here's a story (click here and click here) that i've followed very closely, because this family is dear to my families heart. the amount of grace and forgiveness pouring out from this grieving family is an extraordinary example of God's love for us. i honestly don't know what else to say, besides that i wish more people would live like this, during the good times and the bad.



i walked off the field,
16 years old, totally expecting be back the following year,
but things don't always work out as expected.
and so, just like that, it was over.

he grew up watching me.
good, bad, whatever.
he was there, trying to match.
little does he realize just how far he surpassed my achievements.

i remember sitting there,
watching a team of little feet running around in circles,
but he always knew where he was going.
the feet grew bigger, the circles straightened out,
but he always seemed to be one step ahead of the curve.

as he grew up, the others got older, bigger, stronger,
suddenly more talented.
but he kept his cool,
he knew his time would come.
through a handful of coaches
and countless errors and losses,
he sat there, observed, studied, learned.

then, like i always knew would happen, his day came.
many, many days in fact.
years of waiting, years of frustration,
years of anticipation and years of hope.
he was in, he was a leader,
he was prepared and he was amazing.
he taught me to care about the game again.
he reminded me of all i love about it.
he asked my opinion, i gave my advice,
but i think he knew the answers all along.

so, yesterday, he played like he's played for so long.
like he was always meant to play.

he played hard. he played well. he lead.

he was challenged, he challenged back even more.

he played like anyone would want to. he dominated.

he played with heart, he played the right way.

he was thanked by coaches and parents.

he was hugged by his fellow teammates.

perhaps, most importantly to me, he made me proud.

proud to say that i'm his brother.

proud to say he was the best i've ever seen play the game.

sometimes things do work out as expected.

and just like that, it was over.


153 New Critical Objects

with wrath and love...
why do we do the things we do?
why do you run, jonah...
was it really worth it?

a/c unit humming, cell phone buzzing...
how far have we come?
why are we still afraid?
do we not learn from our own history?
are we forgetful...
memories jumbled...
out of whack...
do we feel immune?
did you get the medicine...
pills... drugs...
antidote... liquor...
paperwork is piling up,
kids are screaming,
cell phone still buzzing,
dinner date, happy hour,
tee time and pta...
we've all got someone to satisfy.

why do we fear death?
i suppose we all feel ill-prepared.
not ready to meet the end...
but since when is it our call?

tick-tock, tick-tock
bugs flying around...
whose cell phone keeps buzzing?
imprefections and do-overs...
scratch outs, back spaces and white out.
and we're the fortunate ones!

to be the bird...
or the life of a dog...
instead human, but awakened
from our collective slumber.

reality but a single line...
no one to win over...
to suck-up to.
no bills, no late fees...
no overdraft protection...
no cell phones ringing...
just the end.

just the wrath, just the love
all i am , all we are



just thought i'd throw this out there...

God Grief

this was not written by me (which i'm sure you'll figure out shortly), but the thoughts david crowder creates are amazing. read, contemplate, apply if desired...

"there are some deaths, which upon occurance, arrest the considerations of the public at large. there is something concerning them - be it the public visibility of the individual, or the curiously unusual or wholly universal circumstances surrounding the death - that coerces our eyes and empathies in their general direction.

for me, the first cognitive recognition of this phenomenon was while sitting at the bar with my wife at the red lobster in waco, texas. we were waiting on a table. it was september 1, 1997. the televisions scattered around us announced that an english princess had died. grief ignited. a planet wept. and i cried right along. sitting there with cheese sticks and a dr pepper, i cried. which was weird; i didn't even know the princess.

the new york times reported that the posture of the massive crowds of mourners appeared to hold "something more latin than british... the intensity of people's words and actions; a largely protestant culture that epitomizes restrain and values privacy was galvanized by a need to display its powerful emotions publicly"1

as a funeral procession advanced through the corridor of overt grief that lined kensington high street winding toward westminster abbey, we joined the crowd through television sets and radio broadcasts, newspapers and magazines. physical distance overcome by empathetic proximity, or the transferable nearness of emotional presence. our conversations became occupied with the grieving of a stranger. death bringing unity. uniting us. pulling us together. if only to bewail someone we did not really know. in excess of a million bouquets, garlands, sprays of flowers, cards, and signs bearing our sentiments lay resting in front of royal palaces. questions came from the mourners: how could someone attempting such good die so dreadfully in twisted metal and concrete? did it have to come so unforeseen and immediate? was this real? was she really gone? how can she be gone?2 their princess who would never be their queen.

