Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3 kids

Yep - I have 3 kids.  And they don't look like this anymore.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ledger Cross

Ledger Cross Moreno:  9.02.10  7.13oz  21.5"
This isn't about me, I'm just sayin, I swear, on my grandmothers grave, both of them, it would not be advisable for someone to walk up to me and call me 'gramps', 'grampa',  'peepa', 'granddad', 'grandpa', 'papa', 'pawpaw', 'bompa', 'big paw', 'pop', 'pop-pop', 'bumpy', 'boppa' or any other word stating with a 'p' or 'b' designating me as an old man.  Ya, I'll hit fast and hard - so don't try it.

But, that said, you can call me "Mzee' anyday of the week.  It's 'Mzee'.  Like:  MMMMMMMM ZZZZZ-EEEEEE.   Like 'Hay', with an 'M' in front of it, without the 'h', but insert a 'z' zed.   MZEE.  You have to pronouce the 'MMMM' - then add the 'ZAY' - but it's spelled 'MZEE'.   (lord help us all).

You'd think I was speaking another language or something.  But, yes, it's Swahili - look it up if you want - google it, tweet it or something ...... but trust me:  It's MZEE - and millions of grandkids around the globe call their best friend - Mzee.

It's all about Ledger Cross Moreno.  The best looking baby in the Americas today.  I'm serious,  Ledger is the #1 cutest baby boy on the planet.  I'm sorry if you have one of your own, this isn't personal, it's just the way it is - you'll get over it.
I couldn't be more proud of my Ledger!
(ps.  grandmas name is 'Aya' - (whatever) 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Sister Cynthia

I wasn't ready for this.
It's been 11 days since Cindy left.  She passed away in the evening of July 11, 2010.  I got there too late, on Monday July 12th.  We placed her in the ground on Saturday July 17th.  During that week, we planned, talked, laughed and cried.  Mostly, we remembered my sister Cindy by recalling who she was and what she meant to each of us.

Family and friends came from all over.  People opened their homes and brought food for the crowd.   

I'm just her brother.  I never knew life without Cindy.  Until  11 days ago, there's never been a day that she wasn't there.
I have to complain - because this world isn't fair:
She died of cancer, a disease they should have figured out a cure for decades ago.  I heard that my sister was taking medications that were developed in the '60's and '70's - and it is considered the 'best we've got to offer'.   Researchers / Scientists are too busy focused on the wrong stuff.  I would like an accounting of where all that money goes - seriously.  Everyone's raising money for cancer research, but how are they spending it?  She tried 13 'kinds' of chemo.  She took 90 doses of various treatments of chemo (maybe a world record).  She endured multiple, major, surgeries.  And, until her very last days - she was active, out of bed, touring the world and dancing at weddings. 
My sister was tough as nails, and had a personality to match.  She loved the world.  She was passionate and loving.  She was smart, and savy too.  She knew how to laugh and how to cry.  She loved God and trusted Him to the end.  She had a personality that exploded in public.
I miss my sister and will never forget her.  The best news?  I'll see her soon!  Like the morning mist, our time here is short.  We'll be reunited fast.  James says "What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."  (james 4)
As usual, she's leading the way - charging forward to prepare a place for the rest of us.  She's setting the table for our arrival, placing the feast on the table, lighting the candles, arranging the chairs and orchestrating the entertainment.  There's gonna  be a party! 

Love ya Cindy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Rhino

Someday - I'll own my own sailboat.  Until then, well, I've got a big model that inspires me - it's awesome.  I've had it for years.  It sits in the living room in front of the window to remind me to strive for 'something',  But I never had a name for it unitl my nephew named it today.
i love it.
"The Rhino"
Thanks buddy - it's just what I needed today.
Someday I'm gonna get me a lakehouse, and get a little sailboat.  It'll be called "The Rhino".  And we can sail, and sail, and sail - the wind will take us out far, and then it will blow us back to shore.  We'll tell the wind where to take us.  We'll go right, left, turn, straighten out.  We'll tip until we can tip no more.  We'll defy the wind and sail right into it - and then turn till it takes us fast back to the dock.
The Rhino.  Blind Faith.  Following the wind.  Fighting the wind.  Using the wind.  Free to take us no-where.

