Thursday, January 31, 2013

Observations 16

My occasional blog series "Observations" was created to be an outlet to share a variety of topics that pop into my field of view as a result of a condition that many bloggers are afflicted with known as "blogger's eyes". In this state we view the world on the constant look-out for topics on which to write about. Today's blog came about from random odds 'n ends of things that I have noticed over the past few weeks.
  • There is a local bagel shop that my daughter likes. Most times that we go there we come away without making a purchase because they are out of bagels. I wonder if we are the only ones who they are not making sales to.
  • A friend of mine told me a funny anecdote. He went to the drugstore to buy a pair of reading glasses but could not find the price on the tag. He took it up to the front where the clerk pointed to it as plain as day. He told me that this was one of those chicken and egg kind of situations.
  • College football coaches who make strong statements that they have the best job in the world and would never, ever resign their current positions are, most likely, full-blown hypocrites and liars. They are usually actively interviewing for other jobs and most who hold such "press conferences" are more likely than not to be in a new job before their next season starts.
  • Some dude came into my office with horrendous B.O.. Even 15 minutes after he had left, his stench lingered thick. I am not sure what I ever did to him to be subjected to that torture.
  • When someone cuts you off just before a stoplight so that they are the last one who can make it through, this is the vehicular equivalent of a kick in the slats.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The other day we had a snow storm in my area. Starting at about 3:00 p.m. the skies just completely opened up. Everything was covered in about an inch of snow within an hour and that marked the beginning of rush hour. Heavy snow fall continued for the next three to four hours. In a part of the country that does not receive all that much snow, the available resources and equipment to plow and treat the roadways is fairly minimal. In such times, motorists have to rely on their driving skills, their patience, and their instincts.

My drive from work to home takes about 10 to 15 minutes on a normal day. However, as I got into my car at 5:00 p.m. and started home, I could tell that it would be slow going. After 30 minutes of crawling along at about 5 m.p.h. with half of my trip not yet behind me, I started to lose my patience. I couldn't believe how slowly the other drivers were inching along. Perhaps because I lived in the snow belt in Ohio for nearly 10 years and have had quite a bit of experience with driving in inclement weather, I felt like I had a right to grumble. However, just moments later I was forced to zip my lip and sober up a bit. A pickup truck that was coming off a highway off-ramp just about 100 yards in front of me lost control and spun in a full circle across the road. Then half a mile down the road a big SUV nearly ended up in the ditch two car lengths in front of me. That caused me to realize that folks were doing their best in pretty nasty conditions and I am sure were more than a bit nervous and frightened as they made their way home. It could have been me losing control of my vehicle just as easily as they did.

The final slap to my face was the report I heard after the storm. In that rush hour there were nearly five hundred accidents reported. Folks colliding with other cars, losing control and driving off the road, overturning their vehicles. There were many who were seriously injured and will bear the scars of that commute for the rest of their lives. I think that I have finally learned my lesson and will show more grace and patience with other drivers in the future.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Recently I wrote a post regarding the marks of a Christian life entitled Definitive Proof. In it I simply asked folks to play a kind of Gedanken thought experiment, where I asked them to consider how their lives would be different if definitive proof was uncovered that God did not exist. The point was to try to understand how their belief in God affects how they live. I got a number of responses, both online and offline. Yet none of the folks who responded could answer the question from the point of view that I had asked. They were either too stubborn, too rigid, or too scared to (in the words of Rob Bell from Velvet Elvis) jump. His point was that if we consider Christianity as a trampoline, we should not be afraid to jump on it, to test it out and put its claims to the test. Only by jumping can we make our faith our own. Only by jumping can we hope to answer the tough questions put to us. Only by jumping will we be armed to become Christian soldiers. Only by jumping will we be able to lead new folks to know Jesus.

