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Friday, August 31, 2007

writing and words...

Well, we recorded in the studio last night again...a good ole' 6-midnight session! We're working on a new song I wrote called, "I'll say it again". It's about saying things over and over again and getting sick of saying the same things to God ad nausea like: I love you, I need you, Help me, Forgive me (that's a huge one for me), etc. But as the title of the songs states, we've got to say these things again, cause these are the words that we need to utter and God longs to hear. The chorus says, "But I'll say it again, Jesus I need You. I've come to the end, of living without You. I've said it before, but I'll say it once more, I'm Yours." It's simple, but it's what I was feeling a little while back and God gave me a sweet melody line to put with the lyrics. We've been in the studio for two days on that song and we're still not done...it's somewhat extensive. I can't wait for people to hear it.

I love writing. I love writing songs, blogs and letters. I love writing emails, sermons and journal entries. I love reading good writings of authors who obviously love writing themselves. I love hanging out with people who love writing and writings. There is a kindred spirit I feel with that select demographic of society. I learned a couple new words today I'm trying to commit to memory. One is quixotic...it means romantic or idealistic. I like that one alot. Another one is prepossessed...it means something along the lines of obsessed or hold hostage to something. That captured me as well. One that I commited to memory last week was chimera. That means A fanciful mental illusion or fabrication...I have those alot...so I needed to know how to describe them.

I don't know why I enjoy words so...I find myself mulling over them and finding enjoyment in playing with them. I'm not very intellectual, my mental faculties aren't those of a luminary, so I've had to fight for all the vocabulary I've got...I read, I study, I ponder, I memorize, I listen hard and stay aware as often as I can to the language of those around me. I find communication to be of greatest importance...when it's done well, I know how moved I can be. It's one of the primary ways we influence people and affect change. I want to affect as much movement and change as I can in my lifetime...and words are crucial to that end.

It in no way diminishes the importance of living...words are only secondary to living the life, but if you want to transfer your life to another being, if you want to pass along your deepest longings and most cherished dreams, it's sad to not have the words to be that bridge people need to get to where you're trying to take them. It certainly isn't enough to keep saying, "I don't know how to describe what I'm feeling" or "I don't know how to explain what I'm thinking"...we can't settle for that...God gave us language to help us reproduce our affections and musings and wonderments. To not strive to improve our language is to accept defeat at the hands of ignorance. IGNORing is not an option...and I believe Christians should be some of the most ambitious humans as it relates to language and the arts because we believe they all find their source in the Creator God.

Anyway...I hope my daughters come to love language as much as I do. I was outside cutting down a tree today and Taylor, who recently turned four, yelled out, "Dad, I found a chrysalis!" There was something about hearing the word chrysalis come out of her mouth that just melted me. I asked her where she learned that word and she said, "Kami". So I asked Kami where she learned that word and she said, "Reading a book." Hmmm. I don't think I learned the word chrysalis until I was in college.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say...I guess I'm not trying to say anything really...just getting some thoughts out there...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

beautiful

"Beautiful."

This was the last word that came out of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's mouth when her husband asked her how she felt just before her death. She was a famous 19th century writer who obviously was loved very well by her husband. Of all the words that would come to a woman's mind laying on her deathbed, how many would choose beautiful to describe how they felt seconds before passing to the other side. I wouldn't even have to venture to say precious few.

It stopped me dead in my tracks when I read this. I wondered what my wife would say. All kinds of words started pouring into my head almost instantaniously. I think many a woman might identify with some of these words that pestered me this morning. Here are several that found a place to land in the runway of my head.

"Forgettable" - Oh, that my wife would know that I think about her often and that my thoughts are fond. I want her to know that she is not out of mind when she is out of sight. Her spirit is with me even when her body is not.

"Miserable" - Oh, that my wife would know that I joined her in her suffering and shared in her conflict. I want her to know that I will not leave her alone in her misery, but will seek to carry her through dark times with the ardor of my love.

