Tuesday, November 21, 2006

God's Grandeur on the Bay

If you have read my wife's blog you know that our baby is stubbornly modest. So modest in fact that it has chosen not to reveal, just yet, whether or not it is male or female. At one point during the ultrasound we had a clear picture on the screen of two leg bones forming a perfect "X" over the part of the body that held the most interest for us. But, the little one is healthy and doing well. I will get back you when we have more information.

I was thinking today about the fact that I don't live in the most beautiful place on the planet. In fact, we are so far down on the list of beautiful places that it is probably better to flip it over and call it "The List of Least Beautiful Places" just so we have the privilege of being high up on a list at all.

Yes, I live near the ocean and right on a bay. And I am sure that that some speck of beauty did exist here at some point. But, most of it is now covered up by industry. Every time I drive over the Fred Hartman bridge I peer over the edge hoping to see deep blue water stretching out of sight, bordered on the shores nearest me by thick forests or rocky cliffs. Instead, I get a heaving mass of what looks like liquid dirt surrounded by a drab landscape dotted with refineries, giant metal footsteps of "progress" trudging through a muddy bog. Oh, how it stirs the soul!

But, really I'm not complaining. (I couldn't do that so close to Thanksgiving) A few days ago I would have been complaining but then a day like today comes. The temperature is perfect. The sky is clear. The smells of the factories are blowing away from me. It is a beautiful day. It is a day that reminded me of a poem I read years ago that did stir my spirit. So, please take these words of Gerard Manley Hopkins as my Thanksgiving gift to you. Take them and enjoy them, preferrably outdoors in whatever place it is where you sense the grandeur of God.

God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs -
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Should I blog? OK, sure. Why not?

Though somewhat shameful, the title of this entry is the word-for-word inner dialogue that led to this post. I know, I know. If that was all it took why didn't I blog sooner? That's what you're asking, isn't it?

Well, let's just pretend that I have a really good excuse for not blogging. OK? For instance, I could have been on a missionary journey deep in the dark recesses of the jungles of the country of your choice. Or I could have been off climbing mountains in Nepal. Or I could have entered the Witness Protection Program after ratting out the bosses of my Mafia family only to be let out of the Program following the death of said bosses in a freak weekend barbecue "accident". You pick the excuse.

What I can tell you is that life has been hectic for the past however long its been since last we talked. Church work has required quite a bit from me lately. My truck was stolen and then returned, only slightly damamged and full of the enticing aroma of Marlboro's and Black N Mild's (see the wife's blog for the full account)
We moved from our apartment to a rent house. I spent another week in the woods with the senior adults from church chasing butterflies, working on jigsaw puzzles and discussing the theological importance of the Book of Jonah. We travelled a lot this summer. Nowhere exotic or really memorable (for that type of story please see Katie or Shanta's blogs), but the trips were fun all the same. For church I have planned events, written group studies, taught classes, visited hospitals, sang songs with kids, fixed sound equipment, ruffled feathers, smoothed feathers (not necessarily the ones I ruffled), and I loved every, most, some of every minute of it.

OK, and then there was the really big news. Hopefully, most of you know and aren't finding this out for the first time here. I waited until I thought most of you knew before I sprang this on the blog. So, here goes. Without further delay, here is the big news: Britney and K-Fed are getting divorced. Ok, just kidding.

We're pregnant!!! I know some of you are saying, "No, Jacquie's pregnant, you're expecting." But, those of you who are saying this have obviously not seen a sideview picture of me lately. Just as many loving spouses shave their heads for a wife who is undergoing chemotherapy, I have spent many long years developing a large belly as a sympathetic gesture for my pregnant wife. OK, no, not even close to anything like that.

Jokes aside, we are really excited about the new addition. We will hopefully find out soon whether this will be a female or male child. Feel free to cast your vote for the gender and even some name suggestions in the Comment section. However, I must warn you that we already have names picked out and have had them for a while. We will wait to reveal those later.