If folks are unwilling to consider even in a thought experiment how their lives would be different if God were unequivocally shown not to exist, I would maintain that they are afraid to jump. I would further add that if their faith cannot stand up to humble and honest questions, then they cannot claim full ownership of their beliefs and they are quite likely blind to the tricks of the enemy, and even the reasonable questions of folks who do not know God and are curious. What do you think? Are you afraid to jump?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yellow Straw

When my daughter was younger she used to help me in the kitchen as I made our lunches on the weekend. She was in charge of pouring our drinks, and always finished her task by inserting a straw into each glass. Taking from our favorite colors, she would give herself a blue straw and me a green straw. As she grew older, she left the lunch making and the drink pouring to me. When I would serve the food and bring out our drinks, she would always make a production out of swapping out my straw with a green one if I used a different color. Sometimes I would even put a different color straw in my glass just to start the game.

Over a few years, I came to subconsciously view this as a sort of test of my daughter's devotion and attention. I would put a yellow straw in my drink and hope that she would notice and change it out. It was a way that she told me that I was important to her. A few years ago I started to use a yellow straw in my drink. Since I made this switch, she has not noticed it.

I know that she is too old to play at such children's games, especially when she does not even remember the game or know that the game is being played. I know that she loves me with all of her heart. I know, but just once more, I would love for her to remove that yellow straw and replace it with my favorite green one.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Unto the Hills

Last Christmas (2011) my mother gave me a daily devotional called Unto the Hills by Billy Graham. I had been meaning to read one of his books for some time, but just hadn't gotten around to it. So, I used this as a start and worked it into my morning prayer time each day during 2012. Now, let me first state, that I am not a fan of books that are designed to be read one page per day. This "condition" has always brought me frustration. Partly this arises because I like to sit down and read a book, not dabble and plod along at someone else's pace. I hate being limited and manipulated. However, I managed to have a talking to myself and then settled in and followed the prescribed "curriculum".

This book is based on taking a verse or two from the Bible for each day's entry and expounding upon it. The verses chosen mostly follow in order from selections in Genesis in the Old Testament to selections in Revelation in the New Testament. It includes the sound and tender theology that Graham based his ministry on, as well as a number of personal stories and anecdotes. The daily devotionals are not meant for intensive study, but are rather limited to about a page in length and serve to reorient your mind and your thinking towards God and those around you, whether you read your devotionals in the morning before you start your day, as you get ready for bed and reflect back on your day, or whether you read when you catch a few moments for reflection. Not a bad effort to read through.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mere Temptation

I don't know about you, but I have some notions trapped within my mind that are longing for expression. Yet it seems the more I struggle to give them voice, the more I am left mute for not finding the words to capture the essence of my feelings. Every once in a while, however, you stumble across someone who has found a way down that narrow path to precisely frame that loose wildling that had previously confounded you. Such was the case the other day when I came upon the following writing by C.S. Lewis from his master work, Mere Christianity. The topic is about temptation and the depth of struggles of those who have sought to overcome some of this strife in their own lives.

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. This is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means - the only realist.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hobbes Partner

There is a guy in my group at work whose job it is to provide technical support for whatever projects we are staging or preparing for or tearing down. He has been working at my laboratory for as long as I can remember. He would never be mistaken for a cultured, mannered, or refined gentleman. I know that he has had a pretty hard life with a past checkered by severe emotional and physical abuse. I do not believe that he ever earned a high school diploma. From the car he drives and his lifestyle, you can tell that he doesn't make grand sums of money. To top it all off, he is short and weighs nearly 300 lbs. Yet I consider him a friend, enjoy his company, and have learned much from him over the nearly 20 years that I have known him.

For one thing, he always has a smile on his face and is quick to share his infectious laughter with those around him. He gives his all at work every day, yet he makes time for anyone who has a question or needs something. He is loyal, honest, respectful, and gracious. He doggedly stands up for and looks out for his co-workers and he gives out positive encouragement like Brewster gave away his millions.

From what I have seen, he may not have much, but his life is rich and he gives away what he has. He is not a man of faith, but he openly demonstrates many traits of love and giving that Jesus taught. He is an example of how to live one's life with gusto and serves as a great example of how every single one of us, no matter what our station in life, can make a positive difference in the world around us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Thrill is Gone

B.B. King used to lean into his version of The Thrill is Gone with such gusto every time I heard him sing this song. You could feel the raw emotion and hurt burning within him as he let loose. There have been seasons in my Christian faith where I approached my worship time with such sustained passion. But those days seem so long ago. Now I have fallen into a steady march behind a constant drum beat. Left, right, left, right. There is no pepper in my step, no fevered joy, no urgency, no unfettered delight as I dance before the ark. Left, right, left, right. It leaves a bland and sour taste in my mouth.

