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Monthly Archives: April 2012

This is the day…

Today has been a long one.  For me.  For the girls.  Especially for my Beautiful Bride!  I’m tired just remembering it all!  🙂

“Day in the life” posts aren’t the norm around here.  But I think there’s some spiritual insight worth sharing along with, so here goes:  Ran over a bike first thing this morn.  Oldest left it right behind my van!  (Yeah, I’m cool enough to drive a van!)  Not a happy Dad, but no time to dole out the proper punishment cause I was running late for church.  Same daughter decided to go to “Neighbor Boy’s” house for breakfast (yes, that Neighbor Boy!).  Only she didn’t ask for permission.  Her mother assumed she had gone to church with me; I had told her to go back in the house to Mom.  Brief moment of panic when I returned home and we realized we had “lost” a child.

Find her, scold her, load her in Mom’s van so we can drive the 45 mins. to a different worship service where I’m scheduled to speak.  Really encouraging service, and then off to lunch at Grandmother’s.  What a special thing that my little family can spend time with my grandparents who are both in their 80’s!  But it did mean almost an hour of driving home mid-afternoon only to load right back up and head to the talent show.  (with a quick meeting somehow squeezed in between)

Middle child and I were asked to sing a song; one I had written and she loves to help me sing.  So we did.  Which means my wife went “above and beyond” to support me when I spoke this morn, and J when she sang tonight.  But I could tell she was really worn out and I encouraged her to go home after J’s performance and get some rest.  Leaving me at the mercy of someone else for a ride home.  Someone who couldn’t leave talent show/church for another couple hours.  Oh man, it was a long day!

But on the way home, my “taxi driver” really needed to talk about some things going on in his life.  And I realized that a verse I had read in worship earlier today was being lived out nearly 12 hours later…even if I’m being poured out as an offering for the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice*…Poured out.”  I felt that when parenting today.  I saw that in my wife today.  I lived that in “church life” today.  And at the end of the day, hopefully I will join Paul in being glad and rejoicing for the chance to pour my life out if it helps others grow closer to Christ.

This is the day…the day the Lord has made!  I will rejoice.  I will be glad.

* Philippians 2:17


How to create a 93% chance of success in your marriage!

I originally started this blog with the intention to mostly write about marriage & men stepping up as “servant leaders” in their homes, churches, and communities.  I’ve branched out quite a bit since then, which has been enjoyable.  But I still have a passion for the issues mentioned above.  Here is a great post I came across yesterday and wanted to share with others on wordpress.  This article can be found on Trey Morgan’s site.

I want to be a 5 to 1 husband!

Statistics on marriage scare me, but the Studer Group has released a new study on “Compliment to Criticism” ratio. They’ve told us from their studies, that people in general need 3 compliments given for every 1 criticism that is said to them. While that didn’t surprise me, the following statistic FLOORED me …

“Reports now show that when it comes to marriage, if you have a 5 to 1 compliment to criticism ratio, the divorce rate in that marriage drops from 50% to 7%.”

DID YOU CATCH THAT, husbands and wives? We are now learning how to beat the old statistic that says that 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. How? Give 5 compliments to your spouse for every 1 negative thing you say. When you take on the 5 to 1 plan, the divorce rate in your marriage drops to 7%. I like those odds!

My goal (and hopefully yours) today is to become a 5 to 1 kind of spouse. Today is a great day to start.

5 to 1 … that’s it! And the divorce rate goes from 50% to 7% … It’s time to pass the word.

You up for the 5-1 challenge with your spouse?

“Prodigal Avenue”

Prodigal Avenue (part 2)

shaken up, he staggers away from the scene
barely coherent, he mutters something obscene
then spits out blood so that he can savor
the flavor
of one
last
smoke

the low humming noise sung by streetlights
fades in and out as he stumbles, block by block,

only stopping to grind out his cigarette,
kick an empty orange juice bottle,
and stare blankly into the night sky—

thinking again
of Father

he remembers an abnormally kind daddy
who is fluent in the language of love
for all of mankind—even
those who aren’t quite lovely, and

maybe even for a wayward son walking
down a dead-end-street

but it’s said that all roads lead to home,
so he suddenly turns around

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

written for the Thursday Melting poetry prompt at rosemary mint

“Prodigal Avenue”

