Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silent night...

It was a nice service. Christmas eve 2008. We sang, we listened to the Christmas story unfold. We smiled and found our heart warmed by the thought of a baby in a manger some 2000 years ago. It really is amazing. A baby. God became a baby. Mary held him and marveled at the though of it, at the sight of it. And when the reading was over, there would be one more song. Silent night. By candle light. The room darkened except the two ushers candles in the front of the church. Two by two the candles in the room lit up filling the entire room with a golden and glorious light. We sang from our hearts and it was worshipful...beautiful. As the song ended, the pastor spoke so softly. "If you could not raise your candles. Place your hand behind the flame. Now gently blow out the candle." There was beautiful ceremony even in extinguishing the light. "Hold your candles and pause for one more moment." I was on the edge of my seat. Waiting...waiting for that last pearl of wisdom, some glowing reflection of the Savior's birth...something deep and meaningful. And then he said it, "It helps the wax to cool." I had been waiting for some last reflection - he was waiting to protect his carpet and upholstery!

I mean no disrespect. No minimizing of Christmas. But it is funny isn't it?

Carbon Footprint

I don't mean to be insensitive to the whole "Green" initiative. Afterall, I work for a liberal arts college. I went to greenbuild. I'll be LEED certified before summer arrives. Still, I can't resist posting this...must be my past!

Do you know this man?

I do. He wrote the book (literally) on 'high speed - low drag.' Around Christmas time each year, I like to visit the internet looking for Army buddies. I punched in a name and to my surprise, a photo came back. This photo. In fact, there were several postings with this image all over the net. It's kind of cool in a military sory of way. Hoping to stumble on a few old buddies, instead I stumbled on one who doesn't exist. Shhhhhh....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Now that I've held him in my arms

In the bible there's a man named Simeon. There's a lot of men in the bible. There are a lot of facts in the bible. We can all be religious, we can have a knowlege of God. Study the scriptures and interpret, or misinterpret as we desire. But somewhere in it all - if your faith becomes real - the knowlege melts into your heart.

In Luke 2:22 we can read the story of a man named Simeon. A knowegeable man. A man of God who spent all his time in the temple. He knew the prophesies, he knew the scriptures...and he knew something else. He knew that he would not die until he saw the birth of the Messiah. Simeon was an old man, a man who had lived a good life, and now a man ready to die. But his life was not complete, and so he waited. Waited day after day, year after year. God was not a liar, still the time passed so slowly. And then it happened. One morning he awoke as he had so many others. But this morning was different. God told him to go to the temple. His gaze caught them at once. A young and lowly couple with a baby.

They were unprepared for what happened next. The man approached with an anxiousness uncommon in any era. He moved as fast as an old man could toward them. They knew who their son was, but surely no one else could; still his eyes said it all - he knew. They had no fear, no concern, only curiosity as he reached, and Mary raised the child to his open arms. And then he said it, Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." Mary and Joseph marveled. Read Luke 2:33.

This evening, as I do so often when I consider Simeon, I'm marveling. Google says there are 6,602,224,175 (July 2007 est.) on the face of this earth now. Many more have died, and some undetermined number are yet to live. God cares for all of them. Six billion is a number too large to comprehend, but out of those many billion, he chose one. One man who would not die until he say Christ. One faithful insignificant man would hold Him in his arms, and then 'depart in peace.' My God, what a thought. What a thing to grasp. What peace he must have felt. what tears must have flowen from his eyes. And what wonder must have overcome Joseph and Mary.

If you get a second, listen to Michael Card tell the story...He's posted below

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A little snow (revised)

Who doesn't love a little snow? We're definitely having a white Christmas this year. And this? This is what I get for working late!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The auto industry -'s what I do! (Revised)

Family Friendly version...

A good friend of mine, note the comment section to see just how good a friend, corrected me. GM and Chrysler went for the bailout. Ford and the parts industry only endorse the bailout to save the US auto industry. What do you want - I only stole the image and edited out the potty word!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That's what friends are for

"I'd say it takes integrity at that point. Tears, and integrity."

