Archive for the ‘brain belches’ Category

As I write this our amazing daughter, Delanie, is about two months away from getting married.
So many thoughts and emotions are flooding my mind and my heart.
I’m feeling a little sentimental.
The spunky five year old who went on daily slurpee dates with me has grown up.
Through the last 21 years, I’ve tried to teach her a few things about life and love.
And now as she leaves our home to make her own home with a super cool bass player, I find myself full of needless, last minute, frantic fatherly advice…
Advice about parenting and parking, jobs and jazz, money and Mexican food.
fortunately for Del, I’ve been able to keep most of my advice to myself.
BUT…I do have some words of grizzled wisdom for Delanie and Jordan and…well…every other human being.
I can condense my relationship advice into two words…
Love covers.
Yup…pretty simple…
Love covers.
Love doesn’t compare.
It doesn’t cut.
Love says I’ve got you and you’re safe.
Love says you can be safe in the knowing that no one will ever hear me criticize you.
We all need to know that there is always at least one other person on this cruel planet who will ALWAYS have our back.
Love covers.
Love creates a safe place for you to be the best flavor of you.
Love creates breathing room to be human.
Love covers.
Love says I’m your biggest fan, you are pretty much my favorite.
Anything that makes you feel like “less than” is not love.
Love covers.
Love says we won’t always agree, we will bug each other. Nobody else has to know that. It’s really none of their business.
Love burns away blame.
Love isn’t license.
It doesn’t cover up.
Love doesn’t ignore or excuse.
None of us get love right all the time.
But we realize the weight of our words and we do our best.
Love covers.
Love promotes.
Love never throws someone under the bus.
It buys you a bus ticket and helps you get home.
Nobody’s perfect, love protects the imperfections
Love keeps no record of wrong. It doesn’t keep score.
1 Peter 4:8 says “continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
Love covers.
Love believes.
I think this single practice is more valuable than a big bank account.
You can’t put a price tag on honor.
It is true security.
You will constantly have opportunities to damage the hearts that you hold most dear.
When you live up close to someone it’s easy to take cheap shots.
Don’t take the easy path.
Protect the hearts that have been given to you.

road rave!

Posted: February 24, 2015 in brain belches
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instead of road rage, I often get road rave.

Yup, I drive and dance.

I crank up the music and start moving every available body part.

It’s not necessarily pretty.

There’s a lot of head bobbing and fist pumping.

It’s really more of a spastic jerking than actual rhythmic movement.

I hoist my chunky little girth around my front seat.

It’s pretty fun.

And that is what it is all about…fun…joy.

Honestly, I don’t really enjoy driving. I’m not super good at it either.

It is boring.

So to entertain myself, I really don’t care what anybody else thinks.

I create a dashboard disco.

I sing at the top of my lungs and still manage to use my turn signals.

I get interesting reactions from other drivers.

Some point and laugh.

Some look pretty concerned.

Some look a little disgusted.

Some judge. One lady once held up a sign that just said “4”.

Some join in and start dancing too.

It’s always easier to judge than join.

But, those that do join in realize that the dance makes the drive much more fun!

Life can get ordinary.

We take the same route every day.

We need to find a way to turn the mundane into magic.

Drive and dance!

It’s all about the road rave.

It’s a lot less stressful than road rage.

Crank it up.


Posted: February 17, 2015 in brain belches
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SNOW DAY…those are two very polarizing words! ( get it…polar?!).

You probably either love or hate snow days.
It’s either magical or messy, usually depending on your age.
For a kid there are few things greater than a snow day.
We would get up early, just to see if we could sleep in late.
Was school closed?
You impatiently watched the names scroll across the bottom of the TV screen.
Your reprieve from the classroom.
It was time to play!!!
You would get bundled up…
It was a strenuous process.
Long johns…two pairs of pants…t shirt…sweat shirt…old coat…stocking hat…gloves…boots.
Then you would stumble, barely able to move your arms, into the frozen tundra of your front yard.
Where, you would suddenly realize that you REALLY need to pee.
Finally, You would play for hours until you couldn’t feel your cheeks.
then you went inside and get some tomato soup.
You could feel the healing power of the soup as it slowly made your insides warm again.
There is something undeniably special about a snow day.
Snow days have a way of freezing moments in time.
They have a way of making memories that warm your soul.
As I write this on a snow day, one other snow day in particular stands out.
It was a bitterly cold Oklahoma day.
We were hanging out at our Grandma’s house with a slew of cold, bored cousins.
My Uncle Lee had a jeep.
Guys with jeeps love snow days.
Growing up, My Uncle Lee was the single coolest human being I knew.
He was my hero.
He had long hair. He seldom wore shoes (even on snow days).
He lived wild and free.
He was a peacemaker.
He was kind to little kids and animals.
It seemed like He always had had time for us…sometimes adults didn’t.
It’s amazing how the simple act of finding time for kids can make you a rock star in their eyes.
Uncle Lee had a great snow day idea.
He got a chain and a huge piece of black rubber.
Do you see where this is going?
Where normal men see a worthless scrap of tire rubber…
Super cool Uncles see sleds!
He attached the “sled” to the jeep with the rusty chain.
We found a huge, reasonably hazard free field.
Uncle Lee did donuts and we hung on,for dear life, to the homemade sled.
Cousins were flying everywhere as he would take corners.
We laughed hard and tried to hang on.
It seemed like a great idea…
getting dragged behind a jeep and flung into rocks and trees.
Until, our pants filled up with snow.
We were frozen to the bone…so cold!
Even the chilliest memories can warm your heart.
I will never forget that snow day.
Snow days have a way of freezing moments in time.
I will never forget that moment.

