Friday, May 30, 2014


***Continued from "Joy"...

The next morning I woke up for my usual 6am run.  I ate my banana and stretched my muscles, then went to the garage to grab my bottle of water.  Normally when I did this routine, D'Jango would wake up and sleepily tell me good morning with his meow, but today I didn't see D'Jango.

I poked around the garage a bit but figured he was probably just hiding under something.  So I went for my run and came back an hour later, still finding no D'Jango.  This time I opened the garage, called after him and finally began to look around the house.  At one point I thought I found a skunk, but it was just an ugly black cat sleeping by our fence.

When I finally gave up, I went inside to grab a fresh glass of water.  Around that time Mom entered the kitchen.

"I can't find D'Jango, Mom!"

"Well...there's a reason."  she said uncomfortably.

"Did Dad take him back to the farm?!"  I asked with a crack in my voice.

Mom sighed and uneasily begin to tell me a horrible story.

"Last night after you went to bed, Dad and Grant were coming home from the farm.  I walked in the garage to talk to them when we noticed D'Jango wasn't jumping up to great us.  Just then Dad turned to see that big ugly stinkin' cat.  The one that killed the neighbor's cat too!  Instantly, Dad and Grant ran after that cat.  Grant threw a shovel at it but missed.  Dad yelled at it and threatened it.  

I walked over to D'Jango, who was still curled up in a ball.  His neck was bloody where the cat had made his attack.

Your father and your brother took care of him and we all had trouble sleeping afterwards.   I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I want you to think about how happy we made that kitten in the first, and last few weeks of his life.  He would have never known that joy if you had left him out on his own at the farm."

I choked back tears at the thought of my baby kitten being murdered.  It hurt my heart so much.  I had found the kitten that was meant for me.  He was wonderful.  I had loved him so much, and yet that love was not enough.  I had promised to train him and take care of him.  I played with him every morning and every evening and even at lunch when I could.  I had napped with him and fed him with my own two hands.  I loved my kitten!  But some cat couldn't see that.

Suddenly a cold child passed through me as I realized the ugly black cat I had faced earlier that morning was the same sick beast who unreasonably killed my innocent kitten.  I was sickened.

I went to my room and thought about this stupid cat.  Who kills a kitten for no reason?

Then I remembered that I owned a gun.

I walked into the living room and approached my dad with a suggestion.

"Can I shoot it?"


"I want to shoot that cat.  He is a mean cat and if he's killed my kitten and the neighbor's cat as well, I don't see any sense in letting him roam around, free to do it again to another innocent animal."

Dad talked to me about the type of gun and bullet I owned and said it wasn't suitable to shoot inside city limits.  I didn't like this answer, but I walked back into my room anyways.  I thought about it a moment, then decided that murder was the only answer I had.

I walked outside and around the house where I had seen the gang-banger cat earlier.  To my surprise, Dad was already out there, looking for this monster.  Neither of us found it, but we decided the cat did need to be addressed in a sensible manner.

My desire to kill this cat was expressed in a text message to one of my close friends.  I had explained the situation and why I thought this cat should die.

To my surprise he replied by saying this: "If I killed people for fun would it be fair to stop me?"

At first I was confused, and irritated at this question.  What did this have to do with my kitten??

I quickly responded, "That's totally different, it's people, and it can't be fun."

Then I thought about it a little bit and said, "It's not a safe cat, it needs to be killed so it won't keep killing others.  But if this is a death penalty question, I never realized my true opinion on it until right about now."

It was true.  Up until that point I had never had a strong feeling one way or the other towards the death penalty.  I had discussed it with friends plenty of times and I had even studied it from a religious standpoint to some extent.  If anything, I thought everyone deserved love because that's how I see the world, as a happy-go-lucky planet that can be healed by good works and positive thinking.

All of that changed when someone I loved (albeit just a kitten) was senselessly murdered.  I thought about my friend from work that had been murdered a year ago inside his apartment.  The police still haven't figured out what happened, although they guessed it to be a drug deal gone wrong, and more recently decided it was a mistake in identity.  My friend was not involved in the type of stuff that typically gets young men shot.

