Friday, October 31, 2008

Weight loss and Monkey Poo

Over the last 8 weeks I have lost 19 pounds. Thats 3 holes down the old leather strap around my waist. The average wight of a spider monkey is 13-25 pounds, so you could say I have taken the proverbial monkey off my back, or maybe other areas. It is amazing how much better it feels not to carry around the extra weight.

There have been times when I have struggled with letting certain weight go in my life; guilt over something I had done or said, pain in my heart over someone's words or actions, issues I felt I had to carry on my own. We all have things that weigh on us.

Sometimes we would rather hide them, maybe moving from large to XL, to cover them up. Or maybe we just pretend like they are not there. Maybe we tried the all the diets and they just did not work. The thing is, if we keep living that way, is it really living?

There is freedom found in addressing and releasing the weight. In having the tough conversatons, in forgiving, in seeking forgiveness, in letting someOne help take the weight off and finding rest.

The thing about monkeys, as long as they are there, they want to be fed and they have a nasty habit of throwing poo. Sometimes we have to go through the poo to get rid of the monkey. Stay dilligent.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Long ago and in a galaxy far, far away

Even typing the title chills ripple up my spine. As a young boy I grew up on a heavy dose of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, this next generation knows them for the more recent additions to the franchise. At that young age though, they awakened in me a passion for adventure.

Sunday afternoons were when that passion could be momentarily sated. After church, many days I could be found at my grandparents house, scaling the cliffs, defending the valley from hordes of invaders. Our I would be at my cousins house, tromping through the woods, sliding into every hole we could find, hoping the next might be the cavern in which we would find the lost kings treasure. A constant by my side was my cousin Mike.

There were many a Sunday we found ourselves far from home, discovering a new pasture where the insects made a unique buzzing, that sounded like time travel. Or we would be, what seemed like, miles underground, exploring a cave we had found, sliding into a hole where the ceiling was covered with bats and sometimes being chased out as we began to hear monsters awaken from their slumber. What were our parents thinking?

Why is it that we can lose that sense of adventure? We settle for living vicariously through William Wallace or Maximus or watch reality tv as oppose to live it. We trade care-full for careful. Risk become to risky, when you step outside the walls you have surrounded yourself with. Dominion has become domestication.

When Jesus sends out the disciples (Matt 10), it sounds a lot more like my Sunday afternoons. Actually the whole book of Matthew is messing me up in a good kinda way. "Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest his head." Birds don't live in nests, unless they reproduce.

Live & Love Adventurously.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where have all the miracles gone?

Bleary eyed yet overflowing with excitement we traversed the near deserted streets of Valrico, FL. The hospital was lit with a warmth that beckoned the weary traveler. The long 9 month roller coaster was heading down the final hill fast. Little did I know at the time, that there were yet to be a few bumps in the road along the way.

Sixteen hours later I could not take it any longer. My world was crashing, what had started as excitement had become an Atlas size weight, threatening to crush me. My heart was was choking me with concern for my wife and my unborn child.

Walking out the front door of the hospital, my strength shattered into so many pieces, I cried out for relief. Within an hour my son was born. Six years later, ever time I pull him close and inhale the scent of his hair, it is a sweet perfume that reminds me of the miracles I have been provided.

Many times its easy to see the miracles in our lives when we look back, but why is it that they don't seem readily apparent in the present? Is it that we rarely attempt much that would require divine intervention, settling for a mundane life where we can control the outcome? The thought of being dependant on anything beyond what we can control can be intimidating. Is it our preconceived expectations of what the miracle should be, that keep us from seeing the fingerprints that have been left on our life? Or maybe we have lost perspective and succumbed to the reality we find ourselves in.

A line from Hey Nostradamus! has stuck with me..."God is nowhere, God is now here." The difference between the two is vast, but on paper it comes down to a space. Maybe we just have not created the space in our lives for miracles to happen, or to see God.

Inspired by "I saw God today" by George Straight, caught a snippet while scanning the radio today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

(Jon)athans, Nathans and BLams

According to Facebook, I have 321 friends. For some this maybe a badge of pride, but I guess it all depends on how you define friend.

Last night, I braved the rain and back roads of Williamsburg to connect with two great friends. It had been a few months since we have seen each other. Sure we had talked on the phone, but there is just something about sitting down at the same table, eating dinner or drinking Starbucks and sharing stories with good friends.