Prodigal Avenue (part 1)

shiny new sports car lurching
violently
into the wall of a faded building:

copper metallic paint smudged and smeared
all over slaughtered bricks and skewered siding
“I miss Father”—
his last thought before blacking out

hours later, trembling hands swiftly sift debris
hoping to find some semblance of a life left behind

prickly membranes hold together memories
of the Dad who grilled steaks and
served them with a side of asparagus …

meals he enjoyed

before the slimy stories of a scaly serpent put him
in the seat of a too-fast-car on a pot-holed-street
crashing head-on into the “Pig-Out BBQ”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Notes:
Written for the Monday Melting and today’s dverse prompt, which is to write an “allegory.” One of the suggestions is to use a Biblical story as the inspiration for our poem today. I think it’s quite obvious which story I have chosen. 🙂  Check back for part 2 in the next couple of days.

Finally Sharing the Love!


I posted my response to this award over a week ago.  I’m honored that I was nominated for this award, and now it is time to share the honor with others.  It’s really hard to choose only 15 fellow bloggers, but I’m choosing based upon people who I really enjoy reading, who I don’t *think* have received this (or other) award yet, and those who haven’t stated they host an “award free blog.”  🙂  If you’re nominated, please don’t feel obligated to participate.  And if you aren’t nominated, please don’t be upset!  I’ll be happy to share the love with you next time…just let me know you’re interested.

So, here’s the deal.  Once I nominate you, tell us 7 things about yourself that most of us don’t know.  Then you nominate more people! (15 is the suggestion)  By the way, here is my list of 7 odd facts.  And below is the list of bloggers I’ve nominated for “The Versatile Blogger” Award.  Enjoy.

http://linneann.wordpress.com/ <—— amazing writer, “supermom”, & all-around wonderful person!

http://xoevelynortizhasspoken.wordpress.com/  <——-  this young lady has tons of drive & determination, plus she’s an awesome commenter!

http://hangingoutandin.wordpress.com/  <——- another “supermom” who shares incredibly heart-touching stories!

http://chris9911.wordpress.com/  <—– hilarious blogger, great dad, crazy in love with his wife, & he can help you buy the right p.c.!

http://simplystriving.wordpress.com/ <——–  one of the most inpirational bloggers you will ever read!

http://rabidmongoose.wordpress.com/ <—— tackles some really heavy subjects, & offers incredible insight…plus you can learn about gardening!

http://dailymomprayers.wordpress.com/ <—– yet another “supermom” with a “superblog”!

http://sberris0.wordpress.com/  <——- a young woman who is wise beyond her years!..very artsy & creative too!

http://theactsproject.wordpress.com/  <—– you will find amazing writing from an amazing mom/wife here & you will love it!

http://tasmith1122.wordpress.com/  <—– this is one of my wife’s fave poets/bloggers & I’ve grown very fond of her as well 🙂

http://ladywithabirthmark.wordpress.com/  <—- adding some international flavor with this delightful blogger!

http://mylifeuncutalmost.wordpress.com/  <—– wonderful woman of wisdom & integrity!

http://illumylife.com/  <———- pretty pictures, creative crafts, wise words, lovely lady!

http://newkarensue.wordpress.com/ <———- new pic everyday, and always something worth reading!

http://causeisaidso.me/  <———– terrific, heart-felt writing from a terrific mom…super enjoyable blog.

Tides of Crimson

This is the first poem I wrote for Shawna’s Monday Melting.  Today I’m posting it on my blog as well and  linking it to dverse.  Hope you enjoy.

“Tides of Crimson”

The glint of your luminous devotion
remains perfectly visible
from just the right angle

Corseted against your ivory skin
that crimson velvet
punctured, yet worn

Extracting passionate ripples
from a past
recent, not irretrievable

I yield not
Refusing any ochone

 

Notes: ochone is a Scot/Irish word and was part of the “word prompt” that day.  It is defined thusly: “an expression of sorrow or regret”

“Bummed” Out

I briefly thought about a different kind of bum picture, since this post is about a different kind of bum.  Any kind of “bum” pic I posted was going to be a funny one, but the one above really made me laugh.  “Monkey butt” would have also made me laugh, but I found this pic first!  🙂

And since I’m *loosely* writing a post about thankfulness, the pic I chose gives me a great opportunity to state that I AM THANKFUL!  Thankful I can speak and walk.  Thankful I have (most of) my teeth.  Thankful for a job.  Thankful I’m not yet wearing diapers again.  Thankful that God does indeed bless!