Friday, June 25, 2010

2 Weeks

My boy.
2 weeks from right now, he'll get married to the love of his life.  2 weeks from right now, I will officially have 3 married kids, 2 son-in-laws and 1 daughter-in-law.  There will be 8 of us.

I was just going over some of my old notes (thousands) - from day-timers I've kept over the years.  For instance I noted these things on these days:
1/29/10 - "Dagen came home from Waco to pick up his ring - the ring he designed - to give to Avery.  Shows us first - he won't propose for 2 more weeks - he's very excited."    
10/31/09 - "Dagen and I went to Starbucks for the morning to build his resume (created from scratch), then printed at the office - fun time together."
6/22/09 - "Dagen called me today at work, told me he looks at me as a 'warrior poet'.  Made me feel good - made my day."

8/09/08 - "Got postcard from Dagen today - picture of Tokyo, sent from Thailand,  it says 'thankyou for supporting me, I feel so loved and strong with you behind me'."  

5/26/08 - "Dagen's 20! Went shopping with Dagen for his birthday, Old Navy and DSW - spent $130, then lunch at Glorias' - on patio - awesome - then movie together - Indian Jones Crystal Skull."
8/10/07 - "Dagen left for Baylor - alone to Waco - will live in Elevate house for 1 week before moving into dorm room."
5/19/07 - "Dagen graduated tonight at PCA, then party at our house.  We made it to the 'jumbo tron' with Dagen."
12/03/06 - "Dagen wins State - Football Championship - in Waco.  vs. Houston Northland 46:14, he goes 14:0!"  Midnight yell back at school.
07/18/04 - "Dagen drove today for first time - alone - went to Wal-Mart and Stonebriar Mall."

06/17/04 - "Dagen coached today by Michael Irvin - he got in car excited!, and he leaves in three days for Hawaii."
09/26/03 - "We found out Dagen was in a fight today with 'Nick' - hit him hard in the face."
07/03/02 - "Dagen played soccer with the other 5 boys in the front yard in Rathmines - Dublin."

02/13/02: - "Dagen excited - someone told him he would probably play some Varsity football next year.  Dagen and I went to the Stars game, beat the NY Rangers 4-2."
07/09/01 - "Krispy Kreme and Best Buy with Dagen tonight."
06/21/00 - "Went deep sea fishing today with Dagen - Point Loma Sport Fishing."
05/21/99 - "Yellow sticky note from Dagen: 'can I go to Nathan's house? It's on High Brook and my bike will be in his front yard."

02/21/99 - "Johnny Rockets, milkshakes and fries - with Dagen in Georgetown, DC."

04/05/98 - "Bible Drill team at Chucks, then drill at Lakside Baptist - Dagen passed!"
03/27/98 - "Movie with Dagen - 'Mr. Magoo' - fun."  
03/01/98 - "Went to the Galleria with Dagen, for a YoYo and Starbucks."

12/06/97 - "Wrestling tournament in Irving - tough day for Dagen - his opponents were NOT rookies."    
05/26/97 - "Bought 'Extreme' Rollerblades for Dagen's birthday - very excited."
04/29/96 - "Rode bikes to Chevron with Dagen."
09/02/95 - "Dinner at 'islands' with Dagen - fun place."
07/08/95 - "Dagen and I went to Home Depot for big piece of wood for his science project."
06/10/95 - "Dagen went up on stage with Steve Green, for a picture - alone with Steve!"
02/15/95 - "Called home from Rio, talked to Dagen."

10/15/94 - "Dagen and I went to Farm Village for dedication service, lunch at coffee shop in Kaufman, bought pumpkins." 
07/15/94 - "pics with Dagen at Knotts Berry Farm."

