Saturday, April 30, 2011

Needful Things

There is beauty in old things. Things we grew up seeing all the time. Things we forget about until that one moment that you see it, or smell it, or hear it, and you remember what it was like to be 13 again, sitting in your room worrying about things that shouldn't worry anyone.

Will had a satin jacket he could not part from. Slept with it until the day he died. I love suitcases. Old, hard, plastic ones, that people give away at garage sales. I want to buy every one I see. I put them in the rafters of my garage and don't look at them again, but when I see one, I have to have it. Don't quite know why, I have never really used a suitcase or had a need for one. Most trips I take require a duffle bag. There is something I love about them though. My wife likes old quilts and soft blankets knitted from wrinkled hands. She calls them her secret blankets. Caeden likes them too.

Old things can trigger some real things in people. The smell of cigarette smoke on someones fingers or pipe tobacco. The sound of a train in the distance. The smell of an old elementary school. The hidden things you find in a thrift store or an antique shop. Old things remind us of who we used to be...of how we used to perceive everything or maybe just that one moment. They are relics of things forgotten. We will grab them before we grab our safe in a fire. There simply is no price for them.

What's yours?

Photo credit to:


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Why did Jesus have to die?

Because I can't die for my own sins or yours. Because as hard as we try to do the right thing, we fail more times than not. Because God was tired of hurting, watching us writhe and moan. Because our sin was piled up as high as Heaven in dire need of atonement. Because the garden was plundered and it's fruits rotten. Because the shame that set in at the birth of human sin, set us on a path of destruction like a large vehicle careening out of control on a side street next to a school releasing it's students. Because the lamb and the lion paint an accurate picture of the oppressed all over the world. Because God wanted to show us His face and model what He is to all the world.

Why did Jesus have to raise again"

Because He wouldn't be God if He didn't have dominion over death. Because we need hope. We saw the disciples scatter back to their native homes and occupations when He died. We needed Him to rise to have the fire the disciples had after seeing Him raised. Because He cannot lose, no matter how difficult the situation. Even death cannot contain Him. Because someone out there is terrified of death and can now rest assured in the resurrection of the saints into eternal bliss. Because He loves us dearly.

Thank you Christ for the cross, for the grave, and for a stone lying on the ground separated from it's place. Thank you for my salvation, my family's salvation, and my faith ground and strengthened through the valley of darkness. Thank you for everything.

Photo credits to:,,


Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crush In My Stomach

Then that same song played on my radio. The radio that plays discs that allow you to program them to repeat. I played that song all night long. I played it as I wept. The velocity of the song kept those living in my house from hearing me. They slept like they haven't in years, dreaming about things they will forget in the morning. I won't get to forget mine.

The notes alone crush my stomach. It reminds me of when we were kids. We did crazy things. Things I don't believe anyone ever has done in the history of the world and that was the point. We faked being in a mainstream band to a Total gas station clerk every night when we went in for pre-fishing coffee. He thought we were so cool. He may have even believed the things we told him. We shot ducks with blow darts by luring them in with bags of popcorn. The darts would fall to the ground and the ducks would flee to safety. We would drive around talking and the whole world would go away without a trace. It would be me and you two on the grid. In our minds, this was all life needed to be. I believe that would still be enough for him to stay here. But those times are gone and he never really got a chance to adjust.

I have nothing practical to offer tonight, just abstract descriptions of what you have been through before too. My hope is that you go back while reading. For me, life was in them. I didn't have one apart from them. They were what God gave me to survive. They were Christ in the form of two innocent, yet dead end kids...just like me. We recognized it in each other immediately. This blank stare, this longing for something we could never have. We could reach, but never touch it. But we were innocent all the same. We were just kids. Kids shouldn't turn out this way. No kid should grow up and lose hope in life. No kid should choose lifelong sabotage over happiness. No kid should spend the nights wishing everything was just like it used to be while keeping all the beauty he has now. But this is the way of the Dead End Kids. We knew when we built those rockets that they could only go so high before fizzling out and falling to the very same ground that launched them.

I am not finished grieving. Every few weeks when I think things are getting better, I am flooded with everything he was. I am overcome with the ghosts we left behind, still repeating their joy and their folly.

Photo credit to:


Thanks for reading...Z

Great Friday

Turn to page 343.
Ha. Turn to page 21.
Ok. Turn to page 500.
Pshh. Turn to page 135.
(Picture of a nun kissing a goat) Turn to page 5.
Still following along? Follow closer and turn to page 255.
OK now, almost done. Turn to page 377.
This could be it. Turn to page 55.
Turn to page 299 for a big surprise.
Idiot. Hahahahahaha!

Did anyone else terrorize the church hymnal like this when they were young?

I hated church. I would sit on my knees and play with my wrestling figurines. Sometimes, when my mom was saying amen, I would crawl down the sloped floor under the pews to look at the panty hosed calves. I think I had some weird thing for pantyhose when I was young, this is twice in two posts I have written that mentioned it.

