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Archive for July, 2012

Hold it close

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Life can come at you in a rush. Blogging can be a rush, but much like with sugar, if you don’t moderate it’s usage, you can end up with a headache…or as a diabetic. I am digressing quickly, but there is a lesson in there somewhere.

Speaking of Rush, the lyrics to one of their tunes recently greeted me on a car ride somewhere and seemed worthy of sharing:

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

Philosophers and ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

You can be the captain
I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart

Oh, and in case you were wondering (and I know you were), the photo is from The Pioneer Woman, of all places. Don’t ask me how I accidentally ended up there today; it just happened. Anyway, her husband (aka Marlboro Man) wrote a post about wild horses, and in the words of Garth Brooks, they keep carrying me away. Maybe I will save that theme for a later date…

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It’s been an interesting week….
It’s been a good week…
It’s been an unexpected week…

I am not a country music fan, per se, and yet I awoke this morning with a 10 year old John Michael Montgomery tune rattling around in my head, and that only scratches the surface….

…..Sink or swim you gotta give it a whirl

Life’s a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don’t worry about what you don’t know
Life’s a dance you learn as you go

The longer I live the more I believe
You do have to give if you wanna recieve
There’s a time to listen, a time to talk
And you might have to crawl even after you walk
Had sure things blow up in my face
Seen the longshot, win the race
Been knocked down by the slamming door
Picked myself up and came back for more

Life’s a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don’t worry about what you don’t know
Life’s a dance you learn as you go

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I might possibly be the world’s most unlikely (if not boring) eclectic. How ironic is that? While my lifestyle and appearance may not show it, the selection of music in my phone’s “iLibrary” just might. I was reminded of that as we drove off yesterday with Santa Fe (aka, Eclectic, USA) in the rear view mirror and a Dixie Chicks tune playing for the start of a long drive home.

I was thinking about a myriad of things, like not stopping in at Santa Fe’s Dragon Tattoo and Body Piercing (a real place) for one last (lasting) souvenir, but I digress. I was thinking about the week. I was thinking about the lives of those we briefly encountered, if not visited at length with. I was thinking about my all too soon too be grown family, the relationships we share, and how they have been shaped by my decisions and actions. Then the song started playing…

I wished I was smarter
I wished I was stronger
I wished I loved Jesus
The way my wife does

I wish it had been easier
Instead of any longer
I wished I could have stood where you would have been proud
But that won’t happen now
That won’t happen now

There’s a whole lot of singing that’s never gonna be heard
Disappearing everyday without so much as a word somehow

Think I broke the wings off that little song bird
She’s never gonna fly to the top of the world right now
Top of the worldI don’t have to answer any of these questions
Don’t have no God to teach me no lessons

I come home in the evening
Sit in my chair
One night they called me for supper
But I never got up
I stayed right there in my chair

There’s a whole lot of singing that’s never gonna be heard
Disappearing everyday without so much as a word somehow

Think I broke the wings off that little song bird
She’s never gonna fly to the top of the world right now
Top of the world

I wished I’d a known you
Wished I’d a shown you
All of the things I was on the inside

I’d pretend to be sleeping
When you come in in the morning
To whisper good-bye
Go to work in the rain

I don’t know why
Don’t know why’
Cause everone’s singing
We just wanna be heard
Disappearing everyday without so much as a word somehow

Wanna grab a hold of that little song bird
Take her for a ride to the top of the world right now

To the top of the world
To the top of the world

“What an intensely sad tune”, was my thought as the music concluded. Knowing there was likely an unpleasant experience behind the writing of it, I looked into the rear view mirror again to glimpse at my family. I’m not the perfect dad or the perfect husband. I’m not sure such exists, despite what I see in others I know and my desire to emulate their choices and outcomes. I have made mistakes. I wish I could change a few things.

“How I provide” has been one of the things I’ve thought over in the past, but I’m not sure I’d change much in that regard. I could have made more money in my career thus far, but I made a choice some time back.

