Take a Breath Tuesdays: Mr. Rogers Rocks!

The older I get, the cooler Mr. Fred Rogers gets. He represents a dying breed of healthier TV shows. Far from the camera angle changing every second or two, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was known for its long shots and thoughtful monologues. The show ran for decades and Mr. Rodger still smiled and encouraged generation after generation.

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood aired for the first time in 1968 and the last show was produced in 2001. The production of episodes was much heavier in the early years and much lighter later on. Only five new episodes were made in the final season in 2001.

In December of 2002, Fred Rogers was diagnosed with stomach cancer. There was an unsuccessful surgery to remove the tumor. Mr. Rogers died on the morning of February 27, 2003 with his wife at this side.

Mr. Rogers was a fascinating man who I certainly don’t fully understand. To show you what I mean, watch the video below. He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. What he does for his speech is amazing. Take a look.

And if you liked that, you will love his speech from his induction into the Television Hall of Fame.


Take a Breath Tuesday – Pastor Appreciation Month

The Month of October is Pastor Appreciation Month. As you might expect, leading the people of God is a boundless joy. We are always pleasant, friendly, honest, and respectful. We would never be discouraging or nitpicky or stupid or arrogant or mean or ungrateful or unrealistic or demanding. Nope, we sheep are awesome!

Until you meet us.

I think when God used sheep as a metaphor for the people in the church, his emphasis may not have been that we are gentle creatures. I think he might have meant we were stupid. If you ever meet a sheep. Look into those deep vacant eyes and realize the God loves you despite that dump look.

Our pastors need encouragement. These men were given the ‘privilege’ of leading us. They do this with patience and kindness. They take a lot of shots from us without complaining and still loving us. We say we love them and then we give them a dirty look when their kids cry in church. It is hard to be a pastor.

Pastors are subject to so much criticism yet their service is so essential. From John Newton’s successful fight against slavery to Martin Luther King Jr’s successful fight for racial equality, pastors have been an essential part of our nation and our world. The local pastor has a special place in the spread of the gospel and the care of the poor. With all of the success that Bill Graham had as an evangelist, there was an army of local pastors providing the ongoing care once he left town.

So I tip my hat to you, local pastors. The Holy Spirit has given you a special responsibility and it is a joy to work with you and watch you as you labor. Be faithful to Jesus, the Chief Shepherd. If you hope in your congregation, I promise we will fail you. If you hope in Jesus, he will never fail you.

I would especially like to thank my local pastors. Pastor Jason Meyer, Pastor Dan Holst, and Pastor Vince Johnson have all been encouragements to me. You all have pointed me to the gospel and helped me to better see the deep and satisfying hope of Jesus. When my sins are their blackest, there is hope in a cross that shines brightly into that darkness. You have pointed that way for me.

With my deep respect,


Euthanasia – The Thoughts of a Non Dog Lover


Daphne in the Snow

Normally the topic of a Take A Breath Tuesday is light and not porn related. Well, today it is heavy and not porn related. Yesterday, Sam and I made the decision that Daphne, our dog, was in pain. She is an older dog, maybe 10 years. We’re not sure. She has had a tumor on her neck for some time and it has become clear that she is in pain all the time. We don’t know why, but she is not as lively as she used to be. She is suffering.

I am not a dog lover. I have enough things that poop in my house and for the life of me, I can’t understand why people would BUY something that POOPS. I love my kids, so they are worth it. Dogs on the other hand, I don’t get it.

Now before you send me an e-mail, let me explain. You know that warm feeling you get as you look into the eyes of your dog and scratch its head. That connection you feel deep in your soul that sees a loving and devoted part of God’s creation.

I don’t have that feeling.

When I look at a dog, I see an animal. Not only that, an animal that pukes, pees, and poops on the carpet. It smells and gets underfoot. Dogs are messes with no upside. Kids are wonderful and delightful, thoroughly worth the poop. Dogs, not so much.

So imagine my surprise when the day comes and it is time to put Daphne down and I am…sad. I cried. I continue to cry. I don’t wish harm to Daphne. Far from it, I wish her well. Somehow this bodily fluid leaking ball of fur has worked her way into my heart. Not too deep, but deeper than I previously understood.

Sure, part of the pain is how hard this is for the kids. We told them yesterday and they have been working through the idea that Daphne is in pain and that she is going to die today. It is hard to have them struggling with Daphne, as a member of our family, dying. She’s never coming back. Their little hearts are breaking and that is breaking my big heart. There is a sweetness and innocence to their suffering that is hard for me to watch.

So, today at 1 PM. I will bring Daphne to the Humane Society. They will inject a barbiturate, probably phenobarbital, into Daphne’s veins. She will then feel relaxed and peaceful and fall asleep. The phenobarbital will then cause her to stop breathing and she will die of oxygen loss to the brain. I will then drive home and report that Daphne was peaceful. I will hold several little crying children and comfort them. It hurts me to think about it.

Daphne, I never really liked you that much. Somehow, I have come to care for you. I’m sorry you are hurting and I hope that I am bringing you peace and rest. I wish you well. Today, unlike most days, I hope that dogs do go to Heaven. If so, I will see you there. Either way, as dogs go, you have been a good one. You have loved and protected the kids like they were your puppies. For this I am grateful. I never worried you would hurt them. I promise that I am acting out what I think is best for you. I do not relish watching you die, it hurts to think of it. I wish it didn’t have to be this way. But I do need to take responsibility that as an animal, it is cruel to let you suffer like this. I want what is best for you.

God bless you Daphne. I hope to see you again some day.


Take a Breath Tuesdays: The Piano Guys

The content of my blog is rather serious and could probably use a lighter note. So I am now instituting Take a Breath Tuesdays where I will provide some lighter material from popular culture. A worthy opening to this series is The Piano Guys.

You know the story, two men meet at a piano store in St. George, Utah. They play music for fun and then two video guys happen to see this and begin filming the music. A cellist then joins in and they start filming cover music from scenic locales. It’s the classic five men meet and create a viral youtube video story.

As generic as this sounds, this is how The Piano Guys was founded. I have taken the liberty of putting several of my favorite videos below.

First up is the first video I saw from The Piano Guys. It’s not every day that I saw a Jedi and a Sith battling with light saber cellos. Take a look.

One of the most beautiful videos they have produced is What Makes You Beautiful. Five guys play one piano in several creative ways.

You know when a man and his cello fall in love. The sparks fly and you end up with this video.

Finally you must see the song Peponi. After you watch this video you will ask a question. The answer is, “With a helicopter.”