this is me (tuneful tuesday #7)

It's an unconventional musical to say the least.

P.T. Barnum. Freaks. Circus. Rich. Poor. Prejudice. Dreams. Happiness. Commitment. The Greatest Showman seems to have a little bit of everything. But most of all it has music -- at times tender, at times powerful. It may not be historically accurate - after all it IS a musical - but it is a good story and it's a good time at the movies. Some hated the movie. I thought it was well done.

"This Is Me" is features Barnum's collection of special people. They attempt to enter a room full of high society snobs during the reception of Barnum's newest "show" - the European opera singer, Jenny Lind. But he prevents them from entering on the pretense they have a show they must get ready for, attempting to cover his embarrassment of their presence during his finest entertainment moment. So he sends away the ones who gained for him his new found success; you can almost taste the disappointment. Societal station trumps friendship - and the angry entertainers leave the theater and march back to their circus proclaiming loudly and proudly that they are not ashamed of who they are.


as if no one knows

TBTIt used to bother me...

People going through grief saying they think no one knows what they're going through.

It's not that I think people shouldn't grieve.  They most certainly should, and do. But why assume that the condition of grief is constant? Why think that things will never change? When grief is fresh, it's the same as having an ever-present paper cut or a bruise that doesn't seem to heal.

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missing Christmas

The holidays are hard. So many emotions. So many memories. Each year they all come flooding back...and for those who find themselves alone at Christmas it becomes particularly difficult.

I miss my Mom. I miss my Dad. I miss the friends that are no more - whether it be my fault or theirs. Some nights I sit and watch the lights on my little Christmas tree, and pray to my Savior and ask Him to help me to remember, to reflect, and to rejoice knowing that no matter what has happened or will happen, He's ever with me.

I pray the Lord will inspire you to grow closer to Him this Christmas season, and help you hold on to Him today, tomorrow, and always.

Merry Christmas my friends.

throwback thanksgiving

TBTI stumbled onto some old - like 1950's old - films that depict life in that era.

Maybe just a little early for me, but it still gives a good idea of life in the day when family values were radically different than they are today.

For much of my childhood, thanksgiving meant butchering time at my grandparents' house. It was only as I got older, and my grandparents decided they would no longer raise pigs and mess with butchering that Mom would go all out on thanksgiving... I miss those days.


to where you are

TBTWhen my mother passed away in 1996, I felt like I had come to the end of the road. So much of my days up until then had been focused on making sure she was OK.

She was there one day - and gone the next.

For many weeks I could not enter her bedroom without being overcome with emotion.

Two decades later, I still find myself thinking of her and remembering her. When I heard this song by Josh Groban many years ago, it helped me to grieve and to remind me of how precious she was -- and still is -- to me.


big wolf, little wolf

Sadly, the book is now out of print. Bigwolf

A synopsis of the book was featured on a website I visit each week. I love reading children's books like this, but this is the first one that put a lump in my throat - and I will probably never get a chance to read the actual book.

Big Wolf, Little Wolf tells the tale of a lonely wolf who realized just how lonely he is when he encounters the little wolf who visits him.

It is funny how people come into our lives that at first we resent, then we enjoy, then we miss when they disappear. This fable captures those feelings so wonderfully.

the fault in our stars

I read the book, then I saw the movie. Both are good, but the movie seemed to deepen the emotions of the book. The movie was on TV today. I took the time to watch it again.

Young adults dealing with cancer, and death, and love... It's not an easy thing to read or to watch, but Green's book and the movie based on the movie help  -- and I admit to a lump in my throat, and fighting back a tear or twenty with both versions.

Here's a visual compilation of Hazel's eulogy of Augustus.


just one wish...

1wishBOne of the most frustrating propositions:  "If you could have one wish, what would it be?"

It immediately brings back those weeks ahead of Christmas when the Sears and Montgomery Ward holiday catalogs would be delivered, and my sister and I would dog-ear the pages and circle images of toys we wanted for Christmas.

And yet we knew that out of the dozen or so things we marked we were only allowed to have one.

Just one wish...

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the blessing and lessons of Molly

Molly2This story dropped into my Facebook newsfeed the other day.  It's one of those universal tales that anyone who has cared for (a.k.a. "loved") a pet will recognize.  CAUTION: Grab a few tissues; you might need them while you read this one.

