Cats.  Aren’t cats just great?  They’re furry and cute and…Okay, now that you’re totally into this blog, here’s the thing.  I’ve been noticing a trend in web-based media for a while now and it’s reached an internally distressing level for me.  Is “epidemic” too strong a word?  There are a number of writers – good writers – that put up some substantive, entertaining stuff each and every day.  They post their blogs on WordPress or Blogspot.  They put up videos on YouTube.  And it’s good stuff.  I mean, I’m talking about real, socially relevant issues that they’re hitting in an informative and compelling way.  (If you haven’t guessed, I’m one of those who I would consider on the more “substantive” side of the fence.)  Great stuff, but relatively unnoticed.

In the lobby of the WordPress/YouTube office building, upper management has cordoned off an area for their top performers.  These are the “crème de la cream” as my buddy used to say.  And you can’t miss them.  They’ve got the platform, the roped off area, the flashing marquee, and the bullhorn complete with the WordPress/YouTube company logo on it.  And do you know who these top performers are?  Cats.  Well, many of them are anyway.  Some of them are teenagers who can’t lip sync but try anyway or Justin Bieber doing anything at all.  Anyhow, each and every day, as I make my way to my little digital cubicle inside this empire, I have to pass these wonderful animals who have so adorably wrestled the culture’s attention away from the, shall we say, more relevant topics of the day.  (Side note:  Some of you are thinking “wow, WordPress has an office building? And they share it with the YouTube people?”  Well, actually, Read the rest of this entry »

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Today, in 1901, an Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi successfully sent the world’s first radio transmission across the Atlantic.  As I sit at my laptop writing this, I realize that this accomplishment hardly seems noteworthy.  I mean, just a few moments ago I sent a tweet that wrapped around the world a few dozen times, probably within seconds.  But read on.

Marconi was born in 1874.  In this horse-drawn era, both in the transportation of people and information, Marconi became fascinated with the work that a German physicist named Heinrich Hertz was doing in the field of radio waves.  In that day and age, it was difficult, at best, to conceive of information being transmitted through the air.  I imagine that it was even considered a sort of heresy to the common, unwritten laws of known boundaries.  (I don’t know whether this was literally true, but thinking so makes me feel better about the ideas I’ve been having lately.)   Read the rest of this entry »

learning to swim

Posted: June 29, 2010 in A Day in the Life, Faith, Family

There is a fear that a child feels when looking at the vast domain of water known as the pool.  Learning to swim.  Really?  Do I have to?  I survey all the sights and sounds of summer; the screams of other kids jumping into water that is a little too cold, the splashing, the laughter, the intermittent call and response of “Marco” and “Polo”.  It all looks like a lot of fun.  Then…then, there’s the water.  The matter of the pool.  Really?  Can’t I just know how to do this?  Why can’t I just be born knowing how to swim?  I hear my dad say those familiar words which, while they’re supposed to bring me comfort, actually intensify my already disproportionate fear.  “I’ve got you.”, he says.  And I know he does.  Sort of.  I mean, I know he means it.  It’s sweet, really.  That’s what dads are supposed to say.  But how can I know, I mean really know?  And so I sit here, feet dangling in the pool, longing to feel its coolness and the delight of summer fun.  And it does look like fun.  Does it ever!  They all look like they’re having so much of what I long for.  Then there’s the jumping in part.  My dad is patient, knowing that I don’t feel ready.  Can you ever be ready, I wonder?  I mean, if nobody is born knowing how to swim, then everybody has to have this jumping in part to really learn.  And they’ve Read the rest of this entry »

1955

Posted: February 10, 2010 in Poetry and Song
I met a girl on a bus one day in 1955
Brown-eyed angel with a gentle voice
And a heart that was so alive
And the man said move to the back of the bus
And pointed to the sign
She took her stand as she sat that day
In 1955

 

She said, my name’s Rosa
I said, hey, aren’t you afraid?
She said, I’m not that kinda girl
Cause there’s nothin’ to fear so I’m stay’n right here
And I’m gonna change the world
And the driver shouted as she looked away,
A fierceness in her eyes
She’d only begun all the work to be done
In 1955

 

 And time stood as still as the bus on that day
When they made her stand aside
She wore different chains, but they still were the same
In 1955

 

And just today on the bus with a friend
Talkin’ about this divide
He said the days of Mr. Crow were so long ago
And they’re no longer alive
But if you ask the boy who was there on that day
About how things have changed, here’s what I’ll say
That the bus is moving now, but we’re still miles away
And all we can do is ride
While I tell you ‘bout the girl on the bus that day
In 1955.

  

In honor of Rosa Parks, civil rights hero.
©2010, Peach & Plum Music/Words and Music by Jonathan Grow

Ask me, my Love

Posted: January 29, 2010 in Poetry and Song
Tags: , ,

Ask me, my Love, how I delight in thee and I will write it on paper until every branch of every tree in this world is consumed, only to have written a single chapter among volumes.

Ask me, my Love, how I adore thee and I will search all the languages in the world for words of such depth, only to discover that once spoken seem to possess no meaning at all – for such human words cannot convey the eternal.

Ask me, my Love, for a chanson d’amour and I will take the podium in front of history’s most accomplished musicians and finely crafted instruments to play such as has not been heard, neither can be by human ear.

Ask me, my Love, of my promise to thee and I will place a ring of gold on your finger, take your delicate hand in mine and walk with you through shadowed valleys and sunlit fields until there is no more time.

Ask me, my Love, for my heart and I will tell you that it and more are yours to keep for all eternity.

