Saturday, December 31, 2005

Small town Saturday night.

Well here it is New Year's Eve and my kids and I couldn't decide what we wanted to do so I decided we'd go spend the night in a local hotel....and pretend like we're touists, or travellers, or rednecks from another world. We're taking games and swimsuits and that's it! I figure if we forget something, I'll just drive home and get it!!

Should be fun...I'll let you know how it goes.



Saturday, December 24, 2005

What a year

I'm not always the most articulate person, certainly not as articulate as some of you, my friends. I know this. But I do have a lot of thoughts circling around in this head of mine. I've come to realize that this clicky clacky noise of my fingers on this keyboard isn't nearly as therapeudic as speaking one to one with an actual person, but, it will have to do this time.

This time of year tends to be a reflective time for lots of us and I am no different (at least in that regard) than others. This past year has been very challenging to me in many respects and very rewarding too. Here are a few of the 'highlights'.

I spent 15 days with two of my brothers...15 solid days! Did you guys realize that that was the first time that's happened since I was 10 years old...that we'd spent that much time together?? I learned a lot about two men that I have always called my big brothers...and now I know why that's why I always called them that. They love me like big brothers do. And I love them.

My son and I have had a hard year. It makes me cry just to write that. I don't know if there's a way to classify this kind of pain. To say that it's deep is just not inclusive enough. It gives me a whole new understanding of how sweet God's love for me is. Before Jesus bridged the gap, my relationship with my Father was broken. I thought I didn't need Him. He was the last thing I wanted. He kept chasing me in gentle strength until I couldn't stand it anymore. We're tight and He! I love Him for that. He's helping me pursue my son the same way now.

A friend of mine killed himself this summer. Another friend died three weeks after she sold her business 'to live the good life'. They both left spouses behind that I also call friend. I've learned that being a man that cries easily isn't as much of a curse as I used to think it was. I've learned that prayer needn't be elaborate. And that when my heart goes out to someone it somehow gets returned to sender, so I do it more freely.

I've been on both ends of painful silence this year. I have hurt people that I love dearly. I have been hurt by people I love dearly. I hate silence between people. It's true..."the truth shall set you free." I'm finding I can handle anything you say to me, I deserve to be told. I can't handle when you say nothing to me, I don't deserve to be ignored. Okay, so maybe now I'm venting...

I started this here little blog thanks to an encouraging friend. I've made new friends this year and re-hooked up with others. (hey, it's my blog, shut up! I know it's not good grammar! :) I've screwed up millions of times. I've been forgiven EVERY time! I've seem my baby off to college. I've never been quite so proud. in my life!

I know that I'm just little, but I'm going to light my candle and run into the dark as long as I can.
Jesus is my light.....Happy Christmas to you all!!

from me.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I have, not a cold!

So today as I was reading through one of my son's books about the immigration of America, I came across the following story...remember it's fiction written for children so don't get your hopes up.

'....And Joey how did you chip your tooth anyway?" Mary asked. "I don't know...uh...well...I....." "The truth would be nice Joey, just this once." she snipped. Joey's mind whirled nervously for a moment, wanting to find just the right words that wouldn't get him fired. "Lord! Just spit it out son!!" Mary said impatiently, letting her German roots show. "You see, Chris Hascomb and me...Geez I'm sorry Mary, mus I really tell you? You ain't gonna fire us are you? You see ever since our ship berthed in the harbor that day, Chris has been threatening to tell you about the letter I wrote to the 3C ranch tellin' them I was intendin' to work for them 'stead of you, and well...I'd finally had enough of his threats and we had it out Mary. There! I said it." Mary stood silently for a moment, shaking her head, slowly she said "Joey, Joey, you know what you need is not to be fighting but to be verking." Joey could never understand why Mary spoke every English word so well except that one......'

Of course at this point you're probably saying to yourself, "I need to get a life, this guy's a complete nutcase!" or something of similar verbage. But wait!! Lest you think this nothing more than a nonsensical and innocuous story let's dig deeper into it. Let's break the code. Let's call it 'Da Vandy Code' (after a not-yet-famous dutch guy somewhere). There's something hidden here I can just sense it. Can you? Well go get some caffeine and indulge me then!

