Thursday, December 18, 2008

Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible

This is interesting. An impact was made on this entertainer, Penn (who is an atheist), by someone simply being kind and bold. The way he words his response is very thoughtful and intriguing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mute Math - Reset

Brad W. had posted a music video awhile back (the awesomeness known as "Sabotage").

I post this live clip of MuteMath, not only to let people know about them who might not have seen them before, but in anticipation of a new album from them. Should be out soon. This whole band are amazing musicians. The drummer is phenomenal. The interplay between the bass guitar and the drums is fantastic. Fans of rhythm will appreciate this.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Comfort of...Jeans

I saw this commercial the other day. Got me to thinking more about it than I probably should. It had Brett Favre, quarterback extraordinaire, talking about his Wrangler jeans. He spoke about how his dog gives him comfort, and how his jeans do, too. I suppose the guy is unmarried, so his dog is his best friend, I guess? Anyway, it made me think about modern advertising.

So many families are splintered apart. Many individuals experience isolation and a lack of community. While I highly doubt that anyone takes the comfort of blue jeans past a fleeting thought, it's funny the way a company will hire a celebrity to pimp their product with steep claims of satisfaction. Who knows if Mr. Favre is a lonely person in his personal life (heck, he's got his dog), but we all know now that his jeans give him comfort. Even if it is subliminal, someone out there in the world who sees this commercial and is feeling incomplete in some way or another might take to the streets in search of the Wrangler jeans. I know it's silly and ridiculous, but I think this is the power of advertising.

Wrangler paid loads of money to purchase the power of Favre's fame. Favre says these clothes give him comfort. They're trying to sell a product to make money; he's making money from his reputation and talent on the football field. Wrangler has a vested interest in the public's response to Brett Favre and they're betting that you want comfort. To compound the situation with irony, who knows if Favre even wore Wranglers before this commercial contract? I'm sure he has an endless supply now, but does he really find comfort in his jeans?

Some might be laughing or pounding their head on the wall. "Why are you bemoaning this stupid jeans commercial," you might ask. It's because when I listen to what's pounded into us, day in and day out, I find it astounding. Would anyone from the previous century have thought their pants give them comfort?? The pants might've been awful back then, for all I know. Past a strictly functional appreciation of the clothing, would anyone think twice about it? I doubt it. But here we are, all evolved on the brink of 2009, listening to someone who we recognize but don't personally know, talk about how his jeans and dog are a source of comfort for him. How far we've come.

I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for a relationship with God. And I'm thinking I might enjoy some century-old pair of pants that's really scratchy and terrible. At least I wouldn't bank my hopes for joy on them.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Saving the World

I work for a company that's "green." If you're not familiar, that means we're ecologically aware. We try to encourage recycling whenever possible to reduce our carbon footprint. Again, to some a familiar term.... to others, total gibberish.

This being said, I began to really think about this today at work. I'm all for doing our part to reduce waste and keep things clean. However, when you go deeper into this subject, people typically split into two factions. One group typically believes that recycling isn't super-important. They're either supportive of it, but not passionate (that's where I live) or they're totally opposed to it and think it's a waste of time. The other group is strongly supportive, to the point to being dogmatic and even religious about it.

There's two ideologies at work, I believe, that form the basis for these two group's attitudes towards recycling. One mode of thought involves the belief that we're not fully responsible for the ultimate destiny of the earth. The other set of beliefs holds that it is our full and sovereign duty to uphold the earth...or else. While I'm all for doing what we can to save paper, reduce waste, re-use materials, I'm not going to obsess over it and spend all my time and energy to make sure I do that. I'll do it when I can and work to change my habits, but I don't feel dread that, if I don't save everything, the earth will perish. I believe the earth is on a timetable that God is in control of and ultimately, that God will redeem this earth. Do I trash it in the meantime? No. But, I don't feel the weight of the impossible task of trying to sustain the earth.

The second set of beliefs - the ones supporting the belief that we are fully responsible for the sustainability of the earth - doesn't hold to the worldview of a God who's in control, at least as far as I can figure or conclude. If so, why would there be such a push to "save the world," as if we had the ability to even do that? I don't agree with a humanist POV, which imagines it possible that we are not only responsible for saving the planet, but that we are even capable of that feat. Even if every human alive were to be on the same team, in one accord of effort, I don't think we could sustain life or all the resources indefinitely. I don't believe it was meant to be around, in its current state, forever.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trustworthy History

Moving past any sort of political post it seems.......

Was thinking today about history and memories. How things are told. When someone writes a history of something, or even if they write an autobiography, how trusted can that story be? We tend to gloss things over and only "remember" things that are more than likely better than they really were. So, things are subjectively related. How does that make you feel about your own stories? How does it make you feel about what you'd read in school? Or something you're reading now?