A good friend is someone...

that will listen and still love you in the morning...that you can be real with...that you can share your joy and pain with and not fear it showing up in supermarket tabloids...that will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear...that you feel refreshed by even after hearing what you need to hear...that will challenge you...that you can argue politics with and still laugh...that brings out the best in you...that will pray for you in earnest...

In reality, you are blessed if you find a handful of great friends. Great friendships don't just happen, you have to live up to all you look for in a friend and more. But ultimately, who you choose to surround yourself with will ultimately determine the direction of your life.

Thanks for a great evening guys!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wisdom in Advertising

Reading through this months ESPN the magazine I found some interesting tag lines used in the advertisements. These either made me chuckle or think or maybe even both.

CPR for the dead of night (car)
The scalp can lose and grow about 100 hairs a day and we think we are busy. Respect the scalp. (shampoo)
In life, it's not who you represent but what (Marines)
It may be humpday, but I'm feeling kinda Sunday (insurance?)
A friend you can eat (candy-my personal favorite tagline)

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers."

What is your brand? Every day our decisions, our attitudes, our habits, our beliefs determine how people view us. What sets you apart?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Voices and Choices

Without much fanfare and with a Number 2 pencil, I cast my vote on Saturday. I won't be "in town" that day, so I cast my ballot by mail. In this small way my voice was heard.

In this election, a lot of voices have been heard. The candidates grinding their stump. The character assassin feeding the email rumor mill. The robo-calls...oh the robo-calls. The commentators delivering the blow-by-blow, as if two prize fighters were pummeling each other, as the bell rings for the final round. I am sure the talk will continue for a time after the election is done and the dust settles.

The most important voice is the one you exercise in a little over a week. Many people don't have the same freedom. Yet many will choose not to use it, maybe because they don't like their choices or because they doubt it really even matters. In your silence, you make a choice.

Let your voice be heard. Do your homework. Don't rely on your well meaning neighbor, spam or which celebrity endorsements a candidate receives. Then let your voice be heard.

Next Sunday @ Waters Edge, Stu is presenting "Dear Mr. President", a look at what you would tell the next President. What are you telling the next President with your vote?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Burger King Money Management

"I have the money in my wallet, why can't I get the toy!"

This morning Logan and I were discussing finances. Yeah, he is only 6 but we have tried early on to teach our boys how to handle money. Tara and I really had no clue when we first got married and had to learn the hard way in many things.

Each month the boys put a certain amount of money into their piggy banks for savings and a certain amount into their wallets for spending. Logan could not understand why he could not just spend what was in his wallet.

We talked about the kind of things he wanted to spend his money on and what he wanted to get in the future (financial goals). The goals they set now to get certain toys or art supplies will hopefully translate to their first car or home one day.

Money can be a tough Master if you let it control you, or a great tool if you master it.

On a good note, Cole seems to have gotten the point that you should set aside some to give away. He tried to slip me some extra money from his wallet for "my drive home". Four quarters should get me enough gas, right?

Friday, October 24, 2008


I got stabbed today. I was sleeping peaceful, snuggled deeply into a warm cavern created by the blankets, when I felt the blades rake furrows across my skin. The cool precision of predator ensnaring prey.

Trick or Treat! Wake up Daddy! Cole straddled my chest in his Wolerine outfit, a menacing glare in his eyes, claws extended toward me and the hint of a smile creeping into the corner of his mouth. It's so good to be home!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting Committed-A love story

Tomorrow is the grand opening of the new Chik-fil-a in Hampton. We stopped by there on the way home this evening and there were hundreds of people camping out. The whole parking lot was covered in tents. There were blankets and sleeping bags covering much of the ground between the tents. They were actually doing a dance off as we were sitting there gawking at them. The first 100 people got Chik-fil-a for a year, or 52 tickets for a free meal. These people were committed to sleeping out all night, and they were having fun.

Prior to our voyeurism at the Chik-vill-age, we were at the Wave Conference in VA Beach. The whole event dripped with passion. Whether is was the worship led by Joel Huston or the talk by Joshua Smith, you could hear the passion come through them and visually see the effect on the crowd. Clinton Portis and Shaun Alexander were there. (unabashed name dropping)

In each of these experience tonight I got a glimpse into what people were committed to, what they were passionate about. What are you passionate about? It really boils down to what you are willing to sacrifice for, because when we make a commitment we are choosing one way over another. We are choosing to invest our time, energy and resources into something or someone we love.

