Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We Are Not Superheros

When there are storms on the horizon...even ones that have been following for a very long time, we sometimes have the tendency to expend our energy on putting them off in any way we can. We can know something is coming and that something is going to roll over us like Grave Digger at an 80's monster truck rally. We know that what lurks is far stronger than we have the strength to bear, even if we know that Christ has volunteered the weight in the back of our minds, we still fear it's punishment. We decide we deserve the punishment and reject the sacrifice of Christ, but the pain is so much, so we continue to run and avoid it. We would rather live a life in limbo than stand up to the things that will ultimately give us great strength.

I have spent a lot of time running from the truth known by experience, as opposed to the truth known in words. When a person I know loses someone they love, I know what to say. I know the truth about God and the world, and that God loves them so much and the death is a product of sin and not God's doing or punishment. But what if that person that lost the one you love is you and not someone you know? I lost a piece of my heart...someone who I looked to as a big brother who had a hand in saving me from myself. I didn't think logically. I didn't immediately think to myself, "This is life. This is sin in the world and it isn't fair, but God is here and He is enough." Instead, I could not muster my guts to speak to Him for weeks. The thought of speaking to my God made me angry. It made me hate my own existence because it was created by the same God that had destroyed me. This was my thought that didn't manifest itself in conscious thoughts, but in silence that laid dormant, quietly killing me and my faith. I was shaken for the first time in my life as a Child of God. Never had I blamed God. Never had I seen tragedy as His hammer coming down. Never had I been in the midst of hell as a believer in Christ...a believer that God is in control. This trembled my whole understanding of who God is and what He really wants.

To be honest, these things went through my thoughts:
1. God is unfairly testing me, knowing I will fail, without giving me the tools to survive.
2. God performs miracles all over the world, but He is not willing to give me one minute of clarity to save my friend.
3. God breaks those He calls His children to keep them low and submissive, because this is what a jealous God does to eliminate distractions.
4. God may have saved me to continue hurting me.
5. God is all terrible.

None of these things are uncommon when we are in despair. However, none of these things are true in the slightest. What we know from His Word is true. The words are true, not the emotions...not our guts. Flesh is weak and gets confused, but God's Word is true and living. I think the beauty of disaster is that it shows us how true the words really are. It helps us to know them by experience and not just by reasoning, because reasoning can always be tampered with when feelings get involved.

Just know that God is real and whatever you may be putting off, may just make the sun shine in your life again.


Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Is Your Captain

"This is your captain speaking." - Unknown source

I felt a vibration on my pocket. I feel them all the time...most of them phantom vibrations with a cause only known except by God Himself, our captain. I sat in front of the princess of the world, while she got an autograph from the princess of the Disney castle. My eyes glance upward to her crown, then back to my hand which held a device that allows world wide communication. Then back up. Then back down. Something caught my eye. The picture was my fallen brother Will just after he removed his corn rows...the one I have used for his contact information on my phone...a number I have wanted to dial for almost 2 years. In front of the picture and contact information is a question. This question would usually go unnoticed by my eyes. This was the question of my life so far for me. It said Are you sure you want to delete." I literally said, "Jesus!" to myself when I saw it. How had my leg made such a profound and menacing choice? How had it gone through thousands of improbable combinations and reached this conclusion without me consenting? I still don't know, but it made me think...and it wrecked me inside. I didn't need that to happen in the happiest place on earth. I did not need to see a piece of electricity suggest that I finally delete my brother from my phone. I quickly said cancel, both out loud and with my thumb, careful not to hit the confirm button. No way. No way I delete him. No way.

I realize he could never be deleted. He was here. He was right here in my face, sinking into my heart...into my memory. He can press that button and end communication, but he can never have taken what we had away. You simply cannot erase yourself from existence. You can make your flesh stop blinking, but you cannot stop your image from coming across my mind every day. Most importantly, you cannot erase what your kids see in you for the time they had with you. You cannot erase what your children have hidden deep inside of them.