There are those in this world gifted and blessed with the ability to manage certain high levels of outcome and expectation. I sometimes envy those people. I also expect and believe that there are things in their lives that are missing, and maybe things they wish could be. I am confident that my gifts and calling are to another point and purpose, and my wish and goal is to continue that exploration and pursuit.

Ephesians 4: 1-13:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit —just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Sitting back today at a roughly 1,000 foot elevation in a house with a mortgage and some older cars, I wouldn’t change much. I’ve led a fairly charmed life, in many ways, and I am grateful. If anything, I would have given more time and taken less. Thankfully, there is still time to do so, at least for today.

Cause everone’s singing
We just wanna be heard
Disappearing everyday without so much as a word somehow

Wanna grab a hold of that little song bird
Take her for a ride to the top of the world right now

I was blessed with a brief “top of the world” experience this week. There’s no good reason for me to not repeat it every day, no matter the locale. Call it the eclectic thing to do…

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I had recently heard about it, but was young in my knowledge.

Another had told me of it, and what a great experience it would be.

I knew it existed. I’d read about it in the book. But, I’d never actually seen it.

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It is always difficult just starting out. The trail is steep. The load is heavy. You wonder if you made the right decision. They warned you in advance not to try this alone. With the help of others, and with your goal in mind, you press on.

There are dangers along the way. You read about those, as well, but it is not until your first direct, face to face, encounter with something larger and more powerful than you that your adrenaline begins to kick in.

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The path is long. The air is thin. You have a perpetual thirst longing to be quenched. You keep going. The ground gets rocky, and the ridge is high. To fall from here would be disastrous. There are boulders in your path.

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You reach a high point. Is this it? It doesn’t seem to resemble all that it was promised to be. Your predetermined hour, where there is no turning back and you must be finished, is rapidly approaching. Will we achieve the goal, or should we give up here and simply enjoy where we are for a time? You suggest stopping. Your cohort pulls you forward. The summit is there. You can’t see it, but you have to believe and keep moving up.

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So, am I speaking of yesterday morning’s climb, or of enduring as a Christian? Yes. Never one to waste a good analogy, I was moved by the experience of reaching the summit with my son. We had set the hour where we had to turn back as 9:00 AM. With diligence and his prodding, we reached the Peak at 8:57.

What’s in a name? In this case, it was well chosen, indeed : Deception Peak. Because of the trees, you can’t see it until you are almost there. There are false summits, two or three, and they don’t live up to the promised majestic views, but you wonder if you have made a wrong turn and if you will ever arrive in time. But, the view from the top is worth it all. Trust me.

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Philippians 3:13-15: Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

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I may have written about this before.  At my age, I sometimes forget.   What I don’t forget is which way is up.

North is north, east is to the left of north, etc, etc.   Years ago, while on a family trip similar to today’s version, I called the local Amarillo Sam’s club to get directions to the cheap gas.

“Are you north or south of I-40?”, I asked.   “No, we are east of I-40” was the answer in return.   Come again?

As you can see from our trusty map, that seems quite impossible, and yet the respondent was quite insistent, despite my protest and inquiry.   EAST.   With a bit of trial and error, I ultimately found it on my own.

Fast forward 12 years.   Yesterday, gas was not the objective, but gluten free dining that would not cause the same, and more, for my travelling companions.   As Little Frau scanned Urban Spoon and the map, she settled in on our destination.  “Which way do I turn off I-40?”, I asked her.   “EAST”, was her reply.   A sly grin followed, the kind you can’t convey over a phone line.

So, what is the correct directional base when travelling thru the home of the 72 ounce steak, this Bermuda Triangle of the Texas Panhandle, you may ask?   Truth be told, I never found out, but if you get to the Cadillac Ranch, you have gone too far.

I never got a straight answer 12 years ago.   And this time?   I did what any good husband would do when faced with the same spousal conundrum: I went someplace entirely different; someplace I could find without having to ask directions.

