Tuesday, May 29, 2007

a saint goes marching in

Retired minister Rev. Clark Pope died Sunday, May 27, 2007. There will
be a Memorial Service on Sunday, June 3 at
Clay United Methodist Church at 4:30
p.m.

“Brother Clark Pope not only served many churches with
distinction in our Conference, he also blessed us with two of our most
distinguished clergy,” says Bishop William H. Willimon. “We grieve but we
celebrate with Clark’s sons and family the remarkable way God used Clark in
North Alabama.”

Rev. Pope was ordained an elder in full
connection in 1964. During his ministry career he served Bethel Station;
Dearmanville; Talladega Bemiston; Morgan; Gadsden Bellevue; Central Park;
Guntersville First; First Hartselle; Christ Central; and Monte Sano. He retired
in 1997.

Please keep his wife Frances, his children (who include
Rev. Mike Pope and Rev. Keith Pope) and their family and friends in your
prayers.

Clark came along as pastor when our family were members at Bellevue United Methodist Church back in the mid seventies. He became a mentor and friend of Emory Boggs (I wrote about Emory in an earlier blog). Rev. Clark Pope was a very sweet man who loved his Lord. I haven't seen brother Pope in years and know that he and Emory are happy to see each other again...old friends...reunited.

old friend

Who is it?
Open your eyes.
They can't adjust but your voice sounds very...
Can you see me now? I am right here.
I see the shape of your face... I
That's okay Bud.
You know me.
You know me too. Sit up before you drift back, we've got things to do.
Am I sick?
No, you are perfectly fine.
For an old man.
You're perfect. Can you see me?
Better - but I can't believe my eyes.
Charlie had no children, no son that he ever mentioned to me.
That's right old friend. I had no children, no grandchildren or great-grandchildren like you. No one to grow up to look a little like me.
Can't be.
It's me.
But you are as young today as you were in that field...where you...
Where I fell.
You look as young as you have been in my dreams...after all these years.
When your eyes can fully open...you will see that your old friend is fine and that you are too.
I wrote to your parents Charlie.
I know. I appreciated you doing that. My mother kept that letter until she came home.
This can't be...you can't be...the explosion. I have never forgotten you. You died so long ago.
I know.
I lived. I went home. I grew old and you stayed young.
I know.
When you wake up from that dream of yours, we are going to get up and take a walk together. We are going to walk a little ways down that road. You're home.
Penny, I left her at the hospital.
No...time isn't a boundary here. Your wife, children and grand children are all here.
I don't understand.
You'll get used to it.
My hands, they are young and...
Yeah Buddy...like I said...you're perfect

Now get up and shake your dreams off.
Rise up and lean on me until you get accustomed to this place.
We need to move out...there's someone else who wants to see you.

Monday, May 28, 2007

thank you

I just don't have many words to write about this day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

and now for something completely different

Years ago my old friend Michael Bynum used to invite me to his house to watch movies. These were wonderful nights because Michael has an unusual collection of music and videos. He put a lot of thought into what he'd show for his guest. He might start one evening by playing some hard to find music from his LP collection like Michael Nesmith or Procol Harum. Then we might watch a WWII era Max Fletcher Superman cartoon. Afterwards he'd pop in a Twilight Zone episode then show a movie. Sometimes we'd play a little guitar in between and share new songs with each other. He'd show me movies that he really liked or movies so bad that they were funny. It was Michael that showed me my first episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It was The Amazing Colossal Man episode and it was one of the last times I was over at his house...maybe it was because I spewed coffee across his living room. I am so sorry Michael. Don't feed me while showing me really funny stuff.
Anyway...Michael has started a new blog this weekend and you can see it at http://www.mikesbmovies.blogspot.com/ Do go and have a look and feel free to join in. This is going to be fun. I promise not to drink beverages while visiting your site Michael.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

do you believe?


