Friday, March 28, 2008

Home from the Hospital

Had a busy day with Mom today, so I'm totally "Me Time" binging right now. Or at least making the most of it: I have one eye on the NCAA Basketball Tourney on the tube, the other eye on the Red Sox vs. Dodgers exhibition game on, and during commercials I'm playing a little old school NES Genghis Khan.

Alright... back on point. They let Mom go home from the hospital early this evening. They have enrolled her in hospice care. That will be a big help. So we already have a hospital bed & other various sundry home health care items around the house now thanks to Hospice.

We're bracing like it's the beginning of the end. Could be 3 days. Could be 3 months. But it sort of looks like Mom won't be regaining enough strength long-term to get through chemotherapy or radiation.

We've had a lot of support & help. My mom's mother & sister came down during the middle of the week to sit with Mom while my sister & I caught up on sleep from our late night at the ER on Monday. Families from my church cooked dinner for our family the last 3 evenings. And when I say "cooked dinner," that's a radical understatement. We feasted. Stuffed pork chops. Chicken stuffed with ham & cheese. Deviled Eggs. Key lime pies. (Yeah, PLURAL) It's ridiculous. It's really lifted our spirits to feast on such fine meals each night.

No tears or pity parties yet. We have way too much to do between keeping track of Mom's pills, doctor's appointments, and other details to be sad about losing her. It's been pleasant for us to have this time to spend with her if an end is indeed near.

I thank you for your prayers.

This whole experience has been an education. I'll have a whole blog later to educate you all. Some folks do things trying to help, but are really a nuisance & only add to our load. Its all good, though -- we've rolled with the punches. I'm just saying that to let you know that I'll enlighten you all at some future time about how best to serve your sick neighbor -- especially what not to do.

I'm trying to keep this blog update, so you can always check here for the latest. If there's no update, there's likely nothing notable for me to update. Simple as that.

Thanks for checking in

My Mama

Things aren't looking top swell after today.

Mom is still in the hospital. She's developed an infection of some kind, so the doctors are trying to treat that. They don't believe it is a staph infection; we think that she actually began developing it before she came to the hospital.

The most disconcerting development is that she's consistently seeing things that aren't there. And she remembers having seen them -- it's not something that comes & goes. In the hospital room, she sees paint chips and, literally, writing on the wall that are not there. She sees the paint chips falling all over her visitors' faces & hair. And says she could read the writing, though I haven't had a chance to ask her to read it yet.

Not sure if we're "near the end." Maybe it's just a rough spell. Have yet to actually speak with the oncologist(s) in the last couple days, so I don't know what the outlook or gameplan is.

I continue to ask for your prayers. Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mom Update

Since the last update, Mom has been moved from the ER to ICU, and now from ICU to a regular room. The doctors have done a good job treating her. She's becoming more lucid, speaking better, and getting a little more strength back. The doctors believe that she will be able to return home soon.

I appreciate everyone's concern & prayers. I ask that everyone continue to pray for her in the time being.

God bless.

Mom in the Hospital

My mother, Becky, had a seizure this afternoon around 4:30. She's currently at the Hospital, and will be there overnight & indefinitely. She's in pretty rough shape. We also think that she had a stroke. The doctors' best guess at the moment is that her brain cancer has progressed & caused this episode.

All we're asking now is for your prayers. I will update when there is anything to add.

Life sure is fragile...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Re-Naming Some Worship Songs

I've always noticed, I'm sure you have too, that certain songs hold social meanings as well as the thematic meaning from the lyrics. Here's a few:

Old Title
The Lord is in His Holy Temple
New Title
It's Time to Start Church, So Shut Up

You could even change the lyrics with that title: sing the title instead of the traditional lyrics. ;)

Old Title
The Joy of the Lord
New Title
The Joy of Clapping

I'm more excited about clapping along to that song than I am the meaning of the lyrics, which aren't very deep. That guy ran out of material when he got to the chorus.

Old Title
Prince of Peace
New Title
Song with the Weird Falsetto Line

I can never sing this song worshipfully. I'm always focused & perplexed on that falsetto lines in the middle of the chorus whenever we sing "is wor-or-thy", "be-ee-for-or Him." Who wrote it that way? Did he think it sounded good? I don't think it sounds good. Why does everyone else think it sounds good?

I always sing those lines without making my voice go falsetto in protest. People look at me strange when I do it, too.