It pained me to think of his poor Momma, and how she must feel towards the murderers the same thing I felt towards that ugly black cat.

The death penalty wasn't designed to kill people for no reason, it was designed to put away the people who are unsafe and not fit to roam the earth freely.  By allowing killers to keep roaming, we are potentially allowing them to commit another murder, therefore affecting another family's life and emotions.

Of course the Christian in me wants to say that we should extend the same grace that was extended to us.  I want to believe that there are no people who are just born mean and senseless.  They're mean and evil because they are hurt.  Deep, deep down, they are hurting children who have hidden and shoved their pain so far down that they no longer have control over their actions.  Their pain has been so great that it has caused them a life of raging evil.

We were all born into sin-into evil.  Every last one of us is filthy and sick in our own way.  We all have pain, struggles and demented ideas.  Perhaps fault comes when we choose to act on these ideas.  Then again, perhaps nothing is anyone's fault because we are all naturally sinful.

What is justice, after all?  Is it even possible?

In a fallen world we are sometimes asked to face the injustice and live with it.  At the same time we are called to greater, intended to live with a purpose.  Where do we find the balance?  Why so much gray?

All this from a kitten I only knew for three weeks.  Always in our hearts...D'Jango. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


A few weeks ago I was having the most splendid day ever.  I woke up early and headed to the farm with my brother.  I was so excited because we were finally getting to help grandpa make a garden for this summer.  I had been asking about this project for weeks and the time had finally come.

I donned by dirty jeans and ripped t-shirt and headed north towards the farm.  When we got to grandpa's house he put on his coveralls and met us outside in the patch a dirt that would soon be the garden.

Before we could start, Grandpa had us collect a hodge-podge of things.  First an 18 inch stick, then a piece of string, and finally a water hose.  Each item took us to a different corner of the homestead, searching and finding.

While I followed my brother around the back side of the garage in search of a water hose, I was filled with nostalgia.  I remembered doing things just like this when I was much younger.  Growing up around the farm was the funnest part of my childhood.  We were always playing in the dirt, making up games and creating hiding houses.

One of my favorite memories on the farm was finding litters of kittens each spring.  I always searched for new litters and upon finding them it was customary for me to catch one, then run inside and show grandma.   Grandma would then help me take care of them and make them a box to live in so we could feed them and hopefully tame them into being friendly cats.

I was reminiscing this springtime scene in my head when I said to my brother, "I wish I would find a kitten."  It didn't help that I had been bugging my parents for one since I moved back home.  We have a lovely dog, but I've never been much of a dog person.  I wanted a kitten that would cuddle with me and sleep at my feet while I read books and paint.  Needless to say, my desire to find a kitten was pretty strong.

As soon as the words left my mouth my brother replied in his always cool, never excited tone, "there's one."  He threw out the words as though it were as common as seeing dirt.  One side glance to the left and he continued walking like nothing extraordinary had happened.

Me on the other hand, was a different story.

As I turned the corner of the barn I saw the most adorable kismet moment ever!  All alone, by himself at only a few weeks old, was this tiny, precious white ball of fur with black spots.  He was so small and so sweet.  I ran to his side and instantly grabbed him.  As soon as I looked in his eyes I knew he was to be mine.

It was a sign.

Kittens that small don't wander off by themselves, and they especially don't go out of momma's eyesight.  I looked around the nooks and crannies nearby but found no other kittens, nor any sign of a momma cat.  This definitely wasn't good for the little guy, but it was great for me because it meant I had stumbled on to the responsibility of caring for a baby kitten.

Of course the next thing to happen was my pure bred instinct.  I ran inside to show Grandma.  Grandma, who is much slower now than she was when I was a child, was no less excited and pleased with my discovery.  We petted him and held him and talked about what to name him.

Then suddenly my heart was split.  I was supposed to be helping in the garden!  The garden was why I went out there in the first place!  I told Grandma I had to finish helping Grandpa and kindly asked her to watch my new baby.

Grandma joyfully accepted and soon found a towel and a blanket for our new friend.

