Blah, Blah, Blah– Another Assortment of Randomness

I had all these great ideas about what to write for my blog post, but I’m feeling a bit under the weather at the moment, so I’ll throw several of ’em in and see what sticks.

My grandmother turned 93 yesterday and we celebrated today. I’m convinced that people back then were made better than they are now (just like everything else). She may not have her memory or know what’s going on all the time, but she’s a resilient ol’ gal that’s as likely to make it to 100 as anybody.

At the Church at Avenue South, the pastor talked about Sabbath and how we need the rest. If you go 110% all the time without ever taking any down time, sooner or later your body will remind you in not so subtle ways that it’s good to stop and rest. No one can go 24/7 infinitely without a break. Even Jesus took naps and periodically sought out places to be alone.

The Tennessee Titans may be reverting back to their old sucky ways, but my fantasy football team is 4-1 as of today. Last year, all the breaks went to my opponents, so it’s nice to finally catch a few breaks myself.

I don’t feel awful. I just feel a little stuffy and achy (with a slight fever), but I’m not the typical male who’s ready to have his last rites read. I’m hoping some Vitamin C and a good night’s rest will have me back and running at full speed on Monday.

My little kitten Peanut continues to crack me up with her crazy wild antics. She also continues to eat and poop like a racehorse (as well as almost literally grow leaps and bounds right before my eyes). She’s no longer the tiny thing I brought home from the shelter over 3 months ago.

I’m still holding out hope that next week will finally bring some actual fall weather where I can wear flannel and/or jackets. I’m way past done with sweat-inducing weather. I’m sure the people downwind of me are, too.

That’s all. Happy Sunday and have a great week!


More Music & Nostalgia

Today, I got a CD in the mail. Not a big deal. I’ve gotten a few of those over the years (understatement of the century to say the least).

This one was a bit different. This was an album by a band called Johnny Clegg & Savuka that my uncle introduced me to almost 20 years ago. I wish I could thank him again, but he’s no longer living. All I have left are the music and the memories. I can see his face every time I listen to a Grateful Dead song.

In fact, both my uncles on my dad’s side helped to instill in me a great love for music as well as inspiring me to broaden my musical horizons, a move that I have never once regretted.

For me, music is better than just about anything else at conjuring up old memories.

Whenever I hear a Julie Miller song, I’m immediately transported back to Union University circa 1993 and some great friends who really modeled what real Christian faith lived out could be. Not stuffy, pew-sitting faith, but vibrant every-day kind of faith that was honest and transparent.

I can hear any Phil Collins song and immediately feel the same way that I did as an 8th grader way back in 1986.  Heck, just about any 80’s song will transport me back to junior high/high school.

That’s what makes the musical aspect of worship so great. Music is the best way to trigger memories of God’s faithfulness in the past to remind you that He’s still faithful now.

I can still remember how my grandmother, long after she’d forgotten her address and the names of most of the people she loved, still able to sing the old hymns that were embedded deep in a part of her brain that Alzheimer’s couldn’t touch.

After all, music is the only expression that activates and utilizes every part of the brain. But that’s another topic for another day.


Time Machines and All That


I had a mini-marathon of Mad Men Season 6 tonight. Every time I watch that  show, I have a longing to be transported back to the 60’s and all the history that was in the making during those years.

There’s something  about retro and nostalgia that comforts me. Even if it’s from before my time, I’m still drawn to it.

I had an idea for a motel that I think would work. Each room would be completely furnished from whatever was popular and trendy from a particular year or decade. So, there might be a room dedicated to 1965 or to the 50’s. And there wouldn’t be any technology that came after in these rooms.

Maybe that’s a dumb idea, but I’d pay to see that.

Sometimes, I think I’d like to go back and sit and talk with people in my life who have passed on. People like my grandmother and two uncles on my Dad’s side. Both my grandfathers. My childhood friend. People that I at times took for granted and now wish I could spend time with.

This may be me repeating myself yet again, but don’t take those people in your life for granted. Don’t ever assume they know how you feel about them. Nothing brings more regret than unspoken words. People are in your life for a limited time and once they’re gone, you can never retrieve the time or the chances you had with them.

I know that scientifically time machines aren’t possible. But I still like the idea of them. I like reading stories and seeing movies about people who can travel through time. It just appeals to me.

I may not be able to go back in time or into the future, but I can be fully present where I am and not miss the moments God gives me. That’s the best I can do to honor those who are gone from my life.


A Beautiful Moment


I saw one example of Eucharisteo paying off today.  My mother and  were on the way back from picking up my grandmother from her assisted living apartment. We had Hank Williams playing in the car, hoping my grandmother would recognize the old music.

We got to the song “Hey Good Lookin'”, a song pretty much EVERYBODY has heard of at some point in their lives. My mom started singing and, lo and behold, my grandmother chimed in. I don’t know why that moment blessed me so much, but it did.

Out of all the great things that happened today– seeing my niece Lizzie’s joy in opening her birthday presents, being with family, driving home at night with the windows rolled down– that moment topped them all. In fact, I’d say it has hit the charts with a bullet for one of my favorite moments of 2013.

