Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

Miss Bessy likes our new patio furniture...............

And she likes to watch the firepot too...........

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Latest Celebrity Sighting

My regular readers may remember that I have some strange dreams. Don't always post about them all, because I have so many.

But the celebrity cameos are always amusing.

I recently dreamed that I was on my way to Paris with a group of friends. One of those friends happened to be Liam Neeson. This was a first appearance for Mr. Neeson in my dreams. So nice of him to stop by.

We landed in Paris at night and went straight to check into our hotel. Then we decided to go out for dinner. (We're in Paris right?) So we found a great African restaurant (????) where they were serving some sort of braised beef ribs. There was a lot of noise coming from a back room. I got up to investigate and found Shirley MacLaine hosting a dinner. So good to see her, you know?

I have NO idea why my subconcious strings things together like this, but it's good for a laugh. This one wasn't as fun as the one a few weeks back...........where I was having dinner with John Elway, and we ran into Robert De Niro. I literally woke up laughing.

I do have people I actually know in my dreams...........some more than others but those dreams are not as funny.....

Now you know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tunesday Summer Version

Summer finally being a good thing.

Certain songs just have a summer feel to them, for obvious reasons.........

Sheryl Crow is a favorite of mine. Most all of her music has a summer feel to it...but this one in particular.

Friday, June 18, 2010

71 Degrees

After extensive research I have determined that the perfect temperature for riding around with the top down on your convertible is 71 degrees.

Not too hot..........not too cool.

Please realize that these research results are only accurate if you are At Altitude, and if there is sun, with no cloud cover. And I think you have to be a Colorado native, acclimated to the atmospheric conditions locally.

You can have the top down at lower temperatures, even down to 55, if you put the windows up, and turn the heat on. However then.......... you look like a goof.......

When the temperature is over 88, this can still be quite comfortable, unless you're in a traffic jam on I-25, sitting still, and you're dressed for the office. But if you're moving along, 88 is okay, or even's all about air flow.

All of the above is amplified with the appropriate music choice, loud of course, because the top is down, and you have to crank it up.

You're welcome.

Just trying to pass along helpful tips.

One's not nearly as impractical to purchase a convertible if you live in Colorado as I had originally thought. Seven out of twelve months I have had at least a few days with top down.

Always wanted one.............

Love my convertible.

PS, you can't be one of those girly girls who don't like it when your hair gets blown, I love it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tunesday for Dad

Well with Father's Day coming up on Sunday, I thought I'd do a song just for Dad.

My Dad is responsible for my love and appreciation of music. My earliest memories always involve music being played, all styles, on Dad's latest stereo gear. He liked it loud too..........He listened to crooners, jazz, big band, movie soundtracks and lots of other styles too. I know my varied taste in music comes from those early years, hearing all the great music he played, and learning to love it all.

I found this song, which shows two people together, both of whom we listened to a lot. This was back in the good old days when singers mostly kept their political views to themselves, and we just appreciated their talent.

So get ready for a trip down memory lane, Dad.............circa 1971. more, Dad, because I know you love this song.....

Monday, June 14, 2010

In Need of a Good Laugh

I think we need to inject a little humor around here..............

I live in the land of SUVs, driven by soccer moms, talking on their cell phones........and cutting you off in traffic.

Everywhere you see what I call the roll call bumper stickers......apparently, the soccer moms need to have an easy way to determine if they've left someone behind....or if everyone is accounted for. I get this...........when I was a youth pastor I constantly did head counts......but then I sometimes had 40 or 50 kids to account for.

So here's an example of what I see everywhere I go......

Gotta admit, I find these silly and on some lower level........annoying.

So much to my delight, here's a version I saw the other day.

Now that's funny.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dana Key - Gone to His Rest

I know some of you reading this don't even know his name. But watch this and you'll know why his passing leaves such a void.

Dana Key Memorial Video Tribute from Daniel Zapata on Vimeo.

More About Dana

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tunesday In Mourning

As I stumbled around Facebook this morning, I saw a photo posted with comments that made no sense. I clicked around, only to find the terrible and sad news.

