Monthly Archives: April 2013

The first time

I was reading through some older posts today, and I came across these special words. I remember the night I wrote these words and how they just poured out onto the page faster than I could put them in order. It’s rare when that happens, at least for me. This piece was, and still is, very special to me. This goes back to 2000 and the first time I saw TSO in concert. One of my favorite poems.

Where did these guys come from and how did they know?
That I wasn’t in the right place, though I knew where to go
 
My path was missing something and I knew it was all wrong
When all of a sudden direction showed up in the form of a song
 
Nobody that I knew had played Christmas songs in this manner before
Wow! It was so beautiful. I had only an idea of what was in store
 
I couldn’t dismiss the shrill of those guitars, so sharp like a knife
Shredding all the familiar notes of the songs I’d loved my whole life
 
My emotions balanced on every note, each one brought me closer to peace
The artist held me in limbo; his fingers played with a master’s ease
 
Holding me there, waiting, for the note I knew was coming next
Without fail the note is played perfect, always better than I expect
 
The sounds are so timely, so crisp, so pure and unrefined                                
Etching new meaning to the words that always play in my mind
 
I feel these emotions; they’ve been building since I was a boy
It’s undeniable, overwhelming, it’s pure Christmas joy
 
As the tunes grew on me I started to focus on each word
Somehow I still managed to avoid all the truths I had heard
 
I took daily struggles and somehow turned them to years
I caused myself and others so many unnecessary tears
 
The music accompanied me everywhere I would go
And though I wandered all over, I never missed a show
 
God’s grace followed me though I made it a most difficult task
I always knew, but ignored, to get help I need only just ask
 
A few years were damaged and I hope not all was waste
Eventually I made my way from that dark and lonely place
 
I keep these memories close to me as tough as they are
It wouldn’t be healing if I didn’t make time to recognize the scar
 
And it wouldn’t be learning if I was to somehow forget
The lessons I have learned and I am not done yet
 
Though the words are familiar they still offer a welcome surprise
Every time I am lucky enough to see TSO live

Clear

It’s a beautiful day! The air is crisp and clean.
Seeking a shaded tree on which I wish to lean.
 
Wishing I was in the woods north, not near.
Right beside a babbling brook all I can hear.
 
Pad in hand, writing, just to let it all go.
My mind lucid as the sky, just let it flow.
 
Rest, reflect, gather thought, choose words.
Nary a diversion, just the singing of birds.
 
Day’s not enough, I’d sit a week to meditate.
A Bible, and books I’d bring, to fill my plate.
 
Enjoy the beauty in God’s creation, a given.
Slowed down, soaking up hours, real livin.
 
It’s where my mind goes looking from here.
Real enough, plans from which I almost veer.
 
I grab another deep breath and get back to,
Reality awaiting me, and things I must do. 

 

The Twins Turn 3

We hadn’t really celebrated with birthday parties for the twins in either of their first two years so we decided (last-minute) to celebrate this year. It was a two-day celebration and the twins were quite excited to see family, AND LOTS OF PRESENTS!!!!

 

Burdened Heart

I sit here with a burdened heart, a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes, unable to separate myself from my own thoughts. Dwelling not on the past, negative, or the dreary, I search for ways to share, to learn, to pray, and to heal. Maybe, just maybe, I’d be fortunate and blessed enough to help someone else along the way. Not that I need to, I am starting to lose track of the stories swirling around me that are heart-breaking, tear-jerking, and just plain sad to hear. My brother-in-law’s father, my aunt’s battle with stage-four cancer, Boston, Texas, and all the daily battles won and lost.

I read the articles today. I watched the video clips, headlines and updates today. There’s so much pain and hurting in the world. There are people far less fortunate than I. People who don’t know God the way I do. They don’t know the peace and comfort found in prayer and in the reading or sharing of the scriptures. They just hurt and they wander in wonderment of the mammoth-sized cloud of darkness and negativity that looms in the day’s headlines.

Then I started thinking about my last week or two. It’s hard to comprehend sometimes how much is happening in every second of every day. The gorgeous, perfect blue sky I looked at this morning brought a smile to my face and inspiring descriptions to my lips. At the same time, God, the Creator of the beautiful sky, has a plan for all of this. I have often thought about how God has a unique way of allowing certain things to happen, or at least to be noticeable to us, at different times so we can create our own way of coping with events bigger than us. For example, I remember when my grandfather died. He was a great man of God, a preacher, a teacher, one who would recite the scriptures; he had a Christian book store, he had preached on the radio, and lived his life for God. I remember the morning of his funeral service, the day he was to be buried, and a light, pure, white snow fell, just enough to cover everything in a beautiful untouched blanket of white. I remember saying to my parents that God had given the ground a purifying coat, a cleansing for my grandfather’s body to be put to rest one final time.

