Rick and Monique

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The way it Should be--and always was--Fait Accompli

Merry Christmas everyone! Tiny Tim muttered such famous words, words that ring far above class and capability. We've been saying MERRY CHRISTMAS for generations. Societies and times change. But two words carry the same meaning amongst generations of millions.

We've had a lot of fun moving through time and tradition at my childhood home this season. We always do Chili on Christmas Eve. The kids always had to perform some skill before opening gifts and we had carols to sing and Dad, and sometimes myself were permitted to perform the famous gibberish found by dad and friends from billboards, license plates, store fronts etc..."oogalama chingalapa, leggazegga moogabooga...!"

And dad, who has the KJV version of Luke 2 memorized was and is required to address the family with the story of Jesus Birth by memory. But we should always have the story by memory shouldn't we? Christ was the gift from which the gift of grace and forgiveness poured forth...Christ should always come before the gifts.

I love the idea of tradition in celebration. We went to church last night and I'm never big on holiday church services, but as my cynical scroogy self was about to come forth, the songs of the season and the story of Christmas heralded out of the pastors mouth and an Elder and minister of the congregation prayed and read scripture and led us in song. It's good for the body of Christ to be together in celebration of the newborn king...why was I such a scrooge? I and 700 others like me prayed and sang and celebrated! Does that mean I'm a holiday service guy now? Maybe, I'm only human. But last night was good for me.

We celebrate Christ...amongst brain tumors and kidney diseases and heart disease and accidents and old age we celebrate Christ. The song says JOY TO THE WORLD, not because lives are happy happy joy joy. I don't feel happy happy joy joy some of these days. Some of them I do, but I do know that Joy was not possible until Christ arrived. Malady, fear and sickness bears no affect on such Joy.

I said before that we had to perform something before opening gifts. I always had a song or a poem to offer...mostly poems. It was the same this year. I enjoy blogs and letters because an entire wealth of the world shares its own experiences with others! That's awesome. So, I'm going to share this year's performance poem with you. I know not everyone are poem people, but maybe it's one little part of your entire Christmas story. My gift to you. But don't open this gift until you've experienced the gift that is Christ first.

Here I am wrought with adulthood.
My childish ways are well placed


And entrusted to Him
Who brought me through them.

Yet the bells and pipes
Mark a season under which the resonant ding and the trumpets
seemingly matted under summer now arise bright and crisp
as voices pour hallelujahs spreading satin music
like hot fudge to ice-cream;
a creamy pasture of melted vanilla and dreams.

Praise, a silky mane of the King threading extol
as voices roar towards a God who seeks Praise,
and notes that, as they exit our mouths,
seem to sharpen and glisten teeth for the bite

The slain lamb, now the Lion of God strikes
with the crushing power of the blood that feeds
and empowers faith and music, that sharpens teeth
Bites and gifts and faith deposits Satan behind me
so that when my last note crosses the threshold

like silver butterflies
revealing wind’s pathway toward Heaven,

he the beautiful one, his name
bearing the faint crest of honor but now
tattered in disdain
shall find no worthy mention here,

transfixed, merely an eyewitness
given company by his own terror,
knows His punishment--
that I might die and live without him.

Fait accompli

Death is not admirable, but by God’s name must be like the sun
that obediently descends beneath the earth as He did;
only to rise again on a new day, a new age.

And Thus I sing and I hear bells.
Though wrought with adulthood
Rejoice that that which I have entrusted
Some of them being childish ways,
Can be shown to me at the sunset of the year
So that I shall also not be hindered from His lap;
That I may revel in bells and pipes,
That I may taste snow, swallow goodness.

And simply know
As I once did

That my Father knows the voice of children
And angels swarm fiercely amongst them
As they did the night their master was born,
So that gifts and truffle may fuel the stories
Of tradition and life
Born by eternity

And set amongst bells and pipes
And songs that spread them


Like faith of Children.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Count Your Blessings Name them One by One.

It's not often that my wife and I forget to pray for all you. At the same time we attempt to also count our blessings.

I do that differently than I used to...count blessings that is. I don't see prayer as a way to twist God's giant wrench as the Fix-it-man's right hand helper. I simply pray because it gives my faith Endurance. I see God work when I don't pray and I see Him work when I do. It just seems that when I'm in His Word and when I'm talking to Him, that I'm paying more attention to His inevitably great work, for better or for worse...for better I suppose.

And so be thankful in all things...not necessarily for them. Count your blessings. Watch God work.

We've all experienced a loss of one sort or the other. We have, I have. My friend Heidi wrote about the losses she's experienced and I'll share that with you in a moment. But one of them was her Husband Layton, also a friend I knew. After his death were a couple of others including our baby, Opa, and Uncle Eddy last year. But Before him it was Tina and before her, Diane. In there was Grandma Josie and John...there were others. Now we pray for Mom and Jeff and Uncle Bill and...count your blessings. Not because it was one of Grandma's favorite songs. Not because it's the Christmas season, although it is. Not because the lights are up...and they're bright. Not because the music plays--you play good music. Count because they're there. Entrust them to Him so that at the end of time and at the cusp of eternity, He'll show them to you there (II Timothy 1:12).

The poem below is Heidi's. She's counting.
May God be with you and bless you.

Layton and Samara

The love of my heart.
The fruit of my womb.

On the same long advent day strung apart by years,
You both lay in the same building.

Whirring machines breathing your breath and beating your heart -
A whirring machine looking inside you

as you slept an unnatural sleep.

"He's going."
"She has cancer."

I'll never forget what you felt like in my arms that day.

How warm you were.
How heavy you were.
How still you were.
How light you were.

I lost you that day.
I thought I was losing you that day.

I let you go... into the Father's keeping.

And now you dance and have your being in a place or time or dimension
so far away, or perhaps so close?
Perhaps as close as you - who dance in winter boots
and holiday dress by the Christmas tree.

A saint above.

A saint below.

You are healed.

O Child of God, I miss you. And I will see you someday...
O Child of God, I miss you.
And I will see you this afternoon, after work.

Your mothers' arms long to hold you

On this long advent day.

I'll never forget what you felt like in my arms that day.

How warm you were.
How heavy you were.
How still you were.
How light you were.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Layton Reid De Vries, my first husband, died seven years ago today on December 11, 2000 as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. In the same hospital, Samara Grace was diagnosed with neuroblastoma one year ago today on December 11, 2006.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rhyming Game...Fun Fun Fun! Win 1000 Points!

Ok...since I've recently been purged from real thoughts, I have the freedom to be completely ridiculous again. I even have the freedom to spell ridiculous wrong, for instance rediculus...but I won't do that. I've been working and have been writing the yearly Christmas poem. Every year I attempt to put a good Rhyme together until nothing rhymes and all I have is a Christmas poem.

So I'm going to force the issue.

I've chosen a good holiday word. The word is "bell." I'm going to make up as many rhymes as I possibly can on the word bell! I am going to try and put together an exhaustive list. However...here's the rub. The first person that can give me a rhyme for bell that isn't already on my list (do it from my comments page), will win 1000 points on your next purchase!

How much money is 1000 points? I don't know. Where can you use the points? I don't know. Just tell any retailer that I have given you 1000 points and see what happens. So...without further ado...excited?...want to win?...ok...1...2...3...here we goooooo!!!

behl, belle, cell, chell, clell, dell, delle, dwell, elle, fehl, fell, frel, gehl, gel, gell, grell, grelle, guel, hehl, hell, helle, jell, kal, kehl, kell, kjell, knell, krell, l, l., lehl, mehl, mel, mell, melle, nell, nelle, pehl, pell, pelle, prell, quell, schell, schmehl, schnell, schnelle, sell, selle, shell, smell, snell, spell, stell, stelle, strehl, strehle, swell, tel, tell, ul, well, welle, yell, yelle, zel, zell, zelle, adel, adele, adell, adelle, adwell, air cell, air well, akel, ancel, angelle, ansel, antell, anwell, apel, ardelle, arel, ark shell, armel, arnelle, arvel, as well, atwell, axtell, bandshell, bardell, battelle, bechtel, bedel, befell, bendel, beutel, be well, bignell, blank shell, blood cell, bodell, bone cell, boutell, boutelle, bozell, bracknell, brain cell, brownell, brunelle, bucknell, burdell, burrell, buzzell, b cell, cabell, cantrell, cantrelle, capelle, carel, carmel, cartel, carvel, carvell, cattell, caudell, cavell, chanel, chapell, chapelle, chappelle, clark cell, cold spell, compel, cone cell, cordell, corel, corell, cornell, cornelle, cosell, cotelle, cottrell, danelle, daniele, dantrell, darnell, darrelle, death knell, decelle, desselle, develle, dispel, dispell, dovel, do well, dry cell, edell, egg cell, elwell, estelle, excel, expel, ezell, ezelle, farewell, fascell, fat cell, faupel, ferrel, fidel, flame cell, foretell, frenzel, futrell, gabel, gas shell, gas well, gazelle, germ cell, get-well, get well, ginnell, giselle, gravelle, grinnell, ground swell, gsell, hair cell, hair gel, hard sell, harpel, hillel, hormel, hornell, hotel, hot spell, impel, intel, irell, jail cell, janelle, joelle, kerr cell, labell, labelle, lamp shell, landell, lapel, lavelle, leavelle, ledwell, lemelle, leonelle, like hell, lobell, loisel, loiselle, lyell, lymph cell, mabelle, madelle, mantell, manuel, marcel, marcelle, markel, martelle, marvell, marvelle, mast cell, matell, mattel, maxell, maybelle, mckell, mendell, mentel, michel, michele, michelle, miguel, mirell, mirelle, misspell, mizel, mizelle, montel, morel, morrell, moselle, motel, mousel, mozelle, nadel, nepl, nerve cell, nevel, niguel, nobel, noel, noelle, nouvelle, novell, noxell, o'dell, octel, odell, oil well, outsell, ozelle, pantel, pastel, patel, percell, pesnell, pie shell, portal, postrelle, procell, propel, purcell, quesnel, rachelle, raise hell, rampell, randell, rangel, ransdell, raquel, ravel, rebel, repel, resell, retell, revelle, rintel, rochelle, rod cell, romelle, roussel, roussell, rousselle, rozelle, rudelle, ruelle, sabel, samelle, savel, sawtelle, scurdell, sentelle, sex cell, sharell, sheftel, shirell, shirelle, shortell, sibelle, skin cell, soft sell, sperm cell, star shell, stinel, sydell, taste cell, tavel, tooth shell, torell, tube well, tusk shell, twaddell, tyrrell, t cell, udelle, unsell, uzzell, vandaele, varvel, vaupel, vertel, wachtell, waddell, warrell, weisel, wet cell, white cell, wish well, zumel

AOL, avenel, bell morel, black morel, breathing spell, bubble shell, cancer cell, carrasquel, clientele, collar cell, cup morel, danielle, driven well, esquibel, esquivel, false morel, fuel cell, gabriele, goblet cell, golgi cell, heavy swell, holding cell, isabell, Anne Michell, Jean michele, lyondell, magic spell, marcantel, mirabel, montiel, mother cell, muscle cell, n. f. l., orabel, oyster shell, patty shell, personnel, plasma cell, prison cell, racing shell, Rafael, raising hell, raphael, red blood cell, riopel, san miguel, say farewell, scallop shell, sense of smell, shotgun shell, sickle cell, single shell, sinking spell, solar cell, sponge morel, standard cell, storage cell, sugar shell, u. a. l., unit cell, very well, weston cell, white blood cell, wildcat well, William tell, tinkerbell...adipose cell, aix-la-chapelle, artesian well, beefsteak morel, cadmium cell, clark standard cell, common morel, conic morel, detention cell, early morel, electric cell, fertilized cell, formative cell, galvanic cell, gambling hell, industrielle, line personnel, mademoiselle, mercury cell, motor hotel, petty morel, primary cell, resort hotel, scorpion shell, silica gel, smooth muscle cell, thomson's gazelle, visual cell, word of farewell, anfal, antipersonell, embryonic cell, epidermal cell, epithelial cell, flagellated cell, reproductive cell, secondary cell, selenium cell, suppressor t cell

management personnel, Margarete gertrud zelle, photoelectric cell, photovoltaic cell

military personnel

Good luck.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

God Is

My grandfather used to sit me on his lap and tell me stories of time. I thought about this as I read an essay written by author, poet, statesman and thinker T.S. Eliot. I don't believe that he was the greatest of men and I don't believe all his thoughts were of great value. But that doesn't make him any less important to my perspective. The post below is a product of reading and evidence of my weaknesses, which are the uncontrollable urge to purge my brain of thoughts and essays to paper.

You've unwittingly become a victim or benefactor (is your cup half-empty or half-full?) of my blog nation! I've produced my "purge" for you below. You may read or not, concentrate or not, listen or not. For those whom the following essay bores you to tears, let me offer you the bottom line--preserve your history and its traditions. In them are ways we acknowledge that God is and that time truthfully exposes Him.


Time, History and Tradition

I've been thinking about T.S. Eliot’s essay entitled “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” in which tradition is represented as a constantly evolving, yet continuous thing, which is remade with every addition to it, and which adapts the past to the present and the present to the past.

The knowledge of the past makes us more acutely aware of our present. I'd say that philosophy of "living in the moment" has got us into a bit of a bind in the last generation. There are those who fret the loss of an instrument such as the organ. The statement is not to mean that newer instruments are not held in high regard. Nor are instrumentalists and musicians any less attentive to their craft. What they mean, even if they could not put it into words, is that they mourn the loss of memory and the glory that is lost with it by catering to the here and now.

Skills such as metal-works, sewing and farming continue to breed and ingenuity follows them meaning all is not lost. However, if the history of such things are forgotten, new skills take on a dangerous autonomy, replacing the democratic process of progression and invention.

Thomas Paine wrote in THE RIGHTS OF MAN in 1791

“It has been thought that government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true because it is putting the effect before the cause. For as a man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with. The fact therefore must be, that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist."

Autonomy in Government reveals not as much a quest for power as it does a picture of historical amnesia. The erasure of the memory that their place did not arrive by their own power, but by the process of trust of other men, the process of a Christ who's words preceded Him or her and by the development of vast numbers of failed, evil, successful and good government.

Our own democratic device seems to be steeped in this quagmire. Because of the unique frailties and depths of passion and forgetfulness unique to humans, just after the United States Constitution was ratified Thomas Jefferson and James Madison began a campaign to amend it with an explicit twelve-point statement that clearly and unambiguously placed humans - the builders of government - above their entity--the structure of Government. This was the birth of what would become the Bill of Rights, and it originally had twelve - not ten - protections for citizens’ rights.

Consider the following two statements:

"The historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own
generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe. . .has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. . . No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone."
(T.S. Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent")

"'I don't think of the past. The only thing that matters is the everlasting
present.'" (W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence 79)

The path we choose to follow steps underneath one or the other of these two statements, thereby leading us to somewhat predictable ends, ironically giving creedance to T.S. Eliot. One is a very humanist view, the other quite Apologetic.

I am a proponent of modernism, but only that which is influenced by tradition. The tradition of architecure, the tradition of Government or the tradition of Worship.

My set of beliefs and ideas arise from my beginnings, my experience, my own history and the history of my family. And it should be this way. Alone, my most necessary beliefs may be both unjustified and unjustifiable from my personal perspective. But my life in a macro-view shows us my want and will to justify them autonomously will lead instead to their loss. They'll be grouped with the abstract rational systems of the philosophers, enlightened "tolerants" etc. We may think ourselves more rational and better equipped for life in the modern world...in the "here and now" generation. But I believe that we are less well equipped, and our new beliefs are far less justified, for the very reason that they are justified by ourselves. The real justification for a belief and a way of being is the one which justifies it as a prejudice--historically credible and engaged in history, rather than as a rational conclusion of a modern argument. In other words it is a justification that cannot be conducted from our own perspective, but only from outside, as a gathering of precedent and experience and observance and faith. In the same way an anthropologist might justify the customs and rituals of an alien tribe or a geologist tell the story of earth and time.

For example I give the idea of sexuality. The theories of the sexes and of sex vary from society to society; but until recently they have held a consistent contempt for what most agree is the difference between seemly and unseemly conduct. We agreed to abhor explicit sexual display, and expected a character that enabled the sexes and humanity itself to flourish. Moreover the union of marriage held long-standing beliefs that stabilized many societies for many many generations. There are very good anthropological and physical reasons for this. Woman and men have physical characteristics that seem to fit the opposite perfectly...we say "like a glove." Furthermore, we encouraged long-term stability of sexual relations in marriage because we believed it necessary if children are to be inducted into society. These ideas do not stand alone, especially if they are to survive.

Modern invention and technical enhancements catapult humans into believing that all of life is meant for review and change. But, in order to change well, we need our traditions....Traditions and conduct are guided by deep and immovable prejudice, in which outrage, shame, and honor are the ultimate grounds...and worthy of fighting for. In light of the above example, the sexual liberator has no difficulty in showing traditional motives are irrational, in the sense of being founded on no reasoned justification available to the person who holds a different view. And he may propose sexual liberation as a rational alternative, a code of conduct that is rational from a number of varied viewpoints, since it derives a complete code of practice from a transparently reasonable aim, a consistently moving society whose wills change, thereby allowing alternatives to reach sexual pleasure. The result of evolving rationals that are not rooted in tradition should've been anticipated. We've experienced a breakdown in trust between male and female, and have seen a faltering in the reproductive process—a failing and enfeebled commitment of parents to each other and also to their offspring. At the same time traditions and individual feelings based on and fulfilled by them, are left exposed and unprotected. Hence the extraordinary situation in America, where lawsuits have replaced common courtesy, where accusations of “date-rape” take the place of modesty and respect, and where advances made by the unattractive and "ugly" are routinely deemed and judged “sexual harrassment.” We've now seen life without regard for the real social function that prejudice, history and tradition fulfill.

That is, unless we forbid societal amnesia from setting in. History repeats itself only because it has been ignored or forgotten.

God's word tells us not to worry about tomorrow but to concentrate on today. I don't believe that the text eludes to an abolishment of the past, but the fulfillment of it.

One of my best friends thinks nothing like I do, and we’ve had a few debates. For instance, He believes religion should be enabled by Government but removed from politics. I argue that I wake up religious and cannot remove who I am from the process. I'm also a bit of a strict constitutionalist. I don't believe the tenets should be screwed with. You cannot have a constantly changing constitution that floats on the whims of the culture. What if a culture decided that murder was acceptable? Would you change the constitution to clearly define acceptable murder?

My point usually is, "What ever happened to Patriotism?" I remember the historical story about a tea party in Boston that proved we wanted to be different than the Socialist, Fascist Europeans of the time. This history forgotten leads to the repetition of all that was worst in man and in Government. Do we as Americans want nothing more than to lose our identity, one that has brought us greatness, so that we can be like everyone else!!!? Patriotism is bred from historical presuppositions. Our song, "The Star Spangled Banner" depends on them. Many in your Congress encourage the abolishment of who we were. Can you fight against it as we once did? Or are you willing to re-write the song?

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I enjoyed black Friday...the day after thanksgiving where the best sales are on and the city beats itself to the register to gain those great deals. The experience was quite exciting and I don't regret going.

I don't mind exuberance for Holiday.

Christians need not disrupt the process of capitalism and accumulation. For although some flailing shoppers mirror desperation and seemingly incoherent fatalism trying to find rest, some depict the excitement that monetary blessings, Thanksgiving, brisk clear air, holiday, and gladness, generate. I believe blessings can be enjoyed, even at 5:30 a.m. on a Friday morning.

I know why I celebrate. I'm not perfect and I celebrate the fact that I'm not, but that I've still been allowed to celebrate, to give thanks to enjoy birth.

Soon we'll read over and over again the Shepherd and Angels story. Then I'll lead everyone back to Revelation 12 again, comforted that a throng, an army of Angels visited that night to protect their King from the Dragon...to whisk him away and tend to Him, knowing that the beautiful Angel and his demons would not break their lines. The Shepherds had no idea that a great battle was being waged that night...they simply trembled.

But I know, and so do I.

My young one was whisked away, not that Salvation might be imparted to all, but because God willed it...she would've been about a year old and I imagined that she would enjoy the sunrise with me. I held my little nephew in the half-light of the morning and light warmed my hands filled with nappies, blankey, and he suckled on a binkey...he breathed softly in my arms and watched the sun speak. My soul enjoyed minutes. But my heart, a thing the Sun has not yet warmed, mourned a bit...

Because I know the Angels have told me not to fear, yet I do sometimes. They give and they take by God's name and I am afraid.

And so I prefer to know that Revelation tell me that a quiet scene in the hills of the Middle East, yet at the center of the world, was not a quiet scene, but one where God's voice cried out in fame and fury and power and love. He didn't send a bunch of happy angels pacing anxiously in the waiting room. He sent them full of armor and muscle...and I know that God wills...and I am fortunate to have seen it.

That is why I celebrate.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I don't feel like writing much today. It's Saturday, the wind is cool, my dog is soft, the stapler is to my left and motorcycles have doors in Japan. Therefore...I'm simply going to show you a video that astounds me and shocks me into his profundity. WATCH!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The...Thingy. That. Doodad.

I like to think that I understand a lot about words. I grew up with a father who could jump into a supper-table conversation with some off-the-wall word causing great confusion amongst the ranks to his grand pleasure. We'd tempt him and goad him to tell us the meaning of the word and all he would say was "look it up!". My Dad-in-law also somewhat emphatically loves words and how and when they're used. He goes as far as to claim the title "Philologist"...one who loves words, especially in their historical, essential context. I myself have rarely been truant in my word usage. My love for words shows I've benefited from "Dad and Dad Vocabulary, Inc."

So why is it that women, including my wife seem to always be a step ahead of me? They're so good with words, they hardly have to use any, which is a bit of an oxy-moron because my wife, her mother, my mother...women love to talk. I'm in a room with Monique and her mom for instance. Monique whimsically says "I need that thingy..." I turn left and right. I look to the ceiling, I crawl on the floor looking for any kind of thingy. Mom somehow innately and gladly clutches a sweatshirt or a spatula, or a measuring cup...the very thingy Monique meant not to say, but to say...somehow.

The words ring in my head. "I want that!" "Who's got the watchamacallit?"

Me? Do I have the whatchamacallit?

Believe me a woman knows that I just might have the whatchamacallit, but she's not going to tell me whether I do or not. I'm left alone, hoping to get lucky. In fact the moment I believe I've found the whatchamacallit, she's changed it to a doodad and I'm back at square one.

It happened last weekend between my two sisters. I was there to see the miracle unfold yet again. I can't even remember the context, but Gina said, "I need the...."


I'm waiting for...no, I anticipate the great finish, she wants the...Ok, I'm ready...

Annette brings her the "the".

I have to shake my brain stem around a bit I think. Maybe some electrical pulse has shorted out.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A New Day and a New age

Click the link...someone has something to tell you!


Soup in my Fly

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I'm curious this morning, but I'll keep my curiosities brief.

Someone said recently "It's like slamming up against a brick wall with you!". My question is how do you know that? I've not slammed up against a brick wall.

Dad used to say things like "I'd rather have a fly in my soup, then soup in my fly"...really? Even cold soup?

Someone said "I ran into so-n-so today at the shopping center..." You should really be more careful. Why would you do that? Does insurance pay for that?

I heard someone say "I'm going to kick you all the way to China, if you don't cut that out!" Do you work out? How will you do that? It seems more likely that you could come to a complete stop while the earth continues to spin, and wait for China to hit you smack on your behind!

How about "You nearly poked my eye out!" How do you know that? If it were that easy why aren't there more eyeball donor hospitals out there?

For us less observant ones how about this one...? "You couldn't see a messy room if it came up and slapped you smack on the forehead!" Can it do that? That's just plain scary.

"If looks could kill"...I'd be like...so screwed.

Last but not least..."I'm going to throw you straight to the moon!" Y'know...I know the race to the moon has long since been won, but seriously...are you going to let your sibling or your spouse win your own race to the moon? C'mon! I want someone to throw ME to the moon! Wouldn't that be cool? Well...I would need a space suit first, but then throw away!

Have a good day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Favorite Photos

Once in awhile good photos jump into our camera. I thought it would be fun to show just a few of them off. There are more...but just a snippet is sometimes good enough! Besides...I'm always so serious, it's about time we have a little fun!

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Business of being

The Company called Heartland Stores, Inc. is nearly ready! I am so excited. I've still got work to do and a few details seem somewhat daunting. But we're going to get this baby off the ground. I know it. Many dreams have played into this Company and it's time!

Young Lucas gets baptized this weekend. Another person ready for whatever time allows him. I hope he's allowed to see what we've all done with our time and then follows in kind.

The last post and this one have and will contain poetry. It's my way of grasping for potential, endurance and dreams. When I am waylaid (sp) by laziness, I write and then aspire to get back to work. So it is with this poem. It tells me, amongst many things, that it's time to push Heartland into the realms of the living!


A young man rests against a shade tree
playing an imaginary tune on an imaginary piano
to a very real soul.

Like keys of ivory coddled by wood
from end to end.
Finite pressed creating infinite.

Music has no enemy,
except whom or that which
is unwilling to play.
Not even silence,
for in silence lies possibility.

Play a tune that leaves nothing wanting.
Play a tune and rejoice in its limitations!
Fix your eyes to a world
instigated and agitated
by endless possibility.

However, you and I can only choose one day,
one place,
one way.
Yet we assuage the heart for more
seemingly trying to conquer the boundary
that holds...
or ignore boundary's necessity.

One Ivory key sprung away from its border
functions not, even to make music.

One cannot be all things
because the world is an infinite keyboard
meant for the fingers of God.
Only the infinite can play the infinite.

