Thursday, September 30, 2010


Doesn't my dad look just like me? Except, he probably isn't my dad, although he could be I suppose. One of my students was watching a projection slide show with his grandma and saw this and sent me the pictures. I was amazed. One of two things has happened. 1. This guy is my father as he did live in the same general area, or, 2. I have traveled back in time for moments of my life and am what you could call a time twister. Or there is a third option...too awful to think about for most. 3. There is a version of me in every generation. If that is true, my mom definitely had good taste! How unfair would this be to everyone else? I am joking obviously for those that know me, or for those that REALLY know me...Am I joking?!?

Makes me think though. People were all once young. You look back at your grandmas old pictures and see how beautiful she was and how vibrant. It is a stark contrast to now, because people are constantly falling apart. Breaking down. At the end of our lives, we are left with memories and pictures that are supposed to remind us of the few isolated moments when someone thought that specific minute or second was worthy of documenting.

I think that is why I like writing so much. It is rewarding to document things. To write down things exactly as you have perceived them to have happened. They could come in handy. They could serve to remind you just where you have been in this time-line of life.

I will get old and read these old words and remember how it felt to live right here, right now, when everything mattered to me. I can remember the hell I have been through losing my brother. I can remember being struck by a car and my life saved miraculously by my Creator who is so big and yet so interested in details.

But for real, does this guy look just like me or what?


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cool or Not?

I was thinking about last night's post today. What makes a dork a dork? What makes something cool? It is all so subjective. Who is the guy who sit in a big office with a cool and uncool stamp looking at things and stamping them with his judicial verdict? It bothers me that I have never met The Man that makes things cool. I feel like such a follower. So instead of fretting over it, I will do something about it.

From now on...I am the one who makes things cool or uncool. So to start it off, I will reinstate some things that used to be cool and faded away into dorkness. It really is sad when you think about it. Usually people stop progressing cool-wise 1 year after college, then all of those cool things find their way into some dump somewhere. Like my old Doc Martin's. They are buried under ground somewhere as if they never sat comfortably on my feet. If these things had feelings, this would be a dreadful existence. So here goes.

Things I am reinstating to be cool again:

Doc Martin's of course.
Used Jeans by Elie
Slap bracelets
Starter coats
Stadia sneakers
Marvin the Martian
The word rad
Lick'm Sticks
Chicko sticks
Maxwell House coffee
Breaking and Entering
Sleeping in conversion vans

New cool things:
Paper plate masks
Counting down from 13
A really hairy chest
Bear skin carpets, not rugs, but entire carpets
Chopping off your little toe
Getting into the coffin with the deceased at funerals
Bill Knapps
Pretending like you just did a line of cocaine every time you come into a room
Following police officers
Always...Always acting like you don't know what people are talking about

Give me suggestions in the comment box and I will tell you whether it is cool or not and why.


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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Then you will know what I've become.

You go to this high school reunion and see the people that you envied the most and it occurs to you just how blessed you were to be a dork.  Because dorks have feelings that others don't understand. What is a dork anyway? Who invented the word to describe the person that does not dress how you do? Doesn't spend $100 on a pair of ripped jeans? Doesn't drive the most beautiful car your mommy bought you? A dork, I gather, is a person who does not fit in. So I guess I am not a dork. Not because I don't have serious mental and emotional deformities, but because I have put on better defense mechanisms.

At first glance, I will try to overload you with charisma. The second wave will come with humor. The third with bravado. If you can stand to get closer, you will break through to arrogance and pride. But you will also see a guy that is broken. You will find a guy that won't call you when he is down, but you can read it in his eyes.

I keep reading by accident, these passages that tell me that God is made perfect in my weaknesses. This is never an accident. Any time God's Word hits your eyes, it is no accident. So it tells me something that cannot be argued away with logic and life experience. When I become less, He becomes more. He takes the shards of glass that fall from the surface of my frame and reflects himself in them like an exploded firework. Life as a rocket. It takes the shell to be broken to expose the beauty of what's inside.

People shouldn't judge and those being judged, shouldn't judge the judger, because we all judge. There is something always buried beneath the surface that is visible in our minds, that we would never want another human to know. Sometimes the skeletons cooperate and stay in that closet and sometimes, there is nothing you can do to keep them covered. Be real is what I say, but this is coming from a hypocrite of being real.


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Saturday, September 25, 2010


When was the last time you got to the very end of what you think you have left? I mean, if you feel even one little bit more stress, you will lose your mind, or at least think you will. I am juggling a full time job with a full time college workload. It sucks. I hate school. I love my job. So it becomes really difficult for me to continue doing something I hate doing. I study every day and when I get done, I try to figure out how to make the most financially efficient and effective youth ministry I possibly can with little resources.

It is a good thing that God is for me. It is a beautiful thing that God is in control of all things and promises to work things out for my good...because I love Him.

