Two dates…

Two dates. Eventually, all of us will experience them. The first is the day we’re born. The second is the day we’ll die. Two dates.

My brother Johnny’s two dates are January 22, 1973 & June 17, 1990 – today is the anniversary of his heaven-going. (NOTE: I wrote a bit about Johnny earlier this year in a blog called have faith.)


I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit about those two dates lately. Part of it has to do with the intensive that theBean & I went through last week at HOTHIn our time there, we experienced mentoring, coaching, counseling, & therapy (if it is possible to separate the counseling & therapy. I did in my mind because, to me, there were very distinct difference between the 2. I’ll have to ask my Buddy the Therapist how he differentiates the 2. Or if he does. But I digress.)

One of the things that came out in our sessions is that, based upon negative/bad experiences (things I did/things done to me/things that happened to others,) we formulate ideas, thoughts, & beliefs that are honest (truly what we think, feel, & believe,) but that aren’t based on truth (a.k.a. what God says, what He declares is true of me & my identity.) These beliefs can & do shape our attitudes, thoughts, & behaviors, often in very negative & painful ways. One of those that has once again emerged, (& that I have been fortunate to have people wrestle through with me over the years,) is the belief that I am inadequate, insufficient, & wholly lacking in the areas I need for life, for relationships, for my ‘job.’ This belief does not have a strong hold on my life — due in large part to the many hours of theophostic prayer with Dennis & Georgia, hours of counseling & talks with Chuck, God’s boundless goodness & grace in revealing to me, through His word, through our ‘talks’ what He thinks of me, & finally through dear friendships full of good words & forgiveness.

Still, during the intensive – as I tracked negative experiences on yellow post-it notes (I will  forever associate negative feelings with yellow post-its… so say we all) – I saw this consistent theme of inadequacy & insufficiency surface repeatedly… it got to the point that, as I looked at my years from a birds-eye view, I saw the thread linking them together, a diabolical, dehumanizing thread meant to put me into a shell, consumed with self-doubt & loathing, bound by fear, too timid to DO anything for fear of being discovered for what I was. Not enough.

I saw that thread & it pissed me off. Made me angry at the time I spent dwelling on those negative thoughts. Angry at the damage done TO me & BY me as a result of those beliefs. But most of all, angry at the enemy of my soul, enemy of OUR souls, the one who strikes at us, who looks to keep us from the saving grace of God through Christ if he can, & if he can’t, he’s the one who looks to steal from us, kill us off slowly, & methodically destroy every area of our lives.


For years, I felt like somehow I’d failed my brother… that, as crazy as it sounds, I should have been able to do something to keep him from dying. And that if I couldn’t keep him from dying, I should have spent more time with him, especially in his last year of life. (The SHOULD HAVES are a crushing weight… over time I have come to believe that when I feel a should have fall on my shoulders like a ton of blame & shame, its origin is usually coming from the enemy who’s trying, ever trying, to condemn, accuse, lying, & shame. So I verbally tell the should haves to go to hell. In Jesus Name.)

I know why I feel responsible for Johnny, (not to mention Joel & Ben;) its because I’m the oldest. The firstborn. I took on the responsibility when I was 4, & somewhere in there a parental encouragement of “Watch over your brothers while I go to the store,” became something never intended: You, Louie, are the one who is responsible to make sure that nothing bad happens to your brothers. And if it does, its because you somehow failed. Or you were inadequate. Or you should have  done something better. Or different. Or both.

See what I mean about a crushing weight?


When my parents brought Johnny home from UCSF, I was unaware that he was coming home to die, & would die soon, apart from a miracle healing from God. How was I unaware? Well, if you work hard, don’t ask questions, & pretend that life is really normal & nothing bad is happening, & your brother is in San Francisco for treatment but he’s really getting better, & then he’ll come home & life will resume, it’s really pretty easy.