We all have friends in life. Some are fun, some are supportive and some...some just share wisdom and profound truth as the move in and out of your life. I don't know that it's true, but I'm going to say that those kind of friends are the best. At least for today. Life is a challenge. Sometimes it's fun, exciting, thrilling. Sometimes not so much fun - in fact, there are aspects that are downright hard. And still, the right thing is important. Not becuase anyone sees...not because there's an example or a principal, but just because it's the right thing. And sometimes it hurts. That's where the tears come in isn't it. Standing firm and tall, bearing up under it, and shedding a tear or two. Tears and Integrity - Sounds like a Robert Fulghum title.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Airborne...still a leg

"It doesn't matter how many sky dives you have. Until you've stepped out the door of an airplane in total darkness at eight hundred and fifty feet wearing ninety-five pounds of equipment, and forty-two pounds of parachute, YOU ARE STILL A LEG!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Topping Out the steel (click me)

"Topping out" is the term used by ironworkers to indicate that the final piece of steel is being hoisted into place on a building, bridge, or other large structure.1 The project is not completed, but it has reached its maximum height. To commemorate this first milestone the final piece of iron is usually hoisted into place with a small evergreen tree (called a Christmas tree in the trade) and an American flag attached.

Traditions can be cool. As a constructor, I particularly like this one. But I have a better Christmas tree story. I know this guy, let's call him Bob to protect the innocent. Bob had a God event this weekend. He went with his family and his parents to get a Christmas tree. They were sucessful in their search, and having tied the tree to the van, my friend was about to leave. But what good Italian son would leave without saying goodbye to his mother? So walked over and gave her a big smooch (maybe I'm embellishing - but it's kinda fun!). Bob turned to see a woman pondering how she would tie her tree to the car. She was a single mom with no field experience in this area. A tough, self sufficient mom. But alas, a mom at a loss. So Bob not only tied the tree to the car, but he taught her how. Tie a tree for a woman and shell drive for a day, teach a woman to tie...oh, nevermind. As the chocolate on the pillow event, he handed each child an end of the rope through the window and told them to hold on tightly - they would play a critical role in the tree getting home safely. For his efforts, Bob got a priceless treasure...a heartfelt hug.

Only later did he learn that she determined to cut her own tree, and did. But had no idea how to tie it to the car - so she prayed. (remember the God thing). She prayed as my friend was hugging mom (his cheek is still pinched red), and God answered that prayer as Bob turned and summed up the situation. He thought to himself, "what would dad do?" Which is the same as, "what would Jesus do." And he did it. "Topping out the Steel" is cool, but topping out the mini-van is even cooler. I just hope there were enough joyful tears to go around.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the Mission Statement

Read the "mission statement." You'll understand why Steve is one of my favorite authors.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

There's always Hope

I don't know if you can see it. That little yellow dot on the right side of the porch roof. It's a sunflower. A tenacious seed that grew where it landed...on the roof of an abandoned, and now demolished house. I drove by this place for the longest time, and never noticed. And then one day I saw it, had to turn the car around and marvel with my family. What an odd place for a beautiful flower. What an amazing statement...especially in light of the election. For me, the outcome is disappointing. And it would be too easy to sink into the mire of it. But even in a a place with a questionable foundation, destined for destruction, left to neglect...there's always hope. Rembember what Obama says - that hope should be audacious. And before you leave, take another look at that sunflower and just smile!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Support our's what I do

It's time to get back to the "It's what I do" theme that originally made my blog famous amound my two readers. Usually I try and write to the middle of the road...but not today. In fact, you've read all there is for today...sometimes a picture is worth a thousand

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dancing with Cinderella

There's a tragic story here. The singer lost his daughter recently. You can google it if your so inclined. He had no idea what his words and actions would mean until that day. The loss of a young life is so tragic, but even more so is to be with that person and to have never known them. Too many times this song brings tears to my eyes as I sit in my chair and play littlest, my middlest and my biggest girls, one at a time will so often wander over and snuggle up in ways more cat like than girl like (how do their little bodies bend like that?!). They look at books, or play with barbies, or... and every once in a while they'll sing along, looking at me in such a wonderful way, "I danced with Cinderella..." As for me, Saturday I'm going to clean the living room, move the coffee table out and dance with Cinderella because "I know something the prince never knew."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A brush with greatness...

I wrote this on 8/5/07...more than a year ago...
As I grow older, but not old, I have these nostalgic moments. Moments when I consider the paths I've crossed with "greatness." Famous generals, a Nobel Prize winner, and in a funny way…Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s mysterious – upon my return from touring the Meyer May house in Michigan, I find myself not drawn to the man, but rather his ghost. Or is it the ghost of the house he’s created. It's not the man I admire. It's the work. His dream. His accomplishment. The Meyer May house was like his, it's in fact this country's opus for the man. It's restoration has made the house more than it ever was. For Frank Lloyd Wright, every project seemed was an opus; nothing was mundane or routine. I wish I had an hour to simply sit, alone, in the living room to study every nuance and the detail. To take it all feel the house, to experience the ghost. And eventually come to the conclusion that this was just one of so many.I'll never be a Frank Lloyd Wright, and I find comfort in that. Here a week after a 40 something birthday, I realize that instead of being disillusioned with my life – I'm really quite pleased with it. I’d love to have more…more friends, more wealth, more fun – the whole deal. But I really am happy. Two days ago...maybe it was even yesterday, there were so many thoughts I couldn't find time to articulate them. Today, even now, they've faded. But this thing hasn't...this feeling. There is some indescribable form of awe that exist in the shadow of greatness. It just has to be found.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama ?

