Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Warrior

A very influential person in my life is undergoing surgery for a pacemaker. She is 86 years old and has had her heart stop 3 times in the last 2 days. I went to ICU to visit her 2 days ago as they told us to say our goodbyes, but she was unconscious, so I was unable to tell her what she did for me. She wasn't my real grandma, but she might as well have been. At a period in my life when no one was telling me I was worth anything, she did. Every time I would see her she would single me out and tell me that God has something really great for me, that she saw something in me she didn't see in others. She would tell me that not a day went by that she didn't pray for me. Time flew by, she got older and a little bit forgetful, yet I saw her several months ago and she remembered to tell me she still prays for me. Sadly now, she doesn't remember me at all, but I will tell you this; she was one of the handful of people who saw something in me that I didn't and most others didn't either. My teachers told me I was bad and wasn't worthy of their time. Most of my family thought I was Satan himself, even my best friend was worried I might be the anti-Christ. But this woman would look me in the eyes and tell me that I was worth something and one day, God was going to use me. I didn't believe her, but it was nice hearing some positive feedback for a change. Now a believer, I can see that what she saw in me was the potential for what God was about to do in me. Now she lays in bed dying, but it isn't at all a tragedy. She wants to go home, she wants to see Jesus. The other day, Gumby, her grandson and one of my best friends, was sitting with her. She was sat up by the nurse who left and out of no where, she turned and looked at Gumby and said, "I coming Jesus" and collapsed dead. She was tasered over and over while conscious and screaming and she was revived. But she was ready and still is. She may die on the table, and she may live another 20 years, either way, she is a warrior. She did something very special for me in seeing something deeper than what I was allowing others to see. I was a liar and she knew it. I hope I get a chance to tell her this myself, but if I don't I know Jesus will as I was one of the least of these, that she loved Jesus through. I think that is a great legacy to leave behind. I would love be able to have done for someone else what she did for me without even knowing it. She lived a life that was full of purpose and thought about her words before they crossed her lips. She walked carefully and with me, she took the time to take a closer look at me and saw Jesus in my eyes like I desire to see Jesus in others. I was sick, I was hungry, I was dying of thirst, and see saw me. Maybe we can do that for someone else.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Poem Story

Pushing, shoving, touchdown. Knocking people on the ground. Something, somthing, something something, shaking, aching, black and blue. Broken arms and broken legs, smashed up noses just like eggs. It may not be as bad as it may seem, as long as you don't mind a smashed up team.

This was a poem I turned in for a first grade poetry contest. I won the contest with such a beautiful demonstration on literacy for a first grader. All my teachers were so proud, they hung the poem up for all to see in the hallway. My mother was so proud.

But if only they had all read one of the books in their own library, particularly one of the children's poetry books, they would have found to their surprise the same exact poem published by another child a bit older than I. To this day, I have told no one that my proud moment was a lie. Until now. Sorry mom, sorry Mrs. Hamel, sorry kid I stole the poem from, sorry world.

PS. I don't regret it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Door Lock Story

So a funny thing happened last weekend. We were in a bad neighborhood and we needed to stop at the pharmacy to get some diapers for Aevry. Well I stayed in the car with the kids as Laura went inside to get the diapers. As I was sitting there listening to some music, I noticed an unsavory looking black man walking toward me. I will explain the importance that he was black in a moment. I took a look at him, then again, and reach ever so gingerly to the power lock button on my van. I hit the button and a second after I did, the lock unlocked itself. So I hit it again, maybe a little panicked because the perp was getting a bit closer to my car and now giving me a mean stink eye. It again unlocked itself and the guy walked right past me to the drugstore. In which I was terrified for my wife who was still in there. No I am joking about the last part. I kept trying the lock once I was safe and it kept unlocking itself until I realized that maybe this was God doing this to tell me I was either a racist or a guy who stereotypes thuggish ruggish people. I can't tell you why I did that because I believe I would have in that neighborhood no matter what color the scary looking guy was, but I can't be sure. So my wife returns, safely, and I explain to her what happened and she freaks out because it did that to her too a week prior, and wouldn't you know it happened to her while she was trying to lock her door to some unsavory guy too. Coincidence? Hm. We aren't racists, but we did grow up in very white house holds in very white neighborhoods. So who knows.

