Family dinner, IT’S A BOY!, & a journey to feeling…

One of my favorite things at this phase of life is getting together with my family – my kids, their spouses/fiance’ & families – for a meal. Being able to gather in one of our houses for a couple hours of good talks, laughter, fun, & of course food. This last Saturday we got together at Joey & Grace’s place for an early dinner – tacos. It was a little surreal for theBean & me as we brought drinks & let the rest of the family take care of the cooking. And goodness! Those Locke girls are really great cooks! I could get used to this.


Upon our arrival, we discovered that the girls had planned a surprise for us – not only were we going to eat great food… it was a gender-reveal party for Johnny & Joelle’s little 22-weeks-along-or-so biscuit… our grandbaby. They were really creative in how they set up the living room/kitchen… there was a white board where everyone not in the know could place their vote (Mister or Miss)… pink & blue balloons abounded… as did white-chocolate covered pink & blue popcorn… Nuts or No-Nuts M&M’s… lots of fun.

And then it was time to find out… a closed box full of chocolate strawberries was produced & Joelle teased the moment just long enough for my emotions to kick-in & my eyes to get misty… & then she popped the lid… IT’S A BOY! They’re having a boy. Which means grandson #3 for us. We couldn’t be happier.


Up until I was about 30 years old, I would have had a difficult time identifying the majority of emotions I felt. Mostly I cultivated a stoic, Spock-like (or Lt. Data, pre-emotion chip, for you TNG fans,) visage to cope with the overflowing cauldron of unidentified, powerful, & often incapacitating feelings swirling around somewhere near where I’d identify the location of my guts.

Sorting through faded memories I remember some of my early life’s painful things: being bullied… I was a pretty small kid who turned his L’s & R’s into W’s, which made me the target of a handful of boys (& one 5th grade girl) at ages 5 & 6. Being mocked for wearing Toughskins jeans sized “Husky” (which evidently got translated as “Fat” by my 3rd grade class). Being picked last for sports. Abuse at the hands of a relative. Being told in 6th grade I didn’t have a good voice for public speaking (I had had to do a speech for reading class & after I finished my ‘helpful’ teacher was evidently trying to point me away from a career path where I’d have to talk in public…) The list goes on.

I also remember GOOD memories. Positive things. Finding out I was going to be a big brother, 3x/over. Excelling in school. Making a real friend who would stand with me. Parents who worked long hours at multiple jobs to provide for our family. Falling in love with the Giants via my transistor radio & a headphone… knowing in the deepest part of me that I knew Jesus Christ, & even more importantly, He knew me too.

Through all of it, good & bad, joy & pain, I never really knew what to do with my feelings when they rose up, other than not being quick to get angry… (learned that from the Bible). So, I kinda just let them be, not realizing the impact that would have on my own life, but especially on my relationships with others. I kept people at a distance (physical & emotional). I rarely shared my real thoughts & feelings with others, & the few times I really risked, my over-correction/self-protection responses kicked in at the speed of a snapping resistance band that’d been stretched too far. This led to me being angry a lot of the time… or at least on the verge of being angry. Loved ones, esp. theBean, Pasty, iDoey, & theWeez, walked on egg-shells around me, never knowing what would make me ‘snap.’ And I never cried.


So what changed when I hit 30? I came home from work & heard my oldest son say, “Dad’s home!” This was accompanied by the sound of little feet scampering… AWAY from the front door. They all ran to hide. In their rooms. I was crushed… & asked theBean if I was really as bad as it seemed I was… & she bravely answered my pop-the-lid-off-the-can-of-worms question truthfully. And hearing her answers, watching her tears, & seeing her pain (& fear) hurt worse than just about anything I’d ever been through… I hated this, & felt powerless to do anything about it.

And then I felt a nudge. “Go see a counselor.” A guy I’d grown up with had just moved back into the area to open a counseling office… & his name was the one that I believe God popped into my head… so I called his office, & made an appointment. I saw him 12 times, (1x/week for 12 weeks). There were no real “A-ha” moments in those weeks, no ground-breaking, earth-shattering times when the angels sang, the heavens parted, & the lights shone down on me. But something definitely changed, or at least began to change. The counseling sessions, the questions asked, & the investment of money we really didn’t have to spare (still remember it was $120/session…) coupled with my drive for self-improvement & the insights of the Holy Spirit helped me identify WHAT I was feeling… another dear friend & mentor, Chuck, helped me through countless conversations & questions discover how to find out WHY I was feeling what I was. Through it all I was growing in what I’ve since discovered is called “Emotional Intelligence.” 