If you're going to play along you're going to need a piece of paper and a pencil. Preferably a number 2. Because who even owns any other kind? Are you ready? This is fun huh? Okay...the first hidden treasure is found in the following words...word number 10, followed by word number 64, (yeah, it's okay to tap the screen while counting aloud...I made up this game, I should know) and then word number 72. And in case that's not incredible enough here's another gem...the 14th word, the 16th, and 148 followed by number 172. Are you beginning to see a pattern? Me neither. Okay, this one'll floor ya for sure....sharpen your pointing/counting finger...words 68, 81, 90, and 95!!! Don't tell me that's just a coincidence folks! I might be dumb might YOU!

In case any of you are still skeptical, here's the final biggie. I mean, this one will blow you off the map, even if you don't believe in maps! Ready go! Word number 2, number 8, then 15, 31,40, then 48, followed by 65, and then 105, and the ever tricky 110 (yep, it's one word), and finally...160!!!! There's just NO WAY anybody could've made this up!!!

Is there?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Moonshine and Hot Chocolate

It's not officially winter until the 21st of the month but I'd have to say winter (of the unofficial variety) is here. Brrrrrrr! It is SO cold and clear tonight. The moon is absolutely magnificent though. As I was driving on my route earlier I actually delivered the last hour pretty much without ever turning on my headlights. The moon is that bright! Now where I deliver it's very rural, meaning that about a third of the roads I travel are not paved. As in...dirt. And there are no street lights to speak of so it can be very dark. Especially in some of the more heavily wooded areas. But not tonight. I'm sure the locals were wondering what the heck I was doing. Well, at least the ones that don't know me very well. The others were probably just smiling, knowing full well that I was reverting into a little boy...again. I hope they didn't see me hanging out the door with only my hand on the steering wheel...oh well, I really don't care. It was fun!

After work I decided I should get some shopping done even though I have no clue what I'm even looking for. I'm no further ahead now than I was yesterday. It was futile. If I'm not racing the clock or at least under some stress (usually placed on me by my kids) to actually buy something, I get paralyzed in a state of indecisiveness. That's what happened tonight. So I decided instead to swing through Starbuck's and get some hot chocolate and surprise some of my coworkers who had to work late (and in the cold). It was my mechanic and two evening clerks (who have thankless jobs that they always seem to do with a smile) and a night supervisor so we all sat around for a few minutes and enjoyed a hot chocolate. And warm smiles.

Bright light, bright smiles. Winter is going to be alright.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Yeah...What He Said!

Once, not that long ago, a friend of mine sent me as a gift, a booklet full of some of her favorite quotes. It was (and still is) one of my favorite gifts ever because it was completely, and I mean completely hand made. Right down to the paper! It was exquisitely well done. Ever since then I've been compiling a list of quotes that I like. Some are profound, some are funny, some are just different. Here are some of my faves:

"Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter."
~Martin Luther King Jr.~

"That best portion of a good man's life, His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love." ~William Wordsworth~

"There is no remedy for love but to love more."
~Henry David Thoreau~

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin~

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read."
~Groucho Marx~

"In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
~Martin Luther King Jr.~

"Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love."
~Charles M. Schulz~

"You can not be mad at someone who makes you laugh-it's as simple as that."
~Jay Leno~

And this one just cracks me up so I'll end with this....

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
~Groucho Marx~

Friday, December 09, 2005

Past. Presents.The Future.

Some days my thoughts are all over the map. Today was one of those days. I'm going to rattle off a few of my more coherent thoughts and events here for you...not because they're so interesting, but because that's what this blog is for.

-I love Christmas. I love listening to Christmas music with my little FM radio in my pocket and headphones on. (Yes! I know it's illegal, leave me alone!!)

-Why are all the songs so focused on Jesus as a baby? I know and agree with the fact that it was miraculous and amazing, believe me, I feel it. But if I hear another song from the viewpoint of the cow (or the pig or the chicken or a piece of straw) in the stable, I think I'm gonna puke. Jesus' birth and all that that entails is wonderful, but Jesus grew up. I know that he was no average (or even simply GREAT) person, but the birth was just the beginning folks. He is my savior because of what he did in his life and in his death and especially in his resurrection. He is no little innocent child. It is not an 'aw isn't he cute?' kind of story! He is wild and dangerous and the purpose of my existence. He requires something of me. That is, if I choose to love him. People are starving in their souls and I hold food in my hands. Should I hoard it? Should I just offer a story of a baby? I'm mad at me.