12/27/93 - "Dagen's ear very sore - needs to see a doctor." 
04/09/93 - "Dagen and I did BIG grocery shopping together at Albertsons tonight."
01/08/93 - "Went bowling tonight - RCN team - Dagen came along."  
09/25/92 - "Dagen visits me at office in Los Colinas."
09/10/92 - "Dagen broke his arm today."
06/27/92 - "Changed spark plugs on Trooper - Dagen helped!"
04/25/92 - "I worked all day (saturday) at Andersen Consulting, then Museum Arts - Dagen spent whole day with me - then dinner at McDonalds."
09/03/91 - "Dagen's first day of 'school' at Richardson Heights."
08/22/91 - "Dagen spent 'lunch time' with me Museum Arts while Dina went to '3 Marathas'."
02/16/91 - "Dagen's emergency day - 911 - we called ambulence, spent afternoon at hospital. Traumatic."
12/09/90 - "Dagen sang on stage - church Christmas special - real cute."
10/31/90 - "Dagen was a Clown tonight for Halloween."
10/06/90 - "Breakfast at IHOP with Dagen, then haircuts at Pro-Cuts."
09/26/90 - "Dagen 'pottied' for the first time!"
05/26/90 - "Dagen's 2 years old! - he got a red car."

10/13/89 - "Dinner at Red Lobster - good - but Dagen was upset."
08/25/89 - "Seaworld today - San Antonio - dinner at Shoneys - 'all you can eat fish night' - movie in hotel room, swimming - Dagen having fun!"
05/27/89 - "Dagen's birthday party - #1 - it was yesterday but party today - Snows, Owens, plus others... in our new house on Forest Grove."
11/12/88 - "Brunch at Barbecs - the 5 of us.  Then tonight we went to the Wayne Watson concert - just Dagen came with Dina and I - just us."
09/21/88 - "Dagen got shots today.  Got a fever because of shots."
06/26/88 - "Dagen's 1-Month old today!"
06/04/88 - "Bought a stroller tonight at Service Merchandise for Dagen."

05/26/88 - "Dagen Gray Kanaley:  5:11pm, 7 lbs, 4 oz.  19 3/4 inches.  Called everyone"

It was like 2 weeks ago.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Yesterday was the first day of summer.  wow!  It feels like it too.
It's hot, of course.

But there's more:
1) baby birds have hatched on the back porch, a couple chicks made it, a couple didn't
2) the pool is using an extraordinary amount of chlorine now
3) wasps are nesting up around the rafters
4) my son is taking 'summer courses' at college
5) there's a wedding every weekend
6) the neighborhood smells of BBQ 24x7 and the lawnmowers never stop their buzz
7) when we go out in the evening for chips, salsa and lemonade, we always request the patio
8) we talk about buying a lake house - alot - again  (see picture)
9) '' and '' are 2 websites I search hourly for deals
10) the A/C unit never stops running - the bills gonna be a whopper
11) my skin is turning golden brown, the way I like it
12) everyones cologne is called 'suntan lotion' - the best
13) plans are being made for the 4th
14) I'm looking for the perfect book to read on the beach - whether or not I actually go to the beach
15) sunsets are spectacular
16) it's t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops
17) I review my list of things I saved to do during the summer, but now its too hot to do them
These are the kinds of things that happen in the summer.  And it sometimes feels to me that what we do in the summer sets the stage for the rest of the year, like a jumping off point to our lives.  Even the short summer vacations give us the energy and motivation to move forward to the rest of the year. 
Like Solomon says in Proverbs 10:5 - "He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son."
So what 'crops' are we to gather?   Maybe we're to prepare for the fall, the winter, the cold dark months ahead.  Maybe we should be finding that new job now, or that new place to live.
Or, planning for a new way of living.  Plan for fun; plan to be productive and fruitful;  plan for a meaningful existence - before it's too late. 