After I finished helping in the garden I knew I had only a small amount of time to get ready for a wedding I was attending that afternoon.  I walked back up to Grandma's house and found her on the porch cuddling with my new kitten.  She talked about how strange it was for a kitten that small to be so calm and comfortable with people.  I agreed.

"Are you gonna keep him?"  Grandma asked me.

An ornery smile crossed my face as I tried to explain how badly I had been wanting a kitten, yet how persistently my dad had told me I couldn't have one.

"What do you think I should do?" I asked.

"I'm not telling you one way or the other because I don't want your daddy being mad at me!"  she replied with a chuckle and a grin.

I knew I didn't have long to decide because I needed to get ready for this wedding.  Plus, I couldn't just set the kitten back where I found it and come back for it later after thinking about it, because it would be gone.

I thought about leaving it on Grandma's front porch room, but then I knew she would worry about it and go out of her way to take care of it, which she didn't need to do in her health.

So I took the kitten.

I wasn't sure if I would keep it or not, but I was dang sure going to try!  Besides, I could probably sneak it into my room and keep it for the weekend without anyone noticing.

Except as soon as I stepped out of my car and into our driveway, I looked up to see my Dad walking towards me.  I hid the kitten behind my back, and because I am a horrible liar I did a poor job of trying to hide the smirk on my face.

"What is it?"  Dad must have sensed it.


"What's behind your back?"


I was caught.

I melted and took the kitten from behind my back.  I held it up in my daddy's face and gushed over how cute it was and how it was fate that we met and how I had to keep it and that I would take care of it completely.


"But Dad..."

"No.  We are not keeping that cat.  Take it back now."

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take it back.  I only had time to throw together an outfit and rush to the wedding I was already late for.

So I grabbed a bucket and some towels and gently placed my kitten inside.  (Mom was already on my side, by the way. She had kindly offered to watch out for it while I was busy going about my Saturday.)

The next day I played with the kitten and fed him from a syringe and loved it and ignored my Dad's nagging to take it back.

A few more days went by and Mom and I took turns hand feeding the kitten milk.  We played with her and grew deeply attached.

When my brother came home from school, he instantly warmed up to the kitten.  In fact, he named it D'Jango.  Where he got the name, I do not know. 

"This is the coolest cat ever!"  my brother would say.

We all agreed.  He was always purring.  He was very friendly, especially for such a young kitten and a wild one too.  D'Jango always sat on our shoulder and rode calmly as we walked about the house, doing our daily duties.

This kitten had to be only 4 weeks old at the most.  For a kitten that young to be so playful and people-oriented is extremely rare.

Eventually we weaned D'Jango off of the syringe and taught him to lap up milk with his tongue.  For some reason he always had to put his paw in the milk first, making a mess of himself, then he would begin drinking.

The whole family fell in love with D'Jango, even Dad.  We loved him and we all took turns taking care of him and playing with him.

During week two of his stay with us, our cousins from Nebraska came to visit.  They loved her too.  Every day that week someone was constantly holding or playing with D'Jango.  I was so proud of my kitten.  D'Jango was growing so fast too!  Towards the end of the week we decided he was old enough to sleep outside of his box.  Up until then we had been keeping him in a box in the garage.  But seeing how he didn't run off and he followed us everywhere, we started allowing him to use the entire garage.  He loved this idea because the second we shut him in a box he cried and cried.

The following Tuesday was a big day for D'Jango.  He had graduated from a milk-only diet to dry cat food and milk.  Mom bought some kitten food for him and I looked at the Dollar Store for a cute collar and litter box for my baby.  I didn't find either, but decided I'd make a trip to Petco soon.

After work that day I painted in my studio.  The entire time D'Jango played at my feet or watched from my shoulder.  Even our dog Minnie had warmed up to this kitten.  She was absolutely fascinated with him.

Around 10pm I got ready for bed.  I changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth and then took D'Jango out to the garage.  Kissing him over and over again as I always did when I put him to bed, I told him I loved him and set him on his tie-died fleece blanket he loved so much.

Before I left the garage he was already curled up in a ball and drifting into sweet kitten-sleep.

