Saturday, May 31, 2003


It's predicted to be 106 degrees here today. It won't get that high but it'll probably reach 100, not that you can really tell the difference between 100 and 106. Suffice it to say it's too dang hot for May. I forced myself to get in a walk and get the yard mowed before it got too bad. That at least will justify my planned activities for the rest of the day. I'm thinking "nap".

Live in San Antonio long enough and you will find the wisdom of "siesta".
Most of our baby swallows are gone. They've flown away. There is only one left. He (I'm assuming it's a male for some reason) seems a little sickly and occasionally moves to the edge of the nest, but no further

Today the Mama bird is guarding him

Last night both the Mom and Pop were squawking up a storm, urging the other babies to fly away. Apparently there is little tolerance in the swallow world for slackers. Maybe soon the last one will fly off, or join his dad on the top of our flagpole

I like to think the little straggler is the smartest bird in the bunch. He's not leaving yet. It's too hot.

Friday, May 30, 2003


I did a radio feature recently about the phenomena of "war chalking", the growing practice among computer hackers who find open wireless computer networks in urban areas and then leave chalk marks on sidewalks or buildings to let others know there is a network nearby that can be tapped into.

War chalking is actually a term that dates back to the depression era, when hobos would leave marks with chalk or coal to pass on information to fellow "road travelers" about an area or its residents. For example, the marks might indicate if a homeowner was a soft touch for a free meal, or if the occupants were hostile to "Knights of the Road".

What if Christians had a similar system? I'm not talking about putting an Icthus "fish" on the back of your car. What if we were honest about what we might find inside our houses of God? What sign would we find scrawled outside our temples of worship?

$ ?

Our most successful outreach tool at our church is our sign. It's not fancy. It sits near the street. It doesn't have clever God puns on it that are changed weekly. It's not shaped like a cross. It says the name of our church and the time of worship. I wonder though how many people pass by our church because our sign doesn't tell them what they need to know most: not to fear what they will find inside.
We are not salvation salesmen, but fellow weary travelers seeking sustenance and healing. We've just made the choice to journey together. We do not claim to be "Holy" so much as we are trying to become "whole".

I wish we could "God chalk".
We too are beggars... but we're willing to share our bread.


Oh what a relief it is!

Lisa has made it, and made us all proud. A top ten graduate and soon to be a "Baylor Bear". It was an emotional night.

We have high hopes for her future.

Thursday, May 29, 2003


1999- Tiffany graduates high school...Spurs win NBA Championship
2003- Lisa graduates high school..... we're in the finals.

Bring on New Jersey!!

A wonderful night...proud accomplishments of a fine young woman...and a fine team of men.

God is good....and apparently a Spurs fan.

As Lisa graces the stage tonight in her cap & gown, the Spurs will be duking it out with Dallas. Hopefully the Spurs will make their free throws tonight. This kid makes his.

If the Spurs win...San Antonio will go into a major frenzy. That's the difference between San Antonio and Dallas. The fans in Dallas "like" the Mavericks. San Antonio "LOVES" the Spurs. They are heroes of the community. Speaking of heroes...You have to think this guy is a hero to fat old men everywhere.

Tonight's the night. Lisa will walk the stage and get her high school diploma (or a reasonable facsimile that can be traded in for the real thing later). She's tenth in her class. Quite an accomplishment. The end of era and closure for what just weeks ago seemed like a never ending series of graduation related events. No more banquets. I'm tempted to break into a rendition of burp and circumstance.

Lisa has decided to go to Baylor. She's been offered some nice scholarships and it's an excellent school. She never really asked for my sage advice that she consider some other options, but she rejected it willingly. Any wonder she's graduating among the top ten?

Wednesday, May 28, 2003


I learn something new about Jesus every day. This story though was a real eye opener. The "homoerotic narratives of the New Testament"? I'm growing increasingly tired of this trend to use Jesus to advance political, philosophical, nutritional, and now sexual agendas.
We started with "What Would Jesus Do", and now we have "What Would Jesus Eat", "What Would Jesus Drive", "What Would Jesus Wear", etc.

I suspect this author will come out with his own slogan along those lines too.

The one I thought of is too blasphemous to matter how in style that seems to be these days.

This is the 50th anniversary of the Sir Edmund Hilary's trek to the top of Mt. Everest. Now it seems like everybody and their Sherpa is doing it. What compels these folks to attempt such a feat?

Last night our church Deacons talked about trying to accommodate the wishes of a church member who has become irritated by some of our church traditions. Some of what she is upset about are things that I think make our church special, so it's a difficult dance. I hope we can find a way to be understanding.

I guess some folks just need to climb mountains, even if they're of their own making.

Well, so much for superstitions. I should have known revealing my undercover attempts to help the Spurs would jinx it. The Spurs lost...they deserved to lose. Hopefully they'll remember how to play defense in the 4th quarter tomorrow night.

Meanwhile Amy is happy...not that the Spurs lost.... that my "lucky" underwear won't be included in our Spurs Shrine.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003


There appear to be some problems with Blogger today, so I'm dashing this out assuming it may not post until later, or not post at all.

First off the Spurs will hopefully wrap it up tonight. I have everything in place including my lucky underwear. I am now publicly admitting that each time the Spurs have won I have been wearing my black Spurs shirt and my black boxer/briefs with the silver-grey waistband.

I will be doing my part for the team tonight...both overtly and undercover. Yes, I've washed them....occasionally.

If the Spurs win the NBA championship the boxer/briefs will have to be added to my Spurs shrine. I believe my confession of the underwear superstitution so far has not resulted in Amy questioning her Spurs allegiance. She long ago stopped questioning my sanity.

Asked and answered.


Speaking of sanity.. I saw a man stealing the other day. It was during my walk around the neighborhood. He was stealing dirt.

The homebuilding giant converging on our area occasionally has a truck come through that dumps topsoil at various locations where it will be needed. As I was walking I saw a man coming from a few houses down with a wheel barrow to one of the newly constructed homes nearby. At first I thought he was dumping rocks and stuff from his yard into the lot, but then I saw he was actually taking dirt. He looked at me sheepishly as he waddled up the hill with a load of topsoil taken from an empty lot.

I have actually priced dirt. It's about 200 bucks for a truckload of topsoil. I don't know how many wheel barrows full this guy was taking. I didn't turn him in...I didn't think the police would make it a priority call, "Hello, I just saw a robbery in progress...a guy was taking dirt".

In any case, he's stealing from his neighbors before they even move in...and he's stealing dirt. I'm sure he won't get caught, but I wonder if come Judgement Day this poor guy will be greeted by someone saying, "Hi, welcome to Hell. Whatcha in for?" Damn embarrassing...literally.

Monday, May 26, 2003


The person who reads this message next, besides me, is the 500th visitor to this blog. There's a web counter at the very bottom of the page. Why I have a web counter or a comments section I have no idea.

Lucky number 500 your prize is....... Um...isn't my wisdom prize enough?

Better be. You get what you pay for...

The memory of the righteous will be a blessing

Memorial day...which for most folks means...barbecues. I have nothing against good food (I have the gut to prove it) but I hope I can spend at least a few moments this day thinking about the folks who have lost their lives protecting my freedom.