On Sunday evenings as sit in my church's sanctuary and listen to my pastor's sermon, he consistently speaks with passion steeped in deep emotion. I wonder where this consistency comes from. Some might think it is just a practiced act, something that he has learned to turn on as he takes his place upon the stage. Just a trick of the showman. Yet I know the man when the spotlights are not focussed on him. He has the same spirit and verve. Each time he belts out his song, it seems like he is singing it for the first time. Yet I march along, tired legs and fatigued spirit. Left, right, left, right.

Anyone who has ever been part of a longer term relationship likely can understand how that giddy, euphoric first few months contrasts with their workman-like approach as the years go on. There may still be a very deep love associated with your spouse, but those fluttering feelings of rapturous delight have long since quelled. Some might tell you that this is the mark of a more mature relationship. Yet I mourn the loss of those thrilling, tingling feelings that I remember when I first came to know my God. Certainly I still deeply value my faith and reverently worship my savior, yet something is missing that I yearn for. Left, right, left, right.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Observations 15

My occasional blog series "Observations" was created to be an outlet to share a variety of topics that pop into my field of view as a result of a condition that many bloggers are afflicted with known as "blogger's eyes". In this state we view the world on the constant look-out for topics on which to write about. Today's blog came about from random odds 'n ends of things that I have noticed over the past few weeks.
  • Have you ever heard someone refuse to do something with the claim that "My time is worth more than this."? Have you ever noticed how many folks who make this statement actually do not have a job?
  • There is something extra frustrating about getting stuck behind a slow poke on a two-lane road, especially when said slowpoke is driving a tricked out sports car. I think that their vehicles should be repossessed.
  • There is a car at work with a vanity license plate that reads "DLPHNLUV". That sounds like some sick fetish video to me.
  • I don't think folks should get to choose their own nicknames. This seems to happen too much in today's world and completely goes against all reasonable protocols.
  • Racism is a sticky issue in our world today. Racism has no place in a civilized, enlightened society. Those who are racists therefore demonstrate behaviors that are both uncivilized and unenlightened. Those who first reaction to criticism of any sort is to label those around them as racists, are equally uncivilized and unenlightened.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Surprised by Joy

I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed; perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.

I had been meaning to read C.S. Lewis' book Surprised by Joy for some time and finally got around to it. I really enjoyed my time with this work. It represents an account of Lewis' early life from his birth through his loss of faith to his rediscovery and reluctant acceptance of Christianity. It covers the period from his birth in 1898 to about 1929. Let me say a couple of things to start for those who might be considering this book. First, I think this book really is aimed for true fans of C.S. Lewis. It is also not what I would consider light reading. It requires careful consideration to make sense of the arguments laid out, to understand his thought process, and to appreciate how different people and circumstances led to his decisions. Finally, there are a lot of references to works, places, and idioms that can make things a bit obtuse unless you are well read or willing to do a bit of digging (or you use references where others have made some inroads).

The image that I have of Lewis is a man who did not make his choices lightly. Every decision came about as a result of lengthy discourse, serious debate, and painstaking study. I find it fascinating how he claimed his faith in God through deliberate research. He sifted through every possibility and weighed every argument until, at last, he was left with what he viewed as the only reasoned decision left to him supported by the evidence, that God was God. His full systematic exposition on this is contained in his sublime work Mere Christianity (which I highly recommend). However, this book contains the personal side of his evolution from athiest/agnostic to deep faith.