We usually make things more dramatic than they truly were, too. "Fish stories," if you will. What do we really know about things in the past? Do we think we're that much different than those who came before us? Maybe not. We all experience the same minutiae, the same seemingly pointless things that don't "mean" anything grand and profound. Those who grew up in generations past were human, just like we are now. They went through the same things we do now, outside of the historical and chronological differences which are unavoidable.

For some reason, I know I find myself somehow imagining that "those people" were so different from myself. Their style, the look on their faces - just don't seem to fit the modern world I inhabit. But something inside me knows this can't be true. I know I came from the same places they came from. I know they went through some of the same struggles I go through now. I know this because we're both participants in the human condition.

Some of the details could be more advantageous to creating a better story, so I can't always trust if something happened just the way it's related. But - I can trust that in the humdrum of normal affairs, that guy from 200 years ago was trying to figure out life the same way I am today.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What Worries Me

OK, it's been awhile since any posts. I was inching towards political "out-of-controlness."

Now that the election's behind us, it's time to look ahead. Obama is in. Our next President and Commander-in-Chief. A good friend, Justin B, had written a wise statement (not sure if he had the original thought, but regardless, it's truth) about B.O. He said that if B.O. had tried to join the FBI, he would've been rejected based on his past associations. Well - now he's leader of the free world.

I got to thinking about the next 4 years. Here's what is worrisome. Because a large majority of the reason for Barack's victory is found in the so-called "youth vote," you can examine some of "youth's" negative tendencies and characteristics. Youth tends to be idealistic and sometimes arrogant (ignorantly casting a blind eye to wisdom). I sense that, because most of the youth will feel this is "their" President, anything said about Barack appearing to be critical will be defended out of pride. Not wanting to own up to any failure (surely this will be inevitable on some situations in the next 4 years, seeing as Obama is green as they come), they will fight, tooth and nail, to justify all of B.O.'s actions and decisions. It will become tied up in their own self-worth. You can bet on this.

The other thing, that has been cited before by many others, is the "racism card." I'm joining the chorus and agreeing that many, many viable disagreements will be written off as "racist." If you disagree or are critical of B.O., you are tagged "racist." Count on this happening. However, if Obama is to get any kind of respect, he will have to call this down and ask for some degree of rationality in judging people's critical eye. Unless he is off-the-charts arrogant (and I believe he's got the intelligence and discernment to realize it), he will do this early on in his administration to get it cleared off the table and dealt with. If he does not address it, I worry for a "bullet-proof" administration that will not accept any criticism and accept only the one-sided praise of its partisan base. That would truly be the "lone ranger" mentality that Bush has been accused of for the past several years.

I do trust that God is in ultimate control and authority. We survived Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. As another friend pointed out, we might do good to settle down and be patient; it takes a Carter to get a Reagan.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama National Anthem

This is great.

Good One

and this one:

These come from this website:

Hilarious site.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Style vs. Substance

Here's the bottom line:

When our country elects an individual to govern our nation, what criteria does one consider?

From some of the feedback I hear after these debates, you'd think that because B. Obama is such an "eloquent" and "smooth" talker, he is the best choice.

Let me say one thing: style is not what's introduced into bills and charisma is not the stuff that decisions are made of.

Whatever substance a candidate has, that is what will factor into how they run a country.

Big Smiles Biden and Land O' Lakes Obama may make for impressive fashion designers, if style is your thing, but I'm thinking issues, policy, judgement, and character are more of an important matter when the direction of a country is at stake.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Vacuum Ripe for Filling
(please copy and paste this link to watch the video listed above. while I don't totally buy into conspiracy theories, I had trouble embedding the video from YouTube, even though I followed all the normal steps to post a video to a blog. Who at YouTube doesn't want me posting this video?)

Disclaimer: I am not proposing or saying that Obama is the anti-Christ. I don't have the capacity or authority to do so. However, I am alarmed at the atmosphere I see around me today. With wars being fought in many nations, with our economy close to ruins, with many families and marriages facing the breaking point, people are in a desperate place. One of the side effects of this situation is the vacuum created for someone to come along and be the focus of people's hope. A sort of savior, if you will. What's seen in this video is one example of the type of false hope I'm referring to. There are other videos of a similar nature, showing a level of faith unfathomable for a mere human to live up to. Obama has an impossible mantle placed on his shoulders by the expectations of so many people.

While this atmosphere is scary and even downright creepy, I see it as an opportunity for people to seek and find a true answer to their troubles. In this time, people looking for hope and someone to worship can look past the confines of our earthly realm and see into eternity. Jesus is the only One worthy of praise and the only One who can bring hope, happiness, and freedom.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Palin - Great Job

I thought Sarah Palin held her own (and how!) tonight in the debate.

