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A truly cool and serene day outside. I cannot know if the clouds hold rain. If they do, I pray they don’t burst until they reach the areas where fires blaze. I cannot know if the breezes will favor the efforts to contain the flames, but I pray that mother nature aids the thinking, struggles, and strategies there on the ground.
I cannot know if the good Lord is able to focus on every named complex of flames, but I do pray that all the young lives battling the infernos have a heavenly grace and a bubble of mercy there to keep them safe.
This thing called fired is but another adversary not unlike a combatant in war…and she shoots her bullets everywhere and at random. I pray their path is poorly aimed, and they land benign, finding thin air rather than flesh.
I cannot know that cooler air does much to disarm the potency of the flames, but I pray that it gives a measure of relief to the fighters of the purgatory like burrows hereabouts…and that they allow for clearer thinking, swifter feet, stronger resolve, and an added measure of containment of things…
God bless the mercies of a cooler day, a collecting of potentially rain showering clouds, and an end to this drought ridden and endless, cursed summer…Matthew

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As I witness the states around me being tinder dry, streams and rivers dissipating, warm and unable to host life…I can also smell and see smoke in the air as land and towns, homes, and lives burn.
I cannot help but wonder why a larger portion the fleets of airplanes owned by the wealthy companies and our own government haven’t been converted to water/fire retardant bearing bombers. We certainly have enough resources and planes to bomb the shit out of any place on the globe at a moment’s notice…and yet our country burning to a crisp is responded to by a mere drop in the bucket, relatively speaking…sigh.
And again I look to our lands drying up, crops shriveled and crispy. I look to the streams that fish cannot return to to spawn. I look to the rivers, warm and green with invasive growth, to dead sturgeon and fresh waters in a toxic state. And I look to a parched population.
Then I see (for instance) the huge corporations raking in windfall and record profits…proudly distributed to a few lucky shareholders. Their corporate chests puffed up and full of false bravado. And I reflect back on the times when corporate America rose and served a better cause during times of war. And I wonder why the rising up of nature threatening us all, even the wealthiest, hasn’t prompted those financially over blessed folks to again address things for the “greater good” and not just the few.
I saw war planes and tanks and weapons and all the tools of war materialize overnight…and yet our coastlines are yet to be blessed with desalinization plants and a lifeline to the masses of our own. The debates are always nearly exclusive to pipelining oil. I have news for you folks. None of us will ever pour oil on our crops, swim in it, fish from it, or drink it. We have plenty of oil and political issues surrounding the countries we siphon it from. WE NEED FRESH, SWEET, CLEAN WATER. Lots of it.
I understand it isn’t fashionable to do a damned thing that doesn’t add to the bottom line, but even shareholder and CEOs need fresh water, food, a living water and ecosystem…And all the stacks of cash in the world cannot be eaten, drank, breathed, or sent to wherever along with their holders after they are dead, along with the rest of us peons.
I am more than just a bit concerned with the situations overrunning us today, and the lack of resources being trickled onto them. The focus and priorities are surely pointed in the wrong directions.

I think many of us look for the “second coming” to materialize in the form a man among us performing miracles. I think the second coming is expected by the good Lord to consist of the miracles being performed by his flocks here on earth. I think the good Lord is waiting for us all to get together and save ourselves from nature and each other. And I think the good Lord is watching and waiting in the wings. And I think he may be becoming mighty sad over what he sees and hears. Just a lot of killing, talk, finger pointing, judging, and hoarding. And not enough real doing.
Doing REAL good doesn’t always add to the coffers of shareholders. Real good is basic and the reward is in the doing, and giving, with a lack of public acknowledgement and patting on the backs…other than the feeling of sweet knowing when one’s head rests on the pillow at night…so that ALL of us might be able to rest easier. THAT is the reward. Knowing the truth, and realizing that the second coming is already upon us, and that many of us are failing miserably in his eyes…
Note: (…the “many” I refer to are the leaders, the politicians, the policy makers, the decision makers, the lobbyists, the CEOs, the wealthiest, the influential, the movers and the shakers…)
There, I spoke my piece. MLL

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For Karis…

Karis Louise…
As a new baby in the Lone Star State, first Gramma, then Papa held you before all others in the world…and it took their breath away.
Those eyes like the sea, and beautiful brown locks…that petite girl with her quiet smile, even in silence across the room, could take our breath away.

