Monday, April 12, 2010


So anyway, JC went to a baseball game right after school and of course, brought his backpack. While he was there, he asked a friend's mom to watch his backpack so he could run around and hang with his friends. No big deal right? Well, he got home that night and was sitting in the chair around 8:30 and it just hit him that he forgot his backpack. So we hopped in the car to go find it. On the way there, I asked him if he was praying and he said, "yeah, how did you know." I said, "because if I were you, I would be praying". I then asked him how much it was going to cost him to replace his books and he said $60.00. For a 13-year old that is a ton of money and I felt bad that if we couldn't find his bag that he would have to pay to replace his books. Well, we finally got there only to discover that it was not where he left it and it was not in the lost and found. The conversation then turned to thoughts like, "what are you going to learn through this." Of course, he learned to be more responsible with his stuff and he didn't want to pay.

JC then said that he was going to keep praying and I said, "I will pray with you, but I really don't have that much faith that we are going to find it." I know, I know, it wasn't the best example, but I was focussed on the "reality" of the situation. JC, however was focussed on the "possibility" of the situation. Isn't that the difference maker in prayer.....those that focus on the reality and those that focus on the possibility. I suppose that is what faith really is....

A week went by and JC called me on the phone and said, "Dad, that prayer thing really works, I found my bag." It turns out the lady that he asked to watch it took it home and didn't know how to get in touch with him. However, his friend that he went to the game with called the lady and she said that she had it. I told JC that he had more faith than me in this situation and I am glad that he was faithful in prayer. Who knew that I would go back-to-school in the area of prayer as my failing grade was popping out of the top of the backpack that I failed to pray about. Hmmmm.....reality and possibilities. Jesus, increase my faith.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Golf is the hardest game to master.....mainly because you never do. However, today I made 6 birdies.......and for the last two hours of today, I am still convincing myself that I have it mastered, until I play again and realize that I do not.

Monday, April 05, 2010


So I was in Russia walking around an open-air market when I felt this presence behind me. He was walking all hunch backed with a pad of paper and piece of chalk right up next to me and saying “draw. draw. draw.” in a Russian accent. Apparently, he wanted to draw a picture of me and he wanted me to pay him for his efforts. I politely said that I was not interested and he left me alone………….for about 10 minutes. I then felt his presence behind me again saying “draw. beard. draw”. I politely said no again and he left me alone……………for about 10 minutes. Again I felt his presence behind me and he was still saying “draw. beard. draw. free. I need to draw.”

This guy was persistent and obviously had a deep desire to draw my face and/or beard and at this point he was willing to do it for free. I knew better about the whole free idea, but I finally caved into his demands and asked him how long it would take. He said three to five minutes so I agreed and stood there while he went to work on my chalky portrait. He then finished in the agreed time and I couldn’t resist the need to ask him how much. He informed me it would be 1000 rubles which is $40.00 in American money. I said I was not going to pay him that much and told him I would pay him $20.00. He said $30.00. I said I did not want it for that, but he was more than welcome to keep it for his personal collection. He finally said, “for you…500 rubles.” I paid him the $20.00 and he rolled up my picture and handed it to me.

He was satisfied with his artwork. I was happy to help a self-employed artist and I was also rather impressed with his persistent salesmanship.

Here is the point of the story. Don’t take no for an answer because you may just get your wish of sketching an American with a giant beard. I will be having an auction of this portrait sometime in November so please save your money so I can at least get my money back!


