Category Archives: life

Broken Picture Frames

I like broken people, the ones whose frames are scratched, dented and their corners don’t match up well.  I like people who have discolored pictures, broken glass, torn canvases. Somehow troubles, pain, turmoil, and suffering tends to create genuineness.

There’s something about pain and trouble that acts like a cleansing fire burning out the impurities of life. Those who emerge from hard times are tempered, refined, and often, real.  It’s not that anyone wants a broken frame or cracked glass, but life breaks and shatters us anyway.  Continue reading Broken Picture Frames

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Chartreuse Peace

At the dead-end is where the fish start. The drive, in and of itself, is a mental detox.

It starts on a smooth, asphalt State road that make the tires sing a steady hum. A few miles later it becomes a seal coated Farm to Market road where the tires rumble a deep bass song at 55 miles per hour.

Four more miles and it changes to an oil top County Road. The potholes sound a boom each time a tire drops in at 35 mph. Three miles farther is a ninety degree turn and the oil top turns to gravel. At 20 to 25 mph, the tires grind gravel and sound like wheat being pulverized into flour.

At each road change, travel slows a little while the steering wheel more aggressively shakes in unison as the tires ripple over a washboard section. Continue reading Chartreuse Peace

Slave, What Is Your Name?

(A reblog of an accidentally deleted post from 2-4-19)

Movie.

Gladiator.

Scene.

Maximus had been taken into slavery and became a Gladiator. He is ultimately taken to Rome to fight in the great Coliseum and wins the hearts of the blood thirsty mob for his valor and fighting skill.

The evil emperor, Commodus, thought Maximus was dead and forgotten. He goes to the Coliseum floor before the throngs to meet the great Gladiator, Maximus, whose face is always covered by his helmet. The ensuing conversation moves me to my core…

Commodus: “Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us his real name? You do have a name?”

Maximus: “My name is Gladiator.” (Turns and starts to walk away.)

“How dare you show your back to me! Slave! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name!”

Maximus takes off his helmet, turns and faces the evil Commodus.  In quiet, determined words, he tells his name, his TRUE identity:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the north. General of the Felix legions. Loyal servant to the true Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life, or the next.”

Utterly shocked to find Maximus alive, Commodus’ words falter. His troops draw swords to slay the Gladiators, but the Coliseum erupts in unison, “Live, live, live…”

The devious, scheming Commodus realizes he is politically and ethically trapped in the eyes of Rome, at least for the moment, so he reluctantly turns his thumb up to show the gladiator will live to fight another day.

Commodus walks from the arena while the Coliseum explodes in cheers, not for the evil emperor, but the gladiator slave as the chant begins…”Maximus, Maximus, Maximus!” Continue reading Slave, What Is Your Name?

Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Pharisee Recipe

Pour two cups of pride into a large mixing bowl while forgetting all the bad things you’ve done.

Add cup and half of good works to a cup of following church norms. Extra flavor occurs when family activities are sacrificed to accommodate church commitments.

Carefully compare yourself to others who’ve done worse things, then generously sprinkle in bowl when you need to feel good about yourself.

Smile continuously at those like you, but shake your head in “pity and concern” for those in need of God.  Demonstrate disdain for particularly sinful people, and keep your distance unless, of course, on a church mission trip.

Carefully sift from consciousness all personal weaknesses, struggles, failures, sin and wrongs against others.  Hide sifted mixture in large Tupperware container in back of your memory pantry.  Use multiple containers, when necessary, and cover with black trash bags to insure no one accidentally sees your Tupperware.
Continue reading Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Taste an Apple

The callousness of day-to-day activities seem to dwarf moments in life that make it real, alive and special.

If life were an onion, the outer shell is work, chores and all the necessary tasks of living.  The outer, crusty shell of the onion can easily overwhelm the core and inner layers where the best and most treasured memories, events and times are held.

Peel life back layer by layer, day by day, and most days aren’t really appreciated, truly experienced, or even remembered, at least by me. It’s an observation, not a condemnation.

