Monday, January 4, 2010


I feel I need to apologize for not writing since October. I did not realize it had been that long, but I stepped away a little bit because I felt I was writing about all these dark and negative things so often. Like I was only letting out the crap, and I didn't like it. I have also been having more conversations so blogging became less necessary. Anyways, I am back, I think I am positive, hopefully I will find the time to do this more often once again. Just thought you should get a general note before you get the blog specific note before the actual blog then to the poem. I am making this way too complicated, I am sure of it.

OK so what is a blog other than a random collection of thoughts. I have been stewing on this since Saturday. The more I thought the more is came out in poetry form, this was bothersome since I never write or think poetically and especially without a rhyme scheme. So I started to hammer out my thoughts as I usually do, but I could not get rid of this stupid poetic junk, so I just decided the way to get rid of it was to get it out, then I could go back to normal rational thinking. Of course, then I finish, I like it, and I have nothing more to say. I left it all here for the mess and maybe the beauty. I hope you enjoy, I know I did...

What do I deserve? The only thing I can come up with is death. The old joke is that the only 2 things that are certain are death and taxes, well, I don't deserve taxes, the only thing I deserve is death. I am not really sure what got me thinking along these lines, but I am very much taken aback by these thoughts. I deserve nothing on this earth.

When I thought more about this, I started thinking about the word deserve. DE-SERVE...DE- means to remove (at least in my general estimation of the English language). I DEny, I DEplane, I DEstroy, I DEfect...they all imply negation or removal. I completely understand SERVE, I don't like doing it many times, but I get it. It is helping others achieve, it is putting others needs, wants and desires before my own, etc.

So through my rudimentary findings, to deserve is to remove service. It is saying that we do not need to serve anyone have a servant's heart to "deserve" that thing. But I do not deserve those things.


I deserve nothing.
Nothing more, nothing less.
There are things
That I have earned,
But most of it is a gift.

Gifts are given
Out of mercy or grace.
They are given
Out of someone else's
Service for me.

My education was earned
But the right to have it
That was a gift.
I did not derserve it,
I earned what was given to me.

My freedom was graciously given.
Blood and, more importantly,
Minds have allowed me
To have the freedoms
That I enjoy.

My salvation is by far
The greatest gift of all.
For mercy alone,
Saved me from my sins,
Through the death of perfection.

These are just a few
Of the gifts I have been given.
But none of them are DESERVED.
They were gifts out of others service.
These gifts were SERVED.

When I search for answers,
When I need a solution,
When I desperately try
To figure things out,
I find little, but empty places.

But what I have realized
Is that when I serve others,
I find those things I need.
When I take on THEIR problems,
I find MY solution.

It is as if helping them
Find their answers,
I find my own
somewhere along the way.
A gift for my service.

So where am I left?
How can I latch hold
Of this paradox of life?
My service creates my solution.
My giving is when I recieve.

Hard work for others sake,
Will return to me hundred fold.
If only I were not so selfish,
Or forgetful, or...whatever it is
that holds me back from this revelation.

To be known as one
Who DESERVES nothing.
Who serves for everything.
Who gives more than receives,
So that recieving is giving.

For my rewards are not solely in heaven.
They are the exponential return
On my service invested.
They are my solutions
To the exam of living this life.

I deserve nothing!
I deserve death!
I earn some gifts.
I was given others.
I serve, I have life!

--Isaac Morford

Sunday, October 4, 2009

From the Avett Brothers (via TWLOHA)

Jamie Tworkowski posted this yesterday, it is the mission statement for a CD by the Avett Brothers. A MISSION STATEMENT FOR A CD!!!!! It is awesome, never heard their music, but I will probably be buying some soon. This just rocks, hope you enjoy and maybe one day I will post an original thought again.


