Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beautiful Things in Bloomington

I'm on the square tonight, in Bloomington. At the Scholar's Inn Bakehouse. There are so many beautiful things I've seen. Here are some of them:

Flowers cascading from window boxes. People who dare to wear empire wasted rompers in broad day light. Tan lines. Those chairs for lawn sitting that fold up and fit into a tiny acrylic spun carrying case that easily slings over your shoulder. Bright orange plastic sunglasses. Two braids on either side of you head, tied together in the back. An apprehensive wedgie pick. Evergreens in the summer. White jeans. Loose skin that promises wisdom. George Winston at the piano. A little something in a BabyBjörn. An odd couple. Cigar smoke. Police flashers. Teenage years. A beautiful red head in pink. Straight teeth. Perfectly crooked ones. Memories of elementary school. Local coffee bars. A senior citizen man with great hair. Biking down a hill. Camo. A woman who feels pretty. Young unwrinkled skin in light cream. Tree lined streets. An eyesore. Enough traffic to give you a moment to think thoughts. Saving someone’s life. An outfit. Awnings. Naturally curly hair. Aviators. Spit that’s perfectly spat. Young love. And old. Hearing aids. A Corsica that still runs! Asian eyes. Knee highs. Knee length. Not too sunburned skin. Adult parents. Bottle blonde hair. A car singer, wailing her guts out. Background chatter over a Beatles soundtrack. New rims. Veiny hands. A tailored skirt on a chubby girl. Napkins. Yellow. Someone that reminds you of an old friend. Mexican skin. Up-dos. A handshake. Counterfeit confidence. The large brass handles of theatre doors. A 90 year old with a cigarette in their craw. Iced coffee. Shadows you can’t figure out where they're coming from. Competing jewelry stores. Cut offs. The rush of wind through the window of your car on a left hand turn. Non-begging toddlers. Deep, true African skin. And gold lamé.

There you have it. The world is good! Good I tell ya!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Handless Organist

That's right. I saw a link on Heather's Facebook about terrible album covers. Well, it was a privilege and honor to pore over these carefully selected terrible album covers. I'm sure many were in the running. There were probably 10 in all. But I had my favorites...

Like this one... Ooh la la!

Jim loves his life. I love his mustache.

Or how about this one...

Joining the ranks of those one name famed singers (Madonna, Coolio, Yanni) I give you "Joyce!"

Joyce? How about "Just Joyce?" Cuz I feel like something is missing with the name. But not with Joyce. Joyce is missing absolutely NOTHING! I mean c'mon... the rose, the dress...the Tootsie glasses and "set" hair. It's straight fire for Joyce. These are the albums that put "digitally remasterd" on the map.

And finally... my personal favorite (winning by a nub):

I'm amused... I'm a little uneasy... I'm leaning in for a closer look. I kinda want to invite her to play at my church. But our organ only has one row of keys which I fear wouldn't adequately showcase the range of what the handless organist is capable of.

As I study this photo I wonder what song she is playing. It must be something from the Romantic period...(I'm sensing dense, weightier textures happening in her left...ummm... arm.)

One question... seriously... is it me, or does her right hand(less) look a little bit like a dental drill?

That's it for me this year. Merry Christmas and HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR in 2010!!!

A Christmas Carol

Well... just go see it. In IMAX 3D is the deal. This movie made me happy, made feel like a kid, put me in the Christmas spirit, and made me want to be a better person.

I could go on... but I'll spare you. Don't miss it. So entertaining... so fun.

Oh, but if you have young kids... I'd think about it first. It's pretty scary (seriously) It was giving my 11 year old the creeps a couple times.

Peace, love, and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas and Halloween Stuff

Okay, gotta start with this... dang cute! Heather is out Christmas caroling tonight at one of the nicer subdivision's Club House. (caroling for the rich... ahhh... merry christmas!) It's a quartet of carolers, and they carol Dickens style. Had to make her pose for these. Fa la la la la...

Here are pics from Chloe's Birthday party. We paid like $100 for her and nine friends to ice skate in Westfield at The Arctic Zone. Totally worth every penny. They clean up. Two and a half hours of skating... a blast!

The Fam

Me and Jason

Chloe and her friends. I think one is missing here.

This is sooo Chloe. She actually started everyone singing in her honor. Love this kid!

