Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - 55

Winter Olympics, my son wants to Luge
The shaking in Chili's 8.8 magnitude
Air travel disrupted from volcanic ash
The Deepwater Horizon goes down with a splash
Half way through the year and news slows just a little
Then miners in Chili get stuck in the middle
Finish it off with eclipse from the moon
Bring on the new decade, don't end too soon!

I broke the rules a bit, first time for everything I guess, but these are the major events I remember from this year.  I know there were more, as seen here, but these were important to me in some way.

Happy New Year!

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.
 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is and is not . . .

I shared this with my Community Group from church the other week, and have now heard something of the sort several times since then.  After that I decide to go ahead and post it here.

So the year is coming to an end and I got to thinking about everything that has happened.  Lessons I've learned, mistakes I've made, joys I have shared and I wanted to put in perspective what I would like to walk away with after this year.

But then I got distracted, who would have thought, and started thinking about Christmas.  After a minute the two came together.  When I’m in January and I look back at Christmas with Kristy and Linc what will I think about, what will he?  What’s important?

Kristy used to have some VHS tapes of old Christmas shows recorded off of TV.  Fat Albert, Charlie Brown, Santa is coming to town, stuff like that.  While it may be very vague, there is always a hint of Christ in those.  There is always a slight look at the Birth of Jesus be it ever so indistinct, it is there.

I watched Shrek the Halls the other night – while the entertainment value was so so, there was no Christ.  We are trying to change the meaning of Christmas.  And I mean in Christian culture too.

Christmas is not about getting, we all know that, and it’s not about giving in the way that we do.  We give so that someone else can have something, and hopefully thank us for it!  But that giving is a correlation of the gift Christ gave through Himself in that manger, do we clarify that?  I don’t do that well!  I suck at that!

Let me tell you what Christmas is NOT about . . . it’s not about getting or giving or family or friends or hanging out or a couple days off.  This holiday is about the fact that Christ loved us so much he came down to live on this earth in our flesh for 30 some years so that we wouldn’t have to be under the bonds of the Law anymore!

Those things aren’t bad, don’t give them up, they are great, I love them all and enjoy them during this time of year.  They are good things. 

But don’t lose Christ in them, point to Him through them!

Here is a version of the Christmas Story, combined from Matthew and Luke, it’s a little loose, so cut me some slack but it's easy to read for all ages.

That is why WE celebrate Christmas, not the culture, not the world, not even  many believers, but that is why Christians, followers of Christ should be celebrating this season!

So how, is the question, and it is different for everyone.  It could be stories or traditions, but think through these things as it is quickly approaching, think through how you’re gonna do this with your family and friends.  So that when both you and them look back they see Christ through the giving and receiving and relaxing and hanging out and being together. 

Men, this is on us, it's our responsibility to make this happen.  Thankfully I was given an incredibly smart and creative wife to be a part of creating memories that lead to Christ through this season.  But it is our responsibility as husbands, fathers, and men to ensure that it happens.

Find the ways to build the memories that lead to Christ.

Merry Christmas!

The Story of the Birth of Christ

This is taken from the Gospels of both Matthew and the Luke in “The Message.”  There is some left out but it is the story of the birth of Christ. Easy to read and a little less of the thou's!  I liked it enough to put it here for anyone.
The Birth of Jesus
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn't know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced. 
While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God's angel spoke in the dream: "Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married. Mary's pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God's Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—'God saves'—because he will save his people from their sins." This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term:
   Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
   They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for "God is with us"). 

Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God's angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus. 

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was pregnant. 
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod's kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, "Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We're on pilgrimage to worship him." 
When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?"
They told him, "Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:

   It's you,
Bethlehem, in Judah's land,
      no longer bringing up the rear.
   From you will come the leader
      who will shepherd-rule my people, my
Israel." 

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, "Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I'll join you at once in your worship." 

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! 

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. 

Later, when Herod died, God's angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: "Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead." 

So he went back to Nazareth with them, and lived obediently with them. His mother held these things dearly, deep within herself. And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Touchdown Tuesday - Stay Classy!

My wife has a couple DVD's of Christmas shows recorded from back in the day.  Most of them still come on, though there are some ancient ones of Mickey Mouse and an obscure Fat Albert Christmas (hold that reference, it's coming back up).  There are terrible, terrible commercials riddled throughout that she adores as they are from her childhood.  Cabbage Patch Kids, Skittles, some Betsy Ross thing, and news men that make me think "Anchorman" was based on a true story. 

Incredible Feat:  So about the time they sowed the 50th star on the flag Brett Favre was drafted to Atlanta, then traded to Green Bay.  There has never been a QB so feared and loved by the opponents defense.  Loved, because he took chances, some that went extremely badly.  Hated because often times those chances taken by the gun-slinger had a football angel fly in and steer the ball around.  This is the most amazing record in sports, that could only be broken at QB by Manning, in 6 years!  It will forever be etched in my memory from the frozen tundra that a man defied odds and built a physical and mental toughness that surpasses anything in sports.  A moment of silence. . .

Now - GO AWAY!!! We love you, go home!

Implosion!:  Fittingly, though God gave Brett one more day to try, it did not happen.  It is one of the most amazing video's  of the Metrodome collapsing (see below).  Go check it out, so cool!  I did wonder what would have happened if the game had not been postponed, there would have at least been a bunch of people in there.  Looks like something out of Tom & Jerry a little. Just freaky.

Hey, Hey, Hey:  I did some thinking about Fat Albert Haynesworth.  I don't have any issue with the fact that he wants to be the best at his position.  He should, I want guys who want to be the best.  The problem is he wants to be the best by himself.  Not a position in this league that can be the best without a surrounding cast.  Just thoughts I had since last week.

Never Wash this Hand Again:  After a loss, Tashard Choice goes to Mike Vick and gets him to sign his glove on the field.  I've been back and forth on this but ultimately, go get it, and don't blame it on your cousin, because you wanted this!  Had it been a Cornerback or a Defensive Lineman that would be a bit different, but they don't play against each other on the field, If everyone is so upset, mail me the glove, I'll hold it for you!

18 Games and Injuries:  There are some people making a huge deal about the fact that 2 extra games will make for an inordinate rise in injuries.  Really?  I'm confused, mainly because most injuries are not that of over-usein the NFL, they are freak falls, landing wrong, getting rolled up on.  2 games adds 2 more chances for this to happen, but they are flukey injuries, and even concussions, so rampant now, would be affected by this.  You can't say Aaron Rodgers would have done something different earlier, or later in the season.  Injuries just happen, they just do.  These guys, the good ones anyways, are finely tuned atheletes.  They'll get paid more to play the same amount of games.  Take the money and run!

Finally Fantasy:  So I went down in a league this week thanks to Kyle Orton, and I pulled one out with the Giants Defense coming up BIG!  (Sorry bro, I thought I was gonna lose).  How did you fare?  By the way, if you need a QB because Kyle was terrible and may not play all game next week (though they are saying he will start) or Rodgers went down and is questionable - check out Jason Campbell.  Playing against the Broncos who let Arizona drop 40 on them.  Maybe a shallow sleeper.

So curl up on the couch with some cocoa and watch some old Christmas cartoons, but hang on because the playoffs are right around the corner!

Oh, and we would love to hear your thoughts on any of this or anything else in the comments!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Race the Sunset - 55

Race the sunset as it falls on horizons
Aching for light and life
Grasp the moon, it carries across the sky
Laying me down for the night
Grab the stars, they burn, I don't care
Excitement is always the game
Stand in the grass with my rake and blower
Is it more than a daydream?

