As soon as I stepped inside I was reminded again that everything changes, and with an exclamation mark to boot.

“Just a trim today?” she asked like a seasoned pro who could read a situation in her little corner of the world like Sherlock Holmes.

“No – I want it cut,” I replied.

The mid to late twenties girl’s shoulders pulled back like someone had shoved them simultaneously at the same time as her brown eyes popped to circles, “All of it?” she questioned.

“Yeah, all of it. I wanna donate it, then I don’t want to use a ponytail holder anymore,” I explained.

I was a stranger in a strange town. Or at least that’s what it felt like. I hadn’t stepped foot into a place where they professionally cut hair in more than two decades… Now I have an idea of how Rumplestiltskin felt.

A lot has changed in the last twenty two or three years along with the how the supreme court views marriages… then again everything changes.

The guys salon had the stereo cranked up the 70’s disco era nightclub decibel levels and the place was decorated in black and red; red walls, black ceiling, and black and red checkerboard tiles on the floor.

The plush red leather theatre type of recliners were in two rows, the back one being up on a step like a mini-theatre. Across on the opposite wall were three Texas sized TV’s. If that weren’t enough for my mind to fathom, there was a red felt pool table between the seats and the TV’s.

The only thing missing in that hair cutting joint was a dog for me to mumble to, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Proof that everything changes is that hair keeps growing, maybe not where we want it to, but it keeps sprouting. Due to that fact, I’ve sent a fair amount of hair to the places that make wigs for kids with cancer.

I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea of me and rush out to title a Catholic church in my namesake. I wore my hair the way I wanted as much for the fact that it was easier to pull it back into a ponytail that to run to the barber shop constantly.

I figured if that’s how I was going to live with my hair, some unfortunate child should at least get the benefit of my quirkiness.

The era for me sporting longer hair is over and probably significantly past due, but change isn’t easy. If something as trivial as changing a hairstyle can seem trying, how much more difficult to wrestle with are the significant matters in life?

Nobody likes change and yet it’s the only guarantee we have in this life. Most of us tend to obsess and stress over all matters in life as if by worrying enough could change the outcome.

I can’t begin to recollect all the times that I’ve had to be reminded that my infinitesimal will means nothing when it doesn’t align with that of my Father’s.

Most of us sweat the small stuff too often and miss the big ones that mean the most. It’s never about the soul cage dressing, it’s about the soul’s destination. And everything does change… except the One who designed all of it…


image courtesy of photo bucket.com

image courtesy of photo bucket.com

It’s silly the things we remember from childhood. Even more amazing is how and when the scenes from decades past burst to life again as if they’re waiting patiently in our heart for their turn… again…

I, like most of us in this country, have strong opinions on the new ruling in the land about same-sex marriages. Seems pretty cut and dried to me, but then again, I’m one of those folks that believe in absolutes, blacks and whites… and consequences.

Because the object of this site is to encourage, reflect, and strive to unite us as Christians, I rarely grab the decisive issues by the horns and send my two cents into cyberspace. I do this time not in anger or passion, but in quiet honesty.

As I sat reflecting on the issue, an old movie, from when I was around eleven years old, came back to me like an old friend. Funny, the things we remember. The movie was The Three Musketeers.

And while some of the story is vague, there is one scene that stood out. Stood out so much that after forty years I can still see the images burned into my memory. I think it was Faye Dunaway that was the antagonist that had killed D’Artagnan’s (played by Michael York) girlfriend, (the character of Raquel Welch), and had also betrayed her country.

When justice was about to be poured out on the antagonist in the form of an execution, D’Artagnan had compassion and thought maybe there had been enough killing. He stepped in to try to reason with the rest of the Musketeers.

The burly Musketeer named Athos, played by Oliver Reed, spoke the line in the film that has stayed with me a lifetime. I’ve quoted the simple line in humor and I’ve spewed it in anger more than once. Ahhh, the things we remember.

“This is where we cross swords, D’Artagnan,” Athos told the youngster and was ready to fight him to the death to bring about justice.

The two sides of the latest decision by the court bring about that type of attitude and conviction. And which side we land on is based on what we believe in.

I’m willing to stand and cross swords with those who wouldn’t agree with my opinion, but not in a violent way. That’s not the Christian way.