Until I saw him. He was laying in his hospital bed, downstairs at my parents house. His abdomen was distended, & I didn’t know why. So I asked. And he told me, “It’s my liver.” And then I knew. I noticed the yellowish tint to his eyes, his skin. The general overall weakness of his countenance. How much weight he had lost. And then I knew.

And the previous 12 months of denial reproached me like a slap to the face. I had avoided the reality of the situation because it hurt to much to acknowledge it.

I wish I’d spent more time talking with Johnny through his months of treatment, because the conversations I did have are some of the most precious memories I have. Because in the middle of the sickness, the pain, the suffering… my brother found a depth of faith & trust in God, something I can only call true maturity in Christ. I’m thankful for my mom recording & writing down some of the conversations she had with him too. Because they provide an insight to what really matters.

Here’s what I mean:  Instead of getting bitter or angry at God about his short life, the cancer, & all the things he’d lost or wouldn’t get to experience, he fully embraced what he HAD. His life. And his life’s purpose – to live for the glory of God, in the middle of WHATEVER circumstances he faced. In the face of death, in the midst of pain, he lived & died for that purpose. To have that kind of resolve, that kind of outlook on life, that kind of focus is something that motivates & inspires me every single day. He lived a good story, the kind of story that makes me want to be a better man.


Two dates. My first one is September 19, 1969. And my second one? Don’t know.

But I can tell you this. I will live & strive to live for the glory of God in every area of my life. To live a good story. To be the best husband, father, grandfather, son, & friend that I can be. Because when I do that, I’m honoring Johnny & God.


“We live in a world where bad stories are told, stories that teach us life doesn’t mean anything & that humanity has no great purpose. It’s a good calling, then, to speak a better story. How brightly a better story shines. How easily the world looks to it in wonder. How grateful we are to hear these stories, & how happy it makes us to repeat them.”

Donald Miller – A Million Miles In A Thousand Years

Stopping to feel the feelings & other musings…

Not long ago I had a conversation with a dear friend who was sharing about how different her life was since she began taking the time to “feel her feelings,” especially the unpleasant ones: frustration, helplessness, sadness, grief, anger, hatred, disappointment, & the like. So, instead of ignoring her feelings, minimizing them, making herself so busy she’d ‘forget’ about them, &/or stuffing them in one of the seldom-visited compartments that exist in our minds, she (with the help of the healing of the Holy Spirit) began to feel them. To really experience, reflect upon, & invite God into the waterfall of her feelings & emotional responses to those feelings. Her verdict?

Feeling feelings is hard. A lot of the time it hurts. The feeling/reflecting/responding can lead to difficult & painful conclusions about the state of our lives & the relationships we’re in. They alert us that something needs to be worked through, acknowledged, addressed, &/or processed – activities that hold a promise of pain in the same way cleaning gravel out of a scraped knee does.


I know what she means. The first quarter century of my life I was “feelings challenged” – I didn’t know how to feel the negative feelings, let alone how to process through them. So they were ignored.

The problem is that the unresolved mess floated in my subconscious like a program running in the background of my brain, & whenever a situation would arise that remotely reminded me of any of those weak & negative feelings, I’d have a mini-meltdown. That looked like an outburst of anger, crying for “no reason,” depression, &/or the hopelessness of not knowing how to deal with myself or to make a change.

God provided an outlet of sorts… but it wasn’t like I asked Him to “search my heart” in order to heal & transform me. I prayed vague prayers, read my Bible, did church stuff. A lot of church stuff. Looking back, it was like keeping Him at arms length while asking for a miraculous work that would change my issues in a moment, when what was needed was a walk with Him through the difficulty, the darkness, the proverbial “valley of the shadow of death,” so that the underlying problems, areas of hurt & wounding, places of brokenness & pain could be healed.


The story of God’s work in this area of my life is a long one – & it’s not something I’m going to write about today. However, I do want to highlight one element that ended up playing a big role in this journey for me – reading through the Psalms.