Dana Key, died in Memphis last night, from a ruptured blood clot. He was 56 years old. He leaves behind a wife of many years, Anita, and three children. He also leaves behind a congregation of people at a church in Memphis where he had been pastoring since 2001.

I first met Dana when he came to Denver on tour with DeGarmo & Key. I was working for a local promoter and showed up that morning to oversee the day. It was a tough day. Though their band bus made it right on time, the truck full of gear broke down in the Colorado mountains. The eager D&K fans had lined up outside the Denver theater when I arrived that morning, I knew I would have to face telling them. We were able to reschedule for 2 nights later with the venue and the band, but I had a few thousand people who were going to show up for a concert that wasn't going to happen. The band and crew headed off to their hotel. Dana decided to stay. Every 20 or thirty minutes I would go find him, and he would go outside with me, when I went to give the bad news to the fans outside. I could tell they were impressed at meeting him and getting a personal handshake. I never forgot that day.

Over the next years, Dana was always kind and gracious whenever our paths crossed. He did radio interviews longer than he needed to, once spending an hour talking about his "Part of the Mystery" album. (Gotta find that tape). He patiently sat through filming silly video footage for a music video show I was working on. He was an amazing guitarist and had a REALLY great voice for rock and roll. But I liked his solo stuff even more.

Here's Dana singing a Larry Norman tune.

I loved that voice. Facebook is filled with people talking about him being in heaven (which I believe)and saying that we should be rejoicing (I understand the sentiment). But can I just be real here and say that I am very, very sad to hear of his death? He was a wonderful man of God. I went to his church's website from time to time, to listen to his sermons. He loved teaching the Word. I liked hearing his voice.

This will take some time to sink in. I guess I always thought I'd eventually cross paths with him again. Something more than being a friend on Facebook.

This is a sad day.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

June Sixth

Good-night! good-night! as we so oft have said
Beneath this roof at midnight, in the days
That are no more, and shall no more return.
Thou hast but taken up thy lamp and gone to bed;
I stay a little longer, as one stays
To cover up the embers that still burn.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Kahlil Gibran

I have decided, after some reflection, to repeat a post that I wrote a year ago.

It's now been 21 years since that day, June 6, 1989 when my life suddenly changed forever.  I know that there are those who would say that I should move on, or that it's not healthy to continue to carry these things around with me.

I adamantly disagree.

Just in recent weeks, I was "introduced" through the world of blogging, to a woman who only recently experienced similar tragedy.  Reading some of her story lead me back to this belief...........

The pain and sorrow I endured those many years ago, equip me to be, if nothing else, a listening ear for those who find themselves in these moments when the evil and violence of this world, come crashing into their everyday life, and leave them changed.

So first, I republish my post from this same day last year, with some updates that people have requested.

June 6, 1989 fell on a Tuesday.

1989, twenty years ago.

That Tuesday was a typical early June day in Denver. Overcast in the morning, slightly humid. It had been rainy and chilly for several days, but the sun came out that afternoon.

Tuesdays were long for me. As a youth pastor, on the staff of a large church, Tuesdays meant Staff Chapel at 8 a.m., followed by Pastoral Staff meeting at 10am. Depending on the agenda for the meeting, we often found ourselves buried well past the lunch hour.

Don't remember one thing about that day's meeting, but when it finally ended, I called a friend and we made plans for that night, for dinner and a movie.

Back in my second floor office, I sat at my desk.........staring out at the Virginia Creeper vine that surrounded my window. The sunlight was hitting it just so, and it was flourishing with all the recent rain.

I decided to call an old and dear friend, who was living and working in the Northwest. I had known Craig, and his wife, since our junior high days, and he had proceeded me as youth pastor at our church.

His voice was comforting, as it always had been during other bumpy periods in my life. It was good to talk with someone sympathetic about my growing restlessness and frustration, not about being a youth pastor, but with the day to day "politics" that are prevalent in just about every church. He understood, he had walked that same path.

We talked for a half hour or so, I heaved a big sigh, told him I was going home, but he left me with an assignment.

"Go out and have some fun tonight. Promise me.... you will go have fun. You need it. Everything will work out".