My house at Christmas. Book sales have been great lately.

On to Halloween. So it's my deal to make the costumes every year. I RELISH in it. Love doing it. Chloe wanted to be "Wisk." Took a little thought, but we pulled it off.

Evalee wanted to be Ms. Pac Man, "but not sideways." That was her only demand. She didn't want to be standing at the door and have to constantly turn sideways when people asked what she was. Always thinking ahead, just like her mom. I gotta be honest, this one cracked me up.

(okay, ya gotta click on this one so you can see Ev's face behind the eye... pretty cute.)

Here they are with the next door neighbors. Check out Harry Potter. Hilarious.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Not sure how I came across this, but about 3 months ago I ran into a video on You Tube. It's a dance from the show "So You Think You Can Dance" which I had never watched... not once.

I can tell you that I love art... that I love dance and a myriad of other art forms, but this dance did something to me. I've showed it to a couple people (some who got it, some who thought she was scantilly clad and didn't get it.) In 3 months, I'm sure I've watched this dance at least 50 times. Can't say I love it... it's something more than that. It's meaningful. It brought me to tears. When art transcends language, takes you some place spiritual, makes your heart burn in your chest... well, I think that's important. Let's you know that something heavenly is going on.

I'm pretty sure there are going to be dances like this in heaven... dances that remind us of what we have flown away from; that remind us we were once broken... addicted... but not anymore.
I'll leave it at that. Hope you love it as much as I did.
Here's the link: ADDICTION

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Raised by Wolves

I was raised by wolves
In pink gowns

Meant to stand on town-legs, I lurk
Across a moor
A swinging head
left to right
I spot a jackrabbit
And know exactly what to do

I was raised by wolves in pink gowns

I rustle up grub
I howl at the moon
next to my mother, Her fur tinged
with lunar lights
Bristling about her neck

Starting, the day I was littered
The twenty day of the eleventh twelfth
Thirty nine wolf years
Still a cub
in my mother’s pouch

raised by wolves

She prowls around town
Shoves me into the street
From behind a dumpster
Corners small prey
Lets drool hang from her lips
Shows me how it’s done

Shows me how to be...


Part wolf
Part man
Part son
Part cub

raised by wolves

wolves in pink gowns

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yours In His Service,

Here's what I wonder....

Why do we write things like "Reaching for His glory," as sign offs to our emails? WHY MUST WE SIGN OFF WITH "Being a blessing," Seriously... it's seems to me that it's just one more way of christians separating themselves from everyone else in the world. And when I say separating, I mean, thinking we are better than others... that we've found the magic solution to life and are aiming to make that perfectly clear when we sign off on an email.

...maybe if they read my sign off at the bottom of my email, we think to ourselves, maybe they just might start loving Jesus. Don't hold your breath.

Whatever happened to "Sincerely,"? And I personally think that the ole standbye "Thanks" is getting the short end of the stick these days. Sure, it may not have the beating of angels wings in the background, but I think it's every bit as potent as "Covered in the blood of the Lamb," and just might have a touch less of a "I'm better friends with God than you are" ring to it.

I just had lunch with a friend today and we were talking about how it's a temptation for christians to insulate themselves from the rest of the world. Christian schools, christian friends, christian, christian, christian. He said, "Sometimes I feel like I'm just vanilla. And I don't want to be just vanilla." I thought about that, and about how there are christians out there (I've NEVER done this) who turn their nose up at a joke that's in poor taste. Or if someones swears they roll their eyes and claim God's holiness as their sword and shield.

And fine whatever, it's your prerogative. But it's a problem when you're not that way all the time; when you can't live up to your end of the holy bargain. You're one way at church and another way at other places. You're all "God bless you" when you sneeze at Chick-Fil-a, but are all nervously excited when watching Saw VI. It doesn't add up. It just doesn't.

Ass is a bad word, right? Whatever. We feel better about not saying "ass" than we do about not watching Saw VI. Let's be clear... Saw VI is about murdering people for fun and calling it entertainment. "Ass" is slang... not the nicest of words, but not murder for entertainment either.

