

The book uses the gospel of John as the start point for most of its chapters. A verse or two from John, followed by a story to illustrate. The stories range from biblical, to historical, to contemporary. Some are fictional, some are real. The book is basically a "feel good" Christian read, but without a strong binding thread. That sounds like a slam or a criticism, but it really is not meant to be. Each chapter of the book is essentially a stand-alone lesson or illustration. Each story was enjoyable and clear. Some illustrations were very convicting, some compelling, some humorous. Nothing too deep or arcane. Nothing that would require outside study or spoon-feeding. Just a good, warm, and thoughtful Christian read with lots of direct link to scripture.

When you were in trouble, you called, and I saved you. I answered you with thunder. Psalm 8:17

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A to Z Blocks

Today's blog comes from an idea that I shamelessly and without permission stole and/or purloined directly from my friend robshep, who himself "borrowed" it from a friend. It is a simple A to Z, alpha to omega list of the things I like.

A - A is for Athens - As in Athens, OH. Where I came to know the Lord and started to grow up.
B - B is for Bruegel - My favorite artist, Pieter Bruegel. His works inspire me and wrap me in their settings.
C - C is for Chicken Kickers from Dominos - They cause me to drool all over the front of my shirt. Yum!
D - D is for - My blog and outlet for expression.
E - E is for endocrine glands - Can't get enough of the thyroid, the adrenals, and the pituitary.
F - F is for food - A consistent and tasty source of enjoyment, even on days when the world kicks you in the slats.
G - G is for grilled cheese sandwiches - My special lunch time fare on weekends.
H - H is for house - Love having my own special hide-away.
I - I is for ice cream - As in pistachio ice cream, my all-time favorite. Such yummy green goodness.
J - J is for java - A hot, steaming cup 'o joe sets everything right and perky.
K - K is for Kit-Kat bars - Awesome candy bar, especially in the Big Kat version!
L - L is for laughter - A wonderful gift that the world needs so much.
M - M is for Maddie - My special little girl.
N - N is for nachos - If I could, I would become Mr. Dan Nacho.
O - O is for openness - A trait that I wish myself and my fellow humans would learn to develop.
P - P is for Pinky and the Brian - the best cartoon ever and the wellspring of all of my ideas.
Q - Q is for quarks - What I study in my "confining" work. Three quarks for Muster Mark!
R - R is for R.E.M. - A band whose music I love and whose expressiveness I appreciate. So much more than just "jangley guitars".
S - S is for science - My vocation and avocation. Source of the big bucks and all the prestige!
T - T is for television - A place to relax and unwind. Hey, if you live vicariously through this magic box, you don't have to live your own life!
U - U is for University - I achieved one of my career goals of becoming a professor at Ohio University. A big part of my resume.
V - V is for Virginia - Where I have lived for 7 years (not continuously) and where so many big parts of my life have been lived.
W - W is for WEC - My most awesome church. Check it out online.
X - X is for X-cetera - Saving me from having to list every ding-dang thing out when I write essays, stories, blogs, etc.
Y - Y is for you - My loyal readers. Thanks for stopping by.
Z - Z is for Zoo - My times at the Columbus and Norfolk zoos with my little one are treasures that we both hold deeply.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

TBS with Love

Can a sound change your attitude for the better? Can it relax your mind and bring an immediate wave of peace over you? Some might struggle to understand how this might be so. Some might give an affirmative answer and say that such a sound might come from their mother or father or child. My answer is a scene that comes from my past. When I moved to Indiana from New York to attend graduate school, I did not have a great social life and I worked very long, very gruelling hours. My typical choice for an activity during my down time was to watch television, specifically baseball. Back in the 1980s, there were only two choices for televised baseball. One was WGN in Chicago, which broadcast the Cubs games. The other was TBS in Atlanta who carried the Braves. I chose to watch and follow the Braves.

The Braves were televised on TBS up until a few years ago. I cannot give an accurate estimate of how many games I watched, but win or lose, those broadcasts meant so much to me. They kept me from being alone. Heck, I had a whole team of friends, and I was certain that they played better when I was watching. To me, the greatest sound in the world was turning on the television and hearing the roar of the crowd before the picture came to life. The soothing sounds of Skip Caray, Pete van Wieren, Joe Simpson, and Don Sutton helped me pass the time and gave me something to look forward to, to cheer for, to get emotional over. I miss those games, those people, and those voices, but the memories of those times are still very much with me.

