Thursday, December 27, 2007

reaching up

Reaching up, slowly peeling away the layers of fog that have long surrounded my mind, I find bits and pieces of what I am searching for. Throughout your life there are experiences that can never be re-lived. Moments like these are once in a lifetime, sometimes so rare that few ever can relate. Retelling stories that exist based on a past experience like this are often thought of as lore or myth or even street legend, but for those of us that have these specific moments in our lives we know they are no bit of fiction.

What I am talking about has nothing to do with your first trip to Disney Land, although I’m sure that was great. We are also not talking about your wedding day, although that can come close, but instead think bigger like the day that he/she asked you to marry him/her. You can do your best to put yourself back on that rock just a block away from your parents house when he poured out his heart and said you were the girl for him. You can try and recreate those butterflies and that nervous excitement that welled somewhere deep within. Sometimes the feelings are stronger than others and you can almost feel the wind of the day and cars rushing past.

Times like that are similar to what I’m talking about. It’s times like watching my son being born into this world and being one of the first people to ever hold him. I know God got to be first but I was right there waiting for Him to finish so I could be next. I still remember who was there and the name of the doctor and which hospital we were in. I remember the flushed look on my wife’s face and the tears of joy coming from my sister-in-law. I remember worrying about the amount of oxygen in the room given how many of my wife's family were there.

I have been fortunate in this space of life to have a couple of good times like these. I don’t think there could ever be some level of importance put on any of them but there are certainly ones that I favor over others. There is one however that I am coming more and more to grips with so to speak. It does nearly rival that of my son being born but it is so different when it should be so similar. I am referring to meeting my daughter for the first time.

To my knowledge, adoption has not been prevalent in my family’s history. In fact there hasn’t been a single adoption into our family on my mom’s side that I know of. It’s not to say there has never been one, just not one that I know of.

When I first saw my daughter she had coban holding oxygen tubes to her face. She was about 8 months old and all I knew was this was one messed up little girl. The bits and pieces I had gathered from my mother in law was that she was neglected by her birth mother to some degree, she was malnourished, had several underdeveloped organs (potentially) and could very well spend her life blind and unable to walk. This young life I saw had been born extremely premature, 25 weeks to be exact, weighing 1 pound and 10 ounces. To put that into perspective, you own empty coffee cups that weigh more and are bigger than she was at birth.

As I learned of her short past I was immediately captivated. Here was this beautiful little girl that God had made. There were apparent problems but somehow God gave me eyes to see past them. When I asked my wife about the possibility of adopting this tiny soul there was doubt. This little girl was going to need a lot of help, a lifetime to be sure. There were some reservations of course. We prayed for what seemed like months before taking this to the next level. My wife and I talked all the time anyway and soon the idea of adopting this girl was all we discussed.

The first anxiety was the risk. What if she never walked or talked? What if she had debilitating asthma for the rest of her life due to small lungs? What if she went blind or deaf or both? What if she died of some unknown issue that we could never have predicted? As we pondered all of these and more, what struck me was thinking how these questions were relevant with any child. The only difference was that we were not her biological parents and did not have any family history to pull from.

Besides the health risks which were very real was the stigma. What I mean by that is this…this little girl was (and is) of Hispanic descent. Remembering that adoption was not existing in my family’s history I wondered if my family would welcome such an addition. As I talked more to people who understood this concern I realized it was common among adoptive parents who brought home bi-racial children. Yet through all of this it never occurred to me to question it for myself. For some reason there was never a time that I thought of bringing this little girl home as weird or not right in any way.

I like to think I was looking through God’s eyes there for a little while. God was literally saying to me, “look at this creation I have made, it is beautiful in every way and I want you to care for her”. So while there was no stigma from my perspective and also for my wife, I still had reservations regarding what my folks and siblings might think. I called my mother and asked her to come down and meet this girl. I asked my brothers and sister to pray. I asked my entire family to keep an open mind. It had occurred to me that there would be some rejection and being the typical alpha male I tried to stem the tide prior to tsunami stage.

After all was said and done and we made the public announcement to adopt, mostly we were met with support. There were some immature statements made by a couple of unthoughtful people but overall everyone was really great.

As we plunged forward it never occurred to me to be scared or overly concerned about my daughter’s future. Somehow I had an inner peace that was working overtime. I know now that the Holy Spirit was right there playing the part of coach and He knew exactly which play to call next.

There have been many ups and downs over the past 6 years as one would imagine, but here we are and I can’t even dream of having it any other way. Just last month I watched my daughter ride a horse all by herself. It was a full size, 1000 pound adult horse named Snickers and my daughter rode Snickers without help after only 3 lessons. Not bad for a little girl who some doctors thought wouldn’t see her 2nd birthday.

Yes I am a proud father, but I’m just taking cues from the greatest father of them all, he’s the one calling the plays. It has been an eventful ride thus far but I’m sure the best is yet to come.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


doom and gloom

based on what the so called experts are saying, the sky is falling. in fact the water is rising and the ice is melting and the temperature is rising and the water is becoming increasingly scarce and moose flatulence is to blame for it all. ok so i exaggerated just a tad on that last one, but let’s face it, who wants to smell moose farts? not me, that’s for sure.

so let’s just say the world as we know it is doomed and we all are soon to find out how long we can tread water. best case scenario in life is we grow old and move to florida anyway, so how bad could it get? i would rather go early than see myself in a member’s only jacket (again) and a pair of bermuda shorts and a panama hat, chasing after a 25 year old woman who only wants my money.

what exactly are we so bent on doing or becoming or having in this life? if you answer something along the lines of “a better life for my children than i had”, you are better than most. but ultimately, who’s life are you living? once my kids are old enough they will move out and into their own lives, which they will control (to some degree or another). i have a small amount of influence now but soon i will just be the know-nothing dad that they’re embarrassed to have their friends meet.

i may sound cynical here but i am going purely for realism and nothing else. at best we have about 70 years of productive living to look forward to after we turn 20 (prior to that, our lives are definitely not all that productive, let’s be real). this is assuming i can still function at the ripe old age of 90, although my grandfather is living proof so who knows. from where i am now, i have about 50 years left tops. with that in mind, it strikes me as odd how so many are so worthless in their attempts to chase after things they know they can’t take with them.

regardless of whether or not you believe in God or Buddha or the loch ness monster or the tooth fairy, one way or another you are going to die. when you do, all the things you accumulated will be split up by those who you left behind. you might get all tricky and write a will, then have an executor who presides over your estate in order to fulfill the legalities of what was in your will. but truthfully, once you’re gone, you’re gone. you don’t get to come back and start all over again and reclaim all your old stuff and keep going. in this video game there is but one life, if you catch my drift.

the more i think about it, the more i want as little as possible when i pass. my hope is to have given everything away before i go so there is nothing left for anyone to fight about. i’ve seen it too, people fighting over a loved ones things after they go. what’s the point, pretty soon we’ll all be gone and then what, what was all the fighting for anyway? you get only so many years to actually do something worthwhile in this life.

if the world is really so bad, why aren’t all the rich people spending like there’s no tomorrow? where is the mass panic on the part of all the really stupid people? when we turned the corner on 2000 from 1999, most of the idiots i knew rushed to the store to stock up on food and propane and generators. people cried right up until midnight for fear they would not see the sunrise. a lot of saps actually got out their video cameras and recorded their evening expecting to see some sort of apocolypse right before their eyes.

what i want to know is, if the apocolypse were really to have happened, what were these people planning to do with the tape? is bob sagat waiting at the pearly gates with a vcr? is allen funt going to scream that i’m on candid camera? if so i hope i have all my bling so i can really impress paula abdul who of course will be judging the proceedings. she will be high as a kite too, i’m sure.

