Saturday, December 23, 2006

What IHOP kids do

Our trip home from PA last week seemed to take forever. Keep in mind it's about a 20 hr trip by car so keeping oneself amused can be a challenge, especially for the kids. This trip however it was I who was bored to tears driving hour after hour. I had not brought much music to listen to, and what's worse is that I also failed to bring any teaching CD's as well. I don't know where my head was when I was packing. Anyway, the kids did quite well at keeping themselves busy. All of them got a pocket electronic games for Christmas from their aunt. Good stuff like Yatzee etc... As a matter of fact Mrs. Loux played Yahtzee all the way home and became quite addicted. It cracked me up to see my 38 year old girl in her black hooded sweatshirt, punky red hair, funky jeans and Converse All Star sneakers totally hooked for hours on a video game. It was almost like I was the only adult or something.. I heard her say several times " Hey quiet down mommies trying to break 350!"That was entertaining for awhile, just watching Tracie's relapse into teen mania, when I heard my daughter Isabelle and my niece Sophia in the back seat playing a "different kind of game". I was driving and just zoning out to whatever it was that I had in the van to listen to when I heard one of them say " I spy with my spiritual eye".... Yeah you know the car game "I spy with my little eye" and then you say like the color of the thing you see and everyone else in the car try's to guess what you saw? Well apparently being at IHOP impacted my kids a little more than what I first had imagined. This version of the game had a whole new twist ! The conversation in the back seat continued " I see you in a few years with grey hair and 4 kids and ...." The conversation stopped. Mom suddenly snapped out of her Yatzee world series, as she heard what was going on in the "seuthsayers convention" in the back seat. "And what?" I said. "You're gonna have grey hair and 4 kids and what, live in a trailor married to a guy named Rusty?" I wanted to know, I mean I am an intercesorry missionary and seeing that they are only 9 years old, there is still time to reverse the curse! My rebellious Yatzee woman put an end to the fortune telling, but out of it came a great business idea.. "Prophetic car games for IHOP kids". Lenny's gonna love this.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December 13th: The Coffee Man

They say you can learn something from everyone, even people ya don't even know. That said, there used to be a man who walked by our house in PA everyday with a big gigantic "to go coffee mug". He was a happy guy who lived outside of town and would walk in everyday to the local shop to get his fix and his exercise. We would wave at him, and the mysterious stranger would smile and wave back. This happened every day for the 5 years we lived in downtown Mansfield. Of course, we moved to KC and have not seen him in 7 months.
Today, we were driving through our old neighborhood reminiscing with the family, when we passed him walking into town for another fix! We smiled and waved to each other like old friends. It made me feel good, and somehow strangely complete. I just wish I was as consistent as the coffee man. Amen, let's stand.

December 12th: Grace That is Greater

This week we have traveled back to PA to visit Tracie's family.
For some reason I did not have it in my head that we would be returning so soon to visit our former home. Seems like yesterday we just left, and it was quite a whirlwind we departed in. Though I was looking forward to seeing family, that is the only reason I was coming back to the area so soon. This had been my training ground, and this is the place where my biggest battles had been lost. Some won, but those seem so few in comparison. It's the really bad stuff that makes you suddenly breath deep, regretful sighs at the thoughts of what you have done. Those memories that haunt and plague you, even though forgiveness has been given. The voices scream "you are weak, you have no integrity, you are not really a man. Consequences from mistakes of yesterday surround you, like a pack of wild dogs surrounding a lone cowboy's campfire, waiting to devour you. Feels like there is no escape sometimes.
My only hope right now comes from a song that my grandfather use to sing in church. He was a man of integrity, a man of quiet humility. When he died, we sang this song at his funeral and the words go something like this.. "Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that has pardoned and cleansed within. Grace, grace God's grace, grace that is greater than all my sin."

December 10th: No one ever say's "When I grow up I wanna be a Shriner!" ...

