Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Ocean

There's something magic in the words, something undefinably delightful. Hearing the words makes me feel like I'm ten again and I'm leaving at three in the morning for vacation. Maybe it's the crying gulls or the crashing waves. Maybe it's the salt-seasoned air or the sand in your hair. Maybe it's the adventure.

Maybe the ocean is not as magic for you as it is for me. But I didn't grow up near the beach. I grew up in Michigan. And while we had the Great Lakes and miles of shoreline, it wasn't the ocean. It was something lesser. The ocean was in all ways better: bigger, more romantic, warmer, boundless, storied, fantastic, salty, other. When I'm at the ocean, I feel as if anything might happen. Poseidon himself might emerge from the blue-green depths with his barnacled trident and utter prophetic riddles in classical Greek. Blackbeard might put to port laded with treasure. Out there, in that wide expanse, There Be Dragons.

Here I am again. The ocean rushes out before me luxurious with power. It playfully exhausts my children and the children who come after mine. Here I am again, enchanted.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Suicide of Thought

I am posting here a quote from Chesterton's Orthodoxy.

Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert - himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt - the Divine Reason. Huxley preached a humility content to learn from Nature. But the new sceptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn.

. . . . .

The whole modern world is at war with reason; and the tower already reels.

. . . . .

There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped. That is the ultimate evil against which all religious authority was aimed. . . . For we can hear scepticism crashing through the old ring of authorities, and at the same moment we can see reason swaying upon her throne. In so far as religion is gone, reason is going. For they are both of the same primary and authoritative kind. They are both methods of proof which cannot themselves be proved. And in the act of destroying the idea of Divine authority we have largely destroyed the idea of that human authority by which we do a long-division sum. With a long and sustained tug we have attempted to pull the mitre off pontifical man; and his head has come off with it.

Think about it and give me a ring.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Does God Care?

I'm convinced that there are things in my life that God doesn't care about. My time is one of those things. And he doesn't care so much about my credit. Neither does he seem to care about my plans nor my timetables nor even my happiness. He doesn't. By which I mean, of course, that he rides over those things roughshod when he believes it to be necessary. He rides over me roughshod.

Why? The problem isn't that he doesn't care. He does care. The problem is he cares so deeply about me. That's why he causes so many of my things, so much of my life, to be devastated. That's why I am swept over and over by his waves and his breakers.

Sometimes, I wish he didn't care so much about me.

- Psalm 39.9-13

Friday, June 24, 2005


"My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father - that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me." (Jn 17.21, NLT).

I hear the protests: But, but, but . . .

But nothing.

One - so that the world will believe.

Imaginary Sinners

"If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world."
- Martin Luther

Imaginary sinners are people who are floating somewhere above the atmosphere - separate from the slow-moving sludge of humanity. They are clean and well dressed. They are comfortable in their first-class seats, sipping sweet tea and diet soda. Some, who are especially holy, are drinking purified water. They are breathing purified air. Our pews are filled with imaginary sinners.

But Jesus says, "Blessed is the spiritually impoverished man. He who does not have a penny to his name. Who wears rags if he wears anything at all. And who is hungry - O how he hungers and thirsts. Blessed is he who knows his impoverishment and cries out, 'Son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner!' This man, and this man alone, will possess the kingdom of heaven. Indeed, I will not offer it to another" (Matthew 5.3, my paraphrase).

Thursday, June 23, 2005


The yellow-haired child was in the bedroom this morning and was somewhat inquisitive about the iron. I told her not to play with it, that it was hot, and then ignored her because I was unaware that it actually was hot - my wife had turned the iron on 10 minutes before. She burned herself, though not badly.

She cried her way to the kitchen to have her mommy help her and I gathered up my son from the bathroom floor. When I got to the kitchen, she was no longer crying, but standing and listening to stories from her older sisters about when they had burned and hurt themselves. Healing salve. Magic.

