Why we're here...

Love and marriage are the greatest adventures in life, and they point they way to our relationship with the Almighty.

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Hey Ho Here We Go

There is no-one to whom I owe
my laughter and good cheer.
Disagree? Well, you don't know,
mate, 'cause you are not here
to see the epic sufferings,
melodramatic pain
that this kind of cancer brings
when you're circling the drain.
Except maybe I got this wrong,
and made it all 'bout me,
when in truth I just belong
to larger community
that I see, in yonder looking-glass,
has strong call upon my...uh, donkey.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is STORY.

It is the story of my life,
I just cannot get a break
(eye-roll by The Barb, my wife),
but surely God's made some mistake
that looking like Asian Brad Pitt,
and with the grace of Jackie Chan,
I just cannot seem to fit
into Hollywood's big master plan,
that I could become rich like Croesus,
living in Aspen, or Bel Aire,
with entire island-leases
to take perhaps a Christmas there
with daiquiri in my hand
enjoying sun and surf and sand.

That was quick. Under three and a half minutes.

 It'll open in a new window.

Winnie's video left Sylvia exhausted and hungry. Ice cream time!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Dancing Day

 I am a hippie and a thug,
and an accomplished dancer,
so watch me while I cut a rug
as I waltz with cancer.
We sashay 'cross the parquet floor
as the band plays on.
My partner herds me towards the door,
but it's not time I'm gone,
for sure not while the grace notes ring,
and mirror-ball shines bright,
and not while my heart can bring
all love and strength into the fight.
I know one day the end must come,
but until then, I'm having fun.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is CHOOSE. Easy.

On this day I choose to dance,
choose to whirl and pirouette,
and though it feels I have no chance,
this is not over yet.
On this day I choose to smile,
for frowning is a bummer,
and if I last a little while
I'll see another summer.
On this day I choose to write
about the Lord, who is my friend,
with whom I rather tight,
and on whom I depend.
And on this day I choose to laugh;
God's asked me for my autograph!

Two minutes thirty-seven.

Ah, why not. Dancing Queen!

Sylvia will dance for ice cream.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

On The Day Of Glory

Do you think about Heaven?

Used to be, I didn't. I figured, let it come. Whatever.

But now, wakeful from one in the morning until the dawn, too tired to read or watch a movie, needing to keep the house quiet so I can't work...

Yeah, I think about Heaven.

But mine looks different from what I've heard tell, with grand royal halls and angel choirs.

My Heaven's got more "Awww!" than awe.

My Heaven's more fun.

The cows that soar above the seas
on shining wings of purest gold
upon the day God will release
the greatest stories ever told.
The mice in regal splendour reign,
in purple robes and silver crowns,
and the cats that day will deign
to serve them cheddar, with no frowns.
And there the Son will have no car,
in no carriage shall He pass;
he will place a bright-jewel star
upon the brow of faithful ass
and side by side will walk with him
into the New Jerusalem.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is REACH. Might be a stretch for me.

Do you think you might reach Heaven
while your feet still walk this Earth?
Do you think good deeds are leaven
to give you just that much more worth?
Do you think it's a reward,
a glimpse into Eternity,
for a life that you bent toward
that which you thought that you should be?
It is not your deeds that give
you entree to the streets of gold,
nor is it the life you live,
doing what you think you're told;
no, my friend, to see that place
is a gift of God's own grace.

Three minutes ten seconds 

But Heaven's not mine yet. I've still got (music courtesy America) some Work To Do.

Sylvia knows there's ice cream in Heaven. How else could it be Heaven?

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Best Choice

And so it goes, mainly downhill. Well, physically.

Days get pretty limited by a lot of trouble breathing when I try to move, and a lot of coughing thereby, which leads to a lot of puking.

My cup runneth over, all right, but let's don't go there, and you're welcome.

And why am I so happy?

I love my days, and even love the long sleepless nights (do you know that wonderful feeling of sliding back under the covers after a cold 3am dog walk?).

I love the beer that cuts the nausea so I can have at least a small meal. The way my body processes alcohol now, I don't even get mildly drunk, darn it, but BEER is my One Word for 2023.

I love Barb and the dogs and the cat and you, the people who drop by to read this stuff, share the trip, and offer encouragement.

Love's a choice, I guess. The best choice of all.

When the push doth come to shove,
I really love my wife,
so I'm buying her a copy of
The Porpoise-Driven Life.
With this I will go real big,
and think it would be cool
to alter the backyard and dig
a deep wide swimming pool
in with the big fish could enjoy
water-walking on his tail
(he, assuming he's a boy)
and round the pool would be a rail
to allow anointing, porpoise-fashion
with a whole great lot of splashin'.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is ASSUME. I assume I can do this.

People will not give me room,
and I'm often pressed,
because they feel free to assume
that I am real depressed.
"Talk it out, " they like to say,
"tell me how you're feeling down."
When I say that I'm OK,
they shake their heads and frown,
thinking I am in denial,
delusional, or am on drugs.
Then they really hit their style,
and offer smoochy teary hugs
while I try to make it clear
that I really want a beer.

