flowers and mothers

perhaps we love
because they reflect
to us the
that we first saw
as babies
looking up into the
face of the
who first
loved us


Star Wars Answer Sheet

When I dreamed of sharing my love of the Star Wars universe with my children, I had thought –much like Obi-Wan Kenobi had thought– that the boy was my only hope.

But –much like Yoda said– no. There is another. Continue reading

Boy Meets Merchant

I’ve been a Natalie Merchant fan since the mid-80’s, back in her 10,000 Maniacs days. I’ve seen her perform dozens of times, and have collected nearly every recording she has ever released. My former wife used to assume I had a “thing” for the artist, but that was never true. I simply am drawn to her music, the thought-provoking lyrics and of course, that unforgettable voice.

The Historic Yost Theater in downtown Santa Ana

I’ve played her songs all the time, so it’s not surprising my kids have come to appreciate her too. My son, though, has become such a fan that he at times has played her music to the point where even I have asked him to play something else. He, much like me, has fallen under the spell cast by her one-of-a-kind voice.

A few days ago I learned she was playing in Santa Ana on May 9th, and instantly bought tickets. I didn’t tell Hayden, I left it as a surprise. I took both kids to see her in San Diego two years ago, and he has wanted to see her again ever since. This was going to be nice surprise.

I had no idea how surprising the night would be. Read On

Monster Jam Meditations

It was a free offer, and the kids were invited, so I decided to set aside my prejudices and go for it.

I never thought I would attend an event like this.

The company I work for was a sponsor of the Monster Truck Jam that was coming to town, and as such, they had reserved a party suite at the stadium where the event was to be held. This was the only reason that I entertained the thought of going – that it would be somehow less offensive in a party suite. Still, I was unsure how it would go down with the kids.

My daughter was an easy sell. She, in fact, had seen commercials for the event on television and asked if we could go sometime. I was happy to be able to offer her the chance to go, and when I told her about it, she was overjoyed.

My son is much more like I am – not at all interested in professional sports, and in fact holding some disdain for the culture that follows them with the rabid attention of brainwashed zealots subscribing to the belief that the only important thing is to win win WIN! I was sure he’d have no interest in going. But I asked anyway.

“Any chance you’d be interested in going to the Monster Truck Jam?” I asked casually.

“Not likely,” came the reply from behind a book.

Since he’s 12 years old, I briefly entertained the idea of letting him sit this one out and stay home alone. However, there was one thing I knew would entice him, so I tried again:

“It’s in a party suite.  There will be pizza.” I offered.

“Okay, I’m in,” he said, through the book.

In addition to the tickets to the event, my boss gave me some “party in the pit” passes to go down and see the trucks up close.

“You wanna go early and see the trucks?” I asked him.

“Don’t push it,” he replied.

I didn’t.

We got to the stadium about 15 minutes before the event started, and the traffic jam surrounding the event started off the internal dialogue that ran the rest of the evening. The following are notes I took throughout the event: Read On

A Gift in the Sand

I know, it’s been awhile…

This blog has been virtually dead for months, with not a single new word written since before Christmas. I’d like to say I’ve been so busy I haven’t had the chance to write, but that’s only partly true. While I have been busy, I haven’t been so busy that I couldn’t take a few minutes to post something here. I just kept not-doing it.

As more time went by, I found it harder and harder to get started, for it seemed like some acknowledgment of my absence would be in order before anything else, and I just didn’t know where to start.

I didn’t lack subject matter – I had several topics to write on. I didn’t lack motivation – several times I earnestly made stretch goals to get a post done by a certain date. But despite this, nothing got written.

What I lacked was inspiration. I got it today. Read On

Delivery Squid

freckle-cheeked and
blue-eyed girl,
pencil in hand,
and paper
a blank canvas
to convey images
unique to her,
ideas as strange and
as all those born of
whose minds are not bound
by the limits of reality
but instead exist in a
where birds carry umbrellas
and flowers are
as large as trees. Read On

A Thanksgiving Story

Today is the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent alone. In all of my forty-something years, I have never found myself on the fourth Thursday in November with no family nearby with whom to share the holiday. I knew this would be the case, so it’s not a sudden revelation. But while a month ago I was fine with it and felt no sense of sadness (or self-pity) at the idea of being alone on Thanksgiving, I must admit the last few days I’ve felt a change.

It’s probably because every time someone asked me, “What are you doing for the holiday?”, I found myself without an answer. I’ve always had an answer to that question. I’ve always said, “getting together with family”, regardless of the venue or the attendees. I also usually got to brag about my mom’s fabulous made-from-scratch pumpkin and pecan pies that were fixtures of the holiday. But this year those pies are 1000 miles away, as is my family. And since my own kids are with their mom today, I am alone.

My mom’s pumpkin pie is better than this. Though there’s usually more whipped cream.

Or, put differently – I am free. I know I create my experience of life, so I realize I can choose to create today as a day of “loneliness”, or I can choose to create it as a day of “freedom”. It really all depends on how I look at it. Sometimes, though, I need to look really hard at something before I can see it differently.

Here is a true story of something I experienced once upon a time. Nothing has been changed in this story – not even the names. It happened exactly as I describe it here. It was the first time I was shown how God often finds unique and surprising ways to speak to me. And the message I got on this particular night was: gratitude can be found anywhere.

One night, several years ago, as I was trying to get to sleep, a dog started barking. Read On