There’s a plan for all of these things. God has a plan, God’s plan. Two words that make many want to turn and run the other way, God’s plan, because it usually means something that we imperfect humans don’t understand, or don’t want to deal with. Whatever the reaction is, it doesn’t change the plan. When I was younger I fought the plan, I am sure I did. I also didn’t always understand how or why things so terrible could happen to people as part of God’s plan. I am certainly not going to pretend to know or understand all these things now either. I do know that almost always, we are a part of a plan that is much bigger than it appears on the surface.

All I have to do is look at recent events within my own family, and certainly the local and national events that everyone is aware of. With one bit of news, one event, somehow thousands, maybe millions of people are linked together by one story. The news that shatters tranquility here on earth for many is the same news that confirms a loved one’s arrival into eternal happiness. In these moments there is more good news than bad in most cases. The immediate outpouring of kindness, support, love, concern, and protection by banding together as one is heart-warming and sends chills up my spine. The images of those lost, those hurt, or the ones we know affected by the tragedies, or sickness, or disease, make us all wonder. These things make us cry, they make us mad, the make us think, and they make us feel. It’s all part of the plan; God’s plan.

Time will tell how the plan unfolds. Even though it’s God’s plan, we have a role in it. We are to be present and participating in His plan. I am in no way trying to down play any of this; this is a serious matter. There’s a message in most everything and I am willing to bet there’s even more of a wonderful message here as well. Think of the things you have heard, the things you have read, the things you have seen yourself, and the stories of the amazing coming from out of a story that is discouraging, evil, or unfortunate. Often times through the most unthinkable loss or sacrifice comes the greatest gift or the most amazing victory.

Please don’t think that this is over when the news stops running, the stories stop circulating, or the services are done. You and I may be a part of the plan. Anyone of us could be instrumental. Our words, our actions, just might be the right thing at the right time for the one who needs that spoken word or the example of God’s love they were looking for. Really it’s always supposed to be that way. We are human, and our best moments are not all of our moments. Yet the more we think our moments are our best, the more they will be. And the moment we decide that we need to be our best might just be the moment that God’s plan includes us to be the message for someone needing to see that deed, action, or thing that helps them cope and overcome.

My thoughts and prayers are with my sister, her husband Adam, their girls, and Adam’s entire family. It’s a tough time for them all. My thoughts and prayers are with my Aunt Janette and my Uncle Lloyd. I pray for a miracle in her life and God’s will in regard to her battle with cancer. I pray for, and hold in thought, their entire family. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the Boston Marathon Bombings. People died. People hurt. People saw things they need never see. People were stripped of the beautiful innocence that accompanies the harmonious gathering of strangers when they come together in support of fellow-man, simply because they can. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the people and families affected by the explosion in West, Texas. If we want to settle for the face value, there is pain, suffering, hurt, darkness, and despair all around us. If we look a little harder, there is hope, there is goodness, and there is solidarity in a world filled with more and more independent individuality.

I don’t know God’s plan anymore than you do, but I trust it because it is perfect. I take solace in God’s Word, and communication with Him through prayer. There is comfort in the gathering and sharing among family and friends. God is where I go to get help with my burdens. God is who I ask for peace when my mind gets the best of me. God’s plan; at least He has one, which is more than I can say most of the time. Thank God He has a plan. Amen.

Proud to be an American

Sing the Anthem! Sing it to yourself. Sing it together. Sing it to your kids.

Our National Anthem is on my mind. It often is. I can always count on Chicago to take The Star Spangled Banner to another level, and they did it for Boston again last night. They get it. They always get it, just watch.

Desert Storm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvpxVE_kQXg

9/11 Tribute http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLvJrTwkNlk

Last night, for Boston http://video.blackhawks.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=239390&catid=-6

God Bless the United States of America

Pray for Boston

Pray for Boston.

Generation Jumping

This weekend I drove my parents to New Brunswick, Canada, where my mom was born and raised. The trip was planned, and made, to visit with my Aunt Janette who is currently sick with cancer, in the hospital. We arrived in Woodstock late Friday afternoon and visited with family throughout the evening and even into the wee hours of the morning. Another aunt of mine, a second double cousin, and I stayed at one of my mother’s double cousin’s house. My parents stayed with another of her double cousins. If you are not familiar with the term ‘double cousin’, it goes something like this. A long time ago three brothers married three sisters … the definition: A set of brother and sister married a set of brother and sister, so their children will be double cousins (meaning they’ll be cousins with the same people on both their mother and father’s sides). Not only that, two of the families actually lived on the same farm for a while, but that’s a story for another time. Continue reading