Monday, September 5, 2011

Twin Brothers

My son-in-law has a twin brother.  Over the years I've seen this twin brother grow in a number of ways.  He has a new family - two beautiful kids, he has a cool 'friend' (Sara), he's taken on new responsibilities.  It's uncanny how much alike these two brothers are - yet so different - yet so alike - but different.   :)

It's been really exciting for me to watch my son-in-law change over time, but I have to tell you, it excites me equally to see his twin brother change.  They're both maturing in amazing ways that make me proud.  It seems they are both trusting their lives to Jesus more. 
Here's what I know:  the more you trust, the more addictive it is to trust.  The more you release and surrender to Christ, the less you worry.  The less you worry, the more you live. The more you live, the more you love.

I'm just glad my grandson has a dad, and an uncle, to take care of him - to watch over him, and to raise him in the Spirit and in the Word.   I know I'll never have to worry about my grandson - they have it covered.   I like to think of these guys as my own sons and I want them to think of me, somehow, as their ('strange') dad.
Of course I'm proud of my son-in-law.  But I am so proud of my son-in-laws twin brother too. And, he looks a LOT like my grandson!.  I particularly like how these 2 guys interact with each other - like they know what each other is thinking.  There's a true bond there that nobody can take away (or understand).
Jesus had bothers too - we sometimes forget.  Can you imagine being a brother of the Lord?  Can you imagine being the brother of the baby born in a manger in Bethlehem?  Can you imagine playing soccer in the streets of Jerusalem with Jesus - your big brother?  Can you imagine getting into a fight with the neighborhood kids and your big brother shows up, and says: "'I wouldn't do that, trust me".  Can you imagine going out to Starbucks with your brother Jesus, ordering a venti latte, you pull out your wallet, and he says "I've got it bro".  That would be cool.
Life just keeps getting better.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ms Lucy

Maw Maw was 104 years old (well, 103, but we were just about to celebrate 104 when she passed away).
Lucy Bateman.  Born in 1907.  She was my 'unofficial' grandmother.  She was part of my life for the past 35 years.  I married into her, and my own grandmother's have moved on many, many years ago.  So she was it - and I loved every part of her.
Maw Maw lived her entire life in Lousiana.  She outlived 2 of her 4 children, and her husband.  She accepted me from the beginning - and that was a tall order for her family.  In 1976 when we met, I was a Californian, with long hair.  Not exactly the small town, slower paced, country grown stock she was accustomed to.  I didn't know anything about farming, hunting, or the Lousiana outback lifestyle.  She explained to me how to enjoy fresh cream (from the cow), molasses over ice cream in the evening, bisquits, grits, rolls (which are NOT bisquits), canned fruits (my favorite became figs), and just sitting on the porch - enjoying the day.  The first hummingbird I ever saw was from her kitchen window - it hovered around this red gizmo that she filled with 'sugar water'.  I'd sit for hours drinking her coffee waiting for the next bird - amazed - it was so close, and they moved so fast they stood still - I couldn't see their wings they moved so fast.  And the coffee - wow.  If you've ever been to Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans - the coffee they serve there is the same coffee Maw Maw made - well, hers was way better - but the Cafe tries.

Everything back then was new to me and she never laughed at me - she just calmly explained things like 'venison is real meat Scot - it won't hurt you'.  Once I came in through the side door to her house and said - 'Maw Maw - there's a deer hanging upside down in the front yard - I think it's dead!'.  Calmly, she said, 'oh, that's just the way we do things around here - don't worry'.  She would reach into the oven, at 400 degrees, and just pull out pots and pans with her bare hands, and set them gently on top of the stove.  She was a master cook, with no documentation.  If you asked her for a recipe, or how much salt to put in, she would say - 'just a pinch' or 'about that much' or 'just enough, but not too much'.  And that was it.
Every once in awhile she would sort of apologize to me, as if she was concerned that I might think things weren't quite up to 'city snuff' for me.  I loved that in her.  Here I was, thinking I wasn't good enough or couldn't measure up to her standards, and she was somehow concerned in the same way.  Hard to explain - but that is true humility and love.  She was an elegant lady to the end.   

I never actually saw her go to bed.  I went to bed late and she would be up, then I would get up early in the morning and she was there, with a coffee pot in hand.  And, somehow, in spite of that - she always looked good - real good.
She was always the Rock that held everything down and together in the family.  She knew everyone and everyone knew her, and she had earned the respect that everyone gave her.     

