Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Stones Of Life

I know it's been awhile since my last post but the last month of summer is always a whirlwind of activity around our house as it is most households. Getting ready for school, savoring the last moments of unscheduled bliss, and just trying to escape the August heat absorbs most of our time and attention. So my wife and I were really looking forward to the long Labor Day Weekend to unwind. Of course, we all know how the story ends when you are planning some rest and relaxation . . .

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Madea's Wisdom

"The person you will be ten years from now is largely determined by the friends you keep and the books you read today." Unknown

I think I'm in some real trouble. (Just kidding . . . )

My favorite books are anything by C.S. Lewis, the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks (except for the Knight Series, just can't dive into that series for some reason), the Artemis Fowl chronicles, (yes, I realize that most of the books listed above are for young adults but I'll bet you'd enjoy them too.) and all types of biographies, history, christian wisdom, and detective stories.

As for my choice of friends I feel I'm faring much better in this realm. I have friends that I can tell my darkest secrets and not feel judged or condemned. I am blessed that I have friends that if I needed them any time of the day or night I could call and they would make time for me. Friends that are know how to have fun but also run deep. I try to be this kind of friend to them also though I'm pretty sure that they far surpass me in these areas.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


I have to confess that I'm experiencing a bad case of daughter withdrawals. My 5 year old child is visiting my parents and it has been over a week since her departure. From all accounts she is handling it better than I am.

Independence is a trait that I used to value more highly than I presently do. Being confident in who you are and carving out your own trail is the American way. Yet, to watch independence burst forth in your own child has turned out to be a whole different matter. 

At the age of 3 my daughter was already comfortable spending days without Mom and Dad while visiting my parents who live over 600 miles away. Last year she was gone for over 23 days during one of these visits before I finally jumped in my car and made the long trip to retrieve my beautiful daughter.

"Why are you picking me up so soon Daddy?" was the loving reply I was met with.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Driving In Memphis

I spent a few hours in Memphis, TN this week and was moved by a couple of the places I visited. One was the Stax Studio Museum and the other was the Lorraine Motel. This blog post will be focusing on the famous Stax Studio. Stax's artists have been well known to me but I didn't realize the diversity of talent that lived around this Memphis neighborhood. Aretha Franklin, Maurice White, David Porter, Memphis Slim, Booker T, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and Issac Hayes just to mention a few.

The Stax Museum has an excellent documentary that showcases some of the artists and the great music that was recorded there. The house band that played on most of the Stax tracks was the group that was also known as Booker T and the MG's. The studio later fell into bankruptcy and was torn down. They have re-built the Stax museum on the same location and even built a reproduction of the studio, complete with sloping floor. Some of the sound equipment in the original studio used to be the sound system for the movie theater that occupied the building before it became Stax's.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Biggest Rock

We would probably all agree that one of the most troubling facets of the current Middle East situation is the very real possibility that the violence will escalate. In a part of the world that reaches for weapons before striving for diplomacy, peace has lost its hopefulness. There are little moments of compassion but a massive renewal of hatred. Even the weakest part of society, little children, are not protected in this conflict. In fact, they are being used as pawns without apparent guilt.

Might is the only path that many nations travel and saving face and honor is a primary motivation. History shows us that nations that rely on aggression and violence rarely maintain peace at home. When civilizations trade the Christian beliefs of "love your neighbor as you love yourself" for the "eye for an eye" philosophy we have fallen off the right path.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Which Compass Today?

It's no surprise to anyone who has known me for any length of time that I'm moody. Mood's come and go as often as I change clothes or television channels and without warning or reasons. When I told my parents that I was getting married my Dad's immediate response was, "Does she know how moody you are?" We've been married now over seven years but he was right to be worried about that part of my character.

I liked to use the excuse that as an artist I my personality was dominated by my emotions, this was just part of the "artist package personality." I've come to realize that even though my capacity for mood swings are still present they don't have to dominate my responses. Like everything else in my life, I have a choice to submit to a greater authority. Which sort of leads me to what I've been thinking about today.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Prayer Of Apology

Sitting here thinking,
How many times I've hurt you
You absorbed the cruelest daggers
You chose to forget them all

Rebellion were my clothes of choice
Anarchy, not faith ran through my blood
Why did I run from Your love of ages?
What deception plagued my true sight?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Schedule Wars

My wife and I had another discussion last night regarding how we plan our children's summer schedule. What prompted this discussion (yes, this is a code word for what every married couple on the planet knows is an argument) was how children (not just ours) act during this time of year.

My wife (who should have been a beatnick) feels like summer is the time to let kids be kids before the responsibilities of adulthood conform them to faceless numbers like it does everyone else. I agree with part of that argument (the letting them have more fun part) but I feel there are several problems with totally embracing that view.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Just a quick post about something that I believe all of us parents struggle with and that is scheduling our time. Time for our children, time for our career, time for ministries, (the first draft I typed mistresses) time for your spouse (who I love more than life itself), time for yourself and time with God. I've noticed that when I'm dividing my focus between my daughter and something else she will look at me and say, "Daddy, both eyes on me." This is her not so subtle way of saying that I need to be with her fully in that moment, not pretending to care and trying to accomplish something else.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Location, Location, Location

Someone e-mailed me with a question after reading my post titled "Summer". The question was kindly worded but still blunt in its nature. "Why, since you hate hot weather, have you lived in the south pretty much all of your life?" Here was my reply.

"God." Oh, you need more explanation?  Okay, I want to stress that God has never whispered in my ear and said, "Live in the South oh mortal, it is thee fields I have planted for you to resideth in . . ." (KJV) I believe, through faith, that God has a plan for where I live along with a plan for the rest of my decisions great and small on this planet and for the world to come. How do I know what that is? Great question.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I have to confess to an extreme dislike of all hot and humid weather. Yet, since I have lived in the south for most of my life, this is the norm for around seven months of the year. Today it is particular hot, even before 9:00 a.m. The pets are already panting and they're inside! But it started me thinking of all the ways we tried to keep cool before water parks and sometimes air conditioning!

First, like most kids, we used the water hose. This was a short-term solution because very quickly the water became hot. Second was to find a friend / location with a pool. I grew up in a lower middle-class community and this wasn't an option. Time to get creative . . .

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Moments Of Silence

"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." - Henry Ford

"Not until we have become humble and teachable . . . distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours." - J. I. Packer

It never fails to surprise me when the trees call and the mountains smile and the grass dances . . . and I finally notice. How long has that been going on? Is beauty still showing off despite my indifference? How many years has nature gazed at mankind and our constant movement to and fro?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Cereal Box

It's been a while since I lasted posted but I wanted to pose a question to my fellow internet community. Do you feel any safer now than you did a year ago? Are we so concerned with the survival of our SUV's that we don't really gaze down the road of our country's future? When is the last time you and your friends discussed the state of America? Not the usual political diatribe but a calm discussion of the direction our leaders are guiding us toward.

Now before I'm shouted down with the standard "you're either with us or against us" rhetoric let me tell you a story about a boss I used to work for. We had the usual staff meetings where the loudest problems were discussed and when the meeting inevitably started to stray he would stand up and shake a box of cereal that he kept near his chair and say, "Too much attention to the box and not enough attention to the cereal." And he was right.