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Theme Thursday - The Results

He stood in the back of his truck as he raised his fist towards the sky with a resentment for too many days gone by without answers. From the depth of his gut and soul he unleashed a growl of frustration towards the clouds that trudged slowly. Water streamed from his face, soaking his hair and resting in the shirt he had ripped from his chest but still hung on the bulked up shoulders of a man who had reached his boiling point.  The rain continued to hide the salty liquid anger pouring from his eyes at what seemed to be an even greater rate.
Enough was enough, the tests, the hurts, the confusion.  Little things he could handle, the bigger could be tolerated but he seemed destined for more.  As he desperately cried for vengeance against the one who tested and provided because it was more than he could bear he took a step as if to get a little closer.
The water had puddled underneath his feet and the force with which he took this step caused gravity to grab his body and throw it to the bed.  He lay there, striving to keep his eyes open as they filled with water and tears.  The thoughts raced through his head of friends advice as fast as the pain from the shoulder he cracked in his fall.
Why was this . . . just why.  He had helped himself, the logic was sound, there were too many thoughts . . . just why?  He was tired of this test that took everything.  The tears now mixing with the water in the truck bed longed for the end.  The end of the test, the end of the pain, the end of his life.
His anger came down to questions, his fear came down to concerns, and his love came down to its basics. With the outburst of his just emotion gone, the truth in his soul arose.  He wept now, not from anger, but from sorrow.  He would not forsake, he would stand.  He would not raise his fist he would raise his hands.
The future didn't matter, the next moment was light years away but here he stood and adored.  Eventually happiness would be returned, though joy had been his choice.  The future held the things, not as his reward for the test, but to show him even more through the pain that each moment, each aspect of life screamed for his attention to the author, the finisher, the creator and sustainer.  The test was not from Him, the results would be all for Him.

This is a Theme Thursday post with the theme of Test.  Read some more stories!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Touchdown Tuesday: Confession

I am currently learning how important confession is to our lives.  The openness and freedom it can bring is revolutionary in all sorts of ways (See my Cam Newton post).  This week both I and some other players are ready to come clean.  Can you handle the truth?


First Confession:  Last week I again proved my lack of prophetic nature (prophetic, not pathetic).  I shrewdly announced, publicly of course, that the Texans would beat the Eagles.  I have ordered my sandwich and will be eating that crow a little later.  Eagles fans, forgive me.  (I pushed the button).

3 Games Left:  4 in the season but 3 until Brett Favre hits 300.  So, for the next 3 games Brett starts, plays a couple of series and then sits.  The last game is all the future and Jackson, but more power to the gun slinger.   The Vikings season means nothing, get him his record.  Remember Brett rolling over for Strahan to get the NFL single-season record of 22 1/2 sacks? (Go ahead and confess Brett, we know it was staged)  What goes around comes around? 

Wah, wah, wah:  There was one crying child already this season storming off the field, forgetting Galileo's revelation that the earth revolves around the Sun, not individuals.  (That was Vince Young by the way)  Now there's another, and actually another.  Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Barry Richardson, here's a thought, "You skrewed up, you don't deserve to be out there right now."  Push my coach and you'll sit the rest of the year, we will see what the Chiefs do.
The better baby after this week is Albert Haynesworth, though he doesn't seem to be worth the panties he's been wearing.  Now called out by a teammate (DE Philip Daniels) saying he's selfish and basically get the crap out.  Big Al's response on a radio show was to the effect of me, Me, ME!  Confirmation.  Called to the principals office on Tuesday, but he's mad right now so he won't go till Wed.  He wants to be the best but this is a team game, if you're only after you, go play golf or tennis, wait, then you've got to depend on a racket or clubs.  Hey Al, here's hoping you slide on the bench and get a splinter in your . . . well, back to confession for me.  (Weren't two of these guys coached by Jeff Fischer?)


It's not my fault!:  This is Peyton Mannings confession, or at least it should be.  Excuse the "pun"nishness  but he is Man-ing up at the podium taking the blame.  What we realize though is that every super hero needs a little help.  Peyton makes receivers great and running backs seem excellent.  The RB's always benefit from his excellence, however, we are currently seeing how he it goes both ways.  With no need to defend the run at all because Donald Duck is in the backfield it is all about the pass for a defense.  (Please heal Mike Hart)  This QB is trying too hard because he has too.  Patience, they'll be fine - next year!


Guys I want:  This week we sit with the Steelers.  Big Ben Rothisberger - With a busted ankle and a broken nose, he makes what may be the smartest, strongest play I've ever seen a QB make.  Throwing off the defender then hurling the ball out of bounds to save the play was brilliant.
Troy Polamalu:  He may be the greatest football player I have ever seen. He seems to know where to be and when to be there.  How he came free on that last play, I will never know.


Finally Fantasy:  Playoffs start in most leagues this week.  I confess, I am hesitant to mention my thoughts here as some in my league may or may not read this and steal my pick ups, but, in fairness to the 6 people that are interested.  Earl Bennet has a sneaky 3 double digit fantasy games in his last 5.  Looking for a guy after Bryant went down (ouch by the way) he is out there in 99% of leagues.  


My final confession, I was actually worried Carolina would win last week when they were up 14 nothing.  Now they came through and forgot there were two halves to a football game, but even still, what kind of fan am I!  



Friday, December 3, 2010

55 - Heisman

Cam walks to the podium, eyes beady with anticipation after hearing his name resound throughout the sports world:  Heisman!

He raises the trophy, then lowers it.

Eyes, confident in position, scan the crowd. A grin grows, "I don't want your trophy, keep the cash I made you and thanks for getting me to the pros!"

I don't know, or honestly care about college football or all this Cam Newton mess, I just think it would be hilarious if an athlete in college only to go to the pros would admit that their "education" was how to be an athlete!

Plus, if he will help the Carolina Panthers win, it doesn't matter to me what he did in college!

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Theme Thursday: Stone

Stone, that's what they used to call me
Back when I was phased by nothing,
Weather, Pain, Emotions
That's what a man is, immobile

Stone, rock solid on my convictions
Because they are right, right?
They are founded on truth
So they should be yours too

Stone, that's what I saw
As the sun crested and lit up the valley
It is forgotten that the stone mountain stays dark
Standing immobile, overlooking without intervention

I am resistant to the beauty around,
The love attempted to be given and thanks
I don't need this soft feeling
And all they need is a rock foundation

Stone, Cold, Immobile
Wrapped in a suit, placed in a box
Wondering about the light
Eternally cloaked in the separating dark

Too many stories of too many male's roll towards this reality.  Being a man is not being a stone.  We fight hard, play well, and seek love deeply.  Shake the facade, strive to the Creator. 

-Ordinary Warrior

This is a Theme Thursday post with the theme of Stone.  Come and play!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Touchdown Tuesday - Why so Serious?

If I had hair, I would want it to be several inches long, straight, and jet black.  Whipping my head around, the glorious hair, slightly damp for effect, would slide through the air landing in strategic places across my face, leaving both of my eyes peering through the strands.  (I know I have problems, no need to point that out.)

What it would not entail is any shaving into the side of villains sayings:
As entertaining as this was against Batman & Robin (Bengals) last week, perhaps it should have been changed to "Why so Slippery" this week.  I feel bad for Stevie Johnson & hope he recovers, though he doesn't seem to think he will, but big players make those plays, they don't worry about how they will celebrate after they make that catch.

I'm not hating here, I think he is becoming a great player, as long as he doesn't start thanking his hands for being so great (more on the Eagles later!)  Fitzpatrick is the guy for the future here though, you don't draft a QB.  He leads, he throws, and he is fearless.  He carries this team, fighting every week.  Hopefully I won't talk about the Bills next week.