James Keihl was one of those men. He was baptized in Kuwait. He died in Iraq.
Amy mentions in her blog how a couple visited our church yesterday with their son. Their child's name is Everett Joseph, the same name as the son John and Denise laid to rest on Saturday.
I don't know how to explain or interpret that... "It's a God thing".
I'm at "work" this morning, but about 75 percent of what I normally do is not required today, which means I've "finished" my work and in about 40 minutes I'll go home. It's nice to get out of work early, and I did get to sleep in...until about 2:30.
The Spurs are one game away from the NBA finals. The Mavericks have played inspired basketball even without Dirk Nowitski, who is down to one leg . I'm hoping after tomorrow night the Mavs will have time to rest and heal. I have some suggested summer reading for Dirk:"Bury me at wounded knee"

Sunday, May 25, 2003


At church today I spoke with my friend Claud about his daughter, Claire. Claire has been a teenager in trouble. Serious trouble that frightened everyone around her. We prayed for the best, but feared and expected the worst. Claire was in a very bad place not long ago, and seemingly intent on finding even worse destinations.

At church today I watched my friend Jim. Less than one year ago Jim was in a military prison while his wife and two children literally scrambled to determine how they would survive. His mistakes, and the draconian system of military justice, were costing them their home, their medical and retirement benefits (one child is autistic) and all of their planned hopes for the "future".

At church today I walked an area of land we have cleared in preparation for another small building. Cedar, scrub brush, and cactus indelicately shoved aside to make way for the dreams of our community of faith. From a distance I looked at the piles of debris...dead stuff. Ripped from its roots. Beyond redemption.

One week from today, Claire will graduate high school. She will deliver the commencement address as Salutatorian having made straight A's for the past two years.
This morning Jim stood before our congregation taking prayer requests and then led us in an extremely moving, heartfelt prayer of hope, praise and thanksgiving. His family sat nearby. Content, whole and healthy.
At church today I went back outside to look closer at that pile of debris.

The cacti are re-growing amid the rubble.

After church today Amy and I shared a meal with John and Denise. We shared more of the agony they've been through; how in the past 4 days their lives, their plans for the future, their dreams, had been ripped from their roots.
Their pain is alive with searing intensity...but their family's hopes still live too.

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord

Saturday, May 24, 2003


Psalm 69:29
I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me

Would you lay with me in a field of stone, if my needs were strong, would you lay with me.*

There was only one date on her grave: February 11, 2000. The tiny stone lay in a grassy sea of mournful memories. The graves of children.

Will you still love me when I'm down and out, in my time of trial, would you stand by me.

Her name was Marie and I stood above her headstone today a few feet away from her brother's tiny casket. Her Mom, Dad, brother and step-sister were crouched beside the ivory coffin, holding each other, crying in anguish.

Would you go away to another land, walk a thousand miles through the burning sand, wipe the blood away from my dying hand, if I give myself to you.

A tiny frayed bunny sits atop Marie's her tiny brother rests nearby.

Would you lay with me in the stream of life when the moon is full, would you bathe with me...

So much heartbreak today, acknowledged in a field of sorrow. A preacher said uncomfortable words of comfort that will be quickly forgotten. There are no adequate words, we all knew that.

Everett Joseph was born and died.

There will be only one date on his headstone too: May 22, 2003.

Would you lay with me in a field of stone, if my needs were strong, would you lay with me...

This is the ugly grimace of grief. No one ever wants to look at it directly, yet we all must...if we are ever to look beyond it.

*"Would you lay with me"-David Allen Coe

Friday, May 23, 2003


The death of John and Denise's child last night overshadowed my emotions for Lisa. Her "hero's dinner" was the most meaningful "pre-graduation" event I have attended in recent weeks albeit the competition wasn't that stiff. It was also Lisa's last real event at high school since she's not required to attend classes any longer.

So much attention has been focused on these kids' achievements, I found it moving to hear them acknowledge that they were indebted to others for their accomplishments. Lisa chose to name as her "hero" her instructor for private oboe lessons, Mrs. McKeithen, who has guided her for the past four years. Lisa "winged" her speech honoring her, but she did great in conveying the message that this woman helped her harness her musical talents while at the same time encouraging her to unleash them.

I hope it helped Lisa understand that she will soar in the years ahead in part because she's so well grounded.

SIDE NOTE:: The banquet meal: fajitas. They were excellent. Who knew?

Tiffany stopped by the house this morning while I was at the hospital. I called as she was preparing to leave, to drive to Mexico. To drive INTO Mexico. Her roommate from college is from Mexico and Tiffany is going there to visit for a few days. I NEVER drive into Mexico. I fear the traffic; I fear the crazy laws; I fear the Federales; I have irrational fears of bandits screaming, "Badges? We don't need to stinkin' badges!". When I shared my fears with Amy she reminded me that Tiffany is fearless. Then I learned Tiffany has driven into Mexico on several occasions before...we just didn't know.

I thought once again of the barn swallows who share our front porch. Their babies poked their heads out as I was leaving for New Braunfels last night.

There is no option...when they leave the nest, they're going to fly...


Somewhat consumed today with the inconceivable anguish facing John and Denise. Stopped by the hospital on my way home from the office. John had shifted gears into "stoic" mode, focusing all his attentions on Denise. I hugged him. I hugged Denise. I reminded them both that no one expected them not to be angry...not to grieve. No one even expected them not to doubt God right now.

However I do expect them to understand that Amy and I aren't going to let them do those things alone. We are going to be "in their face" loving them. It was all I could offer.

Where is God in these situations?
That's what's scary and that's what's reassuring. God is where we've always said He our our love.

"We are the body of Christ"

PSALM 59:16
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

Thursday, May 22, 2003


They named him Everett Joseph and were going to call him E.J.

He was born tonight. He died tonight.

I was preparing to leave for Lisa's "Hero's Dinner" when the call friend John. I didn't recognize his voice. I could hear only his pain.

John's wife, Denise, was in "full blown labor". He didn't have to say anything more. I knew.

Denise was 22 weeks along. The pregnancy was a surprise and a blessing, but it had also been shrouded in the dark whisper of fear. Several years ago John and Denise lost another baby, eight and half months into the pregnancy.

A little girl.

E.J. was born as I sat at Lisa's dinner without her mother by my side. Amy was instead in a hospital delivery room beside Denise as she became a mother again.

E.J. died as I drove home from the banquet sobbing and thanking God for the blessing of healthy children.

I pray that John and Denise will eventually be able to carry these wounds with grace. They will always be wounds..they will never be scars. From this you do not heal.

Why would God allow such suffering? I do not know.

I do know I believe in God.

I know at times like tonight I will have to believe without all the answers.

PSALM 119:28

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

: The sudden onset of a clammy feeling of fear and dread when you realize despite having a 28 point lead, the Spurs could still blow it.

Some tense moments last night. The Mavericks are freakish, not only in their appearance, but in their uncanny ability to fling in shots down the stretch. I was glad the Spurs held them off, but if they keep up this trend of grabbing big leads only to let them slip away, I may need:

SPURDICATIONS: Drugs to help you cope with a hometown team that displays symptoms of schizophrenia.
CONFLIGRADUATION: The realization that if the Spurs don't win the next three games (assuming the Mavericks don't either) that "game six" of the Western Conference Finals will conflict with Lisa's graduation ceremony.

I have faith...and a pocket radio.
INSPAMATION: Supposed inspirational information sent via email.