Monday, February 22, 2010


All too often when we are in deep, unceasing pain, pain caused by the drag and hurt of life, we scream out "Where are you God?". We insinuate our indignation, "Why don't you do something?". We stir up choking dust clouds of doubt, "Do you even hear me, do you even exist?". In his book He Still Moves Stones, Max Lucado provides story after story of God meeting people where they hurt, in their most crippling moments of pain. People who have nowhere to turn, who have only a single desperate prayer on their lips.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

When we are hurting and lost, we are at our weakest and most vulnerable. However with God, "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." In our weakest moments, we have one of our greatest opportunities for a true growth of faith, and of hope.

This book was one that I drank up, that I just could not put down. Warming, strengthening, understanding. Let it be known that even today, God still moves stones.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


In bright, exciting, reach-out-and-pull-you-in packaging, it boldly declares: "Flarp! Noise Putty". In a shameless font style it proclaims: "Poke It! Squish It! Disgusting Great Fun!". If that was not enough, they deliver the coup-de-grace with: "6 Smells! Orange, Lemon, Banana, Strawberry, Pineapple, Grape". My reply is "Why so many exclamation marks folks?" ... Ahh the sounds of gastrointestinal distress.

Can you imagine being a worker at the Flarp factory? How can you go home at night and look yourself in the mirror? How do you answer when folks ask what you do for a living? A pretty shameful product that seems to make everyone who hears it giggle like a giddy school girl. No matter how much mirth ensues, I still have to rate a Flarp production line worker as one of the world's most useless jobs. What does this say about us as a culture when we have factories all over the country employing hundreds of individuals that make a product that mimics the sound of someone with a stomach disorder after bean night at the Taco Barn? Would you be surprised to learn that Flarp accounts for over 10% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product? You shouldn't be (although I made the number up off the top of my head). If you are a reader of this blog and work for Flarp, I apologize if I have offended you, but you really need someone to speak truth into your lives, to finally give you the perspective that you need to start putting your life in order.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Premeditated Sin

About 8 months ago, I posted a blog entitled Degrees of Sin. At that point I was thinking about the notion of lesser sins (e.g. jaywalking) vs. greater sins (e.g. murder). Some that I talked to on this subject believed that there were no degrees of sin, per se. Sin was sin was sin, and it was all equally vile and rebellious from God's point of view. After some considered thought and further study, I am really not certain what the truth is.

To take this discussion one step further, I thought about this from the standpoint of the U.S. legal system. In case after case, there is a clear difference between a premeditated crime and one that someone perpetrates without thought. I wonder what God's point of view is on sins that we commit on the spur of the moment without considered thought vs. sins that we commit after we have thought about them well in advance. I was thinking along the lines of a dieter that is very careful all week long in following their food intake plan, but allow themselves to splurge once in a while with a big piece of chocolate cake. That hunk of cake is sitting in their fridge, they are going to eat it on a specific day at a specific moment, basically as a reward. What about sinning of this sort? We have been behaving ourselves for a couple of weeks, but plan on sinning sexually or with alcohol or with drugs or with whatever, at some predefined moment. A reward, if you will, for being "good".

It sure seems to me that God would take a stronger stance on premeditated sin compared to more "spur-of-the-moment" sin. What do you think?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Varmint

I have felt this inside of me for some time now. Boiling, bubbling, percolating. Internal pressures have built up to the point that the seals are beginning to rupture. Telltale signs of fatigue, impatience, and, yes, hatred, have worked their way to the surface. I can hold my tongue no longer. ... I am so freakin' sick of winter. Biting cold and wind, ice and snow, darkness and depression, lack of life and color. When will it just get the heck out of here and give us at least a taste of spring and warmth and flowers and sunshine and openness? You see, I was doing just fine up until about the third week of January. I even made a mental note at that time along the lines of "This isn't so bad. I can handle this. It is almost over." Then the real, harsh, bitter winter set in and has not let up. I am just flat sick of it now and it needs to go.

