I’m gonna bitch. Deal with it.

Lately I’ve been really stressed out about time–as in, there isn’t nearly enough of it.

I like my job, but the hours can be incredibly long and the work is often very fast-paced and hard to keep up with. Data needs to be accurate, but reports have to be timely, and often it seems the twain shall never meet.

Then there’s family, and church, and school. I want to do the right thing by each of those, but it seems that something has to fall by the wayside, and often does.

Last time I checked, there is only 24 hours in a day.

Then the other day, my friend Daniel remarked something to the effect that there are just enough hours in the day for me to get done what God intended.

What a great point.

I will get done what I need to, what I’m supposed to.

5 classes into my curriculum, and I am still maintaining a 4.0. I hope to keep that up.

My work is going well. I like my job and my coworkers a lot, and I feel like our boss looks out for us the best she can in an uncertain time.

My children are well, and strong, and getting into everything (we had a great guys night last night while mommy was out–it was fun).

I love my wife more every day.

What the heck was I complaining about? Is complaining, worrying, and being negative going to change anything or make me feel better?


Here is what will.

Being grateful and feeling blessed for what I do have, and thanking God for those things.

Spending time with Him every chance I get.

Maybe things are looking pretty good after all…

Of golden delicious apples and caviar

Whitney Houston died last week.

Sad, to be sure. But certainly not unexpected. As most of the world was made aware, she’d been struggling with her addictions demons for many years, and it seemed a certainty she would one day succumb to them.

I’m not here today to comment on Whitney Houston’s demise beyond that. I was just sitting here thinking today that I really don’t get our fascinations with celebrities, and celebrity deaths.

Let them live and die in peace. Really.

My God, just look at those gossip rags in grocery stores. And we really lap that stuff up.

One thing people seem to forget all the time is that yes, most celebrities are wealthier than we will ever be. Indeed it is difficult to imagine wealth to such a degree that if you want anything, all you have to do is pull a wad of cash or a limitless credit card out of your fanny pack and you are rolling in it. The thing is they are still people, just like anyone else.

They step into their 1500 dollar jeans every day just like I step into my 19 dollar Walmart specials. They pee in the morning, and sometimes they might even blow their noses. Maybe not Betty White, but certainly everyone else.

The point is, when does it stop?

I’m wondering when it will get to the point we see a story like:

School teacher uses bathroom stall next to Twilight star Robert Pattinson.

Phoenix, Arizona

Yesterday, a 10th grade history teacher named Carlos Jackson entered a Carl’s Jr Bathroom with an urgent need to purge his “lower quadrant.” Before he could close the door to his stall, he saw faux teenage emo vampire douche Robert Pattinson enter the stall next to his wearing a pained expression on his pasty white cheeks.

“It was really bad,” said Jackson. “It sounded like that noise a pumpkin makes when it falls off a ten story building and explodes on the ground. But it smelled like golden delicious apples and caviar. He asked his assistant to hand him a stack of 20’s to wipe with”

You know that kind of thing is coming.

I would prefer that we just let them live their lives, and I will enjoy the entertainment they provide. I don’t want to know them, and I do not care who they marry, or if Miley Cyrus is seen riding a goat down Pennsylvania avenue singing Party in the USA.

Maybe if we don’t allow ourselves to be consumed by their celebrity, they will not feel the need to be consumed by the world.

They will not live (and die) for our adoration.

They will not become golden calves.

For my big guy

I remember the first day I saw you in person. I was so excited to finally meet your mom, that I almost didn’t see you climbing out of your booster seat, blinking in the sunlight.

Your mom introduced you to me, and you were such a gentleman. You were four, but you had the shake of a much bigger, much stronger boy as I knelt in the parking lot so you could look me in the eye, and take my measure.

I’m not sure what you thought of me that day. I never asked your mom, and you probably would not remember if I asked you today.

I praise God that I get to have you today, that I get to be your dad. I might not have been part of making you, but I am part of helping you to be a man, to learn what that means. I can’t remember what my dad told me about that stuff, but I will promise you now that I will answer every question, no matter how many times you ask.

You didn’t get to choose your father, but like your mom and I told you the other night, I chose you, and your mom, and nothing better has ever happened to me.

I get to watch you become a man. I get to watch you do everything, and it blows my mind that I do.
You are so smart, and so strong, and have such a loving heart.

I will teach you how to guard that heart, but not too much, because one day you will want to risk it, and you need to know how to do that, too. Never be afraid to love.

I will teach you and your brother how to be husbands the best I can. I will do this by loving your amazing mother and my best friend.

I will teach you and your brother how to be fathers, by God’s grace. I will do this by loving you guys without limit or condition.

I will raise you both up to know who God is to me, and can be to you.