For as long as I can remember, I have read the Psalms everyday – I’m a creature of habit, & my “habit” involved a plan that would take me through all 150 Psalms every month. (You take the day of the month – for example, today is the 6th, & you’d read Psalm 6, add 30 & read Psalm 36, add 30 & read Psalm 66 & so on.) The Psalms provided a back entrance into the conundrum of my feelings – because they are written RAW. The Psalmist (mostly David) pulls no punches in articulating to God EXACTLY what he’s feeling. And what ended up striking me as so odd was that God could HANDLE whatever David threw at Him. Nothing fazed God, even when David was angry, disappointed, frustrated, &/or feeling abandoned by Him. And as David processed through the Psalms, his own heart changed even if his circumstances didn’t. He started seeing himself & his life situations, as hard as they often were, as being firmly in the center of God’s hands. And by “feeling his feelings,” David got a perspective on those feelings that allowed him to keep moving forward as a “man after God’s own heart.” For some examples of David letting it all out, check out these PSALMS

David’s example has been a path for me over the last 15 years. And I’m thankful that God can “take” me when I’m at my very worst – He knows the depths of my heart – He loves me. And is healing me.

A birthday remembered & other musings on a Tuesday…

Johnny 1988Today would be my brother Johnny’s 40th birthday. 40. How time has flown since I last saw him at 17 & death separated us for a breath as long as the rest of my lifetime here on the earth. The picture you see is his sophomore class pic from Carson High, 1988. He took my red-bow tie for the day – my PeeWee Herman costume bow-tie. And he rocked it, as usual, with a sense of style that would have made Elvis Presley jealous.

I’ve been celebrating Johnny’s life in a special way today – through the music he loved. Johnny was one of the first people I knew to create mix-tapes (remember, this was the 80s). He painstakingly would take tracks off of CD’s & other audio tapes, & put them on his own high quality audio tapes for me, then create a custom playlist to serve as the tape/CD liner so I would know what was coming. I took it for granted that this is normal – this is just what one does with ones free time.


Thank the Lord for Spotify – Johnny would have loved it. All the joy of a mixtape at the click of a keyboard. I recreated several of the playlists he made for me with his favorite artists to serve as a soundtrack for the otherwise mundane activities of my day.

It’s amazing to me how music, a song has the power to stir memory – to vividly recall glimpses, faces, events, & remembrances from long ago. More than once I found myself wishing for windshield wipers on my eyes so I could see my computer screen – only to hit “repeat’ on a song because of the sweetness of the memory attached to it.


Time doesn’t heal all wounds. And at the same time, this wound is not infected. I know my brother is experiencing the presence of God in a way that is my own hope & dream. And at the same time, there is a family here that is like a tree with a missing limb – a tree that has recovered, but that is forever scarred by the loss of a vital branch.

Though he’s been gone for almost 23 years, I see Johnny everywhere. I look at my family of origin – my parents – still loving Jesus & each other, committed for the long term to be people who intentionally look for the dancing after the mourning, to be living life fully in the here & now, with a firm grasp that this Here & Now is but a glimpse of the Real Life that is to come.

Joel (Moe) is married to Jenny – with 2 great little ones (both boys) under the age of 4 – T-Bone & TyBone (my names for them that I only whisper because they have real life grown up man names that will fit them well when they step into adulthood.) So proud of Moe & his fam – & the compassionate excellence with which he/they live their lives. Moe is world class in his work, but even moreso as a man.

Ben (Benny, CTC) is married to Jessica – & has 3 little ones (2 girls & a boy) under the age of 6. The kids reflect their parents’ joie d’vivre, & Ben reminds me of Johnny’s funny side – a side that often manifested with wit & with a discontent for the status quo (if that makes sense.) Proud of Ben & the fam. Happy that their pursuing their dreams.


MytheBean & I dated for about 6 months before Johnny was diagnosed with cancer – so she knew him well, both before & after, something I appreciate more with the passing of time as she holds me in the times when tears overwhelm & laughs with me other times of recalling the LIFE with which he lived. The gentle, humble, fierce strength which which you live each day, mytheBean, is a reminder of how fortunate I am that Jedi mind tricks work & you committed yourself to me so many years ago.

