About Me

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Monday, March 31, 2008


It's my favorite day of the week again...just kidding. Somehow though, today is sitting better with me... I'm in the quiet of an empty store enjoying a peanut butter sandwich, (not a fan of jelly) sipping on coffee and trying to enjoy a moment of tranquility. I have work to do, but nothing sounds better than putting that off for a time.

It was a busy weekend, but one spent with friends...and it was an active one that concluded on Sunday with an impromptu- 2 on 2 football game...I nearly died because I'm so out of shape. A piece of that conversation:

Me: (Through heavy panting) "dude, my lungs hurt!"

Changsta:(In a tone suggesting an obvious answer) "Why do you think that is Joe?"

Me: "Oh probably the pollution in the air, allergies, maybe the dust...?"

Changsta, Elliot and Ludlum shake their heads in unison. :)

Saturday was moving day for Louie and Vic. There were quite a few people involved and this illicted much laughter. Especially when me and Chris were talking about tasting Louie's "Noni." I know it sounds awfull, which is why it's funny, but it's just a multi-level marketing, dietary supplement with a really poor name. Speaking of Chris, the man never slows down... I kept fantasizing about shooting blow darts at his neck...

I also got to catch up with an old friend last night, Chrissy the playwright who's been living in Brooklyn in a building full of Russian immigrants for the last few years. We had coffee with Chang and Teli and then went for a drive. She makes me laugh and we have a lot of silly memories that make up our history. Like the time she puked in my neighbors lawn from having too many cigarrettes and Tim and I just sat there and watched in disbelief, like it was a side show at a circus. I found it interesting how two people can hold on to very different details of one incident.

I also had hawaiian fast food for the first time, yes in Peoria, Arizona, which is kind of what makes this country so great...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


There stands a sign outside the store window, a sign unfamiliar to me. Red and black letters, and the phone number of some realtor, nailed to a white wooden post.

It is a sign that things are again changing in my life.

A few moments ago I said goodbye to a couple that I have come to grow very fond of over the last 2 months. They are snow birds who enjoyed their summer in the valley and today, they will begin their trek back to Iowa. The ice and snow has melted now along the giant miles of farmland and a new found season invites them back to the place they call home...

We shared many a great talks together and their hugs felt real.
I will miss them and with the business closing, my future hanging in the balance of uncertainty, I'm not sure when I will see them again...

There is no permanence...

It was the French scientist Blaise Pascal, who penned these words in his Pensees:

We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. When we think to attach ourselves to any point and to fasten to it, it wavers and leaves us; and if we follow it, it eludes our grasp, slips past us and vanished forever. Nothing stays for us...

Where will life take me from here? At the end of April, the final pages of this story, this business venture of nearly 6 years will be written. It will become a thing of the past, merely a resevoir from which I will draw distant memories...and I will begin to speak about it in the past tense. Too soon, a time will come when effort is required in the retelling of a funny or strange incident that occured and upon sharing such an anecdote with a friend, I will find myself questioning the clarity of the details... I will hesitate and close my eyes and journey through a scattered rolodex...and perhaps mistake real moments for elements of a dream.

I long for eternity today.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thoughts are dancing...

Thoughts are dancing, but I hear no song.
Thoughts are dancing, like timid shadows on a wall.

Twisting and twirling like fallen leaves and random street litter,
drifting along at the mercy of a dust devil.

dear Melancholy, don't sing me your verse,
nor your bittersweet melody or even a word.
Sit with me in quiet and in stillness we'll find
that everthing fades, if given the time...

Thoughts are dancing like children in the rain,
splashing in puddles, weightless and gay.
While eager parents under rooftops await,
heavenly showers to wash the sins of yesterday.

Thoughts are dancing, no matter how hard I try.
I'm calm on the surface, but unraveling inside.
With discordant symphony and uncomfortable rhythm,
with ne'er any rhymne and even less reason.

Thoughts are dancing, will evening give way?
Thoughts are dancing, but the sorrow remains...