within minutes of four pistol shots being fired outside a new york city apartment located at the corner of seventy-second street and central park west, crowds gathered outside the historic dakota residence and the roosevelt hospital mourning the death of john lennon. there was columbine. there was oklahoma city. there was another new york day, in another september of a more recent year - more twisted metal and concrete. more crowds. more collective tears.

there are these moments when we all cry at once.

you know how sometimes in the middle of the summer when rain has been scarce and the sun has been hot, the ground dry and cracked, and a storm hits? the water comes fast and in torrents, sounding its arrival with claps of thunder and cracks in the sky. it's all too much for the soil to hold, and then suddenly, violently there is a flood. grief arrives with this force. it is itself a force, coming on unstoppable, leaving no one safe from it. once upon a time, we almost drowned from the grief of God.3

1 the new york times, september 7, 1997, internalt. ed.: 1.
2 kurt fosso, buried communities, p. ix.
3 Genesis 6:6-7


while people here in san antonio may dislike the phoenix suns, it's hard to dislike steve nash. afterall, we're the team who gave him the bloody nose and hip check into the scorers table (with a bit of acting by nash). nash is a scrappy canadian, a fan of universal health care and a protector of the environment.

"steve nash, the two-time most valuable player, released a commercial tuesday, which was earth day, promoting his new nike sneaker, the "nike trash talk," which is made of recycled materials.

nash's production company, meathawk, produced the spot, which features nash as the "$60 million man" and plays on his numerous on-court collisions.

"i'm the first athlete ever to wear a recycled high-performance shoe," nash said, "and since today is earth day, i created a viral commercial for the shoe. filmmaking, obviously, with my production company, is a passion of mine, and the environment is a passion of mine, too. to put the two together is a lot of fun.""
-mike monroe, san antonio express news


Music For The Ages

in 2002, author michael azerrad wrote our band could be your life. this book chronicled 13 indie bands from the '80's that compromised the musical underground. bands such as: the minutemen, mission of burma, sonic youth, big black, etc. azerrad felt these bands were a direct response to the likes of def leppard, tesla, bon jovi and other 'mainstream' bands. in an interview, azerrad was asked to speculate on the differences between a kid who went to a black flag show at the moose lodge (read: small venue) and a kid who went to a van halen concert at the forum (read: large auditorium) on the very same night. here is his response:

"obviously, the kid at the black flag show is a bit of an independent, investigative thinker. he or she probably had to read about black flag in a fanzine, and he or she can look past glossy production to see the gist of a band. that takes a certain independence of thought and a leap of imagination. someone who makes their way to a black flag concert in 1981 is obviously different then the kind of kid who's at van halen, because the van halen kid only reads mainstream publication and listens to the radio, so that's all he knows. for the person who goes to the black flag show, music is probably more important to them. but that's not a value judgement about them as a human being."

but isn't it? how can you tell me that the kid who goes to the black flag show appreciates music more because he had to do more research? while it's very possible that these two hypothetical kids like black flag and van halen for completely different reasons, isn't it also completely possible that they like these bands for the exact same reason too? and that reason would be, because in their minds they are saying "these guys freaking rock!!!"

bottom line is, it's up to the individual listener. if they think it rocks, then it rocks. below are some examples of music that has 'rocked' my life:

guns n roses - appetite for destruction - 1987 - i got this cassette for Christmas, and it changed my life forever. instantly, i feel in love with it. it rocked! i had no idea what any of the songs were really about 'til years later. to me, the meaning of the song was, and still is unimportant - what's important is the childhood memory of listening to and loving rock n roll.

bon jovi - new jersey - 1988 - i loved this album because it was almost tough enough to be rock n roll - but my sister liked it - so that combination made it cool. side note about my sister's (jennifer's) musical taste - she use to have an entire wall in her bedroom full of new kids on the block pics cut out of tiger beat and bop! so perhaps my memory of her taste in music is a bit off, but bon jovi still rocks!

