Saturday, June 07, 2008


I'm dealing with something that I do not know how to deal with. Again. Ashley. I wrote about her in 2002 on this blog. At that time she was just a young kid. She was in my youth group at church. She had Leukemia. I got to walk a long road with Ashley. It was an honor to be allowed to be a part of her life. A part of her journey. She beat that horrible disease. It slid its slimy tail between its legs and ran off into what is joyfully called "remission."

And now it is back.

While at the airport earlier this week waiting for a flight to St. Louis her father called me and gave me the news. Neither of us spoke with steady, strong voices. When I got to town Debbie and I went to her house and visited with her and her family. Ashley is a beautiful young woman now, having just completed her freshman year at a university in Kentucky. She came home to enjoy a great summer. Instead she developed head aches. The doctor ran his tests and came up with the awful diagnosis. Now Ashley will have to reenter the hospital next week. She will probably be there for a month. At least a month. We are fighting for, praying for, remission once again. And the next step will probably be a bone marrow transplant.

I don't get it. I don't understand this one. There is a lot more that I could say tonight about Ashley but I just do not have it in me to type it. Let's just say that I cannot get her out of my mind. She is my friend. I helped her learn to love Jesus. I saw His joy in her eyes. His light shining through the past filled with pain. I heard her share her story with over 700 kids at camp a few years ago. Ashley taught me a lot about living life in the midst of pain. I think she taught me more than I ever taught her.

I do not know what is next for Ashley. I do not know how this plays out. Nobody does. Only a loving God that allows a fallen world to sometimes experience the results of its rebellion. Ashley is not perfect. But this disease is NOT God's judgment on her. She is His child. She has trusted Him with her eternal future. In 100 years neither Ashley, her parents, her family, her friends, or her old youth pastor will be worried about her. But right now? I just want to make it all better.

One of the toughest parts of being an adult is the realization that sometimes things won't "go away" simply by our kissing them to make them all better. And frankly, that is a part of being an adult that I just hate tonight.

I am praying for my friend. I would be grateful if you would too.

Moving ...

... is a highly over-rated activity. I advise against it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Okay. Just ONE more...

Dedicated to Dana at Mamalogues...

I don't drink beer

Maybe I'm getting carried away with this Tim Hawkins stuff. But I feel like I just found a gold mine of laughs. This one is a favorite ...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Cletus, take the reel.

Some things just defy any attempt at narrative. Watch and weep.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Check out time is 1:00 PM Saturday

Bittersweet? No. Not exactly.

Sad? No way.

I'm not really sure what tonight feels like. Seven months ago today I moved into this little apartment. I brought my clothes, an air mattress, and ... and ... well, that's all I brought. When I first walked into it after dark on a Tuesday evening the wind was howling like my former Beagle on the trail of a renegade squirrel. In the dead of night you could still see the white caps of the waves rolling in on Lake Erie. I knew that this was the place I wanted to camp out until my house sold and my wife joined me.

Well, the house has not sold but my wife did show up. She's back in Missouri this week babysitting our granddaughter. And so I'm spending my final night in this little room all alone. The wind is absent. Almost eerily so. (No pun intended, Mr. Lake.) There are no white caps tonight though I did see a baseball cap or two on various heads strolling around the parking lot or by the pool. And the dreaded "Mayflies" have not only invaded the outdoors but one just landed on the screen of my laptop. Not good. He paid the ultimate price.

I've spent a lot of time thinking in this room. A lot of time praying. A lot of time agonizing over what God's will is for the church He has sent me to serve. He has not answered all of my questions yet. I suppose it will have to wait for the next apartment. The only meals I have cooked here have been in the microwave. The only phone has been my cell. I have fallen in love with the garbage chute. I have finished six books and I'm in the middle of the seventh. I have read over half of the bible here. I have looked at my balcony with the realization that I would not under any circumstances step out on it because of the ice and snow cover. And, more recently, I have spent entire evenings on it watching God put His sun to bed. To the best of my memory only five people have entered my doorway since I moved in.

Yes, it has been a lonely place. But I won't forget it. And I won't miss it. Still ... it is strange. I was thinking earlier that it is like reading Edger Allen Poe's poem "The Raven." I don't totally understand it. What I don't understand intrigues me. What I do understand frightens me. God has been doing a work on me in this room. It is a silent work. That is my least favorite kind. He hasn't told me what He's doing. He's just, well, doing it. And it leaves me going, "Hmmmmm." God often leaves me going "Hmmmmm."

So tomorrow it's another jet which leads to a U-Haul which leads to my house which leads to filling the U-Haul which leads to driving back here and moving the "stuff" of my life into another apartment. Same lake view but from six floors lower. It's got a real kitchen. And a breakfast bar. And a living room. And a bedroom. Honestly, after seven months it sounds like a mansion.

God, if you read my blog, (and I suspect that you do,) thank You. I mean, for everything. The quiet. The loneliness. The frustration. The joy. The gazillion fast food meals. Blowing backward on the parking lots ice without even moving my feet. The trash chute. The view. The first day. The last day. The days in between. I don't understand it all but you do and I'm good with that. Just ... thanks.

(And God, erase three more Mayfly. Sorry about that.)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Coincidence? I think not.

It has come to my attention that following the Cubs 5-3 victory over the Rockies today they have won 7 in a row. They swept their entire road trip. They have the best record in baseball. And ... they are playing .632 ball. Today is June 1, 2008.

So let me ask you, when was the last time the Cubs played at least .632 ball on June 1st and had the best record in baseball?

Anybody? Anybody?

That would be June 1, 1908. One hundred years ago today. Interestingly enough, that was also the last time the Cubs won the world series. Yes, it has been 99 years of frustration. I've lived through 52 of them and I've cared about the Cubs for roughly 44 of those years. 44 long painful seasons. My autographed Ferguson Jenkins jersey is turning a bit yellow with age.

I might also point out that the White Sox are also in first place in the American League Central. This irritates the life out of my new Cleveland friends who have fallen 5 games behind the Sox. And that is after the Sox managed to lose the last 3 games.

What does it mean? Well. I'm not sure. I just think it is ... interesting. Very interesting. Gas is quite expensive these days. Jet fuel can't be much different. Maybe it won't matter, come October.

Maybe they can just take the El?