Monday, July 31, 2006

Great Music...and Free too!

If you love some great music, here are a few links to a live acoustic concert that gravel-voiced blues singer, Paul Thorn, did some time ago out in Reno, Nevada. I came across Thorn's music about a year ago and have just loved everything I've heard from him. It's well worth the listen plus it's a free download!

Paul Thorn Set 1

Paul Thorn Set 2

(HT: &

Some Recent Reviews...

Here are a few reviews I've written as of late for Infuze. Give 'em a read and let me know what you think. I need the constructive criticism. I'd like to make some money at this one day!

Sigor Ros

Los Lonely Boys

David Crowder Band

Freaked Tribute Album

I realize that these aren't exactly Jack Kerouac and "On the Road" but, hey, it's a start!

The Feminine Side of God

Recent months, especially with the explosion of Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code, have brought with them a renewed discussion of the feminine and especially how this plays out in terms of our faith. Of course, Brown takes the discussion a bit further than history or the facts allow for but it's a work of fiction. Yet, there is something to the realization that God, as being the Creator and Sustainer of all things, would also have within Himself the feminine as well.

This thought occurred to me (and let me say, it's certainly nothing profound or that nobody else has ever thought of either) the other night while we sat in church. Erin was holding our baby girl while the pastor preached upon one of the ten commandments. He referenced a passage in Matthew with which I am very familiar wherein Christ commands his followers to not worry about what tomorrow brings, about where their resources will come from, because He is the provider. As this passage rolled back through my mind, I thought of the beautiful image of Erin nursing Peyton. Peyton has no way of ever fulfilling her needs at this point. She can't saunter into the kitchen, pop open the milk jug, and go to town. Rather, she is dependent upon her Mom for everything. And the very cool thing of it is, her Mom has within her everything that Peyton needs for nourishment and strength. Her milk possesses the best of what is available for her to grow to a new level of maturity.

This is the truth that we have in God as well. We go "looking for love in all the wrong places", fretting over what may come tomorrow, about how we'll pay this bill, see this relationship healed, when God Himself offers us the nourishment and protection and security we need in every moment. May I today lean upon this nourishing breast of my Savior and lay aside the worries and cares of the day, acknowledging that I am cared for and loved by Him.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I just finished typing my final paper for my last class! Whew... What relief!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Regrets? I've had a few...

Lately as I have (and I realize that these past few posts have seemed a bit more overdramatic and whatever lately but just consider me in 'journal mode' right now and hang with it!) found myself thinking ahead to the future, I can't help looking into the past. I've done a lot of things and yet, I haven't. I've married, had children, made some friends, lost some friends, accomplished a few things and left others undone or unpursued. One of those things left undone has been traveling. I've always wanted to travel, at least to some extent. Want to know why? Here are a few examples:

In addition to the stunning grandeur and beauty of these places, there is also the key component, their people. I want to meet people in these places and get to know them. I want to understand and come to know what they think and where they're at in life. I want to hear their ideas and dreams and frustrations and concerns. Why? I'm not really sure. But, I do.

Me and T.V.

It's been years since I've watched anything consistently. Oh, sure, right after high school as shows like "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Dawson's Creek" entered into syndication I found myself strangely paying a bit more attention to the goings on with the likes of Brandon, Dylan, and those crazy kids in Capeside. But, other than that, my television watching has been fairly hit and miss. Part of it has had to do with what I'd consider the total decline of quality programming on T.V. and the overt rise of reality programming. It seems all we can find now on the little box is shows detailing "real life" this, and "real life" that. It's obviously not a new trend but is something that's been on my mind this morning so, well, I'm sharing.

All that said, however, I may have found a chink in the armor that is television. They've been offering up schlock to us ever since the fine, fine shows "Seinfeld" and the Chris Elliott vehicle, "Get a Life", took their curtain call but now it seems the voices of the people have been heard. We have demanded T.V. worth watching and (again, this is not new! In fact, I'm way late on the bandwagon here!) those pesky execs have finally dug up something that I'll invest an hour of my time in to be entertained. "What are these exciting shows?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you.

