Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Lady Of Character

We pulled it off.

Last night some of the "old radio" dogs who worked with George Jennings in this area, got together for food and conversation with his widow, Nancy.

It was good.

Admittedly, I've been obsessed with trying to get it organized for much of the week, and it's a relief that it was successful.

George Jennings was a real character, and his wife is one too. Despite her loss, she is doing very well, actually far better than the last time I remember seeing her, which was far too long ago.

Nancy, like George, is fiesty and independent. However, last night I hope we helped Nancy realize that she still has "family" in San Antonio, and she can call upon any of us if need be.

I think Nancy needed a night like last night, maybe for a little closure, maybe just to get out of the house.

Honestly, I needed it too.

I didn't take many pictures...there was too much catching up to do, but I have posted the few I did take to a web album. You can follow the "My Photo Albums" link on the side bar.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Inside Stuff

Part of this post is really for a very narrow audience, that I'm not even sure will see it. I apologize for that.

For any radio folks in San Antonio who want to come by and visit for a bit to share George Jennings stories with his wife Nancy, please shoot me an email. I've arranged for a very informal gathering early Friday night. A number of old friends and colleagues have left comments here, but didn't leave me their email addresses so I have no way to contact them, so I'm throwing this out just to make sure I leave no stone unturned.

Another former co-worker of mine is having serious health issues, cancer...and it doesn't look good. As part of my vow to let down some emotional barriers, I'm hoping to visit him tomorrow.

And so the purpose of this writing I suppose becomes less narrow now...but it's still "inside stuff" ...only now it's about the stuff going on inside me.

The events of the past couple of weeks have had my mind swirling in a mire of thoughts of broken relationships, lost friendships, and quite frankly the recurring realization that life is too short...too often.

It's not easy, but I'm trying to filter my thoughts through grace and am vowing to try to take some steps to mend some badly broken or lost familial relationships rather than leave them abandoned.

I have a bad habit of saying, "Just let it go," and "Let's put all this behind us and move forward."

The more I pray about that, the more wrong it seems.

I don't want to be that man.

I want to be the type of guy who says, "No, I refuse to make it that easy. "

I want to be the man who realizes the best way to conquer his demons is not to turn away, but to turn back and face them...and try with all my heart to let God show me the way to do so honestly and gently.

I need not look far for affirmation...I need only look back.

I spent far too much of my life putting things behind me, letting go, moving on and going it wasn't until I turned back, and faced God and myself that I found true peace in my life.

That doesn't mean it will be easy. In fact, I suspect some of my efforts may get ugly and I will be rebuffed.

But truthfully, there isn't room inside me to run anymore, so I have to find a way to stand...right now I'm going to rely on the rock of my faith for footing.

And one day, I pray, that this decision will have freed up space within me for more of the "inside stuff" that's truly important.

You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. - 2 Samuel 22:37

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ruffled Minds And Restless Pillows

Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Last Friday I had my aforementioned "sleep study."

It's quite an ordeal with wires "glued" to your head, face, neck, chest, and a few other parts of your body. There are also bands wrapped around your chest and belly, a little gizmo slipped under your nose as well as some other detection devices that are attached to your legs. By the time I was through getting hooked up I alternately felt like the Bionic Man - with all my bionics exposed plus no cool super powers, and a death row inmate about to be "juiced."

DISCLAIMER: This photo is not of me . It's an image I found of the Internet which does fairly well depict the net result of the "sleep study" pre-exam hook up. I have enough wisdom not to post a picture of me such as this on the Internet. The pajama choices are not reflective of my taste.

Since I work odd hours, I do not have a "sleep schedule' - I nap some days, some days I don't. Some days I sleep for 5 hours, some days I'm lucky to get 3 hours sleep total, so going into this thing I had what some might term performance anxiety.

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter, I was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep during the study. I'd been given a very narrow time frame to get this sucker done because "normal" people would be coming in for "normal hour" sleep studies and I had to be out of the room before the herd of "normal" people arrived.

My thoughts drifted momentarily to some cheap hotel with hourly rates, but all the electronics to which I was attached mercifully derailed that imagery.

Anyway, since I was worried about actually conking out on command, I deliberately opted "not" to sleep, or sleep very little for a couple of days prior.

I stayed late at our small church group meeting on Wednesday night, lingering longer than normal, and made sure I only had a few hours sleep before I went to work on Thursday. Thursday night, we invited a young man over whom Amy and I have been sort of mentoring. We had a nice dinner and I didn't end up taking him home until close to 10 p.m.


When I got to work Friday, I was exhausted. By the time I got hooked up to all the gadgetry at the sleep study clinic I could barely keep my eyes open. When the technician glue gun guy - or whatever the title for folks in charge of sticking stuff to you is - hit the lights...I was lights out.


Some hours later, I woke up.

The tech-gluer was instantly in the room saying he had already stopped the study and he proceeded the protracted - and I might add slightly painful - process of unhooking the wires, electrodes, belts, and other torture devices.

Soon I was happily driving home while picking glue out of my hair thankful to have the ordeal behind me.

Before I left, I did ask the adhesive attendant if he could tell me anything and he said that one of my doctors would contact me or I'd get something the mail.

Then he added the fateful words that have haunted me ever since, "You didn't snore."

I'm sort of famous for snoring. No one has ever told me I don't snore except this one guy who presumably spent a fascinating number of hours watching me sleep last Friday. I was a little concerned about that, and when I reported that finding to Amy, the instigator of all of this sleep study stuff, she responded, "Didn't you sleep on your back?"

I sheepishly answered that I slept on my side, like I thought I always did, and she sighed, "You start off sleeping on your side, but you always turn over on your back and that's when you snore and stop breathing!

That day, considering how tired I was, I could have slept standing on my head, but I didn't know for optimal snorage I should have tried to sleep on my back.

I plead not guilty, this was information that should have been relayed to me before I went to get glued to some hourly rate bed by a guy wearing latex gloves.

So, I'm still waiting to hear the results...

Still, I'm now a bit worried the doctors pronouncement will be, "We couldn't detect a problem."

Should that happen, I'm certain Amy will figure a way to have me go through the entire process again...on my back...and I'm convinced she's not opposed to using a staple or nail gun should the need arise.

This, my friends, is the stuff nightmares are made of...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Eyes...His Heart

My vision is blurry.

Oh, not to worry...

It's not a medical's a selective memory thing.

Yesterday, Amy and I sat in a recital hall at Baylor University and listened to Mozart. I closed my eyes and thought back...not to the song written some 240 years earlier, but to the young woman performing it on the oboe.

She was beautiful, poised, so grown up. An adult with a love for music.

But I couldn't see her clearly.

All of our kids have musical abilities - caveat added: they're my stepchildren which explains why they are so good at mastering music, and I am not.

Lisa, our youngest at 22, is the one who has chosen to make music a part of her career. The others are pursuing stronger passions...and doing fine.

I have attended more concerts, recitals, band competitions, half-time shows and the like than I can possibly remember. Many of them I watched through the lens of a video camera.

Yesterday, I chose not to bring a camera...I wanted to listen, absorb, and "experience" Lisa's performance. I assured myself that would be memory enough.

But my vision is blurry.

Although I could see this confident musician on stage clearly and I could hear the wondrous melodies she has my mind's eye I saw and heard something else.

I saw the little girl whose "first" concert I attended 13 or 14 years ago. At that time Lisa thought she wanted to play the violin and she, along with 4 or 5 other kids in her elementary school, were on stage screeching out a rendition of something. I don't recall the tune...that may be selective memory at work too.

I remember though that we applauded, and encouraged.

Lisa left the violin behind, chose woodwinds and soon became dedicated to the oboe.

As I watched and listened yesterday, my thoughts kept flashing back to little girl with blond hair, bright eyes and a perpetually cheery smile from what now seems so long ago. I can still her so clearly.

Admittedly, at times I teared up a bit.

As Amy and I drove home, I thought about God and me.

I'm nearly 50. I am a flawed man on a journey to become less so. At times it has been a long, hard road. I have become lost and I have stumbled. There are scars which occasionally still resonate.

Yet, there was a time when I was carefree and frolicking with unlimited opportunities and potential. Sometimes that time seems so long ago, other times it still seems within reach.

Sometimes, such as yesterday, my road doesn't seem to matter at all.

It's the journey in front of the children I love that matters most.

I hope it's that way for God too.

I pray that when God sees me, sometimes He closes His eyes...and sees the child I once was, in addition to the man I hope to be...and He applauds, and encourages.

His vision I know is perfect.

"Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all - he is the greatest."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Waiting For My Dough

"Thank you for calling our automated ....."

I'm beginning to dread those words. I have been on the phone and on line for at least an hour, talking to several very nice people to whom we owe money. They're not like members of the Sopranos or anything....they hold our mortgage.

Somehow I got "locked out" - no doubt due to my own clumsy fingers - of our on-line account.

Locked out? Call this number: 1-800- blah blah...

I call, and am greeted by some automaton who obviously is programmed to always seem happy.
I'm given numerous options, in English and Spanish...and I choose to find a human being.

I find human beings. They are also very nice, no doubt well on their way to being promoted to robots or perhaps are automatons in training...but every one of them directs me to a different office, a different number, tells me to press different "Option" keys.

I try them all.

I press 1 to deal with my mortgage... I put in my loan number...the last four digits of my Social Security shoe size...

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

Dial tone....

I call back...try to circumvent the system and get another human being. I'm given another number to call.

"Thank you for calling....please listen to our options."

I press a new series of numbers, hoping I'll get this really simple matter resolved.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

Dial tone.

I call now I'm a pro and I get through to a guy who says he'll connect me with a real human being and also gives me yet another secret code to enter if it doesn't work.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

Dial tone....

I'm reminded of the old joke of , "Press 1 to speak to a doctor...Press 2 to talk to a lose weight press the # symbol....78888788989779 times..."

Finally, I get through to yet another human after wading into another matrix of secret codes not listed on the option menu for someone locked out of their online account. She says she'll send me a new password via email.

Being a little cynical by now, I ask...."When?"

She assures me she's already sent it.

That was 30 minutes ago. My email client checks for mail every minute.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

"Please wait.

In life there's always an upside...if you look hard enough...

I figure the upside in this case is I have something to blog about...

No new password, no access to my real information of value to you....but maybe that's coming.

"Please wait.


I finally received my new password, was able to get to our account, was able to find the area where I was told I could make this simple change...and...

Yeah, it wouldn't let me.

Every once in a while, I'm not stupid. Sometimes, admittedly, it takes me a while to prove that, but by this time I decided on another approach. I drove the one mile to the bank with which we have the mortgage, walked in and said," Can anyone help me make this minor change?"

I kid you not...10 seconds...In 10 seconds, this very nice young man had a form filled out ready for me to sign and was saying,"Is there anything else I can help you with?"

I resisted the urge to ask, "Could you call me maybe every week or two and just remind me that I'm not always stupid?"

Probably would have been an automated call anyway...

Monday, March 19, 2007

BIG Voices... Lasting Legacies

I wasn't going to write much more about George Jennings. Honestly, I've been consumed since Friday reconnecting with old radio friends, and thinking a lot about relationships, and the ratio of careers vs community.

I'm also trying to help coordinate a "George story swap" session with some of the media folks who were caught in the Jennings' whirlwind at one point or another, hoping to convince Nancy, his bride of 45 years, to join us.

I knew George Jennings was a pioneer in the industry, and an amazing broadcaster, but I never realized the length of his legacy, and sadly I suspect George didn't either.

Anyway, while emailing "my old friend" Harlan, who gently helps correct my grammatical errors, and mentioning I wasn't going to write for a few days, I tripped over to a blog which I've been checking lately that is devoted to the Little Rock station which Jennings help put on the air, and where he became a "star." The blog is authored by a longtime friend of the Jennings family.

It contains a lot more stuff about George from people who knew him years and years ago.

I pirated the photo below from that blog site, and then found a link to one of GEORGE J. JENNINGS' newscasts from January of 1964 which is so priceless that I couldn't resist downloading the audio and putting it up on my server for anyone interested to hear. You'll find a link to the newscast below the photo.

Be forewarned it's a four minute newscast, complete with commercials, weather, and almost anything else it's a large file. If you don't have high-speed access, you'll have to be very patient.

Also bear in mind, it was 1964 so there is a word or two used that has long since been replaced in the American vernacular. No one will ever be able to replace George though...of that I am certain.

Take a BIG step back in time and hear a BIG voice by clicking here.


Friday, March 16, 2007

A Storyteller's Tale

The call came at 4 a.m....on September 5, 1985.

I was hungover, in a full blown haze from boozing it up for far too long. I was unemployed and my marriage, which never had a foundation, was on the rocks.

"CAN YOU COME IN...NOW?," the cavernous voice on the phone barked.

He was screaming.

My head was pounding...

It was 4 a.m. for pity sake, I had probably only been asleep for a couple of hours. I can't imagine I was even sober.

"mthphfphth...who is this again?


I was sobering up fast..."I can be there in 20 minutes," I pledged, not even sure what day it was, but fairly certain that this was a test I had to pass.

I raced to the station, I don't think I stopped to brush my teeth.


I was 28 years old, a functional alcoholic, with no affiliation with God as far as I knew then, although I'm sure I mentioned God in less than flattering terms a few times under my breath as I sat down at a typewriter and banged out copy while trying to realize what was going on.

I ran into a studio and cut a tape of what I'd written only to be told minutes later, "THAT SOUNDS LIKE *&!!@#! YOU CAN DO BETTER! READ IT LIKE YOU WROTE IT! NOT LIKE SOME DISC JOCKEY!!"

The source of that booming voice, and believe me it resonated due to more than my condition at the time, emanated from the then News Director of WOAI, who was running back and forth, anchoring the news, yelling at me, spilling coffee on himself, belching cigar smoke everywhere, being part of a morning show, yelling at me some more, and goodness knows what else.

I was beyond intimidated.

I had worked "big city" radio. Heck, I'd worked in Dallas and Austin and at another station in San Antonio until only a few weeks prior, but those jobs came to me, and I didn't have to really "impress" anyone to get them, at least not anyone who had a towering - slightly manic - presence, and certainly no one at 4:30 in the morning, with my sobriety in substantial doubt.

I tried to keep my composure, or find it, rolled back the reel to reel (yes, this was in a different age) and did what the man said, I delivered a newscast as I wrote it.

I'm not sure which I detected next, the cigar stench or his thundering footsteps, but I knew my "last chance" was about to burst through the door of the studio any second.

Several weeks earlier, I had turned down a job as the afternoon anchor at a competing news talk station because the money was insulting and the hours were 4 p.m. to midnight. The "beta" wife wasn't real pleased I was turning down jobs, as I recall. However I didn't want to work for a station trying to unseat WOAI, a 50,000 watt heritage powerhouse with a legendary news reputation. I wanted to work for WOAI. I wanted stability. I wanted to work for the best.

So once or twice every week I called and spoke with the News Director to remind him that I was still available...never considering he would test my "availability" at 4 a.m..

The door to the studio burst open and he said, "PLAY IT! WE NEED TO GET THIS *&&%#$ DONE!"

I fumbled a bit with the equipment, but somehow managed to cue up the tape and play the newscast I had recorded moments earlier.

"GOOD! GIVE ME THE #$%^;!@#! TAPE, " he bellowed. I complied and he marched out of the studio leaving me there in a fog...and in a panic.

And there I sat. It was not even 6 a.m.

Where the heck was he going with the tape? What was I supposed to do in the meantime?

I eventually figured out the answer to the second question: Nothing.

I was apparently supposed to sit still and wait.

So I did.

For about an hour.

I didn't know where else to go. Quite frankly I was a little frightened and not completely convinced this entire episode wasn't the result of chemical experimentation dating back to my college years.

Eventually George Jennings, News Director of WOAI came back into the room and said, "FOLLOW ME! YOU'RE GOING TO INTERVIEW WITH THE GENERAL MANAGER!"

I stumbled behind George down the extremely narrow hallways of this hallowed radio station and into the office of the G.M. He, although smaller in stature, was equally intimidating - peppering me with questions about my news philosophy, and asking absolutely nothing about "me" the person. Nothing about my background, nothing about my family or education, nothing personal at all. Everything had to do with news...that was all that mattered.

Then, just as abruptly, George and I were dismissed.

I didn't see George and the G.M. exchange any signal or even say anything to each other as we marched out.


That was the day I began my career at WOAI radio, bleary-eyed, and confused but too frightened by this booming-voiced character with a gruff demeanor to ask any questions...not even sure what the job paid or what hours I was going to work. Still I felt a sense of relief. I felt like I had been through nine weeks of boot camp in about two hours.

I imagine George Jennings as a baby nursing at a radio tube. His dad was a radio engineer, and George had broadcasting in his blood, in his very genes. He was a newsman from the "old school," disheveled, cigar chomping, boisterous and seemingly fearful of nothing.

I eventually was told I was starting work that night and would be trained by a guy who was quitting...the next day.

I signed a few papers and went home still unsure what I had been hired to do.

Obviously I figured it out, thanks in large part to George. Although, a loud, oftentimes obnoxious -and borderline crazed- individual, throughout his career, George Jennings was a newsman through and through. He didn't care about appearances, or political correctness, or the time of day. He lived and breathed radio news.

I was hired as a "writer/reporter" initially, re-writing copy from reporters to make it sound "fresh" for morning drive, while still being responsible for covering the overnight streets of San Antonio.

It wasn't long before George was shifting me around a lot, and I got to know the lay of the land.

George and I spent many good years together, and some tumultuous difficult years too.

He left WOAI in 1999.

In the years prior, he had been reassigned to various positions from the anchor desk, to Chief Legislative reporter. He's still the only man I've ever known personally who had Karl Rove's home phone number, and had no fear of calling him at 6 a.m. on a Sunday.

I never had to ask George why he called me at 4 a.m. the day I was hired, because I soon learned more about his news philosophy.

I'd be at the station in the early morning hours and mention a story idea, or someone I thought we should interview, and he'd command, "CALL 'EM! IF THEY'RE NOT AWAKE BY NOW IT'S OUR JOB TO WAKE THEM UP!"

George Jennings had a long and storied career, not only at WOAI radio. He was, for many years, part of a legendary morning show duo at KAAY radio in Little Rock. At that time, another 50,000 watt blowtorch...the only size radio station where a personality the size of George's could fit.

George Jennings covered everything from the Kennedy assassination to the Texas tale of "Old Rip," a toad stuck inside the cornerstone of the courthouse in Eastland County in 1897 only to - according to legend - emerge alive when when the courthouse was torn down 31 years later. And he covered them with equal passion, making certain that listeners were engaged and on edge.

George Jennings could tell any story in a way that would grab you, using every nuance of radio to do it...and he didn't stand on pretense.

I remember George once storming into the newsroom at a fevered pace with some tabloid under his arm and screaming at me, "MAIN? MAIN! YOU SEE THIS STORY OF THESE DOG FACED BOYS IN BRAZIL? I WANT THEM ON THE AIR! NOW!!"

George wasn't one to let journalism lessons, or someone else's standards get in his way. He clawed his way through bureaucrats and blowhards to find stories that were actually "interesting."

The George Jennings I remember could barnstorm his way into any meeting, get any interview he wanted, and often make people say what they didn't want to in the process.

A larger than life individual.

George had some problems in his later years. I had some problems with George too. Yet, we still worked well together until his retirement.

He went on to follow his passion of old time radio, ferreting out old forgotten recordings of shows from radio's infancy, and marketing them both to folks who still remembered those days, and people who never realized they existed.

He also volunteered to record various informational programs for the blind, and seemingly always had his hand, and voice imprinted on the thing he loved most in life, story telling.

Last night, George Jennings died. He was 67...renal failure.

The news came as a shock to me, and I'm saddened that I didn't stay closer to George in the past few years...relationships and the passage of time, I'm guilty of undervaluing both.

Still, when I got the call letting me know about George, part of me went into another gear, trying to find information about him for the stories that will be written, trying to locate some of the many people he mentored, made smile, or simply touched in life. Passing on information to news organizations with whom he was affiliated...and knowing that George, above all things, would want it, "DONE NOW!"