And she did at times struggle, some moments tried, and thought, and fought for a string to pull, a button to push…for reasons to smile, to be proud, to be loved. And her passion took our breath away.
It is a world of give and take, of seeking balance, and taking leaps of faith.
A life of miracles and reasons to believe. Karis gave us Stevie, a wee one with a will as strong as a mighty river, and a heart that fluttered and blew about in the breeze. Yet he somehow more than managed to remain with us and grow stronger over time. The miracle multiplied. And it took our breath away.

There are things we face, wounds of the spirit, and injuries of our frames. Karis was no exception to life’s traumas and dramas. And over time, I witnessed her pain. Even to sit next to me there was sometimes a strain. I too have been touched by the tortures of the wounded discs and twisted frame. And we shared the couch and empathy, and it took our breath away.

Karis did smile that smile, and endure the moments and travel the miles. And she did say to me one day…in essence, that she was far too young to have grown so old. That mishaps in cars had beat her up so. She confided in me as she leaned on me…and I felt her struggle to maintain control between the relievers of pain, and the pains that accompanied relief. And both can shroud us and wick away the joys of life. And at times, I held my breath in hopes she could find relief without peril…and I came to know what was possible for me, might not be for her. And my heart grew heavy with her suffering. And again, it took my breath away to see her this way…

That Karis did love and give and nurture and protect was evident in her quests to rescue pets and people. That she had an infectious passion for doing so followed her through the years. And I have been kept company by those critters, by her breezy ways. And I myself was rescued at times by her kindness to this old uncle. By a quick phone call to her that always grew to an hour of grateful talk. By a text that lingered there with a buoyant message and sweetness…and I peeked at those notes time and again.

But time as it passes is not always kind. And the mercies can grow fewer, and miracles elusive. And promises unkept by nature and chance…They mount and wait, till a collective dark cloud might visit in the night. And in this case, found her fast asleep and hopefully at peace, while it took the life breath, and our Karis away. And I’d like to believe that the person who first held her on earth, held her first in heaven too…

And today I sigh a sad and heavy sigh, and recall the times she shared those precious, “…I love you Uncle Matt” utterings that will from now on carry both peace and a twinge in tow. I shall recall, I will cling to them…and I return in kind, “Little one, I love you too. Get some rest, and please carry the love of an old uncle with you where you go…
You took my breath away. THE UM.

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Saturday afternoon.
Just as Saturday was starting as a new day around midnight past, I came to know that one of my numerous nieces had left this life. A thirty year old beautiful kiddo.
Ahh, my nieces. I have kidded with them all for years, “I love all my nieces equally, just some a lot more equal than the others…” She was of the more equal, and she and I have had some glorious moments in our quiet exchanges over the far too few years.
Karis Louise, also known as “Careless Leweegee”…I will so miss you girl. I’ll miss your sweet notes on Facebook, and your texts or calls to let me know that you’re “on Snoqualmie pass and will be at Papa’s in just a little while…”
I will miss you propping me up at times when I’ve needed propping, and hugging me when I’ve needed hugging. I will miss your, “I love you, THE Uncle Matt”.

Karis Louise
I will miss all these things, but you keep Gramma Vimy company…she has been waiting for you for many years.
I will miss these things, and you. BUT I will also constantly remember all these great moments between an old uncle and his special and beautiful niece.
I will never forget the perfect moments that you snuggled up to my shoulder, even after you were grown, and sighed a quiet sigh as if you just knew that was the most safe and perfect place to be. And then you’d drift off for a few. And in those blessed precious minutes, I knew I’d just been blessed with a perfect moment in this life…
Until I see you again, these moments will sustain me, and some, some will carry me. I love you like my own Karis Craig. Say hi to your Gramma for me. I’ll call YOU from the pass one day to let you know that I’m on the way.
Hugs, and love ya! THE Uncle Matt

