I love a good ice storm. Not really, but indulge me for a moment.
Last night was bedlam, in more ways than one. A highly anticipated football game kicked off shortly after 7:00 PM.   
The score was nil at 0-0.  
The boys in orange had the ball, and it was 3rd and something to go.
Then, everything went dark. That’s when the real light began to shine.
Little Frau and I were sitting in an ages old farmhouse nestled on the Golden Spread, watching the game with her parents, when the power grid went down.
A phone call or two confirmed that everyone in the 806 was in the same boat. Ice on the lines has a way of doing that. A pair of flashlights were retrieved, the gas heater was turned up a bit, and out came the old old stories.

Within the hour, an unwatched game was already out of reach, but a nice visit continued for another hour or two. Finally, a warm bed in a pitch black room beckoned loudly.

The power was back on shortly thereafter, but I contend it never really left the house.
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also…and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:14-16, 18‬ ‭
Last night, it was good, indeed. The lesser lights were greater this night.
I love a good ice storm…

Where the heart is

I crossed the river last night.   Headed south, some might say, in my behavior.

As these words are being written, I’m wearing one of the shirts shown above.  Which of the two, I shall not disclose.   Let’s just say I slept on it, and it holds a place over, and in, my heart.  Rumor has it I may not be its original owner.

 This is not my first time to cross this river.   It happened before many moons ago.   Headed north, at the time, some would say, but my allegiances bled an earthy orange tone.

“The eyes of Texas are upon you”, or so the song says.  I believe it.   For years I sang it.   The day “superman flew” I cried out in frustration at the friends who called to rub it in.

Then things began to go south.   Or did they?   We met good friends for lunch the next year, and one of them may have told me I could either root for the boys in Crimson or I could leave her house.   I think she was serious.

Then my son began acting strange, using phrases like “Boomer” and crying at the end of championship games gone awry.   It’s happened more than once.   The “Boomer” thing has, as well.  😏

It has been said by some “if you can’t beat’em, join ’em”.   I’d like to say it’s much more than just an allegiance.   It’s a heart thing, and having it move north doesn’t mean one is heading south, I hope and pray.

The shirt I slept in last night once belonged to a friend.   As I slept over Texas soil, he did as well, in a spiritual manner of speaking.   I believe the burnt orange lied close to his heart.

  As I rise this morning, in a physical manner of speaking, I will don another color.   My son will, as well. We won’t be cheering for the home team, or will we?

They say home is where the heart is, and heart and home have a way of convincing us to do seemingly odd things, like yell “Boomer”.   Go figure.

Today may not be a championship, per se, but one of us may cry just a little from under his sunglasses.   You will have to forgive him.   His heart may be covered by one, but it contains the blood of another.   

If it “crosses the river” from time to time, I hope you’ll understand…

Back in the day

My youth minister nicknamed it “Dr Blue”.   With a stock 350 V8, and a four barrel carburetor,  it boasted 270 HP and would burn rubber in reverse.

It cost me $200, drank a quart of oil a week, and shook violently between 45 MPH and 60 MPH.   I’d like to tell you it was really smooth above 80, but I only took it up there once.   I promise.   Cross my heart, glad I didn’t die…

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Back in 2003, I sent our oldest child a message as she was moving from Elementary to Middle School.   I keep it in my calendar notes and see it every so often.   It is an interesting look into the somewhat fragile psyche of a the parent of young child who is growing up.   It felt like something that should be placed here for “family posterity’…

H, April 14, 2003

As you know, your mother and I went to your middle school parent orientation tonight. After a brief intro program by the principal and some others, I left the cafeteria to see the 6th grade hallways and then come home to you and your brother and sister.

I was alone as I walked the halls, my every step echoing loudly down the silent and empty marble corridors. I looked at bulletin boards, at empty classrooms full of desks, at the endless row of lockers, and at the courtyard where you’ll spend sunny afternoons over the next few years.