Anyway, I have posted Part 6 of my screenplay here

Friday, July 25, 2008

Disclaimer: There is a picture of my boy in his underwear below. If you are offended by pictures of kids in their underwear, close this page. He is not in whitey tighties though so I thought is was appropriate enough.

I am in charge of getting the kids up for daycare and getting them there before I go to school on Tues, Wed, and Thur. Well on Thursday, I had a chemistry exam, so I was a little less than attentive that morning. My son has been given the chore of getting himself dressed with the clothes we choose for him and on this morning, he was distracted. I loaded them up in the car after breakfast, drove them to Nana's and as I was getting them out, I realized that Caeden was pants less. I looked twice and told him. He first was embarrassed and scared I was mad, but I smiled which sent him into a fit of laughter. What if this were kindergarten and he took the bus? Would he sit there all day in his underwear? I cannot believe I did not look at his lower half at all until we got to Nana's. Pretty funny though.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Knome the gnome has been away for a while now, about 2 or 3 weeks. He was stolen in a heinous prank performed poorly by The Red One and his bumbling cronies. Actually The Red One did not mastermind the gnomenapping, he was merely a common street thug who performed the nabbing. But nevertheless, the gnome is safe and has been traveling since. He even made quite the impression with his nabbers as they wanted to keep him a while longer and show him more places. Here are a couple of pictures of the places he has been. I will send more as they come in.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Summer Vacation

I saw Jesus in a small, dank little church in Southwest Detroit. It was very hot and humid, the sweat puring onto our eyes making it hard to see. I have a lot of respect for those that travel to far away places as missionaries. I think it is noble, effective, and rewarding. But there are many who cannot make the trip for whatever reason. We volunteered at a church just 10 minutes from where I sleep at night in Mexican Town. It was a Spanish speaking Latino church sitting on the middle of a run down, boarded up, and burnt down neighborhood. The place smelled like a church basement during a rummage sale, it sounded like a bi-lingual DMV on a Tuesday morning, and it was full of children. We got the privilege of helping this church organize and put on it's Vacation Bible School. The building was given to the pastor and pastors wife, both doctors. It is the kind of church that major institutions are glad are there, but will help from afar, as the Methodist Church does. It is funny because if you stepped into this place, you would swear you were on a mission trip in another country only 10 minutes from your house, like when Dorothy opened the door after the tornado to find Oz. Except the opposite of all the gold and splendor. Instead you leave the gold and splendor to open the door to reality that we try fairly hard to forget exists. I don't know how much we actually helped the kids there, but I know we fell in love with them, and I know we were effected. We did see Jesus. Not in a painting, not a historical or allegorical way, but in a real, practical way. We saw Jesus the way, He was always intended to be seen. We saw Him in the face of those that need love. It really reminds me what a jerk I can be. I think sometimes I am doing well, sitting here writing about what Jesus wants and who He is to me, but doing it from my couch in the burbs, when Jesus is 10 minutes from me, in an abandoned house burnt to the ground. I think too much of the country makes this mistake too. We talk and talk and talk, and a lot of good things come out of our mouths, but how much comes out of our lives. I find myself trying to lie to myself and say I am making my difference and doing my part. But we know when a lie is a lie, we just try to mask the lie, clean it up and make it look more believable. If you do ever make it to Detroit, let me know I will direct you to Jesus. Better yet, mapquest your ghetto by you. Find out some things you can do, and go. Jesus will be there too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Somewhere Other Than Here

How do you feel about your home town. I think we can usually separate into two or three groups. The people who wanted out of it, and usually these people find the first bus ride out and leave, coming back to visit on some holidays and long weekends. There are also those who will never leave, not because we cannot, but because we do not want to. We drive around the streets past all of the places we used to play and live and love every square inch of it. Then there are those who are either indifferent to their surroundings and don't care and those that can't leave for various reasons. I am the one that will not leave because I love it here. I don't feel the need to leave, just because. I drive around the places I have gone thousands of times and I see my own ghosts. Ghosts of playing in the yard with a football. Throwing it up in the air and running after it to catch it for the game winner. I see ghosts of fishing in the Detroit River in mid winter dodging float chunks of ice. I see ghosts of hanging out in coffee houses and gas stations lying about who I was and what I was doing here. I see ghosts of getting arrested and going to jail, which I should regret, but I don't. I could not imagine walking away, this feels like home to me. If you are the one who needed to get out, more power to you, starting over has always been something I admired, but that wasn't me. This is. I went to the pier last night with a friend that I also could not leave and just sat there talking about how the waves still move the same direction and the moon still hits the water just right to point an arrow to somewhere other than here. I sometimes just drive around all of the houses I have lived in, which is a lot. I moved almost every year, but always in the same area because my mom ran a day care and couldn't move too far from her clients. It is a weird feeling to go somehwere and feel exactly the same, but older.

