Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Another New Blog...

Since I've been lazy lately (creatively, that is... in every other areas I've been quite busy,) and haven't written a real post in a while, I thought I'd continue throwing out props.

I've just added a link to my friend Luke Smith's blog. I met Luke nine years ago while we were both in Estonia as summer missionaries. We have remained friends since (probably because we were not paired up.) Luke is extremely intelligent. Much of my beliefs now have been shaped by his influence. Check out his blog. And comment, too. Don't be afraid to speak your mind. Luke is extremely gentle and will usually agree with everything you say and affirm your ideas as valid and useful. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Self Appointed Experts...

So did anyone else catch Tom Cruise's interview with Matt Lauer? Un freaking believable.

However, as off guard as I was caught, I can't say his demeanor is anything new to me. I used to be like Cruise. Not with his position against psychiatry, although I did at one time hold similar beliefs, but in the absolute arrogance he showed. If you didn't see it, the interview went something like this....

Lauer: You are against using medication to treat things like depression. What do you say to someone like Brooke Shields who suffered from postpartum depression, and said medication helped her.

Cruise: It didn't really help her.

Lauer: Are you saying your beliefs are the only way to believe?

Cruise: Matt, you don't know what you are talking about. I know what I'm talking about, but you don't know what you're talking about. I have the information, you don't. If you had the same information, and the desire to learn it, as I do, then you'd come to a vastly difference conclusion.

Lauer: But what about these people who know from experience what has been good for them?

Cruise: I know the right way, they don't, even if they think they do. They're wrong.

This is why I find it increasingly difficult to be involved in "heated discussions" that I used to savor in college. Everyone assumes that if you knew what they knew then you'd change you're mind.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005


A few weeks ago I added Jeanne Damoff's site to my link section, but never said a word about it. If you want to read some wonderful writing, check out her website. Especially worth your time is THIS.

Jeanne's husband, George, was one of my ETBU profs. A couple of years after college I got to know the family through a friend. Truly amazing people and it comes out in her writing.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


In my previous post I stated that we went to Uncle Dan's in Carthage. This was a mistake. The probable reason for which I made the mistake was because at the time I wrote the post I was contemplating a trip to Uncle Dan's, but opted instead to go to Michna's for two reason's... 1.) It's within walking distance and 2.) It reminds me of the BBQ place in Carthage we used to go to, Daddy Sam's (which, incidentally was walking distance from my grandparents... had to be, they didn't drive.)

Just wanted to clear that up before you sued me for telling lies, sweet little lies, ala Fleetwood Mac.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Radio is My Only Friend Around...

In my younger days I didn't believe it when others said you can have many acquaintances, a smaller amount of friends, and just two or three people with whom you are very close. I experienced friendship at times and in places and it was good, so why not experience that with a WHOLE LOT of people.

I insisted intimacy.

I'm not that person anymore. As the years go on I become more uncomfortable around large groups of people. It's just too hard to keep up. Tiring.

I have three close friends. (And no, it's not the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Althought, they are, well, you know.... never mind.) When this fall rolls around two of them will be a world away from me, yet fairly close to each other. In June there will be a couple of weeks when all three will be gone, giving me solitude practice.

When I think about it, though, I've been practicing all my life. Saturdays are my lonely days. For as long as I can remember there's just something about Saturday afternoons and evenings that have drawn me to places where people aren't. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather be with someone than not, but if I'm going to be alone I like it to be on Saturday nights.

People in Chandler went to Tyler or Athens on Saturday nights. I stayed home or went to a friend's house in Brownsboro, population 585 on every day except Saturday, when it went down to about 17. When I'd visit my grandparents in Carthage everyone was either in Longview or Shreveport, so we went to Uncle Dans. Rarely was anyone there. Sometimes I think the little places stay open on Saturday night just for people like me.

I hope you are not feeling sad for me right now, because the loneliness I speak of isn't a sad loneliness. And, lest you think I'm talking about a good kind of solitude where I can be alone with my thoughts and my God and just be at peace with the world, it's not like that either. It's loneliness in it's rawest form. Sometimes it hurts. If you promise not to tell anyone else I'll tell you this, sometimes I cry.

But don't feel sorry for me. There is a good loneliness that isn't the "good solitude" that we talk about, just like there are good hurts and good pains. There are sad songs that make you extremely happy, (like this one , click on "Music/Video" then on ""Watch Exclusive Video for 'Something Like a Broken Heart'")I can't put my finger on it, but my guess is that you have at least an idea of what I'm talking about.

Well, I need to get back to practicing.

Here's hoping peace is where you are.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


So this BOHICA thing at work we're doing where we stay up all night some nights to move things around in the store has ruined my Thursday.

Wednesday 4:30 a.m. 1:00 p.m.-- Awake, anticipating a morning full of activity to induce tiredness in order to take a long nap in the afternoon. Activities inclue lifting weights, an hour on the elliptical machine, the acceptance of a challenge to play HORSE with some thirteen year old kid at the gym, trip to the bank, some reading, and lunch with Kyle.

Wednesday 1:15 p.m.-- Arrive back at home hoping to settle down into a long afternoon slumber. Winding down exercises include checking email, blogs, message boards, and an episode of "Ed."

Wednesday 2:15 p.m-- Lay down for a nap.

Wednesday 3:30 p.m.-- Awake from nap, pissed off that said nap didn't last longer.

Wednesday 3:45 p.m.-- Another "Ed."

Wednesday 4:30-- Lay down for desired "Round 2" of afternoon nap.

Wednesday 5:00-- I realize sleep will not visit me again.

Wednesday 5:00- 8:00-- Internet, television (including a hilarious episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, El Tapatio.)

Wednesday 8:00 p.m.-- Church midweek.

Wednesday 9:00 p.m.-- Begin night from hell which includes the physical moving of four gigantic fixtures that weigh a combined four million tons.

Thursday 5:45 a.m.-- Leave Barnes and Noble.

Thursday 5:48 a.m.-- Stop at Jack and Jill's where my favorite Cambodians give me my favorite doughnuts, a Jumbo Jalapeno Sausage and Cheese Kolache, Apple Fritter, and large Dr. Pepper. Read the Waco Tribune Herald.

Thursday 6:15 a.m.-- Arrive home, crash.

9:15-- Awake, move tired and sore body to the couch, turn on CMT, fall asleep to Toby Keith.

10:30-- Awake again.

10:30 through 8:00 p.m.-- Walk around like a zombie trying not to fall back asleep so I could sleep at night. Activities include, but were not limited to: Trying to read a chapter of Merton's "No Man is an Island," surfing ETBU alumni message boards-- opting not to make any comments since I'm delirious, contemplate reviving my fledgling writing career, call Kyle to inquire when those kids are coming back because I'm missing them, CMT, two "Ed" episodes, Will and Grace, Coach.

8:00 p.m.-- Give in, go to bed.

9:30 p.m.-- Wake up, try to go back to sleep.

I can't go back to sleep but I'm as tired as I've ever been in my life. Well, since Timberline anyway.

I'm screwed.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dog Days...

Just a little catching up...

We finished Day 1 of the annual UBC Summer Garage Sale and it was a hit. This is actually my fifth one to work at and it was perhaps the easiest. Normally we have aroun 4-6 people show up at 5:00 a.m. to help set up, but this morning we had somewhere between 12 and 15. The hardest work, as usual, was setting up and taking down. The rest of the day, also as usual, was spent sitting on couches, hanging out, and playing Mario Cart in the office. And the annual sunburn, which I am sporting proudly and painfully at this moment.

I'm worn out from it and from watching the kids tonight. 5:00 a.m. will seem earlier tomorrow than today.

So check this out. I've mentioned somewhere before about my time working at Timberline Baptist Camp. You'll find me often bad mouthing many things about my former life in the Christian subculture, but I'll never say anything ill about Timberline. The essence of who I am was forged in the fires of six years at that place. It was that powerful.

One week during the summer, somewhere around ten years ago, the worship at the camp was provided by a Christian group called "East to West."

As far as Christian music went at the time, they were about as good as it got. Great vocals and although the lyrics didn't plunge the depths of God and the human soul, they went a little deeper than that of other Christian artists at the time.

Most Christian "personalities" tend to be total asses, not reflecting the Spirit of Christ in their day to day actions. Not these guys. Neal Coomer and Jay Demarcus, East to West, were genuinely nice guys. They were friendlier than they had to be, even to those of us on the summer staff for whom Christian points didn't count. (Other words-- we were pee ons, they gained no stature by being nice to us.) I remember every day after dinner when the campers left their mess and had a couple of hours before they had to be at the service, these guys stayed after and helped us clean up. Not just wiping down tables either. They picked up brooms and mops and went to work. They talked to us like normal people. They hung out with us. For a week, they shared their lives with us.

Six years in a place like Timberline will put you in contact with many wonderful people for a short time. A few of them you become lifelong friends with. Well, just one for me. But for the most part your lives just intersect for a short period of time. You give your phone number and address to each other, write maybe once, then after a couple of years forget each others name. That happened with me and the band East to West.

Yesterday I read something and the bell went off in my head. Jay DeMarcus. Where have I heard that name before? A little googling and I realized it. Of course. Jay DeMarcus is 1/3 of the Country Music megagroup, one of my favorites, Rascal Flatts.

The lesson to be learned here, kids? Always keep addresses and phone numbers. Keep in touch with people, you never know who they might be.

Speaking of music, these are my new favorites:


This band produces fun music. Lead vocalist's voice is infectious.


Old Crow Medicine Show

Alabama sang "Oh, play me some mountain music." It doesn't get any more mountain than this. Heard this group last week on Prairie Home Companion, got the CD two days ago, and I'm hooked.

Got to jet. Five a.m. is much closer now than when I started this post.

Monday, June 06, 2005

No Title

Still Here.
Not much to say.
Ashamed at my lack of blogging.
Busy summer so far.
Lot of goodbyes.
Lot's of time with the kids.
Changes at work, creating work.
Preaching at United Church of Christ Sunday.
Performed a marriage renewal ceremony yesterday.
This is the week of UBC garage sale.
Many new people, faces, names.
Couches get harder to carry every passing year.
Later in the summer, vacation with Jason. (Rhymes.)
Not sure where.
August is Tim's wedding.
Albums awaiting-- Brad Paisley and Hanna-McEuen.
Reading biography of Elvis.
Listening to Elvis, "The Sun Years."
Going to bed.....