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

Monday afternoon musings…

This morning I observed the normal hustle & bustle of our start to the week – thePastyGangster dropped Mason on his way to work so that Auntie Weezie could take him to preschool. He entered the kitchen in a whirlwind of energy & didn’t slow down. Frank came bounding down the stairs so theBean could take him to school… then rushed back upstairs at least 2 more times because he forgot something. (For such a little guy he sure makes a lot of noise.) iDoey was up & at ’em making breakfast… everyone was headed in different directions at 100 m.p.h. Still, it was a good morning.

The flurry of activity common to our weekday mornings stands in stark contrast to our Sunday afternoons/evenings.  The afternoons are peaceful, quiet, & restful, with only the occasional football game related noise (cries of anguish for 49er fans like me,) breaking the silence It’s a time for rest, catching up on a good book, eating a favorite snack, or just hanging out. The evenings we gather around the dinner table (or counter,) usually with family & friends for a good meal, even better discussion, & time together to be savored. I love it.

I’m really enjoying our current series, “The Jesus Way,” a study through the gospel of John. The thing that really stands out to me is Jesus’ use of the words/imagery of LIGHT & LIFE in describing what He came to bring for any/all who would put their trust in & follow Him. In my studies, I came across the Didache(a.k.a. the teachings of the 12 Apostles,) a document most likely put together in the 2nd century. Like its name suggests, it shares teachings of the early church on topics such as water baptism, communion/the Eucharist, prayer & fasting, etc…

An area that really jumped out to me was the section called “the 2 ways.” In a nutshell, it says there are 2 Ways – one that leads to LIFE (trusting & following Christ) & one that leads to DEATH (anything else.)  It reminds me of Jesus’ declaration from Matthew 7:

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide & the way is easy that leads to destruction, & those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow & the way is hard that leads to life, & those who find it are few.

I have been on a ‘soup’ kick for the last few months. Seems like I just can’t get enough. My current favorite is made with grilled onions & garlic, cumin, green chiles, diced jalapenos, black & white beans, chicken stock, & the meat of a Costco rotisserie chicken. Lots of flavor & a little bit of spice. I think I’ve been eating it an average of 2x/day.

In the mornings when Mason comes over, I’ll hear him call out, “Hey Grammy.” And I look, expecting to see a grandmother… & I see theBean. Sometimes this doesn’t quite feel like real life, like somehow I have been transported into a future that isn’t my own. And then I look around for my little kids & instead I see 3 adults… 2 grown men with grown man jobs, & a grown woman who’s working really hard & setting herself up for the next chapter of her life. And I wonder, “Is this real life?”

And then Mason says, “Whatcha doing Poppy? Can I have a doughnut?”

And I remember, “Ah, yes. This is real life.”

Just signed up to be a part of a spiritual direction program for the next 9 months. It’s a 1x/month meeting via Skype & I have no idea what to expect, except that I am expecting good things.


I’m convinced that whatever you look for in somebody, you’ll find.  If you’re looking for the good, for the areas that God is at work in & through, you’ll be able to uncover it, even if it’s small. And if you look for the negative, the bad, the ugly part of us that everyone has, you’ll find that too.

On that note, there’s always something in life to be complaining about, but really? Why? Why complain about life circumstances, another person who isn’t meeting your expectations about how they’re living their life, etc… ? It doesn’t help, & it makes it not very fun to be around you. Trust me. I’ve been that guy – & one of the best days of my life was when someone told me, “You are SO negative, & you complain about SO many things. It’s tiresome.” I was forced to look in the mirror of my soul & I found a lot of discontent – stuff that was for me to address about myself… & the complaining & negativity were just symptoms, a distraction maybe, that oriented me towards living as a pessimist/realist/negative Nancy. a real downer who was very critical of myself & others. No fun. Don’t want to go back to that.

Here’s to a great day.




Through the Gospels – Matthew 5

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp & put it under a basket, but on a stand, & it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works & give glory to you Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16, English Standard Version

As I was reading Matthew 5 this morning, several “light-related” thoughts came to mind.

