Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And The Oscar Goes To

I was just reading about all the Academy Award Nominations. For some reason I have been watching all these award shows this year.

And before you think I have become gay like Eddie, I truly believe it is because there is NOTHING on television these days to hold my attention.

So anyway, I was reading who got nominated for what and I saw that Brokeback Mountain did quite well in the nominations - 8 of 'em.

Which brings me back to the previous Sunday when I was invited to go to the movies with two beautiful women who were going to see THAT movie.

Nope, not me, no way, not gonna happen.

Now you have to know that I love going to the theater. I go see so many movies and some are great and some are stupid but I have always believed that seeing a movie and buying into some director's vision of what he was doing was a great way for us to reach out with our "artistic" sides and to experience life just a little differently.

And I still believe that.

But I just could not go see the gay cowboy flick. Just can't do it.

I don't think I'm homophobic. I mean, I LOVE LESBIANS!!! Oh yea. But there's just something about the notion of snuggling up against someone as hairy as me that just turns the switch off so far that I'm afraid that it won't ever come back on.

Anyway, I stayed home and watched Forest Gump. Great flick. So I anxiously awaited the arrival of the movie goers. Finally here they came. Hooting and Hollering (as my grandma used to say).

The worst movie I've ever seen, said one. Simply horrible chimed in the other one.

I was prepared for either reaction - but I must say that I felt simply justified in this reply. Never will you hear an "I told you so" from these lips but I'm sure I was smirking somehow.

The funny part was them arguing about just HOW bad it was but my favorite part was the stories of the various segments of our socitety that had chosen that screening to come to the theater.

The best story was about the man, when confronted by the "pup tent scene" (where one cowboy gave the other the "shaft" in a vigorous motion) simply got up and raced out of the theater - with his wife/girlfriend having to run behind him to catch up. We wondered if he thought it was just another western - boy, that would have been a big surprise.

Anyway, I won't be renting it either - not even if it wins all 8 Oscar statues.

But enough on that - on Saturday night I was convinced to watch Crash. Wow, if you haven't seen that one I would highly recommend it. It was eerie in it's approach to the way prejudice effects all of us and it's presentation was haunting.

I really wasn't in the mood for it so I didn't give it my full attention but upon further reflection, I will see it again. But only when I am in the mood for it.

So happy movie watching to all of you and please send me your suggestions of what I should go see next.

Chest Bump, Chest Bump, Kiss My Fist, Peace - Out...........

Monday, January 30, 2006


What is faith? Where does it reside? What causes it? How do we express it?

I pondered all of these questions in church yesterday.

One of our associate pastors was preaching yesterday. He is one of my favorites. His delivery is not polished and his presentation sometimes makes me feel sorry for him - but at the same time, he is real. I get a feeling of genuine faith that absolutely radiates from him at all times. And as I listened to him preach, I was moved to examine the intangible things that go into our perceptions of things such as faith.

I have much faith. I have faith in things that I sometimes wonder why in the world I have faith in them, because I am disappointed time and time again. But my faith remains. Is it my "rose-colored" glasses that do that or is it something inside of me that I can't put my finger on that leads me to understand things that make no sense for me?

There are some things I do know. Without faith, there can be no love because love, like faith, demands confidence without assurance or evidence. With all things spiritual, there is never anything certain. Faith and Love exist beyond reason and evidence. They go much deeper. They go into a place where it is hard to seperate things into neatly organized piles of logic that can be filed and refered to in a time of need or want. They simply exist and are as necessary as breathing for us to live our lives with any sort of hope.

There is always "proof" of our faith if we look hard enough. We see it in nature as we plant a seed and watch a flower grow. We can touch someone and give them strength. We can wipe away the tears and help someone to smile again.

And I think it's true that all of us can begin to be comfortable with our faith as well as our love just as soon as we start to accept it as reality. Faith and love don't have a chance if we are forever questioning it or requiring it to be validated by some evidence of our own choosing.

When I was 10 years old, my most prized possession was stolen. It was a jacket that had all of my championship patches from swimming sewn on it. I know who stole it, I knew why they stole it and I know that they threw it away just for spite. And for weeks I prayed to God to bring it back for me. Nothing. No jacket. No answers. No nothing except sneering from the culprit who neither admitted what he had done or acknowledged that he didn't.

So where was God? How could God allow me to be treated so cruelly?

As I grew older, I came to realize that it is not up to me to determine what had happened and it was very selfish of me to "demand" God return my stuff.

I can only imagine that the theft and disposal of that jacket had an effect on the boy that did it and maybe, just maybe, his life was changed by that act. And maybe that was the lesson I was supposed to glean from that experience. I'm not sure - but to this day I do know that I don't put an emphasis on my belongings anymore and that is a blessing in itself.

So as I swim upstream each day, I am strengthened by the fact that all I am required to do is to honestly respond to the things that I feel and if I am on course, that the outcome will be fine - whether or not I agree with it.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Such A Night

I went to a birthday party last night. It was the 60th celebration for my love's boss. It was a great party.

I went with my lady who absolutely shined. She lit up the room at our arrival and for the next few hours was the brightest star in the universe. She was so very beautiful. I swear that sometimes I have to pinch myself when I realize that the woman I am with is so very beautiful and smart and funny and kind.

Sometimes I think she worries about me at these functions because of her predisposition to be in the middle of the action. She doesn't like to be pressed. She doesn't need someone to guide her or direct her or hover around her. She is her own star and she certainly needs no lampshade to cover her.