So stop...engage the stillness.
Stop and listen to the young boy resting against a tree
playing a tune meant for him and nothing more.
Like a leaf carried by God's breath
from forest to field,

Listen to it and the wind that carries it.
For if the young man did not play,
their voices would cry out.
Listen to him play his tune
and be glad for him.

And then play yours.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Red Light Revelation by rje

A tear fell under my tire
at one red light.
A book in my hand from some
garage sale on Laughton and 64th.

Of a heart and a song and a mystery
toiled by an author, a story written
from some romantic gesture
detailed by some truth only
fairies have memorized late in the night.

In a dream by some might
words and time, unrelenting.
Until the teller of tales awoke
just in time to retell the story.

In ink oft is communicated
but time is even more permanent
to have seen the likes of utensils
born of chalk, plant or blood.
And that created by words
or battle, or laughter
and that divined by an eternal.

God spoke at some moment
Even a raconteur can barely tell when,
except that was the beginning.

All things, even we, begin dark and void
Authors of stories we have to live
first, but like the book in my hand,
he only wrote but never knew

What life would be like
with someone else's story?
Could we handle it?
Justice Served?
What would we do with another life?
Another story?
Stories are piano hands building a house.

Life...like a road with traffic lights
And many rules for one side of the road
and the other. An ostentatious series
of stops and starts and swerves
and forks and freeways...
can feel solidly up-hill
but is truly a simple road.

What was life like
before I learned to pretend?
That is when the mind was truly
free to believe what could be?

But one can't take a bath
in an empty bathtub.
Stories must be told...a tub
In what some of us were born
and others of us drowned.

I'm a romantic surpassed by
reality on my first word
spoken by a person I knew not.
Romantics are a wonderful lot.

A romantic's successful woo
in any occasion an honest trick
to step into tales and yarn long enough
to make them laugh
without destroying
what really is about you
or them.

Did we surprise God
by this little evolutionary twist?
Like trying to explain a thing,
anything to your loved
from your dimension into theirs
and failing miserably.

I think not,
for human knowledge is only a blip
in the scope of the entire universe.
A story not my own and impossible to tell
incapable to stand before God
but instead to fall prostrate.

The world contains no edges
beyond round, and love is like that...
A soapy clean bubble of universe between
demons and strangers.

The place where memories
do not fade, even as we do.
It's the place where truth is absolute
even when we sometimes hardly know ourselves.

It's the place of genuine laughter
Even when demons and strangers
languish in hypocrisy,
lies and stories dreamt by the devil
on our opposite shoulder.

It's the place where stories inside
match what is on the cover...that
is rarely seen for the story itself,
because we leave so much to appearance.

The world really has no edges
beyond round,
and love is like that.
That living on one side of eternal life.

Never bound by demons and strangers
and assuredly whetted by the voice and finger
of God.
And love and life are like that...
stories by whom our lives are told
and our hearts honed.

The clock tick-tocks in rhythm
meant to swallow everything but eternity,
cannot swallow miles and trials
and loves endured by them.
Pictures worth a thousand words
are blessed because some of them are ours.

A tear fell underneath my tire
at some red light.
A book in my hand from some
garage sale on Laughton and 64th.

The book inscribed
by a someone who loved
Another, "Dear Grace..."
it said.

A book witnessed lives
other than its own
and it's a private matter.
I should not want to know
except for a momentary eavesdrop.

Yes I am the owner of
some glib manuscript
on sale for 10 cents
at a local rummage.

Which also ruled
and tamed lives.
Lives and fingerprints
that dot its cover.

And who's personality
dog eared every fifty pages or so,
and a careless rip
and an accidental slosh of coffee.

Because maybe it was too hot
or the story cold and scary,
rippled with fear;
or steeped in
sadness or mystery or love...
an uncommitted jest
from a spot of coffee.

Or maybe the sun had long
ago tagged the moon
at the tip of the earth
after a long wrestling match with the day.

Tired and weary but unable
to quit or admit the day had slept.
The dog-ear two-hundred-twenty
pages after fifty-two tell me

A battle of wit and time
were played within.
Gregarious but untenable
the fight grasped and seized...
lingered between law and freedom.

I have no idea why,
and this garage sale memento
won't tell me its secrets.
And that seems to me
to be alright.

Somehow I hit this red light
at the wrong moment.
But someone else
might have needed a moment...
and another there for only a moment.

"Dear Grace" I read.

I guess it's true and I don't know
what's true or not.
I suppose I'll wait for the voice of God.

Because all I have is a book
purchased at a garage sale
on Laughton and 64th.

I hate red lights... don't you?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Autumn Sabbath

The sun wakes, breaking the rim of the earth and Iowa and points over and toward a freckled yellow tree. A tortured misunderstood color or a glorious one that verily blooms vibrant in the sun before any others have a chance at revelation? As if Autumn Yellow were queen, a lady at peace before her king of Spring. The spotlight on her she rules and sings and cries out and maybe she always has?

Like most I wasn't listening. I didn't notice she was coming until she'd arrived.

Yellow. To torture me or please me I noticed the Sabbath maple lift her worship. The yawning sun touches the others like her and they step into view, their branches and fingers open and Praise! Oh Praise! I am here!

I love the choir.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Closed Doors and Open Doors

Ok...shortest blog in my history. Maybe you'll have to use the rest of the time you would've used reading my arduous posts thinking about the short one...we'll see.

C.S. Lewis Quotes – God
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? - Mere Christianity

In light of this quote, my question is this:

Rick Elgersma Question - Doors
It's well documented and oft experienced that once God closes a door we can't choose to open that door again (a closed door is a closed door we say). When God closes a door we turn and walk another direction, wondering where God will take us next.

How come so many of us claim that when God opens a door that we can choose to walk through it or not? Can we boast the ability to choose to close the door ourselves?

Free will occurs only when the door is open? Does our will allow us to yank and strain over a closed door to no avail (definition of insanity)? I'm curious as to your thoughts?

Monday, October 22, 2007


Ok, I think I can keep this one short (er).

I'm continuing my political thoughts of last week Friday. I've listened to candidates again this weekend...on the radio, in the newspaper and on television. Here's what I want you to understand. I'm about to tell you one of the most politically prudent reasons to elect and hire a President of Faith...even Mormonism...yes I said it, and I'll tell you why I said it. There are certain people who have promised to protect any person who worships and anyone who doesn't worship...promises to protect the unborn, the dead (non-christian) and the born-again. All of the candidates that say these things are people of faith. There are candidates who swear to give rights and entitlement to a more progressive people, do not swear to protect the unborn and care more about protecting alternative lifestyles and raising taxes than they do protecting marriage and religious practice...care more about destroying a President, than they do about saving a war...care more about stem cell research than they do about the pain a fetus feels just before it's killed.

I don't know if a politician will be true to his/her word. For example, if one side
really cared about Katrina, why isn't New Orleans in any better shape now that they control Congress? If they thought the city could be rebuilt in a year and if they thought the only problem with New Orleans was a natural disaster, then why isn't it fixed?

But I'm looking at faith. Simple faith. I'm more interested in a man of Christian faith, but I'm also looking at stalwart leadership capabilities and integrity. That's it...both sides intend to be generous towards the poor, nice toward the disadvantaged, and fix roads. But the one some candidates look at my faith is suspicious and I believe that I am in danger of persecution...a fact for which I should rejoice, but still fear.

Maybe you can't legislate morality because true love comes from the Heart which is drawn by God...from which stems true morality...that is the attention to all things that are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled...anything that is pure, noble, right and excellent. Maybe morality can't be legislated...but it can be upheld and established. Some candidates have promised the life for all people that began here more than 200 years ago...some have promised to walk away from these principles. But look at them closely and you'll find that this is the difference between a man of faith, and one who has none, shuns it or ignores it. Some Christians might vote for someone because they are woman, or because they give excellent entitlements to minorities or the handicapped. But watch what they do with their profession...you just might hear a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.

I would not normally quote Aristotle to support an argument, especially about my Christian Faith. However...he said something of a prophetic statement, but at the very least made a knowledgeable depiction of hypocrisy in Government...

A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider God-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, wrongly believing that he has the Gods on his side.
–Aristotle, Politica bk v (ca. 340 BCE)

Seem vaguely familiar? Faith in God is the glue that holds this country together. Watch for and know the real thing.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Be Reminded

I heard Hillary speak on T.V. this morning and I heard Barack Obama on T.V. this morning and I heard John Edwards on T.V. this morning...these three have me rubbed very wrong this morning. And if it were only these three, maybe that's ok. But Media giants who are actually foreigners to the concept of journalism, and who actually purport fairness in their strategy, have me also rubbed real raw this morning because they lie. Call me a hypocrite. I am. My words sometimes don't match my actions. I will heartily respond that my hypocrisies prove my need for God. In fact, I have taken His name in vain, because, although I do not use God's name in a swear word, I have done what is contrary to His will, thereby taking His name and making it vain. Therefore, although I accuse these people of lying, hypocrisy and deception, I do not stand on a pedestal. However, imperfection should not discourage us or I from caring, from being right, from defending ours and my very identify...fingerprints.

