Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another New Year ....

Well, folks, it looks like 2011 is almost in the can, and it's time to ring in a new one.  Let's kick the old one to the curb and start over.

Let's face it - we all make resolutions for the new year, whether we admit it or not.  I'm no different, as I have a list of things I would like to do / improve in 2012.  Whether I will find success is a topic for a future post ...

Anyway, let's get on with it, shall we?

In 2012 I will:
  • Be a better disciple for Jesus.
  • Be a better husband, father, brother, friend.
  • Be more genuine in my dealings with people in general.
  • Take better care of myself (exercise, eat well, shave - sometimes, dress better)
  • Pay my bills on time.
Is it going to be easy?  Probably not, even though the list is purposely un-detailed. I'm not a detail person, so I figure I'll improve my odds if I don't provide specifics, ya know?

So, that's it.  My list of resolutions for 2012.  Sounds easy, right? 

Right. (Totally).


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Thoughts About Christmas 2011 ...

Christmas 2011 has come and gone, and I'm left with that "it-didn't-really-feel-like-Christmas" feeling.  I don't know ... there wasn't a warm, cozy feeling this time around.  I'd like to say it would have been different if Dad were here, but I don't think it would have made a difference.  We just came unglued is all.  Everyone came undone and lost the relationships that once, at least on the surface, seemed so important.

Many of you already know that we are not living in our own, comfortable home, we don't have our things, our beds, our chairs or tables, or our Christmas decorations and lights.  We did, however, buy a small pre-lit tree, and find the stockings to fill with assorted items that will be great fun to open, when we get back to NY.

The worship services were wonderful this year, but I can't help being put off by the fact that we were asked whether we wanted to have a service on Christmas.  I - I don't know what else to say about that, except ... "Are you kidding me?"

No birthday cake for Jesus this year, a time-honored family tradition, gone by the wayside. (*sigh*)

Sometimes (read "many times") I miss the old days, the days when it was fun to go shopping downtown for Christmas gifts.  The stores were decked with holiday lights, there was music playing in the streets, each gift came with a box (often with free gift wrapping as well), and there was a sense of community - a friendly air around town.

Christmas morning would come and everyone would be bursting with excitement to open gifts, not only to get things, but also to see the reaction on the faces of loved ones as they opened their gifts.  We would gather at Nana's house for dinner and all the cousins played all day long. In the week that followed, we would visit our aunt's and uncles for parties and fun.  Ahhhh, the good old days.

This Christmas did NOT resemble those Christmases.  At all.

2012 can't get here soon enough for me.

End of rant

... Later.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One Tractor-Trailer

Today was a busy Christmas Eve.  We had much to do and not enough time.  Even at this writing, the car hasn't been packed for our Christmas trip to Grandmom's house.

On any given day, when crunch time comes the frantic pace increases and nerves wear thin.  Tonight was no exception.  It was time to get dressed for church, and the children began their usual ritual of running around, screaming, teasing one another, and basically doing everything except getting ready for church.

The result?

Crying children and frustrated parents.


No supper until after church (there wasn't enough time to drive thru McDonald's because they wasted so much time getting ready).

As we drove down the interstate toward our church (about a half-hour drive)  we passed a rest area.  It's the same dingy, old, campground-like rest area that we pass every week as we make the same drive.  Tonight, however, something caught my attention.

There was one tractor-trailer parked, lit up with full parking lights - you know, the lights they turn on when they are settling in to sleep for the night.

Christmas Eve.  One truck parked at the rest area.  Alone.

Christmas Eve.

Suddenly my hectic day didn't seem so bad.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Simple Christmas

Christmas at our house will be simpler this year than in years past.  Perhaps it’s because we don’t have a lot of cash to spend (a flood, a fire, and an extra rent check take a toll on family finances), or maybe it’s because we aren’t in our own home, surrounded by our familiar belongings.  Perhaps it’s the artificial tree, sparsely bedecked with dollar-store ornaments that are strange and unlike our usual collection of handmade adornments.  
Gifts will be few but meaningful, as each family member, young and old, realizes the blessings that we have in each other. 
Our children are less materialistic than before; they have lost so much, yet gained a deeper understanding of what is important.  Sure, they have their moments of selfishness and their usual bouts of stubbornness and “she-took-my-doll” episodes, but they have an appreciation of our situation and the incredible blessing it is to have a doll in the first place.
Yes, it will be a simple Christmas, and we will enjoy it more than ever before.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who Said Anything About Change?

Change?? Who said anything about change??

