That NEW Adage

A pressure-relief valve about God, and just about everything else.

Be Married Every Day. Every Day.

Marriage ain’t got a motor! You gotta push it for it to work.

Marriage is like a plant. An indoor plant that needs water every day. You can miss one day, and it’ll be fine. You can miss two days. But if you go a week, the leaves will start to brown around the edges. Before you know it, it’s dead, leaves like corn flakes all over the floor to be divided up by judges and lawyers.

I push my wife. Lovingly. Sometimes it irritates her, I’m sure, but I have seen relationships slowly turn into bland cardboard facsimilies, and I am bound to not let that happen to me! I don’t want to wake up one day and have my wife look at me (or not) like a stranger on an elevator. I tell her how I feel probably hourly. If I don’t say it, I show it. She doesn’t always feel like talking about where we are and what needs to be repaired. Why the Lord would give me someone who is not excessively expressive I don’t know… But I refuse to let her take a day off from being married to me. I won’t let her coast through our relationship.

Some people might call this too much. But I have witnessed too many relationships — of all kind — fizzle and falter because someone thought they were in a comfortable place.

Before I got married I NEVER turned down a gig! Never. That was a commonly-known thing about me. I was single for a long time, but when I got married, Kathy showed me how I needed to take time to do things with her now and then which made me have to miss work. Even though we couldn’t afford it. I realized that little things like going to a movie, or going out of town to visit her family kept the marriage-ball rolling.

I ask her often to tell me how she feels about me, not out of insecurity, but partly to help us both stay aware of who we are to each other. I tell her that we should have periodic, “State of the Marriage” meetings so that we don’t let the moss of discontent build up over time. I have seen what a miserable wife looks like. And I have too many friends and co-workers who think they have it made at the house while their wives are mentally already gone. If mine leaves me, it durn sho* won’t be because I didn’t let her know how I felt. Or that I cheated on her on my gig and somehow rationalized that that was different than being in a relationship!

You can’t fix your leaky roof by shingling somebody else’s!

Over time, the list of wrongs committed can grow long and bitter. At some point we have to just stop.

And start from scratch. Wipe the slate clean and forget about pointed fingers and “you did this, so I did that,” and “you stopped doing this, so I went somewhere else and got that.” We have to go back to square one, forget the hurt and remember the love and the pledge, and just listen.

Pain is a circle with no beginning. There is always a reason for why who did what to whom. The Devil does actually do his job. He wants discord. Those things don’t matter. What matters is restoring a bent and broken relationship. Stop trying to win. The only way you win is to both reach the finish line together.

When I feel a need to bring up something uncomfortable, even though I know it may cause trouble, I do it. I can’t help it. My mother gave me that. I refuse to let a minor irritant grow into poison ivy.

The beauty of this all is that she lets me do this where others have chastised me. Sometimes you have to be the right person to find the right person…

These are things that most of us know. I’m no guru. Far be it from me to give advice with all MY flaws! But even though I make mistakes, I at least know what the answers are.

We know these things, but we just choose not to do them. We’d rather not pick the lock on a closed door than walk through an open one.

 

 *Certainly

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April 30, 2008 Posted by | Advice, Christian Life, Christianity, Family, Marriage | , | 4 Comments

“He’s Quite Reticulate.”

“I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. Ahhh… I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House. Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.” 

Hillary Clinton.

Why is it that the same people who blast black people for poorly elocuting the English language always seem to give people like Obama, Jesse Jackson, and most black preachers so much faint praise for being “eloquent”? How can both generalities be simultaneously true?

Up until the Iowa caucus, calling someone black “articulate” was thought to be a gauze-covered racist insinuation. (“Wow! Look at that! That monkey can pick a banana from a coconut on demand!”) 

When did being able to artfully arrange words become a weakness? Especially in politics! All politics IS is freekin’ words! (Campaigning anyway…) All any of them do is talk! About what they have done, allegedly did, will do and won’t do! Don’t try to be like Aesop’s fox and act like the grapes are sour just because you can’t reach them!

To the extent that Obama and I share the same race (and gender), I am insulted when I hear this from Clinton. Most of what I do is word-based! Am I to think that deftly using language is a bad thing? Maybe I should just shut up and go get a job at the Post Office. And deliver other peoples’ words…

Regardless of political affiliation this tactic is offensive. It has nothing to do with abortion, Affirmative Action, gay rights, or Christian Rights (hint hint…). Win based on YOUR attributes, not by misrepresenting the strong points of your opponent! 

April 25, 2008 Posted by | Affirmative Action, Barack Obama, Christianity, Conservatives, Hillary Clinton, Liberals, Martin Luther King, Politics, Race, Racism, Religious Right, Republicans, Words | Leave a comment

A Porpoise-Driven Life

Are you like me? Do you sometimes find that you live your life like a dolphin, holding your breath the overwhelming percentage of the time waiting for trouble to come?