-Her name is Maurine. She's got silver hair and she's four foot six on a tall day. I had a package for her today. She came to the door with a smile and a scurry. "What's this?" she asked in a way that made me think she didn't like people making a fuss over her. "I hope it's a box full of presents." I said. "I'm sure it is, but what do I need presents for? I'm ninety-nine years old. I pretty much have what I need." She said sarcastically. It made me smile. She was spry and lively and carried her smile well....and looked closer to seventy than a hundred. I'm going to stop in and have a visit after the rush is over so I can learn from her smile.

-Maybe three and a half, I'm guessing. This little girl I saw today. As I bent down to set the package on the step, I saw her through the little 4 inch window that paralleled the door. "Mooomy! The U guy is here!!" she screamed as she stomped the way you would if an army of ants had just crawled up your leg. "Who?!" "The present man!" she said as if she was surprised it needed explaining. I love being the present man so I decided to wait for the door to open so I could hand the box personally to the girl. This little darling girl made Shirley Temple look like a clod. Ringlet curls, bright blue saucer eyes that wanted to jump their sockets in excitement. The door opened and she could hardly contain herself in her own skin. As the door closed she yelled "thank you present man!"...I hope she lives to be ninety nine.

-What makes leaves hold on to the tree so long? Are they afraid that when they let go they'll die? I stood beneath a lonely leafed tree today for a while because something strange was happening. The air was completely still. Not even a hint of breeze. Yet it was snowing leaves under this tree. As if the leader leaf finally said he was done and the peer pressure was too much for the rest of them. It was weird.

-If I don't get to see my kids more than this I'm going to have to find a different job. What should I do? What can I do?

-The word 'broken' was on my mind today. I am sometimes confused by it. It's one of those words that is simultaneously present tense, past tense, and future tense. I know God wants me broken. I have been broken. I am broken. I will be broken. I'm tired of broken...

-It may be true that the only inalienable right we possess is to feel what we feel.

-Did I mention the word coherent earlier? I lied.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


She's my inspiration. She is the one who ages me and keeps me young....simultaneously! She calls me "daddy"...I melt. She laughs, I laugh. She cries, I sob. She makes me strong. She makes me weak. She requires my integrity. She is adorable, and I will make sure she knows it. She is funny. She is beautiful. She is smart. She is unique. She is my BABY...and I miss her daily.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Things I Love... is such a strong word. Much stronger than hate. And I LOVE that! Hate doesn't stand a chance as long as love exists. And exist it does. I think it's interesting that there is little scientific debate on the subject of love, yet the myriad of arguments of whether there is a God cannot be counted. If you've ever experienced love (and I know you have) it seems silly to enter into an argument on whether it exists or not. Having been 'in' it, with it, near it, or the object of it, you KNOW it exists. Same holds true of God. After all God IS Love!

If ever you're having a less than stellar day, may I suggest you do what I did today while thinking about this blog...think about things you love, it made my day! So here goes. This list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Things I Love...

I love that I actually know the author of Love.
I love that He wants me even though He knows me so well.
I love sunshine.
I love California driving.
I love deep laugh lines.
I love 6 siblings.
I love being 'daddy'.
I love that love is different everyday.
I love that everyday is different.
I love the way my eyes feel when there are stars in them.
I love the silence of newfallen snow.
I love being loved.
I love poffertjes.
I love music that sends chills down my spine.
I love that love and pain will spend eternity apart.
I love that my friends challenge me.
I love the bliss of endless rolling waves pounding the shore.
I love that 'mundane' is just a word, not a sentence.
I love the sound of my kids peacefully sleeping.
I love wind in the trees.
I love a particularly good apple martini.
I love sunsets.
I love words.
I love hot sand under my feet.
I love that it's okay just to be me.
I love resisting wrong for the right reasons.
I love that God calls me baby.
I love wonder and amazement and awe.
I love seeing people I love smiling.
I love love love love laughing.
I love that this isn't home.
I love dogs.
I love sarcasm.
I love sitting in front of my fire with all the lights out, having a quiet time.
I love that I got the leftover sense of humor in my'll always be better tomorrow.
I love to sing like an idiot when nobody's listening.
I love helping people in need.
I love going fast.
I love knowing another language.
I love knowing that there is so much that I don't really know.
I love having been born with the capacity to love.

