Monday, October 31, 2005

Important Things to Do

Dishes are stacked on the kitchen counter. Food crumbs lie on the dining table. Julia and Jenna's clean clothes are sprawled on the floor behind me against the wall. I keep thinking of imprtant things I want to do. What can I write that would encourage someone to live more like Christ? What lesson can I devise for Wednesday that will pierce a group of men's hearts? What tasks do I need to accomplish tomorrow to prepare for an upcoming retreat? You see, I've got important work to do.

You know what? I think I'll fold some clothes and do the dishes.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Psalmist has said "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
Jesus has said "Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
Peter has said to Jesus "To whom shall we go? You have the words of life."
But yet, I seem to often view God's word more like an appetizer.
Something I live by when convenient, when I can afford it, when it makes sense.
Oh what I miss when I do this.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

October 27

It has been just over 13 years since my sister passed away. Today, she would have been 33. Gina and I were 11 months and 25 days apart in age, practically twins. There are things that I still remember like they just happened yesterday. I remember when I was about 7 years old throwing a Frisbee with her and knocking out a tooth.
I remember when we would ride our bikes to the store, spend a month’s worth of allowance on junk food and stash it in our closets. We were about 8-9 then. Shortly after her funeral, I found a grocery sack of candy in her closet. She continued that habit all those years.
I remember one afternoon in December 1989 when she picked me up from basketball practice and we had to stop by our local grocery store. As we were walking into the store she turned to me and said “I left the car running, but locked it so no one will steal it.” To which my reply was, “So, how are we going to get back in, you dork?”
I remember that same year having to go to the emergency room one Friday night. She had been at a high school hockey game in which my high school had lost to our biggest rivals. One of our players, who was a friend of mine, was so angry he threw his broken hockey stick into the stands. Of all the people there, it hit my sister in the forehead. She had to have stitches.
I remember her asking two people she had just met at a clammery (a clam processing plant) how long they had been cousins.
I remember my sister’s freshman year at ACU. She would enter The Bean wearing thermal long johns under denim shorts and a sweat shirt. Her hair was in corn rows. That’s not a sight that everyone saw everyday at ACU until my sister set foot on campus.
There aren’t too many days that go by where I don’t think of my sister. I wish she could see my children, I wish I could talk to her about mom. I wonder where she would live or if she would be married with her own children. Although I miss her, my thoughts of her bring me hope for I know one day I’ll see her again. But part of me wishes I could call her up today just to say, "Happy birthday, sis."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I was just reading a friend's post from the other day and he sent me on a journey, so I thought I'd share a few songs from my past that evoke some memories. that doesn't necessarily mean I think these songs are good. Here they are in no particular order.

Beat It (Michael Jackson) - The first tape I ever bought.

Amanda (Boston) - My first dance with a girl I liked. No her name wasn't Amanda. I was a freshman in high school and she was a sophomore. Her name was Sandra. It didn't work out.

You're the Inspiration (Chicago) - My first girlfriend bought me this tape in 7th grade. Our relationship lasted exactly one week, 2 days after getting the tape in fact. So much for our song.

Here I Go Again (Whitesnake) - Long swim practices at 6:30 am. This song was ALWAYS on the radio. I couldn't wait for the rests between my sets to end so I could put my head in the water and get away from the song.

Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Middler) - It's not the song, but the movie Beaches. That was the first a last chick flick I watched with a girl I liked until I met my wife. I was a senior in high school and we rented the movie and watched it at the girl's house. I had this girlfriend for all of one week. I'm detecting a pattern in my relationships.

You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party (Beastie Boys) - This song takes me back to my junior high days in Mr. Turner's PE class where we lifted weights three times each week. I think I was in 7th grade when I first heard this song.

Enter Sandman (Metallica) - Late weekend night song I often saw the video on Head Banger's Ball. Enough said.

Not many of these are classics, not many are even good songs, but they are some that have memories tied to them hwoever random those memories may be.