And I will never be that. I don't think I have any lampshade in me at all.

If she only knew how wonderful it was for me just to watch her interact with others and do her thing. If she only knew how proud I was to be with her as she flittered here and there - always being the funniest person in the room.

I always feel as if people look at me and wonder what in the world I have done to deserve to be with someone that wonderful.

I am very content. And I truly don't know that many people that can honestly say that. She has given me the gift of allowing me just to be me. I don't have to be larger than life, I don't have to be anything anymore because I am perfectly happy to just be with her.

I think of that often. She truly has no idea of how wonderful that is for me and how much pressure that takes off of me. The funny part of it for me is that she is so very serious in the grace that she constantly gives me.

She constantly gives me praise for not doing all of those things I mentioned above as if I am somehow fighting the urge to be smothering in my attention of her.

I'm not fighting anything. For the first time in my life I'm just as happy as I can be - and for me, well for me, that is the very definition of peace.

The band was great - the dancing was hot - the smoking porch was crowded - I saw tons of friends and got to visit. But you know what the most amazing thing was? When it was all over and it was time to go, I was the one that got to take her home.

And for a simple boy, there ain't nothin' better than that.

So I hope your evening was as amazing as mine. I think I'll just bask in this glow for a little while longer and then get started on my weekend.

God Bless.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Tell Someone

I need to say this today:

I love you Paige. You have made my life more than I ever thought it could be. I never dared dream that how I feel about you could be experienced and yet each and every day you show me that it is not only possible but that it is real. I owe you everything and I promise to live my life in grateful appreciation for all you are for me.

To my children: I am so very proud of you. The only expectations I have ever had were those that had to do with you enjoying your life and living it as you saw fit. I am so happy you are getting there and you just have to know that I will always be there for you.

To myself: You dared to dream and it worked out. Don't stop there. Keep dreaming and I am sure that you will be amazed as you look back on all that has happened for you.

Now I think I'll take a nap.

God Bless.


Love is constant - it is people who are fickle.

Love does guarantee - it is people who betray.

Love can always be trusted - it is people who can't.

So today, tell the one you love that you are commmitted to be all they ever imagined you could be for them and live your life as if that were true.

That's what faith does and that is how it becomes real.

Stupid Idiot

I read somewhere that by the time we reach adulthood that we have heard how stupid we are at least 15,000 times.

Fifteen Thousand pronouncements of our inadequacies over a period of 18 years has to take its toll - even among those of us who don't pay any attention to what other people say.

It's no wonder that so many people suffer from low self-esteem.

So today, I am going to make an effort to tell all the people I come in contact with, even the stupid idiots, something positive about how I see them.

It may not negate years of negativism, but at least it's a start.

I love you - you have made a difference in my life and I thank you for all that you are. Whoever you are.............


Have you ever wondered what you would do if you could? I mean, we're all tied down by so many things. Our jobs, our family, our relationships. And so many of these things are not truly ties but things we use to tie ourselves.

So here's what I think I would like to do.

I want to go to London and open up a barbeque joint. A great pub-like establishment with good old-fashioned southern bbq. It would be in an old building somehwere near Hyde Park - a place where I could have my joint downstairs and a large place in the back where I could smoke my meat. I would have a flat on top of it where I lived so I could tend the meat since it would be going 24 hours per day.

It would be a simple menu with pork and beef served with dry rub and sauce. There would also be ribs and chicken. The only sides would be cole slaw, potato salad and the most divine beans known to mankind. I would serve ice cold sweet tea and play blues music through the loud speakers. There would be an awning out front with red checkered tablecloths on the bistro tables.

I would wander between the tables telling jokes in a southern accent while watching the English people be amazed at how smoke could transform meat into something religious while.

All I need to do this to happen is for my love to say let's go.

So as I sit here and dream my dreams on a Friday, I pray that you have your dreams as well - and I hope that one day they will all come true.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

What Is The Color Of Wind?

Today it is bright, sunny, cool and windy. I am constantly amazed at the different textures of the weather. On the surface it has the ability to set the tone for the day. Some days it seems as if you have to swim through the fog in order to get to where you are going and some days it seems as if you can just spread your wings and fly.

So is our environment the key to our state of mind or do we have the responsibility to rise above what we are given each day?

Great are my thoughts today - all I need is for someone to answer me.............


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hung Out And Hung Over

"If my thought-dreams could be seen - they'd probably put my head in a guillotine"
bob dylan "It's All Right Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) 1963

I have a hangover today. I feel like shit. My head hurts, my clothes don't fit and I don't think puppies are cute. My employees have shut their doors.

I knew it was coming, or at least I should have. I couldn't sleep last night so I watched t.v. Had some rum punch. It was good. I had some more. I went to bed way too late and got up way too early.

So I sit here wanting to murder someone.

Of course, I won't. I love everybody it's just that sometimes I need to be alone in my head when I feel bad. Which brings me back to the Bob Dylan lyrics at the top of top of the page. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if everyone knew what you were thinking?

I ponder this today because when I came in my office this morning, everyone looked at me and said "oh no". They just knew - as if they could read my mind.

I realize that our thoughts are sometimes written all over us and as adults, we have to try to mask that with a calm exterior - but it just can't be done with a hangover. The face muscles just won't cooperate.

So even though I was "busted" on my hangover - I silently rejoice that they really don't know what I am REALLY thinking.

Thank God for small favors.

I hope your day is better than mine. I'm going back to sleep.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Object Of My Affection Posted by Picasa

A Work Of Art

We are all artists.

