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Archive for the ‘Adolesence’ Category

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How absorbent are you? Don’t misunderstand my question: do you let things soak in, or do they just flood over you and wash away?

Absorbency is a natural trait, unless you are too full to take in anything new. Allow me to explain.

I have taken advantage of the Christmas break to go through our library of old family video tapes and back them up on DVD’s. Along the way, my older technology being what it is, you have to sit and watch as they are being copied. This project has been 5 years in the making: its been that long since I bought the DVD recorder from Overstock.com. I shouldn’t take credit for the inspiration to get the project started; it was one of my daughters who asked if we could break the videos out to watch. She would be so inclined; she’s obviously more absorbent than her old man.

The problem is, this stuff takes time.

What better time, than when off from work and relaxing with family, to do a little absorbing? Truth be told, I’ve seen things this week from my life between 1997 and 2001 that I have no memory of ever happening, and I’m not that old. Really, I’m not. Seriously. Maybe my sponge was just a little too full to soak it all in.

But that’s OK. You see, sponges may be naturally absorbent and able to hold a lot in, but what do they do after that? They sit on the ocean floor and retain water. And you thought I was old? Only when a sponge is taken out of its natural element and squeezed out can it be able to take more in.

Hopefully that’s where this analogy grows some legs and goes for a walk on its own. If we get too loaded down with the environment life surrounds us in, we lose our ability to take more in. That’s where rest comes in handy. It’s also where getting out of our comfort zone comes into play. It is in those moments that everything we are holding inside begins to pour out, thereby freeing us to drink anew.

I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
(Psalm 22:14)

…as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:16-18)

Maybe being absorbent opens us up to taking in new vital nutrients. Take all of this with a grain of salt, as its coming from a guy who hasn’t missed too many meals, even back in the day. I’ve got the old videos to prove it..

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Last night in our home, it rained testosterone. And look what sprung up all over the floor this morning: boys. Big boys. Where did they come from? Where did they go? No, I’m not singing The Cotton Eyed Joe, here. The littler versions of the same boys, I mean.

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You see, it was not so very long ago that this same group of boys, now with a couple of more recent additions, was running around our house and our yard playing with the dog and their Nerf guns. Now they are “in the arena”, playing big boy basketball while others watch, flirting with girls, and giving chase to the neighborhood after dark, but still on foot, thankfully.

Let me take you down,
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever

These lyrics were made famous long ago by another group of boys, become men, known then as The Beatles. While their song is widely believed to have dealt with drugs, not so this go round, which is one of my points.

You see, speaking of strawberry fields, our eldest, a girl, once upon a time loved to pic wild strawberrys with her Pa-pa at his farm. One day we went to visit when they were no longer in season, and I heard her tiny little voice utter “they gone; they were mine”.

But, sadly, and not, they never really were hers. They grew but for a season. They same is true for our eldest, the boys to men still asleep at this mid morning moment on floors all over my house, and our youngest, doing the same from the sanctity of her bedroom.

I had a conversation with some co-workers at Old Alma Mater earlier this week about different groups of young men, and how our society does not have some of the adventure filled defined rites of passage for males that others do, and so our young men often gather and manufacture a few such memories on their own. In the end, our role may very well be to play “Marshall” and keep them from getting into trouble along the way, while allowing varying degrees of adventure and independence as they experience male bonding and learn to make their way in a bigger world, and in allowing just such in a more controlled environ, avoiding the lure of the delusions of The Beatles, and more.

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But, be not deceived, the Marshall, and his Frau, made sure to lock up the Magnificent 7 before the night grew cold, and no gun play (or cigarettes, or even toilet paper) were involved, even gun play of the Nerf variety. 😦

Yes, it rained testosterone in our home last night, and I’m watching the growing by-product pop up even as we speak. 🙂

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Section 8 Discharge

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Who remembers “Corporal Max Klinger” from the TV show M.A.S.H., and his constant efforts to get out of the Army on a “Section 8”? So, what is section 8, anyway?

Let’s look to the Wiki for answers:

The term Section 8 refers to a category of discharge from the United States military when judged mentally unfit for service. It also came to mean any serviceperson given such a discharge or behaving as if deserving such a discharge, as in the expression, “he’s a Section 8”.

Sitting in Section 8 of Memorial Stadium last night (an irony within itself), I can’t help but want to compare the two.