Those of you who know me, understand that I sometimes like to stir the pot, poke the hornet nest, shake the soda can; I like to change stuff - move it around and keep things interesting.  Maybe it's my messy nature that makes me do it, or my restless tendency to to be busy all the time.  Maybe it's too much caffeine (Nah).

I removed several posts that have proven to be controversial and that have caused some of my readers to get ticked off (not that there's anything wrong with that). They aren't gone completely; rather, I placed them in my super-secret underground vault, where I can work on them (or not) and repost them (or not) as nondescript, unremarkable, conventional, democratic ideas (yeah, right), at a later point in time.

It isn't that I am shy about causing a hullabaloo.  I merely want the entire process to be easier for me (after all it is my blog, so it should be easy for me), and justification is never easy.

 I want my readers to know that I will still be posting marriage stuff; not of my own hand, but likely a weekly (or so) list of the best posts and articles on the topic; a weekly "Top Ten," if you will.

Also, I removed some poetry (so called) that was posted by mistake.  I don't generally post stuff until I'm confident of its quality and readiness for publication.  Several items were posted in rought draft form, and frankly, I didn't catch it until recently.  Those items will also be kept in the vault until I feel that they are ready (and who knows when that will be).

I believe the "renovation" will be a good thing.  It will be a kinder, gentler blog, and not so much all-over-the-place.  Of course, all-over-the-place is how my mind works, so we'll see how it goes.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Call?? Perhaps Not.

I've been tossing around the idea that God may be calling me to a new direction, one that involves some sort of ministry that involves the Bible (big DUH, there) and husbands.

All of my research (yes, I actually research this stuff) leads me to two truths about being called by God:
  1. It involves an inner "rightness."  It has to feel like it's the right thing to do.  If it feels like it would be wrong, or contradictory to the Word of God (sin), then it isn't God's voice, it isn't the Holy Spirit, it isn't a "calling."
  2. It includes outward confirmation.  In some way, things have to work out to make it possible to do what is necessary to fulfill the call.  If too many things are working against you, then 
    • you likely are not being called by God, or
    • it is a call, and Satan doesn't like it.
What, then, am I to do with this?  I still feel an inward "rightness," but I'm not sure about the source of the resistance.

I suppose I just pray and wait.  and keep mum until I am sure.  No more spouting off about "husband should this, husbands shouldn't that.  At least, for now, I'm going to lay low on the topic for a while, until I know more about whether or not I should be doing this.


Monday, December 12, 2011


Can you make a distiction between God calling you to something and you thinking of something yourself?

God doesn't always call you to what you want to do.

And, God doesn't always call you to what you don't want to do.

A long time ago I was called by God to spread joy.  Simple.  I love it.  Been doing it ever since.

Now there is a tug of a different kind. 

The joy thing is still there, but there is something else with it, equally joyful and (potentially) awkward.

This will be my quandry for awhile.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Genuine ...

This morning in worship we heard a message about, among other things, the importance of being genuine.  "Genuine," in this case, refers to openness and honesty in our relationships with others.  I was shocked and convicted as I sat listening to the message and subsequent study group discussion.  I was struck with the realization that, often in the daily "blah, blah, blah" of life, I am not genuine in my relationships with others. 

In my daily exchange with people I give in all too often to fear.  Fear of conflict, fear of rejection, fear of unpopularity, fear of I-don't-know-what prevents me from saying what I mean.  I go through life suppressing my feelings, my thoughts, my desires.  Instead, I say things to pacify whoever is at the receiving end of my charming banter - students, family, friends, children, my wife. 

No more (he said, knowing full well that he was full of shit).

If I am going to do things God's way (and, at least I say that's what I want to do), then I have signifcant work to do.  I must eschew my current fear of how I will look in the eyes of others.  I must say what I mean.

Maybe that's the hidden reason behind my unexplained tremors, night sweats, weight gain, hypertension?

Or maybe I'm just a nervous, fat, sweaty, hyper old man.

Hmmmm....   I'm thinking the former.  I need to be more genuine in my life.  When I desire something, I must express that desire.  When I am upset, I must say so.  Happy?  I must let it show.  I must be the genuine person God created me to be.  No apologies.  No excuses.  No hiding.  No inhibition.

Ooh!  Ooh!  I just thought of an old children's song:

"Here I am.
Look at me.
I hope you like
the person you see ..."

There's more, of course, but I can't remember it at the moment (big surprise, huh?).

Look out, world, here I come ... the "genuine" ME.

(Oy vey!!)