You know who I blame for this atrocity? This suffering? My frozen lips and fingers and soul? I'll tell you who, it is that stinking Punxatawny Phil. This is some uber-powerful rabid weasel that lives in a retirement community in Port St. Lucie, FL. Once a year, this wretched varmint roles over in his chaise-type lounge and proclaims that we have not suffered enough. Heck, let 'em suffer through another 18 weeks of ice-age conditions. Who gave this tired excuse for road kill this position? If you look on the web, you will see it was none other than Simon Cowell! I should have known. According to the Simon Cowell page on wikipedia, he represents "the heartless, thoughtless, and superficial - the flotsam and jetsam of the polluted seas of celebrity that is likely to sink without trace into toxic foam". Perhaps words like these are at the root of the problem and explain why he indirectly allows us to suffer in sub-freezing temperatures - he wants us to feel like he does inside.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Last Masterpiece

Every artist eventually paints their last painting, sculpts their last statue, composes their last symphony. It is inevitable. Part of being finite. Part of being human.

My daughter used to excitedly paint and draw new works for me on a regular basis. She knew they would be welcomed with smiles and hugs and fanfare. She knew they would be prominently displayed on the walls of my office or on the refrigerator at home. She knew they would be shown to all of my visitors and discussed with pride.

It has been several years since my little artist created for me. The pieces that I have collected over the years are more precious to me than anyone could imagine. Well, anyone who has never had their child create a masterpiece for them. It's not the composition, the color palette, the brush work, or the complexity. It is all about the love and the giving and the sharing. I miss new creations from my Picasso, but I still have a childhood's worth of love in front of my eyes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Question of Faith II

An important question for Christians is "How strong is your faith in God?"

I was thinking about this type of question lately when I was researching a book that was suggested for our Waters Edge Church Community Group. The principle of the book was a supposedly skeptical "journalist" whose purpose was to make a case for faith by asking "experts" questions related to the toughest objections to Christianity. These include questions such as:
  • If there's a loving God, why does the world have so much suffering and evil?
  • If the miracles of God contradict our laws of science, then how can any rational person believe that they are true?
  • If God is morally pure, how can he sanction the slaughter of innocent children as the Old Testament says he did?
  • If Jesus is the only way to heaven, then what about the millions of people who have never heard of him?
  • If God so loves us, then why does he allow natural disasters to occur that can kill thousands upon thousands of innocents?
Books that chase after these questions tend to provide answers along the lines of:
  • God's ways are not our ways; we can never understand what he does and why.
  • He does not stop suffering and evil for the sake of free will that he has given us.
  • We must trust the Bible wholly because it has never been disproven.
  • Suffering is allowed to occur because technically nobody is innocent; we all are plagued by the original sin of Adam.
Ultimately I recommended that we steer clear of this book as it just couldn't stand up to the even slightest scientific scrutiny. It was written under the pretense of seeking out the really hard questions to faith, but it was written with a clear and obvious agenda that seemed to do Christianity a disservice. In the end, faith is not something that can be scientifically justified. Hence the term, faith, a belief not based on scientific proof. (Part 2 of 2)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Question of Faith I

An important question for Christians is "How strong is your faith in God?".

Can you weather every storm? Every doubt? Every question? What would you do if you found out that archaeologists had uncovered unquestionable proof that some aspect of the Bible never happened or was severely embellished? Perhaps that a miracle that was recorded in scripture was really nothing but some natural phenomenon that was misunderstood? I think this type of question is a powerful one. I have heard more than a few Christian leaders state in strong terms that if one part of the Bible is found to be false or incorrect, then that would open up the whole thing to question, and Christianity could seriously start to unravel. Everything that Christians had been basing their lives on would then have to be subject to re-evaluation.

What if several major discoveries were found that scholars universally agreed were authentic and Christianity was exposed as a fraud? Some primitive idol worship that our ancestors came up with just like every other group or tribe of humans has created over the years to explain their worlds and their existence. How would such news change your life? Would you rebel against morality? Indulge your desires? Would society and community rapidly start to decay away into chaos? Would the world go on pretty much unchanged?