This post is also about something I’m fearful of: my oldest daughter growing older!  She’s always been a challenge, but so far we’ve only had to deal with “little girl challenges.”   Yesterday & today, however, I’ve gotten a real big “wake-up call” about what the future may hold.  We have a newish neighbor who is the same age (9) as our oldest.  She has already proclaimed her undying love for new neighbor boy.  Anytime she has permission—and many times she doesn’t—she makes a beeline for his house.  Last night was an example of a “no permission” trip to the house next door.

We had just returned home from church, and before I even had a chance to realize she wasn’t in our house, she comes running through the door shouting: “You won’t believe what I just saw!”  Turns out, she was right!  I didn’t believe what she had just seen.  As I was getting her younger sister out of the van and in our house,  Big Sister snuck over to “neighbor boy’s” house—at bath time.  As her visit was unexpected, neighbor boy was apparently standing in his living room in the buff.  He took off down his hall as soon as my daughter began knocking on their door.  Thankfully, she only saw his backside.  (See, I told you this post is about thankfulness!)

I tried to downplay the event last night.  But today she made it pretty clear: I definitely have reason to be worried.  She said (in a rather dreamy manner): “Dad, last night was the best night of my life!”  Having “sometimers disease,” I just had to ask:  “Why?”   She grinned and said, “You know Dad…cause of what I sawww!  I can’t believe I actually saw his bum!”   (Insert mental image of Dad pulling hair out here)

But thankfully I have a pretty level-headed wife.  She reminded me that these emotions in our daughter were bound to happen some day.  (Though she did admit it’s earlier than she had expected as well!)  But she also said something that is crucially important.  While we continue to teach our daughter the benefits of living with moral integrity, the most important lesson we can teach her is to live a life of love for God!  Whether I like it or not, there will be a day in the future (like when she’s 25) when she won’t be constrained by any of my rules or expectations.  It will be her love for God alone which will compel her to make wise, godly choices as she grows, spreads wings, and becomes completely independent.

So today this “bummed out Dad” is most thankful for a God who has made this promise: “(be) confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6)

What Has Your Journey Been Like?

written for Kellie’s Free-Write Friday prompt

The “blogosphere” is a somewhat new experience for me. I’m still learning much; in fact, I’m barely able to post my own writings. No joke, this is the second time I’m writing this post because I just lost the original writing!

What I’ve come to enjoy most about the blogosphere is the genuine sense of “community” that can be found when one is actively engaged with other bloggers. It’s really quite a wonderful community to be a part of! Plus, there aren’t any speeding tickets given out in this community! (Can you tell I’ve been the victim of a couple of “small town speed traps”?) 🙂

It has been a real joy to read your blogs and get to know you through your posts. Fellow bloggers have inspired and encouraged, made me laugh and cry. Thankfully, I’ve laughed more than cried! And you’ve also made me think. An example of this was earlier in the week, when I read a post by a blogger who is new to me. In his post, he shared the story of how he came to a faith-relationship with Christ. I commented (a brilliantly insightful comment I’m sure…lol) and moved on to read another blog. However, this new friend invited me back to his blog by asking a really important question: “What is the story of your journey with God?”

That question has stayed with me all week. It’s stayed with me because I think it is not only a great question to ask of others but is also a crucial question to ask of ourselves from time to time. Today, I discovered the perfect photo prompt to motivate me to write about this question. My personal journey has been a drama and a comedy (you’ll understand if you ever see me *try* to dance). My journey has been poetic, but it’s also been some very poorly written prose (of course, that was mostly due to college assignments!). I was fortunate enough to become a Christ-follower at a young age. However, I’ve been stubborn enough to choose several “wrong paths” in the years that have followed. In spite of my obstinacy, God’s love has been constant and His Grace sufficient. The longer I live, the more I realize I am completely dependent upon God’s faithfulness!