As I walked, I remembered my years of middle school, and walking my own middle school hallways. I remembered the friends, the fun, the fears, and even the fight (did you know I bloodied a kid’s nose in 8th grade and got paddled by the principal for it? My one big middle school age indescretion….). Before I could even drive, I would cruise the hallways between classes imagining I was driving in heavy traffic(the hallways were crowded, as they will likely be for you), and I was seamlessly moving my 5 speed manual shift sportscar through all of the gears. You will likely have some goofy private moments of your own at Central.

The halls were very quiet tonight. As I walked, and looked, I tried to image what you would see, what you would hear, what you would experience, and what you would feel. And I prayed. I prayed for you, for your friends – both now and to come, and for your lives. I prayed for your influence on others – that you would grow, mature, and be a light and lift to the lives of others around you. There will be many kids that need that, every day. They may need just the one kind word or look that you give them. There will be others that need it, but spurn you despite their needs. You’ll have to endure some of that, but you are a strong and confident girl, and others will benefit from knowing you despite the problems you encounter with some.

I prayed for your growth: physical, mental, and spiritual. I prayed that you would learn, grow in wisdom and discernment, and develop a loyalty and love for others even greater than you possess today. I prayed for your spirit, that you may remain sweet and untainted by the world and it’s ways. I prayed for your soul, that you will come to know Christ more fully each day and will shine His glory and love to those around you. I prayed that you would have fun.

These will be fun and challenging years, and you will grow and change in may ways. Just remember how much I love you and your mother loves you. Know deep inside how very proud we are of you, no matter what, and that we are always here for you. You can always come and talk to us, as we will seek to talk to you.

I guess this is enough from your goofy dad, for now. Be on watch, you may see these words again, just when you least expect or may need them the most.

I love you,

Your dad.

To last for a lifetime…

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“Forewordfinally…find enduring use in the service of the One, Eternal God.

What an appropriate charge, and an indirect testimonial, as well.

I was asked to be at an event today, and accordingly arrived very early.   Truth be told, I was going even before I was asked.   In the waiting moments, I found myself reading the forward section of the above pictured hymnal, and remembering the life of a friend.

Beyond the forward of this volume, there is the index.      Songs old and new are listed by author, by composer, by tune, by meter, by title, and by common name.

Songs from Europe.    Songs from Asia.    Songs from the American frontier.    Songs from those displaced by the American experience who would not return to their African heritage.

Songs written by priests.    Songs written by businessmen, and women.   Songs written by former slaves.

Songs written around 500 AD.    Songs written in the 1,700’s.     Songs written before my lifetime.   Songs written after my children were born.

A song too new to be included in this book now comes to mind:

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You *

Within these lyrics is a representation of a man I went to remember today.     While only known to me for but a few months, I counted him a friend.    I now understand he said the same of me to some whom he loved.

This man was a father, a grandfather, a dedicated former employee, and a faithful volunteer.   The tools shown above represent but a few of the things he was adept at using.     Most importantly, he was a child of God.

Within the songbook are tales of faith and failure, fatigue and faithfulness.   There is a saying that “God is faithful, and we are thankful”.    That is true, and faith legacies in this regard old and new are shared within its pages.

My new friend passed quickly and unexpectedly within the past few days.     As we carried his body to be laid to rest today, I was reminded of what a true legacy of faith is all about, both from him and from poets, lyricists, and fellow mere mortals around the world from centuries of following the calling of our Creator.

May the tools of his trade and theirs last me a lifetime, and those who follow after me, to find enduring use in the service of the One, Eternal God.

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing…

*Lifesong” lyrics by Casting Crowns

What hath Jobs wrought?

  I was sitting in traffic one day this past summer when a man ran down the middle of the highway right past the window of my stationary vehicle and headlong into the flow of oncoming traffic from the other direction.   A heavy set man, he was adorned in rumpled gray sweats and flip flops, and he ran furiously down the road waving his iPhone above his head.   As I watched him in near disbelief, the legacy of the famed Steve Jobs came to mind, as did others  of significant accomplishments past.   I think they’re all dead now.

