a Monday that reminds me of a holiday, & other musings…

For some reason, today has seemed like a holiday, albeit one that I chose to go to work. Don’t know why… maybe its due to the fact that this is the last Monday before all 3 kids return to school (Pasty to his 1st college semester at TMCC, iDoey to his sophomore year at Reed High, & theWeez to 8th grade at Mendive Middle.) Or it could be the 2 pots of coffee that I & the fam kicked the day off with. More than good coffee at that.

It’s hard not to smile today as well, thinking of the 49er game last night. I know its just preseason, but the more the preseason advances, the closer the REGULAR season comes. Which means about 2 weeks until it’s on. And the NFL season starting seems like a holiday. Hooray. And on that note, iDoey’s JV season kicks off in about a week as well. Good times.

Part of the holiday feeling I know is lingering from theBean & my impromtu vacation travels. I can’t remember a trip where I’ve come back feeling more rested, relaxed, & ready to engage in the world around me. Many previous vacations ended leaving me with the feeling that I needed a vacation… I think this one didn’t because we didn’t pack the schedule with Stuff To Do. Cause I’m not really a Stuff To Do person. More of a cook & chill, sit around by the pool, lounge on the deck, & eat person. And hey now! I am good at that.

It’s 8/23, so today is the day that I submit my grad school application. At long last, I am hoping to launch into continuing education through the LPC starting in January.

Last night, I felt the briskness in the air that indicates fall is just around the corner. Loved sitting on the porch with theBean, under a mostly full moon, thinking of the days & nights when I’ll actually need a hoodie… On that note, I love sunsets. There, I’ve said it. Not so much because they’re Beautiful. They are. But mostly because it means the fiery orb has left the sky for the day, allowing the night’s coolness to come & comfort us from the heat of the day.


Broke out my guitar today… haven’t played it in weeks, as it had found its way to Pasty’s closet somehow. Been making do with Brother’s 12-string Takamine/Martin knockoff. It (the 12-string) has an amazing sound & feel, which I’d love to play, plugged in. However, there seems to be an issue with the pickup that will preclude that happening.

I love to sit in the quiet of my office & just play whatever progression comes to mind; sing bits of songs, think & meditate… pray & talk. Sing the Psalms. That & a cup of coffee makes me feel like I’m hanging out with Jesus, spending time together… truly it feeds my soul & rejuvenates even the nooks & crannies of my being.

Graduation weekend & other musings…

This last weekend was one of those where we found ourselves running… starting with Thursday evening. The Pasty Gangster was set to graduate on Saturday, & theBean & I wanted to host a graduation celebration. Being in Atlanta for the 4SQ convention the entire previous week didn’t help with our preparations for the graduation… getting the house & yard together, ready so that it would be clean enough & organized enough to host some family & friends.

So Friday was a blur of activity. Took theGiant table upstairs, & then tackled the floors. Vacuumed the tile (so as not to stir up a bunch of dust,) then mopped it. Twice. Using Fabuloso, which, I might add, is one of the best smelling cleaning products in the world. Not that I am a regular sniffer of cleaning products… which would be weird. And potentially damaging to the currently functioning brain cells. But it is wonderful. And purple, which is definitely a plus.

The business of the preparation for the graduation & the after-grad-party made it easier to distract myself from the very real & very powerful emotions that rose & fell in my chest like the incoming ocean tide.

Now, I don’t have any illusions about thePasty being my ‘baby.’ Just my firstborn. Now 18 years old. With 18 years of random memories & life lived that kept flashing back & forth in & through my mind & heart. A few of them…

Holding him in my arms while he slept, not wanting to put him down because I couldn’t believe I had my own kid. The ever-present ball he’d have in his hand, depending on the season. His infatuation with the music of Steven Curtis Chapman. How he watched the “Front Row: Steven Curtis Chapman” Video over & over & over, singing along to all the songs, & even memorizing the banter Steven Curtis Chapman exchanged with his bass player. The binky dance. The worry we had over his eye issues & inability to see… & the day he got glasses. The day he got contacts. The washing of the hands & refusal to open doors with anything other than his elbows. The joy exuding from him every time he participated in a team sport. He’s always been the heart & soul of the teams he’s on… His humor. Determination. Strong will. Compassionate heart. The rediscovery of a love for music. And a girl named Alex…

I stopped & pondered… allowed the rush of images, feelings, thoughts, & memories to flood my brain. I wept. Laughed. And resumed cleaning.

Saturday, the time for graduation came. We found our way through the frantic-ness of Lawlor Events Center, stumbled up the aisles to the balcony seats, & watched the ceremony. Our boy’s name was called; he shook the principal’s hand, went to the top of the steps of the stage & raised his arms in the air & let out a “Whoo!”

