Skip to main content


a couple of weeks ago i was lucky enough to find some great tickets at a good price to go to pittsburgh and see the steelers play the chicago bears.  going to pittsburgh at any time is like a pilgrimage of sorts for me, so getting to drive dawntawn and ride the "t" over to the northshore was an absolute holy experience.  before the game, there are all sorts of pregame "festivities," including a neat setup over at stage AE, a concert venue next to heinz field.  at stage AE they have tv's everywhere, showing other nfl games, the wdve crew is there doing their live pregame stuff, there are plenty of beverages flowing, and games and concessions, and so forth.  i wandered around to check out the whole scene, and one of the things i did was fill out a survey about what radio stations i listen to. 

after a while i wandered over to the stadium, and had a blast, even though the steelers folded.  i felt lucky just to be there and take it all in. 

still, the ride home after a night of very little sleep was a bit of a downer.  i'm not usually the most cheerful person in the world when the steelers lose.  so paying money to watch them lose pretty badly didn't make things any better. 

but i arrived home just in time to get the monday mail.  in the mail, i found this:

a couple of months earlier i had sent a birthday greeting to my favorite author, frederick buechner.  part of the deal was that everyone who sent a card would get a special bookmark, and entered into a contest to receive an autographed buechner book.  i made him a collage card, and thoughtfully tried to express just how much his words have meant to me.  it was a rewarding and blessed experience for me simply to make and send the card.  but to win!?!  wow!  i don't usually win stuff like that.  it was so cool to receive this note and to have his signature in the book that meant so much to me over the last year. 

i was still basking in the glow of this tremendous stroke of luck, when the phone rang.  i answered it, and the woman on the line told me that she was from wdve in pittsburgh, and that i had entered a drawing in pittsburgh by filling out the radio survey.  and i had won.  she got my address, and proceeded to mail me a new terrible towel, and this:

all in one day!  a buechner autograph and a heath miller autograph!  such a great lift to my spirit, and an absolute joy.  sometimes it is just these little things that can lift you up and reboot your smile. 

so the steelers just keep losing, but i am smiling big time, just to be able to be bearing witness to this:

let's go bucs!
raise it!


Crafty P said…
that is so cool. i agree, winning stuff is always cool but winning a Buechner book is just wow.

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …