Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why do I write?

I decided to write this post after a comment made by Nanner in a thread on her site. I had mentioned that I’m not sure I want to bare all my emotions in my writing for fear of what that would mean. She asked me “Why do you write?” My last comment was something to the effect for entertainment value. However, it got me thinking about the subject.

Why do I write?

In a discussion of poetry, I mentioned that while I write songs, I don’t consider them poetry. I consider myself a musician. Part of my creative outlet as a musician is writing songs, most of which have lyrics. However, the part of my songwriting that really expresses my emotions is the music, not the lyrics. As a lyric writer, I consider myself more of a story teller. Some of the songs are taken from personal experience, some are just stories, the ones on my Voice of the Spirit CD are either interpretations of Bible stories, or tales of hope, faith, and redemption, themes close to my heart as a Christian.

Why do I write?

My blog is filled with things that are going on in my life, my opinions on news, politics, and religion, and just general stuff that has no real meaning or substance. It’s kind of like having a conversation with the people you know. I’m not sure what prompted my to start a blog, other than it seemed like something neat to try as so many people were doing it. I truthfully never expected anyone besides my wife to read it. Yet now, I have a group of steady “readers” who not only seem to like what I write, but recommend it to others. They’ve become friends and acquaintances though we’ve never actually met. More that I ever expected. It’s a great community.

Why do I write?

I took away all of the excuses and rationalizations and got down to the real reason I write. To sum it up, I write so I don’t feel alone. There are times when I feel like a solitary person in a crowd. People surround me, yet I don’t feel any connection to them. I’ve got all this stuff going on in my head, like my brain never shuts down. But most of it stays in my head. I’m not close with too many people. I know a large number of people, but beyond my wife, with whom I have no secrets, I can count the people I would share my inner most thoughts with on one hand. You know, the friend you can trust with anything? I can only think of perhaps two or three people that fall into that category.

I write to get people to interact with me. I need and crave the feeling that someone might value what I have to say. The interesting thing about the blogging community is that since communication isn’t in real time, per say, you have time to think about what you’re going to say, find the right words. Since communication is not face to face, it seems to make it easier to express yourself.

I write so that maybe I can get these things out of my head and down on something. I write so that I can feel like people like me and want to talk to me, if only in print. I write….I don’t know why I write. Because sometimes I need to. Because sometimes the only way I can say something is to write it down and leave it for someone to read and wait for the response. Because sometimes it’s easier to say things without actually speaking the words. Speaking words gives them power. Writing words just makes them words on a page. I write because hiding behind a laptop or computer screen typing is easy while confronting issues with people face to face is hard.

I write because.

?ok?


Let me entertain you

Let me welcome you ladies and gentlemen
I would like to say hello
Are you ready for some entertainment
Are you ready for a show
Gonna rock gonna roll you
Get you dancing in the aisles
Jazz you razzamatazz you
With a little bit of style

Let me begin by saying JULIE TOTALLY ROCKS!!!!

Because everyone, I AM GOING TO SEE QUEEN!

That's right, I managed to get a ticket to a show where presales sold out in about 2 minutes.

And I got this seat because Julie sent me a killer link to get pre order tickets. This also means that I'm going to NYC. I'm going to try and hook up with Julie and finally meet a blogger. Julie will be my first! It should be quite special.

I am so psyched right now you have no idea. The show is October 16 so now I need to make travel plans for myself and the family. Updates will be forthcoming.

Again, JULIE TOTALLY ROCKS! YOU MUST BOW DOWN TO HER MAGNIFICENCE!

Quick update - JULIE'S MOM ROCKS TOO!! ALL HAIL JULIE AND HER ULTRA-COOL MOM!!!!


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rant of the Day

I saw some interesting items on the news last night. The first was a report that apparently, global terrorism may be on the rise. The recent attacks in London and Egypt point to a possible resurgence in Al Qaida. It made me wonder how successful our “War on Terrorism” really is. We’ve been fighting this “war” for several years now. What are the results? Plenty of dead civilians, soldiers, and suicide bombers. Problem is, there are plenty more suicide bombers out there.