I know, I can hear what some will say - I can't sing. I can't play an instrument. I can't write poetry. I can't draw. I can't paint. I can't, I can't, I can't.

But within each of us lives an artist. We all are born with the ability to express the inexpressible. Without a brush we can depict life with bright colors. Without a knife we can sculp the magic of being. Without a scale we can create music for ourselves and those around us. Without the slightest bit of rhythm we can engage in the dance of life.

When we are born, we are each given the tools to create a life of beauty. Unfortunately these same tools can be used to perpetuate ugliness and destruction. But hopefully, at some point in our life, we will be touched by someone in such a way that we choose to represent beauty and be given the grace to reflect that back towards the other people that share our lives.

Works of art may fade with the passage of time but a life of love lasts forever.



In the end, the plague touched us all. It is not confined to those far away places. No, it turned up again in America, breeding in a compost of greed and uselessness and murder. In those places where statesmen and generals stash the bodies of the young forever. The plague ran in the blood of men in suits who run for political office promising life while delivering death. The infected men machine-gunned people for an idea. They marshalled death through the ditches and through the mighty clouds up above God's green earth. The released it in silent streams and moved on while hospitals exploded with the mutilated bodies of our children and the green fields were churned to mud.

And here at home, something died. The plague moved among us, slaying the old America where the immigrants lit a million dreams. It killed the great brawling country of barnstormers and home run hitters. And through the fog of the plague, most art withered into journalism. Symphonies died on crowded roads and novels served as furnished rooms for ideology.

And as the evidence piled up, as the rock was pushed back to reveal the worms, and many of us retreated into a past that never was, the place of balconies in the sun where they believed life should have been lived. The place we have borrowed from our imaginations where we tell ourselves that if we could only go back then everything would be alright again.

We live in a smokey landscape as the exhausted troops seek the roads home. The signposts have been smashed and the roadmaps are all lost. There are no polticians anywhere that can move us to hope. The plague recedes but it is not dead.

Where is our hope? Shake the bars, rattle the cages. Revolution is in the air. Can you feel it?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Peas in a Pod?

Love thrives on differences............(or) Expectations lead to suicide............News at 10.

I was thinking of expectations. About our views on "how life is supposed to be lived", guides our perspective on how things work out.

What a road to ruin. One of my secrets to life that I cling to, is that I somehow have to turn off what I think I want and just be responsible for how I feel about what happens during the day. I truly have control of my reaction to events in my life but I have very little control over the events themselves.

The more you plan, the more those plans will be changed by someone else. You can take that to the bank!

And the most important thing in each of our lives are relationships. I know that they sometimes get pushed to the back burner because we're all so busy at work and doing all the things we have found to occupy our time. But relationships are the cornerstone of each life - and how we view and participate in those relationships sets the tone for everything else.

Trust me on that. It's one of the universal truths that are not up for debate.

I see all kinds of relationships because I am a student of people. I love to watch and wonder what is going on in someone's head. And I am constantly amazed at the things I see.

What I witness so often is people who have expectations and live by the reward system. Expectations of receiving - in exact measures - the degree of love or services that they give.

I like to call this the "tit for tat" philosophy of life. It doesn't work very well. I know, I tried it.

Life just doesn't work like that nor should we grade ourselves on that curve. Love, true love, is given freely and without strings attached. It is never weighed and dispensed in equal measures nor should it be. That would remove the "give and take" that is necessary for something to grow.

Tension is always needed for growth. It can't be helped.

We all enter into relationships with different histories and different persepectives. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. A great relationship is one of the giving and taking of those qualities.

This way, those differences are the very thing that unite two people in a relationship that has great meaning for both parties.

It is part of the wonder of love that people can be united hopelessly, madly and totally in love -and that they can still follow their own path and have that path strenthened and nourished.

I love my life. I hope you love yours too. So here's to misunderstanding that lead us to the truth in our hearts.

Chocolate by the end of the day? Posted by Picasa

The Big Easy

I am missing New Orleans.

Sometimes we take things for granted that are so convenient for us. I guess life is always like that. But take it away and somehow it gains a bigger part of your soul and the longing for what was is so thick you can just reach out and feel it.

Yea, I miss New Orleans. I miss going down several nights per month and having a great dinner. I miss going to the House of Blues and seeing concerts - although they are coming back, slowly but surely. I miss riding my motorcycle in the French Quarter and watching the people in thier bermuda shorts and socks with sandals looking at maps while the local con artists size them up..........

But maybe all of that will come back.

I was there on New Years Day to visit a friend of mine who has a condo in the French Quarter. He got very mininal damage and everything seemed to be working fine in the tourist areas. But it felt "empty".

The French Quarter is not the real New Orleans for me. It's City Park and Midtown. It's the Lake and the Garden District. It's all of the places that no one from Kansas City has any idea about. Those are the places that I worry about. The very thing that gave New Orleans it's flavor.

Which brings me to the comments by Mayor Negin the other day. New Orleans will be a chocolate city at the end of the day.

Oh, what a stick to stir at this point in history.

Yes, New Orleans has always been a chocolate flavored city. But it is so much more. It is the quintessential melting pot. The gumbo that was New Orleans was created out of a caste system that has been abolished for years.

And now all have fled and who will come back? It is apparent that the Mayor is trying to marshall the troops and give them hope. Please come back and help us take over this place that is rightfully ours is what I heard him say.