Then there’s my kids. Pasty, (actually his uncle’s namesake,) one of the whitest kids you’ll ever see, with the rosiest cheeks in the world. Sometimes just looking at his resemblance to my brother catches my breath. My Pasty.

iDoey – no longer a kid, now a man. His personality & “Never give up, never surrender” attitude, determination, & fierce loyalty most closely mirrors that of the uncle he never knew. Time & time again, theBean has asked me how I can so accurately predict what iDoey will say/do/respond in a certain situation, & I have to answer – “I grew up with this.” And I smile.

TheWeez – Johnny would have been amazed that I could have such a beautiful daughter & would most definitely (& correctly) have attributed it to her mother. He would have doted on theWeez – & I see him in her eyes when they flash, & when she speaks her mind, standing for truth, justice, mercy & life in her interactions with the world.

Something else that stands out to me is that running through our family is a trait of perseverance, hard work, a “never give up” push in the face of adversity, no matter what. We have what Eugene Peterson refers to as the “ability to engage in a long obedience in the same direction.” I have to believe it goes beyond human genetics & is a part of the spiritual DNA passed down to us from generation to generation of Christ-followers, that we would be people who, in spite of our many failings, human frailty, & other weaknesses, carry a relentless commitment to love Christ & love others. The longer I live on this planet & the more I experience the temporal nature of this life & the fleeting, often unpredictable nature of human relationships, the more I appreciate this & desire to embrace it as a part of my own character & hopefully, what is left in the wake of my life.

Happy birthday Johnny – see you soonish. Save me a spot at the dinner table. I get the corner.

Day 2 musings… – Columbus, OH – Connection 2011

Day 2 – Columbus
This has been a very rich experience for me – every meeting, every interaction has been full of significance & meaning. As I’ve looked back on the day to try to “sum up,” I find that my words are inadequate to do justice to describe it & will probably leave . So, here I go with some musings…

From the messages –
• Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good; He came to make dead people alive.
• In the context of 1Kings 17 & Acts 20 – if/when you come across death, hug it – the life that is in you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, will bring life… For the same Spirit of God that raised Christ from the dead is alive in you, & gives life to you…(Romans 8:11)
• Bitterness, unforgiveness & resentment from past hurts are deadly, spreading poison, barrenness, disunity, & isolation – with the ultimate result a lack of fruitfulness & sensitivity. The only way these can be truly dealt with is with true humility & repentance.
o Isaiah 58:8,9; Isaiah 1:18,19; Matthew 11:28-30; John 7:37-39
• On the heels of repentance, God calls us to hunger & thirst for righteousness, & for the work of the Holy Spirit in, through, & around our lives
o To determine to repent, forgive, to be healed
o To see God work physical miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit
o To release to the church signs & wonders that point to Jesus Christ


I met for lunch with Jan von Wille, a friend & pastor from Germany – we spent several hours catching up over food & coffee – talking through the commonality of experience we have, albeit in different contexts. I came away feeling refreshed & encouraged, like 2 parts of my life that haven’t been ‘connected’ in a long time had come together. There’s a piece of me & my heart in Germany, & when I’m gone from there too long, I really feel it. Here’s to hopefully being there again this November for the Foursquare Deutschland pastorenfortbildung (Pastors training/strengthening/conference.)

In the afternoon, I had the privilege of being a part of a ‘task force’ that is specifically strategizing how to help the Foursquare church (local, division, district, etc.) find ways to reach, train, empower the next generation – over the next months, we’ll be offering up practical suggestions & steps to help do this, looking 3-5 years into the future. Good times.


The highlight of my day happened on accident – right after the task force meeting, I had to make a run for the facilities… unfortunately, there was no restroom. So, I had to make my way down a couple of escalators & search, (increasingly frantically, I might add. And BTW: that isn’t the highlight.)

