Monday, December 18, 2006

But I Can Still Beat You Up

This cracked me up! In a byline on a story about men dying their hair....
"Rodney Cutler is the owner of the Cutler salons in New York City and an Ironman triathlete." Is that like, "I design a women's clothing line, and (but) I smoke a cigar and can bench press 5000 Lbs."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"...O Come Immanuel, And Ransom Captive Israel..."

More sad news coming from Israel in the midst of this season. In my heart I have a pull to go there this coming year.....all things considered, I'll have to think heavily and pray about it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Weather Girl

It’s storming outside,
With predictions of snow for tonight.
I look to the weather girl for company.
Soup or spaghetti for dinner,
Followed by beer or a Gatorade chaser.
Perhaps read, or watch a video.
Down the hill to work in the morning,
Do it all again tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pine Wood-Reflections for the Season: Blessing Misunderstood

Judy Benjamin: I think they sent me to the wrong place.
Capt. Lewis: Uh-huh.
Judy Benjamin: See, I did join the army, but I joined a *different* army. I joined the one with the condos and the private rooms.

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

At times in my life, I feel like I joined a *different* Christianity. I signed up for the one with the easy life, the easy answers, and the absence of trials. I look at Mary’s life and I’m pretty certain that I’ve missed the point.

For starters, you’re not married and you’re pregnant! And you are a virgin. First there’s the worry about your betrothed. And then there’s that small issue of the community you live in. People talk. How do you explain this one?

Get married, raise a family, make some money, and enjoy the neighborhood. Live out a long and happy life with your husband. That’s the usual plan, isn’t it? Not go up to Bethlehem, and have the baby in a manger. Then, on to Egypt, to escape Herod’s wrath. Finally, on to Nazareth. And for the rest of your life, many will say to your Son, “Where is your father? And whisper and say things behind your back. Virgin, yeah, right.

Finally, the natural order of things is for the children to bury the parents. The children shouldn’t go first. That’s appalling. To see your Son go before you; pierced through, crushed, chastened, scourged and slaughtered. Unbearable.

So how is blessing to be understood? There are a million things to say here. Perhaps blessing is first of all, knowing and experiencing Jesus. To grow to know Him in all His fullness and all of his glory. Secondly, on a much smaller scale, to count those obvious blessings. And give rich thanks to the Father who provides them all.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pine Wood-Reflections for the Season: Leah's Eyes and God's Sovereignty

“And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face…” I always took that to mean that Leah lacked fire in her eyes. And if the old saying is true, then fire in her soul was lacking as well. But Rachel was a fiery shepherdess who stole Jacob’s heart. Through Laban’s trickery, Jacob ends up marrying them both. But he always loved Rachel more.

But God, whose eyes are perfect, sees the whole story differently. And that’s what blows me away. He closes Rachel’s womb. Leah has the first four children. And kids three and four are Levi and Judah. So, from the least loved wife’s womb comes the head of the priesthood and the first of the tribe that Messiah will come from.

What struck me most was this: that God used Laban’s trickery to hook up Jacob with Leah. And from their union ultimately comes the Lion of Judah, the Messiah. May God give us eyes to see that:

It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Both Of Them Wild: The Heart and the Call

Just push it to the edge. Ever feel like that? Like there’s more to life, that you are wired for intensity; wired to go deeper? I had a flicker of that feeling again today while out running in the cold wind. That feeling that I want to push with everything I am-for something. That something that I’m meant for.

I think it’s my manhood calling. At times past I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Perhaps it even scared me a little. Yet I am pretty sure it’s meant to be there. For a long time, I suppressed it. Dillo is not supposed to be wild, or unpredictable, or intense. I’m not exactly sure where the wrong message came from, but I’m certain that I understood it correctly. So I suppressed it. Tried to bury the thing. But it kept coming back. And the life stealing messages kept coming too. From the wife who made fun of me when I would succumb to zeal, when I would share my heart at its deepest level. And from the old tapes inside my head.

A dear friend and fellow adventurer often reminds me of the words of Robert Service;

They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching-
But can’t you hear the Wild?-it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling…let us go.

And John Eldredge writes, “Like it or not, there is something fierce in the heart of every man.” It is good to be reminded of these things. And this day, this month, this coming year-I WILL allow myself to be wild, and to heed The Call of the Wild.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Day That Will Live Forever in Infamy

There was no warning that it was coming. Those in the know were surprised, but not shocked, at the attack. Should of known, though. There were the clandestine meetings with the enemy. Coded calls throughout the days and nights. The kisses and promises of no wrong doing. Then it came. On the heels of another big skirmish. The phone call that started (finished?) the whole thing.

“I made an appointment with a ‘crisis center’. You have to move out or I’m filing a Temporary Restraining Order.” Basically, she said you can either come get your stuff out of the house (you’ve got an hour) or I’m filing. Quick calls to the allied forces. They advised moving out.

Hind-sight. Shoulda seen it coming. Found out later, that one week later she was celebrating with the boyfriend at an expensive restaurant in the area. Three weeks after that spending a couple of thousand in Vegas.