There are too many great memories to mention here -            

It won't be the same without Maw Maw - but we'll see her soon - and I can't wait for some early morning hot fresh rolls with butter and figs, along with her special coffee!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Elvis - Turtle from Vegas

Bored at this Las Vegas event last week, I got in the car and drove out to "Red Rock Canyon" - on the outskirts of town.  I could see the canyon from my hotel room - about 30 miles away - and just needed to see it up close  (and, Vegas is not a good place - on many levels - you're better off avoiding this pit if you can - head for the hills).

So I'm moving in my rented VW at about 85 mph and spot this guy up ahead.  He was moving a lot slower, but I didn't trust him to not turn up the speed just as I was passing.   I slowed down and stopped sharply just in front of this masterpiece of creation. 
Elvis - the Turtle from Vegas.

I spent the next 30 minutes trying to convice Elvis to reconsider his journey across the road.  I was worried about him, and the speeding cars, and road-kill, and vultures.  It occured to me that Elvis was headed west, out of town, like me.  And we bonded.  We talked about life and death, God and eternity.  He argued with me about purpose and existence.  At one point it was 'turtles all the way down'.  He wanted to know why he was a turtle and I wasn't - and I realized that he wasn't jealous, he felt pity for me.  He loved being a turtle, and would have it no other way.  He loved the outdoors, slept under the stars, loved to eat, had a lot of girl turtle friends and a big family.  He felt little to no stress, unless a stranger like me stopped to talk.

Turtles are smart.
All the same, I finally convinced Elivs to turn around and head back toward town where he'd be safer.  Now, I regret it - he knew better than me.  Of course, I'm sure once I was over the hill, he headed back over the road and is living large in Red Rock Canyon, where it's safe.




Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Cabin

There's this little lake in north Texas called 'Lake Kiowa'.  We stumbled on it about a year ago and started shopping for the perfect cabin - something affordable but useful.  We found this old 'A'-Frame surrounded by 6 big and old and very tall pine trees, 1 crab apple tree, 1 mimosa tree, 1 pecan tree, 2 big cedars, 2 big beautifully scented honeysuckle bushes, with a little barn on a half acre, with 2 big porches, front and back, on a corner, with a nice 'view' of the lake.

Now I have a toy, with a canoe, 2 kayaks, and just 45 minutes from home.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 says     "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands."  It's quiet and it's a lot of work, for sure - every week is brutal, yet beautiful.
Come on out sometime! 

The Gut Pack

So, if you're ever in Waco, Texas - go to this BBQ place called "Vitek's".  It's the best lunch BBQ spot in Texas.  They have a lunch item called the "Gut Pak'.
There's a place called 'Georges' in Waco that claims to be the most 'famous' restaurant in Waco - that may be, but it's not the best place in Waco.
Vitek's is the best.  Trust me on this.  Sit on the patio.

Monday, May 23, 2011

D. Bonhoeffer

I don't read a lot of books - I try, but it's a rare one that can keep my attention to the end.  So, I have huge bookcases filled with books that I have never read cover to cover.
This one was different.  "Bonhoeffer".  A slow reader I am, but I just kept going.  Nearly every page was significant - a quote, a thought, an idea, significant insights - one after the other.  Truth.  It was a history lesson and a spy novel all in one.  And as it turns out - it is a theological work that's so simple, it's deep - the icing on the cake.  
In my mind, I've been building the list of people I want to meet first, face-to-face, when I get to heaven.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer is on the first page of my long list.  I don't want to just get around to meeting him in a couple of years up there, I'm hoping to seek him out within the first hour - if he'll see me.  Who's on your list?
First, I need to amount to something more than I am now here on earth.  Dietrich was only 39 when the Nazi's killed him - just a kid really.  But by that age he had done so much I can't fathom it.  He wrote books, like 'Nachfolge' (Discipleship), in 1937, when he was 31.  He coined the phrase (from what i can tell) "cheap grace". 
He lived, and died, with PURPOSE.
I'm not an intellectual (dah, stop laughing you guys ...) - but I feel smarter having read this biography.
Bonhoeffer went to the US twice (from Germany).  On one trip he went to Chicago then drove a car to Mexico - way down deep into Mexico.  This was in the 30's.  What a stud.  Once he wrote home saying "In New York they preach everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgivenss, death and life."    Sound familiar now - in 2011?
Here's another quote I like:  "Christianity conceals within itself a germ hostile to the church."  and "If you board the wrong train it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction."   good stuff.
When you read through it, you feel as though we are now living through the same situation as they lived in the 30's and 40's in Germany under Hitler - only different.  Now, it's far more cynical, more masked, more devious, more modern and high tech.  Yet, still the same. 

You gotta read this book everyone!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jumping Off

Jumping Off.  When my favorite (and only) son graduated from Baylor this weekend - it reminded me of a lot of things.  It reminded me that at one time - I jumped.