And then one day I was wrestling with a general feeling of “blah.” Like I was stuck in emotional quicksand, aware of the overwhelming-ness of being down in a hole with no real idea or ability to get out. I remember asking myself out loud, “WHAT is wrong with me?” And I got a response from the Holy Spirit… “You need to grieve the loss of your brother.”  I had no idea what that meant. I thought I’d done that when he’d died 11 years earlier.. How was I supposed to grieve him again?

So I talked myself through it, & verbally identified different feelings I had surrounding the memories of the discovery of Johnny’s cancer. The months of separation, distance, & treatment. Good news from the doctors only to be followed by news of a relapse. Nothing more to be done. The anger I felt at the nurse who asked him, “So, you want to die here in the hospital or at home…” His last weeks. Our last conversation. My heaven-directed, heart-rending desperate prayer in my parents driveway, asking for a hope-beyond-hope miracle. The phone call that came on Fathers’ Day, June 16, 1990 at the crack of dawn/doom. The empty spot in my heart. The funeral. The conversations with well-meaning friends who, not knowing what to say, said stupid things anyway. (NOTE:” If you don’t know what to say, limit your words. Sometimes your presence does more than any words you could say.” -Jerry Cook.)

And the tears started to flow. Like a summer rain, it started slow & then turned into a tempest. I was crying. Snotty-faced, out of control, can’t breathe, no sounds coming out/terrible anguish sounds coming out – Crying. The dam in my soul that had been there seemingly my whole life broke. And not just a little. It BLEW UP.  And I cried. About everything. Nothing. It felt like I spent the next year crying, & I didn’t know how to make it stop. Chuck wisely said, “Well, maybe you’re just catching up on all the years you DIDN’T cry.” And he smiled when he said it.


I don’t think any of my kids remember their dad who didn’t cry & who was pissed off most of the time. What they remember (& rehearse to the point that it’s an inside joke) is that I am a crier. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry at movies. When I listen to really great music. I cry when I’m proud of them, & I cry when they hurt. TheWeez said she didn’t want me to do her wedding because, after all, “You’ll just be a crying mess. You can sit in the front row & do that.”  She knows me :).


And so I go back to Saturday, to the gender-reveal party… I had already cried at finding out they were pregnant. And in that moment right before the pink box was opened to let us know IT’S A BOY!, I felt the flood of emotion overcome me. By this point in my life, I have gotten more comfortable with my feelings & emotions, & its not a foregone conclusion anymore that I’m going to be a weepy & melty mess when it happens. I can remember thinking, “K.I.T. Keep It Together.” And I only cried a little bit. A couple tears, rolling down the face in a most-meaningful way.

And we celebrated our soon-coming grandson. And a growing family. And I thought about the  journey of emotional discovery, growth, & freedom of the last 16 years… & I’m so thankful for a God who wouldn’t leave me bottled up & broken, but who answered my prayers with people to help me.

A birthday ode, to theBean…

I love to hold theBean’s hand. Love it. I can remember the first time I ever did – it was August 21, 1988 & we were walking across the Florence Avenue Church parking lot, & I used the excuse of wanting to “keep her safe & close” in case there were any runaway vehicles. In the parking lot. She didn’t let go. (Point of order: we had actually touched hands accidentally on August 12, downstairs at my parents house – I was watching baseball… go figure –  but once I realized what was happening, I tried to play like I didn’t know our fingers were touching. And of course I left my hand there. But I digress.)


A little background:

TheBean was headed into her Senior year at Sonora Union High, & was preparing to go to UCDavis & study medicine. To become an osteopathic physician. She’d served as a trainer for the Varsity football team & loved it, & figured a career in medicine would be just the thing for a girl that A) didn’t want/need a man to support her & B) didn’t want kids. She even worked at a local eatery in her spare time (looking back: where she found the time, I have no idea, between school, cheerleading, training, etc… She always has been good at doing  a lot & doing it well.)

And then there was an US.