And now it’s your turn to share. I’ve been so blessed, and even honored, by the honest comments so many of you have left in the past. So I end today’s post with the same question for you: What is the story of your journey?

“Wildflower”

written for dverse poets’ “Framed Couplets” prompt using word lists from this week’s Sunday Whirl and Monday Melting

 

Wildflower

a forceful push opens doors that kept you inside
a remorseful aspect of life had once made you hide
exchange fear for courage like that of a Marine
range over terrain you have not yet seen

spray over here once the seed is planted
play in the field that is sunshine enchanted
glance at the beauty of this harvest-to-be
romance Mother Nature—basic chemistry

stand in the rain that blows up from the south
hand-fan the flames you breathe out of your mouth
sprinkle moisturized blends of fertilized tricks
crinkle the stems and splinter the sticks

taste the sweet berry, gain rich energy
waste not this permission to run carefree

Finally Recognized

 

“Finally Recognized”

Climbing the rusted caracol, I
found myself happy to let you go first,
yielding center stage, while you basked
in a potpourri of much deserved applause.

Goofy, silly, awkward, somewhat clumsy;
perfect in every way.

Senescence was of no concern as
we walked the quad and you proudly
displayed that emblazoned medallion
trophy-cased around your neck.

Mine savagely stuffed in some pocket;
I forget which one.

Young lovers lay on a bed of
kiwi-colored grass; laughing,
tickling their bodies and their fancies.
Their moment though, eclipsed by yours.

Miraculously cured from faux insignificance
and homesick heartache.

 

notes:  This is one of the first poems I wrote.  It was originally written for Moday Melting before I had a blog of my own.  Hope you enjoy (even if this is your second time reading this poem.)  🙂

The “Bloggies”: Answering Questions

So here are some responses to the blog awards I mentioned in an earlier post.  I’m calling them “the bloggies.”  🙂

 

The Sunshine Award

1. What are the priorities in my life?

God, Wife, Children, Ministry/work, Bama football 🙂

2. what do i do for a living?

Mentor students & minister to them and their families.
3. What are your hobbies?

Blogging, of course!  Time with family is huge.  Fond of a few t.v. shows.
4. how many kids do you have?

Three—all girls!  Range in ages 2–9

 

The Versatile Blogger

Tell 7 things about myself that you don’t know:

1.  Once spent a night in jail—a result of too much studying!  🙂  (my study partner was working graveyard shift at the jail and they had an empty cell when I got tired)

2.  I’ve been to every continental U.S. state except 3: Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

3.  I flew to very few of those states!  I enjoy maintaining a close proximity to terra firma.

4.  Continuing with the “state theme,” I’ve lived in 4: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, & Mississippi.

5.  Love being on the water (boat, canoe, raft) but don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like.

6.  Speaking of water: the biggest fish I ever caught was a 38 pound red-fish, and I caught that off of a pier!

7.  Used hair-spray this morning as my deodorant!  (Confused the spray cans…lol)

An Award Winning Week

It has been a pretty exciting week around here.  Personal life and “blog life” both have seen some awesome developments.  Firstly, I’m blessed to celebrate an anniversary with the most amazing woman I’ve ever known!  Thank you Sweetie for the best days, weeks, months & years ever!  This week has been especially wonderful.  🙂  An anniversary celebration with my Beautiful Bride has already made this week “award-winning,” but then…

Secondly, a couple of my favorite bloggers have honored me with blog awards.  Terry (an amazing woman in her own right!) has nominated me for the “Sunshine Award.”  And over at “allthingsboys” (not written by boys by the way—published, in fact, by another amazing female) I was nominated for the “Versatile Blogger Award.”  You both have lots of readers and followers so I feel really honored by the selections.  Just need to get busy and answer some questions!

And just today I found out a poem I’ve written has been selected as the winner in Kellie’s poetry contest.  To say I’m shocked would be a huge understatement!  Thank you Kellie for the recognition; I’m looking forward to receiving a copy of your new book soon!

The Greatest Show on Earth

Looking out the window didn’t inspire much:
old tire not swinging, and barren trees casting
reluctant shadows over barely-white-snow.