I've quoted Samuel Adams below. He wasn't a perfect man and never purported to be. But, Adams was instrumental in garnering the support of the colonies for rebellion against Great Britain, eventually resulting in the American Revolutionary War. Adams called for the colonists to defend their rights and liberties. Adams played a prominent role during protests in the events of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. He participated in the Continental Congress. He also advocated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence at the Second Continental Congress. He wasn't perfect, but I fear we've forgotten what a Patriot looks like.

I'm going to bend your ear, but I won't tear it off, I promise. I hope my steam doesn't scald but inspires and cleanses us from the cold of indifference. I intend ferocity but bear no malicious intent.

When I was wrong as a boy my Dad and Mom spared no effort in dealing with my insolence. From them I had to learn how to think, how to listen, how to pay attention, how to live with ambition, how to use my talents, how to behave, about truth, how to talk and how to act. I learned how to disciple and discipline and I learned how to stand my ground. They taught me about Patriotism and they taught me about God and salvation. My wife has to reinforce those things in me sometimes now, but I have most definitely put many childish ways behind me, so that I might not disparage my father's good name.

As I watched these people on television today, I reinforced the idea that there are many who have not put their childish ways behind them...especially in light of cognitive, intelligent thinking, and in light of American Patriotism. This isn't to say I hate them. Nor do I want to cause dissent. I want to garner unity and thought and identity and sometimes that means busting someone's chops.


For those who prefer to be socialized over independence; To those who would wish we were like everyone else, to those who would denounce their own citizen authority; To those who would risk the very citizen oriented benevolent, independent, Democratic and Capitalistic identity that Americans depend on and fight for and to those who would trade the benevolent nature of citizenry by giving full responsibility of it to the government, disavowing your responsibility to the poor, hurting and disadvantaged to it; To those who want our Government to provide all manner of benefit despite its cost; to those who would rather not be under God but under man (or woman); to those who would rather one branch of Government hold sway over all the others despite what is by the people, of the people and for the people; to those who would rather not defend threats before they ever reach our land; to those who don't notice that millions upon millions are benefiting from insurance and are healthy and well because they had access to it; to those who don't notice that their are millions of the millions who are not insured that don't want to be, millions whom can afford it but don't, and still more who simply aren't educated enough to access insurance and still wouldn't be if healthcare were socialized; To those who wish to make it very difficult for those who wish to immigrate legally and give simple amnesty to those who don't; To those who would prefer the ruling of the World Court over our own and to those who would prefer the treaties and constitutions of the U.N. over and above the United States of America; To those who pledged to defend all enemies both foreign and domestic and to those who pledged to, at all costs, defend the Constitution of the United States, but whom instead wish to vilify and belittle it; To those who disparage your leaders without next encouraging them; to those who see the worst in the U.S. without the presence of mind to revel in the best of it; To those who can't see that our men and women in the Armed Forces have historically and currently mightily, fervently and valiantly upheld both theirs and our honor by doing their work well and by succeeding despite those who can't or refuse to see it; To those who need to give Freedom and the United States a better effort and to those who need a gutsier outlook on life...to those who are these things...read Mr. Samuel Adams

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

~Samuel Adams

He's not only talking about war but about our vote, about our action over inaction of a land that is of the people, by the people and for the people. Mr. Adams was talking about our sense of who we are as Americans...and about the responsibility laid upon the shoulders of those who would purport to be or who would wish to be our leaders...lest we forget...be reminded.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Great Expectations

We're full of great expectations aren't we? Not much time for two-hour baths, not much time to take time away. There's even less time to let the world know what we're about. I'm not sure who hears what I know or sees what I do. I'm not sure who reads my blog or who listens to me sing or preach. I don't know. That doesn't mean their not worth doing.

My wife left my car this morning, on her way to work. She was some minutes late. Her lips touched mine only briefly, I'd swear it was the wind that tickled my lips. The wind didn't tickle my lips, her breath graced my own. I rubbed her shoulders and ran my fingers through her hair this morning, that's why she was late.

We're full of great expectations aren't we? This is the land of opportunity. I would hope that topping the list of achievements are when you made your spouse late one morning. That your bride or groom left your home knowing they were the most loved of all the loved that morning. I hope. I hope when you wake that you cherish your spouses breath.

We're upheld by accomplishment and intelligence aren't we? We're impressed by Einstein or the Bi, tri, and quadruple lingual. I'm proud of my wife's accomplishments. Sometimes she works from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. That will be what happens tonight. I'll pick her up from work and we'll soon be at church preparing for Praise Team. I'm also an achiever...I tell her every single morning that she looks great. I never fail. Never. If someone tells her she looks good at work, she'll know her husband told her first. Great expectations.

I'm going to share a poem I wrote yesterday. I hope it's universal and I hope that you can figure out how to share it with your spouse. I hope. Because great expectations include skipping the stubborn, the benign, the aloof, the indifferent to achieve greatness. I hope that you took your hands and placed them on his or her cheeks this morning, looked into your lover's eyes and said "I love you." Do that tomorrow. No kisses, no pats on the butt until you've said "I love you." Repeat that. "I love you." It will be the most fantastic kiss you'll remember.

Then it will happen again the next day. Your sweetheart's very breath is like the pearls of heaven. Know this.

It occurs to me that I haven't told my mother I loved her lately. I haven't told my brother or sisters that I love them in days. My nieces and nephews...do they know? I love you...I love you.

I'm not sure who reads my blog and I'm not sure how you love. But that doesn't mean it's not worth doing.


To love you,
A feather in wind
I might be lifted to the heavens
except that I am weighed
by the oil of love that burns forever
holding me fast to the ground
so that I might be the light beside you
as you are ever the flower blooming within me
like the ne'er wilted Joy of God
despite the fables of earth
a flower replenished by water

To Love you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Hello to whoever reads this little spot in bloggersville! It's been a few days of work and play and now it's time to get this shindig back on the road.

October. Halloween looms, and although I don't celebrate it, I'm always fascinated by the costumes on sale at your local store. From knights to ghouls, the country is eager to be someone else for a day. The Israelites used to want to be someone else too. In fact, they wanted a new identity so badly that they would stop at nothing to demand a new king in hopes that somehow they could create their own image and identity. Why is that important? In Politics some want to be be identified by their civil rights, in grade school some want to be likened to their heroes, at work some want to be identified by their position. In the strident attempt to gain individualism we've become like everyone else. If you take the mask off you realize you were never your own (Heidelberg Cat. #1), but retain God's image. The irony is that in God's image each one is unique, having their own finger prints, personality, looks, stature--no one is alike. We were already individuals before we tried to be another individual!

But I digress because how could I live in the month of October if I didn't revel in baseball. The Major League Playoffs are on. Balls, bats and testosterone glaze the stadium with euphoric energy. I wear Dodger blue but I was in Columbus Ohio last weekend and I knew full well that Ohio was in the Playoffs. The Cleveland Indians couldn't have a more excited fan base if they tried. There's so much hot air blown around town about Ohio's team, I thought I might lift right off the ground like a hot air balloon. It's exciting. I love baseball. Sixty feet away a tiny ball springs out of a talented hand at 94 miles an hour. The pitcher, forced to throw downward from atop a small hill at a strike zone no bigger than a small box, beads with sweat. Another man must place a narrow bat in the right place at the right time because only 1/2 second later that same ball will cross the plate. When and if a connection is made the ball pops toward the 2nd baseman at roughly the same pace or faster and is mostly likely spinning from the contact. It bounces off the diamond dirt and the talented player picks it off the ground as if it were sailing at 10 miles an hour not 100. Meanwhile a runner is barrelling at full tilt towards first-base, face strewn with effort , built with one purpose...make it to 1st base before the ball does. A hard throw is made and slaps into the first baseman's glove like a shot in the dark and the runner's cleat bounces off the base a click after the ball reaches the defender...a light speed moment a Referee must see clearly, as if a photo had been taken and the still frame given to him. With an enviable flare laced with passion and adrenaline that only those who're on the field can understand, the Ump calls "OUT!" , striking his fist in front of his body as if life itself lept from his fists. And all this in less than 10 seconds. Man I love this sport. I'm elated that a group of men could achieve such potent skill. When I was young, I used to believe I possessed such prowess. When I was young, my heals clicked the dirt and my toes possessed the base and I believed myself that I was playoff material. But look at me! Do you see the spindly legged bad-backed hero first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers? My God Imaged fingerprints contain something other than professional baseball.

