The Gathering of the Tribe 1.3

We had breakfast with some friends at the hotel, and then made our way to the church for the last day of our conference. John & Marie Barnett, along with Steve Jones led us in worship.

After some announcements Dave Workman was introduced. Dave has been the senior pastor of the famous Cincy Vineyard for a number of years now. I guess Dave was with Steve Sjogren as a worship pastor, eventually taking the helm of this great outreach focused church. To be honest with you, I kind of thought,”Oh, man. here we go. How to be a mega-church by handing out water on the street corner.” I’ve done it, and we never got to be a mega-church! But I was pleasantly surprised, and somewhat rebuked (by the Spirit), for my less than stellar expectations.

We were asked, “What’s the invitational factor at our churches?” Dave explained, (1) we need to create a safe place for people to hear the dangerous message of Jesus. (2) You’ll have an eternity to “get your praise on,” but only one life to reach others for Christ…which I have heard him, or someone else say before. He also talked about practical stuff that many, if not all of us, have heard before, i.e. do we have signage saying the coffee is free? Our hospitality should scream that we love strangers.

He then asked us if we expressed the Kingdom outside of our church. He showed some humorous video clips, and a bumper sticker that played off of the old WWJD…”WWJD? He’d tip you freakin’ cheapskate!” Personally, I loved that sticker because we give out what we call, “Waiter Survival Kits.” They have breath mints, a lighter, an ink pen, & a bottle of water. That sticker would be great to put in there as well! I’m going to work on that one!

He showed us scratch-off tickets that revealed what you could do that day to serve someone (they give these out to their church members).

He showed a video of a $1.00 Car Wash. When the people started to give their 1$ for the wash…instead, the washers gave THEM a dollar!! I loved it! How awesome is that?

Dave said he doesn’t care about the “big show” anymore, only making church a safe place, an accepting and hospitable place for the unreached.

He showed a video of their Good Sam Ministry to the homeless. Seems the homeless they minister to recently turned the serving on them. When the Vineyard’s team showed up to minister to the homeless, the homeless had prepared to wash the team’s feet, and anoint them with oil! I can’t even imagine what that did to those volunteers. Amazing!

He shared on their “Open Journey” bible study process and made it all available to us by going to a selected web site and downloading it all for free.

He asked, “Do we need different nets?” Maybe the reason we are not catching a lot of “fish” is that we are using the wrong nets. They have opened a Healing Center, 40,000 square feet of building to help minister to the community. It is operated by volunteers! Dave said, “Innovate or borrow ideas from others!” He talked about starting “micro-churches” where they watch a video of the weekend sermon, and talk about it.

There was much more, but the most touching thing he shared with us was “The Prom.” This was an event for those rejects, unpopular, maybe even mentally challenged kids who never get asked to go to the prom in their normal High Schools. Tony Compolo shared this idea many years ago when a Lutheran youth pastor fed up with the pomp and circumstance of regular proms that excluded the not-so-beautiful had a “Reject Prom.” It became more popular than the regular prom.

Seems at Dave’s church, a young lady went through a very difficult time, and came up with the idea. The church had 1,200 dresses and suits donated. That way no one was without some proper apparel, and it was free! They called it an “Evening With The Stars.” They had a red carpet, interviews, and I have to say, I could have cried a river if I had let myself go. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen a church do. They had planned for 600, but had 800 show up! The church had 1,000 volunteers help pull this off.

What can you say to something like that? You can be critical about the size of mega-churches, but it took resources to pull this off, and they had it to do it…so, I say God bless the Cincy Vineyard and all of its thousands of people. You guys are awesome! Keep it up!

There was ministry time, and everyone went to lunch with their heads and hearts full!

The workshops were held in the afternoon, we grabbed dinner and went back for the last session.

Our old friend Casey Corum, Anabeth Morgan, and Matt Turrigiano led worship. That’s the first time I’ve seen Casey play keyboards…way to go, dude! Sweet!

Then Bert and Evelyn took the stage to many rounds of applause from a very grateful group. I think Bert has done an outstanding job. I have watched him navigate many a minefield theologically. He’s a warm man, a friendly man, and I will forever be grateful to him for his leadership, and the example he gave of how to carry yourself as a leader. Here’s to a job well done, Bert & Evelyn!