It was the same kind of “Whoo!” that we’d grown used to hearing from the football field during the pregame when the team would storm the sideline & jump around, bouncing into each other. I realized the comfort that I’d taken in hearing Pasty’s exuberant yells. And I smiled. And yelled my own “Whoo!”

The recent passing of basketball coaching legend John Wooden, had a profound impact on me… not because of the incredible coaching records that he amassed during his tenure at UCLA, but rather for the way he influenced & affected the people he came in contact with during the 99 years of his life: those that played for him, those he coached with & against, & those in the ever-widening sphere of influence that grew without any intention or design of his own… due to his character, integrity, insights, wisdom, & devotion to his wife, Nell. His “Wooden-isms” go far beyond pithy quotations that would adorn bumper stickers.

My mom sent me this picture, taken at Pasty’s graduation party last Saturday. It’s of Pasty, my dad, me & my brothers Moe & Ben… I’m trying to remember what I was thinking at the exact moment the picture was taken, what was running through my head that is so obvious in the expression on my face… Sigh.

a slow Friday

Sun. Blue skies. Beautiful Reno. Winter, shminter.

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. And I find both the Colts & Saints compelling. Meaning I like them both. Could easily find a rooting interest in either team. Great stories, hopefully even better game. I shall choose the warrior Colts of Indianapolis to be victorious. But if they’re not, I won’t lose any sleep.

Where have you gone, Joe Montana? This Niner fan turns his sad eyes to you. Woo woo woo.

Saw “Night At The Museum 2” today, with the Pasty One. Forgettable, save for a great one-liner about the fiercest creature in all of nature: the Squirrel. Psha… I KNEW that.

It shall be WingStop tonight. For a celebration. So say we all.

Pondering Philippians 2 & humility. What it looks like lived out.

Moving the furniture again. Bedroom. Living room. Kids rooms. It is on. And I love it.

catching-up on my musings on a Friday, & Happy Birthday Johnny!

Interesting week. Got a call from a friend Sunday evening – someone who’s been living out of the area for a while, but that is still near & dear to my & my families hearts for a plethora of reasons. His younger brother, E-Lib (my name for him; his parents are truly kinder than THAT,) had been in a fight in Reno, & had been stabbed. My friend was coming to Reno to see his brother, & wanted to crash at the house.

Absolutely. My heart broke. I have 3 younger brothers. I know his brother.

Though we only had a couple of minutes for greetings when he arrived at our home, it was good to reconnect, even under the duress that such a situation brings with it. And the good news is that E-Lib should be okay, albeit with a lengthy recovery.

It was good to see you Kurt. And to meet your buddy Tyler too.

Left in the wee hours Monday for a 3 day meeting with our larger church family leadership in Glendale. In a nutshell, the group I met with has been charged with determining a process for & the selecting nominees for the presidency of our denomination. It was lively, though my sitting muscles are incredibly sore from parking on hotel ballroom chairs for way to long. Truly. By the end of Day 2, I needed a crane to lift me out of my chair because my poor bum hurt so bad. Not funny.

Ed Stetzer led a big portion of the ‘presidential profile creation.’ I love listening to him process out loud, & always come away challenged in my own thinking & assumptions. He’s a living example of “iron sharpens iron.” Thank you Ed.

Today marks what would have been my brother John Leavy Locke’s 37th birthday. Which means that this June will mark the 20th anniversary of his death, & his going to be with Jesus. Looking back, I can believe that its been 20 years… & at the exact same time, it seems like only yesterday. My memories of him seem like moving snapshots. Thinking of our hours of playing Batman & Robin in our backyard on Upson Lane. Playing wiffle-ball in the backyard & his constant quitting when he didn’t get his way. I’d try to tell him, ‘You forfeit. I win.” This caused confusion because he was 4 years old & must’ve thought it was an age thing I was referring to, because he’d always respond, “Nuh-uh! You 7-fit!”

Playing & wrestling with all 4 of us – Louie, Johnny, Joel, & Ben. They’d gang up on me, & I had to develop a strategy to deal with the waves of brothers’ attacks: charley horse to Ben’s leg. Charley to Joel. With them both incapacitated, I was left to take on Johnny. More often than not, he’d leave me with a bloody nose. Only person (besides theBean,) to give me one of those.

When we shared a room, we’d have late night talks about life, family, hopes, dreams, & sports. He was a terrific athlete in Football, baseball, & basketball. I was so proud to be able to watch his games & see the ease at which he played them. Amazed me.