"Replaceable" - Oh, that my wife would know that she is a preeminant priority in my life. I want her to know that nothing could come in between her and I no matter how "significant" or "important" that thing may be to our culture. Her place in my life is unrivaled.

"Laughable" - Oh, that my wife would know that she is meaningful and taken seriously by my soul. I listen to her advice and cherish her thoughts. I want her to feel brilliant because I listen intently to her musings and take them to heart. It would kill me if she felt worthless and stupid.

"Unloveable" - Oh, that my wife would know that she is above all loved. I want to fight through every wall to see her, to really see the real her under the surface of everyday survival. I want to aggresively press past the exterior to the interior world of my wife...when I finally get there, I want to love the hell out of her, and then tenderly love the heaven into her. I want her to feel like she was prized as the jewel of greatest price in my heart.

I could only hope that she would say "beautiful" if you asked her how she felt today. If other words come to her lips...I have been an active part in putting them there. God, help me to love my wife with such love that she can pass from this life to the next with words like beautiful dripping off her pursed lips.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

fear and friendship...

So it's my Monday...everyone else's Saturday. In less than an hour, band practice will commence the breakneck pace of the pastor. It will be a blur until 1:00pm on Sunday afternoon. I will lead and read, talk and balk, listen and glisten, play and pray...people will come to this building on 1069 N. Hudson and get their weekly download from God and serve their tails off. Some will come to serve, some will come to sing, some will come to get sermonized, some will come to get pastorized, some will simply watch the show wondering whether it's real or an affectation.

I've studied today and feel confident the Lord has some stuff to share will us. I feel like a woman about ready to give birth...my heart wants to birth this mass of growing life inside of me called a sermon. There are contractions and cramps...some would call it butterflies, some would call it nerves, some would call it restlessness, I call it labor pain. The pain of the prophet just before he cracks open the cry of God. Every week I feel a shortness of breath, a weakness in the knees, a nervous twitch in my chest cavity...and every week I walk through the fears, the insecurities, the attacks, the accusations, the exhilerations, and the gut-wrenching abdominal pain that smarts with a message from the Word. The Word.

Everyone thinks I'm so dauntless and poised...what they don't know is that I am just about doubled over like a scared boy begging God to not leave me to myself tonight. Left to myself, I'm quite literally a guy that convulses and faints at the thought of speaking in front of people...but with God, my weakness is taken and tweaked with God's sufficiency and competency...and I catch ablaze with an unction from on High. I literally listen to my mouth say things unstudied and stand at a distance as my mind conceives things that are outside the boundaries of my ability. When the weekend comes to a close, I am once again humbled by the power of God to take a jar of clay and fill it with the excellency of His power.

This earthen vessel is about to walk across the parking lot and pour out the goods of God. But it is with fear and trepitation that I sojourn to that worship space. May I never forget how bereft of life I am apart from his enabling partnership. I cleave to him like a shivering limb grafted into the vine. Seperated from him I can do nothing, I am nothing.

I tread with fear and friendship...

here I go...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

a free will Thursday...

Well, it's Thursday again, my day off from work, my day on at home.

I put up some blinds.
I mowed the backyard.
I took some books back to the library.
I read some new books to the girls at the coffee shop.
I watched some DVR'd poker tournaments.
I took Kami to get fitted for orthodics.
I cleaned the kitchen.
I cooked an amazing lunch...chicken, potatoes, and peas.
I cleaned out the plug in the bathroom sink.
I wrote a couple emails.
I checked out the new Impact Church podcast...we're a part of the 21st Century.

...

I felt lonely for some reason.
I found myself lost in random thoughts.
I can't shake the feeling of fatigue and futility.
I wonder if I'm accomplishing much some days.
I hit these walls sometimes on my days off...it's like slowing down gives me time to think.
I'm just giving myself a chance to be human today...to muse and mourn, think and thank, wonder and wish, rest and wrestle.

I like being human...even if all the emotions aren't to my liking. Free will lets me roam in and out of consciousness quite nicely...

Monday, August 20, 2007

church planting...

I love church planting for alot of reasons...