The first show is a nifty little story about a man dealing with the world of karma. Having lived a hard life taking from a whole bunch of people and having them fall on hard times due to his actions, he has turned over a new leaf and is on a mission to make amends for the wrongs he's done. Entitled, "My Name is Earl", the NBC program has some very cool elements working for it. First, it's quirky enough to be different from the nine million other sitcoms optioned elsewhere. Second, it actually has a good message and a good concept. This, if you've roamed the airwaves at all, is at a premium right now.

The second show, ironically, follows "Earl" in NBC's coveted Thursday night lineup and features quickly rising star, Steven Carell. The show is "The Office", based upon a UK series that's been converted for our particular American tastes. What is so compelling about this show? I'm not really sure other than the fact that I think we can all identify with the characters therein. We've all worked with an overbearing boss who tries to be our friend and be the "woo hoo" guy in the organization. We've all had the creepy, weird guy who was second in command and really wanted to just work that power. We've all dealt with some sense of interoffice mediocrity and have wondered in futility if this is just as good as it gets. It's comedy at it's best.

So, if you're like me and have been living under a rock for longer than you'd care to admit, drag yourself out of the hole, grab a shower and a shave, and check out these shows. If anything, you'll smile for a few episodes!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

At A Crossroads

Just last night I completed what is the next to last class session I'll have to attend in order to finish (finally!) my bachelor's degree. I will have jammed four years of college into twelve more or less and have logged more than my share of miles on a variety of cars in commute. I'll leave the college with a degree in "Leadership and Ministry", as I've shared before. An interesting parting gift for one who has been absent from the institutional church for almost two years now.

In addition to this step/movement in my life, we have the addition of a new life into our situation. Our little girl is such a beautiful and wonderful part of who we are now. It's as though we've never existed without her. Even tonight, I had the opportunity to simply hold her in my arms for an hour or so, looking at her soft, innocent features as she slept. She truly is angelic. Yet, she relies upon us for everything. For some time, this will not change. And this brings a bit of pressure upon me.

Adding to all of these fairly huge life issues is the information and conversation I keep pumping into my mind and listening to. I've been catching up on some of the podcasts I've missed over the past couple of weeks, especially those from Emergent Village and have just been left challenged. I don't want to ignore, leave, or totally disregard the church. Yet, as I ponder my future, and, dare I say, my family's future, I have to weigh the cost of diving into that lifestyle in any way, shape, or form. It has already left it's scars upon our souls and I have to make the decision of whether or not to chance that possibility again. If I do choose to move in that direction, what surety do I have of finding a place that I would hope to fit this time? Am I destined to have to battle uphill for the rest of my days? Will these thoughts and challenges that I've gleaned from Emergent place me somewhere wherein I'm condemned to forever battle?

Last but not least is the continuing desire to write that comes accompanied with a deep fear of sharing what is on my heart. As every person knows who has ever attempted anything remotely creative, our creations are dear to us, almost like children. As we offer those in sharing to others, we risk being hurt by critics and skeptics. Plus, in a very overtly pragmatic sense, as we offer up something, especially in the vein of the written word, we need to have crafted something that ultimately, someone will buy and recommend. I'm leaving college with a degree in ministry stuff, not creative writing, journalism, or even communications. What do I have to offer?

So, with these thoughts swirling around my head today, into my life comes this quote that adds to the challenge. It was in the liner notes to a CD a friend lent me and just made me stop and think. The quote is attributed to President Teddy Roosevelt and reads:

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to gain mighty triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither gain much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory or defeat."

Hmm...Something to chew on.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Getting Back to "Normal"...

Just thought I'd thow a bit of a personal update in here since I haven't really posted much recently. Life has obviously been a little crazy with our new edition but we've been doing our best. Peyton is beautiful and great but she's not so big on the sleeping through the night thing just yet so it's gotten a wee bit tiresome here and there. But, we will overcome. Most say the first six weeks are the hardest and we're as of tomorrow, halfway through.

