Immutable Standard

The standard is love. love the Lord and love your neighbor. It is by our love that we will be known as his disciples. Love is patient love is kind.

Location: the great state of Texas, United States

Friday, November 26, 2004

Web of life

"The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession." --Mark Twain

Precious is that which binds us together abut is it something we possess? I confess at times I try to go it alone. As far as universal brotherhood goes it would seem that we are in a time of unilateral brotherhood. Though as much air time and headline space war and strife receive, I believe kindness and generosity prevail. I only claim to know what I have learned from my own experience and many people have touched my life and supported and sustained me.

First is family, I have been blessed to have such a supporting father and mother. I had always been encouraged in what I wanted to do and my grand parents also instilled in me a work ethic that though not always visible has allowed me to reach some levels of success in my endeavors. Not only did I receive their working sensibility but also their sense of "the story". My fathers father was always telling stories and he had some great ones. Our family history was passed on in these stories and it was an interesting history as my grand fathers family fled from Russia under the threat of Stalinist pressures. I feel that the sense of familial story lines has been lost in America. The level of our successes as a nation and the sense of the individual as hero are parts of the demise of the family story. Each new generation wants to start over someplace new. It is hard to develop a sense of community when their is no sense of family. As my children grow I want them to be connected to my past ass well as their mothers and carry on worthy traditions and start new ones and encourage them to continue to do the some with out abandoning what has come before. In order for this to happen it is important to stay connected. Without the connections of family and friends our circumstances would be pretty dire. I am grateful for al the people that the Lord has put into my life and though I don't always live up to the level of gratitude that I feel I should I am still grateful. In a book by a rabbi I once read was a quote that has had much resonance with my soul. "Life is with people." So simple sounding yet a thoroughly profound statement. Without people I definitely would not have life. As I try to understand how the relationships I have with others are all strands in the web of life I work to remember those that have supported me and encouraged me and pass it on making it possible for the story line to continue on.

Grace and Peace, Mark

Monday, November 22, 2004

Saturday at the Kimbal

This past Saturday I took my son, daughter and her friend to the Kimbal art Musuem. The Primary reason being to see the Miro String Quartet as it was a free concert and free is for me as I always say and it is the best way to introduce the children to music and if Daniel got fussy which he did we could leave early which we did andnot worry about money lost. We made it through the first movement of theBeethoven and my boy says" bye bye music pa pa bye bye " so it was time to go and the girls were happy because mom didn't tell them about the music just that we were going to the Kimbal to do some sketching and they had an exhibit of horses. George Stubb and the Horse the featured exhibition and the kids enjoyed it. It is small but encompassing in scope. The horse is such a magnificent creation and some of the paintings really captured the nobility and strength of the animal. There is no sketching of special exhibitions at the Kimbal so we went also to look at some of the permanent collection. I am truly greatful that the Kimbal is free so I can expose my children to great art. After some brief sketching it was time to frollic about outside for awhile. Our next outing will be to the Amon Carter museum another great free location.

Grace and Peace, Mark

Saturday, November 20, 2004


"The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship"

Friendship is man haven. It is to where he should always return from his endeavors. In my mens bible study we were asked to think of who we would want to be our six pall bearers at our funeral. I had a hard time coming up with three let alone six and I am feel that this is the case with most men. I thinnk ther are several factors for this situation. For me it is mostly a matter of time. My family takes up most of time outside of work and rightfully so . But to be of worth to my family I need to have friendships outside of it as well. Also technology has played a role in diminishing them or at least shallowing them. Telephones and email allow us to keep in touch but not "in feel" It's just a quick " hey whats up call you later" of forward some silly cartoon or sappy quote. Conversation has ended. Conversation once meant an intimate association, now it has become talking points and pleasantries or one sided rants. When one has an oportunity to see true friends truly conversing it is magical. I want that magic for me and more so I want it for my family. I need to develope friendships so my children and wife can also see their value for themselves and have a haven to head to in time of storm or just for comfort. It definitely takes effort and patience to cultivate friendships but it is so worth it. When I talk of friendships outside the family It should be understood that familial friendships are to be foremost. As I said to one friend I want the 6 pall bearers to be people that care to carry the burden of my body than be happy to see me go. Life has gotten too fast, take time to slow down and converse. It will be a blessing to you and your friend.

Grace and Peace, Mark

Friday, November 19, 2004

3 Haiku

I have not written any haiku for several years and I am wanting to get my creative juices going again. I went the the Parabola website and looked up the theme of thier next issue and put it to use. Not doing is the theme and in my previos post I tackled it in prose form now I will take a stab at it in Haiku form.