I'm not judging you for either of these. I'm not gonna judge you if you watch Saw VI OR if you say "ass." Know why? First of all, cause I just don't care. Secondly, because there's enough going on in me to keep me busy...I don't have time to judge your crap. (But if you sign off your email with "An ass-less vocabulary," and think someone might stop saying bad words because of it, I'm probably going to make time to judge you.)

I don't like to brag so I'll try not to here (though I'm warning you, this may sound like I think I've got my crap together.) But I'm pretty much the same person at home that I am everywhere else. Like I know I'm broken. It's why I go to 12-step meetings every week. It's why I've spent hours in counseling. But I know a lot of people who are trying to be holy... trying not to cuss... trying to send the kiddies to schools where Jesus teachers are going to help them stay on the straight and narrow. (not that there's anything wrong with that.... but keep in mind (unfortunately) that the divorce rate, suicide rate, pre-marital sex rate is pretty much the same for kids who attend christian schools and their families, as it is for those who don't attend christian schools and their families - but I'm on a tangent. I do this. I'm making a larger point here... I'm getting back on track now.) So I'd say I'm 80-90% the same at Chick Fil-a and at church and at movies and at home. But I didn't used to be.

My friend said, "I don't want to be just vanilla." And here's the thing... most people aren't vanilla. Most christians who are "holy" and do all the right things (I'm not talking about christian schools again I promise) and don't cuss, play poker, smoke, drink, dance, or let their kids get their ears pierced before they're ten years old, are not vanilla either. They might be vanilla to all their friends. They might be vanilla at church. They might be vanilla at their jobs. And all their friends might say, "Man, he is really does he do it?" Or their co-workers might think, "I've never heard a bad word come outta that guy's mouth, what a great big fat scoop of vanilla." But here's the thing. I swear, they're NOT vanilla. They look like vanilla, they may even smell like vanilla, but when you open them up.... guess what? Butterscotch Ripple. Because vanilla doesn't go porn surfing... know what I'm saying?

People who are trying to be vanilla are usually up in their head all alone freaking out because their personal lives are in shambles. They don't tell their friends about what's really going on in their head because they think it might make God look bad... and I get this, seriously I do - no one wants to give God a bad name... or make it seem like He doesn't work or something. So they go on with all that stuff locked away... stuff that, when locked up and hidden, has a way of morphing itself into a time bomb that WILL detonate... just give it time.

Pretending to be vanilla (when behind closed doors, and in our heads, and in the secret corners of our hearts we are covered in fudge, nuts, sprinkles and twirled with carmel) is a DEAD END! And sooner or later the facade is going to break down our marriage, our relationships, and everything in our lives that IS holy. We'll do things we thought we'd never do, and hurt people we never thought we'd hurt (including ourselves).

Vanilla is tasteless and boring... and a lie. I'm done pretending. I did it too long and it didn't make me anything but unapproachable, lonely, and a fraud.

I do realize that someone might read this and think, "Then what do I do? I don't know WHAT to do? How do I be authentic... the same everywhere, at all times and not sign off my emails with 'Until the trumpet sounds'"? Well, come talk to me. Seriously. There are ways out. It's not easy, but ya know, neither is living the big fat lie. Getting real is about getting to the truth of WHO YOU ARE. And I'm pretty sure God says that it's the truth sets people free.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The name's Matt E-Bays

I won. I WON!

I won my first ebay purchase ever!!! Pretty dang exciting. I increased my maximum bid the last 90 seconds. My heart was racing as I stared at the screen, counting down backwards..."10...9...8..." like the Apollo was about to blast off from Cape Canaveral.

So here she is. What do you think?

I know what you're thinking and you're right... my church is seriously about to ROCK and they don't even know it.

I've put it off far too long - it's time to get the accordian back into rock rotation. Nobody puts Cordy in the corner.

Okay, so I'm gonna need a name for this delicious bass. Anyone ideas?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

There. She Fixed It!

A couple weeks ago I received an email that had me rolling. It was called, "There. I Fixed It!" and was a bunch of pictures of things people had rigged to get working properly. (Well, sort of.) Included was an air conditioning unit in the passenger side window of a car, power by a generator which was duct taped to the trunk of the car. I was laughing hard because although it looks hilarious, I find the creativity of people who have a knack for "making it work" fascinating. I'm a "make it work" kind of guy myself, so I'm always impressed when people don't just hammer a nail in the wall, but instead, shoe a nail in the wall, or thumbnail one in the wall.