Monday, July 14, 2008


In Toronto, my brother in law was making fun of Canada. (He works for the government) He was saying how he was going to drop a suggestion in the box that said to bomb Canada. I laugh (American). But my cousin did not (Canadian). She then came back with something a bit off the wall, but totally true. She pointed out America's desire and drive for gated communities. She is right. Why the gates, are we keeping others out or ourselves in. Either way, what are we doing? My friends and I were talking about starting a revolution to get people to tear down their privacy fences. Why do we want so badly to separate us from our neighbors. One thing I noticed and really liked about Canada was the closeness of the homes. Especially in the new communities. We are trying so hard to expand the distance between us and the neighbors, while they are trying to close it. Christians! Tear down the fences! That will be the rally cry. We celebrate when they tore down the wall, we celebrate when they closed the gap between space and mankind, why not break down what separates us from having more quality relationships with our neighbors.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Roadside Diners in Toronto.

Just got back from Toronto. Had a great time with my family. We were there for the Scottish sides surprise birthday party. People fell down, others were pushed into the pool, lots of use of the word shite. It was a recipe for a good time. I did some writing there and it occurred to me that I have never really shared anything I have worked on with the blogosphere, so I made a new blog.

Here will be a collection of different works, mostly scripts and song lyrics and maybe some MP3's. I will be starting with a full length movie script I wrote 2 years ago and am almost finished filming. I will be posting about 4 pages at a time so that the reading burden will be light. Please comment and let me know what you think. The script jumps through different time periods in one persons life on his journey from birth to a suicide attempt. This script is his letter. Kind of disturbing and morbid at times, but I think you will like it.
So anyway, we left on Friday for Toronto and along the way, we went to this roadside diner, which is one of our things, we go to them almost whenever we see one. Went went in and stepped into another planet or something where we were definitely not welcome. I think we looked the same as everyone else, I didn't notice any boogers hanging out of our noses, because I did check, but everyone was staring at us. Not the kind where you get a glimpse of people looking in your direction, but full out turning around in their chairs and piercing us with their eyes staring. It was weird. Then we sat, and sat, and sat and no waitress. People who came in after us were waited on and it occurred to us that a couple came in later, sat down, and were waited on and were eating before we finally asked for a waitress to order. The food was good, but I cannot figure out for the life of me what the heck kind of world we stepped into. Canada is weird. So weird I caught my son playing with a mounty trading card. I get baseball cards, and football, but a mounty card? Anyway, I will speak more of it tomorrow, I must relax now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Productive Disaster

So I forgot to mention in my last post my productivity last weekend. I completely wrecked my basement. I took a hammer and some friends, to be exact all present were: Gumby, The Body, and The Red One. (Anonymous nicknames for people I choose to spend a moderate amount of time with, some would say friends, I prefer the former) We took hammers and crowbars and tore that crap up all over the place. We broke bricks, ripped out all of the walls, got a lot of things that I didn't mean to forget to cover dirty, and them threw all of the 2 tons of debris into a truck bed. It is fun. It is weird how much more fun it is to wreck things rather than fix them, kind of a trend in my life, how about yours? I intend to one day hopefully soon repair this basement, but I am not sure that all is repairable with all that I have broken. Below are pictures in order on appearance: Gumby, The Body, and The Red One