Sometime during the seventies John Wayne became old...not just the man but the icon faded a little. It wasn't the cancer, but the cancer of man. John Wayne was larger than life when he died but there have been so many people who tried to drag his name into the ground. John Wayne made frequent visits to the soldiers overseas and made a movie encouraging the fight in Vietnam. It was Iwo Jima that our servicemen were shown before going out to fight. These brave men that were raised weaned on his movies, of that strapping man of men who stared into the advancing hordes as the music swelled, guns blazed.

To be called John Wayne back then, it inferred that someone was trying to take on the enemy single-handily (aka RAMBO). Also, we now have an ailment known as John Wayne Syndrome...it's when men keep their feelings and emotions to themselves...you know...suck it up and play the man. And that's a bad thing? We have to call that a syndrome? I don't think John Wayne would be as appreciated if he were still swaggering among us today. The feminization of the American male...so in touch with ourselves and absolutely defenseless...victims of some vague childhood tragedy.

I'm not very proud of my generation. We've been called many names but I think, THE ME GENERATION is the most appropriate. Thought I'd forgotten that moniker? Too many boys playing with toys and too few men being men. We are very in touch with our feelings these days, bleeding our emotions on Oprah...blaming our fathers for our failures...leaving our children defenseless and fatherless.

John Wayne wouldn't care for this postmodern lunacy. He was a black and white kind of guy who'd do what was right for the red, white, and blue (God, country, and our family). We need to be men today.  We need to see things as they really are - and do what must be done. We need to lift up what is right and cast off that which is false. We need to be men for our God, men for our country and men for our wives and children.

I don't see men in Washington. I don't see men telling the truth on TV.  I see liars, manipulators and fools. I see a political tug of war raging while the enemy is at the OPEN gate. I don't hear men teaching truth. I hear fools perceived as wise men.  I see men as trees-a-walk'n. It's all just which lie you choose to believe. Take a pick like some card trick. What's it going to take America? What's it going to take BOY!?!

so tell me boy
do you believe in evil
do you believe such forces to exist
do you realize that bad men live
that nations move against us
plotted against
like Israel
do you realize evil lives
and desire you dead
have your children buried beneath the rubble
your babies on their spears
rivers of blood
you infidel dog
in the name of Allah
they would erase us all
once
not so long ago
in our father's and grandfathers younger day
there were bad men
nations that moved against the innocent
hitler was a man of mass graves
too many to count
sewer rats he called the Jews
evil thrived then
evil thrives now
infidel dogs
children raised to be bombs
young men with glazed zealot eyes
looking west
hoping for that moment of a wondrous glory
so
do you believe evil exists
do you believe in black and white
or do you merely ask yourself
why can't we just all get along
or
do you believe

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bond...Ward Bond

If you like John Wayne, you'll like his old saddle partner Ward Bond. Ward was a man's man. He and The Duke met back when they were teammates on the University of Southern California football team. John brought Ward into the acting business and the two remained friends till the end. John Wayne gave the eulogy at his old friend's funeral back in 1960.

Ward also became friends with John Ford and Frank Capra. Both directors hired him in many of their films. He played 200 characters during his thirty year career. Wikipedia states that Ward Bond "appears in more of the films of the American Film Institutes 1998 list of the 100 Greatest American Movies than any other actor : It Happened One Night (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940) , The Maltese Falcon (1941), It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and The Searchers (1956). "

Ward was a great character /supporting actor that I wish had more leading rolls. He could play the heavy but I remember him mostly for his good guy rolls (Bert in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE). He's the kind of guy you'd like to have as a neighbor...he's also a man you'd never want to cross.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Duke's 100th


