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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities

To the left is where I live in Stockholm, Sweden. Below is where my parent's live in Palm Springs, California, United States of America. I love both of these places. It is a bit unfortunate that the Atlantic ocean and 9 time zones separate these two places. I have a deep longing in my heart to live in both places at the same time and thus I must contend with feeling a little bit split about where I want to be in my current life situation. The blessing in all of this is that at least I am torn between two entirely different places that I love.
Take Palm Springs for example. It is 7.00 a.m. as I sit on my parent's porch watching the sun break over the mountains bringing light and warmth to this desert paradise. The way in which the sun casts a purple hue on the surrounding mountains and paints the sky in the deepest blue is hard to beat. I love, love, love the mornings out here. The dawn breaks quickly here so one minute it's gray and shadowy and in the next the color palette is displaying its glory all around.
On the other hand, the splendor of Stockholm is quite easy to behold as well. The architecture of the city, the surrounding water and beautiful city parks make it easy to enjoy the fun of being in a big city while easily getting a nature fix just minutes from our downtown apartment building. I'm not a fan of winter, but admittedly, there's nothing quite like the beauty of freshly-fallen snow creating a visual that causes the city to appear to be frosted with wedding cake icing. And then there's the summer. After the hemmed in feelings of the dark winter, the summer light bursts forth creating new life for all who encounter it. The light in Stockholm is so special. The way the sun dances on the landscape is a visual feast in both summer and winter. I love that during the summer, nothing I do is done in the dark. I walk the dog in daylight. I go to bed and get up in daylight. I get off work at 4.00 p.m. and still have a full 7 hours of daylight ahead of me to enjoy. I love the long days of summer and I know that I would miss that.
On the other hand, I really do not like winter that much. It's a season that takes up more than its fair share of the year and in Sweden, it just doesn't really know when to quit. So, for instance, while I've been in California for these last days of March, enjoying high 70's and low 80's Fahrenheit, Stockholm has gotten more snow and the waterways remain frozen. The calendar is screaming, "IT'S SPRING, IT'S SPRING" and winter is laughing in its face. But what I have noticed here in California is that there is little appreciation for good weather because well, they have good weather most of the time. In fact, it's the bad weather that really excites people. Something different to talk about. The rain, the wind, the big storm that created quite a commotion. It's funny. Weather is a big topic in both places.

Now, admittedly, summer in Palm Springs could be considered the 10th circle of Dante's Inferno. It is not a nice place to be when the mercury exceeds 110 degrees F day after day. It gets really interesting when it climbs into the 120's. So, in this little tale of two cities, on the one hand, winter is a drag in Sweden. On the other hand, summer is a drag in Palm Springs.
Perhaps you are gaining some clarity on why I love both places. Each delights my senses in totally different ways.
I love my life in Sweden. I love that my parents live in California. I know that being on vacation in Palm Springs is a totally different tale than actually living here, finding a meaningful vocation and figuring out how to pay the bills. I love living in Europe and enjoying the benefits of that lifestyle while at the same time I do grow weary of being a foreigner and at times long for the familiarity of my home country. I also know that I feel like a foreigner in the US at times after living abroad for almost 11 years. I love shopping in America, skipping the 25% sales tax that Sweden imposes, marveling at the prolific bounty of choices in the grocery store, how inexpensive and available everything seems to be. And yet, I weary of the excessive nature of America, how wasteful we are as a nation, how fast and furious the lifestyle seems. Even thinking about returning to a job that requires 50 plus hours a week with only 3-4 weeks of vacation a year exhausts me. I love my husband and my dog and my church and we just bought a new little boat that ensures hours of good times on the Baltic Sea...if we have a warm summer that is! And I love my parents and just have to accept that for now, our visits will be few and far between but rich and satisfying when we get the chance to cross that big, bad ocean that separates us. Yes, it's paradise in Palm Springs during the winter. And it's paradise in Stockholm during the summer. The ideal existence for me would be May-September in Sweden. October-April in Palm Springs. I guess the only thing the prevents us from realizing that dream is the ability to own property in both places. For now, I am thankful for the lovely home that we enjoy at Tegnergatan 4 thanks to the generous folks at Immanuel Church. And I am thankful for the desert getaway I get to enjoy thanks to generosity of my folks who I hope will reside at 127 Mecca for a very long time indeed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A New Day Has Dawned

