Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Poem - The Riddle

Isn't life grand
That in the midst of solving our life's riddle
One discovers
Pieces of the puzzle
That help us understand
Our mortal coil
And free us
If we dare
From any stagnant soil
For God's intent
Is to help us rid
Our festering discontent
By living lives that He meant
As soldiers of His highest will.
We sharpen our soul's weapons
By healing compassion
For our own thick scar
So instead of repeating
The dance of pain
For who we think we are
We rub clean the wound
With love's refrain
And wisdom's words
sing loud and clear
We all are broken
By childhood fear
For the dark thunder of life
Has dyed this old stain
But new lightening
Will come without sound
And ghosts and goblins will disappear
Below the dry ground
He has prepared
Us for a new day
And brings power for which
No one has dared
Throw away
One simple gift
That He loves us
And we can finally love Him
And ourselves
By letting the light shine in
By letting the light shine in

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Poem October 26, 2008

Mid-summer Night’s Dream

The wakened state of dreams
Is not as it seems
but that which we might relate
as if on solitary date
with our mirrored self
and the familiar ghosts we dance with
Each day
As we go about solving the problems
Of the world
They haunt us
Yet without our knowing
As if at summer’s camp
It is snowing
Inside our head
Cool white and gray flakes
Alert, alive, distracted if not dead
Hypnotized still
Touching and nudging
Soul rather than Will
Hinting and squinting
We look for God’s mark
Whispering to us
To redeem
By ourselves, freely left alone
To dream
In the borrowed light
Suspended between
Right and wrong
Mortal skin and bone
Sing soliloquy
To think, to stir, to awake
to our spirit’s eternal song
Yet in the creeping dark
Of our own blurred sight
We yet sleep, again
Knowing not where we belong

(Nick L October 26, 2008)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poem ~ Return


Go back
Far back
To that moment
Of pain and loneliness
That cold jail cell
Of isolation
Of life without a map
Lost, unloved
Stay there
Close your eyes
Feel the moment
Then feel more
What was it like?
What was happening
And where
And why?
The tears
The wrenching guts
The howling emptiness
Did it make sense?
Was it part of a mystery
A tragedy or a drama?
Return to that place
To the dizzy circus of life
To the ritual of noise
Smudge lipsticked clowns
The trapeze
The tight rope of life
Are you up there
On that bouncing cord?
Almost falling off
Into the lit ring of death
Far below?
Can you remember
What is was like?
To hold on
For dear life?
How it made you feel?

Return there
Then breathe
And lie down and stay
And listen
Listen still more
Let go the voices of thinking
And feeeeeeeel…..
Is God there?
What would He say to you
In that song of sadness
What would He sing to you
Can you hear Him?
Can you still your beating heart
Your throbbing head
Long enough
Your aching soul
To feel all that
Can you hear His deep
Father’s voice
What is He saying to you?
If He could?
If he is?
If you could speak for Him
And let His words wash over you
What would they be?
What are the sentences
that might set you free?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Poem Big Love October 20 2008

Big Love
Is bigger
Than us
Bigger than a yellow school bus
Bigger than hurt
Bigger than the Sahara desert
Bigger than you
And me
Bigger than a tall
sequoia tree
Big Love is
An exquisite trust
Come boom
Or bust
'Tis an absolute must
Big Love is
an oversize heart
That pumps loud and clear
Is lungs
Full of air
And not of fear
Is life turned art
Not science
Not math
Tis a big wide path!
Big Love
Is cream filled
Apple tart
Is rich w cinnimon
Warm and full
Big Love
Is no bull
Its...Sweet not bitter
Moist not dry
A mouthful
Of cherry pie
A swallow
Of humble pie

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poem ~ Trinity October 16, 2008