here’s something to consider for all you fanatics of doomsday. you can spout off all day about science and global warming and elk tooting but let me be clear about one thing, when you’re gone, you’re gone. spend a little more time worrying about what happens after you die and less time trying to get the next spot on “the biggest loser”.

although the profundity in that statement will probably be lost, you have to admit that the greatest reality show never to hit the big screen is your own life and what you did with it. take some time in the next few days before another year escapes you and ask yourself what or who you are living for. look around you, are you surrounded by friends and loved ones or things and more loved things?

what is so wrong about loving the skin you’re in and living for today? what is so bad about being a real friend and helping those less fortunate than you? why is it so hard to just be nice?

some say give peace a chance, but be reminded that being peaceful also requires you to listen and attend to the needs of others that they may attain peace as well. there is work to be done and we may have to sweat a little to get there. just keep your gas to yourself, the moose are going to kill us all anyway.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, November 26, 2007

turkey goodness

This is turkey dinner. It is good. Please do not lick your screen. Remember why you are thankful and then make it a point to show your gratitude all year long, not just one day a year.
And yes, I ate it all and went back for more.

still struggling

Why do I struggle so much with the idea of peace? I have talked to hundreds of people over the past 15 years regarding this topic and they either fall on one side or the other, there is no gray area.

On one side there are those that believe that war is necessary to achieve peace and protect freedom. On the other side war is not the answer and we should seek peace at all costs. Those are somewhat broadly painted strokes but essentially it is that simple to label. Defining each of these by any standard is the harder part.

Within the realm of justifying war as a means for maintaining peace, controlling an enemy and enjoying some sense of freedom from a would be captor, one must accept at least this fact of what war is. It is violent. Saying that by going to war you are affecting peace in any given region means that first there is unrest. Within this unrest lies violence which most likely inhibits murder and a death toll. By actively participating in this unrest, you are contributing to the death toll.

In all of the talking and listening there are some consistent remarks to be shared regarding this topic. One is that soldiers who are on your side that are killed during a time of war are commonly referred to as murdered. The opposite can be said of those that are killed on the enemy’s side, it is said that they are simply killed, and quite simply it was self defense on the part of the soldier who did the killing.

Occasionally there are accidents involving friendly fire such as what happened to former NFL standout Pat Tillman. Situations like these are seemingly more tragic than if the soldier had been killed by the enemy. We can hate the enemy because they are trying to kill our guys but when it’s one of our guys who accidentally did the killing, it’s much harder to swallow. Either way I have to ask the question of why was this necessary in the first place?

Many on the peace activist side of things are commonly heard making the statement that an eye for an eye only leads to more blindness. However from the standpoint of protecting a collective nation such as the USA, our military has the right to defend itself from would be aggressors. There are those in the world who would like nothing more than to see us here in America wiped out completely. With that said is it not reasonable to be prepared and ever ready for such attacks? Is it not reasonable to seek out those that have publicly declared their hatred for us and eliminate them before they eliminate us?

Much has been written and said over many hundreds of years regarding war and peace. This is no light subject for a coffee table book, it is meant for serious discussion only, there can be no joking here.

The problem is however, that I am still struggling with it. I want peace...I am at odds with how to attain it.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, November 18, 2007


have you ever pinpointed exactly what it is you are good at? i mean, what are you bringing to the table of life? specifically, your talents and abilities that make you special for who you are. for instance, are you a particularly good public speaker that people intently listen to when you speak? are you more handy than the next guy and can fix anything? are you a born leader?

regardless of your talent or skill set you are unique, in so much as once you add up all the things that make you who you are, there is no one like you, past, present or future. with that said, as you come into contact with anyone on a daily basis it is that skill set that not only sets you apart from anyone else, but inevitably benefits the greater good of all mankind whenever put to use. sounds kind of out there but it’s true, let me explain.

at some time in your life, there has been someone or possibly more than one person who has had an impact on your life. typically we only think of major impacts such as our parents or a specific teacher or mentor, but i challenge you to consider every single person who you have ever come into contact with. if that thought seems staggering it should. too often we take for granted the talents and gifts of others but the truth is we are gleaning from everyone along the way, or at least we should be.

think of all of your family, then all of your friends. next think of the people you would consider acquaintances and finally the few people who would be considered enemies. no matter how nice you are, there is still at least one person that rubs you the wrong way. you would not go out of your way to do anything for that person and would be just fine if they were not involved in your day to day life any longer. even that person is someone that we can learn from.

figuring out what you’re good at is important, as is learning. so let’s roll those together in a way that benefits those around you. as you demonstrate your talents on a daily basis subconsciously, you are actually teaching others, you just didn’t realize it. likewise, as you are surrounded by coworkers and friends and relatives, you are learning from what they are “teaching”.

most people “learn” this way by osmosis, meaning that it is unintentional on our part when we pick up a new trait or behavior or habit. this is especially true when we are very young and impressionable. learned behavior is as much what shapes our outward characteristics as anything we could ever learn in a classroom. what others see in you is essentially a collage of every person you have ever come into contact with in your life.

now imagine if all of this were intentional. imagine that you shared your gifts consciously and gleaned, or learned from others as they shared their talents. most of the questionable traits we pick up throughout our lives would never happen, instead focusing on learning only that which is good and positive. naturally we would encourage each other more as we sought to learn from those around us they had insight to share.

take the time to listen to those around you, regardless of their age or experience level, you will be amazed at what God has instilled in them if you give them a chance to reveal it. then recognize that as you are learning from them, they are learning from you. with that frame of mind, do you suppose it is important what we show others for them to learn? knowing that someone in your sphere of influence is going to glean from you, are you concerned about the content?

every word that comes out of our mouths and every action we take is a textbook of information for someone in this life. some of us will affect (infect) more people than others, but ultimately the outcome is the same. you and i make a very real difference in the lives of everyone around us, whether positively or negatively. we have the choice as to that impact.

ask God to reveal your gifts and how to use them for His glory. then ask God to show you your sphere of impact, because it’s much bigger than you think. lastly, ask God to guide your way as you share what you know about the good news of Jesus. the most positive gift you possess is the story of our Savior and others are paying attention to how you tell it.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

an officer's life

This is a forward from a friend and local police officer. Sometimes we forget or take for granted what these men and women go through. The author is unknown.

You wonder why he pulled you over and gave you a ticket for speeding? He just worked an accident where people died because they were going too fast.
You wonder why that cop was so mean? He just got done working a case where a drunk driver killed a kid.
You work for 8 hours? He works for up to 18 hours.
You drink hot coffee to stay awake? The cold rain in the middle of the night keeps him awake.
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick? He goes into work still hurt and sore from the guy he had to fight the night before.
You drink your coffee on your way to the mall? He spills his as he runs code to a traffic crash with kids trapped inside.
You make sure your cell phone is in your pocket before you leave the house? He makes sure his gun is clean and fully loaded and his vest is tight.
You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you? He watches his buddy get shot at, and wounded in front of him.
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls? He walks down the highway looking for body parts from a traffic crash.
You complain about how hot it is? He wears fifty pounds of gear and a bullet proof vest in the middle of July and still runs around chasing crack heads.
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong?He runs out before he gets his food to respond to an armed robbery.
You get out of bed in the morning and take your time getting ready? He gets called out of bed at 2 am after working 12 hours and has to be into work ASAP for a traffic homicide.
You go to the mall and get your hair redone? He keeps the bloody hair out of a college girl's face that just smacked the windshield in a crash while waiting for an ambulance.
You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over? His shift ended 4 hours ago and there's no end in sight.
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight? He can't make any plans because on his off days he still gets called back into work.
You yell and scream at the squad car that just passed you because they slowed you down? He's in the driver seat of the squad car, going to cut somebody out of their car only to find out that they're dead when he gets there.
You roll your eyes when a baby cries in public? He picks up a dead child in his arms and prays that it was crying.
You criticize your police dept and say they're never there quick enough? He blasts the siren while the person in front of him refuses to move while talking on their cell phone and doing their makeup.
You hear the jokes about fallen officers and say they should have known better? He is a hero and runs into situations when everyone else is running away in order to make sure no one else gets hurt and loses his life doing it.
You sit there and judge him, saying that its a waste of money to have them around? Yet as soon as you need help he is there.