Back to the play...the runner, wick'd with sweat, pleads his case, completely sure he'd reached first base in time...the audience boos, assured that the ump was wrong and they and their runner are right... innately knowing that, like myself as a little boy, they the fans possess skills that those on the field do not. Many in the crowd clamor in heat as if God himself would do the very same thing...

or are they once again trying to be in someone else's image?

Live a little...enjoy the game...then leave with the same fingerprints you had before the game began. God's image goes with you.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ultimate and Absolute Freedom

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. I mentioned this idea in another blog but wanted to reiterate. God gave mankind tasks that He knew they could tend and control. However, even the affect of such things like gardening were solely the work of God (growth of plants, growth of animals, growth of babies). Man hears the whisper of Lucifer's promise to Adam and Eve in modern times. We've believed since then that we could somehow touch or choose to understand the power of God by our own decision.

Adam and Eve discovered that the converse was true. They discovered that they could never comprehend the full nature of good and evil, that they could never comprehend an ever expanding universe (when did the world move from flat to round?), and that they could never effectually grant themselves a position in heaven. Remember that God's removing them from Eden was a gift not a curse. He protected them from eating of the tree of life so that they might not live forever in their sin. God knew that on top of disobeying him, that trying to rise equal to, or above Him was impossible. One cannot rise above their master unless an outside force gives you an opportunity, to defeat, or has the ability to give you the authority over your master. For example, Abraham Lincoln worked to give slaves the power of freedom from their slavery. But there is no "other" above or equal to God that could give them their power. It is impossible. Even if it were possible for Adam and Eve to glimpse at the glory and power of God in goodness and righteousness, they would find such a thing too magnificent to see. In fact, they would find it such a power that they would cease to exist. The glory of God cannot be touched by man for any reason. TO even touch the tabernacle of God meant instantaneous death to the "toucher." Even Lucifer, the mighty and beautiful Angel could not comprehend the power of God in His attempt to overcome it. This mighty being was thrown to earth like a rag doll.

To think too highly of yourself is fruitless. Nimrod and those who would seek to build a building to Heaven could not comprehend a universe that was billions of light-years of creation. So, God protected them from their attempt by confusing their languages, knowing full well that the realization of a vast universe beyond their wildest dreams would be too much for them. He wanted this sin to stop.

Therefore, my thought. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But so does absolute freedom. Ultimate Freedom means ultimate chaos. If we had ultimate freedom in America then everyone here would be able to determine what is right for themselves. What do you have? The problem of determining who's right has the most freedom? Where your freedoms deeply offend me, does that still mean your freedoms should not be censored in some way? If everyone had their own rights there would be a "conflict" of rights which would end in ultimate chaos. We in the U.S. are not completely without governing. We intend to limit how we are governed, but we are not absolutely free. It would be chaotic and ultimately destructive. We see small examples of it when Senators from the Senate floor (The Floor of the "People") carelessly blast those who would disagree with them. It is their way of attempting to wrest more freedom from the system than they are actually given (or should be given). In a religious setting, Complete free will offers us the ability to see God in any way we choose. But, much like our political system, the true "freedom" of the will of man leads to chaos and destruction...read Judges. Adding to this, Romans indicates this is not "Absolutely" free, and John 10 indicates that we are under the will and care of the master.

Some of us from Church will be studying Romans in the next several weeks and so I precede with these presuppositions that relate to the above explanations:

1. That, we do not have the ultimate freedom to see God in His glory or in His righteousness until he reveals it to us.
2. We do not have the ability to see Good and Evil for what it is until we are shown that information.
3. We will not see God until He reveals Himself to us (Presup. #1) Furthermore, we will not find God...He will find us and draw us to Him.
4. We cannot equal or or place ourselves above the master.

God has always protected us from the attempt at Ultimate Freedom...knowing of it's terribleness, it's awesomeness, it's glory and it's incomprehensibility. That is why He brings us to it in the way that will lovingly and safely reveal Himself to us, and in the way that will keep us, not kill us.

We love the "idea" of the Gift of Free Will or the Gift of Choice as many of us have purported. But, I do not find that gift spelled out in such terms from God's Word. Some of my presuppositions may be altered as I study...but I'm ready for God to show me in what ways they shall.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I wrote about RAGBRAI last month and have oft attempted to explain to myself the majesty of God in all things. I was at times in great pain, disillusioned and tired. I was panting for relief and striving for reprieve. Spasms would rack my body, or my back would become weak or my feet would go numb. It seemed to encompass the entirety of the years behind me. Of course, other times I was great and fast and completely entranced by this event. The reason to finish the race is always before us. But along the way, God shows you glory as one is sometimes being refined by trial and fire. So, I wrote about it and thought I would share today.


I have sailed the great highway
which trembles beneath
All that God has put before me.

Pinions of effort and triumph
Of dubious pain and striving
Of songs in spellbound
company with my heart.

I have seen the white sun
turned to gold by hours
I have seen the music of fog swaying
to the rhythm Of wildflowers, wind and sun

I have seen the matron dew proffer
her benefit softly under the red skirt of sunrise,
turning feral field jade and vibrant.

I have seen the hills rise up
To the morning trumpeted
By voice and tongue and breath.

I have seen leaf bent in homage
To current and branches
like fingers Tickled by wing.

I have seen fields of alfalfa
Lying in patient wait for her harvest
I have known the gentle brook
Rippled and peaceful bastions of inspiration.

I have seen geese suspended
Pulling and drafting In assignment
known to them Milleniums before
man took flight In air or on road.

I have seen all things wild
Archbishops of the trees
And tenders of the field
And Guardians of the Sky.

Whir of tire and curling current
Efficient and tireless
And I turn my eyes to the golden wake
Where they are in commission
unfettered and undisturbed.

I have seen unregulated sky
Vastly uninterested in accomplishment
And yet I strive to dance amongst it’s power.

I have see the hills rise up to meet me
Where steeples reach like fingers
pointed toward heaven.

And I am whetted for the house of God

A poem by rje, 7/30/07

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Prince Lucas...

The royal culture dominates our sensibilities. Sometimes I almost feel as if Americans are jealous of Royal society. We're not only fascinated by Royalty but we also adore them. Where were you when Princess Diana was killed? We love to dress up in Medieval Garb, and our little girls love to become young Princesses wide with power and imagination. Brits are voracious gossip hounds rife with the largest rumor mill in the world. But, we in the U.S. rival their appetite for celebrity news, but are, at the very least celeb lovers. I know that we sometimes dump Royals into the celeb barrell with everyone else. However, when the queen of Britain came into our side of the Atlantic several months ago, the red carpet was unambiguously rolled out for her.

Americans live under one of the greatest forms of Government ever devised and yet we're not comforted. We cry for a King! We want to find Camelot. The U.S. system is difficult because common people question the pile of work and research needed to make good choices for their government, good votes for their issues and excellent reasons for all of them. It's a lot of work to make a good choice but we simply want not to be harmed. We want to be kept. It's a lot of work to be kept in our system. The people under the Monarchy are not issued such vulnerabilities such as choices.

So we make it up...we call the Kennedys our Camelot and the Astors are the nobility. Paris Hilton calls herself the closest thing America has to royalty...but we won't go there. I think we hate the flippant levity bred into our royals. And yet we love the idea of power. Marilyn Monroe sings an interesting birthday song to her President and one knows after the first note that shes horny like a fox. Yet Camelot survives.

We live in an unsure world. But, we live with the knowledge that our choices, our votes, our reasons may have wielded the wrong sword. Choice and freedom is precious in the U.S. We need to make the best of it and we must take it serious. Our system breeds uncertainty and yet we're also protected by a system, by a constitution that doesn't allow any one group to become dictatorally powerful. I think this is good.

However, The Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie alike love to Hate the President. How many devote most of their political conversations with complaint? How many of us rail and protest against the Compliant? Anyone who says something excellent about the President is often deemed to be as dumb as the President. Why? well according to us, He Spends too much (as if you understand money Mr. in debt up to your eyeballs), He hates the Military (How was Canada Mr. Draft Dodger?), He's dumb as a stump, he can't even talk (He graduated from Yale...and you?). But it's not only our current President, it's every President! Absolute Power corrupts absolutely, but so does Absolute Freedom. I cannot threaten to Kill the President, but I can turn every tom, dick and harry against him, doing him much more harm than if a bullet had actually passed through his heart. What does that say? Pare that back to our churches...then pare that back to our denomination. We hate the pastor's emotion, or we hate that he uses film clips, or we hate that he preaches too long or we hate that he caters to one group of people, or we hate that he doesn't spend 12 hours a day at church. It's no wonder a Pastor has only about a 6-7 year cycle in any given church. I long to hear something good about freedom. I often seek (and find) circles of positive people...people who have drive and who are excited about potential. I think that knowing good in your culture helps build your societal self-esteem thereby making one more effective within it.

