I want to write something meaningful.  I want to write something worth reading.


I want to write something real.  I want to share what I’m learning, only what am I learning?




And so I type something – and before I get to far I begin to see what I really want is you to think well of me, I want to sound deep, and well read. But without sounding like I’m trying to impress. 

Like a journal you leave about - hoping that someone will read it.


At times I am the man who reads a just so he can book so he can quote it later, vs the man who reads a book and is moved by the content therein.

A sentence, a phrase moves him.  He reads, and rereads.  He thinks.  He examines his life and his choices.



I remember being that man.  The man who read and was moved. 



That man is so busy.






And that saddens him.  Beauty not observed is beauty unknown. 


To see a sunrise, eat a breakfast, listen to a song, do my chores, to smell the hay – and to miss the beauty in them. 


But then I come home – I come home and kick my sodden shoes into a corner.  I pour a bowl of corn chex and and listen.


I listen to Jaymay, Palomar, Wayne Grudem, Sea Wolf, Working Poor, and Kris Gruen. 


And I fold my laundry, and I write – and I erase, and I think.  And I hear that music – not the music that is playing, but the echoes of a greater and grander song, the echoes mixing with a growing, groaning chorus. 


And all is good.  All is hard.  All is grace.


















u u u u u

Spent my evening trying to process enough of life to post a meaningful blog.  Only to be interrupted by Sadie.

Sadie getting out.

Sadie finding a skunk.

Neil moving doghouse.

Sadie getting out.

Sadie making lots of noise.

Neil turning up his music, trying not to breath deeply, while cursing the idiocy of the lower orders.

Sadie cornering a porcupine.

Neil being very temped to let Sadie learn her lesson.




Neil imagining the quite evenings, and peaceful mornings he could enjoy without this menace.

Neil realizing that an encounter with porcupine would most likely not prove fatal.




So rather than listen to a dog whimper all night, Neil with the aid of a long pole dispatched the porcupine. Found the hole in the fence.  Sewed it shut with baling wire.


Glared at Sadie.




and another evening gone . . . . sigh



I saw him looking down last Sunday – and I could tell things were not right.  Sitting in the back row.  Quiet. 


We chatted and . . . . .



. . . . . .  and I could hear it.   I could see it.  That quiet, small pain – the pain that says “sit with me” it asks no more.  It does not want words, it does not want sympathy – it just wants presence.


Just shared quiet, just a someone there.




Not a time for words.


So I smiled, and pretended not to see the small flicker – I made small talk and went my way.

Asking is . . . . so messy, loving is . . . . inconvenient at times.



And it tugged at my heart.


and I ignored it.






It wanted to keep me up, but I slept – better than I care to admit.












But in the morning the thought presented itself again.



And I promptly quelled it.





Till this morning.

When I saw him again, and I knew – I could no longer pretend I did not see what I had wanted to hope I saw.  The clues were there. 



And this time we talked, we shared some silence, he talked and I listened. 



We cried together. 

We prayed together. 





We sat on the old pew in my kitchen the kitten played with our shoestrings.


And I want to tell you this.


Dare to ask, to listen, and to love.





Dare to care, to care about the people God places near you.












To listen and to exhort. 


To stay up late and do life.



What a good hard thing it is to be broken.

What a good hard thing it is to see a brother broken.

What a better thing it is to see a brother seeking out the only one who can help him.



Read Duetromeny 8, and understand why God take those He loves to the desert.

Read Psalm 13 and understand that God is good, even in this – whatever your this maybe.


Do not let your pain and brokenness be wasted.


Read Psalm 51.




And lean into the only One who can help.



*Written June 5th, posted today


I stumbled across a video on Facebook today, on a wall I have not visited in well over a year. 


So much water has flowed under the bridge.

Journals have been filled, filed, and finally burned.


I’ve felt myself board up windows – and close off whole wings.



Not to preserve what was, or to forget what might have been – but to leave so that I may someday joyfully cross the threshold anew.



And so with distance and time the shore you sailed away from blurs, and the parts of yourself that you left behind there have faded.