It seems that this “war” is only escalating instead of us winding down or getting resolved. Everything we’ve spent in dollars and lives, and the problem is getting worse, not better. I don’t know, but it seems to me we’re doing something wrong here. Of course, the administration will advise us to “stay the course”, even though the course is taking us in the wrong direction. But of course, this happens when you treat symptoms and not causes. Have we tried to actually determine what makes someone become a suicide bomber and maybe take away the reason to become one? It’s hard to be a terrorist if you’re not pissed about something. But what do I know? I’m just some schmuck, with a computer and an opinion. I don’t have several intelligence services and the smartest people in the country at my disposal to advise me.

Then again, if I was Karl Roves’ puppet, perhaps I would do the same thing. But I digress.

The other thing I saw that was kind of sad in a way, was a story on an organization called Christian Exodus. I won’t link their website, you can find it if you like. I’d heard of them before but I can’t believe they’ve made the national news. Basically, it’s an organization that wants to turn a state into a “Christian” state, one based on the laws of the Bible. They believe in Conservative Christian values, like loving your neighbor. I didn’t realize that since I’m a Liberal Christian, I must hate my neighbor. Because you know, we don’t hold any of the values the conservatives do.

They believe that the Christian/Conservative right is not conservative enough. They’ve begun moving to South Carolina, where they believe they have the best chance of changing the laws. However, they’ve stated that if they get control of the government of South Carolina, then they are willing to SECEDE FROM THE UNION. So far the have all of 80 MEMBERS.

These guys are a fringe group that make your typical Conservative Christians look like a bleeding heart commie. What I really don’t understand is why they’re getting air time at all. These people are living in some sort of fantasy world. They’re dreaming of some sort of “utopia” that doesn’t exist. It’s sad in a way. All I can say is thank God I don’t live in South Carolina.

The last bit was on our local news. In a tragic story, a 5 year old boy died, possibly due to abuse by his mother. If that isn’t sad enough, the report mentions that the family probably had a social worker. The president of the local social worker’s union then has the gall to get on TV and say that if they had better funding, this wouldn’t have happened. What angered me was his blatant use of the situation to make a political statement. It’s cheap and dirty. This guy gives social workers a bad name. I just wanted to reach through the screen and smack the guy.



Monday, July 25, 2005

Tag, You're it

Haven't got much to write about today. Weekend was nice. Got some things done Saturday and saw a baseball game with the oldest yesterday. I saw this on Tracy's Blog, who got it from Jude, so I figure I'll throw it out there for those who care to put something up. Have at it!

1. What is your name?
2. Are we friends?
3. When and how did we meet?
4. Do you have a crush on me?
5. Would you kiss me?
6. Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.
7. Describe me in one word.
8. What was your first impression?
9. Do you still think that way about me now?
10. What reminds you of me?
11. If you could give me anything what would it be?
12. How well do you know me?
13. When's the last time you saw me?
14. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn't?
15. Are you going to put this on your blog and see what I say about you?




Friday, July 22, 2005

Put Me In Coach




I am an incredibly proud papa tonight. It was my older son’s last baseball game was last night. He had probably his best game of the season. He didn’t score the winning run or make a great play or anything.

His biggest difficulty this year has been he’s afraid of the ball. Kids are pitching and they pitch pretty fast. He’s always backing away from the plate when batting for fear of getting hit. He also steps out of the way when trying to catch a ball and tries to catch it to the side. We’ve been working on these skills all season.

Today, he put a lot of the things we’ve been working on into practice in the game. He barely moved when batting. When he was playing catcher (the littlest kid on the team playing catcher because he wanted to, mind you), he wasn’t trying to jump out of the way every time the ball was pitched to him.

Overall, he did all the things we were working on correctly. He even scored a run, which made him very happy. My biggest frustration with his playing this year has been that he’s quite good at the game and loves it, but doesn’t attack the ball due to his fear. He’s on his way to overcoming his fear.

Oh, and by the way, not that it really matters to me, his team actually won the game. I’ve never cared if his team wins or loses and have never criticized him for losing a game. I’ve told him that many times. My only concern is that he plays to his ability and improves throughout the year. The first time I told him this, he thought about it a minute and was actually shocked when he realized that we’ve never talked about wins or losses.

So crack open a frosty root beer in honor of my boy and his most excellent play at his final senior T-Shirt baseball game. Next comes travel league starting very soon. I figure by the end of the summer he should be a natural.