I’m not surprised to find the ones that once told the moral majority that they couldn’t “legislate morality” are doing exactly that. I am disappointed that the modern church in their quest to “get along” has become silenced in their common sense.

In general I believe most of us are all for equal rights for a soul and a body the way God intended them to be born. That, however, doesn’t transfer to equality based on the actions of the soul cage… for any of us…

May our actions be that of patience and understanding in a lost world that serves a different master. I need to be reminded that the true love of God is for every single soul He created. That’s what will change hearts and the world. I hope those will be the things we remember.


image courtesy of photo bucket.com

image courtesy of photo bucket.com

One of my favorite cartoons as a tyke was the Flintstones, although I didn’t like the part in the intro when Fred’s sabertooth house cat tossed him outside. Another cartoon I got a kick out of was the Jetsons.

The idea of future living with all the modern conveniences was mind marveling, especially to a kid watching on a black and white TV from a humble abode. I recall considering where George Jetson worked as being a place where they made what could have been considered “widgets”. They made sprockets. I don’t fault the writers of the cartoon for not seeing the digital age coming…

George’s boss, Mr, Spacely, of Spacely’s Sprockets fame, was a gruff entrepreneur that pushed George, the slacker, for more production, always more production.

Of course, what would a good story be without conflict? To fill the role of the antagonist, there was Mr. Coswell of Coswell’s Cogs. The cog being his widget, another name for sprockets. He was Mr. Spacely’s competition and arch nemesis.

Even as a kid I instinctively knew that both Mr. Spacely and Mr. Coswell were fighting for more than business that equaled money, they were fighting for pride sake.

In real life some of us play the role of the George Jetson type; the folks just longing for a decent life and working just enough to live it. Others are like Mr. Spacely and Mr. Coswell; pushing to get and be more.

Regardless of where we land in comparison to cartoon characters, most of us provide a service in exchange for money. We produce our “widget” for others. We provide a value to other folks that are willing to part with their hard earned green backs to have or hold the widget we produce.

All of us are part of the process without exception. Rich folks that just invest their money require other people to track and measure, which means employment. Even retired folks support the widgets or services of others. Everybody eats, gets their electric and or gas meters read. We’re all reliant on others for goods and services.

Then there are the different kinds of widgets, the optional kind, the non-necessity type of widgets, like say a cruise on a ship… or how bout this, the widget of words.

The “widget of words” came to me as I was writing another prospective literary agent. I’ve been in business a long time and know my widget fairly well, but knowing one widget and the commonalities associated with it isn’t the same for all widgets… especially the widget of words.

We all use words, but it’s a rare and select group that gets to turn their word widgets into intellectual property. Some of us share words like Jane, George’s wife, always in wisdom and always in love and always to help. I think that describes most of the eyes rolling over this widget of words.

Where and when being proud turns egocentrical only God knows. Even the fine things we do to try to honor God and fulfill our calling can slip fast into the flesh. That’s when the Mr. Spacely in us rears his cartoon head.

I remind myself of things like this… just in case the crickets one day do stop chirping…

I can only imagine how much more painful the rejections from agents would be if I used the video phones first introduced on the cartoon called the Jetsons…


image courtesy of photo bucket

image courtesy of photo bucket

The resounding “thud” startled me. Only sheer force slamming an object can produce that kind of ruckus. My brain quickly caught up and it dawned on me that the sound had to come from one of the windows in our bedroom.

It’s springtime outside I reasoned and somebody was trying to be cool, impress the chicks was my educated guess. I glanced at the windows to see if there were any marks or clues, no luck, too dirty.

I scanned the backyard looking for a perpetrator or cause of the noise. Windows don’t groan on their own after all. Over on the west side of the yard I spotted him – under the violet bougainvillea in the rocks sitting as still as a headstone, but eyes wide and alert.

A rattled but very much alive dove was trying to recover, not just his conscience, but maybe his pride as well. “You idiot!” I called to him from the open window with sincere sympathy.

“Springtime”, I thought to myself. It’s amazing how this season affects nature – all of it, but especially youngsters. As I pondered springtime and the idiotic actions it tends to evoke in folks, especially of the male persuasion, I remembered a day in school; P.E. class to be exact, my freshman year in high school.

Coach Berach, the P.E. teacher, was also the track coach and had me slated to run the 440-yard hurdles that year. This happened to be during a co-ed P.E. class that would last a couple of days. That was back in the days when P.E. was a required class. We didn’t know that he was secretly looking for talent to fill out his team.