The light
Comes on
When the darkest
Moments come
And one's sight
Is bleakest
The music is not done
If one listens
When one is weakest
And permits the heart
To ache
And lies down in that
Dank place
And feels its rich and real pain
For His sake
Full in the face
There is at once
A smaller you
Yet a larger peace
Ever so shy
For the wounds will not
At first cease
Yet if one can breathe
And listen with the soul's ear
(Not the eye)
That remains yet open
Despite the fear
And the lonely, still hole
In ones heart
You will hear
Another voice, Holy
And calm
Saying Live On
Dear one Dear
Live on
Breathe in
And you and your heart
Will win
Breathe out
And learn to be
For I am in you
And I yet remain
Live beyond doubt
Let me your throne reclaim
Be this hour alone
And as your King
Together we will triumph
A fellowship of the ring
For suffering can not
be run from.
And I have known suffering
But I will never be far
From the stark hero
you are
I will always be here
To conquer your arthritic fear
For I am new
And I am you
Just be now
With me
Pray my child
As Father with son
For then,
meek and mild
We make three

Friday, October 10, 2008

October 9, 2008, Poem ~ Courage is the Thing

The chance to connect mind
And soul
And finally discover
One’s destiny role
Requires more than thinking
Requires courage
And heart
A life of new substance
Will only start
When pain and scars
Are looked at as they are
Then washed away
One at a time
By putting spiritual dollar
Ahead of personal dime
A lifetime of love
Will take wing
As soon as one realizes
That courage is the thing

Friday, October 3, 2008

Poem - Love is a Sunset

Love is a Sunset

Love is a sunset
Each day, each second new
No more, no less
Heaven’s own address
Comes into view
That’s what I see in you
As sky and ocean
Wrestle their storm
That’s where love’s strength is born

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Poem ~ Our Father's Dreams, October 1, 2008

Our Father’s Dreams

Delight in the uncertainty
It’s life
Celebrate His enormity
Amidst the challenges and strife
For our humility
Is found in the mountains
We climb
That speak to our spirit
and soul’s incline

Know that eternity
Is a temperature
Of the soul
Hotter than forest fires
Cooler than endless streams
Is the noise we hear our own heart
Or our Father’s dreams
His "is" dwarfs our "seems"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Poem: For My Mother, September 29, 2008

A Poem For My Mother

Where do I find you now?
If you're in the air
Where are you in the "there"
For I know you're beside me
Your smile is inside me

Where do I find you now?
In the rustle of the leaves
In Dad in his shirt sleeves?
In the songs of birds
in the naked, yawning trees
In the embrace of Winter's cool breeze?
In the screech of tires in the street?
In the pain I feel in my tired feet?

Is it in the Sun’s gentle reach
through the muddled clouds
that lets me know how you teach?
Do I find you in your dearest friends -
In the tears that sometimes never end?
It's in the tea you served us every day
and the wisdom we take from your life's silver tray

This I know
That I'll never forget your kindly smile
Or the charm that was your elegant style
The calm confidence holding your warm hand
How you were so effortlessly grand
The soft, proud forehead that last day I kissed
Dear, sweet Mother, you are sorely missed
(Nick Lowery, Nov 22, 2006)

Poem: Peace and Quiet, September 29, 2008

Poem: Peace and Quiet

Peace and quiet
Are not easily found
Unless your feet are solidly on the ground
Unless you breathe the rich full air
And find something special on which to stare
And pause for a moment or maybe two
And find that polished jewel that was always inside of you

(by Nick L)

Poem - Busy Brains, September 29, 2008

Poem - Busy Brains

Busy brains
Are like when it rains
Your head must clean
It’s muddy stains
For when we stop
To think a lot
And forget to breathe
We start to seethe
With unclean thought
Not what we’ve been taught
So slow down that noggin
And quit yer sloggin’
The answers are there
Under that lovely hair
Don’t just stare
It’s only fair
To breathe
And in so doing
Your head will lose
It’s muddy stains
And then you’ll remember
why it rains

(Nick L 1/15/07)

