Archive for April, 2012

With my family, there is a 67% chance of not wanting to hear that phrase, and a 100% chance of wanting to know why the speaker is so excited.

“We’ve been duped!”, said one half of the 67% clan, and I have seldom felt so good in having been found guilty of deceiving.

Such was a part of two of the conversations held with my progeny earlier this week, and I am quite proud of them all.

What about the stretch mark, you might say? Well, number one son has been working out, and was proud to show me the impact on his epidermis from growth in the bicep. Sometimes, growth can be painful, and it can feel so good.

And what of the deception? Are the 67% still speaking to me? Sometimes, a bit of innocent subterfuge results in a positive outcome.

Two years ago, I ran my first 5k. My physical fitness mentor, a “Dean of deception” if you will, was not taking “no” for an answer when asking me to get up and get out for the 2010 Memorial Marathon event. It was not his first time to push me, and likely won’t be his last. It went so well, I did the half marathon the following year.

This year, I wanted my little 67% fraulines to get into motion, so I “asked” each to do the Memorial 5k on behalf of the other so that “she would not have to do it all alone”. Little did they know that my half marathon ambitions had been muted for the year, and that I would be trekking the 5k route alongside them.

As we surveyed the inclement weather forecast last night, each affirmed their excitement and desire to follow thru with the event, and I was proud.

As we stood outside today in a 27,000+ talkative sea of humanity in the early pre dawn hours and heard an absolute hush fall over the crowd for 168 seconds of silence, I had goose bumps in the moment, and I was proud.

As we crossed the start line and watched number one son run off to his 20 minute +/- time, I was happy for him, and I was proud.

As the 67% and I turned onto the home stretch quarter mile and “dialed it up a notch”, their old man had a hard time keeping up with their escalating 2 on 2 race for the finish line, and I was proud.

As we all sat together later in the morning and struggled to stay awake next to Mom/Little Frau in the worship service, I was hungry, I was tired, and I was proud.

I witnessed these young ladies develop stretch marks, of sorts, earlier today, and I’m not ashamed to say that it felt good. So did my subsequent 3 hour nap, but I digress…



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“I may be crazy; but, it just might be a lunatic you’re looking for.”

This quote from the lyric vault of Billy Joel has been running thru my mind lately. Just a day or two back, a friend and colleague said “I read some of you’re stuff, and you are really out there”. Then, yesterday, another said friend responded to my confession of occasional irreverence with “I know: I read your blog.”. Touché.

Another quote comes to mind, this one from the A Beautiful Mind movie depiction of Nobel Prize winner John Nash: What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career – the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found.

Speaking of the “meta” physical, I am reminded of World Peace, and the lack thereof. What truly is logic? Who decides reason? . And, more importantly, “why do people fight”? (physical, “meta” physical, verbal, or otherwise). A person gets in a zone, they have some spotted judgement moments in their past, and a brush up with another brings out Mr. Nasty. Woe to those who find themselves on the receiving end of such elbows.

To quote the boys from Monty Python, “always look on the bright side of life”.

To go one better, I should quote the Apostle John: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. I John 3:16-23

So, closing back up the words of Mr. Joel: “you may be wrong, for all I know you may be right…”.

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There was a girl I knew who always wanted to be the one to stand out from the crowd
Always believed that she was gonna live her dreams
That what went down was gonna come around
For all the doubters, non-believers, the cynicals that once were dreamers
One of these days you’ll open up your eyes
And you’ll realize…

It was an interesting weekend, and that Lindsey Lohan tune playing off the iTunes library punctuated the late Saturday evening feelings fairly well: a child of yesterday who has moved on to…other things.

The house was empty yesterday, save for Little Frau and myself, but the driveway was very full. 2 people and 3 cars, soon moving to a 5 to 4 ratio. You see, the young ‘ens, number 2 and number 3, will begin driving soon. My father in law recently asked Little Frau how we would afford a fourth set of wheels to be shared by the soon to be twin drivers. Her answer? “Dad, The Lord will provide”. It seems that provision came this weekend, courtesy of the cream puff Toyota that a “little old man” down the street is looking to sell. But, I digress. I also may have just gotten myself fired, but that’s a whole different story.

Back to the math behind the aforementioned 5 to 4 ratio. The twin wanna be drivers are growing up, and were away at a weekend youth retreat. Their older sister is currently away preparing for finals at college, and then is “coming for a visit” over the summer. 5 people, 3 licenses, 4 cars, and one bright orange bedroom.

Scratch the orange bedroom. After spending time getting the lowdown on the aforementioned cream puff set of wheels from its owner, I spent my Saturday priming, and priming some more, and painting to make the newly minted guest bedroom a lovely shade of beige. The childhood days are gone for one, and seem to be fleeing fast for the other two. Little Frau and I find ourself alone for the evening, and now for the weekend, more and more these days. She describes it as our “Postpartum Pre-depart-em” phase in life. And, so, we paint.