The things I assert most vigorously are those that I resisted long and accepted late.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

iTunes Latest - 9

Back in December of 2011, I finally discovered iTunes on my Mac. This service has really helped me to reconnect with my love of music. One of the things that I really like about music is that so often a given song has a strong association with a time or with a moment in my life. So, I thought that I would share my latest five downloads and a bit about my history with each song.
  • Say Say Say - Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson (1983) - Back in the early 80s I had a bad case of MJ fever. This song came out when I was a senior in high school, when the world still bathed in the afterglow of Thriller. I really was a big fan of this one.
  • 3 a.m. Eternal - The KLF (1992) - I came across this song back when it was in rotation on a TV network that used to air something called music videos. I believe it was called MTV. This song pulled me in with its cryptic tribal chants and its pounding, eclectic futuristic rhythms.
  • The Mayor of Simpleton - XTC (1989) - A song that came out in my early college years. Playful, quirky, and fun. Jangly guitars with a hipster vibe.
  • Third World Service - Manfred Mann's Earth Band (1983) - When I was a freshman in college, one of the guys in my dorm had an MMEB greatest hits album. The only song that I knew was Blinded by the Light (something about being wrapped up like a douche in the night). This song was one that I loved. I had not thought of it for nearly 30 years until just the other night. It took me back to a very different period in my life.
  • Blue on Black - Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band (1998) - This song won a bunch of awards for best blues rocker of the year back when it came out. It is a bruising, edgy, guitar-driven piece with juxtaposing lyrics that serve it well. I had not heard this one for a while and I welcome it to my collection.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I have heard it said that the best art is borne out of pain, out of tragedy, out of injustice. I have come to appreciate this point of view, much as the carpenter understands the acute throbbing in his thumb after he strikes it cleanly with his hammer. No prose, no matter how flowery or verbose, no matter how skillfully crafted and metered, can convey the distress, discomfort, and agony felt by one whose experience is personal. In such seasons of hurt I find that my writing can be quite beneficial to me as I pore through my emotions, my thoughts, and my very soul to give some measure of voice to my inner turmoil. It sometimes feels like my heart and mind find much greater release through my fingers as they flash over my keyboard than anything I could say to another. Perhaps this is because my computer does not judge me for what I type. I can let loose the most horrific, hate-filled, irresponsible, and one-sided diatribe, and it just lets me let it all out. No judgment, no hurt looks, no blame, no admonishments. I can express anything in the world and I am still wholly accepted for who and what I am. It allows me the purest form of expressionism. Then, when my heart is less burdened, it welcomes me to back to try and restate my thoughts in a more positive, more productive, and more healing manner.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Definitive Proof

I have often considered the notion of how my Christianity shapes my life. How does my belief in God affect how I live? If someone were to observe me for a time, would they know that I am a Christian? How do the outward behaviors and actions in my life reflect who I am? Sometimes I am dubious that others around me would ever guess that I am a man of faith. Perhaps it is how I gossip, how I guard my money, how I am antisocial, how I seem unfriendly. But this particular topic is not the one that I wanted to consider today. Instead, I wanted to consider a similar thought, but from the other side of the fence as it were. Let me just ask the question of everyone. How would your life be different if definitive proof was uncovered that God did not exist?

Now I can already see some folks blubbering that there could never be such proof. Others are reaching over to pick up their torches and pitchforks. Fine. Come and get me. But those who are willing to consider this for just a minute, might gain some insight into how their faith shapes their life. For me, there would be no reason to go to church any more, thus freeing up some of my time on Sunday nights. I would also have a bit more money in my pocket as I would not have to give to the offering. I might also not beat myself up as much for lustful thoughts and I might even enjoy the company of a few more folks in the evening, if you catch my drift. But, all of these are just "what ifs". I would like to think that my morality is not completely tied in with my faith. While thinking of others and helping the less fortunate, being considerate and generous, and loving those around you are certainly Christian ideals, I think they are also sensible and appropriate human ideals. Perhaps I would not live some aspects of my life so differently after all.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Observations 14

My occasional blog series "Observations" was created to be an outlet to share a variety of topics that pop into my field of view as a result of a condition that many bloggers are afflicted with known as "blogger's eyes". In this state we view the world on the constant look-out for topics on which to write about. Today's blog came about from random odds 'n ends of things that I have noticed over the past few weeks.
  • I had a run-in at work the other day with a lower-level worker bee who was raising his voice to me. At that moment I channeled Eric Cartman from South Park, "You will respect my authoritah!"
  • What is the deal with universities seemingly changing athletic conferences every other week? Why should Westernmost USA University be a member of the Big East Conference?
  • In an online political forum on CNN, some poster used the phrase, " ... just like the Christians and Skinheads and all the other hate groups ..." I think too much of the outside world would see no problem in lumping these two groups of folks together.
  • You know that just because a company puts the word "gourmet" on their packaging does not mean that what is inside contains any measure of high-quality or exotic ingredients or involves skilled preparation techniques.
  • In a crowded meeting room, a man's cell phone kept going off, playing his jangly ring tone. After the sixth time, he still had not pressed the mute button despite the distraction and disruption that he was causing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