I will talk about the Panthers now though.  Russ Grimm, really we are looking at Russ Grimm, the assistant coach for the 2nd worst team in the league?  I really don't know what to say here, at this point Carolina needs someone to get behind, and that is not going to be a new coach coming off a 3 win season.  Can I trade allegiance for the Bills please?  Never thought anyone would say that, huh?

Throughout the year Vick has made both the Defense and the O-Line of the Eagles look much better than they actually are.  The Offensive line is obvious, most teams play back, don't rush as hard, playing a wait/contain defense against Vick, making the line seem great, because they are not pressured as much.  The Bears didn't wait.  Peppers, who is the best when he plays, handled business, and a 4 man line for most of the game pressured Vick because they played like he was a QB, not Superman.  The line has to get better.

Vick makes the Defense look better by having them play from a lead, making the other team one dimensional and therefore the play calling easier.  The Bears didn't.  Forte, who has finally come on, ran, and Cutler threw.  Philly is so much fun to watch, high powered and exciting, but if they are going to go deep in the playoffs they have to be able to hold it on D and stop guys on the line.  Should be a big game for Vick this Thursday, but can they contain Houston and stop Mario Williams? Calling it now, I'm taking the Texans.

Guys I want:  Peyton Hillis - All this guy does is play hard for a team that doesn't win much, though they are on the edge as well with McCoy.  He is like Mike Alstott with much better vision.  After treating Carolina like a cheap Kleenex with a bad cold (blew threw them) he was asked about his game.  He gave credit to his Fullback & his O-line.  That's the kind of guy I want.

Andre Johnson - Mild mannered, strong hearted, play through the pain, then go to the octagon for some ground and pound!  I loved this, the game in hand, still playing hard, emotions in it.  Give me the guy with heart, usually controlled but needed to come out to fight the injustice of the evil Cortland.  Receivers have a new hero - Andre starts with an S.

Finally Fantasy:  Frank Gore is out, pick up Westbrook.  Healthy, rested, and showed last night he was ready to go.  San Fran will start to use him more in the passing game now that he will be the #1 guy in practice and game day, I suspect.  Being only 1 game out of winning the division, does anyone remember a guarantee earlier this season about playoffs?

My picks still suffer, though this week was better.  If I'm being honest I have recently begun testing my son for specific gifts, my 3 year old son.  While I am loving making picks with him, I fear he has not been endowed with a prophetic edge, though sadly his seeing ability is slightly better than mine as his pick was the Browns and I went with him for a win.  I haven't picked against Carolina since they came into the league!

That's it for this "serious" edition of Touchdown Tuesday.  Don't drop the ball this week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Touchdown Tuesday - Songs of Goodbye

Goodbye Dear Chili, though we really knew you were gone, you should thank Brett Favre, you have any cash at all.  (Candle in the Wind - Elton John)

Not working for you?  How's this:

The Titans singing, bye bye you little whiny child, we boo you cause you stink and we hope you go wild.  Last time you came on back and we all reconciled but now we just think your actions are vile, and we're hoping that your contracts denied (American Pie - Don McLean)

Try this one:

Goodbye cruel hits You're leaving us today, Goodell has taken you away goodbye.  Goodbye all you defenses built to intimidate, Goodell has changed your mind, goodbye.(Goodbye Cruel World - Pink Floyd{a little more obscure I know but so good!)

That's enough just sing the na na na's, the hey hey's, the goodbye and here are the Rambling Football Thoughts.

Colts - I trust in Manning.  There is still no other QB I would rather have at anytime during any game.  All these questions about if he should have short passed or run the ball - Manning realized they were riding momentum in a game they had been outplayed in.  New England had run all over them, slowly and consistently, OT would be bad.  Manning played to win, remember, "You play to win the game!"

White Chicken Chili - Every football program in America should be afraid of Brad.  The breakdown in his actions, calls, and attitude is nothing less than amazing!  But, after being in a situation he didn't want to be in and letting Favre make him a ton of cash, he can now sit and enjoy it from his couch.Buy yourself a nice seat coach, I expect you'll be there a while.

Titans - Coaches, do not provoke your players vs. spare the bench, spoil the team.  Vince Young is a child.  I don't know how to say it any other way and Fischer should have him released but Young holds to the apron strings of the other parent, the owner!  I tell my 3 year old, "You don't get to act that way," My 3 YEAR OLD - and this is exactly why.

The $ is on the Rise - I love the Bills.  How do you not cheer for this team, they stink and every week they fight as if it were their season.  For their coach, the team, the fans, and then drop 35 (total of 49) and pitch a 2nd half shut out!  They don't need the first pick (& Panthers say thanks).  If it continues and they strengthen in the offseason a little, they could be a force next year.

Dictators and Hard Hits - The Commish needs to watch his back right now - this may be more dangerous than he realizes.  He now has many star players, Urlacher, Lewis, the Steelers, all coming out against his one man rule on hits the league has celebrated (remember Jacked Up! and posters of guys getting blown up?)  On the edge of a strike could this be more fuel pushing towards a play stoppage?  Careful Rodger, you may be in charge but you do not dictate opinion.

Finally Fantasy - I actually doubled my opponents points this week 186 - 93 and that is not an exaggeration!  That's really all I have to say about fantasy, highest point total I've ever had I think, it's just cool!

Turduckin - I sort of hope to see one of these this year - fond memories of sitting around the tv fighting to stay awake after finishing a brilliant meal at the table with my family.  Sit with your family, bring them close, share life and love with them over the table . . . and then argue about calls on the football field and let your grandma walk into a screen door!  Lots of family and friends, an inordinate amount of food and football, good or bad ~ Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!

If there's a topic or team someone would like me to address let me know and we will work it in!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Touchdown Tuesday - In the Beginning

In the beginning there was football . . . well not really but how cool would that have been!  God created 2 53 man rosters from the get go, I guess everything takes some time to get perfected.  I'm confident there was some 2 hand touch going on in the garden though!


Disclaimer:  I am a Carolina Panthers fan!

Strange things this weekend in the NFL I felt like.  Incredible turn arounds, HUGE scores, and over-all just a lot of fun to watch!  Speaking of fun, I don't have to watch my dismal Panthers because I don't have the Sunday Ticket this year, and I am ok with that!  I love them, they stink, that's all I have to say this time.

Dallas:  Lots of talk about how Wade was not the problem and the players are playing now.  What made the players play all of a sudden?  A new coach, genius!  All these pro announcers going off on the players, when they might not have been playing great, but they were modeling their coach, this is what happens.  It was Wade's fault!  Will they keep winning?  I don't know, but the lackadaisical attitude went out with Wade.

Talk about Vick:  Gonna be hard to stop this guy and this team right now.  They were incredible last night!  He had complete control.  6 TD's, unstoppable.  Best part after the game, the following press conference  when Deshaun Jackson says they were like some caged pitbulls!  Accidental shot, sure was funny.

Congrats to the Bills:  They play too hard each week, I think they will get some more wins through the season, and thanks for confirming Carolina gets the first pick.  Sorry, that was the last of Panthers.

Denver drops 49:  I guess I shouldn't be surprised, they've been offensively effective all year pretty much, just don't shake hands, that is all I know!

Fantasy relevance:  Most trade deadlines are coming up so pay close attention to finishing your team for a playoff run!  Why can I give fantasy advice?  because I'm in 4 leagues - #1 in 3 of them and on the rise in the other - back off Carter, you're going down!  Don't ask me for weekly game picks though, I've resorted to asking my 3 year old . . . it has been bad!

I think Touchdown Tuesday will be a consistent thing for me.  Football is like a hobby for me and I need an outlet and being these are the Inconsequential Rambling Thoughts of my mind, I figured what better place!

