Friday, June 29, 2007

For no particular reason...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Ron Paul Video of the Week

"It just might be, that freedom is popular."

ahhh....the soothing vocals of Dee Snyder :)

If I wasn't taken already...

(and happily so, I might add) I'd be hunting for a ring for this woman.

(H/T: PastorShaun)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One of those rare e-mail jokes that made me chuckle

A young woman was in labor with her first child. Things were going pretty well when suddenly she began to shout, "Shouldn't, wouldn't, couldn't, didn't, can't, won't!" "Doctor, what's wrong with my wife?" asked her husband, alarmed. "Nothing," replied the doc. "She's just having contractions."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Filling in the Context - Updated

I feel like a quote out of context
Withholding the rest
So I can be for you what you want to see
-Ben Folds Five
For the last new months that's kinda been the M.O. around here--not necessarily so much so that I can be what you want to see, but what I wanted you to see. Some really nasty stuff was going on in my family life, and I didn't put any of it up here for various reasons (e.g., own sense of privacy and shame; not sure how it was all going to play out; didn't want to deal with it all in public; didn't want to say something here that would make things worse in the analog world; and that thing Luther said about confessing one another's sins...). I've known I've had to say something about it eventually, and some time back, I decided today's the day.

So here I'm meeting my self-imposed deadline. But doing it with a much lighter heart than I'd anticipated. See, right now, I was scheduled to appear in court as the defendant in a civil matter. (Can't believe I'm still hedging on using the word...oy vey. Okay, deep breath, type out the word) The civil matter in question was a divorce.

Last fall, my wife of 9 years and change had enough. The near-decade of we two stubborn sinners co-existing had taken their toll--mostly because we were really lousy at practicing what we preached about family life (forgiveness, taking time for each other, plenty of time in prayer, talking through issues surrounding finances, child care/education, and whatnot). This served as giant wake-up call to me, and with some reflection, I couldn't imagine why she'd stuck with me as long as she had.

Please don't take my saying that she left has any kind of accusation--I just put it there stating the fact. I completely understand, I wouldn't live with who I was either.

For the sake of time, we'll fast-forward through the months of mutual loneliness, despair, doubt, fear, lawyers (speaking of fear), retainers, custody mediation, and assorted skubalon. Because the important thing to focus on in any story like this is the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father--which was present thanks to friends, circumstances, covenant children, and the prayers of people near and dear to us (and many we barely know!) being the means that the Spirit worked through. Enough to keep us afloat, but not enough for us to forget how much we needed it--more importantly, enough to do some hard work of mortification and sanctification.

And then 26 days ago/251 days later, the greatest thing happened, something I'd kept praying for, tho by that time, I'd decided that God wasn't going to say yes to this one. My wonderful wife summoned up her courage (which she has in spades), pushed aside her pride and fear, and asked if we could things out.

And what work it is! But what a joy in the labor! The days since have been filled with love, joy, laughs, tears, hugs, kisses, forgiveness, apologies, hard choices, hard words (to hear and say). We're doing counseling, reading all the right books (re-reading things we hadn't really applied as we should, too), re-prioritizing, planning, sacrificing our own needs/desires, praying, praying, praying (see, I've learned how much more faithful He is in answering than we are in asking), and anything else we can think of to make this work the way it should--just like we'd spent the last few years not doing. We've got a long, hard road ahead of us, but we're walking it side by side. If you're the praying type, we could use some.

There's been a lot of evil intended in our relationship--especially lately--but we're starting to see what I'd been clinging to the last couple of months--God intended it for good.

That's not an easy thing to say, but it's true. It's easier because of the wonderful wife that God gave me. She's my best friend (and a pretty decent enemy when she has to be), my partner, my soul-mate. I can look in her eyes and feel more things than I can in all the best novels written, songs sung, plays acted, and movies filmed put together. I'm about to head into Sappy Cliché Land, so I'll spare everyone that and wrap things up by saying she's still the Girl of My Dreams and the Love of my Life.

This was supposed to be one of the worst days of my life (second only to the day she left), but instead it's just a good day. Not great, and definitely not bad, good. One where I can follow the wisdom of the Preacher with a clear conscience and a song in my heart. And that's really all a guy can ask for...

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Eccl. 9:7-10

us, 27.1 miles away from the courthouse :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thought for the Lord's Day

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
   who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever;
   may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
      Amen and Amen!

- Psalm 72:18-19

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I Laughed, I Cried, I spent a lot of money at the iTunes Store...

(well, didn't actually spend the money--didn't have it--but I have a huge shopping list now)

Every time I have a crush on a woman, I have the same fantasy: I imagine the two of us as a synth-pop duo. No matter who she is, or how we meet, the synth-pop duo fantasy has to work, or the crush fizzles out. I have loads of other musical fantasies about my crushes—I picture us as a Gram-and-Emmylou country harmony duo, or as guitarists in a rock band, trading off vocals like Mick and Keith. But for me, it always comes back to the synth-pop duo. The girl is up front, swishing her skirt, tossing her hair, a saucy little firecracker. I'm the boy in the back, hidden behind my Roland JP8000 keyboard. She has all the courage and star power I lack. She sings our hit because I would never dare to get up and sing it myself. She moves the crowd while I lurk in the shadows, lavishing all my computer-blue love on her, punching the buttons that shower her in disco bliss and bathe her in the spotlight. I make her a star. . . .