"The words "I" and "Love" and "You" are the watermark of humanity. Strung together, they convey our deepest sense of humility, of power, of truth. It is our most common sentiment, even as the feeling of it is so infinitely uncommon: each to proclaim these three words with his or her very own heart and mindset of reason (or lack thereof); a proclamation completely and perfectly new each time it is offered. Uttered daily and nightly by millions, the words are said in an unending array of circumstances : whispered to a newborn in a mothers arms; shared between best friends on the playground; in the form of sympathy - said by a girl to a boy, as the respect continues but the relationship does not. It is said too loudly by parents to embarassed children in the company of their friends, and by grown children - to their fading parents in hospital beds. The words are thought in the company of the photograph and said in the company of the gravestone. It is how we end our phone calls and our letters... the words at the bottom of the page that trump all those above it, a way to gracefully finish a message, however important or trivial, with the most meaningful gifl of all : the communication of love. And yet the words themselves have been the victims of triviality, a ready replacement for lesser salutations among near strangers, burst forth casually as "love ya." Truly? To what degree? Why, how much, and for how long? These are questions befitting of the stature of love, though not the everyday banter of vague acquaintance. The words have also been twisted by the dark nature of deceit : To say "I love you" with a dramatic measure of synthetic emotion; a snare set by those who prey uponn fellow humanity, driven to whatever selfish end, to gain access to another's body, or their money, or their opportunity. In this realm, the proclamation is disgraced by one seeking to gain rather than to give. In any case, and by whatever inspiration, these words are woven deeply in to the fibers of our existence. Our longing to hear them from the right place is maddeningly and simultaneously our finest strength and our most gentle weakness.The album "I and Love and You" is inashamedly defined by such a dynamic of duality. As living people, we are bound by this unavoidable parallel. We are powerful yet weak, capable yet temporary. Inevitably, an attempt to place honesty within an artistic avenue will follow suit. This is a piece which shows us as we are : products of love surrounded by struggle. The music herein is, in many ways, readable as both a milestone and an arrival. A chapter in the story of young men, it bridges the space between the uncertainty of youth and the reality of it's release. The record is full with the quality of the question and response. As far as questions go, there are plenty-normally residing within the tone and delivery of the lyrics themselves, which, ironically, are sung with so much confidence. Among songs and thoughts so driven and purposeful, the most basic relatable doubt comes through with a resounding clarity. Outside of the eternal theme of romantic love, the album speaks thankfully upon a landscape of light-filled rooms, word-filled pages, time machines, forgiveness, singing birds, ocean waves, art, change, confessions of shortcomings, and reasons to continue on. Hope and a cause for smiling follow naturally. In the midst of all this, there are allusions to the less-than-ideal conditions of life : the loss of memory, the inability to control temper, insecurity, indecision, jaded indifference, and the general plague of former and current weakness. "I and Love and You" is an album of obvious human creation, chracterized by it's best and it's worst. Emotional imperfection is a reality for those who recorded the piece, just as it is for those who will hear it. The conclusion of the song from which the title is taken admits that the words "I love you" have become "hard to say". And perhaps that difficulty is as common as it's counterpart. Perhaps the inability to say these heaviest of words is as much a part of life as the lighthearted candor of those who say them without any difficulty at all. And so it ends with the phrase whispered to and by those of us most defeated and most elated... I and love and you."
- The Avett Brothers

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crazy Plan Man!!!!!

OK, so I am almost finished with Don Miller’s book. He talks of riding his bike across the country (LA to DC) with a group to raise money for clean water wells in Africa. I have decided I want to do this, but cannot imagine doing this without my family being with me, so the immediate future is somewhat out of the question. And I can’t imagine riding without my crew, I don’t even know who that is, but I will need some company along the way. I have always wanted to see the country and I want to take my time and I want the experience and the story of doing this with my kids, and I want them to remember and be a part of this story.

So, here is the plan. In the summer of 2020 (just over 10 years from now), I am going. Carey just laughed at me when I said this on the phone, so she may or may not be coming with me/us. People can ride as much or as little as they want (though I want to ride it all). We will all have bikes, and we will have a car (or more if necessary) and ride. I am starting in Seattle (this gives me an excuse and a chance to go there) and get to the East Coast (I am thinking DC or maybe just here at home, good old Crescent Beach). I would love for this ride to raise money or awareness, but more than that, I want it to be an experience. I want to live this dream, I want to take my kids into this story.

And I may be an idiot for saying I will do this in 10 years, but why not?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

About time

So it has been a while for me (not that I don't have some kick ass excuses for not writing), but I have been in another low lately, and I was feeling like that was all I ever write about and I refused to be that guy. Isn't it amazing how nothing...little stupid things that you think about yourself just stick in your mind and get you down.

I really think that was part of the fall in the garden, by letting sin into our lives, we lost our confidence in ourselves...we lost our confidence in others. Why is it when I don't talk to someone for a while I feel this giant rift...I feel like they don't like me or love me...I feel like I am worthless and mean nothing to them...that I am uncared for and unloved. What makes it be that way? Could it have been that the tree of knowledge of good and evil made us recognize our evil nature, but since we were created in the image of God (who is good) we cannot stand ourselves? Maybe I am just making crap up here, but this seriously is making more sense to me know than ever before. When we have people that we love and respect we tend to think of them as better than us...that we are the lucky ones to be in the relationship with that person (again, maybe this is just me). So when I lose that communication that I am used to, I feel that they have finally wised up to my dirty sinful worthless nature. It is not that I think the worst of them, I think the worst of myself. I still get angry...I still project things onto them (because that is easier than actually cleansing the dirt from my own life)...I try to bring that person down to my own level in my eyes so that it feels that I haven't lost as much...but in reality, it may be nothing at all. It may be we are just both busy. It may be that it is just as much my fault that we have lost touch for a period of time. It may be that they are feeling the same way...

