Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rodrigo y Gabriela

I saw these folks posted to another blog, and in the hour or so since have become a HUGE fan. Take a look and listen (Letterman's intro is very brief); these two are incredible!

Draft Fred Thompson!

In recent days, there's been a lot of attention given to a potential run for the White House by former senator and current faux-New York district attorney Fred Thompson. Honestly, I'm thrilled by the prospect, and I hope he does jump into the race. It would be a great and much-needed change of pace for a party that in recent years has drifted from saying what it means and meaning what it says to saying what sounds good.

I did some checking on the web and right off the bat found two websites that have been set up to convince him to run. The one I'm most impressed with is Fred '08 -- sound clips, information on the committee that's been set up to draft him, information on his conservative credentials, and a great deal more. I've signed up for updates, and look forward to following this grassroots effort in the days and weeks ahead.

Thompson is honestly the one guy who could get me excited about the GOP field again: I like Huckabee, but he won't make it far; I like Rudy, but I'm concerned all of the baggage he brings with him and how it will detract from some of his successes as mayor of New York; McCain, while someone I respect because of what he has been through in his life, strikes me as a loose cannon; Gingrich is also a strong conservative, but he's also got baggage, and I have a hard time forgetting things like his public complaint over having to disembark Air Force One through the back door; Romney is impressive, but I'm not sure he can win a national race against a top Democrat contender.

If Thompson jumps in, he's my guy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Thinking Blogger Award

My friend Ipanema has honored me with the Gold Thinking Blogger Award; it's a nice way of recognizing the many great blogs that are out there, and it originated here. Once you've been tagged, it's your turn to select -- in no particular order -- five blogs that have impressed you for one reason or another and tag them with this award. Be sure that when you tag them, you link back to the original source of this award.

So, in no uncertain order, here are the five folks I've tagged:

1. Patry: A woman who loves her family and her life -- and as the author of a recently-published first novel, The Liar's Diary, she's been kind enough to give us a glimpse into all of the excitement surrounding this new phase of her career. A really fun look into the mind and heart of an artist.

2. Kelly: A great blog written by a woman whose strong love of her faith and of her God is matched only by her strong love of her family. Always inspiring.

3. Bob: A fun blog from a faith-filled man which brings together a wealth of humor, news, photos, movie and music reviews, and an eclectic hodge-podge of interesting facts from around the world and throughout history. If you don't learn something from your visit, you're not reading closely enough.

4. Paula: Another great faith-filled blog written by somone who often takes a close look at the Bible and writes about the ways that tries to put what she has read into action in her life. She also shares great glimpses of her life and some wonderful photography.

5. Sandie: An always interesting blog that lays out some deep exploration of some deep issues. Her recent series on the definition of the seven deadly sins and how she meets the challenges they pose in her life is remarkable.

I wish I could have tagged all of the blogs I read, but that defeats the purpose. Now it's your turn, folks! (You can copy the banner from above when you do your own lists.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What Do I Really KNOW?

Recently, we've started seeing advertisements on television for the DVD release of "The Miracle Worker," a claymation retelling of the story of Jesus that aired on ABC several years ago. Starring Ralph Fiennes as the voice of Jesus, it's a really remarkable version of the story -- it's not the most theologically challenging version of the Gospels that you'll find, but it's done in such a way that it's one of those rare films that you can sit and watch with the entire family. I had taped the movie during its original broadcast and had forgotten we had it on the shelf until the other day, when MB saw the commercial and then looked at her mother and me and said, "I want the Jesus DVD."

She's been very insistent on getting a hold of that movie, and tonight I pulled the video off the shelf and put it in the VCR so that we could watch it together. She was glued to it pretty intently for the first hour, but at that point she started to lose interest (a sign that it's still a bit over her head) and wandered off. I was very impressed (and proud!) that she had wanted to watch it; it's one of the signs that her little mind is trying to absorb and learn as much as possible, and I'm more than happy to oblige her in her quest to pick up things she doesn't know.

And then I got to thinking, what do I really know about Jesus? At the surface, that struck me as a ridiculous question to even be asking; I know a lot about Jesus. A and I completed a four-year Education for Ministry course offered by our church in Alabama; I had started work on a master's degree in theology (which I had to give up as a result of changes in my job at that time; I hope to finish one day); I've watched an incredible number of documentaries on theology, church history, and religious archaeology; and I've been a voracious reader of all things having to do with my faith, church history, Biblical history, the life of Christ, and just about anything else I can put my hands on. In short, I've done my homework.

But while watching MB in front of the television, I began to wonder what I would actually be able to tell her when she starts asking questions. Sure, I can spout off the life of Christ and some of what I know of the political and social environment of his times, I can recall many of the parables and their meanings, and I could hold my own in a discussion of the core beliefs of Christianity and the Episcopal Church. Is that going to be enough, though? While her faith journey will be her own, will I be able to give her enough to instill the desire to make that journey?

So, I've decided to revisit my own learning to this point, to re-read, re-watch, and re-examine much of what I've learned to this point, and do it in a manner that more accurately reflects the admonition from one of the collects in the Book of Common Prayer to "read, learn, and inwardly digest." I need to take another look at what I know -- and what I don't know. I love this sort of personal challenge, and I'm hopeful that this process will strengthen me, refresh me in this stressful time, and give me the tools to help my daughters grow up in a way that enables them to look at their church and their faith with eyes of wonder and discerning hearts and minds.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lots of Things are Thawing

It's amazing what Springtime will do for your mood; we've had two straight days of wonderful weather, and it has been such a huge emotional boost for me and A. Having lunch with friends who are visiting from out of state was an even bigger boost today; it was nice catching up on their lives, showing off our daughters to them, and getting a small taste of what we've been missing in the Deep South since we moved back to this area.