I find the amount of "Christian Spam" I receive fascinating. Virtually all of it is well meaning. Virtually all of it is worthless too.

Many friends send, or more likely forward, emails detailing stories of inspiration, digital photos of "miracles" and the like. Some are "prayers" that will be answered if only I will forward them to ten of my other friends. The emails tell me forwarding them will prove I love Jesus. Some even say I should send them back to the sender to prove I love them!

What is the message Christians are really sending with emails like these? It sounds like we're very fragile ..worse yet, it sounds like our faith is fragile too.

BELIEVABOLD: Having strong faith in God and your convictions enabling you to delete that stuff not forward it.
INDIGESTIPATION: The gnawing realization that another "banquet' meal is in your future.

Tonight Lisa has her "Hero's dinner". Yet another pre-graduation banquet! Not sure what this meal will involve, but there are only two caterers in New Braunfels and I don't think they've been saving the best for last.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003


Explain to me why any audio tape that is sent to Al Jazeera which features someone saying "kill Americans" is the lead story on ABC news? Is it news to anyone that Muslim terrorists want to kill us? ABC News Tonight not only led with the story but also listed off "suggested targets" presumably for those of us who don't speak Arabic or are too lazy to listen to the tape and take our own notes.
Does anyone believe in polls? I refuse to write most stories that cross my desk about "poll results" because I don't know what the respondents were really asked. I've seen polls this week claiming Americans believe they will eventually be eating catfood (the cheap stuff not Tender Vittles) because of President Bush's handling of the economy, to teenagers saying everyone they know has had sex before they were 16.

I don't believe either. Yes, I think a lot of folks think the economy is in the dumper. I don't think most Americans "blame" President Bush...unless you ask them to blame someone. Who are they going to blame if you frame a question that way? " Well, personally I blame frankfurter salesmen for the economic problems facing America". If there's only one target, it's a cheap shot.

Do you really think teenagers tell the truth about sex? Really? Does anyone really think that?
Tonight's biggest poll will be the results of "American Idol". I have to admit I have never watched a full episode of this show, but I heard audio today of the two finalists singing. I like the scrawny guy.
A former colleague now works for SBC and tells me call volumes rivaled that of a national disaster last night because of people voting for their American Idol favorite.

I guess it doesn't qualify as a national disaster...but we obviously have a lot of idle Americans.


Having to cancel tonight's tribal dance / seance / Spurs idolatry session at our house despite the previous announcement that attendance would be mandatory. Amy and I are putting on our war paint and heading to the front lines of the battle instead.


Getting tickets was very last minute and very unexpected. I like to think of it as God's sense of humor showing again. The ORANGE ALERT terror advisory I made light of yesterday, will probably mean I'll be strip searched going into the SBC center tonight.

I am confident the Spurs will win this evening. I'm hopeful Stephen Jackson will be properly medicated finally. It's time he realized the distinction between being offensive, and playing offense.

I'm also hoping tonight's contest will more closely resemble a professional basketball game than did Monday's nationally televised game of "Whack-A-Mole".

Tuesday, May 20, 2003


Still in a post-Spurs fog. The NBA will hopefully issue a mandate never to allow another game like last night's to take place. Nearly 100 fouls make for a very long game...and a very boring game. There were more whistles last night than are heard at construction sites next to the Playboy mansion.


The "terror alert" has been raised again. We're back to "Orange". Faithful readers of this blog (both of you) may recall that an "Orange Alert" doesn't inspire any new level of fear for me. Really there are no fruits which frighten me, with the possible exception of Richard Simmons and even he isn't that scary.

"Orange Alert" sounds like it should be the name of a soft drink marketed to truckers or teen boys who want to stay up all night playing video games.

Since I am certain I'm not alone in my "orange alert ennui" I've taken it upon myself to help the government heighten the public's respect for "orange" by finding a face to put on these Orange Alerts which drives home the gravity of the situation:


I read today that the government is working on a way to identify terror suspects by "the way they walk". We're really spending money on this? I can see it now, a government agency devoted to watching people walk. Actually now that I think of it, I have seen it. In a Monty Python skit!

Oh well, the fog and my mood are lifting. Time for my daily walk. If anyone from the government is watching I hope they're listening too. As I wheeze and wobble around the neighborhood, I'm planning to sing a little ditty:

(Sung to the tune of "Yankee Doodle")

Orange is the color of
So many things I see.
Would you like to sing a little
Orange song with me?
Orange juice and orange cheese,
Orange carrots, if you please.
Orange pumpkins, orange leaves,
Let's sing a song of orange!

Excuse me, Miss?

The Spurs had their chance last night, but they missed. They missed free throws and they missed the opportunity to beat Dallas in game one.

Me, I missed a lot of sleep.
Our complete contingent of Spurs worshippers was not present last night....attendence will be mandatory on Wednesday.
I'm a believer in failure. I think it helps you grow if you fail a little along the way. So today there are new opportunities. The first I'm taking advantage of is the opportunity to snag another cup of coffee.

"time and chance happen to them all."

Monday, May 19, 2003


The NBA's Western Conference Finals begin tonight. The Spurs vs The Mavericks. The start of this finals series will be tempered a bit for me this evening though, knowing our close friends have made the heart wrenching decision that their old dog has reached the finals too. He was no longer living a quality life and they were forced to help him along to end his pain.

They suffered in order to end his suffering.

These are dear Christian friends and I know they will remember the nobility of such decisions because they learned them from their Master.
It's the most underrated beverage

"Water, it's the most underrated beverage"- A wise man I know stated that once... actually a few more times than that.

I was thinking of water today as I looked at the bottled water I bought at Walmart over the weekend which boasts "minerals added". Weren't minerals in the water before they sent it through whatever gizmos they send water through to bottle it? For that matter isn't a more common word for minerals....dirt?

Speaking of dirty water....I noticed a story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today talking about the water in Denton County ( Denton home to the college I attended aimlessly for 6 to 12 years-who remembers the 70's?).

Anyway, they've discovered that in the wetlands behind the City of Denton's water treatment plant, a small number of "male fish" are in effect switching teams.

Some of the male fish are developing female traits.

Apparently the water is being contaminated by hormones, specifically estrogen. The source? Um.. to put this delicately... chemicals are passing through women's bodies as a result of the use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy drugs and into the wastewater.

No one seems especially concerned about this, including the switch hitting fish.
You see other chemicals have been found in the water, chemicals like Prozac.
Apparently the fish don't care if they suddenly find themselves swimming in an all-girls school.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Oh my aching Baccalaureate

It's getting easier. The Baccalaureate was a breeze...any pre-graduation ceremony that is under an hour rates pretty high in my book these days. The added bonus was this was held in a church, with actual chairs made for big people and no bleachers. I think it's the first event I've been to in three weeks that wasn't held in a gymnasium or civic center and where the chairs were padded.

We did have some initial moments of dread. We thought the priest delivering the sermon was the same one who spoke at Joey's baccalaureate. Amy and I don't specifically remember why he inspired such dread, but we both seem to retain some lingering mental scarring from him in any case. I've heard the mind uses amnesia as a mechanism of defense in the event of torture...and evidently sermons, not that those two are mutually exclusive of each other.

Amnesia apparently does not kick in for alien abductions by the way, since everyone who claims to have been abducted by E.T. seems to remember every probing detail, but I digress.