But as she ran out into the backyard,
my daughter saw visions of magic—charms
only she could discover on that hallowed ground.

And I stood in my kitchen that day
entranced,

awed by the beauty of a restless little girl searching—
finding treasures in the world she had created.

Blissfully unaware that magic is just an illusion,
she transformed herself into a princess,
mapped out her kingdom, and invented all sorts
of bizarre creatures over which she would rule.

I had the cumbersome chore of washing dishes,
yet lost myself in the fullness of that moment.

As night’s fog moved in, she returned to the house,
whistling a magical tune—one of the treasures
she found that day in her backyard kingdom.

written for Kellie’s Free-Write Friday prompt based on the cover of her new book

How to Get Freshly Pressed

Post a picture of a Volkswagon. Maybe several. They really seem to like the VW vans.

Here’s a really groovy VW van:

If that doesn’t work, make a post about a TV show. Especially one that appeals to twentysomethings. I watched the season finale of Justified tonight. It was great and “the bad guy” even hijacked a yellow VW van. Not sure that’s enough to get me “freshly pressed,” but it is a weird coincidence! 🙂

Another good idea is to write about dating. More specifically describe in detail every horrible date you’ve had in the past week or two. And the more descriptive you are in running down some poor sap who was foolish enough to shell out a few bucks for your frappe or entree, the better your chances! I think a great many of my readers are beyond the “dating stage” of life, but you can always write a fictional account. Just be sure to make fun of the fake text messages your supposed admirer sent to you.

This week is my anniversary, and it just so happens I’m married to the most amazing woman in the world. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to start dating again (nor do I want to!). I’m tempted to post about the first two suggestions from time to time, but I’m just sharing this bit-o-wisdom to help the rest of you. 🙂

“At the Front Door”

written for Sunday Whirl #51 and Monday Melting #12; linked to dverse poets “Open Link Night”

“Off the trampoline!” Mom yelled.
I pretended not to hear and just jounced:
up and down, up and down, until
the crinkled lines on her forehead told me
I had pushed as far as she would allow.

It was near dusk as I staggered in the house,
knowing my destiny was a scolding—and
chores. Tonight’s first order of business was
wiping down the door I had just stepped
past and making the prismed glass sparkle.

I was entranced by transmuted images of sunlight
dancing against the wall, the last rays of the day
becoming beautiful rainbow paints when not blocked
by the old sleeveless t-shirt I held in my hand—I
controlled this adagio, though the colors chose their partners.

The shirt had been Dad’s; so had the song I softly sang.
I was careful that Mother not hear any happy tune winding
its way down the hall and risk infecting her broken
mentality—a grief she carried since Father was buried.
She has a mawkishly sick addiction to anger and sadness.

Yes I’m careful. Fearful really. I’ve learned not to emit much joy
in her presence—apparently I’m not yet allowed to feel such.
But kids like me still need to hear bedtime stories and fairy tales
to ensure sweet slumber. So I choose to hope that playmates
will knock on this door tomorrow. Not an undertaker.

And I clean this door, eviscerating the prints of the man
with a bony hand who was wearing the heather gray tie.
By now, Mom is standing next to me inspecting my work.
“I’ve never seen the glass shine so brightly,” she says, almost
sounding proud of the job I’ve done and the girl she has raised.

About Me: Going Postal

Don’t let the title alarm you (too much).  I”m just letting you know that I’m (sort of) creating an “about me,” but using a post to do it.  As Shawna has noted, at this point I can’t create an actual “about me”…that section has taken on a life of it’s own.  A very funny life at that as evidenced by comments you’ll find here and another comment Chris has made on his blog.  He pretty much threw down the gauntlet and called my “about me” section the “absolute worst” on wordpress!  But don’t get mad at the boy for calling me out—he gave the residents of my house great cause for laughter!  Plus he might have a friend who just won lots of money in the super-duper-mega-biggest-lottery-ever!  I’m thinking we all should become his new best friend. 🙂

And now, a “junkie” has come to my rescue!  By way of tagging me.  So now to play my part in this game of tag!

1. Describe yourself in 7 words.

Christian (saved by Grace). Husband. Father. Minister.