Miss Maple

Posted: January 29, 2010 in Poetry and Song
Tags: , ,

An Ode to Autumn

Miss Maple, cast off your veil of green

Unmask your beauty coursing deep

Beneath your cloak and kept unseen

Do not hide anymore

The air is chill, the shadows long

Come sing Creation’s vibrant song

Take your place, lovely and strong

Do not hide anymore

O starry night befalling you

Cold and clear and calling to

Shed the old, your splendor view

Do not hide anymore

Miss Maple, I’m a lot like you

Glory hiding, color subdued

And branches ache to be renewed

And beauty be restored

Do not hide anymore

Date your daughter.  If you live in the Christian culture, you’ve likely heard this.  But are you doing it routinely?  For me, I know I’ve waited too long when my daughters ask me to take them on another daddy/daughter date.  They get so much from this time together.  True, this is a time when you can treat her like a lady; a time to talk to her about life’s important issues, what’s going on in her life, even teach her spiritual lessons and offer her guidance along her bumpy road.  But regardless of what you do or what you say, your daughter receives a deeper, perhaps more important message:  “my daddy treasures me.  I am valuable to him.  He wants to spend time with me.”  Not only this, but you are also opening the door to many future conversations during more difficult times.

 In everything you do together, illustrate that she should be treated with respect.  By honoring her emotions, her body, her mind, and her spirit you are helping to lay the foundations of her self-concept.  You are also setting her expectations for how a woman should be treated.  Be sure to set her expectations high!

 Talk to your daughter.  Be specific and unashamed.  Things are changing.  Certain types of physical contact are no longer appropriate.  You’re going to stop treating her like a young girl and start treating her like a young lady in physical, emotional, conversational, and other ways.  Don’t leave her wondering why.  She will likely draw false conclusions that something is wrong and that it’s her fault or worse.  Tell her why, but not just that- celebrate with her out loud these wonderful changes that are happening.  This is an exciting time in her life!  If you’re right in your heart about this, then you truly see your daughter as an inside-and-out beautiful young lady.  So paint a picture for her of what you see and Read the rest of this entry »

From the tween through the teen years, she’ll be continually bombarded with messages of what a woman is via world definition.  You, dad, are the sentry assigned to the gateposts of your daughter’s heart and mind, doing battle with the ideas and images that would storm the gates and lay waste to the castle.  And just because she becomes an adult woman doesn’t mean the messages stop.  In fact, it just means that they’re all the more focus-grouped straight into her life through television, magazines, internet, music, and every other medium available on the planet.  While the world may expect her to settle for what it offers, God has set her apart for more!  So guide her with nobility and commitment to her and to the Lord, keeping your eyes and heart on full alert.  And reassure her with confidence that God has something out of this world in store for her.

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  – Ephesians 5:15-16

 Before we move on, can I be frank with you?  I mean, I feel like we know each other, having so much in common.  Have you done battle with your own heart lately?  Are you ready to defeat the wrong images in your own life?  I do not suggest that this is prerequisite to properly raising your daughter, for I do not wish to marginalize God’s ability to raise a healthy daughter through a broken man.  But there is a loss of both strength and will to fight that occurs when you sip tea regularly with the very enemy that you are sworn to defeat on your daughter’s behalf.  So what images of a woman have you let into your mind today?  This week?  This month?  Are they healthy images?  If we’re going to get right about seeing our daughters in a “circumspect” way as their bodies mature, we’re going to have to settle the question of the images that reside on our Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s talk about God first.  God made your little girl.  Before there was time, He designed her inside and out:  her form, her mind, her heart.  He knew everything about her.  He even knew you would be reading these words on behalf of her and wondering what in the world you should do.  He knew how lost she (and you) would feel at this moment.  And he knew what she would need.  So talk to Him.  Ask Him about your daughter.  He knows her much better than you do.  Then listen.  That’s the hard part, I know.  But press on man.  You’re not ordering a pizza; this is your daughter.  So find a quiet space and talk to Him.  He too has a lot to say on this matter and He wants you to do this well.  In fact, He is determined to bring to bear every resource that you need.  He will equip you for this!  He has even provided another, most vital resource for you.

 Your wife is invaluable here in that she is a woman and was once a girl.  She’s been there.  She knows what to expect.  No doubt you’ve already had many talks with your wife about this – she’s been processing these changes, though in a slightly different way than you.  It doesn’t matter whether your wife had a healthy or unhealthy relationship with her dad.  She has a lot to say on the subject of what a girl needs from her father.  In fact, if you’ve been married for more than a week, then you even know how your wife’s childhood relationship with her dad affects your Read the rest of this entry »

There is no better time than a chilly, Autumn morning.  I pour a cup of coffee and walk barefoot across the cold tile floor to my office.  Everyone is asleep – everyone but me.   My heart is stirred and I can sleep no longer.  Like the trees outside, my world has entered a new season of change. 

My oldest daughter, now in her tenth year of life, no longer calls me daddy.  She hasn’t for a while.  I am simply dad now, a small change signaling greater change to come.  For this sweet little girl has entered into the early springs of womanhood.  I am just now beginning to process what these changes mean for her, and for me.  She no longer climbs all over me the way she used to.  I hold her a little differently now.  I am more mindful of where I touch her body.  Things have changed. 

She didn’t ask my permission to become a woman.  How many fathers, like me, would not grant their daughters passage to the road that leads from girl to woman?  How vast the number!  For to grant such a wish is to give permission to break a father’s heart.  Each step, each breath, each Read the rest of this entry »