I bet you jumped - at least once.  You know, the time you took that big risk - the real big one.  The time you said 'yes' - even when you should have said 'no'.  That investment you made - and shouldn't have.  Your first house.  Your first car.  Your first love.  When you became a Christian.  Or, when you told God you were done - with Him - because He didn't come through for you.

You Jumped.  And it felt good.  Then maybe it felt bad.

Have you jumped lateley?

When Dagen jumped off this wall Friday - this statue of "Mr. Baylor"- it was in effect, a symbol of beginning something new.  I don't know how he does it, but he always seems to be on the cusp of something unimaginable - and he's always animated.  Just when I think he can't possibly do this next thing, he does, he pulls it off.  Then, just when I think he's got this other thing all wired-up tight - he doesn't.  He's usually in tune with God - he has a close walk - very close.  The thing is, he still trusts, no matter what.  Good news or bad - he's leaving it to God who knows what he needs - who sees the bigger picture - who wants the best for him - the REAL best.  This approach to life takes courage - real courage.  It's what makes us so proud of Dagen - the master.

When God says no, and kicks you around a little, just to show you who is boss - it's what you do then that counts.  Nothing else counts.  The way you react, tells God what you're made of - who you really belong to.  You may say - "hey, a loving God wouldn't kick me around" - ummmmm, ya, he would, he does.  The single most complex theological quandary out there is the  "why God, why??" question.   It's when he nudges that you flinch and sometimes coward back, and run like a rabbit, or you want to hit back.

His question to you is:  "Who do you trust - tell me - WHO - and tell me now"?!

We all have questions, and always will.  We've all been there - you may be there now.  You can pull-up, the plane doesn't have to crash.  It's never too late to begin trusting Him - and jumping off again - in the right direction - toward Him.

Where are you headed now - what are you doing next?   Is it time now to jump, and to start trusting something bigger and better than yourself (ie JC!). 

Just something to think about - I am.  Has nothing really to do with Dagen's spectacular performance over the last 4 years at Baylor - but still - good to think about.
Oh, and Congratulations Dagen!!  YOU DID IT.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hamburgers - Animal Style

Today they opened the first In-N-Out Burger in Texas, and it's in my bakyard - I could walk to it.  That's important, because prior to today, I had to fly to San Diego (or Phoenix) for a good hamburger, fries and a milkshake.
I'm gonna save THOUSANDS $$!
We tried, but we couldn't eat there today.  I'd guess 100,000, maybe 200,000 people were in line, in cars and on foot.  (I'm not good with numbers - but there were a lot of people).  I was thinking they couldn't possible have had enough food in there for all those people, then a big semi pulled up with the refresh.  I'm thinking of going over late tonight to see if the crowds have slowed down.
Someone (a fool at work) told me he doesn't really like In-n-Out hamburgers.  I said - "what does that have to do with it?"  Puzzled (a common look for this particular guy), he asked what I meant.  I had to explain a lot of things to him - including the fact that sometimes it's about the experience as much as the food.  And I asked him if he had ever ordered 'animal style'?,  and of course he had never heard of it.  "Protein style maybe"?, a blank stare.   In the end, it turns out he prefers 'burger king'  (just shoot me).
I love going to Starbucks for coffee too.  This same guy told me he doesn't like Starbucks coffee, and I said "what does that have to do with it"?
I contend that businesses don't (generally) succeed because their stuff tastes better, or looks better, or is made better than the other guy.  They succeed because they offer more than the obvious - they offer an experience, an identity, an attitude.  A MEMORY.
We have a lot of family memories at In-N-Out California  -  and plan to keep that tradition going here in Texas.
and, John 3:16 - on the bottom of every cup.  nice.  



Monday, May 9, 2011

Duck Eggs Dogs and Masters

Kahlua ('the' dog with issues) has been just barely catching the female mallard duck in the backyard - every morning - for a week.  Yesterday he got the back end of her and most of her feathers are in the pool now.  But she made it out, floating over the arbor, gracefully - for a duck.  I didn't realize till this weekend that ducks only pretend to fly, until they reach a certain height.  They fake it for the first 50 feet - it's embarrassing really, the flapping of the wings, the dragging of the clumsy feet - it looks painful - but they make it.  I wonder if God created ducks to demonstrate something to us:  you were made for land and water, but you can soar high and far - but it won't be easy for you to clear the fence.  Once you clear the fence, reach some height, and trust in Me, then you can go anywhere and do anything
But that's a little deep for all I want to say here.
I'm looking for advice:  this duck has done the unthinkable in my backyard - she laid 9 eggs.  A week ago someone in the neighborhood sent out and email blast warning all of us that the last thing you want is a duck laying eggs in your backyard.  She has a pool too and some duck took over the pool - laid eggs - and this homeowner eventually spent hundreds of dollars 'relocating' the baby ducklings somewhere into east Texas. 
Worse - I have a dog (Kahlua) who wants a duck, and all the babies he can get.  He salivates as he gazes out the window toward the bush he KNOWS houses the duck and her kids.  It's just instinct.  He doesn't want them for himself - he wants them for ME.  I know this dog, he yearns to please me.  And his greatest pleasure is to capture the cutest rabbit, bird, squirrel or whatever - and to lay his gift at my feet (usually squirming just moments from death).  Sorry - not pretty - but it's his instinct and nothing more.  A God-given instinct.  He wishes to please his master.