Story is one of my favorite things in this world. The Roman poet Horace said it best when he described poetry as "sweet and useful . . . charming the reader and warning him equally well." What did the yellow-haired child learn from her sisters? Perhaps she felt like she was joining their ranks - initiated into Big Girl-dom through her ordeal with the hot iron. Perhaps she just enjoyed learning more about her sisters. Perhaps she learned that she was like them.

04 19 01

She watches me write; I watch her be.
Peace newly born,
Clumsy-handed grace,
Bright-eyed, we watch together.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Jesus drank intoxicants. No, not John - John was a good Baptist. But Jesus drank. The Bible tells me so.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Shadow

I'm a dreamer. I've always had these grand visions in my head about what it might be like if . . . and then I live in the dream and never, as Emerson said, build foundations under my cloud-bound castles. But I need to start building. I need to recruit the vision to be the coal and the fire in this steam-engine heart of mine. And then I simply need to obey, no matter how small, no matter how uncomfortable, no matter how laughable. I need to break ground. If I obey where I am, then these visions' foundations will be built. God will see to that. Because God is the speaker of visions and dreams.

Lord, be Thou my will. Make me as sensitive as a shadow, obedient as a shadow, selfless as a shadow - utterly submitted to you. Be Thou my will.

What's the vision, you ask? For the church to stand as one body and start living like the church was created to live. It will entail less arguing and more living. It will involve taking care of the poor and the homeless and orphans and crazies and druggies and single mothers and sick people and prisoners. It will involve embracing sinners, not stoning them. Loving sinners, not laughing at them. It will be declarative living - lives that cry out, "Jesus is Lord," and "The Kingdom of God is here." A fool's dream? Absolutely. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Regardless, I'm going to go look for a shovel.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Emerging into Obedience

The following quote is from Thomas R. Kelly's A Testament of Devotion.

For nothing else in all of heaven or earth counts so much as His will, His slightest wish, His faintest breathing. And holy obedience sets in, sensitive as a shadow, obedient as a shadow, selfless as a shadow. . . . Gladly, urgently, promptly one leaps to do His bidding. . . .

But the first step to . . . obedience . . . is the flaming vision of the wonder of such a life, a vision which comes occasionally to us all. . . . There is an infinite foundation of lifting power, pressing within us, luring us by dazzling visions, and we can only say, The creative God comes into our souls. An increment of infinity is about us. . . . . The Hound of Heaven is on our track, the God of Love is wooing us to His Holy life.

Once having the vision, the second step to holy obedience is this: Begin where you are. Obey now. Use what little obedience you are capable of, even if it be like a grain of mustard seed. Begin where you are.


We watched Bambi today. When Bambi's mom got shot, I asked the kids what happened. Sophie said matter-of-factly, "His mom got killed."

A little startled, I asked, "Doesn't that make you sad?"

"Yes," she said. "But he still has his dad."

Ouch. Sorry, SugarBooger.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


I lob the baseball to my dad. We both windmill our right arms, trying to loosen tight muscles. As we warm up, we back away from each other a little farther, and we throw the ball a little harder. Back and forth - the repetition is broken only occasionally by a badly thrown ball. They force us to reach, or go into the neighbor’s yard, or run down the street.

Dad is close to six-feet and around 200 pounds: Goliath proportions to a child. He is handsome, and his hair is now silver with age. A mustache, a ready grin or grimace, eyes that twinkle or dart and knife - my dad. His arms are strong and corded from a lifetime of pipefitting. Freckles tattoo his arms, and on one arm the freckles are divided by a pale snake of a scar. A small gap greets you between his front teeth.

Spring and fall, joy and sadness, laughter and anger, summer and winter - words that frame the man. The seasons of his mood turn, catching up us mortal children in their hungry and full embrace. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. He moves across the landscape of my life, a god who crouches to enjoy me, accidentally crushing me. He kills my spirit and raises it.