***To be Continued...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


The older I get the more I realize that the world is somewhat void of passionate people.  I mean people who live out of their passion are really, really hard to find.

I think most people do the day to day thing and then use what's leftover to hide their passion in their back bedroom once or twice a month.

I have so much respect for people who do what they love.  There is a big difference in purchasing items or services from someone who is successful but not passionate, than from purchasing from someone who is passionate but maybe not the most well-known.

I have a few passionate friends, mostly older.  I think younger people are often times in search of what their passion is.  Fortunately, some find it by the time mid-thirties hit.  Others, spend a lifetime searching.

I want to always surround myself with passionate people if I can.  They are few and far between, which makes them unique, special--worth holding on to.  I have love and compassion for people who do what they feel they should be doing, and with no other explanation but a gut-wrenching feeling that fuels them.

Passion is a tricky thing.  Describing it is like trying to describe water.  It's there, and we know it when we see it, but how do we describe it?  I have a lot of passion for a lot of things and it scares me.  It scares me because I know it is possible for this fuel to run out, and when the fuel runs out it is not a pretty feeling.

Passion takes lots of care and maintenance.  Over do it and you risk losing it all, but under do it and you'll never live.  The ying and yang of it all is very spiritual, personal and delicate.  It takes a sensitive spirit to nurture passion within oneself.  And that is one reason why passion is absolutely terrifying. 

The dictionary has a few definitions, the first being:  1. a strong and barely controllable emotion.

This fits what I am talking about.  Passion is the fire in your soul that makes you want to do something, sometimes for reasons you don't understand, or sometimes for no reason at all.  It's the kick in the stomach that just says you absolutely have to do something or else you'll be miserable.  Now that I am describing it, I think passion sounds a lot like the holy spirit.  Perhaps they are similar.  Perhaps they are one in the same.

I think passion, creativity and spirituality all run deeply into one another.  Talk to many artists and they can tell you that their creations are built to heal both themselves and others.

For some reason the modern church has shut out these things--mostly because they are uncontrollable and can potentially cause someone to act out of the order of service.

Fortunately, there are many churches who have been made aware of this problem and now welcome a more creative, spirit-filled worship style.  I believe this is how it was meant to be.  Look how creative and free God is every single day.  The clouds change by the minute, from loud and majestic to soft and fluffy, and finally a bright pink with purple whims.

God is definitely a God of order as well.  24 hours in each day are as consistent as time itself.  God is a God of order yes, but he is also a God of spirit-led performance, living and confession.

When the fullness of life has filled you to the measure, it is only natural for passion to spill out.  Passion doesn't spill out politely as a formula.  Passion spills out wildly like a rainbow suddenly bursting into crazy liquid; spilling all over the place and making a big huge, beautiful, crazy mess.  We often times do not know where our rainbow liquid will land.  We don't know what works and what doesn't till we give it a whirl.  Fortunately, somewhere amidst the chaos and covering, we find the purpose.  We find the tick--the thing that all consumingly screams "YES!"

That's when passion is on point.

Interestingly enough, the second definition google gives me for passion is this: 2. the suffering and death of Jesus.

Is passion what Jesus felt as he died on the cross for our sins?  Did his strong and uncontrollable emotion rise up from his gut and fulfill him with desire that could not be satisfied until he finished what he was sent to do?  I think, yes.

Death was Jesus' purpose.  It was his God-given purpose so that we could all live a free life.   A life free of sin, free of death and full of passion...if we choose it.

Passion is what gives us meaning.  It's what makes our life matter and our time count.  Jesus was the perfect example of this.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


I read books all day long about people who travel and taste and do and see.  Articles on EliteDaily and ThoughtCatalog accurately describe my fears and ambitions as a 23-year-old.

During the week I am happy.  I work hard doing a job that I love.  I promote my city and find satisfaction in doing so.  I am an adult: clean, sophisticated, and professional.  I play golf and do yoga and run and paint.  My weekdays are fantastic!