Friggin' Moron

I loved this. There's a link up there if you love affiliation with me, it was just hard to find and I'm feeling helpful this morning! As for which candidate I may be referring to...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Camera loser (or the canoe trip)

Saturday 9AM we hit the water for a 9 mile canoe trip. My 12 year old and me along with the youth group. It was a great time! And I took dozens of amazing pictures...with a camera that had no memory card installed. Saturday I was a camera loser. It was hard work, and I'm feeling all of those muscles I rarely use. I also have a theory that when the operated on my neck, they didn't put all the pieces back quite like they originally were : )

I thought it was interesting...perhaps the last photo I didn't take was of my daughter's dance teacher. She inquired in a laughing tone, "so, are we going to end up on your blogsite?!" I think she meant it in a good way, but it did make me think. So Ms. KVK, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) you will not end up on my least not today!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

France. Could be many places in Europe, but this is France. A great friend of ours just returned with wonderful photos...and wonderful memories. The pictures were all great: Paris; the mountains; her friends. This picture however really delighted me. It's a church...actually a monastary I think. The architecture is amazing. Perfect lines, proportion, stone, arches and angles. All the classic elements. Each with a specific name, but to analyze the building by the textbook terms really would ruin the point. There's something comforting, something secure in the knowlege that some buildings stand the test of time. That some design is timeless. And that we're all human and connected, and that there are things like this building that bind us together in some intangeable way. I could go on for a long time about what this architecture makes me feel, but what would be the point? Enjoy the building and think about a good friend...and if you ask nice enough - maybe she'll extend the right to steal her pictures to you too!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This entry has no title. Somethings just stand by themselves. I don't know Tom well, but I would consider him a friend. There are some people in your life that you just connect with. I respect Tom...I'll let the obituary for his wife tell the story. If you don't get it, check your heart. And if you can't say this about your bride, it's not too late to start. Me - I'm starting again tonight...

"...She is survived, loved and admired by her husband of 50 years, Thomas Hussey..."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Next blogs and a few changes

This list is mostly for things to write about. It's been busy, and I don't want to forget.

-Breakfast with 5 girls, a man and his father
-Breakfast with another friend
-Homefries and onions
anyone seeing a theme here?
-Buildings (with a guest image from France)
-Traveling friends
-Brookgreen - this one may be a little too personal to put in a public blog
-Refining the Audacity of Hope entry
-Yowza (wonder if I spelled that one right)
-My first 'adult' childrens book "the mouse in the corner" (don't take 'adult' wrong)
-Why I write according to Chuck (he may be right)
-Trophy wives

Oh...I have a long list of places that have visited my site. It's kind of cool, but now I realize a misrepresentation. Some come on purpose, some find my site and linger, and some show up by pure mistake and leave as quickly as they arrive. I'll be thinning the list, and then only adding those places in that remain for more than a few seconds.

Audacity of Hope

I'll throw too many cards on the table at once. I guess it fits my personality...I don't play poker. The posing and the face and the charade of it. I'd rather just throw all the cards on the table and get it out there and over. Somebody wins...somebody loses. Poker really is a game about lying isn't it. It's not who has the cards, it's about what cards everybody else thinks you have. How did I get here?!

A "presumptuous" friend (good friends can be presumptious) gave me Obama's book. So, here are my cards. I don't trust Obama. I'm still waiting for the content behind all the spin to reveal itself. But then, how many politicians do I trust? I like George Bush - a lot. I'm not so sure about his politics anymore, but I like the man that he is. Principled, decisive...George Bush is a good man. I have another good friend who will support that...but his story if for another day. Back to Obama, I don't think I like the man, but I like the things he writes about. For one, "hope." Obama writes about things that are not poker like at all. Consensus, the little people and the little things that make all the difference. He writes in a very real sense. He writes about a world that doesn't have to have winners and losers. A world without Poker. A world where we're all working together to make each other just a little better.

I'm not sure I like Obama, but I like what he has to say...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

German is synonomous for "Friendly"

Let me share a dialogue with you...

To the project manager, "...this is the reminder for you to order one Kiosk from the "friendly Germans" at ADA height for the CTL kiosk..."

Interjected by the German architect, "German is synonymous for friendly and (friendly) does not have to be added or in quotation marks! From now on, if say the word German you will visualize a happy German couple dancing in traditional clothing and drinking beer." (See photo).

