Monday, May 31, 2010


It has been a great weekend. I got a lot done and still got time to relax after a hellish first few weeks of nursing school. Here is a convo with my wife.

Friday morning 9:45 AM
Laura- "What are your expectations for the day? Just so I won't be disappointed. Whatever you want."
Me- "I really expect to rest and relax to regroup for the next hellish few weeks of nursing school."
Laura- "So you didn't want to put up that privacy fence?" Wink. Wink.
Me- "I will."

Later that night after the fence is up and looking grand.We decide to go to Lowe's and look at patio umbrellas. She makes her way to the gutter section.

Laura- "We sure need to get these downspouts put on to avoid damage."
Me- "Yeah, we can do that a different weekend."
Laura- "OK, but if anything happens..." Wink. Wink.

I really never had a choice did I?

Fixed them and did the fence because they really needed to be done. I am glad they are done and don't regret doing them. The rest of the weekend was great. I had a relaxing time with my family and didn't think much about school. My wife is great, my kids are great, and this weekend I felt pretty great.

Next two weeks- an exam Wed. and exam on Mon., Tues., and Thurs. Fun.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Datsun

I used to have this 70's Smurf blue Datsun pick up truck in high school. It was the first car that I had paid for. I think I bought it from my mom for like $100 or something. By the looks of it, you would think that I grossly over paid. The whole drivers side truck bed was made of spray painted cardboard because the rust had eaten away the entire hunk of metal. In the driver's seat, you could touch your foot to the ground while driving if you wanted to. Not sure why anyone would want to do that, but I admit being tempted many times. It was an eye sore and a cop magnet and it let off some of the foulest exhaust ever breathed into the lungs. I think if I actually ever put anything in the bed, it would fall apart. But this thing drove like a steed. It galloped along at any speed I asked of it and never once broke down. I eventually got a little tired of the eye sore and sold it to Will. That was a big mistake because I think that it would have kept hopping along for years to come if it hadn't been totaled first.

That was mostly my fault. The totaling. Will was driving next to me and we were standing at a red light. We were looking at each other as if we were going to race when it greened. I looked forward and hit my gas and then my brake quickly to fake him into believing the light was green. He fell for it. To my horror. I watched another car holding an elderly man smash into the side of the truck in the middle of the intersection, totaling the car and hurting himself. Will was fine, but the old man was on his way to the hospital because he was having chest pains. He didn't even have a license. That was one of the dumbest things I could have done. Will lived on. The old man lived on. The Datsun didn't make it.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Why all the violence? We are a violent people, it is our very sinful nature. We live in darkness and disorder, jealousy and confusion. We love a tragedy. We eat that stuff up, just as long as the tragedy has happened to someone else. That is the very reason the news at night time brings nothing but the negativity of the day. It is far more interesting and attracts viewers to watch the entire show, waiting for that moment they identify what happened to that little kid or that liquor store clerk.

We like reality TV because it simulates real life conflict as if we just cannot get enough of that in our own lives.

Here are some observations:

The internet:
People use cyberspeak like they use liquid courage. It is easier to break up with a person in email. We don’t even have to see their faces or the damage we have just done. Same principle apply to the things we say to each other over wires. I cannot see your sly grin to tell me you're are being sarcastic when you are insulting me. I can’t tell if your joking, so I will assume the worst. No, I never have to see you face to face if I don’t want to, but does that give me permission to say murderous things and walk away as if it hurts less to be cut by your computer than your blade. A cut is a cut.

People suck at work sometimes, because they don’t want to be there. When I don’t want to be somewhere, but have to go, it puts me in a foul way. I get annoyed and frustrated, so if I have to put up with showing up and working, I certainly am not going to put up with you stepping on me or taking the last candy out of the bacteria infested community dish. Go ahead, throw away my lunch I left in the fridge for a couple days. You can rip down the flier I put on the bulletin board for my car sale too. It doesn’t matter what a person wants to do to you, Christ is clear about our behavior in return.

Keep your fingers in your holsters. That finger sends a message telling that person to do a very bad thing. It isn’t even related to traffic, usually. Driving up beside a slow driver and staring at them with stink eye blazing will not make them realize their terrible mistake of driving too slow. They probably will not even notice you looking because they were on their phone.

At restaurants:
Sometimes we act like we are royalty. We sit there lounging and since we are paying for our meals, we act as if we entitled to the best possible service. Good service is great, but if we don’t get it, how do we react? Less tip? A severe tongue lashing? The people who serve us are not rich. They are normal people who need their jobs. We should give them a break.

At home:
A terrible trait about human beings is when we give the worst of ourselves to the people we are supposed to love the most. The people who see us as their heroes.