And his gentleness & compassion. And tenacity. All of those came out full bore when the cancer was diagnosed. In how he interacted with others. Faced adversity. Grew & matured in his faith in Christ, the One who gives a hope in times of hopelessness & despair. I learned so much about what it means to be a Christ-follower from him, esp. because he didn’t shrink from difficulty or disappointment. Didn’t question why. Just kept going.

I miss him terribly.

When I look at my own kids, I see things every day that remind me of him. Pasty’s rosy cheeks after a work out, & his intense, self-motivated competitive drive which makes him invaluable on a team. IDoey’s intensity & combustability… Weezer’s sweetness. And her laugh. All 3 of them have his compassion. Truly. I’ve seen it. Like to see it more. :)

I’m looking forward to the day when we’ll be reunited. Hope its a while away, but it will be a good day when it happens.

Time flies. Today is also marks a great anniversary – the 5th anniversary of the day my brother Ben married Jessica. She is truly a gift, & I am so thankful for her & how she loves my youngest brother; you truly are a source of joy. And for the girls, EllieB & Zoe-Hawk. Many blessings to you 2 today.

Working with Pasty on the possibility of going to a nearby JC for school & football. He’s a workout beast, & is really pressing into preparation for this. I’m very proud of his determination, & KNOW he can do it.

Can’t wait to watch the Vikings-Saints game this week. Colts-Jets will be good too, I suppose, but the NFC game is the main one on my radar.

Think I’ll make some more coffee.

Engine lights, playoff football, & other musings on a Tuesday…

Last Monday, I climbed into the Outback & was greeted with a yellow “Check Engine” light – bummer. Yellow. Which is probably better than red. And it wasn’t blinking, so it had to be better news than if it was both RED & BLINKING. (Right?)

Took the car to Earl’s because he has a Cool Diagnostic Tool, which told me (digitally, of course,) that the car had a P0121 Error – meaning that the Throttle Position Sensor was figuratively saying, “Hey now.”

I checked with my resident Subaru experts, Mr. H & Brother, (experts because they both either own or have owned a Subaru in the past,) & neither of them had ever dealt with a P0121. But what they HAD dealt with was the Yellow Check Engine Light Syndrome (YCELS), where an otherwise healthy Subaru would inexplicably display the CHECK ENGINE light. Which would hang around for a day or 4, & then disappear. Brother had even taken his Sube in 2 times, only to be told by the tech, “Um. Not a problem. I’ll reset the code, & you’ll be good to go. $115 please.”

Hmm. Didn’t want that to happen. Also didn’t want to ignore my engine, even if it was only YCELS. So I called my local mechanic & made an appointment to get it checked. On my way to the appointment, the Murphy’s Law of “Check Engine” lights happened – it went off. As in DISAPPEARED.

Took the car in anyway. Mechanic said, “Um. Not a problem. I’ll reset the code, & you’ll be good to go. $115 please.”


I am very thankful for the ‘weather change’ we’ve experienced – it’s still a little cold, still a bit windy (we do live in Nevada, so wind shouldn’t be a surprise.) But the thing about the change I’m most thankful for is that we have left our record low temperatures in our rear-view. This thankfulness has been reinforced by 2 things:

  • -the continuing freezing cold spell happening all over
  • -the arrival of the December 2009 NV Energy combo Gas/Electric bill. Goodness. Our November bill was a 30% increase over October. December was 45% more than November. Ouch.

  • Tom introduced me to my new favorite place to eat – Uncle Vinny’s Pizza – breakfast, lunch, & dinner menus. Flat-screens galore. All the better to watch playoff football on. I’d recommend it.

    Speaking of playoff football – I loved the Cardinals/Packers game from last week in which the Cardinals won 51-45. I had no vested rooting interest in the game, so watching both teams offenses going off was amazing. Had me glued to the set like no other game of the year so far. (I am a 49er fan. Nuff said.)

    Woke up from a great sleep with the memory of a dream… I had dreamed that there was a new episode of Stargate SG-1 airing that evening. Silly me. Might be time for a marathon. Or at least a re-viewing.

    A few weeks ago, I was praying & had an impression… kind of a picture & an idea which is one of the ways I hear from God… anyway what I heard was an encouragement, “Read your Bible more.”

    No reason, no explanation attached. No condemnation or feelings of guilt, as though I’d neglected it. Just “Read your Bible more.”

    So I aimed to amp up my reading schedule – which for a long time has been my ‘own’ schedule, in that I haven’t followed any particular reading plan in a long, long time, almost since I started out with the “Bible Pathways” plan when I was 4. I followed that one for about 6 years, & it took me through the entire Bible in a year.