But why the strange and random cellular phone error now? Why now. Sitting in front of the princess, watching my daughter light up with joy? Why am I told through electricity to delete my best friend from my phone...from my memories?  I won't do either. I will hold on as if my life was held by it. But in the end, my hands might be gripping soil, looking for something greater, holding on to something I can never get my hands on. Eternity is for those who have entered understanding of it. I just may not soon get to touch it. I may not see him for such a long time.


Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day Six

Day six was the best day yet. Full day at The Magic Kingdom. We planned for the heat this time and took frequent breaks inside air conditioning. The lines were great. The longest we waited was like 30 minutes which would be unheard of at Cedar Point, so I loved it. We rode everything we wanted to and some we didn't want to. Caeden fell in love with Space Mountain and rode it trice, once with me and once with mom. Too many details to share tonight, I am way too tired, but it was a great day...that's the gist.

Ended with dinner with the Princesses and Aevry was a little starlet. She was dressed full out princess and kids were coming up to her just to talk to her. She was so excited and proud. Then she got to meet the princesses and She lit up like it was the best day of her life. Tomorrow we fly home and back to work we go.


Thanks for reading. - Z

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day Five

Day five was a nice, uneventful one. There was swimming, naps, food, some really bad and some really good. There was a movie, some cookies, a hurricane scare, some rain, some rain swimming, some underwater roundhouse kicks to the pool wall, and some pool leaf snorkel diving. We made today low key to rest for tomorrow's big day at Disney. We are all pretty excited and are more prepared for the heat. Prepared means we just decided going and watching a midday show in the air conditioning was a really good idea. One we wish we would have had at Universal. The sun here is nothing to be trifled with. Caeden got slightly burned wearing SPF 55 today in under an hour.

Gonna sleep now. Got a big day tomorrow...that's if God or hurricane Irene does not interfere.


Thanks for reading. - Z

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day Four

Day four was a lesson in patience with traffic. Got up a little later than usual due to the exhausting day we had yesterday. Laura got up and got us a breakfast and brought it up so we could sleep through a little. Today was hot again. I cannot understand how anyone sees this heat as something desirable. It is miserable outside night and day. You always feel gross, even just after a shower.

We went to the outlet malls to look around and fought traffic and fought this confounded GPS which knows nothing at all about Florida. It takes 20 minutes to travel 7 miles. I know people who can almost run that distance that fast. The lights are long, the traffic is heavy, and everyone is from out of state which means there are thousands of clueless people meandering just like me.

Had trouble with the safe in the room today. I or Laura put the computer in sideways and the door looked as though it shut, but it would not lock. We called down because we wanted to lock up our valuables (not many really) so we could leave for the day. After 25 minutes, we called again, still on his way, then after another 20, we called again as the guy came wrapping at our door. I opened the door..."Deedent you hear me wrapping, wrap wrap wrap-a-roo" he actually said none of that, but that's how he would have sounded if he did. He came in. Took off the front of the safe. Looked at it. Put it back on. Asked us to turn the computer around. Shut the safe and locked it without incident. We had to apologize.

Ate at Quizno's, went putt putt at Pirates Cove, sat in the pool, I worked on a song, and ate at Sweet Tomatoes. Not at all in that order. It was a nice, relaxing day.

Aevry calls Mexicans, Mecisans. She also says her legs look like two wands.


Thanks for reading. - Z

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day Three

Day three was hot. Melting, burning, sitting on the equator hot. Sweat mixed with two layers of sunscreen hot. Get dizzy and have to sit down hot. But so good.

Got up at 5:45 AM to eat breakfast with Mickey Mouse, who is delightful in person by the way. Went straight from there to Universal Studios on a free pass from my aunt and uncle, so thanks to them. Went on the Twister ride first. Caeden is obsessed and terrified with tornados, but really wanted to give it a try because he loves that movie. It was far more intense than anticipated. End game was two balling kids, but the getting there was one of the coolest shows of special effects I have ever seen. It really did feel like you were in a tornado. We got out of there quickly when it was over and went to the Simpson's ride to ease the nerves. That ride is so fun. The kids were cracking up during it and it even scared Laura a bit. They somehow manage to make you feel like you are on a roller coaster even when you aren't moving much.