Monday, May 24, 2010

"Lost" - and Wasted

I was a 'Lost' fan for 6 years.  And it ended last night with the 4.5 hour grand finale.  It may go down as the biggest dissappointment in the history of TV series endings.  What was propped-up and 4-walled as the most significant ending to any series ever - was a complete disaster.
I haven't read anything about it this morning, or heard anything on the radio.  I'm talking from my gut here with no outside influence on a Monday morning.  The shows ending proved to me, once again, that there really is a lack of imagination in the world when it comes to 'the big things'.  The story writers hit on a nerve early on, but 'lost' control and meaning as the show progressed - and finally gave up the goose in the end, throwing their collective pens and paper and ideas - in the air.  It was sad to see. 

The show's conclusion was:

Very Universal.
Very Shallow.
Very All Inclusive.
Very Weak.
Very Boring.
Very Stupid.
Those are some hours I wish I could get back.
Don't get me wrong - I wasn't expecting the flight survivors to be standing around the camp fire singing kumbaya or anything.  I didn't expect that Jesus would appear and explain what had happened to them.  But I AM a believer in The Way - the JC Way.  The moment they entered the church scene and very predominately displayed the stained glass window depicting all religions of the world - my hopes and aspirations for the show were destroyed.

It was as if they had reached their hands into by chest and ripped out my heart.  A quick reminder (to self) to stop putting my faith in the hands of some Hollywood producer - it just doesn't work.

You see - I would have been cool if they had even picked one of the religions of the world to promote as 'right' and the final answer to the big question of 'WHY'?.  That would have taken guts, fortitude, courage, strength, grit - big kahunas.  It could have been Budhism, Ying/Yang, Islam, whatever ....  but no, they went politically correct (and religious correct), and went with them all.  A big shallow pool of mud and death.

And if there's any doubt out there about being lost, don't forget what Jesus said in John 14:6 - "Jesus answered, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  NO one comes to the Father except through ME."
(picture at Zandvoort - beach town west of Amsterdam, where I felt very lost once)

Friday, May 21, 2010

In Peace

If there's one thing I've learned about myself over the years, it's that I'm a city guy.  Noise.  I kinda like some white noise to make me feel secure.  I grew up in the city, lots of cities. Noisy, dirty, crowded and busy cities.  I wouldn't do well in rural America for long.
But, I know too, that I need some peace & quiet now and then (more so as I get older).  With summer coming I'm thinking about one thing:  a vacation in the sun, on the sand, by the surf.  I like surf and sand, that's not too far from the city.

 As much as I wish I lived near the ocean and the beach, there's something about NOT living there all year that makes you yearn for it even more, enjoy it more, and appreciate it more, when you get there.  I took this picture 12 years ago at one of my favorite beaches.  When I look at it, my blood pressure drops about 85 points (give or take).

It reminds me that we need to learn to live at peace, in peace - with a sense of calm - always (not just during summer vacations on the beach).  Believers are suppose to be role models for joy - and your joy brings peace - naturally.
In Eccleciates 4, it says: "Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil."   I'm not a theologion, but I think that means we should live with less material ambition and stop trying to get more stuff, because it just creates trouble.  Strive for 'tranquility' - it's better than 'toil' anyday.
And in 2 Thesalonians 3, Paul says:  "May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way."   That's a good one, as if to say having a sense of 'peace', is what it's all about.

I'm looking for more peace.   Are you?      


Monday, May 3, 2010

Big Porches

When I build my own house, it'll have a big porch.  I mean a BIG porch - wrap around job, deep, part screened, part open.

What good is it if you don't have a respectable porch to sit on anyway, to watch the cars going by, waving at your neighbors, drinking some lemonade in the summer and hot coffee in the evening, playing cards, gazing at the sky, counting shooting stars?
You can chew on some straw, sleep in a rocker, play fetch with the dog - shoot squirrels - whatever.  
This is a porch we sat on for 2 days in Louisiana last weekend - visiting MawMaw at 103 years old.  Good times.  You could smell spring in the air.  The days were warm and the evenings were cool.  The towns people didn't know us from Adam, but they waved just the same as they drove by. 
When are we going to start sitting on the porch more often?  It's time to do - nothing.  As Paul instructs in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 - "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands."