alabama - mountain music - 1982 - i borrowed (without asking) one of their cassettes from my aunt toni years ago - this instantly became my favorite country group - i even went as far as to imagine that my friends and i were in the band. random side note of aunt toni...my family use to frequent a bar called the outdoorsman...that's right, a child in a bar, big whoop. it was more of a living room than a bar. anywho, i use to love playing shuffleboard, but before she "allowed" me to play, i had to sit on her lap as she played survivor's eye of the tiger on the jukebox...and i'd have to sing every word to her beforehand. in my childhood memory, this situation occured approximately 487 times, but in reality it was probably closer to 2. gotta love a child's imagination!

fine young cannibals - good thing - 1989 - back when my cousin mary katherine was an infant we all (jodey, susan, jacob, amy, kyle, mary katherine, jennifer and myself) piled into the burkholders surburban and headed for lake lbj. about halfway into the drive, good thing comes on the radio... instantly everyone gets "sleeping baby" excited. you know, when there's a baby sleeping, but you want to celebrate and make noise, so you bounce around in excitement without making any actual noise. well, during the chorus, there is repetitive clapping in the song...well, guess who doesn't know how to "sleeping baby" clap...yours truly. needless to say, i was excited, clapped as loud as possible, and woke up mary katherine. to this day i can't hear that song without bringing back memories of evil looks i received after waking a sleeping child...and perhaps this is why i can't clap on beat.

c&c music factory - gunna make you sweat - 1990 - a quick hit and off they were, but gunna make you sweat (everybody dance now) was a hit at an imporant time in my life. see, girls liked c&c, i liked girls, thus i liked c&c - everybody dance now!

screaming trees - sweet oblivion - 1992 - this was the first CD i ever bought (read: that i convinced my mom to buy me, thanks mom!)...and to this day its still one of my all time favorite albums. just opening that CD case for the first time. i can still smell the way the disc, plastic case and paper lyrics & liner notes smelled for the first time. i will never forget that smell.

hum - you'd prefer an astronaut - 1995 - i will always attribute this album to my last boring, jobless summer. i listened to this album practically every single day that summer. i'd sit at home, pop that cd in the stereo and play TPC golf all day. occasionally i'd switch it out for the nixons- foma - 1995 - but i always went back to my favorite. another random side note: my friend joe use to have a band in college up at baylor called identikit. my friend rick and i went up there a couple times to check them out, party, etc. everytime we saw them live, they played a song called stars, by hum. i had always loved this song...it was by far the best song on the album (and is now in the new cadillac commercial with kate walsh (the red head) from grey's anatomy and private practice). one night after his show i asked him why he decided to play a cover of stars over any other song. his answer blew me away at the simplicity of it. "because it's a cool song". i suppose that the point of this entire blog. if the listener thinks it's cool, the it's cool.

tripping daisy - i'm an elastic firecracker - 1995 - reminds me of my junior year of high school...and i can't listen to nada surf - high/low - 1996 - without recalling countless memories from my senior year. in fact, i'm sure if i tried hard enough, i could probably find an album that would sum up practically every year of my life...trip along...

one of my favorite movies of all time, high fidelity, introduced me to a couple bands that i instantly fell in love with... belle and sebastian - tigermilk - 1996 - and the beta band - the three EPs - 1998 - now, i probably never would have heard of these 2 bands if it wasn't for this movie, so that is just an added bonus to an already great movie. quickly, high fidelity is a movie about love, music and the love of music...plus john cusack is in it, so it can't be that bad, right. unfortunately, bands like belle and sebastian and the beta band would never be played on the radio in san antonio, except for perhaps during an obscure 3am hour on trinity university radio, krtu.

dashboard confessional - the places you have come to fear the most - 2001 - somewhere there is a teenage heart being broken, and they will listen to dashboard on repeat for the next 3 years straight. also, somewhere there is a 20-something screaming dashboard 'infidelities' at the top of their lungs in their car for reasons long forgotten...

bottom line is, you like music just because you do. you may not even know the words the the song, but that doesn't mean you're aren't justified in telling people just how amazing that certain track is. let's put it this way, i love radiohead. they're possibly the one of the best bands i've ever heard. in fact, if in some weird experiment i had to choose only one band that i could listen to for the rest of my life, it just might be radiohead. but i could never love radiohead as much as i love guns n roses. the reason i could never love radiohead as much as i love guns n roses is because i can never be 8 again. radiohead is not an extension of my life like guns n roses was. and no band ever will be. that kind of random mystical connection can only happen during those terrible, magical years of adolescense...when i could somehow convince myself that w. axl rose understood me, even though i didn't even understand his lyrics. i can't tell you the last time i listened to their 'appetite' album...and i don't know if i ever will again. but i can tell you that music is all about preference and experience; whether it be black flag or van halen, radiohead or guns n roses.

i could probably keep going, and perhaps someday i will... but i think i've walked far enough down memory lane for now. i'm pretty sure just about everyone has a list of songs and albums in their head that "rock" and that they can tie to a certain time, age or event. feel free to share... i may not be able to sing well or be talented enough to play a single musical instrument, but i love talking about music. welcome to the jungle...