Then comes the weekend and--well, I'll be damned if you catch me wasting another second on that couch or in that bed.  The weekends are me time.  I expect fun, adventure and friends.  I hold it all in all week long, and by Friday night I need to see
funny people do dumb things, perhaps I need to be one of them.

My palette is wet for experiencing other cultures and living among people who are different from me.  I have time and money to explore at this stage in my life, and so that is exactly what I plan to do.

But it always seems like something happens.  The extended family comes in, so and so is out of money, this friend already has commitments, my parents don't think I need to waste gas.  It's always something, but you know I get tired of making excuses for not doing what I truly want to do.

I sometimes dream about being a wanderer.  I would love to just travel and work odd jobs across the country.  I would love to buy the airstream I found on Craigslist last week.  I'd fix it up and begin a journey of an undefined time and an undefined destination.  Why not?

Kid Rock says it this way:

"I just want to drink till I'm not thirsty,
I just want to sleep till I'm not tired,
I just want to drive till I run out of highway
under the purple sky."

Sometimes I worry if I'm not being content, but I don't think that's it.  I think I simply want to live life to the fullest and get the most bang for my buck with where I am in life at this moment.  Travel is always a fun option.

Palo Duro anyone?

Thursday, May 22, 2014


"Then they sweep pat like the wind and go on--
guilty men, whose own strength is their god."
--Habakkuk 1:11

People are interesting creatures.  We are fun to watch.  Our actions almost always contradict our words.  We are deceitful and needy, broken and fragile.  Yet, most of us act like we are as strong as Stone Cold Austin.

I look at several people in my life and think, man they are so solid, so strong, so unwavering in their confidence.  

Then I see them hit a hard time.  The confidence is shattered.  Their pride melts away and I begin to see them as a desperate human being just like me.  

I have a select few people I watch consistently because their steadiness astounds me.  They are level-headed and unwavering.  At times I think they have it all together, but without doubt, there always comes a time when they conquer something that shatters their stance.

It is a humbling thing to see this.  You have to watch and learn.  How does this person handle their desperation?  Do they look to a higher power?  Do they reach inside themselves?  Is it a substance they turn too, or a friend?  Some ease the pain with material things.  They satisfy themselves and keep right on marching like nothing happened.  The pain and the honesty are stuffed away in a nice new bag.

Some people need to be surrounded by friends when they go through something awful.  They need constant human contact and support to assure themselves they will make it out okay.

I tend to be the opposite.  When something emotionally challenging presents itself to my life, I immediately want to get by myself and process, journal and pray.  In fact, supportive people tend to almost irritate me in times like that.  I don't want hugs, sympathy or conversation--not yet.  I want me and God to meet in the woods somewhere.

Non-Christians are interesting and yet scary to watch.  Where do they draw their strength in times of trouble?  I've seen many of them turn to God.  It is a natural human thing to do--regardless of your beliefs or religious upbringing.

Other times they look around and find they have nothing to satisfy them.  This causes panic and anxiety.  They look for the strength they once wore as a cloak, and they find that it's vanished--no where to be found.

Wether you are a believer or not, I feel strongly that we all need something to believe in that is higher than ourselves.

Some people believe in civic groups, others believe in charity and good will.  I've seen people put their whole faith in teams or other collaborative efforts.  Believing in something bigger than yourself gives you hope.  It reminds you that even on your darkest day, there is still some good things moving in the world.

It's how we are designed.  We were designed to recognize God as our higher power, our hope and definition of love.  He is omnipresent and all encompassing.  He has no faults and he never lets us down.  This is exactly why we should put our hope in him.

He never promises us easy living and happiness for eternity, but he is a darn good comforter in times when your strength seems to be vacant.

We all make the mistake of putting our trust in our own strength at times.  It is possible to live like this for a period of time, but what happens when the facade is broken?  Where do you turn?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


This morning I have a powerful connection with an old song.  I have often loved this song, but today my love discovers new depths through it.

I often times feel like plastic.  I am shiny and positive and talkative and productive.  I am energized by people and so I nearly always find myself at the mercy of other's.  I love people and interaction.