Nature itself seems to place our mind on auto pilot to mindlessly glide through the events of the day.  Continue reading Taste an Apple

Black and White Color

Sometimes it’s impossible to see past today.  Sometimes, not.

During a little boy’s one year birthday party at a gymnasium, his kind-hearted, gracious, 76 year great-grandmother was chasing the toddler as he carried a basketball.  He would throw it; she would retrieve it, just so he could throw again.

After a few minutes, he tired of the game and toddled off to something else on the other end where all the activity was.

Alone on the end of the basketball court, she picked up the basketball again and I assumed was about to put away.  Instead, she bounced it several times while walking in her black dress pants, blouse and square heel black dress shoes.  On the third bounce, the ball hit her shoe and rolled along the court toward the basketball goal.

As she walked toward the ball, something seemed very familiar in the way she reached down to pick it up. Continue reading Black and White Color

It Just Seems Right

Slowly walking with my four daughters through the Houston Galleria, we passed a Zale’s jewelry store.

I’m not sure who first noticed the couple inside, but they quickly captured our attention.  The couple was looking at rings, and because they were trying them on her left ring finger, we assume it was a wedding ring.

The guy wore flip flops, blue jean shorts and a nice sleeveless t-shirt showing off his well developed muscles.  His hair was stylishly combed straight down on all sides.

She wore a cream colored sun dress with sandals, and her flowing brown hair was curled on the ends.

Everything about this couple was normal, except they were midgets.

Continue reading It Just Seems Right

The Baby Dies

When my oldest son was 4 years old, we were on our way to “Life Chain”, a pro-life activity where everyone stood silently holding signs along the business route in support of life.  There were hundreds of people participating and the silence was, in and of itself, peaceful.

What I remember the most, however, was the drive.  Blake sat next to me and asked where we were going.  Thinking a short answer would suffice, I told him it was to support babies who hadn’t been born.  As kids will do, he filled his logic train by peppering me with, “Why?” over and over.

Honestly, I didn’t want him to know about abortion, but after answering a couple of questions vaguely, I let the word “abortion” slip out. He zeroed in like a heat seeking missile. Continue reading The Baby Dies

You’re Pretty

She was a cute little girl, about 9 years old, with her hair in corn rolls and little rubber bands at the end of each braid.  She and her mother were walking up the sidewalk toward the restaurant, but her mother forgot something and stepped back to her car.  The girl just stood on the sidewalk. 

We were leaving, and quite frankly, I was talking to my brother-in-law as we obliviously walked past the little girl.  Turnabout is fair play, because I suspect she didn’t give either of us a moment’s notice either. 

She did, however, zero in like a heat seeking missile on my wife, Janet.  After passing a few parked car bumpers, we realized Janet was no longer with us.  We turned around and Janet was kneeling down looking the little girl eye to eye. 

The little girl was mesmerized as Janet spoke to her with a compassionate, peaceful smile on her face.  She  stared in her eyes soaking up the gentle words and kindness that naturally flow from Janet’s spirit as they talked briefly back and forth.   Continue reading You’re Pretty

The Valley Waits

You took me to a valley, a deep, dark, ominous land.  You pointed the way and asked me to go through.  You made it clear that only I could walk through it, alone, but you weaved character and stamina of heart together with thread and twine of pain and hope.  The twine seems so harsh and hard, rough, painful as it cuts into the heart beating flesh, but the thread is fine, gold laced, with soothing salve that brings peace with every beat.

It is velvety soft, but iron clad, happy yet sad, good and bad, all at the same time.

And now, You tell me:

Go now through the dark place.  I will not carry you, nor walk for you, for you alone must take the steps.  You must both descend, and climb, the rugged trail.  Know this, however, know that I number your steps as I do your days.  You lift your foot. I’ll light your path.  You take the steps.  I’ll guide your way. Continue reading The Valley Waits