City of Dreams

At this point in time, I have read through nearly the complete fiction library authored by Stephen Lawhead. There was one last book that I had skipped, but I finally got around to reading it. The fact is that I really enjoyed it, but I do not recommend that you read it. That book is called City of Dreams, co-authored by Stephen Lawhead and his son Ross. Let me tell you about this work.

This story represents a modern retelling of the early part of the New Testament, set in New York City. In this world, the Christian savior has not yet come and humanity still suffers with all of the burdens of unforgiven sin that it did 2000 years ago. In City of Dreams we read a story about the nascent rise of the lamb. It was an interesting idea that continually made me draw parallels between the biblical account and the characters in this work.

The story involves Alex Hunter, a special agent for the iron-fisted world government organization ICON. Hunter has been assigned to infiltrate a radical terrorist cell that poses as a religious, anti-establishment activist group. Hunter continually seems one step behind the interlinked web of politicians, police leaders, and organized crime. He stumbles upon hints and suggestions of a deep-seated corruption, but cannot make full sense of any of it. He no longer knows who to trust, the ICON leadership, the police chief, or the governor. All seem to be chasing something just beyond his understanding. Somehow the death of a vagabond prophet named Washer John leads Hunter to a humble and perplexing man named Joshua Jones who seems to have drawn considerable interest from a number of disparate forces.

The story was interesting and reasonably well written. So, why would I not recommend this book? Well the answer is that this book was written as part of a trilogy. The second book entitled Rogue Nation and the third book entitled World Without End were written but for some reason the publisher decided not to put them out and the project was shelved. The Lawheads claim that they are still trying to find some avenue for their release, but they are not making any progress. This situation is a shame, especially for those the readers who were left hanging.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


A moonless night, thick clouds blocking out the stars. I awaken to the slight hum of my old bedside alarm clock. Its harsh red LEDs telling me that I have no business stirring at this hour. Yet I find myself drenched in sweat and sticky, the covers all piled on the floor, the fitted sheet pulled off one corner of the mattress. I am still shaking from the images that just a few moments ago were racing through my mind, plaguing me with their horrifying scenes. My wife in the arms of some faceless lover. My daughter being driven away in a pick-up truck filled with all of her belongings, never looking back. A smile pulling at the corner of her lips as she finds humor in the words of the unseen driver. An empty bedroom that used to be filled with the delightful props of a rich childhood. Bright patches of wall where photographs and drawings once were hung with swelling pride.

The visions strip the strength from my body, pulling away my nerve, leaving me helpless. I slide off the bed into the pile of blankets, hoping the comforter can somehow live up to its name. My tears ultimately numb my mind and I drift back into a surface sleep. A cyclone whips through my mind that tortures me further with effects from the earlier cause. A carton of smokes. Cases of beer and bottles of booze. An empty sanctuary. A computer cache bursting with writhing bodies. Desperate and soul stealing liaisons far from the light, Aphrodite and Ares beckoning.

I wake the next morning on the floor, my shoulder muscles knotted in pain, my head a-reel. I have a terrible hangover, though I touched not a drop. Dark dreams of fictional beasts and shadowy spectres are easily dismissed in the clear rationality of morning light, though lasting night terrors that vividly replay themselves in my mind throughout the day hint at a future and possibilities that I cannot dismiss.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

3 a.m. Eternal

Got to see that everywhere I turn will
Point to the fact that time is eternal ...

A detached, clinical voice on the unexpected phone call.

... Mr. Car ... yearly cysto ... appointment ...