my friend is an officer here in Central Oregon. also, my father-in-law is retired Portland police. if you think about it, say a prayer for all the men and women who serve and protect us as police officers, fire fighters and EMT. Their lives are of service to us. Make sure and thank them for it.


let's talk turkey

Holy bacon wrapped smoked turkeys bat man!!! Is it that time of the year again??? if so, pass the gravy, and make sure there’s extra, cuz this time I’m leavin room for fourths…

This time of year is great isn’t it? The bears have their hibernation for which they eat like mad in the fall and then more or less sleep through the winter. We eat like mad in the fall, then eat even more madly in the winter, then we swear we’ll never eat that much again and vow to work it off in the spring with renewed vigor by way of new year’s resolutions…..hahahahahahahaha. do me a favor, don’t write your resolutions down or tell me, cuz mine look similar and there’s going to be some serious hilarity come spring time when I break out the shorts for the warm weather.

OK, let’s forget about that thought and concentrate on the really important stuff, like what foods will be at the annual turkey dinner at my mom’s. for sure there will be my grandmother’s famous green beans with sautéed bacon and fresh snowcap mushrooms and extra garlic. It’s important to be one of the first people in line for this dish as the forks fly for dibs on this one.

Another important facet is the gravy. I mean, the mashed potatoes are important too, but mostly it’s the gravy, which is sometimes an overlooked accoutrement that deserves the utmost attention. Truly good gravy is best experienced when poured over every last piece of food on one’s plate, even the cranberry. I tried it one year over pumpkin pie, and trust me it was worth every last minute of indigestion I experienced that night. Good gravy can make or break a turkey dinner.

Almost as imperative are the rolls. It never fails that somebody has to bring the ‘health conscious’ wheat bricks that pass for a bread product. You know who you are, leave the rocks at home and use them for doorstops and paperweights. Rolls are serious business and need their own special mention. Similar to the gravy, I like to experience my meal in every way with the use of a roll. For instance, pumpkin pie can be neatly sandwiched in between two pieces of a very good dinner roll, as can cranberry, and turkey, and mashed potatoes and gravy, etc.

Good rolls are fluffy and soft and yummy. You should be able to find someone at the store to lead you right to that brand, you know, the yummy roll brand fit for turkey dinner consumption?! When buying rolls, make a mental head count of the expected attendance, then multiply by 6, (that’s the safe count, but if my brother and I are coming, multiply by 8). You can NEVER have too many rolls, in fact you will want them for the leftovers the next day (unless my brother and I are there, in which case there will be no leftovers).

Lastly, a petition needs to be filed with farmers who raise turkeys. Something has to be done regarding the lack of dark meat on a bird. I would love to claim discrimination here but I am sure it has already been done by our good friends down at PETA, (which stands for “People for the Ethical Tasting of Animals”). I myself am a lifetime member of this fine organization, not to be confused with the other PETA.

Dark meat is to turkey like caffeine is to coffee. All you decaf psychos have no idea what I’m talking about but you should give it a shot, you might actually wake up to the idea. Dark meat is absolutely quintessential to a good turkey dinner. And while urban legends would have you believing that dark meat is not nearly as good for you as white and in fact is high in fat, I have provided a link to prove otherwise….

Similar to a s’more, if you had your choice you would skip the graham cracker and the marshmallow just to eat the chocolate. When it comes to turkey, you can keep the white meat at home with those petrified brown chunks of wheat that no human can digest in less than 6 months. Dark meat has flavor as opposed to the white stuff, which requires heavy amounts of salt and pepper and gravy just to get down. Of course, with the amount of gravy I plan to use, there really is no health benefit to argue about here.

So let’s recap. Prepare for turkey dinner with this list, it should be quite helpful…

72 – 96 rolls – get the yummy brand
4 gallons of gravy – may not be enough, make it 8
40 pounds of turkey – dark meat
6 gallons of mashed potatoes
10 pounds of green beans – call for the recipe
Cranberry sauce
6 pumpkin pies
1 Partridge in a pear tree (just for good measure)

If my brother and I are invited, double everything.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, November 5, 2007

anonymous? tell me who

shrink the definition of who is "them" ­ to understand that, as important as our differences are, our common humanity matters more. The inability to embrace this fundamental value lies at the heart of peace and conflict throughout the world today, and of course in the Middle East.

Yitzhak Rabin understood this. My friend knew that the Middle East is highly interdependent, that there could be no final military victory: it would come only through peace and reconciliation based on our shared humanity. He worked tirelessly to forge a just, secure, and lasting peace with the Palestinians, and his ultimate sacrifice proved it.

While the events of the last several years have delayed the dream for which Yitzhak Rabin sacrificed his life, they in no way undermine the logic of his vision, the power of his faith, or the beauty of his gifts to us. Since his life was taken, we have seen the resolution of seemingly intractable conflicts in other regions of the world. In each instance, the parties decided that their interdependence compelled them to lay down their arms and embrace a concept of security through dialogue and cooperation, based on respect for our interesting differences, and the possibility of cooperation rooted in shared values, shared benefits, and shared responsibilities.

No one was more committed to the security of Israel than Yitzhak Rabin. No one understood better that maintaining that security requires a resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians, and a commitment to share a peaceful future with them.

In this spirit, the words of the late King Hussein at Yitzhak Rabin's funeral resound as powerfully today as they did several years ago:
"Let us not keep silent. Let our voices raise high to speak of our commitment to peace for all times to come. And let us tell those who live in darkness, who are the enemies of life and true faith, this is where we stand. This is our camp."

We must remember and honor both Yitzhak Rabin and his mission. The future must belong not to those who live in darkness, but to those who stand with Yitzhak Rabin for life and peace.

Name the author of this piece…..

Sunday, November 4, 2007



during a sermon today, in which the pastor asked openly for responses from the congregation regarding things they praised the Lord for, someone yelled out the word freedom.

now in my head i began thinking about what that meant. freedom as an answer in that instance can mean a few different things. first is freedom from a life of no hope. we could literally be enslaved by our sin and face an eternity in hell. fortunately we have freedom from sin through Christ Jesus, halleluia.

second is freedom of religion, something that gets walked all over in this country. something that does not mean what it used to. now a days we have individuals who express their freedom, in order to squash others’ freedom, especially that of religion.

next is freedom of speech, which thanks to some in the media and a few over paid lawyers who do nothing but work to find loopholes, is becoming more of a circus side show. freedom of speech is reserved for those who have enough money to fight the litany of thousands who feel you have no right to say or write what you want because it offends them. anymore if you are smart you say things or write them privately, so as not to cause a stir, or worse yet to be persecuted, or prosecuted. therefore, your freedom of speech is not what you think it is.

many in the united states brag about their freedoms, in fact they justify murder just to have this so called freedom. the funny thing is however that those precious freedoms are becoming as scarce as the humanity for which they stood in their primitive beginnings.

once upon a time, in a land far, far away (haha), ‘we the people’ meant something completely different than it does today. back then, our ancestors fought against those that would captivate us under their rule. there were those who did not want us to express our thoughts, share our religions or live the way we wanted to. it was their way or no way. the only freedom of choice was whether to live their way or die their way.

the united states was founded on that premise, that those who lived here could escape the tyranny of britain. soon, others came from other countries outside europe that also faced oppresions and persecutions in their homelands. getting to ‘america’ meant getting to the promised land of sorts.