Wednesday, July 20, 2005

For the Benefit of Mrs. E-Lo

I made a comment on E-Lo's site that reminded me of a story I thought I should post, seeing as she's going to be a new mom and all. One of the first things the Wife and I learned upon becoming parents (right after the realization that we were so full of shit before we had kids) is that as a parent, you need to trust your instincts. Here are two examples of the parent knowing better than the pediatrician, and not realizing it.

Our first boy was a few months old. My wife tried to breast feed but was having difficulty so we decided to bottle feed. Our son would get gas bubbles and scream for 30 to 60 minutes. We tried the Mylecon, but it had limited success. During a visit with the pediatrician, we mentioned this to her and her statement was that some babies were just gassy and to put some Mylecon in the formula when we fed him. We tried it with no success. The next visit we inquired about switching formulas. We were told again that some babies were gassy and that changing formulas was a bad idea. However, after nearly 6 months of screaming baby, you're ready to try anything. So, we decided to try soy formula as we heard it was easiest on the baby digestive system. It took 24 HOURS for the problem to go away. We then had a smiling, laughing baby that almost never had gas bubbles. I was ready to kill the pediatrician.

Around our first son's first birthday (pretty sure it was the 1st), he had been kind of grumpy. He was running a low grade fever (around 99 ish) and wasn't acting himself. We called the pediatrician's office and reported the symptoms. They said he probably just had a little flu virus and not to worry about it. The next morning, we woke up and found fluid in his crib that had drained from his ears. We again called the pediatrician and brought him in. Turns out he had an ear infection and that it had gotten so bad it perforated his ear and drained (that means poked a hole in his eardrum). Again I was furious.

The moral of the stories is that you know you kid better than anyone. Don't let a doctor tell you there's nothing wrong with your kid if you think there is. And if you think your kid needs to go to the pediatrician's office, tell them you want to bring the kid in and don't take no for an answer.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Quick note

Not a lot to say right now, but just wanted to mention that my head feels all foggy today. I've been running around a lot at work today and not getting much accomplished. I hate that. Also, I jammed by right thumb a little in a batting cage a few weeks ago getting some batting practice in with the older kid. It's still hurting. It's really getting annoying. Just thought I'd share.

Sorry for bitching, it's not normally like me. Now I'm getting back to work.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Weekend trip

We had a busy weekend. Friday night we left for Canada. We stayed at a hotel in anticipation of going to African Lion Safari on Saturday. The boys were excited about staying a hotel for the night and we stayed at a very nice Hilton Garden Inn. Saturday morning we awoke to the sound of rain. We weren't going to let the rain dampen our spirits however. We arrived at the park shortly after it opened and too the bus tour of the safari park. We could have taken our car through, but the Wife did not want to ruin her nice Vovlo.

Case in point is that part of the safari goes through a primate area with baboons. They climb over everything. We saw them jumping on and off cars, climbing in everything, and one even ripped the antenna off of a van. The tour was quite excellent. I have picutres posted at my Ofoto site. You can hit this link to see them.

After the bus tour, we tried to do the train ride, but lighting came out and the closed it. We went watch the elephant swim instead, where they let the elephants literally swim in this small man made lake for excercise. One of the pictures shows how hard it was pouring during that time. The rain kept coming on an off all day. We did manage to get on the train ride and the African Queen boat tour in between showers. On the boat tour, we managed to get on ahead of some other large groups. As it turned out, the lighting came back during our ride and they shut it down when we pulled in. Our timing was perfect.

The boys had a blast. We left Lion Safari somewhere around 4 pm and decided to see if we could spend a little time in Niagara Falls before we headed home. The skys were nice once we got about half way there, so we figured we'd luck out. The thunderstorms followed us. When we got to Niagara Falls, there were torrential downpours and lightning. We bagged it and headed home. We still had a great day.

This weekend was also the annual Chill-E Fest in our town. It's a weekend festival with food and rides. The highlight is a fireworks display Sunday night. We went out to check it out last night. The fireworks display we went to see July 4th weekend was kind of lame. This one made up for it. It was awesome and the boys really liked it.

