Monday, October 31, 2011

Down 75

The sides of the path begin with buildings then move to company headquarters, then to warehouses. Somewhere an hour or so away, you will see a giant mall and retired stadium. Then pine trees. Maple trees. Spruce. Then oak. It is the route to "Up North" which in Michigan has become an official place. On the way you have to watch for deer jumping into the road and keep your eyes on the road while trying to watch the hawks weave around the silhouette of a Stay Puff Marshmallow Man looking cloud.

When we reach our destination, we read magazines and buy gasoline for the boat. We sit in the wicker and wooded chairs and sway with the wind and the distant hum of boats on the lake. All around is the sound of a big least big by my standards. I was never used so many people calling themselves brother, sister, father, grandma, nephew, niece, cousin, or mother. I was used to my mother and my brothers. It freaked me out at first...having so many family members in one house, stepping on each others toes. It didn't take long for me to love it. I had never played catch with a nephew before. I'd never grilled hot dogs for 15.

Laura and I watch this television show called "Parenthood." Laura had to beg me to watch it with her because I thought it was clearly for girls. She won and I loved it from episode one. The thing that I loved the most was big and how close their family is. Rain or shine, strength or fault, they were always there for each other. I never knew I ever wanted to be in a large family. But here I am, in one. I love it.

Thanksgiving and Christmas was always great for me. It was me, my mother, my brother, and most years we had a straggler or two. I remember once I brought home a homeless man I found under the viaduct while riding my bike. I wish I had a picture of those moments...the one where the homeless guy is riding on my bike pegs and the one of my mom's face when I got to the front door with some dirty, smelly guy. She might not remember this, but she showed me Christ when she gave him food. He did not come in as there was something off about him, but my mom always had a big heart. We would watch the parades together and my mom would sit down and say this prayer: "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the food you have provided for us and use it for the nourishment and strength of our bodies, in Jesus name, Amen." We would eat too much and take a nap, which I still do. We would then go see a movie, the three of us, and come home and put up the Christmas tree and eat the banana pudding she is famous for. It was great so imagine what a shock it was to go from one house 30 min. away and hug 40 people, then another 40 min. away and hug another 30. So much more to be thankful for than I had previously been accustomed to. It was shocking. Now it is warm.

Christmas. My big brother and I would wake up at 5 AM and sit in his room listening for any sign of movement from my mom to give us the slightest inkling that she was waking up. We usually made up a phantom noise and went running out into the living room, where she slept so we could have our own rooms, at about 6 or 7AM shouting "Santa came here!" She would sit up and grin and tell me to sit down and wait. She would stagger, still barely awake into the kitchen and get me orange juice and make a pot of coffee. The rule was, since I was hypoglycemic and definitely would pass out at times, that I had to drink a glass of orange juice before I could open presents. We would open them and go crazy until we fell asleep on the couches, playing with our toys. We grew up and Christmas became different and just as beautiful. Christmas Eve, we go to see Laura's family on her mother's side and eat a feast and open presents, but most importantly share in the second most important part of Christmas, family. Growing up, my uncles and aunts were all distant and I never knew any of them very well. The few times I saw them, it was like sitting in a room full of people that can't stand each other. It was so different to sit in a room full of people who care so deeply for each other. Christmas day, we open the presents with the kids and hold back tears thinking of Will and loving our excited kid's faces as they get everything they wanted. My mom and big brother come over and exchange gifts and we eat until we are full, then Laura and I fall asleep while we are all still talking and the day ends well.

I write all of this stuff because it still amazes me the way that God sustains a person from where they came to where they are. God was with me as a child and He is with me now. I was happy then and am happy now. Whether there are three of us in the room or 50, my God is always there too, celebrating life with us. I thank my God today for my family, who has become larger than I ever expected it to be. There was a time I could name my family...Mom, Jason, Andy, Will, Joe. Now I fear I would forget people it is so big and disrespect my love for them.