Human Footprint

ever wondered how many tons of garbage americans dispose of each year, or in one's lifetime? how many plastic wrappers, bottles, soda cans, diapers, etc. are thrown in the trash? how about how many gallons of water you'll use taking showers over your lifetime or how many toothbrushes and tubes or toothpaste you'll go through? well, believe it or not, i always have! that kind of rather useless knowledge fascinates me. (you can ask katy, i usually annoy her by watching shows like this in bed while she's trying to fall asleep.)

well, the national geographic channel has hooked me up! they have a new show called Human Footprint that addresses just that, along with ways we can modify our lifestyles some as to be kinder to the planet (and perhaps our pocketbook) in the process. below are a couple short videos showing clips from the show. check it out...and perhaps think about what you can do. buying the cloth, reuseable grocery bags rather than all the disposable plastic bags would be a good start.


Revive Us

the paragraph below was written by my pastor (jeff harris) last week. it's something that has been on my mind for quite sometime, but his example hits the nail on the head.

"I was caught in traffic the other day and saw some window stickers on the back of a truck. Behind the passenger side was the picture of a little boy kneeling at a cross. Behind the driver side was the picture of a screaming boy with the caption that said, “Life is short, party naked.” I am no longer surprised that in our world both of these sentiments are expressed and lived by the same people. We seem to have a two-tiered view of our lives. We love Jesus and yet we see no disconnect in living ways that are contrary to Him and His way. I recognize this in my own life and yet I still see it as problematic—a clear dissonance—but to the emerging culture these are not seen as conflicting or problematic, only that’s just the way it is. Our view of following Jesus has been mixed into our cultural norms and we have adapted Christ to us rather than conforming to His image and shaping the world around us. We kneel at the cross on one side and “party naked” on the other and it’s all portrayed as a composite whole. The confusion of what it means to follow Christ gives way to a confused message and a confounding lifestyle."

i guess for some reason people feel they can just make up His rules as they go along...deciding which ones are important and which ones can just be thrown to the side...because they don't apply to them. believe me, i know...because i lived many years this exact way (and i guess in some ways i still do). now, in no way am i passing judgement (don't judge lest i be judged, right), i'm just trying to point out the obvious...and that is that mankind as a whole is selfish and hypocrital.

below is a chart pointing out just that. this information was provided following extensive research by the barna research group. what it showed really suprised me.

like i said, when i first saw these numbers, i was shocked. how could so many people who call themselves Christians have so many "unChristian" qualities in their lives? now, the things listed aren't just "little nothings" either, but huge lifestyle choices. like pastor jeff said, our views of what it means to follow Jesus and what society calls normal have mixed together. people are picking and pulling which characteristics Jesus calls us to live and applying to their lives only the ones that are convinent...merging with the traits that will cause the least amount of resistence amongst their peers...the ones that make them feel good. like my buddy wes said the other day, "this isn't burger king. you can't have it your way". so why do we all think we can?

another interesting insight on the chart above... if you notice, 93% of Christians think it's wrong to use the 'f-word' on broadcast television, but less that half feel that cohabitation and sexual fantasies are wrong. what an age we live in... an age of convinence...revive us...