But that may not be realistic. My common sense tells me that people with money to venture on a chance will be the ones to try to rebuild New Orleans which will leave out those very people the Mayor was speaking to.

I don't know what is right or what is wrong - all I know is that I want it back. And for now, I'm not even sure what "it" is.

God Bless.

Sometime the thing you are looking for is closer than you think. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 21, 2006

What, Me Worry?

Worry never robs tomorrow of it's sorrow, it only saps today of its joy...........

I believe that we have the ability to choose our destiny. Some will argue that point with me but I truly believe that we can choose to be happy or sad.

There are certainly things that happen in our lives that predispose us towards a certain point of view. I have seen life be so unfair that it just beats you into submission.

But that is where faith comes is.

As long as we have faith in something bigger than us we can muddle our way through the bullshit that life throws at us every now and then.

We are so very busy at work. I am having people quit each day because things are so hard and as the boss it is up to me to formulate the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. And you know what? I can actually see it. Instead of getting bogged down in the mess we have, I am actively working towards fixing it and I can see that what I am doing is going to work. Now all I have to do is to "sell" it to my employees long enough for them to buy into the vision.

And that is just how life works.

If we allow today's circumstances to dictate how we see the rest of our lives then we are truly lost. There has to be a light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn't have to be a train.

This is why I feel so very sorry for people that don't have faith. They rely on thier own thoughts and hopes and dreams and disappointments to be the guideposts in their lives. How that must harden their hearts.

One thing I have learned over and over is that if you depend on your fellow man you will be disappointed more often than you are satisfied.

So today, I thank my God for being there for me and I am so happy that I can see the promise that if I do, every minute of every day, what my heart tells me to do and to be fair to others even if it inconveniences me, that I will be rewarded when I lay down to sleep tonight.

So I say: Don't worry - be happy. It is your choice.

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night..........

Last night was a night in for me. I had many options of what I could have done but ultimately I chose just to hang out. I had to run some errands in the rain, which is always fun. But after that, it was off to Blockbuster and a few movies. It was girls night out again so since I am not a girl I stayed and just chilled.

I think we sometimes underestimate the value of just chilling. Somehow I think it brings us back into focus and allows our hearts and soul time to rest - not to mention what it does for our bodies.

Anyway it was a good night, very quiet.

I have spent so much of my life flittering from place to place in order to occupy my time so I wouldn't have to think so much. I'm not in that place anymore.

And there is a person I have to thank for that - So thank you Paige. You are my heart and I can hardly believe how wonderful my life has become thanks to your grace and love.

I miss her when she is away and I celebrate when she is near. Maybe that's how it is supposed to be - I'm not sure - but I am certainly enjoying it and wondering why it hasn't been like this my entire life.

It used to feel as if I were swimming upstream all the time. Now I just float and take what comes with a joy that seems almost surreal.

So, even though it was a very dark and stormy night, my soul was singing and I recognize where than comes from and I just want to thank God for allowing me to experience what I have always knows was true - unconditional love rocks!

I hope your day is equally as fulfilling.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

What If Dear Abby Was A Man?

Dear Mr. Abby:
Q: My husband wants a threesome with my best friend and me.

A: Obviously your husband cannot get enough of you! Knowing that there is only one of you he can only settle for the next best thing - your best friend. Far from being an issue, this can bring you closer together. Why not get some of your old college roommates involved too? If you are still apprehensive, maybe you should let him be with your friends without you. If you're still not sure then just perform oral sex on him and cook him a nice meal while you think about it.

Dear Mr. Abby:
Q: My husband continually asks me to perform oral sex on him.
A: Do it. Semen can help you lose weight and gives a great glow to your skin. Interestingly, men know this. His Offer to allow you to perform oral sex on him is totally selfless. This shows he loves you. The best thing to do is to thank him by performing it twice a day; then cook him a nice meal.

Dear Mr. Abby:
Q: My husband has too many nights out with the boys.

A: This is perfectly natural behavior and it should be encouraged. The Man is a hunter and he needs to prove his prowess with other men. A night out chasing young single girls is a great stress relief and can foster a more peaceful and relaxing home. Remember, nothing can rekindle your relationship better than the man being away for a day or two (it's a great time to clean the house too)! Just look at how emotional and happy he is when he returns to his stable home. The best thing to do when he gets home is for you and your best friend to perform oral sex on him. Then cook him a nice meal.

Dear Mr. Abby:
Q: My husband doesn't know where my clitoris is.

A: Your clitoris is of no concern to your husband. If you must mess with it, do it in your own time or ask your best friend to help. You may wish to videotape yourself while doing this, and present it to your husband as a birthday gift. To ease your selfish guilt, perform oral sex on him and cook him a delicious meal.

Dear Mr. Abby:
Q: My husband is uninterested in foreplay.

A: You are a bad person for bringing it up and should seek sensitivity training. Foreplay to a man is very stressful and time consuming. Sex should be available to your husband on demand with no pesky requests for foreplay. What this means is that you do not love your man as much as you should; He should never have to work to get you in the mood. Stop being so selfish! Perhaps you can make it up to him by performing oral sex on him and cooking Him a nice meal.

Dear Mr. Abby:
Q: My husband always has an orgasm then rolls over and goes to sleep without giving me one.

A: I'm not sure I understand the problem. Perhaps you've forgotten to cook him a nice meal.

Why is this man smiling? Posted by Picasa

With God On Our Side

I was listening to NPR this morning and there were reports from the "conflict" in Iraq. Both points of view. Both sides think they are right and God is on their side.