On a final note, the Wife and I recieved our copies of the new Harry Potter book on Saturday. As you can see, with all the activities, I've barely cracked it. We're both on about chapter 4. So for those of you that have finished the book, NO SPOILERS! I'm sure I'll have the book read within the week, but I don't have time to devour it in a day like I would have years ago.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Needed to write

So I’m trying to blog less, but I just felt the need to write. The Wife will let me know if I’m going too far, but it is 10:30 at night, the kids are in bed, and the Wife is safely tucked into her chair with her blanket and cat. She’s still awake but I doubt it will last much longer. She’s in her comfy mode before dozing in the chair.

Tonight I met with my church music group at my place to begin planning music for the fall. I had been a little down on it the last couple of weeks, mostly because it was getting difficult balancing music and home. Once the middle of June hit, there was so much going on it seemed like one more thing that required I make special time and got in the way of family stuff.

Tonight, the entire group was at my house. We had pizza and talked about music, our ministry, what we want to achieve as a group, and what music we should play. We listened to some songs and laughed a lot. I felt energized again and ready to start playing again. This is a great group of people to work with and share music with.

Later, after the boys were in bed and all the evening chores were complete, I decided to sit down and read from Scripture. I had been reading 2 Corinthians and hadn’t picked it up in a few days. I was reading chapter 8, which talks about giving. It primarily is about monetary contributions, but in the notes, and while reading the chapter, I couldn’t help think that Paul was talking not just about money, but the gifts God gives us as well. I’ve felt for a long time that my talent as a musician is a gift from God, and it is my responsibility to use this talent to give back to the Church and the community. It’s one of the main reasons I’m in music ministry.

I think everything today that I felt and read today was God’s way of telling me that He indeed called me to a music ministry, and that what I’m doing is the proper use of these talents. Like I mentioned previously, as God’s ministers, we spread the seed, and God takes it from there. I’m spreading the seed with music, hopefully getting people to at least come to Mass. Hopefully, the liturgy then puts something in the hearts of those there to keep them coming. One of our musicians said that right now the only reason he’s a Catholic is this music group. My feeling is it is a start. Hopefully as he grows older, he’ll remain a Catholic because of his faith in God. But we need to start somewhere. Again, planting those seeds to they can grow.

On a separate note, thanks to those of you in the blogging community that have been supportive. As I said, I plan on maintaining this blog. I’ll blog when I have something to say. I’m looking at everything going on in my life to make sure I get the right balance of work, family, and personal. I’m confident the Wife will help me keep it straight. I would like to publicly say (not because I’m sucking up, but because it’s true and I want her to know it) that I’m madly in love with her and that I appreciate everything she does. I can be a real pain in the ass to live with sometimes. I can be moody and angry over stupid stuff and I tend to take it out on the ones around me. She puts up with all of my shit and then some. I thank God all the time for giving her to me as a wife. You’re the only woman there is for me Lady. Sleep tight and don’t come to bed too late.



I'm so confused!

I had originally planned on writing about the frustrating experience I had at my older son's baseball game last night. However, reflecting on it, I think I was just being too hard on the boy and it's not worth hashing out here. Suffice it to say I'm going to make sure first and foremost he has fun playing the game.

The biggest problem I'm having right now is focusing. There's lots of stuff going on at work and I can't seem to get anywhere. I know there's all this stuff I should be doing but I don't know where to start or what I should do. Combine that with a feeling that I should be working harder or getting more things done to maximize promotion possibilities, and there you have it. Of course, instead of working throuhg lunch, I'm typing this.

Home is the same way. Lots of stuff going on, but the feeling like nothing is getting done and that I'm letting down wife and kids. I should be spending more time with the younger one, but I'm doing activities with the older one. The older boy and I butt heads on things and we can get very stubborn with each other. I probably don't do enough to help out the Wife and she's overly busy and stressed. Plus I've got a musical group to coordinate and rehearse with.

And I'm starting to feel like this blog is demanding too much of my time. That's not to say I'm going to take it down. However, I'm beginning to wonder why I'm doing it. It started out as something to keep my busy during my lunch hour. It's become a community of sorts. Not that this is a bad thing, but with everything else I've got going on, do I have the time and/or engery to take that on as well? I'm getting to the overwhelmed stage. I'm not quite there yet, but it's very close.