Thanks for reading...Z

Top 5 Scary Movies

My top 5 list of scariest movies of all time. Though I have not seen all scary movies ever made. Here is my list of the ones I did and why.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street- There is no more a vulnerable and inescapable time than while you are sleeping. Freddy could not be physically hurt or figured out. His passion as much as killing was terrorism of the mind. For many years after first watching it as a kid, all shadows were Freddy's blades.

2. The Ring- Every time a group of people watch this, someone gets "Got" with the phone ring thing by one of their prankster pals. I was thourouhly freaked out after watching this not expecting much at the theater at 3 AM.

 3. Event Horizon- Saw this one alone, in my room, in the middle of the night on a faulty VHS player. It's intensity is almost unmatched.

 4. 28 Days Later- Not the scariest horror film, but it is by far my favorite. Intense and creepy soundtrack and ridiculous camera work make this "Non-zombie" zombyish film amazing.

5. Jaws- The single biggest reason the world is afraid of sharks...besides the shark attacks. I was a weird kid, I saw this as a child and wept my eyes out, not because people were dying or that I feared the shark, but because Jaws died in the end. Creepy kid right?

Give me your top 5!!!!!!


Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Can Do.........

Today was a big win for me. I passed the state boards and became a registered nurse. For most in my class, it is just one of many sunny days. For me it was a culmination of a thousand thunderstorms.

This is a testimony to the power of God and His way of shaming the wise.

I am an idiot. My internal filter is faulty, my logical leads me to the longest route to my destination, and my stubbornness hinders me from following very closely. But God inside me is something special.

I have been told my entire life that I can't do things. It pisses me off and I hate it, because sometimes I believe it is true and at times it has won and I have given up. I even had a high school teacher tell me when she saw me with a wife and kids that she "Never expected this much from me." Something so marry and have children? These things are easy. Anyone and most everyone falls in love and most get married and have kids. She didn't even expect the easiest of tasks from me. The hard part is holding all of these things together.

The enemy's passion is telling you that you are nothing. His goal is to get you to believe it. Ask my mother who was told to abort me by her own father and left to her own defenses by my father. They told her to give up, the enemy told her to give up...but she didn't. Instead it pissed her off and she fought harder and raised two kids by herself. By the strength and grace of God I sit in this squeaky chair and write victorious. I have her spirit.

This is another testament to Christ in my life, that he took a bastard child and raised him up with sometimes nothing, clothed him in sorrow, drenched him in tragedy, shattered his heart, and made him one of His children. The world took my brother the year I began school, instead of derailing me, God used it to keep me busy and unable to sit and feel sorry for myself. The world told me I cannot go back to school full time while working full time and raising three kids and a wife at home. God made special moments with my family and gave my wife the heart to forgive me for what I have left behind for her to clean up and picked me up where I fell.

During this past year and a half, I have shouted into the open air about the unfairness of God. I have punched religious statues. I have punished myself in any way I could find for the loss of my brother. I have doubted that I really had it in me to do anything good. God stood there in complete disagreement. I think He is proud of me today.

I was at the gym after I found out that I had passed this miserable exam that was the final barrier to what I have been working so hard for. I was lifting weights and I got madder and madder at the thought of people telling me what I could not do. At least six times, I almost cried. The gym is not the place to cry. You do that on your pillow at night or in the shower so you can blame the soap. Not the gym, so I held back the tears and praised my God for His strength that He freely put in me. I have overcome much because of Him and am a living testament to His strength, power, and ability to bewilder the wise.

I dare the enemy to tell me I can't do it. Because I can.

Philippians 4:13 I can do ALL things through Christ, who gives me strength.


Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things...