Have you ever lay in a warm bed and dreaded touching a cold floor – only to have the floor not be as cold as you thought?

Did you even consider touching an electric fence – and felt the anticipation of the shock you would receive grow within you – and in finally touching it, find that you had anticipated a much larger jolt.

Or eaten something that looked horrible and turned out to taste wonderful?






That moment when you were expecting one thing and found another.


It takes your breath – and unexpected joy – a joy you thought aborted, and buried, can sometimes burst and flow freely.






I don’t know what to call it – it differs from closer, it’s more.


Maybe it’s healing.







Maybe it’s grace.









Did you ever come to the end of a story and find that the author has left you holding a few loose threads?


Only to turn the page and find an epilogue?








































Road trips, business trips.  Long drives and long flights.  Scotch and cigars, broasted chicken and mashed potatoes.  Staying up late, getting up early. 


Unexpected and unlooked for job offers.



New gym membership and summer bike rides.







So much is going on these days.  I feel a change coming.  Something has shifted, something deep.


A desire for discipline is growing within me.  I see all these skills and a future of possibilities witch are only possible with discipline.



I want it. I want it more than I want the future it could unlock, more than I want the fruit it would yield.  And even as I type I realize that no . . .  I want the fruit of discipline – mere possession of discipline would not satisfied me.


I want the freedom it allows.


But to possess that freedom I’ll have to die to all manner of desires.




And again I see I have typed something I don’t mean – discipline is not the death of desire – discipline is desire which does not control.


The freedom to want and say no – not to not want but to want and want something else more.




To have and understand and submit to a greater pleasure, a greater fruit, a greater goal.










But I see I’m rambling again . . .



Enjoy some Rodrigo y Gabriela



So much more . . .






Small IMG_0825




























A few weddings, an engagement, a field trip.



Days fly by in a blur – 5:00 comes earlier and earlier each day, sweat and planning, and preparing.  Thinking and reworking, and designing and staying a head of the guys, got to stay a head of the guys . . .



The days are getting warmer, the night are still cool.  The wind howls.






Falling asleep to old recordings of Gunsmoke.


I can hear the frogs and the crickets and the sheep.





quiet still sounds . . . . sounds which let you sit and think of nothing, sounds that let your weary mind rest.


And you so want to rest – to find solace in something outside of and apart from the cool breeze, and the stars, and the willow trees, and . . .


And . . . . you sigh, and breath in the cool air deep – knowing that it’s not the air – its not the crickets – its not the car – its not the job – its not the camera – or the pictures – or the books – or the food – or the bike rides – or the music – or the tears – or the smiles – or the memories –


life is so much more.


It’s like a piano – a giant 20,000 pound piano


I’ve mentioned I started a new job – but I’ve done little more than that here.

Let me tell you about it.



I’m an engineer.

I work on 40ft long laminating vacuum presses, and glue applicator machines.

I roll I-beams around and generally get in the way of the guys actually doing work.

I design parts, I call vendors and place orders, and check and double check and triple check measurements.

40ft beams with 1/32” tolerances – it’s like a piano – a giant 20,000 pound piano.


I’ve got to know how it goes together so I can help the guys on the floor get it right.

I make Gantt charts and timelines.


I try to stick to them.




I’ve got to make sure stuff comes in so my guys have stuff to do.

I’ve got to make sure I’ve communicated what we need done, in a way that A) is correct, B) understandable and C) doable.





I’ve been at it for almost 6 weeks - it’s so much work and so much fun.



And there are more perks – these presses, they are shipped all over the world.  And the engineer often travels with the press to help with the install, setup and training.



I was asked if I had a passport when I was hired.











So that work these days – somedays long, somedays challenging, every day something new.




Sunset in the sheep pen
















The last few weeks have been . . . busy - 60+ hours a week busy. 

New job.

New place.

New people.

New duties.

New roles.

New expectations.

New noises at night.

New shower.

New diet.

New views.

New music.

New understanding.

New hard things.

New challenges.

New tape measure.


And in all of this newness I find myself searching for the familiar.