Poem - Singing Souls, September 29, 2008

From Singing Souls

The song that lasts
Is one whose music
Is written new each day
On the echoes of
Our own internal choir
The personal fire
We stoke with
Spiritual coals
From singing souls

(by Nick L)

Poem - Pain's Phonebooth, September 29, 2008

Poem: Pain's Phonebooth

Pain and truth
In the same phone booth
While fear
Well, that's not as clear
It hides
And slides
From shadow
To light
Just so slight
It makes us blind
To what is in front
As it plays behind
We cannot confront
This other kind
So near
To our nose
We smell it not
The pure rot
Hidden beneath
The rose

(by Nick L)

Poem - Clumsy Words September 29, 2008

Poem – Clumsy Words

But poetry might be lost
When time and kindness
To the winds are tossed
A sweet friendship might be the cost
For the one who chose silence
As her sense of the finest
When instead a random, clumsy effort of words
Would return the kingdom
Of love to its throne
Then you'd be home

(by Nick L)

Poem - Perfect to the Taste, September 29, 2008

Would that the secret
Be revealed
That each moment
You have stealed
For worry or regret
Be forgotten and erased
Such that God's sure purpose
And your eternal grace
Be your daily food
And perfect to the taste

(by Nick L)

Triumph Comes in Small Doses

Kickin’ It with Nick, September 29, 2008

Triumph in Small Doses, by Nick Lowery

When we think we have it so rough, sports teaches us lessons; but like life, only if we let it. Sharing success is one thing. We are all proud teammates and fans when our team wins, and when things go well. We jump on that bandwagon, or at least stand a mite taller if we are already on it. However, only if we permit ourselves, do we reach out to witness the parallels we share from stories of pain, tragedy and failure. Those literally hurt more. They echo more deeply in us. They touch raw nerves, and unhealed wounds.

When Tony Dungy’s 18 year old son James (who I met and played with when he was barely 3 when Tony was a Kansas City Chiefs coach) committed suicide in the midst of what could have been the Colts’ run to a Super Bowl, there was Tony Dungy thanking the Tampa Bucs Owner at the funeral, who had fired him a few years earlier, for how kind he had been to his son when he was Tampa’s coach.

Perspective. That’s what sports – and the theater of life’s stage – can help us achieve. Can we get to the balcony to view the jumbled and even bruising dance floor that usually pervades our life? Can we hear over the music what is really happening? Can we see the connections? Better still, can we see the connections to our own lives clearly enough to share them with our children, and those that might understand us better by experiencing compassion through this common drama?

Coaches are often the teachers who best make those painful lessons more plain. I spoke with Valley Center Athletic Director and Cross Country coach Mike Cummings about the darker side of the sports stage. Darker stories bring light to tragic outcomes for young people who need to be prepared to meet the tough times, Cumming said. Tampa Bay Bucs kicker Matt Bryant’s infant son Tryson died in his sleep this week; Bryant flew to Texas to bury his son Friday. He flew back Saturday night in time to play in Sunday’s game. After kicking 3 field goals and the game-winner yesterday, he said, "I wanted to go out there and honor Tryson’s name…I didn’t think it was very fair for his life to end so short."

As David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel said, “Unfair is having a ref blow a call that cost your team a game. Tragic is going in to kiss your baby good morning and finding he won’t move.”

Sports is teaching kids how to win on a daily basis, said Cummings. “It teaches us that the lessons come through life’s struggles. I teach math, and I often say to my students that the mistakes always happen; its those who struggle through the mistakes that get better….My daughter Rebecca, seven, who I coach in Pee Wee soccer, thought I was mad because she didn’t score this week like she did last week. I told her – you didn’t run as hard as you did last week…if you give your best, it doesn’t matter if you score.”
So there was Matt Bryant, knowing he had to honor his son Tryson because “it’s not fair for his life to end so short.” And the rest of us can feel for him knowing that the worst of days can be re-written by the gentle tug of a little hand or the smallest smile. “I don’t know if we can ever be successful unless we learn to overcome our fear of failure.” Said Cummings. How about overcome our fear of the pain of life?