We both realized at the same time that this was the person we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with – we didn’t tell each other that we KNEW what the other was thinking… I think it was the first time that we’d read each others face with a glance, the first of thousands.  This lightning bolt changed everything for both of us, but mostly for theBean. I remember the day she told me, “Where you go, I’ll go. Where you live, I’ll live.” I was taken aback by the commitment, by the fierceness of her statement, so I asked her, “What about UCDavis & becoming a doctor?” Her answer? “Now that I have you, what I really want is to be a team with you, in what you do… to support you. To support US.”  I know that I did not at that moment understand the enormity of the decision she made, the incredible tidal wave of love that choice brought with it, nor the cost she would pay (willingly) to follow through on it.


So instead of pursuing medicine, theBean pursued US. We got married July 1, 1989.  Instead of pursuing school, she picked up a food service job, the first of a few she would work in Reno/Carson over an almost 25 year period: El Charro Avitia, Carson Station Grille/Rotisserie, Pinocchio’s, & Starbucks.) In each job, theBean found herself rising to the top, a valued employee, skilled in customer service, the best at hospitality. A person  loved by management & her fellow employees. (Sound familar? :)

I’ve never worked food service, so I didn’t know one of the downsides of the job is that your hands are always in bleach water/sanitizer. And the constant exposure to this wreaks havoc on your hands, drying them out to the point where they get cracked, rough, & raw.  I don’t think I ever really noticed theBean’s hands being rough, but she did. (Remember, I love holding her hand.) She was self-conscious about the state of her hands, & often when I’d take her hand she’d make a comment about how dry they were or how bad of shape they were in. I didn’t really pay attention to that. I just wanted to hold her hand.


Nevada’s dry climate + 25 years of exposure to bleach water/santizer DID make theBean’s hands perpetually dry, & I know she still battles the self-consciousness of how her hands must feel to me. I’ll tell you what I think:

When I hold mytheBean’s hand, I feel the hand of the woman who traded in the pursuit of her solo dream to hitch herself to the idea of an even better dream in her eyes, the dream of US.

I feel the hand of a woman who has worked hard – enduring the demands of being on her feet all day/evening; who endured stupid, rude, & inappropriately flirty demanding customers; who survived on not enough sleep; who sacrificed for me, for US, & for our family.

I feel the hand of a woman who has contended for us to be a team in life & work, even through my own stubborn pig-headed meanness, selfishness, & times I didn’t treat her right.

I feel the hand of a woman who has never, ever, once given up on me or held a grudge, & has extended grace, mercy, & forgiveness through dark & stormy days & nights.

I feel the hand of a woman who could have chosen to do whatever she wanted to do in this life, a woman who is beautiful, intelligent, hospitable, hard-working, driven, a visionary… the kind of woman I’m proud that theWeez has become, the kind of woman that I have prayed that my sons would have the privilege of marrying someday.

When I hold mytheBean’s hand, I feel the evidence of her lifetime of love & devotion. It doesn’t feel rough to me – it feels as beautiful as the first time we touched. She has been, is, & will continue to be the girl of my dreams (the good ones, not the bad ones,) myOne, myOwn, myLover.

Happy birthday Bean. You are loved. You are IT for me. And will be. As long as we both shall live… 

Rosarito, Day 2

Slept great, & woke up just before my alarm. Because we’re staying at a children’s home, they get first dibs on the kitchen for breakfast prep/clean up. This means we get the kitchen around 8-8:30 & prep breakfast. We’re trying to take turns making breakfast/cleaning up so that everyone gets to experience the joy of washing dirty dishes. There’s nothing like it.

After breakfast, most of the team was charged with engaging with the special needs children. Very cool to see how many of the little ones have changed, grown, developed, & gained areas of function. The year between our visits really displays the significance of a place like “Catherine’s Home” to help those who society has abandoned or given up on, & invested time, energy, & the love of God.

The boys were tasked with painting a clear-coat wood sealer over a mural in the kids main play room. While the kids were playing in it. We were given rollers & a paint tray, & pointed in the ‘right direction.” And did I mention that the clear-coat sealer came with explicit instructions NOT to apply the sealer with a roller? Or NOT to apply it indoors? Well, that was fun. It made my brain feel silly, as did watching the rest of the team attempt to “lasso the wind” as every mobile kid in the place tried to make a run for it, hoping to bathe their little hands & faces in the toxic goo we were applying to the walls.