Yet deep down there is still this whole other person.  This deep intellectual who has always felt shunned and scared.  She is a child, a small girl who must be cherished and nourished and drawn out.  Perhaps it is my inner artist-child as Julia Cameron suggests, or maybe it is just the softer me.  The softer me does not beg for attention or ask to be seen.  She knows she is worthy and her heart waits patiently to be sought after.

It is this woman that leaks out in my early morning walks, my extended painting sessions, and in the pages of my journal.

How must I draw her near?


Some have been introduced before.  They laugh or they judge or they accept.  All of it hurts.

I've wrote about her before.  I want her to blossom!  It's hard to draw her out when there is no trust or stability.  She is not open to other people yet.  She has to be comfortable first with me and then with herself.  When time has passed she might eventually warm up to others.  It's hard to say why she is so timid.

I think she is timid because she is valuable.  Her demeanor holds depth.  She is beauty and truth.  She has thoughts and opinions and deep concerns--concerns that, we often overlook.  She has dreams and desires and goals that aren't apparent to the on-looker.  She wants to create and sell and give.  Her purpose is to bring her great joy to the world's great need.
But how will she do that?

This lady is tender and sweet.  She loves relentlessly, always pouring out herself.  She bleeds on paper, in the air and on to the unknown.  It's the heart that bleeds.

So magnificent, yet only a child.  The child's only question is directed at me.  She sings, "Am I enough, enough for you to love--enough to love?"

I look up and she is dancing away, away with wind and into the sky.  The tender young woman never had her chance.

She was only a wish.
Just a wish.
She was just a wish.

Only a memory...but it's up to me to rescue her.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I'm so fortunate to have friends.  I know I started the last post with something similar, but I'm thinking about this again in a different light.

Last night a close friend of mine went with me to visit my Grandparents north of town a bit.  As we approached what my family calls "the farm,"  I pointed out our barn and the land around it.  To my surprise she laughed and told me her Dad's land was directly across the road and that it had been in her family for years.

All these years growing up together and yet we never knew our fathers farmed right next to each other.
When we got to Grandma and Grandpa's house, I introduced my friend to them as Doris' granddaughter.  They knew exactly who Doris was.  Grandpa guessed her Dad's name and then quickly put it all together.  He said he had hired her Dad to do welding for him years ago.

How funny, I thought, that we are all so deeply and richly connected.

I know that we all started from Adam and Eve and that everyone is indefinitely connected and that some people spend billions of hours researching all of this history, but from a simple, small-town aspect, I think it's wonderfully fascinating.

Amber is not the only one of my friends with whom my family is deeply connected.

Many years ago my friend Kaley's family settled in Manitou, Oklahoma.  That microscopic town is the same place where my grandparents grew up--Grandma on the east side and Grandpa on the west side.

Grandpa always remembers Kaley's grandparents.   Yesterday I asked him to remind me how he knew Gail, Kaley's Grandmother.  He explained that He worked closely on the school board with her husband, Ray.  He then went on to tell a funny story about Ray.

Ray was a few years younger than me.  I was young then too, working at the gin at nights and driving the school bus in the mornings.  Because I worked at the gin at nights, I always had stuff in my eyes and was somewhat sleepy when I drove the school bus.  Ray had to be in about 1st or 2nd grade.  He was a tiny little boy.

One day I was driving the bus and I couldn't see well so I just followed the ruts in the road that had been left by a good rain and some mud.  As I was driving I hit the rut wrong and Ray was sitting at the very back of the bus.  The bus bounced hard and Ray flew up in the air and hit the seat in front of him pretty hard.  It knocked the wind out of him!  Fortunately, I backed up a ways to his house and his mother talked to him and told him he was okay, and he was.

My friend Jacob was identified by my grandparent's as Tony's boy.  Tony used to cut hay for grandpa years ago.

Jessica's Memaw grew up west of my family's homestead place.  She was one of 4 sisters.  Grandpa remembers playing baseball near their house.

When I was little I remember my Dad always talking to an old cowboy type of fella.  He was the first person I had ever met with throat cancer.  He had to put a vibrating pen type of thing up to his throat to rub against his vocal chords so he could talk to dad.  Sometimes dad still couldn't decipher the message so Stewart would pull a pad of paper out and write it down.

