Saturday, December 18, 2004


This has been a great month. There's enough to do, with the perfect amount of downtime as well. Lots of cocoa and hot totties. Football, bonfires, nights of watching the flashing lights on the porch.

I still struggle with the practical, scrooge tendencies.

However, I have hindsight based on past Christmas seasons. I want to give everything to my family to see those Christmas morning reactions. The joy on their faces. The overwhelmed, wide-eyed wonder at such an abundance. The busy, loud, full life happening then. It's a part of a larger story we're all trying to understand in this season.

Here's to a Christmas season mindful of the abundance we have in spirit and truth, and enough sense to enjoy the mystery and impracticality of it all.

Happy holidaze.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Killing of the Innocent

I was in the historic, downtown part of the my town this afternoon, reading about a hobbit and drinking a bit of espresso. This is a rare occurrence. One of 2 rarities on this day. The second is a note left on my car.

I used to own an orange, convertible 1978 Volkswagon Bug. I got notes on it ALL the time. "Hey pal, love your car!" "My daughter would love your car - would you sell it?" All sorts like that. Now I drive a Honda Civic. Not near as attention-getting. Well, this note was in regards to a sticker on my car. Not my "homestar" and "ah-the cheat" stickers, but my "God is not a republican or a democrat" sticker.

The note read: "God isn't democrat or republican, but he does expect us to have enough sense to not vote for candidates from a party whose platform supports the killing of innocent unborn children."

At first I was angry that this person didn't want to chat. No name or phone # was left on the note. Typical passive-aggressive move. Hell, they could have run away after leaving the note. Then, I was flattered that someone was provoked to something, based on a sticker on MY bumper. Then I called a friend to tell him what happened.

He thought this to be very entertaining. I had tried to give him some of those stickers a few weeks before the election. Well, he said something that blew me away. He said, OK, we can say the democrats support policy that murders the innocent unborn. Based on statistics coming back from Iraq, we can also say that the republicans support policy that murders the innocent BORN. Follow his track. Who does God care more for? How could this be such an easy worldview to navigate? By considering ONE issue.

As we consider the pundits weighing in on the ONE issue that got so-and-so voted out/in, I find my friend's response timely. More than just considering one issue, and the two political parties' sides, let's consider new arguments and more than ONE issue. Let's try to learn more about what we don't know.

This is also why I find talk radio almost unlistenable these days. I already know what certain people are going to say. So, I figure the best I can do as a steward of this brain, is to digest opinions I'm not inclined to think about or agree with. Then hold it up to the Gospel truth. But always be willing to dialogue.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Earthmovers and the ultimate Mai Tai.

This week my dad celebrates 35 years at Caterpillar Tractor Co. as a civil engineer, doing many different aspects of design and development. This is particularly of interest to me as I don't know anyone my age that intends on being in the same job for more than a few years. I have seen my dad leave at 6am every morning and get home around 3pm every day of my life growing up. Having something like that to count on was a good thing on a few different levels.

One of my favorite things to do was to wake up upon hearing him hit the creaky stairs. He'd make that awful coffee (he's since gotten into the good dark stuff) and put it in this old thermos that he used for MANY years. I'd have oatmeal with him and we wouldn't talk a whole lot. If I got to the TV first, I'd have the muppets on at 5am. Otherwise, the news.

I think I was in awe of this provider some days - getting it done - heading off to a boss that was a real jackass or tough situations with the striking union labor throwing stuff at his car as he drove in to work. We were a fortunate family in that we were never for want. I can see how generationally it was really important to him to provide first and foremost. I knew when he came home he didn't have it left in him - and probably for many years didn't know what to do with that.

We missed a lot relationally. It also seemed that as my folks split, his heart got tender in ways I'd have never expected. The thing that most impresses me is that I find him always grateful for life these days. That's an opportunity I have at present. As I have such little ones growing up around me in my house, I can find myself grateful NOW, and not miss as much of the richness lurking in the craziness of this season.

Thanks, Dad, for working so hard for so long. I hope, when there wasn't much gratitude or thankfulness from your kids, that you knew well the joy that came from serving consistently in the manner you did for 35 years. Here's to the 5 weeks in Hawaii. It's well deserved. Now, may you pursue passionately the golf courses and the mai tai. Not necessarily in that order.