This is a random post because this is not even close to what I was thinking I was going to write about. I had some thoughts after reading the blog I just posted. I just loved some of the lines..."people make mistakes but maybe God does not." "There are people who invest in stocks and there are people who invest in stories." "easier to say 'community' from a stage, easier to be busy than known." "I'm 29 years old. I should have my shit together by now."

But the post is so much more than just a collection of good lines, it is about friendship and family and love and hope. It is a is is is what I want. I wish I were that open with my life...I wish I were able to talk about more than the latest sports stories and market problems and political agendas and church crap. I wish I had the balls to let people know wear my heart on my open my life up to people to read and learn and pray and peruse and possibly take the shit from my life and expose it to the air so that I can stop suffocating myself with it's stench being closed up hear the comments, negative or not, and know that it doesn't matter as long as I am being myself.

School will be back soon, so maybe that means I will get back into the posting spirit soon. Don Miller's book comes out soon, it is all about story and the life you are living (making your story great). It is only $13-14 at amazon, just FYI



Worth the read...Great lines, great words, great heart...I would add to the lists (crazy things worth doing just to say you did) Enjoy

There is a family headed west on I-10 right now...
Aug. 11, 2009 at 2:16pm

There is a family headed west on I-10 right now. This is for them...

Part of it was the place, this Canaveral condo, this house so much a home. i remember sitting with Byron in this living room five years ago, me on the couch and him on the chair across from me, me there and filled with questions, always bringing him my pain, because he would listen, because he was brilliant but more because he cared. i remember him listening for an hour, me talking through my tears... Eventually, in a quiet moment, he shared that he had some news of his own. His girlfriend Amanda was pregnant. They had been close to breaking up but now she was pregnant with his child. i remember not knowing what to say but finally asking how he felt and i remember him saying that people make mistakes but maybe God does not.

Isabella Pearl was born some months later, her middle name a picture of redemption. There was no shotgun wedding, no cheap whispered promises... only questions and patience and pain and hope. It was an uncertain season.

The wedding did eventually come, some more months later, after time apart, after time together, after all their searching. He flies to Boston, they drive to New York, he takes a knee on the Brooklyn Bridge, asks for her forever. On the same trip, he has coffee with a man he respects, a man he's met only once before. Byron talks about his life, this surprising season, the reason he's in town. After an hour together, the man says "i feel like i'm supposed to give you this." The guy hands Byron an envelope, Byron opens it two hours later at the airport. Two thousand dollars. (There are people who invest in stocks and there are people who invest in stories.)

The wedding came when they were ready, when the promise could be true, for love is a choice much more than it's magic. They moved the couch out of the living room and got married with the sliding glass door open, next to sea and under stars on a New Years Eve. i said a few words, about not knowing who i would be without his friendship. i can't remember if i said it but i hope i said that i believe in their story.

Baby Eve is born. Byron takes a job with TWLOHA, first as an assistant, soon as our Director of Operations. He shines. It's hard to tell his life from his work from his dreams. i mean that in the best way. We rent a bungalow. Interns begin to arrive. They watch football at his house. They eat dinner at his house. Baby Eden is born.

i could say other things, that we ended up on different pages for a time, that i am difficult to work for, that i am not the healthiest person. It's hard to navigate the waters of ego, pain and pride. It's hard to have a single honest relationship - easier to say "community" from a stage, easier to be busy than known. We hurt each other. We let each other down.

Some weeks go by. Weeks with silence. We're both offended. He decides it's time to move on. He quits a good job in an economy where people don't quit jobs, where people don't make choices because they believe in them, because they live one time and want to do it well...

He and i are fine now. Time has a way of putting things back where they belong. Love has a way of breaking the silence. There is a bigger story...

And so a new chapter, this family headed north and west today, to make a home in New Orleans. To give themselves to a city as it comes back to life, to raise the girls in a place filled with history and poverty and diversity, to be part of a bigger story. Byron is going back to school. His is that brilliant mind that will never stop asking questions, never stop learning. There is not a lot of money, not a certain plan. Oh and Amanda is pregnant again. ("You're kidding me" and "No way" have been common responses.)