Anyway, this was a different priest (I can't discern the differences between Catholics and Episcopalians from a distance). His remarks weren't very enlightening, but he had an Irish brogue which adds charm to almost anything with the possible exception of the jingle for that deoderant soap.

Lisa delivered the benediction.

She was brief and still inspirational. No brogue necessary. There's a reason she's in the top ten of her class.
Speaking of Irish: I saw this today in a column written by Peter Laurie (not the dead actor with the big eyes) in a Barbados newspaper (I don't know why I was reading it either so don't ask). Anyway, I thought it was'll probably get circulated in ten zillion emails eventually, so you might as well see it now:

Was Jesus Black . . . Or Irish? Go As You Please

I feel Jesus was black.

Look, he called everyone "brother", he liked Gospel; and he couldn't get a fair trial.

On the other hand, you could argue he was Jewish. He went into His Father's business; his mother thought he was God, and he thought his mother was a virgin.

But there is also compelling evidence he was Irish. He loved green pastures; he was a great storyteller; and he would turn water into alcohol at the drop of a hat.

But my wife dismissed all that as nonsense. If you go by the evidence, she said, he was clearly a woman. He had to feed a crowd at a moment's notice when there was no food; he kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of stupid men who just didn't get it; and even when he was dead he had to get up because there was more work to be done.

Not much time for writing today, which is a good thing, since I'm really lacking any specific inspiration. Unfortunately for you that's not stopping me. We're leaving in a few minutes for Lisa's baccalaureate, pre-graduation event #318 for those of you keeping score at home.

I can't help but be in a "countdown" mode. I'm not sure who's looking forward to graduation more, Lisa or me.

I think after today we're down to two events: the actual graduation ceremony, and a "Hero's dinner". The students pick a teacher or someone else in their life they regard as instrumental in their development. It would seem like a ripe opportunity for change but I'm told to expect more banquet food...I was hoping for hero sandwiches.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Seeing All We Should See

The cacti are blooming.

I took these pictures at the church today while working on the land, with my tee shirt tucked in (see previous post).

Lots of folks came out to help, but our friend Cynthia caught my attention. The original plan for today's "work day on the land" fell through, forcing some improvisation in finding jobs for people to do. When I saw Cynthia drive up I knew she wouldn't need any direction. She parked her car, grabbed her gloves and went right to work weeding an area behind the church where we've developed an 'herb garden".

I mentioned to her how much I appreciated the fact that she saw a job that needed doing and just did it. Her response was, "If I didn't know what needed doing before I got here, I would have stayed home."

Cynthia can be a little rough around the edges which can occasionally rub people the wrong way if they haven't gotten to know her. I'm reminded today how much I enjoy people like Cynthia.

If you steer clear of cactus because of the can also miss the cactus rose.

I am blessed with a very observant wife. You might have noticed my homepage looks much cleaner and professional. This is due solely to my astute ability. Not the ability to design a webpage, my ability to say, "Amy, please fix it".

Amy sees my flaws. Okay, she doesn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to do that, but she also excercises discretion in pointing most of them out. She was content to let me futz around with my website even though she saw its failings. Today I said, "Amy, please fix it".

Over the years, she has repaired many greater flaws in me.

I can not put a value on her ability to see me and my needs.

Today as I was leaving to do some landscaping work at the church which requires bending over quite frequently in my grubbiest garb, she reminded me to "tuck in my tee shirt".

See why I love this woman? She not only sees the cracks in my facade...she knows I have the potential to show even more.

"The Matrix Reloaded" is reeling them in. I enjoyed the first movie, and look forward to seeing this one. I may have to re-watch the original first to keep up and probably won't get around to it until it comes out on DVD..

I've heard a variety of folks mention how the Matrix movies have an underlying message about God. We interviewed a guy this week who stood in line for hours to be the first to see the sequel because of its "spiritual" message. I've also read some criticism from Christians, chastising believers for reading too much into the movies and pointing out "flaws" in these beliefs.

I'm not here to judge. I see God in birds, bugs, books, and billboards. If you see a message from the Lord in "The Matrix Reloaded" who am I to doubt that?

I tend to think God is glad that we're actually looking for Him at all.

Friday, May 16, 2003


I'm giving thanks today.

Yes, I'm appreciative of the Spurs deflating the reputation and egos of the Lakers, but that's not my focus. Today I'm giving thanks for Kathleen Roten.

Kathy is on my mind because it was 31 years ago yesterday that I "invaded" her tranquil life. Kathy was married to Travis Roten, my mother's half-brother and on May 15th, 1972 their lives were up-ended when my brothers and I moved into their Dallas home. Three long-haired teenagers from New York, full of attitude, fear and a lot of half suppressed anger.

Kathy and Travis had no kids of their own. They were in their early 30's. Dallas was thriving. They were in a perfect position to lead very content, unencumbered lives. BOOM! Instant family.

I lived with Kathy and Travis for only about three years, and I didn't make it easy on them. They eventually divorced. I'll never know if that would have happened had not the "Main boys" been suddenly thrust into their lives. What I do know is that in each passing year I have grown closer to Kathy. She is my surrogate Mom now, as much as I allow her to be, which isn't enough . Amy considers Kathy her "Mother in law" and she's "Grandma Kathy" to my brother's daughter.

Kathy not only accepted the challenge of my brothers and I, she has spent most of her life caring for others. Among them, her mom, who passed away this year, and her mother's sister who is now 99 years old. She gives of herself faithfully and without reservation. She gives her all.

Her strength amazes me. Her devotion inspires me.

She is a saintly woman who deserves a special place in Heaven and more recognition than I am capable of providing in mere words.

Alas, words are all I have. I sent some to her in email, others I am passing upward...through prayer.

Kathy, thank you for all you've done for me.

Father God, Thank You for Kathy.....

Philippians 1:3
I thank my God every time I remember you.

Thursday, May 15, 2003


It's over. The Spurs have ended the Lakers' dominance. A spanking so severe that it might have been mistaken for a minor earthquake. The Lakers now know how Joan Collins felt when she read the headline in "Variety": "DYNASTY CANCELLED!"

Sleep well...I know I will.

Tipoff is about 10 minutes away. The Spurs could end the Lakers dynasty tonight. I actually have the tickets in hand now for Saturday night's game if the Spurs should lose tonight forcing a game seven. I have great hopes they will go unused. I have a place for them. Atop my "Spurs Shrine."

The "Shrine" is one of the many indulgences Amy allows me, but one of the few that I'm allowed when it comes to home decoration. It's relegated to the corner of our little used "radio room". This prevents me from bowing down before least while games are on.

If there is a game seven it will be Saturday night, and that's a good thing. Lisa has her final band concert Saturday afternoon and I didn't want to have to choose between the Spurs and my stepdaughter (although I'm sure Lisa would have forgiven me...eventually).


I didn't sleep well last night.

Early in the evening, Amy and I attended an "Optimists Club" banquet honoring "youth", of which Lisa was one. The event featured banquet food . I think we've eaten the circuit now, pork diguised as steak, hamburger disguised as filet mignon, and chicken that no one could disguise despite their best efforts. The banquet was composed of a procession of kids who were each told at the last minute they would be "reading the honors" for the next kid on the list. There were 80 honorees, although about half didn't show up (they are the best and brightest after all). It was a long and less than enlightening occasion.