- The unstructured structure.
- The turning over of a new leaf feel.
- The opportunity to start from scratch.
- The broken people that are attracted by the droves.
- The reckless nature of living for the future because their is little past history.
- The opportunity for fresh blood to get involved and take high stakes ownership.
- The joy of teaching people who are hungry for something different from the norm.
- The fueling nature of seeing people's eyes opened to Jesus' love.
- The relaxed nature of the coffee shop atmosphere.
- The laughter, the crying, the shouting, the joking, the gritty reality of being human.
- The baptisms that always surface how amazing it is to be rescued and salvaged by God.
- The embracing of risk as a normative behavior for a Christ-follower. A life of true faith.
- The appreciation of artistry and imagination as a conduit for truth.
- The desire to reach unchurched and dechurched people is palpable.
- The heart for those who aren't already a part of the community of faith.
- The understanding that the church is the most natural place to be real.
- The experimental and experiential nature of trying to jumpstart an young church.
- The gut-level honesty of leadership to join the people in the journey of discovery.
- The community I feel with those who are panting for something different, something more.

These are just a few reasons I love church planting. I've only been at it for a few years now, but with every month, I'm learning new reasons to love this particular labor of love. If the local church is the hope of the world (as stated by Bill Hybels), then I think church planting is the hope of the church. Offspring.

Yeah...it's about being a part of the reproductive offspring of the church Jesus died for...I love being offspring...and I hope to "spring off" that by creating something worth reproducing for the generations that are yet to come.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

milkweed and butterflies...

Yesterday was unusually refreshing.

I spent the better part of my day enjoying a rare sliver of time where I am suspended in between the worlds of seen and unseen. For whatever reason, my spirit was perky and poised making it so easy to discern between the real and the seemingly real. I was able to listen to someone share with a sharp perception...it's like the Spiderman movie where he could engage in that fight and see everything in slow motion while the other people was living in real time. It's like words would slow down and my heart could absorb them with honor. I felt alert to the Spirit's joy. I would be driving somewhere and all the sudden be "surprised by joy" as C.S. Lewis says. A warmth would move through my insides and I was exposed in the best way possible. The best way.

I spent some time with my girls after work over at Doug Olin's farm. We go there about twice a week to pet little kittens, feed hay to the horses, drive the four wheeler...you know, all the things that fast moving society has totally forgotten exists three hundred feet off the pavement. Virgin land is somewhat of a Edenic experience for me in this chapter of my story.

We picked a big bag of concord grapes together with the idea that we would make some "wine" that evening. We got home and made our way to the kitchen. I had this--what I thought was a--brilliant idea to put the grapes in large ziplock bag and let the girls stomp on them violently squeezing the lifeblood out of them. Unlike alot of my deranged notions, this one actually worked. When all was said and done, we had a whole pitcher of grape juice. I added some sugar and some water and "whalla", we had some wine from the Holdridgian Valley winery. I got out some fancy goblets and poured each of the girls a glass. We drank it and talked about how awesome it is to make things yourself instead of letting someone else do it for you. What a special moment that was with them.

After that, we went outside and I gathered some of the sticks left by my good friend Dave Gringhuis and made a whale of a bonfire. I've share before that fire holds a mystical place in my heart for some reason. I'm a pyro saved by grace. The girls played pretend out in the yard for a while as I played around in the fire pit. After about 15 minutes, I decided to play tag with them. I chased after them and if I caught them I would put them in the dungeon. They could tag the person to get them out. As fathers do, I let them free each other to keep the game alive. I was sweating like a stuck pig when all was said and done...it was fun.

Yesterday was alive.

Today was alive in different ways.

I met with a buddy this morning serendipitously. His name is Doug. He stopped in on his way to somewhere. I'm glad he did. Our conversation led to some really amazing places...it sort of shocked me honestly, because I did nothing to make it happen. Alot of times in ministry, I make a moment happen so I miss out on the "surprising joy" of the encounter while creating that for the other person. That's ok for the most part, but boy is it sweet when it happens to me every now and again. I felt alive upon his departure.

