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It’s the most wonderful time of the year,
I’m reunited with a sandwich I hold dear.
McRib you fill my stomach with saucy cheer,
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

There’ll be a tasty pork product on a hoagie roll,
Add some pickles and onions, it’s food for the soul.
There’ll be barbecue sauce smeared all over my face,
The though of it puts me in a most happy place.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year,
Through the drive-thru, my car I’ll joyfully steer.

My lips simply can’t wait to greet
That delicious restructured meat!
McRib, my mouthwatering friend, I love you!
I knew you’d come back, you always do!!

Hello, I’m Luke Lang…
And I love Johnny Cash.
I grew up listening to his music.
It spoke to me.
It taught me that love is a burning thing and it makes a fiery ring.
Even as we speak, I have 192 of his songs on my iPhone. And, I love them all.
Well, except for one…
I have a least favorite CASH song.
I heard it this morning, I was driving along and there it was, right after “Walk the Line”…
and I sung along.
THAT is the problem…
The song is “God’s gonna cut you down”.
And I sung along…
Here are some of the happy lyrics:
“You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler,
The gambler,
The back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down”
The artistry of the song is not in question, it is stunning. I mean, c’mon! It’s Johnny!!
The problem is that I sung along.
I don’t like what the song does to me.
It awakens something dark in my heart.
It taps into a dark desire that is lurking around in my soul to execute judgement and vengeance.
I want to cut down and condemn. And I make it a completely self righteous venture. I let a condescending glaze cover my eyes to my own flaws and I point my finger and I sing along…God’ll cut you down.
It’s a very holy sing along, right?
I simply want to use the Bible to put others in their place.
And so, I wield the Word like a weed whacker.
And in the midst of my sweaty, self righteous pursuit, I forget something…
it’s supposed to be a love story.
Love doesn’t cut down.
Love lifts.
I need to put down the weed whacker.
I need to sing along to a new song.
Here’s a CASH song that I could sing along with:
“I wear the black for those who never read, Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.”
Love lifts.
Love puts people in their place…
in the place that they were born to be, NOT the place that they deserve.
Have mercy!!
Stop the Word weed whacking.
Tell stories of hope.
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler,
The gambler,
The back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna give them a new life.
Throw messages of mercy around like confetti.
Mercy was never, ever meant to be given or received in moderation. It is BIG and sloppy and always undeserved.

Love is the tie that binds,
Because it’s mine, I walk the line.

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Image  —  Posted: November 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

Airport Security.

Posted: November 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

For some crazy reason, I never just get through airport security.
I ALWAYS get patted down.
Maybe it’s the weird beard.
Maybe it’s the cargo shorts that give the appearance that I’m smuggling snacks.
Maybe it’s because they AIN’T never seen anyone like me.
Maybe, it’s because I’m just so darn pattable?
It’s a humbling experience…
First there’s the cold, hard humiliation of partially stripping down in front of hundreds of suddenly intimate strangers…take off your shoes, belt, jacket, etc. etc.
I’ve turned it into kind of a burly burlesque dance that no one really seems to appreciate.
Then I get frisked which is awkward on so many levels. For starters I’m pretty ticklish so I can’t help but giggle like a 3 year old.
That might create a little suspicion.
Also, my friskable parts are freakishly low to the ground and it’s always a man who is at least 2 feet taller than me who is patting me down. A few guys have hurt their backs trying to pat me down. I feel guilty about that! I’m willing to stand on top of their table so they can do their job.
Sometimes I get the bonus fun of an angry lady shouting “BAG CHECK!” and some poor soul gets to dig through my fruit of the looms.
This is undoubtably easier when I’m leaving then when I’m coming home.
Finally after what seems like at least an hour I get through. By this time none of the TSA agents will make eye contact with me and I just feel dirty.
As I write this I’m sitting at my gate. I’m thankful to survive security. I can’t help but notice that the ticket agent is giving me odd looks, so I’m trying to look less suspicious, and I’m ready to get my head in the clouds.

Yippee Ki Yay Leafy Greens.

Posted: November 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

From deep in the Hidden Valley came the cowboy.
Sam Salad was his name.
He rode into town on a trusty steed named crouton. Like most cowhands, He was wearing ranch dressing.
He was looking for his arch nemesis, Twinkie the Kid. Years of fighting had driven a wedge between him and the Kid. He found him, sponging around near the saloon. Sam spit in the street and said in a voice as thick as blue cheese, “lettuce settle this once and for all!” The Kid giggled and said “I’m gonna toss you Salad!” He grabbed his pearl handled Salad shooter, But suddenly, the Kid slipped on some oil and vinegar in the middle of the street. He hit the dirt so hard that he artichoked. He left a trail of cream filling in amongst the dust and tumbleweeds. It wasn’t a sweet sight.
Sam’s work was done so he tipped his hat to the Romaine sisters, threw his bacon bits into the saddle and he rode off into the sunset towards his garden on the thousand island.