I write these observations because they are what I have observed in many ways in my own life and hate them. They are natural. Hate flows off the tongue and through the fingertips like we were born to do them. We were not. We were born to love each other and radiate Christ to the world. We don’t do that very well when we hate on each other. We can’t show Christ to a waitress on a Sunday morning or afternoon when we leave her a crappy tip or a cheesy, useless tract. We hurt our testimonies when we sport a Calvin peeing on the Darwin fish and a flaming middle finger. Our kids don’t learn grace and meekness on the mornings we didn’t get enough sleep and they got ready for school really slowly and we blow up, wrecking their day right along with yours.

It takes practice to not be a hater.


Saturday, May 22, 2010


I love this picture because we meant our smiles.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Life is lived in isolated moments stored in our memories. Some of them are buried so deep, you would never even know they were there until something comes along and connects them to your consciousness, and they rush back as if you just lived them again. The scent of the night pouring through your screen, blowing open your curtains like a ghost. The way it rained and small droplets of mist landed on my face beneath the window. The sound of the train whistle 3 miles east and the shriek of the steel wheels across the iron track. I got up early that morning. I never even slept. It was dark outside and absolutely nothing was moving. I would have known the time if the alarm clock weren't blinking midnight eternally. I wanted to to see the sun rise one more time over Horse Island. Alone. I wanted to watch the geese huddle together in the channel and chase each other under the bridge. I threw on a shirt in the darkness of my apartment and followed the tracks we made a thousand times to the place that we would retreat to. I put my line in the water, hoping not to catch anything. I had the best seat in the house to watch the fire rise from below the horizon. I wanted to see it one more time. We used to often spend the night out there and watch it become tomorrow. Tomorrow never gave me anything to look forward to. I think I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes that night as I listened to the water collapse against the rocks, then rebound like the sound of my heart beating through fluid.

The sun came up and it became today and I could not be any more grateful for the grace of God to keep me in His hands. I was going nowhere and now I am here. I am still nowhere, but quite a distance from where I was, with millions of miles to travel ahead.

I think this is the source of my nightmares. I relate what Will did, to what I tried to do. The thoughts and emotions mix together with my own memories and experience. I hurt because the outcome that I got was not the same as his. He should be here with me, hoping for tomorrow. With me.

I am gonna let go soon. I am holding on so tight my knuckles have turned white. My hands are weakening and I can't keep this up. I have to let go soon because it is the right thing to do, even if it rips me apart. I have to forget about all the guilt I feel for the way things happened and for missing all of those chances. I have to let go of all of the anger I hold on to with all my might. I am holding on to this branch and God wants me to let go and fall. Not to the ground, but into His arms. I am afraid. I am not afraid of more pain, I am afraid that letting go will make me forget everything. I know it isn't true. It is irrational. When did anything about suicide seem rational to anyone, especially to those who feel deleted.

Those years are not erased or wasted. Set em up for the Dead End Kids.


Friday, May 14, 2010

One Of Those

You know what it means when a guy asks you if you are one of those "Once saved, always saved" people? It means they are about to label you a heretic and an idiot, so they can walk away feeling bigger than you. I was in Taco Bell last Wednesday with my students. An old man asked for the guy in charge, actually he asked one of my girl staff members who is above her as if she could not possibly be in charge. I came over and spoke to the guy and he asked me plenty of theological questions and challenged some of the ways that my church does church. He asked if we were one of those liberal churches. It is never a good thing when someone uses the word combo, "One of those." It is never followed with a positive comment. I asked him to describe a liberal church. He said, "One of those that eat in the service and stuff." In that case, we are not a liberal church, but only because there are no food or drinks allowed in the school auditorium. He spoke with a long and drawn out southern accent and for a guy his age, he still carried a certain bravado and confidence. He told me to watch that these kids didn't drag me into the world with them and asked me with pomp in his voice whether these kids were pretty messed up as he noticed how they looked. AHHHHHH! I love it! I love it folks! I love it when it all comes back to how we look. I love it when people ignore the whitewashed tombs comment Jesus made. I love it when people actually think that God prefers a Men's Warehouse suit over a JC Penney one. He would have had a heart attack if he saw what some of us actually wear to church. I love it because it gives me a chance to share with people what the gospel means to me. Not that he wasn't saved, I don't doubt his sincerity. But I love to share the gospel as I know it, even if that story is offensive and doesn't make a lick of sense.

Like when Jesus ate and drank with sinners. They called him a drunkard and a glutton.

When Jesus went to the house of a tax collector. He was a common criminal.

Like when He cast the demons out of that wild man. They asked him in fear to leave the region.