God has a habit of doing that...of posting overwhelming odds against you, then defying all that we think is possible and making things go the way He wants them to. Then when we think we have nothing left to give, He reminds us of what is laying in our laps. I have a wonderful wife. I have beautiful children that make my heart hurt I love them so much. I have been given a wonderful family, both biological and adopted who would die for me. I have great friends who really do care for me. I have the whole world in my pocket.

May God be glorified for all of it.


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

He Sat In The Back Seat

Thanks Jerame for the picture.

This is what I supposed Will's view of me on stage was. He stood in the back and played the bass, for those that do not know much about music, the bass is the most influential, unrecognizable instrument. You feel it, and it makes the most profound difference, yet it's notes are hard for the untrained ear to distinguish. That was Will in a nutshell. He stood back there playing the things that moved you without the glory of kicks and screams. He sang back-up vocals and unless you were really listening, you would have no idea...because I am so loud and he was so often quiet. He took the back seat in most situations, choosing meekness over domination. I always admired him for that. While I beamed with confidence, he stood unsure of himself, wondering what he could say that anyone wanted to hear.

Now I can say nothing of honest appearance. My actions and vibrato do not show what is really going on. It has been almost nine months since I sat in that car with Joe and watched suited men wheel my brother to a van and put him in, and nothing has dulled. Sharp pains run through me at moments I do not expect them. Memories flood back and make mince meat of my concentration. And now it creeps closer to Christmas. This is a day that I have no idea how to function in. I have to be joyful in affect for my family. They MUST have wonderful memories of Christmas, yet I feel like I have been stabbed in my stomach every time I think of those horrible lights and that Christmas tree.

Before you get mad and lecture me...I know Christmas is about Christ. I know that Jesus saved my friend into eternity. I know I should celebrate because of the coming of the Messiah into the world. I WILL do all of those things, but I am not sure I can do that without mourning.

I get weary of being the clown.


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Saturday, September 18, 2010


Photo courtesy of powerfulnightmare

The world is pretty under the lights of the sky. We would lay under a big tree in the front yard and stare into the night sky and say things we would never have dreamed of telling another living soul. We would get up and light the wick and watch the sparks follow a long line of string until it ignited the small engine taped to the inside of a paper towel core turned glorious rocket. The fire would spit colored lights and find the early morning chill descending on our car windshields.

Kids do think they are invincible. They play reckless games and do crazy things because life is too short not to. We didn't understand responsibility or commitment. We understood what this moment was like though... so we chose to live in that. People think I am crazy when I tell stories of things I did as a child and teenager. Lately I have been questioning whether I am or not, but I do know that whatever the reason...I would not take back one stupid thing I did. We were invincible. Nothing and no one could tear us apart. Things change. We grow up and those things that we always thought were the center of our existence become things that sit in the back of your mind as you deal with the things life has to deal you. You get talked out of that zeal and that passion for life sometimes. You go from this kid who people could not stand to be apart from, to this man that works too hard to pay bills that are too high. What it looks like from under that tree is a distant memory now. The stars hide behind the clouds whenever we look up. When did growing up become so hard? Before now, I never felt that tightness in my chest, that inability to take full breathes. We become accustomed to breathing half way because that is all our brain tells our bodies we have time for anymore. It was fun to be melodramatic. It was fun to get a broken heart. It was fun to get fired. We would plan it and do it on purpose just because it is funny to get fired when you don't have any need for a job. Now we fight for them.

What is your favorite thing in this life to do and why?


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Too bad

Me at the gates of Heaven: What?!?
Peter: Your dead man.
Me: I don't want to be dead.
Peter: Too bad.


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Die Smiling

"Papa died Sunday and I understood. All dead white boys, say God is good. White tongues hang out, God is good." -Iron & Wine

I like to think I will die smiling. Like I had the last laugh. Like I finally won. The fact is that people die. It doesn't make anyone bad and it doesn't make someone to blame. Death is what we bought when we disobeyed our Creator. We can get upset at God for allowing things and even rationalize that God wanted it to happen or willed it to, but in the end, we are still left with this curse of death. The grass dies every fall, any goldfish I have ever raised has died within two weeks, fish flies die within a day. We are dying the day we are born. This is life. But where does that leave faith? Faith is nothing mystical. Faith is belief, even though we are dying, we know we have hope. We are holding on with white knuckles to that belief that there has to be something on the other side of what we can see. There must be someone watching all of this.

Knowing something is being able to empirically prove it. So in a way, I cannot know God exists at all. I can feel His presence, know His Spirit as it encounters every fabric of who I am. I can read His word and the Spirit will help me understand what He is trying to tell me. I can tell you hundreds of stories of the things God has kept me alive through, but I cannot know with evidence that any of these things are true. But I can tell you this. This is a theme of my life right now. It has been since Will left us. God is good. I don't know much, but I know God is good. So for that reason, I believe I will die smiling.