(Part 1 of 2)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Old Glimpse

Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and noticed something that wasn't there before? The sight of your scalp due to thinning hair, a general sag to your muscle tone, a big mole, fat buildup in your tummy or rear end, a slumping of your shoulders, new wrinkles and lines on your face? This seems to happen to me from time to time, and it always comes as such a shock. The first aspect of the shock is how I never saw this "feature" before. I mean, I look in the mirror every day when I shave, brush my teeth, or smear on my deoderant. Things like this just do not appear out of the blue or all of a sudden. The second aspect of the shock is that the things that one tends to notice in this manner are almost always associated with getting older.

Can you shrug this type of observation off and accept it? Maybe it is easy to blame on the wicked and cruel and unflattering lighting in our bathrooms. Maybe we can just blame it on the angle of our body relative to the mirror or a week or two of undisciplined living. However, the things that I notice make it clear that aging and time are inevitable. They serve to humble us and let us know that we are, indeed, finite. We need to live while we can and make the most out of each and every day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eye of the Storm

My mom gave me a copy of In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado. Truthfully, I was not fully committed to reading this book as my previous experience with Lucado (his Ephesians study guide) was banal and uninspired. However, to my surprise, I very much enjoyed In the Eye of the Storm. In this work, Lucado's purpose is to give you encouragement to not only face life's biggest tempests, but to survive them. To maintain courage and strength even though the world may seem like it is falling apart around you. The key is to see Christ standing tall in your worst moments, to trust him fully and to step out toward his open arms. Know that Christ understands completely as he had times when his world closed in on him. The fact that he made it through so many different trials, means that he fully understands and appreciates whatever you are going through. He can serve as a perfect example of how to weather the storm.

There were two real-life accounts in the book that really resonanted with me. The first was the story of Sarah Winchester (Chapter 21 - Castles of Sorrow). Sarah was the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. However, when she came to understand how many people had been killed by her family's invention, she began a rapid descent into isolation and madness and guilt. An eerie example of how not to handle life's storms. The second account was of Eddie Rickenbacker (Chapter 24 - The Sacrificial Visitor). Eddie devoted time every evening feeding the seagulls at the pier. We are then told that a seagull was given to him as a sacrifice when his B-17 crashed into the Pacific Ocean during World War II. The crew had been floating in a life raft for a week and had run out of provisions. They were slowly starting to die. They were miles from land and life. Eddie prayed and asked for God to help. It was then that a seagull landed on his head. That seagull provided immediate food for the men and bait for fishing, and enabled the crew to hang on until they were rescued. Eddie and his crew survived the storm, and Eddie never forgot.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Artistic Vision

Having known a few bloggers over the last couple of years, there seems to be a bit of a friendly rivalry for whose blog has the greatest number of followers or the greatest number of comments on each post. Personally speaking, I can say that having people who follow or comment on my blog is really kind of neat. I get a certain satisfaction out of knowing that some folks read my writing, either just to support me or to get something out of it.

We have all seen the stereotypical tantrum-throwing diva on T.V. or in the headlines. If they are asked to compromise their "artistic vision" even one tiny iota, they go into meltdown mode. Hysteria, screaming, foot stomping, ego-inflated hissy fits. Hmmm, ..., artistic vision. What if you were told that if you compromised your blogistic vision, stopped writing about what interested you or what resonated with you, you could increase your following by ten-fold or one hundred-fold? Would you do it? For me, my blog is not a competition. While I enjoy some attention and positive feedback, I will continue to follow my vision for what I want to write about. Careful, or I might just throw a tantrum that would make Naomi Campbell blush!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Through the years of our lives, memories of past situations slowly and quietly become a part of what defines who we are. Some of the things that we pick up are assets, but other things, we don't so much pick up, but they cling to us. They become our baggage. It's funny that much of the baggage that we carry around, we are not even aware of until we trip over it and come face to face with some closeted demon that we did not even know was with us. However, once we have fallen or caught a glimpse of that beast, it usually does not take long for us to recognize its source. Oh, I got that when I fell off my bike as a kid. That one came from losing my job. Those joined me when my wife left me. Him, ..., oh he appeared after my dad died. Sometimes our baggage does not result in any noticeable behavioral issues in our lives, perhaps, just a quirk, or a dark feeling that drifts through our mind upon occasion. Other times, our thought patterns can be completely diverted or short circuited whenever we enter into certain situations. We start to act uncharacteristically squirrely or flaky. Our minds can tend to sprint off down the road far ahead of where we are, out of sight.