Old Title
A New Annointing
New Title
The Morning Kick-Start Song

Who wouldn't want their own personal chorus to sing the song along with as they woke up, crawled out of bed, and hit the shower? Wouldn't that be awesome?

Okay, that's all I got for now. If I think of any others, I'll let you know...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cool McDonald's Commercial

I know, I know. How could that be? It's like a contradiction in terms. An oxymoron. But it's true. McDonald's has made a cool commercial. Take a gander...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Singleness Update

Now there's a catchy title! (G) No, this is not a public diary. Just some interesting reading that I've waded through in the last month. Both articles appear to be aimed more at women, and both are quite lengthy. But this single guy took away some insight from both. Most articles on singleness have very little substance; I found these to have at least a modicum of wisdom.

• Lori Gottlieb makes "The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" in Atlantic Monthly. All I gotta say is, "Amen sister!" Preach it from the roof-tops! (G)

The whole idea of "settling" is very unpopular from all angles in any conversation about romantic relationships. However, she makes a spirited attempt at selling it. And, of course, it being in Atlantic Monthly means it's well-written. If nothing else, it is a fun & entertaining read.

• The other article that stood out to me recently also had to do with finickiness. Shana Schutte made the case for chucking the mate shopping list to allow room for God to surprise you.

I have a friend & mentor who lives in Arkansas who argues vehemently for the list. She makes a strong case as well. I won't post her lengthy rebuttals here, but if you're interested enough to want to read the opposing viewpoint, hit me with an E-mail and I'll forward her writing on over to you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pop-Culture Review

• This past week I've gotten caught into a new television series: Lost. I now understand the cultural intrigue. It's a well-written, well-acted show that incorporates drama & mystery in a captivating way.

There is one big problem I have with it, though: snakes. At the point I'm at in season three, 69 days since flight 815's crash date, I have yet to see a single snake. Giant polar bears. One tree frog. But no snakes. There's gotta be an explanation for that.

• So Lindsay Lohan apparently has a little sister that will be the next big thing. For tabloid fodder, at least. Her name is Ali Lohan. Although, I like the name that the ESPN Fantasy Focus Podcast gave her: "Jamie Lynn" Lohan.

• My NCAA Basketball Tournament Bracket may be viewed HERE. Forewarning: I know very little about NCAA Basketball.

• This may not be the funniest 6 minutes you've ever seen, but it's pretty entertaining nevertheless:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The next Napster or next YouTube has arrived.

This morning marked the launch of Hulu. It is a place where you can watch full-length television shows & movies right in front of your computer screen for FREE. The content is ad-supported, but it is not pirated as it would be on other sites. The only content that Hulu does not yet carry is from CBS, Viacom, & Disney, but negotiations are still pending on those fronts apparently.

If you wish to read more about it, here's the USA Today article where I learned about it yesterday. And before you see dollar signs, here is where I read about why investing in a Hulu IPO would be a bad idea.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Amazing News For Child-Bearing Couples

This was on tonight's NBC Nightly News. If you are carrying a child, or even plan on having a child, you have to watch this!

I Hate Tennessee, man...

Brotherly love in the SEC...

A Good Ten Thousandth Day

My mother had an important appointment yesterday with the oncologist. She's been battling cancer for almost a year and a half, which at one point dangerously spread to her brain. They "knocked it back pretty good" (whatever that means) with radiation to her head. Lately she had been experiencing some headaches again, similar to the headaches she had been having before we received the news that the cancer had spread to her brain.

So we went to the oncologist yesterday. Recently the cancer specialist had ordered an MRI & a Pet Scan, and made the appointment yesterday to give us the results. And we got the good news that the cancer is currently on the run. She can't be fully classified as "in remission," but the doctor says she's doing well & is going to take her off of chemotherapy for at least two months. What a relief!

Also, I had a great day with an old buddy from Harding, Lloyd. His blog link on the left panel says "Floydius." He drove over from Pensacola to play golf just because it was my ten thousandth day. Not really -- that was just serendipitous. And our score is none of your business. The amount of strokes we accrued... these things are not important. ;)

We had a fun day. We got paired up with these two Canadians who were down here on vacation to play golf. On the first tee we explained that we're both Christians & trained ministers. That fascinated them, who had grown up Catholic in Italian families, and they asked us questions about God & the Bible all day long.