“What hath God wrought” is famously attributed to Samuel Morse at the birth of his telegraph in 1844, but comes from the Bible in Numbers‬ ‭23:23‬ and is more clearly translated today as “It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’”

This phrase rattled through my mind for days or even weeks as I contemplated the behavior of that man in traffic, as well as myself and countless others as our lives and our behaviors are influenced by or even revolve around that thing we call the iPhone.   I’m typing these words on one right now.

Steve Jobs had a hand in the invention of many things, as did Samuel Morse and many others who went before him.  That day sitting in traffic, I happened to be in Yellowstone National Park, enjoying the natural surroundings of the original “Great Inventor” if you will allow me to say, and watching in disbelief at the way people behaved in one of our nation’s few remaining places that could be called truly wild.   All along the way, I wondered what the experience would be like if there were no iPhones.

No GPS.  No calling or texting to find out where our loved ones were. Fewer pictures being taken.   Fewer failed attempts to manage all the things I just mentioned.

I almost forgot to mention “selfies”.   There would be no selfies.   One of the biggest impacts or Mr. Jobs legacy is the way we take pictures of ourselves and other living things around us with near disregard for decorum or danger.   The world is not Disneyland, although we often seek to make it just so.

Speaking of Disney, I’ve spent the past two evenings watching a fascinating ‭‭account of his life and legacy on the PBS series “The American Experience”. 

One of the tag lines of the series is “Where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re going”.   Touché.

Mr. Disney wanted to make a name for himself.   So did Mr. Jobs, I would assume.   Both struggled, succeeded in great ways, and then struggled some more on their way to the next success.   Then they died, as did Mr. Morse, and King James, and King Solomon, and King David before him.   The list could go on and on.

Mr. Disney even thought enough of himself to have his head cryogenically frozen, or so it is said. I assume it remains there today.

Life is more than a great big selfie.   In the end, people may see and recall who we are, who we were, or where we ultimately went.   Or, they may not.   

The important thing is that you struggle through, get up when you fall down, and fall you will, and keep on going.   The world will be a better place in ways big or in ways small from your best efforts.

And I might add, if you take a selfie or two or post a few words on your blog along the way as evidence of what you personally “wrought” as a small part of God’s creation, so be it.    I might do the same.

I’ve got the iPhone to prove it.  😜


Roll with the changes?

I have a good friend from years gone by who is quite active and random in his reminiscing via social media.  

He likely, rightfully, could/should say the same about me.   Touché, indeed.

So this morning, I found my reaction to his post oddly poignant.   It seems a music personality from my youth passed away in the past day or so.   While there is nothing that special to my life about the man who passed, the online tributes from his longtime friend and fellow band mate Kevin Cronin were oddly touching, and I found myself going to YouTube to hear his guitar and these lyrics once more:

I knew it had to happen

Felt the tables turnin’

Got me through my darkest hour

I heard the thunder clappin’

Felt the desert burnin’

Until you poured on me

Like a sweetsun shower. 

So if you’re tired of the

Same old story

Turn some pages

I’ll be here when you are ready

To roll with the changes
Roll with the changes

I’ll admit it’s odd, but I could not shake the tune or the reflections even as I stepped out later for a brisk walk.   This man called Gary didn’t appear to have aged all that well, at least from a worldly perspective.   And yet, there he was in older age and clearly lesser physical condition holding his guitar and apparently remaining active in something he loved.

I returned from said walk to an evening of empty nest movie watching with my Little Frau of 26+ years, and we oddly it seems picked a flick about a woman who never ages, The Age of Adaline.

The online critics can describe it better than me:

A sensitively directed slab of romantic hokum that wrings an impressive amount of emotional conviction from a thoroughly ludicrous premise.

And there you have it.   Such is life?   I hope so.   An impressive amount of emotional conviction from a thoroughly ludicrous premise.

Bring it on life, and Little Frau, or Mrs Douglas, or whatever you want to answer to.

Green Acres is the place for me, as long as it means growing old next to you…



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