Good Friday

I was late to arrive at the realization, but today is good Friday. It's so easy to carry on with "business as usual," but few days merit the attention that I feel this day should, for the believer. Truly, it is a time to deeply reflect.

I spent some time in the gospels...reading about the last night that Jesus spent with his beloved disciples and stopped in John 17, where Jesus prays for them and for the followers to come. How I love this prayer.

...I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.

Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me- so that they may be one as we are one...

I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you would take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one...

sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me...

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"She spilled her coffee, broke a shoelace..."

I once heard that a certain, big name, mega-pastor never has had a bad day in his life...that was according to his wife in an interview. I guess it's supposed to mean he has great joy and faith or something. Heck, I don't know the guy from Adam, or his wife and they might be amazing people for all I know, but I think that statement is full of crap. I think the apostle Paul, John the Baptist, Stephen, Thomas, Simon Peter, Moses, Elijah, Joseph, Mary, David, and Jesus the Lord of glory himself had what they would freely call "bad days."

Today has been, difficult. Details seem entirely superfulous at the moment...here's to tomorrow...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Good times.

I think I've been trying to do too much over the weekends...I do this because during the week I feel tethered to a sensless job, and on weekends I am able to do things I enjoy...or things that really matter to me. I guess I just described most of middle America.

But there just isn't enough time... I feel this always.

In heaven, we won't be constrained in this manner. We'll sit with one another, share a meal, talk and fill each other with laughter...while never feeling the urge to check our wrists or think about where we have to be next... and I'll never again say or hear the words: "it's getting late." I will never again feel that soft melancholy whisper to my soul that an evening drive to Prescott, or a quiet conversation on the beach, or a rare night out with old friends has ended too soon...

Imagine, no more early morning appointments following a late night.

I feel a bit anxious today...Truth be told, I've felt this way for the last month. I took about a 70% pay cut, because business has been very poor. We will be closing shop at the end of April, but until then, I have to try and clear out our inventory, only nobody seems to want to spend money right now... After my bills are paid, I have next to nothing... and yet I'm finding it difficult to adjust my lifestyle accordingly...

Been runnin' up my plastic -Aimee Allen

I will say that being relatively poor does alter your perception a bit. I can't express just how grateful I was, when Cliff took me out to dinner last night. Or when he wrote me a small check for money he owed me...which I used to fill up my truck this morning. I appreciated these, I really did.

I guess in it and through it...I can thank God, not necessarily for my empty bank account because that'd just be ridiculous... but because even through this situation I know that I will again learn something beautiful...

something about Him and how I can be more like His Son...

And if there's one thing I've learned in the last year...it's that not a moment of our struggles, not a tear, not a restless night... is ever wasted...

Because He lives.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Chocolate Lessons.

The store was slow, so I headed over to a local convenience store to pick up a couple of bars of Lindt Excellence extra dark chocolate. It's about 70 percent pure cocoa, which is potent in antioxidants and less artificial sweeteners/refined sugars.

I was reading the last few pages of Blue Like Jazz and though I had long ago read this book, I neglected to actually finish it because Don Miller meandered on how the pot smoking hippies he lived with for a time (a refrence from Through Painted Deserts) were more loving than his Christian community. Nevertheless, I found myself in tears as I finished out the book...

As I was enjoying my chocolate, I found two very different ways of consuming it. The first was closest to my natural inclination, to put a square in my mouth and chew it until the salivary amylase broke down the components...this provided an immediate release of flavor, but it was gone before I knew it. The second method was to place a segment on my tongue and allow it to melt from the 98 degree enclosure of my mouth...I found this to be a bit difficult because the food would feel rough and tasteless for a small amount of time... and then it would start to give way and over the course of a few minutes it melted to a rich velvet...

I had a discussion with a client of mine yesterday about instant gratification versus the delayed variety... Ravi Zacharias once said that there were two types of pleasures in this life, the kind you pay for before hand or the kind you pay for afterwards. I have always struggled with this...