We said goodbye last night. This is the guy who introduced me to my favorite band, the guy who taught me it was okay to ask the questions you aren't supposed to ask, to say the honest thing, to be creative. He suggested that there are things more valuable than money, that maybe people matter most. He talked about the value of a place, a good idea, something true inside a moment or a song...

It crossed my mind to play it cool. i cried about it last week, broke down in front of a room full of people - our entire team and even some strangers - it would be easier not to cry. Besides, everyone else said their goodbyes without crying. i'm 29 years old. i should have my shit together by now. i should be able to say goodbye without crying. i should be able not to need people.

Or maybe this is okay, maybe this is the way that i was made, to feel things, to say things. i don't know. i just know that i started to walk away and then i stopped. And we've been down this road enough, done enough life together, that neither one of us had to say anything.

He told me once that he believed friendship might be life's greatest gift. What an amazing thing to feel known and loved, to feel understood, to walk through life with another person. i remember that it all felt true when he said it and i know that it has stayed with me.

i eventually told him through tears that he will leave a great space, that things won't be the same, that he can't be replaced. He said the words meant a lot, because it's something we can't tell ourselves, what we mean to other people. We hope we do but it's powerful to hear it, significant to hear it.

i forget which one of us said it first but we have agreed and said for years now that there are things in life worth crying about. (We added to this list: things worth screaming about, questions worth asking, trips worth taking...) It was true last night and i suppose it's true in this moment.

i don't have a magical ending except to say that i hope you get to experience this sort of friendship, this gift that Byron talked about, this thing that's like a miracle. i hope you get to say these things and hear these things. i hope you get front row seats for a story as good as Byron and Amanda's. And part of me hopes, for you and for myself, that you get to live that sort of story.

New Orleans is a better place today.

Peace to you.

PS: New Music from our friends:
Beggars by Thrice (iTunes only)
Spain by Between the Trees
The Rising by David Hodges (iTunes only)

i am currently full-blown obsessed with these two songs:
Along the Wall by Leigh Nash
In Exile by Thrice

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Word Vomit: What is Church

This one deals with a book, What is Church?, there are probably some spoilers from the book in here, but I try to leave as much to the author as I can. Also, the language here in is rougher than usual, but I am running on less sleep, and therefore less filter. Enjoy:

OK, well, it has been too long…for me at least. I hope maybe you feel the same way. I am sitting here like an idiot…I have a house full of sleeping women, finally (no small feat with a 1 week old, 3 year old, and recently pregnant wife). But I had to go and read a few more pages of my book before bed, and now I cannot sleep, even though I know I desperately need it.

Reading What is Church? by Mike Bishop, kinda a random connection in that I go to church with his parents, but we have never met. I have heard his dad talk about his blog, but I just waved it off, his parents gave my wife this book and she enjoyed it and told me I HAD to read it ASAP. Because she was kind enough to not read me too much of it while she was reading it, I decided I should read it and get it out of the way. It is short and much less embarrassing to take to the hospital for a few nights than the next book on MY list, Kosher Adultery (think that would have gotten a few awkward looks from people there since I was there for the birth of my second child, this still makes me laugh when I think about it). I have been reading along, and it is a great read, something that has affirmed many of my thoughts and ideas about church and how we do things so poorly. Chapters 1-5 are good, like we think alike (and really how my wife thinks about things). Carey has been upset like I don’t get it or don’t think it is good or don’t agree or just don’t want to talk about it. It is really that it is the conversations we have been having for a while now, and it is a story of his journey living through some of the things we have talked about. Nothing extraordinary and since I have never needed people to back up my position on something (at least people I have never met).

But then I got to the new, the place where he started to take my ideas further, he completed my sentences, thoughts, and connected some new dots for me. For you who have become accustomed to my writing, this is where I tend to state, “He started kicking my ass!!!!!” This is a very positive thing…I love it…this is where my growth happens…this is where I thrive…this is awesome!

This all happened here in CH 6, Apprentices of Jesus. He talks about church as a college class, where the professor is the pastor and the students are the congregation. What I loved was this concept of going to class to get fed, but our tests are individual and not necessarily covering what we have been taught. So we go to more classes or office hours or read the recommended readings not just the required, or we lose faith in the class itself…what is the point if the tests aren’t limited to the teaching? Or that the test is from a graduate level course and we are only in a first year course? This was mind blowing to me (please read this for yourself, he shares it with much more insight and length). Being a school teacher, I got this picture so clearly. What is the point of the lessons if they are not related to the tests? And then what does that mean? What do we do with that? What is Church? (Sounds like a good title for a book).