soon, the usa became known as the ‘great melting pot’, where unlike any other country or place in the world, people from all walks and ethnic backgrounds and religious upbringings, could call home. at the same time, all these people were supposedly ‘free’ to express themeselves in a way they had never done before.

in the early 20th century, new forms of transportation made coming to ‘the new world’ easier than ever. america was the great melting pot like never before, as people arrived from all over the world by the thousands. new influences were beginning to take hold as big industry and world wide trade became commonplace.

throughout the last 300 years america has seen many changes, including what we consider to be our rights and freedoms as americans. most of us have taken these freedoms and rights for granted for so long, we no longer understand what our rights are nor what we are free to do. today, 'we the people' is the header for the class-action lawsuit you are joining in order to express yourself.

as i sat there this morning pondering all of this, it occurred to me to ask God for some light in this situation. it all came down to one simple fact; free country or not, i would be nowhere if not for the blood of Jesus. that is the only freedom i need in this place.

i fear that most people would deny Christ like peter did if faced with imprisonment. their so called freedom means that much to them. if terrorists walk down their street and demanded all the Christians come out with their hands up, what would they do?

freedom of expression needs to start with your faith and not your right to bear arms. freedom of speech needs to be a public announcement of who your savior is and not a denouncement of some book because it offends you. freedom of religion is your unique opportunity to share the good news with everyone and not an opportunity to bash someone else's beliefs.

more than anything else, be thankful for your freedom of choice. our God chooses to love you as you are, and for someone like me that seems hard to believe. i am free to praise Him. i am free to follow Him. i am free to sing to Him. regardless of my circumstances in this life, no matter where God puts me, i am free to be His child and free to accept His gracious gift of grace through His son.

and that's all the freedom i need.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


“I write about love and such, maybe cuz I want it so much. You know I’m not who I was”

What a great line from a good song. It’s funny the things we search for or more aptly long for when we are devoid of them in our lives in some way. Love for instance is a fairly common thing that the heart pines for. When you don’t have it you almost always seem to want some level of it. Whether from a parent, a child, a spouse or a friend, when we want to be loved, that desire has a tendency to override nearly every facet of our lives. It is that strong.

I have written about a lot of things but one thing sticks out in my mind more than any other as I look back over the last couple of years. My desire has been to be more public with how I feel in regards to my faith. In August I wrote a piece titled ‘therapy’ in which I suggested being extremely bold.

Since then I have started some new trends. For instance I sing out loud quite commonly to songs I enjoy. In the past, the songs were probably more secular so as to blend or seek commonality with a possible listener. Today I am singing songs from my favorite Christian alternative station and not just the lyrics that would normally be deemed socially acceptable in any circle.

Another trend is to concentrate on Jesus 24/7, not just Sunday mornings when my church buddies are watching. Focusing on Christ is becoming a daily habit. It isn’t easy but I knew none of this would ever be. It was understood from the beginning that I would have to work at this. The result of this regular focus has been in my being an example for Him. I want others to see it in my face, to witness it in my attitude and to know there is something different about me that is contagious.

In the past several years I have tried to better understand other philosophies and strongly held religious beliefs. For me to properly deal with the public that I am faced with daily, I must know what motivates them. For some it is simply the money in their wallet or the lack thereof. For others there is a strong sense of faith, regardless of alignment with what I believe. In regards to other religions I have had to ask some very difficult questions, such as; ‘How easy would it be for you to give up your faith?’

People like you and I travel through this life believing that their religion is right and yours and mine is wrong, even if the only difference is the denomination. Ultimately we condemn others for their hypocrisy and feel justified by simply saying that “they will get theirs, God will see to that”.

So we dwell in our own faith and accept Jesus as our Savior and go to church on Sunday and try our best to be the good little Christian we think we ought to be. We are honest most of the time and do good things occasionally and give of our time and resources when possible, all with the intention of seeing Christ upon his return. But what throws me is I know the first question that’s coming. Our Lord is going to ask “What did you do with my son?”

I have thought long and hard about that question and ultimately I have to answer first by saying that I helped put him on that tree. Christ would not have had to die if not for our sins, so therefore I am as responsible as the next person. But in that moment I hope to follow that up by saying that while I am undeserving and not worthy, it is His grace that washes over me and sets me free. In His name I am given the free gift of eternal life.

Lastly, if there’s time and God hasn’t cut me off for talking too much, I hope to say that because Jesus died on the cross for me, the impact led me to live a life of service and gratitude for Him while telling others the good news. I hope to say that my life had some sort of impact on the kingdom. I hope that just one soul found Jesus because of the way I lived my life, because of the example I provided.

So here it is, a bit of culmination to the script. It is one thing to be filled with the Holy Spirit and know the truth and be passionate about what you believe in, but most of us keep it to ourselves. There is that apprehension that we will be mocked and looked down upon. We don’t want the discrimination or the funny looks. We like most of our friends, Christian or otherwise.
We live two lives, our Sunday life where we give it all to God for a few hours in the morning and then the other life where we give it all to something or someone else. It’s not that we’re purposely that way, it just happens. The deal is this however, the only Christian people that see the way you’re living are the ones you see on Sunday. The rest of the week you tend to be surrounded by people who need to see Jesus in you who may not know who He is. The most important time of the week for exemplifying your Christian walk is from Monday to Saturday, not Sunday morning.

Trust me when I say this is an ongoing battle for me, but it is one that with God’s help I am winning.

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24 (The Message) says this,

"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
Don't suppress the Spirit, and don't stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.
May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it! "

These verses help define what our focus should be. Keeping our eyes on that which we can count on, no matter what this life throws at us.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, October 29, 2007

are you in line?

Let me preface this conversation by saying that my patience is wearing thin. It’s not that I hate anyone, in fact its best that no names are used so no ones feelings get hurt, but here we go…and what I mean to say is, excuse me whilst I grab the old box to stand on for this next tirade, or sermon rather.

The season for which I find myself is this, one of patience and kindness and understanding. Seriously, I think I could sit someone on the couch these days and listen real intently and then offer some real life changing advice. Of course there are a few pieces of wood that would have to be removed from the sofa first, but I’m sure you understand, and in fact would wait a few minutes while I hauled them past you into the waiting room. I need to provide seating you know.

Clearly there is contradiction here. First my patience is wearing thin then I say that I am in a season of patience. I know, hard to follow, hard to understand, but I can explain. The patience that I do have seems to be in a holding pattern. Occasionally I come across people in my life who deserve it and then there are those that don’t. So maybe the season is more about discernment than patience, but stick with me here.

It’s like this for me really. I go back and forth all the time. I have been called ADD (attention deficit disorder) by friends. It might have something to do with the gallons of coffee I consume daily, but that is merely speculation. What I do know is this, I have compassion some days and complete disdain on others. Does this happen to you too? There are days I could buy the world a soda and teach it to sing and then there are other times I want to smack half of ‘em upside the head and ask where they left their collective brains.

The only thing, and I mean LITERALLY the only thing that keeps me sane most days are the conversations I have with God, who seems to be constantly reminding me how little I am in comparison to the big picture. So of course I listen intently as He always has some real enlightening things to say. Mostly what I hear Him tell me is that I need to be more patient. So I try that, for about an hour, and it works great too, for about an hour.

If you know me well enough you know I talk a lot, but I think more than I talk, imagine that one. There is no time I am not thinking of something, except maybe when sleeping and there is room for debate there. So with all this thinking going on I am always bombarded with rational and irrational thoughts pertaining to everyday living and the day to day interaction with those around me.

I like to believe that I am insightful, that the majority of the thoughts that pervade my head are above par and leading to bigger things. But as I am constantly reminded by He who is omni-insightful, I am not quite there yet.

When I was younger I believed that most intelligence was book bought and therefore required not just much thought and concentration on subject matter, but much open discussion relating to any given topic. So therefore I talked a lot, about everything.