Almost twelve years ago, I saw a flyer in a grocery store advertising a dog available for adoption. She was a year and half old, 35 pounds, and spayed after already birthing a litter. My wife and I met her a week after that. She was goofy and sweet, friendly to people, but couldn't stay with the multi-dog family who'd taken her off the streets. Any female canine within visual range was on her "kill" list. That's part of being born as a street dog. I brought her home in the passenger seat of my 2000 Chevy S-10 about two weeks later.

My wife named her Molly.

Continue reading "the blessing and lessons of Molly" »

ignoring signs

Remember the battle of Carlton Drive?

It continues.  Several weeks ago one of Carter Lumber's delivery trucks ignored the posted signs of "No Parking". I tried letting the truck driver know, but he ignored my shouts and horn toots to try and rouse him from his truck's cabin. I tried calling the local police, but the officer informed me that unless they were blocking traffic or parked on my own land, there really was nothing they could do.

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I have come to be suspicious of invitations to lunch, especially from authority figures. One in particular has haunted me for years:

The Scene: A Chinese restaurant in a town not far from my home.

Him: The Board of Elders has reviewed your resume’.

ME: (My heart flips, then starts racing. I had applied for a pastoral position at this church, but had no idea that this lunch was to discuss my application.)

Him: We wanted to thank you for submitting your resume’. (He’s talking to me while pulling out his DayTimer, flipping to a certain page. It seems obvious he has written down his remarks to me.)

ME: (I stare across the table at him, at his DayTimer, then back up to him. I begin to have a bad feeling. I feel my face start to flush.)

Him: After careful consideration, the Board of Elders has decided your resume’ does not reflect enough experience to serve as a pastor of (church name).

ME: (I feel my stomach turn; I feel tears start to bubble up in the bottoms of my eyelids.)

Him: The Board of Elders also believes that because you do not attend special services at (church name) and because you rarely come to special events at (church name), we believe you are not personable enough to be a pastor.

ME: (I feel like someone has just publicly slapped me in my face. I cannot look at him. I can’t find Winter_sadness_1 any place to let my eyes rest. I want to run home to my dad, and hold onto him until the hurting stopped, but realize he’s not there, having died just a few weeks earlier.)

Him: (Speaking words, cannot hear him; seeing his lips move but cannot understand his words. Something about closing in prayer. I bow my head but I only hear the word “Amen.”)

ME: (I raise my head. Get up to leave with him. I’m numb. I can’t even remember paying for lunch.)

I walked back to my car, tears burning in my eyes. I got in my car and begin the drive home. I never felt more alone in all my life. Tears fell from my eyes like huge rain drops. The only thought in my mind is one word: FAILURE.

The announcement couldn't have been more horribly timed. Dad's death from cancer was still fresh on my heart. I had been heavily involved in various ministries at the church: choir, solos, special projects for the church leadership/pastors, teaching in the Sunday School as well as a Moody Adult elective on Wednesday evenings. Yet because I was "absent" from "special" meetings, I was deemed "inexperienced" and "unpersonable". I was crushed. I felt like the fat kid on the playground wanting so much to join the other guys playing the games they were playing, only to have them turn to me and spit out, "Go home. You're not good enough to play with us."

My spirit and joy seemed to shrivel up like summer fruit left out in the sun. Years earlier one of the pastors of the church had been called to serve as the senior pastor of the church with NO experience as a senior pastor. I was a member of this church for a decade, and only applying for the LOWEST position on the pastoral staff, but even for that I wasn't good enough. And now I wasn't even going to get a chance. What I had been doing for the church now seemed to count for nothing. No one even seemed to consider that because I was trying to serve while at the same time help my dad who was dying from cancer, I was considered "unpersonable". I swam around the emotional pool for weeks, going from deep despair, to anger, to finally emerge on the shores of depression.

In the weeks that followed, I tried picking up the pieces of what remained of my heart. With dad gone, I had placed so much hope of ministering alongside cherished brothers in Christ. Now I was a reject. Unwanted. I felt that years spent at seminary were a waste. I felt my life was over. There were days I wanted to die. I can remember nights when I would rest my head upon my pillow, feel it grow wet from silent tears, and fall asleep hoping I would never wake up.

Luckily there was Mom. I poured my life into caring for her.

And yet, over a decade after the event, there are days when I still feel like a failure.