I’ve moved!

September 14, 2010

You can now find me at:



Preachy Keen

September 1, 2010

I’ve been writing this blog for almost two years and I’ve always been honest and genuine regarding how I feel … albeit usually about culture, the church, books or other people.  And, on occasion, I suppose I’ve been at least somewhat transparent  about what’s going on in my own life, too.

But, my main squeeze recently brought it to my attention that, over the last several months,  it’s been more and more of the former … and less and less of the latter.

And after going back through the archives, she’s right.  I’ve gotten away from what I’m passionate about, what I know to be enormously important, what I harp on and poke and prod others about – transparency … honesty … sharing.

I’ve gotten, it seems … a little preachy.

What I’ve been writing is commentary, for the most part.  On, as I said earlier, the church, other people or culture in general.

And, I’ve gotta change that.  It’s just such an easy trap to fall into … keeping the conversation/attention on other things or people and away from myself.  And, it keeps me from having to be too introspective.  From having to examine my own life and maybe sometimes be a bit critical or call for change.

The other trap I’ve fallen into is – in those instances when I have been observant and present and honest with myself  – in feeling as though every post has to be some sort of earth-shattering moral platitude.   Clever.  Well-written.  Linked, tagged, proselytized and search-engine optimized.  Perfect.   Something I’d be really proud of (hey, look … shocker, right? Pride, getting in the way?).  I’m too proud alot of the time to post something that’s not my best work … that doesn’t prove how smart I am … how insightful or sensitive or creative.  So, alot of times – and especially if there’s no “so, the moral of the story is…” to wrap it up with – I just don’t write.

And that’s wrong.

This blog was never meant to be a place others came to be “taught” anything.  How arrogant is that, anyway? To assume that every time you post something, you’re going to “enlighten” someone?

The Jones boys

It was meant to be a collection of observations and insights into my OWN life.  Something that some day, our boys could read … something that may help ’em understand their old man a little bit … illuminate their paths, if you will.  Something that would require me to be more observant … more present in my own life.  More honest with myself, my friends and my family. Something that would require me to stay engaged.

And, like I said … I’ve gotten away from that.

Funny thing is, I’ve never had a problem sharing my troubles or my past over a cup of coffee.  I’ve just never written about them here.   So, maybe it’s time to get into some of that.  It’s messy and it’s complicated, sure.   Whose life/past isn’t?  But, it’s my story.  And, it’ll help you (and ME) understand why I am who I am … how God has used babies and layoffs and depression and bankruptcy and foreclosure and cancer and prison cells  to shape me into who I am.

So, if you’ll oblige me … I think it’s about time I get started telling a little


more personal story.

That I start asking more questions.

That I get to know more of you.

That this blog becomes what it was created to be: a place to reflect … to spend time with other men who share similar interests and struggles … to lift each other up … to hold each other accountable …  to fish – for fellowship and resources and answers and truth.

So … fishin’ trip.  Next week.

Who’s in?

NOTE:  new site goes active on Wednesday, Sept. 8.



New site underway …

August 28, 2010

Please excuse me if my posts become even more infrequent (is that possible?, you’re asking)  over the next several weeks.  I’m working on a new site and the contruction/mechanics are taking a little longer than I expected.

I’ll post here probably once a week, on average, until the new site is up and running.  And there may be the occasional re-post …

Looking forward to rolling it out … !



August 20, 2010

Last week, just before I left for New York, my main squeeze and I had a talk about our family’s financial future and about how our boys were going to be provided for.  I left that conversation nervous, tentative, unsure … fearful.

And while I like to think that I’ve left my life in God’s hands … that I trust Him implicitly with my/our future … conversations like the one we’d just had made it very, very clear just how far I’ve to go.

Miles … and miles … and miles.

Which was funny, seeing as how the cosmic prankster Himself was 24 hours from sending me a couple of thousand miles round trip in a big metal tube that I’d have to trust He wouldn’t let plummet 35,000 feet to earth.