In my search, I ran into my friend Jason D. – he is a dear friend that I haven’t seen in several years; his wife, Alyse, is theWeez’s namesake – they were a part of our church & youth group leadership team in Carson City, & they now live in South Carolina.

They’re at convention working in the ‘exhibit hall’ – serving as sponsors of a booth that is helping raise money for kids in Nepal – they’ve been active in missions in India, & have a heart for the kind of life & ministry that meets practical, tangible needs, as well as presents the gospel Good News in a way that makes sense to where people are.

I spent more time than they had, just listening, talking, & well, looking with disbelief at these two. More times than I can tell you, I’ve wanted nothing more than to be able to see these guys again… I feel very rich to have the relationships, friendships, & community that I do in Reno; I realized today that my heart has longed for the reconnection of the very old & dear friendship of these dear people.

Still can’t quite believe it. Feeling thankful. Alive. Joyful.

two years…

Two years.

That’s the amount of time Paul waited in a Caesarean jail cell for his legal case to be acted upon by the governor.

Those two years pass in one sentence in Acts 24: ”When two years had elapsed, (governor) Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.”

Two years.

In that time, Paul’s testifying about his court case and the charges against him morphed into regular opportunities to give witness to his faith through conversations with the governor. Further, he shared with all that would listen about “righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment…”

And instead of getting bitter, wondering how God could forget him in Caesarea (after all, didn’t Paul have God’s promise that he would testify in Rome?), Paul used the challenging circumstances of prison to encourage others through letters that we now refer to as Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, to name a few.

Two years.

Paul saw it not as a waste of his time, but as an opportunity from the LORD.

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Philippians 1:12-14

Two years.

LORD, I pray you give us eyes to see our lives & circumstances, come what may, as God-given opportunities – & may Paul’s words from his jail cell ring in our ears: “Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, Rejoice!”

Thank You…

I was going through my notepads today, gathering all the notes for our next series we’re doing at church. Turns out I’ve written in 6 different notepads over the last month, intending each time, no doubt, to make THIS pad the one I’d use for the rest of my notations, thoughts, impressions, etc. I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to keep myself confined to 1 notepad; its not like I don’t have one in the binder that I carry everywhere with me in my trusty & oh-so-masculine European Man Bag. Its just that inspiration strikes & life happens at the most interesting times.

In notepad #3, one that I’d had with me in Germany a couple weeks ago, I found a note that I’d written to myself to make sure that I’d remember something spoken to me by someone at the Foursquare Deutschland conference on November 8… unfortunately, I don’t have a clue who it was that spoke it, just a few lines jotted down in my ‘fast-scribble’:

There’s a picture – its you (Louie) & you have a backpack that is full of a bunch of resources. You’re surrounded by people, & you’re giving away everything you have to all the people; they’re taking it away, & you’re so happy – you’re beaming with joy at being able to give everything away.


And then you’re alone. Happy.


And then Jesus comes to you, gives you a robe, a special set of clothes, & you walk away with Him, close, to spend time together. God is sharing His heart with you in a new & close way.


Take joy in the little things, & you’ll have a new joy in the LORD. Look to the little things, & see joy – new & not obvious things. You will receive joy in he LORD, & He will sustain you.


I don’t know who said this to me, but I am so glad that I had a random notepad with me to write this down, this impression & this picture. I’m encouraged & don’t really know why. I do know that I want to say, “Thank you” to whoever shared this with me. And to give a shout out to ME for not throwing away notepads. Booyah!

a perspective shift…

Today, I had to go to DMV to register the New Ex, acquired last week to replace the Old Ex, which had been totaled the weekend of 2/28. Now, going to DMV is not my idea of a good time, & the closing of the DMV Express has only served to make my reticence increase. However, today was as good of a day as I would get to go – not much on the calendar, & for all intents & purposes, a slow day in the life of scoey d.