I spent much of the early part of the night thinking about the sacrifice we were making, giving up our evening for a banquet where kids were given plaques that really have little value.

I spent much of the next few hours thinking about true sacrifice.

"We would go to Mexico and Mama she would cry for the things we'll never know she had to leave behind"

Those are lyrics from a Tish Hinojosa song which rattled through my head last night as I tried to get some sleep and put my cynicism in perspective.

Yesterday morning I got word from Victoria, Texas that 18 illegal aliens had died stuffed in a locked tractor trailer in the sweltering South Texas heat. These were men, women, and at least one small child, who paid a fortune by their standards for a chance to come into this country seeking work...hard work. Back bending, thankless, and for the most part, low paying work. They embarked on that journey knowing their hopes and dreams could cost them their lives.

I couldn't help but wonder how they would feel if they were invited to a banquet where their kids were given plaques for excelling in school. I bet they wouldn't complain about the food.

PSALM 49:20
A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003


About to leave for yet another graduation related event for Lisa. This is an "Optimist Club" banquet for deserving students. We are blessed with talented kids who have achieved a great deal. Luckily I am also blessed with a strong stomach for banquet food.

The end of the world is tomorrow.

Figured I would pass that along for anyone who might have missed that news.

Members of this Japanese "Pana Wave" cult have been criss crossing their country trying to escape "radiation" and protect their leader. They all dress in white and believe the world is going to end Thursday.

What I find interesting about this story is that the media in Japan has been chasing these cultists hither and yon for weeks. According to Voice of America: "The white-clad cult members claim that journalists' TV cameras emit harmful signals and have tried to fend off reporters with giant mirrors."

That's like holding up a giant flame to rid your backyard of moths.


Our life limb and property are still safe. Texas House Democrats are still hiding in Ardmore, Oklahoma, so lawmakers in Austin can't do diddly. Tomorrow I'm going to call liquor stores and bars in Ardmore and see how business has been.

Side note: Texas Republicans have issued the most wanted cards as I predicted (see "Small favors" below). I'm keeping the Swami cap.


The "conventional wisdom" is that the Lakers will win tomorrow night and keep their championship hopes alive. I think the Spurs will get on track and stay on track enough to beat them ending the series; however I have mixed emotions. I've been offered tickets to Game 7 if there is one.

With my luck the world will end before then.


Dick the fish is dead. You may remember Dick. Dick was the 17-year old goldfish kept in a tank above a bar in a New York restaurant. He had some ailment that made it hard for him to swim. So the bar patrons put Dick in a sling.

I'm not sure what type of goldfish Dick was...a Japanese Coi? Who knows..maybe Dick was a cult member ahead of his time and tomorrow we could all be sleeping with the fishes.

Okay, so much for my Swami act.. Manu wasn't the star of the game. However I'll take the win. Considering how intense the game became (don't get me started) the Spurs should be given the thanks of the entire Laker organization...someone had to take Phil Jackson's newly repaired ticker out for a test spin.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003


I have come to the conclusion that all New Braunfels High school related events are purposely scheduled at odd times, usually conflicting with Spurs games. That's a good sign though since Lisa's actual graduation ceremony is a on Thursday night in two weeks, which means no doubt on that night the Spurs will be well entrenched in the Western Conference finals.

The swirl and bustle of pre-graduation madness continues tonight. We're about to head out to something for Lisa, a dinner with a purpose no one seems to be able to completely define. We're under the impression that it's to announce local scholarships and to reduce the world's population of synthetic chicken breasts.

Go Spurs


Nathaniel Ethan Kiehl came into the world yesterday...his father, an Army Specialist from just up the road, left this world in March. James Kiehl was killed in Iraq. He was 22.


Got a "news" release from the state troopers:

"The Texas Department of Public Safety is asking the public for assistance in locating 53 Texas legislators who have disappeared."

The "legislators" are all Democrats who don't like the way things are working out in the Republican dominated Texas legislature, so they ran away to prevent a quorum. Most are hiding out in Ardmore, Oklahoma, presumably because no one could argue that they're enjoying themselves if they're in Ardmore. I have no real problem with this political tactic...I wish more politicians would run away.

Anyone spotting one of the missing 53 (no deck of cards issued yet but it's got to happen) please call : 1-800-U-Keep 'em


Also missing these days is consistent play by the Spurs small forwards...I'm putting my Swami cap back on and predicting tonight will be a break out night for Manu Ginobilli...

Let us pray.

Monday, May 12, 2003


Our barn swallows, the ones who live above our front door, today were having a frank and animated discussion atop the metallic painted eagle that adorns our flagpole.

As I looked at them it made me think of how easy it is to get caught up in the squawking...oblivious to the stalwart foundation we stand upon.

"I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself"

I wasn't asked to give an address to the graduates yesterday. If I had been it would have been short:

If you're ever asked to give a speech and you think it would be cute to write a poem and read it. Run that by someone first. If that person thinks a poem is a good idea, get another opinion.

Don't ever rent a movie starring one of the younger Baldwin brothers. Steer clear of Rutger Hauer films too.

Feel free to pierce or tattoo any body part you want...but only after you've landed a good paying job, and a spouse who loves you. And only when you're sober.

Don't ever put a decal on your car that shows someone urinating on something. No one thinks that's funny.
And the LORD said to me, "I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed!

There is something about Tiffany's graduation ceremonies and my back. When she graduated high school we camped out on bleachers for hours in order to have a good seat. I was hunched over in pain for weeks.

For yesterday's ceremonies at Schreiner we had the pleasure of sitting in tiny wooden chairs in the gymnasium. I'm fairly certain the chairs are actually older than the University itself. I suspect that may actually date back to the "crusades" and may have been used as torture devices.

This morning I can barely move my neck and my back is aching. I can't look to the left or right without wincing in pain...

At least I'm starting the week "looking up" ... .

Sunday, May 11, 2003


Although this is my favorite photo from today's graduation, it probably doesn't do Tiffany justice. Tiffany now has her degree, Summa Cum Laude, from Schreiner University and it was a solemn and momentous day. Those cords around her neck signify various honors and there were more to be added through out today's events. One of the college big wigs remarked to her on the graduation stage that she set a record with "seven" cords....actually Tiffany received eight.

Cords, caps, gowns, and ceremonies have little meaning to me. I'm proud, don't get me wrong, but I'm not necessarily concerned whether or not Tiffany achieved those honors. Those ropes will be tokens far too soon. The cap and gown were borrowed. The ceremony was a rite of passage that will fade from memory.

The drive that led Tiffany to where she is today...THAT will sustain her for a lifetime.

Tiffany won a full scholarship to Schreiner and she could have "coasted" through four years there. In fact she probably could have coasted and graduated in three years if she so chose.
Instead she devoured her college experience. She grasped for the hard to reach and hungered for the difficult to attain. There were setbacks, doubts, and even failures along the way. She devoured those too.

In the end I don't think it matters what degree you have, or what honors you receive. I do believe if you attack life and seek all that you can from it, you will uncover marvels of the world and marvels within yourself.

You are what you eat...clean your plate.

Psalm 128:2

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.


This Mother's day will be spent for the most part in Kerrville watching Tiffany graduate college. Amy won't have the Mother's day dinner with the kids. "Her" day will be overshadowed by the bustlings and mania of graduation.