Bert said he kind of felt like the guy in the “Life of Brian,” and then they played the clip where the bodies were being thrown on the wagon, and one guy exclaims,”Wait a minute…I’m not dead yet!” Bert spoke eloquently, as always, about the bittersweet taste of leaving the helm of our tribe next year. He does feel like he has accomplished what God called him to. I agree! He’s not retiring (amen!), just stepping down as national director. He’ll be around the Vineyard. He gave us statistics: 115,576 are reported as having been saved during the past 10-years. We have 157,000 members in Vineyard churches. He then asked, “What kind of leadership do we need in the Vineyard to reach the unreached?”

Bert read from Micah 6 and Amos 5. In Micah 6:6-7 he said we need leadership that will (1) do justice (2) love kindness (3) and walk humbly with our God. He then preached us a sermon that was challenging, rebuking, and encouraging. As ministers we are in a high-risk vocation. We need to be careful.

He said we have entered some rough waters theologically, and the TCD is going to be tough (Theological Cognitive Dissonance).

We all felt the challenge. It was with some regret that I made my recommendation days later for national director. I thought Bert did a wonderful job, and would have loved for him to lead another 5-years. But vote I did, and we will see how the powers-that-be interpret the little voices from all over this nation.

In closing this long blog, I want to say, I am so very grateful to God for the Vineyard. In it I have found friends, dear friends. In it I have been challenged, and probably learned more theologically than all of the years prior to coming into the Vineyard. We are certainly not perfect. We disagree, fuss, make mistakes, you name it…but we love Jesus, we love his church, and we want to see the kingdom come to the unreached so they too can know what we know – our Savior. God help us as we enter this next, new, and important phase if our history. Amen.

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Gathering of the Tribe Version 1.2

We collapsed in our room after the first full day, overflowing with gratitude for being a part of such a wonderful group of Christ-followers. This group can laugh at itself, and just as quickly move into praying for the sick, weeping with those in pain, and being a friend to the friendless. They will have to kick me out…and even then, I would probably show up at the gatherings.

This reminds me of a story. When I was a contractor, many, many years ago, we built an education wing onto a Methodist Church, a ways outside of the small town I was raised in. We built an amazing courtyard for fellowship that was graced with huge cedar beams, skylights, and huge planters where beautiful flowers would join the fried chicken in contributing to the sweet aroma of southern living. The educational wing was all brick. We were on a tight schedule to complete it, and I was pushing the masonry contractor to pick up the pace. In the midst of this, one brick layer was notoriously late to work, or on many days, wouldn’t even show up. The owner of the company fired him. But the next day he was back, on the scaffold, laying brick. I happened to walk up when this exchange occurred: Boss to fired brick layer – “I thought I fired you. Get down from there, and go home. You’re fired.” The brick layer kept on working. “Didn’t I tell you to leave? Get down from there and leave!” Eventually the tardy brick layer turned around, grinned sheepishly, and said, “Man, I can’t afford to be fired.” He then turned around and went back to work. I just laughed and walked off. A few days later I asked the masonry contractor what he did about the inconsistent but persistent help. He said, “What could I do? He worked the rest of the week though I fired him every day. I had to pay him!”

So it would be with me. They would have to let me back in!

On Wednesday morning we arrived at the church to Annabeth Morgan and Jeremiah Carlson leading us in worship. That girl can sing! It was wonderful. After some announcements, video clips, and such, Dianne Leman was introduced. Dianne pastors a church, along with her husband Happy (that’s right, Happy…and he has the little smirk on his face to back that name up). She began, as only a mother can, with a metaphor of “letting the kids out of the car seat.” She emphasized living in the “Radical Center” between the overlapping circles of being Theologically Thoughtful, Culturally Relevant, and Spiritually Powerful. She said, “Maybe we would see more of the ‘already’ if we ‘let the kids out of the car seat.'” Her sermon seemed to build steam with each line. Something was breaking lose! She then called her kids on to the stage (a proud mother indeed!), and each one shared about their heritage as Vineyard kids, and what they wanted to see, and experience. The rumblings of God’s presence was building beneath the waters like a rip current, about to sweep us in another direction, that if we fought it, we would surely be fighting God. Each of Hap & Dianne’s grown children helped to increase the pull of the Kingdom. As J Leman, 27-year old former Carolina Panther, grabbed the microphone, it was evident that the swell had arrived (a term we surfers use to declare what we had been waiting for). His longhair waving as he hunched over in passion declaring to this gathering of leaders, “You guys 50 and older have seen this stuff…I haven’t! Let me see the stuff!” This young prophet began tearing our hearts as only a dear son could to his fathers and mothers of the Movement to which he had been born. With teary passion he appealed to us, then with the timing of a seasoned comedian, he would just as easily say something so funny that our tears of conviction quickly turned to laughter. He was in the zone. That place where God uses you beyond, sometimes despite, your own abilities and inabilities.