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Next time I pursue a job, I’m not going to provide a resume. I’m going to find out who the other applicants are, and defame them instead. I won’t share my meritorious past. I will distort tiny truths about the list of others. Not to disqualify them, but to cast a haze of doubt surrounding them.
I won’t list my achievements and education, I will criticize the others for a digression twenty five years ago whilst they were still figuring out who they were, and had a moment of poor judgement. I won’t focus on my lack of being civic minded, I will question the degree of their commitment while they were…
I won’t shine any light on me at all, because that would expose my flaws and lack of character…I’ll create a maze of half truths about the others, and hope my ineptitude gets lost and that I slip under the radar, and hope for lifetime benefits for my efforts (and lack of achievement and contribution.)
And after all is said and done, my family and store bought friends will applaud my career and veneer of character.
Nah, I think I’ll just keep earning it the old fashioned and hard way. MLL

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I’ve been watching the news here and there. Reflecting.

Dylan said, “…the times they are changing…” A great song. But true colors and grumblings tell me that times aren’t really changing people. They are just becoming more polarized and bent on causes that hardly matter. Extreme examples of things are being tossed about and back and forth with more vigor and less tact and sense than before I think.
If one man would be more likely to wield a hammer to build a bridge, a device of shade, or a bucket to hold water…And another would take hammer in hand to strike those using that bridge, or seeking that shade, or to tear apart the bucket to spill the life giving water. Then I suppose I wouldn’t take the hammer away from both. I wouldn’t deem the hammer a bad thing. Nor would I ban bridges, or shade, or water. But I would perhaps take the hammer away from the destructive soul, and give him shade and water. And should he still be bent on making life difficult for others, I would take that hammer and use it as a gavel in one hand, and to build a cell in the other. And I would give that man in the cell a view of the bridge, the cool water, and the contented souls who do good with that very hammer…It is that simple. MLL

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Father’s day

Being a father changed me. It made me a better man than I would otherwise have been. It gave me a purpose, a pride, a reason to become and stay sober. Being a father gave me incentive to achieve, get educated, and become the image in his mirror.
Being a son to MY father taught me how what I needed to know to be a good father, gave me the strength, patience, love, fortitude, acceptance…and how to love someone, even when it was hard to like them.
In both being a father and a son today and every day, I am so blessed, so proud, so grateful, and so loved and full of love.
In being an honorary father, Godfather (G-Daddy), step father…I am validated, I am privileged, humbled. I was taught that simply being there, listening, advising, and loving, is enough to give meaning to a life otherwise filled with an essence of absence.
Being a father and a son has given me life.
I thank my Dad, and my son and daughters for keeping me close. Matthew.

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When your life seems to be falling to pieces, maybe it is the universe telling you it’s time to sort out the garbage and then put the keepers back together in a way that gives you a fighting chance and a better level of being. If keeping the ingredients that encourage failure is a habit of yours, perhaps its time to purge…Just because you’ve invested time in people and tendencies and a “style”, does not mean you need to cling to toxicity and parasites…Make some clean breaks. Make some adult decisions. Make some wholesale changes. Make some commitments. Make some hard choices. And make a trip to a different well to dip your life water out of, because the one you’ve been using is tainted and sour.
After a while, the issues in your own life repeating themselves only point to one person, one constant, one fault. The culprit is in the mirror, and the accomplices are the ones behind you most willing to keep you down at their level.
Become your own best friend and learn to love you first. Being lonesome for a while is a small sacrifice to being lonesome surrounded by a lost collection of habits and folks for the duration…
Look in the mirror and embrace the truth.
Success starts within you. Stop blaming and start changing. Although a lot of your issues might not be your fault, they might be faults of yours…Matthew