I went to lunch and on the way back, I stopped at my buddy, Dave Gringhuise's house. He is the aforementioned "wood fairy" that stealthily drops off wood a couple times a week to bless my heart and family. I never asked him to do it, he just does. I hadn't thanked him in a while, so I wanted to let him know how much that lifts my spirit when I look out my kitchen window and see stacks of wood by the fire. I say stacks of wood because he bundles the wood into roughly six piles according to size. The first little pile is the smallest of twigs and the next pile is bigger twigs. The next pile is an assortment of small sticks and the one next to that has larger sticks. The final two piles have larger chunks ranging from medium size to huge. You would have to see it to believe it. Suffice it to say, it's an act of kindness that shows love with a precision and care that is rare. "Care that is rare." I like that phrase.

"Care that is rare." That would describe my encounter with Dave today. I walked into his yard and he was mowing the lawn. He saw me, shut off the lawnmower, stood up and walked toward me with his hands extended making sounds of joy. He hugged me tight and we talked there for a while. We moved up toward his driveway and I thanked him for his secret ministry to my life that no one knows about but me. He shook off the encouragement like he always does saying something about "it being nothing." If he only knew how rare it is for people to care so.

I looked at a tree by the driveway and it had three pieces of duct tape hanging from a limb. At first, I didn't think anything off it, but as I stared at it, it caught my eye. I asked him what the tape was for and he said, "Oh, that's where I hang the flag if someone in the area is killed in an accident or if someone from our area dies in Iraq." He stated it like everyone does that. I just listened to him share how much it affects him when someone dies. His care for strangers just blew me away. I wondered why I was hanging up a flag or giving a second thought to real people who die in our neck off the woods. I wondered how Dave could care so much about such small and simple details that slip through the cracks of culture.

We walked toward his front lawn and he showed me the male and female muleberry trees that he was nurturing in his front yard. I noticed a patch of grass in the middle of his lawn that was unmowed and it had these huge weeds growing out of it. I wondered why he would leave it untouched. So I asked him. What came out of his mouth almost made me cry.

He nonchalantly shared how he heard that a certain breed of butterfly only laid their eggs on milkweed. He leaned down and tenderly tilted one of the milkweeds toward me. He said that milkweed doesn't grow everywhere, so he wanted to let them grow so the butterflys would have a place to lay their eggs. What resulted was a patch of overgrown weeds in the middle of his lawn...who does that? Who cares about a certain butterfly that much? Who cares about butterflies at all? Who would nurture a garden of weeds in the middle of their lawn so that Maybe, JUST MAYBE this particular butterfly would be delighted to find a place for her young. I was choking back tears.

He offered me venison that someone just gave him. He thought it was cool that this guy dropped it off, cause money was tight and he had given his last $41 to the Encounter church plant for a few bundles of shingles for their new church roof. All the while, the roof on his shed is in need of imminant repair. He said he would bring the venison over to my house tonight with another load of wood.

Only God can produce this kind of love in a human heart...I felt the brush of angel's wings today in Dave's yard....or maybe it was just Dave giving me a hug as I hopped into my truck and headed back to work for the afternoon.

I saw God today and He's beautiful.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

then and now....

Last night, the night was alive with sounds. I walked out onto my deck and was attacked with a wall of noise produced by little bugs and frogs. The fireflies were having a heyday with their butts aglow from one end of my backyard to the other. The moon was reflecting the sun with a rare brilliance, so much so that defined shadows were being cast across the yard by the trees.

As I walked barefoot on the lawn toward my campfire, the dew was already drenching the earth. It felt refreshing to my feet, until I stepped in what I later determined was Canadian goose excriment.

I lit a fire and sat down to watch it burn. I love watching fire burn almost as much as I love watching rivers move. There is something about nature in action that fascinates me. As the flames gained confidence and reached toward the sky, I had to take my chair and move back...the heat was causing my forehead to bead with little sweat droplets. It was cracking and hissing, snapping and whistling. Wet wood was bubbling with foam. The whole backyard was illuminated by the firelight...it was glorious.