Friday, November 12, 2010

55 - Spidermans Ride

Smiles light the night as he cheers for the wrong team, but he doesn't care, they're playing soccer and we are watching together.

Passerby's chuckle, some comment, he takes it in stride soaking it in for his building confidence.

Game ends, Spiderman's back on the 4-wheeler & I ride his scooter, enjoying the ride back home.

Tell a story in 55 words and post the link here with G-man for Flash Friday 55!  Come and play.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sense and Soccer-ability



I love soccer, love watching, playing, thinking about strategy.  Don't hate, I love football too, American football but a soccer game played well can be a thing of beauty.  Not that we saw much of this in the last World Cup, though a couple of the US moments at the end rank incredibly high on the intense-o-meter.  Lost my mind in a couple of those games, ask my wife, she thinks I'm a lunatic!

I played soccer in High School.  I was no where near the best, closer to the worst if I'm honest, though not as bad as stories have gotten over the years.  I never kicked myself in the nose as has been told to many a kids group by some of my great friends from Vandalia HS.  I did, however, miss a wide open goal with a header once, right off my eyeball.  But I never quit, as goofy as I looked, and my defense stood strong!

I remember one specific kick in one specific game.  I was never the most confident player, which I realize now only added to my lack of talent.  I often miss kicked because I was unsure that the ball would go where I wanted it to in the first place.  My belief that something could go wrong when I kicked the ball won out more often than not.

But this one kick, deep in the backfield, close to my goal, keeper calling out where the striker is, ball striving to me.  The mind is funny, knowing what it should tell the body to do, believing it may do it wrong, but acting anyways with so many thoughts rushing all at once.  I slid to position and prepared for the worst, a mis-kick that would lead to a goal and our loss.

Suddenly, out of no where, my sweeper screams at me!  I didn't need to look, only act.   The embedded belief that I would jack it up vanished like a fart in the wind (Yes, I stole that).  I stepped to the ball in mid roll, put my foot on the ground in stride, and blasted it to my midfielder streaking down the field.  No idea what happened after that, memory fades, except for the word.  The one word that inspired belief in my action.  My ally had belted the word, "Confidence!"

That simple act, getting me to be confident in the fact that we had practiced, learned, focused, and re-practiced this over and over and when it counted it was time to come through, not wonder if I would, because I could, I simply had to act and fall back on my training.

This carried far beyond this moment, though I'm not sure I realized it until today.  Desire to do well and do right is nullified by a wonder if it will come to fruition.  Confidence in training and belief is what leads to action.  It's easy to fall back away from this, I do it all the time without even realizing.  Put in the training and then stand in the confidence, more often than not, you will be satisfied with the results, though sometimes you may be accused of kicking youself in the nose!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sand - Theme Thursday

Mingling through my toes, each step closer to somewhere as you become an actual part of me.

My knees fall into you as you caress my fall and hold me tight enough for comfort without a grasp for life.

I trustfully fall into your embrace, longing for each tiny grain against my skin.  The feel of your touch enchants my emotions,  drawing me closer and closer to the one that we have become. 

I roll my head to feel the speckles kiss my cheek gently, and thank the Creator for shaping this sand into you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween ~ Enjoy the Community!

A skeletons dry bones rattle up to my door, a vampire, a KISS member, a unicorn, a princess, a fairy.  Superheroes, cartoons, Charlie Brown.

Mostly smiles, some disappointing pretzels, voiced loudly by those with less manners than others.  Over-all in the midst of the darkness of night and the frightful decorum the aura is light, the feeling is not heavy.

As we trekked through our neighborhood with Spiderman and a Detroit Lions cheerleader even the college students who were unprepared gave what they had to the trick-or-treaters, chocolate Tastee muffins! 

We passed dreadful decorations, freaking out the cheerleader, but intriguing my boy who wanted to see more!  One group on the porch playing music, so inviting and enjoyable.  A "fake" pumkinhead scarecrow that watched with his head as you walked by, freaky, but nice enough not to scare the children out of their candy. (This was my favorite of the night!)

Why would you sit this out for religious reasons, this brilliance of community.  It brings everyone together, who wants to be.  As we walked through the side streets of our neighborhood I thought that there are few things that bring us together anymore. 

When else will I walk with my child in the dark of night and not be wondering what was behind the next corner, even though on this night, fright is the point!

This night of fear is a night of togetherness.

Please know I am in no way saying anything against anyone who sat this out for whatever reason, only highlighting the fact that it is coming together of communities in ways that don't happen often anymore.  I love that it happens and love being a part of it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Peanuts Poem" - 55

Linus with his blankey, Frieda and her hair
Patty is the Peppermint but Marcie isn't there.
At first we had a pigpen, his dust has disappeared
Snoopy has been much more difficult than I had feared
Carrying a football, tonight we all get down
I hope Lucy gets lucky, cause I am Charlie Brown!

Did you know the girl with the naturally curly hair in peanuts is named Frieda!

This is our Halloween Costume with my boy being Snoopy and several friends making up the Peanuts Gang.

Happy Halloween everyone, be safe, have fun, eat candy!

What can you say in 55 words? Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man..

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Summoned Monsters - Theme Thursday

"Curious" as we looked around the dimly lit room desires of both a sighting and an escape.

"It's quiet, too quiet" we slowly start to work our way around the bed to break for another room.

"Did you hear that?" as we freeze with the anticipation of fear and excitement, eyes wide, scan the room, then they meet . . . we hesitate . . . then SCREAM!!!!!

Little legs fight frantically but seem frozen in air. "Go, go go go!"  Our escape is imminent, through the door and around the corner!

"Watch the stairs!"  We look back to see perfect hands reach for the gate, lift it, then attack!

"She got us" is yelped through howls of laughter . . . the monster we had summoned, the tickle monster

And it all started with a call from upstairs and a normal bedtime ritual - "Ma-a, will you come tickle us?!?"

Written for Theme Thursday, come join us, read, write, enjoy!
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cells of Air

My energy is drained, beaten back by the busyness that technology has created.  The same technology that was supposed to free us, help us to realize our dreams, ambitions, and goals is now a cell, a lock down.  It keeps me in confinement.  Bound, not by walls, but by radio waves keeping me ever connected with the outside.

It is a fight not to look when it dings, not to wonder how many hits or comments.  How popular does media make me?  Driving to the edge, every thought, every dream boiled down to 120 characters in order that my looks may deceive, if only perhaps myself.  There is a world where image depends on followers and friend requests.

There is a cold wind of fright across my face.  What have I lost in all I have gained?  What has vanished from existence?  As my eyes fight the heaviness and I bury myself in the lost reality glaring back at me from the picture box I promise, again, tomorrow will be different, the same as it was today.

It is difficult not to get wrapped up in the technological world that takes us away while still being "here."  A friend of mine once told me, "When you are here, be here."  

I've had these thoughts for a while, they scare me for some who live in a world they create online. 

-Ordinary Warrior

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Let it burn - Thoughts on a Masterpiece

The raucous engagement with a minister of illusion insistent on burning a book with religious value several weeks back flew low on my radar.  Safety of men securing my freedom hung some on it, but the freedom they fight to secure dangled as well.  What would a soldier truly bent on freedom for and in his country desire?

I don't know . . . and this is not where I am headed.

It is unclear the amount of books he wanted to burn or even the reason, as burning these books would ignite nothing but rage.  Drenched in gasoline, waves of fumes roll away from the pile, trying to escape the controversy it would create.  Important, doubt it.  Meaningless, not this far but close.  Do I care? No.  It is not my book.

But what if it was . . .

I stand confident on a collection of 66 books, all touched by a Hand and breathed through many writers over even more years.  What if some attention seeking clown decided his marshmallow should be roasted over a flame of Leviticus & Deuteronomy?  (If I'm honest, those two are tough and would probably be the first to go!)