    At some point, probably my early 20’s, I realized that at times, due to familiarity with a passage, I would go on ‘auto-pilot’ & not really pay attention to what I was ‘reading.’ I was physically present, but my mind was miles away. Didn’t want to do that anymore, so I Changed it up. Bought a few “Gift & Award Bibles,” different versions (NASB, NLT, NIV, NRSV, The Message, & most recently the ESV.) Each one cost about $5-6. I’d read through one, then pick up another. But no real ‘plan’ to follow & go through the whole Bible, systematically & intentionally.

    The nudge I’d gotten to Read More made me wonder. To ask myself why I wasn’t reading on a plan. And the answer I got back, after lots of questioning & soul-searching, was that I didn’t NEED a plan. Plans were for “other people.” People not like Me.

    That sounded a lot like pride. Vanity. With a hint of un-teachable-ness. I didn’t like what was bubbling up. Too good for a plan? So mature in Jesus that I can do this on my own? Um. No.

    So I’m on a plan – I’m not following it religiously (meaning if I don’t read the whole amount on the day, I don’t consider the day a failure. Or that I’m behind.) And I need God’s Word in me more than ever, so that I will reflect Him, His priorities, values, & actions, & not those of a negative, bigoted, zealot that overlays God’s hopes, dreams, wants, & practices with his own.

    Love Is A Choice – may be the best interpersonal relationship book I have in my library. I recommend it at least 5 times a week. If you haven’t read it, do it!

    Bannerman lives…

    Bannerman lives.

    It’s the ‘fictional’ name given in a song tribute by a hero of mine to the anonymous guy that held up the sign that says “John 3:16” at sporting events… mostly football games. He always seemed to be positioned so that when a team scored & had to kick an extra point & the TV camera would show the goal posts, he’d stand up & hold a huge sign or banner proclaiming his message. The picture at left shows one of the more famous individuals in his um… “unique” get-up.

    It almost didn’t feel like Monday Night Football if he didn’t show up in his rainbow wig, creative facial hair, & ever-present sign. I haven’t seen him around in years.  I’ve got news: he’s back, albeit in a different form.

    I was reading a Rick Reilly column on ESPN & came across this bit of information. (Note: if you read the column, you’ll see that Reilly was not saying this was a good thing at all – but all the same, I was amazed at the response.)

    During last year’s BCS championship game at Land Shark Stadium, he (Tim Tebow) wore John 3:16 under his eyes. According to the Miami Herald, 90 million people Googled the verse that night.

    90 million.

    He ain’t gonna change the world, but he knows who can…. Bannerman!

    Purposing to Grow…

    Watching college football on New Year’s Day is one of my favorite things. The full slate of Bowl Games provides a comforting & familiar backdrop for thinking, pondering, & musing – which, along with brown paper bags, wrapped up with string – are a few of my favorite things.

    I’m not a New Year’s Resolution maker. I don’t want to make a bold declaration, only to not follow through… I’m NOT a judger of those that do make them; I’d just prefer that my life & how I live speak for itself… instead of just words…

    The older I get, the more I am recognizing the ever-growing ease of resting in my own wants, likes, & preferences… & a propensity, a pull to settle in to the path of least resistance. Even if it’s not good for my long-term hopes & dreams.

    I see that my good intentions & resolve to change, to grow, to be different melt away as soon as the smallest bit of relief comes. Like how the desire, purpose, & intent to diet & take off a few pounds/inches fades away in the amount of time necessary to change from a pair of tight jeans into stretchy warm-ups…

    Wish I could say that that ISN’T true of me. That I have got the whole self-control & life discipline thing-y conquered. But I don’t. And therefore, I want to purpose to grow. I want to live on purpose, with intention & determination. To honor God, & ever be growing into His plans for me instead of shrinking from situations that are demanding, difficult, & challenging.

    And so I purpose to grow:

      -to think & speak positively & hopefully
      -to spend more time with my wife doing her favorite things
      -to get to know my kids better. In 5 days, I will officially have teenagers (18, 15, 13.) This fact means we are entering a NEW LIFE STAGE – which means I better get to know them, & let them know me in the middle of the new-ness.
      -to continue my quest to be a lifelong learner, regularly & consistently stretching to know God & to be known. To grow in faith, & to read, study, research, dig, & wrestle.
      -to study, speak, & understand German
      -to see an increase in self-control & time management
      -to write
      -to live well, embracing life in its fullness – cause it’s not just going to happen by hoping for it.

    When I look back at what I’ve written, I think that maybe someone would see this as a New Year’s Resolution list, & for a lot of reasons (pride being number 1) I guess I could be inclined to try & wordsmith an explanation or 10 of WHY this ISN’T one of Those Lists because I’m not one of Those People. But that would be silly, because really, how others perceive me & think of me can’t be paramount. Can’t. And won’t.

    I’m purposing to grow.