Many sweating hours later, we find ourselves in the line for the Harry Potter ride the whole park has been talking about. Just Caeden and I on this one as Laura took the too short Aevry to the Dr. Seuss park. Once we got inside the enormous and detailed castle (Hogwarts), the details shined brighter than anything I've seen. The paintings spoke to each other in videos that looked seriously human. The newspapers laying on the coffee tables had video front pages, and the the Butter Beer was unique and addictive. The ride itself scared the crap out of Caeden, but I thought it was the best the park has to offer. If it weren't for the heat and the long line outside, I would have ridden it again. Finished the night at Cici's pizza.

Tomorrow is Pirates Cove, outlets, and Sweet Tomatoes. Maybe some pool time, I don't know...if we have time.


Thanks for reading. - Z

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day Two

Day two started where day one left off. Laura woke up yelling with the shriek that could have deafened Keith Richards. "Adam, breakfast ends in 15 minutes!" "It's your fault!" she had asked me earlier what time it was and I mumbled about not knowing and went back to sleep. This was the fault she was referring to. We jumped up to throw on our clothes in a panic because we needed to eat the paid for already breakfast because food is expensive here. As we rushed to get our clothes on, a coy "Whoops." comes from the kitchen. Laura had taken a second look at her phone and realized that her wooden eyes had seen the time wrong when she woke us in a fright. It was actually more than two hours earlier. We laughed a little. She apologized a little, and we all went back to sleep and did make it to breakfast a couple hours later.

From there the day went better. We went to the beach on the Atlantic side and despite my past vows to never step into a sharks house, I went right in. Walked all the way to the surfers where the waves were "Sick" and got my first face, eyes, and mouth full of pure Atlantic salt water. It was a bit saltier than I had imagined and definitely burns the eyes more than they let on in the movies. I was proud to be in the water. My son, who is also very hesitant to get eaten by a shark, also went in to his waist and spent all day belly boarding the waves back and forth. I was so proud of him.

On a bright redder note...Laura told me 80 times to put on sunscreen as "It is worse when it is overcast." well it is and I am cooked. We had a really nice time today and ended the day with a night swim and some Micky Ding Dongs. Going to Universal Studios tomorrow.


Thanks for reading. - Z

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day One

Day one. Not awesome. Florida has way too many people. Way too many by far. In their defense I woke up wrong this morning, just a nasty, foul mood. Plane was broken once we got on and I am already afraid to fly. They turned off the power to the plane including that life saving air blower above and all of the babies in the entire galaxy started crying. And this guy farts. This guy with no couth. This guy with a belly full of Taco Bell in a plane without air for the face and babies screaming.

The flight went well once it got in the air. Caeden was so worried and ended up loving the flight.

We landed and despite our best efforts to make the quick exit from the airport, we bickered with each other instead over many, many failed directions. Got a car, checked into the hotel, which is nice and inexpensive. Then we ventured to downtown Disney for dinner and walked around while listening to the kids whine about their legs hurting and they were too tired. We left and headed to Walmart, the only grocery store within 20 miles as told to me by my computerized female voice on the GPS. The only thing I hate more than Walmart by my house is the Walmart I went to in Florida. It is here that they get most of the pictures from peopleofwalmart.com.

We're gonna go to bed now because we have an awesome day in front of us that cannot be ruined by frustration.


Thanks for reading. - Z

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


About to leave for Florida and when I do see Mickey, I'm gonna beat his face in.

Not really.

It feels great to be done with school, my family needs this break, we have all worked so hard this past 15 months. My wife has picked up the slack I had to leave for her and still maintained her own work. My kids have gone 3 days a week, every week without seeing me at all some of those days and it has taken it's toll. Just glad it's over. In a few hours I'm gonna be in the happiest place on earth with the happiest people beside me.


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Quick Post About Irresistable Things

Trying to kill the pounds I put on during nursing school. During my dieting, I have noticed a few things that are irresistible to me if placed in front of me. Not talking about things I miss or love to eat, but things that cause an inner battle and usually beats me into submission.