The Germans thought God was on their side in WWII. I'm fairly certain that in every war, every participant thought God was on their side.

So in an ironic twist of fate, I grew weary of hearing bad news this morning so I hit the CD button in my car and the CD that was in was Bob Dylan's "The Times they are a Changin" was in the slot. The song was "With God On Our Side".

And I pondered the lyrics and thought I would share them:

Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
It's taught and bought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The calvaried charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side

Oh the Spanish-American
War had it's day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I was made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side

Oh the First World War
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
With God on your side

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans then too
Had God on their side

I've learned to hate the Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you'll never ask questions
When God's on your side

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judan Iscariot
Had God on his side

So now as I'm leavin
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war

In case you didn't know it, Bob Dylan is a troubador and maybe even a prophet. He wrote this song in 1963.

So where is God in war? I like to think that he is crying and hoping that we can learn what we were supposed to learn lo those many years ago.

I hope you learn, I think I have...........

Hi, I'm Forest, Forest Gump

I saw Forest Gump at the theater. It was over 10 years ago but I still remember sitting there after the movie was over attempting to contemplate all of the wisdom that I had just witnessed - and as I sit here today, I am still amazed at the simple way the gospel as I understand it was presented.

I'm not even embarassed to say that it was that movie that helped me start to sort out what is important in my life.

There is something amazing about seeing the truth presented in a very entertaining way. At first, I think it was the ingenious way that they sprinkled in historical footage that made it so appealing, but as the movie rambled on, I saw the truth about life and how amazing it was that one true thing can steer the course of our lives.

For Forest it was love - everything else just happened.

And that is my goal and my dream. To live my life so full of love that no matter what happens my course is clear.

How's that for a rudder?

So today, like most days, I ponder - I especially love the ending of the movie when Forest was talking at Jenny's grave:

"Jenny, I don't know if momma was right, or if it was Lieutenant Dan. I don't know if we each have a destiny or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze - but I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. I miss you Jenny. If there's anything you need, I won't be far away..........."

So on this day - I pray for you to find your destiny and never run from it. Because it very well may be the thing that defines who you are.

God Bless.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bend A Little

With so many spectacular colors in the world, it's a shame to make everything black and white!

The Buddists teach us to be like bamboo. It is strong on the outside, soft on the inside. It's roots are firmly planted in the ground and freely interwined with its enviroment for strength and support. The stalk blows freely in the wind but bends rather than breaks.

That which bends is far more difficult to break.

And that, dear friends, is the thought of the day.

Sometimes, the frustrations of the day seem to batter us and our natural inclination is to fight back. But we need to learn to roll with the problems and wrestle with them insead of trying to stand toe to toe with them.

Things are never all good or all bad. Everything has a high and a low spot. Our lives should be lived in a way that we can strive to see all points of view and decide how to take the path that leads to the most desirable end, realizing all the while that sometimes we just can't win every single time.

So today, I'm just going to watch the river flow by and try to guess when to jump in.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Garbage Day

Today is garbage day.

It is an eagerly anticipated day for those of us who live outside of a muncipality where the pick up is more frequent. Today is the day to remember all of the stinky stuff that you stuck in the freezer all week so it won't attract the maggots (like it would if you just put it in the garbage-which makes the stinky stink even more........).

So last night, after a wonderful steak dinner and some medicinal alcohol I thought it would be OK to set it out around 10pm so I wouldn't have to deal with it at dark-thirty this morning.

So I did.

I wrapped it up, tied it off, drug it down - all with the satisfying smile that let me know that I would be ahead of the game today.

On the way back to the house, I made eye contact with the neighborhood dog, "Sugar". So I stopped for a minute and said "Sugar, I want you to keep an eye on my garbage and make sure that no other dogs come up and tear it up tonight - and if you do that, there will be a big ole bone waiting as your reward".

Well Sugar said "No problem Keith, I got your back".

So off to bed I went and slept like a baby.

And as I was pulling out this morning at 6am - there it was - in all it's glory.

GARBAGE - Everywhere..........

No sign of Sugar.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Sugar weighed the benefits of the promised bone against what she had to know was tied up so securely in those garbage bags and the garbage bags won.

So I spent the next 15 minutes picking up the stuff that I had so carefully segreated for the previous week. Yep, there's nothing like getting out of a shower - all squeaky and clean - and then going out and picking up stinking garbage when the temperature is below freezing.

Lesson learned?

For now.

I hope your day got started better than mine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Still Stuck On MLK

I’m still stuck on Martin Luther King, Jr.

I watched the Golden Globes last night and was very entertained by all of the stuff. Nothing like living vicariously through movie stars!!!

But each time a commercial came on, I was taken back by the thoughts that life is so much more than entertainment and how we spend our time. I could not shake the feeling that so many before us had sacrificed their very lives in order to make this world a better place.

So what am I doing to honor that? Sitting snugly in my tower watching the less fortunate beat their heads against the wall?

So that left me, again, pondering the changes that MLK delivered to our country – ready or not.

I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their tired bodies, education and culture for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down that god-centered men can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the alter of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and non-violent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land – and the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree – AND NONE SHALL BE AFRAID.

I still believe that we shall overcome……..MLK

History is made up of significant events which shape our collective future, and the leaders that make that possible influence our destiny.

Dr. King made so many contributions to our society in his short life and I can only imagine the burden he carried with that. He made a pilgrimage to India to study the teaching of Gandhi and it was there that the eternal truths of the life of Jesus melded with the social successes of Gandhi and the notion of non-violence became so entrenched in his philosophy that he alienated most of the other civil rights leaders of the time.