I would be wearing slacks; a word I have always hated, but understood exactly what it meant to wear. I would be sporting a sky blue ironed dress shirt with suspenders that had plastic hands masking the clamps that held them to my waistline. My mom always said to dress your best for church. Now, knowing she has lost the battle just begs me not to wear jeans with gaping holes in them. I think I will honer her and not wear those anymore. I never understood church though. I always saw it as a scary place to be. It least for a kindergartener. Everyone would sit there in the wooden benches shouting back as the pastor with huge sweat rings shouted at them. I thought he was mad all the time. If a dude was that happy about God, why doesn't he smile. I still don't know the answer to that question. I stayed away from church for the majority of my life after I was able to make the choice not to go. That happened sometime soon after I got my girlfriend in high school pregnant. People weren't too fond of me after that. Boys will be boys right?

I sat in one of those very same churches tonight for Good Friday service. Directly behind me was a widow. She spoke to us immediately, even before I tried to cover the tattoo on my forearm. Most won't unless I look the part. She sang the praise songs even though she didn't know the words as loud as she could 3 seconds behind the worship leader. She was learning the song as she sang. This is an important quality to have. Many try to learn the song in life before singing, too afraid to make themselves a fool. Not her, she sang out of necessity. Well played blue haired lady. People like you are my heroes. You see Christ in everything. How amazing is that?

I looked around and thought of all of those in our culture that get angry at the thought of God and especially Christians. I looked around at two distinctly different congregations of people with very different ways of doing things and just thought: "These are just people." People who profoundly love Jesus, but still just people. People that meet together in dark and musty, old paper smelling, matted carpeted buildings. They don't meet together to nominate the next king of the world. They meet to share their lives with each other. Sure, there are bigots and hypocrites, and judgementalists, but they are all just humans.

We eat cereal in the morning. We step in dog poop and maybe swear. It hurts our eyes to look directly at the sun. We get really sick, some fatally. We get overwhelmed with sorrow and question God. We mow our own lawns. We occasionally taste rotten milk. We are just people. People with pasts. People who miss their wives in Heaven...or our brothers. We are people who get bills we can't afford to pay. We are people that stare at photographs untill we fall asleep.

We are God's people. Undeserving of the sacrifice, yet all too eager to accept it. We are born again, regretful and fearful of our former lives getting a foothold in us again. We fumble on most snaps and sometimes we recover. But we are always forgiven. I say a lot of things on this blog. I fear that I don't say enough of how grateful I am to my Savior, Jesus, who died for me...but not only that, came to my heart and drew me kicking and screaming unconscious to Him. I have everything I ever wanted and never thought I was good enough to possess. I wasn't good enough. God is good enough. God makes me good. My sin is apparent to anyone that knows me. I am not one to try and be a different person to different people. But my prayer is that in all cases, people see the grace of God shine like the sun in me. I pray that no one would be able to look at me and not ask what is wrong with him? What is different? I fear I fail more often than not in those things. But God is still faithful.

Photo credit to:


Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


1 Kings 19:13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

What was he doing there? Was it fear? He heard all of the prophets of God were being slaughtered. Was it anger? He was rejected for his belief in a One True God. Was is rejection? No one has ever been good enough. He searched for God in the elements of thunder. He looked for God to open up and split the earth in pieces to speak to him. He looked for real, definitive answers. He got bored waiting up on that mountain. He fell asleep. Like they did in the garden waiting on Jesus. Like we all do. Every time he would get his hopes up at what we would call a "Natural disaster," he stood at attention expecting to hear the undeniable voiced of the God He served... the very same God I serve, He was left disappointed. Elijah was a man, just like me. He was messy too, full of sin and mistakes. Full of doubt and fear. Full of hatred and anger. He was looking for His God. The only one he could run to.

God sent him sterile signs. I think he sat down on the rocks beaten up in his own spirit and gave up. After all of these things, God does not speak to me? NOW He chooses to be silent, when I really need Him to speak? He wasn't asking for proof, he was asking for His savior to save. He didn't hear God's voice the way he wanted and I think he just about gave up hope. This happens: "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,  4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”  5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep."

Then God shows up in a whisper. His eyes open slowly. Something is happening. God is speaking. God has heard me crying. My prayers have reached His throne and He is here gently speaking to His child. No fire. No earthquakes. No tsunamis. Just God and me. How it was always meant to be. God is big enough to be anyone's "Just you and me." God is huge and here He is taking a real interest in the fears of Elijah. "Why are you here?" God knew. But did Elijah? Maybe Elijah was just scared and needed his only hope. Maybe he lost faith in the sight of fear. Maybe he just wanted a friend at a time when no one would go near him in fear of sharing in his death. Any way you want to perceive that day, God came to him when he needed Him too, even if it wasn't how he expected Him to come.

God rarely comes how we expect Him to.


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Papa...Can You Hear Me?

The final part of this blog series. Tonight's submission comes from guest blogger Mandy, a writer and friend of mine. Enjoy...I did.

You were a superhero to me when I was a child.

I loved the way your eyes sparkled

and the beautiful music you made on the guitar.

You could do no wrong

(even though I rarely saw you and I never had my own space wherever you were living).

You made it easy for me to put the blame on my mother

(the one who raised three kids alone and put herself through college while she too was just a kid).

The woman you married made you look like a saint

(one who chokes children, chases them down the

driveway with bats and butcher knives, steals loads of money at your ex-wife's son's funeral

and hires a hit man to slice up her face -makes anyone look like a peach).

