school’s out for summer… er, 2 weeks, an anniversary. And other musings.

Sunday morning I woke up early… earlier than normal for my Sunday workday. Many reasons for that:

    -the nagging of unfinished school work; had to write a couple paragraphs for the conclusion to the paper for the END o Class project for TH600 (which is a fancy way of saying Advanced Theology & Worldview. Its a 600 class, not a 500 class. So it is 100 better. Or bigger. Or badder. But I digress.)
    -My back hurt enough that rolling over repeatedly didn’t make it go away. Better to rise than to lay there.
    -I smelled the foff (coffee for laymen). The timer went off at the weekday time instead of the weekend time, calling to me with her siren’s call: “Come & get me! I’m Guatemala today!” Sounded just like that too.
    -Bad dreams. Woke up thinking I’d gotten a certified letter LEGALLY declaring the demand that I cease & desist, with no further talking to or interacting with my family. That was a fun. Felt real until the afternoon.

And yet, the biggest reason was it was Father’s Day. June 17, 2012. Exactly 22 years since my little brother John Leavy Locke went to be with Jesus. He passed at 4:34 a.m on that day in 1990; I’ve written about it a few times. Here. And here. And now, every year on the anniversary of his passing from death to life, I wake up at precisely that time. I’ve probably tapped into some latent superpower that allows one to wake up WHEN they WANT to, though this one is a bit out of control as I don’t wanna wake up then. But I do. Perhaps I always will. I do know that while I still grieve, it’s not without the hope of seeing him again. And perhaps I shall write on this topic yearly… until such a time that other such days color my world grey.

The last 9 months have been something of a blur – I have felt more than a bit overwhelmed emotionally – talked with my friend Chuck about it a couple weeks back over a Shepherd’s Pie & he asked the question: “Have you experienced any loss or significant relationship change over the last while?”

I got to thinking, & images of people, dear friends & pseudo-family members, rushed through my brain. All people that have moved on. Many due to school, jobs & opportunities outside of the Reno area, a couple due to the moving on associated with life change & finding a new church to attend. Tried to count the number of people that had moved/transitioned since January 1. Stopped at 30. I looked across the table at Chuck through misty eyes & he said, “I’ll take that as a yes.” It happens. Its a part of life. And it hurts. Love these people, & when they go, it leaves a mark. More than when Charlie bit my finger… it really hurts.

And the hits keep on coming – TheAge & Sandra Nell are relocating to Boston – TheAge, one of the truly greatest creative musical artists I’ve ever known, is off to Berklee School of Music to pursue a dream that I know he will catch. Sandra Nell, teacher, baker, artist, & cake designer of the rarest sort… Chris & Natalie (& their progeny, including my namesake, lil Mo’Lou, are heading to their hometown of Vegas…was just hired as the worship pastor at the church he grew up in. Chris. a gifted songwriter, artist, worship leader… Natalie Rose, writer, photographic artist, creative soul, and freestyle, stream-of-consciousness thought sharer.

My friends. People I love dearly. My eyes are swimming.

And in other news: now that I have 2 whole weeks off from the required reading & writing of grad school, I shall endeavor to reread the LOTR (aka, The Lord of the Rings.) It is one book, not three, divided into six sections. J.R.R. Tolkien, how I love thee.

Went to Father’s Day lunch at the Little Wal with theBean, theWeez, iDoey, & the 3 of the last 4 people to live with our family, along with their spouses. (Missed you YoooooouuuulleeeeeeeeAHHHHHHHH!) It was like a family reunion. Beautiful, especially seeing the lives that the girls are living now with their very own boys. Brings me great joy.

The Little Wal has an extra special Sunday Special – buy one burger at regular price, get another for 1cent. Booyah.

TheWeez got up from the table at the end of the meal to go home with iDoey – her long dark brown hair fell perfectly across her face, partially behind her right ear. I was mesmerized – & I told her, “Wow, Weez. You look absolutely Elvish! All you need is the pointy ears!”

Which of course in my world = Absolutely Beautiful. It makes total sense. To me. And to other Tolkien speakers.

TheWeez grimaced at me & left.

Three of the ladies at the table, one being my wife, the other two being grown up, surrogate daughter-types, let me know that I had committed a faux-pas. Fortunately, they gave me some good advice for communicating with my girl in the future.

    -“if you think she looks beautiful, tell her she is pretty. Pretty. Not elvish.”
    -“elvish is definitely not something a girl wants to be compared to. No matter what any other man at the table might say.”
    -“if you keep that up, you could give her a complex.”
    -“don’t mention her ears. She doesn’t want to hear about her ears.”

Duly noted. I will keep my sci-fi/fantasy comparisons & metaphors to myself.

TheWeez – you are beautiful.

Life is beautiful… & full… & other musings…

I’ve been functioning at ‘high-demand’ the last 8 weeks – & I’m feeling it. A full complement of pre-marrieds, Wednesday night Revelation class, & deadlines for my “Human Behaviour In Organizations” (aka HBO) class have been shoe-horned into the normal life schedule, leaving me with at least 4 nights/week spoken for… so I’m shaking it up. Finishing the grad school class tomorrow, marrying off a couple (booyah!) & zealously guarding the evening times wherever possible. Here’s to living in balance.

Got to fulfill a lifelong dream: saw U2 in concert in Oakland on Tuesday with theBean & a couple of great friends. It was a great time. Even the part afterwards where we got to experience traffic jams, a BART snafu, & the Amazing Disappearing taxi cabs of Oakland, CA. The show ended at 11:40ish, & we arrived back at our hotel at 02:45… That experience is its own blog, which I can now write because I have lived it. Now just to recover enough to do it.

My final project for the HBO class is a “Conflict Analysis” – I get to review a conflict that has taken place at a place of my choosing, (I pick my church!) review Conflict Management Theory, & apply relevant theories for managing & resolving conflict in a functional (aka beneficial, good, productive, healthy) manner.

As I prepared for the project, I had the “good fun” of looking back over many conflicts within the church from the last several years. Many of them began as differences of opinion. Some as hurt feelings. Unmet (unspoken?) expectations. Frustration. Real/perceived violation.

In retrospect, the conflicts that seem to end up as “functional conflicts” had a few factors in common:

    -clarified, persistent communication from both parties, even when the words spoken were hard to hear;
    -little to no ‘outside communication’ (aka pleading one’s case to other parties, people not directly connected to the situation in question)
    -humility & grace extended;
    -believing the best for & from the other person;
    -a willingness not only to ask for & extend forgiveness, but a determination to LIVE in it, thereby rejecting the temptation of being offended & not developing the always deadly & always resulting bitterness

My hope in life isn’t to attempt to remove conflict; I think that would be impossible, because whenever 2 or more people live life together & attempt to accomplish something, conflict WILL happen. But it doesn’t have to be destructive.

I’m contending for that. & purposing to try to live in such a way that I can hope for & bring out God’s best in people’s lives.

Looking to head to the gym with theWeez as soon as her breakfast settles. I haven’t been able to gymnasium for a couple of weeks as I’ve been letting a couple of minor ‘ouches’ get better & heal on their own. Today, I’m going to go at it lightly, & hope for the best.

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.