My sister and I refer to this specific set of skills as the "make do gene." It's the gene that's typically present in people who by nature, are laid back. It's a great gene to have if you find yourself having lunch with the kiddies at Cedar Point and you realize you forgot to pack napkins. In which case, empty cheese slice wrappers work beautifully. (My sister is a miracle worker.) Funny thing is; her kids never batted an eye when she offered them each one. Just took them from her and started wiping their 8, 9, and 12 year old faces with them.

Anyway, I decided to post a couple of our own "make do gene" miracles around here. Evalee doesn't seem to have the "make do gene." It's a work in progress with her. Just gimme some time. However, Chloe is fully embracing it, as you can see below.

I went out to clean up the Slip-n-slide and apparently she couldn't find the plastic stakes that come with it to hold it into the ground, so... she improvised. Love it. Makes me proud.

She gets this from me.

This following is our front porch chair which is obviously torn through. What's a person to do? I found an old piece of ply wood and There. I fixed it. Had to cut it with a hack saw. Total pain, but the result is sheer perfection. Just add a chair cushion and cop a squat!

But this is my fav by a long shot. Heather took this pic cause she was amazed at the "make do gene" in full swing. (I'm choosing to believe that.) I was talking on the phone to my sister while trying to do dishes and it just wasn't working. So while on the phone, I came up with this little baby. And actually, it was pretty comfortable AND I got the dishes done while chit chatting.

I have to brag on Heather... while she is not a "make do gene" person, I got a phone call from her last winter that surprised me. She was going to go for a walk on a cold winter's morning and couldn't find the dog's leash. Normally, she might have just decided not to go, at at least not to take the dog. But instead, I got a phone call while at work and I could tell she was walking. She told me that she couldn't find Mimi's leash but that she decided to push through it. "So what did you do?" I asked. "Oh, I just used one of the girl's belts," she said. And I was impressed and proud. I only wish I had a picture of that!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chloe Dances

She can't help herself. She dances with spontaneity throughout her day. It's one of the things that I really cherish about her. Sometimes she will just walk in the room and strike a pose for no good reason. And we can hardly ever get her to try on clothes without her strutting her stuff back and forth with this corny "I'm a model" look on her face, always ending it with her hands one her butt... butt in our faces... and looking over one of her shoulders at us.

The kid makes me laugh.

So last night I heard Chloe kind of yell out from our stairs and start crying a little. It was one of those cries that kind of said, "I'm not really hurt, but my sister just hit me for no reason and I'm not happy about it." One of those. Anyway, I went to find out what the deal was, and I was right; Evalee had shoved her sister while she was standing on the stairs.

I did the dad thing and said, "Why'd you push her?"

Evalee said she didn't really know why, just did it. "What was she doing?" I asked. So Evalee starts telling me that Chloe had her back to her, was standing on the stairs and was just sort of flailing herself around impromtu. So while she's telling me this, Chloe's tears turn to laughter and she starts cracking up at herself. Like REALLY laughing hard... and now so is Evalee and so am I.

"What were you doing?" I ask Chloe. "Just this," she says, and starts flailing herself around.

Now the thing I love about this is, she wasn't doing it for anyone... she didn't think anyone saw her. So she's just doing this little private dance for herself, being who God has hard-wired her to be.

I'm telling you...this is the stuff of life to me. Chloe brings so much fun and spontaneous joy to our family! And I seriously hope it never goes away.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

4th Folder, 4th Picture

I saw this on God Nudges and thought it would be fun. You're supposed to go to where you keep your photos on your computer and open the 4th folder, and then the 4th picture in that folder, and then put it on your blog and explain it.

Here's mine (and I'm not surprised)

This is from Christmas 2007. Chloe loves to dress up Mimi.

I am not clear how this dog is sooooo patient. There were about 50 different poses of Mimi with Christmas crap and riff-raff all over her. Poor baby. Just last week Heather let a 3-year-old girl put Mimi in her stroller and walk her around the cul-de-sac. And of course, Mimi just went along for the ride, sitting in a little baby doll stroller with her little legs dangling out.

This dog is such a sweetie head. A LITTLE SWEETIE HEAD!!!