I always daydreamed of the day you would leave her.

She was the reason I didn't see you.

This woman

(the one who kicked me out in the middle of the night

 in the dead of winter

after I had lost my brother)

was also so easy to blame.

I never once questioned why you didn't stop her from choking him.

I never once questioned why you let her kick me out of your house


In the middle of the night

in the ghetto

and didn't even drive me the two miles to the payphone

so I could call my mom.

I never once asked why you allowed her to call me horrible names

(like whore. stupid. loser. low-life)

at such a young age

(or any age, for that matter).

You were, after all, the innocent one.

Last year the unthinkable happened.

You left her.

Finally, I thought,

I would be able to go get coffee alone with my dad

for the first time in my life.

Finally you would get back together with the love of your life

(my mother, the one you called your best friend...and she was).

But there was something about the way you left that woman that didn't sit well with me

(or anyone else, for that matter).

This is the day I had dreamed about my entire life.

But then I never factored in that she

(that woman who did unspeakable things)

had a heartbeat and feelings that would get hurt...

and  broken.

I didn't imagine that she would swallow a bunch of pills

and get very



And in those daydreams you never left her while she was strapped to a bed

in a mental hospital.

And I never once imagined that we would find out

that you had been living a double life since... 

oh, forever 

and that it would make all of the hardship we endured because of that woman

all the more painful.

I mean, really?


You had a mistress this whole time?

You really weren't in love with my mom

even though you said that you were?

You could have left years and years ago.

Surely it wasn't your fault that you didn't know my children.

It was her fault you never called.

Her fault I didn't know you.

Her fault.
My mom's fault.

Anyone's...but yours.

One year later, I now know you were never the man I puffed you up to be.


So human

(and always have been).

You have missed out on my life and now the life of my children.

I have father issues now (which, really, I always did...but now I am painfully aware of them).

The way everything went down wrecked me.

And I have been mad.

So mad.

But I wanted to to tell you something.

I forgive you.

Do you hear me?

I forgive you.

I will be here when (if?) you ever decide you want to be my dad.

*Now that I am an adult, I see my dad for who he is -a broken man in need of a Savior.  I choose not to be bitter. I cannot be angry with a man who has not yet been redeemed. There is still breath left in me and there is still breath left in him. I am praying for the day when my dad and I can make ammends. He is not perfect, but he is my daddy...and  I love him.

Read more about Mandie at Jesus in Shanty Town

Photo credit to:


Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, April 15, 2011


My dad was a revolutionist. He lived in a culture of tyranny and imperialism. He was a freedom fighter in the war, a legendary one. He left me behind to play with my friends as he went off to wage war against the bloodthirsty king of Scotland. In he end, he died, but Scotland gained it's freedom. Except that wasn't my dad at all. That was the story of William Wallace as told through the movie "Braveheart."

My dad was the anti-Braveheart, he was the opposite. He was unbrave. My mom got pregnant and he got gone. In fact, offered her $5,000 to leave well enough alone and walk away. After all, she was the promiscuous one, not him. Guys are just being guys. My brother Will used to say, "Like Jesus always said, Boy's will be boys." She took him to court to fight tyranny and give me a semblance of a father. She was the freedom fighter, the warrior.

1978. No DNA testing was admissible. Her word against his....and my brother's estranged father's. They ganged up on her. She was defenseless. He left the courtroom smiling.

I lay on the court pew, staring at a small hole in the toe of my mother's friend's stocking. I slid down to the floor to get a closer look. I probably resembled Ralphie with the leg light. I picked at the hole until I could get my finger through it. I looked up shortly after and my mom was sitting next to the judge talking about something. It was nothing to me then, but was going to determine my future for better or worse. He left grinning. I left murdered without knowledge of my demise. But really? Was I?

If you asked me at age 13, I would have told you I was dead. I wasn't a man, but I had to grow up fast and learn as I went. I did things that men with integrity did not do. I learned the hard way every step of the way. We didn't have much money, so I think us moving all the time encouraged me to put the blame in the wrong corner. I pointed my fingers at my mom, because I couldn't find my dad.

I always wondered what he looked like. Will I look like him? Will I see him someday in the world and we would make eye contact and just know and walk away? There were two occasions in which this did happen.

I worked at a factory and there was this guy on the morning shift that trained me. I spent hours on top of steel rollers talking to him. There was something familiar about him. A very strange piece of me wanted him to be my dad because I could forgive this guy, I could love this guy despite the anger and hatred that fueled my blood to circulate. His name was Jim, as was my fathers. He had a daughter a year younger than of the only pieces of information I knew about my dad, apparently when I was a small child I played with my sister in front of a church during a kids musical presentation. He wasn't my father.

Another time I was working at a factory and this Scottish guy walked in. My father was Scottish. His father born in Scotland. He used to come watch matinees at the theater wearing his kilt. Again, this strange familiar feeling that this one was something different to me, not just some kilted Scotsman. I believed him to be my grandfather Noble. I dashed over to the cash register and pushed the teller out of the way to take his payment. He paid by credit card. He was not my grandfather.