He roused in the morning pre-volcanic; his rumblings hinted danger. I remember him wrapped in his robe and shuffling into the kitchen in the thin, threadbare thing. It was tied tightly below his full belly and hung loosely around his bird legs. He made the coffee and lots of noise. As if daring someone to hear him, he clanged around the kitchen, making fried eggs and bacon for breakfast, or a fried-egg sandwich for lunch. Many mornings I would wake up, my bedroom being closest to the kitchen, and hear my mom’s whispering and my dad’s rumbling. Reflected fluorescent light from over the sink cast dim shadows through my opened bedroom door and onto my far wall. After breakfast, he would sit in his chair hunched over his big, brown-leather King James Bible. Sometimes he nodded. His hair was crazed like Einstein’s or Kramer’s or John the Baptist’s.

It was with some caution that I interacted with him. I enjoyed his presence, his voice, his laugh, and his animation. But I always guarded myself; one word could set him off. I remember the eruptions. I remember the thundering voice and the phone ripped from the jack and still hurtling across that room. I remember my mom shoved against a wall, crying, while my dad screamed into her face as into a well, Do you think you can tell me what to do? I remember the vulnerable, weak, and frightened children. There were so many eruptions. His fiery anger blistered everyone in its path. My heart is scarred. If you come close enough, you can still smell the fire.

When I became older, I found myself purposely throwing badly: I threw the ball over his head so that he would have to run down the road to retrieve it. I threw the ball toward the ground so that it would hop angrily.

Time, age, and education enabled me. Empowered, I became the tyrant and he became the child. I grew angry at his anger, I grew impatient with his impatience, and I grew haughty in my knowing. A despot, my gracelessness raged. An unmerciful judge, I stood stone-faced, watching him, secretly waiting for the moment to displace Cronus.

In my soul, deep in my soul, I yearn for another fire to burn away the tinder and stubble of my heart. I yearn for a fire that brings new life to this old forest. I want to die in it. I want to be reborn in it. Tennis matches; roller coaster rides with hands high and eyes wide; long talks; an all-nighter of Star Wars, sodas, and salty snacks; prayer; playing Catch - I want us to be proven in that fire.

“Do you want to play Catch, Dad?” I will throw true and straight throws that land solidly in the glove.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Scott Lyons (Not the Porn Star)

Have you ever googled yourself? Well, I entered "Scott Lyons" to see what would turn up, and it seems that I share my name with a gay porn star - near as I can tell without completely defrauding myself. Now my wife turned up in The Hound of the Baskervilles and I turned up in Pornland. Sweet.

So immediately I began searching other peoples names, some of your names in fact, to see if this Pornland thing was just something they do to get people to visit their sites - you know, something that generates porn sites for any name you type in at Google. (Hey, I was desperate.) I learned some interesting things about y'all. But no one turned up as a porn star.

I don't want to be a porn star. I wonder if this other Scott Lyons does.

I'm happy being boring, bespectacled me: Christ follower, husband, lover, best friend, daddy, jungle gym, writer, reader, friend, son, brother, family, great thinker, full of crap, smart-ass, dumb-ass, introvert, melancholy, emotional, humorist, satirist, falstaffian, pun-lover, sinner, saint, man, and more. Why doesn't any of that come up when I google "Scott Lyons"? I think it ought to.


I watched Hotel Rwanda last night. I was shamed. The events of Schindler's List took place before I was born. It's easy to watch it and wonder how all of those atrocities took place - how people stood by and did nothing. But the million or so people slaughtered in Rwanda died when I was an adult. I remember the genocide. Worse yet, I remember some of my responses after hearing about it taking place.

I remember making comments such as, "We can't be spreading our troops too thinly," and, "It is not America's responsibility to be the world's police force."

"That's horrible," was a response too. And then, just as the reporter played by Joaquin Phoenix says in the movie, I returned to my dinner, doing nothing to stop the murders. I called no one. I didn't lift a finger to change the Rwandans' plight. Nothing. I don't even know if I prayed for them. Men, women, and children were being massacred and I don't even remember praying for them.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Shorts 6/17/05

Will had his first haircut today.

On our trip to Ohio, we drove into Charleston, West Virginia, and the girls were fascinated with all the factories and piles of coal. Sophie saw some stacks with fire coming out of them and asked what they were. I told her I wasn't really sure, which is usually a signal for the children to be the resident authorities on the subject. She said, "I think the fire is for praising the mountain as Lord."