It's odd that I've never pictured myself as a solo rock star. I've always dreamed of a new wave girl to stand up front and be shameless and lippy, to take the heat, to teach me her tricks, teach me to be brace like her. I needed someone with a quicker wit than mine. The new wave girl was brazen and scarlet. She would take me under her wing and teach me to join the human race, the way Bananarama did with their "Shy Boy." She would pick me out and shake me up and turn me around, turn me into someone new. She would spin me right round, like a record.

If any part of that selection resonates with you in any way, or if you just like reading insightful men talk about their love for their wives. Then you need to read Rob Sheffield's Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time. Sheffield is a music critic for Rolling Stone, and this, his first book, is a chronicle of his time with his wife, Renée, from their meeting to her untimely death at the age of 31. But he doesn't tell the story straight, no sir. He frames his account in discussions of mix tapes he or she made for various times/events in their lives. The songs, and the feelings they evoke, are just as much part of their story as anything else.
I have built my entire life around loving music, and I surround myself with it. I'm always racing to catch up on my next favorite song. But I never stop playing my mixes. Every fan makes them. The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with—nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they add up to the story of a life.
Before he really dives into the story of his life with Renée we are treated to some fun writing--like his taxonomy of mix tapes (e.g., "The Party Tape," "Road Trip," "You Broke My Heart and Made Me Cry and Here are Twenty or Thirty Songs About It") and the story of picking the music for a school dance at 13 (which starts with the killer opener: "Like a lot of stories, this one begins, 'I was too young to know better.' Like a lot of stories that begin 'I was too young to know better,' this one involves Cheap Trick.") In these opening chapters, we get a feel for who Rob Sheffield is, his humor, his love for music, how it's shaped his reactions to life (or at least his descriptions of his reactions).

And then things swing into high gear. He meets, falls in love with, marries and learns to live with Renée. And we really get to know Rob as he gets to know her. He describes the night they started to fall in love:
I could feel serious changes happening to me the longer I stayed in Renée's room. I felt knots untie themselves, knots I didn't know were there. I could already tell there were things happening deep inside me that were irreversible. Is there any scarier word than "irreversible"? It's a hiss of a word, full of side effects and mutilations. Severe tire damage—no backing up. Falling in love with Renée felt that way. I felt strange things going on inside me, and I knew that these weren't things I would recover from. These were changes that were shaping the way thing were going to be, and I wouldn't find out how until later. Irreversible.
Even if you hadn't read the book jacket to know what happens to Renée, Sheffield litters the early chapters of the book with references to her death. But you're still unprepared for it when it comes. Not as unprepared as he was, but enough that it jars. At this point, he's drawn you enough into his life that you can't help but feel for him in his pain. Those were real tears I had to try to read through (glad all the clients at work were asleep at 3:30 am) as he described calling their mother's on Mother's Day to tell his tragic news, or the way that he kept expecting her to call him and tell him she was coming home.

This isn't just about their relationship, you cannot escape music in these pages. (you could also say, the book isn't just about music, you cannot escape their relationship in these pages). Pop music is just ubiquitous in Sheffield's world--references to songs, lyrics, performers,'s all there as part of the warp and woof of his reality, giving the account a larger, yet more accessible scope. Some of that will stay with me as long as the relationship story. Not unlike when I read Hornby's About a Boy, his reaction to the suicide of Kurt Cobain really struck me.* I wasn't a Nirvana fan--it's only recently that I can say I appreciated much of their music--but reading Sheffield, I wished I had been a fan so I could've experienced things the way he did. Beyond the reaction to Cobain's death, his discussion of Nirvana's work helped me to see it in a way that even now (maybe especially now), I can appreciate it for what it was.

Funny, touching, poignant, well-written, moving. (am getting redundant there...sure sign of a post that's gone on too long) One of the best books I've read this year--one of the better books I've read in recent years.
Grade: A+
* The total absence of this in the movie is why, no matter how nicely made the film was or how many awards it received, About a Boy was a total failure.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Me and the Mrs....

nothing special, just a quick shot Frodo took today of me and The Love of My Life. It's just so rare to get us in the same frame (unless she's still groggy from childbirth and we're posing with a minutes-old child), that it's worthy of uploading when it happens :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

In Lieu of Actual's a update!

Knew I needed to replace the anemic (but heartfelt) playlist over there on the right, but wasn't sure with what. Basically grabbed my current favorite tunes off my mp3 player--either those songs I find myself singing along with at work, or at least those that I "tune into" when they start up, rather than letting them wash over me like so much white noise.

Hope you enjoy--there's some good stuff there. Some old, some new, some in between.

Really do have a few posts in the works...

Wouldn't it Be Nice?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Gettin' Political for a Moment

This guy is almost enough to make me believe in our political system again...Am sure the American Public will take care of that tho...

ACK! I agreed 100% with a Bil Maher statement. That hasn't happened in a few years.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Interesting Piece

Can Hollywood tell a story anymore? James Bowman ponders the point...

Monday, June 04, 2007

No time for love, Dr. Jones

oodles to say, no time to say it, so I'll throw up a couple of Cute Kid pictures, hope that'll tide you over...

Good day at ye olde ponde....