We moved from event to event, girls and boys, and springtime was in the air… It’s truly amazing how dumb kids act, especially boys.

When we came to the low hurdles coach Berach called me out to demonstrate to the girls the proper technique for clearing the hurdle as efficiently as possible. I didn’t mind the spotlight, especially during springtime with a class full of girls, my chance to stand out from the crowd.

I backed up about ten yards from the sample hurdle, in a hurry and in the grass instead of the track. Confidence was high… I sprinted with determination and threw my left leg out in front of me.

The key is to barely clear the top of the hurdle and lower your torso over your lead leg as low as possible, simultaneously pulling your trailing leg so that after your lead foot hits the ground, the trailing foot strides forward so that it’s really just like a big step.

I’d cleared hurdles so often it was like instinct… except for the grass… and the chicks… I hadn’t quite hit full speed when I launched and my lead foot hit the hurdle and I toppled to ground in a heap. All hope of looking cool was gone… only laughter… What a dope… That’s how I know how the dove feels.

Our actions aren’t always pure and are often motivated by the wrong desires. I’d heard the verse from Philippians, but it wouldn’t even begin to register for years after that, “Don’t be selfish; don’t’ try to impress others…”, (partial NLT for effect).

I’m still learning that lesson and the hazards of springtime… me and the dumb dove that lives in my backyard with the dent on his head.


image courtesy of photo bucket.com

image courtesy of photo bucket.com

People are creatures of habit – and I’m no exception to that rule. It’s natural to get into a routine and when we do we bump into others and their routines in the process.

Brad and I meet, or try to meet, every other Saturday for our Bible study; one weekend the in-depth study, the next to share and compare. We see a lot of the same folks at the Starbucks we meet at and have been for over a year now.

There’s Joe and his gang of bikers, the bicycle kind. They want me to ride with them on their seventy-mile route… I’ve done that once. I’m not sure I’ll be taking him up on his offer anytime soon. Any ride close to seventy miles can be seen in the grimace on my face afterwards. When those guys are finished they look like they just rode across the street.

There’s the retired guy that looks like Art Carney’s brother who refuses to go anywhere without his mini shepherd, but not his leash. I’ve come to realize he’s a better master than I am… I almost treasure my time away from my dog Larry.

There’s the girl with long brown hair, I think her name is Laura, who burps with her mouth open… a lot. Of course, there are always new faces… and I keep an eye out for folks, cause each one of them is a story in the making.

I don’t stare – I swipe glances. The man sitting at the round two-person table next to us, behind Brad, looked like a blue-collar guy at first glance. Ball cap, distinguished grey whiskers and a red and white lined flannel shirt.

The man was carrying a McDonald’s plastic bag that was knotted at the two handles for easier carrying – that’s what raised my left detective eye like a red flag; there’s no McDonald’s close to the Starbucks Brad and I meet at.

The man slipped inside without catching my attention, but he wouldn’t on his way back. I heard him coming behind me – sounded like a limp or a shuffle. “Good mornin!” he greeted Brad with a warm voice and genuine nod.

“Mornin,” Brad replied.

I didn’t move my head but glanced toward the ground as he passed by me. He was sporting old leather slippers that at one time had that orangish kind of hue to them. His were mostly black and the fine texture an ancient memory.

He had on blue socks. The kind of sky blue socks that screamed he’d gotten them for free. I saw how the shuffling sound was made before I heard it again. The man lifted his right knee high, high enough to drag the sole of his slipper that was only attached to about even with the arch of his foot.

The man kicked the floppy sole out in front of him so that it landed on the concrete before his sky blue stocking foot could. The man eased himself back into a metal chair again… with water… the free kind in the plastic cup.

We’re all creatures of habits and all of us carry some good ones and some bad ones. I have the habit of doing whatever it takes to have food, shelter, and clothing for my family and myself. Although I have a hunch that it has more to do with the amazing grace of God than it does me.

The homeless man sat sideways, leaning against the metal railing, his ear toward us… timing in this life is never by chance.

If the blue socked homeless man becomes a regular, I’ll look forward to learning his story, each soul has one.

I’ll keep you posted. And don’t be too surprised if you see me in my black sport socks hoofin’ it across the Starbucks parking lot.