I only heard about a third of what the caller said, but there was no mistaking the message and the implications. February 19 at 2:20 p.m. is my next date with mortality. I wonder if the administrators that make those calls out to the survivors truly understand what emotions they can inflict on others. When they hang up the phone, they check a name off a list. Those of us on the receiving end are abruptly awakened from our year-long reverie of survival. Suddenly we are thrown back into behavior patterns of worry, of consternation, of anxiety, of what if and when. In times like these there are too many nights where the red glow on the nightstand is all that we have to keep us company. 3 a.m. eternal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What Makes You Think

There is a Mongolian BBQ place across the street from where I work. Over the past 5 years, this same establishment has gone out of business half a dozen times. Each time it has been re-opened as another Mongolian BBQ place. Don't the business folks pondering such opportunities and such locations consider the success of the venture in detail before they start signing documents and committing significant amounts of money? What makes them think that if everyone else has failed with the exact same idea that they will fare any differently?

Such is the case with so many things in life. You watch relationship after relationship end because the husband does not pay attention to his wife and elects to spend most of his free time with the guys. Yet you do the same thing and wonder why your marriage is crumbling. What makes you think that you can do the same thing that everyone else is doing and it will turn out better?

Everyone you know is struggling to pay their bills and is wracking up huge credit card debts that they will never be able to pay off. They are life-long serfs on the plantation of debt. Yet you keep pulling out that plastic card for every shiny thing that captures your attention. What makes you think that your financial situation will be any easier to deal with when you do the exact same thing as others?

You watch your friends make bad decisions when they go out partying three or four times per week. Their lives are a train wreck and they look like crap. Yet every time they head out the door and throw out an invite, you board that train without a thought. What makes you think that by making the same stupid choices as others do, things will go any differently for you?

I have thrown out three different examples here, but I'm sure that you can quickly come up with your own list. In areas in your life where you fail or fall into sin or don't measure up when you follow the same path as everyone else does, what makes you think things will turn out any differently for you?

Monday, January 7, 2013

What Do I Owe?

What do I owe to the support of society and those considered "less fortunate"?

I have a great deal of sympathy for the hardworking laborer who has broken his back for 20 years working at a steel mill that suddenly closes down in some back-water, podunk town. With very little notice he has no health insurance, no way to pay his bills, and minimal chance for landing another job at anywhere near his old pay rate. Folks like this, it seems to me, deserve some short term help. But what about:
  • There was a recent news story about a policeman who bought a homeless guy a new pair of shoes. This was the feel-good story of the month, until it was revealed that the guy was a conman. He wasn't homeless, it was all an act.
  • The folks on welfare who milk the system to extract every free penny they can from society's coffers, all the while refusing to look for work and taking in money on the side all under the table.
  • The folks who milk minor injuries to keep the disability money coming in so that can sponge off the system. That job messed up my back, my knees, my neck. Oh I'm rendered a cripple. Yet they go about a normal life of activity.
  • What about the many who never took their schooling seriously? Instead of making anything of this opportunity, they chose partying, goofing off, drugs, alcohol. Not a one-time choice, but a man years long, systematic pattern of laziness. Now they have no marketable skills and want public assistance.
Sure there are a lot of folks seeking public assistance, but not all are equally deserving of my sympathy. Not all are equally deserving of the significant support that is provided through our tax dollars. So, what do I owe?

Friday, January 4, 2013


The second part of author Alison Goodman's Dragoneye series is entitled Eona and picks up where the story of Eon left off. There we met a young lady who had secretly lived as a boy, rise to the position of kingdom Dragoneye. Each of the twelve Dragoneyes command their dragons that reside in the energy realm in the effort to maintain harmony between nature and the people. Apart from the supreme emperor himself, the Dragoneyes represent the most powerful group in the land. At the end of Eon the kingdom is in turmoil. The emperor is dead. His son and rightful heir to the throne, Prince Kygo, has been forced to flee for his life as Sethon, the emperor's brother, has swept in with force to claim the throne. The Dragoneye for the Rat Dragon, the evil and powerful Lord Ido, who had been in league with Sethon, has killed all of the other Dragoneyes except for Eon. Yet when he betrays Sethon he is tortured to within an inch of his life and hung in chains deep in the palace's prison. Without the Dragoneyes presence to protect the land, order in nature is completely lost.