The Glass Castle

I have to tell you about this book. If you are looking for a good summer read, The Glass Castle is exactly that. Heather's friend lent it to her, and when I saw it lying on our kitchen counter, I picked it up and made it an official read of my "stay"cation.

The Glass Castle is a memoir, not a novel, and is written by journalist, Jeannette Walls. She writes about her very strange childhood, sharing memories of her father, mother, brother, and sisters. She tells how her parents refused to conform to society’s ideas of responsibility. These were interesting and intelligent (brilliant actually) parents who were leaving their children to fend for themselves. But she tells her story without anger or self-pity, recalling memories that will shock you, and recalling them with an almost innocent presentation of the facts.

First line of the book: "I was on fire." And she's not kidding. What a great line to reel you in.

And I have to say, this book is NOT depressing and sad; it is fun, entertaining, thought provoking, and a quick easy read. There were times I was rolling at situations this woman remembers. It's one of those books that makes you go "Oh, that's right, I remember crap like that from my adolescence."

I'd recommend it to anyone, but for any of you who had a crazy childhood like mine, well... you HAVE to read this book!

Here's where you can pick it up for $9.00

I never really buy books for people, but the day after I finished it, I picked up a copy and sent it to my sister.

If you end up reading it, let me know. If you've already read it, comment and let me know what you thought.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Patio: Before and After


I've not been happy with this patio for a while - stained and ganked and driveway-ish.


It's amazing what a little elbow grease and some concrete stain can do. I'm loving this new little sitting spot.

This is a closeup of the stencil.

Okay - so now someone tell me to stop - cuz I still have the stencil and I've been known to take a good thing too far. I've put it away for now, but I'm dying to do more crap with it. We'll see if I've learned my lesson.

The patio is growing on Heather (her and Evalee are not Change Junkies)... but they'll come around.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Wedding

Well, the wedding was most excellent. I have to admit, it was nerve-racking seeing family that you haven't seen in almost 20 years, doing your best to see their "twenty year ago" face somewhere within their new face.

Mark was great. What I remember about him is still there. Still polite, still gentle, and still kind hearted.

It was great sitting down with him and noticing things. (The scar on his arm that I mentioned in this blog. Also, the dark piece of metal lodged in his ear from a lost bout with the swing set... things only family would know.

Life is strange. One minute things seem to be as they should be... and the next, well, they are as they should be. One minute we found ourselves splintered for 20 years, and the next, together.

It was an honor to stand up with Mark, to be some one's big brother, to tell him not to lock his knees out so he wouldn't fall down during the ceremony (that's the stuff of big brothers). It was also an honor to see him marrying into such a great family. Lisa's family is definitely a "salt of the earth" kind of family. She is one of 7 children, and is the oldest... the woman knew EXACTLY what was going on every minute of her ceremony.

Okay, so after the wedding, at the reception hall... I went into the bathroom, did my business (in my tux - not IN my tux), went to wash my hands, and saw this faucet. Actually a whole row of them. Like I said, I haven't seen Mark in almost 20 years, but I haven't actually lived with him since he was 13 and I was 14... and at that time, these were the faucets in our house! The year? 1984!!! I cracked up when I saw them, so I had to get a pic.

Thanks for all your kind comments on the above post - it was meaningful to come home and know that I was being supported and thought of. And I'm so glad I went. It would've been an easy opportunity to miss If I had just said, "I'm not sure it's going to work for me to be there," or "I work on the weekends, but God bless." But I didn't say those things. Instead, I said, "Mark who?" and when he said, "Uhhh... Mark your brother - I'm gettin' married. Wanna be my best man?" I responded, "Well...ummm...sure, I guess so." I mean seriously, how could I not do this? Everyone already knows I'm the best man.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

...when we were brothers

About six months ago my younger brother called me out of the blue and asked me to be the Best Man in his wedding. Seems normal enough. And it would've been normal except that I hadn't seen this brother in about 20 years.

20 years.


Mark is not actually my brother by blood. He is my step brother and came into my family when I was three and he was two. Our childhood was tumultuous, to say the least. We've reminisced over it the last six months, and it's good to know that I'm not crazy... that it really was what I thought. It's great to have another person validate what you remember and bring those dark memories into a brighter light, where they cast fewer shadows.