Extended Warranties

this morning, as i drove into the parking garage at work, my odometer on my new (used) car rolled over to 36,000 miles. (actually it more changed than rolled... gotta love digital technology). for some reason i always get excited to see my vehicles odometer change to a 'milestone' number. this one was extra special, or at least i thought, because 36,000 miles seems to be the mileage that many vehicles original factory warranty is voided. that's when i got to thinking that as common and sad as extended warranties have become, they're pretty much a common practice for peace of mind.
"what if life came with an extended warranty!", i thought. wouldn't it be nice to think that if something happened to you in your life, it would all be 'covered'? what a fun thought, but what's the point, it's just not possible. i put the car in park, took one more look at the three zeros, turned off the engine, grabbed my bottled water and exited the car.

as i was walking from the car towards the building something dawned on me, life IS just like an extended warranty. extended warranties always sound all inclusive, like EVERYTHING is covered, but once you try to cash them in, there often seems to some sort of loop-hole, something that broke is still not covered, or some extraordinary deductible.

isn't that just like life? when something small happens, no problem...simple fix and you're on your way again. but when something large strikes, it's not that easy...you're left there fighting, wondering why this thing happened to you. what did you do to deserve this? it's proof that you can have all the preventative maintenance you want, but you're never prepared for the big one to strike. is your extended warranty paid in full?


From Anger to Love

something happened today... my heart broke... and i learned to love. years of frustration, pain and anger were washed away through one glance at a confused man's face and a stream of tears. years of disconnect, countless times of disappointment and multiple heart-wrenching conversations with incredibly supportive people...those emotions were suddenly gone... the slate was wiped clean. an all-to-alarming and eerie phone call and one look at that deer-in-the-headlights face and all barriers were broken. the helplessness, the confusion, the honestly, it was all there in him...and it was so painfully beautiful.
now the road ahead is a long one, and there will be many bumps along the way. there's still frustration...but it's not directed at him anymore. he's been forgiven...finally... and it was way too long in the making. no, the frustration is directed towards others... those who stand in the shadows and allow him to walk this path alone... those who are afraid because they fear they're next... those who fearfully and foolishly go about their excessive lifestyle, hoping that life doesn't catch up to them... those who know who they are, but turn a deaf ear... i pray that their eyes will be opened, their heart will be broken and their arms will reach out.

i learned so many things today from an involuntary act of one man. the greatest lesson of all was of course, love. i love you dad...


Hoops of Hope

"The United Nations estimates that every 14 seconds, somewhere in the world, another child is orphaned by HIV/AIDS. This means that each day over 6,000 children join the 15 million children worldwide who have already lost one or both parents to this disease."

now, here's proof that one person really can make a difference. check out these 2 short videos about a now 13 year old kid named austin who decided to do something about this and that he could be the difference. starting at the age of 9, he began a now worldwide organization called hoops of hope, and over the last couple years this organization has raised enough money to build a high school and 2 hospitals in zambia, africa; one of the countries hardest hit with AIDS and poverty.


Good Times and Milky Twilight

last night i had an amazing conversation (actually i more listened to an amazing converstation more than participated, but that's neither here nor there) with 2 of my favorite people in the world, kyle and ryan. first, we played soccer (or some derived african form involving 2 bricks) then went to starbucks to enjoy some sort of highly caffeinated sweet green tea iced drink and each others company. what happened from there was all of the following: awkward, theraputic, painful, calming, cooling, entertaining, comical and educational. i'm not sure how, but everytime i leave a converstation with them, i always come away feeling like i understand my self a little better through their words, stories, insight and examples.

i also realized last night that i am weak. i'm in constant need of God's strength to see me through everything. i trust Him, but sometimes i hold things back...try to take care of things myself...as if God needs a break from me and my baggage and struggles. do you ever hear something over and over, but it's not until you want to open your ears to the words that it completely makes sense. well, that was me last night. while talking, i realized that i have baggage that i wasn't ready to let go of yet. it wasn't huge, but sometimes it felt like a boulder pressing down on my shoulders.

God, i give it all to you.
i know You want it,
and i'm ready to hand it over.
Thanks for Your unconditional love.
I pray that one day i'll learn to always trust you.
it's funny how a conversation that originally had nothing to do with me made such an impact in my life. kyle, thanks for always finding the words to put someone's mind at peace, to help find comfort. so many times, you don't even realize what a wonderful example you are of Jesus. The life you lead is a testament to Him and an example for everyone. and ryan, thanks for being my brother, for sharing, listening and understanding. thanks for your huge heart and for loving those who most of us have forgotten to love. i hope to be more like you someday.


No Contest

proof that you can't run from your past.*

*while that phrase may be true, this photo is not. believe it or not... an officer with a mustache has never arrested me (officer haley was mustache-less), i've never dated a redhead with a blurry face and i've never driven a mustang. that being said, i did use to have a pager, i think i still have jeans that color in the back of the closet and that members only jacket looks very familiar...