Saturday, November 17, 2007


My wife is here. Life is complete.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He Loves Me

Life is a sermon. Every incident, every detail, every nuance has a purpose and a meaning. I do not know why some things happen but I also do not believe in accidents. Not for the Christ follower anyway. The problem is that I do not know where that leaves me. A little girl that I have been praying for because she had Leukemia died this week. Did God cause that or did God simply allow it? It has to be one or the other. There does not seem to be a third option. What happens and is not caused by God is allowed by God. I like to know which it is but I seldom do. So I sometimes fool myself and pretend that I know. But God is too big. His ways are too high. And honestly, I usually do not know.

So I trust.

What is my part in the sermon? In the sermon you hear. You. The person reading right now. Do I have a role in your life because if I do not .... why are you reading? Am I good news or bad news? Am I a parable or a bullet point? Maybe I am the bad example. I cannot know. I can only be and do and try. I can only seek and see and respond. What becomes of my words and my actions when they leave me and enter your "zone of awareness" is beyond my ability to control or even know. It is out of my hands. How many times have I seen my best intentions become broken wires refusing to make a positive connection? Too many times to count.

Few things in life are as simple and clear as they should be. But this much is. God is good. God is strong. God loves me. God loves you. There is more to fear than fear itself. Much more. But it becomes a mute point when God speaks. In the presence of the voice of God there is nothing to fear. His voice says, "Peace. Be still."

The wind still rages outside my glass wall. I suspect it will for the duration of my stay in this building. It is midnight and I can still see white caps far off into the darkness. I watched those waves today and I understood that God keeps a running count of them. He watched every snow flake that fell this afternoon. He counted and maybe even named the hailstones that pounded the head of the lady I saw run across the parking lot. And through it all He still never took His eye off of me. Or you. And He will not. Ever.

That is why I can close my eyes as I hover some ninety feet above the earth, up where the wind takes a second breath and comes around to give you more. That is why I can sleep though I know people in pain over the loss of a nine year old child to a sadistic, evil disease. That is why I can smile, laugh, dance and even sing when I am not in the shower. He loves me.

He loves me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lake Erie asked me to remind you ...

Tonight there is this amazing wind blowing in off of Erie. My patio door is just howling! I just got up and turned on the fan over the stove ... which is in my living room/bedroom/dining room/den combination. The fan drowns out the wind noise. I was sitting in the dark with the blinds open and my binoculars trained on a ship out miles from the shore. How in the world do guys stand it? I can't imagine what it must be like out there. The waves are hitting the concrete retaining wall with the walkway above it across the lawn from our building and EXPLODING at least 15 feet into the air. I wish it was daytime so I could get some pictures. It surely reminds me of the strength and might of God. I would hate to be walking along that sidewalk right now.

You cannot look at this scene and not think back to that stormy night when the disciples were trying their best to row across the sea and along comes this scary figure that turns out to be Jesus walking on the water. You know what? I worship Him because He walks on water. But I also worship Him simply because He has the courage to take the stroll in the first place! I love water. I love it in the shower. I love it in a jacuzzi. I love it in a cup with ice. I love to look at it from the shore. But I'm really not so hot about being out ON it. I swim like a chunk of concrete only with less style. So I'm not stupid enough to tempt gravity while splashing in the ocean. Or the lake. Or a deep swimming pool for that matter.

Jesus MADE the ocean and the lake. He chose the course for the Mississippi River in St. Louis and He lay the foundation for Lake Erie and the rest of the Great Lakes here "up north." And when the real cold weather hits and the snow comes crashing into my window off of that lake He will be the one that sends it too.

How can you not love a God like that?

I spent my supper tonight at a table in a Wendy's talking to a man of another faith. He was a young guy. Maybe 23 years old. He just was accepted as a candidate to become a fire fighter in a local suburb. Right now he works at the Wendy's. We talked about our faith and how they have similar points and radically different points. And then you know what I did?

I ate him alive.

When it came to Jesus he really could not hold his own. He had rules and numbers and all sorts of thoughts and ideas that just don't really appear in the bible in any relevant context. It was not even a hard discussion. So I invited Him to my church. I gave him the address and he said he would come. We'll see. But I really want this young man to walk into his first life threatening fire with the love of God wrapped around him like a protective blanket.

Jesus. He walks on water. He's my hero. He deserves my worship.

Lake Erie asked me to remind you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunshine and Chocolate

Well now. That's better. The SUN came out today and the sky is actually still up there. I hereby vow that I will never take that fact for granted again. (I solemnly swear ... yada, yada, yada...) I came home from the office to grab some lunch today and a couple of guys were fishing off the mini-pier that juts out into the lake below my building. Very cool. There was some big ore type freighter in the distance. And beyond that I could see the Canadian province of Ontario forming the horizon.