So now I've got to keep Kahlua out of the backyard for the summer.  Bummer.

But it has made me think of something:

Is your instinct to please your Master?  No matter what, no matter how seemingly gruesome or crazy?  How far do we go each day to just follow our instinct to please our Master?  Not too far I'm afraid.  But then again - who is your Master?  Maybe you do please your master (little 'm').

Until you've met JC (for real), your instinct is to dis-please Him - it's our sin nature to serve ourselves and Satan - and not Him.  It's our human nature to do the wrong thing - to serve the wrong master - and to be disappointed everydayDon't live a dead end life serving the wrong master.  Once we learn to serve the REAL Master - life is sooooo good.
Anyway - what am I going to do with all these mallards??

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Know What I Should Do ....

Have you ever thought, "why does everyone seem to have their act together - everyone but me?"

Well there's a dirty little secret out there ........  listen ..... listen to me ...... here it is:  No one has their act together  - they just pretend to, and / or - they get lucky.   

Some of us think we know what to do - all the time.  Some of us never know what to do - ever.  The rest of us fall in the middle somewhere.

For instance, I took this picture in San Diego about a year ago.  Someone may look at this and say: "wow - your a good photographer - how do you do it?"  I didn't do anything, I got lucky. I have a crummy camera and I pointed it, and snapped the shutter.  I think it's because its such a rotten camera that the picture looks good - for some reason - less is more sometimes (MOST of the time!).  And sometimes you just have to raise the camera and take a shot - and hope for the best.  (the picture might look better if I 'photoshop' it - but I prefer the real thing - always).
What are you going to do?  It's a new year, January is coming to an end already.   Everyone is wondering the same thing:  "What am I going to do?"   And while you wonder, the weeks click by.
On the other end of the spectrum are those people who seem to know exactly what to do - all the time - they have the answer.  I generally don't like these people.  Be careful that you think you know too much.  Stop putting so much faith in yourself!  Sounds wrong doesn't it?  The world tells us to have faith in ourselves - to follow our dreams - BELIEVE!.  There's nothing really wrong with that until we trust ourselves too much.
To quote Oswald Chambers (Jan 29):  "God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions.  We say, "I know that this is what I should do" -  and suddenly the voice of God speaks in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance."

Trust Him - alone.  And to hear what he's saying, we need to read His Word (a lot) and ask Him for wisdom and to speak to us directly.  And then take the shot.    


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Dad @ 80

In 1930, somewhere in New York, Donald Edward Kanaley was born.  Now, he's EIGHTY (80!) and he's been my dad for over 50 years.
(fyi, in this picture, he's not 80 yet).
Turns out, he came from a broken home.  I never met his father, my grandfather.   Things happen.  People make decisions.  It happened back then, and it happens today.  You think things are tough now, but they were tougher back then.
When he was 20 years old - someone walked into dad's life:  Jesus.  He told him to 'follow me', and dad was obediant - like Peter and Paul.  From that day on, dad followed - sometimes blindly, by faith alone.  And he's still following.  Some people think that's an easy road (walking with the Lord) - I know - I hear them, I've talked to them  (but I don't tolerate them much).  It's the HARD road, the narrow road.  A life lived for Christ is anything but easy.  It's joyful when you're walking with Him, but miserable in ways you can't imagine (and until you've done it, you'll not understand the paradox of it).  The world despises you, loathes you, laughs at you, mocks you.  Outside the US, they simply kill you for being a Christian.  No big deal, thousands a day. 
Like the Israelites in the desert leaving Egypt, God gave them enough bread to eat for one day at a time - that's it.  It forced them to trust Him everyday and to not look past that day.  So too, with dad it seems - always given enough to survive on for the day.  The result has been amazing to watch over the years.  He's been taken care of.  And the family has grown to some 17 or 18 grandkids and 23 or so great grandkids (I can't keep track).

None of it came easy and none of it was simple (and never will be).  But the result has been grand.  So hang in there and keep on pushing - stay on the narrow path - the tough path.  Don't ever give up!

Dad is our example that Christ takes care of his flock.