As I have aged I have discovered that much learning can also be had by little or no dialogue, simply by listening and observing the time and space that surrounds each of us. By paying attention to most of the little details of my day I have ascertained that most people are just here for the free t-shirt, the one that says “huh?”

So naturally I have to ask myself a few tough questions, like do I want my kids to be as insightful as I portend to be or to just “jellyfish it” through life. Do I need to just pray more for peace and understanding and concentrate on what I can do for Him and His kingdom? Maybe its time to get in line for the shirt.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.



Why do we let a political view, republican or democrat, cloud our religious and biblical landscapes? Is it that we somehow equate God as being a part of one or the other party? How often do we forget that the men in power are just that, men. Men who are, and have been for centuries, corrupted by power. Failing to follow Jesus’ guidelines of being a servant to those who serve, of striving for peace in any situation. Avoiding conflict, being content and living beyond reproach. In the end, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Look at the field of science. Since the late 1700’s, man has been quite literally obsessed with explaining every little thing in the universe. Without proper evidence to support many theories, man turned to the only thing it could use, rational thought based on repeated testing to create a consistent and so called factual result. With these "factual results" men of science began to wield a new kind of power, that of influence based on, of all things, theory.

And what if the resuls are less than expected? Skew the data to provide the best possible outcome. Don’t believe me? This is the science of man, always has been and always will be. A world filled with the greatest skeptics on the planet. Hell bent on proving a point for the good of man kind, or at least scientific kind. The power that is afforded some scientists is staggering. It is not uncommon for some of these men to refer to themselves as gods.

pardon my musings today, it's just some thoughts i've had...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


a wise man once said, “i’m either up or i’m getting up but i am never down.”

recovering from failure starts with accepting that failure, which leads to understanding and then ultimately to learning from the failure, provided you are paying attention long enough to see the point.
learning from our failures, or mistakes, is not only key but a paramount necessity in this life. however, all too often what happens is the opposite, we live in the moment. we almost welcome the depression, if only to prove to others how we have survived, because everyone loves the tough survivor type.
tattoos are the rage these days you know. we carve our mistakes on our arms for everyone to see. we are told we are tougher for having been through an ordeal but we never do anything about it really. we don’t learn from it, we just make a plaque. we don’t use the opportunity to grow, we blame someone or something else and then do it again. after all we’re vindicated for our actions, or more aptly our mistakes. it must be the way we were raised, or where we were brought up, or the car we drive or the clothes we wear that makes us do the bad things we do. those things are what make us experience the failures in life.
now, let me step off the soapbox for a second and explain a few things. first, accepting failure means taking responsibility for yourself. you are not, nor will you ever be while on this planet, perfect. the crap you buy or the pills you take will not fix this problem. accept who you are for who you are, an imperfect being. now accept something else, God loves you for who you are now, he’s not waiting until you get yourself through therapy.
look around. the people you see that are the happiest are not that way because they have money. it’s not because they took a better pill or spent more time with the shrink. it’s not because they live in a nicer part of town or drive a nicer car. what sets the happy people apart is no secret. in fact your mother has been telling you for years. of course we all think our parents are outmoded and simply have no clue, so we stopped listening a long time ago.
mom always said, if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all (love your neighbor). mom always said, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit (contentment). dad always said, if you don’t have time to do something right the first time the second time will be worse (focus). dad always said, we’ll get there when we get there (patience).
we are so self absorbed in our own lives that we miss so much. when we experience failure we wrap ourselves in it. then failure throws a saddle on us and rides us until we’re broken. and we buy into it every time. stop.
secondly, learning from our failures is really quite simple. when confronted with a mistake, accept it and look at it for a second. then ask one question. God, what can you show me from this that will make me a better person so that i might be more equipped for the next time? don’t spend time analyzing it or telling everyone you know, take it to God.
God is standing at the plate of your life, ready to hit that failure out of the park. you have to serve it up (and lay it down) for God to take it and teach you through it all. (pardon the baseball reference but it is october).
third and last is this. after accepting your failure and then learning from it with God’s help, move on. self deprecating behavior is not flattering, no matter how tight your jeans are or how great you look in that muscle shirt. your learning from a failure will do more good in your life as well as everyone else’s, than wasting away declaring how bad things are around you. move on.
and it’s not the happy people that want you to move forward, it’s all the pretentious self important people who feel you’re stealing their lime light. so get over it and move on, because i promise you, there are many more failures headed your way. it is an unfortunate byproduct of who we are. but there is hope. as you learn from the past, it will help you be prepared for the future and whatever this life throws at you. this explains the happy people.
they are not wallowing. they are not worried about tomorrow, at least not so you can see. they are content with what they have. they are nice to their neighbors and friends and even the strangers they come in contact with. they are patient. and they take the time to do some things right. are they perfect? not by a long shot. but they are learning as they go and becoming wiser for it.
learn to love those around you. be content with what you have. focus on the important things. and be patient. your failures will seem mighty small when your energy isn’t completely sapped from shining a spotlight on them for everyone to see.
forgive others for their shortcomings, and know that God forgives you for yours. then you can learn to forgive yourself. then you can move on. then you can find some happiness. besides, i know a few people that might want their soap box back.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Have you missed me? I’ve missed you, really I have. I write a lot but lately have been writing for no one, just randomly posting thoughts on some of my favorite sites and starting and not finishing some pieces that aren’t quite ready to post.

I hate being preoccupied, being caught up in something that takes away from what I would rather be doing, but then who doesn’t? I have to admit that this past summer has been good from the standpoint of simply enjoying the weather. But then I got conflicted. And then there was a little hiccup in the middle that made it a whole lot easier to relax. But what I didn’t do this year was work like a dog the whole summer.

Changing jobs was not in the plan but ultimately it all worked out. I just had to let go of the wheel long enough to realize that I wouldn’t crash if I just remembered who was really driving. I kind of prefer the white knuckle approach myself but lately the knuckles were losing feeling from a loss of circulation, if you catch my drift.

So now I feel like I can concentrate on whatever again, maybe post about once a week or more. I have to shy away from politics though. I found that after one of my last posts (see, “I have a theory”), I was very angry and didn’t want to write about anything. Then I took my frustrations to the web and found some good outlets with which to vent.

The baseball playoffs are here, GO BOSTON!!! I have no allegiance for Boston actually but I know a guy who hates Boston so much that he has a bet going with another guy I know that if Boston goes to the World Series, this first guy is going to shave his head. Keep in mind that this guy is 48, has never had a bald head and if and when this happens, he will be mistaken for an alien from 1975. There will be pictures.

College football is also here, GO WAZZU. Of course the team I like is miserable again this year, just like last year. So maybe I should root for a team that has a chance to go somewhere at the end of the season, like maybe the Ducks. I don’t know though, there’s just something so tame about a duck as a mascot, it doesn’t exactly strike fear in the heart of an opponent. Of course, come to think of it, same goes for the Beavers, but at least they have two College World Series championships to their credit in the past two years.

Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, winter is here. I would like to say that fall is here but around these parts, apparently fall is over in about a week. We get right into winter with a bang, no sneaking up to it over the course of several weeks. There is a real chance of snow overnight already, and we just hit October!! I just barely got the shorts and t-shirts put away and now I’m trying to remember where I put my good hat and gloves. Tomorrow when I leave for work I have been advised to dress warmly and watch for ice on the road. It’s supposed to be 31 degrees by 6am!!