So stay tuned. I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this, but I'll figure it out.

To the Wife - your input is appreciated. Post or comment. I know you think I'm getting a little obsessed, and perhaps I am. Maybe I need the reality check from you. We should probably talk, assuming we have any time to talk to each other after the kids go to bed and we're not exhausted. Let's schedule something for Fall next year. I'm sure our schedules will be clear by then.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More on Faith and Religion

This post is in response to the email I received from the Retropolitan. The full text of his email is linked here. Warning, this response is a long post but he raised many good point that I felt should be answered.

How come you're a Catholic, and not, say, a Protestant?

I grew up in the Catholic faith. I don’t necessarily thing Catholicism is better than any other Christian denomination, it’s just the one I’m most comfortable with. Overall, I think the differences between Christian denominations are small and mostly petty, man made divisions. I was never one to get hung up in the “rules”, so my core beliefs would probably fit in any denomination. However, I’ve really come to love and find peace in the Catholic Mass, which is why I stay.

If you truly believe that Jesus is the savior of mankind, then that automatically excludes all religions that say otherwise (or omit Him), despite sweeping generalizations that religions are preaching 'love' and 'peace.' I've said it before and I'll say it again: to conclude that 'all religions are okay and true for whoever believes them because they're all preaching goodness' is a cop-out. Even to say that God created all things, and created different manifestations of religion to suit different peoples of the world is a cop-out. It doesn't reconcile anything, and it contradicts the belief in your own specific religion. You can't have more than One True Religion; at least, not and still really believe that both are correct. Unless you're a little unstable.

To begin, I can’t rule out I’m unstable. I don’t think I am, but that may just be the voices in my head telling me so. Much of the Retropolitan’s email centers around one core issue: Christianity teaches that it is the One True Faith (leaving aside the denomination issue for a moment) and therefore that means that all other religions are wrong. Therefore, if I’m really a Catholic/Christian, how can I say other faiths are valid?

The true answer is that being Catholic and a Christian, I do believe that Christianity is the true message and faith, and that God created the world, and then sent his Son to save us from our sins. I also believe that other faiths got many things right, but not the whole picture. If you want to equate that to other religions being “wrong”, then yes, they’re wrong.

HOWEVER, before you go beating me up, I also don’t think it’s my job to go around and beating people up for not believing in the same things I do. Part of being a Christian is to evangelize. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean standing on the corner handing out Bibles with my Jesus Saves sign. Our deacon I think said it best this weekend during the homily. Our job is to throw out seeds, like in the parable of the sower. God will determine if the seeds produce a good yield or not. I feel my role is be an example of the Catholic faith. Loving others is part of that. How can I love others if I condemn them for being different from me? Perhaps something I’ve written, a song I’ve done, or something I’ve said will touch someone and they will want to look into the Catholic/Christian faith. If so, wonderful. If not, at least I’ve been the good example.

This is how I can approach other faiths in a non-judgmental way. We are all children of the same God. What’s the incentive for someone to turn to the Lord if I accuse them of being a sinner and following the wrong faith? Will attacking their beliefs make them any more receptive? Paul simply preached the Gospel and let others make up their own minds. In my simple way, I try to do the same.

The question is, how do you have faith in something that you cannot even define? How can you believe something with your whole heart, when you can't even pinpoint what it is? How can you have faith and unending devotion to rules that you can change on the fly, as you see fit? I don't think you CAN have that faith, really. There isn't any faith without something to actually have faith in, and if the only rule that you have is that there are no steadfast rules, then I don't know if you can meaningfully believe in any existing One True Religion. Otherwise, you're probably just coasting along by not thinking too hard about it, and hoping for the best.

It’s easy to believe in Jesus because I can define Him. As far as I’m concerned, it’s pretty cut and dry. Jesus is the Son of God who died so that our sins can be forgiven. He’s the one that’s always there for you no matter what, as long as you are truly sorry for your sins and make an effort to atone for them. I don’t have faith or devotion to rules. It was never about the rules with me. Jesus teaches us the way to live by being an example of the right way. We’re going to fall down a lot and screw up, but Jesus will pick you up, dust you off, and say try again as long as you’re sincere in your effort. You’re right, you can’t have faith unless there is something to have faith in. And for me, it’s the promise of being in Heaven with those I care about that have gone there before me. I have faith that by following Jesus, I will go there when I die.