John Wayne did not think of himself as a great actor. He has been said to have had a narrow range as a performer. The larger than life image that he created for himself wasn't an accident. We all know that The Duke is the greatest. Sure, you can watch all those formula cowboy movies throughout the 60's and see that one familiar roll he played in all of them. Formula though they were, all were exciting to watch. Duke though, wasn't limited.
Wayne's personal favorite movie was John Ford's THE QUIET MAN. The most noted of his westerns were John Ford's FORT APACHE, RIO GRANDE, and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON. My favorite western role is THE SEARCHERS, also directed by John Ford. I always appreciate his cowboy movies growing up but loved his WWII era movies SANDS OF IWO JIMA, FLYING TIGERS, BACK TO BATAAN and all time favorite THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (co-starring with George Montgomery). These movies were great roles that had to be filled with a great actor, and John Wayne filled the boots of every one of them.
The Princess Theatre burned before my time I still remember going down to the movies with Brook to watch all the new John Wayne movies down at the Pitman. Clint Eastwood came along in those wonderful spaghetti westerns and the term anti-hero came into play. John Wayne though, always remained the hero in his pictures and we wanted him to stay that way. What kid growing up during that time didn't want to be John Wayne when they grew up. What little boy with toy guns strapped to his side didn't pretend he was John Wayne? Raise your hands out there.
John Wayne was born May 26, 1907. It's his 100th birthday, can you believe it fellow boomers? He made 200 movies in the span of 50 years and stayed on top of the people's favorite during that entire time. Today, he still rides up there...almost thirty years after his death, third down from Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Sorry guys, but as good as you are....and as broad of a range you two can act....The Duke is still number one. I bet 100 years down the trail, John Wayne will still be riding tall long after today's movie icons fade.
While John Wayne was dying of cancer (almost thirty years ago), he made his final farewell movie called THE SHOOTIST. It was a good movie but I wonder what John Ford would have done if he had been around to direct.
Happy Birthday Duke

Saturday, May 19, 2007

scenic roads

i hardly ever get back there
not far
it's just that my life is down here
among the present and living
away from that mountain where i grew up
where i once lived with a different family
a different place i called home for so long
where woods surrounded us
where a boy could really play
yards strewn with bikes and balls
i drove down those roads today
took a few short detours
and found little had changed
the narrow roads
the shaded lanes
the rock mountain houses
our old brick home
where strangers now live
i drove by slowly
as if by my father's grave
only a few minutes ago
the hill where we fought to be king
rolled down
ascended laughing
slid down
in cardboard boxes
that hill
now someone else's property
the family i once knew now
dead or middle aged
just passing through
being overtaken
slightly overwhelmed
by all the old faint and familiar
that still remain
strangers now inhabit the land now
all our old neighbors gone
all gone
the yards seemed the same
most of the places haven't changed
the numbers remain
same homes
less trees
so many memories passed by and waved
ghost that only i can see

last night

Gina's mom joined us last night for the trip to the drive-in. She carried along pot roast she barbecued and some hamburger buns. That was a first. We got to Sand Mountain early and got a good spot up front. As we were setting up, Jimmy Henderson pulled up with his station-wagon full of family. He's got a station-wagon with a rear facing seat which made it ideal for going to the drive-in. Jose' pulled up next to us after a few minutes with Denise and Carolina. Gina spotted Annette Cassidy, a bookkeeper that works for HH&S who comes in and helps us when we need her. She came with her daughter and four year old grand-daughter Katlyn.

I made a huge load of popcorn and a cooler full of soft drinks. Kelsey, Katlyn, and Carolina had a great time together. They cuddled under a blanket that we sprawled on the ground and they were laughing and giggling together at all the funny scenes. It was a very sweet sound. I am glad that Gina ask that I bring blankets. I didn't think it was going to be as chilly as it got last night. Jose' and I were wearing short sleeved shirts. In spite of the very cool evening, we all had a great time under the stars.

SHREK III is a two thumbs up! The second feature, FIREHOUSE DOG, wasn't my cup of tea but the kids LOVED it. It was a good family line up last night. My big complaint about drive-in theater management is that they are generally not too good at what movies they show together. Once we left after the first showing of RUG RATS MOVIE because the second feature was HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE. The language was terrible and we had to pack up quick for our kids sake. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had shown SHREK III with GRINDHOUSE! That's one reason I don't take my family as much as I'd like. I watch out for the double features that the entire family can watch together.