And then we ran out of sealer, 1/2 way through. So, Tony Mac & I did what anyone would have done in our places. We jumped in the van, with Daniel the Man, & went looking for “the Home Depot” we’d seen when we came in yesterday. Found it too. Boom!

Turns out, they didn’t have any toxic goo similar to what we’d used, & after attempting to translate into Spanish what we wanted, we were handed off to the English language Paint specialist, Eduordo.

ED: why do you want clear coat wood sealer? Are you painting wood?
ME: Nope. Drywall.
ED: So you want a drywall sealer? We have that. It comes in white.
ME: Nope. We want a clear coat wood sealer.
ED: But you’re not painting wood.
ME: Nope.
ED: How about concrete sealer? You want that?
ME: Nope. We need the wood sealer. I know it doesn’t make sense, but we want the toxic goo we put up to be the same kind of goo we already used.
ED: Sorry. We don’t have it.

It was an adventure. We bought ourselves a celebratory Coke Zero, & went home.


Most of our afternoon was spent walking a dirt road neighborhood that could only be accessed by helicopter. Not really, I made that up. It simply required that we drive the van up sheer, boulder laden cliff-like roads at great risk to our personal safety. I dubbed them “the Cliffs of Insanity.”

Not really, but it was steep & rocky. Our team talked to many kids. I was lagging in the back, & was tapped on the shoulder by a 60ish man named Augustine. He knew gangsta-rap English (all the swear words too) & we were able to communicate very well. He walked with me for about 10 minutes, & then told me he needed to stop & head home because his back hurt. Because he was old. So I asked if I could pray for him, & did, in broken Spanish & Spanglish.

He burst into tears near the end of the prayer – & gangsta-Spanglish spilled out as he thanked me & our group for coming to his “god-forsaken barrio, a place of hopelessness.” Then he thanked me for having a real conversation with him, & treating him like a person, a real person. Because he is a worthless alcoholic, deported 30 years ago, who lost his wife & kids in the deportation. And now his only meaning in life comes from giving pesos to little kids so they don’t starve. And losing himself in the bottle. He thanked me again, & headed wobbily down the street. I wept.


TheWeez was called upon to give the message at the outreach – she had the crowd of mostly U12’s waiting on her every word. She started her talk with a chant, “UH – LEESE! UH – LEESE! UH – LEESE! UH – LEESE!” The crowd went wild. She told them how Jesus delivered her from bad-dreams when she was a little girl, how she had been taught to call on the Name of Jesus when she was afraid or in a time of need.

Off to the side, I wept.


Turns out, when we were on our paint run, we missed most of morning dance rehearsal. Yes. Dance rehearsal. For our outreach this afternoon. Missing rehearsal doesn’t mean you miss the performance. It just means you get to shake it like there are no repercussions for doing so. And we did. Tony Mac, Daniel the Man, & I. Booyah!

We got back to the children’s home, had dinner & cleaned up. We’re heading to a debrief (let’s talk about the day) in 10 minutes. Then, it is sleepy time. Tomorrow, we’re heading back up the Cliffs of Insanity to do some work at the Joseph House, Hope Chapel Rosarito’s outreach to deportees.

Good night. Thanks for praying.

The 1st full week of the New Year & other stuff… A short post to get back in the swing of things…

Yesterday was theWeez’s 16th birthday – it was a Sunday (Pancake Sunday at that) which meant church, good eats, & then a trip out on the town for her with her mom for girl time, manicures, & shopping. I wouldn’t understand, so I just watched football.

Birthday dinner was at Grimaldi’s next to Scheel’s. If you haven’t eaten there yet, & you like Brooklyn style, coal oven-fired pizza made right in front of your eyes, you should give it a run. Tuesdays they have a bunch of specials too…


TheWeez scheduled her own appointment for her Nevada Drivers Test – its on like the proverbial Donkey Kong for Wednesday afternoon. I have no doubt she will pass – she’s a great driver. Currently, I’m contemplating purchasing a pair of driving gloves, a “driving scarf’, & some white Vuarnet’s for theWeez to wear for her test. I figured good taste could make a positive impression. TheBean believes that my encouragement to theWeez to quote appropriate phrases from our favorite movies during the test could be a mistake – tell me, how could, “I feel the need… the need for speed!” or “Kick the tires & light the fires, Big Daddy!” be a mistake? TheBean’s contention is that the driving instructor she gets may not have a sense of humor. Hmmm. She may be right.


