Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Happy Mardi Gras and let the good times roll!!!

Today marks my second year in a row that I am not in New Orleans for the festivities. Oh Well, too much to do at work anyway.

But the spirit of Mardi Gras is hot and heavy with me.

How do we explain this "blow out" before Ash Wednesday dawns tomorrow?

I guess it's the cycle of misbehaving and redemption that we have all grown up with. We misbehave, we get corrected or maybe punished and then we behave again for a certain period of time before the little devil inside of each of us makes us do it all over again.

Now I'm not making any statements about the validity of these things - I'm just musing.

I am amazed at how these festivals got started and how they have played out. I have often wondered how many people are in the repenting mood on Wednesday or is it just an excuse to let thier hair down.

Either way, I have always been a Lenten kind of boy. There is strength in fasting. There is clarity in sacrifice. These are times for serious reflection and need to be used by us to spend time, not in regret for things done, but in a contemplative manner of what can be done better.

Life is truly a tapestry of baby steps towards something. And I'm not really sure what that something is, or if that "something" is really the important thing - because it's our journey that truly defines who we are.

I have lived long enough to have learned that our quality of life depends on how we live it as we travel from one place to another. And I am not talking about going from one physical location to another. I am talking about how we take what we have learned today and apply it to how we handle the same thing the next day.

It seems to me that so many people live their lives just waiting for something. If only I could get this then I could do that. If only this were different I would be able to handle this problem better. The list can go on and on.

But the reality of our lives is that it is our attitudes and perceptions that guide us toward the future. When we get it in our heads that we are going to be better people by treating others better and being more fair about our decisions then we can start to see ourselves in a better light - and that is how we start.

I don't think any of us can truly see ourselves the way we are. It takes someone else in our lives to fully appreciate us for who we are before we can start with a positive self perception. And we have to have that before we can self actualize anything.

So why don't we all just agree that we are amazing people and use this Lenten season to put those things that should be the most important for us at the forefront of our lives.

What do we have to lose?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Freedom of Silence

I had an amazing weekend.

That seems to be the rule instead of the exception these days.

In the hustle and bustle of life there is a place where you can go and recharge yourself. There is a place where you are warm and safe and comfortable and almost immune from all of the stuff this world seems to send our way.

It is one of those places where you can just be. The place where you don't have to explain youself. The place where you are just you and that is respected.

It's a place where you don't have to "explain" what you do and how you feel. Where emotions are honest and just flow like poetry off the page.

So I thank all of those who populate that place for me.

I can't wait to get back there tonight.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

You Takin' My Picture? Posted by Picasa

My Son Is A Monster (and other assorted tales) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oh My Darling, You Look Wonderful Tonight.........

Have you ever just had one of those epiphany moments? You know the kind, where you're just kind of sitting there and you can't quite believe how lucky you are. Where you are somehow almost "outside" of your body and observing instead of participating in what's going on.

Well I had one of those last night.

It started out easy enough with going out to dinner with some friends. We had a drink and then sat down to eat a yummy meal. And as the evening progressed I found myself watching the lady I was sharing dinner with. Just completely mesmerized by the fact that she is not only beautiful but she is so much fun to be out with.

I found myself watching her "work" and quite simply was amazed by the fact that I was with her.

It's hard for us boys sometimes to put our emotions into words - but if there was anyway I could reach in and scoop out what I felt last night, well, let's just say that I would have my hands full of happiness.

So here's to everyone who thinks their life could be better - because I'm telling you that if you pay attention, then it can happen. And when it does, don't ever let anything come between you and the one you love.

Because this is as good as it gets.............

God Bless.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Where Am I?

In the past five years I searched for the meaning of life. Or maybe, not THE meaning of life, but to at least look for the point where I am supposed to intersect with life.

When we are young we are always waiting. We wait until we get out of high school and get into college. Once in college, we wait until we can graduate and can get a job. Once we get a job we wait until we can figure out what it is we're supposed to do and plan our path to get to the top - all the while waiting for the next place we're supposed to land.

But when do you get to the place where you are there and you can stop and smell the roses?

Conventional wisdom tells us that if we stop, we dry up and die. That if we lose our edge then we will be at the mercy of what life tells us to do instead of controlling how we live life.

But there is more than that.

I wanted to stop searching for the thing that was going to make me who I was intended to be and I wanted to find it. But each thought along that path took me closer to realizing that there were a thousand, thousand things that I needed to change about ME before I could ever imagine being in that place.

So I started slowly and lovingly - putting me first for a change and doing the things that my heart told me were right for me. There is an incredible amount of freedom in letting go. Of not being afraid of how things may turn out or even not worrying about what other people would think or say or feel.