The past few weeks have been rough; I can't -- and won't -- deny that. However, I think those feelings and the stress, like the winter ice and snow, are beginning to thaw. I'm starting to feel the spirit of rebirth in everything -- discovering that flowers which aren't due to bloom for a few weeks are suddenly in full blossom; watching as huge "V" formations of geese honk as they head back from their winter quarters; getting several e-mails and phone calls to line up interviews in the next 10 days. A is feeling more optimistic about her situation, MB was glad to just be outdoors and being a kid again, and I'm sure that E was feeling some sort of satisfaction in her little five-week-old mind that she was being taken out somewhere besides the doctor's office.

I was joking with a friend today about how certain phases of my life have felt like the 40-year wanderings of the Israelites in the desert, and how when things turn around I feel like I'm finally coming out of the desert. Unlike those ancient people, however, it seems I'm more of a glutton for punishment: I have a need to keep returning to the desert for more wandering. And then it occurred to me: perhaps I'm not returning to do more wandering, but to see where God is leading my small tribe next. The journey may not be all that exciting, but the destination has to be good.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I Needed a Good Laugh Today.....

... and for some reason went immediately to --- Foster Brooks? Here's a flash from way back!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

More Unwelcome News

I've hit another dead spot in my posting, resulting in part from more unwelcome news that we got this week. A's employer got in touch with her and told her that, because business was so slow, they didn't see any need to bring her back at the conclusion of her maternity leave -- she's been laid off. It was a big blow to her, but she's bouncing back quickly -- her resume has already been floated to several people in the area who have a great deal of interest in her education, skills, and professional background. I don't have any doubt at all that she'll land on her feet in no time, but it's never good to get that news. I was trying to make her feel better by saying that I appreciated her taking this step so that I wouldn't have to go through my job hunt alone (humor helps; my weak humor probably caused more consternation than anything).

The other difficult part of this will be that we'll have to take MB out of her daycare center and try and find one closer to home. We'll be checking out a local Montessori facility tomorrow to see what that's like, and whether she has any curiosity or interest in what's going on while we're there. She's only been going part time for the past few months, but she really likes the other kids that she is with and I'm sure on some level it will be difficult for her that she won't see them anymore. Kids are resilient, though -- much more so than some adults -- and she'll develop a whole new circle of friends in no time.

The journey just keeps on getting more and more interesting and challenging.....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

World's Youngest "Seinfeld" Fan?

I couldn't believe my ears: MB, my three-year-old, looked at me just a few minutes ago and said, "I want to watch 'Seinfeld.'" My wife said that she already knows the names of all of the major characters. What a shock -- and what a difference a generation makes; when I was three, I was naming characters from Watergate. My daughter names characters from a sitcom; go figure!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Appreciating Our Freedom of Speech

It seems that once I got the computer up and running again, I really couldn't find a topic that interested me, or the time to sit and actually do any writing. Hopefully, the mental train will get running again soon; in the meantime, I did find this brief blurb in the Christian Science Monitor while catching up on some reading earlier today:

For "insulting" President Hosni Mubarak and Islam, a court in Egypt sentenced Internet blogger Abdel Kareem Suleiman to four years in prison. He has admitted writing essays that compared Mubarak to dictatorial pharaohs of ancient Egypt and that accused Muslims of savagery in clashes with Christians two years ago. His trial was unprecedented in the Arab world's most populous country, where blogging has become an important outlet for criticism of the government because the primary news media are state-run. The law school where Suleiman was a student expelled him last year for his postings and urged that he be prosecuted. (CSM, Friday, 2-27-07)

You know, I may not always have anything to write about, and when I do I -- and I'm sure many of you -- tend from time-to-time to take for granted the fact that I even have the freedom to sit down and put my thoughts out there. The thought of facing prison for something we've written is to a large extent a foreign concept to us (unless the material is seditious, which I personally haven't ever seen). I read numerous other blogs which post comments about politics and global affairs -- with perspectives from both sides of the aisle. While I agree with the opinions and comments of some and disagree with others, I respect all of them for their well-constructed comments and well thought-out opinions, and their willingness to (for the most part) engage in civilized dialogue about the challenges facing the U.S. today.

After reading the story about the blogger in Egypt (and several other similar stories in past years), I have developed a sense of respect for those who challenge convention (or tradition or societal norms) in their own countries and exercise a right that for them is often supressed. We've had a right to free speech for so long that it's second nature to us; what's interesting is watching those who don't have the same freedom trying to bring about something which for us is a basic constitutional right. Look at what we have the freedom to do and say and write -- and consider the struggles of the Chinese students in Tienanmen Square, the bloggers in places like Egypt, and writers like Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the former Soviet Union. We should really appreciate and remember as often as possible how far ahead we really are.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Another birthday has come and gone. It was a nice, quiet day at home with A and the two little ones; MB was so excited about the shirt she had picked out for me, and even more proud when I put it on and wore it all day. It's amazing how what we want for our birthdays changes as we get older; when I was little, it was all about the gifts and possible parties. Now that I've reached the age where Jack Benny stopped aging (or at least entered the phase where his birthdays began to repeat), it's all about being with my wife and daughters. You can't ask for much more than that.....