I have to constantly tell myself that my Faith is the engine that drives me, and that God will see me through whatever disaster awaits me at the surface. I often am not able to enjoy even long periods of peace for holding my breath dreading the next calamity.

“Max might get sick.” “Diana might get bitten by the giant Great Dane that lives next door.” “My parents might die soon.” “Kathy or I may get fired.”

Things could happen. Things will happen. Bad things will happen. The point is that they will happen whether we shy away or stand there.

I am telling myself and you that it is okay to live in the face of the wind. God is able to transport us through what travails may come, and if we spend our time flinching from a blow that may or may not be on the way, we will miss the joys of life; watching kids grow and become independent, seeing parents become grandparents, relying on the Lord for sustenance when men cut you loose. “Fight back,” my daddy used to say, “They gone hit you anyway, whether you flinch or not!”  You might as well get some licks in.

Life is so much more good than bad, even for the most unfortunate of us, when we have an Eternal Point of View that sees through pain and around obstacles. Life is so much more Florida than Seattle.

All is not lost for the Christian even at the point of death. But you only die once. You live forever. Trust God. He is hurt when you don’t. I have to tell myself this from time to time, so I figured I’d tell you, too.

Come up for air.

April 24, 2008 Posted by | Advice, Christian Life, Christianity, Death, Depression, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, God, Life | 3 Comments

How About Making the BIBLE the Next Book Club Selection?

Oprah is a brilliant woman. This is indisputable. But it is possible for one to out ‘smart’ her own self. I think that this is what has happened here.

I also think that her experiences have led her to adopt a misconception of what true Christianity — which she here clearly rejects — is. For instance, in the video that follows, she says that when she heard a preacher talk about God being jealous, she began to question the Christian faith as it is conventionally practiced.

The point I think she missed there (which can be an indictment of the Church as far as not discipling members once they join) is that God is the only One who CAN be jealous! Jealousy is a sin on our part because we are not flawless! We make mistakes. We are not ALL- anything like He is. How dare we have a worship relationship with any one or thing ahead of Him?!? He is Perfect! The best thing for us, and the best thing to us. And we would cheat on Him with money, or pleasure…?

If there were another God, more than one, who was omni-everything, I daresay God would probably say, “Go ahead. Pick one of us to worship and praise.” But since there is not, He has the right to demand that we “worship” only Him.

Oprah, I think, made the mistake of thinking that the preacher meant that God was insecure. How absurd is that?!? I believe that if one has an understanding of how to reason through and interpret the Scriptures, these kinds of misunderstandings would not happen.

Plus… How about we give the God of the goodness-gracious universe the benefit of the ever-lovin’ doubt!!! Sure, He can stand up to micro-observation, but a true seeker will not be given a rock to eat. He would have given her the knowledge she sought had she asked. Instead, it seems that she gave more praise and credit to her intellect than to what is obvious to the common believer.

A few years ago, it was Gary Zukav, now, it’s Eckhart Tolle.

Watch this disturbing video…

And this one which goes a little deeper…

 

There is still hope for Oprah. She is probably, at the time of this writing, breathing slowly, in and out, in deep slumber. But she needs folk to beseech the Lord on her behalf for her to wake up and for the scales to be removed from her eyes.

The older she has gotten, it seems that she has gotten more and more outlandish belief-wise.

These practices are all touchy-feely-flower child-’68 San Fransisco-New Age-pantheistic-nebulosity. “The Jesus Consciousness”, “What we call ‘God'”. This is publicly shown stuff. She is not running and hiding from these teachings.

Just saying the word, “Jesus” (somebody get Osteen on the phone…) does NOT mean Christianity is being discussed.

“I am a Christian who believes there are many paths…” she says! How does that make sense? “I am a fish that believes that there are many different ways of breathing. I don’t think you have to stay in water.”

Well, you are either a DEAD fish, or NOT a fish! You cannot be a “Christian” and take “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” out of the Bible. Christianity is not a watermelon! You can’t just spit out the seeds.

This bothers me because I think — man-dogging aside — Oprah is a nice person. Funny and charismatic. And without a true saving faith, she is just as lost as any other pagan. And she is a Guru who is leading so many others to ruin. Think of those who have followed her over the years who are no longer living…

April 11, 2008 Posted by | Christ, Christianity, Common Sense, Eckhart Tolle, Faith, False Doctrine, God, Guru, New Age, Oprah, Oprah Winfrey | 9 Comments

Happy Birthday, Kathy

I just want to tell you how much I love you today.

The joy I have in life is because of what you have done for me, given me.