OK, that last one was a lie. A total fabrication. You cannot see Canada from here. When I was a kid growing up in Detroit, well that was a place you could see Canada from. It looks like America. Only backward. Nevermind. But I did notice at the grocery store tonight that they were selling "fresh Canadian walleye." Who do they think they are kidding? All they had to do was go half way plus an inch across Erie and they were IN Canada. That Canadian walleye might well have been swimming in Ohio water half an hour before being nabbed. If I want walleye I'll ... well, actually I have never wanted walleye so I don't know what I'll do. If the urge hits me I'll get back to you.

Where was I?

Oh. Sunshine. The sunshine was complimented PURRfectly by my good friends Cheryl and Danny Dingeldien. (Yes, that is pronounced "Dingle" and "Dine." I think it's swedish for giver of great gifts.) At their great effort and expense I received a package today. The good people in the offices here at Erie Shore Landing did not want to give it to me. I reminded them that it is a felony to tamper with the U.S. mail and so they relented. Oh the wonder of it all! It was a box with the "Hershey's" logo all over it. Nothing bad e-v-e-r comes with a Hershey's logo on it! So I ripped it open post haste. Lo and behold ... this is what I found inside ...

Yes, friends, it is a HUGEMONGEROUS brick of chocolate shaped like a computer keyboard and monitor. Inscribed in still MORE chocolate on it are the words, "Have Fun! Download This!" Not a problem, Danny! No sweat, Cheryl! Tomorrow I shall call the staff around my desk and we shall partake of dark brown goodness! And all because of my wonderful friends. Danke, danke, danke!

Oh, and i promised Danny I would post his picture on my blog tonight. So here it is. This is the best shot I could find, Daniel. Remember? You posed for it at Cannoli's last time you visited us. :) It's my favorite Danny shot ever!

God bless Danny! God bless Cheryl! God bless ... HERSHEYS!

Monday, November 12, 2007

That ain't what you want to see ...

Sometimes you look over the edge of the balcony and you see waves lapping on the breakwater. Sometimes you look over the edge and you see sea gulls soaring on lake breezes. Sometimes you look over and you see this ...


And ya know, a good fire drill just was not on my agenda this evening. It's raining. It's cold. It's dark. I much prefer a "Hot Apple Blast" from the Caribou Coffee in Avon and maybe a good book or a dvd on the laptop. But noooooooo. Instead there are men in thick rubber coats bouncing around the hallways with thermal image monitors trying to determine if anything ... or anybody ... is really on fire. They have been looking for over an hour now. I am pretty sure somebody would have screamed by now if there were flames dancing around their apartment. The drama has been replaced with tedium. Don't misunderstand. I'm being really nice to these guys. I am very grateful for them. They want to be at home in front of their fireplace too. And I really appreciate their making sure that my marshmallow doesn't roast tonight.

How ironic. There is a 300 foot deep lake outside that is about 35 or 40 miles across. That's got to be enough water to put out all of northern Ohio should the need arise. It won't. So let's all go to sleep.

Say "goodnight" Gracie.
PS... Tonight I ate a bowl of Frosted Flakes and milk with a fork. It can be done.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Steve Jobs ... I love you

(Just before Scott joined the chat)

I just love technology. Tonight after church my wife and I did our usual "video chat." We've talked face to face via computer every day since I quit my job and left her. (OK, you know what I mean. I did quit my job and I did leave her to go set-up life for us in a new city. It was a joke. So laugh! There ... thank you.) But I had also talked to Eric, one of my best and most missed buddies from back in St. Lou. He's a mac guy too. So he and his wife Stephanie (maker of all things fudge and master mind of the spectacular "biscuits and chocolate" breakfast) joined in. And then I got an IM from my son, Scott, in the Chicago burbs. Yep, a mac guy. Suddenly we had this "quadrophonic" video chat going. On the fringes of the pictures were Christopher, Laura, Amanda, and Sarah. It was a reunion!


Video chat is the strangest thing. You can see your family and loved ones just like they were in the room with you. You can hear them. In the case of Scott and Matt I"m pretty sure I smelled them too. You just can't touch them. Last night I was doing a video chat with my wife and daughter from her home in St. Charles, Missouri. Of course, baby Elle was the star attraction. She was so into it that she tried to feed me from her plastic fork through the laptop screen. Now THAT is a computer age child!

It amazes me how God blesses. I am, according to my GPS, 553 miles from my house. And yet I can press one button and talk to my family or the friend of my choice. It's called "speed dial." I can fill out a little form called an "email" and shoot off a message for them to pick-up and read at their leisure. I can click another "virtual button" and see them as live and real time. It is hard enough being away from those you love. I'm grateful to my Father that the only major time of separation I have ever had from my bride of nearly 30 years (as of the 19th of this month) comes at a time when computer genius guys have made it so much easier.

Steve Jobs ... you are my hero.