I hope all is going well in your lives. I hope that you are right where God wants you right now. I hope you are searching for new ways to praise Him. Look for more from me right away and thank you for reading.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

i have a theory

i have asked this before and not provided an answer. profundity is really a teacher who just talks a lot, it's up to you to ask the hard questions and then furthermore, demand an answer.

if war is not the answer, who keeps asking the same stupid question? we are so infinitely infantile, and that is not meant to be a cliche`. history will ultimately provide proof that we lack the foresight to forge ahead, or more importantly, to "stay the course".

believe what you will, think what you want. i am unwilling to confront this issue any longer for fear that political status means lack of faith. take your shots, my skin is most likely thicker than you think.

take the time to read this interview with James Carroll. it is intriguing to say the least. i welcome your comments and if you like, will engage in a forum if requested.

peace and love to you all.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

random thoughts

Mutual respect is not merely passed down from generation to generation, but more importantly it is taught, first willingly, then inherently. It is first received with wanting and then with knowing. D

Don’t run with ideas, you might poke someone’s eye out. D

Positive thinking without any skill isn’t worth the thought. D

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the one who makes me who I am. D

Take the risks you cannot afford to take. Batterson

Prosperity is more difficult to take than troublesome times. Batterson

We have a tendency to believe that God is only as big as our largest problem. Based on that theory, we can choose to walk away from God and He is powerless to do anything about it because He is not that big. D

I came into this world with nothing and I still have most of it left. Anon

No brain, no headache. D

Pain is temporary, eventually we all die. D

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. D

A lie told often enough becomes the truth. Lenin

A father is a man who expects his children to be as good as he meant to be. Coats

I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details. Einstein

…now I have insight…and foresight. I use to lack both until hindsight kicked in and kicked me, right where it hurt. D

Life is…what you allow other people to help you make it. D

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

from michelle

For my regular readers, this is a guest spot from my sister in law who lives up north of Seattle. The cause seemed more than worthy and I am honored to share with you about what she has accomplished.

Forwarded from Michelle Roberts:

Just wanted to let you all know that we did it! Each person on my team wasn't able to walk all 60 miles, but I made it!
I just wanted to say thank you for all of your support, be it monetary, phone calls, text messages and your thoughts and prayers.
If you had asked me on friday night if I would do this again I would have told you that you must be drinking your bathwater again cuz there was no way. Yet, Sunday rolled around and I already knew that I wanted to do it again. I thought that raising the money would be the hard part, but compared to walking that was a piece of cake. For those of you who live around here we walked the first day from Bellevue to the airport, via Renton. It was about 25 miles. Thank goodness some of our teammates were faster and they pitched our tents for us. My girlfriend, Trish got 100 yards from camp and the largest of her dozen (yes, that's dozen) blisters ripped open. Medical wouldn't allow her to walk on Saturday. Saturday was down and around and over the river and through the woods. Inever really knew where we were, but it was a 20 mile jaunt. Sunday was the most beautiful day ever! For one, we knew we only had 15 miles to go (who would ever think that I would be e xcited about ONLY walking 15 miles!) and the weather was gorgeous! We were bussed over to West SEattle as they didn't want us walking through White Center (they didn't feel like dealing with a shooting, and neither did we!) and we walked along Alki. You could see the Space Needle across the water and it was a sight. We walked past the Mariner and Seahawk stadiums, just as the Seahawk fans were walking in for opening day (we went from a sea of pink to a sea of blue for a bit). We ended at Seattle Center and people galore. Jeff and the boys and the moms came down to meet me and I've never been so glad to see them. I had hit a wall on Saturday at lunch and just wanted my family. I knew that I could get through it. The best saying on a shirt this weekend kept me going: Blisters don't bad as chemo does. Doesn't that just say it all?
I have already decided to do this next year and if anyone wants to join us there is always room. If you don't think that you can walk it think about volunteering. They will have walks in 14 different cities next year and they can use all the help that they can get. The only paid personnel are the on-site security guards that watch over camp after lights out.
Thanks again for all of your help. I have lots of pictures and can't wait to scrap them soon.
love to you all!

--Help me fight Breast CAncer by sponsoring me in The Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk

Friday, September 7, 2007



If God’s timing is perfect, how come we don’t always like the outcome? I mean, if the timing is so great, why are there times when we wish it had happened sooner, or later depending on the circumstances? If I was in control of the timing, wouldn’t I have a better idea of what was best? Opportunities would come my way like jobs or monetary gains or relationships, all at exactly when I needed and wanted them. Poof, I’ve got the perfect job and the perfect wife and I’m loaded. The funny thing is I would mess it all up and find myself having to start over all the time.

God gives us what we can handle at precisely the moment we are ready for it. Sometimes we don’t think so, but God does. It doesn’t matter if the something is good or bad. God grants us opportunities to grow in one way or another, either through trials or blessings. In either case, God is testing us to see if we are ready for the next challenge, ready to take on more of what he has in store for our lives.

Ultimately, God is our barometer, he is the indicator of change in our lives. Everyday you get up something is different from the day before, there will never be two days that are exactly the same. God is with us in each and every moment as our lives change and yes, they change each moment. For those that fear change I have some bad news for you, your life is ever changing and there is no point in trying to stop it.

When change happens we need to remember that God is bigger than anything that comes our way. Regardless of whether the change is good or bad, our perception or more importantly our view is largely based on how big a part God plays in our lives. If we implicitly trust God to be our guide through this life, there is literally no change in your life that you will not end up thanking God for.

Honestly that seems like a major leap of faith, to trust God so much that no matter what, we know that He has it covered. But knowing the end result of where we are headed, we need to keep our eyes on the prize and believe that this life is more than a parade.

God’s timing is always good, it is something I can hang my hat on everyday. The sun comes up again and I know that He is there working through the changes in my life, ensuring that I see His goodness in all of it.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Monday, September 3, 2007

i can

I can’t do it. I tried, I really did. I tried over and over again until it hurt. Attempt after attempt made no difference, eventually I had to admit I was not going to get there. Finally I gave up and asked for help. At first I fought the help because I knew it made me look incapable. Then when the help seemed to be working I started thinking maybe I could just pick it up from there and things would be fine. Maybe I could take over again and do it my way. Maybe no one would notice that I had been helped and would think I had it all figured out now, that I was just as good as ever.

But it didn’t work out that way. Instead I got busted for trying to cheat the system. I was found out for the fraud that I am. I was put on a list of all the failures out there, shown for the loser I really am. I made excuse after excuse, you would have thought I had written a book on giving excuses. In fact I could probably teach seminars to people who need more excuses in their lives. My story was now public and there was no going back. From here on out the road would be rough and there would be no sympathy for this weary traveler.

Convinced the sun would not shine on me anymore I sought seclusion. The best answer to being exposed by the light is to seek the cover of darkness. I plunged into the depths, looking for peace and quiet. I begged that no one would find me there. I wanted to be left alone, to wither away. It’s not that I disliked the sun, it’s just that I no longer felt its’ warmth the way I used to.

So down I dug, accepting the coldness, embracing the dark. Names don’t matter down here, faces aren’t important. Who you know is only an issue if you can’t carry on a conversation with yourself. The walls are friends, so is the ground. They don’t talk back but they are always there to lean on or lay on. They might be cold but there is no sudden exposure to fear, no concern for being found out by them.

But loneliness is no picnic. Empathy only works when there is some else in your life. The walls don’t count. You can hide for a long time as I have discovered, but eventually there are needs that surface, like companionship. So the attitudes have to change subtly in order to adjust to interfacing with other people. But alas, ambiguity becomes your soul mate. When confronted with society, with the intention of belonging, relationships become meetings that one must attend. Just as in the darkness, names and faces don’t matter. Predicting the flow of a conversation is easy and soon you can have the same one with everyone. It’s almost as if you are talking to yourself again.

Then one day you find yourself face to face with the sun. Something about it is appealing. You try and recall what it was, grasping for a memory or two, trying to remember. There is a touch of warmth and then it hits you. Slowly at first then more intensely you begin to sense something wonderful is taking place, but you have been so out of touch for so long that there is no natural progression. No first step and then the next, no graduation to some greater feeling. So you sit there stumped as to what could be taking place.

