Tuesday, November 25, 2003

i hate goodbyes

i said goodbye to a friend today. i thought i had done it last week, but something in me just couldn't let things end the way they had. not that it was bad or anything, it just felt incomplete somehow. so i called him up this morning and asked if i could come over for a few. when i walked in, i realized i had never been to the man's house. wierd. we've been friends for a year, our church is less than two miles from his front door, and i'd never been there. hmmmm
anyway, we spent a great hour together. we talked about american sexual politics and queer eye for the straight guy (which neither of us have seen or understand the fascination with) and religion in america and conspiracy theories and me writing a book and him finished his CD and his new place in the mountains and how his girlfriend is going crazy over this move to virginia. he worked on a 50 year old reel for his fishing pole and i kept him distracted from his nicotine withdrawls (he quit smoking yesterday). country music blared in the background and his part of the conversation was laced with some of the most creative profanity i have ever experienced. (he is quite an artist) there was very little "spiritual" about it, but God was there.
my friend grabbed my heart the first time we met. he is a local musician and he came in to our open mic one thursday. i'm not sure he knew what to think of the place or of us. he asked me if it was ok if he cussed in his songs. i don't know if he could have performed them if i had said no. our journey in the year since then has been one of sharing songs and hanging out at open mics and that's about it. he did come to a picnic our church had last summer and i went to a party / concert for him this summer and i went to his house today, that's about it. he told me once that he didn't know why we were friends -- he had no use for most christians and sure didn't like pastors. i'm glad i get to be the exception. we talked about a lot of things and agreed on very little, but we are friends.
after we talked for an hour or so i went out to my car and brought in the bible i bought for him. i was nervous about how it would be received, but i shouldn't have been. he knows me, he knows where i am coming from, he probably expected this last conversation to be about his soul and hell and all of that. he was touched by it i think. he told me he hadn't had one in years. i didn't "witness" to him, i didn't really even tell him to read it, i just wanted him to have it. he doesn't need me telling him what to do, he knows, he just has to decide to buy in for himself. God i pray he does.
he thanked me. we hugged. i told him i thought he was a good guy, he said i was ok too. he promised to send me a picture of him on the back porch of his new house and a CD when he finishes it. i told him i would talk to him soon and his reply was "it ain't over".
i was crying before i got to my car, that's so wierd to me. i'm fascinated by how much i feel a connection to this guy, but that is a conversation for another time. i don't feel terribly analytical at the moment. just sad.

Godspeed my friend

Thursday, November 20, 2003

fun with irony

just a few things that have crossed my mind over the last few days

isn't it ironic (thanks alanis)

that pastors who insist on being called "pastor" or "reverend" or "doctor" (if they skated through the silly DMin program) because "they have earned it" still call the PhD's and MD's in their churches Mike or Janet

that "christian" retail has made millions of dollars asking what a man who had nothing would do? (WWJD)

that al franken (author of "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat, Idiot" and "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them") would call bill o'reilly angry and bitter (he may be, i just think it's funny)

that "christian" people put the stolen image of a copywritten work (Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes) on the back of their car saying"praise the Lord" or kneeling at the cross

that's enough for now. it's not quite rain on your wedding day, but it works for me.

as you move on, enjoy the following thought from Con Air
["Sweet Home Alabama" plays in background.]
Garland Greene: "Define irony: a bunch of idiots dancing around on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash. "

tip your waitress, she's working hard for you

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

cool stuff in my world

ok, i was told today that i am disappointing my audience because i haven't blogged in a week. audience? ok, well sorry to both of you, but i promise i have a good reason (excuse)
1. it's hard to accomplish much of anything with two sick kids. it seems like every time i stop to think or write or do much of anything, one of our sick ones is in need. so instead of firing off random thoughtsfor the world at large, i have been wiping noses and cleaning buckets (use your imagination) and changing movies. it might shock you to know that i have realized that i was never called to be a nurse.
2. amazon and dave matthews have combined to drop some really cool stuff into my world over the past few days.
i got to spend a lot of the past week reading blue like jazz and the five people you meet in heaven. both are amazing books. blue like jazz is honestly one of the best books i have ever read. it is this guy just talking about his journey and the people who have been and are a part of it. it is a search for a deeper christianity than what gets trotted out on the average sunday morning or purpose driven life seminar. it is as well-written as anything i've read, especially from the "christian" media.
five people is an quick easy read. it is not a christian book so, go ahead and check your theology at the door. it deals with the connectedness of all of us to each other and how our lives mean more and affect more than we will ever realize.
in the midst of all my reading, i got my copy of dave matthews band's new live CD from their central park concert earlier this fall. WOW. i spent 3 hours last night listening through it (and didn't hear all of it).
so there you go. not terribly exciting or thought-provoking, but at least you had something to read for a minute or two.