I am sitting still
unintentional action
feeling the suns warmth

As it turns out I have discarded my paper that I had written my three Haiku on and could only remember th first one.

I plan on going through the back issue themes of Parabola and writing about them from my perspective. I hope to do this weekly.

Tomorrow I am going to the Kimbal to see a free string quartet. If its free its for me. Also I am taking my children with me and this is a great way to introduce them to the arts.

Grace and Peace, Mark

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I fancied myself to be a writer once.

"... and by what I have left undone..."

As of late my contemplations have been heavily focused on sin and particularly my sin. The most weighty are the sins of inaction on my part. Not that I hve been lazy but more like busy doing nothing. Nothing has been a buzz word of my generation. "Nothing much" was the reply to what was up. "Nothing special" to what you were doing. "Nada (meaning nothing)" was the reply to whats new. Unfortunately nothing much is what I have to show for the tremendous amount of blessings I have recieved. To whom much is given much is expected and I am not meeting expectations. To say that I have let people down and been a burden is an understatement. I can see how my sin is like a drop of food coloring in a clear glass of water slowly seeping and coloring the whole glass. Everyone has free will this is true but sin begets sin, and I have been spreading it to others because of what I have left undone. And this is what is most grieveous to me.

Imbedded in the command to" be still and know that I am" is a call to action. Knowing is a verb. Rest and regeneration are essention parts of growth. In their purpose, however lies the seed of action. I am very fond ofrest and relaxation though not opposed hard work either. But the inaction that affects me most is not restfull at all and verges on paralysis. Inaction born of fear. Fear of what? SHAME! Yes I know it is out of fashion but I am ashamed of many uf my undeeds as well as misdeeds. I hope this shame will spur me on to action but more often I feel like I am in quicksand and if I try to do something it only makes me sink faster. So I prefer to sit still and sink slowly and hope that some divine rope is thrown my way. I think a more apt description is that of a mountain climber that has sat down for a rest and removed his back pack for a moment and then upon sholdering it again it feels even weightier and now he can not get back up. So my prayer is to have faith in the promise that His grace is sufficient for me (2cor12:9)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Rise of the dollar store

Does it signify the end of civilization? I do not believe so, but there is some concern to be had I think about the rise of dollar stores and their ilk. I frequent them myself but not with out some trepidition as to the underlying signifigance of their existance. Is it a sign of a poor economy or is it emblamatic of our consumer culture that our gluttonous need has gotten so out of hand that producers are on overdrive and surpluses abound? I can get a weeks worth of meals for 8 to 10 dollars. This is great for me because our family is on a tight budget due to the fact that I can not provide enough money to take care of us but that is another story. Back to the food at the dollar store. It is not the healthiest fare nor the most palatable but I con supplement other ways to make up for that and we do not only shop at the dollar store for our food. I just do not think in the long run that sustaining the consuption levels that we are at will be good for us in the long run. Most of the stuff at these stores is crap anyway. Lots and lots of junk. I find that my own house has to much junk and I could probalbly have a garage a week for three months and still not be rid of the junk we have accumulated. I am beginning to believe that it is sinnful to have as much junk as we do because it gets in the way of living more often than not. I know that our standard of living is pumped up by the consumption culture but I feel that some how there has to be a better way of living.

Grace and Peace, Mark

Monday, November 01, 2004

picking nits

I feel confident that we have all heard the phrase "not meaning to be nit picky but..."
We as the saying goes the devil is in the details and I think we should all spend some more time picking nits. As a society we have become to lax on too many fronts and a little scrutiny and criticism would not be a bad thing. I currently am unable to completely fulfill my biblical duty as the financial provider for my family and therefore my wife watches children to make some extra money. We watch the child of an ex girlfriend of mine who is going through a nasty divorce and is under a lot of strain. This child unfortuneately has lice. We have a four week old baby boy as well as a 2yr old boy and a10yr old girl. Needless to say we dont need lice in our home, not that anybody needs it but it makes our situation even more hectic. My wife has spent this whole morning washing this poor 2yr old girls hair and then picking nits. The girls mother can't be bothered with such details right now becaus of divorce, new job, lawsuit, and sundry other issues. Picking nits has gotten out of fashion it seems and it is the children who suffer and those who care for them. Had I been nit picked in some areas in my life I don't think my family would be in this situation but here we are and we have to tough it out. So I recomend we pick some nits and floss our teeth and wash behind the ears.

Grace and Peace, Mark

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