Just this past Saturday, I sat in the Ararat Shriners Temple listening to a seminar on how to buy a home. I had to. The guy next to me had been smoking a significant amount of weed right before joining the rest of us, who were required to sit through the whole drama. Doing so meant we all would receive 100 percent financing on a future home purchase at a 6% fixed interest rate. Yeah, it's a good deal, so now ya know why we went. Anyway, I nominated my pot smoking friend as the new potentate of the Shriner's temple. The little old men in their red thimble looking hats with the oversized, hanging tassels did not seem amused. I gave my hat back and left quietly, my dreams dashed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Snowplow Man

I was sitting in the IHOP staff meeting today totally convinced that the 2 hr extraveganza could be cut down at least in half, maybe even to 20 min. Anyway, they were recruiting volunteers for snow removal this winter. It was then that I decided to become snowplow man. I will get one of those plaid flannel caps with the ears that flip down. I will get a shirt with my name on it and I will wear it proudly under one of those long Russian winter coats with the racoon fur necks. I will wear black rubber barn boots cause they are more comfortable than wearing just your underwear and dark socks. I will go out late at night and plow people into their homes forcing them to take the day off and spend it with each other. I will have a villianish laugh as I pull away from an unplowed house yelling " Try to get your 50 hrs in now IHOP'ers ! HAAAA AAA HAA HAAAAAAA!" Goodbye intercessory missionary, goodbye guitar instructor- whatever the heck I am. I have a new lease on life......

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Can You Really See Me?

My wife and I have discovered instant messaging just in the last couple of months. I knew it existed, but could not wrap my brain around how this could even work and what was it that made it different than email. Quite frankly it's way to fast for me. I mean I can't even respond to someone verbally in a conversation in any sort of a timely manner. Usually there is long pause, with me staring off into the distance, before a response comes from my mouth. My family and close freinds start counting to see how long it will take me to respond to what they said. If that doesn't work, they start to make weird hand gesters right in front of my face to bring me back. That usually does it, but if it doesn't they will say somthing like "hey we're just gonna set your guitar on fire now ok?". I'm back.

There are some strange things I learned about IM'ing. I found myself instant messaging my wife and having conversations with her when she is in the same room! The other night we resolved a fight that we had had earlier that day through IM. Conflict resolution has never been easier! She can't ramble on and I am forced to get right to the point, which in most cases
goes like this ..." Honey I was a real jerk and I am not worthy of you. Tell ya what I'm gonna do though, I'm gonna keep ya on for another 60 day's"! This is the part where I sometimes get slapped.

The IM kicker just happened tonight. Appareantly you can actually talk to someone through I CHAT by means of the computer's built in microphone. We tried it out on our friend Randy Bohlender, and we actually talked with him through our computer while he was sitting at home in his kitchen. How cool is that ! The freaky thing is that he said he could see us ! I totaly believed him cause my wifes MAC has a camera built into it. Thank God he was just joking cause I was sitting there in just a beater, underwear, and dark socks. Oh yeah and I was eating chips too. There are 2 things I said I would never do in this life, lead worship and walk around the house in my underwear and dark socks. I have proudly done both repeatedly over the last few years. Hey when you're older, all you care about is comfort.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Brownie Coma

I learned one important thing tonight. It is never a good idea to eat 6 brownies, one bowl of ice cream, and drink 2 cups of coffee before playing 4 straight hours in the prayer room. Five minutes into the first set, I sugar crashed big time. I am pretty sure I was drooling out the side of my mouth. Somebody thought I was manifesting and they drug me off stage into one of the side prayer rooms for deliverance. I managed to squeak out “just get me another brownie and I’ll be fine, I’m just crashing”. Apparently, they were in the middle of a fast cause, they left the room quickly in anger. One of them kicked me.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Getting Older....

I remember the day it happened… I was scanning through the radio on a recent road trip and heard a familiar Bon Jovi song. Naturally, I stopped and cranked the sucker up and sang .. Yea, screamed at the top of my lungs. Suddenly, I was back in my Levi Jeans, the ones with the very tapered legs, and black leather jacket, caught up in yesteryear, which really seems more like yesterday. Then it happened… the song ended, and the DJ belted out “You’re listening to 95 Classic Rock, your home for all the hits from yesterday.” I grabbed my chest, pulled over to the side of the road and cried like a little schoolgirl. Classic Rock? What the…? I was 18 like two days ago, and now my music is on classic rock radio? When did this happen? Who decides when music gets shuffled from the “hip and happening” stations to the “remember these guys radio”?
That was the day I realized it had happened, I was getting older and had slipped into that category that I was so sure I would never fall into. But wait a second…I was cool, I played guitar, people liked me, but apparently, as of today, I am outdated. Today I am Davy Jones.