Please be praying for the baby, its beautiful mother, and its nervous-and-pumped-all-in-one-breath father. We would appreciate it. All three of us.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sufficiently Punished

Okay, so I hope you learned your lesson. Actually, I'm sorry for the long delay. I haven't really checked my blog in a while because frankly I didn't want to hear that sorry song. Needless to say Hasselhoff has haunted my dreams since I posted that so I feel safe saying that the punishment hurt me way worse than it hurt you. There is one good thing that came out of this whole experience though. I have a new happy dance that involves flailing my arms wildly and growling the words, "Ooga Chaka" repeatedly.

As a public service announcement I would like to warn all of you of an epidemic that seems to be sweeping the country right now. It is especially prevalent among people my age and I feel it my duty to warn you all so that you might take precautions to protect yourself. Can you guess what it is? That's right, it's pregnancy. Now, don't get excited I am not pregnant though I have been accused of it. Nor is my wife. So, Mom,you can breathe normally. Though we are not pregnant, everybody I know seems to be or have recently been. In fact, I was shocked the other day when I asked my four year old niece whether she liked the chicken nugget she was eating and she responded by saying, "I'm not eating it. The baby in my tummy is." (True story)
Now, obviously my niece is not pregnant but she has been infected by the disease we will call "baby fever".

I do want to say congratulations to all those who have just had babies or are currently pregnant. May God continue to bless you and your families. Now, I must go. The baby in my tummy is kicking. I think it's hungry.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Don't Say You Weren't Warned

One of the main reasons that I blog is that I love to read the comments my friends make about the stupid stuff I put on here. In fact, I said at one point that if noone commented then I would quit blogging. Well, not many people are commenting so it looks like something must be done. However, it wouldn't be any fun for me to quit blogging (I do kinda like it). So, I have decided instead to punish you, my readers, for refusing to comment. So, here it is: David Hasselhoff singing "Hooked on a Feeling". Don't try to stop it. You can't stop the power of the Hasselhoff. Consider yourselves punished.

And don't think that there ain't more with this came from. I bet I could find the video to Snow's "Informer" or Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping" or a Hulk Hogan video or three if you are particularly negligent. Nobody wants that to happen. So, do what's right for your country and comment on this blog. (Wow, does that sound desperate or what?)

Friday, May 05, 2006

All Right Already

The following is a true story:

I come back to my office yesterday after lunch and open my e-mail only to find that I am being served with an injunction from a large law firm in the Metroplex. Immediately, I think to myself, "What did I do this time?" Then as I continue reading I realize that I am being threatened with sanctions because my blog has been lacking in "substantive entertainment." In other words, due to my failure to blog last month I am being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the murky waters of the Harris County judicial system.

Question: How do you know when it has been too long since your last blog?
Answer: Your "friends" take legal action against you.

What happened to the good old days when my friends were poor, grossly immature, reality TV-addicted college students and not doctors, lawyers, and nationally recognized inner city ministers?

So, in my own defense I now offer you a look into the things that occupied my time in the month of April, thus explaining my reasons for not blogging recently.