Friday, May 18, 2007

drive-in junky

Anybody that knows me knows that I love going to the drive-ins. My earliest drive-in experience was seeing Disney's Absent Minded Professor with the family at Rainbow Drive-In (RIP). Anytime mom and dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday growing up- it was a trip to the drive-in. Once while visiting my uncle in Macon, GA my parents took me to see Bed knobs and Broomsticks. I really wanted to see Willard...the one about the killer rats. For some reason my parents didn't want to take me. Bed knobs wasn't my cup of tea but I at least got to go to the drive-ins. The last time I went to Rainbow Drive-In was to see Patton. I am surprised that dad stayed to watch it because of George's foul language. I went to Rebel Drive-in the most growing up. That's where I saw all the triple feature spaghetti westerns and American International horror flicks with my brother Brooky and Jamey Moore. The Rebel stayed open through much of the eighties and I went when they had something decent to watch. They started showing a lot of cheesy skin flicks before they closed down. When Gina and I got married we moved to Bowling Green, KY. We found a drive-in in Franklin, KY and started going.

Some people like to go and sit in their cars but I don't. I've learned how to do it right. I like to invite family and friends...people that I want to laugh with during the movie. If the movie turns out terrible, you can always have a great conversation. I take folding chairs, a folding table, a good jam box, cooler full of beverages, and a bug candle. Every now and then I make a ton of hot dogs and popcorn. There's been several occasions when I've taken an iced down watermelon. The only place to sit is up front where you can spread out a little, toss Frisbee with the kids, or watch them catch lightning bugs before the show. I like to get there an hour early so I can picnic with my pals. I like going to the drive-ins more than I did when I was a kid because I've learned how to do it right. It's a party.

Tonight Jose and Denise have invited me to go to Sand Mountain Drive-in to see Shrek 3 and Firehouse Dog. It's going to be a packed because of Shrek so we are going to get there when the gates open. We may not get to see the second feature because Kelsey might not hold up. I'm always for staying for the second feature. I am looking forward to tonight. Anyone interested in joining won't have a hard time finding us.

I can't remember the last time I got to go to the drive-in. Life has been so busy. I'm going to pick up Katie from school today and head home to clean out our popcorn popper. I might stop by the store and pick up some wieners.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

door saga continues

Gina's needed her van this week so we haven't tried taking it anywhere for repair. She's still climbing in through the passenger side to get in. Last night she came in and told me that she accidentalyl exited the car via driver's side and couldn't get it closed. I dropped my taco and went outside with hopes to close it. I looked at the unhinged hinged and thought I might be able to find a bolt or something that could make for a temporary fix. I couldn't find the original pin so I improvised. I had an old door hinge (regular house door hinge pin) and stuck it in the car door hinge holes. I don't know how long that's going to work but it was long enough and seemed to hold things together for the moment. We'll see how long it lasts. Gina can at lease enter and exit her car with dignity.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A little prayer support for Gina

How about lifting up Gina today? My guess is she spends 95% of her time these days working. If she's not at work, she's bringing stacks of files homes to catch up on all the documentation. This week she's had a cold and still going hard. I talked her into taking a nap on the therapy table in the back. She refused my invitation several times but she felt bad and relented. She had a patient at 7:00a.m. and has been dragging down early. We have a lull this week in morning patients but she feels guilty about slowing down because of all the paperwork. She asked me to wake her up after forty minutes but she wouldn't wake up when I nudged her at 10:00. She has been so tired and achy this week. It's now pushing two hours since she went back there. I am going to let her sleep as long as possible. Pray with me for her health. Pray with me that she can get ahead of the documentation. Only the therapist can do the paperwork.