The frustrating aspect of baggage is that it can act like an anchor that keeps us from going where we want or need to go. We subconsciously reject people and sitations that would be good for us to experience. The shame is we may never even know why. Perhaps it is the voices of I will just fail again, or I'm not good enough, or it's just too much work, or I can't take getting hurt again, or I can't put myself out there like that. This is an insideous battle because cognitive skills are irrelevant. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself to take that opportunity, to pursue that relationship, to travel down that road, the scales seem to have already tipped against you. Dang.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grind My Gears 14

I have just lived through a week-long hell. A city shrouded first in white and then in black. It began with a forecast for precipitation, specificially snow. Now, in most parts of the U.S., snow is not really that big of a deal. It is something that expectedly happens during the winter months. However, after my city received a six-inch covering of the white stuff, the entire area went black. Total shutdown mode. Everything cancelled. Martial law put into effect. The problem stems from the fact that where I live, a region of nearly 2 million people, seems to have only a single snow plow in its inventory. To add to the chaos, it seems that this snow plow is firmly affixed to the front bumper of a 1982 Subaru Brat.

Compounding the unpreparedness of the local government is the very real inability of the local population to handle their vehicles whenever even a trace of precipitation falls from the sky. Drive down the road after a quick summer rain shower and you will see cars in the ditch every 10 ft. Imagine how that translates when we get even a few inches of snow! Furthermore, according to my keen observatory eye, the worst drivers seem to be those in their uber-huge behemoth SUV-type Range Roving Hummer Excursions. These people drive like little old cronies, white-knuckles gripping the wheel, sweat pouring off their prunish-little brows. Visible yelps emanating from their lips in cartoon-type bubble formations. This whole pathetic scene really grinds my gears.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Last Chance

I was thinking about Jessie the cowgirl doll in Toy Story 2. Regarding her child Emily, she said:

"She was my whole world. When she loved me everything was beautiful. Every hour we spent together lives within my heart. And when she was sad, I was there to dry her tears. And when she was happy, so was I ... So the years went by, I stayed the same, but she began to drift away."

I don't know about you, but the sentiment here brings a tear to my eye. I remember crying during this part of the movie. These words resurfaced again the other day when my 12-year-old daughter was working a puzzle that she had not touched since she was 5 or 6. It was a picture of two cute-as-a-button kittens coming out of the legs of a pair of jeans. The puzzle was completed and left to sit out on display in the living room. I thought that this was probably the last time that she would ever work this puzzle. The puzzle is obviously not the issue here, it is the passage of time. My daughter is growing up and days of wonder and innocence are rapidly fading away.

From time to time, I stumble across toys that were once important to my little one, that she has long since forgotten. Long since drifted away from. I still clearly remember the fun and laughter and joyful experiences that she had with each of them. Now they lie fallow in drawers and closets, never to be experienced again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dusty Attic

Writing a blog with regularity is akin to emptying out an old attic. Initially the space is overflowing with boxes and crates, odds and ends, bits and pieces. Removing one item each day does little in the short term to clean out the site. However, after an extended period, the room is noticeably emptier. Sooner than you might think, you have to look diligently and dig for anything of substance. Sooner than you might think, the life history that one relies on for new ideas and posts, starts to run a bit thin. What's left is more dust and shadow than form and substance. Where once there was a wellspring of fertility and long lists of possibilities, there is now searching and seeking for something from the outside. One will eventually run out of stories to tell.