So at age 42 I was born again.

Sounds kind of fundamentalish, doesn't it? Well it's not. It's just real.

I found that I am a child of love and if I put that love first - I didn't have to win anymore. I didn't have to be right. I didn't have to always be the loudest or the smartest or anything at all.

I could just be.

So here I am. I am what I am (Popeye Philosophy 101).

And I am so very happy. I find that all the shackles are gone. All that is before me is what comes and I am so very sure that whatever that is, that I can deal with it in its own time and not be afraid of any "what if's" ever again. I don't feel the need to shape events so that they will turn out in my favor. I don't have to lie to anyone, including myself ever again.

So today I rejoice in the fact that I am alive and content in my small place in the scheme of things.

I hope you find that place as well. If you have to wait for something, at least do it with a lightness of being that lets you know that if you don't get where you want to be, then maybe that is not the place you were meant to be.



What is bunko and why are all these girls smiling?

It must be a right of female passage through life. It may contain certain meta-physical details that the male of the species can't begin to comprehend. It may be just an excuse to eat and drink.

The bottom line is that I have no idea and will probably never know.

I was asked to cook food for the consumption at the ritual. So I gladly prepared the food and helped clean up - in the meager manner of a man's cleaning skills.

Everything was ready, and it all looked so wonderful.

Then I was hastened out of the door into the cold night air. I went to eat with some friends of mine and then because it was only 9pm I decided to take in a movie so I could pass the time until it was safe for me to return.........

But when would that be? It's hard for us men to guess correctly at times and I just prayed that I had waited long enough. I couldn't imagine wandering up to the front door and being confronted with a visual extravaganza that could possibly scar me for life.

So finally at 11pm I went back and was greeted, very enthusiastically, by the righteous reminants.

Everything had been kind of cleaned up, the house was put back in order and the ladies seemed to be sitting there in some kind of "afterglow".

I won't report on any bizarre behavior I may or may not have witnessed out of compassion for the participants and the fear of one of them - but I will say this: Whatever happened during the evening must have been fun.

Us men may never understand completely what happens when women get together and let their hair down, but this reporter is very glad I escaped, in what now appears to be just in time and then came back after it was over.

God Bless

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Know Thyself

Most of us never get closer than three feet from ourselves. We have no real interest in who we really are or why we behave as we do. We don't trust our feelings, thoughts or dreams. We are fearful that if we were to examine ourselves too closely, we would discover something terrible.

It is only when we are able to face our demons that we will be able to deal with them. We have heard the ancient philosophers and current phycho-babalists tell us to "know thyself" and it only seems so vaguely relevant, so we continue to live with a stranger - that way we can keep ourselves busy and never have to realize who we truly are.

How then, can we expect to take on responsibility for others when we have not come to grips with ourselves?

We can't hide who we are and ask popular culture to define us. And we certainly can't expect other people to love us and expect to find happiness.

We must first find our own way in this world and be comfortable in our own skin-suits before we can truly give our hearts to another and not be scared.

I am very, very happy today.

And I ain't scared no more.

So here's to you and yours - may they be as wonderful as me and mine.

The Day After

Dawn broke on the day after Valentine's Day.

I smiled.

I have never been so loved.

I could die today and realize, as I was slipping the bounds of this earth, that I had lived a great life.

But I think I'll wait around until at least next Valentine's Day!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Heart Life

Well today is the day. The day for LOVERS...................

I got up early this morning and waited.

Then I went to the florist and got a big - and I mean BIG - bouquet of flowers.

Then I watched the police chase a guy that had stolen a car up and down Hardy Street. This was a little out of place on my Valentine's Day but it was very funny. I'm pretty sure he didn't get away since he was driving a PT Cruiser which is about as slow as honey dripping.

Anyway, oh yea, I'm still going down Hardy Street headed for my lady's place of work. I finally got there and went in announcing that I had some flowers for her. The first thing I hear is several loud "squawks".

"Oh God! I knew HE would show up with something for HER".

Anyway, we got quite a crowd to admire her rather large floral arrangement. She was almost sufficiently embarrased. But not quite.

I had to ask her to leave her office since I wanted to put her present in there for her to find. She looked puzzled but left anyway. After hiding the present, I went back in the hall and announced to all that I had hidden her present in there and I wanted eveyone to come help her find it.

Then I left.

It's not often that I know that I will get her in advance. But today I got her.

It was found and I was gone.

Tonight is going to be a very, very good night.

I hope yours is too.............................