She did an awesome job and I really enjoyed how thoughtful, at ease, playful, and knowledgeable she was.


Friday, September 26, 2008

True Colors

This is such an excellent picture to decipher and analyze.

Way to jump to conclusions, guys!
Since we can look back at this and weigh everyone's actions, we discover some telling things. One thing is that John McCain will not avoid the debate, as he's currently on his way to Mississippi now. In fact, there was never any indication that he was "afraid" of meeting Obama at the debate table. He said many times that he wished the two would meet in townhall settings to debate the issues, together, in public.

Another thing we now see is that whoever created this picture (substituting "Bailin" for "Palin" is somewhat clever, admittedly) looks like the fool. Not only are they dressed in a costume so they can't be seen, but they're also displaying the very classy hand gesture for all time. These are the kind of people whose character I admire. Don't you?

John McCain has proved this pre-emptive strike to be false by his actions. Killing two birds with one stone, he showed he was interested in getting things done by being an active part of the solution in Washington AND he will make it to the debate. He led this while Obama was made to follow. Unfortunately for the Leftie creator of this picture, they will have a hard time recovering from the impression they made of being nothing more than a crude slinger of false accusations.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Reading on Historical Matters?

Watching all the current political TV has got me thinking.... and reading. Was just online reading through pages and pages of forum discussions (one I found was on a "physics forum" of all places) about why Bush is so hated these days. The thread got off-topic, like I would assume it would, into all kinds of history of the US involvement in the Mid-East, plus our Cold War with the Soviets. Very fascinating, but one thing that was hilarious is how many people are just spouting stuff that's more opinion and obviously just regurgitated from talk shows, talk radio, etc.

What I'd like to know is if anyone has some good reading about these issues? I'd like intelligent writing, dealing with the subjects listed above, but also about how God is woven through all of it, i.e. how are these world events occurring, from God's perspective? Something that has some Scripture to back it up. There might not be much out there that fits this description. IF there is, please let me know what you know! If I can read up some more, and balance this with prayer and seeing God's heart on the world at large, I could find some revelation, hopefully. In fact, Revelations might be a good book to start in..... but it's a tricky book, in many ways.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Travis : Something Anything

From one of my favorite groups..... this is super catchy and ultra melodic like all their stuff.

Gotta love some Travis (plus, they're Scottish!) ---

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Flesh & Blood

You know how someone can get under your skin and it can drive you crazy, to the point of near obsession? Maybe it's a co-worker or a relative. Maybe it's a classmate from back in the day; you still might have a grudge. The point is, we can become angry (with good reason, many times) and focus on this person. It can eat you up, as you mentally pour over all the little details and what exactly you don't like about the person.

If, in fact, we are right and just in our anger against said person, what should we do? I believe the answer comes from Ephesians 6:12. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." So many times, we focus on this person and see their face in our mind's eye when our anger rises. We hold them personally accountable and hate can take root in our spirit.

If I ask myself what Jesus would do, I think he would look past the obvious and shallow first layers that our reactions usually lead us to. Jesus fully engaged the spiritual realm when He walked this earth. He looked into that realm and spoke to the active parties. One thing I can learn from this is to ask the Lord for wisdom and to pray into what's really happening. In my earthly "wisdom" I can perceive lots of motives and become very angry at the person. However, with the extra firepower of God's Spirit, I'm more inclined to know the heart of the matter. More importantly, I could begin praying for the person instead of cursing them in my anger.

Now the question arises: can you always hold the "spiritual realm" fully accountable for a person's actions? When does the person take some sort of responsibility for their actions and attitudes? This is where I'm not sure. I don't know how to discern when a person is responsible for their own actions versus when to target the "spiritual forces of evil" that might be acting through that individual. For me, this is when I lean on prayer and God's wisdom.

This makes me think, though. When we engage in warfare of the physical, like what's happening now in the Middle East, we are not shooting ammunition of prayer at our enemies. It's bullets that infilct the mortal wound. How do I reconcile this to our struggle not being against the flesh and blood we're killing? Sometimes this is necessary, I suppose.

When I ask for the heart of Jesus in a situation, I believe He sees the person's heart I'm having trouble with. I believe He sees this person from the day they were a baby until the present time. Take the darkest example of our time: Hitler. God created this guy. God loves Hitler, the person, devoid of all the evil actions he inspired and carried out. God saw little boy Hitler, playing in a field. God saw the young man, Hitler, who wanted to be an artist and get into art school. (an aside: I really think the person on the board of that art school where Hitler was denied access had a huge amount of regret. Who knows what the world would've been like if the only mention we heard of Adolf Hitler was a brief news clip of some fringe artist whose work sold for a moderate amount at a New York auction?). God sees the heart. This leads me to believe I should always pray for the salvation of a person and ask for God's mercy on their life, regardless of my own anger towards the actions of that person.