It was hard for me not to know who he was or what he looked like. This was the single thing I wanted to know the most. I needed a face to paint my anger on. I didn't get it until a couple years ago when my mom hired a PI for father's day to get his picture for me. He was nothing special at all. I looked at his face and felt nothing familiar. I was ambivalent. Wasn't the reaction I was looking for.

All my memories of my father came from memories of someone else's father. People I idealized and wanted to be, just were not. There was this guy, who when contacted three times rejected me three times. Just like Jesus. I should have rejoiced in sharing in His suffering.

It took me a while to ask myself the most profound question concerning my father: Was I better off without him? I looked at so many things to determine these things. My sister told me through a rejection email that he was her hero and was this utopian man dedicated to serving Christ. I only knew the back of his head. My mother raised us without much. We could have used some help. He raised my sister in this big house with tractors and motorcycles. My mother worked and will continue working 14 hours a day to keep food on the table and a leaky roof over our heads. Once we had to live in a rat infested house. He got to retire and relax and enjoy everything a break gives you. I struggled with rejection and rage my entire life. I made crucial mistakes that have altered my life. I have been broken and broken things all due to the lack of any idea at all on what it meant to be a man. Because of him. But was it? Was it because of him?

The answer, after so many years of suffering is no. It was because of God. God does not cause sin. God does and will work through anything He chooses though. God had a finger on me from the womb. My father's heart was hardened, but God saw something different in me. He created it in me. He mourned and wailed and howled with me as I suffered, but He did all of those things with me, not just for me. I was no pity case to my Christ, I was a warrior, training how to get cut and bleed and continue to fight. All of these things make sense to me now. I am who I am because of who He is and what He has done in me. God moves in disaster. God moves in defeat. God moves in misery. Because nothing in this world or the next is mightier than our God.

I got what He wanted. I got to be stronger than my father. I got to know God in a way my father could never imagine. I got to really appreciate being a father as a child that never was one.

Our God is good. If you are in turmoil, take heart in that. Hide it deep inside your heart.

Photo credit to:


Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, April 14, 2011

His Hands

Part one of "The Lie Detector Results say.......You are ? The Father" blog series. This series aims to express the grace and love we find in our Savior even in the deepest, darkest valleys of our lives. Today, we have Courtney, my dear friend whom I have never met before (Thanks to the internet, I suspect I get to know more about her heart than many she has met). She is the owner of Storing Up Treasures. One of my favorite people. One of my favorite blogs. Introducing......

I can still smell his truck.

His dirty, old pick up. The smell of chewing tobacco mixed with sweat.

I can still feel the weave of the seat covers as it rubbed against the back of my legs. And the wind blowing on my face as we drove.

His hands.

I can still see his hands.

I was only four years old the day he left. I remember that day in vivid detail. The way his face looked. The way his voice sounded. The way he loaded his things into that truck. The way he hugged me.

"Where are you going Daddy?"

"I have to go away for a little while. But, I will be back."

And then he was gone.

For years I waited for him to come back. I prayed he would come back. I pretended he was away on business. I even told my friends that. I cried myself to sleep. I dreamt he was with me.

And each day that passed, each month that he didn't call or write, a piece of my heart died. Each year that came and went, each birthday he forgot, bitterness took hold of what was left.

In the grade school years he showed up a couple of times. He made promises he couldn't keep. Told me he loved me. Said he was sorry. Took me and my little brother to McDonalds. Somehow thinking his brief presence would make up for all of the years he lost.

"Let's just let it be water under the bridge, Courtney"

It will never be water under the bridge Dad.

It could never just be water under the bridge.

My brother idolized him. He wanted to be him. I hated him. I wanted him to go away and never come back. At least that is what I told myself.

The teen years were an unleashing of the bitterness that had taken root and festered for so long. And before anyone could blink, I was on a path of destruction.

Drugs. Alcohol. Men.

I looked for anything to numb the pain.

Things with my Mom became volatile as she watched me slip away. We fought all of the time. She had lost control of me. I was drowning and she couldn't save me.

So the summer before my 10th grade year, I went to live with him.

He didn't hesitate to have me come.

He smoked pot with me. He bought me cigarettes and alcohol. He let me continue destroying myself and told me it was all okay.

He said he loved me. He said he was sorry.

"Let's just let it be water under the bridge."

But, it could never be just water under the bridge Dad.

 I went back home. Never wanting to see him again.

Daddy's should be strong and brave. Polished and secure. They should tell you to be safe and ground you when you are misbehaved. They should hold you when you are scared and wipe your tears when you are sad. They should offer you advice and wisdom and tell you that you are worth more than the boys you are chasing.

I wanted a Daddy.

I didn't need another friend.

At 16 I became pregnant. At 17 a Mom.

My baby girl saved me. Suddenly I wanted to be more than I was. I wanted to be better for her. She was a healing balm to my injured soul. One look in her eyes, and I knew that there was a God. I knew that He loved me and that this baby was His way of telling me.

I started picking up the pieces of my shattered life. I started chasing after God in every way I could. I wanted to be so much more to my baby girl than my Father was to me.

And God came and enveloped my world.

I always thought I was fatherless. It was then that I realized He had been there all along. I was never alone.

Bit by bit my heart began to heal.

 I began to understand God's love for me and as a result I started to see my Father in a whole new way. As I started to understand what Jesus did for me, how He saved me, I began to see how very broken my Dad truly was.