Monday, May 14, 2007

i love this girl

I left the office to pick up Katie from school and went straight home. Katie went into her room to finish up her homework and do some reading. I didn't see her for several hours...that is except to feed her dinner...but off she disappeared into her room again. Later on in the evening she told me that she got to finish reading two books she had been working on. Yesterday she finished the sixth Harry Potter book and was telling me tonight how sad it was going to be when all the Potter stories come to an end.

We all know that feeling. When we open a good book a world starts spinning into existence and we are transported into wonderful works of fantasy that become very real and end all too soon at the last page. To go back will never be like the first time we crossed over through the Wardrobe or left The Shire into lands unknown. All good things come to an end. Today Katie finished The Magician's Nephew (Narnia Adventure of C.S. Lewis) and Bridge To Terabithia. As I was putting her to bed, she wanted to talk as she alit from her reading adventures. She wanted me to read the last page of Terabithia because she thought it was a very sweet way to end the story. She wanted to talk about characters and places and palaces and kingdoms that I had never heard of. She was a little sad that the stories came to an end but she was still tingling with excitement upon her return from those wonderful places.

We talked until it got too late for her to talk anymore. I listened and nodded, not knowing what all the names and places where she had been. It was finally time for her to settle down and say her bedtime prayer. She prayed for family and friends and all the usual important stuff. She did make my heart leap a little tonight. Her mind still on her books I suppose, she prayed, "God, I know that out of all the stories I've read, I know that you're story is the one that is true. I know that your story is better than all other stories. Thank you God."

Amen Katie.

This story, this one true story, is the one good thing that will never end.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

drawing drawing and drawing

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was asked to draw caricatures at the Eagle Rock Auction and Picnic last Saturday night at Cross Point Community Church. I wasn't sure what was going to happen and how I was going to do. Cathy Thomas, an event coordinator, gave me free rein. I got there a little early and set up shop at the end of a table. All of my patrons ended up being kids and I had a great time cutting up with them as I drew them. I didn't have an adult sit for me but that was fine. It was a pleasure to be surround by various ages of kids, making them laugh and answering questions about drawing, etc. It was a very good time. I drew caricatures for about five hours non-stop. I drew every kid that came to my table and I don't know how many I drew. I think most of them were Eagle Rock boys and they were all great kids. I enjoyed hanging with them and hope it was just as entertaining to them as it was for me.

As an artist, I am not asked to do this kind of thing much. I drew for a Kid's Day a few years ago and the line ran half way around Convention Hall. That was one long intense session. I drew and drew and drew and I think I got everybody. Usually I go places and sing -- not draw. It's a change of pace but a little nerve racking because I don't do it much. Last night was nice because I got into the swing of things early on and just went with it. It was a good time.

between life and a hard place

Our maroon Caravan has been on its last wheel for a long time. It’s the newer of the two vehicles we own. We bought them both used and the 95 van is the one Gina claimed as her own because it had the extra comfort features. At the time she spent a lot more time in her car than I did. She was driving back and forth to her job in Marshall County and she deserved the plusher ride. Her job changed immediately after we purchased the van and she wore the thing out doing four county home health visits. I wanted her to get a smaller car that would be better on gas but she said the van made it easier on her knees to get in and out. That made sense.

We really should have replaced that van three years ago but Gina liked her ride and we decided to keep both vans running as long as we could. We started our business two years ago and all our resources went into it. We took our home repair/renovation project funds that we were putting toward the business. Life at home has been at a stand still until we get the business off the ground. Repairs were made but with a semi-finished basement.

In 2006 we began to receive enough income to pay ourselves through out the year. Patient case load is picking up as area physicians are finding out about us. Taxes hit us hard last month. We’d been putting a lot of money in the repair of our vehicles to keep them going. Last month, while visiting family in LaGrange, Gina’s van broke down. A mechanic down there bolted the motor and transmission back into the van so Gina could make the trip back to Gadsden. The van has been in the shop ever since. We’ve paid to have the motor and engine mounts repaired but the air condition hasn’t worked since LaGrange. The AC problem has been a mystery. We’ve been working off one vehicle now for a month and it’s not easy when kids have to be transported and office errands have to be made. We’re going to have to take the van somewhere to have a look at yet again. We put $1,200.00 into AC repair last summer and can’t afford to pay that much out again for this summer.