Because it will come sooner, or later. Ever the coach, Mike Cummings boiled it down to terms we might shy from but understand when the light is not so bright.
“I tell my Cross Crountry runners, it’s who is willing to hurt longer than the other.” Triumph for us, and for Matt Bryant, sometimes comes in short and overwhelming doses.

And I am not talking about penicillin.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trust But Verify - NFL's own Glasnost

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Trust But Verify - NFL's own Glasnost

Trust but Verify - the Opening with the Commissioner on Retired Player’s RightsWe are being encouraged by the Union to be cautious with Commissioner Goodell as he meets with former players in all 32 cities. This by a players association that has not allowed former and current players to ever meet in a safe, unpressured environment so that accurate historical information and present reality is learned calmly and dispassionately, unfiltered by those who might have personal agendas.We will of course be cautious, but we will not prevent a dialogue with someone who will hear our needs and respond to them with more open space for honest, unintimidatable (if there is such a word) dialogue that honors equally all sides.

Since 1994-5, $1 Billion has been diverted from a pension plan that benefits all the players to one that has only gone for "post career" (read retirement/pension) benefits of current players. And these are for rights players in the 70's and 80's struck and sued for and secured with zero help or sacrifice (they were simply not playing yet) of current players.

Be cautious? Be cautious also to see this transparently: This is not saying that current players wouldn't see this more clearly if they could meet with former players in a calm and safe environment without intimidation or implied or real threats from leadership. If there could be a safe dialogue, many of these issues would soften and naturally and progress. And it wouldn't be made at a snail’s pace, but in a way that respects the urgency of this issue and addresses the outrageous amnesia regarding the truth.

What truth? There have been no increased benefits for those players who struck and sued during the 80's and redefined (according to ESPN's NFL Hall of Fame journalist John Clayton most recently) collective bargaining permanently in the new fundamental terms of % of Gross and Free agency.If the two post career/retirement funds were rejoined, all pension benefits would double, current players would still get increased benefits to match their still hugely and consistently increasing salaries, and the deserved justice we seek would be attained, restoring nobility for all.

Most importantly, the game itself, the worlds best sport, a game that embodies strategy, grace, speed, power and physical courage better than any, would be the better for it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Professor: A Poem

September 10th, 2008

The Professor

Life is a professor
With hard Lessons each day
Did we pay attention
Did we the dragon slay?

Life is a teacher
Did I listen well
Did I hear the bell
Did I Show and Tell?

Life is a preacher
Did I learn the verse
In whose land did I dwell
The last supper,
or the bitter silver purse?
Who owns this universe?

Love is a feature
In all our dreams
‘Tis not what it seems
Can bore through walls
But did we hear the calls?

Can snore through cries
But not the sighs
But more -
‘Tis what it defies

All logic
All reason
Depends not the season
‘Tis what it justifies

Only Truth never lies
Excuses it despises
Hides the hero disguises
In just seven tries
It’s brussel sprouts, turkey and Pumpkin pies!

No purple pill.
Nor spiritual chill
Don't wait till
the tear dries
Or the angel flies

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Destiny's Moon: a Poem

September 9, 2008

At the End of the day
To where are we on the way?
Are we on a journey truly together?
Can we bind our selves close -
As tightly as leather?
That we might join as one
That we might loosen our childlike ties
to those that provoke lesser selves
Can we sweep away those dusty shelves?
When we stand up to fear – it simply dies

Can we let it exit
To it’s darker doom?
Lock it up
Sweep clean with redeeming broom?
Shed light into this open room?
Feel the cool rays of destiny’s moon?
The travel of smaller minds
Cannot birth futures
That leave old pain behind
Leave it dead as past wounds fell
For Heaven’s alive
Honest Love is most well

Monday, September 8, 2008

Poetry is God’s Motion

September 8th, 2008

In addition to thoughts on politics, this blog will also have several original poems per week by the author that seek to connect themes and feelings that may or may not matter to the reader.