I sat for an hour by the fire. I mused. I evaluated. I listened. I wondered. I wished. I waited. I watched. I felt. I worried. I did nothing.

One of the things that captured my thoughts was the idea of growing up. Not just getting older, but taking on more roles of responsibility. In so many ways, I don't feel ready for what a 33 year old pastor is expected to know and do. Even as I visited my old stomping grounds this last week, I was struck by how far I am from home. When I return home, I sink back into old habits and customs and thought patterns. I feel like a little boy. I don't feel qualified to speak or lead. I revert to past disciplines. What is that? When I'm in New York, I don't know how I do what I do in Michigan. In Michigan, I'm 33 and people look to me for leadership, guidance and inspiration. In New York, I feel, lost for words and wisdom. In Michigan, people depend on me for great tasks, in New York I get tongue-tied, brain-frozen and land-locked...pent up and bound up with memories of who I was colliding with realities of who I now am. I'm not sure I'm making any sense...but these things are to me quite palpable.

So sitting by the fire, I was trying to talk myself back into my platform of leadership here. I was trying to confince myself that I am up for the task and that people do look to me for direction. Everything inside of me is saying, "You are a joke...what do you think you're doing?" So I was trying to believe (or make believe) like I was really poised and prepared for action, all the while nursing feelings of insecurity and inability. It's funny how your inside and your outside go at it sometimes. As I sat out on my lawn...I was struck with how absurd it is that I'm who I am, doing what I'm doing and getting away with it. Ha. Who would have ever guessed?

And yet, I know that I am equal to the task and am called to this place and position. I wasn't sure whether to laugh at the absurdity or cry at the honor of it all. So I just sat and gazed at the fire with glassy eyes. Sometimes all I know to do is to sit and stare.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

typo's

Wow...the last few blogs I've written are crammed with typo's...

I kinda like it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Like a root out of dry ground...

Yesterday, we spent time with my grandfather. It was the 4 year anniversary of my grandmother's death. We went up north and visited her gravesite. It was the first time that I had done that. It was strange. As we stood atop her body six feet removed from the box that holds her body, I couldn't help but wonder where she was and what she was doing; her spirit, of course. I prayed and thanked God for the time we had with her and asked God to continue to be with my grieving grandfather, though my grandpa has yet to surrender his life to God. With each year that passes it seems more and more improbable that he will ever acknowledge Jesus as Savior. He is increasingly stubborn and grumpy. He is quite miserable to be around actually. Years of hardness and hurt have turned him upon himself and those around him. Watching him breaks my heart, really.

We spent yesterday with extended family on my mother's side. Suffice it to say that the day went by as slowly as it could. My mother's side of the family is filled with depression and drunkeness...it was a reminder of what my mother was saved from...not just hell, but hell on earth. We came home last night, and Heidi, Mom, Dad and myself talked late into the night about what life was like for my parents growing up. I enjoyed the conversation. I love probing into the past of my parents hearing the twists and turns that formed them into who they are.

We then talked about my past and what it was like to grow up in the religious atmosphere of Southwest Oswego. A trip down memory lane, though speckled with good, is also littered with all kinds of sad stories. Strips clubs, divorces, adulteries, wayward children, alchohol, deciet, hypocrisy, legalism, depression, mental breakdowns, homosexulality...the list goes on and on. With a cursory investigation into the past, so few have stood the test of time with faithfulness. The funny thing is that I thought all of them were spiritual leaders standing against temptation like they were teaching me to do and abstaining from worldy activity like they were telling me to do. I knew nothing of this when I was younger...no one shared their problems, their failings, their confusion...they masterfully concealed the truth and continued to live out a polished and poised Christian life on the surface.

The church that I attended has since declined to 12 members most of which are part of the pastor's family. I drove past it struggling to believe that people could unravel so. The pastor has changed the constitution and adopted a more conservative position in a more rigid demonination. I don't know how that's possible since it was already conservative, but I guess they are more militant forms of fundamentalism out there waiting with bated breath to swoop down and adopt a church on the brink of extinction. The thought of it kills me.

