Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Perfect Christmas Tree

This weekend, I pulled my 9-foot Christmas tree from the closet, assembled and clothed it in red, green and silver bulbs. Last year was the first time I made the switch from a real tree to the artificial kind. I was hesitant, but I quickly got on board when the artificial tree didn’t cost $70 and didn’t ooze sap all over my carpet. I do miss the smell of fresh pine that fills the house for the first week after bringing home a live tree but a pine scented Yankee candle will have to do because the perfectly symmetrical fake tree, fits in my living room just right. This is a big accomplishment because, as a teenager, every year, the quest to find the “perfect” tree was an important part of the holiday season.

Growing up in western Colorado, the Christmas tree hunt traditionally took place the weekend following Thanksgiving. My parents, aunt, uncle and cousins along with my brother, sister-in-law and sisters made the pursuit a family affair. The permit cost just $5 and that was all we needed to cut our own Christmas tree from the National Forest, which is exactly what we did.

One particular year, we went into the Uncompahgre National Forest in search of the “perfect” tree. This should have been no problem considering we had our pick of any tree in the whole forest. My brother and sister–in-law found their tree in record time. They cut it down, attached their permit tag and loaded it onto the flat bed trailer behind my uncle’s Ford Bronco. It was similar to hunting a deer or elk, without the blood and guts. 

Mom wanted to take a jaunt off the gravel road to find just the right tree for our family. It didn’t matter that there was 2 feet of snow on the ground and the tree would have to be dragged through a ravine to get back to the truck. The perfect tree was out there and it must end up in our living room.

Everyone, including my brother and sister in law, started roaming the forest to help Mom find the elusive spruce. Just as everyone got down to the bottom of the ravine, my brother noticed a pick up truck that had pulled alongside our vehicles up on the gravel road. As he watched, a guy got out and took my brother’s perfect tree off the flat bed trailer and put it in his own truck and drove away. My brother charged up from the ravine, tramping through 2 feet of snow, jumped in his Bronco II and sped down the gravel road, after the guy. Catching up to the thief, my brother ran the guy off the road. Armed with his full sized Maglite in his hand and his .45 handgun out of sight, my brother confronted the bandit and took back his perfect Christmas tree.

Who steals a Christmas tree off the back of someone else’s trailer in the middle of a forest?

Amid the hysteria, Mom picked a tree and Dad cut it down. It was lopsided and bare in several spots but for us, for that year, it was the “perfect” Christmas tree. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Full Of Thanks

I am thankful for perspective, that offers a view of more than just a single dimension of life.

I am thankful for grace to get through brokenhearted moments and situations that would otherwise cause breathing lungs to collapse. 

I am thankful for peace that keeps the tornado from raging on the inside when feelings demand mayhem.

I am thankful for hope and the anticipation that the junk of today may be replaced by pleasure tomorrow.

I am thankful for faith, even though it’s ever so small, because believing in something that makes no sense would be impossible without it.

I am thankful for truth that takes the inflation out of illusions.

I am thankful for trust, though not always easy to find, when it’s strong it quiets insecurity.

I am thankful for redemption that takes what is fractured beyond recognition and rebuilds something better from it.

I am thankful for love that can’t be explained or fully understood but that is given and received in the most personal of ways.

I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


With a sip of red wine

On a chilly November night

The thoughts began to ramble

‘Will these days change?’

‘Will life ever rearrange?”

Maybe it’s time to take a new gamble

There’s no time to bluff

Live life today off the cuff

So tomorrow is not another regret

Revamp your previous plan

Be willing to try once again

Pull out just one more slim cigarette

With all that is and all that could be

Reality spars with a living dream

Change needs only a breath of time to live

A fresh beginning is pulling the strings

Screaming to be given new wings

Step to the unknown, make this life active

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Quote Of The Day #1

Have you ever been cruisin' through your day and a sound bite from someone around you made you shake your head and say to yourself, "What? Really?"

Let's face it, people say crazy stuff.

Shoot! I say crazy stuff.

When this happens to me, I think I will share it here so you can shake your head too.

Here's the first installment of "The Quote Of The Day".

The Boss: "What's the status on your project? Are you done yet?"

Coworker: "You're killin' me! I'm not used to working."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Music

I love when people forsake fear to dream big dreams and the stories that follow.

I met Annie Parsons here in blogworld, this place where people share a little of themselves via technology. I don’t remember how I found her site but her writing grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. The more I read, the more I learned about her. She grew up in western Colorado just 25 miles or so from where I grew up. All of the sudden, the world became smaller with the help of the world wide web. She now lives in Nashville.

We’ve never met in person, but for almost 2 years I have read her blog daily. I am inspired by her honesty, vulnerability, humor, and her talent for writing.

Annie is someone who isn’t afraid to dream big. She loaded up her car a few years ago, set out from Seattle and landed in Nashville to follow her dream of writing songs. Without any guarantees, she followed the beat of her heart even though it cost her more than she could have imagined.

For her, the road towards her dream has been tough and there have been times that she questioned if she made a mistake, but out of those struggles comes life, in all its beauty... and some good songs.

This week, Annie released her first EP; a collection of songs that she has written and recorded. Her music is filled with feeling and is easy to relate to.

Listening to her songs this week brought tears to my eyes. I’ve read about her hardships and have felt a bit of what she has gone through. I understand the questioning. I know those things quite well myself.

The difficulty of her journey makes this milestone so much sweeter and I hope that it inspires us all to dream big.

Click on over to and to learn more about Annie. Read her story and to listen to her tunes.