1. Pizza. I would eat pizza everyday if I could.
2. Chocolate covered Hostess donuts.
3. Soft chocolate chip cookies.
3. Parmesan Cheese-Its
4. Smokehouse almonds (This isn't too bad if you can only eat a small palm full, which I can't)
5. M&Ms
6. Skittles
7. McDonald's fries
8. Cookie Dough frosty
9. Anything at DQ

That was a short list of things that punch me with brass knuckles whenever I have been doing really well on a diet.


Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I hate to imagine a world without my phone. I hate to imagine a life without technology. Why? I have no idea at all. I don't get calls and when I do I hang up abruptly because I hate talking on the phone. I get texts sometimes, but it is work to return them, so I avoid it unless I am interested. Which is also what everyone else does... judging from my dismal activity on returned texts. But imagine the world where you had only your own hands to play with and not your Facebook page or instant message. What would it really be like to be completely bored. To sit and wait with nothing to do but stare at the person in front of you? I think there would be more real friendships. I think people would meet face to face again and spill themselves out to a stranger when their eyes match their words, because most people cannot lie with both, only their words. We would maybe love people again. Instead we love data.

What is data? It is numbers. A series of numbers which represent a series of symbols or whatever the matrix is made of. It's guts are sterile. So we reject the blood rushing through the veins of those across from us to manage our data lives filled with numbers that mean words that are supposed to mean our hearts? People have spoken to me and I have been looking at my phone, more interested in what numbers have to say than a real live human being. I might as well live in a world of nothing but robots programmed to assimilate with the other robots.

I love to write things down. I love to share. But I think sometimes these things get in the way of what I love to do most...sit in front of another human being and connect. Connecting with a person is nothing like connecting with a computer or and internet provider...it is more complex. It takes trust, compassion, a genuine interest, and a heart to understand someone other than the self. If you aren't genuine, a real person can sense it immediately and you become acquaintances, not friends. You get a piece of the border of the puzzle...the part that has no depth or definition. I think God wants us to want the good parts. The parts that make the puzzle make sense.

I am gonna try to stop relying so much on data and rely more on my blood and instincts and focus on the person in front of me.


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Runaway Train

My little brother Andy and I at one of God's greatest wonders.

Have you ever ran away? From home, literally grabbed a bag or a hanky tied to a stick and headed for the hills and into the horizon? How did it work out?

Me and Andy decided to run away for whatever reason, I don't know, but we planned to go one night on a whim when camping in Andy's back yard. I didn't understand why we wanted to run, I think it was for the adventure. There was a pink Cadillac from the 50s in the woods by his house. It was wrapped completely around this tree and actually had blood stains on the what remained of the door. There were no trails, so one looking at it would immediately wonder if a helicopter had dropped it from the sky, which I believe had to be the truth. We packed our things up and took our sleeping bags into the woods after the house lights went off and laid down in between the Cadillac and the tree to keep us from the wolves and the water moccasins, which Andy was and is still deathly afraid of. We laid there for a couple hours before we questioned why we were doing this. We talked for a while, about it as his parents combed the neighborhood looking for two soon to be orphans. After an hour or so, we got up and went back home expecting a quiet entry into the tent. Instead, we got his parents with flashlights and frowns. They were terrified. We terrified them. It is weird, but some people have no idea what it is like to be cared for that way, or how good it feels. We never ran away again.

A few years later, I was up north with this kid whose dad my mom commissioned to be an adult male role model. Turns out, this kid lived with his mom and wanted to live with his dad, so we planned his get-a-way. We planned that the next morning after we got home, he would pack and walk 25 miles to my house and he would live in my shed and I would feed him like some dog, the leftovers from dinner and no one would ever have to know. I got home and Andy came over early the next morning and we  didn't even think about it. Of course we weren't serious. How could he get to my house? How could he walk what takes us 25 minutes to drive? We went about our business of care-free play, working on our music for our band called Deathstone, when under the sound of the flames being shred by Andy's pocket, battery powered amp, the phone rang. I answered and it was this kid on the other end. I was all "What?!? : /" He was all, "I am a mile away from your house, where do I go?" "Oh S&%#." He thought I was serious, except of course, weird keyboard symbols do not adequately describe what I really said. We met him 3 blocks from my house at the community center. He had a backpack with clothes. Me and Andy looked at each other and was all, "What?!? Really?!?" and walked him to my house to figure out the logistics of the shed that would provide him shelter. We promised not to tell, but in the end, I said I had to use the bathroom inside and told my mom and she called his dad. Funny though, because I spoke to him on the phone that night and he said everything was better with his mom, she had bought him new shoes?!!??!!!?


Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another Side of Me

Mine is the one pissing off the golden one.

My last few blogs have been very heavy. Some very hard for me to articulate. So I am going to write some light-hearted ones. I am not always what I appear to be. Maybe I have been dishonest on this blog. I am only portraying one part of me. The part people do not see. There is more. I laugh. I laugh a lot. I joke about everything. I am loud and refuse to go unnoticed. Maybe this is the person you remember most. I do this because it is genuine. I have learned to laugh, because laughter is a very pure and healthy thing.

Today I will write about my dog.

Her name is Snookie. Named after the popular television icon that attracts only those that love garbage. Like me. She is adequately named as she has produced so much anger and frustration in our home. She has eaten everything. She eats and nips at people's hands and is always in front of our feet when we are trying to walk in our small house. I was just talking to Laura about insurance companies needing to add dogs to their existing coverage.

I had dogs growing up. I had Deacon, a Cocker Spaniel that bit children's entire cheeks off. And we had Nipper, another Spaniel that had epilepsy and would get to enjoy a grand mall seizure every time he got excited. Deacon hated Nipper and kept attacking him, sending him into grand mall seizures, so we got rid of him. Deacon kept attacking everyone else, so we got rid of him too. I was crushed. I loved Deacon and remember crying at the top of my lungs so my mom could hear it and maybe reconsider getting rid of him. She didn't reconsider for good reason and Deacon was given away, then given away again. I heard he got epilepsy too. But that was the last thing I heard about him. He probably got put to sleep or shot in someones back yard.

I hated dogs for many years after. Here is a list of things I hate about dogs:
1. I hate when they drag their butts across the floor to satisfy some gross anal itch.
2. I hate when they sneeze or whatever they are doing in your face while you are sleeping.
3. I hate when they eat your favorite clothes.
4. I hate when they touch their cold, wet noses to your skin.
5. I HATE cleaning up their poop, especially when the season turns from cold to warm.

The things I love?....
1. When they lay their heads on you to be near to you.
2. When they play with their toys on your lap.
3. When they growl at anyone getting too close to your kids, their perceived family.
4. When they believe they are one of your children.

So I love dogs now. Who would have thunk it? With all of the complaining I have done about them. With all of the negative things I said about them, I now love them again. At least one of them.


Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Way I Became

Why am I the way I am? What events led to me being this person with this soul in this time in history? Have you ever thought about that? Life is weird. The way things play out never fit where we think they might. I never thought I would get here. Never.

I opened the cupboard looking for cereal and found a rat. It matched the ones that were rotting beneath our floorboards, drifting their stench into our living room. We had been duped. Or maybe it was all we could afford, I don't know, I was just a kid. But here we were in this house, and I got tuberculosis in the glands somehow, and I got some time off of school, and some needles in my arms, and stitches in my neck before I was a healthy and thriving young boy again. I wasn't an outgoing kid as most would assume. I was shy in school and unsure of myself. I kept the answers to the teachers questions in my head and stayed silent. All of my report cards said I had more, but wasn't going to give it. My classmates wrote cryptic and futuristic things on my yearbook and I ignored them waiting for that one girl to sign it..."To Adam, have fun with the girls in the 6th grade, KIT, Whoever." If she had left a number, I would have called it, but she didn't on purpose. Why didn't she? Because there was something wrong with me. I wasn't right. I wasn't normal. No normal 12 year old thinks of death. No normal 12 year old thinks that maybe he might be better off in darkness than right now. I fell asleep to "With or Without you" from U2 most nights in Jr. High and most nights I felt my mom's hand upon me, praying for me. Whether she remembers or not, I do. I remember her prayers for me and I could feel her worry. She knew I wasn't right too.