Monday, February 13, 2006

Turning The Paige

I'm the giver. I give to show my appreciation. I give to express my feelings. I give to set the order of things - one adores, one is adored.

It's how things work - right?

Well this boy has put his hands in his pockets for now, in order to accept instead of give.

Now this may not seem like a big deal, but it really is.

This wonderful lady that I love notified me on February 1, 2006 that she was declaring this to be the "14 days of St. Valentines". And as such, I have received gifts each day that express her own unique ability to always get me the right thing.

To be perfectly honest, I am a little overwhelmed.

But I vowed to myself that I was going to allow her to do this for me and I was in no way going to try to "compete" or respond in any way other than with grateful appreciation for all the time she spends doing these wonderful things for me.

I have never in my life felt so loved and cherished. For a "hopeless romantic" like me, it's a little, well, overwhelming.............

But tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow I can give her something.

What she doesn't realize is that if I had the world in my hand, and gave it to her - it still wouldn't be enough to express my feelings for her.

So Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours. And I pray that at some point in your life - hopefully when you can fully appreciate it - that you find someone that will redefine the very way you see yourself and can experience the most magical of the promises that life holds for each and every one of us.

Pay attention - today may be your day.


Victim Of Love

Tomorrow is the day.


The big one.

For the last 11 years of my life, that day has been known as the anniversary of the day my father died.

No more.

Now, tomorrow is a day to celebrate life and love. To reach inside of myself and be able to truly extract what is righteous in my world. To look life in the eye and smile knowing that everything is as it was meant to be. To realize that this time it's real and I will never have to rationalize about this kind of stuff ever again in my life.

And that feels good. So very good.

It's hard for me sometimes to understand what has happened in my life. It's like I was walking in the fog for so very long - just catching glimpses of what is good in the world. But the fog never seemed to lift. I was stuck totally in the moment. I was caught in the glimmer of what should have been.

Now the day is bright and clear and I can truly see for miles.

There is something inside of me that realizes that I just started the third quarter. Halftime is over, the meal has been served and we are starting the second half.

It's very cool that I actually have more energy than when I started the game. I think of all the life that has been lived and all the time that has been spent posturing for life. All those years of school. All the time spent trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. All the relationships that didn't quite fit and the explosions that occured when I tried to "make" it fit.

As I sit here today I can honestly say that my life is as good as I could have ever imagined it. As a matter of fact, there is no way that I "deserve" what I have. And yet I have it.

I think GRACE just rocks!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Saturday Has Dawned

Today is a good day!

The night was fierce. The storms surged and the winds blew.

I lay in bed - hostage to the storm.

No sleep. Just meditation.

Looking for the thousand-fold thought in the probablilty equation. I couldn't put it down. I could not understand how I could be so lucky to be the recipient of something so amazing.

And then at 2am, I understood.

It's not about me. It never has been. It's about a belief in something so much bigger than I could ever be. It's about my faith in that thing.

So I was washing clean, in the midst of a storm.

And I slept.

God Has Blessed Me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Freakin' Friday

Have you ever just had one of those days where you wish you were a cartoon character and a huge Acme Anvil would drop from a cliff and smush you flat?

Yea, I'm having one of those.

But I'm not going to let it get me down (hear the reassurance I am giving myself).

Today is Friday. Since I've got to work Saturday and Sunday that may not seem like much of a good thing - but it is.

Tonight I'm going to spend a quiet evening "in" with my love and we're going to pile up on the bed and watch movies.

At this point in this day, that sounds just about as good as anything I could ever imagine.

I hope your life is good. Mine's going to get a lot better in just a few hours.

God Bless.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Soemthing To Chew On

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Do you see your eyes?

Do you see your face?

Do you see your fat?

Do you see yourself?

Or do you see yourself looking "through" your eyes.

Where are you? Who are you? How do you see you?

If I were to ask you where you are - would you say "here"?

But if you are "here", as you say, and I am looking at you, then are you not, by the very definition of me looking through my eyes, "there" instead?

Is not our perspective the one true thing that is able to define who we are and even where we are?

I see myself differently than I once did - how about you?


Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I think of the concept of home often.

What is home? How is it defined? Is it a place or a state of mind?

My father was in the army. We moved around a bit. I went to six different elementary schools in six years.

There is a certain strength you gain from experiences like that but there is also a sucking sound where your heart should be. You are forever an outsider that has to make his own way with no true loyalties - you are always the "new kid".

When we moved to Hattiesburg, I was 11 years old and it didn't take me long to get used to the thing that was Hattiesburg. The public schools had been integrated the previous year and everything was quite new and interesting.