Yesterday, Amy pointed to a sad looking pot of flowers on our front porch and noted that they're not doing real well. She said, "I just shouldn't plant anything".

Today, as Tiffany walks across the stage, I hope to hold Amy's hand and whisper, "See what you planted? See how she's bloomed?"

You may not be great with marigolds, but I marvel at the children you've grown. There are none better. They are a testament to you.

I love you Amy. Happy Mother's Day.


Marvinel was her name. That had to be tough. Her Dad's name was Marvin, and so with the creativity mercifully found only in East Texas she was named "Marvinel". This is a picture that I think was taken as she when has going off to college. I'm assuming she didn't know at the time that the same style of clothing would be adopted by Mao Tse Tung and billions of Chinese.

My Mom died 31 years ago last month, just a few weeks before Mother's day 1972. She was a good woman. A strong and independent woman. I don't think of her often enough.

God Bless you Mom

Saturday, May 10, 2003


I have a certain routine to my life. Most mornings I get up and let the dogs outside. I leave them out while I shower, dress and make some chewable coffee. Then the fun begins...trying to get the dogs to come in, without waking everyone in the neighborhood at 2 in the morning.

There is no system for "dog herding". Sometimes I merely open the door and all three dogs scurry inside. Those are the good days. Those are the days when I am running ahead of schedule. Those are the days it's not raining. Those are the days the dogs aren't covered in mud. Those are the days of my dreams.

Usually it plays out more like this: Klondike barrels in with paws caked in black clay soil. As I try to remove the mud from his feet while keeping it off my clothes, he slobbers all over me and then, when I call out the door to the other dogs, Klondike goes running back out to get more mud on his paws.

Winston, our "special needs" dog, has never quite understood "dog herding". It's obvious he knows he's supposed to do something when I open the door, but each morning he seems to forget what that something is. That means sometimes he wags his tail at me and barks. Other days he grabs anything he can find, a piece of wood, a chew toy, or a rock, and starts to run around the yard assuming I'm in the mood to chase him. Some days he just sits and howls.

The one option that rarely seems to cross his cute but dimmed mind is to actually come inside. This usually results in me having to scamper about the yard until I can 'trap' him in area where he can't get by me. Then he'll give me a look of resignation, sit down and wag his tail as if to say, "That was fun, wanna go inside now?".

Meanwhile Avery is almost always "hunting". She will find or search for frogs, snakes, mice, rats, and some mysterious creature that apparently lives under our house. Quite regularly she ignores my beckoning and busies herself sticking her nose in the deep crevices of our patio while breathing in and out almost like she's trying to suck some unnamed demon from the depths of our foundation through her snout. Usually, I can get Avery's attention with minimal stomping about, and a few mild expletives.

All of this activity is my "routine"... I'm used to it. Now however my routine is being disrupted. Klondike no longer barges inside as quickly, and Avery is no longer burying her face in the cracks of our cement. Instead, they are both usually found running back and forth along the back fence line with great excitement. They ignore all my attempts to get them indoors and instead give me looks as if to say, "Are you crazy? And miss this?"

This creature is the reason why:

A possum has taken up residence in our back yard.

While Klondike and Avery are now even less inclined to pay attention to my sense of urgency, Winston, of course, doesn't really comprehend why the other dogs are frenzied; however he's perfectly willing to take advantage of this new development by resulting to his fall back position.

He'll wag his tail and bark, grab something to chew on and take off running, or sit and howl.

It's fine comedy really, except most days I miss the humor.

I don't really fault the possum for breaking up my routine... After all our backyard is a virtual hospitality zone. There's dog food...fresh water... and each morning, I put on a show.

I am suffering from indigestion this morning. It's not a result of the band banquet food...I'm fairly certain it is the result of the Spurs game. Is Stephen Jackson going to remember how to play basketball? Would be nice if he'd come around.... ah well there's always Sunday.


By the way, the tides have turned in our household. I am no longer the "most" crazed maniac in the room when the Spurs are on. Amy turns into a creature I'm thinking of renaming DAMYAN when the Spurs start to lose. For a while I thought her head might start spinning around. I knew she had gone over the edge when she started screaming for Jack Nicholson to be ejected.


And the winner is:

The Band Banquet turned into Lisa's night. In addition to winning numerous awards, she also snagged a couple of nice scholarships, but the real reward was seeing her shine in the spotlight of recognition for her hard work and dedication as a musician, as a student, but importantly as a person.

Even the food was decent....I think I'll savor the last band banquet for some time.

Friday, May 09, 2003


I'm not sure what the word "Banquet" really means, but to me it translates into: mediocre food and speeches - both of which are tough to swallow.

Tonight is the New Braunfels "Band Banquet". This is an annual event of importance, at least to band members. Various awards are handed out along with plates of glazed chicken breasts.

This evening's banquet is meaningful for two reasons: It's Lisa's senior year so she'll be featured in the annual slide show comparing baby pictures to current photos, and secondly, she's our last kid in band so this is our last band banquet.

Another component of the band banquet, besides the wilted salad and your choice of weak iced tea or water, is the reading of the "Senior Wills". Every departing senior writes a "will" bequeathing items, words of wisdom, etc., to those fellow members of the band who will be returning next year. I would guess there are 60 to 100 seniors in the band. Each of their wills will be read one right after the other. The seniors don't actually read their wills, this is done by the band director so that she can edit them on the fly, stumble over bad handwriting, and make sure nothing too risque is said. As you might imagine she breathes life into each every one of these well written bits of prose.

The same basic recipe is adhered to with the meal we are served, a distinct lack of spice....force fed.
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

I read THIS STORY with some interest. Researchers say they've determined Jesus died at 3pm on Friday, April 3rd, 33 AD, and rose again on Sunday, April 5th at 4am.

I applaud these folks for spending their time determining this...Hopefully it matters to someone.

I am thankful that God knows the minute details of my life. I'm just not certain that He wants me to focus on the minutiae of His.

I tend to think of God as a "big picture" kind of guy...

It reminds me of something Gerald Mann wrote, and I'm paraphrasing, but it was basically that Christians too often climb foothills and then stop, look down and spend their time talking about where they've been. He contends we should be looking up because there are more mountains to climb.


This quote speaks for itself:
"I was able to first snap the radius and then within another few minutes snap the ulna at the wrist and from there, I had the knife out and applied the tourniquet and went to task."

"I may never fully understand the spiritual aspects of what I experienced, but I will try".

"The source of the power I felt was the thoughts and prayers of many people, most of whom I will never know."

Those are the words of Aron Ralston, the climber who broke the bones in his own arm, and then amputated it after being trapped by a boulder.

I can't envision how anyone could summon the strength to do what this guy least not without help.

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Thursday, May 08, 2003


The barn swallows ignore me now.
Every year barn swallows return to our front porch to nest. It has become such a regular occurrence Amy and I no longer remove their nest which is composed primarily of mud, and dog hair both of which are plentiful in our yard. It seems silly to make them build a new home each year, so we just leave it there.

When the swallows first return I have to establish a relationship with them. Since I leave for work in the dark of night the swallows are often disturbed as I bustle out the door gripping my half gallon mug of coffee and fumbling for my keys. The "Mama" swallow will squawk, fly away and then dive bomb toward me in an effort to protect her nest and the babies it conceals. Papa swallow will swoop around but his flight path never extends beyond about 10 feet away. Every year it's the same thing. Mama squawks and Papa flutters and I try to reassure them by saying something soothing like, "Oh I'm not bothering you.. Shut up!".