We found out Friday that Gina will need to be taking on a new patient early (7:00) in the mornings. That means I’ll be getting the kids ready and off to school and we can’t work off of one van. We’ve been going down together while the cars been in the shop. Saturday evening we picked up her van from our mechanic who couldn’t find the electrical problem with the AC. It looks like Gina will be driving without AC until we can get back to using one car. Last night, while returning home from the Eagle Rock event, Gina’s door fell off again (third time). We had been told the last time it came off that the repair wasn’t a permanent fix. I told Gina to not open the door after I got it closed last night. She’ll have to enter and exit the vehicle from the passenger side. It would be great to rent a vehicle while we have the car fixed but we are strapped.

What to do what to do? How about praying for us over this predicament?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

my favorite blog of all time

What a wonderful mind. What a smart mind. What a great blog. I've been checking in on this site for about a year now. I have come to believe this is finest blog ever. You'll appreciate the humor. You will appreciate the great apologetics. Check it out at http://teampyro.blogspot.com/. When you get there, scroll down a hair and read THE GOSPEL IN SPIDER-MAN 3 by Dan Phillips. I love the way this guy writes and thinks. Feel free to keep on reading other posts...this guy is addictive.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

song noir

I've listened to Warren Zevon's music since the late seventies, when Brook brought home the album Excitable Boy one day. Most people don't recognize his name but might remember the songs Werewolves of London, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, and Lawyers Guns and Money. These were great but he wrote so many more killer songs. I had the opportunity to hear him in concert three times in my life and each time very memorable. My favorite live performance was a dozen years ago here in Gadsden at The Center For Cultural Arts. Brook told me he was passing through and so I drove down from Bowling Green, KY to join Brook, Michael Bynum and Dan Noojin. I drove straight down and purchased my ticket the night of the concert. Zevon was there, standing on the stage area and I got to shake his hand and say hello after I bought the ticket. Later that night, the small room was packed and the four of us sat on the second row. Warren was backed by an obscure yet incredible band The Odds. It was a great concert. We sat on that second row belting out harmony as Warren sang.
Warren died of lung cancer back in 2003. That was one death that saddened me for a very selfish reason. I loved his music. I didn't like the idea of never being able to enjoy any more new songs of his. I enjoyed his sick sense of humor as well as his incredible love songs. Reconsider Me is among my favorite of his love songs.
The best of his work is his first and his last. . . Excitable Boy and The Wind. Most might find Zevon's music offensive, so I'd recommend picking up The Wind. He wrote and produced it with help from his old friends during the months preceding his death. His voice was a little feeble and weak but his performance made for a strong farewell.
A few years ago his son Jordan pulled together a CD entitled Enjoy Every Sandwich. It's a wonderful tribute piece with Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Rait, Don Henley (and others). Each artist sang a song of Warrens. By the way, Jordan Zevon did a great version of Studebaker. The only two weak spots on the entire album were Billy Bob Thorton's performance of The Wind. He and Adam Sandler (who sang Werewolves) should've been locked and gagged in a closet. That's okay though, all CD players have a forward button. Springsteen is recorded live singing My Ride's Here. All in all, it was a great tribute.
A two disc CD came out May 1st entitled Warren Zevon Prelude - rare and unreleased recordings. The production value on most of the unreleased songs lack greatly (not all) but still worth experiencing. Most of the songs sound as if Warren was singing into a cassette recorder by his piano but fans like myself will appreciate listening to some of his never released songs. Not all of the songs were strange to me. Warren sings Hasten Down The Wind, Accidentally Like A Martyr, Carmelita, and Desperadoes Under The Eaves.
A great interview filled the second disc, Warren talks about songwriting and his life. There are three songs on the second disc of Prelude, I Was In The House When The House Burned Down and Don't Let Us Get Sick. Warren gives a great performance of Steve Winwood's Back In The High Life Again.
I purchase most of my DVD's and CD's at http://www.deepdiscount.com/ because the prices usually beat out everyone else and they always offer free shipping. The songs I write are nothing like Warren Zevon but he has been very influential and I really miss him being around. I miss his talent...his wry lyrics. I've enjoyed hearing him sing songs I've never heard before, listening as if he were still around...offering something new.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