Life is a work of art- you gotta paint it colorful
Can make it anything you want
Don’t have to stick to any rules
You don’t need a high IQ to succeed in what you do
You just gotta have no doubt just believe in yourself

Doubters, non-believers, once were her dreamers
One of these days you’ll open up your eyes
And you’ll realize
…that orange sherbert walls we’re about as juicy as it could get…and we have chosen Lowes Sand 3 as the new color palate of choice.

There was a girl I knew who always wanted to be the one to stand out from the crowd
Always believed that she was gonna live her dreams…
…and we still do.


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I get it, I think. Maybe I don’t get it. Am I talking about living the Life, or the movie Little Frau and I just watched? Yes.

Jazz doesn’t resolve. Or does it? Life doesn’t resolve, or does it? That is the point. That is the premise. Knowing that, and accepting it, creates confusion and discomfort, just like life.

I read the book many years ago that spawned the recent movie. “Essays on Christian Spirituality” was the subtitle, but these essays were nothing like I had ever experienced. The same could be said about the movie. It seemed random. It seemed pained. It seemed unresolved. Then, it all came together, and in a confessional booth, of all places. The last 10 minutes made it worthwhile, even if the first 90 minutes had also been OK.

Not everyone will get it. Maybe they will, truth be told, but not everyone will like it. Media reports already show that to be the case. “The Christian Movie Industry” is boycotting Blue Like Jazz. It makes them uncomfortable. It makes them angry. It offends them. It concerns them. I could say the same, maybe, but I could about life as well. I get it, I think.

I have been to Portland, Oregon, many times in fact. I’ve seen the people. I’ve overheard “lectures” in the hallowed halls of Powells Books, and have even run from such for cover, eldest daughters ears in tow. I’ve never set foot on the Reed campus, but I have seen enough to know the realm.

I have been to “church”, deep south/Bible Belt style, many times in fact. I’ve seen the people. I’ve overheard “lectures” in the hallowed halls and in some people’s books, and have even run from such for cover, saddened ears in tow. I’ve never set foot on the every church group campus, but I have seen enough to know the realm.

I have seen “Fireproof”. I have seen “Flywheel”, and “Courageous”, and other “Christian Industry” movies. Having grown up in the culture that often hides from the reality of sin and takes things for granted, I get the point, and I see the value. Cheesy though they may be, for those who understand the culture of “big church”, these movies can strike a chord and call one to live more intentionally.

The same can now be said of Blue Like Jazz. Is it offensive? It could be, but the same could be said of “Dirty Harry”, and “Midway”, and “Star Wars”, or “You’ve Got Mail”, and any number of other movies I watch and love. Does that negate the point, and eliminate the value?

A non Christian, or at least a non lifetime Bible Belter can watch “Courageous” and walk away shaking their head. A lifetime conservative Texan raised Christian (aka, “I don’t smoke, I don’t chew, and I don’t go with girls who do) might watch BLJ and walk away confused, but the last scene rides in to save the day. It resolves. It clicks. And, it all starts with an epiphany, a realization, a confession, and an apology.

Why does life happen like it does? Why do good people die? Why did 9-11 happen? Why am I here? The questions could go on and on. I sat thru a program earlier this week with the American Airlines pilot who was “bumped” from his flight assignment that would have seen him slain at the hands of Mohammed Atta and had him on the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. And yet, he lives. I shook his hand. I am reading his book. And, I am learning a little about the guilt of being a “some time saint” and the duties of living as a “Borrowed Time Believer”. More on those thoughts in a later post.

Jazz doesn’t resolve, or does it? How about life? I think maybe it does, if we can just open our ears, and open our eyes. It all starts with a confession.

I get it, I think…

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You have to see it too believe it. 

As we pack the car and bid adieu to LTC 2012, the words of Neil Diamond seem altogether approriate:

It’s Love, Brother Love
Say Brother Love’s Travellin’ Salvation Show-ow (halle-halle)
Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies
And everyone goes, ’cause everyone knows, brother Love’s show….

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“Morning: it is zero-six AM”.. Yes, I can see that, thank you.

My morning alarm has one of those awful text to speech synthesizers, and in order to wake yours truly, it is loud. After being shocked into awareness today, my first thought was of the work I have to do today. I am an accountant working on a big report for later this week, and I have pages yet to fill.

Travel author Rick Steves speaks with wistful joy that same phrase about his passport booklet. After a recent quick business trip across the pond, I noted the same thing about mine, and I wondered about trips yet to come.

But, will those trips ever come? Will the work awaiting me at my office ever be completed? I know my boss sometimes wonders that same thing, but I digress.

As last week painfully reminded me, none of us has any guaranties in life. Accidents happen. Illness swoops in suddenly. These are matters of inches, indeed.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

“Morning: it is zero-six forty-two AM (now)”.. Yes, I can see that, thank you, and I have work to do, at least for the moments that are indeed mine, however few they may be.

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