While we were staying with my brother in Ohio, I was getting ready for church. I put on my shiny, oxblood Bostonians. This is the third time I've worn these shoes because I usually (read always) wear jeans to church. Anna was watching me as I put on my shoes.

"Are those girl shoes?" she said.

I smiled. "No, they're Daddy's dress shoes."

She spun around in her dress and said, "Do they make you want to twirl?"

The funny thing is, they kind of do.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Today is my wife's last day at school before she's home for the summer. I've been waiting for this day. And now that it's here, I'm really quite sad. This morning I've been wondering if today might be my final day as a stay-at-home dad. And the thought kind of choked me up. I haven't started blubbering yet, but it wouldn't take much to push me there.

This year has been one of the best years of my life.

I was fired from my last job (technically, I resigned, but I was leaving one way or the other) - something political, I guess. Perhaps they had someone waiting in the dock. I wasn't given a palatable reason, and I was barred from discussing the decision. It was totally unexpected and it ripped me apart.

As I was leaving my administrator's office, he said, "This is going to be a desert time for you."

"I don't like the desert," I said.

"The desert is hell," he said.

But where there was a desert, a garden has bloomed. There are trees that shade me from the heat of the sun. The air is heavy with lilacs. Streams purl. Birds sing. And I find myself sitting at a table that is bowed beneath the weight of God's blessing. And I want to weep. How can it be?

Let all the world know that God makes the dead live, the blind see, the lame walk, the poor rich, and the desert bloom! He is the redeemer of broken things. Who is like him?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


The yellow-haired child goes to bed with all her earthly possessions. When she wakes up, she hands them to me one at a time, and then hands herself to me. I carry her downstairs. Of all her possessions, her greatest is her red-white-and-blue Raggedy Ann and Andy blanket. It doesn't get washed enough, but even so the stiffness is splotchy. For the most part, it's soft. She holds her blankey against her nose to smell it - I imagine it's olfactory nirvana for her. It is the one possession that we do not make her share.

I'm sure some of you know the reasons why children have special blankets, suck their thumbs, or have imaginary friends. I don't - other than children have felt needs. The blankey reminds me that I'm dealing with a little one. And that's enough. Little ones need things and little ones need people. They're too young to be dishonest about their need and they are not savvy enough to hide their need. I respect that.

There comes a day, however, when we must discard our blankeys. The blankey gets burned or taken out with the garbage or hidden away in a box as memento. But the need remains.

O how empty and lonely and insufficient I sometimes feel - needy without recourse. A blankey no longer suffices; it never did suffice, really. I am naked and cold and no one knows. I grab for things to cover me: Fig leaves are out of the question. Animal skins are too scratchy. Blue jeans and T-shirts seem to work well. Food is better. A respectful job is better yet. A nice house, nice cars, a nice portfolio - I imagine those can certainly only help.

It's morning and I hear familiar footsteps and I feel so naked and poor and needy. Should I hide? If only there were a place to hide. I do my best to hide. But still he approaches.

"Why are you hiding?" he says.

"Because I'm naked," I say.

And he laughs. (His laughter is warm and rich and comforting.) "Who told you you were naked?" he says, "How ridiculous!"

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Dude, Crazy Trip

Quick summary of our drive to Ohio and back for my teaching interview: We left home Saturday afternoon and arrived at my brother's around midnight. Churching and Grilling and Napping on Sunday equals Perfection. Monday I got a hair cut, went to the wading pool with the kids, and had a rather lengthy but good interview. I probably talked too much. I left the interview, finished packing, and drove home. Driving home, Girl #1 cried, "I miss [my cousin] . . ." the entire first hour. (I struggle with knowing how much to let the girl "feel," and when to cut it off because it has descended into self-pity.) The second through the fifth hours were relatively peaceful as children began dropping off to sleep. The last two hours, when I let Laura drive so I could sleep, everyone woke up to cry. But only every 15 minutes or so - as I would be nodding off.