My God
My family
Wind chimes...and wind to chime them.
Train whistles
The sound of rain.
The sound of wind blowing things over.
The glare of street lights
The smell of leaves as they die
The Michigan Wolverines
The sound of the ice as you hockey stop
Christmas lights reflecting off the snow
Homeless people that call 911 when you have been struck by an SUV
People that pay attention to everyone
Cows grazing
Shuttle launches
The smell of new pencils
The sound of the wind blowing through the trees
Little kids laughing
Seeing people get what they have always wanted
Holding my wife's hand
Finding money in your pockets
Finding something you have lost
Writing things down
My mom's banana pudding
My own face in the mirror when pretending to cry
People watching me doing my favorite things
Being freezing cold and pulling the blanket over my face
Letting lightning bugs go
Knowing I am right and not saying anything
Michigan beer
Saying "I am sorry" and the person not knowing what I am apologizing for.
When people you think hate you stand up for you
Sad movies
Sad music
Sad anything
The Counting Crows
The smell of Febreeze
Leather sofas
New socks
Soft bristle tooth brushes
Adult butt wipes
Scottish accents
Old pictures
Duct tape on vinyl seats
The distant smell of gasoline
The Detroit Red Wings
Pretending to be dead
Old, nasty conversion vans with mattresses (Not for the perverted reasons)
Anything Scotland
Sleeping when I am exhausted
Playing hockey
Remembering how good I was at basketball
The feeling you get 1 second after finishing a workout
The taste of good steak
Really, really sad music
Stories of how people came to know Jesus
Doc Martins
Horror movies/zombies

I could go on all night. What are your favorite things?


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nice Dream

I usually have bad dreams. I have posted before about a couple of them, but I get effected by them sometimes. This last night I had a great one.

I was sitting in a hockey locker room getting my gear on. I rose up and walked out the door to find something beautiful. I saw more than a thousand people screaming surprise to me. A thousand or more people, all people I have at least met. The guy that owns the corner store that I had words with the week before Will died. The guy that lives down the street and speaks to no one. A ton of people were there. My wife had set this all up...A surprise to me because my wife usually sets me up for dreams of her cheating. Of course she really isn't, but that is the dream I am accustomed to.

All of these people are here to watch me do the things I love to do the most.  She leads them to another arena where they watch me play old man drop in hockey and suck horribly. She then leads them to watch me play video game hockey, which I am awesome at (at least at the pro EA level). All of my favorite things get witnessed by thousands of people.

Best dream I have ever had.


Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, October 15, 2011


A quick message to those that have strayed from their families for whatever enticement has engulfed you....

It is more beautiful in there than it is out here. You walk past the warm lights of another home glistening with flashing lights and laughing children and wish it was yours. Go back. Go home. Make it work if it is at all up to you. There may be people inside that are willing to forgive you and desire to lay on their dad's/mom's chest again on Saturday mornings. Some kids love to be watched as they sleep. Some kids want both of their parents sitting on that brown leather couch in the living room laughing with them.

Maybe it isn't so bad. Maybe the multitude of little things are small compared to the memory of that day you said "I do" to one another.

Stop and reconsider. Is your family worth fighting for? Is it worth dying for?


Thanks for reading. - Z

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Base photo credit too: shichigoro756

It has been almost 4 years from the time I typed my first letter on this blog for anyone to stumble upon. I sit and think about all that has happened in that time, the ups and downs and the in between. I remember being a little apprehensive about posting what I would have normally written in my private journal, on the web. Then I decided that there was nothing about me that I wanted to keep inside anymore. The things that are kept inside have always caused me tension in my chest...this feeling of guilt like I was hiding something. There is nothing wrong with anyone being a private person, but there seems to be something wrong with me being a private person. I wanted to spill my life onto the internet so people could see all that God has done in me, despite my failures, weaknesses, and sins. I wanted to force myself to confess to anyone who would listen, who I say Jesus is, both in the Biblical-highlighter sense and in the very fabric of who I am.

I would check back in every day after a post and look at the comments, never expecting to have any, and I never did for the first few months until I got one solitary message of encouragement from Ashley Weis, who no longer keeps a blog or I'd link to her. This was scary to me. There was for sure someone out in the world reading my blog, sharing in my thoughts, and possibly judging my life. I got over the fear and kept seeing person after person sharing their thoughts on my words. It was exciting. I installed a statistics program onto my blog and looked at the map. I was shocked. Hundreds of people from all over the world had read my blog for whatever reason and had by freak chance gotten my guts spilled on them.

