Friday, April 20, 2007

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

If you don't watch The Office, you probably won't understand this right away, but hopefully you'll find it as darn funny as I do. This is actual comedy, unlike the dreck mentioned in my last post.

Divorce Is Hilarious.

So there's this new Toyota commercial on TV where a husband and wife are in an apparent divorce settlement hearing. You know, standard spacious, clean law office, lots of burnished surfaces. Everyone's very highfalutin' and "metro," if people are still using that word. And they're very dignified over who gets what. The house? That's you. The kid? Yes, over there.

Then the lawyer or mediator or whomever holds up the keys to the Toyota. And that's when they start to argue. They both dive for the key. Because they both want the Toyota! They want it so bad! Who cares about that other crap?! The Toyota is everything to us!

There's another commercial for some financial planning company that features an "interview" with two "real women" in a sort of "impromptu" style. They're sitting in front of, like, a barn and they're just riffing about how one of them is a real plan-ahead type of gal and the other one is more spur of the moment, and they're chatting like friends, and one of them planned her wedding for ten thousand years, and the other one got married thirty seconds after meeting the guy, and...

...wait for it...

...neither one of those marriages worked out! Ha! Double Ha! Oh, broken homes are so the awesomest thing that ever happened to comedy. And commercials. I know if I'm ever thinking about buying a product, I always look to the manufacturer with the highest divorced-to-married rate among its employees. Because that stuff? That is Comedy Gold.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

These Are Sweet Potatoes.

So, mangoes are slightly smaller than sweet potatoes, you know. Anyway, The Bean is about the size of a large sweet potato, and is looking more and more like an actual person every day. Plus, as an extra, extra bonus feature, Michelle is feeling The Bean's activity. I felt it just the other day, too, but it was like being kicked by a feather.

Of course, as time wears on, The Bean will make more of a ruckus, and Michelle will be super-tired of those prenatal aerobics that fetuses tend to engage in. But for now, we're just enjoying it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Question.

Emma, my seven-year-old, delayed bedtime the other night with a question.

"Dad," she said, "I have a question."

I wanted to be the dutiful dad, but I was a little perturbed that she'd rolled out of bed--she was supposed to be asleep. Nevertheless: "Shoot."

"Well, I don't know exactly? What the question is?" She talks like that sometimes, turning her words up at the ends of phrases, so it sounds like a bunch of questions. I'm sincerely hoping she grows out of it.

"You don't know what the question is?" I said. "Like, you don't know how to ask it?"

"Right. Like my mind? Can't think of the right words?"

"Why don't you just use whatever words come to mind," I said, "and we'll figure it out from there."

No go. She literally did not have the words to express her question. All she could say was, "It's about mankind." Oh, and this: "It's like my heart? Is asking the question? And my mind? Can't figure it out." She brushed her hair out of her face. "It does have to do with God, though."

I decided to offer a suggestion. "Is it, like, about the meaning of life?"

She moved her hand like she was waving off the suggestion. "Well, kinda. But..." and here she trailed off, and I wished her forehead was transparent, because I could tell her brain was working overtime to express whatever feelings she was feeling. "I just... my mind? Can't get any rest."

I sent her back to bed, and she continued to ruminate on the question for the rest of the night. Dutifully, I went upstairs to tuck her in, and this is when things got a little crazy.

"Maybe you'll figure out your question while you're sleeping," I offered.

She smiled. "I hope. It's like my heart is asking the question and my brain isn't following. Like I've been digging in the dirt, and I hit, like, a hard thing? Like cement or something? And I've been digging with a shovel? So I need to, you know, change tools."

Now it was my turn to smile. "What does that mean?"

"I just have to go back to the beginning and figure out what pieces of the puzzle I do know, then use those to figure out the question."

Did I mention she's seven?

Boy, I felt hopeless, as a father. I desperately wanted her to be able to articulate this question, but I couldn't figure out how. Fortunately, I didn't try to force anything--at least I had that much going for me. I just let her know that God was giving her that question, and that he would help her figure out what it was in due time.

I left the room to check on her brother, then came back for a little more spiritual discussion. "Dad," she said, "I figured out something. The puzzle pieces? Those are, like, memory verses, and other parts of God's word. And the cement? That's, like, the devil? And sin? So that's how I can figure out the question."

You know what I said? "Emma, someday very soon, you're going to be teaching me."

She had two other things, though: "Dad, when I do figure out the question?" And here she smiled so big--I wish you could've seen it--"I'm going to tell everyone around me."

The other thing: "I know why God's doing this. Because I'm going to be a missionary..." (A quick aside: Emma has known, since the age of five, that she's going to be a missionary. We trust her.) "... and so God is teaching me how to, you know, follow him when it's hard? Because that's what missionaries have to do."

I have no doubt that Emma and God are pretty tight. It will serve her well in her missions efforts.

And in that moment, I also had no doubt about God's love for me. Because I had such a swell of boundless love in my heart for my daughter, and the thought struck me: I love my daughter this much, and it's impossible for me to love her more than God, so he must love her even more, though I can't even comprehend that amount of love. And if he loves her that way, he must love me that way.

The thing about our spiritual conversation that really struck me was the way Emma was able to share The Question, to participate in The Question--that same Question we all have, in one way or another. The Question of God, and the way our hearts, whether we know it or not, are always on the lookout for Him. And sometimes we find Him with our hearts but mislabel Him with our brains, calling Him "knowledge" or "the delicacy of a feather" or "a crimson sunset" or "a '67 Mustang."

So let's bring this whole story home: What is your Question? Do you even know you're asking?

Friday, April 6, 2007

These Are Mangoes.

So, The Bean is now slightly larger than your average large mango. And I'm fast running out of foodstuffs to compare it to.

For those of you interested, we shall know The Bean's gender on April 23. I'll try to post as soon as we find out.

Also, mangoes are really good for you, especially as a combatant against viruses. If you have anything viral, bump up your mango intake and you'll knock it right on out. This message brought to you by the National Council of Mango-Related Health Solutions, dedicated to your Mango Health Needs.

Early Reviews Of Knuckle Sandwich.

So, the book doesn't come out for another two-plus months or so, but already I'm getting some love from the blogosphere. Kinda nice to hear people say things like:

"All too often, characters' spiritual journeys feel contrived. Palmer's ring with veritable honesty."


"I love where Adam Palmer and other writers are taking Christian fiction." [Registration required to read review]

I'm a little bit blown away, to be honest. You know, you write these books in a vacuum, hoping that they'll have their intended effect on the reader, but you never really know how they'll be accepted until they get out there--and by then there's nothing you can do about it.

Anyway, my thanks to Ane Mulligan and Jamie Driggers, respectively, for their kind words about Knuckle Sandwich. Here's hoping there are many more to come.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

This Is Not The Bean.

Went to the zoo the other day to see the new baby chimp that was born there back in February. We spent maybe fifteen minutes in the chimp enclosure, just watching the little girl taking a nap on her mommy's tummy. There wasn't much to see, but we stuck it out, and then decided to head over to the polar bear.

Fortunately, I looked over my shoulder on our way out the door and saw the mom raising the baby up to clean its face. We rushed back in and spent the next five minutes watching this miracle of nature lived out in front of us. Michelle even snapped the awesome photo I posted above.

If you live in the Tulsa area, I highly recommend heading out to the zoo and seeing the chimp before it gets old and boring and regular-size. Also, stop by the lion enclosure. If you roar at the male lion--with conviction, mind you--it'll roar back. Trust me, it works.

Don't roar at the chimps. They don't like that.

Monday, April 2, 2007