And forgiveness came.

God began pulling at my heart to call him. To tell him all that was happening to me.

"Dad, I love you."

"Dad, I forgive you."

"Dad let's just let it be water under the bridge."

A month later at the age of 45 he very suddenly died.

I can still hear the sound of his laugh. I can still see his eyes, those baby blues that turned down slightly in the corners.

I can still hear his voice quiver at the other end of the line the day I told him I forgave him.

I miss him.

Not for who he was, but for what he could have been. Not for what we had, but for what we could have had.

My life will never be normal. I have and always will long for a Daddy.  I cry at every wedding when the Father walks the bride down the isle. I long for the wisdom only a Dad could offer. There is a hole in my heart that will never be full this side of heaven.

 I wish my kids had a Grandfather. I wish my Dad could have met them.

I wish that things could have been different. And I don't always understand why things were the way they were. But, Jesus has done what only He can do. He took a broken little girl and healed her. He brought forgiveness to a man that didn't deserve it. He has loved me through the heartache and put back together my heart so that I could live.

 I pray that whatever life has handed you, you would turn to Him and let Him do the same for you.


 Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One Left Standing Still

Married for 5 days. He proposed to her at an outdoor flea market in front of a booth selling giant wooden spoons and forks. It means nothing to anyone else, but to her it meant he was the one. She grew up with her grandmother. Her parents both died in Jetliner Flight 223 out of Missouri, when it exploded on take-off. She went to private Catholic school and still wears her uniform sometimes because it reminds her of her grandma. Every Saturday morning at in her kitchen was served fresh biscuits and chocolate with burnt links of sausage, her favorite way to eat anything. In front of her chair, next to the picture of praying hands were these giant wooden eating utensils. They always seemed strangely funny to her as she pictured the Jolly Green Giant eating with those. Her grandma died in her sleep holding a picture of her husband taken during the war.

He knew what her grandmother meant to her...she meant that much to him. She loved that he loved her that much, like her grandmother did. She said yes without speaking, looking at him in the eyes, looking down, and grabbing his hand. She smiled with tears in her eyes and he let himself exhale. They were married days later in front of a judge. He could not stomach having his huge family sitting before him at his wedding and her having no one.

They went to the river and took a riverboat ride for their honeymoon. It was modest, but she never asked for anything but his heart and she had it.

They did things like attend midnight movies and fake choking in restaurants. They ate most of their meals picnic style anywhere there wasn't a table. Tables reminded her of big giant spoons. She wanted to eat smiling. On a Thursday in June, they ate cheese sandwiches and Cracker Jacks in the park. He laid his head on her lap and ran his fingers around her Ruby ring given to him to give her by her grandmother. She told a story about listening to mystery records when she was a child. The weight on her lap lifted almost causing her body to fall backwards. He was gone. She looked down and he was gone.

The rest was the mess she left as she passed through.

Photo credit to:


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One Disappears


Who doesn't hope this is the way it all goes down? To be sitting on your favorite chair nodding off to old episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A piece of potato chip drops to your chest. Your mind is alarmed to the potential that the grease will stain your shirt, but your arms are fixed in a warm position at your sides, hands tucked slightly under your butt. The sun is peeking through the curtain as the window blows it back and forth exposing the sun to your face and assaulting your eyes. The phone rang a half an hour ago and it didn't matter who was calling, you just got home from work...ALL work is done for the day. You shut it down. The world can wait because there is nothing better than a mid-day nap.

Boom. Gone. Your hair seems to be missing, it no longer dangles in your eyes. You can't move your hands freely due to the force. One light-year per millennium is equal to about 670,616 miles per hour. This is the speed you are traveling. It feels like the speed and distance would feel if you were sneezed from your Lazy Boy with the force of God's allergies. Expelled from your chair, your house, and into the universe...watching the houses become sheds become boxes. The grass and landscape become green and brown squares. You haven't had time to even think about what is happening.

A sudden stop somewhere far above Omaha. Above the sun. Above The Milky Way. Above everything times 7. You reach your temporary destination and are placed 6 inches from the mouth breathing Jesus' face. He is smiling. If you look around, you will see millions around you doing the same thing, staring into the face of a smiling Jesus. He smiles because He is happy to see you for the most part. For the least part, He smiles because He knows what He just put you through, the ride, the chair, the chip stains all over your shirt, the smell of vomit for those that can't handle fast rides.

This is the day. The one we have inherited through faith in our risen Messiah.

"Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Luke 17:34-36).

Photo credit to:


Thanks for reading...Z

Present Day Detroitish Michigan

I would tell most of you that you would not have liked me much in high school and the few years after that. I wasn't the person you see now. I still am not the person you see now sometimes. My last post was scary and messed up and could very easily leave a person thinking: "This guy is a whack job." Maybe true, but I want to be clear that the state I was in at that time in my life was messy. Life can be messy for people. Not everyone gets through unscathed with nothing but good, happy stories to tell. A person's life experiences do not make them scary, or weird, or still in that state of mind. Things change. In my case, Christ was the answer. He is in your case too. This is the state of mind of a person that was profoundly serious about taking his own life. This state of mind isn't pretty and doesn't always sit well with "Normal" people. I can't apologize for my past. I can apologize to people I hurt, but not for who I was, because it served to make me who I am. God's handiwork sometimes is dipped in blood and hidden beneath the night sky.