1. I filled in for our preacher for three Sundays so that he could travel around Australia with his wife.
2. I spent a week in the Hill Country at the HEB camp with sixteen of our senior adults from church. I taught Bible classes during the day. I know this sounds like it should be fun. But, have you ever tried being on a diet while older ladies who love to cook tempt you with unbelievable meals? Also, have you ever tried to sleep with ten senior adults playing dominoes and Farkle until all hours of the morning in the room next door. Yet, with all that it was an incredible blessing to be there with them.
3. I attended my first local livestock show and witnessed an eight year old boy from our church small group win Grand Champion twice with two different pigs. His competition was local high school kids. It was unbelievable. I know this sounds like it should be fun. But, have you ever tried being on a diet while watching sixty pigs running all over the place shaking their pork chops and flaunting their ham?
4. I went to two "soccer" games that involved my niece and twenty other easily distracted four year olds. They don't keep score. They don't know the rules. And nobody cares. This is how all sports should be.
5. I decided that I wanted to see the Gulf Coast by hang glider. So, I fashioned one out of four brooms, some fishing line, and 3000 stale tortillas. The ill-fated trip lasted only two minutes and 13 seconds. Apparently, I underestimated the Gulf Coast's sea gull's appetite for stale tortillas.
6. I helped coordinate, with my wife, the Song Leading event at the Central Texas Leadership Training for Christ convention in downtown Houston on Easter weekend.
7. I coordinated our church's Fifth Sunday Fellowship last Sunday at a park here in Baytown.
8. I attended three Astros games. It's a tough task but someone has to do it. I have three more games scheduled in the next month.
9. I discovered that my office is infested with termites when I pulled a book off my shelf and found a hole eaten through the middle of it. It was impressive...for about thirty seconds and then it became gross, followed by unnerving, then annoying and ending with outright anger that God would create a animal whose main source of dietary fiber had to come from a book about children's ministry.
10. And, of course, I have eaten an inordinate amount of seafood (the beauty of living on the Coast). In fact, I even attended an "elder's meeting" in which we loaded into a van and cruised to a local eating establishment and discussed church business over 36 lbs. of huge crawfish, my first real crawfish feast. It was incredible and surprisingly low in calories.

So, here are ten of the things that kept me from blogging. They are mostly true. OK, some are outright lies. You decide which. There are many more that I could add to the list. Ladies and Gentlemen, of the jury. Here is your evidence. I am confident that you will exonerate me from all charges of laziness and forgive my lack of blog communication. Until next time.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Notes of Interest (at least they are interesting to me)

1. First off, congratulations to the George Mason University men's basketball team for making it to the NCAA Final Four. Though they destroyed my bracket by beating North Carolina, I can't help but root for a team that nobody even gave a chance. I admire their tenacity, their skill, their heart but what I really admire is that their university has the same name as one of my favorite characters from seasons 1 and 2 of 24. Just like this upstart basketball team, nobody gave George Mason a second look. Yet, as grizzled, frumpy and irritable as he was, he went about his duties as the head of CTU with the same spirit that drove this team into greatness. I am so glad that the board of trustees of this school decided to take a chance and honor this fictional character by changing the name of their school. (As I hear it, they were previously called the Sam Beckett Quantum Leapers preceded by a stint as Cliff Huxtable University in the mid 80's)

If you were going to name a university after a fictional character, who would it be and what would the mascot be?

2. I have gotten addicted to looking at my site meter to see who has been visiting my blog. I also love seeing hos people get to my blog. Yesterday I found my favorite so far. Somebody in Washington found this site after doing a Yahoo search for "skinhead crucified wallpaper". I cannot explain the amount of pride that I have that my blog is what came up with those words.

3. On my new diet I have gotten into eating instant oatmeal for breakfast. Today I tried a new brand and it tasted exactly like ground up popcorn kernels. I think I'll go back to my Quaker Oats Lower Sugar Maple and Brown Sugar which is only 2 Weight Watcher points.

Have a great day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Noah Webster in Blog World

Here, as promised, is the best of the verification word definitions so far. I was so impressed with the creativity of all of you that I thought it would be appropriate to gather your creations in a collection. I have added some of my own comments in italics to clarify a few things, but overall these are the brain children of many of my good friends. Now, students, go out and use these words properly in your everyday conversation.


mykdcskv - I'm embarrased to explain this to you Spruce since you clearly know already that it's the medical condition where one's head is oversized and basically "has its own weather system." It's Scottish in origin, but has etymological roots to Russian.
For those that do not know, I happen to have a huge noggin so this definition is mostly hilarious because it is an unveiled slam on me.

qemfluyw: what Chemistry graduate students, recently returned from Star Trek conferences, make in the labs to leave on the seats of the their least favorite professors.

yirssr - one of those redneck terms, I'm sure.

dtblzzlj--very few people know that this was the word that Snoop Dog was going to go with, but at the last minute, he decided on Fishizzle, both of which (as far as I know) have a broad range of definitions, from "cool" to "sick," etc.