So I headed home to my little apartment. Happy to have some time to myself. And looking forward to an early dinner and maybe a movie, to take my mind off the growing sense that life was coming to a crossroads. It was a feeling I'd been having for months. Couldn't put my finger on what, but I felt a certainty that my life needed to, and was going to ....... change.

I had no idea that afternoon how dramatic that change would be. I had no idea, because I was living on this side of the dime.

You know, the dime. "Life turns on a dime".

THAT dime.

It would take multiple posts, and hours and hours, and even then, I couldn't possibly tell the whole story, with all of it's twists, and turns, and miracles and yes, with all of it's traumas.

On June 6, 1989, evil men would come into my world and my life.

But I didn't know that yet. All I knew early that evening was two very close friends picked me up, and we were looking forward to spending an evening together. After an early dinner, we decided not to see a movie, but had a wonderful night none the less. Driving around, laughter, lively conversation. Just the night Craig had assigned me.

At the end of the evening, they dropped me off at my apartment, headed back to Steve's house, where those evil men were waiting.

One of the many miracles that happened that night was the miracle that I didn't walk into that house where they were lying in wait. They came to kill my friend Frank, to keep him from testifying in a robbery trial. Things like that didn't happen here, and they certainly didn't happen in my life.

They murdered Frank and Dan, and left Steve for dead.

When my phone rang at midnight, Steve was on the other end, and in that moment life turned on a dime.

I began learning about things I never thought I would know.

I know too much about cops and crime scenes. About detectives, and district attorneys. About line ups, and investigations, and evil people who live in a culture of crime. I know what color fingerprint dust is.

I know too much about paramedics, and emergency rooms, and having a police officer posted outside your friend's hospital room. I know how it feels to see your life on the front page of the newspaper, and the top story on the local news.

I eventually would also know too much about trials, and courtrooms. Judges and juries. About motions and delays, and how slowly the "wheels of justice" turn.

And how in the end..........there is no justice.

I also learned about friendship. About the people who stick with you, and those you only thought were your friends. I learned that churches are not always good at being there for you when you need them the most. And that a significant number of people are quick to think the worst of you, NOT give you the benefit of the doubt.

But not all the things I learned are bad things.

I learned what it means to have a "peace that passes all understanding". I know what it feels like to be in the palm of God's hand. I know what the sunrise looks like the morning after, when you realize that you are alive and little things like where you live or what your job is, or even where you will be in a week .......don't really matter.

What matters instead is that you are alive and God is still in control, and you will find a way to pick up the pieces of your shattered life. Because guns can't destroy everything.

I learned that some people will take you in. Literally take you in. Give you harbor and sanctuary. A place to lay your head. Feed you, love you, nurture you, make you feel safe again. Because of those friends I learned how to care for other people, even when it's hard, or scary, or messy.

I learned that police officers and homicide detectives can be your heroes. And that prosecuting attorneys will fight with all their might against the bad guys. They will take it personally, and do everything they can to put those bad guys away.

I know for sure that most things in life are not all good or all bad.

I know what the word bittersweet means.

I know that tragedies and miracles can lay side by side on the dining room floor.


June 6, 2010

A few clarifications:

"I learned that churches are not always good at being there for you when you need them the most. And that a significant number of people are quick to think the worst of you, NOT give you the benefit of the doubt."

  • I was a youth pastor when all this happened.  The church where I worked was not a safe and healing place for me.  I know now, that people don't always know what to say, so they say nothing, or avoid you entirely.  You feel invisible.  People at the church used "prayer requests" to spread half truths and lies.  This caused doubts and gossip, all in the guise of concern.  In the end, I resigned.  My parents, and Steve's parents left the church.  Both sets of parents had been at that church for more than 30 years.  Not all churches would respond this badly.  But sadly, in the years since, I have run across hundreds of people, with similar stories.   People in their greatest hour of need, and finding their church has failed them.  It's my opinion that the "church system" is woefully broken and in need of repair.  This is not a statement concerning my faith, which has stayed intact.  But we need to do a better job of taking care of each other.
"And how in the end..........there is no justice."