Seeking answers to these misplaced feelings is like only knowing English and trying to read Hebrew. I’m going the wrong way and I’m on the wrong page. What appears to be possible solutions are really just more questions that lead to further confusion. But this feeling is taking over now and the warmth I felt as a kid is returning whenever I think of the sun. The feeling is even greater when confronted with it.

Soon, all I seek is to be in that warmth, even if I don’t have all the answers. There are still many strangers around here, I know so few of them by face, let alone by name. But there is something about these faces. The same warmth I feel from the sun is somehow radiating from these people as well. There is compassion, there is a sense of belonging and there is hope. Hope that I will not have to retreat back to that place of darkness.

I don’t come out here seeking empathy. All I ever wanted was to get it right. When my best efforts failed and I sought help I thought I had to sell my very being to get it. What I never understood back then was how easy it was to get the help. It’s not that I didn’t know better, I suppose I knew all along, but there is no manual for this sort of thing, for life. Or at least that’s what I used to believe.

It has taken many years to come to the conclusion that help is something we get, and equally as important it is something we give. When you come face to face with the sun and know there is something special about it, understand that we are all underneath the same one. We are all seeking help in some way and we all have the ability to help in one way or another.

Living this life right takes many things. It takes patience, maturity, education and wisdom. It takes time and energy. In some cases it takes money. Most of all it takes help, and not just getting it but giving it too. Starting with the right attitude will get you a long way, but eventually you will come to a place where someone knows more than you do and you have to ask for help. If you don’t, you may find yourself talking to the walls. If you do, tell them hi for me, but the view is much better up here.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

why me?

why me?

In the space of time from birth to adulthood, we usually face a trial or two. Some folks are lucky enough to go through more than the class average. Undoubtedly you have gone through a valley or two and wondered why. Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes not. It has been said that these times build character, but more often than not they tend to build resentment and bitterness, which leads to cynicism and a hardened heart.

Imagine if building character was the goal. That means you would purposely seek out hard times just to go through them. A little sick in the head don’t you think? Sort of like masochism without the gratification (yikes). If that were true, that means someone like Martin Luther King Jr. meant to get shot. Think about that one for a sec.

It could be said that certain people throughout history have martyred themselves for purposes other than the common good. We all can think of at least one within our generation. But let’s be clear here, you don’t go through trials on purpose. Not many people I know get up in the morning and say, “I hope someone craps in my Wheaties”.

We are programmed to be an emotional race. We are sensitive; we cry at the appropriate time in a sad movie. We are caring; we mourn the loss of a loved one and also delight in new life. We are giving; whether tragedy or a great cause, we give because we can and we want to. Of course there are the scrooges, but even old Ebenezer was eventually warmed to the emotion of the human spirit.

When faced with tragedy in our own lives, we go through phases of emotions. But one thing is rarely evident; someone who is happy to be going through troubled water. Every once in a while we witness someone like that and shake our heads, somewhat in disbelief but also in respect. Most of us are not capable of holding our heads high when faced with some of life’s worst situations.

Learning to accept the trials is one thing, navigating through a wicked storm without a map is another (I hope you get my inference). To top it all off, imagine doing so with a smile on your face! Imagine welcoming a large wave that might sink your ship!! So maybe masochism is not the right word here, maybe the old elevator doesn’t go to the top floor anymore, if you know what I mean.

But here’s the crazy thing about it. Every person I have ever met who has mastered this ability to walk through life’s biggest pits with joy, are anything but nuts. In fact I would say they are some of the sanest people I have ever met. These people have a peace I just don’t get. I mean, I know what it is but wow, I don’t have it. Or do I? Based on the awareness of such individuals I am plagued with self doubt. How do I get to that place of joy while in the midst of suffering?

The answer is there, the problem is I have a tendency to launch into tactical self support mode where no one can solve the issues but me. Or at the very least no one has my best interests at heart so therefore I have no choice but to attack it with everything I’ve got. The real bummer here though is that sometimes the problems are bigger than I am and I get in over my head. Even in those times I’m still looking for my own solutions. Bent on fixing it my way, with my agenda, all based on my plan. Of course we all know what happens there, the bad gets worse and things get real ugly, people get hurt, mistakes are made and someone ends up in a real mess.

For the past 10 years or so my track record has looked good. But lately, the wounds beneath the self applied band-aids are beginning to show. The scars are evident in a few places and there is some explaining to do. My best efforts have fallen short, I think I need a coach. Someone who understands a thing or two about weathering the really tough storms, because I got a funny feeling that a few waves are on their way.

I’m not advocating for doom and gloom here but I know this much for sure, trials are assured in this life, count on them. The difference for me now is I have joy knowing what lies ahead. Whatever gets tossed at me is something I will have to deal with but I finally feel ready. Not just prepared but in a way, I am looking forward to the next wave, if for no other reason than to know I am blessed no matter what happens. I will get through it and be better for it, knowing I have asked and prayed for light in the darkness.

Neither you nor I can control what comes next, but we can control how we react. Even more importantly we can ask God what He wants us to get out of these situations. Stop asking ‘why me?’ and start thanking Him for the opportunity to grow. Start praising Him because He cares enough to prune you from time to time.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


is it possible that blogging is therapeutic? maybe i should be paying myself, or maybe i just owe myself too much. either way, somebody better be keepin tabs on the guy sittin on the couch; i know him and he's definitely a little looney (seriously far reaching inside joke there).

when something is made public for all to see and hear and read, and there are simple steps to take advantage of whatever it is, why hesitate? let's say that every hour on the hour, a large stack of cash appears atop your dresser. you would never leave the house. or on your birthday you got a free cruise around the world, all you had to do was recite the alphabet backwards. you would have the letters tattooed on your arms so as to never forget the order.

opportunities come and go. some are good and some are bad. we assess them quickly so we can keep moving. if it's worth anything, we take advantage of it. otherwise it gets tossed out with all the unwanted trash.

short of the plethora of stupid people who don't know any better anyway and walk in blindness and maddening ignorance, there are a good portion of individuals who do know better. but here's the part that probably qualifies for dumbest of all, those of us that know, we keep it quiet as if there's a limit to how many can know at once.

i just can't keep it quiet anymore. i tried for a long time. maybe i was ashamed. maybe it was a lack of confidence, who knows. either way, if i don't speak up i'm just as guilty as the one who ignores what has been written on his heart.

what will people think? let's find out. my job is not to cruise through and make a few friends along the way. in fact, i don't want to consider this life a job at all. more of a mission really.
the mission is simple. tell others what you know. lead by example and most important, believe. and as you believe, develop a relationship, one that will shape your future for an eternity.

my life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him.