Much of my past was a mirage of mirrors and smoke. Their were thin shafts of light that broke through the ominous clouds that continued to beckon me with hope. A hope of something else, something more. My parents were one of those rays of lights. The older they get, and the more I recall my life under their leadership and influence, I am more blown away at the hope, and faith and love they demonstrated in the midst of what appears to have been a bleak and bland surrounding. They persevered, they pressed on to live uprightly, they lead by example. And still they stand.

Tonight we are having corn on the cob and then I'm going to a baseball game with my dad. They week has been revealing...on the one hand I'm discovering the fraudulent pieces of my past, on the other hand I'm uncovering more and more reasons to marvel at the miracle of my parents and their leadership of our family. "Like a root out of dry ground."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

life is precious...

The air is balmy, sticky like a hanging fly catcher. The sun is crashing down and when it hits the skin you can feel a physical pressure like someone laying their hands on your shoulders. But it rained last night, so it's like a huge greenhouse of growth. The garden is just about growing in front of my very eyes.

I golfed with my dad today. We golf maybe once a year if we're lucky, and today was one of the best times. The clouds covered over us like an umbrella this morning, making it bearable. We both shot pretty well for as much as we hit the links. The conversation was refreshing and relaxed. I love being with my dad doing almost anything at this point. It doesn't have to be anything in particular, it's just awesome to enjoy quality time together. He's going to be 60 this coming year. His body isn't what it used to be. His arm is going numb and his neck has what he describes as a pinched nerve. He has a disease that is breaking down his liver and along with that, stealing strength and vitality that gives you the pizzaz to live well each day. He's the pastor of a little church in Fulton, N.Y., and he and my mom pour into that congregation with everything they've got. It seems like every day since we've been here, they have recieved multiple calls each days from people with needs. They graciously set aside whatever it is they're doing and assist if only with a listening ear. Some of these people are what I would call, "Inordinately needy" meaning "social outcasts" meaning "the world's crazies", others are just congregants needy a shoulder to cry on or a ear to bend. My parents have always been overly compassionate to people ever one else snubs or dehumanizes. I stand humbled by their tireless love for the least of these. I hope I can be more like that as the years unfold.

We ate a dinner last night that was to die for. Chiskabobs marinated in "Speedy" sauce accompanied with corn on the cob that was just picked and my mom's famous salad covered in home-made Italian dressing. I ate until my stomach ached. We then consumed an ice-cream cake for Taylor's birthday from Friendly's restaurant. It was a feast for the ages, the likes of which gets recorded on my blog for posterity. As the night went on and we watched the Yankees win another game, the house filled with the smell of blackberry pie. The blackberries were just picked and the aroma filled the house with an intoxicating smell that would make your taste buds bow down and weep like a school girl. Heidi watched a chick flick with my mom and I high-fived with my dad as the Yankees kicked the cans of the Canucs from the north, the Toronto Blue Jays.

I finished the night by tuning into ESPN and watching Barry Bonds hit the record home run to break Hank Aaron's record. I just so happened to turn it on just before he crushed it into the cheap seats. I'm not a big Barry fan, but there was something special about seeing that historical hit live. I just felt God shining down upon me in that moment.

Heidi is out shopping by herself right now and tonight we're going out with my childhood best friend. We're going to an Italian restaurant that is second to none. As if I haven't eaten enough in the last few days, I'm going to continue to gorge my body until it begs for mercy. What are vacations for if not for indulging a little more that normal. And this is a vacation that will be filled with just that, abnormal indulgences.

Stay tuned for more juicy tid bits from my vacation...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

There's no place like home...

Welp, I'm chillin' at the old homestead in New York. It's just as I left it 11 years ago. Quite, simple, idyllic, tranquil, changeless. Other than some trees that are a little bigger, and some barn boards that are in need of some fresh paint...it is one place that seems to be frozen in time. That's why I love my old home. It's sits outside of time in some ways.

