Bacon powder, bacon cake, intestimonies, and pinkies


Emeth: What’s that?
Daddy: Baking powder.
Emeth: Can we put the bacon powder on our bacon?

* * * * *

We should save some bacon for my bacon cake.

- Emeth, referring to his third birthday when we made an egg casserole with bacon in it for breakfast.  There were candles on top.

* * * * *

Micaela: I feel bones in the back, but not in the front.
Mommy: Yeah, in your belly there are mostly muscles and organs, like your stomach, and intestines, and…
Micaela: [Interrupting] Yeah, like testimonies.

* * * * *

He uses his pinky finger for a pinky because he goes like this.

- Micaela, as she sticks her pinky finger up her nose.  Pinky is the way she first said hanky.  We’ve been calling them pinkies ever since.

Give us this day our dairy bread


Micaela: When I get married, I think I will have a different color dress.
Mommy: Oh yeah?  What color?
Micaela: Blue!  Or maybe pink, or red, or purple.
Emeth: I want wear a boat shirt.  Maybe someone will decorate a shirt with a boat.

* * * * *

Emeth: I call rutabagas “tatoes.”  They taste like they are a little sweet.

* * * * *

Daddy: [Reading from Luke 11] “Father, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread…”
Emeth: [Turns and looks at mommy] Mommy, maybe sometime you can get dairy bread and we can have it for breakfast.

Letter to myself (1998)


Dear Joseph,

Greetings from the year 2014.  You may be wondering how you are receiving a letter from the future.  Those details aren’t important right now.  Besides, haven’t you ever seen Back To The Future?

Yes, I know that is your favorite movie.  And there is a lot else I know about you.  I have a very intimate knowledge of you.  How, you may ask?  Because I am you.  I am the twenty-nine year old you.

If you still don’t believe me, I will tell you something that no one knows but you.  On the Saturday after your 13th birthday you sat motionless with your eyes pressed to a static television because you wanted to ruin your eyes just enough to cause you to need glasses.  You secretly aspire to look (and sing) like Rivers Cuomo.

If it’s not messing too much with the time-space continuum, I will let you in on a little secret: one day you will have glasses, and they really aren’t all they are cut out to be.  And to save yourself the trouble, just get the frames you really like from the start, even if they cost extra.  The comfort is worth it.  Oh, who am I kidding!  Its all about the style.

I digress.  Proofs aside, you are probably wondering what has motivated me to write to you.  I am still wrestling with that question myself.  Part of me feels that my words will be wasted.  That you will disregard any advice I could give because you are stubborn.  That I shouldn’t even write because you need to learn on your own.  To make your own mistakes and learn from them.

So, I won’t tell you all of the stupid mistakes you will make in life, or the decisions I think you should avoid, because then you won’t have the opportunity to be matured and humbled by them.  Instead, I will share one simple truth with you.  It is simple, but you will easily forget it.  I think I do no harm by sharing this, because it is not a formula.  It is not a fact.  It is just a truth.

You will often think this truth ineffective or dated when viewed through the lens of our complex world.  I can only encourage you to hold to it, as not many others will.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.  It’s this: pray.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before.  C’mon cratchety old man!  Tell me something good.  Not what I already know.”  Bear with me, boy.

You are very analytical.  You love to figure things out.  You want to find the formula to life.  You often ask, “What is the best way to follow God?”  You are incessantly trying to figure out the best way to live.  You think that the Bible is a matter of black and white.  Right vs. wrong.  Good vs. evil.  And that all Christians should more or less be the same in their convictions, and that if they aren’t, then they haven’t read their Bibles very closely.  You expend so much energy on this endeavor, and it often leaves you confused, mentally paralyzed and in despair.

That is okay.  I can relate.  I can understand.  (I am you.)

This tendency of yours will not stop.  It will just manifest itself in other ways as you get older.  You have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.  Not just facts.  (You have no mind for facts.)  You seek wisdom and you love to learn.  This is a wonderful thirst, and I would say don’t give it up.

Sometimes this love can be twisted though (as can all our other loves).  You will find yourself turning to the endless babble and opinion of others through books, sermons, blogs, articles and podcasts.  (You’ll learn what they are soon enough.)

How does this relate to prayer?  I will answer my question with another: if the Holy Spirit is your helper, then why do you turn to everything and everyone else but him for your help?  Why do you try to make life into a formula rather than a fellowship with him?  He will guide you if you let him.

Like I said, it is simple.  You are even wondering now, “But how?”  There you go again, trying to figure out the method.  Just daily ask to be filled with the Spirit.  Ask for wisdom.  Ask for discernment.  He will provide it.  Just don’t expect to be hit over the head with it.  It will come as unassumingly as the breeze on your face.  It’s nothing mystical.  But you must pay attention.  Turn off the noise and slow yourself down so you can be undistracted enough to listen.  Relationships take time to nurture.

I have said enough.