I guess the attack was effective. I’m out of the way. Out of the house. He’s in it.

This day, too, will live forever in infamy.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


It's true; I'm an addict. It's Hugh Hewitt's fault. It ain't for kids. And there's cussing (LOTS of cussing) and prostitution and murder. And bicycles! ("My bicycle masters boardwalk and quagmire with aplomb.") It's kind of like seeing video of the book of Judges taking place in South Dakota circa 1877. But, unlike the book of Judges, God gets mentioned. For example, " Might think the Lord gives 2nd chances. Not on merit, necessarily, I ain't claimin that...What harm is there in believin that not takin the chance might be a confounding of His will." I'm working my way through the second season now. One more season to go. After that I guess I wait for the movie (s). Then what? Buy the soundtrack? Buy the whole flippin boxed set for each season and watch them over and over? Move on to another series? I hear Boston Legal is pretty good.....

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's a Shame

I hate to be, to be the one,
Who’s given up
And feels that all our hope is gone,
But what I thought was a miracle,
Just turned into the same old
Problem that it was.
(I) long for better days,
I’ve always been afraid….

It’s a shame, oh, it’s a shame,
That you’re throwing your whole life away,
It’s a shame, oh, it’s a shame,
I wonder if you’re ever going to change.

It’s a shame,
Ever since I can recall,
I have been so afraid,
Of losing it all.

What do you want,
Do you even know?
And is it worth the pain,
We all have to endure.

I long for better days,
I’ve always been afraid…..

You left me without leaving,
You hit me without swinging,
You took away without giving a thing,
Except for pain and sorrow,
I’m praying that tomorrow,
You will open up your eyes and see.

Words by Third Day

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pulling a Burt

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them….For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.-C.S. Lewis, “A Mind Awake”

The power of music. I’ve spent the week seized and obsessed with the soundtrack from Last of the Mohicans. I once had a roommate who would often play a single track from a CD over and over, driving my roommates and myself to madness. We still refer to such behaviour as “pulling a Burt”. So it is that I have got caught up this week. I think it’s a combination of moods; I am provoked to praise, to pray, to fight, to love and to meditate; all springing from the same well.

Similarly, it was Third Day’s song, “Cry Out to Jesus” that was instrumental ☺ in my breaking into tears, crying out to God and reassessing my life in 2005. Profoundly personal, profoundly powerful. But maybe I’m one of the few who gets so strangely obsessed. That being the case, I’ll write more later. I have to go “pull a Burt.”

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Whole World's On Fire

The soundtrack is one of my favorites. Finally saw the movie; Cora's got all the great lines: " The whole world's on fire, isn't it?"

"And it's not as I imagined it would be; thinking of it..... It is more deeply stirring to my blood than any imagining could
possibly have been."

Last of the Mohicans

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reformation Sunday-October 31

"Unless I am held back by force, or Caesar (Charles V) takes back his invitation, I will enter Worms under the banner of Christ against the gates of Hell."
--Martin Luther (of course)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Jelly Donut

Just got back from The Jelly Donut with Hailey*. It's a morning tradition on the days she sleeps over. Of course we could do a traditional, healthy, hearty breakfast of hot cereal, or eggs, or even pancakes. But there's something great about donuts. It's a celebration of America, isn't it? So it is that we celebrate this unique and long-standing American tradition!

We cruise into the parking lot and look to see who's there? The Jehovah's Witness lady wasn't there this morning; perhaps she's finally earned her way into Heaven (?). A bunch of the elderly crowd are there. But no "Recycle Bike Guy" or "Titty Man." Order the usual maple bar, glazed donut, and try a cheese danish. Should of stuck with the usual crumb. Next time. Hailey gets the usual small chocolate milk. I get their coffee as I'm desperate this morning as I ran out at home. Grab a table, eat and talk. In the car and off to school.

*self-chosen code name

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Driftwood 2- Passion, Preaching and Customer Service

“Man, they’re right over there. Read the labels and pick one. You’ll figure it out yourself.” You’ve cruised down to your local TJ’s because you’re having a big party and you want the perfect red wine for your guests. What you wanted was service and helpful advice. What you got was neither.
Alright, so you weren’t expecting a sommelier, but someone who was experienced and knowledgeable about wines would have been great. I have similar expectations when I go to church. I’m not expecting one of the apostles to do the teaching, nor even a Jonathan Edwards. But I do want someone who has given careful thought and consideration to the text.
I don’t think the sermon this week should sound exactly like the sermon last week; or last year. Nor do I want pleasant platitudes or someone’s view of current events. What I want to know is if you’ve wrestled with the text. Have you wandered through the wilderness and seen the burning bush? Or at least gone off to a quiet place and thought, prayed, sought and stayed until you had an insight.
One of my past pastors used to equate his teaching to bringing the congregation a meal. His thinking on the matter was that it should be prepared up and served up as exquisitely as possible. That’s my expectation when I go to church. The Psalmist said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, “and “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Tasting and teaching are qualities I hope for from a wine steward, and expect from the pulpit.