Or when He defended a woman caught in the act. We all know the act. They walked away ashamed, but instead of change, they plotted His death.

The world needs to learn that the Gospel is much bigger than sweat box churches with arm pit stained preachers screaming. (Tongue in cheek because my arm pits sweat like the MGM Grand fountain) The Gospel is accessible.

I used to go to lunch at a local deli when I worked at a factory some time ago. Every day, a local pastor would eat there and keep looking at me. He looked like Fire Marshal Bill to me, so his staring would kinda creep me out. Well one day, he approached me and sat down next to me. I studied body language for a spell for reasons I will not share today. He came at me in dominance. He took the head of the table between me and the door. He shook my hand, turning mine over, exposing my palms so he had the upper hand. He looked at me straight in the eyes without looking away, which in some cultures is aggressive, in others it is sexual. I hope it was just aggression. He looked at me and began his speech about Jesus. I was a believer, willing to die for my faith. I stopped him when he got to "Do you know who Jesus is?" I said yes and explained that I was a believer. He looked at me, then down at my arms that had tattoos covering my epidermis. If he would have read what it said, he would have seen, it was a quote from Ephesians 2. If he read my t-shirt I was wearing, he would have seen that the very same verse was printed on the back of it. He couldn't see past his judgment. He denied I really believed. He wasn't so sure I really understood the Gospel. So I explained it to him. I explained that I believe that Jesus paid for all of the world's sins. That He demands belief. That His Spirit changes us and seals us for the day of redemption, when we are made perfect. I explained that the Good News was that you didn't have to look perfect or never make mistakes to be forgiven, that the work of forgiveness for me was already done. That made me one of those, "Once saved, always saved" types. He looked at me and still did not believe. So I apologized for not looking the way he would expect a Christian to look and walked out the door and back to work.

It made me sad.

I saw this same guy in the mall last weekend wearing a Tapout shirt, which made me laugh until I peed in my heart, which probably would have made the Holy Spirit angry being it was His home if he weren't laughing too.


Thursday, May 13, 2010


My postings here will be inconsistent for a while. I have started nursing school in a highly intense accelerated program. I am not wishing to stop pastoring for those asking questions, I am searching for something I can fall back on in case of emergency and also broadening my skill set to serve my God. Things have been busy, but good. I have been feeling OK, but I think that is because I do not have the time or option of thinking about much of anything other than work and school, so I guess this is a welcomed side effect to dreaded school. I hate school.

Here are positives from the past week:
1. I met a couple of guys in my section in school who are pretty cool and will be my study partners and friends throughout the program and maybe longer. One loves to cook and was a former chef turned casino dealer. Today, he made this walnut/pretzel/caramel thing that was really good. The other likes the same kind of excure music I do. That is a blessing because in a female dominated program in a female dominated profession, it is good to have a couple dudes around.
2. I am ahead in my testing.
3. Youth group has been so awesome!
4. Church has also been awesome!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Aevry's Birthday

My little girl on her 4th birthday. It is so hard to believe she is so big already. She is so different from Caeden and Laura and I still cannot figure out who she gets her attitude from. Laura blames me, I blame her. But I love it all the same.

Yesterday, church was so good. I believe God was speaking to my heart throughout. I have been working through the process of moving out of misery. Choosing not to live in my sadness, but experience it, then fall before Christ, helpless. This will be my goal.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


I look at old people and think about what they were like when they were young. I see these wrinkled, frail people sitting in chairs with wheels staring off and it is hard to picture them as they were. I see pictures of these people and they were beautiful in their youth and it reminds me that beauty is fleeting. Youth doesn't last forever. One day (God willing) I will be in that chair with wheels, staring out some window. I don't care if I can communicate as long as I still have my memories. If I don't have them, someone drop a toaster in my sponge bath please.

Old age seems cruel. I think it is the worst part about the curse of Adam and Eve. I don't think anyone should have to see or feel their bodies degrade slowly. It sucks.

On a positive note: Aevry had a great birthday party today with her girl friends. They went and got their hair and nails done, then went for pizza and a tour of the pizzeria. She played the birthday card for several days and now the time of getting her own way is over. Makes me sad. Not really. I do the same thing. I like to have a birthday week. Not so much anymore (See above paragraph) but I used to. I will post pictures soon, she was so pretty.



When I was 9, I somehow contacted Tuberculosis in my right neck gland. It swelled and swelled until I had to go to the doctor. My pediatrician was a doctor in the army during WWII. He had seen his share of TB. He knew it right away. I was hospitalized and my neck cut open to expose what was the disease that threatened my life.