God is glorified through our weakness, so I cannot apologize for posting the story of God's hands in my life, His heart on my heart. I have to tell of His work in me, because I am so imperfect that it could only be God that keeps me going. This glorifies God you see.

Here is a picture of me now. Completely amazed by the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God. Ashamed in His righteousness. Healed and redeemed in His blood. Lavished with gifts that I could never have deserved. Happy for every moment I have of air to breathe. Thankful for the opportunity to try and glorify my Savior. I am a failure at many things I try to do and helpless in my lack of ability to do some things. God is good. God is present. God is still chipping away. I am still messy. I am a far cry from where I was, but still messy and so are most of you. I have to admit that if you don't think you are, I am not sure I can relate to you at all. I am really sure that you won't be able to relate to me.

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Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Scary One

 This blog is rated R for people who scare easily.

I mentioned in a previous post this person/enigma that used to rule my conscious. He began when I was child, I eventually would grow to call him Cold.

I used to live next to park. The year before I began kindergarten, I would spend a lot of time playing in the park during the day. Most days Tom was there. I remember his name because I made a mental note to fear him forever when I met him. He would sit in the park and play the saxophone all day for coins. I didn't have any coins, so I don't know why he wanted me around, but he did. I was 4. I wanted to play. He was like 20. He wanted to spit fire about dark things at a 4 year old. I listened as if these were the last words I would ever hear. Tom was fascinating. Something was off. He taught me about nuclear war. Taught me about the coming apocalypse. Taught me that everyone has to die. One final time...I was 4.

15 years later I began seeing Tom again. Not the same guy, but a manifestation of him (Cold). I saw him everywhere. I was drinking a lot, so let me preface what I am about to spill on you with the fact that not all feelings and bits of perceived reality can be trusted when you are basted in beer. However, the effects were real to me. They still are real to me.

It began one night at about 4 AM. I was dreaming horribly. This was my habit for several dream horribly. I woke at the sound of my name. My eyes opened without flutter to a very dark room...darker than I had ever remembered it to be. Dark spots briskly moved around in my periphery and vanished at focus. I was sweating like I had run miles and my heart was racing. I could actually hear my heartbeat. I got up, flipped on the light, and shrieked at what was plastered in front of me. A poem painted directly on my wall, with paints below on the floor. It read, "Cover me in ashes. Abandon me in the cold. I'll still be here. I'll still exist." .............Yeah.

By months end, there were 13 or 14 of those things painted on my wall. I don't remember authoring any of them. However, like I said, I had zero nights sober then, so who knows. Poems like "In the end, we all will fly, up to the heavens, to the fire and fry" (Cobain reference maybe, who knows). I painted a single clown. I painted dozens of eyes all over.

I grew paranoid. Anyone would. I believed someone was going to kill me. My door had been kicked in weeks earlier and nothing stolen, so I had some evidence to believe I was being stalked or messed with. I continued seeing things...shapes...hearing things. All things any decent shrink would have diagnosed me Schizophrenic for telling him. I was obsessed with death.

I woke one night after a horrific dream, one of the worst in fact. I couldn't move. I was paralyzed. In my dream, I was being raped by something unseen. I woke and could not move my arms, they were being held down. Maybe by my own mind going ape turd or something different. Couldn't see anything. My phone rang and my arms were released. I ran into the kitchen and looked out the window as I answered it. I felt something terrible behind me. I put the phone to my ear and it was Joe, my brother. He said this: "Adam, he's behind you. I am on my way." .........Yeah.

My mom knew I was in trouble. She had her charismatic friends (Demon slayers, Holy Ghost shooters...joking, all in good fun) over. She says they started praying in my apartment when I was at work and stuff started whipping around there. She said something of a sun flying out the door into the basement. Ghostbusters visuals everywhere. She says everything became suddenly calm and she looked over at my 6 foot iguana who was giving everyone the stink eye. They put a Bible in it's tank and she said he laid his head down on it's 60$ pages. Now, no more definitive answers here. There are several things at play. Psychology proves that when you enter a scary place expecting to see something, you usually do, at least your perception of something. Also proves that terror can deceive your mind and make you draw conclusions that are not in reality. However, my iguana died the next day......Yeah

Took me months of dating to share this with Laura as I didn't want her to run for cover and lose her forever.

Once again, no definitive answers as the horror stopped when I placed my trust in Christ, however, conveniently the same time I stopped drinking.

Photo credit awarded to:


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Applause. Exit Stage Left

Who do you owe your life to? I owe mine to Christ. And I owe mine to the vessels of Christ. His hands and feet...His very heart. I am supposed to be studying right now. Instead I sit in a secret place thankful for those God has put into my hands. Regretfull for those that slipped out of them.

The wind is howling, blowing around fragments of winter retreating. The bushes and branches dance in unison. The beauty of God is magnificent. It reminds me that everything is in the hands of God. Unlike me...He doesn't drop anything. We are safe in His arms. I believe that with all that is me. So why do I feel so terrible? Why does true beauty make me so sad?