Sunday, April 18, 2010

My New Boots

Well, they're not for me - they're for some little kid someday.  But I think they look cool next to mine!  He's gonna be a Texan, for sure.
I figure we'll go to the rodeo together in the Spring.  We'll go to the Fair in the Fall.  We'll go camping all year round.  Go dirt bik'in in the summer.
Maybe we'll just kick some rocks, look for girls to pester.  I'm always digin holes, he can help with that.
Whatever - they'll look good and clean up nice.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Grasshoppers & Spring

  I needed a break, so I walked out into the hallway area at work, to sit next to a big glass window that looks out over a beautiful garden area.  I had a piping hot cup of coffee, fresh.  The sun was filtering beautifully through the tree tops and onto a area blanketed with new springtime growth of plants and flowers.
It's awesome here in Plano right now.  The perfect 75 degree weather, drops to 55 at night - topdown, windows open weather.

Just fantastic.  Spring is in the air.  All things new and fresh.  The possibilities are endless
I spotted a little grasshopper feeding on the new vegetation - sitting on top of a green leaf.  I marvelled at its strange beauty - its prehistoric posture.  I envied it being out there while I was in here.  I wanted to be the grasshopper.  Nature at it's best.
Just as I was processing all these thoughts, a large black bird swooped down directly in front of the window, and without even touching the ground, picked up the grasshopper and disappeared into the trees above.  It all happened in the time it takes to blink an eye.
Ain't spring great?  :)  I'm just saying ......

 (picture taken of artwork at the Ft. Worth Arts Festival last weekend)   

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Madman in Jerusalem ?

Once, I went to Israel and made it to Jerusalem for a 6 hour tour.  I was alone except for 5 other strangers who sat in a minivan while the english speaking tour guide whipped out of Tel-Aviv, and drove 60 klics east to Jerusalem.  When we got to town, he sped around corners, pointed and shouted things like "that's where .....", and "over there to the left is .....",  "on the right at the top of the hill you can see .......".  He did this hundreds of times and I was only catching every third phrase that he spoke.  I had a map and was trying to follow it as he turned right, left, right, left.  I was sea-sick and hot and sticky and thirsty.

Then, very casually, he pointed up a hill to the left and shouted "that's where they crucified Jesus".  Never slowed down, never acknowledged much of anything, just raced on to the next site.  I turned in my seat, now just barely able to make out the hill through the rear window.  This picture is the hill he was pointing at.  (whether it really was the hill, I don't know).
It was a big Nothing.  A waste land of dirt and weeds, chain link fencing, electrical wires dangling, an old gas station below, trash everywhere.

I thought to myself - "no, it's impossible - surely there's more to it than that!.  Golgotha is a joke.  Don't they know I'm a tourist looking for the most sacred spot on the planet.  Can't he slow down long enough to let me focus the camera on something worth taking a picture of ...... is there anything worth taking a picture of?"

I became irate.  I'm thinking:  "The Promised Land?  This place sucks!"   And I felt guilty for thinking it.  But I can tell you, if you're looking for the land of Milk and Honey - go to Texas, or California - not Israel.  Even the beaches in Tel-Aviv are nasty - but maybe for people who don't know any better, they'll do.  What is everyone fighting for over here?  And by the way:  someone clean-up my hill!
Preachers use stuff like this to make a point in sermons on Sunday morning.  Like:  'it was the worst of places where Jesus came, in the worst of circumstances, for the worst of people - like you ......'  Ever heard that one before?
I think way back when Moses and Joshua were alive - it was an incredible place of beauty.  Then, a couple thousand years later when Jesus showed up in person - it wasn't so nice, but not too bad.  Then, a couple thousand years later when I showed up - the devil had done a lot of damage, because that's what the devil does.  He destroys beauty.  He belittles what really matters.  He takes our focus off 'The Hill' - and onto the pavement.
Golgotha wasn't a joke.  Jesus wasn't just some cool guy in flip-flops,  and he sure wasn't just a great teacher or philosopher.