kuqsr- An Irish insult for a stupid male. "You stupid kuqsr, stop shoplifting my potaotes!"

gnnpfunh-a private activity held on the day before NRA national meetings. Not to be confused with rflfunh, which takes place during dove season.
This is probably one of my favorite words so far.

mdjmquga- this is the word used in the Thai culture for a woman who buys and sells babies in return for turnips.

esoecpfr - someone who writes passive agressive comments about another person on their sister's blog! Nothing like a little sibling rivalry to get the blood flowing.

lwhoet - isn't that some kind of grain Matt and Erin put in their pancakes ?
This definition might actually be true. Matt and Erin are two good friends of mine who are always trying to get me to eat things like dried bamboo, sugar free sugar, various forms of "really good" organic "candy" and lwhoet.

oafspqbg - I think that is a derogatory old Celtic word meaning "large, dumb lazy man" also translated "dumbbunny"

zclob - an ancient term used to describe the drunken beating of an innocent Zebra.
I laugh every time I read this one. Remember that zclob is different than the drunken beating of a "guilty" Zebra.

Jzeuz - um yea..you're the preacher, so help me out here.
By far my favorite non-definition

hanllo - a Germanic greeting of friendship

egcsncyq - a linear charting which illustrates the degree to which your EKG and EEG tests are in sync.

eyeojnow - One little-known piece of African history is that the song "Old McDonald" was originally written in Zimbabwe by one Mr. Wamba Dia Wamba. After an initially disappointing debut in America, Mr. Wamba changed the lyrics "EYE-OJ-NOW" to "EI-EI-O" to hasten the songs acceptance into the repertoire of common American school-children. The rest, as we all know, is history.
I have no idea where Chad came up with this but it is pure genius

Acronyms - I didn't even think toask for acronyms but I received several funny ones.

MYVIKCCU - Man, you visually intimidate kids at church of christ universities...
This one is classic, because I know that I for one do visually intimidate kids at universities. Mainly because I have a large head.

dxywyko - Darn Xylophones Yearning With Yarn Knots Often

tbdrdbm - To Be Determined Right Down By Minneapolis

Words that have yet to be defined (help me out here)



Thanks for all your creativity. Keep em coming. If nobody else finds them entertaining, who cares, I find them hilarious.

Just to clarify the meanings of these words I have decided to write a short narrative using all of the words. Here goes.

Recently I went to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston to attend the annual meeting of the National Organization of Mykdcskv Sufferers. I was excited to be the featured speaker at this year's convention. However, as I entered the large convention center I realized that there were several groups meeting in the large meeting rooms. Not knowing where exactly to go I entered into the first room I saw. I quickly realized I was in the wrong place when I saw Charlton Heston standing at the front yelling, "Are you ready for some gnnpfunh?" With a raucous chorus of "yirssr"'s the predominately white, middle aged male crowd pulled out pistols and began firing them haphazardly at the 200 pictures of Michael Moore that adorned the walls.
I covered my head and ran for safety.

The next room I entered can only be described as a melting pot. I realized that it was an international convention when a large German man greeted me with a hearty "hanllo" and offerred me some cabbage. I was getting slightly hungry but not being a cabbage fan I opted for a steaming bowl of lwhoet which tasted how qemfluw smells and it promptly caused me to vomit all over a stack of pamphlets denouncing the practices of the Thai mdjmquga. As I stumbled away from the booth apologizing profusely I tripped over the leg of an elderly Irishman who cursed me at such a fast speed that I only caught the words oafspqbg and kuqsr.

At this point my heart was beating so fast that it probably wouldn't register on a egcsncyq but I was able to calm myself down by listening to an African children's chorus sing a precious version of Eyeojnow. The rest of the convention was fascinating. There was a booth that promised technology that could rid the Internet of spam and esoecpfr. That was really dtblzzlj. I also read some literature about an ancient religion in which people zclobbed in worship to Jzeuz, the god of the soil. Also, very dtblzzlj. To make a long story short I never got to my convention. I spent all my time studying the cultures and the vocabularies of other people. That's all for now.