Four minutes fifteen of veracity. I really am OK, but a case of Fosters ale sure wouldn't go amiss.

Music from Thirty Seconds To Mars, with Do Or Die.

Sylvia says, "Ice cream. Don't forget to say you love ice cream. Comes before the cat."

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Good Morning!

 In the dark before the dawn
as the world rests from its sins,
something turns the switches on
and The Car Alarm begins.
It starts out with a high-pitched "Yeeee!";
Cocoa's always on it first.
Then Latte joins in, in high G,
enough to make God's eardrums burst.
They rush to wake up all the crew;
Henry rumbles, low and deep,
"Don't know what YOU want to do,
but as for me, I'd rather sleep."
And then yawning, shakes his head,
and joins the whirling dance instead.

Did you know that the human eye can detect a candle flame from 1.6 miles away on a clear, dark night?

Coping with cancer is like this now...in a week that's been worse than ever, regarding just flat-out pain and fatigue, I lean into the small bright things.

Like Chihuahuas before the dawn.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is MANY.

Two Chihuahuas in the place 
running through the open door
barking a glad hymn of grace
leave me wanting much more.
Chi's are like potato chips,
you can't have just one or two,
and notwithstanding little nips,
there are more waiting for you
that will very soon arrive
to take places in the pack.
The big dogs have now learned to thrive,
and there is no looking back
to the cooler days long prior
to when they brought Chihuahua Fire.

Just under four minutes.

Music from Vanity Fare, with Early In The Morning.

Sylvia would rather sleep in, and dream of ice cream.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

It's OK To Be Scared


"Faith and fear can't coexist." - Jesus sweated blood, and still accepted God's will.

"No true Christian fears death." - see the 'sweating blood' thing above...if He was just perturbed about the process and could see to the other side, I kind of don't think Jesus would have been that bummed out.

"Fear ends where faith begins." - not really; fear is the storm-tossed sea, and faith is the life preserver. The storm's not gone; it can be survived.

I do not see how one could face cancer without faith informed by fear, and without fear mitigated...not subdued or eliminated...by faith.

Fear makes me reach out to God.

For me, the need for a constant conversation with God is simply not negotiable. ("Hang on, it's Andrew. Again. (Big sigh)"

The prognosis seems real grim,
and death may take a painful while,
but if you lift your eyes to Him,
there's still sufficient time to smile.
Maybe, yeah, your upraised eyes
are filled with stinging tears,
and then He says, to your surprise,
"Banish not your fears,
for they are now the very things
that brought Me to your side.
They shine as dew on golden wings,
and there's no need to hide
from the terrifying harms,
for you are safe here in My arms."

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is ACCESS. Hmmm.

If you won't access your fears,
then your courage is a fraud,
the kind bucked up by lots of beers,
and so very far from God.
You have to face and understand
the terror that chokes out your soul,
for only then can trembling hand
be taken, you by Grace made whole.
Look quite carefully at this,
don't think that fear must never be,
for if you do then you will miss
the lesson of Gethsemane,
by which the Christ, though filled with dread,
chose not to flee, obeyed instead.

Four minutes and a bit.

Music from For King And Country, with Shoulders.

Sylvia likes the song. She's got big shoulders.

 In the absence of music (Blogger won't let me link a video on my phone), here are a couple of things pictures of Sylvia, my blog's public face, on an ice-cream run.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

To The Child I Had No Chance To Meet


This is for everyone who has a child they never met, waiting for them in Heaven.

The precious baby of my heart,
whose earthly life I could not see,
is waiting, yes, to be a part
of the wonder that’s to be.
I think he will be tall and strong,
so gentle, and so fair of face,
and I do hope it won’t be long
until our meeting, full of grace
when he tells me of the time
that while I wept, he played with God,
hopscotch and jump rope divine,
on that playground bright and broad
on which his new-found body thrived
to see the day that I arrived.

The sonnet above was written this morning as a comment for Bob Hostetler's post on the Steve Laube Agency blog,  "6 Joys Of Finishing A Writing Project"

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is IGNORE.

Today, ignore the sorrow,
today, ignore the lack,
but know that by tomorrow
they will be coming back.
Drink ye hearty, to forget
'till hands are all a-tremor,
but you'll find that even yet
you will still remember
the ghost within that has no face,
that did not come to be,
and yet will demand a place
a-seat upon your knee,
for only thus are wiped away
the tears for he who had no day

Three minutes thirty.

Music from MercyMe, with Homesick.

When we found Sylvia, she had a dead puppy in her womb. She grieved, too.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Wolf Sleeps Tonight


Service Wolves are extra tough,
wandering those cold north woods,
but the service part is rough,
being full of duty-shoulds,
and Belle can really get wiped out,
treating me like not-bright pup,
but you will not see her pout,
even when head won't stay up.
In this case best to let her sleep
(she was perturbed, yes, by the flash)
if my fingers I would keep
(no severed digits in the trash!).
She'll be fine again quite soon,
but now I need to give her room.