I like how CS Lewis puts it:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:  "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God."  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:  or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us."   
We should all be 'Madmen in Jerusalem' - crazy for Jesus.  He died on a sorry little nothing of a dirty hill - for us. 



Monday, March 15, 2010



I think I'm allergic to pasta - really.  Or, maybe it's that I eat so much of it - everytime - that my stomach just can't handle it, and my body's defense system sends messages to my brain to shut down every moving part until the problem is solved (it takes about 8 hrs to recover).  I don't know.  But I love spaghetti and when it's in the  room, I can't stay away from it until it's gone.

Just ask Candy (my sister).  Every Monday night I go to Candy's for spaghetti.  She'll tell you, I'm just a pig when it comes to her spaghetti.  I can't help it - it's that good.  We all eat, then she makes up a special dessert, and we all watch '24' together.  "Jack Bauer" gets the bad guy, blows up a lot of stuff, and saves the world. Life is very good on Monday nights.
A few years back I used to be lucky enough to travel to Wash D.C. to have "Tuesday Night Dinner" with my other sister Cindy.  Oh ya - it was good too.  Don't tell anyone, but there were at least 2 occasions where I 'engineered' a business trip to D.C. just to eat there on Tuesday night.  I was crashing the party of an established group of young kids - they always wondered why I was there and when I was going to leave - but it didn't bother me - I was eating large.   (thanks Cindy!).
So for now -  allergic or not, I'm going for it - every Monday night - as long as she'll tolerate me (and the rest of us).  It's just that good.  So Candy, please, for the love of spaghetti and the world, don't stop the insanity!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

FOCUS: Insert 25 cents, Turn Knob To Right

I'm distracted easily (that's an understatement).  We all are - right?  I've learned that my best chance of accomplishing anything during the day, is to start out the morning with a pen and paper (usually a Starbucks napkin) and list the things I 'have' to do today, and maybe list a few things I'd like to do.  Then I keep that piece of paper with me, next to the laptop, or on the seat of the car.

Tomorrow, I'll do it again - start over.  It's not monthly or weekly.  It's an everyday thing, and it only takes a minute.  That napkin helps to keep me focused.  By 5 pm I throw it away - and I usually don't get it all done - but I've done more than I would have if I didn't have the napkin..
I have other lists:  things I need to do around the house; places I want to go; life goals.  But I only look at these lists now and then.
So every morning I have to drop the quarter into the slot (like buying the cup of coffee), and I have to turn the knob to the right (make my list).  Then I can focus.  It's amazing what you can see!  No matter how good you might think you are at structuring your life to accomplish the most in a given day - you're likely not good enough to pull it off - unless you drop the quarter, turn the knob and focus.
And let God help with your vision for the day.  This is something I have to work on myself - big time.  In today's "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers says "If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be unproductive, empty.  However, if you allow God to plant you, you will 'bear much fruit'" (John 15:8).
FOCUS.  and produce a bunch of fruit.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Dalai Lama

Watching CSPAN on Friday, I listened to the Dalai Lama, speaking at the Library of Congress.  He's 74 years old now.  He's a great speaker with broken English, very charismatic - everyone's wise grandfather with nice things to say. Not a mean bone in his body - very peaceful.  And I was glad to hear, he's never heard of Tiger Woods.
As I watched, I was thinking, "he sounds a lot like Jesus".  You can't fault a thing he says - it's all good.  But he's just a man.  Or is he?
"His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama" - "Political and Spritual Leader of the Tibetan People".  He is the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama.  An "enlightened being" - putting off nirvana for awhile to serve humanity.  His name is Tenzin Gyatso.  A Buddhist who lives in excile, in northern India - in the city of Dharamsala.  He describes himself as a 'simple Buddhist monk'.  Tibet is an area inside China, made up of 3 provinces, and Tibetans want to be seperated from China, to live in a democracy. 
From what I've read, Buddhism has 2 primary beliefs:  1) people are generally good at heart, and 2) all religions are generally good.