It makes me miss my brother.

Went to DQ today. Standing in line, it remanded me of when we were teenagers and would go to the DQ his girlfriend worked at. He had his own the menu. He named it the "Tall Will." It was a tablespoon of ice cream and an entire foot of whipped cream stacked on top.

There is something other-worldly about our closest relationships. Those we do not ever want to picture our lives without. Through the love and loss, we finally really see God I think. We see God when we love intensely in these isolated moments when you cant even explain what you are feeling or what is happening, it feels unreal. Like it really isn't happening to us, like deja vu. We see God when everything we fear walks through that door and the phone rings at an inappropriate time. Our hearts sink, we are crushed. Suddenly the sound of the water smashing against the rocks sound more like our bones crushing than beauty. We find ourselves in the dark without a guide or a torch. We navigate by feeling hell's slick walls begging for the way out. This is when God puts your hand in His without the lights, beckons our faith and guides us through hell and into something different. This is when our faith, though scarred becomes our vest worthy to take any punishment.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Security Blankets

In a boat in the middle of the ocean. No one around...just me floating to the rhythm of the wind and tide. This is what gets me to sleep.

I used to use a metronome. Then I slept in the bathtub. Then I slept in my car. All comforting enough to get me to sleep. Something about some of those unstable and potential dangerous things made me feel safe. I could not be reached in the middle of the ocean in a storm. I would not be found sleeping in the one sleeps there because it hurts your back, head, pelvis, neck, and face (depending on the position you choose).

These things are comfort measures. Things that help us cope with life as we fear it. We all have them. We develop them to survive. Some scientists say that these are the only things that keep us alive. I disagree. God beats our hearts and squeezes our lungs like an accordion. However, I do believe these survival tactics have their place.

Kids hold a teddy bear or a favorite blanket. Will had a silk jacket he wore as a kid. Some kids have their thumb. Some people have cigarettes. Some have mezmorizing beverages. I have my heater and the window. These things rarely ever go away. Some of them we learn to let go of, like thumb sucking and blankets and some don't. Some are destructive and some only we know about. They make us less lonely.

I want to know yours.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Apocalypse NOW!!!!!!!!

"When I think of heaven, Deliver me in a black-winged bird. I think of flying down into a sea of pens and feathers, and all other instruments of faith and sex and God in the belly of a black-winged bird.
Don't try to feed me. I've been here before. And I deserve a little more" Counting Crows

From the view of where it all started, it would be really hard to see the way things would end least for now.

I started blazing like the sun. You could not quench the fire inside me. You couldn't deter me from pushing forward, despite cardiac arrest. I was in love with learning. I was in love mostly with God. Sleep wasn't important. Every second I could, I would drink coffee (My replacement for more destructive beverages) and open my Bible. Then read books about loving Jesus. Books about how to show that love to other people. Books about what the Bible means (I wasn't developed enough to understand hyperbole or symbolism or parables) I took it all literal... especially Revelation. I will get back to that, Revelation comes at the end of the story as we know it. I was crazed. I was a fanatic. I was ready to die for what I was coming to know of God in my life. Knowledge was everything to me. I ate it like food and stored it in my cells for when I needed energy. I push people away because of my intensity. I judged others without realizing it, just by being too pushy. I wasn't proud at all, I knew the other side of their plight for the world, I had been in the depths of the dragon and felt it's fire. It singed my face. I wanted no one to suffer. I came on too strong for most people. Heaven was to me, the beginning of all things. I was ready to die.

Now what is interesting to me is that just moments before I gave myself over to Christ, I also wanted to die. I think the idea of a noble martyrs death instead of the quitters death seemed more attractive. I was still looking for a way out because as excited for God as I was, I was still in hell. I still wanted out and this gave me a real outlet and a Savior King ready and waiting to except me. What could go wrong?

Jesus was laughing. He wasn't going to let me die on some cold train tracks somewhere away from anywhere. He wasn't going to let me die of a cardiac arrest caused by premature ventricular contractions precipitated by Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome. He sure as I write now, wasn't going to let me die in some fool hardy quest for martyrdom. The problem was the death that I was still seeking. He knew that. He knew I wasn't cured yet. I told everyone that the sadness was gone and that I wanted to give my life to Him, but never mentioned the possibility of living through my 21st birthday. I still didn't want that. I wanted to go to Heaven. To quit. Still taking the quitters route.

Revelation. The end of all things. Is it? Is it the end or the beginning? This book full of both literal warning and imagery describing things that are unimaginable for anyone. The day we get new bodies and minds. The day, those that oppressed got there's. The war on earth. The outpouring of the Spirit on His children. The wedding feast to end all feasts. The break in war to celebrate the coming again of our precious and wonderful Messiah. The beginning of all eternity...of all new things. It's exciting really.

I saw it as another way out of life. If I weren't going to get that martyr's death, I was going lead the rebellion against the One World Government (I cannot even imagine the people that statement is going to bring to this post from Google searches... holla if you are one of them). I was again, a fanatic. Not the kind that goes to every football game on Sunday and reads about the team when the paper gets to the that case I am a fanatic as I rise to church every Sunday, read the Bible and study Christ. What I meant was, I was the fanatic that was a little scary. The kind that you want to settle down a little. I was too eager for the things that completely missed the point to what was really going on inside me. I should have focused on love. I should have focused on callousing my hands instead of death and the end of all things.