    -The first recorded words spoken by God in Genesis are “Let there be light…” (Genesis 1:3, ESV) This creative declaration spoke into being the beginning point for the life that would soon fill the earth & the sea.
    -One of my earliest memories is being in a car driving down the Mt. Rose highway from Tahoe’s North Shore, heading down the twisty, curvy mountain road, with the destination being HOME (which in my case was & is Reno.) I can still feel the feeling of joy & anticipation that rose up in me as we made the final turn in the dark that revealed the lights of the Greater Reno/Sparks Metropolitan area… several thoughts hit all at once. “Home!” “People!” And “Life!” (I may have had worries that one day the world (or at least my city) would end while I was away & I wouldn’t know about it until we drove home…) Bottom line, I equated the LIGHTS with LIFE.
    Vincent Van Gogh, the famous Dutch painter, had at one time been a Protestant minister – he was fired by his ministerial superiors for undermining the dignity of the priesthood, a charge that stemmed from his missional attempts to meet the physical as well as spiritual needs of impoverished peoples. One of my favorite paintings is Starry Night; one of the most striking features of the painting is also one of the most subtle. The painting depicts a “Starry Night” with a sprawling village laid out beneath it. Lights, (representing LIFE) fill almost every home and building… except for the church in the lower middle of the canvas. No lights to be found. And from his experience, no LIFE.

We are the light of the world because we have the LIFE that Christ has given, represented by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are the light because Jesus was the light first (John 8:12), & we’re following in His footsteps, reflecting Him. The Matthew 5:14-16 passage declares that the light is meant to shine; a lamp isn’t lit to be covered, but to be placed where it can bring light to the dark areas. Since we are the light of the world, we are to LET our light SHINE – not hide it, minimize or cover it. To me, this is a declaration that if I live following after Jesus & loving God & people, & following Him, my light WILL shine; I would have to take specific measures to keep the light from being seen.

And that is the purpose of shining the light – so people can see. Light means, “There is LIFE here.” It draws people towards it. And worked out in our every day lives, it brings glory to God the Father.

LORD, let Your light shine in & through me today. Bring life to me & to others in Jesus Name, for Your glory.

Free time & other musings on a cloudy Tuesday…

I have 40 minutes until I pick up my little big kids from school. Doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve chosen to steal time where I can get it – free time.

Life is beautiful, still. I will declare it. But it is also full. I have a dwindling yet still there built in margin that is constantly being threatened by the Pressing In. Life. Family happenings. Work responsibilities. Grad school. Bulletin board interactions. Forced reading & writing. Rinse. Repeat.

Free time. Time alotted for nothing but whatever I could find to give myself to. It is precious, & when i find it, like I have today, I treasure it, relish it like a teaspoon of crunchy peanut butter on a hot spoon, smothered in chocolate chips. Even if its just 40 minutes.

The Pasty Gangster called me just now – he had 10 minutes to kill, & thought of me. It has been 7 months, 9 days since we last interacted face to face. I’m hoping to be able to send theBean to see him soon; don’t know if it will work out for all of us to get there, but if anyone goes, its gotta be theBean. Mom’s gotta be able to see her son – where he lives, works, etc. Somehow, its enough for me to hear about it & let my mind paint pictures of what his life is like. Mom has gotta see it. I understand, I think. And wonder if I’m just in denial, telling myself it will be ok to send Just theBean to Knoxville, & that me, theWeez, & iDoey will hold down the fort. Cause if its ok, then the hurt & longing of missing the boy can be wrapped up in the joy of theBean getting to see him on our behalf.

I just want people to know Jesus. To know His love & acceptance, the transforming power of forgiveness and grace. The real freedom that comes with a Holy Spirit-led life.

So often, the familiarity of the life we know keeps us from moving forward into the life in all of its fullness.

Had coffee with a new potential friend today – a fellow laborer within the church in Reno. It was fun, truly, getting to talk & feel each other out & to talk about commonalities.

More on that later.

A door for a hobbit hole, navigating the plague, & other musings as Christmas approaches…

My Hobbit DoorSpent the last several “Sunday Family Movie Nights” watching the LOTR (Lord of the Rings for the uninitiated,) & during the “Fellowship of the Ring,” I was hit by an epiphany: the hill directly across the street from my front door needs a “Hobbit Door.” Granted, in a perfect world, I would create an entire hobbit lair, but I can’t do that, for a plethora of reasons. A door, however, would most likely be a pretty easy install, & though it would go NOWHERE, you could imagine.

I mentioned it to theBean, & she wasn’t a fan. For some reason.

And then a backhoe showed up in front of my house. Obviously, I took this as a sign that God wanted me to have the Backhoe Guy dig a hole in the hill, & have a few handy friends come over to shore up the hill & ‘install’ a hobbit door. I could see the unveiling over next couple of months, complete with grass, flowers, a hobbit mailbox, & other accessories that I know that the neighbors (& of course city officials) would be very appreciative of.