So, as I sat on the plane, somewhere over Virginia in all likelihood, I thought about how my life was exactly like that plane ride.  About how all I ever seem to concentrate on are the bumps.  I waste the smoother portions of my journey,  just waiting for the turbulence.

And, inevitably, it’ll come.   And when it does, every bump is the end.

“We’re goin’ down!”

“Any second now, an enormous gust of wind is going to come along and blow us sideways, into a tailspin from which the pilot won’t be able to recover!  Jack will remember me … he’s seven.  I remember lots of things from when I was seven … but what about Charlie?  He’s only three!  I don’t remember being three!  He won’t even remember me … it’ll be as though I never existed to him!”


“This flying tin can is but a toy in the mighty hands of mother nature!   And, by the way … how can something that weights 735,000 pounds just float 35,000 feet off the ground? “


“What if one of those engines dies?”


“What if a huge flock of wayward turkey buzzards flies into our path  and is sucked into the engine? I wonder if the pilot could land the plane with only one engine?”

“What if that shifty looking fellow in 6B is a terrorist? I mean, that bag of his looks suspicious and I just know that at any moment, he’s going to spring from his seat, mow down everyone in first class and fly the plane directly into Giants Stadium.”


“I wonder, if I type a message to Tracey and the boys into my phone, whether they’ll get it?  I mean, assuming the phone survives the crash and ensuing jet fuel fire?  Maybe I can try to send it and we’ll fall through a signal on our way to the ground and somehow it’ll be transmitted and they’ll get it just before impact?  Oh, wait … Tracey doesn’t have text messaging.  Well, crap.”

“Wait a second.  We’re not bouncing anymore … Things have smoothed back out … “


Why do I (we?) DO this?  Where is my confidence?  My faith?  My trust?

Despite the fact that that pilot knows exactly what he’s doing and where we’re going and what we’re about to fly through and how we’ll get through it and when we’ll arrive at our destination, my confidence is shaken – instantly – the first time I feel that plane shake.

Even more maddening?  I pray a little prayer every time we bounce.  You’ve done this, haven’t you?

“God, I trust you.  I trust that you’ll either deliver me home safely to Murfreesboro or that you’ll deliver me safely home to you.  And you know what?  Either way is fine with me, Lord.  Really.  If that’s your plan, I’m ok with it.  I just thank you for the life you gave me and ask that you will provide a good man to help raise the boys and take care of Tracey when I’m gone … and … and ….  if this plane crashing and me dying is the worst thing that can happen, then hallelujah!  I get to come home and rest forever in … etc., etc., etc.”


“Oh my God!  We’re goin’ down! We’re out of control!”


(long sigh … followed by self-loathing … followed by repeat of aforementioned prayer … followed by steely resolve and determination to test myself and the level of trust in my heart and not panic in the least the next time we experience turbulence)

“I’ll prove it to you Lord.  Next time this plane bounces? I won’t worry a bit.  I promise. You watch.”




I mean …. could there BE a more perfect analogy for my life?



August 13, 2010

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get through an entire day, week, month (life?) without ever really thinking? Processing? Engaging?

I don’t know about you, but, if I’m not intentional about those things, my Mondays just blend right into my Wednesdays, which become my Fridays and, before I know it, weeks or months have passed, been lost.  I can just cast aside the effort it requires to think/process/engage, do what needs to get done … sleepwalk right through.

I see things … I hear things … I do things  – and often, very well … but they’re thoughtless objects, sounds and tasks.  I’m present … but, I’m not really there.

Whether it’s the hills on my commute that I never really see, the co-worker that I talk to for hours a day, but never really hear … It’s amazing.  And, what ends up happening, I believe – and this is dangerous – is that I am affecting/influencing those I know, work with and love, without giving any thought as to how.   Whether I know/like it or not, my thoughts (or thoughtlessness), actions (or inactivity) and words (or the lack of them) influence everything and everyone in my life.  And, if that’s going to be the case, don’t I owe it to them – and most importantly, to God – to give those thoughts, actions and words some thought? To be intentional about them? To have/be the type of influence He wants me to have/be?

