Thursday, December 29, 2011

Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wizner

            Honeymoon with My Brother is an excellent memoir documenting Franz’s life after being dumped at the altar by his fiancĂ© and girlfriend of nearly a decade.  Franz did not get much of an explanation of what happened, who was at fault or where to go from there.  His brother flew in and decided that they should go ahead and have the wedding, just without the bride.  Everyone was already en route or at the destination anyways.  The next suggestion Franz’s brother, Kurt, made was for them to go ahead with the honeymoon, besides everything was already paid for.  After their one week honeymoon Kurt and Franz decide when the two arrive back to quit their jobs, rid themselves of most of their possessions and then decide to travel the world together; and that is what they did.  Franz and Kurt traveled the world for two years and hit fifty-three countries along the way.
            I wish I could say I did the same thing.  That after the breakup my housemates and I embarked on a journey around the world where I learned the meaning of life from an Eskimo in the Arctic.  That my best friend took me on a road trip where we picked up a random hitchhiker and he traveled with us while learning who I was.  Nothing like that happened.
            I picked myself off the ground with a lot of help from God, friends, the power of prayer, and a never ending stream of Dr. Pepper. 
            What I learned from this book is the early chapters are filled with the memories of his former fiancĂ©, Annie, the unresolved conversation and the tears that flowed without ceasing due to all the hurt.  Then the travel begins and it is line after line about travel with Annie mixed in briefly.  When I picked this book up I was really looking forward to reading a conclusion of how Franz got over Annie and how everything is perfect, happy, and fine!  But, the conclusion was just the end of his travel.  Telling the readers he is going to keep on traveling learning more about other cultures what’s out there so he can shape his mind even more.
            That was the message that I needed.  When you read the book you get so involved in Franz’s travel that you forget about Annie.  You learn there is more in life that a relationship and a broken heart.  There are broken people, broken cultures, and people begging from the crumbs off the table. 
            That’s where I am today.  I’m not over her, not quite yet.  Still learning, still growing, by God’s graciousness He is allowing me to keep on living life.  I want to be so active in ministry towards others that when people see, ‘read my memoir,’ they won’t be seeing Annie like with Franz’s life, but they will see my travels, my ministry here on earth.  I want to be a servant and maybe God wants me to be a servant more than I want to be one, and showed me I can only do it by myself?  I don’t know God’s plan and never will.  I’m just going to try and love God best I can. 

I came across this quote and wanted to share it with everyone who has ‘been there’ for me.

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
- Henri Nouwen

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why I love the NBA

It’s that time of year again, and it is not just Christmas, but the NBA season tips off on Christmas day!  Boy, am I excited!  I love the game of basketball ever since I was a young lad and I have also been a Houston Rockets’ fan ever since I can remember.  I did go through a phase in my growth spurt when I wanted to be like Kobe or Dirk and rise above the defense, so I do admit to owning a few Dirk and Kobe jerseys.
            I wasn’t very good at basketball staring out.  I could barely dribble and it took years for me to dribble properly, not put the ball on the floor when I was posting up, and so on.  When things were tough in my life ever since I was a little kid if I ever needed an escape I would head to the driveway and just shoot.  Shooting is the greatest stress relief I have ever encountered.  With that came my love for basketball.
            I try hard to love college basketball, I really do!  But, it is hard when every great player is one and done and there are no dynasty’s except for Duke, which I do love.  The scandals are too much and scandals in the NCAA just make you shake your head.  It’s hard when I watch and none of the players ring a bell in my head and you know more about a coach’s scandals then his x’s and o’s.
            I can talk NBA with just about anyone and I know all the players.  I love following the players, watching my team and others that are great!  I love following every headline and showing compassion to players I just feel so sorry for.  Like Kris Humphries, sorry man life will get better, although you did sign up for some of it with the TV show.  But Mr. Humphries you are a good rebounder you will do well.  There are the players I try to like even though they do the stupidest things like change their name to Metta World Peace.  But, I love all the stories in the NBA no matter how relevant to basketball.
            If there is a player that everybody hates, I probably love him.  Kobe and Lebron are two of my favorites in the game.The storylines are unparalleled in the NBA and everyone can relate to the game of basketball.  Everyone in their life has shot a basket and understands basketball.  During the lockout the guys played in pickup courts and their hometown gyms, does not get much better than that.  Basketball never stops!  While these guys are not all walking with the Lord the way their mama’s taught them and are not giving 10% of their $101,000,000.39 shoe contract to the needy they play a game I love.  Basketball is a game I love where I met some of my best friends playing.  Met some of the nicest people and some of the worst people in my life.  Where I strengthened my body and tore it up at the same time.  Where I got to wear some of the slickest looking shorts and the worst looking mask for my broken nose.  I thought I would get to wear a RIP Hamilton mask, instead it turned out to be something Dwight Schrute would wear when he was playing hockey.  I’m ready for it to come back and cheer on my Rockets!  Cheer on the game that I love and just enjoy the game of basketball!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My top albums of the year

Now that the year is coming to the close I have decided to review the best music albums I purchased this year courtesy of iTunes.