No Scar

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has nor wound nor scar?

by Amy Carmichael

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Okay, okay....coming off of a 60 hour (plus or minus) work week. Took a nap after I got home today. Time for dinner. All that to say; I'm not going to have time to dash off what I want to dash to come on Monday/Tuesday. Feel free to check in with me then......

Darn!-And This Blog Needs Drama Sooo Bad...

Went to drop off "H" at the ex-neighbors yesterday---kind of a DMZ between the real world and the house that the wife lives in. As I'm talking with the neighbor (Scott), the wife's boyfriend calls. Scott asks him if he wants to come down and meet with me. The "wild at heart" part of me really wanted to meet with the guy (Swords or pistols? Thirty paces?) but part of me obviously did not. As it turns out, the boyfriend chickened out (imagine that). Too bad. It may have made such good reading.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"We are met on a great battle-field of that war."

Came across this Dave Barry reflection while bouncing around the blogs today. Some years ago, Gettysburg inspired in me an interest and appreciation for the Civil War and the men involved in it. Yesterday, (9/11), I found myself still emotionally reacting to the memories of the day. So I thought it fitting to post this here.
EEE Gads! No new posts for almost 3 weeks! Computer went down, work got way too busy, life went on the fritz! Anyway, for all 3 of you who actually know this blog even exists---I promise new postings by Saturday night (at the latest). Possibilities to come-"Passion in Preaching-It's Good Customer Service" and, maybe.....Sydney's first public appearance. I know, now you want to know who he is, why he exists, and what his relationship is to Veronica.....

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Dream

Wow. I just had this vivid, technicolor dream in which I had a mostly verbal, slightly physical confrontation with the wife's boyfriend. I actually woke up surprised that it was a dream! Let that be a warning to me not to eat a ton of peanut M&M's before taking a nap!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Here's a picture from our vacation to Cirith Ungol. Would ya believe the Shell Shop in San Diego? And here's how we escaped from Mount
Doom. Really!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Driftwood 1-Nebuchadnezzar Gets Fired Up

Today’s sermon was from Daniel 3-The Fiery Furnace. The pastor made an interesting point saying that chapter 3 was not just an aside about being courageous. There is a symbolic reason that this story is inserted between chapter 2-the ruling kingdoms, and chapter 4, Neb’s humbling. It is that the Jews, and perhaps, Israel, are to remain strong and courageous as the heat is turned up.

Interesting also that, “Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.” Neb gets so fired up that all he can focus on is the destruction of these three guys. In turning up the heat, even his valiant warriors were destroyed by the fire intended for the three.

Do you think that a cease-fire would have calmed Neb’s wrath? Or given him a chance to chop more wood?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Syria Update
"Syria for the first time since the Yom Kipper war in 1973 has issued orders to the civil guard to prepare the bomb shelters in Syria for use in the near future. Is this a bluff or is the war about to enter a new front."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


"If 29 days into the war we were winning the rockets would have been silenced and we would not be evacuating Kiryat Shmona. Never in the history of Israel have we evacuated a city under fire. "
Call from Relatives

I got a message on my cell phone from my Aunt Lynn and Uncle Jack in Yonkers, NY. I’m not going to call them back. The main reason is that if I did call them back, the conversation would go something like this:

“Hi, Dillo, it’s your Aunt Lynn calling. Uncle Jacks on the other line. We talked to mom, dad, Sis, Steve, Karen and your dog, and they told us the news. So, how are you? Mom tells us you guys are separated. She ran off with the Tile man? Was he union? It’s so important that he’s union. Isn’t that right Jack? President Bush is anti-union.”

Jack says, “But pro Israel.”

“Israel, Shmizrale. Dillo, we only hope and pray you should be well and not to worry. Did Cousin Steve tell you my leg is swelling up? God bless Cousin Steve, he always calls to say hello. And how’s H? How old is she now? We haven’t seen her for so long; she’s probably all grown up already.
We know it’s probably painful having to think about all this. So what happened? Mom kinda told us; but we thought we should call and hear it from you. Anyway, there’s other fish in the sea. Do you know any other nice girls out there in California?
Anyway, we have a neighbor; what was her name Jack? Carmenita, may she rest in peace. I think she was catholic. Anyway, little Spanish girl; her husband ran off with his cardio therapist. She was all upset. Took off right out the window of the co-op. Nearly hit Jack’s car. We really need to move that car to a garage. You remember the car, Dillo? It’s still in great shape. Anyway, be well, not to worry. We wish you would have called. You know you can call anytime, since we don’t get out that much anymore; what with Jack being almost 100, and me and my leg and heart. Wish you could come out here soon again.
And what’s with Sis’ thyroid? She probably needs rest. She should come visit. You know, she and J- have never come visit us.
Take care and be well.”

“Yes, be well. All of our love.”

Monday, July 31, 2006


I looked down to see if I was bleeding.
Wasn’t sure if it was the cut going in or you pulling out.
So many lashes with your tongue-this wound wasn’t clean.
I looked down, not believing that you had slashed and twisted;
Without remorse.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I just returned from visiting good friends in Portland, where the weather was much cooler than I'm used to! Had a great time hanging out, drinking beer and listening to the Kung Pao Chickens .