So what do you love? Does it show in how you choose to live your life?

Why the Dinosaur should stay extinct

Reclining after a relatively long day yesterday, I innocently flipped open the laptop to check out the days news. The Yahoo! headline read Dinosaur "dance floor" found in Utah. It seems, geologists have discovered prehistoric animal tracks so densely packed on a 3/4-acre site that they're calling it a "dinosaur dance floor."

That was when it happened. I felt my hair grow longer in the back, shorter on the sides. The knees of my jeans ripped and a Members Only tag grew out of my jacket. I knew this was the onset of a bad 80's flashback.

Its the summer of 1988 and over the radio comes "Boom, boom, shakalaka, boom..." A band called Was not Was, through their ingenious lyrical articism, introduced everyone to the Dinosaur dance in Everybody Walk the Dinosaur. A sampling of the eloquence..

It was a night like this forty million years ago
I lit a cigarette, picked up a monkey skull to go
The sun was spitting fire, the sky was blue as ice
I felt a little tired, so I watched Miami Vice
And Walked the dinosaur, I walked the dinosaur
How this could make it on the radio, while our garage band floundered I will never know. I have news for the scientists...all those prints...there from when the fossils rolled over in their graves upon hearing the song.

So now I sit exhausted still trying to eradicate the rhythm from my brain, fearful of the next time the 80s come back to haunt me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Full of something or other

You know you are in bad shape when none of the toilets in the house work. Especially if you discover this after a visit to Taco Bell or the Plaza. Luckily, it did not happen to me, but it did happen to my parents.

For the past two days my dad has been digging up the sewer pipes trying to alleviate the “blockage” at their house. Last night he came across an elbow (corner pipe) that was packed solid with...yeah, it's rather disgusting. No matter what he tried, he could not unpack the pipe.

Sometimes life seems to get like that pipe. Let’s face it, we live a pretty face paced life. Running from soccer games, to PTA, to church, to after hours work meetings…grabbing fast food on the go…you get the picture, you probably live it. We become so busy that when thing slips, we can start to develop a clog in our life.

All of a sudden we find blockage in our relationships, things start to pile up at work, important things don’t get done because we become so focused on managing all the small tasks. Ultimately our relationships consist of facebook wall posts, or reading a blog just to stay connected.

At some point, we have to decide, what is going into our pipe? Are we really spending our time on the things that are important to us? Or are we just cramming our pipe with things that keep up appearances but have no real value.

I got a wall post from my mom this morning. “Your dad is my hero. He fixed both bathrooms last night.” He ended up doing a little surgery on the pipe and replacing it. Maybe a little surgery would not be bad in our own lives.

My hope is that your life becomes about something more, by doing less. It’s better to have one handful with tranquility, than two handfuls of…something or other.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Invisible dogs and Crazy smiles

A friend sent an email today that challenged me to smile for 5 minutes straight at some point today. He said that it had been proven that it will lift your mood and make you happy. It sounds like something my mom would say but I set out to try it.

Tonight, I served dinner at the rescue mission as I regularly do on Monday evenings. A company had donated chicken strips, so we added some potato salad and green beans to make a relatively easy meal. That gave me more time to hang out with the guys.

Jon introduced himself to me. And then he introduced his dog, Blue. The only thing was Blue was not really there, or he had lost so much weight that I was looking right through him. Besides, Blue can't eat the crackers because it gives him gas, but he does like to tree the squirrels or escapees. Then Jon introduced himself to me again.

No one really minded having Blue there, but I was pretty worried, because if he decided to leave a landmine behind, I was afraid I would not be able to see that as well. After a while, Jon confessed he was not really crazy...and then his voiced changed and he confessed he really was.

I don't know...maybe he was, maybe he was not. I do know that he brought a smile to everyone's face and made washing the dishes that much more fun.

A happy heart makes a cheerful face...try intentionally smiling today...let me know how it goes.

In the beginning...

Or maybe more like the middle. For the last several months I have toyed with the idea of doing a blog. I have hung with it, posting Notes on facebook, and at the encouragement of my good friend Rob have moved into blog world. Feel free to check out the previous musings.

So, welcome to my way station. I hope you find in enjoyable, amusing or at least interesting enough to stop back by as you journey along in life. A way station is just that, a stop along the journey. That way we can look back and share stories about the past and look forward to what the future has in store.

See you soon.