The imagery of flames licking around the message of the only way to keep us from this separation is an odd one.  Orange and light blue mixed with some green from the leather, because that is what a Bible must be wrapped in to be complete.

It's just a book and pages, let it burn.

While the explanation of my salvation and description of why I live, or at least strive to, the way I do lie in these pages, they are just pages like any other book, it is just the explanation.  LET IT BURN!  I am not in this fight for some book, some collection of stories and pages, true or not.

I believe this book because historically (despite explanations designed to grasp attention from certain broadcasting agencies) it is proven, but so much more because through faith I am brought closer to the lover of whom it is written.  I believe it because it's true, and I love the God it displays not for what He does for me, but for who He is.

So ultimately, it's just a book, let it burn.  Let the flames eat away each word of written truth because if that truth is only written on pages and not on souls it is worthless.  A warming fire would be more comforting.

-Ordinary Warrior
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bacon Chili Banapple

I like to grill
(I typed that and then thought it should be a child's book title so I'll start over)

There are few things that I take pride in on this earth or gather glory from - I want it all to go upwards - however, I do like to grill!  Veggie kabobs marinated for a long while, cooked slowly then covered in parmesan right at the end.  Chicken, of whatever sort, with perfect grill marks on both sides and actually still immensely juicy.  Hot dogs, I could actually do without unless they are wrapped in bacon. 

But there is one, a meal so delicious I can't take a bite without closing my eyes and savoring each spectacular morsel.  The simple thought ignites a Pavlov response of salivation and instant hunger.  There are few who are privy to the magnificence of this piece, and even fewer who have been a part of its origination - but all need the experience of a Bacon Chili Banapple burger.

This is no ordinary burger, sure there is a patty of meat at its core but the body is made up of many parts!  I am learning that the order of said toppings is incredibly important, as confirmed here (the inspiration for this post), and am still mastering the specific layout but it has not taken away from this burgers glory!

Thick cut bacon, several pieces of course, chedder cheese, lettuce and tomato, nothing special to this point.  The brilliance lies in 4 areas that I am not afraid to reveal most of as this piece of perfection will be difficult to duplicate.  Banana Peppers, enough for a kick but not a burn, tempting taste buds to continue their search for the great.  A special barbecue based sauce,  again, with a little added flavor of my own.

Now comes my favorite, the ingredient that sends the senses into savory mode, grilled until almost juiceless pineapple rings.  Topped with a hint of beanless chili to complete the flavor extravaganza.  Give me a moment . . . oh yea!

There are few things that I do that I hold dear - This is one of them!



T
This is my buddy and a Bacon Chili Banapple Burger!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

His Hand Brushed Her Heart - Theme Thursday

A life that screams glory and embraces wisdom of those around her, confused as hands are everywhere but One holds her tight.  What some would call a flaw or a defect, One would call good and perfect.  Though fallen is this world, Glory still abounds!

It was a normal evening for the doctor, a glass of wine with dinner, family around talking of the first days of school that had come much faster than desired.  His wife had a glimmer in her eyes, a radiance in her face, and a look that he had seen before, it was to be a good night!

Upon finishing the meal, the family cleaned together, laughed as each dish was washed, rinsed, dried and put away.  Even when one slipped and shattered there was no anger or disappointment, simply a closeness that had felt slightly distant for a while.

The park called their name that evening, though the air was thick with moisture.  As they strolled down the sidewalk hand in hand exchanging joyful glances the children danced and laughed around them, as if this peace had radiated to them as well.

Upon their return it was baths, books and hugs in preparation for bedtime.  Each child tucked in with a kiss and a hope for the day that would follow.  Then, entering his bedroom, candles flickered on the soft skin of his long love.

The evening was perfect, followed by a deep sleep he had not felt in what seemed to be ages.  No distractions or disruptions, just a night of rest in preparation for the morning.

At 5:30 his alarm went off, but he had woken moments before so as not to be startled by the piercing sound.  Arising with a smile he showered and drank his coffee, black as usual, though the aroma seemed to overwhelm him and the taste flowed like it was roasted and brewed just for his palette.  He checked the cabinet, Folgers as usual.

He arrived at the hospital and prepped for an early infant surgery.  He flowed like a skilled artist steady and smooth.  His eyes focused, mind whirring 7 steps ahead of where he was but completely in the moment.  A slight snag, he reached his giant nimble finger into her chest and upon its return his hand brushed gently against her heart.  This made him pause, if only for a moment, to grasp the depth of where he was.

It was as if everything leading to this had been orchestrated, guided for him to be perfect in that moment.  As the surgery finished a nurse congratulated the doctor on another success but there was a hesitation in him, as if this one wasn't his.  He smiled behind his blue mask, remembering his slight brush and walked out to continue this day.

This is a slightly different kind of write for me but this is what was on my mind.  Some great friends of mine are currently leaning on grace through this with their daughter, her name is Gracie.  I thought of the doctor being fresh and focused as so many were praying for her surgery.  To God be the Glory.  Their story can be followed here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Longing to Listen

On his knees, pleading for direction and peace as he had done religiously for the past 3 weeks, Michael felt as if his heart would explode.  Overwhelmed with anticipation for the future, and regret from the past, he tried to follow the words that consistently flowed from his pastor and church about how to live. This is what the Creator was after, what mattered was obedience.

The past few months had been different for him, raging towards a relationship he had neglected for most of his life at whatever cost.  He had cut back on hours at the store, up early each morning and to bed late trying to read and understand the textbook to life that had been presented to him.  Minutes and hours were put into this pursuit that left him still wanting for something.

Many times he would sit, longing for silence in his head to be able to hear the gentle whisper, the soft breeze of guidance.  But there had been no whisper, no breeze for his face.  On this morning of searching, Michael had been betrayed by his thoughts, "What if I was wrong, what if this is stupid!  What a waste of time!"  He shook his head free of these thoughts and pressed on, painful as it was.

Upon rising from his place of prayer to fight through another day at work Michael stood at the mirror and the thoughts of a wasted life continued to pierce.  He grabbed his bag and began his walk through the house.  He first past his son playing quietly in his room, gave him a glance, called that he loved him and continued on the trek through the house.

Next the bathroom, covered in water and hair . . . "Why doesn't she clean this up some time during the day" he thought.  Through the kitchen  where his wife stood making breakfast for children and washing dishes to his escape door.  "See you tonight" was all he could muster as he walked out the door, mind still on the reason for his God's silence. 

"Why, God, would you put me here to simply not to speak to me." 

I Peter 3:7  Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (ESV)

Community is critical in developing a relationship with Christ, and marriage is a picture of how He loves us. 

Like Christ loves the church

Making the extraordinary seem normal.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Too Long - 55

I long for the sound of your voice undistorted by technology and distance.

I yearn for the touch of your skin, fingers, hands, arms and the rest.

I need for the kiss of your lips grabbing my soul and pulling it close.

A week is too long, but so is a day and an hour.

This was for my wife who has been gone for a week but now returns to my arms where she belongs!

What can you say in 55 words? Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

"And His Hand Fell from My Palm" - Theme Thursday

He had reached out to me, desiring to place his trials, his conquests, and his defeats in the palm of my hand and I stood there speechless.  I wanted to devour the insight, to clothe myself with the wisdom and experience resonating from his eyes.  He needed the comfort of words both spilling from him and piercing towards me.

But I needed the solace of apathy.

Instantaneously a thousand year war raged in my head with horns and guns drowning the plea to accept the gift he was trying to give.  I cracked my usual self-indulgent smile, cocked my head back and to the side and looked at him with half squinted eyes hoping he would hear my wordless message that I don't need what he has.