Because God sees the heart and because each person is, in the end, accountable for the sum total of their life's choices, there is a judgement on each person. So, even though we can look to the spiritual realm and battle in spiritual warfare, we can't place all blame on said spiritual realm, leaving the person totally innocent. "The devil made me do it," doesn't get a pass here. At some point, the person is responsible. This is tough, though, because the person might go their whole life and be blind to the fact that they were steered and prodded by an unseen realm. Kind of like the Matrix, when Morpheus is revealing to Neo what's really happening beneath the surface.

I don't know all these things. I can only lean on the Spirit of God to give me His heart for people. Let God be the judge of the secrets of men's hearts and agendas.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Punching in the dark while being mad at the wrong guy

Now, if that's not a title for a blog entry, I don't know what is.

Was thinking about how people, in general, react to God. God gets alot of blame. I mean, ALOT. He's blamed for not doing anything to save our world when things are so bad, He's blamed for not existing (is that even possible?), He's blamed for being too much of a control freak. There appears to be so much contradiction in all these accusations.

What I find most curious is how people blame God for the state of the world. "It's so bad. There's evil everywhere. Why doesn't God DO anything??" We have free will, people. Secondly, people blame God and Christianity for being so "rule-oriented" and don't like how they'd have to conform to someone else's standards. Hell, who am I kidding? I don't like it either. We're human - we revolt against being under anyone's thumb. Plus, I just said "hell" in a post about "religion." Now I'm freaking out because of my legalistic upbringing.

People (myself included at different points in my life) just have a problem with God, period. They want someone who will just step in a fix things. Well, God has ordained us with free will and humanness. We are apt to do evil things and have wild mood swings. That's who we are. So, God has decided not to run the earth with a totalitarian choke hold. I respect that. People, in general, also don't like it when God sets standards and rules that are, in the long view, for our own good. He designed us and knows us better than we do. Our independent nature revolts against that. We want it both ways.

When the crap hits the fan and life gets messy, we find ourselves being "mad at God." Why does God make this happen? Why has God done this? We need to break down the situation a little more. Much (notice I didn't say "all" - "much" is what was said) happens due to our own choices and the fallout from it all. We bear the weight of our own consequences. When bad things happen to us that are in no relation to our control, we become victims of evil. We are touched by darkness. LIke many have heard before, this is the devil's greatest victory (I believe C.S. Lewis said that): No one thinks he exists. By default, God gets the brunt of the blame.

We find ourselves punching in the dark while being mad at the wrong guy. We're frustrated and angry at God. In reality, God is our hope in these situations. We live in a world where bad things happen to us, either from our own hand or from the hand of another. God is our friend, reaching out a hand to us, looking to step in when invited. Sadly, we easily fall into the trap of turning our backs and eating the bitter pill of stubborn independence.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I'm an Uncle

Well, well.... finally, the day has arrived. I am now an Uncle.
Even more importantly, my younger brother, Clay and his wife, Deborah, have become parents.

They have experienced not only the miracle of childbirth but a miracle of life, in general. I won't go into any more detail than to say that Clay and Deborah weren't given a high chance of having children. God apparently has different opinions than doctors, in this situation. To say that God has proved Himself the keyholder in their circumstance is an understatement. He has opened a door only He has the power to open. It's amazing to see God prove Himself and to bless the life of my brother and sister-in-law.

Little Daniel Fields Kirkland was born Saturday, August 2nd, at 4:21 in the p.m. From first glance at his eyes, he looks like my bro. I'll see him in person tomorrow, so I can give more accurate feedback then. But, the eyes say Clay. I've heard that the mouth and nose look like Deborah. Now, I won't go into facial feature debates here on the blog, but I have to say the kid is

I am so happy and excited for Clay and Deborah. I've got a wonderful (nearly) 4 years of fatherhood under my belt and it's taught me so much. I have different perspectives, values, and feelings that were never present pre-baby. Your emotional spectrum takes a huge leap and you learn to love someone like you never have before. Your own child. You get a more accurate and immediate glimpse into the heart of God the Father than previously possible. It truly rocks your world.

It will be fun to see Clay and Deborah experience this firsthand. It will be so much fun to have our families experience life together as we continue to expand and grow in years to come. God is good.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Home

OK. We bought a house. So... we've been busy. That's my official excuse on why there's been no new posts in nearly 2 months.

It's great to be homeowners once again. We're in the process of settling in and still moving the last few loads of possessions (there's always more, it seems). Getting used to where things are in a new location. Meeting new neighbors. All that fun stuff.

I post a picture of Henry in front of the new place. Grass is still uncut and out-of-control in this one! I just cut it today, thank you.