I think in a true storyteller's life...there really never is an ending...

George Jennings 1940-2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

She's Found!

I just got off the phone with Chuck Huish, the husband of Cheryl, the woman from New Braunfels we established a website in hopes of locating after she disappeared on February 28th.

Cheryl has been found. She is alive and well. Right now, it's a "family matter," which I plan to respect. However Chuck did ask me to thank everyone for their efforts in helping to locate her. You!

I really do not have any other details...honestly right now I don't need them, I'm simply going to spend a little time thanking someone else, God.

All too often these stories don't end this way. I'm extremely thankful to report that this one has ended, with no "bad news" to report.

Bless you all and praise God.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Jesus, Mary & Johnny

I read a story today about a guy in Kamloops, Canada who believes he sees Jesus in a baking sheet.

You have to admit, you don't really have to squint too much to see where he might get that impression.

Not too long ago there was a woman who works for the Houston school district who believed she saw the image of the Virgin Mary on a cookie sheet.

Again, I can see how she how someone, especially someone of faith, always looking for signs of God, or Jesus or Mary, would be able to interpret that image as such a sign.

That story actually played out rather delicately, since the cookie sheet was technically school district property and officials handled it very carefully, essentially passing the buck to local Catholic officials, but insisting the employee couldn't keep the cookie was taxpayer property after all, and you know, separation of church and state and all that.

Not sure where the cookie sheet is today to tell you the truth, but I'm sure it's safe and no one is baking on it anymore.

The guy with the baking sheet in Canada hasn't wasted anytime, he apparently bought the baking sheet from his boss and has slapped it up on Ebay hoping to get rich.

At this writing, still no bidders, and he's offering to sell you various spin-offs, like the chance to touch your lottery ticket to the sheet.

Far from me to criticize. I've found Jesus in a lot of unexpected places in my life. However the stories did trigger a memory of an old Johnny Carson interview with a woman who collected potato chips which she believed looked like all sorts of things.

God bless You Tube... You may not see Jesus or Mary in your oven today, but I'll bet this clip from the late Johnny Carson will at least bring a smile to your face.

Monday, March 12, 2007

To Sleep...Perchance To Dream...

I'm never been a big fan of Monty Python, which is sacrilege to Amy who can quote Monty Python chapter and verse. I think it's due in part that I'm half deaf and I don't follow some of the dialogue real well, or it may be it's not my type of humor.

However I will admit that I have repeatedly used the audio from one of the Monty Python films in various radio pieces I've produced over the years. The audio? This quote.

I bring that up because on a fairly regular basis Amy thinks I might be dead.

It's not a judgement as to my mental acuity, it's the fact that I stop breathing. I don't notice. I'm asleep. Amy notices. She's noticed since we were first married and has been gently, and not so gently on occasion, prodding me to "see a doctor."

I know what sleep apnea is, I know it can shorten my life....I know... I know...

I'm a guy. I don't go to the doctor too often....however, when your wife is losing sleep because she's "timing" you when you're not breathing, and I suspect has compiled a spread sheet to document it, it's probably time to face facts.

It's like my rule with breath mints...if someone offers you one, take it...don't assume you don't need it and they're just being polite.

So I've been to our family doctor, explained that I'm tired a lot...I wake up at 1 a.m. and am often lucky to get 4 hours sleep, I figure who wouldn't be tired...but that Amy insists that sometimes she thinks I'm dead, because I stop breathing for long periods of time. The doc kinda...okay...completely came down on her side of the argument. He's a guy, but he's a doctor guy, so he's not really a traitor...completely. He ordered me to undergo a sleep study, something I fully expected.

So now I'm negotiating my way through the process of going to yet another doctor to explain the exact same thing so that the insurance company will believe my doctor, and they'll put me in a sleep study.

I tried to get this all accomplished last Friday, but the insurance company seemed confused, this new doctor's office seemed chaotic, and I ended up leaving a bunch of messages trying to get all the pre-approvals, etc. No one returned my calls.

So today, I began the process again with a little more fervor and perhaps a little less tact, and I've at least got an appointment with doctor #2. Of course, then the very kind woman I spoke with started outlining options for the sleep study saying patients are told to go to sleep at 11 p.m..

I wake up at 1 a.m....

I asked her if 2 hours was enough for them to get the needed data, and she didn't quite get my humor. So I explained that if she wanted me to stay up until 11 p.m. there better be a marching band in the room for about 6 hours prior playing loud and continuously because odds are, I would fall asleep before then.

So now we're trying to arrange a sleep study more in accordance with my lifestyle (good luck), which hasn't been formally approved by the insurance company, but must be scheduled NOW because apparently everyone on earth is having sleep studies done and if I don't schedule it NOW, Rip Van Winkle will get in line ahead of me and I'll have to wait 20 years or so for him to wake up and for them to change the sheets to make room for me.

In the meantime, the insurance company - depending on who answers the phone - is trying to decide if they'll cover it. Apparently that verdict depends on how much I snore.

I'm not kidding.

The insurance won't cover a sleep study for people who snore...but people who may die in their sleep - apparently snoring or not - those folks will be covered. I'm not certain if that's determined by a "snore meter" , a much studied "snore-line" that has to be crossed, or some other type of nasal audio scale they use in weighing these considerations....they're an insurance company, they have machinations all their own.

I snore. Sometimes I snore a lot, sometimes I snore a little, sometimes I don't snore at all. I could probably dig more into this weighty issue factoring in things like which way I'm sleeping, how long it's been since I've slept, and the amount of snot in my nose, but I really was never even good at geometry and this sounds like at least algebra would be involved, not to mention the potential for being really gross.

I'm going to leave it up to the doctors, and having dealt with a lot of doctors over the years with Amy's health needs, I'm fairly certain they know how to write things down so that I don't end up with a massive bill for a night's sleep that says, "We've determined you snore. Please pay $_____ ."

The truth is, I am tired a lot...and it's gotten worse as I've gotten older. I have a complicated sleep schedule that I often have to abandon and, of course, my wife occasionally thinks I'm dead.

I figure that should be enough.

In the interim though, I am now worrying about doctor's appointments, scheduling conflicts, and then having someone say, "Okay, go to sleep," with some expectation that I will be able to do that sans someone clubbing me over the head.

Which means I will lose sleep thinking about stuff like that...

Anyone got an Ambien? Just kidding.

There is an upside to this I least when I can't sleep because I'm stressing about sleeping Amy will know I'm not dead, so she should be able to get some least one of us will.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Season Of Dryness

I don't normally try to think up a title for stuff I post until after I write it, because quite often I don't know where my thoughts are going to take me. Today is different.

Today we, for all intents and purposes, formally "joined" a new church.

Ironically, our decision came at the same time the Senior Pastor of this church's main campus announced he would soon be assuming a new role, because he believes that the church needs someone who can devote themselves full-time to the church administration. To Pastor to the flock.