My Uncle Lee left this world way too early.

He was only 41, he was building his dream house.
In a freak accident he fell backwards and hit his head.
I didn’t understand why that happened…I still don’t.
He was a great man, the epitome of gentle strength.
He was a great husband, father and brother.
He was a really cool uncle.
Cool Uncles make great Grandpas, he never got the chance.
Sometimes real life is bitterly cold.
We are left chilled to the bone.

But because, Snow days have a way of freezing moments in time.
I remember a forever young, cool Uncle and a jeep.
I remember the wild and free moments.
I remember the grown up who took the time to play.
I remember.

Memories can be like tomato soup, they warm your insides.

poetry SLAMMED.

Posted: February 10, 2015 in brain belches
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I hate beige!

It’s the color of cubicles designed to confine.

It’s conformity, giving up, and standing in line.

 Man, I hate beige!

It’s the color of the flavorless horde

Who live their lives perpetually bored.

 Boy, do I hate beige!

It’s the color of Monday, sad songs, and tasteless food.

Also the shade of blah, apathy, and a foul mood.

 I really, really hate beige.

It’s bland, inoffensive, and politically correct.

It’s the pale hue of mediocrity, I suspect.

 I hate beige!

A few years ago, when we lived in Dallas, I almost became an NBA dancer.

I know that, if you know me,  you are probably thinking NO WAY!

some of you might have thrown up in your mouth a little.

BUT…oh, it’s true!

I was a HUGE Mavericks fan, and I saw in the newspaper that the Mavs were having tryouts for Maniaacs.
The Mavs Maniaacs are a hip hop dance troupe of beefy, uninhibited men.
They were the original NBA big man dance team.
They dance at halftime and during breaks.
The tryouts were being held at a local dance studio. There were about 100 big, sweaty, over enthusiastic dancing men. It was a sight to behold and a fragrance to be smelled. The judges were Mavs dancers and local dignitaries. I was dressed for battle: a bright orange Mavericks shirt, blue basketball shorts and Chuck Taylor all stars.
I’m a condensed beefy boy, I was about a foot shorter that the other guys. In fact, I Heard one of the judges say “look, is that mini-me?” This didn’t discourage me.
This was my shot, I was gonna take it.
They taught us a choreographed combo that we did in groups and then we got to freestyle some serious dancing.
They would eliminate several people after each round. You would wait for your number to be called (or not) and you would proceed (or not).
Again and again I danced my guts out and made it through.
This was my shot, I was gonna take it.
We ended up doing the routine about 8 times. I hadn’t danced like this since…never. My muscles were rebelling against me.
I’m allergic to choreography. I’m not coordinated enough to keep up, but I can creatively shake my booty.
This was my chance…my ONLY chance to be a part of an NBA team.
Sometimes life gives you a free throw and you got to take a shot.
Whether you make it or not, you take pride in the fact that you tried.
I made it to the final ten!!! Then they told us that they were looking for five dancers.
One more round…
Ignore the pain…
Take your shot.
During the last round , one of the judges shouted words that I thought I would never hear: “Okay, we want to see some flesh…if you want to be a Maniaac, we need to see your stomach!”
This caused most of the guys next to me to start ripping off their damp shirts and flinging them around slinging warm sweat everywhere. I learned the true meaning of GUTS and glory.
Some things should never be seen…
Some things can never be unseen.
I. Just. Could. Not.
As much as I wanted to be a Maniaac, I wanted to hold onto some shred of dignity.
I couldn’t bring myself to unfurl my man boobs.
I didn’t make the top five.
I was ALMOST an NBA dancer.
I left with my dignity, a really sore back and a great story.
I had Stepped out and lived a great story.
Life is about stepping out even when you don’t make the cut.
It’s taking risks, it’s overcoming the paralyzing fear of public opinion.