learning to fly part duex

Maybe it's because I'm weary of control freaks within the church. Many leaders need to loosen their reign a bit. A primary roll of pastors/leaders should be to help encourage Christians to grow from milk to meat and onward to a deeper walk and service. A certain amount of pastoral control is definitely necessary but a hindrance if taken to extremes. It seems such extremes are too. We all need to be accountable to authority but we should not let ourselves be held back.

We can't just fault pastors. If we don't grow personally, have relationship with God (and not through a preacher or church) we are to blame. I am to blame if I grant another that much power and influence in and over my life. It's my fault if I don't have my own walk with God...if I don't make Him first. It is every disciples responsibility to obey and pursue His great commission. Not a man, not a church, but all who are part of The Body of Christ.

I'm sure all of you have met pastors who ruled over their flock with an iron hand. Sometimes it's not an ego thing but rather out of personal fears. Life is messy and messy is sometimes unavoidable. As the head of my household, I know that leading, raising children isn't a neat process. It is an easy thing to do for a child and not teach them to do for themselves. What would my children learn if I held their hand in everything and never allow them to use their own head and hands? I would be teaching dependence rather than independence.

It's sad when leaders won't let go, encouraging dependence for what ever their reason. Either way, by not helping to assist in raising, empowering and releasing another, directly hinders the workings of a church.

Monday, May 7, 2007

learning to fly

regarding gifts
if you happen to be an old pro
one that knows the ropes
the do's and don'ts
show a little grace
for those just stepping into the arena
of ministry and service
show a little grace
to those who seem to not know
as much as you
who think you do
the ones that seem to be
not as in touch
with God as you
show a little grace
and make some room
like God showed you
when you were new
allow them to do it wrong
until they hear things right
like God let you
let them fumble
without stepping in
without closing ranks so soon
excluding
just so you
make sure it's done right
learn to release those
let them learn
gain confidence
release your control
let God take it instead
maybe the elders shouldn't be doing it all
maybe the elders should be raising others up
instead
raise others up
increase the ranks
of seasoned warriors
show some grace
show some faith
show leadership
show humility
be a mentor
be a brother