You've heard of him probably, Max Lucado.

It'll be in the news tomorrow. Lucado isn't leaving the church; he's going to assume a different role more in keeping with his passions, preaching and writing. He also has some health issues, but they are not anything that cannot be dealt with through the miracles of medicine, and a devout faith. I suspect most folks won't notice any change in terms of the church itself. He's admitting that he is not in the right place to handle much of the behind the scenes stuff...and good for him for being honest about it.

For those of you who have traversed this little isle on the digital ocean and hitched a ride to my emotional roller coaster since last September, you know joining a new church is something I quite honestly never conceived of doing. However, in the past few months it's become apparent to me that God is forcing my hand. He's done it since I came to Christ, challenging me, pushing me, convicting me. Believe me, in the past several months I have tried everything possible to tune Him out.

No more.

The season of dryness is ending.

Lucado does not really Pastor our church, we're an offshoot, a campus church, whatever you want to call it. Sometimes Lucado preaches live at our campus, oftentimes someone else does, sometimes we watch Lucado's sermon from the main campus on a big projector screen - something I thought I would never tolerate but in fact immediately embraced.

This is a big, organized church. Again, something I ran from throughout my Christian journey. They have well defined perimeters, formed by years of debate and devotion to scripture.

It's informal...but it's not "sloppy church."

Covenant was a wonderful church for us for a time, but we were wounded by it in a manner I could never have envisioned. We still have deep heart-felt relationships with a few members, others have chosen to compartmentalize us, categorize us, and abandon us.

And I have wallowed in it.

No more. The season of dryness is over.

Covenant will always hold a place in our hearts with wonderful and warm memories that are good and abiding. However, I now realize that for many years, I was not seeing the whole picture. When I did see it, I thought our choices were few; Name the demons, call out the church's failings, and confront those in church leadership of their personal betrayal to my family of which they are indeed guilty. In other words, create dissension in the church (which, in reality, was not an option) OR try to suffer through it in silence, hoping to heal, hoping this small body of Christ would start to see the incongruity with what was being preached and what was not being practiced.

For a while, we chose the latter, and it only became worse, more obvious, and more painful. Unreturned phone calls, unanswered emails, and phone calls from only a few close and very dear friends. It simply became too hard... too painful .

So we went exploring, our own ministries, other churches, missions. Then, we came upon a place where we felt comfortable. I still kept a tight rein on our commitment, though, because I build walls (see the previous post) as a defense mechanism.

Today, I listened to a man for two minutes on a video announcement explaining he had no business being the senior pastor of a mega-church, the growth of which is largely due to his passion, wisdom, and guiding hand. He made this announcement for two reasons; first, because of minor health reasons (which could become major health reasons should he continue at this pace) and second, because his true heart lies elsewhere -- writing and preaching. He endorsed the search for a new Senior Pastor and made the church stronger in doing so. He will stay on the staff, but he will be subordinate to the new Senior Pastor and will write and preach... the things he does best.

Today I also watched Amy have a panic attack before the main sermon on the 40-day spiritual quest our church is embarking on to seek additional church elders. We were in the front row when she left the sanctuary to get some fresh air. Moments later, I realized that a man I have talked with at any length perhaps four times was running after her, as if by ESP... and I knew in my heart that I should stay in my seat and listen to the sermon because Amy was in good hands... godly hands.

The season of dryness is over.

I found Amy after the sermon and we talked over what was bothering her. I won't belabor it, but it was essentially the affirmation of the conviction that this is where God wants us to be. And God killed two birds with one stone -- Amy became more comfortable with the only man in our cell group with whom she felt she might have "issues," and she was able to get to the root of some very deep pain. After more than two months of counseling with a Christian therapist, they barely scratched the surface. In 20 minutes, "Barry" was able to pinpoint a problem, give her good, solid, and godly counsel, and promised to not only keep it to himself but also to follow up with her.

I had to leave her for a while because a man I met last week, Chuck Huish, and I had agreed to meet between services to talk about how to handle the media in light of his wife's disappearance. A news conference is set for Wednesday. I can't go into more detail, except to say Chuck is in a far better place than he was one week ago, and there is hope.

Soon, Amy ventured back in and we were surrounded by people wanting to know us better. One of those people was the "Campus Minister," a man I have never spoken with directly by my own choosing (walls again). Although I did send him an email regarding Chuck and the website we set up and which so many of you were kind enough to mention on your own blogs and websites.

Some time ago, Amy and I signed up to go through the "course" this campus church offers for folks "thinking" about joining, but the course doesn't start for several more weeks. Today, Amy asked the Campus Minister directly if that course was a "requirement" before joining or becoming "partners." He laughed, and said, "Of course not, if you want to join our church, circle "partner" instead of "attender" on the database update sheet for our directory. If you're already signed up for the next class, GREAT, but it's not a requirement. We would love to have you as part of our fellowship!"

The season of dryness is over.

I must have had 10 people come up to me today, hug me, introduce themselves to me, tell me about themselves, ask about how I was doing, etc... I have never met most of these people, but they said they "heard" I had had a rough week from some of the people in the small cell group we've been attending in conjunction with this larger corporate worship. Amy was approached by someone she didn't know, had never met, and "sort of" recognized. She told Amy that she almost called her last night for several reasons. The Lord put Amy on her heart. As it turns out, her husband works for the company at which we keep our server, although that had nothing to do with her "almost" calling. A member of our cell group also works there. Small world.

I handed Amy the information sheet and circled "partner" (aka "member").

Okay, admittedly, Amy had to fill out the rest of the form, otherwise people wouldn't be able to read it - my handwriting is abominable.
Suffice it to serve as formal notice, though; the wallowing is done! The looking back is over!

I realize some portions of this post may sound harsh. That's intentional. I'm making no apologies for it. Some folks I know need to read this, and the ones who know me personally and know me best understand that I'm not going to couch things any longer, or try to put a "loving edge" on their self-perceived intentions.

If you say you preach the truth, be prepared to hear it on occasion too.

And that's that.

I will write no more on the matter.

The season of dryness is over...PRAISE GOD!

I'm looking ahead now, rushing as fast as possible to our mutual destiny with God Almighty. The scars I have on my heart will only serve now to help point the way.

And just coincidentally as I type these words, so help me God, a hard rain is beginning to fall...

"God's thunder sets the oak trees dancing a wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches. We fall to our knees, we call out, "Glory!"' - Psalm 29:9

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Walls Within

I must confess a few things.

What I write here is truthful, but please don't get the impression that I am telling you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I write about my life, my thoughts, and I try not to whine, although lately I haven't been too successful at that.

The truth is, no matter what I have revealed here, you don't know me. Not really.