Anyway, just wanted to post an update. Look forward to reconnecting with all the blogosphere once things settle down.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Night to Remember

Last night, we went out with some friends of ours from the small group at our church. Being Korean, they treated us to an experience like no other.

First we traveled to Duluth, which is home to "Koreatown." Check out Wikipedia's page about Koreatowns in the US. Atlanta is smokin!
We ate at this incredible restaurant. Honey Pig. Bam!

Lastly, we travelled down the road to enjoy some Korean Karaoke at DoReMi Karaoke Bar.

There is nothing more to say.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If I had the extra time/ Dream College

Was thinking today about how, if I had the extra time, I would love to invest time in a couple of subjects. I would enjoy reading/studying some various eras in history, particularly Russian and Asian (Japanese, Chinese, etc) history. For some reason, everytime I'm at the bookstore (which, by the way, I'm about to visit with Henry on my day off...), I find myself wanting to read some biography of an emperor or dictator. Not that I'm aspiring to mimic one of these typically ruthless men, I'm just curious to know the origins and backgrounds of these countries. I do read into these things, but it's usually when I'm on vacation. Even then, I only get through about 1/3 of the book. It's the effort that counts, right?

I also am currently interested, again, in Economics. In high school, I became intensely fascinated with finances after playing the Stock Market Game in 10th grade Econ class. It was awesome. Not that we "won" big on Wall Street on anything, but the whole process and gigantic mechanism of "the Market" blew me away. Recently, I invested a fairly small amount of money in some ETF's using ING's ShareBuilder website. It's fun to check on the ticker symbols throughout the day to see how it's performing. Somehow, I see myself checking out the Financial magazines and books at the bookstore this time around.

Anyway, what are some of your favorite hobbies and/or areas of interest? Something you'd love to do more of, if time allowed?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thoughts about kids

I'm amazed at the range of emotions you can go through in a day with your kids.

On a Sunday, I have the kids for at least half the day before Laura is back on the team (b/c she's working at the church). However, today, I had them from rise 'n' shine until 6 pm. Laura went to a shower for our sister-in-law, Deborah, directly after church.

From the get-go, I really wanted to sleep later than 7am. This was not to be. Henry was raring to go. As he rolled around the bed (he and I shared the bed), fussing to get out, Zoe woke up around 7:15 and came to join us. When she got into the bed, Henry was fully ready to jet. Zoe was kind of into the sleeping-later thing, with her head on the pillow, but Henry wouldn't have it. He whined/cried/fidgeted until he fell right off the bed. Fortunately, there was a pillow underneath him as he floated down the side of the dresser and met the floor.

He cried and it was really only because of being scared of falling. He wasn't injured. So, we all got up at that point. My adrenaline was pumping.

After getting the bottle of formula going for Henry and preparing Zoe's bagel (untoasted, with cream cheese, and "closed" --- both halves together, like a sandwich), I set about grinding/brewing the coffee and making some cheese eggs. I got darn close to hitting the magic mix of cheese and eggs that Waffle House does. Henry and I have shared this plate of breakfast glory a couple times before.... I see the tradition forming. He could've eaten more, if I had made more.

Anyway... the day went on..... after returning from church, we went into play mode. Henry slept for awhile. I so wanted nap-time to visit us simultaneously, but Zoe didn't give in. We watched "Lady and the Tramp" --- again. I then found Zoe's closed bagel from the morning time...... on the floor, slightly pressed into the carpet. Oy. She began her routine of changing clothes countless times in one day. I watched her dance and clapped. I got Henry out of the bed and changed his diaper. I made him lunch ..... and picked up the destruction that laid beneath his chair afterwards. I let Zoe watch some gymnastics that were on TV. She then started jumping on beds and couches. I had to watch and she wanted me to clap, but I was torn between thinking how cute she was and how bad it was for her to jump on the furniture. I finally had to put the discipline foot down because Henry was wanting to copy her.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon before Laura's return, I picked up toys several times.... I told Zoe about how I was picking up her "costumes" for her and that I was doing her work for her.... but she didn't really take too well to that. I went through the rollercoaster of feelings: frustration, wanting to just take a Sunday afternoon nap, almost crying because you realize how amazing children are and what hilarious, cute little people they are, getting angry because the kids won't mind, realizing how many things could possibly go wrong in a day but don't thanks to the grace of God, doing so much cleaning that is basically running in circles because you never catch up.

Several things:

- I highly respect any Mom (or any parent) that keeps kids during the day. It's alot of work.
- Does God feel this way about us??
- Children are a blessing. They are amazing. My heart bursts with love for our kids.

OK, that was alot of blog right there. Maybe it was like a dam bursting because I haven't blogged in about a month's time. I hope to get back on a more frequent schedule. Work has kept me captive.