I think the biggest problem people have that turn away from religion is relying on logic alone and saying, if I can’t see it or can’t prove it exists, then it doesn’t, therefore it is not. You can’t prove God’s existence in an empirical fashion, so you cannot believe in it. However, there is much in nature you cannot prove, even in science. Sure, you can say that since it’s science, we’ll figure it out eventually. Problem is, once you get into that sub atomic physics world, the math doesn’t work. Stuff happens that’s not supposed to happen, and all the models are just guesses. But we know it works. God is kind of like that. We’ll never figure out the math, or the formula, or fully explain it. Even scientists have faith in their science. It goes right back to the beginning. Something started the universe. The best theories on the beginnings of the universe assume that all the material was there to start with. The law of conservation of energy. Matter cannot be destroyed, only change in form. There is no theories whatsoever out there that explains where it all came from. There, my friends, is God.



Monday, July 11, 2005

The Wife Rocks!

I would like to take this post to say that my Wife so ROCKS! She also has a very nice ass, especially if she wears the lace panties she had on last night, but I digress.

For our anniversary, my Wife got me a panani maker (sandwich grill, for the layman). I had not had a chance to use it yet, and yesterday I broke it out and made some Cubano panini. This was a sandwich with mayo/dijon mustartd, swiss cheese, ham, turkey, salami, and dill pickles. You then place it in the panini maker which grills and toasts the bread, and makes the sandwich nice and thin. Oh, heaven on a roll! Being Italian, I'm a real sandwich kind of guy and I'm dying to try out more recipes.

I got hooked on panini sandwiches in France in my Navy days. We stopped in Toulon and everyone said I had to try a "smash" sandwich. Not know what one was, of course, I had to check it out. There were plenty of "smash" sandwich stands everyone so it was easy to do. Basically they take chuck steak, grill it in the panini maker, then place the cooked steak on a piece of french bread, with lettuce, onion, tomato, whatever you want. For example, I had a one buddy request fries with his sandwich and another requested chips. They got their fries and chips IN the sandwich. Which was quite tasty, BTW.

I must now begin my quest to recreate the "smash" sandwich and perfect the recipe. Wish me luck.

On another note, I received a rather lengthy email last week from the Retropolitan in response to my One True Faith post. I had hoped to come up with a response post addressing the main issues over the weekend, but didn't have time. I will try to respond in the next few days, as he brought up many good points. I have, however, create a link to the body of the email, if you care to read it prior to my response. Again, it raises many interesting issues.


Friday, July 08, 2005

2 more for your enjoyment

I've added 2 new song clips to my website. They are called Lament and Matthew 7:25. Jude requested an example of a classical guitar song, so I added them. Matthew 7:25 is done all on classical guitar. Lament is a mellow song, as the title implies. There are only 3 tracks that I'm not putting up there yet. Two (Follow Me and For the Love of Miss E) I don't have on CD to rip to MP3. The last, I'm Coming Home, has such a TERRIBLE scratch vocal track that I'm embarrased to put it up. Also, the track I have is so different from where I am right now in recording the song that it's not representative of the final track. Jude, you'd like For the Love of Miss E, it's an instumental on classical and 12 string acoustic guitar.

My next studio date is July 30. A few more sessions and I'll be at the mix down stage. Stay tuned!


Thursday, July 07, 2005

London

I know everyone's blogging about this right now, so I'll try to keep this short. I heard about a blast in London this morning but didn't get a chance to really read about it until just now. And I'm bordering on the totally incensed. I'm saddened and angry all at the same time. Saddened at the loss of life for absolutely nothing, angry at the ones that did this. Praying for the dead and injured and their families, having trouble feeling forgiveness for those that caused the pain.

What was the point of this attack? Get even with England for being involved in the Middle East? How will that make things different? When has one act of terrorism ever advanced the "agenda" of the group and made a major nation change their policy?

I'm just so sick of these guys killing people for no reason other than hate. Because that's what this really is. Pure hatred for other people that don't meet some fanatic's description of what other people should be. I can't even begin to find the words to express my outrage. And all this ends up doing is perpetuating the hate for another generation. The vicious cycle continues with no end in sight.