There are things I don't share for reasons that they would embarrass me or others, or jeopardize my job, or simply because I'd like to think I can be uplifting in my writing. That sometimes what words I put here may strike a chord in someone that gives them hope, that relieves them of a burden, that makes them smile.

Yet what I write is only one part of me and I am multi-dimensional, not to mention occasionally delusional.

It's no slight on you...very few people really know me.

I don't let them.

I have "abandonment issues." It would take a psychologist about 2 minutes to find the root of them: my parents died when I was young, my first marriage lasted about as long as some folks can hold their breath, and as a result I've put up walls. I don't let you all the way in, so you can't hurt me when you leave me, which at my core I fear you will do.

Give me a little credit, I have let down a lot of emotional barriers in the past years. In recent months though, I've paid the price for it. People I let get close enough to truly know me, left abruptly, and reopened wounds I thought were long healed.

And some new walls went up as a result.

It's especially tough for Amy.

I've let her go deeper into my soul than anyone, but she knows that when I'm stressed, fatigued, angry, whatever...I will rapidly try to put up walls and shut her out. The more she tries to get through those walls the more I resist. It hurts her, and I feel guilty...but I also feel safe.

During this time of Lent, I haven't gone my usual route of removing things from my life in order to make room for God. Yes, I've cut back on some things I thought were unhealthy in general, but now I think I'm going to get a little late start on actually "vowing" to adhere to a discipline.

I'm going to try NOT to rebuild those walls again, I'm going to try to let others in, be emotionally vulnerable...despite the pain.

And just maybe, I'll let God in a little closer too.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

"The Most Underrated Beverage..."

"The most underrated beverage in the world." That's one of the truisms, "Bernieisms", or perhaps simply one of the most oft repeated phrases of my dearly loved father-in-law Bernie
We'll be out at a restaurant, or eating at someones home and the question will come up as to what each person wants to drink. Someone inevitably will say, "Water please." When that happens, you can pretty much make book that Bernie, or someone else in the clan - we're all Bernie indoctrinees - will say, "Water, the most underrated beverage in the world."

It's a running joke in the family.

Anyway, I thought about that the other day as I read about a company in California, "Wayne Enterprises" (I'm resisting the Wayne tangent) is selling bottled "Holy Water."
It started out as a local thing, now it's getting national exposure, and the company owner is hoping to establish a charity or something with the funds raised from each 99 cent bottle of water.

I suppose I'm now a quasi-baptist since I'm attending a "non-denominational" church, but I was dunked. I believe you need to get dunked and in all honesty to paraphrase Kinky Friedman, I think there are few folks who deserve to be dunked and held under water a little bit longer than others.

This story of "bottled Holy Water" made the news wires in the "off-beat" sections. Something to sort of giggle at and move on.

The water though is actually "blessed" by both Catholic and Anglican priests, and the company isn't making a fortune having sold a few thousand bottles and sent a couple thousand more to troops in Iraq.

I'll admit it sounds a little silly, especially since the labels carry a warning that "sinners who drink the water may experience burning, intense heat, sweating and skin irritations."

However, I also starting thinking we're all essentially containers for Holy water, or at least have the potential to be, and when you do surrender to God, you realize how fragile and how strong such vessels can be.

Maybe it's the most underrated beverage beyond this world too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Some Days

I'm good at what I do...but there are days when I don't like doing it.

The radio industry has gone through a lot of changes in the 30 plus years I've been involved in it, and much of it has been an exciting ride.

Some days though it gets to me.

Amy and I have been having increasingly frequent conversations that perhaps it's time that I seek a new path. I don't know, there are exciting opportunities ahead perhaps and I'd like to think I could be a contributor to help maximize those.

But some days it gets to me.

It was a chaotic morning, exacerbated by computer glitches that made it doubly hard to do what I do, but I went through my usual routine of reading every newspaper in the state, calling contacts I've developed over the years at 2 a.m., seeking out information on events that had occurred overnight locally, editing, writing and re-writing stories assembled by our news team, etc.

During that process, I had a source mention something which I had heard nothing about. The other local media somehow missed it.

It was a very startling story, a lead story, a gut-wrenching story. I had some difficulty confirming facts. It took a while to piece together something I was certain was accurate, but I did.

This is what they pay me for, the ability to perhaps see things others have missed, know how to pursue those things at a time in the morning when there aren't a lot of folks available to talk to, and make sound judgments about the information's validity.

I have carte blanche. If I say a story airs, there is no one between me and 50,000 watts of radio power to stop me from airing it on the primary station where I've worked for more than 21 years.

"Why do people kill their children?" she asked me.

After I left the radio stations, I stopped at a client's office to help with a computer issue, involving a woman I mentioned in a post last month whose granddaughter was born into this world with unimaginable health problems and whose entire lifetime was spent in a swirl of medical miracles bathed in prayer. The woman was asking me the question knowing we were both thinking of a time only a few weeks ago when I hugged her at the graveside of that little girl who died at the age of two months.

I had no real answer of course.

Some days it gets to me.

The story I unraveled today was horrible. The bodies of two very small children were found decomposing under a house on San Antonio's southwest side. The "newsman" in me took over this morning and the story was on our radio station before it was in any other media. As the day wore on, news conferences were held, TV stations did bulletins, etc...but in truth, the story I had assembled in the pre-dawn hours had virtually all the facts of the case before there was any "official" confirmation.

I admit a certain bit of pride ran through me during the course of putting it all together - being first, being right. In a sense it was validation to me that I am in the right position, that I'm not being under utilized, that I'm worth what I'm paid.

That feeling didn't last long.
"I'm sure drugs, or some other demon is at the root of this story," I answered, "However I've fought many personal demons including drugs and I have no way of understanding how someone could do something so horrible. I suppose Satan works in mysterious ways too."

My words were of little comfort to her...or me.

When I got home all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and not think about events like those of this morning. I literally wrote the previous post from my laptop as I was about to shut my eyes and try to put this day behind me.

Then I checked my company email and was informed that one of the stations I anchor news for, which has made innumerable changes to their news product in the past weeks and months, was making another. They want to further de-emphasize my role. Ironically, at one time I was asked to leave the news department entirely for this one station so they could have me on air more, but people higher in the food chain refused to let me leave my news duties.

In radio time, with all the changes and the lack of continuity among decision makers, that is now seemingly eons ago.

The email informed me that now I'm going to be squished into 40 pre-recorded seconds per hour, under the edict that I not report any stories that involve anything bad, or might be conceived by anyone as bad. The 40 informative seconds should be headlines that appeal to children and their mothers, which under almost no circumstance should include information about unhappy events.

I'll do it.

My pay stays the same, at least for now, so in that regard I suppose I should be happy.

I'm not though.

Some days it gets to me.

I suspect before long that station's new primary decision maker - who has never actually spoken to me directly - will decide the station needs yet another new direction, most likely one with a young female voice.