The blueberry bushes are packed with fresh produce, the garden is vibrant green and jammed with life, the old 8-end Ford tractor is always up for a ride through the woods with the girls, the wood is piled and waiting to be split and stacked, the basketball hoop is tightly fasted to the end of the barn sitting still and expectant, the apple tree limps are hanging heavy with green, tart fruit, the concord grapes are soaking up the sunrays, the christmas tree grove is tucked back in the left corner of the back field, the blackberries are just changing color turning into a deep magical purple, the perennial beds are full of flowers attracting hummingbirds and bees, the barns still put off a musty aroma of old wood, dust and farm equipment, the swingset is poised for the grandchildren, the trees are recovering from an ice storm a few years back quite nicely, the neighbors wave from across the way welcoming home the prodical son, the muck fields that surround my house are teeming with onions at full maturity, the breeze off of Lake Ontario is cool and smells like seaweed, the stones still skip gracefully atop the glassy surface along the shore, the seafood of Rudy's Restaurant is still expensive and tasty as ever, the seagulls are still rats with wings, I even like the smell of fish that every now and again fills my nostrils with the aroma of my past...I could go on and on.

My house is as I left it. Bedrooms still hold old pictures, old blankets, old trinkets and trophies, old baseball cards and letters. The house has a smell to it that relaxes me. I even sleep better at home for some reason...I think my soul and body sink into a psuedo-coma. I ate some cheese that we always bought from the Ontario Orchards fruit stand...Sharp Cheddar cut from a block of cheese...it's delicious. My mom cooked a Turkey last night for Taylor's birthday...it was out of this world. It was embellished with sweet corn and banana bread. My Grandpa (Leto in Spanish) sat at the table with us and shared some stories from the early 30's. He can't see or hear very well, but what do expect for your mid-90's. The pictures of him around the house when he was younger look just like me...I even see it. It's amazing to still have him around...sometimes I just find myself watching him wondering what it must have been like to be alive in 1915. What changes his life has witnessed.

Dad and I watched some Yankee baseball (an old tradition)...they won 5-4. It was a great game. We were listening to part of the game on 570 WSYR AM radio on the way home from the lake. Just the sound of AM radio was a transport back to my childhood. I remember that sound at night when I was laying in bed and dad was listening to Syracuse basketball or Yankee baseball. It's an awesome sound really.

In one day I feel like I've already experienced so much...but we have 6 days left. And I'm going to drink deep of each one of them.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

man, I'm ready for a vacation....

It just hit me today how much I need a get away. My body and soul are ready to find refreshment away from the day to day duties of my life. I've had a particularly long day today, and it's my birthday of all days. I feel brittle, stretched out and thin of heart. It's like I've been the rope in tug-o-war and I'm about to snap.

We're heading to my parents house this Sunday and spending a week there. I'm looking forward to killing time at the house where I grew up. For some reason, I sleep better there. The garden is rich with food and the blueberries should be ripe for the pickin'. I love riding the tractor into the woods with my girls and showing them the old trails I used to romp around on when I was a boy. I love seeing the cabin I built with my buddy, and revisiting places that meant alot to me growing up. "The olden days" as Aly calls them. I guess that's what they are with every year that goes by. Olden.

I need to not think about my job for a week. I really feel I need to seperate myself from the weight of the world for a little bit and concentrate on my family exclusively. Too many things have happened lately to make me feel jaded. I'm sagging under the pressure of people. So many people feeling so many things about so many things. For the first time in a couple months I'm not feeling up to the challenge of carrying it. I guess everyone has a breaking point. My threshold was crossed a couple days ago.

I have much to be thankful for to be sure. God is doing some amazing things in me and around me. I must remember that in these times when my view is clouded with overwhelming depravity. So even when my stomach is in knots over how out of control my life feels today, most of that tension is simply my puny perspective not letting the light of God's vision to fill my view. I hope this vacation lifts some burdens off this back of mine.