Got my SMOG certification. Double checked to make sure the title was signed in all the right places. Gathered the VIN inspection paperwork. Got a copy of the “proof of insurance.” Took a deep breath & headed over to the DMV.


Seems like no matter how long its been between visits, DMV never changes. How many other places in life do you have to wait in line to get the opportunity to wait in line yet AGAIN to have your vehicular issues addressed? But I digress.

The line was long. Really long. Like for Indiana Jones @ Disneyland in the heart of the summer. People to my left & right decided it wasn’t worth the wait. But, I, resigned to the fact that this was My Day to register the New Ex, stepped boldly into the line. My special brain helped me count that there were only 77 people in front of me.

Sigh.


While I stood in line, I determined not to complain or grumble. I’d like to say it was because I am Such a Good & Mature Individual, but in reality, I was merely responding to the grumpy, frustrated, angry individuals around me; those that took the opportunity, time & time again, to voice their displeasure at having to wait. At bureaucracies in general & in specific. At the injustice of waking up to snow again, this far into Spring. & the list went on.

I spent 1 hour 15 minutes in that line. And when I finally arrived at the Info Desk, I hurriedly & prayerfully submitted all of my carefully prepared paperwork, hoping beyond hope that I had done all that was necessary to register the New Ex. My clerk was not easy to read. Her brow furrowed with concern. My mind & heart raced. She called in backup to review my documents. Again. And…

I was given a number. G485. Booyah! Now to wait for my turn.


Turns out, the next number called was G440. Meaning I was only 45 numbers (or so,) away from getting Dealt With by the DMV. Fortunately, I brought my books to study & multitask – prepping for next Sunday’s speech.

Only took another hour to get my number called. Have to say that after 2 hours, 15 minutes of waiting, I wasn’t in the best of moods, but I was ok. Ready to go back to work. And a bit exultant & giddy at finally Getting to the window.

And yet I was blown away by the tech that helped me.

She was absolutely exuding contentedness. She had a grin on her face that didn’t fit the circumstances surrounding us. I asked her how she was doing, how her day was.

She absolutely gushed:

I’m having a WONDERFUL day. It’s so beautiful. And I am so happy. I love that I have a job. I feel so fortunate to be able to do something that I enjoy, to help people. Life is SO good!

I was taken aback by my encounter; not expecting such a response, especially in the dreariness, rush, & general irritated atmosphere of the DMV. And yet…

I was touched. Reminded. Joy isn’t circumstantial. Sometimes what is necessary is a shift in perspective, to look at life through a different set of glasses. With hope.

Thanks Kathy.

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.

Down in a hole…

Down in hole, feelin’ so small… was how Brother & I spent our Tuesday. Not that we’d planned it that way. Sort of fell into it when I was greeted with the sound of many waters… that sound is a really good thing if you’re reading the book of Revelation, but it is decidedly NOT a good thing when one is standing inside a church building, hearing the echoing of running water through the pipes in the walls…

A call to thePlumber brought the desired result – a visit from an expert. Turns out our expert could only confirm that:

  • We have a leak.
  • It seems to be coming from outside where the main water valve meets the building.
  • In order to be 100% sure of this, & in order to repair the leak if it’s down under the ground, is to dig.
  • Digging is something that our expert could do, but it would cost. And since I have a thing about not selling my kids off, or auctioning arms & legs, I decided that I would dig. And so would Brother. And so we did. Even though Monday would have been a better day to dig, considering it was S/O weather, instead of the driving snow, biting wind, & occasional ball of hail falling from the grey skies…


    I know the hole doesn’t look so impressive, especially with the sprinkler box strewn so haphazardly over it to cover the work that we did until our friend Jim-The-Sprinkler-Man-Taylor comes out on Friday, but I have to say that I am proud of the work Brother & I did. It was so easy to dig in the lush Nevada soil. Made me so happy that unlike many other states, Nevada soil has no rocks in it. None. Just lush, rich soil that gives in to the shovel like ice-cream does to a hot ice-cream scoop.