Friday, October 21, 2005

18 seasons, 2934 games, 26,406 innings. That's just about how long it took Craig Biggio to reach the World Series. Think there were days he ever wondered if the Astros would make it? When asked, all he said was "I'm not greedy. I just want one." I think there might be a lesson in that.

"Better is one day in your courts, than a thousand elsewhere" as the Psalmist says

I just read about a group of college students coming together to focus on helping children with AIDS in Africa, particularly one village. I thought college students had no money or resources. Hmmm...I think there might be a lesson in that.

"But go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Lord, help me to bask in the light of your Son,
to take in the radiant warmth it brings.
May your light show me what life is truly like,
expose all the nooks and crannies in my life
that are hidden from your sight.
May I always live in this light that makes sense out of life,
that brings order to the chaos that seems so evident around me,
that calms fears, that gives hope.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I just finished putting Julia to bed. Two chapters from Junie B. Jones and one chapter from Nancy Drew later it was time to go to sleep. That's when the real adventure begins. W take turns praying. Her prayer typically involves thanking God for all of our family members by name, the pets by name, and some of her favorite stuffed animals. We almost always end with a shared story that we make up together. The story always begins and ends the same, but the adventure between the two is never the same and always quite surprising. Like always, we began in her beach sand castle. Tonight, we went to the Himalayans where she was rolled up into a giant snowball which crashed into a tree; she then built a snowman out the broken up pieces and made a car that she rode on to a frozen lake where she skated and played with Yeti who made snow cones (they were lemon-flavored). Yeti laid on his stomach and she rode on his back as he became a sled that took her to the airport to fly home and go to bed. (You get the abridged version of our story)

Some nights I'm so tired I want to skip these moments or rush through them, but then I realize that these moments last only the briefest of time. So, I happily share this routine with my daughter. The thrill the Astros provide is nothing compared to the stories we share. This is the great stuff of life.

Monday, October 10, 2005

What a great game last night! Even Clemens got in on the action, getting the win. He may not get the Cy this year, but I still think Clemens has been the best NL pitcher all season. Bring on the Cards.

The announcers kept referring to the 16-inning game of 1986. I'm getting old because the college students we had in our home last night had no clue what the announcers were referring to and I remember that series quite well. Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan and the rest of the crew losing that series to the Doc Gooden and the Mets who would eventually take the World Series from the Red Sox. Most of us old enough remember the Bill Buckner error that cost the Red Sox the series.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I have a friend who seems to just see right through me. She can look at me and sense my mood or spirit. She constantly asks me how I'm doing spiritually and never settles for the routine answer "I'm fine." She often comments that I'm hard to read; however the truth is she sees all too well. It's not that she's nosy, she just cares. She takes the time to intersect her life with mine.

We all need people like that in our lives. We need to be a friend like that. This takes time and selflessness. I want to be more like this friend. I want to be someone who takes the time and has the courage to ask the questions that allow one to express more of who they really are. I want to be one who loves others more deeply.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I just have to say that today was an awesome day because we have some amazing friends. A friend and I had made plans to run this morning at 6:30 and then cut up a tree that fell in my backyard during Hurricane Rita. The plan was to finish this in time for me to go to my daughter's soccer game at 11:00. We did our run as planned, and started cutting up the tree when his chainsaw quit working. He knew how to fix the problem so he went home (his wife came to our daughter's game), fixed his chainsaw, cut up a tree in his yard and mowed an enormous backyard, then called me at 4:30 to come over and finish up the tree. We drank lots of water, donated a lot of blood to the local mosquito population, strained our backs lifting chunks of wood, hauled brush and finished my backyard promptly at 7:45 pm.

There are people in my life who I could never do enough to repay them for all the love they have shown my family. It's not that I owe this family anything. Instead it's simply living as a community of faith. Thanks to those of you who do so much more than you have to do. Your faith and love teach and inspire more than you can possibly know. I'm a better, more devoted follower because of you.