2. What keeps you up at night?

Blogging!  And other interests, such as: hanging out with my beautiful wife, wonderful children (when they have trouble sleeping), reading, netflix, college football, saving the world, etc.  And of course there are those ‘life issues” which occupy my thoughts and keep me awake for way too long some nights.  And, oh yeah, lock-ins, retreats, and camps!

3. Who would you like to be?

Honestly, I’m pretty happy being who I am.  But if this question is an attempt to get me to name some other person in the world who I’d like to be, I would choose Nick Saban.  Not that he’s the most pleasant person, mind you, but that is how deep is my love for the Crimson Tide.  (I answered honestly, even though I may have just lost half my readership!..lol) 

4. What are you wearing right now?

Shorts and a t-shirt, no shoes.  It’s my day off 🙂

5. What scares you?

I really hate to fly.  I used to fly quite a bit “back in the day.”  Never liked it much, but did it anyway.  But I’ve refused to board a plane since 9/11.  And now, I might actually be more afraid of TSA with their scanners and body searches.  I know I need to get over this, and “just do it” but as of now I’m pretty content with both feet on the ground (and far away from the TSA).   🙂 

6. The best and worst of blogging:

Best: For years I’ve known about the abundance of talented writers and rich information to be found in the blogosphere.  I used to drive my wife crazy because I would spend hours reading the ramblings of strangers from around the world!  But those ramblings were (and are) full of brilliant thoughts and great topics for discussion.  It’s only recently, however, that I’ve started my own blog and enjoyed the benefit of the “community” one can find when becoming an active blogger.  And for me, this has been the best by far.  I sincerely enjoy all the opportunities to read, comment, and dialogue with so many of you.  You all have made me smile, laugh, think, and even cry.  It’s really an awesome opportunity we have to engage like this.

Worst: The main negative I find in blogging is how consuming it can be if one is not careful.  I already mentioned about the crazy amount of time I spent on reading blogs all those years ago.  And that was just reading with the occasional comment!  Now that I post to my own blog, I can easily be tempted to spend even more time reading, commenting, & writing.  So far, I think I’m maintaining a pretty good balance this time around.  I’m certainly much more aware of my priorities and committed to quality time every day with my wife and daughters.

7. The last website I visited:

WordPress.com of course!

8. What is one thing I would change about myself?

Oh boy!  Several things about my past, but if we’re just talking the current version of me, it would have to be dropping about 40 pounds and getting in shape physically.  Got to keep up with my hottie of a wife. 🙂

9. Slankets. Yes or No?

Apparently this is like a Snuggie.  And that would be a definite “NO” for me!

10. Tell us something about the person who tagged you.

Oh, this is the junkie I mentioned.  But it’s all good, cause she’s just an “apple junkie.”  She loves apples—not the computers or phones, but the actual fruit.  Bonus points for that! (and less trips to the doctor according to Ben Franklin!)  She may just be a “fruity” girl as she also loves kiwis.  She admits to being clumsy, but I think she’s ok with it. 🙂  Beyond that, she is an “international” college student (seriously, she’s been to college in 2 different countries), a very entertaining blogger, and a Christ-follower. 

Hopefully this resolves at least some of the mystery surrounding my existence 🙂  I’m supposed to tag 8 of you now.  But I’m going to do that in a comment, because I think this post is pretty long already (and I need time to figure out who to tag). 

“Soul Food”

Chocolate Mint Milkshakes
don’t nourish bodies much, but
they sure can cause a soul to shine.

It’s natural to treat cuts and scrapes
with aloe and band-aids of funny shapes,
kiss it and wish it “all better.”

Yet those dark seasons come and
whisper “despair”; over here, over there,
pouring salt in wounds no one sees.

One of life’s cruelest tricks
leaves us broken and sick
no package to buy for our healing.

Soon it is June, the perfect time
to smell soft summer air drifting—
stringing hope like bright rays of sun.

In winter’s absence, grass grows
in shades of green; minty delights
meant to be tasted.

 

 

written for Sunday Whirl and Monday Melting; linked to dverse poets Open Link Night

can underwear outlast a marriage?

can underwear outlast a marriage?.

Just to make you laugh on a Monday afternoon!

I don’t know anything about the author, but this was too funny not to share!