Such a wide category, but I have to give the crown to Adele’s latest album entitled: 21.  This is her second album and the main inspiration for the album came from none other than a broken heart.  "It's [21] different from 19, it’s about the same things but in a different light. I deal with things differently now. I’m more patient, more honest, more forgiving and more aware of my own flaws, habits and principles. Something that comes with age I think. So fittingly this record is called 21. The whole reason I called my first album 19 was about cataloging what happened to me then and who I was then, like a photo album you see the progression and changes in a person throughout the years. I tried to think of other album titles but couldn’t come up with anything that represented the album properly, I kept swerving 21 thinking it was obvious. But why not be obvious?"
– Adele, on her personal blog, discussing the inspiration behind the name of her second album.

Top three songs

1)  Someone Like You

2)  Turning Tables

3)  One and Only


Jesus Culture Awakening: Live From Chicago Album Cover

I decided to choose a worship album that reminds me of worship at a church I have recently been attending.  Drum roll please… Jesus Culture Awakening Live from Chicago.  Excellent album, and I’m not a big fan of live performances, but this album makes me feel like I’m standing at Beltway, yes it is repetitive at times, but great sound overall.

Top three songs

1) Break Every Chain

2) Father of Lights

3) I Surrender


 The Civil Wars: <i>Barton Hollow</i>

This was the easiest category for me to decide on and I chose The Civil Wars’ Album Barton Hollow.  I have never heard a duet with such harmony and chemistry like Joy Williams and John White.  If you are looking for an album that soothes the soul this album is for you.

Top three songs

1) To Whom It May Concern

2) Poison & Wine

3) Falling

Rap/Hip Hop/R&B

This was the hardest category for me, but the nod goes to Drake’s sophomore album Take Care.

            For those that really do not know me I have a deep interest in rap/hip hop/r&b ever siince I was able to download music off Kazaa.  I can relate to so many of the themes in these albums, again I say themes.  Those are other stories, for other days.

Drake’s Take Care Album is filled with every song being a hit.  “Drake's lyrics mostly eschew boastful raps for introspective lyrics that deal with topics such as failed romances, relationship with friends and family, growing wealth and fame, concerns about leading a hollow life, and despondency.”  -Wiki   Besides the wealth and fame I can relate to all of what Drake speaks.

Top three songs- all edited, of course…

1)  Shot for me

2)  Doing it Wrong

3)  Marvins Room

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Psalm: Taking Her Out, Putting Him In

Been two months since I’ve heard your voice.
All my thoughts and dreams  run to you;
You were the one who got me through.
I woke up with you always on my mind,
But you are no more; you’re behind.
I was empty, hole in my chest.
I thought my life with you was the best;
Will I ever get through this?
I have no hope, no rock, no foundation.

After two months sworn I heard a new voice? His voice.
You have come into my life because I asked you to;
You are getting me through this mess and
Will be with me forever and always.
You have filled my every desire. I put my trust in you.
My life with you will never end, this is for the best;
Will I ever understand your unconditional love?
For you are my hope, my rock, my foundation.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grief Part II

Do not hurry as you walk with grief; it does not help the journey.
Walk slowly, pausing often: do not hurry as you walk with grief.
Be not disturbed by memories that come unbidden. Swiftly forgive; and let Christ speak for you unspoken words. Unfinished conversation will be resolved in Him. Be not disturbed.
Be gentle with the one who walks with grief. If it is you, be gentle with yourself. Swiftly forgive; walk slowly, pausing often.
Take time, be gentle as you walk with grief.

From Celtic Daily Prayer

            I was first given this quote from a friend named Heather, who quickly passed it on to me from an email she had received from one of her professors.  I received it a few weeks after the breakup and really enjoyed meditating on these words.  So, many people were telling me, “Get over it!” “Move on!”  “You’re better than that!”  The list of encouraging one liners goes on and on.  That was not what I needed.  I didn’t want to just get the memories out of sight and out of mind.  I had ‘unresolved conversation’ and memories that came like a thief in the night.  I still have conversation that hasn’t been finished, memories that hurt like an open wound, and broken dreams like a broken glass scattered on the kitchen floor.  I gave up trying to put the pieces of the glass together, it hurt too much and I was doing it by myself. 
            Am I all better?  No, but I’m getting there.  By walking slowly, swiftly forgiving, surrendering to God and allowing him to mold me through this ordeal.  I along with God’s grace and mercy will get better. 
            There is a buddy of mine, Luke, and a lot of what we do is talk football.  He made a great fun fact about a team and I told him, “Thanks Coach.”  He then replied,” I know football better than anything else in this world except grace and love.”  I want to be an expert in God’s grace and mercy, not accounting and law.

My prayer

You are good.  Allow me to feel you in the lonely days, allow your voice to drown out the sorrow in my heart when the haunting memoires overwhelm me.  Lord, you are the ultimate counselor that I should be going to in all times when I’m overwhelmed.  I do not always understand you and your ways.  Eternal God, it might take me an eternity to know you.  Thank you that time is of little consequence to you.