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Early June. Sunset tonight is about a quarter till nine. Dawn came about five. It will be hot today.
I remember these days from when I was a kid. Glory days. Days when a guy could play until there was no play left in me.
Days when cartoons were not even considered in the morning. A kid would wander out in yesterday’s clothes, last night’s pillow styled and night sweated hair, and roll off on a bike with twenty inch spoked wheels, already five patches on the tubes, banana seat and handle bars set at an angle all your own.
Whether a kid went was off to explore on his own, or joining friends, one could be sure of a few things. A sunburn was in order, a few scrapes and a stubbed toe or two would happen, becoming ‘boy dirty’ (and likely stinkier) was inevitable, and that fun could and would be had for well over twelve glorious hours.
Moms would suggest you getting wet, either in a sprinkler, pool, stream, wherever. Lunch would be served outside, then you would be invited to go off and play until sleep was sure to find you in earnest that night…after a good bath.
The first days after school let out for summer were the sweetest. Till a kid started missing his buds from the classrooms. The summer crowd was different, and life was equally grand. You just had to diversify and go with whatever happened.
There are lots of great memories of the unbridled freedom of such late spring/early summer days. I miss them so.
But mostly I miss summers off, trips to the farm, new bikes, old bikes, growth spurts, a cowlick in my hair, having hair, and last but most certainly not least; my Momma.
And today I have over twelve hours of sunshine to remember it all.
And tonight I will take a bath, grow very sleepy, tuck away my pocket treasures, give thanks for the day…and remember when…and hope Momma might happen by later in the night and tuck me in…and then wash my dirty clothes while I sleep. Love you Momma, Matty.

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Sunday morning. I have chores to do today, but first I wanted to share a few thoughts. I’ve been fairly busy the past several weeks. Lots of work, driving, stuff to do around the house. I could say too busy to effect much in the world around me, other than my full plate of personal callings.
But, one day last weekend while heading out for a round of chores, I was on the entrance to a bit of bypass highway, when something on the road caught my eye. I stopped on the shoulder and backed up the fifty or so yards and got out to look at what had gotten my attention. It was what I’d thought it was, a wallet lying open in the middle of the lane, left on the roof of a car while a driver bought gas. It was full of credit cards, discount cards, a drivers license, etc. I did one of my errands, then plugged the address into my phone’s GPS and took the wallet to the address on the lD. The folks weren’t home, but a neighbor knew the couple and told me they were on the way to Spokane that day. I knew how the loss of the contents of the wallet would ruin a day of watching their family member compete in a high school championship sporting event, so while was there, I made sure the neighbor called a member of the owner’s family to share their belongings were safe and intact. I left the wallet with the neighbors. Turns out they had missed the wallet, and had sent their elderly parents out to search for it. I got a call from them, and they had been looking. I’m glad I found it and not someone else who may have gone shopping on the credit cards etc.
I received two calls of thanks, and felt good knowing the day had been saved and the weekend of family sports was again carefree.
This weekend was also calling to plenty of stuff I need to do, project seeking, talking with my son, housekeeping…the usual stuff. But in light of the loss of my young friend last week, I decided to go spend time with the grieving mother of the 31 year old gal that lost her battle with cancer. I spent a few hours there, just talking about a lot of things…mostly listening. I’m no stranger to the rain, so joining a needful soul under a pouring black cloud is a thing to be taken in stride. Time is a gift, and when it runs out on a member of a family, giving your time is a worthy substitute. Nobody is ever more alone than when a child is taken from them. I have no answers, not clever lines, no way to ease the pain…other than to say that someday, thinking of that person will one day bring a comfort, rather than the immediate pain it does now. I know that from my own personal experiences. There is no timetable, but it is supposed to hurt when one is called on ahead, and it will always hurt to some degree, but life and the love that lingers will eventually become a comfort, rather than an all consuming presence…somewhere down the road.
I shared these two events in my weekends because I want folks to know, that there has to be made time, has to be made a small effort. And that regardless of your packed schedule, there are more important things in the world…and that ONE PERSON CAN make a huge difference. Not just in the moment, but in some cases, for the rest of time in the life of another, or in fact, others.
Be somebody. Share your time, listen, occasionally put your own less urgent needs aside, and make the world a better place. Your chores will wait. Do God’s work when it calls out to you. Matty

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