I will teach you to love people, even when they are pompous toolbags, and they most assuredly will be from time to time (that will not be easy, because I sometimes step on it in this regard).

I will teach you to take responsibility for your mistakes by taking responsibility for mine.

I will teach you to respect the authority that age and wisdom brings (most of the time).

I will discipline you when you need it, because that is how you will learn.

I will teach you that He who is in me is greater than He who is in the world.

I will teach you to be your own man, because God did not make you to walk in the shadows of anyone else.

And more than anything else, I will teach you that no matter who they draft or sign, the Yankees will always suck. Ok, I’m kidding about that—you can support whichever team you like. As long as it isn’t the Yankees…

What I want to say to you today is that I love you more than I have been able to relate to you in a way you can understand, and I am sorry for not getting that across better.

You are a good boy, and a wonderful son, and I will always be here for you and John both.


I don’t like wearing short sleeves.

It is not because of any fashionable reason (my wife would be able to attest to my lack of fashion sense), but because I am self-conscious about the way my arms look.  Since my mid-twenties, I have had some moderate to serious skin issues with psoriasis, which is a non-contagious autoimmune disorder, that while it certainly won’t kill me, has also left me with some very dry patches of skin, that never completely go away.  I can treat the symptoms (and I do), which alleviates most of the dryness, but then I am left with pink patches of skin which look very much like burn scars, so much so that I often get comments like, “how did you get those burns?  Car accident?”

They are unsightly, to be sure. But they are not contagious. You won’t come down with anything if you touch something I touch.

I also have “burn scars” on my torso and lower legs.  I don’t like wearing shorts, either, or taking off my shirt at the pool or beach.  I don’t like having to answer questions about what’s wrong with me, because then people typically want to offer their expert advice about a cure for autoimmune disorders (believe me, if it existed, I would have found it). I don’t like the looks I get, either, which usually amount to looking, then looking away, like the person is embarrassed to have seen me.   I don’t like my scars.  They’re ugly, and they make me feel ugly, too.  I remember being extremely reluctant to do it the first time I took my shirt off around my wife, before she was my wife.  I would have given anything to look normal, and this little voice kept whispering that once she saw how I looked, she would never want to look again.

I don’t want people to look at me because of my scars. I don’t want them to look at me at all.  Yet if they were going to do it, I would rather it was because of something, anything, else.  But Jen looked, and she didn’t look away.  She just asked me if it ever hurt, and then she put her arms around me and kissed me.  She recognized then what I did not recognize myself, not until later on.

My scars are part of me, and they will always be there.  Jen didn’t look at me because of them.  She looked at me because she wanted to, because she loved me.  She loved me, scars and all.

It’s the same with Jesus.

I’d thought it was the same with Him as everyone else.  One thing I’d never given to Him was my feelings about the way I looked, and how ugly I felt.  It was like if I ignored those things and didn’t talk about them, then they weren’t really problems. Except they were.  The truth I came to realize  once I did give my scars to Him was that I would never be perfect on earth.

I will always have scars, on my body and on my heart. Wounds leave scars, and there have been many wounds. I suspect it is that way for everyone.

Jesus doesn’t see those wounds we have the way we do.  They are not ugliness at all, and He sees us the way He made us; beautiful, and made flawless by His blood. Our bodies will never be perfect here on earth, but will one day be made perfect in Heaven, when we face the one who made us.

I think one day it will be something like this:

The carpenter runs his hands over His creations with hands made strong from His work, which has been mighty. His callused hands are gentle, though. They smooth the rough edges from what he has made. Splinters and gouges vanish under His touch. Scarred becomes smooth and unblemished. Filthiness is made clean, and shines with a light not possible on earth. He examines that which he made and is satisfied; joyous at the completion of His work. The beauty long hidden within the creation is brought out. The carpenter always knew it was there.

I don’t know why that was so hard for me to realize. Jesus never saw my scars through my eyes, or the eyes of the people who looked away. He saw them with the eyes of one who knew beauty was always there. He sees you that way, too.

Maybe you have scars on your arms, or hands, or face. Maybe when you’re walking down the street, people glance at you and look away. Maybe little kids point at you and whisper while you’re at the pool. You feel so ugly. Or it could be your scars are on the inside and you feel even uglier. Maybe you can’t bear to look at yourself in the mirror because of them and what you’ve done. And you finally, finally approach Jesus, and you can only look at the ground. You come crawling, and full of what you feel is ugliness. And yet Jesus, in his infinite glory and infinite wisdom calls to you…calls to you gently…and tells you to look up.


Always remember that Jesus knows your scars. He looks at them and does not look away. Your scars are part of you, but not all of you. There is beauty, within and without, and the carpenter sees it. He does not make ugliness, and he made you.