Peace to all the blogosphere.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Opposite Way

I'm fully obsessed right now with a song by the group, Leeland. It's called, "Opposite Way." It's pretty direct in lyrics, but the beauty is in the simplicity. Musically, it's my favorite sort: somewhat melancholy, with passionate, yearning vocals...intense, slightly distorted guitar...piano underpinning the whole arrangement...propulsive percussion...a pace that builds to a cathartic release at the end. By the end, you want to jump out of your seat or your skin or whatever and just praise Jesus.

The song's theme has been creeping up everywhere lately. This, I have no doubt, means that God is really trying to be clear with me. He's leading me to carve out a lifestyle that is the "opposite way" of the world's frenetic pace. Not that it's all about a speed issue, but it's more of a values thing. And I don't mean a political "family values" thing, either. It's keeping first the kingdom of God before all else.

Before work.

Before music.

Before dreams.

Before busy-ness.

Before all the other things that push and shove and try to wrangle a place in line for my attentions and affections.

While the world is rushing about trying to obtain things that only temporarily salve the universal emptiness we all experience without Christ, God is calling to me today to begin making life changes. He's asking me to change everything. He knows I cannot in any way do this in my own weak, human effort. So, He's asking me, in effect, to ask Him for all I need. God knows that I am complete in Jesus. He will add all the necessary "stuff" I have to have on this earth, effortlessly. I needn't fear that.

So, although I'm not in any way close to that destination, I am hearing His voice and walking in that direction. One step at a time. My heart and mind are being transformed to hunger and seek to know God.

I've been in a slumber too long and the season is now. Thanks to a young band named Leeland for being the messenger.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

10 Random Things.

Tagged by Bill P.

Here goes:

1) I'm a clean freak. Wash my hands all the time and I love to clean. Bathrooms (showers, toilets), sinks. Vacuuming, too.

2) At some point in elementary school, I started "drumming" by clicking my teeth. When I would be hearing a song playing or just humming one in my head, I had an elaborate system of pressures and lengths I would hold the "click" to make a drum sound. It probably looks weird to others. It sounds amazing to my inner ear. I might say this contributed to my need for orthodontic helps.

3) My first computer was a Commodore 64. "Karataka" was our first game.

4) The first concert I went to was with FUMC youth group. It was Amy Grant at the Omni. The Omni has since been imploded and Amy Grant has....not.

5) My nickname as a youngster was "Moses." A swim teacher kept having to call me to jump in and get with the group because I was "moseying" along. I think I was daydreaming.

6) I used to stutter (it was more like hesitant speech; I would start the sound of a word and couldn't finish. Had to do with breathing) as a kid. This, too, was a good reason for the "Moses" nickname.

7) I was once so jealous of our babysitter playing with my brother and not playing with me that I broke the panel of a window. We had one of the "behind-your-real-house" barns as a kid. I was swinging one of those hollow plastic baseball bats (ones with a fat end). The more upset I got, the harder I hit the glass on the barn window. It broke. My Dad said I'd have to pay for the damages with my allowance, but it never went that far.

8) I once tried to invite Cameron Diaz to our employee Christmas party when I worked at the hotel in NYC. I was quite intoxicated (just being honest, folks). I knew she was staying in the joint and I knew which room. I knocked on the door several times, but no answer. Thank the Lord she wasn't there.

9) When I was a kid, I called into the radio show of a local Christian station. I dedicated a song to my grandmother. I won the contest. I was able to go to the bookstore and pick out an album (that's right, kiddies... an LP). My choice: Mylon LeFevre and Broken Heart. I think it was the "Sheep in Wolves' Clothing" one.

10) A pet peeve of mine is when someone uses the microwave, but doesn't use the full amount of time they programmed in. Then, when I glance at the microwave's screen to see what time it is, I get freaked for a half-second when I'm guessing it's about 7pm and the screen reads: ":23" I hate that.

I really could go on. But that, dear readers, is enough information.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Poem

The Orbital Journey of the Heart

small beats that feel the distance
can’t fathom your history
nightmare you put behind

angry outbursts punctuate
the grey, unsettled sky of your spirit
tension always underneath the surface
realization stings that you won’t be easy

slight crack in the wall
on a night drive home
marks the start of my compassion

hurt and hate
molten throughout years
to form my stubborn core
Now it lessens

push and pull
in grown-up years
relationship grows richer
maturity reveals insight

foolish phantoms of assumption
exiled forever
your healing becoming stronger

Travel forward in my mind
to your end
Imagine me standing at your funeral
clapping for you

I see you as a survivor
I applaud you for your courage
I watched the Hand of grace in your life
I am on your side.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

We are in a new house (kind of)

So...... in response to some feedback about my not posting or commenting much lately (I mean...come on!! Last one was Monday, 1/28!)..... I will tell you what's been going on. We moved from our previous abode (renting it, I might add) in Lee's Crossing to my grandparent's old house on Hope St. My grandmother still owns it, technically, but my Dad is the estate comptroller (just wanted to use that sweet-a** word). So, we're renting this bad boy.