We got dinner, and successfully escaped to New Mexico.   Now that we are here, I can’t help but feel that we are being watched.   The lady from Sams must have called to warn them about me…

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Here I am, This is me
I come to this world so wild and free
Here I am, So young and strong
Right here in the place where I belong

It’s a new world
It’s a new start
It’s alive with the beating of a young heart
It’s a new day, In a new land
And it’s waiting for me
Here I am

It’s a new world, It’s a new start*

It has been quite a week, a full gamut of experiences that seems more like what would be experienced in a year. One week ago today, I was awaking in a hospital room in Texas with an ailing father. We had discussions about living a good life, and desiring a peaceful time to pass into the next. Today, he is out and improving.

A few days ago, Little Frau and I made a brief sub 72 hour escape by ourselves just to catch up on each other. In days gone by, we would do this type of thing regularly, but life and health have a way of placing binders on you, and it’s hard to break free.

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In the midst of it all, the twins, wild Mustangs in their own right, were away at camp. I would love to say “the babies”, but 15+ years out, that is no longer true. Upon their return home last evening, we were treated to tales of their week gone by. Camp is such an emotional experience, and I can’t help but feel proud of hearing about their experiences and how they responded and grew.

As last evening grew late, I left the girls to their wedding dress shows to join the boy in the other room playing FIFA World Cup on the Wii. After we chatted a bit, I dozed off on the couch, only to awake some time later to see that he’d found an old VHS copy of Spirit, and he asked if I would stay up to watch it with him. A new acquaintance early in the week used the phrase with me “there are no coincidences in our lives, only meaning”, and I took that to heart as Al-boy and I watched the movie together past the midnight hour.

He asked me if he’d seen this movie before. We had, when he was 5. He asked me if he had liked it. The answer was an obvious yes. As the credits rolled later, he talked of it being a good story, and thanked me for staying up to watch with him.

As I got up and stumbled on to bed, Little Frau shared some more of their stories from the week gone by, and the simple emotions tied up and portrayed in the movie finally connected with the experiences we’d all lived over the past seven days. And I cried, just a little. Deduct man card points now, if you insist, but it was all in order.

You see, life is all about rolling with the changes, and they seem to be coming faster and faster. As we watch our little Mustangs learn to fly, and how to remain grounded yet unfettered, I can’t help myself.

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Here I am, This is me
I come to this world so wild and free
Here I am, So young and strong
Right here in the place where I belong

It’s a new world
It’s a new start
It’s alive with the beating of a young heart
It’s a new day, In a new land
And it’s waiting for me
Here I am

*Spirit soundtrack Lyrics by Bryan “cuts like a knife” Adams. There is probably a whole separate analogy in that one, but maybe for some other day….

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Indeed it does. But, what is “stores”, anyway? Is it a noun? Stores of value, let’s look in the stores, etc.. Is it a verb? My junk stores poorly in my garage.. Or, is it an adjective, adverb, preposition, or something altogether and completely different? The same question could be asked about the junk, itself. I’m not very good at diagraming sentences. I’m even worse at saying “no” to clutter.

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They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but I’m here to say you have to dig thru a lot of the former to find any of the later. And yet, being a self admitted “sentimental man”, there is value in finding that needle in a haystack memento. Sometimes, there is just a fun walk down memory lane in the looking. If I had a dollar for every time I said “I used to have one of those” and two dollars for every time I said “we have one of those in the attic”, it might be an embarrassingly tidy sum, indeed.

Matthew 6:19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. . If I were writing a paraphrase, I might add “…and where people dig thru your stuff after you are gone…”.

But, sometimes there is value in the Abyss that is the junk store circuit. You just have to get your hands dirty and find it. Then you have to be willing and able to put it to good use, lest you go home and simply find someplace else to “store”.

Yes, one man’s (or his or her estate’s) trash can be someone else’s treasure, especially when you can negotiate getting for your Little Frau at 75% off what they were asking. I am sentimental man, indeed…

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