Last night at Club, Dr. Kelley talked about sex... I think he's an excellent communicator and talks to the students with great accessibility like they are actually people, real people and like he's a real person, not another untouchable, high priest behind a pulpit.

Sex is a natural topic that emerges when we discuss gratification. It is one I've struggled with for most of my life... I have always been one to chew the chocolate. As a result, I'm a pretty broken person.

I started to think about life though... whether I chew it up or let it melt away... We are infinite beings in a temporal world... time is always of the essence...and so I've been thinking maybe we tend to feel rushed...but in the wrong way.

I advocate making good use of our time... as the Apostle Paul wrote, "because the days are evil." But perhaps we define what that should look like very differently... or rather we let this crazy society of ours define it for us...

I once heard a quote from a famous somebody who said "Keeping busy is wasting time..."

Why are we so busy? I find that there is little time in my life apart from work. But Jesus made so much time to "break bread" and party with people. And though there was wine served, I doubt they played beer pong and talked about sports or celebrity gossip... I'd imagine they talked...really talked, about life, God and the Kingdom, you know stuff that matters ...and I bet Jesus listened intently and then had radical things to say... Based on the gospels, it appears Jesus spent a great deal of his life preaching, healing the sick, praying and then hanging out with people.

I dunno, I've been thinking about the things that drive us... the seemingly inoccuous conventions of modern life. I have to wonder if Jesus would have put in extra hours at work to buy a larger house, a new car, the latest Ipod, a luxurious vaction..or whether He thought those things might be rather silly. I know, these things aren't intrinsically bad, and I I really enjoy my Ipod, but I'm starting to think they cost us more than money. They cost us our time, which is limited and passing us quickly... they take us away from people that need us...from the deep conversations we need to have with others... from tending to orphans and widows... from praying for others... from loving...they are costing us our very lives... I'm trying to picture Jesus at the sandal store... considering how many more hours he would have to work in order to afford the latest pair of sandals you know, the kind that make you feel like you're walking on water... I just don't see it happening.

"I want to break free" - Queen

Truth is I'm growing tired of what feels like an endless rat race. I'm tired of feeling like I constantly need to upgrade... my computer, my car, my wardrobe, my socioeconomic status.... I'm tired of trading in my time for these things because they take away time I might spend in loving others... in loving God...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


We are experiencing a "cold front" this week, the result of tornado winds that blew in Sunday afternoon. Ok I'm being dramatic, but It was quite windy. Louie, Jerry and I were trying to throw a small football at their parents house on Sunday and it was nothing short of ridiculous; the gusts of wind paid little attention to our aim...The only thing more ridiculous was the three of us trying to fly Jerry's red, styrofoam, remote control plane at the park. Dwarf football, red toy plane and 3 grown men...we must have looked awfully silly, but the laughter, I wouldn't trade for much.

So it's not really cold, I mean it's colder, but not necessarily cold and so spring is undeniably in progress. I know this because I've been sneezing the last couple of days. We were blessed with some rainfall this winter and it was just lovely, but now we're paying for it in histamine reactions. Although it feels really good to sneeze sometimes, it makes me feel alive.

Last week was long...and heavy, but I found God continually communicating to me.

I'm still very unsure about the future. It's frustrating at times, but I came to some realizations over the weekend. In general terms, I know that I am still far from truly surrending.

Sometimes we seek God for answers and yet He appears to be silent. We wait and wait...but we hear nothing. I've started to wonder though, if I'm really the one doing the waiting... I've asked God about what my next steps should be because I'm really so unsure, but the question I am forced to ask myself is: "Do I really want to hear what God has to say?" I mean I feel like I really do and on most days I can convince myself that I would absolutely follow through... but if God told me an answer that wasn't appealing to me...am I really surrendered enough to trust Him? Maybe God's been waiting on me?

When I pray for an answer, do I want God to agree with me? Or am I ready to agree with Him no matter the cost?