Today the kids woke up at their normal, godless hour and immediately began harrassing me. This afternoon I got my permanent crown put onto my gray stump of a root canal (I must say, it's brilliant). My wife got me a cherry-limeade slushy at Sonic, which I proceeded to drop and spill after about three sips. I have an assignment overdue, I am exhausted, and we skipped Bible Study.

Life is one crazy trip. But you've gotta love it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


I will be heading up to Ohio for a job interview this weekend (English teaching position). Pray that God will give us peace and clear direction, for whichever course he'd have us take. I will be back Tuesday. Until then, here's a haiku for you. Have a good weekend.

Shadowy Sirens
Crash against the listing ship,
Overwhelming sense.
©2005 SGL

Friday, June 10, 2005

It Takes a Two to Tangle

The Littlest Princess
Originally uploaded by sixlyons.

The unthinkable happened tonight. We were eating pizza, God's greatest food-gift to mankind, and the yellow-haired child turned up her nose at it.

"It's wucky!" she said.

"Excuse me?" I threatened.

"I don't want dat. It's wucky!" she said

"You'd better watch it, young lady," I said, "or it'll come to fisticuffs."

The door slammed as she walked outside. I turned to my wife, "Whose child is she, Woman?"

Thursday, June 09, 2005

How Do You Get These Things Off?

It's pet-peeve time, boys and girls. Today's pet peeve is "labels." I hate that as soon as someone thinks he gets a whiff of you, he sloppily licks the back of a gaudy sticker and slaps it on your forehead. I hate it because at that point, the chances of connecting at a level any deeper than your tag are close to nil. People see the label and they think, "Oh, you're one of those people."

For the most part, I hate being labeled. Don't you? I want to be seen for who I am - uniquely created by God for relationship with him - because that's reality. Look, I am not you. I believe differently than you do about some things. "I'm more!" I want to shout, or, "I'm less!" And yet, here I am cramped in this box.

We even have the audacity to try to brand the Almighty: Is the immortal, invisible, only wise God a Republican? An American? A Baptist? A Protestant?

I've met some people whose views of church are slightly unorthodox. The Emerging Church, the Post-Modern Church, the Missional Church - I believe those are some of their labels, if you need to know. On their tag they've got this smaller print that says, more or less, "Trying to be meaningful to a society that has lost its meaning." I think they truly just want to be Jesus to a world that needs Jesus. Do I agree with every one of them? Probably not, but they're trying to live like Christ. And someone's got to.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Take This Heart and Make It Break

I watched an interview with Brad Pitt last night. I was looking forward to it because of his promotion of the One Campaign, which I support. The interview, however, tried to appeal to our hunger for tabloid trash - interspersing it with clips of children dying of AIDS and living in extreme poverty. It was bathetic. I would be in tears hearing and seeing the stories of these children and then Diane Sawyer would ask something like, "So is Angelina Jolie a homewrecker?"

I'm currently listening to "Yahweh" from U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. (The title of this post is the last line of that song.) It needs to become our prayer, I believe. When our hearts become as hardened as ours have become, we are in danger of being satiric subplots in the Story of God. I refuse to be a character in an Anthony Trollope novel.


I have been wounded. There are scars on my body to prove it. Each scar was earned through pain. Some of the wounds almost killed me.

I have a dimple on one cheek because I fell into a barbecue pit while trying to avoid being sprayed with a hose. That one almost killed me. The doctor thought it might. But I woke up the next morning. And I woke up the morning after that.

I am wounded: Spiritual wounds. Emotional wounds. Wounds from when I was my children's ages that have still not healed. I try to let them heal, but they get picked at. Burns from anger's furnace. Wounds from thoughtless arrows. A limp that I gained from being crushed under burdens too heavy for a child.

I don't need to be specific, because you have similar wounds and you know. Some of your wounds go far deeper than any of mine. And I'm sorry.