Eventually my repeat button on my cd player wore out and I had to rig it. This was years later as I played "Life Goes on" from 2pac all night as I drank the world's worth of beer to fall asleep into a dream that would make me want to never sleep again. See, evil is real. I have seen it and so have you... some of you have even realized it. When morning came, things would be ok again. Just get through the night and I could act during the day. It was just that time when the sun went down and I was left sitting there with nothing to distract me from myself. Most nights Will or Joe were there, but they had girlfriends and a lot of times, that left me alone with who I called Cold. It was this empty feeling I got that I eventually got attached to. I hated it, but it became family to me. I wanted it gone, but feared losing it. So I named it and embraced it. I sat in the corner of my filthy room with a bottle singing my praises to the god of wine.

This was the person that God was watching. Not the only person, but the kind of person. This is what makes God so beautiful to me. You don't have to overachieve to get the affection of God. You needed only to really need Him.

I think that is always how He has worked. He always went to the people that really needed Him in a way that is real. A person can say they need God when they struggle with a fear of a lost investment, but a person that needs God to provide their next meal feels God differently. Less than a month before Will died, I went to this hill to look over the city and found a homeless man's house decorated in the snow with a sleeping bag and some liquor bottles. Above where he slept in the subzero cold, were some branches that he tied garland around...his celebration of Christmas. I took pictures because this may have been the most pure moment of my life. This guy that had lost everything, probably because of drugs and alcohol, but wanted to feel home again. He probably remembered when his parents bought him that Evil Knievel toy that one year when things were pure Heaven to him. Maybe he remembered the way his dad looked at his mom when he opened that box that held his very heart. Or he remembered nothing at all but his drink. It doesn't matter because he wanted to celebrate Christmas wherever he was, even if under a maple tree in the dead of winter. It is his bottom. It is what it looks like to live at the bottom of humanity. At the bottom of humanity is where grace shines the brightest.

This is where God found me. Laying there defenseless, hoping for death. God found me in the depths. Truth is, He had never lost me. Truth is, I found Him with me in the bottom of the depths. I found His dirty face next to to my dirty face, His much brighter than mine,  and He lifted me up out of my own spit, blood, and piss. He set me on my feet and gave me the world. This is grace. This is the message of the Gospel of our Living God.


Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, August 5, 2011

Life in Art

The strokes were like poetry. The paint gliding down the wall with the bristles of the brush. The hand unwaveringly still, careful not to make any mistake that may ruin it's intent. It's purpose was a picture of death. And it was ugly. So ugly it was beautiful.

I didn't remember painting them. They were horrible. I can only imagine it being as I wrote above. The opposite of what they probably were. But I don't remember them. I don't remember any of them. I don't remember painting the eyes. I don't remember painting the tomb. I don't remember painting the clown. I only remember waking to them wondering how they had gotten there again. The paint on my hands and spilled on my floor.

If I described myself, hopefully you wouldn't believe me. I was a picture of myself with the face scratched off. I was me, but I wasn't anything like me. I was not who I was supposed to be. I get that feeling a lot sometimes still. I don't feel like I am who I am supposed to be.

My walk to the bathroom in the mornings were chaos. The sound of the beer cans as I tried to wade through the labyrinth on my floor. The sound of my bones cracking and muscles stretching as I got up from the floor or under the table or around the toilet. The light that smashed me before I had time to adjust. My head screaming for the mercy of the Lord. Most mornings I woke up still drunk.

I had no idea of a life on the other side of hatred. No idea you were all here. No idea there really were anyone left who cared. That's what sin does. That's the work of the evil one. I don't write this for any other reason than to remember my exodus. My journey from the cold to the sun. I love to remember the power of God specifically in my life. The Bible is full of stories of it, but when it happens to you, you would do anything to feel it's intensity again. I've been in the fire. I've been burned, but there is nothing like having the pain lifted by your Savior. There is nothing like waking up to you Father wiping your hair from your eyes. It reminds me that life is brilliant. If sin must be in the world and people have to suffer...it is still so great that God gives you something different inside that fuels you to continue on.

Tell me your story of God.

Photo credit to: http://papiercouper.deviantart.com


Thanks for reading...Z