I said I would keep this short so I'll stop now. I will pray for everyone involved in this mess, including the perpetrators. And for peace in this troubled time. Sometimes I really have trouble having faith in humanity. It's hard being an optimist on days like these.

BTW, Rhonda Elizabeth has posted the best thing I've read so far, so I recommend checking it out. The scriptural references are perfect. I tip my hat to her. Most excellent post, Rhonda.


The Post that Almost Wasn't (or The One True Faith)

I hadn’t intended to write this post yet, but I’ve come across a few blogs that mention the general topic. Also, a passage I read from 2 Corinthians brought me back to it, so I think God’s trying to tell me something. To preface, the views I’m expressing are my own based more on what I feel than any solid research I’ve done. So take it for what it’s worth.

I’m sure most of the people that have read this blog know that I’m a Catholic. I wasn’t a very active Catholic until college, mostly due to the gently prodding of the Wife to come to Church with her. I respect other religions and the right of people to believe what they like. However, as I get older, I’m more convinced that all religions are a reflection of the same God, merely expressed differently.

I won’t say I’m a fanatic or anything, but I deeply believe and am convinced that Christianity is the “true” religion in that its teachings are the representation of God and His will, and that Jesus really was a man that was also God. I sincerely believe that if all people truly followed Jesus’ example, love of God and neighbor, that the world would be a wonderful place.

I don’t think that Eastern philosophy is in any conflict with Christianity. Most of them deal with harmony of the body and spirit. A laudable goal and anything that can bring a person closer to God is beneficial. Pagan religions worship a God/Goddess or spirits. However, I feel these are just manifestations of God Himself. After all, God made all things, therefore what we sense in the world comes from Him. Some people simply express this in a different way.

The other two great religions of the world, Judaism and Islam, worship the same God. Sure, there is the argument about Jesus’ divinity, but more things connect the three religions than separate them.

I was tempted not to post this piece as of this morning. However, I read a blog where the writer stated they didn’t have faith and cringed at the phrase God will provide. I commented that God will provide if you have faith. Things didn’t start turning around for me personally until I let go of trying to make things happen in my life and trusted God to take care of me. Since then, I’ve gotten everything that I previously asked for and tried to get through my own efforts. Faith is the key. Whatever you call the deity you worship, I firmly believe it’s still God. We need to have faith in Him and He will give us peace and comfort.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Website Update

I've added more MP3 clips from my upcoming Voice of the Spirit CD. I now have 7, count them, 7 one minute clips. Just go to the Music Samples page of my website. Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Making marriage work

As promised, here is my treatise on what it takes to make a marriage last. I've asked the Wife to contribute her side. Hopefully she'll have some time to whip something up. I suspect that she sticks with me for the same reason you keep a pet that's kind of annoying, but maybe she really likes me after all. She hasn't kicked me to the curb yet, so I must be doing something right. So here goes:

I’ve been thinking lately on what makes a good marriage. The Wife and I have been married for 16 years now and have been together for almost 23 years. We started dating in our junior year of high school. Now before you say, “Awwww, high school sweethearts,” I want to say it wasn’t like that per se. We dated for a while, broke up, got together again, broke up at the end of high school, and got together again in college before getting serious and deciding to get married. I guess, for me, I just couldn’t stay away from her.

I fell hard for her sometime during college. I new it was time to get married when other women no longer attracted my sexually. I only wanted her and could do without every other woman on the planet.

So what has kept us together all these years? I won’t speak for the Wife, but from my end, I can sum it up simply. Once I truly fell madly in love with her, since that day it hasn’t stopped. She’s still as beautiful as the day I married her. I can’t imagine life without her. Right now she’s sleeping in her chair and she’s just too darn cute. I want to just kiss her on the head and hug her. I like nothing more than to snuggle up with her in bed first thing in the morning, or just to put a hand on her leg as I fall asleep at night.

Sure, there have been rough patches. We went through quite the stressful time when the kids were a little younger and our finances were strained. There were many times I was ready to tell her to get out of the house, but I never did. And I can’t stay mad at her. It’s easy to be angry when she’s not around. But a hug and kiss from her will melt me in a second. Or just looking at her. I’m so hooked it isn’t funny.