Here's a live performance from The Tokens, with The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

It should open in a new window.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is FAKE. Interesting, because the thing I was originally going to post was quite serious. It didn't seem 'me'; it felt, well, fake.

I'm really not a serious person, about my own life, or anything. So writing a serious post felt like being way out of my league.

But Barb and our friend Carol really liked it, and Barb tonight prevailed upon me not to abandon the thing.

So, if you're interested, click here and it'll open in a new link.

Sylvia will always wake for ice cream.

The War On Childhood

It's been a rough week. Our beloved fifteen-year-old Boxer Shelby died, I had a relapse of malaria (the ringing in my ears makes conversation almost impossible), and the cancer thing seems to steal more breath each day.

Still and all, I am lucky, for some things are far worse.

Do you remember stickball played
beneath white clouds and smiling sun?
Did you amble through a forest glade,
and do nothing just for fun?
Did Saturday once call to you
with sparkle-laughter in its eyes;
much to see and more to do,
and 'round each hill a new surprise?
But today all this has got to go,
innocence comes to a close.
Now childhood's activist sex-show
and we must kowtow to those 
who demand the world be rid
of what it means to be a kid.

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

Matthew 18:6

Music from Kenny Loggins, with House On Pooh Corner.

Sylvia understands this. She was denied a puppyhood. We found her abandoned in a summer field, six months old, with a dead puppy in her womb.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

My First Music Video, And Cows


Do you think one might teach a cow,
so sweet-natured and serene,
to pull a harrow or a plow
or some other farm machine?
Do you think they have the strength
in their shoulders, with no lack,
to bear that burden at some length,
forth and back and forth and back?
Do you think they might enjoy
such trusted focused labour
to work direct in man's employ
and thus return the favour
by which their virtues are made clear
by their Chinese Zodiacal year.

And here's a 'special' treat!

I don't do current photographs, for a number of reasons, but Barb and I put together a Facebook avatar that is accurate to the extreme.

So if you want to know what I look like, click here.

It should open in a new tab.

And, also on Facebook, here's my first music video!

This should also open in a new tab. I hope.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is DOUBT.

When doubt invades my hasty heart,
and I know not if I'll be healed,
I find I must become a part
of that which Scripture has revealed,
for God gave up His only Son,
soul of soul and breath of breath
to become the only one
who could redeem us by His death.
And we are thus constrained to walk
the Via Dolorosa road,
to do far more than talk the talk, 
but bend beneath the load
that may be fatally required
that others are by faith inspired.

Less than five minutes. OK.

Very ill as I write this. Fever and chills. Syl is watching over me, pleased not to have to share her ice cream.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Taco Belle


Belle does love a good taco;
in fact, she finds them great,
and since she is muy flaco,
she don't worry 'bout her weight.
But she thinks God had the dumbs
when He did not address
a dog's need for opposable thumbs
so's not to make a mess,
but that does not deter the beast
from chowing right on down,
and she will not in the least
wear a worried frown,
for she is, yeah, one smart pup,
keeps me around for cleaning up.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is RECEIVE. Oh, goody.

The taco that Belle has received
has stirred up envy in the pack,
and there's no way she can deceive
them of their quite obvious lack
of a tasty Latin treat
that is the grace of foodie graces,
so she just sat down to eat
it right before their doggy faces.
Not as dumb as it may seem,
for she is a wolf, you see,
and no canine would ever dream
of giving her the heartfelt glee
of making a food-stealing try,
for that's a nasty way to die.

A bit less than three minutes, there. Makes me feel like the Michael Jordan of sonnetry.

But it's not completely accurate. The Chihuahuas can steal her blind, and she just looks mildly on.

Barb found this video on Facebook. It's appropriate.

Sylvia would like some vanilla ice cream flavoured tacos, please.


Thursday, January 5, 2023

Black Sheep Clouds

The mystery...why would young Japanese men choose to crash aeroplanes and manned torpedoes into American ships at the end of a war that was so clearly lost?

Was it hatred, or blind fanaticism? With a surfeit of online information, we can make these assumptions. We can condescend.

But was it something else, perhaps?

A love for what had to be defended at all costs, family and home and land, informed only by culture and tradition and a tightly controlled press?

Your conclusions are your own, but I would strongly recommend M G. Sheftall's "Blossoms In The Wind: Human Legacies Of The Kamikaze".

 Is Yasukuni meeting-place
when it's cherry blossom time,
imbued with stern and fearful grace,
impervious to Western rhyme?
What could have led the bright young boys
to embrace their fatal choice,
abandonment of future joys,
silencing the freshest voice?
Were they dupes, deluded
by what elders placed in the mind,
or were their dreams precluded
by love for those they left behind?
Will God ask why they chose to die,
while wiping tear from holy Eye?

Music from Ed Ames, with Who Will Answer .

Sylvia has no answers, and neither do I. Ice cream is best.