This arrogance was quickly shattered as the persistence of his limb reached towards me and the raspy, high pitched voice continued to break my desired silence.  He was battle torn over a few short years of complete disaster of which I could not fathom the impact.  His face was sheet white, save the reddish brown scar which spanned from his left temple to the center of his head and then back down.

The battle he had faced was coming to a slow end.  A fight with knives, white, sterile rooms, and pain.  This enemy had stolen his strength, his freedom, sometimes his sanity, and his hair.This enemy had stolen his life but he wouldn't say that.

He would say it gave him deep, true love with people and far more with Glory to desecrate in a futile attempt to explain with mere words.

There was no regret in his reddish eyes from tears and pain of what he would miss, what he would not experience.  His first car, his first summit of a mountain, his only walk down an isle to a woman resembling in character his mother.  These were after thoughts in the strive for Glory this twelve year old man knew was his.

In the end, I opened the palm of my hand and took his, hoping that crumbs would fall from the wisdom on his table that I might greedily consume.  I listened and laughed until he finished explaining love through disease.  He looked at me, smiled weakly, and with all the strength he could muster, winked.  He then breathed out.

And his hand fell from my palm.

This is a post for Theme Thursday with the topic of  "Palm."

This is a fictional tale for me but I think of many friends as I write it with a heavy heart.  Thank you for strength and wisdom for Glory. 

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Heartfelt

There was a recent weekend that was draining in all kinds of ways.  Certainly physically - 22 hours of driving in 49 hours, 8 hours of sleep in 60 hours.  Mentally - while driving I was usually thinking, this gets me in trouble quite often though!  Spiritually - I was a part of something the Holy Spirit had been brewing for 32 years, pushing over the past 2 years, and culminating with this incredible weekend.  It was beautiful in so many ways.

All that too say, I messed up, and none of that is an excuse.

There was someone who needed me and while physically I was there, mentally I was only half there and; spiritually I was gone . . . far away in the dreamland the rest of my being should have been in.  My wife needed a gentle touch, soft encouraging words, and servant leadership.  The ball that is so often spoke of . . . I dropped it.

Here's the thing, I was thinking about that today - That is not how Christ loved the church.  I tuned out because of fatigue, He was more focused on me while beyond exhaustion, I'm not sure that it evens describes the point He must have been at - and then He was taken, beaten, nailed, and died.

This how He loved the church, how He loves me.

There is no excuse for me, I am here to love her and serve her perfectly because that is my example.  I obviously won't always but my repentance to her and Christ draw me closer to both, and that brings Him glory.

Men, there is nothing about this that is about us, simply nothing.  Honestly, it sorta sucks but the minute I think of myself first, in whatever minuscule means, above Kristy, Christ, and His Word I become an idolater.  The ultimate truth is as men we are highest on the totem pole as leaders and lowest as our desires go.  I believe that women thrive when they are led well, and I let that ball roll on the crooked floor of my home.

So this is my public, heartfelt apology to my wife and God and my call to men to fight for this because it is not easy but it should be normal for those of us who claim to follow Christ, through His strength and power.

Make the extraordinary seem normal.

~Ordinary Warrior~

Friday, August 6, 2010

55 - Grasping for Dreams

I wake with memories close enough to graze with my fingertips reaching for the depth of what lies within.

Bringing down hints of a story that seemed so vivid as I fought to stay in and get away.

A different adventure, fantasy, or fear that escapes me in day but lives on in my dreams.


What can you say in 55 words? Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Brown Equals - Theme Thursday

Summer has ended, marked by the return to the place learning and friends.  But Brown has made this day different than years past, Brown has believed in equality yet brought dissension.  Brown has fought for what is right and created what is difficult.

The usually welcoming over-sized pane of glass surrounding the entrance to this training ground of the youth was frightfully grim.  Stone faced uniforms are scattered throughout attempting to make safe what Brown has rightly deemed necessary and important yet a tension thick as water hangs in the air.

It starts with noise from there, piercing and loud, confirming the fears and tearing the hopes.  Some run away with horror in their face while others race towards, hate and anger burning but not truly knowing why.  Fists and feet fly landing on opposite colors followed by a sudden loud crash that brings everything to a halt.

The crowd stands breathless as if realizing the futility of their actions.  This moment is frozen in time as pools of red unite on the pavement below where the welcoming pane had stood only seconds before.  This first day of return was the first day of difference.

Civility and union would prevail, and rightly so, but the beginning of what Brown won on both sides created a war that had already been fought.  Many more changes would have to be made and many more battles, fought, but truth in equality has roots to the beginning.

This is based on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954, a difficult but correct decision that was necessary but hard.  The story is a culmination of accounts from my mother and others remembering the first day of school after the decision.  I always think of the scene in Forest Gump and it makes me smile!

This is a Theme Thursday post with the theme of Brown.  Come and play!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I met a man . . .

I met a man recently who exudes Godly, it seemed to spill from him like a waterfall.  A man who is willing to hand over everything that he has built over the past 30 plus years in order that God be more glorified.

Perhaps this is a false premise, an incorrect line of thought.  This man seems to realize that its not his, that he didn't build it.  He just worked where he was asked to work and this was the result.  If I work for a builder who lets me build a house, do I own that house?  Is it mine because I was allowed to be part of the creation or does it still belong to the creator?

I saw in this relinquishing of leadership as a step towards effectiveness, a step towards residing in the gifts that are given.  This is rare.  On the contrary, most try to leverage gifts in order to gain position.

This man said something that really drove with me.  His phrase:  "If God is the head of the church then what is happening here is normal!"

I believe that.  I believe it deep into my soul.  If Christ is the head, whether it be church or my life, there are certain things that should be normal.  We have to battle for these things, for the truth of God to overwhelm us and overtake us in ways that seem extraordinary because He is leading.

We have to fight to make the extraordinary seem normal.

Ordinary Warrior.

Friday, July 30, 2010

55 - Lapse in Judgement

Oh, to have the lapse in judgment back that broke the practice I have perfected since being a child. My teeth, coming quickly together.  My lip, knowing it should retreat, yet tempting fate, trying for one last kiss of touch from my tongue.
Chomp . . . Wince . . . Tears . . . Blood.

Now a sore whose irritant is beyond imagined.

What can you say in 55 words? Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Theme Thursday - Light

An explosion of light into the new adventure brings fear and trepidation.  Surrounded by white gowns and coming to rest on the outside of the home for the first nine months.  This light is confusing, overwhelming but inviting and will reveal both beauty and disaster for days to come.

A magnificent light shown on her face as she walked in the room.  Blinding and attractive at the same time her mere reflection demanded attention.  Rays shot from her hair as she gently brushed it out of her face and the sparkle in her eyes put the sun to shame.  This light will not let go.

A consuming light blazes through the day, the only distraction from its red and orange colors are the hints of blue in the depths of the heat.  Scrambling for family and possessions, squinting from bright but struggling from darkness.  Narrowly escaping to see it consume parts of life that can't be given back.  This light has taken everything.

A dim light producing hums, buzzes, and pops captivates the gaze.  The soft dark of the evening shows its need while a cloud of flying insects attack a bulb as if their mere existence depended on it.  Two sit, quietly in a swing simply enjoying each others presence in the shadows from the light.

An increase of light in a time where not much is new.  Laying in a white bed, in a white room, savoring each moment as it may be the last.  The excitement that light has brought through the many years races in memories that collide, producing salty tears.  An unknown darkness has crept in and the light of the world fades.

A final explosion of light reveals "an awful big adventure."  Curiosity is peaked as the tunnel leads to a comfortable basking in glory.  Released from the binding cage of the days and now entering the new, this presence dwarfs the light of the past.  It is time to go to the light..