Thanks for reading....oh, and by the way, I LOVE it when you comment. :)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

You Don't Know Jack!!

Last night was a fun and full night for me. I get my kids every other weekend, and since my daughter is off to college (I know, hard for me to believe too!), it's just me and my two boys. Well, every year there's a travelling childrens theatre group that tours the area and performs plays at various schools. They show up on Monday for auditions then do four nights of rehearsal for two performances on Saturday. Whew! It's a hectic week. This year's play was 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. It's the old traditional, only shorter, and with music added so as to let tons of kids have singing parts. Just so happens my 12 year old gets the part of 'Jack'. He amazes me. He loves this stuff and, of course, being nonpartial as I am, I think he's GREAT!! He played the lead last year in different play and had the lines nailed the day of the play. But when he got up on stage, the lights were so hot that he was about to die of heat stroke, so he skipped the acting and recited his lines like he was reading them out of a book. Not good. So, yesterday I figured we'd practice. I would give him his cue and he would spout off his part, not missing a beat. I could tell his was worried and asked him what was wrong. "Dad", he said, "what if I forget my lines?" And, of course, me being the grand actor that I am, just said "just be Jack." "But dad, I don't know Jack!" he said. I didn't have time to get the tape recorder so he could say it again clearly so that I might use it against him in 3 or 4 years when he knows EVERYTHING. Annnyway, the play was a blast and he was phenomenal, making only a few minor errors that only he noticed.
Between the first performance and the last, there was an hour and a half break so we hopped in the truck and headed in to get something to eat. I looked over at my other son, knowing that he was bored beyond words and asked him what he would like to do. He said "Gas it dad!" Usually it takes him about 10 minutes to realize that I've even spoken and another 10 to come up with some smart alecky comment, but not this time. So I 'gassed it'. "Let's see what this puppy's got!" I said.(Don't worry, it was a couple of degrees above freezing still, and the road had nary a rise in it.) Did you know that some hairbrain engineer at Chevrolet thought it would be beneficial to put a chip in your engine that makes it die at a measley 98 mph!? Unbelievable. He evidently doesn't have boys. We were so disappointed that we took a detour down this 'road' into the woods. By this time it's dark. I'd never been down this road before but, hey, I do have 4-wheel drive. (Is that anything like "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn?) Our mantra for the next few minutes was 'mud is our friend'. Wherever there was mud...there was us. Fun!
We made it back to the second performance in plenty of time. You should've seen the other parents' looks at our truck as we pulled in though....priceless!!
I felt like saying "You don't know Jack!!"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

You Pee Ess!!

Today let me enlighten you on my occupation. For those of you that don't know me, I'm going to spell it out...sort of. The company I work for is huge and worldwide so I'm sure they have spies here in blogovania. So here's what I'ma gonna do...I'ma gonna create some code words for future reference here in 'my mind'.

You know how when you were little, people would say "if you drink too much tea, you pee tea" ? What?! You don't remember anyone in your family saying that?? What kind of family are you from? Anyway, let's pretend there's a drink called 'ess'. Yeah, like the nineteenth letter in our beloved alphabet...that ess. Now let's pretend you drank too much of the stuff, what would happen? You pee ess!! ....that's the name of the company I work for, so for the sake of our code-talking future let's call that code word #1.
Got it? Good!

Now on to code word #2. You'll see why it's called that, here in a minute. At #1 there's this color. It's everywhere! It's sickening! It's disgusting! It's the same color as the treasures you find in your yard if you have a dog. And yet 'they' decided to use it in the new slogan. Unbelievable. I'm sure you've heard it..."what can (#2) do for you?" Had they consulted us drivers, it never would have left the drawing board. Hideous.

One of my favorite things that happens all the time is when you walk into a business with a package and the person behind the counter says "Hey! Whatdya got there?" at which time I'll raise the box and turn to to every conceivable angle while eyeballing it and say "Looks like a box to me! Don't worry though, that funny ticking noise JUST quit!" What I feel like saying, though, is "how am I supposed to know? You ordered it you moron!"