What if success were all about risking instead of reaping.
What if we realized that it’s better to be an “almost was” than a “never tried”.
What if success were found in the act of stepping out.

Sometimes you got to do something unexpected…unlikely…unbelievable.
We should live in constant pursuit of a better story.
Sometimes life gives you a free throw and you have to take a shot.
Sometimes it goes in the basket…nothing but air.
Sometimes it bounces off the backboard.
Sometimes you don’t even get close.
The point is that you took a shot…you played…you tried…you danced.
You got off your butt, you took a risk, you overcame fear.
And you gained something more valuable than any trophy…
A Life lived in pursuit of a better story.
Step up…
Take a shot…
But please, for the love of God, leave your shirt on.


Posted: January 26, 2015 in brain belches
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Growing up I had many interchangeable dreams that came and went.

One dream came and stayed.
It was a simple dream.
I wanted a beard.
As a kid, I would literally sit around and visualize myself with a big nasty beard.
See the beard…be the beard.
I drew pictures of what I thought the bearded me would look like. It was a little creepy.
I wanted a beard.
To me, the beard was the epitome of free spirited manliness.
It was an exclamation point for your face!
My Uncle Bill, who was one of my heroes, had a beard.
Barry Gibb, Gandalf, Mr. T and Grizzly Adams…ALL had beards.
I was a late bloomer, I was almost 20 before I sprouted facial fuzz.
I tried everything to set off the stubble. I shaved my naked cheeks twice a day ( somebody told me that would work). I rubbed miracle-gro on my face. I prayed. I watched Chuck Norris movies.
FINALLY, my wildest, wooliest dreams came true.
In the last 30 years, I’ve only been without facial hair once for one misguided week in the late eighties.
I realized that my beard is the only thing that keeps me from looking like a chubby 9 year old boy. Many people have skittishly asked me, “is your Wife okay with you having that thing?” The answer is yes. For starters, she doesn’t want people to think she is married to a chubby 9 year old. She also recognizes that I’m a man who makes manly decisions about my manly face. Before you grow stubble, you probably ought to grow a spine. There are a lot of beard bashers who can’t wait to tell you what they think about your face. Chalk it up to beard envy. Haters gonna hate, don’t shave it off.
I think we are living during a magical time for beards.
It is a big hairy renaissance.
there have been epic beards in the past. Abraham Lincoln, I’m looking at you.
But I truly believe, with all my face, that we are living in the golden age of facial hair.
I’ve experimented with every possible expression of whisker. I’ve had a full beard, a goatee, a mustache, even the modified Australian Fu-Manchu.
I finally decided to just let it grow wild and define itself. It has, I believe by divine design, evolved into a “Chullet”. It is a “chin mullet”. The message is clear: It’s a party for my face.
It is a “yeard” (a beard that has grown for more than a year).
It’s a very handy thing, to be able to grow your own scarf or to go container.
How could it be a negative thing to get occasionally mistaken for Santa Claus?
A beard turns an ordinary face into art. In life, beauty is brought forth in the strangest ways. Look out for it.
A beard should be grown all year, manliness is not seasonal.
Sometimes the greatest things in life just grow on you. You do need to groom the growth to get the maximum awesomeness. That’s true with beards, it’s also true with relationships.
Sometimes your beard gets itchy. This is when many well intentioned guys give up. Don’t do it, be a man! don’t surrender the stubble. Work through the itch. It won’t last forever. Real life is the same way. life is itchy. Work through the itch. It will be worth it.
Just because something is untamed, doesn’t mean that it’s not clean. That’s true of beards, it’s also true of people. Don’t judge people.
Remember, with great beard comes great responsibility.
Unfurl your fuzz.
Celebrate your chin fruit.
Let little bits of awesome escape out of your face.

I was about 12 years old and I was going to my first night club.