Inevitably this dance is played out for several days in a row and then it suddenly stops. Today I noticed Mama swallow in her nest as I left. She was asleep. Across the ledge sat the Papa. He was awake but unmoved by my presence. Their home is safe from me and if they're lucky a few dog hairs may fall off me as I pass which they can add to their foundation.


Several years ago our neighborhood was invaded, by the largest homebuilder in America. This company prides itself in building a wide variety of homes, quickly. They are easy to criticize. Some of the workmanship certainly doesn't appear to be top notch and the home designs are limited. Hundreds of homes have surrounded us.

I've been thinking about these houses for the past few weeks from a different perspective though.

I try to walk every day around my neighborhood. I watch these homes built from start to finish. I've also seen something else. Home dreamers.

Home dreamers are the names I've given the couples, usually young couples, I see sitting in their cars in front of "SOLD" signs planted in front of an empty lot often overgrown with weeds. I see them weeks later venturing out of their cars to walk over newly poured foundations pointing to plumbing lines with excitement. The houses that I find easy to deride as cheap and uniform mean something else to "Home Dreamers". Maybe they see quiet nights together in the living room, gatherings with friends on their back porch, kids in the yard...a garden where love and a family can bloom.

Sometimes I wonder if God isn't like those "Home Dreamers". Sitting outside our lives, watching as we grow, envisioning what we will become and when our houses will be ready for Him.

It took me too long to let God inside. I squawked and fluttered and ruffled my feathers. The welcome mat is out now though

I feel welcome in His house too.

"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?"
Irony anyone?

Only one thought early this morning with little time to blog. Is it not Divine Comedy that the commercial that ran the most during the Spurs butt whuppin' of the Lakers on television last night was an ad promoting a movie called "Bruce Almighty"?

Bruce Bowen: 27 points, 7 three pointers.

Life is so ironic...and this morning so, so sweet.

Best quote from the LA Times: " embarrassment of Samakian proportions"

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Hold your comments please

One member of our Spurs Party/Seance/Voodoo Ritual/Potluck Monday night apparently read my remarks on the event -not here, the only people who actually admit to reading this blog are me and a kid in Oklahoma- in an email from Amy and said I should turn on the "comment" feature on my blog. It is on, you just have to read through my entire ranting to get to it which I've found pretty much eliminates the need for a comment feature anyway.

If only all of life's contentious moments were handled so easily.

So a Rabbi, a Priest and a Preacher...

Oftentimes my life parrots the line from the movie "Broadcast News" where Albert Brooks says, "Amazing. I say it here, it comes out there"

A large part of my job is to think up story ideas and try to make sure we have stories on the air dealing with "what people are talking about". This means that quite often what I'm talking about is somehow twisted into a "news story". As we were kicking around story ideas the other day I was talking about praying for the Spurs to make their free throws and it was decided we'd have a reporter talk to a Pastor, a Priest, and a Rabbi about whether it's okay to pray for the outcome of sporting events. Interestingly only the Rabbi said it was wrong. His contention is we should focus our prayers on more important issues like healing and peace.

No argument here, but where is that dividing line between honest prayer and trivial pursuit?

Don't have the answer to that one.
I'll pray on it. I hope that's okay God.

I have my Swami turban ready

All modesty aside, I do need to mention that in my blog Monday, hours before the game, I said I would "hopefully get a couple hours sleep with fanciful dreams of Shaquille O'Neal fouling out early dancing in my head."

Shaq Daddy fouled out in the fourth.

Feel free to now refer to me as the "Prophet Michael", which leaves my previous title of "Philosopher King" up for grabs.

Speaking of swollen heads

I found this story uplifting. It's nice to know that although the scenery has changed, in some ways life hasn't traveled too far off the path from the days of "Leave it to Beaver".

With the proper soap we can all probably pull our heads out of any number of tight spots.

Ooops, sorry...I've already relinquished the title of Philosopher King.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Have you heard the one about....

Okay, so a Pastor, a social worker, two church elders, a hospital chaplain and a radio guy get together to watch a basketball game... Who gets the "best behavior of the night award"?
I've seen calmer crowds at methamphetamine mixers.
A good time was had by all at our impromptu Spurs watching party last night, especially since the Spurs won. However I'm still trying to find a gentle way to explain how several members of our normally pious group stooped to bargaining with God for free throws, speaking in tongues that are not necessarily familiar among conventional baptists, cheering injuries, and at times falling to their knees in idol worship. All we were lacking was a golden calf.

Don't have a cow man

From the making the minor monumental files: The above shot is of a cow from the "Cow Parade", a traveling "art project" that raises money for various causes. It's in San Antonio now...Dozens of cow statues are stationed around town...This particular cow however has been banished. It was at San Antonio International Airport. Apparently the city's former Mayor, Henry Cisneros, decided it was bad art, and offensive.
The airport folks say he's the only person to complain...guess that's enough because that cow has been put out to pasture. Destined for whatever happens to fiberglass cows in the end....Maybe they're made into those burgers the Bob's Big Boy statues hold up.

We can get rid of Gaucho Cows...but this guy is still riding around town.

Speaking of riding tight

Best quote from an LA Times columnist describing last night's game and the Spur's defense:" Bruce Bowen was constantly in front of Bryant. I think he even showed up in a couple of Kobe's Sprite commercials"

And the best thing about last night's game is....we get to do it all over again tomorrow.

Monday, May 05, 2003

California dreamin'

Woke up this morning to a wonderful surprise, an email from my California niece Chelsea.

The email asked what I thought were pretty easy questions (she's working on a school project), but the more I thought about it, the questions that I thought were simplest were the toughest. I mean, do you really know what your absolute "favorite food" is? How about your all time favorite song? I'm old, fat and half deaf, I've eaten a lot of foods and listened to a lot of music...remembering it all, much less narrowing down the choices to one proved more thought provoking than I expected. I do know my favorite color is blue. I don't know why though. I think people are asked that question a lot when they're young so everyone just picks a color to have an answer.

It was my first email from Chelsea which is always exciting. I have a good email relationship with my other two nieces (ahem...right Sarah? right Emily?), maybe this can spur better communication on my part with the California contingent.

Spurring California.

I did carefully avoid all mention of basketball, since Chelsea lives not too far from Los Angeles and has no doubt been corrupted by the evil forces of darkness known more commonly in South Texas as "The Lakers".

Tonight the Spurs go up against L.A.... another late start... I will pay in the morning but I will watch tonight, and hopefully get a couple hours sleep with fanciful dreams of Shaquille O'Neal fouling out early dancing in my head.

School's out

I've been focusing on Tiffany and Lisa's graduations these days, but Amy today is wrapping up her first semester of college. She's been writing frantically for the past few days knocking out a treatise on vegetarianism for her propaganda spouting leftist English teacher. Amy didn't need to learn how to write, she writes very well and has the best head for grammar and spelling of anyone I know (and I'm an editor), but I think she got a real education into higher education with this class. There's more to come...I can't wait to see what her Political Science professor is like.

The best thing about her class was that she started blogging. She says she's going to stop writing that blog now and start a new one... I'm going to hold her to that.