In the story of Eona, Lord Eon must accept her true destiny as Lady Eona, the Dragoneye of the Mirror Dragon, the queen of the dragons. Yet accepting this destiny seems impossible. She is under the pull of the demands to use her powers to save the kingdom and restore balance to the land, the demands of her emperor, the enticing lure of the seemingly endless power promised by Lord Ido, the sense of loyalty to her friends, and the haunting call of her ancestors. Every powerful force in the earthly plane and the celestial plane seems to be tearing her in a different direction. Everyone seems to have their own agenda, their own allegiances, and their own betrayals. Adding to her desperation is the fact that Eona has no understanding of how to control her dragon, which forces her to rely on Lord Ido. A man whose words are always enigmas wrapped around lies and half truths. Yet despite all of this, Eona finally comes to understand the truth of the dragons and what her destiny is calling her to do. Impossible choices that mean death for some and life for others. Great story telling that pulled me in.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Observations 13

My occasional blog series "Observations" was created to be an outlet to share a variety of topics that pop into my field of view as a result of a condition that many bloggers are afflicted with known as "blogger's eyes". In this state we view the world on the constant look-out for topics on which to write about. Today's blog came about from random odds 'n ends of things that I have noticed over the past few weeks.
  • My daughter and I had dinner at a friend's house recently and I was just overcome with emotion when my daughter did some bragging on me.
  • I have noticed that when a room-full of people is trying to make an exit, folks like to stop in the middle of the doorway and strike up conversations, completely oblivious to the swarm of people behind them trying to leave.
  • With a teenage daughter on my hands, we tend to watch a lot of kid's T.V. shows. Has anyone else in this situation seen the sheer number of toy commercials that involve poop? The ads show families getting to the giddiness bursting point waiting for the bug or dog or baby or robot to poop all over the floor so that they can then clean up the mess. Good times.
  • "Science makes everything sound painful." Sandy Cheeks (world famous scientist/squirrel)
  • Consistently negative people make everything around them darker.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


When I was just a kid, there was a nature program on T.V. called Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, hosted by Marlin Perkins. I seem to remember that it aired on Sunday's just after the football game would end and before the evening news would come on. The show focused on life in the wild, highlighting the beauty, savagery, grace, warmth, and cunning of animals all over the world. Elephants, gnus, alligators, foxes, otters, big cats, you name it. However, I remember with some clarity an episode where they featured birds of prey. I have film clips stored in my mind of these powerful birds streaking out of the sky and snatching up some poor unsuspecting rodent or jack rabbit in their sinewy talons. The next scene was always the feeding sequence as the bird, in total control, had its fill.

This powerful image bubbled up to the surface of my consciousness recently as I felt myself in the death grip of personal turmoil. I have always been one to collapse under the weight of relational conflict. Even a raised voice in my direction can stay with me for days. It can cause me to avoid certain people altogether for fear of upsetting the delicate balance of peace that I seem to cling to all too tentatively. A bigger problem is that the fear of conflict has caused me to avoid necessary interactions with folks that I care deeply about.

The talon of fear has left me impotent in a number of respects and my condition has seemingly gotten worse with age. There are even a few people in my life who systematically use this against me to take advantage of situations so that they can get their way. Oh I so long to break free and once again find my freedom.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

A new year. Another chance to erase the slate and try again, even if that chance is a bit contrived, coinciding only with ripping a page off your calendar. Yet despite all of the things that I could grumble about and fret over, there is one constant that I have enjoyed on the first day of each new year for the past 15 years. Today marks the day my daughter was born and provided me with the greatest blessing that I have ever received.

I have seen so many self-help books for parents about how to "manage" their children or "survive" their children. I never had to give a thought to the odious ones, terrible twos, traumatic threes, fearsome fours, frigid fives, sickening sixes, sucky sevens, eerie eights, nonsensical nines, threatening tens, excessive elevens, tremulous twelves, thorny thirteens, or the frightful fourteens. Given this great run, I am sure that there will be no foul fifteens, and even if there were some bumps along the way, at least we would be on the ride together. Happy birthday angel face.

Oh, and happy new year to my faithful readers.