Yet - Christianity too has 2 primary beliefs:  1) people are inherently bad at heart, and 2) all world religions are inherently bad.
Funny, isn't it, that you can tell someone you are the reincarnation of someone else - an enlightened being - holy - a 'god'.  No one even flinches, and they'll give you awards and ceremonies and the 'wise' among us (super intellectuals) will pour praise upon you and worship the very ground you walk on.

Besides - how can you NOT like what he says, how can you NOT like the position of a Buddhist?

Yet, tell someone you're a "Born again believer in Jesus Christ, God's son", - and you're a crazy loon from mars.  
And here we are - there you have it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Those Old Hymns

I stole a hymnal from a church pew one day.  How bad is that?  I wanted to take it back later, but could never muster up the courage.  As it turns out, most churches threw away all the hymnals anyway.

When you go to church these days (if you go) - you don't sing hymns anymore.  Most churches have gone contemporary - and you don't even hold a book, you read from the big screen on the wall.   
But occasionally, and what I now find fascinating, when they do sing the old ones - I seem to know every word and even most of the versus.   Why?  Why do I know the words to so many hymns?  My mom and dad is why.  He was a preacher and I was the little kid in the front row sitting not-so-still.  But I heard and sang every song for a very long time: week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year.  Dad loved the old hymns (still does), and back then there wasn't much contemporary music out there (and if there was, the blue-haired lady at the organ couldn't play it).
Now, the hymnals are gone (some stolen, some thrown away).  I remember as an eight or nine year old, I would occupy my time in church finding all the hymns written by "Fanny" Crosby.  I'm not proud of this mind you.  I would whisper and laugh with my friends, "I found another 'fanny' - hee, hee, hee".  But I was eight and I was a good boy after all - that was as bad as I got in those days - living on the edge of darkness, making light of Fanny Crosby.  Ya, I was a bad one.
But I'm not kidding - I know all these hymns.  Even if I can't recite every verse, I know the timing, the tune, and I can hum along with the best of them.  I can still see the page numbers like "429" or "278".  I can still see the 'written by' and 'composed by' descriptions.  I remember always wondering why a song writer rarely wrote his or her own music to go with it - strange I thought:  if you're gonna write a song, wouldn't you sing it to some music or tune that you also made up?  Then, there was the closing prayer and I moved on to other thoughts ......
If I was ever to be a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam, in the dark dense forests, in a cage with rats, I would still have my hymns to fill my mind.  This would keep me alive.  And they ARE awesome.
Thanks mom and dad - for imprinting the great hymns on my mind over those years.  And I promise, when I finally meet Fanny Crosby upstairs, I will laugh with her at my silliness, I'll get her autograph, we'll take pictures and sing "To God Be The Glory" all night long!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blurry Pictures

Two weeks ago I was shown this extremely blurry pciture.  I squinted my eyes and tried to focus.  I have to admit, I knew what it was before I squinted, I was putting on a show - to delay my reaction. There was a lot to think about. In those nano seconds, I was watching my life flash before my eyes (it, of course, isn't about me, it's about the 'Moreno Baby' and the baby's mom and dad). 
But still, it came as a shocker - we were all eating pizza and it was noisy.  My mind drifted to the hundreds of conversations I've had over the years about: 'what do you want to be called when you're a grandfather ....'.  "I'm not that old yet, never will be, not gonna happen ...." were my usual replies.  I've had this feeling before, like the first time I saw a gray hair, or going to the gym and having to step-down the barbell weight for curls ('just too heavy today'), or when I got the AARP card in the mailbox, or the first time some high schooler called me 'sir', or the day I gave my little girl away and then the day I gave my other little girl away, and the day my doctor insisted I start taking certain medications.  And the list goes on. 
Blurry pictures.  These are the times that try men's souls.  
And the Moreno Baby is but one more step in the process of life.  And I'll need to get things into focus.   Come September, 2010, what do I want to be called?  Who do I want to be?
In the book of Joel it says: .... "the threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine."
Things are looking good.