They'll want "news" from someone who doesn't get up at 1 a.m. and spend the early morning hours ferreting out information, making hard decisions, and taking pride in making the right ones.

I can see it coming.

That person will be someone who hasn't had a day when it gets to them.

Maybe it will be that day when it stops getting to me too.


I don't really have time to write...or frankly the energy at the moment, I'll write about why after a solid nap perhaps...however, I wanted to share an image I captured a second ago, and say thank you to the folks who put links up to the Find Cheryl Huish website. I typed her name into Google moments ago and this is what appeared.

Click to enlarge if need be.

For a website put up two days ago to go to the top of Google's rankings...that my friends is the work of a wonderful community, the true body of Christ.

Bless you all...I'll keep you up to date on the search efforts.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Notice The Lines?

I'm going to give notice.

No, not to my employer.

Yes, to you.

Okay, I was being dramatic.

Blogger has been good to me, but it does seem rather silly to have go through Blogger to post my thoughts, whims, various hallucinations, etc..when after all I am "Philosopher King" of a web hosting/design firm.

Admittedly, I don't do a whole lot in that capacity, attend functions of State, occasionally field calls from a few folks, encourage my lackey, and I've fired a couple of clients. Yeah, I'm a great businessman.

Anyway, I'm going to shut down this blog...not today...not sure when.

But, I'm not going away.

I'm only going to move it - God Willing - a step to the left while jumping to WordPress, which seems to meet all my other words, it's also free.

Eventually the web address for the blog will change. It will be simpler and I'll leave this blog up to point you there, but my plan is to make the address "" which is currently my "homepage" but I don't really do anything there, I updated it for the first time in years a week or so ago and was rather embarrassed by its look so I didn't bother to put links to family photos and such, they're still there, and will be included in the new blog as a link, but truthfully, I don't think many people come to my homepage too often to see the same stagnant picture of me poised like Edward R. least I hope not, that would be kind of creepy.

I got rather excited about the prospect today, downloaded software and plug-ins, etc...and then got sidetracked by something more important.

A family in our apparent new church home is going through something unimaginable...the wife, who has some medical issues, is missing.

Amy and I met with her husband Sunday, and oddly enough I had Amy's phone (another story) as I was coming home from work today and he called asking if we might be able to put up a website to help find his wife, something we had already offered to do.

As soon I got home, I - The Philosopher King - actually designed the initial site...sort of. I'm having Amy debug it before publishing it - and it needs a lot of debugging. It's nothing fancy, it's not intended to be, so it's really perfect for the upper reaches of my web design prowess.

After talking with the husband, we decided on a website name, I got some other details and suggested a few things. Amy registered the domain and I hope it will be up in a matter of hours.

The woman's name is Cheryl Huish and the site will be

Her husband's name is Chuck and they have two small kids.

This is an odd situation for me...because I'm also covering the story of her disappearance as part of my duties to my employer - where I am not "Philosopher King."

I've been a newsman for a long time, and I know the drill in many of these types of cases. It could turn out any number of ways.

So I have to set some boundaries, I have to cover the story, but I also have to draw a line between what I know from having spoken and prayed with Chuck. It's certainly not the usual, "This is off the record" kind of conversations I've had with many people over the course of my years in the news business, but I have been in slightly similar situations in years past. I believe Chuck knows that information shared with me in God's sanctuary is not going out for broadcast without his permission.

Some years ago, our then next door neighbor was assaulted by a young girl whom she taught at a local high school. It became big news and the neighbor's husband came to me almost immediately asking how to deal with the media. I told him and his wife then something I suspect most folks in my position wouldn't have, I said, "Don't."

I told her to heal, and refuse all interviews. I said the media trucks would soon leave from in front of their home (and ours). When she was physically and emotionally ready to deal with the news media, I told I would counsel her.

That worked out well, some weeks after the initial incident, I was checking in on her and she said she was ready, so we brainstormed a bit, and decided that maybe the law should be changed to better protect teachers.

Admittedly, I ended up doing her first interview, but I quickly pointed her to other far more influential reporters for additional interviews, and then things steamrolled as they do in the news churning industry and soon she was everywhere, an advocate for change...a woman with a cause and the bruises to prove it. Eventually hearings were held in Austin and the law was indeed strengthened significantly, on the first try - you'd have to know how the Texas Legislature works to fully appreciate that.

Some good came out of a bad situation and the media was no worse for wear.

This situation is different though. I do not know Chuck Huish. I met him Sunday. I have never met his wife, or their kids. Amy felt compelled to personally pray with him after our church service, and I ended up speaking with him as a result. Amy and I offered what we could, help with a website, and if need be I suppose some help in dealing with the media attention.

It's a fine line, but one I see very clearly.

I do not know how this story is going to run its course, but I do know Cheryl Huish is still, for me, it's an easy thing to do.

So now I'm going to serve notice to you on a related matter, which might require you to decide if there is a fine line for you to examine. I'd like to request those of you with websites, or blogs, to consider putting up a link to


Well, it's one way to get that website "ranked" in the search engines - gosh, I announce I'm going to eventually leave Google's "Blogger" service and now I'm enlisting quasi-conspirators to help jiggle Google's algorithms a bit.

Still, that's how it's done. The more folks who link to that site, the more Google will take notice. Right now, odds are that if you type Cheryl Huish into Google tomorrow morning, it will point you to this page. My goal is to soon have the search engines point you to the site set up for the family.

If that's not something you feel you want to do or can do, I have one more request...will you pray for her? For her children? For her husband? For some resolution?

I don't think there's really too much of a fine line fact, in my experience, that line...that line of wide open to us all.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

By Your Command

**Before reading this post, you should read the post prior by Amy**

It's 6:09 a.m. and no, I didn't just get home.

Winston woke me up, as he always does, on the only days I can possibly sleep in...6:09 seems to be his trigger these past few months. So, I got up, fed the dogs - I'm going to have to video Winston eating soon and put it up here since we've now timed him wolfing down his food in seven seconds or less, but that's another story for another day perhaps.

Amy is still sleeping.

Let not your hearts be troubled, all is well, although Winston is still whining a bit. I suspect hoping he might be able to fool me into feeding him twice in my sleep deprived state.

Today is March Fourth, a date that helps me to remember it as our anniversary because it's the only day that's also a command. It seems somewhat ironic that last night Amy told me to, "Get out."

I followed her command and marched forth to our car, drove around, prayed, and did exciting things...I went to Wal-Mart...and then to a movie.

Then I came home.

As Amy said in her "Hijacked post" we've been enduring a number of stressful issues as of late, and I am the type of person who tends to like to - sometimes all too suddenly - confront such things, conquer or be conquered, but at least move on. Amy has a propensity to let things slide, hope things will get better without conflict....she is a patient soul.

So on fairly rare occasions we bump heads, usually mine leading the charge as I have the thicker skull.