This week the topic for Theme Thursday is "Light."  Come and play!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Better Man Than I

It was later in the evening, darkness had overtaken the battlefield of my backyard so the imagination moved indoors.  Enjoying the company of out-of-town guests while their children played with mine.  He is 2, rowdy, adventurous, and difficult to slow down, much like his father, except he is a better man than I.

A clear ball with liquid and sparkles inside that lights up with the brilliance of fireworks when bounced makes its appearance into the play field.  Linc bounces it, watches it, smiles, and wants other to enjoy seeing it as well.  He goes to the older of his new friends to show its magnificence.

I am standing there as this happens, my son holds it out saying, "Look at the awesomeness of this round object my father once gave me" right about the time the older tries to take it!  Linc pulls it quickly back to his chest with a look of confusion on his face and I speak up, "Lincoln's playing with that right now, you can have it later when he is done."

I keep an eye on what could be the action, Lincoln holds his ball, enjoying its sparkles, but it needs to bounce to illuminate the eyes, so he drops it, waiting for the return to his hand and the brilliance of the light.

It never returns.

The moment it leaves his hand the older boy attacks it like a hungry dog on a T-bone, looks up at me and walks away.  The color of red explodes inside my chest and my son looks at me again with a confused look on his face and says in a soft, hurt voice, "I want the ball."

I kneel down, take him firmly by the shoulders, look deeply into his eyes and respond . . . I need to clarify here, perhaps this wasn't the best fatherly advice but he needed to defend himself, my 2 year old.  My response to him,

"Go get it back"

Curiosity turns to what I hoped was determination but honestly was more hesitation as he looked at the boy, walked to him, and asked for it back but was denied.  Defeated he comes back to me and restates his plea, "I want the ball."  You would think I would have learned but no . . .

"Go get it back."

Linc returns to the boy, asks again, is rejected again and trots back over to me, slower this time.  I can see in his face thoughts and I wonder what they are, how will he respond?  Like me and pounce?  He stops in front of me, looks at me and with all the sincerity in his voice of a boy who cares more about others than himself responds to my adversity . . .

"We have to share."

I am fighting back emotion now perhaps even more than in the moment.  A pride in my son burst from me like lightning from a heat storm.  I grabbed him up, threw him (he loves that), and gave him a big hug.  I found some candy and gave it to him, being sure that the older child, holding a boring ball, watched us enjoy the delicacy

I know, I didn't get the lesson there, but that's why I say my son is a better man than I.  He makes the extraordinary seem normal.

My son is an Ordinary Warrior.

Friday, July 23, 2010

55 - Hi Doug

So I'll . . . Cherish the Old Rugged Cross

The first part sung, the last spoken with a deep, passionate vigor, almost holding back tears from the truth he speaks.  I listened through college to an old man sing old songs with a new heart, half spoken, half harmonic.

Shatner's got nothing on you Doug.

This is a tribute to Doug Oldham, a man who was passionate with his voice, singing and talking through every song I ever heard from him.  Through college he was a consistent guest at every large event.  Fun to imitate, he will be missed.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Theme Thursday - At The Park

The wind gusts through the trails, the smell of joy and laughter fade as the sun did hours ago.  The metal bench that had burned legs earlier now searches for body heat to drain from its victims.  A light flickers over it, as if only to ensure that any passerby will be uneasy.

But not this man.  He appears as if from nowhere, tattered, betrayed by the day that seemed to promise direction.  But the day had disappeared into night again, the dark of the evening always overcame.  Downcast eyes with adventures and true love buried deep and screaming to escape from them are covered by the hair draped through his face, the portable hiding place he has created.

And here he finds the light, as if a blinking neon sign pointing to his nightly resting place.

There will be no time travel or adventure as portrayed in the movies for this man, only a cold bench, an empty stomach, and the longing for the days that he meant something.  The only way to get through is the fight that this is the last night at the park.

Theme Thursday is at the park this week.  This is my first Theme Thursday.



Monday, July 19, 2010

The Evening Before

A dust cloud of emotion hung deeply in the air throughout the evening as memories exploded from those seated around the tables.  Almost as if scripted, each participant was able to place another piece of the puzzle in it's correct position. 

One man would break as he described the vivid imagery in his head recounting a time, or a season, or simply a thought that glimpsed into worlds of back story.  Another would be firm, yet no less passionate in his recount of events.  Make no mistake that all their hearts beat as one in the joyful pride of a moment they would both cherish from here forward and long to see manifested in new ways in the future.

The truth is, this should be normal.  The unfortunate reality declares this moment extraordinary.

Far exceeding the sentiment that resonated deep within the room was a comforting weight that had brought this night to fruition long before even the dreams had been initiated.  Men that had carefully walked through each detail, each spec that could make this thing fall now stood with a blazing assuredness in the decision that had been made for them before time . . . and they followed.  Amidst structural doubt and strategic confusion these men followed a Spirit that gave them a confidence beyond human measure.

And where He worked in one, He had already begun working in the body.

With far more than a year invested in this vision which culminated the next morn, this group of men and women celebrated. They celebrated three specific men, a group of elders, a body of believers, and a Holy Spirit whose decision to accomplish His goals in His timing all for His glory were beyond anything they could have asked or imagined.

The evening broke with an anticipation that this same Spirit would move on the morning that followed, that He who began a good work, 30 plus years before, would continue it in ways that had been made for them before time.

There was no doubt the glory was God's.

This is my account that began an incredible weekend of Christ working through men to accomplish His plan.  To have been a part of this was an amazing honor that I will cherish for long to come and look back on as an example of men following the Spirits leadings.

Friday, July 16, 2010

55 - So Many Adventures

Dancing through the artificially produced rain we litter the neighborhood with laughter and "ha ha's" to rival the French. 

Suddenly, amidst wildly shot arrows of water we dip and dodge attempting to avoid and be hit at the same time.

The mood changes, the moon is spotted, the adventure is now moon rocks for Mama.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

My first attempt at 55 details a quick changing summer adventure around a sprinkler with my son.  Hopefully a decent account.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stomp . . . Drag

Stomp . . . Drag
Stomp . . . Drag

Each time his black leather boot jingles as it falls hard to the ground, crashing from what his matching jacket bears.  Up and down the sidewalk which parallels a busy road in this city.  Maybe it's unclear but he has a message.

I ride by and comment to my friend that I'm not sure what I think about him.  My friend is sure and he doesn't like it, as if it gives his belief a bad name.  At the time, I am remain unclear.

Stomp . . . Drag
Stomp . . . Drag

He continues to walk, knowing there are detractors, surely thinking about each person in each vehicle whizzing by in the business of life wondering if he's crazy, like one who sits on a corner.  Certainly he believes his stance will be seen and his message accepted, I am less confident than he.

Too many years later, this man is brought to mind as I read about the "greatest man born of woman."  A man who lived in the desert but was so compelling people came to him.  I wonder if he would be accepted by my community, I hope so but I am not as confident as I would like to be.

I leave from this thought knowing it's a fight to be in and not of . . . afraid that I tread this line to closely in attempts to be accepted.  So I am careful to hold truth more closely than cool, battle to be called strange in the world, not accepted, and stand with the confidence that this man did, walking with his cross up and down the road.

Stomp . . . Drag

To be a man is to put truth over cool.

Ordinary Warrior

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Picturesque Plant & an Ordinary Warrior

A brilliant drive on a two lane journey into the unknown of the country, just to visit a small piece of grass and battle some ants for a sandwich. Along the way we crest a hill to find, in the distance, a picturesque view of a home with a chimney billowing smoke. Thomas Kincade would be envious of this creation as the mountains shadow attempted to overtake the abode but somehow seemed unable.

