Friday, January 23, 2009

jane the singer-songwriter

stage from rob walter on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


this was dr. king's final speech; given the night before he was assasinated.
he saw this day coming over forty years ago.

"Sleep, sleep tonight
And may your dreams be realised.
If the thunder cloud passes rain
So let it rain, rain down on he.
So let it be.So let it be.

Sleep, sleep tonight
And may your dreams be realised.
If the thunder cloud passes rain
So let it rain, let it rain
Rain down on he."
-u2 "MLK"

happy martin luther king jr. day

Thursday, January 15, 2009

lectio divina:: psalms

i just finished the book of psalms in my personal time of study. 2 psalms that stood out to me were psalm 40 and psalm 116. when i was a new believer, i was a rabid U2 fan. they had a song called 40 that was based on the psalm. it seemed to be the theme song to my life as a teenager. it had a line in it that said, “i will sing a new song.” i didn’t know what it meant at the time, but at the time it was a commitment to rebel against a life apart from God and the hope a new tomorrow. for weeks, i scribbled that line on pages of binder paper and in the dirt wherever i was.

psalm 116 asks “what can I give back to God for the blessings He has poured out on me?” and that seems to be the theme song of my life these days. its strange, but both of those psalms are referenced in this live clip from U2. at the end of the song, bono gives a short homily on the idea of jubilee and God’s heart for the poor.

sing a new song.

my poster

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

you know you're getting old when...

you have to ask your four year old to fix the html on your myspace page:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

dr. seuss and mr. geisel

i really enjoy the work of dr. seuss.
i often use his books as teaching tools in my messages, and jane loves to read his stories as well. lately she has been enjoying the book and cartoon of “how the Grinch stole christmas.” i wanted to learn more about dr. seuss, so i picked up a biography on him called “dr. seuss and mr. Geisel” by Judith and neil morgan- and i learned some fascinating things about his life and work. here are some of those ideas:

:: dr. seuss’ name is not actually dr. seuss. he wasn’t a doctor, and his last name wasn’t seuss. his name was theodor seuss Geisel. he also wrote under the name theo LeSeig; which is Geisel spelled backwards. he was german, so his middle name was actually pronounced “zoice,” not “soose.”

:: when Geisel was a teenager, he was on stage to receive a boy scout honor from teddy Roosevelt. for some reason, Roosevelt didn’t have an award for him and ted was humiliated. he suffered from debilitating stage fright for the rest of his life.

:: seuss grew up in springfield Massachusetts, near a busy street called mulberry street; his first book was called “and to think that i saw it on mulberry street.” he father worked at a zoo; suess later wrote a book called, “if i ran the zoo.” many of his books and characters were inspired by real life situations and people that he experienced.

:: seuss didn’t start writing books right away; he got started making cartoons for magazines and ads. this later evolved into a fairly successful career drawing political cartoons. his cartoons were meant to encourage the US to get into WWII and join the fight against germany and japan.

:: ted later joined the army and worked in the Hollywood division. he created a series of training cartoons about a character named private snafu. he created these with bugs bunny creator, chuck jones. they would later collaborate on the cartoon version of the Grinch.

:: seuss eventually became a very famous children’s writer. at the time, the only things for kids to read was “fun with dick and jane.” dr. seuss was much more fun. his most successful book was “green eggs and ham.” the only book that he worte that did not rhyme was “and to think that i saw it on mulberry street.” after that, they all rhymed.

:: even though seuss wrote for children, he never had any of his own. he actually did not consider himself a children’s writer. he didn’t seem to care much who read his books- he wrote what interested him.

:: one of his early works was adapted into a film called “the 5000 fingers of dr. t.” it was a complete flop; for the rest of his life he had a fear of failure that drove him to perfection.

:: seuss spent that majority of his life in la jolla, ca. he lived in a lookout tower that was converted into a home. his office/ studio was at the very top and it had giant windows that overlooked the beach and ocean. he worked up in his towers until 2am every night. there is now a very cool Geisel library at UC san diego which has a dr. seuss statue out front, and a room that preserves his original drawings.