Every year on this day, I struggle to find the words to the song inside my heart, and every year I fail.

You are my wife, and our souls are like smoke from two fires. There are no dividing lines.

You are the best friend I have, a feminine reflection of myself, yet the person I hope to become.

You mother my children, and make a building a home.

You forgive, in the Godliest way, my constant transgression and love me even more.

I am more secure in you than in the very ground beneath me.

You give my life purpose, and you give it laughter.

You are my support and encouragement, and you let me be who God made me.

If I gave you my life, if I laid it still at your feet, I would yet have an eternity of debt left to pay.

I strive to be your biggest fan, while being your toughest truest motivator.

There is no growing old of the love I gave you on that day.

No graying of its hair, no dimming of its eye.

Each day, it awakes taller and stronger.

Yet again, at the end of these words, at the end of this Day, I am for another year frustrated.

The love I have for you outgrows, outreaches my weak attempts to contain it with deeds and words.

For what you have done for me, for who you are, I thank God and you.

I hope that you see the heart from which these feelings flowed and are warmed.

Happy Birthday, Katty!

Derrick.

 

 

April 7, 2008 Posted by | Birthday, Love, Marriage | 5 Comments

No, No, No Ya Don’t…

I had to change the words to that familiar children’s song, ’cause every time I turned around, Max was getting into something else he shouldn’t have.

Like just today, he pulled ALL the clothes out of Kathy’s bottom drawer, threw them onto the floor, and put his toy remote control in it. And when he was supposed to be taking a nap, he instead threw all the blankets out of the bed, and was sitting upright with the liner from his dirty clothes hamper on his head. Smiling at me.

Last night, he came into the living room with the vaseline jar on his hand like a glove, and a jar full of vaseline in his hair. He has broken tusks from elephant statues at my folks’ house, phones, and computer keypads, and he has eaten a Christmas light. He tried to climb up into the automatic swing that Diana was sleeping in. He mistimed it, fell, and the swing began mindlessly hitting him until he could get up and out of the way.

Monday, when he was supposed to be taking a nap, I heard him in his room talking. (He knows not to do that) When I burst into his room, I saw him sitting, still as a mailbox with his blanket over his body. “Max! Lie down and go to sleep!” No movement. I walked closer: “Max! YOU know you’re not supposed ta be in here talking! Lie down!” No movement. I pulled the blanket off of him, ready to chastise him for not doing what I told him to do. He was just smiling up at me , all sixteen teeth showing.

In a hurry, I put the blanket up to my face so he couldn’t see me laughing. I laid him back down. See, HE thought that, even though he was sitting up, I couldn’t see him sitting up! His little child’s mind told him that to be very still under that blanket made it impossible for him to be seen. It was sooo funny! That’s my boy!

My mother and sister bought him one of those motorized trucks that you can sit in and drive for Christmas. Now, he is only one year old, and I tried to tell them not to do it, but it was no use. He can’t even associate pressing the gas pedal with making the truck go yet. Well, the other day, I brought it home from my folks’ house (it was too big to fit in the car, I thought…), and when I took it out, Max jumped in it and proceeded to slam it into the car repeatedly. “No, no, no, Max! Stop! Wait! Don’t…!” We just laughed

So in that spirit, and for that reason, I have changed the words and the meaning to that singalong:

No, no, no ya don’t

Don’t you mess with that.

Don’t put that upon your head,

A shoe is not a hat!

No, no, no ya don’t

Don’t you eat the keys.

When Daddy has to go to work,

He’ll be needing these.

No, no, no ya don’t

Poke your sister’s eye.

She needs that to watch for you

You’re a dang’rous guy.

And so on…

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Childhood, Children, Christian Life, Family, Fathers and Sons, Humor, Kids, Nursery Rhymes, Parenthood, Parenting, Parents, Uncategorized, Writing | 2 Comments

“Paging Dr. Pepper!”

So Joel Osteen says that Mormons are Christians.

Yeah. They’re Christians just like Dr. Pepper is a doctor! Like Col. Sanders was a colonel.

Read this transcript from a Fox News story:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,318054,00.html

And Osteen is a preacher like Mr. T is an actor!

April 2, 2008 Posted by | Charlatans, Christianity, Faith, Joel Osteen, Prosperity Gospel, Word of Faith | 8 Comments

The Rest of the Story

I said that when I got more time, I would write more on what happened when Diana was born. Seeing how things have been this last week, I know now that I’ll NEVER have any more time!

Kathy began having real contractions Wednesday night. By Thursday, they were coming steadily enough so that our friend, Megan who is trained as a labor and delivery nurse, took basically her whole day — Excuse me. Both babies just woke up yelling and crying from different rooms at the SAME time!!!— to walk Kathy through a nearby park in order to bring on the true labor Kathy wanted. (Our last birth was a c-section, and Kathy really wanted to have a conventional birth!) Megan homeschools her kids, one of whom was sick, and she forsook that all to spend hours helping my wife!