I was excited! Once a month the 20th century club (a very cutting edge establishment) had a Catholic youth disco night. It was on a school night and I was going! Why stay home…when you should be dancing!
I didn’t want to show up alone, I didn’t want people to think I was a loser.
So I invited my cousin…
My incredibly incredible cousin Carmen agreed to go, because she was (and is) a really kind person.
One of our Moms had a great idea…for us to wear matching outfits. We wore denim vests and purple shirts. I think there might have been sequins involved. We looked like part of the Osmond family.
I tried my hardest to look like Barry Gibb, I had a gold chain and shiny, plastic shoes. I put some of my Mom’s Aqua net on my hair and my Dad’s old spice on my face.
We got dropped off and I couldn’t wait to boogie.
I had been watching American Bandstand for a while so I was schooled in the fine art of disco.
I danced like crazy.
I danced with all my might.
I danced like someone was watching.
That was a problem.
I’ve since learned that It’s a whole lot more fun when we dance like nobody’s watching.
Just because we love the dance.
But, it turns out, THERE was somebody watching. An actual FEMALE somebody, who wasn’t related to me. I was doing some alluring moves to KC and the Sunshine Band, when I looked across the dance floor and there was a girl smiling at me! And…then…she…waved…me…over!
i was fairly certain that she wanted to dance or maybe elope.
This girl was about my age and she was cute. Feathered hair, a shiny dress and braces to match.
So, without breaking eye contact, I danced over to her. that’s right, I was that cool.
She smiled the whole time. The disco ball reflected off her retainer.
She was standing with some friends drinking a 7up.
I boogied up, ready to hustle her heart away.
She giggled and said “you are such a cute little boy!”
And then dream girl patted me on the top of my head like I was a puppy…SERIOUSLY.

that wasn’t the reaction I wanted. there would be no eloping that night.

Then she walked off with her friends.
I was crushed…humiliated…embarrassed.
I remember it like it was yesterday, because that kind of painful rejection parks itself on the dance floor of your psyche.
This girl saw me in a sweaty horde of preteen wanna be dancers and in comparison I looked like a little kid. I was smack dab in the middle of a crowd that was taller than me. If only the lighting had been better, she could have seen my mustache. Then it would have been undeniable that I was a MAN. instead she saw a puppy in a pen of big dogs. It was all about the surroundings.
It’s still true 40 years later.
I’m 5″1′ tall.
Honestly, I never really notice my height until I’m standing right next to people who aren’t 5″1′.
It’s really only in a crowd that I feel small.
I look around, and all I see are armpits. I lose myself in the crowd. It’s when I break away from the crowd that my differences don’t matter.
Let me share something unbelievably profound with you…

Ifyou want to STAND OUT you got to STAND OUT.

I know…that just blew your mind, right?
If you want people to get to know the real you STAND OUT, don’t blend in.
Why would you get lost in the crowd when you should be dancing?

When I was 16 years old I entered the wonderful world of minimum wage.
My first job was at a grocery store called “Super-H” that was about 4 miles from my house. I was never sure what the “H” stood for, it depended on who you asked. My official job description was “sacker” (which sounds a little more dignified than “bag-boy”). It wasn’t a tough job, I put groceries into sacks and carried the sacks to cars. It wasn’t complicated. I was a hormone crazed, microwave burrito fueled goof ball ready to take the world by storm. This was back in the dark ages when your bagging choices were limited to “do you want paper or…well, paper?” I have to confess, during my sacker days I killed a lot of innocent produce. I also broke my share of not so innocent eggs. It was dangerous work.
I wore a faded blue apron, a spiffy name tag and a garage sale necktie. I managed to make enough money to pay for my first car (a ’74 ford pinto, yep, it was a car named after a bean). But, despite the tens of dollars that I made bagging other people’s food, I took away other things that were immeasurably valuable.