Poetry is God’s Motion

A poem is a humble means
To discover what's inside our heads
Past subtle screens
And doom's dreads
What's real yet the stuff of dreams

For if we can share our souls
And fill our hearts' sterling silver bowls
If we can join something eternal
That we both hold true
Than we might come closer
As one, not two

We might learn
A more infinite wisdom
An endless love
That heals the loneliness
And Helps us rise above
Over silent boundaries
With wings of a dove
With a clean happiness
That can not be denied

A poem is a humble prayer
Simple words sanctified
For it reaches out
With calm voice
Not anxious shout
It touches our heart
Burns through doubt
And daily reminds us
In this minute
In this breath
That connecting as one
Is the secret of life
That triumph's hollow death
His will be done

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lipstick on the Pit bull

September 4, 2008

Republican Convention

Sarah Palin's speech was one of the best speeches for a young politician at the beginning of a wonderful story. She has character, humor, backbone, chutzpah. She is fresh air, and she will help the ticket. The election will be within 4 points, not 7 now.

However, like her main points on Obama, it was more a smoothly delivered, dramatic speech than substance.

For instance, references to a do-nothing Congress forgets to mention that 7 of the previous 8 years were Republican controlled by a Republican President. I agree that the Democratic leadership has lacked any passion or effectiveness, but once again, I'd like Republicans to own up to the multi-trillion dollar dismantling of the balanced budget and the US Dollar overseas.

Or the traditional porkbarrel Government spending that Sarah says she cut back in Alaska, that actually brought $27 million to her town as Mayor and $750 million to Alaska, the highest per capita "pork barrel" in the country. And the bridge to nowhere that she opposed, well...she actually only opposed it after Federal support for it dried up.

My prediction is that because Democrats don't have the viscious muscle tone of the Republicans, she will have a longer honeymoon, but in the end, the Geraldine Ferraro factor in reverse (as in relentless attacks on her credibility) will begin by the end of the first of the two months left till the election (by mid October). Lets hope the Joe Biden doesn't pull a John Edwards and wimp out during his Vice Presidential debate with the gentle lady.

Sarah Palin has brought an X factor to this election. Let's give credit to surprises in politics. Let's look for new ideas, courage, and new insight into energy and fighting corruption, something she should have with her familiarity with those issues. And let's pray that the Pit Bull Hockey Mom doesn't make the mistake of not being aware of what she doesn't know; we've had almost 8 years of that already.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

George W's No-show

September 3rd, 2008

Showing up

George W Bush not showing up for his own convention is a telling example of our fearless leader unable to face the music. He has tried to do a better job this time Post Katrina with his visits in Gustav's wake to Louisiana; the coordination of federal state and local authorities, as well as the ownership of the local citizens in evacuating 1.9 million in such a short time is commendable... and a huge relief. However, it does not explain the President not showing up last night for what should be his role to pass the baton to the next generation of Republican leader - John McCain. He is an incumbant 8th year President, and yet he found a way to avoid what should have been his night. Is that character and leadership?

There will be those who say that John McCain could call the shots, and the more distance he gains from W the better, but that is not the protocol and not tradition. There is to my knowledge no example of a sitting president not attending the coronation of the new would-be king.

We have been lectured for 8 years about personal accountability in war from a President, Vice president and Defense Secretary who have never faced danger or a bullet. We have been told for 8 years that Democrats run from responsibility and throw their cares to the arms of Big Government. Yet it is this Republican party - starched, lilly white and older as it paraded its higher luminaries last night, that continues to spend its time attacking the Democrats and waving the American Flag and not for once saying they could have done anything better.

For once, don't you want to hear someone say, "We have learned a lesson we will not repeat"?