Anyhow … I’m figuring out that if people would just stop for three seconds, and ask themselves a few questions, they’d realize that they probably are – as I so often am – sleepwalking through life … or at least, portions of it.  Those questions – at least for me – are:

1. What just happened? or, What is about to happen?

2. What do I really think about it? Not having an opinion is not an option.  What do I really think about it?

3. Where is God in it … ? and how would He have me process it/react to it?

There are so many things that God is doing in our lives, so many opportunities He’s presenting us with … and, if we’re not awake … not LOOKING for them … we’ll miss them.  It’s just so easy to listen to the radio, surf the net, watch TV, read a book, have meaningless and shallow conversations and pass things off or not give them the benefit of a few minutes of real thought.  At least for me.  What about you?

Are you awake?



With Interest: Pushing Your (Share) Buttons

August 4, 2010

Blippy.com - streaming your credit card purchases to the world. Seriously.

If you already believed that we were teetering on the edge of sharing waaay too much information, reading and posting real-time Facebook status updates and Tweets on all manner of personal topics, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, well … I think it’s safe to say that the gravelly rock formation at the cliff’s edge just gave way … and some of us have plummeted to our untimely demise.

At Blippy.com, we can now watch and comment on a steady real-time stream of our friends’ credit card purchases.

Sound slightly crazy? Nah, I agree.  It doesn’t, really.

It sounds absolutely crazy.  As in stark-raving, howling at the moon loony.

Blippy.com is hoping we’re interested enough in becoming financial exhibitionists (proud enough of our “stuff” and status, is more like it) that we’ll give their service a try and let our friends and family know exactly what we’ve bought and how much we paid for it … or at least nosy enough to sign up to check out everyone else’s credit card transactions.  In which case, it’d be just like so much of the rest of our lives … we could sit back and watch and pass judgment on other people’s lives without sharing any of your own.

Why do we do this? Why is it so hard for us to share our lives with other people?  To share our struggles and triumphs and hopes and dreams and disappointments? We’ll share our credit card statements, but not our testimonies?

What are we so afraid of?

It’s long been said that if you wanna know what’s important to a man, take a peek at his checkbook.

And now, at Blippy.com – you can!



Pretty Slick, God

July 30, 2010

I was reading through Billy Coffey’s always terrific blog recently and he’d written about finding beauty in the world.  It’s there, he says … we just have to look for it.   And,  I couldn’t agree more.  I think that if you’re seeking God … if you want to find Him in the world … If you really want to see Him, you will.  Because, He’s there.  I think, in fact, that He reveals Himself to us every day.  In conversations with friends.  In a particular song on the radio.  In a look from a loved one, a breeze when you’re roasting or a co-worker surprising you with lunch when you’re flat broke, hungry and keeping it all to yourself.  Bottom line is, I think it’s up to us to pay attention … to notice.

God is pretty slick sometimes.

Now, it may seem a little bit silly to you, but I took this picture several months ago as I walked through the parking lot at church.  I wondered how long it’d been there and how many people had walked right by it and never noticed (have you, yet?).  I wondered how many times I’d done it myself.  (I’m convinced that just a few years ago, I’d have never noticed it)

And since I took it, it’s served as the desktop background on my phone … a reminder of exactly what Billy wrote about.   A reminder that, if I’ll just slow down and pay attention … if I’ll just let go of whatever’s eating at me, whatever’s consuming me, whatever’s got me preoccupied and aggravated and worried and busy … whatever it is that day that has blinded me to the beauty and life He’s surrounded me with, I’ll see Him.  Because He’s there.

Heck, it’s those days I need to look for Him the most … those days when I’ve blown a gasket and made a mess of something …

Have you noticed Him around you in the mundane?  In the day-to-day?  In the monotony? In the midst of your grime? Where?

Love to hear your stories.


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