:: dr. seuss had an interesting writing process. he almost always started with an image and then told a story about it. e would get his characters into situations and then have them find their way out. he never seemed to know how the books would end. it took him weeks to figure out how the Grinch and Horton would end. when seuss wrote “Horton hatches the egg,” he had a picture of a tree and a picture of an elephant on separate pieces of tracing paper. the wind from his window blew the picture of the elephant on top of the picture of the tree and seuss began writing by asking, “how did that elephant get up in that tree? and why is he up there anyhow?”

:: my favorite seuss book, “oh the places you’ll go!” was his last. he seemed to know it was his last, because he put little tributes to his previous work in the drawings. if you look hard enough, you’ll find yertle the turtle and Horton the elephant, as well as some animals originally used in his political cartoons. the book began when ted had a series of unused drawing that he wanted to incorporate into a story. he tacked them to a wall, and the story came to life.

:: i think my favorite story from the book came from his first story, “and to think that i saw it on mulberry street.” Geisel took a big risk in writing a children’s book, and he wasn’t sure if anyone would like it. and unfortunately, no one did. at the time, all children’s books had a moral to them, and this one didn’t. ted Geisel went to twenty seven publishing houses with his book and was rejected by all 27. after the 27th rejection, he headed for home with the intention of burning his book. on his way home, he bumped into an old friend who just happened to be a publisher. his friend said, “what do you have there?” and seuss answered, “a book that no one wwill publish. I’m lugging it home to burn.” his friend loved it, and a career in children’s books was born. he later said, “if i had been walking down the other side of Madison avenue that day, i’d be in the dry cleaner business now.”

the guy was kind of quirky, but what else would you expect? what a great example of someone who uses their creativity and skill to inspire and encourage so many. i’ll close out this post the same way that seuss closed out his writing career, with the final words of “oh the places you’ll go:”

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!”

Sunday, January 11, 2009

i was on millionaire?!

he should have called me up as his lifeline-

Friday, January 2, 2009

you know you're a parent of a 4 year old if...

you know that you’re a parent of a 4 year old if:

you have the theme song to many-a-children’s show committed to memory. its not just committed to memory, it haunts you while you sleep.

you have more kids songs on your iPod than grown up songs; and more kids dvds than grown up movies.

you find yourself watching children’s tv worrying and wondering how this show is going to end.

some people watch children’s tv and think its either made by people on drugs or it simply makes no sense; but you understand it perfectly.

you have all kinds of funny rules like, “do NOT bam me when i’m on the phone!”

you know the perfect time of day and week to go to chuck e. cheese’s.

you use words that make no sense to anyone but your kid, like, “no more blast-offing!” or “the table is not for standing on!”

you think that sending your kid to sunday school with a cold should be a felony.

you’re a little too familiar with the children’s section at barnes and noble.

you have accidentally referred to yourself in the third person (as “daddy” or “mommy”) to one of your grown up friends.

you have a list of places where you can no longer go because your kid has either barfed there, wrecked something, or made a huge mess there.

it’s 9:30 in the morning, and you know exactly what’s playing on PBS, nickelodeon and Disney channel.

you have changed your mind about mini-vans and child-leashes.

you say things like, “no more fries until you eat something healthy! now eat a mcnugget!”

you know exactly how many errands you can get done before your kid needs to use the potty again. once they go, the countdown is on.

you have an internal gps that tells you how close you are to a park or a mcdonald’s.

both you and your kid have several children’s books committed to memory.

you can tell the identity of any of the trains on Thomas the train by just looking at them

you find yourself wishing you could get away with some of her comfy 4-year-old fashions, like footed pj’s, colorful crocs or overalls.

you have seriously thought through the possible ramifications of completely chewing out someone else’s kid.

you think coloring is cool again

you argue with your spouse over who gets to go run the errands and who has to stay home with the kids.