For once, I want to hear the fresh new face of this ticket, Sarah Palin, take on those same party elders at the national level the way she fought so courageously back in Alaska, and say we can do better!

For once, I want to hear the echo of Teddy Roosevelt say we will and have made mistakes, but we will never make the mistake of avoiding learning from them!

And for once, I want to hear a Republican say that those who disagree with them over the best choice for the country are not less American than they are.

Its tired, its old, and its not leadership.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gotcha Politics - Get This!

August 28, 2008

We have entered into the Golden, nano-second Era of Gotcha politics, where a shot of Obama not saluting the flag is actually not from the pledge of allegiance but the national anthem, and yet it’s deliberately misrepresented to make him look bad. And to make someone else look good by stomping on another’s head and heart.

Gotcha journalism is fat-belly, scratch your tummy, Monday morning QB sideline, couch potato, double cheese, overcooked potshot media that deserve to be called on their lazy disservice to journalism and the business of this country. It betrays the noble, even sacred goal of making this country more just and successful for all. It is for those who don’t want to take any time to look at the real issues which aren’t simple, are the most real and important, aren’t easy to solve and impact all of us.
Foreign policy
Health care
…You name it!

All require the difficult consensus and give and take and information gathering and “walking a mile in the other’s moccasins” from many entrenched groups with their own motives and agendas
All require sacrifice
All require imagination
All require putting the business of the greater good at some point above 100% self-interest
In other words, all are tough, hard work, and real interaction, and demand ethics that require fairness, honesty, transparency of one’s own motives, accountability and commitment to being part of the solution....even a national community. And who wants that? lol

Nick Lowery
(go to http://www.loweryspeaks.com/ for this blog and newspaper column)

Amnesia: The Lost Contract for America

August 29, 2008

As someone who worked in the last year of the Reagan and first year of the HW Bush Administration, I have often wondered why the Contract for America was so quickly forgotten and even disrespected by this administration.

The Contract for America was created honorably by a Republican party that was further extending the integrity to the Reagan vision of limited government: Limited government that frees its citizens to achieve and create new solutions, new relationships, new economies through entrepreneurial imagination, research, risk and hard work.

That Contract was abandoned with dispatch in the past 8 years as if it never existed. And where was the media to hold them accountable? Instead, as you all know, it has been replaced by a notion of “limited’ government that places no limits on our outreach as the world’s lonely (and often poorly informed) policeman, requiring a domino politics of blind loyalty while turning a blind eye to those citizens – and returning soldiers – here at home that we can do something real and measurable about. This is not to say that going to war isn't ever necessary when carefully and honestly, and courageously conceived. Just ask Colin Powell and Norman Schwartzkopf.

Generals Powell and Schwartzkopf have often talked on record of the powerful lessons of Vietnam that they took to 1991's Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. They had learned that the leader must face the danger, the bullets and the pain just as his soldiers in the trenches do; they must see the fighting close at hand to know not only the accurate conditions and best tactics of the war, but its all too real human cost. As such, they never took the cost of one life for granted. And they led heroically and successfully. We have not witnessed our military's leaders in the trenches in the same way this time around. I was in Iraq two years ago for a week, and flew Black Hawk helicopters to 8 military bases (go to “Nick’s Kick” at http://www.headgamesradio.com/ for the diary I wrote for that week in USA TODAY) . The military themselves are highly committed and honorable, courageous people. We owe them a great deal. But the ones who call the shots are not those on the ground risking their lives but those who know no risk and no immediate human reality that might sharpen their vision and mold their decisions with the fresh oxygen of real life.

Limited Government is a powerful notion that speaks to America’s genius. It is time for Republicans to take back the party from the military-industrial Jabba the Huts – and for that matter, the obese oil industry execs who would eat their own young to cement their own fortune and power. Limited government is about freedom for the true adventurers, achievers, leaders – and heroes - of America.

Nick Lowery
(go to http://www.loweryspeaks.com/ for this Blog and more)