One of the guys, especially, was very interested. He mentioned that he was at an age where he was just beginning to wonder about the meaning of it all. He wanted to read the Bible, but he didn't know where to start. Lloyd suggest the Gospel of John. He wanted answers to his questions, but he didn't know who to ask. I suggested Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" for starters for the big kinds of contemporary life questions/issues about which he was asking & wondering. I gave him my E-mail address, and I haven't heard back from him yet, but I expect to soon. It was really fun to encounter someone who was so thirsty for the truth.

Lloyd & I topped off the afternoon with a trip to the new Buffalo Wild Wings here on Panama City Beach. He's actually gone vegetarian for the last 30 days (gay), so he didn't get wings. But I got wings. And Matthew, because Lloyd is especially an aficionado of the Old Testament, I explained to him how we always called the little basket for our wing bones an ossuary. A bone box, for the rest of you. ;)

Anyway, it was a spectacular day by any measure. God is good.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ten Thousand Days

Happy Birthday to me. No, it's not October 23rd -- the date of my birth. But it is a significant day in relation to my birth. At least it is to me...

Today I am exactly ten thousand days old.

So what does that have anything to do with anything? Well, as evidenced by the title of my blog, I'm a big fan of contemporary Christian music artist Bebo Norman. His music speaks to my soul. The title of Bebo's first album was "Ten Thousand Days." So I imagine that Bebo wrote the songs from this album at about the same age as I am today. And as I listen to that album today, it is an even richer experience because there is an existential bond with one of my favorite artists.

On that album is the song that is the namesake for this blog: "Where the Angels Sleep." In that song, like this blog, Bebo wrestles with cultural issues & life questions, both big & small. And to temper his anxiety over not having all the answers, he repeats the refrain, "And I don't know where the angels sleep." And there's this bridge toward the end of the song:

It's taken ten thousand days
To get stuck in my ways
And it offers no grace
I cannot stand this place
With love in my face
I walk away slowly

I like to think that Bebo & I are kindred spirits. At 27, most folks my age are partying & suckling all the pleasure out of the "benefits" that their age has to offer. Especially in this Spring Break party town. But like Bebo, and like Paul in Romans 8, I "groan" for something more.

So happy birthday to me. Ten thousand days down. Who knows how many more to go. But one day closer to my eternal reward.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

REVIEW: In the Valley of Elah

In the Valley of ElahJust Watched:
In the Valley of Elah

My Rating:
4 Stars

All the horror & grit of war wrapped up in a tidy little 121-minute flicker show.

Tommy Lee Jones portrays a former Military Police Investigator whose son has returned home from Iraq and gone AWOL. His son is found murdered in a brutal fashion, and the rest of the movie is spent in a hunt for justice and a realization of the utter ugliness that war spawns.

The film carries a strong anti-Iraq War sentiment, especially toward the end of the film, and most blatantly in the final scene. Also, there was too much unnecessary frontal nudity: it was profuse, gratuitous, and needless. Subtlety of any kind went out the window in the making of this film: it's in your face & raw.

I'm really not happy about the amount of nipples I've seen in the last two movies I've reviewed. And, for the record, I didn't even see all of them because I diverted my eyes elsewhere during many of those scenes.

The acting was superb. Al Gore's former college room-mate (that's Tommy Lee Jones, if you didn't already know) was the star, of course. He was absolutely deserving of his Academy Award Nomination in this role. You feel all the emotions of the film (from anxiety to sorrow to helplessness to rage to remorse right along with TLJ. I think that's the mark of a great actor -- to be able to transmit an emotion from his portrayal to the viewer's heart. The other portrayal that captured my attention was a particular Susan Sarandon scene -- your heart just breaks with her's. All the other players do their jobs well, too.

Tommy Lee Jones

I wish I could write more, but it would either be anti-war sentiment, anti-"anti-war" sentiment, or plot points that would give away a lot of the film. A well-told story, but some points (anti-Iraq War & all the boobs) were too overt for me find this a completely fulfilling experience. Four stars.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

That's MY King!

Many of you have likely seen this before. It's a 6-minute-long description of Jesus by the late African-American preacher S.M. Lockridge. It's a great example of the African-American tradition of preaching. This coming week, I hope to devote a blog entry (that I've been slowly piecing together) to how Senator Obama has embraced that tradition of speaking of late.