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Up North

I went up north to the cabin this past weekend. In Michigan, Up North is a place not a direction. It has deer and bears and turkeys that walk across the dirt roads. It is a beautiful place. At night, is the best time though because after everyone has gone to bed and the noise of a bunch of people has halted, there is me, a fire, and God. I was sitting and looking up at the stars which always shine brighter Up North and I was thinking about how much I do not know about God. I think this is a problem with Christians as a whole, not that we know too much or not enough, but that we convince ourselves that we know God; How He would act, what Jesus would do etc. I don't think we know anything about God except what He allows us to know through His Word. We may think our personal experience and revelation have taught us the nature of God, but we can never trust the way we feel to be fact, because it is emotion. It is like the Tower of Babel. The world is ground level in understanding, or at least the thought that they understand God. Then the religion is the next tier. A place full of people that know God, but do not, but imperfectly. But with every tier we build, arrogance comes with it, the longer we have been a believer, the more we have studied, the degrees, the life and ministry experience, the church background and history, the knowledge of Church dogma. We learn and we learn and we learn which is good, but somehow many forget to leave the pride and arrogance behind. Many have forgotten that it is God that allows us to gain understanding, not our superior intellect or in-tuneness with religion and the ways of the Jedi. So we build towers to show the world our great power and intellect, some of those towers are made with ivory, some with gold, but they are still towers of pride. The last time people tried to build such a tower, they were confounded by God, the One they were trying to reach for, they didn't understand that you cannot reach God because we do not have the capacity to reach God at this point. We are not perfect. So many are turned away from the church, Protestant and Catholic, Methodist and Lutheran, Wesleyan and Baptist, because of the arrogance of it's followers, not because the unbelievability of God. We can be a large hindrance to the Church. When we are right about something, we tend to be arrogant about it which makes us wrong. It is easy for us to make a mess of something because we believe it so strongly that we forget, we don't know anything on our own. Others see this attitude and bolt, it isn't attractive. I have read a lot of books and attended a lot of Bible studies where a person was right about what they were talking about, but no one is listening because no one respects a person who speaks down at people in pride. As a church, we have to stop doing this. I start with me, I have the ability to do this very thing when I believe strongly, but sometimes, we need to shut up. The Bible says to speak only what is uplifting and to build others up. This is a good practice to put in place.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I used to wear a pendent in high school that said, "F-The World." Except it didn't abbreviate the expletive. I almost got that tattooed on my chest over my heart. Instead, I got the face of Christ just after I realized the existence and love of God. I remember walking around with this me against the world attitude with this huge chip on my shoulder. The truth was that I didn't think much of myself and needed to channel my competitive nature to keep going. If I could make life a competition between me and everyone else, I could survive, because I am and always have been a fighter. I will fight you until I cannot move, ask my wife. If it was me against you, I would die before I would give up. My friends and I used to play twister. There was this one friend, one of my best friends, we will call him The Body, who had a similar mind-set when it came to competition. We would be the last two left at the end of every game. We would fight and fight until we had to agree to call it a tie.
There is this scene in the movie Gattica, where the guy who was looked at as the weaker of two brothers challenges the older, stronger, and more athletic brother to a distance swimming dual. The weaker brother won because the more athletic one had fears that he would not save enough energy for the way back to shore. When they returned, he asked how the younger had planned to get back. The weaker one replied that he didn't save anything for the way back. It was about the battle, he needed to tear his own heart out to survive. This is how I functioned, and to some aspects still do function. I sometimes need to tear my own heart out to survive. If you know me, you know I am competitive. This rubs some the wrong way and causes me to have to apologies a lot, but it is how I function. I frequently find myself needing to fight everything that makes me want to give up trying. In response to my post yesterday, I wrote that with some harsh words and I think I offended some. Sorry. I really am, I didn't mean it to offend anyone, I meant it to remind me to fight for the church. Because often I want to give up on it out of frustration, not just with the people in it, but with myself in it. I sound too preachy sometimes and I really do not want to come off like that. This isn't a blog that I want to become sermons or anything like that. I use it to raise my fist at myself. I find myself yelling when I am frustrated, mostly I will vent to my wife and it comes off like I am venting at my wife, so she tells me to relax, stop yelling at her. I think I do that a lot when I am frustrated with myself. I shout and many get the reasonable impression that I am shouting at them, but I am shouting at myself. I am my own worst critic, but I see a lot of great things in others that I wish I could have in myself. And when I can't manufacture those things in myself, I get angry with myself.