In addition to learning to deal with this new person in our life, we're also having to keep our son, Tyler, aka "Batman", occupied as well. We're doing all we can to keep him from getting jealous or from feeling left out of the whole thing. But, let's just say, he's one seriously active kid and he wears Daddy out pretty dang fast.

On other fronts, I'm two weeks out from completing school. Actually, as of tomorrow, I'm one week from being done. Done. Now the fun begins because in all honesty, I'm not sure that I really want to do anything quite related to what my major is in. It's going to be tough to find someplace that I'm a fit for with a "Leadership and Ministry" degree unless it's a church. And, just read past posts to see where I currently stand on that issue.

Honestly, I want to keep going and going with my writing. Part of the problem is finding the time to sit down and really work at it. Even now, as I type this, I'm typing in the dark with only the light from the monitor to light my way. I need some quiet and some discipline to get the ball rolling and with two kids in the house, a lovely wife, and a day job that pays poorly, it's a disheartening proposition. I have had the opportunity to do a little bit of writing for the online publication, Infuze Magazine. I've been added to their list of product reviewers and have been working on primarily music reviews for them. It's a nice step but it still doesn't pay. Maybe one day.

Well, it's not much but it's a bit of an update. I'm going to be writing more as time goes along. I've some questions and queries I'm going to need to get out of my head here soon or it's going to blow. Plus I'm going to be posting some reviews here and there just to practice my "craft" if my three readers don't object!

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Lesson We All Need to Learn

"We should not look at backgrounds, our religious background, the only thing we should look at is who needs help and give him this help." - Shawee Amenadeed

Here's a great story about this young man from Lebanon, quoted above, who has started his own foundation called, "Volunteers With No Constraints". It's well worth your time. May we all learn the truth and beauty of the lesson this teenager is living out!

A Study in Compassion

Monday, July 17, 2006

Some Unforeseen (or forgotten) Aspects of Marriage and Parenthood

I'd forgotten how interesting the life of being (a) married, and (b) pregnant/with newborn, really was. I mean, once your significant is deemed pregnant, really the whole world is upended. Your priorities change. Where money might once have been pooled for a family vacation or some other such extravagence, now it goes toward the purchase of diapers and frilly pink (or blue, depending upon your prospective situation) clothing for this little individual who will soon grace your life with his or her presence.

But this is a simple change. The greater issues come along the social areas of life. The conversations between pregnant women and their partners now takes on a whole new vocabulary, especially for the first time parent. Colorful words like "mucus plug" and "afterbirth" are now deemed palatable for the dinner table. Women's conversastions with fellow girlfriends take on a whole new dimension as the unfortunate eavesdropper hears tell of a plethora of physical changes taking place that said eavesdropper could have lived the rest of his life without knowing about. Eventually, the very thing that incited the pregnancy, the almighty lovemaking, finds itself put to the wayside by the very thing that it was created for.

Yet, this is nothing compared to the point when the child is actually born. A whole new structure overtakes the life of the individuals who now bear the titles "Mommy" and "Daddy". Friends no longer inquire as to your wellbeing or as to your weekend plans. Instead, the questions fall along the lines of, "How's the baby?" People flood the home to see "the baby". But, this is not all. It gets even more strange. Sleep is no longer possible. The cries of this little person whom you had a part in creating no takes their pound of flesh out in trade, seeking to occupy all moments previously designated for sleeping and rest for their pleasure and enjoyment. But something strange has also occurred within the one known as "Mommy", too. At random times during the day or night, you stumble into a room only to find "Mommy", once known as "honey" or whatever relational nicety you choose, with a breast bare to the room with this little person attached. The bare breast is now normal. Nipples abound and discussion of various lactation issues help to pass the time between the Mother and her friends. And that stuff that got you there in the first place, that lovemaking that took a plunge during the latter trimester, is now forbidden by physicians! Oh cruel world!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Good post to check out...