I do not remember J or Dianne giving an altar call, or any call to come down for ministry. Maybe it was given, all I remember were the hundreds that flooded the front (including my wife who zipped past me like a car on the interstate). There was weeping, loud weeping; cries, a calling out to God to help us let our kids out of the car seat. Release the church! We have to admit that many of us have crawled back into one, silly as that picture seems. Unbuckle, crawl out, “the meat is in the street.”

I could get only half the way down, the front was so crowded. So, I stood in the aisle, crying out to God to help me get out of my safe, childlike seat, as well as release others. Family sickness, church hurt, maybe even some resentment had latched the straps tightly to my life. It was time to grow up. A grown man looks silly in a child seat. But it does feel safer, doesn’t it? I felt a light touch on my shoulder and a young man, maybe 25 or so, asked how he could pray for me. This kind, baby-faced, youth pastor from Mississippi, started asking God to touch my life. I wept. Probably not as profusely as I felt, but at least the dry faucet of my emotions was cracked open, and the sweet water of life trickled out. It was, I think, the highlight of the conference as far as the Spirit’s dealing with us.

The afternoon was spent on the grounds of the church with a picnic. We gathered with a few of our churches in a room to meet and greet some of our new friends from Virginia and Maryland. Our region is about to change from the Southeast, to the Mid-Atlantic. It will now be a little slither of GA, SC, NC, VA, and Maryland. Our host, Joel, was a very wonderful young pastor who just wanted us to start making connections now before the big change occurs. It was a great time together. We had the rest of the evening off.

Many of us were staying at the same hotel, so we gathered around the pool for a swim, and fellowship. Karen and I hung with dear friends Thor & Bonnie. Later we went to dinner together and enjoyed a fitting end to a wonderful day.

More to come in Version 1.3, as the conference comes to a close…

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Gathering of the Vineyard Tribe Version 1.1

On Tuesday we gathered for worship in the morning. Crispin Schroeder & David Linhart led us in worship. Crispin’s passion came through with every note played from his piano, and growl of his lyrics. David took us through some Jack Johnson laid-back praise (being a surfer, I appreciated it!), and we progressed on into the morning’s speaker.

Ken Wilson, who was introduced as an Obama voter by Bert, took the somewhat awkward introduction in stride and with a smile reminiscent of Adam Clayton of U2 launched into his sermon. Ken brought a compelling argument to the stage…the American religious landscape has been affected by a shock followed by two after-shocks. His use of the term Culture & Cognitive Dissonance (CCD) became a somewhat familiar phrase among many of us for the remainder of the conference. That is the anxiety we feel when having to rub shoulders with those of different theological, or even religious persuasions (my understanding of the phrase). Ken said the Vineyard was made for this kind of environment. He also mentioned an interesting statistic-in the 90’s the Vineyard was 30% Catholic (or former RC). This new world we find ourselves in isn’t for those with a neat & tidy religion. There is just too much dissonance.

I enjoyed Ken’s talk, and was greatly encouraged for us as a Movement. It seems that we have learned the fine art of dissonance in the Vineyard, so what’s a little more? In all honesty, his was an informing and helpful talk on our place in the new world.

Now I guess it’s confession time for me, and the group I hang with at these “family reunions.” Like I said, many times I am more refreshed by the fellowship, laughter, and sharing that goes on in the lobby, at lunch and dinner with friends than I am the formal sessions. After Ken’s talk a few of us gathered in the lobby and started talking, sharing, joking, laughing, and being creatively comical.

