Wednesday, July 8, 2009


My beautiful wife, Karla, and I met in a small town in Colorado nestled between the majesty of the Collegiate Peaks and the serenity of the Arkansas River. The circumstances of our lives at the time of our meeting should have kept us from falling in love, but love knows not the self-created boundaries we surround our hearts with. Praise God for that!

While our meeting was not love at first sight for either of us, it began the knitting together of two lives that would eventually become one. I lived in Wisconsin. Karla lived in Texas. We began slowly with phone calls and, of all things in this technological age, hand-written letters. The letters we wrote to one another expressed our hopes, fears, dreams, and growing love for each other. One of the decisions we made during that season of our lives that I'm most thankful for is that we kept the letters. Stored in a portfolio and arranged chronologically, we have these letters available to read even after thirteen years of marriage.

I love Karla. I know and trust she loves me. We love each other dearly. Yet, once we were married, the letters and poems slowed to a trickle and eventually stopped, much like a river during a season of drought. This confuses me. The source and strength of our love for one another never wavered or lessened. If that's true, and we know in the depth of our heart it is, why have the letters and poems ceased to be written?

I fear that the answer is frightfully simple. After observing my own relationship with Karla and having the privilege of walking alongside couples both as they prepare for marriage and seek to enrich their already existing marriages, I've concluded that our expressions of love for one another decrease simply because we take love for granted. We assume that the other knows our love for them and, as a result, we don't recognize the lack of attentiveness we give to expressing that love. The attentiveness present early in the relationship gets replaced by assumption later in the relationship and emotional drought becomes a real possibility.

I miss the letters and the poems. I miss the joy that accompanied the process of putting pen to paper and expressing how much Karla means to me. They tell our story and our story is far from over. If it is to be told, we are the ones to tell it and we are the ones who most need to hear it. Perhaps this is true for you as well.

Monday, July 6, 2009


It's been 10 months since I've relocated my family from Colorado to Texas. More specifically, from the beauty and majesty of the Colorado Front Range to the bayous of Fort Bend County. All of my common logic and appreciation for aesthetic beauty wasn't enough to keep me from returning to the state of my birth. I returned to Texas in spite of the urban sprawl of Houston, the miserable heat of the summer months, and the numerous pests that call the Gulf Coast Region home. Texas is and will always be home. It calls its wandering sons and daughters back in spite of itself.

Since returning, one of the pests I have come to know well, too well, is the southern chinch bug. I'll save you from the scientific description of this little critter and simply say it is a royal pain in the dairy aire. The chinch bug attacks St. Augustine grass in times of hot, dry weather. I'll refrain from belly-aching about how hot and dry this summer is. Let's just say dust has more moisture in it than Missouri City, TX. Thus, my yard, primarily St. Augustine grass, rolled out the red carpet for the chinch bug and he/she has left more irregularly shaped brownish/yellowish spots than I care to count. Dry yard results in chinch bugs...Chinch bugs result in dead grass.

Just like the flat coastal regions of Texas, our inner geography can go through dry spells. We often experience them during seasons of transition. These transitions can be physical, emotional, and spiritual. A move leaves us dry, longing for the moisture present in friends left behind. A relationship ends and leaves our hearts dry and thirsty for someone who will love us and stand by us as we are. Various circumstances leave us spiritually dry, searching for God in the wastelands of our broken hearts.

It is at these times, these dry times, that the chinch bugs of life attack. They settle in and leave desolation behind. The only solution - water. Even when my yard seemed beyond recovering, steady watering invites new life, new growth, restoration. Even when life appears hopeless and there seems little chance of recovering the life that once was, steady watering brings new life, new growth, restoration. But, not just any water will do. Only living water. "Whoever drinks the water I (Jesus) gives them will never thirst. Indeed, the water Jesus gives will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life." You want to be prepared for dry seasons, reach for Jesus. You want to restore your life in the midst of a dry season, reach for Jesus. Noone and nothing else will satisfy.