This is a humbling thing. I have never really bought in to that statement. This is humbling is usually said when someone is praised or critically acclaimed and in those cases, I always wonder how it would be humbling. I look at defeat as humbling, not success. But there is an aspect of humility that comes when you absolutely know that all good and perfect things are from God...That absolutely nothing you have accomplished can be attributed to you. It is humbling to see how God has taken my many defeats and made them victories in His name for His glory. Thank you to all who have been reading all these years.


Thanks for reading, Z

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Politics in Real Life

This will be a very rare political post with no agenda or sway. I was thinking yesterday while watching congressmen argue with each other on TV while our country drowns...What if people lived in real life how the politicians do?

We would all have shiny teeth and hair doused in Aquanet. We would make our way through the crowds at the mall, kissing babies and waving while fake smiling at everyone we could possibly make eye contact with. Imagine if everyone was doing that, it would be a sick circus of clowns that look strangely familiar to news anchormen/anchorwomen.

We would get up from our horse ranches and have a cup of coffee and read what the world wrote about us, take a pony ride, eat a fritter of some kind, clean our butts with $200 a roll toilet paper-government issued, smoke an illegal Cuban cigar, go shoot some quail and possibly coyly shoot one of our friends/subordinates in the face, listen to the crowd shout about having no jobs and needing relief from the taxes and begging for less spending of money they really don't have, eat another fritter of a different flavor, go sit in on a meeting with a lobbyist who promises us $3,000,000 for our campaign if we support marriages between quails and fritters or unborn babies being bathed in foreign oil, go home and sleep with our wives or even a sub-wife or prostitute, then go to bed on a million thread count silk sheet-government issued.

What a relaxing life. This is debauchery. This is idiot-ry. Fool-itry. What would happen if we didn't ever show up for work and got paid anyways? We just got our pictures taken smiling all the time. What if we stole all of the supplies at work? What if we kicked a homeless person on the way in? What if we couldn't come to a compromise, so we shut down our jobs, but refused to suspend our pay? What if we sat in our $20,000 leather chairs-government issued and watched a CNN/Fox News/MSNBC newscast about how terrible a country or leader is and without real intelligence, sent our hard working and devoted heroes there to fight them? Then what if we blamed each other or the president for that decision so no one would have to take the blame. What if when your bank account was empty, you just wrote checks that weren't there to cover it and never, ever got questioned for it?

There is a very strong similarity between the the two major political parties. They both enjoy their luxurious and smiling lives and will do anything short of nothing to keep things that way, no matter what the country is going through. If you want to see the two parties come together and get things done, tell them congress is getting a pay cut or losing some power. Then the elephants and donkeys (Combine the two and you get a fat donkey- meant to be read how it would appear in the King James Version style of writing) will get something accomplished for the betterment of themselves.

I think this is why Jesus stayed out of politics.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, October 3, 2011


I held fire to my fingers. I flicked the wheel with my thumb and the volcano erupted in a dancing light show. I felt the wheel heat up as I placed it under the wick, then a spray of sparks. The rocket was lit and after a few moments, it flew into the air.  It left a tail that weaved between the stars and shot into the atmosphere unlikely to return to it's origin. It's composition consisted of a used toilet paper roll, a huge wad of Kleenex, some glue, and a rocket bought in the middle of the night from a local Meijers. It was beautiful the way it sailed off as if it had a specific destination.

I lit mine and it did the exact same predictable things. We lit the rockets according to simple rocket science...make it straight, make it symmetric, and give it propulsion. Joe lit his according to Joe science...make it strange looking, make it square, and gave it fire. His lit because it had a rocket attached and flew 3 feet before veering off to the right and fizzling out.

At least his was honest.

Ours was a showing of what smarts we had. His was a work of art, descriptive of his passion. It died.

Passion dies often.  Especially when it's misguided. If he had the guidance that matched his passion, it would have overcome the atmosphere and lived with the stars. But it didn't. It succumbed to gravity and fell back to a foggy earth.

Our lives were meant to be lived with guided passion for what is right. Any other scenario will end in a rocket dropping back into your parent's back yard.

The Bible says (this is my favorite verse), that ALL things work for the good of those that love Him. I believe that, because I believe our God is good. I believe, despite my anger and rage for what He has allowed, that my God is still in control.