A very “Ugly” pastor, complained that the newly formed Society of Vineyard Scholars was a bit too high-minded and exclusionary for those of us with limited capacities to, well…think. As the conversation began to gain speed, with the immense creativity that only a 5-year old could possibly have, this group of experienced and seasoned pastors birthed the antithesis of the Scholars group. Playing off of the term, “the village idiot,” the Society of Vineyard Idiots was born. In the Vineyard there is a place for everyone…yes, even morons. It’s hard to believe now, but we stood there laughing for almost an hour and a half, right on through the workshop times. The creative conversation was carried right on into lunch, and dinner. The symbol of our newly formed Society (and I use that term extremely loosely), was Forest Gump, in a tie, holding his brief case, ready to hold court in the recently birthed SoVI! Our clarion call was that someone had to be the “not yet” in our movement, why not us? Also, as our leader so aptly said, we may not know much, but we know what love is. We had some initiates that were dubious in qualifications, but when we saw what they were wearing (strange, green, plaid-type, nerdy shorts), we made an exception for the higher IQ.

A newby, somewhat young pastor wanted in, but he quoted N.T. Wright and we had to put him on probation until such time as we see that it was only a misfiring of the synapses and not habitual. Before the end of the day, we even had a couple of board member’s wives asking to join (was it an infiltration ploy?). By the next morning, we had our own Facebook page! We were official!

To be honest with you, I laughed so much I was worn out. I can’t report on the evenings speaker, Homero Garcia, because we stayed too long at dinner continuing the development of our new society. I’m sure it was inspirational, and good…but the laughter and fellowship I experienced with my fellow SoVI-ites would be worth a rebuke from the powers that be.

Stay tuned for day three!

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Gathering of the Vineyard Tribe 1.0

A couple weeks ago my wife and I made the trek to Arizona for the National Vineyard Leader’s conference. We have our regional conferences one year, and then the following we have a national gathering. That means we don’t get to see some of our friends but only every two years. I always look forward to these events. This year was especially meaningful because of where we are as a movement.

We arrived early for a few days down-time, and went over to see the Grand Canyon, which was just amazing. I can’t even begin to describe what we felt when we first gazed upon the life-size natural iMax scene before us. As the weekend before the conference grew to a close, more pastors and leaders checked into the hotel where we were staying. We ran into Lance & Cheryl, and just had a great time laughing at breakfast. Our old friends Thor & Bonnie arrived, and we made our way to the North Phoenix Vineyard’s campus.

Wow! So, this is what a mega-church looks like! A very friendly volunteer took us for a tour of the children’s facility, where I snapped too many pictures. It was awesome. I was totally impressed with the Phoenix Vineyard’s volunteers. I was greeted warmly, and authentically by no less than ten people each time we arrived. They are a wonderful bunch of very loving and giving servants. Thank you! You set an example for all of us. These volunteers (maybe as many as 250 who took their vacation time to serve us!) were always cheerful, and ready to help.

All the pastors I had talked with were anticipating this conference, not the least of which was because we are about to decide on a new national director. We actually get to vote, or maybe it’s better to say recommend our choice. Because of the recession I did not expect a great turn-out, but I was surprised. Brian’s auditorium (the pastor of N. Phoenix) was probably 80% full, so we had good representation from our churches. It’s a huge auditorium, and there’s not a bad seat in the house. Of course the best times at these things can easily be what goes on in the lobby, at lunch & at dinner with our fellow pastors. This was no different.

Hugs, laughter, smiles galore abounded in the outer courts, as we were encouraged to enter the sanctum of all-things Vineyard for our first session on that Monday evening. I looked to the giant screens to see what “priest” had the duties, and was pleasantly surprised to see David Ruis sitting at an old upright grand piano. David has written some of the most powerful & cherished worship songs in the Vineyard. Plus, though I don’t know him personally, I have heard of his mission’s work, and love for the marginalized and forgotten. This comes through in his passionate leading. From the first note, as usual with David, we were ushered into the presence of God with no effort. It is a true gift to be able to do that. I think this set the tone, and spirit for the rest of the conference. God was here. He was with us. He still loves the Vineyard, resides in it, and always welcomes us into his presence when we gather. Matt Turrigiano, from the Phoenix Vineyard, also helped lead the worship and did a splendid job. Love that rough, scratchy style voice! Plus, anybody that plays a Tele is okay in my book!