So anyway........ I always like to start my stories with "so anyway" because it effortlessly connects the past, present and future. As with most stories, there is always a past, present and future. PAST Every since Julie and I have been married I have called her Lola as a simple endearing name. I am not sure why I chose Lola other than that I think it is so random and sweet. For those of you who know the song "Lola", I did not see Julie as a transsexual prostitute. In case you didn't know, there is a song called Lola about a transsexual prostitute. I am fairly sure I have offended some of you just by putting those two words together and others are mad that I ruined the song for you because you had no idea and still others knew nothing about the song and I am sorry to have introduced you to the reality of popular music from the 70’s. To all of you I say, relax, it is what it is and has nothing to do with us. I am also sorry for the extremely long run-sentence two sentences ago. Back to the simple endearing name.......I always called Julie Lola when I was trying to be cute, well as cute as someone can be with a giant wig on his chin. I made a reference one day about possibly naming our baby girl Lola. Julie was not for the idea at first. A few months later, we went to a birthday party for Ashly Allen where we met a couple that just named their baby Lola. I don’t remember their names, but I do remember Lola. Imagine that. I then started the whole "it is not fair that they get to name their baby Lola and you won't even consider it" routine. I would not leave Julie alone about it until she at least considered it as a way to connect my two little princesses. That night, we arrived at home after the party and Julie said, "OK, here is the deal, if you put your hand on my stomach and say the name Lola and she moves, I will consider it." So, I put my hand on Julie's stomach and leaned in real close and said, “Lola”. We were not expecting anything since I hadn’t felt her move yet. Needless to say, it was the first time I felt her move. We both looked at each other like God himself had given us a sign much like the angel with Mary and Joseph only we were together when we got the message. I couldn't stop laughing and Julie knew she could potentially be naming this baby Lola. As all good signs from God, this one needed to be tested so Julie said, "OK, you need to do it again." At this point, I was so confident God had spoken through the movements of young babes, I said "Absolutely not, you said one time." Actually, I put my hand on her stomach, leaned in real close and said, “Lola”. I know God is hilarious because she moved again. I quickly said, “Hey Julie, how about if I put your hand on my stomach and you say six pack.” Hey, it might have been worth a try! At that moment, I tried to convince Julie that it should be the name. She stuck to her original statement (I was going to say stuck to her guns, but it sounded stupid) and said she would consider it. We talked to the boys and they really liked the name and then one day we all just sorta started calling her Lola. PRESENT We are now in the hospital with Lola. She finally decided to eat and open up her little eyes. I am writing stories. Julie is rearranging furniture in the room and bundling Lola. (not at the same time of course) The boys are with MeMaw and PaPaw at the mall who spent 12 hours getting here yesterday. Papa and Iowa visited last night and are working today, but my mom(Iowa - that is another name story for later) stopped by earlier to check in. Kristi, Julie’s sister, drove in last night to surprise Julie. Flowers arrived from our church and Julie's brother and sister-in-law. Kathy stopped by and said hello. We have been reading a bunch of comments on facebook, answering emails, text messages and phone calls. Thank you all for your humor, love, sincerity, attention to detail and friendship. Life is surreal right now and I like it that way. Sometimes it is good not believe what is actually happening….. FUTURE Only God knows…..


It has been five years since my last blog......

No really, I stopped blogging because I thought I was going to use my facebook account and just post notes, but that didn't work that well. Mainly, because I didn't feel like writing anything. I did write two notes on facebook that I will eventually copy and paste to my blog. Anyway, why did I start up my blog again. Well, a friend of mine started blogging for the first time and I decided to resurrect my blogging account. After a few times of trying to get it reinstated, I am officially back to the blogging world.

I suppose only time will tell how much I decide to blog this time. Since I am writing for a living now, it is either going to inspire me to write more or I may decide that I have written enough.

What is the moral of the story? I don't really know, but I guess that is the beauty of blogging.

Monday, November 28, 2005


What is that in my tooth? I can’t seem to shake it loose. It must be a piece of turkey left over from my dinner, not making me thinner, but I do feel like a winner. It is driving me crazy. I’ve gotta get it out. I need a toothpick. I need a toothpick. I need a toothpick. I need a toothpick. Does anyone have a toothpick?

“Son, calm down, I have a toothpick.”

Thanks Dad! But don’t you think it’s kinda sad
That in America with everything we have
Thanksgiving becomes and hums along with a brief once-a-year recognition
Like an ignition that we start up and turn off as soon as we warm up
To the idea that we have been blessed and no sooner do we forget
About those 799 million that go to bed hungry, every night, every night
Every night, we lose sight of the reality that we have the privilege to sit down at a table. Because I’m able, my family’s stable, I even get to sit beside Aunt Mabel.
Who’s been praying for me since I was a little kid, despite the things I did.

Well, dinner’s over and I’m full from my meal
So sit back, don’t relax, let me take a moment to reveal
The symbol of American comfort is a small wooden toothpick
Please pay attention my intention is for this to stick.

While we use a toothpick to remove excess food from between our teeth
Take some time this thanksgiving to help the person living under life’s table who’s willing to pick up what’s left beneath.

Monday, November 07, 2005


So anyway, just when you think you’re unique
You see another guy bouncing the same red dodge ball down the same street
Between his knees and his feet, Wait, we even got the same sneaks
Well maybe not, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.
Dodgy dodge balls in an a mirror like situation
Couldn’t even draw this one up on play station
But who knew that after Tai food we’d see another red dodge ball dude

Yeah, I am serious we just came out of the thrift shop
I bought a pair of pants, a shirt, some shorts and dodge ball to top it off.
I didn’t actually buy the ball, but I stood next to the guy who did
He’s a friend of mine nice enough to spot it, pick it up and buy it for his kid.