Stewart lived in the trailer house across the field from Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Dad farmed most of the land all around it, but not the pasture that Stewart's house sat on.

When I was still fairly young, Stewart passed away and I learned that he was a step-grandpa to one of my best friend's--Abbye.  My dad now owns Stewart's land and trailer house.  In high school Abbye and I had several get-together's in the barn next door to it.

It's funny how we are all related.  It's funny how my closest friends are more than just friends.  Their family is tied to the land like mine is, and their families' roots are intermixed with my family's.  I guess in a way that makes us more than just friends.

I love that this is a benefit that comes from being raised in a rural, agriculturally-based, small community.

I could be wrong, but I would find it hard to imagine city-folk having the same type of experiences.  Our mobile society has taken away some meaning to things like this.

Fortunately, my hometown friends are still dear to me, and me to them and we try to get together on holidays and special occasions at least a few times a year.

Thank God for small towns and farm land....keeping people together since at least the land run of the 1900's.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I am so blessed to have friends.

Do you ever think about that?

Sometimes I feel incredibly alone, and then I look up and my girlfriends are inviting me for walks, taking me for cokes and challenging my walk.

I have had the joy of meeting tons of people and making lots of memories, but I read the other day that the older you get the more important quality friends are.

Just after my 23rd birthday, I am getting that a little bit now.

Quality friends are the ones who take care of you.  They truly look out for you and make sure you are taking care of yourself and remaining true to the character they love in you.  Not to say they don't love you in all walks, but to say they get the core of who you are.

People who get you at your core and people who deserve to be there.  They've seen it and they still want to stick around.  It's not about a similar interest, an alignment of paths or an alumni--although those things can be the original cause of connection--true friends are there past all of that.  They understand there are no conditions to love.

I wonder about my friends who don't know God.

The Bible says those who don't know God don't know love.

Can a non-Christian friend love you?

I always think so, but then really and truly, can they?  Do non-Christians really have the defect of not being able to love?

Some of my closest friends have been non-believers.  Not necessarily athiests, but people who didn't call themselves Christians or go to church on Sunday.  In my experience these people have been more loving and accepting than many Christian friends I have.

We are so quick to judge people by their appearance, job title and labels that we often miss out on the real beauty of a person.  I think it is the over-looked people who have the best stories, the biggest heart and the most wisdom.

People like me who are always in front of the public, talking, entertaining and telling stories, we miss out because we aren't listening.  Yet, the quiet ones are always observing, always taking in and always looking for a new thought to chew on.

I try to seek out friends like this because they are the ones you have to dig deep for.  They won't approach you and sit at your feet till you pet them--that's my role.  As an extrovert I find myself often pursuing introverts until they finally release and show me their pearls of secrecy.

Greater love has no man than this, he who lay down his life for his friends.

Would you lay down your life for your friends?

Friendship is that powerful connection between people that makes them stick.  Family is family, but friends are there by option.  No one has to be around you or tolerate you, but friends are the sweet jewels who do.  They say yes to you.

At times when it feels like the world is telling you "no", it is important to surround yourself with the people who have already chosen "yes."

It's so interesting to think about how relationships work and how the world revolves around strangers, friends and family.  Some family members are strangers and some friends are family.  You never know who will end up being your closest confidant or your greatest enemy.  Life never works as you expect it to and God is always surprising us with the great unknown.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Some people have cooking.  For others its gardening, surfing, scrapbooking, pottery...

We all have that one thing that serves as a multi-faucet creative relief from the strains of  everyday life.  I feel as though it is so important to have that soul-satisfying activity that replenishes your spirit, mind and body.  Some may call it flow, hobbies or otherwise, but the fact is that it is an activity of total benefit for your being.

To be challenged and entertained at the same time is the secret.  Our mind gets bored and runs away with fantasies.  It's the creative outlets that bring us up into performance and help our ideas burst through the clouds in a constant journey towards something higher, something greater, something unknown and wild and satisfying.   I believe that's what these activities are for.