Peace to you all.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

lemonade drinker

when life throws you lemons, should you really make lemonade? maybe juggling the lemons would be more fun. or what if you threw them back? what would life do? would life make lemonade? it's clear to me that life has a very large lemon grove in it's backyard and probably has some sort of clue as to how to make lemonade, you would think so anyway.
lemons are sour, but when paired with the right amount of sugar, lemons are great and can be enjoyed by nearly anyone. lemon juice goes well with fish. a wedge of lemon is great in water or iced tea or even select beers. but the sheer thought that making lemonade from lemons as a cure for life's problems seems a little odd to me. if life were so simple, we would all be genetically addicted to massive quantities of lemonade.
some of life's problems are no fun. sweet, sour or otherwise. making lemonade might quench a temporary thirst, but when you get a real curveball in life, your thirst is probably not your first priority. in fact, if you have a real issue, you might reach for something a little stronger than good old lemonade.
when you are on the ropes, so to speak, you have many options on dealing with your problems. you could call your mom or your sister. your therapist or your priest. your best friend or your co-worker. the list goes on but we like to share our grief, it makes the pain easier to bear. you could write it down, sing a song or come out with another self help book (i'm sure we need more self help books). hey, you could tell the whole world.
the most difficult thing to do is carry the burden by yourself. walking around with a hundred pound weight on your back is no fun, but for the sake of martyrdom, some will do anything. it's as if by managing the pain alone you can somehow attach a special life badge to your chest to show off at parties. the truth here is that many do just that, for no other reason than to show how mentally strong they are. meanwhile they are a psychological and emotional mess that is one small problem away from snapping for good.
what if there was someplace you could go with this baggage other than the carousel at the airport. other than dropping it at the feet and heart of someone you know or are related to. have you ever considered that sharing your burdens with other people only adds to the burdens of that person? don't get me wrong, if someone i know is really suffering i want nothing more than to help if possible. but what if i am suffering too and my own emotional well being is spent on my own issues? how valuable am i to you when you need someone to talk to?
i am not suggesting that you have to precede all conversations with a probe. the fact is that we all have issues and demons and problems. some are bigger than others, but each person deals with these things differently. you and i may go through an event that looks exactly the same from the outside, but you may sink and i may swim. we are all wired uniquely.
the great thing about that is this; people who have been through certain fires and not only lived to tell about it but came through virtually unscathed, are the best candidates for coming along side someone else who is going through the same thing, and being the greatest help to that person.
however, while that sounds all warm and fuzzy it is not always the most realistic. we lead busy lives and there are days where we do not have enough time to deal with our own issues, let alone someone elses. so we carry the burden alone or we drop it at the feet of someone that may not be able to do anything with it.
if it's bad to carry this alone and possibly just as bad to throw this at someone else, what next? surely there must be ways of getting the issues of your day and life out into the open where they can be parsed and dealt with.
what you seek ultimately is clarity. answers are hard to come by and sometimes impossible. but clarity is what you have regardless of an outcome provided you fully understand the circumstances. and having clarity leads to having peace, something we all have a terrible way of taking for granted.

some will tell you that time heals all wounds, they are wrong. i will tell you that exposing your wounds to the one who has paid the greatest price and has scars to prove it is where the healing starts and ends.
in His arms we can feel safe, knowing that He can handle all of our concerns and problems, no matter how big or how small. you question that? give it a shot. there is no greater peace than when you have asked Jesus into your heart and allowed Him to bring clarity to your life. your problems are nothing, He carries the weight of the world on His back for real and has room for more. All He asks is that you believe, and in doing so that you share the good news with everyone you know.
so while lemonade is enjoying to drink, it will not bring you clarity, i don't care what you put in it. clarity can be had by laying your burdens down at the feet of the one person who can actually handle anything you throw at Him. trust me on that one, i have thrown Him some real doozies over the years and He is still standing there asking for more.
Peace to you.

Sunday, August 5, 2007



Something I seem to lose track of from time to time. Most people who know me understand it, the fact that my ego has a tendency to become the size of a small town. I condescend for the sake of legitimacy, it appears to work or at least it used to. Funny thing is now I have insight…and foresight. I use to lack both until hindsight kicked in and kicked me, right where it hurt.

It is fair to suggest I have hurt many. It is also fair to say I have done so with reckless abandon and no concern for humanity and emotion, at least at times. For many years I traipsed on the hearts of those around me, with the belief that I was not only superior, but if not me, then who was going to point out their flawed logic and lack of understanding. It’s as if I never left that blissful age of ignorance and youthful exuberance, where one is always right and how dare you question me, you idiot!!

Then something odd occurred, I got saved and found Jesus and invited Him into my heart and began re-learning all the blessed truths I had grown up with. I found truth and a deeper understanding of life, not just here on earth but for all eternity. Fantastic, some would say. Praise God, others would shout. It’s about time, even more would yell.

Now for the really odd…so hang on. Just when I should be practicing and preaching this good news that I have recently found (again), I find myself reading the New Testament with a sense of alarm. Of course there is the amazing and powerful section in Matthew 22:34-40 that speaks of loving God first and then your neighbor. That all of God’s Law and the Prophets hangs on these two commands, these pegs that hold everything else up.

But while Jesus was explicitly clear about loving God and our neighbor, about loving our enemy and living a life for God, He was also very clear about a few other key traits that followers of Him must do. For instance, grow up. We are kingdom subjects and we need to live like it. Living generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward us. You notice there is no mention of God living in animosity towards us right? You notice that God is not at war with us, or do you have a new version of the Bible I haven’t read yet? Oops, there’s that sarcasm again, sorry.

Jesus was blunt, at times even a bit sarcastic himself. In Mark 7:18 Jesus asked the crowd if they “were being willfully stupid”, in regards to the real source of pollution. It’s not what goes in, it’s what comes out, like vomit but from the heart. “Obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness, all these are vomit from the heart”.

So is my intolerance a version of arrogance all over again? Or is the intent of my heart to see that others find Jesus and understand that we are to leave this old life behind and begin anew? That when you find Jesus and invite Him in, you learn that you have to let go of childish ways and graduate to His ways. There is no walking on the fence. There is only one way, for no one goes to the Father except through Jesus Christ the Son.

So many would suggest that we as Christians have no place to judge. In truth we all fall short of the glory of God. However when a brother or sister is failing, aren’t we instructed to admonish and to hold accountable and correct? Pardon me for finding a neat way around using the word “judge” here. If you claim to be walking with God but blatantly go against His word, aren’t I as a loving Christian supposed to expose this problem to you and if you refuse to listen, aren’t I suppose to go to 2 or 3 others within the community or church as a step towards reproof?

With this said it is also important to remember the plank in one’s own eye before pointing out the one in your friend’s eye. However, provided you are living right, it is clearly our duty to be examples to the lost, as well as other believers who are in need of that “shining light”.

This is the blond hair of a tightrope we must walk between self-righteousness and self-aggrandizement. The difference between believing you are right and behaving smugly, and knowing you are right and aggressively waving your knowledge in everyone’s faces.

Let me put it this way, instead of using the word “judge” which infers I am wearing some black robe and waving a gavel, how about if you picture me as a signpost with a very important message. That message is an imperative one that if you miss you alone may be held responsible for your lack of observance. Remember that the NEW Covenant has been written on our hearts, there is no escaping that.

Too often we mistake the concept of judging someone with the very real fact of condemning them. If you are that guilty already, me pointing out your shortcomings, right or wrong on my part, is a clear indication you missed the message on the signpost.

So in retrospect, let’s cut to the chase here. First, I am as lost as you are in so much as I need His grace and have no hope of eternity without it. I must have Jesus at the center of my heart and my life and confess the very real sins for which I commit everyday. Those sins are not committed out of some sort of spite, I am a fallen man in a fallen world and need nothing except the real forgiveness that our Lord offers through his Son’s death on the cross. My accepting that is the first and greatest step towards eternity with Him (P.S. there’s your signpost message, don’t miss it).

Second, recognize that I am not here to “judge” you. Get over yourself for once and figure out real quick that this is not about you, it never has been. God wants you to be saved but this life is not yours, it’s His.

Third, no matter who you are or where you’ve been or what you’ve done in this life, Jesus accepts you now. Don’t stress over the stains, we all have them. Don’t freak out about the mess, He will help you clean it up. But remember, if I am pointing out a stain it’s not cuz I think you’re a bad person. I want nothing more than for you to make this life beautiful by bringing glory to Him because you are of Him.

Lastly, I would be honored to be counted as your brother. It would bring me great satisfaction to be holding your hand when we walk into His presence. I am first His servant in this life and as such wish for many others to be saved by Him and live lives that impact the Kingdom.
Take the next step and take responsibility for yourself as a kingdom subject. First by being humble in His sight, and then by seeking to be humble to this world, as Christ was humble in our sight.

Peace and Love to you all.