  • The men who brought all this devastation into my life have taken different paths.  One, is in prison with a life without parole sentence, and will never get out.  One, killed himself in prison a few years back, leaving a note which said he was doing "what the State of Colorado should have done".  Shockingly enough, the third man has recently become a free man.  Plea bargains, and a horrendously broken justice system has said that he has paid his debt to society.  Really?
"I know that tragedies and miracles can lay side by side on the dining room floor."
  • Someone emailed me and asked what that last line of the post meant.  Those familiar with the circumstances understand.  For everyone else.......Steve and Dan were lying on the dining room floor that night, held at gunpoint.  They were both shot in the head from point blank range.  Dan died and Steve survived.  I still don't understand this.  I mourn for Dan, and rejoice in the miracle that is my friend, Steve.
I want to make it clear that I was not destroyed by what happened that night.  The bad guys did not win.

I HAVE been shaped by that night, but not overwhelmed.  It changed me forever.

How have I been changed?

  • Not a fan of violence in movies or media.  But I do watch violent things.  The difference for me is the message that violence portrays.  Does it make you look away and grimace?  Does it disturb you?  Or does it portray violence as cool and exciting, causing an audience to cheer?  If I watch "Band of Brothers" on HBO, it is difficult to sit through.  But it makes me appreciate the sacrifice and bravery of those men, and know that war is a terrible thing.
  • I seldom make it all the way through a newscast with out shedding a tear or feeling a lump in my throat.  When I hear about trauma and tragedy in the lives of strangers, I can't help but be pulled in.  I say a prayer and hope they have people around them to give them the real support they need.  Some days I'm not up to watching the news.  It's not just stories, its some one's real life.
  • I treasure every day.  If you read things I write here at this blog, you can see that fact between the lines.  The mountains, the birds, the flowers in my garden.  Each are valued and treasured.  Music isn't just a pass time.  It stirs and moves me.  In some cases, it heals me.  Friends, family are valued and appreciated for the love and joy they bring to my life.
  • Many time in the last 21 years, when I have felt safe enough to tell someone the story of that night, they have said "someone should write a book".  Some one has.  I spent hours on the phone with an author who thought it was a story worth telling.  He poured over court transcripts and spent hours interviewing all the pertinent people.  If you're interested, send me an email and I can let you know how to get your hands on the book.
If I close my eyes, I can see exactly how the sunrise over the Denver sky looked on the morning of June 7, 1989.  The TV in the corner of Emergency Room waiting room was telling the story of a double homicide.  My life was on TV.  A Denver Deputy Sheriff walked me to the door, so I could get some air.  He'd been there most of the night, keeping an eye out for us.

 As we walked back to my friend's bedside, I knew that my life had been spared................and that I needed to make it count.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Tunesday on Wednesday (Night)

Yes, I didn't post a Tunesday post because I was in holiday mode and forgot.

To make up for this oversite, we are having our Tunesday on Wednesday.

In honor of this error being  pointed out by someone from the South...........

We'll go country...........or as country as I really get...............

Mr. Lyle Lovett.  Who I think is amazing.  Really amazing.  I really wanted to embed the "Church" video, but youtube won't let me.  But I love this song for no detectable reason.

Tennissippi Dave, here you go.

Scootergirl Loves Twilight Too

This makes it 100%.

Scootergirl called me from the Lone Star State today to tell me that she too, loved the Twilight books.

I have yet to meet a female of any age who has read them and not liked them.  If Scootergirl gets her Mom to read them, we will find out if it is possible for Great Grandma's to read them and like them.

This is fascinating to me...........I must figure out how this is possible.............

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Flowers in My Tiny Garden

Finally a few days when it was possible to spend some time outdoors.

Spring has come so slowly this year...............starting about a week ago we finally got the March Winds.  And the winds were howling.

But for the scant few who may care............I'll show off the Spring edition of My Tiny Garden. 

First up the Tiny Rubies.............dianthus.

Next my beloved columbines...............all the varieties.

First up the Origami Yellows.  Who love living at the base of my aspen trees.

Then these pink and whites, that grow the tallest.

Next, thanks to the bees and butterflies.............a few feet down the garden my own hybrid, which I didn't plant but made an appearance this year...................

Pink with yellow center

Some of the rubies, which look like a space flower.

And favorites the "Winky Blue and White".  Very tiny, but I got a closeup.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.........

I love My Tiny Garden.


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