My mother and I share this in common: We both become belligerent when exposed to anesthesia. I woke lying naked on the bed and was indignant that I was not covered. I was exposed for all of the lady nurses to admire...or so I imagined.

I laid in bed for a couple of weeks until the stitches were ready to come out. My mom had a nurse friend come over to remove the huge bandage that had fused to my neck and nape hair. She tore it out with a fury that cannot be matched by the angriest wolverine. I was in pain. Real pain. The kind when you shrill.

I have a scar.

My doctor told me that my scar would heal stronger than my regular skin because of my fear that the wound would reopen. He was right. I have a scar on my neck, but it has never opened up to expose my jugular once. Not even once.

Maybe when we get any kind of scar, it heals like that. Maybe when we are torn to shreds and left in the cold for the world to laugh at, we heal stronger than we were before our injury. I pray this is true. I pray that all pain leads to strength. I hope to be able to handle anything when the worst of this is over. I still feel I have the worst yet ahead of me, but if it will serve to make me much stronger, I will endure with a smile on my face. If not, I will just endure. God does the work right? He gets us to the places we need to be, whether we think we can ever make it or not.

The scars will remain. Forever. But that doesn't mean they can't show the war God has carried me through and show others that even if you are beaten up, we will end up on top. Once again, I believe without seeing this yet. But I believe because I have seen a worldly hell before and watched this same God lift me out of the flames.


Friday, May 7, 2010


I really don't even have words. I just need to write something. Every night, I stare at this same illuminated screen and wonder what to write to convey life as I know it. I don't have anything. I am blank for words. I have all of these feelings, but no way to describe them. God is so good, yet I long for Heaven so badly. But still I fear it. It isn't the ideal way to feel, but it is something right? Feeling something is good. Without that we have stagnant memories. God gave us the ability to feel things for a very good reason. He knew that our perception would mean everything to us. The ways in which we experience life would define who we are going to be.

It isn't about right and wrong. Holy and unholy. It is about the sacrifice Christ made for us. He knows our pain and fears. He knows what we are up against and it isn't good.

I was sitting today thinking about my life. The good and bad of it. I sat and thought about my little brother Joe and how much I love that guy. I have known for as long as I have known God that I was here in his life for a reason. I have always felt compelled to pray for him and give myself to him. So I bleed from the same vein as him. I would walk through the fire and smoke for him. I would have for Will. I understand why I have been put in his life. I just wish I understood what it is I can do to help.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Whatever your views on the Michigan smoking may be, and mine are mixed, I have to enjoy sitting in B-Dubbs working without the stench of flaming lungs revolving around my head. I am more productive sometimes if I can get out of my usual atmosphere and work around people for a change. Visual noise can be very comforting. I put on my headphones and people are quietly bustling around me. Makes me feel alive in the world. At home sitting in front of the same walls I did the night before can be alienating and make you feel like you are on an island. I know some are reading this and you punch a clock every morning and hate having to fight the traffic and all of that other garbage and you hate me for complaining. You are right! I have it made! I remember the days when I would go in to work early in the morning and push that time card through the machine, then stand in front of a press and flip a switch up and down for 8 hours. That wasn't what I always hoped to be doing.

God is doing cool things in me right now.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

It Rains

It rains. It rains. It rains.

Sometimes the rain is beautiful. It can give me the comfort to put me to sleep, and it can twist knives into my heart. It rains right now: And it rains hard. After a muggy day, there isn't much more refreshing than the rain running off your face. It was raining on Christmas, which was kind of cliche. It figures. My favorite day and my most comforting thing. Ruined.

I was driving all of the kids home today (All of Will's and all of mine. In my heart, Will's have become just like my own). Connor asked to hear some of my music I have written over the years, so I played him some from various bands I have been in. As we were listening, he asked if I had anything that had his dad in it. I did. I played him a song that had his father singing mostly back-up, but had this part at the end where he was singing alone. I looked back to see if the boys were listening and watched his tears fall like glass to the ground. I could barely keep my own composure to comfort him. They are wonderful and precious kids and it makes me mad at Will for underestimating his worth to them. He was their hero. Caeden reached over the back seat to rub Connors bald head, only to weep himself when Connor left the car.

It is one of those days where you want to question things. Where you want to rebel. I have to remind myself that God did not do this and it hurts Him much more than anyone else.

So these are my words into space: If God will let you hear. I hope you are so happy. It brings me joy to know how happy you are right now. I hope God will not allow you to see any of us right now, because that would steal your joy. I hope you realize that God will never allow me to give up on your kids, I love them like they were my own blood. I see you when I look at them, and I think it works vice versa. I miss you

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