As a follower of Christ, I am called to bind up wounds. You have wounds, let me help you bind them - especially if I am the one who wounded you. And please, help me with mine.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Interview Meme

I asked Ross to interview me. Instructions for furthering the meme:

  1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will update your weblog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

My Questions

1. You describe yourself as a part time writer. What, and why, do you write?

What I write: I freelance for a company I used to work for (little exceedingly boring-to-write blurbs about "stuff" for elementary teachers - for which I'm very grateful.) I have also begun writing some articles for Tyndale on the spiritual disciplines. I hope that will be a long-term gig, but it may be something short-term. I blog, of course. I write poetry and have written some 80 pages or so of a novel.

Why I write: The freelancing is for extra money. It's financially difficult having one parent at home when the other parent is a teacher. That's the main reason I do the freelancing. I also hope the Tyndale articles will help people who desire to know God a little better come with me on a journey to explore the disciplines. There have been others, better-qualified, who have written terrific books on the disciplines. But I hope the Tyndale articles can be a record of a discovery of the disciplines, rather than just a parroting of what others have said or even an exhaustive definition of them.

Why I write what I am not paid to write: I'm getting to the point where I just need to write. It's becoming something of an essential outlet for me to help me understand the world I live in - whether I write fiction or nonfiction. I have always loved writing poetry, though I'm not a terrific poet. And I have always wanted to write novels/stories. (C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were my heroes when I was growing up - still are.)

2. Which author has been most influential on your life?

It's gotta be C.S. Lewis - his fiction. His essays are profound and helpful, but in my life it seems his fiction (The Chronicles of Narnia, Till We Have Faces, and the Space Trilogy) is more applicable. His thinking has pervaded my own for many years, though I do disagree with him about several things.

3. Describe one of the defining moments in your life.

The births of all my children are incredibly beautiful, emotional moments for me. The birth of my first daughter, however, was a defining moment in my life. Not because she's any better than the others, or any more loved, but because she was my first. When she was born, it was as if I had been re-born again. Life was new and fresh, and I couldn't wait to show this little girl her first duck. And God was in it. I was floored by the sense of blessing and purpose.

Birth is the most earthy and human experience I've ever been witness to - there are groans and struggle and pain and sweat. When the baby is born, there is blood. Your brain is flooded with sensory information. It is a total engagement of your humanity. But it is equally overwhelming in its ethereality and divinity. It's as if the two intersect, and you are an eye-witness to the incarnation. You are two and then you are three. It's hard to express the experience adequately. It's a God-thing.

I'm sorry, I don't do it justice. Some day I would like to take more time to explore it more completely.

4. How do you feel about paradoxes? Do they need explaining, or embracing?

Both, I think. The explanation side of the paradox is limited, obviously. When I was a boy we had an old oak tree in our yard that had a tremendous circumference. I remember on may occasions struggling to embrace the tree. I wanted to wrap my arms all the way around the tree, to encompass its girth. And though I could only get my arms around a fraction of it, I could get my fingers in the canyons of the bark and hold on. That's a picture of how I view paradoxes and the mystery of God. I must attempt to embrace it, but I will never be able to fully encompass it. Interestingly, I didn't go around hugging huggable trees - just the ones that I was unable to wrap my arms around. There is pleasure in attempting to encompass something that you cannot.

5. What inspires you with hope, energy, or excitement?

YHWH. My wife coming home. My wife, period. My children. Holidays. A new book. Friends. Beginning a journey. Moments of inspiration. Feeling the clarification of my Muse while I write. Solving a difficult problem. Trying to embrace trees that are unembraceable. YHWH.

Thanks, Ross, for the questions.

On Blogging

I'm a baby blogger, but I'm already an addict (in a good way). Blogging can be time-consuming, but pausing to reflect upon my life or beliefs, pausing to record the days of my life, is a worthwhile pursuit. Because of my blog, I've been able to connect to old friends and I'm beginning to meet new ones. I've been able to record my days in a meaningful way - perhaps my version of my wife's scrapbooking. It's a creative outlet for me. It helps me practice my writing, which I need. It's an adult pursuit, which I need. And it lets me spend more time on my Mac, which I . . . well, don't need.