I learned many valuable life lessons from my first run in with organized work.
I learned to show up 15 minutes early.
I learned that shortcuts rarely pay off. Don’t trade RIGHT for EASY.
I learned that if you at least look busy, you get yelled at less.
I learned not to get distracted. My friend was slicing a ham once and got distracted by a pretty girl (what else) and ended up slicing off a chunk of his finger tip. The positive thing was that it blended right in with the ham.
I learned valuable skills like mopping and how to properly use a time clock. Both of these took me years to master.
I learned that, even when you THINK you have found a good spot to hide out, somebody is probably watching you.
I learned that there is always that ONE person who is ALWAYS in the break room.
I learned that sometimes people are mean. They treat you like dirt. That doesn’t make you dirt.
I learned that joy is a powerful weapon.
I learned that joy makes some people nervous.
I learned the value of a buck or 3, I made $3.35 an hour the entire 4 years that I worked there.
I learned that sometimes there is no chance of advancement. That shouldn’t keep you from advancing. Be better.
I learned the difference between BE and DO. I had to DO a lot of stuff that I didn’t like, that didn’t change who I was. You DO what you have to do while you find ways to BE who you are.
I learned that everybody has a story and most of those stories are pretty interesting.
I learned that sometimes you will have to deal with a lot of crap. Once, we were out of toilet paper in the very public restroom, so an older guy wrote a hostile message on the wall…with his own…um…crap. Guess who got to clean it up? Yup, it was me. Sometimes you have to do that!
I learned how to tie a necktie, which is a skill that I still use, every Christmas Eve.
I learned that I really hate neckties.
I learned that I’m also not a fan of name tags.
I learned that you don’t want to put canned green beans on top of bread.
I learned the value of just showing up. You earn a reputation by showing up as a person who shows up instead of shrugs off.
I learned that if you drop a jar of spaghetti sauce just right, it will break and go all over your customer’s white pants.
I learned that attitude is more important than ability.
I learned that some thieves aren’t very smart. I watched an older lady hike up her muumuu dress and put a gallon of ice cream down her panty hose. We stopped her and she denied it until it started to melt.
I learned that your social circle is going to grow out of the people that you are around the most. Hang around with people who make you better.
I learned that sometimes the customer is wrong.
I learned that you might not always want to tell the customer that they are wrong.
I learned that some people will do anything to advance themselves, don’t be THAT guy. don’t throw other people under the shopping cart.
I learned that we all have a daily choice: am I going to be a jerk? Just …don’t…for the love of God…don’t be a jerk.
I learned who I was and who I wasn’t. I was more than a hormone crazed, microwave burrito fueled goof ball.
I learned that you can learn something from everything.
I learned that cruddy jobs don’t last forever, but the lessons we take away from cruddy jobs DO last forever.

I have a dent on my forehead. A nasty little scar. It’s a forever testament to the fact that I’m easily distracted. When I was a little kid I was hanging out on a playground on a summer day, I was pushing someone in a swing. They were laughing I was laughing. But then…suddenly something caught my attention…SQUIRREL!!! I stopped and turned to look at it. The problem is that the swing didn’t stop. That is until it was stopped by my forehead! So I have a swing set shaped dent in my head. It hurt at first but I got stitches and treated it the way It needed to treated and it eventually healed. But, It left a mark. In time the scar became a story. It’s a part of me. A part of me that’s not pretty but it is real. Life is hard, hurt happens but healing can happen too. life can leave a dent, don’t let your dents become ruts. Don’t let scars become shackles. Let your Scars become stories, testaments to survival. Stories of hope and healing. What is your scar story?

I was introduced early to the man club through my dad & his circle of hunting buddies.

They would stand around in a smoky garage, swap stories with Merle Haggard and George Jones playing in the background on the AM radio.
I still remember the smell of the garage, it was a combination of sweet feed, motor oil, cigarettes and hard work.
These were Men who only called each other by last names ( I didn’t know that one of my dad’s friends even had a first name until his funeral).

These were good men who loved their country and their families ( sometimes it was easier for them to communicate their love for their country than their family), in fact these men mostly communicated in the manly language of insult, they mercilessly put-down each other, because, after all, that’s what men do…right?

They referred to their wives as the “ball and chain” and “the old lady”.
They worked on old trucks, butchered rabbits and deer,
They spit, cursed, laughed, Talked about politics, football and muzzle loaders.

Innuendo flew around that garage like stained confetti. Women were objects of desire rather than dignity.

They were men…good men.

They had the best intentions.

They had good hearts.

They were fiercely loyal to each other.

My brother and I would stand in the corner, out of the way, soaking it all in.
I left that garage with the fragrance of pall-malls on my clothing and hair.

I left with the fragrance of misguided manhood on my soul.

Every boy wants to be a part of the man club.
We imitate…we take notes…we learn the rules.
It’s natural, sons were made to learn from fathers.
We were made to mimic…to imitate.
But, Maturity is learning to imitate heart instead of habit.
We can learn great things from the hearts of those who have gone before us.
But, We don’t have to repeat the habits.

From time to time, I see men my age stuck in the old familiar groove. They are masters in the linguistic art of insult, they live out of a place of insecurity. They compare and ruthlessly claw to get to the top of the heap.
It is easier to insult than invent.
There is a better way…

A new way to be man.

A way that knows and accepts yourself and refuses to play the game.
A way that elevates compassion over comparison as a man gauge.
A way that creates a safe place for everyone you love.
We need men who live for something bigger than themselves.

We need men who throw away the outdated ruler of manhood.

We need men who are passionate about their passions.
We need men whose words COVER instead of CUT…words that BUILD instead of BREAK.
We need a new man club.