Nights were I come home and collapse.  Only a few more weeks I tell myself.  This too shall pass.



Change happens. 

It just happens.  Unheralded.  No drumroll – no anticipation – it stuns you how quietly, how quickly and how completely it happens.



And you find yourself wondering if in all this change – if you’ll change.  If you’ll change quietly, quickly, and completely.






It’s a different journey I find myself packing for.  One I never expected.  One I honestly never desired.  The road is just as long, I don’t expect it to be any harder – just different hard.  One which I think will grow me in ways the path I planned never would have.




Lady bugs make an odd noise as they crash into the lamp in my room. 


The noise used to stand out, a light flutter and a soft, high pitched plink which now is settling into the back ground noises of my new place – my new life.  I used to hear the rain, and cars on wet asphalt, and sirens, and loud voices walk past my window.  I used to hear the muffled thump of a dropped shoe or book, coughs, or the hum of a neighbors bathroom fan.


now – now I hear frogs.  Now I hear roosters, and sheep, and lambs, and cows.  and wind.

now I hear songs, and crashes and cries, and adventures, and stories, and bangs, and bumps. I hear little feet, and cats and refrigerator doors open and close.  I don’t live near people – I live with people.



I live on a 13 acre organic farm in the Yakima Valley.  A stream runs past my bedroom window.  At night it gets dark. 






I have a wood stove.




I’m excited to get the camera out and to start taking pictures of this place as spring starts to erupt.

I’m excited to rest.

I’m excited to work.

I’m excited to plant a garden.

I’m excited to raise some form of livestock.

I’m excited to raise bees.












I’m designing a large table – with the ability to seat 16+ . . . . . . .



















Well after spending 50 dollars on a camera, 25 on film and processing, and several hours taking only 48 shots I’ve decided that film is not for me.






I like rust.  I like pitted metal, and paint flakes too.


One Evening . . .



This is how I’m feeling tonight



Not like the picture – like the song.




I could type something here to follow up on what I mean. 




only I’m not quite sure myself what I mean by it.  Only that it’s late and this is how I feel.



one evening . . . . . . .


Or is she just odd?



Pandora never fails to send new and interesting music my way – months ago Florence and the Machine appeared, and finding that I really enjoyed this song, a buddy of mine decided to purchase the album. 


What did Steve think?

“She’s odd, but good”


I agree with Steve’s assessment (however I have still only familiar with this song of hers) – watch the video below and you’ll see why.  However his statement of “odd, but good” reminded me of some advice, or rather a discussion I heard a man on the radio have years and years ago.  A discussion which has repeatedly been in my mind. 

A discussion on but vs and.




He was talking about how different a sentence can become when you replace but for and, the following sentence in particular.

“I love you, but . . . “  vs  “I love you, and . . . “


And I began to think about this.  How this little change – changes so much – How one negates the sentiment, makes it weaker, and eats away at it, turning love into a condition which can be improved.  And do you see what this does to that sentiment, what happens to love when it can so moved?


If you don’t quite see it, look at “I love you, and . . . “  no I take that back, don’t just look at it – say it out loud.  For in the saying of it lies your best chance at hearing it – for it seems to be something heard even louder by the speaker, than by the hearer.  For when I find myself saying “I love you, and . . .” I find that this requires something on my part, me – saying that I see something in you, which my love for you compels me to address.

“I love you, and you need to . . .”


“I love you, but you need to . . .”


It’s a subtle difference, but one that I find myself noticing, and the more I listen to myself the more I see that the but’s tend to be things which stand in the way of whatever sentiments of mine they follow, preventing their full potential, whereas the and’s tend to be things which act out of those sentiments of mine which precede them. 


And by this little syllable, this little change, this one word, the whole nature of the statement is transformed.  And not just in “I love you”  but in so much more.



Look at Steve’s review


“She’s odd, but good”

now try on

“She’s odd, and good”


Do you begin to hear the difference?

“Yes . . . . . But is it a difference that matters?”


Well you tell me



is it “She’s odd, but good” or is it “She’s odd, and good”


Or is she just odd???