It's given me the opportunity to dialogue with some great guys who I don't see eye-to-eye with about certain matters of doctrine. But they've been gracious to me and patient with me and supportive of me. They've made me think about what I think, and I like that. As an SAHD it's difficult sometimes to take the time to think about things any more noumenal than the current location of Barbie's shoes. They're good iron to be sharpened upon. They're more than that, but they are certainly that.

Blogging is more than a phenomenon for me. It's journaling in a book that writes back. The journal is cheeky sometimes. It is honest. Anyway, for those who take the time to read, thanks. And for those of you who also blog, thanks. I'm excited to see where this will take us.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Step By Excremental Step

The following is rated PG-13 due to subject matter.

I grew up with a weak stomach. I gag (or cough, as my children say) easily. I gag when I plunge the toilet and watch the what-nots float off the plunger. I gag when I do the dishes and remove soggy noodles from the drain. I gag when I throw away old Fruity Pebbles that have soaked up all the milk. I'm pretty pathetic, now that I think about it.

We once had a kitten that had terrible gas - we called her the Great Sardini. It farted one day and my sister, who was holding her, ran her over toward me. In the process of handing off the Great Sardini, the kitten's tail dipped into some tea next to my chair. So when the kitten got on my arm I thought it was peeing on me. The smell of the fart mixed with the suspected urine caused me to lose my cookies as I ran to the bathroom.

My second daughter has the same weak stomach. Weaker even, maybe. If someone cuts the cheese and she gets a good whiff, she will gag. Poor thing, she was born into the wrong home (my wife, and all).

Anyway, I find myself now covered in crap. Yes, I know, it's my son's crap. But it's not as if we're sharing an ice cream here. I'm covered in his caca. And you know the strange properties of this stuff. Crap creeps up the baby's back. It gets on everything. And because it's nearby, every free limb flails into it. I swear, turds have a greater gravitational pull than other masses of the same density. How that's possible, I don't know. It's the tornado-trailer park relationship on a smaller, less destructive scale.

I'm covered in crap, but I'm not gagging. That's as good a definition of parenthood as any I can think of. That's fatherhood. It's my job. No one else can do it for me. And I do it because I love him. Yes, you were right: I'm not gagging because it's my son's crap. If another child crapped on me, he'd be covered in vomit. No questions. It would be nothing personal, mind you. It would just make me throw up.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

And When You Pray

I was doing a search to see if it is called a "kneeling bench" or a "kneeler bench" and I came across a place that sells prayer benches that you sit on while you're kneeling to pray. They're pretty cool. It takes the weight off your knees while still allowing you to kneel, which is nice for those of us with bad knees. As I was reading the product description, I came across the following line: "Tucks neatly under bed or into a closet when not in use." Wait a minute. Tucks neatly into a closet when not in use?

Me, Headaches, Me, Breast Pumps, Me, Me

I had a headache on Thursday - the sun-cursing kind. After supper, Laura sent me out to the store to purchase some breast-pump accessories for a missionary in Ghana. I was a little short with her, walking out the door. As I was driving to the store, I was angry and hurt and I could feel the exhaustion from my headache - I nearly went blank a couple of times. (That's how my brain feels when I have a bad headache, as if it is about to power down.) Fortunately, the headache began to fade the farther I got from my house and the legion of children who filled it.

When I got to the baby store, I went inside and walked up to the counter and the cute sales clerk. "Can I help you?" she said. "Yes," I said, "My wife called about some stuff for a," I looked away, "um, breast pump?" I coughed. She showed me what they had available - exactly what we needed. I paid hurriedly and left the store. And on my way home, Laura called and asked if I was all right. "I'm fine. It's just that I had a headache all day and nobody cares," I said.


Yes, I actually said "and nobody cares." Is there anyone else in the world that is that big of a baby? Okay, and above the age of ten? I don't even remember what Laura said in response to my soul-stirring rendition of "Nobody Knows."


Lyons and Tired and Bears, Oh My!

