Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Life's a Bowl of Dreams

Rainey is a singer. She loves to sing and she does so with great emotion. Her latest favorite (besides A New Anointing) is Row, Row, Row Your Boat. She sings it very well and has taken the liberty of changing the ending. I think it's an improvement. It goes like this:

"Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life's a bowl of dreams!"

Life is a bowl of dreams. I needed to be reminded of that. Maybe you did too.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I Bet She's Weird

Two days ago Stephanie and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. Before I met Stephanie I never had a relationship that even lasted 9 months. Most didn't last 9 weeks.

During my Freshman year at ACU, my mom (Rose) asked me if I had met any nice girls. I told her that I was dating as many as possible and taking the best parts of each of them to form the perfect woman in my mind. Rose said, "I bet she's weird." Now in my family being called "weird" is considered high praise, so I told Rose that yes indeed, she was extremely weird.

Although I did not meet this perfect woman at ACU, I did find her a few years later.

Stephanie is beautiful and kind. One of my favorite descriptions of her is that she is simply "a woman without guile." She is a wonderful mother, a loyal friend and a trustworthy confidant. She is a great cook and can build anything, bake anything, sew anything and fix anything when she puts her mind to it. She makes our house a wonderful place to be. With apologies to all my former roommates, she is the best roommate in the world. She is so easy to live with! She is low maintenance and drama free!

God (and Rose) knew that it would take someone weird to be yoked with me, so He provided a tree hugging, Jesus loving, Idaho girl to keep me in line, but allow my own weirdness to flourish.

I love you so much Steph! And I thank God for you everyday. You are so weird!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Update on Craig II

This is not a blog site about Craig and I will write about other topics, but I wanted to get you updated on the latest. Craig agreed to go to a mental health facility called Trinity Springs. He has been there for several days now and they are experimenting with some new medication. At this point, I don't know when he will be released, but I do know that both he and Brian have a lot to work through. Please keep praying and come back to visit my blog again. I'll write about something happy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Update on Craig

Thanks for your notes, email and phone calls yesterday. They are much appreciated and I know your prayers are being heard.

After less than 24 hours in the hospital, Craig checked himself out and went home. Bad idea. At midnight he called me to tell me that his neighbor was trying to kill him and that if anything happened to him he wanted me to know it was his neighbor who did it. Later he called the police twice to report a man with a gun. They found no such man and took Craig back to the hospital. I'm hoping he stays for a couple of days at least. His roommate Brian has had enough. After 47 days without a cigarette, he broke down and smoked a couple today.

Our system is truly inadequate to help Craig. I'm not saying the people at the hospital or at the county agencies don't want to help, I'm saying there is simply not enough money or man power available for them to help.

I'm at a loss. I'd like to supply Craig with the best medical treatment money can buy. I'd like to have him move in with me and nurse him back to health. I'd like to supply him with all the beer and weed needed to quiet the voices in his head. I can't provide the first option and can't convince myself that the other two are very good either.

Thanks again for the prayers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Suicide Attempt

I've always heard that anytime someone threatens to commit suicide you should take them seriously. I agree with that, but what does it mean? Force them to go to the hospital? Stay with them? What if they threaten it, but then recant?

On Friday my friend Craig told me he thought he wanted to commit suicide. Then he told me he wanted to go live on the streets where he used to live. Then we laughed about how horrible his ideas were. We talked some more and before we parted he told me that he didn't really want to die. He got out of my car and into his dad's truck. His dad came to my car and I told him about our conversation. Craig had threatened this before, but he had never followed through.

Yesterday, the voices became unbearable. Craig's roommate Brian awoke from a nap to find a bloody mess in their bathroom. Craig had slit his wrist and stabbed himself in the neck. He then sat down in the bath tub to die. There was a lot of blood, but for some reason he did not bleed out. At some point he simply stopped bleeding.

Brian convinced him to go to the hospital where they treated his physical wounds, but allowed him to check himself out before he received any psychiatric treatment. He called me this morning and said he felt better, whatever that means.

The crazy thing is that Craig quit drinking a few months ago and we were all excited and proud of him. He has gone steadily down hill ever since. When he was drunk all the time, I worried that he would end up in jail. Now, without the beer to quiet the voices, I fear he'll end up in a grave.

I'm tired and frustrated, but mostly sad. I've known Craig for 23 years (see post from 4-18) and I love him. I'm simply at a loss as to how to help him. Say a prayer for Craig today and for his roommate Brian. And save one for me too.

