What is Possible

The band storage room was the dirtiest place I knew on earth. Its original carpet was synthetic umber single-ply laid over stained concrete and committed to slow suicide by unraveling. They replaced it, while I was there, with a deep dark blue, the short pile of which had not yet bowed in shame at the things it would see—Oh, the things it would see.

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Created for Worship

Over this last year I have found myself grumbling more than usual. I have always had a cup half-full personality. Yet, I became lost in the mundane tasks of life. We all know it, house cleaning, laundry and trips to the grocery store. Necessary tasks that we can’t ignore to keep our homes running began to dig into me. I found myself growing increasingly frustrated about being a slave to these tasks. I started to despise them and dread them. It was a negative mindset I had created for myself. Through some quiet time I was led back to some old notes I had taken while listening to a podcast. I didn’t write down the speaker but it clearly punched me in the gut then, and without a doubt I needed the reminder.  I needed to be reminded that I was created to worship. Now first let me say that I always associated worship with music. But my heart was stirred to a deeper level of worship for our heavenly Father than just pelting out words from my mouth. Worship, I realized, was and is based on His worth and it is our opportunity to value God for who He Is in the midst of everyday life.

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Every Morning Coffee: a review of Every Moment Holy

The holiday season passed with a flurry of shredded wrapping paper, sugar comas, and age-old family traditions. A shiny new year with infinite possibilities and opportunities is spread before us like a banquet. A whole new year, when we can finally do all those things we promise ourselves we are going to do each and every new year, for which we never manage to find the time, of course.

I’m not one of those folks who puts together yearly resolutions I intend to follow through with. It’s simply not my nature. There are times that I do envy those who think that way, but those moments are rare. I enjoy the days as they come, knowing that each day is similar to the last. I have my morning ritual: start the kettle, grind the coffee, fill the French press, wait four minutes then call out “Plunger Boy!” My five-year-old son’s morning is thrown completely out of whack if he doesn’t push the plunger on the French press. Then I go to my office and read the news. All of us have similar rituals, even if they aren’t coffee related.

At the core of what it means to be human is an inherent desire to have order and intentionality in our lives. 

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Going Home

There are some messages we never want to receive. In our time they often come as phone calls; for earlier generations it would have been a telegram, a letter in a hasty scrawl, an out-of-breath messenger bearing the summons, Come as soon as you can, there isn’t much time. On the last day of November, my mother made one of those dreaded phone calls. To me.

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Why Foster?

The first call came last Thursday: a local number I didn’t recognize, but which I thought might be the kennel I had called that morning. In less than forty-eight hours I had to relinquish my dog to someone else’s care, and I still hadn’t confirmed who exactly that “someone else” would be. But it wasn’t the kennel; it was the Department of Child Services. And instead of relinquishing, I was being asked to take in, not a dog, but a child—an eleven-year-old white male.

It had only been two days since my foster parent support worker called to tell me she’d received the news I was fully approved, and my home was officially open to placements. It was less than four months since I submitted an online request for more information on becoming a foster parent in Knox County. Despite six weeks of classes, a home study, and lots of research, I still didn’t feel ready. And the simple fact is I wasn’t ready. I still had three long work trips ahead of me before I’d be home for more than a few days at a time.

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Why We Read and Write Hard Things

When I was a kid, I had to write a book report in Senior English. Ms. Southern gave us a list of famous novels and works several pages long, and each student was to choose from among these. I was a rather morose teenager, enjoying moody music and—as with many teenagers, I expect—anything that smacked of resistance for resistance’ sake. As to what we were resisting, who could say? This being the case though, I perused the list and selected the suggestively titled Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.

I didn’t know any Vonnegut. The title felt like a fragment of the cultural landscape, like a roadside hillock I had passed a million times without thinking about it. Plus, it seemed to imply violence of a kind, which fit well into my social lexicon. This was the dawn of the new millennium; Gladiator had come out, along with the acrobatic martial arts of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. My friends and I had recently discovered Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. I enjoyed Michael Crichton novels and bloody Japanese cartoons. In that instance, violence at least felt like a method of enduring schoolwork’s rigors and ennui.

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