I was good at making friends and I slid right in.

And in no time at all - Hattiesburg felt like home. That was 34 years ago and now I can't imagine living anywhere else.

I have traveled the world several times over and have an amazing wealth of experience and perspective, but always, at the end of a journey, I yearn for home.

The same can be said of relationships. There are so many that are necessary. I remember the joys of high school where you felt like you owned the place - but the one down side to that was that there were so many people you HAD to assoicate with because they went to the same high school

As I entered college, it was easier to pick and choose those you hung out with so there was much more freedom involved and it was more fun.

The same can be said for adult life. There are those at work that I interact with on a daily basis that I would rather not, but they work at the same place so what choice do you have?

So that leaves the most important thing - the relationships that really mean something. I have had all kinds of relationships - those that were electrifying and those that just were blah. In each of those I felt trapped to some extent.

But after so many trials and tribulations I now find myself in a relationship with a girl that absolutely defines the core of my very soul. For the first time in my life, I am truly free to be who I want to be and have no roles to play.

It would take a large novel to describe what this means to me so I will be brief: It feels like home. It feels as if I belong. Nothing is irritating. Everything is a joy. There is no inconvenience allowed, the love and respect override all of those negative emotions.

So now, as I look around, I look for people in a similar circumstance and we are able to look at each other as exclusive members of a club.

In short, we have found the secret - the meaning of life.

And it feels just like home.

I wish this for all of you.

Bless Me

It was Monday - all day long - yesterday.

Have you ever had one of those days where it seemed that every corner you turned there was something there that you didn't want to see?

Dismay lurking at every turn.

But as the day goes on, I am comforted by the thought that all of the stuff that happens at work is simply work. It does not define me and it can't drag me down unless I allow it.

So I channel the stress and focus on the job at hand without thoughts of how it is screwing up my karma.

And before I knew it, it was time to go.

And go I did!

I went home and when I got there I was showered with grace and harmony which made me think of how stupid it was that I got all worked up while at my job.

So today, I am bound and determined to recognize my life for what it is - blessed. I am a blessed man and nothing will deter me today from knowing that fact.

I love, I am loved and nothing is more important than that.

So as your day gets all twisted, hang on to those eternal truths in your life and just see if it doesn't make you smile just a little - even if Nero is fiddling while it burns around your office.

God Bless.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Sunday

Yesterday was the Super Bowl.

It may be the most interesting cultural bonding event that we collectively share on an annual basis. I think it's bigger than Christmas.

As I look back over my lifetime of 40 Super Bowls I find that my actions clearly follow life's path.

As a child, I would watch a little of the games as my parents and their friends hooted and hollered, drank highballs, and ate the food that only came out on special occassions. Then I would go out and play with my friends.

As I got into my teen years, I would congregate with my other like-minded friends and we would get sloshed on Pabst Blue Ribbon and watch the Steelers somehow beat the Cowboys yet again.

As a young man, I would stay at the fraternity house and drain kegs of beer while observing the ritual.

As an young adult I would go to fabulous parties where many, many people would come to worship at the trough of excess.

Then came the time that no one wanted to host that party anymore and we ended up at a crowded bar with, what seemed like, thousands of others.

This year, I stayed home. I watched the game with my lady and my son and his girlfriend. While sitting in a crowded, oversized chair with the most beautiful girl I have ever known, I found myself thinking back to all the gymnastics that I used to do in order to find fun or to cash in on my part of the American Dream.

And somehow, I just understood that this year, well this year it was as it should have been all along.

Thanks Paige. Thank you for continually reminding me of everything that is good in my world.

I am a very happy man.

And on a side note: How strange is it that an avowed Steeler-Hater actually pulled for them this year? I guess time does heal all wounds.............

I hope your Super Sunday was as satisfying as mine was.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Healing Is The Word

My friend, Pastor Eddie, the televangelist (I love saying that) has been doing a series of words that need to be adopted by churches at his blog www.thepier.blogs.com

Now you have to understand that I find Pastor Eddie to be the most elightened member of the theocracy I have ever known. I value his point of view and am in total agreement with his vision of how to save "religion" from itself. The thing I admire most about him is that he agrees with me (which is how you judge the relative intelligence of another human being). Both of us are firmly committed to working within the framework of the existing church instead of trying to create the world in our own image.

We have seen an explosion of "non-affiliated" churches over the past few decades as people grew tired of the "old ways" put forth by the established denominations. The failings of the denominations are many, but the value is still there, and more importantly, the resources are there - so it is only logical that it is better to work from within than to stand outside and throw stones at the doors of our traditional churches.