Monday, May 16, 2005

My Little Theologian

Our church is without a preacher right now (BTW, if you know any good ones please let me know), but we are blessed to live in an area of the country with plenty of good people to fill in on Sundays. This week, Todd Tunnell was with us for the second time. Todd is a high school principle who speaks truth in an energetic and creative way.

Yesterday, he was talking about the parable of the lost son. When the son returns after squandering his inheritance, his father has a party for him and accepts him back with great joy. Then Todd asked us about the rest of the story. We know that the older brother was not happy and complains to his dad, but then what? Jesus ends the story there, but Todd said that because we know what happened to Jesus and because we know who all the people in the story represent, we know that the rest of the story is that the older brother beats up his dad! He said, "That's how the story ends! The father gives the son everything he has and the son beats him up!"

Interesting point, but it did not fly with my daughter Rainey. She quickly said to my wife, "That's not how the story ends! He goes into the tomb, but then He comes out again! That's how the story ends!" Stephanie thought Rainey was going to run up to the stage, take control of the microphone and start a debate. I couldn't believe she was tracking with the sermon that well.

Yet another reminder that nothing gets by my little girl and we must be careful what we say, children will listen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

My Little Virtuoso

My three year old daughter Rainey is taking violin lessons. So far she has learned how to hold her instrument, proper playing posture and some things about rhythm. Her teacher Mrs. Thuma invited us to a recital that some of her older students were giving on Monday. We thought it might inspire Rainey to see older kids playing, so we decided to go and Rainey insisted on taking her violin.

The recital was very casual. Mrs. Thuma asked who would like to go first and a little girl raised her hand, took the stage and proceeded to play a simple little song. She took her bow and returned to her seat. Mrs. Thuma asked who wanted to be next and the hand of the little girl in my lap shot up. A surprised Mrs. Thuma invited Rainey up to the stage. She asked Rainey what she would be playing and Rainey said, "I would like to play three pieces." Since she doesn't know any pieces, we were very curious to hear what she would do next. She announced the first piece was called "Boil the Cabbage" and she proceeded to "play" her violin. The audience loved it! For her next number she decided to sing a chorus of "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys." That was only two pieces, but she took her bow and returned to her seat.

The rest of the students played and then Mrs. Thuma asked if anyone had any questions before we were dismissed. Once again, Rainey raised her hand. I guess she realized she had only played 2 of her 3 pieces. She said she would like to play one more. This must have been an original composition, I didn't catch the title. She played it with confidence though and took the final bow of the recital.

She was a big hit. I can't imagine how exciting it will be when she actually learns to play!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

Yesterday was an important day for my family. Although we have no real connection to the normal reasons to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the defeat of the French army by the Mexicans at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. We celebrate all the same, to commemorate the birth of my sisters husband in 1965.

When Tod Brown asked for my sister Lee Ann's hand in marriage I was astounded. Just who did this guy think he was? 19 years later, I feel like I can answer that question. Tod is a Jesus follower. He is a husband, father, teacher, mentor, thinker, dreamer, fire starter, Jesus follower (did I mention that already).

Tod brought wide eyed optimism into our often cynical family. He has challenged us all to dive into the deep end of the Spiritual pool, to question everything, to read the red words, believe the red words and do the red words. He introduced me to John Piper, Donald Miller and Rob Bell. He responds to my questions with more questions to allow me to fully experience the journey of walking through difficult times.

Simply stated, Tod Brown is a man of God. I'm proud to call him my brother and thankful that he is part of our family. It also gives me an excuse to take advantage of all those Cinco de Mayo happy hour specials!

Tod, I'm glad you were born!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Man's Supreme Endeavors

I visited a church recently whose stated purpose was to connect people to Jesus and to each other. I like that idea. It's simply stated and easy to understand, but sometimes difficult to do. The late 19th and early 20th century philosopher G.E. Moore said it like this:

"The appreciation of beauty and the need for personal relationships are man's supreme endeavors."

Moore was a common sense philosopher. I know nothing about his personal beliefs about God, but I agree with his statement. Nothing is more beautiful than God's creation and the story of what He has done for us through Jesus Christ. He created us not only to appreciate His beauty, but also to reflect it and to do so in community.

One of the most life giving things for me is to sit with people who care deeply about beautiful things and to discuss and enjoy them together. Sometimes the topic is art or theatre or music, sometimes nature, sometimes Jesus.

I would like G.E. Moore to be the worship coordinator at my church. A church where we meet together to appreciate beauty and form personal relationships and then reflect that beauty in the world. Man's supreme endeavors indeed.