We've laughed a lot. Remembering when. We talked about the scar on his arm from sliding in our new socks in the basement; him running into a stack of curtains rods and slicing his forearm. We also made peace over the scar on my thumb that is purely his fault. We were sitting on a bench in the backyard while I whittled on a stick. He kept saying, "I just really feel like something bad is going to happen. Like something really bad!" I told him to stop saying that, and as I did, sliced my thumb and wound up in the emergency room getting stitches. I still can't bend my thumb all the way back.

Tonight on the phone I told him I was really glad we'd made this connection, and he agreed. But still, it was strange. We were... like brothers. Partly because we lived with each other until he left our home and went to live with his real mom when he was about 13. We'd spent 11 years of our lives together. How could we not be brothers? We'd seen all the same stuff go on. We'd lived it together... both of us.

I knew him then. I'd watch him read books at ten years old, knowing that none of the rest of us read like him... knowing that even though he lived with us, he was different than us. I knew he was really good in Math when none of the rest of us were. I knew he felt lonely sometimes... that even though he was now a part of a family with 4 children, that he was still, in many ways, an only child.

When he left, we took completely different paths. I saw him once when he was 18 and I was 19. He had really long hair (burn out hair) and I was peg-ankle-panted with a Gap sweater. We were entirely different and I felt less like I knew him then, than I ever had. But I guess I don't feel like that anymore. I feel like I know him. I feel like 20 years has solidified something born in our childhoods that cannot be unborn.

When we were brothers we got along. We were pretty respectful to each other (except when he insisted that "dreamt" [and not just "dreamed"] was past tense for the word "dream." He was right.

When we were brothers... I thought we'd always be brothers. But we weren't. At the time I'd only known life with him in it. We had walked to school with each other everyday. I'd wait on him and we'd walk home... together. And when we got home, I'd watch him pull his folded brown lunch sack out of his back pocket and set it on the kitchen table, as requested. And he knew I always forgot mine.

He also knew I loved paint-by-numbers and singing in our three-brother's-trio. And I did love it. He hated it.

So on the eve of the eve of his wedding, I've gotta say, I'm proud to be reconnected. So glad that he's back... or that I'm back... or that we're back. I didn't see it coming a year ago. I didn't expect that I'd be sitting on my front porch laughing about old times... about being eight and nine years old and sorting dental billing receipts for our parent's Dental Laboratory. I didn't expect we'd have so many of the same memories.

I guess I never really expected that we'd find each other again. Or that we'd open up so quickly. Or that we'd see the past...together, and remember it as it really was. And some of it was good. Actually some of it was really good... when we were brothers.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I got a bunch of pictures coming at ya! It was Evalee's last soccer game and I have NO IDEA why I waited this long to take pictures - getting that "good shot" was entirely exciting! I'll start with this collage and then take you through 'em. Man, what a game! We lost...but it was still a great game - and great things happened after the game. (See below)

So this is by far, my favorite shot of the day. This little girl was on her tail the entire game. Evalee is a pretty aggressive player - she goes after the ball. It's still weird for us that OUR daughter is showing a lot of natural athletic ability. Especially since Heather is no Mia Hamm, and I still have been known to refer to her soccer uniform as her "soccer outfit"... or worse, her "soccer costume." The word "rehearsal" has also been used when asking her coach about her next practice. Right... embarrassing.

Okay, so these next six pics are one single progression, in order, that I caught on camera LOVE!

Best part about the above pic? Look in the upper right hand corner, in the background. I love that my girls are growing up with that kind of love.

Okay - so here is why I call this post "trophy." This is Evalee's coach. He invited the team to Oberweiss for ice cream, sort of as the celebration of the end of the season. When we got there, he had personally bought every girl on the team a trophy... on his dime. And spoke personal words to each of them, nailing the qualities of each girl on the team before handing them their trophy. What a guy...seriously. He has been an insightful coach, who has challenged the girls, shown a great competitive attitude and demonstrated excellent sportsmanship.

Can't tell you how proud we are of this girl. She is quite a kid!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kinda Big News

First off, I'm a dreamer. You may not have known that. And by "dreamer," I mean, I absolutely believe it's possible for people to accomplish things they are not necessarily supposed to be able to accomplish. For instance, just last night I was at the house of a girlfriend of Heather's who told me about a friend of hers whose life ambition was to be in a professional production of "Cats" the musical. She put a picture up on her mirror of the cast of "Cats" and said to herself in the mirror everyday, "One day I will be in Cats." Guess what? She's in the Broadway Series Touring Company of "Cats." So it happens.