Believe me...I'll take freedom and capitalism and democracy over a Monarchy. My opinion of course. I opine that democracy and capitalism still have the power to fuel all that is good about people. Despite what you hear, Americans are the most generous of all peoples. We give more, volunteer more, do more, see more and live more.

But we long for the King as the Israelites longed many years ago. We long to be led and placed into our social quarters. Kept. I long to walk the pearl colonnades girded by golden trusses. I long for great marble walls, frescoes and a royal throne under which I might bow. I long for it because I've been invited to it. I'm American Royalty. I'm Kept. I get to work for the King, to know that His will be done. That's all I need to know. My societal self-esteem in tact. In fact, I get the best of both...I am now completely free AND completely kept.

We all know there's no way to enter Royal chambers unless you are invited. Great Feasts, Knighthood and Kingship come out of our imaginations and our ideas. However, in the end, none of us can hope to achieve such a thing. For instance, I have Elgersma blood. Elgersmas did not come from a royal line. Therefore it is a biological, mathematical, historical and all other ways impossible desire to somehow become of Royal blood. It is an impossibility to insert ourselves into royal blood lines. I can't simply close my eyes, click my heels three times and say "I have royal blood, I choose to be a royal, I choose to be a royal, I choose to be a royal!" It is the same with the Kingdom of Heaven. Beyond our ability or achievement, we are simply given such a thing. That is just one more reason that I could never hope to comprehend God except of what I am told by His Spirit who is within me.

I thought yesterday evening as Lucas John Beaumont was passed into the arms of His loving and deeply passionate parents, safe and sound, with no fear of being dropped, with no ill account against his birth mom and dad or his parents. And as I saw that safely guarded little boy I realized that, according to the promises of God, he also is invited to walk through the great porticos mounted by Seraphim. In fact, I believe he already has a seat in the great feasting hall. God handed courage to the birth parents and the adoptive parents...perks of being Royalty. God gives gifts to royalty. So trusting was Lucas. He only has to be held...kept. He didn't have to prove valiance, or courage, or brevity to receive his white heart. God awarded him such a thing before the foundation of the world. My little Leah too dances to her drum, a 3 year old princess, without need to be beset by worry. She held her cousin the Prince last night. Kept. I believe they intrinsically know...they knew what we sometimes forget--that they are allowed to come unto Him who calls them to His lap.

There are Jesters in this game who will dance and arouse, clanging their circus act before God, hoping to Gratify Him by claiming every good and faithful act and God will say "Leave me...I do not know you."

And when the circus dust clears there we will all be, there Lucas will be--standing within the white palace...kept.

Yesterday was stressful...but the King was watching.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I'll try to make this short. It seems my sister and her husband are waiting with my other sister and her daughter in the waiting room for their soon-to-be adopted baby boy! They are soon going to be certified mom and dad! Hot-diggity-dog for them. It won't be long before their lawn will be mowed for them, their house will be cleaned for them...well...they have to wait like 10 years for that, but hey, it's something to look forward to! I've just found out that they are indeed certified parents of a young Lucas John Beaumont. Certified. A certified Halleluja. 7 pounds and a few ounces and 20 inches of certified Halleluja! Now some certified parents are certified crazy...which leads me to my next point, and it's my first advice for my dear sister and brother-in-law. When Lucas turns 2, and you want to have a birthday party for him...don't register anywhere! Toys-R-Us doesn't need your money and people already know where to shop for 2 year old children! Something pink or something blue will just have to do.

It seems my sister received an invitation to a birthday party that said just that very thing..."We are registered at Toys-R-Us." Written in invisible ink was "We are certified arrogant, Certified bonkers, certified nutzo and Certified servants of the CEO of the family...a 2 year old! The kid's first field trip should be to the Ward where Brittany Spears will be, or the rehab center where Nicole Richey, Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan will be!

Smile pretty little 2 year old...you probably look good on camera...but if I may play the Ghost of Christmas future, let me show you what happens to those who have everything they could possibly want.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Liberal Arts Education

Recently I wrote about how surprised I am that our young couples who grew up CRC do not know much about their bibles nor their Doctrine and Theology. I said that a church that surrounds it self with everything Christian from Education to Potlucks, should be bursting at the seams! I can't understand what's happening. Well the answers lies, in part, to the point that students in Christian Schools are not learning according to the methods set by the educational powers that be many years ago.

I read a blog written by a professor at Dordt College who believes that our colleges and universities are catering to the students desires and less to their needs...in essence, they're being run more like businesses and less like educational institutions. They are catering to the customer. Ivy League Schools and other more secular institutions are able to retain their more rounded educational system because they take in millions upon millions in donations every year. A small College such as Dordt College has to infuse a more attractive bent in order to keep its doors open...at least that's what it believes it must do.

It used to be that a Liberal Arts College would give a balanced view of education, forming our talents in Philosophy, Religion, Doctrine, English etc. so that we could adequately and Spiritually form our skills in business, marketing, science and mathematics.

Conversely, and somewhat Ironically based on my opinion today (I went to a "Dutch" College), the Dutch system of education puts students on a specific "track" very early on in life and the student pursues a way of life well before college training. The Dutch have done well with this system and I can see the benefit of niche education...tailoring education toward the specifics of your future career, where most of the classes students take point them in that direction. However, they know less about God than we do...a symptom of their "Niche" Education?

The following is the comment I made to the professor's blog (not exactly verbatim, but close)..."I find that the newly educated in our churches cannot spell out their doctrine, do not know what they believe (infant baptism for instance), do not know their scriptures, cannot debate a good philosophical argument, and cannot articulate their abstract thoughts in writing. I think these key elements guide the rest of your choices in business and otherwise. I wish higher learning were more about these things."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ode to Fall

Wow, this is an exciting time in our lives isn't it? First of all I've had a whiff of fall! The perfect weather in all of nature allows you to wear a t-shirt, sweatshirt and shorts all at the same time...then in the evening you have to pull some sweatpants over and it's just cool enough for a cup of tea or hot chocolate! Or one can take a nice long bike ride without hardly breaking a sweat. What is not to love? Then October comes and MLB Playoffs take flight and then Thanksgiving and....mmm mmm mmm. I've started writing again too. I have a poem or two that I may share sometime soon.

But I'm Very excited this year for other reasons. This year hasn't always been great, but a few weeks ago my little niece could clearly be heard saying "I love you Unca Rick!" She gave me a pez dispenser for my birthday last May, and so now I usually take it with me to their house when I visit them and little Leah knows just what to do. I also got a call some time ago from the children of my Bro' Rob and His wife Jessica. That was awesome. I love a good adult conversation with my siblings. I think I'm lucky to be close with them. I love being a brother. But today, I'm going to love being an Uncle. I'm also excited because the new business we're pushing is on the cusp of being a legitimate start-up.

But I'm really getting excited now because in potentially 1 week my sister and my brother-in-law are expecting a baby! Their gestation period has lasted 3 months or several years depending on how you look at it, but now their time is coming! Halleluja. Halleluja. Adoption is no kick-in-the-pants, it's more like fill-up-the-pants. It's nerve-wracking. People don't always realize that an adoptive parent hasn't felt the baby grow or kick, hasn't been sick, hasn't had to take all the right vitamins or avoid alcohol (hee hee). Some adoptive parents haven't always fully dealt with the fact that they can't have their own children. But they haven't had much time to put a baby room together and they've had less time (none to be exact) to bond with the baby. The adoptive parent has no idea if the birth parent will change their mind even after the birth. The adoptive parent has no idea where they're supposed to go in the hospital, won't go through the birth itself, won't get to bond with him in the first minute of his life, has no idea when they'll get to see the baby, has no idea whether to stand with the birth family or behind them. The adoptive parent has been waiting for this for a long time and yet they have less time to change their lives and their plans. They're used to the life they've lived "just in case" nothing happens. Many adoptive parents have to share their baby with 4 sets of grandparents and another "Mom and Dad" (this is usually not a bad experience, but it's still different). Adoptive Mom's haven't built up natural "milk" and they haven't gone hormonal. Adoptive parents have to deal with courts and they have to deal with social workers. Some adoptive parents have to yet deal with well-meaning but a little bit painful comments like "oh he looks just like his dad..." or "he's got his mother's nose..." Some people don't realize that many adoptive parents have probably lost several children because an adoption fell through...believe me, it's like mis-carriage...and some of us have experienced that too.

Yes, an adoptive parent is a breed stronger and grittier than most Vikings and that's the truth. It takes a mental, physical and spiritual strength that many only wonder about.