As I was dreaming of all the upcoming construction, & mentally thanking the LORD for His providence at sending Backhoe Guy to my front porch, Backhoe Guy drove the backhoe up the hill to work on an install of some drainage pipe.

Noooo. Come back, says me.

It could still happen. I’m dreaming.

I have spent the last 10 days recovering from the flu – it was by far the ‘worst’ sickness I’ve endured in the last 20 years, as if there could be a ‘good’ sickness to have. The most troubling part of this sickness involved a renegade lymph node that swelled to the size of Kentucky. It was round, hard as a rock, & oh-so-conspicuous on the underside of my jaw, strategically placed on the left side. It was huge. TheWeez kindly said I resembled the dad from “Family Guy.” Though it has diminished in size due to prayer, antibiotics, & anti-inflammatories, I shall remember this little bundle of joy for all time.

As of Sunday, I am officially done with my first year (of two) of school in the pursuit of my Master’s degree. The year I’ve just completed is marked by a 4-week break from any real school activities. And there is great rejoicing!

Just about every day, in addition to my ‘regular’ Bible reading, I read the Psalms. My ‘way’ of reading them is to take whatever the date is today (the 20th,) & read Psalm 20, then add 30 & read Psalm 50, 80, 110, & 140. By doing this, I will have read through all 150 of the Psalms in a month.

A few weeks ago, I was given the Kathleen Norris book “The Cloister Walk” – I’d encourage you to check it out – & though it wasn’t something she recommended in the book, I felt compelled to return to reading my Psalms like I normally do, except OUT LOUD. One of the things I immediately noticed is the significant shift that happens when I have to slow down in order to speak each word, each phrase the psalmist has written. I find that I’m hanging on the words more, as though they are not just the words I’m reading, but are part of a prayer I’m praying, joining in with the church that has been praying these same psalms for thousands of years.

I am comforted by the humanity of the words, the acknowledgement of the suffering, need, and pain of the human condition, especially with how all of that is submitted to the glory & greatness of God. No whining. No complaining. No “woe is me” stands up to the fact that He is with me. He gives me peace, life, power, freedom, encouragement, and strength. And as I read, I sense the bedrock surety that is built in a life that depends on God & His Word.

Life is good. God is better.

I’m looking forward to 2012…

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.

20 years ago… an anniversary…

I woke up this morning a few minutes before my alarm… not surprising… except for the fact that the alarm was set for 4:50 so I could have enough time to get to to the church office to make coffee & read a little in advance of the guys showing up for Thursday morning prayer. The blurred numbers on the clock came into focus as I clumsily fixed my glasses onto my face… 4:34. It would be 4:34 today. Sigh.

My mind raced, mentally flipping through the calendar that exists in my head (isn’t there one in yours too?) finally coming to rest on today. Yesterday was June 16th, so that would make today… June 17. Hmm. It’s the 20th anniversary of the day my little brother, John Leavy Locke, went to be with Jesus early on a Sunday morning, Father’s Day, at 4:34 a.m.

I wrote a little bit about my brother not too long ago HERE. And as I sit here pondering the fact that its been 20 whole years since his death & ‘home-going,’ I take the time to revisit & rehearse the memories I hold most dear of my brother. They flicker through my brain like the rapidly turning pages of a picture book.

Folding newspapers together in the early morning as we prepared to go do our paper routes. Football. Soccer. Baseball. Hoops. What an athlete. He was the best of the 4 of us, by far. Rocking the mullet that shook Carson City on Day 1 of his tenure at Carson Middle School. I don’t know if it was the surf shorts, Jetson’s T-shirt, vintage Air Jordan’s or the infamous mullet that got him called to the office as a “distraction.” They hadn’t seen anyone like him before. His mix tapes. The rosy cheeks I see every time I look at thePasty Gangster. The smile. The temper. The baseball being thrown at me simply because I went in to wake him up. The grumpy comments because I was on the phone (again) too late with theBean. And a million others…

The picture at the left was his last school picture before he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. And yes, he was wearing MY red bow tie, the same one I’d used to complete my Pee-Wee Herman outfit… It’s not like this day is a dark, morbid day that I dress up in black & mope around. Not at all. Rather, its a day of remembrance. Prayer for my parents & brothers. Thanking God that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. But a day where I still grieve. Laugh. Play his favorite songs on my mp3 player (he’d have loved the iPod & iTunes, & the ease at which mixes could be created. He was a Master mix-master.)

Father’s Day has been forever linked with Johnny since 6/17/1990. Can’t seem to think of one without the other; not that I want to think about death an inordinate amount, but hey, its inevitable, barring the preemptive Return of the King. Came across a great book about death, heaven, & processing the loss of loved ones called Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die. Great book, which I’d heartily recommend.