I guess I love that moment because I was able to slow down to catch that fleeting moment and savor it. I didn’t miss it like I’ve missed so many others because I was too busy looking back in regret or looking ahead with anxiety. I was squarely in that moment and seeing God at work right then and there.

My grandmother is 89 and her memory’s not what it used to be. I know she won’t live forever, as much as the 10-year old part of me thinks otherwise. I know no one I love lives forever. At some point, I will have to say goodbye to everything and everyone I love this side of heaven. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t relish in every moment I’m given. It doesn’t mean that I can’t build memories of moments that will carry me through the grief back to the joy.

I love my friends, whether they’re in my life for 15 minutes, 6 months, 2 years, or a lifetime. I know better than to assume every friend will always be my friend and will always be around. I also know that each person, whether family or friend, has left footprints in my heart and residue of their spirit in my soul, so that I am forever changed, more like Jesus, because of knowing them.

My prayer isn’t that people will look back and remember me as a really swell guy, but that they will look on the times they spent with me and reflect on how much closer to Jesus they are now because of my small part in their lives.

That’s all.

Things I Love 22: I Have Lots of These Because I’m Old

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It’s sobering to realize that that girl I thought was really cute was born around the same time I graduated from high school. That’s when the reality set in that I’m not a twentysomething (or even a thirtysomething) any more. But I can still be immature as long as I want.

There’s no graceful way to segueway into my list, so I’ll pretend that the first part of this blog doesn’t exist. On to #586.

586) Last minute invitations to birthday (or other social) gatherings, especially if they’re anywhere near downtown Franklin.

587) The coolness of  the night air after an unexpected rain.

588) In God’s economy, nothing is ever wasted– no bad choices, no mistakes, nothing.

589) In heaven, love and not gold is the standard of currency.

590) That I’m still adding songs to my iPhone’s growing playlist.

591) Getting to sleep in tomorrow because it’s a holiday.

592) Not being afraid of the loud firework noises anymore.

593) Casablanca on blu ray.

594) My newly discovered social skills.

595) Having the privilege to pray for family and friends and knowing that prayer will avail much.

596) Both the 1974 and the 2013 versions of The Great Gatsby (though I prefer the older version slightly).

597) True redheads.

598) Having to show my driver’s license to prove my age.

599) Real accountability and transparency.

600) Getting handwritten letters in the mail.

601) All the Lord of the Rings movies (though the books are still better).

602) Taking pictures at Radner Lake.

603) Seeing what everybody else posts on pinterest and instagram.

604) Making people feel welcome and a part of the group.

605) California seedless raisins.

606) Peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

607) Doing my small part in recycling.

608) Being on the ultimate winning side.

609) Knowing that one day there will be no more politics and no more need of anything political.

610) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

611) Walking in the rain.

612) Watching a beautiful girl who doesn’t know she’s beautiful.

613) Being able to appreciate beauty without feeling the need to possess it.

614) A good neck and back massage.

615) The way my grandmother’s nails felt when she used to scratch my itchy back when I was little.

616) The smell of eggs and bacon in the morning.

617) Seeing a sunset from above the clouds.

618) My Starbucks friend who may not be the tallest person but who has the biggest heart of anyone I know.

619) Every time faith wins out over fear.

620) Only having 380 more to go.

Things I Love 10: I’m Not Even Close to Being Done With This

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Everybody sing with me,”This is the list that never ends, and it goes on and on my friends.”

As we come to part X of my list of things I love, it does seem like it will never end. But trust me, it will. We may both be in our 80’s by then, but I will finish this list one day.
So continuing with #214:

214) People who actually respond back to my texts and posts.

215) Fridays.

216) When my cat wakes me up in the middle of the night by jumping on my bed and purring loudly in deep contentment.

217) Old Warner Brothers cartoons.

218) When I remember someone’s name after only meeting them once.

219) The corned beef and cabbage at McCreary’s Irish Pub.

220) That with God all my past sins are forgiven and forgotten.

221) Reconciliation of relationships.

222) My grandmother’s banana pudding.

223) Answered prayer.

224) Seeing the amazing transformative power of God at work in my life and in the lives around me.

225) Cheesy 80’s movies.

226) The good feeling from being in shape physically.

227) Remembering a good dream.

228) Finding money I didn’t know I had in the pockets of clothes I haven’t worn in a while.

229) Being in the know.

230) Singing along with a good song on the radio.

231) Trying new foods at new restaurants.

232) That Jesus knows my name and always knows where I am.

233) A good, thick biography. The thicker the better.

234) Alan Thicke. Why not?

235) Hearing an old song I had forgotten about and having long-buried memories that go with it come back to mind.

236) Coma-inducing Southern sweet tea.

237) When I know for sure God is speaking to me and I am still enough to listen.

238) Randomly bursting into song in public for no good reason.

I’d love to hear some of the little things that bring you joy. I might even stealborrow them for future Things I Love blogs.