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls…It’s Taco Tuesday.
And we have a brand new Mexican restaurant
The old place was much closer to our house, it was much more convenient and their tacos are delicious.
We have been going there for a while.
But, we have defected. We have moved on to a new promised land flowing with tamales and guacamole.
The old place was super fast and tasty, it was a little dark and they usually only serve tacos on flimsy paper plates. But, here’s the real deal breaker: it always seems like the staff really doesn’t like people. Maybe, it was something about the resentful way they threw down the chips in front of us. There was no smiling served with the salsa. Maybe, it was the way they clumped together in the corner and seemed to be talking about us. Maybe, it’s because it seemed they were always trying to rush us?
When we are rushed, we get restless, and so one night we stumbled into a new place, it was brightly colored and there was live music! AND, The staff was super friendly. They smile and act like they are actually glad you are there! They call me amigo as they place a big bowl of warm tortilla chips in front of my face.
So we defected.
That’s a big deal for us!! It didn’t just happen.
It took us meeting some friendly people who are working hard to be people friendly.
And THAT made all the difference.
It makes me wonder…
what if we were simply friendly people who worked hard to be people friendly?
What if we approached our work, our faith, our relationships and life in general with this real simple goal?
Be a friend and create an environment that invites friends.
It doesn’t seem super complicated!
You know what else isn’t complicated?
Tacos!

Doggie Dental.

Posted: November 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

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I have a candid canine confession to make…
Lately, there has been something foul at our house.
Something fragrantly funky is afoot at our casa.
Our sweet little rescue beagle, Maggie the Wonder Hound, has had atrociously atrocious, horribly horrible butt breath (sorry, there is just no other way to describe it).
That is a problem because Maggie loves hard. Maggie loves up close, as close as she can physically get. She likes to get in your face.
She is an aggressive snuggler.
And lately she gets right up in our faces and snuggles with her butt breath in full effect.
We’ve tried to ignore it.
We’ve tried to deny it.
But, here’s the deal: Maggie is more than a pet, she is our friend, she is family.
When she was rescued, she was a few days from being put down. She had lived outside and fended for herself. She was (and is) a scrapper.
She wasn’t used to domestic life.
She learned quick!!
She figured out really quick that she had a home.
And now, our house is ACTUALLY her house.
She graciously shares HER furniture with us.
Including…HER…bed.
Yup, Maggie sleeps with us.
Don’t judge us!
She is more than a pet, she is family.
She stubbornly sleeps sideways and manages to squeeze both Diana and me out of bed. She steals blankets. She snores like a constipated linebacker. She gets grumpy if you try to move her. AND, She gets up in our faces with her butt breath. It’s pretty bad. We have been woken up by the fragrant funk.
In the past, I’ve got to confess that I’ve never been a big believer in doggy dental care.
My reasoning has been pretty simple, dogs eat some really crazy stuff: rocks, dead animals (squirrels, birds, unidentifiable lumps of gritty hair), and poop (their own and others!)
Why spend money cleaning their teeth when they are just going to consume more crap?!
But, Maggie the Wonder Hound changed my mind.
After all, she is more than a pet, she is family.
And so, today we took her in to get her teeth cleaned.
It turns out that She also had to have four teeth pulled. I’m really hoping that doesn’t affect her bark, I don’t want her hound dog howl to go from “BYE-OOOOOO” to “bye-oosshhh!”
There’s something downright redneck about having a toothless hound.
Speaking of redneck, I asked the Veterinarian if I could have Maggie’s extracted teeth to make some cool jewelry, instead of a shark tooth necklace I could wear a beagle tooth necklace. But, they had already gotten rid of them.
We paid more for Maggie’s dental work than I paid for my first car! But, I’m sure that if she had a job and opposable thumbs, she would do the same for us.
It wasn’t pleasant for her, she is not a big fan of the vet in the first place. They annoy her with all their poking and prodding. Today they found new ways to annoy her. As I write this, she is laying on the carpet between Diana and myself. She is groggy and acts a little hungover. She is alternating between grunts whines and whiny grunts.
We are hoping that this makes the Wonder Hound healthier, happier and free of the dreaded butt breath.
It has hurt her and us to try to make her better.
Sometimes love hurts before it helps, but you are willing to do whatever it takes for friends and family.
Our reasoning is pretty simple: we love her.
She is our friend.
She is family.
Our home is ACTUALLY her home.
She graciously shares it with us.
Don’t judge us, I will sic my toothless hound on you!