Over the years, God has broken every barrier to Him that I can think of. I am sure there are more that I am still blinded by, but He has been faithful to forgive and to mold me into a person that resembles someone that wants to try to show the love Christ has for them. I am flawed. I said in my "About me" that I don't make sense until the end. Well I don't. It didn't make sense to focus on death when I was just given life. I will not make any sense of anything until that day, when everything begins. Heaven awaits, but my hope is that I get more time here to be a model of God's love for those in peril, on or off the sea.

Photo credit to


Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I hear trains in the distance. It's almost time to leave. "Micah"

I have been learning Final Cut Pro for the last week. One of the most complicated programs for sure. I see why most stick to iMovie and call it a day. I have been practicing on the footage from the movie I wrote and filmed, but never finished. I am learning slowly, but today, the process began to stick. I actually got on a roll editing. I never thought that was possible. I think I may cut together a shorter version of the movie. I have a long way to go, but cutting this together is really exciting. It will be nice that have something as a record of the years of sweat, money, and sacrifice we put into filming this movie.

I am feeling like myself now. I forgot how I feel since I have been medicated to cure who I am. I like who I am when I can feel things. I like me much better. Not naive, I know there are gonna be these grueling lows that leave me comatose, but I like that feeling better than just functioning.

A few short and vague differences between robotic me and the one that my flesh gets to wear:

I want to go to bed early like a grown up.
I don't really have much of a problem getting out of bed.
Mood is stabilized.
I feel flatlined.

I want to watch the sun rise before I go to bed.
I would rather create than compete against the number crunching trolls. (Sheenism lol)
I notice the little things, like chipped paint on an old bicycle or the flower missing a petal.
I want to go outside again.

Most importantly: I have missed this intense feeling of helplessness to save myself or anything around me. I am completely reliant on God. When I have been emptied out, God fills me up. There is nothing better than being filled by God.  Nothing.


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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Getting Comfortable

Things should never fall apart.We get our hopes up and when that happens, we allow ourselves to believe that something really great can happen. We allow ourselves to breathe again because we are with people we can trust.

Then they fail at being the Utopian person you wanted them to be and we are crushed. Thoroughly crushed. 

Who is this person I put so far above me? Are they even real? I say no. If you have placed them above you, I say no. We all sin just the same and are forgiven just the same. God came and made it finally an even playing field. You don't have to be the best of the best in Bible understanding to be His prodigy. You don't have to recite the Old Testament to be the object of His affection. You only have to submit to him. Relax and let go of who your ego wants you to be. I am not asking you to be willing to share or be "Transparent..." I am asking you to be real with God and yourself. Step aside from who you normally are and lay your cards out at His feet. You may just have deuces. You may have high Kings, or you may have nothing. God is the gamble. God wins. God isn't some entity. God is the driving force of life. I want you to know that. I do not write to Christians. It may seem so because some Christians agree with me. Christians have church. I have me and God. I write to you, whether you know The Savior or not, my eyes are fix to you... the reader, whether in full understanding of the significance of Christ's coming or not, things fall apart. People get fatally hurt. They lose hope and walk away from everything that has always sustained them...Because the answer wasn't what they expected.

Pick your head up. Open your eyes. We are in battle. We cannot afford to get comfortable. God is still here. God is still watching. God is still sitting among us pouring out His justice.


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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Going Back

This has been a decision I have been struggling with for months now. I have never liked the fact that I was on meds to keep me stabilized. Makes me feel weak, even when I know better. I made my final decision today. I am gonna run without the drugs. Gonna leave them behind. Not such a surprise to me as I have been conveniently forgetting to take them for 3 weeks now. Before you speak, hear me out.

The meds make me blank. I don't feel much. Feeling inspires me to act. Without feeling, I don't act much. You get the picture.

This past month or two, I have been creating again. The very thing I love the best about life and the image of God. I have done it because I desired to do so. I want to express what God has put inside me and also what the world has put inside me. Drugged, I just had no desire. I just coasted. Autopilot to get me through my brother's death. I am ready to come out into the sun now.

I realize what this means for me, and for what you may be subject to reading. It feels like I am going back into the belly of the beast. But I don't believe that. I believe I am going to be exactly what God wants me to be. Because He is so big and so great and loving that He will prevail in me, despite my many follies. I know I am allowing the sadness in with the rest, but I think that is what makes me who I am. I don't think I was ever meant to live without it, although I may always be wrong. I am not God. He is.

For now I want to feel things. The last three weeks have been different. Episodes of anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness, and grief have mixed with an intense desire to be wrapped in the arms of God. Withdrawal from the medication and an insatiable desire to be near my God. To be finally whole again.

When God knit me into my mother's womb, He saw this day. He saw everything. All the way from Heaven to Michigan, God saw this kid squirm and struggle to breathe outside of the water...always sustaining him despite my rebellion. My God is good and deserves to be served by me with intensity. I am not bashing medicine. God made it. I really believe that, but for me, I glorify God most in my brokenness. I am now ready to be broken in a healthy way.

I am going back, but I am not going back to that.

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