It's hilarious to be living in the house you used to visit often as a kid. It's this same layout that's buried in my memories, but now it's got Laura's famous decorative touch and our kids are running around in it. Surreal can't even begin to touch what I'm getting at. The weirdest things are:

- the pantry in the dining room still has this distinct smell that brings back childhood like a mutha.
- I can still picture Grapenuts, Vienna Sausages, and Cracklin' Oat Bran in the pantry. This was NOT a fun destination for snack food as a small child.
- the little mirror/medicine cabinets in the bathrooms (so old skool, yet cool!)
- the massive sliding doors on closets and pantries that can get "off track" and not roll correctly.
- the stencils of ducks on random objects in the kitchen
- the hideous stenciling in the utility room (that was BIG in the mid-to-late 80's)
- lying in my grandparent's bedroom, which is now our bedroom, staring at the wall and thinking, "this is the same frickin' POV I had when I was a kid taking a nap in this room with my grandma! Whoa!"
- how small the backyard is now that I'm a grown-up
- how big that small tree I remember as a kid is now

I could go on, but you get the point. It's a great house. I'm nearly right across the street from David Eldridge and his family, which is a bonus, as we've been great friends since high school. We are enjoying the place and still need to find a home for all the contents in boxes in the carport, but that's news for another post..... I will try to post some pictures soon.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Unseen Worlds

No, this is not a post about aliens or other galaxies. Yes, I'm a fan of some classic sci-fi films, but that's going into territory I don't touch.

I have this thought that comes into my mind sometimes about other cultures and countries I've never seen before. I'll be driving around town or shuffling through the myriad lists of things I have to do and I'll think:

There are places I have never seen, people I have never encountered, areas I will never set foot in...... that have been around for as long as Marietta/Georgia - or much longer. They have histories, their share of ups and downs, people just like me who are living life, day to day. There are millions of people living in this city of Atlanta. I only know a tiny fraction of those persons. This is only one city in the United States.

It blows me away to think of all the cities, houses, peoples and communities that function like a mad, chugging factory every, single day. To take it even further, think of all the generations of people that have passed before us. Think of all the nations, civilizations, and governments that have existed.

This is mind-blowing. It makes me realize how ridiculous our culture is in 2008. We can be so ultra-focused on how we look, how we feel, and how we're measuring up. We are quite confident and proud of ourselves.

We're a small drop in the ocean of time. And God's seen it all.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Props to the Hen-Man

OK, the time is due to give some "propahs" to my little 1.5 year-old son, Henry (aka "Hen-man," "Henny"). You see the amazing Zoe's picture everytime I post on the blog or post a comment elsewhere, since she's my icon picture. She resides in the spotlight, so Henry is moving up for a turn. I'm including some pictures, which I know will produce the "oohs" and "ahs" from the womenfolk in the audience. I will predict, too, that I'll have more response to this post than any of my recent ones. What kind of world do we live in when a post on miracles or Top 5 guitarists gets the hand and one with a cute kid shuts down the server because of overload? Hey, I would give some attention to this kid, too, because he IS cute and he IS awesome.

Now, to explain the pictures:

This is from our annual family Christmas party this year. The theme (yes, we have themes) was "Mafia Christmas." I was chowing down on some pasta when I went a little too hard on my plastic fork. My hand is frozen in the same position where the fork last was on the plate. Truly, the fork snapped in half, my hand went down to the edge of the plate, and like a catapult, I sent noodles flying for about 4 feet to my right. You can see some noodles still on my black overcoat. Henny is chilling beside me, eating (as always.....kid loves food) some noodles with his hair slicked back. You can see Zoe in the background, too.

This second one is from Henry's birthday party this year. The inevitable "first party." It was fun, for sure. This picture was taken by our friend, Matt Swanson, on his phat daddy camera. As you can see, the lens on that bad boy is superior. It looks like a postcard, complete with perfectly placed beams of sunlight cutting across the chalkboard, and highlighting Henny's spiked-up hair.

Word. Enjoy the boy. He's the coolest.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


I have a feeling this will be long >>>>

I got to thinking about "the miracles question" today: Do Miracles Still Happen?

Something in the wording of that question hints at randomness. More to the point of what I was thinking is "Does God Still Perform Miracles Today?"