The non-denominational churches have been very successful on the surface - but that success is always tied to the personality of the person that started the church and just as soon as they run out of creative energy and life beats them down (which it always does), the church flounders. It is an enevitable cycle.

So before I get too high on my horse, I was going to offer a word as well.

The way I see things - there was one original thought and every thought since them has been a deviation of that original thought so it's OK for us to borrow liberally from our bretheren!!

My word is Healing.

Our churces continually look for ways to evalgelize. We look for ways to bring more "customers" into our fold. We look to be commissioners in the grand scheme of life as we see it and try to be as inclusive as we can.

The only problem is that people tend to congregate with people just like them. So if you go to most churches you will see a sanctuary full of people that look remarkably similar.

So I say, instead of selling ice to the eskimo's, we should take a breath and recognize that the best way to bring people in is to offer them healing.

Healers understand that the quality of what is inside of us will drive what happens on the outside. So instead of smoothing over the rough patches we get to the heart of the matter and build something that will last.

Healers will recognize that healing is not philosophical but requires the laying on of hands. You have to dig deep and be committed to being there and sharing - not just talking about it.

Healers will know that healing is not miraculous but a process full of ups and downs. It begins with a dedication to a principle that may be obstract and that it takes time and it takes several rounds of healing for anything to start to happen.

Healers will have to be stong enough to address the disorders and ignore the symptoms - because in truth, the symptoms are the result of what is wrong with us and that is not what needs to be fixed.

And maybe most importantly, healers need to realize that it is the best interests of the mission instead of the individual that drives the healing. Sometimes you just have to stop trying and go on to the next one in order to keep things moving forward.

I believe that our churches are outwardly inclusive - but it's really, really hard to get much farther than that.

I don't have the answers Pastor Eddie, but I am starting to recognize the questions and for today, I say let's have a beer and talk about how we can start some healing.

Hurry up, the party is about to start.....................

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hug Someone You Love Today

Yesterday was not a good day for some.

If I were a poet, I would be musing about "the smell of death on the breeze". But I'm am assuredly not a poet.

First of all, my lady's uncle died after a long, painful illness. Then one of my secretary's sisters was murdered by her boyfriend. Shot three times with a 45 automatic in front of her 5 children and my secretary. He was upset because she told him that she would no longer support him because he would not get a job.

Yea, he was upset - so he shot her dead. I wonder how he feels today?

Anyway, these things come in three's - so find someone you love and hug them today.

And pray for enlightenment - we need to stop all this stupid stuff - not just in Prentiss, MS but in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere.

Jesus don't like killin' no matter what the reason's for...............

God Bless.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Do You Know What Today Is?

Today is Wednesday. Today is garbage day. How can I walk by full garbage cans and not remember that?

I am not a good man.

Spank me hard.


Perceptions Of Perspectives

I had a wonderful evening last night - too many drinks with two, count 'em - two beautiful women - but a seriously wonderful evening.

In the course of the conversations I was enlightened about some people that don't like me.

Now, over the course of a lifetime, you will encounter many people that don't like you for various reasons. Some of those reasons are valid and some of them are simply a matter of personal taste. Some are just plain crazy!

I know this and I have always been comfortable with those that think I am an arrogant prick.

Love me or hate me - there's not too much in-between in my experience. Luckily for me, most people just LOVE ME!!!!

But this particular conversation was backed up by examples of why they didn't like me. The first of those was that I go to athletic contests and talk really, really badly about the coaches.

Now this made me laugh very loudly.

Here I am, the head umpire for a large baseball league where I personally and routinely discipline people for saying anything about a coach in a negative way. Here I am, a guy that coached for years and years and had to endure the ridiculous posturing of parents who thought their children we better than the others and could not understand why they were not stars and therefore it must be the coach's fault. Here I am, the father of a boy that had a very successful athletic career and got every honor that he could.

I not only never talked bad about a coach, I never had a reason to.

Amazing the things people pile on their own bad opinions in order to somehow justify their feelings. Anyway, I didn't like these particular people that don't like me so it wasn't like my ego was crushed.

But it did make me think of what lengths people go to in order to feel good about the negative things in their lives.

It is written somewhere, on whatever it is "they" write it on, that we judge the relative intelligence and character of a person by the degree by which they agree with our own points of view. And I guess that is true.

So, for those of you that love me - thank you - I agree with you. But for those of you that think I am an arrogant prick - well you can kiss my ass as I shake the dirt from my shoes as I walk away.

I need a nap.