And what's the big deal with the shorts? I mean really! Everybody and their dog has to comment on the shorts. "Oh you can sure tell summer's over, the (#1) guy doesn't have his shorts on!" or once there was this OLD guy (he had to be 95!!), he looked like George Burns, only worse. He walked up to me and with what seemed like the last three breaths he'd ever breathe, he says "Hey (#2) man where's the sexy shorts?" And, to my surprise, he still had three breaths left to laugh at his own joke. I just don't get it. Are the shorts that special? Don't answer that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Things I Hate...

...hate is such a strong word, but sometimes it just appropriate. Here's a non-exhaustive (although by the time I'm done you might be exhausted) list of some things I hate.

I hate...

...when my kids are in any sort of pain.
...hurting someone I love.
...being misunderstood.
...making the same mistake twice. much of a fool I feel like when I do.
...when pain owns the heavy end of the scale.
...closing my eyes and seeing someone I love and knowing that may be the only way I'll ever see them again.
...opening my eyes after that.
...gravel pizza (I'll explain later)
...when a friend has a need and there's nothing I can do about it.
...the sound of the word 'lonely'.
...knowing I've wronged someone I love, but not knowing how. many children die everyday. many people I call friend will go to hell.
...that faith is seen as a weakness.
...tears that I'm a part of.
...that I get to see so little of my kids.
...that it can't be 80 degrees year-round.
...that love is so complex and elusive.

That's a good start. Let me hear some of your 'hates'!

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Nature of Things

This weekend I travelled down to Southern California sort of on a whim. But not really. I'd been thinking about how to do it when, there was a slight opening in the window of opportunity, so I jumped through. And I am SO glad I did!

From start to finish I (and my brother, at times) logged 2700-ish miles down and back the left coast in a total of 45 actual driving hours. That may seem crazy, but we feel like we dawdled. In my opinion, it's some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. There are the snow capped Cascades, the Siskiyous in Oregon and Northern California and...okay so Central California doesn't even deserve the word 'boring', but then there's that Southern California. When you slide down the south side of the Grapevine and the sun is beaming through the palm trees....aaahhhh!!I grew up...okay....I got taller (since I'm still refusing to grow up) down there and I must admit, I LOVE it!

While I love beautiful scenery and the sunshine and palm trees and the beaches and the grandeur of the the rocky cragged mountains, those were not the favorite part of my trip. My favorite moments happened when I noticed the nature of God in the people he's blessed me with. Sharing coffee with my brother and his girlfriend. Watching movies, listening to loud laughter, talking about nothing in particular, seeing true joy in the eyes of my friend, having my cheeks hurt from smiling at her daughter, that's the nature I enjoyed this weekend.

It was hard to leave. Harder than walking away from the Grand Canyon, or the ocean's edge, because I was in the presence of real beauty. Thank you my friends for letting me enjoy you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

So, how do you do this? I'm a rookie at this and have never liked being a rookie at anything so you'll have to excuse my shaky start. Well, you don't have to, but I would like it if you did.

I've been perusing through blogdom for a few months now and am impressed with how many clever, creative, smart people there are. I'm here to make sure that the not-so-clever, not-as-creative, less-than-brilliant of us in the populace have a say. But I'm not really sure yet what it is I want to say. Sometimes my mind is just full of small inspirations and sometimes it's full! I'm not afraid to share either. Of what edification will this be? I don't know. I believe the impact of an action or a word can't be measured by the doer of the act or the speaker of the word, but only by the receiver. Let me explain. Let's say I have a friend named Joe. Every time I stop to talk to Joe I give him a jab on the shoulder, (you know, the way guys do when they want the other guy to know there's some affection being shared here.)and he returns the favor. Now let's pretend it's been 6 months since I've seen Joe and we suddenly meet in the aisle at the grocery store and, of course, I give him the customary jab, only this time he shrieks in agony and knuckles to the ground in pain. I say to him "C'mon Joe, that didn't hurt!" only to find out in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that Joe is suffering from a debilitating form of bone cancer. The same blow I'd given him a hundred times in the past snapped a bone in his arm. Something had changed below the surface. Had I known his inner condition I wouldn't have hurt him. Sooo, (how did I end up down THIS trail? And what are all these rabbits doing here?) I guess what I'm saying is, things are always changing below the surface of our lives. Yours and mine. I'm going to let you in on some of mine.

"I just showed up for my own life, and I'm standing here taking it all in and it sure looks bright" ~Sara Groves