It has been a rough couple of years trying to convince myself of that. I have had times when I was playing the part because it was my job to, there have been times when I was sure everything happens for a very good and unknown reason. But to be totally honest, most of my time is spent in the middle... not really knowing. I am still so pissed off and cannot bring myself to an understanding that sin has taken hold of all humans still alive. And that God has reconciled ALL things to Christ. Somewhere in the middle is this emotional and misguided feeling that God is playing games that are set up for us to lose. Set up to make us feel stupid to make Him feel better.

I understand now the feeling of complete loss. I understand Job (somewhat, as his collapse was much worse). God isn't God because things are going well, but because He is still God and loving when things are terrible.

It's been the hardest year and a half of my faith. I have been so angry and acted out. I have made myself the fool, just to show him that I still had a choice. I have given God the worst of me, just to tell him how mad I am at Him. But when the noise had died down and the fit has subsided, He is still holding my trembling hand. God is still good, even when we blame Him for everything.

There are pieces of me scattered all around this place. Pieces I will never get fully back. But this is growth. You lose some of yourself and innocence when trying to survive the evil life brings. It is then you experience defeat. The next step is to reach toward God and take hold of victory, which is found only in submission.


Photo credit to:

 Thanks for reading...Z

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another Side

Joanna Newsome- Sadie

The link above was my ringtone for my brother Will.

I have written so much about him, but I fear I have not represented him accurately. He wasn't all doom. He wasn't always this object of my collapse. He....

He was a real person. A person with likes and dislikes and a person that laughed more than the average person. He was just like me.

When I met him, we were sitting in church on a Wednesday night at some strange youth gathering without any direction. He was wearing a purple and greyish satin jacket that belonged to his father and smiled the smile of a million braces. He was quiet...just the opposite of his little brother Joe (Gumby on this blog). He was taller than anyone I could see and had really large hands. That's all I remember about the first time we met.

Soon after, I came to his house with his little brother Gumby. That day, we all watched CB4, a Chris Rock movie, and laughed through the whole thing as though it was a funny movie. It wasn't, but we laughed anyway. This is what friends are made of. The three of us became friends. Joe and I once hated each other and then became best friends. Will came along for the ride, but ended up my brother. All of this happened in the Michigan winter. The snow cleared and we were family. I slept at their house at the side of Will's bed. I moved from my home into a flat and Will slept in the recliner next to my bed. Joe and I woke up on a dock somewhere like brothers in a backseat.

He was an icon. The things I say probably are exaggerated now, but to me, he was a complete hero. He was everything I wish I was, and he loved me for who I was and wanted to be near me. I knew I had someone different than ordinary friends. The three of us soon became the Dead End Kids. We got in trouble and made it clear to everyone that we were not going anywhere. We weren't. We stayed for each other. It didn't matter the opportunity, we would not move away from each other. I still will not move away.

I think what we had in each other is what everyone really wants...We had unconditional love and respect. Will and Joe didn't care that I had a nervous twitch or that I was quietly sad about everything. They were family. They wore my badge and I wore theirs. They knew that there wasn't a single thing that they could tell me or do that would change anything and vice versa. I wouldn't have changed a thing...except the way my big brother met Jesus. We always dreamed of purposely getting kicked out of retirement homes and ending up dying doing something stupid together at 103 years old. Not parting ways at 31 years old. 31years is too few. It isn't nearly enough. But it is truth. Truth is He's gone and I can store up thousands of memories about him that are wonderful, but the last few eat my soul away.

We still are the Dead End Kids. We have gone nowhere. His ghost is everywhere we turn. We cannot leave. We are a part of the mess he left as he passed through.

So what does it all mean? Nothing. It means he is dead and we are not. This should be encouraging to you because we still have the chance to see the way the lights dance around the snow and the leaves fall red before being raked. It means he is in Heaven and we are not. We are here in a beautiful creation, experiencing a faulty human, wonderful life. You may be a dead end kid, but the dead end may be the place to start a new path. It's ok to remember the path while taking another. 

Photo credit to:


Thanks for reading...Z