As for me, I have not yet met an unfriendly German, so I guess I have to agree! But more importantly, as I grow older (but not yet old), I'm blessed to have so many friends. Two of which are in the dialogue above. Life is good!!! Now, about that Belgium Beer?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A dark alley...

How would you like to run into this guy in a dark alley...or see him pull into your driveway on a quiet 4th of July. I grew up knowing the rumble of a Harley Davidson. Learned that a straight 1200 is never enough, that's why you overbore. I've observed that you don't do 80mph around curves when they're cutting silage, and that there are people who measure the calendar by the accidents that almost took their lives. But I also know that in many ways, they're an aweful lot like you and me. Problems with their kids, a little image conscious, maybe just trying to connect every once in a while. On second thought, I just might want to meet this guy on a dark night, especially if my car is broken down. He's a 1st cousin showing off his $1,700 paint job, and it was great to catch up after so many years. And I'll admit it, I really do like that rumble of of 1,560 overbored cc's of American Steel - how appropriate for the 4th of July!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A book?

Some day I'm going to write a book. It will probobally only be of interest to a couple dozen people, half of those I'm related to ; ) But it will be important to me...and to those people. I'll title it, The men in my life. Don't get it wrong - I'm not referring to anything homosexual - not that there's anything wrong with that (thank you Jerry Seinfeld). I'm thinking more along the lines of Proverbs 27:17 "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." As men, we need others to rely on, to strengthen and to gain strength from. Men to mentor, and men to mentor us. I've been blessed with those men, and someday I'd love to tell their stories. Some of those men have been with me for a lifetime...thanks Dad. Others, only days...thanks Kermet Remele. Others have remained for precisely the amount of time God has wanted them to. Thanks Gary and Chuck and Gene and Chip and Shane and... If you don't understand, you're missing out. And if you do understand, but don't open up to the "men in your life," you're worse than missing out. I know, I'm rambling!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Remembering...It's what I do

I wasn't in Vietnam, too young. Still, I feel connected to this, and any other war memorial - I take time for them. I served proudly and realize now that I was blessed to never see combat. I feel for the men who did, and I try and instill in my children a patriotism appropriate for the future. A respect for those men and women who have blessed us with our freedom at such great a cost. I don't think my youngest yet understands what the Vietnam Wall represents, but she will. What she did understand that day, is that these names are so important. I felt the photo on the left really illustrates what I want them to learn - to know. We may not be familiar with their names, but still we should honor them. Even if with just a fleeting touch of a 7 year old on a warm Memorial Day. And that guy on the right? I'll say a prayer for him tonight...for all of them.


The picture's fuzzy to protect the innocent, not because the photographer is lousy. All three of my little angels and their mother performed this night. Great coutumes, great routines, absolutely stunning. Michael Jackson has nothing on these girls...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

"Green" gone just a little too far

Balloons (or Gavi, what are you doing?)

Breakfast is a tradition in our home. Sometimes in - often out. We often go to this place that after the meal, the children get a choice of a toy or a treat. Hadassah and Eli choose something good or cool, but Gavi - Gavi picked a balloon. "What are you doing? Why did you pick a balloon?" I said, "there are so many things in the box." She was insistent, the balloon. Out the door we went.

I forgot to mention, this particular day was our anniversary...and mom actually joined us. She doesn't usually. When we got home, Gavi disappeared. And like magic, reappeared - balloon in hand, heart print facing forward. "Happy Anniversary!" she said. My heart melted. My middle girly chose her prize for us. What more can I say...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A blue suit faux pas

I was at a conference today. Off white pants, blue shirt (no tie) and dapper sports coat. I walked into the 'executive washroom,' and there they were. Three men, all in identical dark blue suits. 4 spots on the wall, three I stepped up, careful not to look at anyone...careful not to turn my head more than a degree either direction. But then, I always have this odd sense of humor, I couldn't resist, "Look at you guys in your matching blue suits, I feel under dressed to use the bathroom." Two of them actually laughed, and one said, "as long as you have the right tie - that's what matters." The third guy just left! I've never been one for etiquite...even in the bathroom!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ode to a scheduled Power Outage - A Haiku

Soft rain dripping? No!
Cool spring, Generators sing
Swish, spark, click, complete

Diplomacy...A game, or a way of life?

There's a great all day game called Diplomacy. There's also a way of dealing with others...again, it's diplomacy. And sometimes it's time to take a little breather from trying to do all the right stuff for all the right reasons and working hard to keep thing on an even keel. When I'm at that point I rely on my long term hero, Captain James T. Kirk...