Sunday, May 6, 2007

the weekend shuffle

Napkin doodle from Friday night with family at Applebee's. I don't really know what to do with the loose silly sketches, the ones I draw when I don't have books. Don't ask me if there is a story behind it because most of my doodles are moments when I draw not knowing where I'll end up .
Next week I've been asked to sketch people at the Eagle Rock Auction to be held at Crosspoint church. I've never been to Crosspoint. The church is so big looking from the highway that I've always turned down Gina when she wanted to go. She tells me she enjoys going there but knows that I wouldn't care for the intense crowd. I prefer intimacy.
I seldom go places to do caricatures on demand because it's my least favorite thing to do. If I do a caricature, I'd rather have time to study the subject. I just know that I am running the risk of offending someone. The nature of drawing caricatures isn't to compliment the subject but rather emphasis the prominent features. I might have to showcase one's ears or nose etc and most people don't care to have their most prominent features emphasised. I am going to just go and have fun, see what happens...hope that nobody goes home with their panties in a wad.
Yesterday morning, Saturday, I helped my pal Jerry move. It's a very nice place that's not to far from my mom's house. Jerry and I have counted on each other to move one another countless times over the last few decades. This time though, even though it wasn't a big move, I felt my middle-age. Back when I was in my early twenties I actually worked for a furniture company as a delivery dude. About the only thing that was uncomfortable during that time was delivering in extreme heat. The box of that truck was terrible to be in for too long. I was a tonka toy back then and could haul just about anything. If a heavy piece of furniture had to get upstairs and inside, then downstairs and to the side...I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could take it on. Today though, while pulling, tugging, lifting and shoving...I had doubts here and there that I would be able to make it through certain feats. For the first time during a move, I brushed against my physical limitation. There were moments that I didn't know if I'd make it up step.
I am middle aged. I am also achy right now. I wonder how I'll roll out of bed tomorrow.
After the move, I came home and took a quick shower, put on some fresh clothes and headed down to the docks where Ken was running the sound for the Duck Race for the Boys Club. I had taken my guitar with me but I was just to tuckered to do anything about it. Since Gina was out shopping with the girls, I hung with Ken and talked in the shade. I helped him unplug the P.A. when it was over. It was hot but a nice part of my day with Ken.
Gina and I hooked up in the evening and we had a date night. We ate at Ruby Tuesdays and then circled the mall to see Spiderman 3 at the Premiere. It's a pretty good movie by the way. It was the late show and we didn't get back home until a little after midnight.
It was a very pleasant and adventurous day today. My body hurts. I should stop now, take a Tylenol PM and try to get some sleep.

Friday, May 4, 2007

i miss just playing


How long has it been since I had a gig? Too long. I've been writing songs since I was seventeen. It was on my heart to write long before that. I enjoy performing the songs I've written just as much as I enjoyed creating them. As a Christian, I've heard a lot of other Christians downgrading performance. Please allow me to clarify myself. I am not speaking of performing during worship...I am talking about a songwriter performing songs he's written about life, love, and God.
I enjoy performing music and especially when it's on a stage with a friend or two. It's been a very long time. Michael Bynum and I used to have so much fun as Dreamer back in eighties. Hey Michael, remember Where Are You Now? That was so much fun to play and it never was as fun to play without you. I loved that guitar riff you added to it..made it complete. Later when my brother Brook joined us as we became The Guise, the coffeehouse stage band. We did a very nice rendition of Amazing Grace. We had so much fun. Through out most of the nineties I played solo since I lived much of that time in Bowling Green, KY. It was during that solo time that I actually came as close to ministry as I'll ever get. God gave me a bunch of new songs that were pretty message driven and allowed me time and opportunities to hone the craft. When I came back to Gadsden, God had me lay down my guitar for a couple of years and learn to worship in a new way. When I did pick up the guitar, it was with Jose' Rodriguez. We played together between the years 2000 - 2002 as Lyric & Rhythm. We had a great time playing together.
I am probably more relaxed when going it solo because I know it's hard for folks to follow where I lead. I don't think I'm a very good leader because Gina says I sing every song differently every time. I personally don't think that's a bad thing. I don't recall ever trying to achieve a polished performance, I just wanted it to be as truthful and as intimate as possible. It's more natural to just start playing and see what happens.
The new business takes most of my time these days. When I leave the office...I usually have plenty of work at home to tend. Afterwards, I am usually dead tired. When there is time, I want to take a nap...age thing I guess.
I've got a songbook full of original work that I probably haven't sung in three years...maybe longer. Last summer I wanted so bad to plug in somewhere downtown or at a park and just play for passer-bys. What's up with that? Why is that in my heart? Though most of my songs are influenced by my faith, I do not portray what I do as ministry. God gave me a gift to write and sing and it's something that brings a simple pleasure to do. Last year I simply didn't have the time to venture outside like I wanted to. Maybe this year...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

the only sin

Seems these days of political correctness and post-modern ideology - we've tossed the Ten Commandments in favor of tolerance.
Behold...intolerance is the new and only sin.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007