Brian Anderson, the host pastor shared with us on this opening night an insightful sermon on the Kingdom of God. It was a fitting topic because the kingdom is one of our most prized values. I especially appreciated Brian’s explanation of the three groups Jesus confronted – the Zealots, Essenes, & Sadducees. As Brian said, we do not need another “Zealot-style” church; we do not need another “withdrawing” (Essene) church; nor do we need another liberal (Sadducees) church. “Our mission is to do everything we can to see the age to come, to come down to the earth now.”

Brian’s message set the tone for our new mission statement – “To Reach the Unreached.”

I was reminded that night that we do have a distinct calling in the Vineyard. We are called to see the kingdom come, to pray for it, to be available to it, to expect it, to look for it, and to join the Father in it when the Holy Spirit brings it.

The first night was not a super, duper, throw-down of a night. It was more of a serious, sober reminder that we are involved in the most important calling in the world…we have some good news for all of the unreached!

Version 1.1 will follow…

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The Pastor’s Death March Home

My pastor friends and I joke about the “death march” following Sunday services. Now most of you will not understand this affliction. Many, if not most of us Sunday speakers, can feel the vortex of doom sucking the very life out of our being as we take that lonely ride home.

I’ve come to recognize this shadowy heaviness as a blessing in some ways. I am human. I get depleted of adrenalin, fervor, and passion all too quickly. The body is reacting…it is tired. The soul is reacting…it is under attack. The spirit is waning…untouchable I am not.

And then, for some reason if criticism comes, it will most likely find its expression on Sunday, or Monday; the two days that are already sensitive from having expended so much of one’s self. It is our burden to bear, we preachers of the Gospel and lovers of the church.

And yet, this very pain is a sermon in itself, to one’s self. “You are not God. Your weakness, is testimony to the unattainable goal of describing the indescribable. Your self-pity is testimony to the need of your own soul, for the God of which you have tried to describe. You are human. And as such are qualified for the grace, mercy, love and affection of the indescribable God you feel like you failed to describe adequately to others.”

I have started reciting an old prayer from Anselm, that father of orthodoxy who lived around 1100 AD, on Sunday afternoons:

“Hope of my heart, strength of my soul, help of my weakness, by your powerful kindness complete what in my powerless weakness I attempt. My life, the end to which I strive, although I have not yet attained to love you as I ought, still let my desire for you be as great as my love ought to be.”

Dear preacher friends, as much as it feels like it, God has not abandoned you, and most likely, you didn’t suck as bad as you thought. But even if you did…you stood up there, and gave your heart, passion, and life as an offering for the grace of God to use in declaring to the world his great love. Be not ashamed…you will live to preach another day!

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Atheist Rant

I posted some thoughts on Twitter this past week concerning atheists, and their opinions about Christians. I wrote things like this (from the book, “Is God a Moral Monster?”): “Yet he [atheist Jurgen Habermas] highlights the inescapable historical fact that biblical faith was the profound influence in shaping civilization.”

Suddenly I was assailed by a plethora of prejudicial pejoratives from an amalgam of atheists. One guy totally denied history. He was unwilling to admit that people like, William Wilberforce, Florence Nightingale, Dante’, John Milton, J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Augustine, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Jonathan Edwards, Aquinas, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Rubens, Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Faraday, Kelvin, Boyle, Lavoisier, Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Haydn, et al were even Christians, and if they were, it was easier for them because they were wealthy. And besides, everyone was religious back then, so says he.

Unbelievable. I hope that when we believers are called into account for our beliefs, we will be willing to discuss things in a sane way.

We can’t, and neither can others, change history with a cursory nod of forgetfulness. When we are wrong…we are wrong. They asked me about the “pastor” in Florida who burned the Koran…nut case. No defense. What about the “Baptist” (it’s really not a baptist church, but rather an ingrown family gathering of a few) church that calls homosexuals names, and protests at funerals? Idiots. No defense.

Actually there is no defense, nor excuse for idiocy, ignorance, and pure moronic behavior. When it is associated with Christ, with the Church, we need to admit that it is a shame and disgrace to the cause of Christ.

Maybe if we are honest, and own up to our mistakes, miscues, and maladies, those that disagree with us will enter the discussion wanting to understand, instead of being on a mission to slam.