I seem to have a lot of them.   I am a very passionate, creative person and I love spending time alone with myself.  Although I currently don't get a lot of Haley time, I am constantly seeing how much it effects me.  Without ample time to myself I build up angst and flow-block.  It is essential that I have time completely alone to create and free up my mental energy and soul contentness.  It's a spiritual thing.

Writing, reading, painting, running, yoga, golf, swimming.   I want to do it all.  I need to learn guitar too.

I feel that these times are sometimes a form of worship.  It is the utter presence of aloneness and soul-vulnerability with God.  How can we go through the daily grind constantly without ever stopping to let out our inner being of mindfulness.

I need these breaks.  You need these breaks.

I firmly believe God needs us to take times like this for ourselves.

How do you release?

Release.  That's what it is.  It is a release.  It fills up and builds up until it is set free.  I hear artists speak of this.  Something inside you dwells up over a period of time and then, when it is fully begs and begs and begs of you to release it.  It is something that cries out to be created.  These depictments are sometimes odd or strange to us, but the more you connect with this creature the more you'll see the purpose and beauty and spirit-filled meaning of it.

Why don't we do more of this in our churches?



Holy Spirit.

Welcome him in your place.

I miss those times of being alone with the Spirit always.  Creating a home environment that fosters spirited exploration and exuberance.

God, I don't know what your plans are for me.  I will never know what your plans are for me until they are here.  I am happy yet I am uncontent.  I am full but I am still lacking.  Jesus, I pray that I bloom while I am planted here, and I trust that you will lead me to live a full life if I trust you.  I will not miss out on anything if I am solidly walking with you in the day by day of this life.

Hold me father.

Thank you for giving me time, space and a place to release.

Friday, May 9, 2014


In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s a sub-genre of American country music was introduced.  This new sub-genre was called “Nashville sound,” and meant to sound different than the honky tonk music that had been popular in the 40’s and 50’s.

Patsy Cline was one of the main trend setters for this new genre.  Her hit song, “I Fall to Pieces” is the best example of this.  

Cline has been considered one of the few musicians who have successfully crossed into two genres.  She has had numerous hits and sold millions of records.  VH1 voted her number 11 in the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and CMT voted her number 1 out of the 40 Greatest Women of Country Music.  These are all amazing accomplishments and contributions to the music world.

While Patsy Cline enjoyed the zenith of her fame from 1957-1963, another young musician enjoyed an equal amount of success in the rock and roll, rockabilly and country genres.  

Roy Orbison may be best known for his Billboard Top 40 hits, “Only the Lonely,” “Crying”, and “Oh, Pretty Woman.”  These hit songs eventually led to his indignation into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.  That same year he was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.  Rolling Stone magazine has placed Orbison at number 37 on their list of the Greatest Artists of All Time.  The best part about Mr. Orbison is that he was born in Vernon, Texas.

A few years after the pinnacle of Roy Orbison’s success, America was introduced to yet another amazing entertainer.  Foster Brooks burst onto the scene in 1969 when he opened as a comedian for singer Perry Como.

Best known for his imitations of characters who had a few too many drinks in their system, Foster Brooks had much success as a comedian.  In the 70’s Brooks was a frequent on The Dean Martin Show where he found an Emmy Award nomination.  Brooks acted in many situation comedies, talk shows and even a few films.  His signature character was the basis of his hit comedy album, “Lovable Lush.”

Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, and Foster Brooks all entail something different in terms of what they brought to the world.  Patsy Cline’s gorgeous, soft and smooth voice will forever be imitated by loving country fans, while Roy Orbison’s rich and powerful rock sound is in a category all its own.  Foster Brooks has been named one of the greatest comedic performers of all time, and our country has seen nothing similar since his fame flourished.

While we have many great performers and entertainers in the 21st century, I feel that it is still important to take some time off and enjoy the great names of our past that led us to the music journey we (collectively) are on now.  Without these heroes of entertainment our generation might still be trying to figure out the wirings of a 6-string and a fiddle.  The progressive gains of the 1960s have benefited us all.

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