My friend, Ryan, made a great post regarding the current Israeli "conflict" that is taking place. Those who have responded to it have offered up some good points for discussion as well. I encourage you to check it out.

Sorrowful Hypocrisy

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Parental Reflections

Okay, hold onto your britches. For those of us who have already experienced the joys of birth and parenthood, this will not be profound. For those who haven't, you probably still know this intuitively but you will not truly know it until you experience it for yourself. Are you ready? Here goes:
Having a child changes your life.
I know what you're thinking, "Duh." And you're right. It is one of those things that sort of goes without saying. But there is something that exceeds the obvious about it as well. Its one thing to acknowledge that there is a new person in the house, that there is another mouth to feed and a new financial "burden" to bear. That is the natural man that deals with those things. And they're very real things. I've laid awake a few nights counting nickels and dimes in my head trying to make sense of the financial and material aspects of our then impending new child. Having dealt with one already that cost us a pretty penny, it'd daunting.
But there's something more to the whole deal. When you see this little person, hold this little person, that you were allowed to have a part in creating, in bringing to this world, it changes you. Something tangibly within you changes and you see the world through new eyes. The cares and worries of the world, those aforementioned financial and material issues, they fall to the wayside. You find yourself viewing everything differently, politics, pop culture, even people you pass on the roadside. The reason is this: Life is the important thing. Things, social status, even simple things like being on time for an appointment fade away in light of this understanding. This is not to say that we should throw our clocks away and just show up whenever or reject the "World Series of Pop Culture" and politics outright, but that we should view them in their proper contexts.
I guess where I'm going with this whole rambling thought is this. Some of us really want to see the world changed. When you have a child, you exchange your eyes for a new set of lenses that simply allow you to pursue that change with a new understanding. You know understand that this world is not about systems and conquest and money and getting more done and so forth but it is about people. Just as Christ taught, the Kingdom is not about conquest but about love. When we learn to love others as we love ourselves, and dare I say our children, we enact the very change we pursue.
Plus, it's just really cool.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Last Week in least part of it...

All bundled up with no place to go...

A few funny moments but for a movie that dogs on scandals like Enron, it seems to justify some scandals of it's own.
Hey, we're watching movies at home with a new baby! They've gotta be family friendly!
We do this a lot....A least Erin and Peyton do.

Not too bad a movie, actually.

I know, too cute.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tired but proud...

So we're wicked tired, worn out, but way proud. Mom comes home tomorrow and we'll try and post more soon...

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Fourth of July

Shooter Jennings sings in the chorus of his song, The Fourth of July:

"You were pretty as can be, sitting in the front seat
Looking at me, telling me you love me, and you're happy to be,
With me on the 4th of July
We sang Stranglehold to the stereo
Couldn't take no more of that rock n roll
So we put on a little George Jones and just sang along"
Well, my little girl was ready for some fireworks and George Jones! Yep, that's right, at 4:25 P.M. on our nation's birthday, our beautiful little girl, Peyton Brooke, decided to come into the world! Mommy and baby are doing great and Dad, well, Dad's just tired right now but pretty dadgum proud! I'll write more when I can but I'm just busting out with pride!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Holy Funny, Batman!

Recently my son has become enamored with the old-school, Adam West and Burt Ward, Batman. I'm a fan of the campy series and had picked up a DVD of the "feature film" somewhere along the way and popped it in one day for him in hopes that he'd take it over another "Barney" or "Bob the Builder" movie. And, he did. So now, he's Batman and yours truly gets the true distinction of being the sidekick, Robin.

Well, the other day at preschool, Tyler came in from his time on the playground with a nice scrape/goose egg on his noggin. So, his teachers naturally asked him what happened. My son looked at his teachers ever so calmly and said, "I fell out of the Batcave!"

When prodded for the story again, he looked at them incredulously, like, what's so hard here folks?, and again replied, "I'm Batman! I fell out of the Batcave!"

The teachers about busted a gut and looked at Tyler, saying, "We can't put that on the accident report!"

To the Batcave!