Slowly, as we approached through the hillside roads the home grew, revealing additions and a pool. I was amazed at the way so much of this had been hidden. Closer & closer exposed more and more of what was turning out to be a massive estate. The road dipped and curved, taking it out of view completely for a moment.

As it brought me back around my anticipation was heightened, a large smoking stack appeared first, followed by a shallow, cement . . . pool? An aroma hit me like that forced me to second guess my reason for breathing, I had stumbled upon a sewage and water treatment plant.

Yes, I was disappointed, but it helps me to see how Christ should see me sometimes. The pride and indifference that finds its way in too easily if I am not completely engulfed in His Word & His character.  The beautiful thing is that He sees me as the painting because He painted it, and washed it clean.

Men, we cannot sit around, going to church, praying for meals and both hoping and pretending that this is leading our families spiritually to Christ. This is trash, this is us showing as a painting but actually just treating our sewage. Unfortunately this is normal.

We are warriors, fighters, and this is ingrained in us, this is ordinary.  We change from this mentality because it is difficult, because our nature is to fight but it is also to be lazy.  Without discipline and training, ease will defeat action every time.

We have to struggle to fight for His glory in our lives and our families.

Not pretending, not perfection, simply the fight that everything, everything is for His glory. This is what we need to make the new normal. We are warriors, and within the body this needs to be ordinary.

Ordinary Warriors.

I speak to myself here more than any other but I am currently being driven to fight for the Glory of Christ for men and their families

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I almost quit

This morning I felt like the child from Seinfeld who renounced his religion.  I wanted to stand up, fist raised to the air and scream, "I Quit!!!"  The funny thing is, overall I am comfortable at my job, a good place to work with good people. 

No, it is completely different.

Last night my almost 3 year old ended up in bed with us around 2:00 because I am a softy.  He takes up lots of room to be so small, moving and shifting as I try to keep him closer to me so not to disturb his ma'a's slumber.  (everything Linc does is fast, including talking so he leaves letters out - m in this case.)

Apparently he had fiddled with my alarm clock the night before so the 4:15 that was supposed to awake me to some soft, soothing music (usually classic rock of some sort) did not appear.  At 5:30 I awake and arise, not in a hurry, but later than I would like to be.  Get dressed in the dark, grab the phone & lean over to kiss my beautiful wife goodbye when I hear:

"Daddy can I come?" followed immediately by, "Want daddy to come" in a much whinier voice.  I laid back down until he fell asleep, sad that when he awoke I would be fighting the paper mountains instead of making paper airplanes.

I have a good schedule too, I am off around 2 or 3 everyday so I get lots of time with him for us to play punches, light-sabers, soccer, football, running, swimming, cars, spaceships, bobcats .  .  . the list could go on for miles. 

Yet somehow I feel its not right, its seems broken that I have to leave.  I have realized that I schedule my time around his naps - if you want me it is a fight to get me when he is awake.  But when he gets older I can't bring him to work, or teach him a trade.  This is how it was, and how it is no more.

What this does is make it harder for men to be men, real men that are after Christ and their family.  Sorry guys, but there is nothing, NOTHING that should be about YOU!  I know you need a vacation, or some time alone or to unwind or whatever, so do I, but when it comes right down to it how does Christ love the church? 

Unconditionally with no regards for Himself.  No matter how great or easy to love your wife is (mine makes this incredibly easy) this is difficult and eye opening when you start to think this way.  Start to think with everything you do, how does Christ love His church, then act that way.  Be careful though, it could make you less selfish and more like Him.

Start to make the extraordinary seem normal.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The "For & Against" Defense

A heavy somberness hung in the air, the brightness of the room was all that cut through the silence.  Contention & trifling had been laid bare on the table and now there was just thought of whether to pursue this courageously reckless endeavor.

But it was from God, right?

Finally an elder broke the silence, "I say we follow Romans.  8:31 says if God is for us who can be against us!"

Now, I admit as believers there are some strange and crazy things that we believe.  And I will agree that there are times, maybe more often than not, that Christ leads us to what seems foolhardy to the world.  Drive after these things with all faith and vigor because you are backed by the Word, but not this part. I will not submit to the disregard of the surrounding scripture to push forward with an idiotic idea because "who can be against us."

Have you read this chapter???  Paul makes a point and it is not do what you want because God is on your side.  Don't go using this as a tag line for your building campaign.  I'm sorry to rant but I am tired of justification through ignorance.

Paul is actually very specific in what this "against" is in the last verses of the chapter.  This is about separation from God through the love of Christ for His elect, not your softball "outreach" where your teams actions and attitudes are inevitably worse than those who are against you.

No wonder we sometimes look like morons.

So be careful about what choice verses you use, and watch for others that use the same.  And the next time you see a "for and against" defense be sure it references love over action.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Notion of . . .

Black storm clouds climb upon each other on the not so distant horizon as I stand in the sun listening "Petrified Heart" by Caedmon's Call, still somewhat surprised from Francis Chan's retirement from Cornerstone Church.

He mentioned these clouds, and the rain they would bring. He mentioned the angst that we have for something more, for something better, for something of greater meaning than ourselves to draw us through the storms.

The sun above me disappears behind a billow that does not seem as perilous, it feels mild, enough to still be outside but be prepared for a quick entry into the safety of shelter. Now "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns rings through the ipod into my ears.

It makes me wonder if my safety & security lie with Him or with the things that He provides. Do I stand on His provision or simply on the fact that He is & He will be glorified? What if He says go . . . would I? What if He says stay . . . do I have to?

"Rain" by Breaking Benjamin now resonates through the earbuds. The temperature dropped since the sun seems hidden, but it is still there - It is, in fact, the reason that I can still see the clouds.


Is it You I want
or just the notion
of A heart to wrap around
so I can find my way around

-"Rain" by Breaking Benjamin

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Untrained Swordsman

A recent conversation hung deeply in the thoughts of a man so steeped in passion and vigor that reality sometimes became clear as a heavy fog on a fall morning. Eyes downcast as he tried to stay visible without being noticed so not to remind his peers of strong words that had of late poured from his lips. Vigilant in heart, trying to discern the words of Man that he had followed for 3 years, a Man whom he truly loved, he stood alone amidst the men who knew him best.

A whisp of wind rustles the leaves, followed by a crack of a dead branch on the ground.

More follow.

Suddenly they are surrounded by armed men, led by one who called himself their brother. The disappointment and dismay instantly retract, pushed aside by a rage bent on establishing his allegiance.

A trained soldier lunges to run a man through or slashes horizontally to decapitate but this fisherman reveals what is effectively a glorified fillet knife and raises it in the moonlight. No one reacts - possibly out of shock but more likely from lack of fear.

This untrained swordsman with his blade held high, swings will all his might downward. The steel glimmers, reflecting the presence light, then melts through the ear of the recipient soldier coming to rest on his shoulder soaking the leather and chain-mail armor in red.

Blades are drawn before the flesh hits ground and calmer heads are not prepared to prevail. The stunned man, only trying to prove his loyalty and protect in the way he thought best stumbles back half his mind saying "Run" and the other half screaming "DO NOT DENY!"

The original accused throws up his hands and yells in a deep raspy voice, "WAIT!" in order to grab attention and stop the impending retaliation. Surprisingly they hold. This man gently takes hold of the lump of blood and flesh on the ground, washes it with water from his cup and approaches the victim.

Movements are slow and deliberate so as not to enrage the already tense situation. The Healer raises hand to the mans head, presses the ear against muscle that pours red and whispers, "I love you" in the flesh He just reattached. He steps back with His arms out, His wrists up and His eyes making contact with any that would dare look at Him.

And they still arrest Him.