So I guess I don’t know what it is that makes a good marriage. I try to take care of the Wife, I love her to death, and I try to keep her from wearing herself out (with limited success). When she’s right about stuff that I do, I try and fix it (see older post about too much internet time). I do what I have to do to make our relationship work.

Besides, I realized a few years ago when the kids were small that it would be WAY too much work to go out and find a new woman. All that bar hopping and getting to know someone and that whole dating scene. It’s so much easier (and cheaper) to hang on to the woman you have. Especially when she’s as hot and sexy as the little lady I got. So fuck you to all those guys out there. I’m keeping this one. You can’t have her. So there.



Welcome Back

Welcome back to the grind everyone! Hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend! We had fun and did the usual fireworks/family picnic/hanging out thing.

Before I get into my scheduled rant, a quick announcement. I've added an MP3 to my website. It's a rough demo of one of the songs on my upcoming Voice of the Spirit CD. It's still missing a keyboard solo and final editing. Please remember that it is copyrighted my me so all the usual legal stuff applies. Let me know what you think! Here's the URL: Give it All to You. Also, at the request of the Wife, I've moved her picture down. While I feel her beauty should be prominently displayed, it makes it difficult for her to be inconspicuous looking at the site at work with the large picture of herself on the screen. Hope that's better for you dear!

Now for my scheduled rant:

This may be a little out of date, but work with me here. I’ve got a lot to write and I don’t want to post it all at once. If you’ve been following world politics, you’ve heard that Iran has elected a new president and that he is of a conservative bend, meaning there is fear he is going to take the country backwards and make it an even more Islamic state. I was kind of amused about this since it brings up a messy question for our current administration.

Mr. Bush keeps talking about spreading democracy. So what if a country like Iran through free, uncorrupted elections, elects a leader that is reactionary and hates the US. Or perhaps even sponsors terrorism? Do we then have a right to do something about it? After all, the person was democratically elected by the population, representing their values and desires. Can you on the one hand say we support democracy around the world, but then on the other hand decide which democracies are a thread to us and should perhaps be invaded on the war on terror. What kind of a hypocritical nation would that make us?

The bigger news item, though, has been the accusation that the new president of Iran was one of the hostage takers back in 1979. The Bush administration has vowed to look into this matter and is giving it a high priority. However, my response is, so what? What are we going to do about it?

Let’s assume for one moment this accusation is true. Does this make this guy any less the president of Iran? After all, he was officially elected by the population. And if they all knew that this guy was a hostage taker, would it make any difference to the Iranians? For all we know, that would have gotten him more votes. Again, we’re talking about a sovereign nation here. So, are we going to invade Iran to arrest the president of their country for taking American’s prisoner? Again, I have to throw the hypocrite flag here.

So what we’re really talking about is that the Bush administration is going to pretend like they’re doing something, maybe issue some sort of condemnation, and Congress will draft some stupid resolution that doesn’t mean anything. And this guy will still be the president of Iran. Can we move on to some meaningful news now?



Friday, July 01, 2005

Weekend Humor

I was laughing out loud at these. I was planning a post about marriage and hoping to have the Wife's version as well, but I'll put this up first and do the "serious" marriage one next week. My faves are what husband and wife have in common and the last one. Enjoy!

Children - HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY?

(1) You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. -- Alan, age 10
(2) No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with. - Kirsten, age 10

WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?

(1) Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then. -- Camille, age 10
(2) No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married. -- Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)

HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?

(1) You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. -- Derrick, age 8

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?

(1) Both don't want any more kids. -- Lori, age 8

WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?

(1) Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. -- Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)
(2) On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date. -- Martin, age 10

WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?

(1) I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns. -- Craig, age 9

WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?

(1) When they're rich. -- Pam, age 7
(2) The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that. -- Curt, age 7
(3) The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do. -- Howard, age 8

IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?

(1) I don't know which is better, but I'll tell you one thing. I'm never going to have sex with my wife. I don't want to be all grossed out. -- Theodore, age 8
(2) It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. -- Anita, age 9 (bless you child)

HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN'T GET MARRIED?

(1) There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there? -- Kelvin, age 8

And the #1 Favorite is.......

HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?

(1) Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck. -- Ricky, age 10