go get blue like jazz

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

the first thing i hear this morning

"j, there's a snake in nathan's room!" now i don't know what passes for normal, first-thing-in-the-morning conversation at your house, but around here, that's not it. it is impossible, short of going to the videotape (of which, thank God, there is none) to describe the comedy of errors that ensued. i don't know if it is because neither one of us has slept much the last two nights (nathan is sick) or that i just haven't watched the croc hunter in a while, but clearly this morning i did not have my snake catching groove on. on another day, i would have picked the thing up and carried it outside and been done with it. not today. this five inch snake shut down our house for a solid half hour while kenda and i debated our strategy for bringing it down and then executed our brilliant plan. now i have to say, in our defense, we really didn't want to kill it. after all, we were the ones that made it homeless by digging up all of the bushes in front of our house. so in a way we felt responsible for the thing. it is impossible to relay the entirety of this epic struggle between man and beast, but here are a few highlights.

equipment used in the capture

a pencil (kenda was really obsessed with "poking" the snake - i don't get it)
a towel (to keep it from escaping into nathan's closet - it could grow to 15 feet in there and we still probably wouldn't find it)
a coat hanger (see best lines below)
a 32 ounce cup (shrug)
2 different tupperware (tm) containers (now that's something they don't show you at the parties)
a copy of A Chance to Die by elizabeth elliot (i still have no idea what kenda wanted this for - maybe it was prophetic? maybe she wanted to read something to the snake before she executed her plan - see bleow)
a piece of red posterboard
starting to get a picture of the brilliance?

best lines from the battle

kenda -- "how 'bout if i hold it down with the hanger and you chop it in half" -- all i could think of after this was clark w. griswold in christmas vacation chasing the squirrel and saying "i'm going to throw the coat on it and whack it with a hammer"
j -- "the neighbors paid too much money for their homes to have to see me like this first thing in the morning" (said on going to put a shirt on after the capture, before going outside for the release)
caleb -- "cool, can we keep it for a pet?"

best onlooker

this is a tossup between
nathan laying in his bed half awake sick as a dog wondering what in the heck we are looking at
the school bus full of kids that drove by as we were walking out the front door, both of us holding our elaborate capturing mechanism that consisted of the larger of the tupperware containers with the bright red posterboard underneath. (i hope snakes are colorblind, if not that poor little guy is blinded)

the end

i know you are all holding your breath. we managed to get our new little friend out the front door and into the yard. i think kenda wanted to take him down the street a mile or two just to make sure he wouldn't find his way back to nathan's room, but that seemed like overkill. as he slipped into the grass and out of our lives, i found myself wondering what kind of story he would tell about the first thing that happened to him this morning.

embarrassed but victorious

Friday, November 07, 2003

happy birthday caleb

you can't really be seven years old. it's been quite a year. first home run, first soccer goal, first grade. you've grown about 2 feet and look and move and act and talk like a boy now. it is scary and wonderful to watch all at the same time. i love to listen to you think and figure things out out loud. i love to listen to you pray. i love to watch your whole self light up when you think you pulled one over on me or your mom.
i am so proud of the way you love people and have made it a part of who you are to want to help whenever you can. i love it that you are proud of yourself when you help a kid up on the soccer field or share something with nathan. i am amazed at how smart you are and how fast you pick things up. it cracks me up that your coordination hasn't caught up with your huge, long body yet. i really do love that everything is so big and exciting and that you still get my attention from the back seat every time we pass an ambulance or a fire truck. i love every hug, kiss, and high five.

seven years ago tonight was wild. we waited all day for you and you apprently had no intention of making an appearance. then mommy got sick. i will never forget sitting in a room alone for 30 minutes, waiting to get to where you guys were, not knowing if you and mommy were ok. i made God a lot of promises in that 30 minutes, so if it seems like i'm hard on you sometimes, that's because i think i'm still trying to keep those promises. i'll never forget seeing you for the first time. you looked so small, but all the nurses could talk about was how huge you were. then i saw your hands and i knew what they were talking about. taking you out to meet your family (they all talked about your hands too). handing you off to a nurse so i could check on your mom.
that was the night i banged your head off the basinet when i tried to change you for the first time. i swear you looked at me like you were saying, "so that's how it's going to be, huh?". i think that's how it's been. i remember the huge storm that blew through waco that night. you and your mom were asleep and i kept watching the weather in the next room to see if anything bad was coming. all i could think about was how i would protect you guys if it got scary. i still think like that all the time.

you are such a big man now. king of all you survey. i love you and i am proud of you and i can't even begin to list all of the ways my life has been an is blessed because of you. darrell told me before you were born that i would understand God so much better when i saw you for the first time. he was so right.
i see in you already the man you will be one of these days. it is a beautiful thing. happy birthday caleb, goose, big man, mr. c, goofball, buddy. i am so thankful for that wild night seven years ago.
i love you

Monday, November 03, 2003

monkeys overrunning india

i don't know why i find this so funny, but the mental pictures this article gives me are too much. check it out.

monkey terror