you have become a parenting snob and wonder why those people have a kid out at the mall at this late hour!

some might call it bribery or manipulation, you prefer to think of it as incentive, or encouragement to obedience.

you have had an extended conversation with your child about their pee or poo…on your cell phone…in public.

you know that a toy store/bookstore with a train table = cheap entertainment.

you have learned the discipline of keep a straight face when your kid says something that sounds dirty.

you’ve “Shh” ‘d your child because you couldn’t hear the end of the little einsteins episode.

you understand the controversy behind sam the yellow wiggle.

you dig in your pockets and you wonder where the dried up Kleenex and the crayons came from.

someone gives you money for your birthday and you think of what you can get for your kid with it.

you forgot what life was like before the kiddo.; and wonder why you thought that things like shopping for yourself or going to grown up movies was so fun.

you’re tired, but happy.

driving down memory lane

it was a quiet and meaningful new year’s day for me personally. we drove into modesto and visited with my parents and then went to lunch with my mom (my dad was on call for work).
this is jane reading with my mom:
after that, i dropped Deanna and jane off at her parents’ house and went looking for nostalgia and memories. i discovered google earth recently and have been looking at images on modesto, and on this day i thought i’d go and see them all in person. i didn’t get to every site that i wanted to visit, but i did get to all of my old houses (i lived in 6 different houses in modesto!) and all of my schools(2 elementary, 1 junior high, 1 high school, and 1 junior college). its amazing the way that going to a place can bring up so many feelings and memories.

the first place i went to was vintage fair mall. when i was a kid, i loved the mall. i hung out there with my friends, played videogames in the arcade and even went there by myself a few times when i lived within biking distance. it felt way smaller than it used to. now i live in san jose and regularly shop at oakride and the massive valley fair; vintage fair seemed a bit small. it also looked completely different. only a few stores that i remembered were still there. they completely remodeled the place. so- that was a little disappointing.

the next place that i went was ladd road. we used to live on a farm out there when i was a preteen. the property that i used to live on was locked up tight with big sign that said “NO TRESPASSING.” i’ve learned that farmers have guns and dogs for trespassers and i didn’t want to mess with either. so i went around to del rio, to the area behind my house on ladd road. that’s what i really wanted to see. here are some pictures of where i used to spend a lot of time:

i used to spend hours after school and on the weekends exploring the miles and miles of trails along this river:

it may look like nothing to you, but to me, this was a place filled with hideouts, treehouses, and adventure. i kept thinking to myself how much i wished that my brother was there with me- he was the only one who really ever explored this area with me. we used to have a go-kart and zipped all over these trails.

i didn’t spend as much time as i would have like to out there- again- dogs and guns.

the next place i stopped was my first school in modesto- Stanislaus union. i loved this school, and walking around its campus made me feel like a kid again.

i went to my other elementary school, hart-ransom and felt just the opposite. i went to that school for only a year, and never really felt like i plugged in. i felt like i was always playing catch up, and was always the butt of the joke. i remember showing a picture of it to Deanna on google earth and saying, “doesn’t it look scary?”

i drove past my house on Kiernan, and it had been torn down and replaced by a business. i went to al’s mart- a place where my brother and i used to walk to when we lived over there. when we were kids it was a cool spot that sold candy and soda. now that i’m an adult, i could see that it really was just another gross liquor store.

i stopped at Prescott junior high, but it was locked up tight. it was scary then, and was still scary today.

my last stop was davis high school; it was shut up tight too, but i was able to get out to the track and field. this was my favorite part of my drive down memory lane. i spent countless hours on that track training, racing, and working with my friends on a team. of al the places i stopped, this place made me feel the happiest. it was a place (apart from my home and church) that i felt that it truly belonged.

a trip like this helps you figure yourself out. just being there helped me realize why i make some of the decisions that i do. it helped me to remember why i care about certain things and when i first started doing things that i still do today. if you’ve never done something like this, i’d highly recommend it.