It's funny to me that once we physically shored up the foundation of our home, the other things we considered foundations in our lives upon which we leaned so heavily seemed to go adrift.

Our church home became an uncomfortable place, friendships we thought would abide through all time seemingly vaporized overnight with no explanation and truthfully a disgraceful amount of cowardice, and Amy's health and stamina which had been rapidly improving began declining significantly.

In the midst of this, there was Moldova, Shell, and other issues which challenged us, and fatigued us.

And last night, for a few hours, it all stormed over us.

That storm has passed, and we are stronger.

They say faith untested is faith unfounded. I suppose the same goes with love.

Thirteen years ago today, I made a vow before God that I would love and honor Amy, that I would treat her children as my own, and that I would do so for all of my life. When the pastor who presided over our wedding asked who gave this woman into my care, Amy's father stood up and pronounced loudly, "Her Mother and I!"

Amy and her family were just crazy enough to have faith in me, and not run away laughing which I seriously thought they might.

Our lives are indeed in a season of disorganization, emotionally, physically and spiritually, but that vow I made before God is as strong today as it was March Fourth, 1994, and this is but a season among a lifetime of seasons.

Amy, I love you more today than 13 years ago if that's possible.

You know my faults, my fears and my failings, and yet you stand by me, you champion and encourage me.

In your eyes I see the man I am, the man I can be and the man, with God's grace, I will be in seasons to come.

What more could a man ask of a wife, a lover, and spiritual partner?

Hold my hand today as we kneel and pray before our God...but I ask you don't bow your head. Instead look into my eyes, and you will know I see it too.

I love you Mrs. Main....march forth a bit longer with me would you please...until the end of all seasons??

With all my heart...

Happy Anniversary dear.


Mr. Main

p.s. For the curious: The movie I saw last night? Amazing Grace.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Blog Hijack!! Take Us To March 4th!

Hey, folks... it's Amy. I've hijacked Michael's blog tonight.

Michael is out driving. I'm not sure where, but I know why. I told him to leave. No, I didn't tell him to leave forever, but I DID tell him to leave. Why? Because I was angry. No need going into the details of "the fight," because the reason is irrelevant.

First of all, you need to know that Michael and I rarely fight. We have discussions, semi-heated discussions, and sometimes even minor arguments. But we don't blow up and have knock-down, drag-out fights. However, once or twice a year, we have "the big one." I honestly can only remember the reason for one of them and, in hindsight, it seems pretty stupid. So was this one. But tension is high (for reasons mentioned in Michael's previous posts), and we're hanging by our last nerves... and those aren't long for this world. Since the bulk of all or most of our stress has been focused on one or two things, it's only natural that we would "turn on each other" in the absence of that focus.

I had a bad health day today because of major Charlie-horse-type cramping all over my body that I've experienced the last two days. I feel like I've run a marathon, done 100 sit-ups, worked over my left calf with a baseball bat, and made hand-squeezed orange juice for a thousand people with my right hand. Needless to say, I didn't do much. It was hard walking up the stairs to write this. But I was drawn by a much more powerful force. I was compelled by something stronger than the pain, bigger than the "fight," and much more important than my stupid pride.

True love.

In 22 or 23 hours, Michael and I will have been married for 13 years. Yes, he's put up with me that long. I think his name should be thrown in the ring for sainthood. For 13 years, he's forgiven and forgotten. I cannot remember a time when he threw something from the past back in my face.

How stupid can I be? What was I smoking? I look back at the last 13 years and wonder where they went. It seems like only 13 days. I told the man that I love with every ounce of my being to "get out." I told the man that completes me to leave. I showed so much anger toward the most wonderful husband on the planet that I'm scared to death that he won't come back for quite some time. In my heart, I know he'll be home soon... after he's driven around for a while, sat someplace and thought, and he'll even come back and tell me he's sorry and that it's all his fault. But it's not. Sure, it takes two to tango and it takes two to argue. But I acted like a spoiled child and said things that no wife should say to her husband (no, I didn't curse at him... this time ;-)

In Ephesians we read about how to treat each other. Here is the passage from verses 2-33 (from "The Message"):

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, "not by domineering but by cherishing." So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church, a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor, since they're already "one" in marriage.

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That's how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become "one flesh." This is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

Here's the thing... and wives, listen up! (Husbands, too, because you have the HARDEST job!) Every modern woman looks at submission as being a doormat. But the Bible is very clear about what submission means. Paul starts out by telling the church to submit to each other... to be "courteously reverent" to each other, out of respect for Christ.

He goes on to say the same thing about wives submitting to their husbands... just like they submit themselves to the Lord. We read that our husbands lead us the way Christ leads the church -- not by domineering, but by cherishing.

The hardest task belongs to our husbands. Love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it. "The Message" says, "go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church...a love marked by giving, not getting."

If a husband loves his wife like that, she can't help but respect, honor and submit to her husband.

That's how Michael loves me. He loves me more than the Spurs. He loves me more than computers and his blog. He loves me more than the Cowboys (that's kind of easy right now). He loves me more than anything on this planet. He goes ALL OUT in his love for me, exactly as Christ did for the church. He loves me in away that is marked by giving and not getting.

Michael, I don't have a card for you. I haven't completed the projects that I've promised to, but I WILL. I don't have anything special planned for the big "13." But I plan to be at your side as we worship. I plan to serve you communion and to be served by you. I plan to kneel with you by the fireplace and pray (it's your turn). I can keep those promises.

But here's one more promise, and you can take this one to the bank.

I love you, Mr. Main. For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. Forsaking all others, I will keep only unto you, for as long as we both shall live.

Happy anniversary, Darling.

Mrs. Main

"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." - Matthew 19:6

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Smokin' Out My Funny

When I was kid, my parent's had a cigarette box. Something you don't see much anymore since folks don't let people smoke in their homes, much less have an ornate box of cigarettes at their disposal for guests.

Ours was musical, it played "When the smoke gets in your eyes" which I suppose was humorous at the time.

I actually found something similar on Ebay, on the first try, although I don't recollect the one in our old family home looking like this particular one.

I'm not really sure why I thought of that today.

I think it might be because lately I feel like I've been in a haze when it comes to writing. There have been a number of things that have happened to contribute to that, none of which I'm going to outline here, but one thing I've noticed is...I've lost my funny.

Have you noticed it too?

I've been going through old blog entries and even in some of my darker times, I think I wrote with more of a sense of humor.

Lately I write less, and when I do write I seem preoccupied with unhealed wounds, unfinished business, apparently lost friendships, and disappointments. Yeah, I'm getting freakin' whiny.

I want my funny back.

And I'm gonna get it too.

Of course, I didn't say I was going to get it back today.

I suppose the joke is on you.

However I did find this guy in China today who has found a way to smoke through his eyes.

Hey, it's a start, and no I don't know how he exhales...nor do I want to.