Ok so what the point of the story, your startin’ to bore me
The point is, as random as two red dodge balls on the same street may be.
Your only as unique as the guy standin’ next to me.
Bounce, Bounce, Bounce

Thursday, October 06, 2005


There is something about a root system of a person. There is something about a root system of an organization, family, neighborhood, business center, and a tree. Roots matter because they are connected to a history. History matters because it is connected to the present and future. Does God ever work in the present at the expense of history? Hmmmm.... Will God destory roots to build a new tree? My first thought is no. My second thought is no. And my third thought is no. So....what does it mean to live in the present in such a way that honors roots and history?

Root systems can be healthy and growing or infected and stunted. I think we all live with a certain amount of infected roots, but we also live with a healthy sense of who we are and where we come from......if we want to take the time to investigate.

I have been investigating my root system. You know things like what shaped my life into what it is, neighborhood, city, church, relationships, teachers, sports, college, wife, and kids. I began this thought journey about 4 years ago and it has come to a partial, but a more realistic realization in the last 45 days.

Recently, I moved my family back to Des Moines which is the mecca center of my root system. It is where I spent 18 years of my life in the same house, same backyard, same neighborhood and same city. It is where I attended two schools and two churches. It is the place that shaped my view of the world until I actually encountered the world.

I am now "coming home" with new ideas, new concepts, new perceptions, new dreams, new visions and new realities that will fuse with my root system. What does it mean when a person's life shaped by a certain root system is presently being reconnected to a old root system? I have no idea, but I am excited to learn how God wants to take my root system and fuse it into the realities of today for the sake of today and tomorrow. I am not sure what this is going to look like, but I am anxious to see what the "new tree" will look like.

Stay tuned as I write more about this reality......

Well, let me take a moment right now and write about one experience. I enrolled my kids in the same elementary school that I attended as an elementary student. Walking into those hallways after 18 years was a rather nostalgic experience. Same smells. Same look and feel, but different people. I actually had the opportunity to teach the students, teachers and parents during one of my Study Smarts workshops. It was a strange feeling looking out into the crowd and seeing some of the same teachers that taught me and some of the student faces resembling those of my friends. I came to find out later that some of them were actually kids of my old friends. How awesome is that?

What I learned from that experience is that if I leave a place well, I can always return to it with hope and high expectations. It really made me stop and thank God that despite myself, He allowed me to leave well so I could one day return and see different branches grow out of a root system that started some 30 years earlier. Roots and history matter.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Green Shoes Posted by Hello

"Hello Pastor Jeremy! Today is gonna be a good day Pastor Jeremy as long as I keep taking my medication Pastor Jeremy. God is good Pastor Jeremy. I am down to a few cigarrettes per day Pastor Jeremy. I tell ya Pastor Jeremy, God is watchin' out for me Pastor Jeremy. This HIV is killing me Pastor Jeremy. I just need to keep takin' my medication, right Pastor Jeremy?" "That's right Billy, you just keep taking that medication and rejoice in the Lord always." "That's right Pastor Jeremy."

I would like to introduce you to my friend Billy. Billy is a 55 year old black man who lives across the street from our church building in a "retirement center" for the mentally ill. Billy is a believer in Jesus and understands Jesus as his Lord. He always has a positive word to say, but struggles within the same conversations he has with himself on a daily basis. Billy includes me in his conversations and I am always happy he does. I am not sure what Billy's future holds for him, but I can tell you this, I will miss him when he finally goes home to be with the Lord. I see him around the city riding his 3 wheel bicycle. I get a little nervous for him, but he always seems to make it home.

Anyway, recently he made friends with a married couple at the Church of Hollywood Downtown who were only with us for a short time before they moved to California. He somehow managed to get their address and has been writing them now for over 6 months. Billy's basic needs are taken care of like food, shelter and clothing. I believe he receives $54.00 a month for spending money. He asked them if they would mind helping him with a new outfit. They agreed to send $50.00 and I agreed to take him shopping. Today was the day of our shopping spree.

I can only imagine the prayer. Lord, I know I am HIV positive. I know I am mentally ill and need to take my medication. I know I have a cigarrette addicition. I know my life could be better. I know You love me. I know I am a child of Yours. I would really like some green converse.........and God said yes.


Isn't it amazing that God journeys with us? He takes delight in every detail of our lives. I am sure He enjoyed the smile on Billy's face when he put on those new green shoes. I don't think this is necessary to state, but I believe Billy is a reminder to us all that God takes pleasure in blessing His children. Have you thanked Him lately?

Thank you Billy for believing!