It never hurts to know what your wife is thinking...even if she has to type it out and post it on the web.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

The Party's over

Prom night was a wonderful success...Prom day was relatively uneventful in terms of the usual number of crises too. Lisa was stunning. She has blossomed

We didn't get to see her date except might as well too:

I think she kicked off her heels to add to her date's stature....A good sign in any budding relationship.

The Party's just begun

A good service today, dedication of the land for our new building. A challenge to our small congregation of what it will mean to us financially, and spiritually. I once again am reminded that I am not a public speaker. It's odd, I can talk on the radio, but put me up in front of people and I become emotional. I'm not sure if it only happens in front of people I love and when I'm talking about growing in a relationship with God, or whether I'd act the same way if I were making a pitch for Samsonite luggage. In any case, I got through it... I hope the message I was trying to convey got through as well.
Party to Prayer

In Sunday school we talked about prayer, how we think of it, what it does for us and what we expect out of it. It was a fascinating conversation that provided great insight into our collective thinking. I was struck by this idea of how bizarre I have at times let prayer become in my life. It made me think of the "Covenant Casino" again, except now it was stocked with Prayer Slot Machines. Do I keep feeding in prayers and hope to get a "pay off" from above? The Jesus Jackpot...

I was glad to realize my beliefs about prayer are much like my thoughts on forgiveness. God calls on us to forgive, not only for the person we are forgiving, but also to free ourselves of the burdens that encumber us by not forgiving.

I think God calls on us to pray not only to convey our thoughts and hopes to Him, but also to maintain a personal relationship with Him.

I don't know how prayer works, why some prayers appear to be answered, and others do not. I do know praying makes me feel closer to God...and when you bring it down to the very basics....that's all I'm really praying for anyway.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Prom day

Prom day for Lisa. Her senior prom is tonight. I'm amazed. I still think of her as a little blonde burst of sunshine with a perpetual smile.

Today will be a day of hair and nail appointments. Fury and fussing. Fanciness and frustrations. A good day for me to lay low. Tonight, as Lisa prepares to drive away, I will be there to take pictures and hold Amy close as she cries. I've learned a few things over the years.


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest"

Tomorrow our little Covenant Baptist Church family will meet to discuss our future plans which include another building to be used for classroom space. It will require a financial, emotional, and spiritual commitment on all our parts. Although I did see this picture today and thought that perhaps we could be creative in our financing:

Seriously, I pray our small community of faith will see this as a great opportunity, not a burden.
I have a relatively unburdened life. I am thankful for that. Lisa and I were talking last night about how people seem to get so worked up over such small things. Some years ago I made the pledge to "not make the minor monumental". It's been a pretty good philosophy. As Lisa prepares to graduate high school in a few weeks and Tiffany prepares for college graduation next weekend, I am reassured that both have a solid understanding of what is truly important. They know their self worth is not dictated by society nor in the end judged by man.

I hope this young woman finds those lessons too...Not all knowledge is found in books, especially law books.

Is God a burden?

I found this story interesting. I'm not surprised that Tony Blair says he's willing to answer to God for his choices in the war, I'm surprised he was so willing to answer to his political advisors when it came to mentioning God's name.

There have been times I have felt that way too. Times when I won't mention my faith. Times when I hold my tongue. Mind you, I am still a believer that silence is the better part of valor in many things, but I am also a believer in God. I read a book once called, "The Embarrassed Believer". It was not really a very good book, but it's a great title. I think that sums up many Christians. We believe but we don't want to burden anyone else with our beliefs.

Maybe that's because we've all encountered too many "in your face Christians".

God help me find a place on high to share my relationship with You somewhere between "the faithful but flawed" and the fanatical....and please help me lay low on Prom day.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Random thoughts...hopefully
Normally when I sit down to blog I have no agenda, I simply see what erupts...of course usually I've had more coffee than I've had today....right now I'm simply staring at the screen...of course that can have its moments.
The concert last night in Kerrville was very pleasant. The Symphony of the Hills Orchestra is made up of a great many dedicated volunteers. I'm all for volunteers, in fact I am supposed to speak on that topic at church this weekend. I hope I strike a good chord...some of last night's performers missed a few.

They played "Rhapsody in Blue", which may have been selected as a tribute to the hair color of most of the members of the audience. I feel young in Kerrville. Need to go there more often.
Look yourself in the eye: It occurs to me that blogging may eventually replace "Reality TV". Since we all seem so fascinated by watching other "regular" people, it seems a logical offshoot that eventually it will evolve into television programs where we just watch ourselves.

Blogging is sort of like that. Write about your life and then read about yourself.


Pronunciation: "blog"
Function: noun
Etymology: Short for "web log"
Definition: On line mirror for literary introverts


BUM RAP: It was on this day in 1994 that a teenager named Michael Fay got his fanny whacked in Singapore for vandalizing cars with spray paint. It caused a world-wide stir. Then President Clinton even got involved.

Remember when we cared about stories like that?
Ugh...I just tried to change my blogger template and hadn't saved what I had written..."poof" it's gone...

Most wisdom is fleeting I suppose.
Take off your Foster Grants...the Suns are finally out of our eyes! Thank goodness the Spurs got past Phoenix. Bring on the Lakers!
I see where the first two games of the series both have 8:30 start times...major sleep schedule adjustments again.

I really feel for my buddy and co-worker Stan Kelly. He'll have to announce those games at the SBC center and still anchor the morning news. Even though I wake up earlier and plan to watch the games, at least I'll be home.

When Stan bellows, "Two minutes!" over the P.A. system, that may be a painful reminder of the amount of sleep he's going to get.
Give that guy a hand:
Then again...we should all count are blessings. Worrying about when to nap or the fate of our favorite sports teams seems unbelievably shallow when you read about men like this guy.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

It's Thursday, but it's my Friday, since I'm taking off work sleep last nite so I'm going to dash out some senseless ramblings.

Tonight I'm hoping for a double dose of listening bliss...first a concert by The Symphony of the Hills Orchestra in Kerrville. My stepdaughter, Tiffany, has been a violinist in this orchestra for the past four years, and I have never made one of her concerts. They're always on Thursday nights, in Kerrville. Hence, a vacation day from work tomorrow so that I can make tonight's concert...her final one.

Secondary listening bliss will hopefully be the sound of the Spurs winning as we drive back home and listen to the game on the radio.

Side Spurs note: People magazine will release it's annual list of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" tomorrow. I've seen the list...Spurs Point Guard Tony Parker is on it. I'm withholding my vote until I see if he makes his free throws tonight.
The value of a big stick: From the ABC wire: THE U.S.-LED WAR ON TERRORISM APPEARS TO BE SUCCEEDING,

Side note: That's the lowest level since 1969

Today is the National Day of Prayer...I will pray those numbers continue to decline.
It's a slow news day so far, of course it's 4:45 in the slow? THIS SLOW.
However at least some major scientific break throughs are being reported.. like the amazing news that FISH CAN FEEL FISH HOOKS. This is not something I was even aware was an issue.
Most interesting story of the day is that Unabomber Ted Kaczinski wants the cabin where he lived and wrote his "manifesto" torn down. Apparently authorities are refusing to do that... Again, I didn't know this was an issue, but it reminded me of my favorite Unabomber Haiku (there are whole websites devoted to Unabomber Haiku's by the way).

"Open your present..."
"No, you open your present..."
Kaczinski Christmas