The main thing that sparked my thinking was all the things in the past few years that have happened to people we know. People who've had terminal illnesses; Laura's sister, Bekah, who was in the car accident; my brother and his wife trying to have a baby.
In all of these situations, a miraculous healing either did or didn't take place. Several people from our church did not survive their bouts with cancer. Much prayer went up to heaven on their behalf. Does God not exist because they weren't healed? Or, in a worse scenario, does God not care for some people enough to heal them? I believe we have to release these situations to God, in His sovereignty and wisdom. We cannot see all the angles; we cannot fathom the reasons that make up the big picture. For whatever reasons, God either does perform a miracle or He does not, in any given situation.

When I go through this mental journey, I have to look at the historical record. In the Old Testament, God has a long, varied track record of performing supernatural feats to show His power. Old Testament's record of God's miracle-performing power: check. Look to the New Testament. Jesus - the embodiment of God on the earth - performed miracles during his ministry here. Wherever Jesus went, miracles flowed out of His presence. Crowds swarmed around Him to "get a piece" of the power to see healing in their lives. New Testament's record of God's miracle-performing power: check. It's in God's nature and character to perform miracles.

So, what's the deal today?

From all the accounts I've heard and read, supernatural healings and miracles of all sorts are occurring at a higher rate in other nations besides America. I believe this is because of the lack of pride and humanistic thinking in these areas. Places such as South America, Latin America, parts of Asia --- these are the outposts of miracles today. People who are desperate for God to move and have full faith in God to do miraculous works will see it happen. We, in America, are much more prone to be cynical or to look for solutions in ourselves. In many cases, we block the work of God because of our self-reliance.

Much of this goes to the subject of the medical field. I believe medicine is miraculous. Much of what has been discovered and put into practice these days is amazing. However, the praise for this advancement of medical science is more often than not going to the people that forge it. Ever since technology has grown and advanced in the past couple of centuries, humanity has, in its weakness, taken credit for so many things and become self-absorbed. Because we can now do so much, we don't really have a need for God, some would say. Medicine and science will eventually find a way to solve all of our problems. Right?

When we get to the point where we're out of options, where nothing is working that we thought would.....when we are desperate..... then God will move...... sometimes. I believe that desperation leads to more miracles being performed. Not to say that everything will be solved by a miraculous intervention of God; this side of heaven won't ever be perfect. But I do believe that when an atmosphere of revival is present and when the spiritual hunger of a people reaches a near fever-pitch, healing will be the doctor of the day. God will show His power over created order. Medicine and science will not be able to explain.

Still, not all will believe or accredit the praise to God. There will always be doubts and other explanations until everyone is laid bare before the Person of God. So, does God shy away from miracles or use them as a "last-ditch effort" because He doesn't want people to view Him as only a vending machine of healing magic or a cool magician? Possibly.

OK, enough thoughts on this for now. That was a very long post.

There Will Be Blood

Being a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson's work, I'm excited to be hearing all the buzz about his latest film:

There Will Be Blood.

P.T. Anderson excels in many areas of filmmaking: writing, directing ensembles, visual design & camerawork. I believe he's one of the modern masters of the medium. My personal favorite of his is Magnolia, an amazing piece of storytelling while, although brutal, shines through with redemption in the end.

One aspect that's exciting about TWBB is Daniel Day-Lewis' acting. I've read this is a jaw-dropping performance. I'm a fan of Day-Lewis' work from years past, especially My Left Foot and In The Name of The Father. Extremely talented and intense, he's one of the best actors of this generation. To see his acting paired with P.T. Anderson's directing will be powerful.

The other very exciting aspect of the movie is that Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead has performed the original music. I've read that it revolutionizes the way music works with a movie. J. Greenwood is already an incredible guitarist in his own right (as I've mentioned in the post-before-last), so to see him translate that talent into a movie soundtrack is intriguing.

Anyone interested in seeing this? I foresee a caravan to the theater.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Small Bite of Nostalgia

I like to dabble in poetry, from time to time. It's a fun exercise in being focused and capturing images/feelings in an abstract way.

If any of you visited Lake Koinonia in Woodstock, GA. back when "the posse" lived up there in the mid-to-late 80's/early 90's, then you've had the groundwork done for you. Here it is, entitled, "The Lake."

Crawling fearfully across an empty lake
via the enormous log bridge
Clutching and fearing the worst
the silt below seeming like quicksand
Exploring the unchartered territory
as a shoe falls down and drowns

The creepy shack
on a hill across the way
Abandoned and run down
We walk through
and conquer any lies
we imagined

Building forts and platforms on trees
Swinging from ski ropes
Mud smells and dries crusty

Bell rings for supper
Moccasins hiding under docks
Camping overnight
Four-wheelers up and down the dam
Little brother on his back

Many memories
locked away
with the burnt-red sunsets
of those magic hours