With theWeez’s birthday having come & gone, we now have a 21 year old (the Pasty Gangster), an 18 year old (iDoey), & a 16 year old (theWeez). Goodness. 2013 is a big year in the numbers game for us. I have to say that looking through pictures from just a few years ago shows a very different looking clan… a bunch of kids really. Now they are Big People Humans. And I am proud of them.


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.

Salsa, super-powers, theWeez & other musings…

I made salsa tonight. Pineapple/Jalapeño Chutney actually. First time I made it, I didn’t know it was a salsa until we started dipping chips into it & repeating. Over. And over.

My favorite part of making salsa isn’t the chopping of the peppers, onion, or pineapple. Nope. That is an exercise of survival, mentally willing myself to keep all of my fingers where they belong as I crudely attempt to chop the choppees into manageable sized pieces.

My favorite part is the simmering. I get to turn the heat to a semi-lo setting, and stir when I want. The bubbles that appear in the liquid bring out smells that make my stomach jump in anticipation. The mess is too hot to eat, but the anticipation of dipping a chip into the mess & cramming it into my face brings with it joy unmentionable.

But I shall wait until tomorrow evening when salsa shall be consumed in copious amounts, accompanied by chile-lime marinated chicken & fresh tortillas. And there will be great rejoicing.


I think I might have a super-power. It isn’t flying. Or being made of steel. Or plasticity. Or invisibility. I think I have the super power of being able to sense ingredients that would taste good together in a recipe. The funny thing is I can taste the combo ingredients in my head. Without having to actually taste them. I am “low-keying” my super-power, as I do not know how to control it yet.


Baseball has to be listened to on AM radio. FM (& stereo) is wrong. I declare.


I was at the church office taking care of some bidness; I caught the movement of a person entering the office out of the corner of my eye. A glance. It was a beautiful woman that I didn’t recognize. And then she spoke, “Hi Daddy!”

Oh.

“Hi myWeez.”

My eyes water.

You didn’t let ME run!

“You didn’t let ME run, Dad.”

TheWeez’s comment took me by surprise. I had no context. “What do you mean Weez?”

“You sat up on the stage today after church, & there were like 100 little kids running crazy all over the church, & you just sat there smiling. And then later on, you pointed out that little kids run & make messes & are loud… & you’re okay with it, because they are also a great sign of life. But you didn’t let ME run!”

Hmmm. She was going back in the archives to the Olden Days. The days before Boys entered her world. Before self-consciousness had struck. Before there was anything else on her agenda for the day except getting where she wanted to go as fast as she could. And what she recalled was that when she was small, like the running mitey-mites that had filled the sanctuary today, I wouldn’t let her run. My daughter.

I remember THAT guy. Sometimes he feels like a completely different person than I was, but then I see that he has scars on his shoulders in the same places I do, & I can remember thinking what he was thinking, & knowing, KNOWING that I KNEW what was most important in life… & kids not running at church, especially my kids, was important. Sigh.

That guy. Uptight. Grumpy. On the edge of angry most of the time. Easily frustrated. Defensive. Insecure. Immature. Trying sooooo hard. Working harder. Faster. Longer. Wearing out. Breaking down. Bottled up. Hurting. Confused. Tired.

He was so hard to be around; I couldn’t stand him. Its even harder to come to grips with when I know that I know that THAT guy was me. He left marks on the psyches of those he loved the most, theBean, Pasty, iDoey, & theWeez. Among others.

What I don’t remember is when that guy left. It seems that he might have lingered, neither here nor there, for quite a while, until finally he was gone, no longer welcome.

“You didn’t let me run, Dad. I just wanted to run,” theWeez said, softer this time. “WHY? Why didn’t you?”

“I’m so sorry Weez. I thought I knew what I was doing, but looking back, I was silly, in the worst grownup kind of churchy silly that I could be. I’m so sorry…” My voice trailed off. My eyes reacted with vigor to the dust-storm that must have just appeared in the room; otherwise, why would my eyes be so clouded…?

“If I had it to do over again, sweetheart, I would let you run. And I would run with you.”

“You would?”

“Yep. I would.”

She thought for a moment… “Yeah, you probably would.” Big smile.