He, through his gentle actions and rhetoric was instrumental in making America aware of the unspeakable flaws that had always tarnished the beliefs that our country was founded on. The America I grew up in was very different that the America we enjoy today. I grew up seeing the “colored” entrances, bathrooms, water fountains. So much has change in MY lifetime.

And I still hear the doubt in our society and as a Christian, it makes me sick.

We should always honor Dr. King because he, as the proverbial voice crying in the wilderness, showed us the way to mend fences and move towards creating a society in which all people could share in growing something instead of destroying it. He led the fight from the ghettos across the tracks to Main Street. And yes, the result of so much of this was legislation designed to make sure this never happened again – and that very legislation has created more problems as resentment has festered toward the “quota’s” that were set to help us get through this.

Again, I don’t have the answers because I am not a prophet – I do not proclaim God’s word to the people who have strayed from the truth. But I am aware, and because of that I will vigorously defend this man.

So thank you Dr. King. Thank you for calling us back. I pray those that have ears will continue to hear.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Lies and the Lying Liers that Lie about not Lying

I used to love polititcs. The thought that you could go and be a part of something that helps craft the way we live our lives is incredibly exciting, or at least used to be.

I go to Washington DC several times a year and am even involved in a lobbying function for the transportation organization which I have been on the board of directors since 1989.

I have testified in front of a Senate Committee before. Wow, to sit there and have people in charge listen to your point of view is incredibly intoxicating.

But as with most things, the more you know, the more jaded you become.

I am currently watching the Republicans implode. It may not be obvious to those casual observers who think that the "liberal media" is making much ado about nothing. But a change is a comin'.

The Democrats aren't much better - but the arrogance in which the Republican majority has operated for 10 years had become so oppressive that I am starting to believe that even the most ardent conservative is having second thoughts about the power or at least the focus of our central government.

I don't have an answer to what needs to happen in WDC but something has to give. Clinton was fuzzy at best but he was a great communicator. I don't even understand George. He can't talk, he can't make his points, hell, he can't even speak English well enough to be funny - but who's next?

It makes my stomach hurt.

Some things seem so simple to me so I figured I would just list a few rules that need to be made in order to form a more perfect union.

Term limits - no more than 12 years in congress. One six year term for president so there will be no posturing for re-election and then we can skip the lame duck portion as well. They'll all be lame ducks and maybe they can do what is right instead of what is politically expedient.

Lobbying - trade associations only and no money passes hands from PAC's.

Taxes - 10% flat tax. 10% of income for personal taxes and 10% of revenue for business. Period - no IRS, no CPA. (that will never happen - but hey, it's my list!)

Redo rules of Congress to cut out PORK - all crutial legislation comes with a happy meal of crap for local rewards for the people in charge. How about letting us have a common vision of what the federal government is supposed to accomplish such as fostering interstate commerce and providing the infrastructure in order to do that. Education, law enforcement, etc.

I am now realizing that there are too many things that need to be done that probably won't be done - and in the meantime all most of us can really do is listen to old Bob Dylan songs and realize that some things may never change.

The road really does go on forever.............

Better than Best?

My daughter is graduating from high school this year. My son is embroiled in fraternity life and going through inititation this week. (I'm wondering if he thinks this is as hard as two-a-day football practice yet - I doubt it).

All of these things take me back in my memories to those times for me. Wow.

I was one of the lucky ones - I think. I knew that high school was as good as it was going to get. I always was amazed at all of the people that were in such a hurry to get out of high school so they could be "free". I never quite saw it like that. I was completely aware that at that point in my life I truly "had it all" and it would probably be until I retired that I could have it that good ever again!

So it was sad for me to leave high school where I had the entire world at the tips of my optimistic fingers. I had to go to college.

I was going to be a swimmer in college - heck, they even paid for me to go. So I figured I would join a fraternity and make the most of it. The only problem was that I hated fraternities and all they stood for. I hated the thought of someone telling me where to go, how to dress and what to do.

But fate stepped in and I was "discovered" by Sigma Nu, the anti-fraternity. Animal House. Tops on campus in grades and athletics but had no social anything. No pressure. No Izod shirts. No nothing but beer and brawling.

It was as if I had died and gone to heaven.

We were made up of varsity athletes for the most part. Extroverts from all over the country. I was exposed to so many things (see picture below for better example). In short, I found my place in the sun - and boy did I shine.

Something amazing happened during that time. It may have been the time spent together or the "us against them" thing - but whatever it was, it was for life. Those bonds were much stronger than any I had known in high school. Those bonds were real. It must be something like soldiers that serve together feel towards each other.

But enough about all of that. I guess my thoughts on this are that I am very happy that my daughter is making this milestone and can decide (maybe 10 times) what she wants to do for the rest of her life. And for my son, well I just pray that his fraternity experience is an equal to my own. He grew up around my fraternity brothers and I like to think that he witnessed that bond and wanted some of his own like that.

Either way, time marches on and is marked with the passing of many traditions - and they are going through two of my all time favorite ones at this very moment and I wish them mazeltov.

Life is Love and Love is Life.

God Bless

Frat Boys - circa 1979.  Posted by Picasa

Prophet of our Times

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we celebrate his life and legacy with the official stamp of approval from our government and yet as I listened to the news this morning I still hear the doubt in main-stream America.