    Actually, I must say, we worked for most of the day, & found that even with the water mains off, we still had a hole that filled with water in approx. 10 minutes. We bailed & bailed but couldn’t keep up with the leak. I got tired after removing about 75 gallons of water (in 5 gallon increments, don’t you know?) & still making no head way.

    That’s when my edu-ma-cation kicked in & I realized that there HAS to be a better Way of doing this… Images of water pumps rolled through my head & after a quick visit to our friends at Ahern Rentals we came away with a 2″ water pump & 50 feet of fire hose to Clear the hole of water in No Time. Turns out the pump worked well, but only kept us at EVEN with the leak… We were stymied, cold, & wet… so we cried out to the LORD. Truly. The ladies intercessory group in the parking lot (so fortuitously meeting on Tuesdays) prayed as well. And the LORD heard our prayers & sent us exactly what we needed: a foreman.


    When I say what we needed was a foreman, that’s just what I mean. Imagine if you will Brother & I, tired & work-worn, leaning on our shovels, resting, pondering what would come next. What I didn’t realize is that we hadn’t met the appropriate “shovels/workers ratio” to finish a given job.

    The arrival of our foreman, aka real NV Energy Superman John-the-Wiser took us up & over the ratio… Plus, he seemed to know a few things about Plumb-age… spotted a few things we’d missed, like an alternate water valve that miraculously turned off the water to the leaky valve, thereby allowing the pump to catch up & even surpass the water in the hole. Brother dug with renewed vigor, & found the source of our problem, that ancient evil known as “the leaky irrigation valve…”

    With the valve now exposed, we were confronted with something that neither Brother nor I had considered… it was suggested by John-The-Wiser that since the valve that was leaking was Good For Nothing, & fed nothing but a previously Vandalized & Broken line itself, that we should cut the valve off & cap it. Ourselves.

    After a few minutes of hemming & hawing, we agreed. In fear & trembling. Brother did the cutting, under the watchful, skillful eye of John-The-Wiser… we purchased a 1 1/4″ Brass Cap & applied it, with a little smidge of plumber’s tape. Tightened it up. Tested our work by actually turning the main water valve on. It held. (It must be noted that Someone said we should probably just fill the hole up with dirt 1st, & THEN test it, but Someone was overruled.)

    Victory.


    I want to give a big shout out of thanks to:

  • Jackie for calling John-The-Wiser to come help us in our time of trouble.
  • Jacqui, Pam, Helen, & Marta – the intercessory prayer group.
  • Brother – for being a good sport & going mudding…
  • John-The-Wiser – for his foreman-ing skills.
  • The LORD – for answering prayers, & for sending all of above people my way today…
  • Yet more reminders that life is beautiful…

    Heard the news from Sister, & have been watching the news & reading the occasional PB Article, wondering if & when I would hear the ‘bad news’ that my snack of choice, Skippy Extra Chunky Peanut Butter was on the roll-call of salmonella laced products. Alas, nothing yet.

    And so, today, I celebrate with a spoon, a jumbo jar of Skippy, a plethora of Hershey’s semi-sweets, & a fresh-pressed cup of java. Ahh. Life is beautiful.



    And if that wasn’t enough to bring me joy… all I have to do is walk into my office, & more often than not, meine Nichte, Ellie, is usually around to bring joy, a steady stream of yet unintelligible words, & a unstoppable quest for nanananana… here she is sitting at my desk reading my Bible… Ahh. Again….life is beautiful…


    Last Saturday was the Memorial service for Francisco Aranda. I spent the majority of the time at the memorial cracking up over memories… discussions, my attempts to practice Spanish, stories about pre-Disneyland Anaheim, & my favorite, Francisco’s very practical take on theology… I’m truly happy that we have a hope past just what this life offers, as well as the promise that we’ll see each other again. His family has put together a memorial website & online guestbook – check it out HERE.