But I digress.

It’s a celebration, a day of remembrance. So join me:

Here’s to Johnny – & the profound influence he has had & continues to have on me & the man I hope to be.

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.


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.

Preparing for the Spring…

Looking out across the valley, the last rays of sun leap out from behind the Sierras. Dark clouds streak the sky as a whistling wind rises & falls, reminding me that though this is the 1st official day of Spring, Winter hasn’t packed his bags & moved on. Yet.

The tease of the last few warm days have almost wiped away the memory of 2 feet of snow just 1 month ago. The ‘new-ness’ of life that comes with Spring definitely makes me think about change & transition. Wondering what new things are headed my way. What ‘new mercies of the LORD’ are coming towards me? Where am I going to be challenged to grow, develop, & lean into God in a new way…? To be taken beyond what I can see & know to the place of utter dependence. The place of “I don’t know about 2 weeks from now; though I’m fairly sure about today. And I know where to look tomorrow.” If that makes sense.

There is a temptation to stay where I am. In the familiar, the comfortable, the known. The places where my feet have marked a worn path, where I can almost walk with my eyes closed. A place where I feel competent. Strong. Secure.

To me, walking with God means being led. Not being the one in the drivers seat of my life, dictating what I’m doing & where I’ll be doing it; rather, looking for where it seems He’s at work in & mostly around me, & seeing how I can jump in in those spots. It means humility, a willingness to not “know” with certainty the plan for the next 3-5 months, let alone the next 3-5 years. To invite the Holy Spirit to shine a light into my life, even into the dark corners where we’ve hid the dirty laundry, that escapes even the most well-trained eye. But not His.

Practicing repentance. Realigning with God’s purpose, plan, & direction.

Laying down the right to be offended. To put aside (not deny, but not hold onto) hurt feelings. False accusations. A character that has been assassinated yet again, leaving the defense of me to the One who knows me best. Even if it means appearing weak.

The last several months, I’ve been reminded that I need to be planting God’s Word in my life, heart, mind, & spirit. To read, listen to, & meditate upon the Bible. To get it ‘in me,’ so that it can bring about the life God desires for me, & to provide fodder for the Holy Spirit to apply as the Spirit sees fit.

Entering Spring, I reapply myself to the Process, to say “Yes,” to what God has for me & mine in this next period of my life. That His purposes, His mission would be my priority. That love for others would overflow in my life; that I would grow in knowledge & discernment, to know what is REALLY important; to be fruitful in Christ-likeness, living pure & holy in His sight, bringing praise & glory to Him.

Yep. Here comes the Spring. And I’m looking for the new.

looking back on a Snow Day…

Woke up this morning to the joyous celebration that always accompanies a ‘Snow Day” – meaning the promised snowfall had not fallen short of expectations, 7 the prayers of my 3 children (& kids all over Reno,) had been answered. Stayed in bed for a few extra minutes; seemed the right thing to do, considering the fact that the need to rush off to school as Carpool Dad had been removed. Smelled the coffee. Ah.

Did what I always do when its snowing – check the weather report at (like Duffy told me to,) to see how bad the storm would be, & how long it would stick around. Good news… confirmed by the evidence from the windows. Spriling snow, but not much. Which meant… shoveling the driveway.

Dressed for success & made my way to the driveway – don’t know exactly why I’m drawn to shoveling snow, but it feels absolutely like the right thing to do – clear a path to the cars, clear the cars, scape the windows. Great satisfaction at completion, in spite of the input my neighbor gave letting me know it was going to snow all day long. (BTW: it didn’t. Booyah.)

Took IDoey to the dentist, braving the most dangerous & difficult thing about the snow: drivers. Almost got taken out a couple of times by a black Hummer driving in the middle of the 4-lane road. Rewarded ourselves with chocky donuts, & navigated our way back up to the house.

Got a call saying that in spite of the snow & cancellation of school, IDoey’s dress rehearsal for White Christmas was still happening, giving further credence to the saying, “the show must go on.” So we piled into the car & navigated the streets again. Worked out, (Yes, it was a kettlebell day. I’m feeling the results of the last 3 weeks. Good results. Love it.)

Home. Chili-beef soup, made extra spicy with the brown Tabasco, aka Chipotle... And cornbread. Little rotwein. MNF. Now just waiting for dress rehearsal to be done so the day can end.

Reminiscing with theBean. This turned out to be a great day, snow & all. Life is good.