Thursday night/Friday morning at around three, She started to have strong contractions at from six or seven minutes apart to four or five. Even though I’m a night owl, going to sleep at around three or four every morning, I was really sleepy. Kathy was taking one of thee thousands of showers she had been taking all day to soothe her pain when I finally fell off to sleep. As soon as I did, she came into the room and said that she was ready to go. Wishful thinking made me stay in the bed.

“When I get dressed, I’m goin’ to tha hospital, whether you’re ready or not!” she said, rummaging through her drawers. It took her forty minutes to put some clothes on. It takes longer when you have to stop and pray to Jeessussss every four minutes…

“Oh,” I croaked, “You were serious?”

“Yeah! This is IT! The contractions have been four minutes apart for an hour.”

We got to the hospital at 4:45 AM. Megan, the angel, had met us at the house and followed us. My parents, who were going to keep Max for us, were waiting for us when we got there. They took him home with them shortly after Kathy was admitted.

Kathy was scheduled to have a c-section on Saturday, but she and her doctor wanted her to try to have her “the regular way.” Max was a c-section baby, and weighed in at nine pounds, six ounces! She was more than a week past the due date and the baby was only getting bigger. We felt now that the Lord had answered Kathy’s fervent prayer in the affirmative with all these labor pains and stuff.

Kathy’s friends, Heather, and Lisa, who took all those pictures, arrived at between 6 and 8 am. They both have families, and left them to stay with Kathy. Her mother came to town to stay with us for a week, and got to the hospital at around 9 am. We all thought that, at this rate, she would be having the baby by no later than twelve noon or one at the latest. HA!

I had a gig that night which Kathy had no problem with me making, and since it started at 10:30 that night, we both knew I would make it ok. HA!

Her contractions were coming steadily (every two or four minutes) for hours, and she took them like a champ until around 10 am or so when she asked for an epidural. This involves injecting an anesthetic through a catheter inserted into a canal in the doggone spine! And how is this better, I wonder…?

To make a long story long, Kathy endured the process of physical and mental stress (which was probably worse) until 7:30 pm. The doctors and she were trying to wait for her cervix to dilate to the point where Diana could pass naturally. “I don’t want to be gutted like a fish!” Kathy would repeatedly say, only partly in jest.

Just as with Max, it would never happen.

Through all of this, Heather and Lisa stayed! Hour upon hour of stress, tedium, pain, and varying opinions on what to do and they just called husbands, arranged for kids to be picked up, and stayed right there with her. Never had we experienced such friendship and dedication. Even after I left to work, (musicians don’t have workman’s compensation! No play, no pay! Kathy’s maternity pay is a little bit less than her regular pay, so I had to go get it!) Megan returned, and Lisa and Heather stayed into Saturday morning until I told Kathy to have them go home!

I am so blessed (Kathy, too…) to have people who love my wife so much. She is not from Memphis, and used to fret about not having ties here. This is an answer to that prayer, because she has friends now from all strata who love her like family!

Yes, they attend that church I rave about. (And Heather wants me to tell you that in spite of the name, she IS black! 🙂 )

It was obvious after all these hours that Diana was not going to push her way out. There was a lot of back and forth about what should happen, so the nurse — at Kathy’s request — cleared the room. Kathy, now crying,  called me back, and while I had a whole line prepared — excuse me, Diana just started to wail again — about how God knows better than we do what is best, and that this is His will, and that we have to get in line with that will… But she wasn’t crying about having to have another c-section. Suffice it to say that she was worried that her friends’ feelings would be hurt through all of this.

So, after much travail, much of which would be politically and socially improper for me to tell, Diana was pulled into this world at exactly eight o’clock looking just like her brother did, and suspiciously like a little Eskimo lady. (Kathy spent four years living in Alaska…) Actually, my grandfather had a white father and a Cherokee mother, so that is why they come out looking so U.N.

I spent an hour or so with them and left for my gig with my wife’s blessing. They started late waiting for me.

For the next two weeks in what is apparently a tradition in many churches (NOT the one I attended!), we will be receiving meals cooked by different women in the church. When this happened with Max, we were blown away! It is a wonderful thing to see the Body of Christ work in such fluid and effective fashion.

And just as we cannot do anything to warrant God’s Sacrifice and favor, we have not done anything to deserve being loved in so great a way by so many!

April 1, 2008 Posted by | Birth, Children, Christian Life, Christianity, Church Life, Family, Fatherhood, Kids, Life, Love, Marriage, Motherhood, Parenthood, Parenting, Pregnancy | 4 Comments