Believe me, an actual pregnancy is no picnic either and Mom's and Dad's have some of the same worries. They spend 9 months vigorously and tirelessly doing all the "right" things. They worry, they go to the doctor, they experience pain and angst. They have to also change their lives drastically and they also have to look into a future unknown. And they have to deliver for cryin-out-loud! I'd rather have perpetual heartburn I think. I've the utmost respect for new parents...whew.

But this is about the excitement for the pending adoption for my sister and her husband! I think I can understand what they're feeling right now...jump into a dryer, have someone turn it on...10 minutes later jump out hot, sweaty, sore, dizzy and slightly insane...

But that's where God comes in...no, strike that...He came in a lot earlier than that...I know that too.

And so, I'm so excited for them! I can't wait! My nieces and nephews are all different and all so easy to love. I can't wait to hear his version of "Monique" and I can't wait to Hear his version of "Los Angeles Dodgers..."

Man, this is an ode to the parent. This is an ode to the parent has has had children but can't seem to have another. This is an ode to adoptive parents. This is an ode to those who have experienced grit and ire and who come out the other end wiser but smiling. This is for those who realize that before you felt forsaken He was forsook. Before you felt beaten, He was beat. Before you felt tired, he spent 40 days in the desert. And before you even walked on your own two feet, He was forming them in Heaven.

So your way is dusty and dry. The dirt is hard to swallow and you need water. But what you have to realize is that the dust is the dust from the feet of your Rabbi...and the living water is just ahead.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Censorship and Sensibility--Star Isolation

Networks have wondered why television viewership on Media Award nights have fallen in the last several years. Well, a good indicator to answer the question came at the Emmy's on Sunday night. Sally Field went on an anti-war rampage as her "I won an Emmy" speech. Kathy Griffin the night before was more excited about not thanking Jesus Christ than she was about winning the Emmy. Oh, and both of them were censored...bleeped...cut off. Why? well, for instance, Sally Field didn't only use the Bully Pulpit to rant about the President, she decided to take the Lord's name in vain...decided to use a word that was or should be offensive to all Christians.

Not a single word I heard or read the next day, aside from certain Radio Hosts, were about parents who were happy that their children didn't have to hear a bad word on television. Not a single word was heard or read that expressed disappointment that she seemed less excited about winning a major award and more excited about politics. I did hear a few things. I heard over and over again the question of whether or not it was right to censor Sally Field, Ray Romano, Kathy Fisher and a couple others on award night. Do they not have a right to freedom of speech? Waa waa waa...I heard that too. Celebs moaning about censorship. The belligerent Sally Field pretended she didn't care about censorship because she'll simply say the same thing somewhere else! Kathy Fisher claimed that her comments gave her the best week of her life (Larry King Show).

Do they not know that certain things need to be censored? For instance one cannot use words that Threaten the life of the President of the United States...you'll be censored and arrested. One cannot advocate murder at a children's convention or go to an Al Queda rally in the U.S. They will be censored.

They have to think a little. I like Sally Field. She's won two Oscars and two Emmys and a host of other accolades. I've enjoyed her craft. But, I will think twice before I see anything she does again and why? The answer is simple...and it's an answer she needs to think about. She isolated more than half of her Audience in one sentence. She bullied them, made fun of them, offended them through their God, and left them vulnerable. How can your "business" survive this way? For instance, A business cannot be in the business of making baby toys and then produce Semi-Trucks instead. They wouldn't be in business very long! Sally Field didn't think about the fact that viewership for award shows is down because we can't stand hearing politics or 1000 thank-you's on a show that's supposed to be about entertainment and good stories. Much of the media doesn't seem to get it either.

You are allowed not to believe what I believe. Most entertainers are of a very different political view than I. Most of them are socialists. Furthermore, They prefer a system that does not have checks and balances. If the Congress is allowed to do what they are really trying hard to do right now, the check and balance system will be greatly depleted. They believe that under the Government, true freedom can be achieved. Well, let's go there for a moment. If Hillary's healthcare (sick-care), food, education, charity, media and even religion are fully under the "benevolent" (yea right) umbrella of the Government, what does the Supreme Court get to look at every day? They won't look at Joe V.S. Abc Insurance...it will be Joe against the Government. They won't see the case Rick V.S. The board of education, the Supreme Court will see Rick against the Government. Hmmmmm. By the people, of the people, for the people...or by the Government, of the Government, for the People. Sally Field, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, George Clooney, Rosie O'Donnel, Barbara Streisand and a host of others would rather Isolate 60% of their audience to achieve this end, then perform their craft with freedom and with grace. What they are saying every time they find a Microphone is that we don't trust the people, our audience...we don't trust freedom...we don't trust the people of the United States of America! Now, before I'm accused of being a conservative "YES" man, let me say that there are good and generous people in both primary parties of the U.S. and good decisions have also been made throughout time.

I'm not asking you to believe that everything is perfect about the United States. It's not. I'm not asking you to think that taxes, and food stamps are a bad thing. They're not. But, I don't want to depend on my Government for Health/Sick care (I don't want to wait 1 week to cast my broken leg (Canadian Story), I don't want to pay 70% of my income on Taxes (Many European Countries), and I don't want to force my Children to go to a Government run school (again a tax story could be told here). It's interesting to note that in most places where socialism has been allowed to flourish, Christianity has faded greatly! Why is that? I think it's partly because, under Government and Socialism, we're not allowed to decry adverse behavior because all men and their behaviors are created equal. In the U.S. we've stated that all men are created equal, but they aren't allowed to act in ways that will maim the social sensibility (which is not the same as our Socialist Sensibility), and so Religion and Religious behavior is allowed to flourish, in part because the people have typically seen religious people as acting in a way that supports moral behavior.

And so, we're back to the Emmy's. Every company in the United States of America has a rule against harassment based on race, religion, age, race, sexual preference etc. and yet there our favorite celebrities are...harassing me based sometimes on my race, sometimes on my religion and even sometimes on my sexual preference...it seems less and less ok to be heterosexual these days. Sally Field forcefully took my Lord's name in vain...whew, highly offensive to me. She was in need of censorship at that moment because she should not be allowed to Harass me. Fox agreed with me. Sally Field, George Clooney, Barack Obama and a host of others did not.

I'm getting angry at all the people who've proved they hate America. But, I'm even more offended by those who say they not only Hate God, but are willing to Isolate and Harass those who claim to and intend to Love Him.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cut-N-Run Club

A little thing has me a bit burned. The left has made it a policy to be against the war. Their slogan used to be "Bush Lied, People died" as if he was the only one who knew anything about anything. Intelligence was what it was. I'm certainly for allowing people their opinion, just as I have mine. The above slogan shows a lot of disrespect for their President and for the American system. I can overlook that. Politics are what they are.

But Hillary's fundraising system is taken a lot of heat and yet she's the media's god-child. Other Dems have gotten themselves in a lot of trouble and yet can't keep their mouth shut about a man who may or may not have wanted a little "tryst" in an airport bathroom. I don't support bathroom shenanigans either, and I can understand some politician's relief to have the heat taken off of them for awhile. But now, Senators Schumer, Durban, Clinton, Obama and others have gone too far. I believe they've gone into traitorous "terror"itory. Dick Durban started the malay about a year ago by comparing U.S. military to Pol Pot and Nazi's. He should've resigned for that. Then Obama during a recent speech said the U.S. Military is killing Innocents and raping women and abusing children. Hillary and others have had the indecency to illegitimize a highly decorated General, General Petraeus, who has been trusted with a huge and very difficult job even before he gave his recent report. These people are cut-n-run artists bent on U.S. failure who have proved that they hate their Military...and I think it's unacceptable. I think it's traitorous.

One doesn't have to like everything the Military does. But there are men and women have are coming home from Iraq and Aghganistan and they have to come home to a nation who's leaders are hell-bent to make us distrust them. A few of you out there had to come home to that very same attitude a few decades back...it doesn't feel good. It's awful.

What kind of political policy allows you to say the most terrible of things for the sole purpose of getting ahead. Is that what we should expect from the leaders of one of the greatest nations in the world? To end this blog let me quote New York Senator Chuck Schumer:

"And let me be clear: the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The lack of protection for these tribes from al Qaeda made it clear to these tribes, “We have to fight al Qaeda ourselves.” It wasn’t that the surge brought peace here. It was that the warlords had to create a temporary peace here on their own. And that is because there was no one else there protecting them."

Chuck and all the others from the Cut-n-Run club used to rail against the time table, about the civil unrest there (middle 1800's...we sort of had our own civil unrest...it happens when you're trying to develop a country), and about faulty intelligence. Now, they've simply gone to hating the American Military and their capabilities...and have sided with the opinions of the local Iraqi warlords. One can't imagine how amazing this is to me, and it's amazing we're willing to let them get away with it.