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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It Is What Separates Us From Other Mammals

Everyone has a different story. It is what makes us different from the next person. Most of us were born with chromosomes and DNA similar to everyone else's. Most of us were born with all of the predictable parts, fingers, toes, some have deviations like an extra toe or nipple, but we love them too.

I like to read people's thoughts and experiences. I like to feel what they are feeling, especially if it is vastly different than what I feel. I am fascinated with people that have been blessed with lives that are tremendously normal. I would really like to know what normalcy feels like I think. But only for a minute, because I like what God has brought me through. I don't like some of the collateral damage, but I like that I have been through so much and God's glory still lifts me off of those sheets every morning. I still breathe His breath when I step outside into the chilly dark morning. I am in love with things no one notices. I like to sit and stare at the transformer box that hangs outside of my bedroom window. The birds have a home there with the squirrels. I like to watch planes fly above me and people laughing in cars next to me about something I can only imagine. They have stories too. They have seen things I haven't seen, like the ocean for example. I like it when someone in traffic flips me off sometimes, because it is funny. It isn't right and it shouldn't be done to anyone, but the thought that putting up a finger means something so terrible makes me laugh silly laughs all the colors of the rainbow. I like huge sweaters, and hats. I have a wonderful collection of hats no one but me would wear. I like to fish, but don't really like catching a fish. I actually like to catch it, but I could do without getting that stink on my hands for the rest of my time fishing and throughout the day. I like to fart as loud as I can  in crowded elevators and pretend I didn't hear anything and just look straight forward. Before I was married, and in high school, I used to run up to girls and kiss them in front of their boyfriends and then run. I like these things because of my experiences. You like different things because of the different things that you have seen.

I want to ask you to answer this question in the comment box. What does it mean to be human?


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Monday, September 13, 2010

A Momentary Lapse in Congestion

I like to sit in public places with headphones on. I can look around at all of the different people, saying and doing different things. I love that I have no idea what their lives are like. It is a reminder that human life is precious and important. That every person should be valued.

Have you ever said something stupid or judgmental in front of a person, who in fact met the criteria of the stupid or judgmental thing you said? You probably had no idea. Maybe you made a comment about people giving up on marriage in front of a previously divorced person. Or said something terrible about a person who aborts a baby in front of a person who has aborted a baby. I have said some dumb things in my time. In fact, I will probably and probably just did. I have done it in my blog and I have done it in my conversations. To that person you offended, they somehow became the exception to the rule right? Present company excluded? Maybe everyone deserves the benefit of being the exception to the rule. Not that all actions are acceptable, but that all people have the right to dignity and love. The right not to be judged as something or someone they may not represent.

Right now, there is a girl studying who hasn't lifted her head from the book since I got here. I can relate to that. Maybe she is studying nuclear physics or home economics. There is a guy that is at least 30 years my senior playing something of his iPhone. I think he is probably playing a retro game app of astroids.  There is a guy reading the paper, probably retired, who has not come off of the first page of the paper and it has been an hour. His coffee continues to steam...Oh, he just turned the page, good for him! There is a woman holding her baby, who is quite chubby and cute, (The baby that is) waiting for her husband to get back with their food. I think that kid might be an offensive lineman one day. There is a pile of elderly ladies talking about Lord knows what very animated with each other. I think they are talking about the sale on fake flowers going on at Kohl's.

Try it sometime. You get a revived feeling of humanity.


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Saturday, September 11, 2010


I love my family. I always know this. I always feel it, but some days in some moments, I look around at my wife and kids doing the things they do everyday and just realize like it were some kind of epiphany, that I love them so much.  They are perfect. They are perfect to me because they love me for whatever reason. My son tries to be me. He buys the same clothes as I do and always asks if I like what he likes. My little girls fights with us. She is stubborn just like dad, but at the end of the night, she curls her little body up on my lap and lays her head down on my chest and she is perfect. My wife sits at the end of the couch reading blogs. She is laughing for reasons I don't know, but I suspect one of you have wrote something very funny. I ask her what she is laughing at and she tries to tell me, but many times I zone off to the television and don't remember what she said. My 13 year old loves me in a way she doesn't quite know how to express. But I see it when I am with her. I am a very, very blessed man. God has rained down His love on me.

I pray that tonight or tomorrow or the next day, then the next, you and I will look at our families and the things God has given us for our happiness and be thankful. Really thankful. Take a really long and good look at the positive and beautiful things God has given you and the wrong things will fade away. It doesn't matter what or who you have lost, God has still given you so much. There is always a silver lining if you will forgive my cliche. There really is. My best friend is in Heaven, but I have never been closer to those who family. I challenge you tonight to look at what you have instead of what or who you have lost. I know for some it isn't easy and this isn't meant to take away from the pain you have to endure, but it is a nice break to re-evaluate what you have.

