Thursday, December 28, 2006

For Jeremy

In response to your post today:

You asked a question. I can answer an emphatic NO! It's not wrong for you to feel this way. It's not wrong to feel bad or low. Remember Elijah. Even after having a tremendous victory on Mt. Carmel he got so depressed after Jezebel's threat that he wanted to die. Job, too. He didn't know why things happened the way they did but, like you, he clung to his faith. Sometimes it's a tremendous accomplishment just to survive a year and put it behind you.

I look back over that last several years at where I've been and where events have led me to now and I can see a little clearer. I don't know if these things happen just so we can learn a lesson, for us to gain experience for a larger mission down the road, to steer us away from or onto certain paths, or all of these and more. I just know you are RIGHT to recognise it, RIGHT to talk about it and analyze it, and RIGHT to feel the way you do.

And don't feel bad about being private with your feelings. I've found that often your safer to keep your struggles and hurts between you & God and not allow someone, even well meaning, to kick you in the gut while your down. Guard your heart. No one has walked in your shoes this last year. No one knows what you've had to endure and go through. I have every confidence you will find the path and that the future will be kind to you.

Sleep well, brother, Sleep well.



Going to give hunting one last try again this weekend. Never reported on the last time...SOMEONE forgot the most important thing: the camera. That and the fact that the last 6 weeks have been brutal-busy so I haven't had a chance to report on the last hunt. I'll recap it and have pics of this one next week.


Don't Mess With Us

Guard kittys. The one on the left is Taz-Man, the one on the right is Maximus. My wife belongs to Taz and I belong to Max. They are brothers (duh). We also have 4 of their cousins living with us. Life is always interesting with these guys around. They are the reason we didn't DARE put up a Christmas tree this year. Even though the posture may not say it Taz is the 'active' one...he lives up to his name. Max is the leader of the pack (sometimes late at night I wake up and hear the others chanting "Maximus! Maximus! Maximus!..." as he struts through the house).


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Luke 2:6-14

[6]So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

[8] Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. [9] And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. [10] Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. [11] For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. [12] And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

[14] “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Merry Christmas


Saturday, December 23, 2006

We Are Marshall

My Beautiful Wife and I just returned from seeing We Are Marshall. All I can say What a story of courage. Courage to carry on. Courage to not be beaten by the past. Courage to do what hasn't been done before. I recommend this movie highly.

I won't give away story or plot can find enough of that in other places. But before you go prepare: this isn't Hoosiers...this isn't Rudy...this isn't Invincible...this isn't a Ra-Ra or even a football story. This is a sad story and a story about fighting through the decay that death can bring on you if you let it. Go see it but be's not like anything out there right now.


Friday, December 22, 2006

More Christmas Past

I remember when I was about 4 years old. We were coming home from somewhere late on Christmas Eve. We had just turned onto our street and I was the typical dead-tired-but-wired-for-sound little kid who was about to wet his pants waiting for Santa to come!

Mom and Dad were ready to leave me on a corner somewhere because I was driving them nuts with questions and the eternal 'why?' after each answer.

My brother, about 10 at the time, told me "Hey! When we get home you've gotta' go to bed in a hurry 'cause Santa is coming!"

I said "Whatever" and thought 'Yeah, right. That's the same line Mom and Dad have been feeding me all night. I know all the presents they have for me are already under the tree. Besides, it's too late for Santa to turn back because he's committed to coming. Go peddle your stuff to a novice...I'm a pro. I aint't fallin' for that. I'm 004: kid with a license to misbehave'.

He jumped up and pointed out the back window of the car and said "Look! There's Rudolph's nose now! They'll be here any minute!"

I turned around and lo-and-behold there was Rudolph's nose blinking on and off bright as could be!!! It was moving across the sky and heading towards us! I turned around, sat down & shut my mouth like the flick of a switch! About that time we pulled in the driveway. I burst from the car, ran into the house leaving a trail of clothes behind, jumped into my pajamas and dove in bed. I was asleep in less than a minute!

I'm sure Dad and my brother shared a high-five afterwards.

I can't look at a 'blinking red light in the sky' on Christmas eve without remembering!


Christmas Past

My Christmas memories fall into two categories: First as a child; Second as an adult.

As a kid my favorite memories don't revolve around gifts received like I thought they might. When my Grandmother (Dad's mom) would come up and spend a couple of weeks at Christmas time it was always special since we didn't get to see her very often. My Grandfather died when Dad was 13 so I haven't met him yet. Mom's parents lived nearby as did her sister and brother & their families. Every Christmas morning after doing the gifts mom fixed a breakfast feast fit for kings. Later we would go over to my Grandparents for more gifts, sure, but mainly FOOD!!! My mother was a fabulous cook but when you sampled my Grandmother's meals you knew where she learned it from! We would have tons of food not to mention pies and deserts. It was always fun getting together with all my cousins too. Seemed like there must have been 40 or 50 people in their tiny old house with all it's nooks and crannies although I know it couldn't have been more then 20 or 30!

The Christmas after Dad died was kind of a null and void time. He died in early January so that whole year was cold and detached. The next Christmas felt feeling, no emotion...just trying to get through the Holidays. His death was still a raw nerve. It wasn't nearly as rough for me or my brother as it was for mom. She never really was the same after that, which is understandable. By the next year my Beautiful Wife and I were married. That started my adult Christmas journey.

I was very lucky. When we married her two boys were 5 and 6 so I didn't have to wait years to have the fun of being a Christmas Dad! Since they were boys I was able to dive right into slot cars, trains, footballs, bikes, video games and most important: Hot Wheels!! We now have enough Hot Wheels to supply a small country! I've got to tell those of you who are waiting for children (Laura!) THAT'S when the fun begins!!! I got the biggest thrill seeing the magic and wonder through their eyes...much more than the thrill I got at their age. When our two girls were born I got to experience it all over again but through a girl's eyes.

Undoubtedly the best Christmas ever was my mom's last Christmas. She only lived about 10 minutes away but we convinced her to spend the night with us Christmas Eve. She came over about 5:00 and we did a nice dinner, read the Christmas Story out of Luke, watched Rudolph, etc. After the girls went to bed she helped us with all the last minute 'preparation' then she slept in their room with them. She said it was really neat being with them and seeing all the excitement. I didn't realize it but she hadn't spent a Christmas Eve and Morning with little ones in years. That was also the Christmas I got my wife the place settings in the pattern she had been wanting for years. It was service for 12 with big plates, little plates, saucers, cups, glasses, some large platters, a gravy boat, a large soup tureen and various other accessories. I had it all wrapped up in about 12 different boxes. That's the first time I ever remember catching her totally off guard! She was blown away. It was cold and foggy that year, didn't get out of the mid 20's, had some icing problems, so we just hunkered down and feasted/napped (wake up, repeat) all day. Mom died the next June. That was a very special Christmas.

What are some of your favorite memories?


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rocky Balboa

Movie Review

Just got home from seeing the final chapter in the 'Rocky' story. If you are planning to go see this movie do the following:
  1. DON'T read any detailed reviews of the story (don't worry, you won't find one here)
  2. Clear your mind..."unlearn what you have learned"...
  3. DON'T go with a pre-conceived notion of what this movie is about or what you think it should be.
  4. Look at this in the context of the overall story.
  5. Do a little review: if you've never seen any of the movies go watch 1, 2, and 3 for sure to bring you up to speed with the back story. 4 is ok, but if you watch 5 do it with little forgiveness.

That being said, and having made up my mind to do these four things months ago when I found out about this movie, I loved it. Stalone has said in numerous interviews that this isn't a boxing movie...he's right. This is a story about passion and love. And a story about 'purpose' I said in my Thanksgiving post, it's the purpose that gives meaning to our we work together, how we help each other and make each others lives a little more special. That's what this movie is about.

I like the scene at the Boxing Commision most of all. He says basically that they don't have the right to make him jump through hoops, pass their tests and meet the requirements just for them to tell him he 'can't do it'...that when someone feels a real call in their life and a real passion for something others don't have the right to tell them they aren't qualified or should just forget it.

I grew up with this story. It's been an old and faithful friend and meant an awful lot to me at critical times in my life. I salute Sylvester Stalone for having the courage after not being satisfied with the last movie to go back and end things right. I don't know what the 'movie experts' will say about it and I really don't care. Those guys don't live in the real world anyway so their opinions don't relate to most of us. Don't listen to them...go see it anyway. As long as you do it with an open heart and an open mind you won't be disappointed.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

For Allison

Today is the eighth aniversary of Allison's accident. It breaks my heart when tragedies like this happen, even though I know there's nothing I can do about it. Found this from Tennyson that pretty well sums it up:

Oh yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;
That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy'd,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;
Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last-far off-at last, to all
And every winter change to spring.
So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.

Sleep well, my dearest Allison. Sleep well.


In Respone to Laura's post of 12-18

In response to Laura's post here:

FIRST RE trees: we've elected for the 2nd year in a row NOT to put one up due to the large # (6) of young kitties in the house who would make hockey puck's out of the ornaments!!! (We might try for next year)

SECOND RE shopping: we elected to give that universal green gift certificate this all the kids and immediate family. All we had to do is pick out the appropriate cards to go with.

THIRD: our Christmas office party - since we work together - will be this Thursday 12-21 for lunch at one of DFW's best Tex-Mex restraints (complete with draft adult refreshments)! By the way: if you haven't tried working with your spouse/significant other I heartily recommend it!!! Been doing it for a cumulative total of...a long time now...and I can say it's the best!! You say you can't work with your spouse? Then why are you married to them?!?!?

FOURTH: After coming off the last week & a half of 70-80 degree weather we are facing cold, rainy/and-or icy weather for Christmas weekend. That and the fact my Beautiful Wife and I have off from FR 12-22 until TU 12-26 makes for a BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS WEEKEND with FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!

Hope all of you have one too!!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tips For Holiday Eating

From my Beautiful Wife:

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an"eggnog-aholic" or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it!!!! Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello???

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat - have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips: Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.