As a child growing up in Mississippi I heard all of the arguments as they were still fresh. "He's just an aggetater" (phonetic venacular spelling!). "All he wanted to do was stir things up". I heard all of the white perspectives fresh from the mouths of sons as heard through their fathers and their father's fathers.

But something stirred within me. Something that could not ignore the eternal truths that this man spoke of.

All we ever had access to were the speaches that were televised and recorded and as the man spoke, I could never not see the truth in what he was saying.

I lived with the predudice and the smart-ass responses from my "less than civilized" bretheren. But it was more than that for me. It was as if I were hearing the gospel in a new light. As if this man was saying all the things I knew in my heart could be true but most assuredly were not.

So how to reconcile these things in my young heart? How do you make sense of biblical truths in the face of so much popular discord?

As I read of the prophets of old, I realized that no one wants to hear the truth if it disruped the world that they lived in. All prophets "stirred up" stuff and made the establishment understand that they were on a path that God had not intended for us to be on.

And with those pronouncements always came betrayal and death.

MLK knew this. He could feel the walls closing down in on him. He, of all people, understood that his place was to continue, even at the peril of what he had to know was his very life.

I don't know if legacy means anything to the living - but something gave this man the courage to continue when he knew the outcome. And because I am a man of faith, I just have to believe that it was a heavy burden that God placed on this man's shoulders and all he could do was say "Yes Lord, I will answer".

So as we pause and reflect, this boy has made a resolution to remember. To remember and to be amazed at the gift that truth is the one thing that can cut through all of the crap that we encounter in our every day lives.

There is a better place, but it's not somewhere else - it's right here, and all we have to do is claim it and learn to love and respect all people. To listen to those that are hurting and do everything in our power to make their lives a better place.

And in doing so, we become better in the process.

Yes, MLK was a prophet. Now do we have the courage to live out that vision?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Saturday Musings

Well after reading my dreary "I wish the sun would come out" thing from yesterday I was very happy this morning to see the sun brightly shining. I awoke to an amazing world, full of love and promise.

I love my life.

Last night was "girls night out" and I was the taxi driver for a car full of girls that went and let their hair "DOWN". Of course, I wasn't there to witness it because, well, I'm just not a girl. But I did get to go pick them up and see the aftermath.

I love girls. They are soft and they are funny and they smell good. They remind me of puppies when they gather together to exercise their demons...............

I collected mine and took her home and put her to bed. It was a good night.

My daughter is away at the State High School Drama competition and I am missing her. She is on the crux of adulthood and I feel the need to minister to her heart and soul. To let her know that I understand all of the conflicting things that occur as we plan our lives and set ourselves on that path. I am firmly committed to being there for her - not too close but not to far away - so she can have the security that is so very necessary in order to grow up without all the worries that will assault her later in life.

As I look back on my life, I recognize how incredibly difficult it was to choose that path and get started. There was so much uncertainty and I believe that I didn't do it well, but I made it through. It's so very easy to take the easy way out when you are not accountable to anyone for anything. It is that very struggle that tempers our spirits and the outcome is either lots of self-confidence or regret. It's the regret thing that I am going to work so hard to hold for my daughter. She is incredibly bright and beautiful and I am so very proud of her.

Now my son. He's a peach. This week starts his "hell week" at his fraternity. Kappa Sigma. What a scream. As I plowed my way through college and the greek system if you had asked me if MY son would have ever been a Kappa Sig, well that would have been equal to telling me that he would go to Ole Miss. Never gonna happen.

That's why you should never make absolutes - because irony will be your companion all through life.

My beloved Sigma Nu has hit hard times and there was no way I would ever encourage him to follow in my footsteps. And now Kappa Sig is the biggest house on campus and the guys seem to be a very good brotherhood. And truth be told, that's what it's all about. I would love to be a fly on the wall during the no-sleep hazing stuff. My son doesn't take that well and since he's as big as a house, I would imagine he'll do well - since most of them either are or should be scared of him.

I am praying for both of them this week.

I am so blessed by my fatherhood and I am so proud of my children. It's like a constant thing inside of me - kind of like a nice song thats always right there where I can hear it.

Anyway, I'm just musing here on Saturday morning and I had better get to work so I can get on to more important things.

Tomorrow is Sunday and I plan to make a wonderful family lunch tomorrow. The big one in the old traditions. I'm frying chicken, bbq-ing chicken, corned beef, cabbage, peas, butterbeans, corn, cornbread, green beans, cornbread. Enough to feed an army for a week. But I belive that we should celebrate Sunday because it is set aside for all things sacred - and nothing is more sacred than stuffing yourself and taking a nap.

Peace be with you. God Bless.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday's Thought For The Day

I think.

I think I am.

Therefore I am.

I think.

So I sit here prepared to face another weekend. A weekend to live, a weekend to love. A weekend to start life over. A weekend to worship.

Each day I start anew. Bolstered by what I learned yesterday. Glad for the experience and thirsty for another one.

Life, I think they call it.

I wish you luck and fortune in yours.......

Recovering the Humanity In All of Us

I think too much. Or is that possible? Can we ponder ourselves too much? Is there a place where we intersect with the world or do we just fight against the current all the time?

Who am I and where do I fit?

These are the questions that have spawned art and literature and music for all eternity.

Everywhere we are surrounded by the blessed and the cursed, the sacred and the profane. But our hearts are like hands and the more we are exposed to life, the more calloused we grow to the world. And yet, like our hands, even the most callous heart will blister if overworked or chaffed by something new or unexpected. I like to think of this as perspective.

For some time we may ignore the obvious because we are very busy and have much work to do. And then something happens, we are struck by the true reality of life without it being passed through the filter of our hardened and calloused hearts and the blister is torn - our heart is torn and it breaks. And then we suffer, then we feel the ache for the blessed and the sting of the cursed. We no longer just see - we witness.

And when we get to the place where we can actually witness life, we testify to it and make ourselves responsible for it. We own it. And that is what it means to belong in this world.

Make no mistake - this world owns each of us and we belong whether we choose to or not. We suffer and celebrate because we belong to this world and the things of this world effect us all.

And then we ponder different things - how can we possible celebrate suffering? How did Jesus do what he did? What is the true meaning of sacrifice? We can never celebrate the suffering because it can become too smothering for our lives but if we look closely at some eternal truths, we can then start to celebrate the meaning of suffering because it means that we belong and we matter and we can finally grasp our place in God's world.

To be one with the world we live in was what Jesus taught us to do. Not to seperate ourselves. I truly believe we are called to make a covenent with ourselves and the one that gives us strength and hope. To actually be aware and to live in this world.

And when you can get to that point where you ask no questions but accept who you are and where you are , then you can live and love without reserve and will find that those things that draw you become the very ground you walk on.

So no more "why me Lord"?

Life and love and commitment and possibility and hope and despair - all of these things are who we are and the key to our very humanity is to understand that each of them is valid.

The most amazing thing we have is the ability to choose which ones we focus on. What are the things that break the blisters of our callousness? Where does our hope come from? How can we know that all of our suffering is part of the process we all have to go through?

Faith, hope and love......and the greatest of these is love.

I wish it would quit raining............

Chasing the Sunshine

Rain, Rain, go away...........

Miserable this morning. I am reminded on days like today how much I love the sunshine and how much I take it for granted. The rain was miserable. I literally left the house this morning feeling as good as a boy can feel. Completely at peace with myself and my world. It's an amazing feeling to know who you are and understand that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

The it rains. It's dark. It's cold. You still feel like you feel but instead of being able to just fly into the day it seems as if you have to force yourself into it. You literally have to knife your way through in order to get anywhere. Something inside screams "where is the day"? I've been up for several hours now and the day still seems to slip through my fingers. I just can't quite grasp it.

Oh, I know, we need the rain. It just makes me feel........blah.

I cooked a most wonderful dinner last night which always makes me happy. We had terryaki marinated pork tenderloin with a baked potato, grilled asparagus with blasamic vinegar and olive oil and some fine jalapeno cornbread. Yum. That, with a big ole rum drink, made me feel very satisfied.

So my goal today is to find the sunshine within and make the best of it. Life doesn't have to be a Bob Dylan song. It can be about the sunshine - its just that sometimes you have to make your own.

God Bless.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Years Eve and Having WAY TOO MUCH FUN! Posted by Picasa

The Fog of Our Times

In the early morning fog today, I felt as if I were traveling in some sort of tunnel. The coffee was hot but it just seems to be so very lonely while it was still dark and I was (literally) flying up the interstate in that surreal tunnel.

So weird.

I was listening to NPR, as usual, and just as I got on the interstate (or the tunnel as I am going to think of it today) I heard a story on Morning Edition about the guy from Turkey that tried to kill the pope way back when. He got out of prison yesterday. He served 20 years in an Italian prison for that act and then was deported back to Turkey to finish serving a life sentence for killing a Journalist several years before - yep, he had escaped from prison for that one already.

Well, the story was that he only served six years of the rest of his life in Turkey and was released. And nope, that's not the craziest part - that is reserved for all the people lining the streets throwing bouquets of flowers in his path as he left prison.

A hero.

What kind of world makes a hero out of someone that kills and tries to kill again? I know, I know, there are no answers to that question, at least not any that we could understand. It's just the way it is - but it did get me thinking. And I do love that! It made me realize that there will - for forever and a day - be lots of things that I don't understand. I don't think we, as Americans, will ever be able to understand the actions of radicals fighting something we can't understand why they are fighting it.

It's kind of like boys trying to figure out girls!

So as we try to bend the Iraqi people to our way of life and continue to be met with distrust and violence, I have promised myself not to be amazed any longer. Not to be amazed at things I don't understand. Not to be disgusted by the actions of a people there is no way I can understand.

I think Jesus was right. I think he was real right in so many things. There are sometimes that you have to just walk away to the edge of the village and knock the dust of off your sandles and pass on and keep trying somehwere else.

Words to live by? Those that have ears, let them hear..........

Which brings me back to the beginning and the fog. Does the rest of the world live in a fog or do we? Who is right when the views are so very different and who gets to say? Is it the ones with the biggest guns? I don't know - I really don't but I know what I have been called to do and I try so hard to do it each and every day.

I think I will leave the rest of it for the people paid to worry today. I'm going to do what I know I am supposed to do. I am going to pray.

So today I pray for patience. I pray for wisdom for our leaders (Lord knows they need it). I pray that Eddie's second 35 years will be more exciting for him than his first 35. But mostly I pray that the love I have within me will be channeled, in historic preportions, to the woman I love. For she is the light of my world.

God Bless.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sanity Restored

OK, so I have solved the riddle of the picture - then, just like a boy, I look at what I have done and wonder why the hell I wanted to put a picture of myself in my blogoshpere.

Who knows. All I know now is that it is Wednesday and I'm not going to church - I am going to go home and cook my baby some supper. Just because she told me not to!!!

happy is as happy does! Posted by Picasa