As is pretty normal for me, I just kept right on reading instead of letting this epiphany sink in completely. Within a few pages, I came to a section talking about A.A. and how it could be a great model for churches. This is something close to my heart, hence the title of this blog. I have never had any relationship with A.A….I have never been to a meeting…I have never known of anyone who has been through the program (though I am sure I know people who have been, it has never been a topic of discussion so their attendance has been just that, anonymous)…I have never had a alcoholic family member or friend whose life was in need of this program…but I have always had a draw to this group…this concept of community…this idea of hope…this honesty…this beauty of redemption…this pain and hope being shared together in love and equality…this understanding that we are all equal in that we are screw ups, each in their own unique way. It is the same things that have drawn me to my favorite organizations I do partake in, TWLOHA and PostSecret.

In this segment, Mike offers that maybe our churches should be organized more like an A.A. meeting. He also shared the 12 common traditions of A.A. They are so powerful in their simplicity and purpose. They were created so that no one could take credit or “heroship” for what was being achieved through this organization locally and on a broader scale. It was to keep the organization in check, to keep them on their message of helping people defeat their addiction to alcohol. How did the church miss this step? How do we have so many heroes and gurus and leaders and know-it-alls and founders and blah blah blahs and la-di-freakin-da’s? How do we have so many people point the way to Him is through them? Again how can the world get it so right and we get so absolutely fucked up? Don’t get me wrong, you can see from this blog I read my “favorites” and I follow certain people (writers especially) that I cannot wait to read again or hear their new thoughts. But we have to be careful to not think or more likely ACT like that person has it all together or to help them bring glory to themselves. We can use their thoughts and ideas and sometimes even their example to help us grow, but we must be ever aware that they are not the answer, Jesus is the answer, and if they ever change that thought through word or deed, we need to let them go. It is so much bigger than a person. It is a person, who was also God.

I am not going to repeat the 12 traditions here for brevity and so I do not steal too much more of Mr. Bishop’s idea (READ IT YOURSELF!!!!!). But this does bring me to meld these two thoughts together, what is the point of “church” if the tests aren’t over what we have already covered? Secondly, can it all be covered even in a lifetime or are we always going to be relegated to some cliffs notes version? And is the answer to the first part that it is about the community and the relationships, then why are we always subjected to some boring ass, I have heard this before, watered down, spun or twisted version of some historical shit shoved down my throat, interspersed by the rare exception? Why aren’t we effectively fostering relationships, enabling conversations, consistently letting people tell their stories and their history, or just share their most recent thoughts, or hopes, or dreams? Why do went a family terribly ends up in divorce are we seen as siding with one or the other? Why can’t we love both together or apart? How is it not more about the people?

I have said it before, but I feel the need to repeat myself here…I AM NOT ANTI-CHURCH…but I do believe that we have screwed up so much in church I understand why others, Christian or non-Christian, are turned away in droves. If the church is going to survive in reality or in relevance, we must start to right this ship. We must learn our lessons, we must find that which is important, and we must get it together. We must get back to the church that God intended us to be.

I am not claiming to know exactly what that is, but I know I come alive in community, I come alive in relationships, I come alive in hearing other people’s stories, I come alive in eating together and drinking together and smoking cigars together and hanging together and watching movies together and laughing together and crying together and opening the word together and riding together and in arguing together and being silent together. I come alive in firing text messages back and forth or reading the same article or knowing my friend made it somewhere safely or knowing that I am being thought about or prayed over or that I have someone to call if/when I screw up or hearing my friend’s heart in an email or baring my soul to my four friends in a blog or sharing a book. I come alive with these people that do not judge me for my occasionally crude language or comments or unnecessary thoughts or weird takes on things, I come alive with them because I KNOW they love me for many of those things, and while they challenge me to improve, they do not require it for their love. And these are things that are not happening or being fostered in church, they are typically being done with people from my church, but we have gone so far as to not-so-jokingly call ourselves the underground so that people at church don’t find out about us and our love of community and relationship. Now that was word vomit if I have ever seen it. And only 2 hours of possibly great sleep wasted. If you are reading this, I love you…I don’t say it enough, but you mean the world to me, you keep me sane (or at least my version of it). If you just happened upon this blog for the first time and you have read all of this crap, I love you too. Just to read it all means you get me in some way, and that is pretty darn cool.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lots of reading lately...

Figured I would share what I could. Most have been linked to me through Twitter.

Blog on Failure: (From Carey)

Bono Op-Ed piece about renewing your SOUL:

Good Music is Healthy!!!!!

Being Chronically Discontent

I hope you enjoy...maybe with some conversation to come...