My family and I went hiking up at Hanging Rock State Park today. We took a grueling hike on the easy trail to the upper falls and spent some time enjoying the waterfall. We then hiked back, got in our vehicle, and drove over to the wooded picnic area (about 100 meters) and got out our packed lunch. As we entered the picnic area, we were greeted by a sign that said some black bears had been sighted recently and to use caution. We were fairly confident that we wouldn't be bothered, however, and sat down near the trash cans to eat our tuna sandwiches and berries. We finished up with some delicious honeycomb.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Proof? #1

Before Doughnut
Originally uploaded by sixlyons.
The following photos were taken today at Will's first birthday. Were doughnuts actually the Forbidden Fruit?

This is Will before eating his doughnut.

Proof? #2

Beginning Doughnut
Originally uploaded by sixlyons.
This is Will beginning his doughnut.

Proof? #3

After Doughnut
Originally uploaded by sixlyons.

This is Will after eating his birthday doughnut.

It's Here, Will

You're Soaking in It
Originally uploaded by sixlyons.

Will crawled today. Oh, he's been getting around for a couple of months, but only by dragging himself, sliding himself, across our wood floors. But not today. Today he got up on his hands and knees and, with a toothless giggle, he took off. It was like he'd been practicing at night in his playpen, hardly able to wait to spring the big surprise on us.

Happy birthday, Will. I love you, buddy.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Books, Blogs, and Belly Buttons

My second daughter was asking me this morning about her belly button. "Was I naked inside Mommy's belly?" And I explained to her that the umbilical cord fed her and helped her to "breathe." Our belly buttons are marks on our bodies that remind us where we came from, where we began. Reminders like that are important for us. We have such terrible memories.

The Bible is a series of markers. Throughout their history, the Israelites set up markers, that they might remember the extraordinary mercies and works of God. And they were able to say, "Hey, if you don't believe me, go look at the 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan - they're still there." When questioned about the Trinity, it is good and appropriate to simply say, "Go to the Jordan." Not for the 12 stones, but because all three persons of the Godhead are present at Jesus' baptism. Other literature serves the same purpose. And markers are one of the things I love about stories. I can remember stories.

I wear a wedding band. I take pictures. I read books. Yea, verily, I even blog. These are some of the things I have and do in order to remember. Memory instructs us how to live, and it instructs us how to hope when we feel hopeless.

Scheduled to be burned at the stake, Polycarp, who we believe knew the apostle John and was the bishop of Smyrna, was begged to recant and deny his faith in Christ that he might live. Polycarp responded, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?"

Polycarp remembered.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


The children are asleep, my wife is asleep, and the rain is pouring down upon the metal roof above me. It would be quite lovely, if only I could listen, if only I could hear.

What I hear is a barrage of words in my brain. And the words are jealous. Their noise crowds out the sensuous rain. It scares me that I cannot quiet myself and listen. I know there was a time when I was able to. I remember being a scared boy alone in my room listening to all the sounds, wondering if the branch scratching against the siding was some misshapen thing slowly, inexorably crawling toward me. Now the fear is gone, but I can no longer hear. All I have is this uncensored, formless novel in my head reading like a bad Joyce knockoff on fetuses or guilt. It makes it hard to think sometimes.

I want to hear rain again. I want to hear the tapping tapping tapping on my metal roof.

Wisdom and Grace

Sophie's Second Tooth
Originally uploaded by sixlyons.

In God's wisdom and grace, my first child, a little girl, was born. It's hard to believe it was six years ago. She is both new and old, and she is so much in between.

The nurses had taken her from the delivery room, wanting to bathe her, weigh her, measure her, etc. I wanted to see her. So I walked down to the nursery, a proud but uncertain daddy. She had just been bathed and she was wailing. The nurse tried to comfort her, but without success. She handed my daughter to me, and I whispered between the wails, "Shhh. Daddy loves you." And this tiny baby, barely an hour old and hardly six pounds, knew my voice and stopped crying. At that moment, I was hers. I will be until I die.

Sophia, Daddy loves you. Happy birthday, Sweetheart.