I have also recently discovered that my hair is falling out. My kids pointed that out one day at breakfast. “Gee Dad, your forehead is getting bigger.. and shinier.” Thanks kids. I am facing the dilemma of cutting my hair super short and getting use to the idea, or doing the whole “grow the hair long in the back thing while I am going bald on top”. Kind of like a mullet with no spikiness in the upper regions. A genuine Mathew Ward do.

My wife just bought me a pair of Chuck Taylor’s Converse All-Stars. Had not worn a pair of those since I was 6 I think. My mom bought them for me, and they were very “orange”. I guess they were in style then because I don’t have any recollection of getting the crap beat out of me in grade school, so I asked for a pair for my birthday, since IHOP fashion says they are back in style. My attempt to stay cool I guess.

I hear the 20-somethings at IHOP making fun of the 80’s all the time. Maybe I am just to sensitive, but it seems they are waiting until I am around to make fun of something that they were barely alive for. Ya know, those little digs that imply that anything that was before their time is completely cheesy. Now that I think of it, when it comes to the 80’s they may be right. But I have to admit, it still hurts a tad. I have to fight that really mature part of me that wants to go “Oh yeah well MY DAD CAN BEAT UP YOUR DAD” type of banter. I hold back though, cause I am supposed to be an example of godliness.

So any of you 20-somethings out their reading this, take my advice. Go easy on those 10- 20 years older than you. Someday you will lose your hair, and your music will end up on classic rock stations and be labeled by your kids as “cheesy”. When that day happens, call me. I will laugh at you, but only for a minute. I will take you out for coffee, I will give you a hug and tell you “it’s gonna be alright, your life isn’t over and trust me you don’t want to be in your 20’s again. Be strong, keep your chin up and by the way, why are you still wearing those Chuck Taylor’s? They stopped being cool like 10 years ago!” ☺



Friday, November 17, 2006

Oh how the mighty have ..... changed occupations

Today my good friend Randy Bohlender e-mailed me a “Where are they now” link to one of the best singers I have heard, Rick Florian. Randy made a reference in his blog to the band “Whiteheart” that caused a non-drug-induced flashback to my teen years. That band has produced some of the most incredible musicians ever. If you have never heard the album “Freedom”, you missed one of the best-produced albums of all time, in my opinion.
However, apparently their lead singer Rick Florian is now wearing the “plaid jacket” and selling real estate. Now don’t get me wrong selling real estate is not a bad thing at all, but when you have served society by ROCKING, and then you sell real estate… well it’s sad. At least for me it is.
I think I am in a slight depression. I can’t believe this! This guy had one of the best voices ever, and now he is wearing ties with blue button down collared shirts! I just had a Dunn Bros. “Mexican Mocha”, and this news just snapped me out of the nice little buzz I had going. Wow ..... I am going to the prayer room now, and I am going to stand on the “Cool Rock Stars That Now Have a Lam-o Job Line”, and intercede that God would at least allow “Whiteheart” to do a reunion tour where 30-something’s like me can kick back and reminisce on what it was like to have permed, blonde, highlighted mullets that had more height than the Flock of Seagulls (remember … “spray the roots”.) I might pull an all nighter on this one... my own personal burn service.
Hang in their Rick ... It all comes back around baby! Well, at least that’s what Lita Ford claims… Anyone seen anything new from her lately? I think she’s probably singing glam metal versions of Patsy Cline covers in Vegas somewhere.
The real scary thing is that I was never a real rock star, and I had a lam-o job so who am I to talk? When I saw his picture I thought “ that could be me”, and then I realized… nooooooo, it couldn’t, cause I was never an awesome rock star! So from one “usetawannabee”, to a guy who I am sure still has it …… I’m still pulling for ya man. Maybe I could talk him into coming to IHOP and teaching at FMA! How cool would that be!

In all seriousness, I am sure he now has a family and chooses not to be away from them by traveling across the country in some tour bus,
which means that he chose the thing that really lasts- family. God bless you, Rick. You still rock by me bro.