I have learned in psychiatric nursing to always focus on a person's strengths, not their weaknesses. This is true in a way, but in another it doesn't add up. 2Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It is in our failures and the things that we hate about ourselves that God's power is made perfect. God is glorified through our strengths and talents, but even more through our downfalls. The things we hate about ourselves, they show the power of God as He works in and through them.

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.


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One Day Closer To December

"With your body and mind...restored, it's good to see you once more." Other Lives

There is a chill in the air. It is getting close to Christmas. This makes it a little more cold. I love the cold weather in Michigan. I love the way the seasons changed and can be matched by no other state. I love the colors that only the northern states get to see. You may have the ocean, but we can the colors. We have the greens and yellows in it's thousands of shades. But now I can't help but be kinda sad.

People do a lot of uncharacteristic things when they are under pressure. Kids run away, people commit crime, try to kill themselves, leave their family, and do things that they swore they would never do. They swore they would never, and they meant it. Yet they did it anyway.

It remindeds me that pressure can be a devastating thing. The pressure to be the right father and the right husband. To be the best friend and the reliable worker. My friend Will was all of these things in my eyes. Some people see different things than I do, but this is what I saw. We used to always tell people that when our wives died, we would go to the same nursing home and act up everyday, just for our twisted entertainment. Hopefully we would have been faking it, which was our plan, but it was a good plan. A plan that will never happen. Memories get rusty. Senses dull and things get foggy. Right now I feel things so hard and in a sense I pray that I will never stop feeling so intensely, but on another hand I still gasp for breath once a day when a memory comes to mind. If I smell car exhaust, or if I see greasy fingers. When I think of Christmas lights or beards. When I breathe in the bite of the air at 5 AM when it is still dark and the cats are sleeping under cars and trains are whistling in the distance. I think of him. It makes me sick for moment, then takes away my breath.

Most days, I just take one step at a time and move forward. Others I can't snap out of it. Some see rainbows and others see more storms coming. I have never been one to see a rainbow.

It is my own attitude problem. Life is a fight for me some days. I make myself get out of bed to see the sun. I move with much effort towards what I am supposed to do. I try to do things without mistakes, but I fail and when I lay down at night, I imagine different things to help me get to sleep.

But then there are the other days, when I see everything God has been sticking in my face. I see Will laughing and remember all of these beautiful times that can never be mimicked or repeated. I remember fishing in the middle of the night. I remember the games we would make up to pass the time. I remember the time we both quit smoking on the same day and I thought he might kill me. I remember that old Escort we used to drive around in. I remember sitting in that garage all night long, sometime happy that the car wouldn't get fixed because I loved to spend time with him.

I am dreadful of Christmas this year.


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Monday, September 6, 2010


"I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one."  -Eminem

Choosing to get into the belly of the beast isn't an easy decision to make. We know before we go in that it is going to stink and be lonely. But it is something we must do, why? Because sometimes we have to destruct before we can construct. Sometimes to know how to move forward, for a minute, we have to know where things went wrong. Some of us have seen hell. Some of us have experienced things we would have never believed possible for a person that loves Christ. But we went through it anyways. And we still breathe. We still stand here, telling the devil that we are still here. We aren't going anywhere. We might be torn into pieces and broken into pieces of glass, but we are still standing right here. We got up because Christ is good. God is good. Life can suck and because of sin, we can lose the things and people we love more than ourselves, but God is good. My sister and brother Courtney and Brian are going through a hell I cannot imagine right now and really could use your prayers. But something needs to be said in this and every situation. God is still here. God is with us, even when it hurts so bad you could tear out your own heart to rid yourself of these feelings. God is here.

I know this because when I was in the belly of the beast, God went with me. I never felt alone; I felt like a struck match, but I never felt like God deserted me. He was there and knew my pain because He felt the loss more than I did, because He lost more. God lost more than I did. God loved Will more than I did. He loves perfectly. Even if we don't understand why things happen, God is still right here assuring us that he still works all things for the good for those that love Him.


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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Going Back

We watch our photos burn away, burn away burn away. What were we? What are we now? I pray we have changed, I have. I have changed so much since I realized that God was real and that He loved me. Yet, I still sometimes feel like I am running in place. I used to sit at night and burn a pot of coffee and read the Bible and literature about the Bible all night drinking a whole pot before I was willing to close my eyes. I found something new, something real for the first time in my life. I found out that God was real and I wanted to soak in every minute of what I had lost.

I would wake up at dawn just to pray. To really talk to God. We get talked out of that zeal sometimes. We get balanced and sometimes stop waking up at dawn to search for our God. That is a real shame, because I think God shows himself in our silence. If we could only get that time back....can we?


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