Opening Day, a book I read, & other musings on a Thursday…

I don’t think I’ve ever anticipated baseball’s Opening Day like I have this one… this one is special – because I get to say (& hear repeated over & over by announcers & play-by-play commentators) “the World Champion San Francisco Giants prepare to defend their World Series title…” Nice.

And today its against the Dodgers. Fitting.


Why, yes. I HAVE been blogging more. The reason? I’m in the middle of a project. A few friends & I are writing a devotion/response for every chapter in the book of Acts – started a couple weeks back in the middle (Acts 15,) & worked through Acts 28. Then, I’ll take the next couple of weeks to finish Acts 1-14. All of my thoughts for this project are showing up on this blog, so if you read it, you already have seen some of them.

What happens when we’re done? Good question. We shall see.


Finished Love Wins the other day. Interesting (in the German sense.)

Choosing words carefully… I’d say that this book presents a reinvented, reinterpreted, more ‘palatable to the masses’ christianity. Love, as an attribute of God, is elevated above & seen almost exclusive from all of His other attributes, & therefore provides the canvas for the reinvention. e.g. “Because God is a god of love, we can know that hell isn’t permanent or eternal, & that ultimately even the hardest hearted individual won’t be able to resist God’s love, & will be saved.” And it seems that any time there is a mention of God’s judgment or addressing the consequences of sin in the book, what is presented is a small, twisted caricature of a ‘little g’ god, not the God revealed in Scripture & in Christ.

After I finished the book, I read a couple of reviews from people that had actually read the book – here’s one that is pretty thorough & isn’t mean-spirited, antagonistic, or an ‘anti-Bell’ diatribe.

What we believe about God matters. The cross matters. And this isn’t one of those topics where we can just say, “I guess nobody really knows, & everybody has an opinion, & everyone’s opinion is just as valid as the next…” We have Scripture, & we have Jesus’ words on the subject of both heaven & hell. Simply because in our oh-so-enlightened 21st century the idea of hell is distasteful & repugnant to many doesn’t mean we can validly redefine & re-imagine it (& God. & Christ. & the Bible. & the cross,) to better fit our own, more ‘appropriate’ world-view. Sigh.


TheBean is down to one job – officially doing Starbucks & only Starbucks as of last Saturday, 3/26. To say I am a little excited would be an understatement. Saturday nights are now free.

Evidently, the Glowing Orb will be especially bright & warm the next couple of days. And then we get rain, clouds, & coolness on Saturday. I love Reno.

Sweetness. We get to go to Reed High tonight to tour it with theWeez. Tomorrow, she gets to spend the day there for a soon-to-be-a-Raider-freshman-orientation.

Yes. TheWeez is on the verge of High School.

Oh Goodness.


Coffee calls. Enjoy your Thursday.

musings on a quiet Wednesday night..

Sitting at theGiant table with theWeez. She’s currently paying the price for having missed several days of school. She was suffering in Hawaii with a friend & her family. Paying the price, you ask? Catching up on HomeWork – 9 days of accumulated Stuff. I’m trying to mind my own business, but she’s trying to take advantage of the fact that I’m sitting here to pick my brain to attack her History. Science. Algebra.

History, maybe. Science, occasionally. Algebra? Please.

Really, honey. I’m doing my best.


In the blah. The day started so well, up early, 5ish, ready to take on the day. Then, I hit the wall at 3, feeling like 5 day old helium balloon. Pushing through.

One of the things that I’ve been occupying my free time with has been the video podcasts from Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley – most of the teaching by Francis Chan. I’m greatly enjoying it.

The series I’m listening to/watching now is from 2Peter 1… which is where I’ve been studying through for our Thursday Night Live Series, “Knowing God.” Which of course caught my eye. Ear. You get the picture.

He’s talking about verses 8 & 9 – about being near-sighted. Getting so focused on the immediate wants, cravings, desires, & needs that any potential consequence of our choices is forgotten or treated as being unimportant, compared to ‘being in the moment.’

Makes me ponder. I’ll be coming back here again.


Dinner time arrives, & the smell of chicken fajitas wafts throughout the house. Smoky pepper seasoning hangs thick, drawing everyone to the kitchen. TheBean strikes again.

Which is hard for her to do, esp. considering that she somehow found a way to make dinner & have it ready at a time she isn’t even here – Wednesdays are ‘double-days’ – where she works a split shift. And it turns out that in the 90 minutes of her ‘break,’ she made a great dinner for us.

Unbelievable.