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Depression Impression

Some of us just seem to be inclined toward depression. I know, you don’t want to hear it. I also know some of you think it is a lack of faith. Having a propensity to “the blues” doesn’t mean you’re an Eeyore. But even Eeyore wins at Poohsticks more often than he loses. There are a lot of misconceptions about those who tend to feel down.

They laugh. They smile. And while Eeyore may live in the southeast corner of 100 acre wood, he is also capable of a deep compassion for others. Actually, this depression that can be so painful has resulted in some beautiful art down through the ages; from paintings, to poetry, to some great music, depression has left an impression, and it’s not always a bummer.

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon, who lived with severe gout, was subject to depression. I once read that his deacons had to actually carry him into the pulpit, he was so often in pain, and downcast. But Spurgeon said, “Pain has, in some cases, developed genius, hunting out the soul which otherwise might have slept like a lion in its den. Had it not been for the broken wing, some might have lost themselves in the clouds, some even of those choice doves who now bear the olive branch in their mouths and show the way to the ark.”

That’s right…don’t discount those who may seem to live in that “Gloomy Place: Rather Boggy & Sad.” They may be leading the way to your salvation.

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Friends Are Few

We finally got around to seeing “The King’s Speech.” I must say, I was totally blown away. I was unprepared for how I would react. I don’t want to ruin anything for those of you who may be reading this, but I don’t think I could say one word that could possibly take away the impact of the movie. “Bertie,” King George VI, is a stutterer. And as one of the liner notes states, “When God couldn’t save the king, the Queen turned to someone who could.”

It is an excellent primer on real friendship; a road that involves pain, embarrassment, faithfulness, forgiveness, and appreciation. I was struck by Geoffrey Rush’s character, Lionel Logue, and his amazing commitment to someone he was nothing like.

It is rare in life that one finds themselves with such a friend. When you do, realize that it may be God himself who has supplied you with this rarest of necessities. Yes, necessities. To live life in full color, in awareness of the tones and hues of our own frailties, all the while developing our own voice through the help of someone who will not be denied, rejected, or discouraged is…life-changing. Just about the time you are ready to quit, that friend will push you along, even if you resist, into that next level of your potential. Someone needs to see it in us. And someone needs to be relentless in seeing that we pursue it. Such is a friend.

“A friend loves at all times,” and when a friend loves us through our weaknesses, and despite our objections, we have found that rarest of necessities.

Whom do you have in your royal box (see the movie!)? And in whose box are you?

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In The Case

Once again I was invited to hear an old friend play a concert at the university of which he serves as, “Artist in Residence.” I love that title; sounds so cool, so artsy…special. And special he is! He plays an instrument that is big enough to be used as a battering ram, and as uncomfortable as a pair of pants two sizes too small. But he excels at it. He makes beautiful music poor from it’s over-sized neck and strings.

Over the years I have watched him and his friend, another freak…I say that with all affection, and amazement because of what they do; perform some incredible feats of mastery. Duke Ellington, jazz standards, Dizzie, Jaco, the Beatles, even country (?!) you name it and they have a revisionist version that will expand your universe of music appreciation.

Someone asked him about the instrument he played, and why. Why choose that particular one? What was so special about that specific piece of wood that made it work so well? He picked the instrument up and silently placed it directly in front of the microphone…silence…quiet…nothing. Then he said, “This instrument does not make music. The music is inside of us, and if we don’t play it…this beautiful piece of art will remain quiet.”

Think about it.

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When you know…you know!

Many decades ago, in a land not-so-far-away from here, I saw a beautiful, raven-haired, blue-eyed, absolutely stunning young woman walk across the football field on graduation night. The field lights on her dark hair, the blue in her eyes, shining like a glassy ocean to this waterman, inviting him to paddle out; the white dress, and the shy but sexy smile that kind of sneaked out from her quiet, composed character, just demolished me. It was at that moment I knew, absolutely without a shadow of a doubt, this would be my wife.

She was not an easy catch.

It took seven tries before she would simply go out with this sand-encrusted bohemian. But she did…and the rest, as they say is history! A wonderful history!

Today is your birthday. But I still remember that night, and I still feel the draw, the fascination, and the sense of destiny we would have together. Thank you for allowing me to wear you down until you gave in, so we could move on, and have all of these years behind us. There has never been anyone like you from the moment I saw you…and there still isn’t.

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