At times I think my attic of ideas and things to consider is pretty much empty. It is just then that I find a forgotten alcove that contains a trove of new possibilities, at least for a time. I should state clearly that repetition and empty thought is not where I wish to journey. There is a time for all things to come to an end. For me and my blog, that time may be sooner or it may be later. I don't yet have a full sense of how this will play out, but for now, I continue on, not because I feel pressure or a sense of duty, but because it brings me fulfillment, contentment, perspective, and purpose.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Simpler Times

Sometimes the thoughts that run through my mind cause me to catch my breath. They seem to come from someone much older than me, from a place that I don't recognize. Perhaps they are the result of a seed planted by my parents, but I'm not certain. Recently, there have been some things happening in my life that are completely overwhelming my systems, putting me under an enormous weight, crushing me with an incessant pressure. These things I had pondered and hoped for over a very long period of time. I thought they would bring me joy and pleasure and peace and happiness. However, I feel anxious, nervous, and trapped. Even, at times, unable to function. My mind is racing with a longing for simpler times, when there was just me and my little world. The trouble is, my rampant thoughts of simpler times make me feel like I am channeling some old fogey. Surely this cannot be me, can it? If it is, then I don't think that I truly understand myself or what I want in this world.

All of this has left me feeling kind of foolish. I have chased after something for so very long. Now that I have it in my grasp, it seems like it is too much for me to handle. Whenever I try to find just a few moments to reflect, to come back to equilibrium, to find my inner peace, to come up for air, it swells up, drowns me out, and pulls me under. I am left pulled in several directions by desires and forces and urges that I just don't comprehend. Moments of lucid thought presently seem hard to find. Where do I go now?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

If I Fall

From the R.E.M. recording Out of Time, there was a wonderful song called Texarkana sung by Mike Mills. The tag line in this song goes:

I would give my life to find it,
I would give it all,
Catch me if I fall.

I think we all dream of having that special someone in our lives to watch out for us, to protect us from the sticks and stones of life, to run to when we are lost or when we stumble and fall. A constant, a truth, a rock, ..., our rock. Folks like these in our lives are a true and wonderful blessing. For those of you who have such a support system, be thankful, and show your appreciation at every chance. For those who are alone, don't give up. Reach out with an open mind and an open heart.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Alive, Again

anticipation brings a long forgotten song,
removing armor used to protect the soul,
exhilaration and tender touch,
listening and caring and laughter,
alabaster skin and soft breath,
passion and warmth,
a heart once still comes alive,
embrace and sweet dreams.

Dedicated to those who have made it through the fog and inky darkness to find peace and life, for a time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Folks, get your holys out (as in holy moley, holy cow, holy mackerel, and holy smoke). Today I am posting my 400th blog! Could you possibly have guessed a year and a half ago that I would be able to go on this long? Well, only if you know me. Nobody has even yet told me to shut up or pipe down or even uttered a single silencio my way. So, I will take this as a mandate from the world's population that you want me to pursue 500. We shall see how to proceed if/when I reach that lofty plateau. I mean, how much longer could anyone possibly go on? (Plus, I have long since run out of room on my mantel for the myriad awards and trophies that I have earned from this blog.) See you for another 100 my friends.

Oh, and thanks to my loyal readers for being loyal readers. It means a lot to me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

All the Way

I've never had all that much success when it comes to relationships. In fact, every serious relationship that I have ever been in has ended exactly the same way. I have been dumped, discarded, and cast out. My heart has been broken more than a few times. When each relationship ended, it seemed like I was the last to know, or at least, the last to figure it out. Even today, I wear the scars of past loves, and I still feel a lingering ache. The pain reflects my fragile make up, my thin skin, my naivety, and more than a little regret for mistakes that I made. However, just like the old saying about getting back up on the horse once you've been thrown off, I continue to seek love. I continue to seek a two to add to my one. Sometimes the reasons why I proceed down this road are so obvious to me. Other times, I question my own sanity. I know what lies down that path, or at least, what I have faced each time I have journeyed there ...

My friend Rob told me about a book that he thought could help me start to lay down a foundation to increase my chances for future relational success. The book is called Going all the Way by Craig Groeschel, and is designed to help Christians understand what can help lead to long-term success in a relationship. At the core of this work is the statement that if you want something few have (genuine closeness, trust, respect, and lasting commitment), you'll have to do what few do. I was always one to kind of believe that if you were with someone you loved, it shouldn't be a huge amount of work or effort. There should never be any conflict or tension or anxiety. Well, I can hear your laughter. I am starting to understand. While I still feel totally underequipped for any sort of relationship, I know more now than at any point in my life. Perhaps it is time to try again ...