May you be filled,

P.S. – Don’t bother to write.  The postage is very expensive.  I doubt USPS would know how to calculate the postage appropriately anyway.

P.P.S. – Hopefully this letter didn’t get too crinkled in the black hole.

A prayer to the god of this world


Blessed be the one-and-three,
to thee, O god, we bend our knee,
blessed holy trinity.

Holy father, Amazon,
your net we praise and shop thereon,
ship us blessings by the ton.

From your storehouse give us bread,
fill our home and cloud our head,
give us stuff till we are dead.

God incarnate, blessed son,
we bow our eyes and pray thee come,
to dull our eyes and make us dumb.

Stay my eyes and heart on thee,
keep me from both grass and tree,
only you I want to see.

iPhone, my love, my life, my king!
To you eternal, I will sing!
I’ll worship you at every ding.

Holy Google, helper, spirit,
into your engine we commit,
our hearts and questions to your wit.

Guide us in your paths this day,
teach us all we need to say,
teach us how to thee to pray.

Blessed be the three-in-one,
Google, iPhone, Amazon,
in your presence we are undone.  Amen.

How great is this darkness


I have grown up in the wealthiest, most consumeristic country in the world.  I have been taught to measure economic growth purely in numbers: number of jobs created, the unemployment rate, GDP, imports and exports.

I have been through 29 years of indoctrination.  My teachers are men and women paid six figure salaries to create marketing strategies and advertisements directed at my exact social stratum, pounding into my head again and again that I am a consumer, and that in order to have significance, meaning and attractiveness in this world I must consume.  Resources must be used.  Happiness is only meant to be temporary, so keep buying, baby, because you need another cheap thrill.  Oh, but make sure you shop with reusable bags and recycle the plastic packaging.  Otherwise your conscience might get the best of you.

When I am told to consider the generations after me, it is only in relation to Social Security and government dependance.  “There’s no use trying to stop the Monster now.  Besides, he provides for us like a rich, drunken father.  Perhaps if we keep him inebriated on the blood of our children he won’t bother us.”  Our tip-of-the-hat to the next generation has nothing to do with truth, justice, or sustainability.  No thought or word is given to the possibility of the earth being so raped of her resources that Social Security will be the furthest thing from security that money can buy.

Some people work as hard as they possibly can to survive, making our clothing for the next micro-trend, living day to day with barely enough money to feed their families.  They come home and sit on a mostly dry dirt floor, with walls and a roof made from the garbage heap down the street.

Some of us can sit on our lazy tush all day and “get paid” by social services, order out pizza and eat on Styrofoam plates and drink Miller High Life out of red, plastic cups while watching “Hoarders,” then go shopping with the leftovers from the same check, accumulating endless trinkets and distractions for ourselves and our children, filling our home with the endless noise of television and battery operated toys.

But who am I to talk?  Am I really that much different?

“I want to live more simply.”  I go to clean out the closet.  Where to start?  Open the doors.  Take everything out and put it on the bed.  “Oh, what’s this?  One of my drawings from third grade.  Oh, perhaps I should make a binder for these.  I guess I’ll punch some holes in it.  Where’s that extra binder again?”  I go up in the attic and shift around some boxes that were never unpacked from the previous three moves.  I find my childhood collection of baseball cards.  “I wonder how much these are worth?”  I go downstairs to the computer and search the internet for ‘baseball card values.’  Pennies.  Back to the closet.  “Oh Rache, look!  My rare coin collection.  How many state quarters did I end up collecting?  Looks like I only got up to Nebraska.  Better see if I have any more in the vase out by the front door.”

In the land of the free, I have made myself a slave.

It takes serious resolve and a swimming upstream to be free from the curse of accumulation.  To break from the gravitational pull of our endless mountains of stuff.  “And some [seed] fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it.”

How much fruit would be born in our lives if we did some occasional weeding?  How many gifts are being squandered and buried under heaps of distractions?  How much love and affection is being given to lifeless possessions rather than the lives in front of us?  How much energy is being wasted on endless maintenance of all our modern conveniences?

It is interesting that right after Jesus says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,” he says, “The eye is the lamp of the body.  So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

I’ve always seen this saying as a non-sequitur.  Why is he talking about light and darkness and the eye in between two sayings about money?  (He follows it with, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.”)

Perhaps when my life is consumed with money and possessions, my eye cannot focus on one thing.  It flits, from one distraction to the next.  Like a squirrel nervously protecting its many stashes.  My eye, like my mind, cannot focus, constantly giving its attention to distractions.  My mind falls into the schizophrenic habit of only being able to focus for seconds at a time.

And in so doing, my eye, like my mind, becomes unhealthy, as though a cloud of darkness constantly hovers over my eyes, and I am stuck in an endless rainstorm.  My feet buried too deep in the mud of my possessions to move.  Oh, how great is this darkness!

Demons don’t need to possess me.  I am possessed by my possessions.


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