You almost would have had to have been there to see it, and to hear it, to believe it. As the game turned south, so did the actions and attitudes of the liquored up lunatics in front of us.

There was definitely some “discharge” going on. Name calling. Accusations. Profanity. Criticizing and calling out fellow fans that they will most likely have to sit with next week.

Section 8 was an appropriate place for these numbskulls to be sitting. They were crazy. “Unfit for service” is more like it. It’s even crazier that we had to endure them along the way.

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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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I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around

And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Till the landslide brought me down

As mentioned yesterday, we had an adventure, and a story yet to tell. That will come, in time, but as #1 son and I hoofed our way home yesterday, a flood of tunes library memories were conjured up as the music kept me alert and winging our way back home. Mark Shultz reminded me of the Sherpa. Fleetwood Mac, courtesy of Stevie Nicks’ songwriting, reminded me of our mountain trek team.

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

The Sherpa told us on the mountaintop Wednesday how nothing can live up that high. Jesus went to the mountaintop to be close to God, but came back down to minister and to serve.

As I have been home today and dealing with the return to daily life, a landslide of sorts is in motion. I suspect my younger trek companions are feeling the same as they awoke in their own beds earlier today. Laundry, cleaning out the car, or maybe mowing the lawn was in order? Or, was there even more? A loved one’s illness? News of a family in trouble? Knowing that you go into an office full of week old tasks come Monday?

As a child, camp was always an emotional time: good emotional. Coming down off that high was always tough. This week’s mountain experience has been much the same. As an adult, coming down from the Rocky Mountain high is bittersweet, but not all that hard. I’ve been down this road before, and there are potential rewards around every turn, even at 1,000 feet above sea level.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I, I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too
I’m getting older too

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring you down, down

And If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down
Oh oh, the landslide will bring it down

Landslides can be good. Emotional landslides can bring us back to a level where the air is richer and the living is fuller. Take heart. Mountaintops are going nowhere fast. You will ascend once again. God promises just that. John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

So, take my love, take it down
Oh climb a mountain and turn around….

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Stay with me on this one. I confess, I say that more often these days.

Little Frauline, aka the Hankmeister, accompanied me a week ago tomorrow night to a bucket list event. As the music of my youth blasted from the stage, I may have been Standing on Top of the World, for a Little While. Yes, music aficionados, that is the wrong lyricist, but I digress.

As the band played on, album artwork and other images moved across the two story video screen behind the stage. When the image for the latest album, A Different Kind of Truth, appeared, the Little One typed out on her iPhone “I see a blog post in there somewhere”. She knows her old man all too well.

I intended to come back and draft said post the next day, if not that very same night. Fatigue and the Turner Turnpike got in my way, and unlike an original Eddie Van Halen guitar riff, I could not get the “title theme” to resolve enough in my mind to go ahead and write it.

You see, I received a mixture of “that’s cool” and “rock on” responses to go with bemused looks when I told selected friends and co-workers of my Tuesday evening plans. Bemused looks, much like the one my father is likely wearing as he reads these words. 🙂

Yes, this was the music of my youth, but we were not the concert going type. But, aside from the side show clown antics of David Lee Roth, today’s Van Halen show is much different from the MTV depictions of the band from back in the 80’s. A 50 something artist, in nondescript black jeans and T-Shirt, simply playing the music that made him famous a generation back is all I really went to see, and Eddie delivered.

So, now for the “stay with me” moment. As acknowledged earlier, a lot of people probably shook their heads at my desire to see Eddie and his son, Wolfgang, play just once. “An accountant at a rock and roll show? That does not resolve…”.

Then, we opened up Colossians in our Bible class yesterday morning, and I was absorbed by, confused with, and comforted in the freedom we have in Christ.

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I hope to be as passionate and accomplished at my craft in my 50’s as is Mr. Van Halen, evidenced by Eddie’s simple and contagious smile. None of that excuses the “hollow and deceptive philosophy” as expressed by the aforementioned Mr. Roth, but the evening took me back in time, and helped me resolve and appreciate being dead to sin and “the public spectacle” life espoused by so many.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.. Colossians 2: 8-23

It was a fun night. I enjoyed the time with Little Frauline. I enjoyed the live music and the 10 minute solo by the band’s namesake founder, and I was glad to identify more with the nerdy middle age parents with their kids than the inebriated metal heads who streamed out of the arena later that night. It indeed was The Best of Both Worlds.. Oops, there I go again…

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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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