Anyway, enjoy!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Moses High on Sinai???

Now here's some revisionist history. Atheist biblical scholars are going to have some fun with this. Benny Shanon of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University suggests that Moses was under the influence of a hallucinogen when Scriptures witness that he encountered God. Another news summary of this article in a British philosophy journal suggests that Moses was also high when he heard a voice from the "burning bush."

At least in terms of credibility, I found this part of the news entry enlightening:

Shanon wrote that he was very familiar with the affects of the ayahuasca plant, having “partaken of the ... brew about 160 times in various locales and contexts.”

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Lovin' Wolf

There's this ad that comes on TV from time to time that just breaks my heart & makes me want to cry:

Who would mistreat & neglect animals that way? Just reminds me of the violence that so often prevails in this world, and how much of the world is devoid of love. It breaks my heart. I can't imagine how God feels about it.

Whenever I get my next pet, I'd like to adopt a formerly mistreated or neglected animal. To show healing love to an unloved creature. To be a hero for a pet in need of one. It may be somewhat dangerous or take a lot of work, but I think that's what Jesus would do. If Jesus bought pets, that is...

I can't imagine that happening soon, though. I have the best pet I've ever had in the history of ever having owned a pet. She is a wolf -- 3/4 wolf, 1/4 husky. My sister named her, so her name is Dolce (pronounced DOLE-chay).

Dolce loves to be petted. She would sit next to you all day long if you would stroke her back, rub her head, or massage behind her ears. She craves affection. And she needs a little bit every day. If she doesn't get it, then she gets really anxious & does something bad (like get off her leash when she's outside, or go to the bathroom on the carpet). She needs her daily dose of "lovin'." And that's my nickname for her -- she's my "lovin' wolf."

Dolce thinks that my family is her pack. So if ever we find ourselves laying on the bed, or standing around in the same room together, she likes to get right in the middle.

I could share more, but I don't wish to bore you. Here are a couple photo's of "Dodee." This is her licking my sister, Katie. And this is how she looks when happy & ready to play.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Facebook Makes Me Feel Insecure

Okay, a little transparency & self-disclosure late on a Monday night.

I routinely check to see who among my friends is "Online Now" on Facebook whenever I'm on. Could be any hour... doesn't matter. Late or early. Business time or leisure. Sometimes, I encounter this screen:

(Click to Enlarge)

And in my mind, the translation is, "You're the only WEIRDO that's on Facebook right now!"

I think it's the neurosis speaking...

Mainly for Ministers

Well, you've heard of postmodernism. And you've probably heard of postliberalism. Well apparently now there is postconservativism.

I really think that we need to come up with lots more of "post-whatever" buzzwords. A couple weeks ago, I had a conversation with a group of ministers and we were discussing the latest Winterfest with Jeff Walling. We were talking about how he presented the Word -- more experiential & skit/entertainment-oriented -- and how there is a move away from "preacher as orator" and more toward "preacher as producer/director." And I named this emerging dynamic "post-homiletic."

I'm considering filing for a copyright...

Changing the subject, take Scot McKnight's Hermeneutics Quiz. I scored a 68, which apparently makes me progressive. I missed being a moderate by 3 points.

A Cure for Addiction?

Fascinating article in last week's Newsweek. Scientists are pursuing & coming tantalizingly close to chemical solutions for chemical addictions (e.g. alcohol, cocaine, etc.). Whether it is aiding the brain with its dopamine dependence or preventing relapse, this article explains how scientists are seeking to fundamentally transform the prevailing paradigm about addiction.

BTW, for you men who struggle with internet pornography or lust in general, this may have implications for you as well. Sexual activity also triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. It is a big part of what keeps you going back.

However, a doctor in the trenches says that there is no magic bullet.

I don't want to write too much of what I think here. I'd like to encourage you to read both articles, ESPECIALLY if you are in ministry. And I'd love to diablogue about this one in the comments section.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

OH Man!

Trailer released this weekend for the new Indiana Jones flick:

Seinfeld Auditions

Back to my Harding days, this is one of my all-time favorite viral videos. My room-mate Jordan had this on his computer, and whenever one of us was in dire need of a laugh, this was the solution. It gets funnier every time you watch it.

Anyway, for our frivolous weekends here on this blog, I share with you Conan's Seinfeld Auditions...