Anyway, about four months ago I sent my book away (The Blind Writer) to a website I frequent called "The Phantom Tollbooth." They are based out of Chicago and they review books, CDs, movies, etc. To get a review by them you are first subjected to The Phantom Tollbooth critics. IF you pass muster with them, and if they deem you worthy of a review on their website, then you're in. Well guess what?

I'm in.

Check it out HERE or read it below:

The Blind Writer (finding faith beyond our Christian subculture)
Author: Matt Bays
Email Address:
# Of Pages: 219
Publisher: Self published at
Purchase at

The Blind Writer is a breath of fresh air from someone who has definitely walked in most of our shoes before. It is an honest look at Christianity, faith, real life issues, and church as a whole. Matt Bays really lays it all out for you one witty chapter at a time. This is a must have for every person you know or meet­... that includes YOU!

I think that at one time or another we could all say that we have struggled with a certain religious view, people in the church (everyone is perfect and you are not, etc.) , or Christianity as a whole. This writers approach to faith…its ups and downs…and his real life stories intertwined throughout the entire book will have you feeling quite relieved that you are not alone in this struggle and that you are quite normal without all the “Well just Praise God sister” or the “Hallelujahs.”

Intertwined in the chapters you will find some of Matt Bays’ original poetry, as well as his real life stories from his heart. He shares some of the most real feelings about church, people, faith and Christianity. You get it straight from this author, there is no frill, no filler, no fluff…it is straight from his life lessons and story­, no sugar coating here! He tackles many issues that some may consider taboo, but I think they are all things everyone has thought at one time or another and have just not shared an opinion out loud about. For instance, Chapter 15 ­titled "The Blind Writer" ­tells us that A) The Blind Writer is a Nineteenth Century typewriter, just in case you, like I was, thinking what does that mean??? Now you know!! And B) one of my favorite points he makes in the book is found in this chapter! He says that “We have our lives and that is all; one life, one heart, one will, one chance.” He continues to talk about how the chapters of our lives are based on the choices you make during that moment in time and how they may be good or bad. We never know exactly what we will do, exactly what may be around the corner or what we are capable of until that time comes.

I wish every Pastor, every church member, every person in the world would read this book! It is an awesome, heartfelt work and deserves to be circulated around! I recommend that you go to and buy a copy, read it and pass it on. Buy one for a friend, Pastor or stranger! (I didn't even bold this part - it was in bold on the review)

Trish Cooper


You must know that this book rating of "5 tocks" is their highest rating and dubs your book "A Masterpiece." I KNOW!!!

So the fun part of finding all this out was coming to my office yesterday morning and receiving an email from Lily Pad that said, "Did you see it?" She was perusing their website and came across it, so she sent me the link to their website and my book review. I certianly did not see this coming. Thanks Lily Pad!

Check out their website HERE.

One last thing: if you check out the review on their website, (it's much more exciting seeing it there as opposed to my blog; kinda like seeing a movie on the big screen instead of on demand.) you will see my review just above Richard Foster's new book review. He's a biggie in the world of spiritual writers. Ever heard of "Celebration of Discipline?" That's him. (He was lucky enough to receive as high a rating on his new work as I did, so he's in good company.)

Well, there you have it. It's an exciting day... week... LIFE!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day.... for eating. So here's to good eats at the Harris'.

Still a little curious as to WHY they can't seem to get over the fact that I love food. That I love MY food. I've gained 17lbs in the last year, and this is how. Favorite foods these days: ice cream, cherry pie (see above), candy, danish stuff, sweet and salty bars, Heather's chocolate chip cookies, those cinnimon things from McD's, and Banket (pronounced "Bon-Ket") -which is a Dutch almond pastry you must all find and try. A nice cup of coffee and a piece (or three) of Banket, is indomitable. Banket has me convinced that it is entirely possible that God is of the lineage of the house of Diederik.

John and Beth's daughter, Tori took this pic. Ain't it gorgeous? (The pie, that is.) Yum!