I've been in California for a week and what a week it's been. My mom's health has been totally transformed and the obvious burden that has been lifted from off of my father's shoulders has made a remarkable change in him as well. It is truly amazing to witness such obvious transformation. We have had the greatest week together. The mere fact that my mom is showing interest in doing things and has energy to be engaged in life is such a gift. For 2 years she has barely felt like sitting at the table and eating meals with us. Now she's been up for shopping, eating out, and meeting friends. She is back teaching her weekly women's Bible study group, active in her church work, and even helping out around the house! My father's sarcastic comments let us know that he too, is back to normal! We have shared much laughter and enjoyed some peaceful, meaningful family time together. We've been able to talk about how hard the past two years have been. We've given expression to the depth of our fears and sadness as we pondered the scary and uncertain road that cancer puts you on. But best of all, we've just enjoyed being together without the hovering presence of an illness that steals life away from people.
We do not know how long this happy season will last but we don't care about that. We are trying to enjoy the gift that it is right now. I feel that my coming home to be with them during the good times has allowed us to do just that, enjoy the gift that mom's new lease on life is for us all. God's goodness to us throughout the entire ordeal has been continually obvious to us and this miracle of health that my mom is experiencing at the present is certainly a deep blessing for which we are utterly thankful. And so we give thanks and rejoice. I rejoice that my folks are enjoying a season that is largely void of hardship and pain. I pray it will last a good long time, but that's not really what's important. What is important is to humbly accept this gift and enjoy it with the vigor that God would want us to. I am so thankful for this new day and I humbly accept the gift that it is with joy and thanksgiving in my heart.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Chance to Celebrate Life

I am leaving for Palm Springs via Los Angeles tomorrow, Monday, 23 March. This trip is a gift and on many levels it feels very luxurious and extravagant. On other levels it just feels like it's the right thing to do. As many of you know from reading earlier posts, the past two years have not been the easiest season in my family life. March 25, 2009 will mark the two year anniversary of my only brother's death. And shortly thereafter, my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. 2007 was the hardest year of our lives as we sought to cope with deep loss on a number of levels. I made numerous trips to California under duress during that time period. Travelling after a sudden death or while worrying about a loved one dying before you get there is not an enjoyable experience. Of course, you are grateful for the chance to get to loved ones and thus are blessed by the possibility of actually being there during these hard life transitions and yet making the almost 24 hour door to door journey from Stockholm, Sweden to Palm Springs, California while filled with stress, anxiety, sadness and sorrow is not my favorite travel experience.
My mom has fought off the cancer with amazing strength. It has been debitalitating on a number of levels and has created a lifestyle of fatigue for both her and my dad. Our visits together have been rich. We treasure life and time together with a depth that perhaps we would've missed without the hardship. But even so, being together when my mom has been tired and ambivalent about life and watching my father struggle with depression and anxiety is painful. Again, I am happy to walk every step of this journey with them, but it's hard to live so far away knowing that they aren't enjoying their "golden years" with the glimmer and shine that they should be.
When Doug and I left in January after our winter visit, we knew that my mom had an important test 3 weeks from then. One of the hardest things about living so far away is that you don't just pop back and forth. I wanted to be there with them when they went to this Dr.'s appointment, but that wasn't going to happen. I had prepared myself for not such great news. Stage 3 ovarian cancer is tough. We had gotten the word the previous summer that we were at a crossroads. Curing was impossible. The best we could hope for was to create a decent quality of life that she, my dad and I could enjoy for a bit longer. The last round of chemo was wearying to the point where my mom was perhaps ready to say enough. With cancer, people often reach the point where their choices are not so great. On the one hand, you can take more chemo and feel like crap. Or, on the other hand, leave it alone and let nature take its course. I think both my mom and dad were kind of there if the disease was raging again. You figure out how to accept these things, but nothing makes it easier. So, when I got the call this time and found out that my mom had actually gone into remission, the outcome that was "medically impossible", I didn't really know how to react. I hadn't even hoped in the smallest of ways that this could be possible because the disappointment of it going the other way is too hard to handle. Remission. Lowest cancer marker yet in 2 years. Astonishing. Even the Dr. said WOW! The nurse who worked with them cried, incredulous that this impossible outcome was unfolding in my mom's life.
I had spent a lot of mental time figuring out when I could travel to California to be with them as they coped with what I was sure would be the march toward death. When the opposite news came I wanted nothing more than to buy a bottle of something really good, perhaps even with bubbles, crack it open in their kitchen and toast this news and celebrate with them. Again, hard to do from Sweden. And so I got to thinking...I've made so many trips under difficult circumstances, wouldn't it be something to make a trip under great ones? I found a ticket for a flight from Stockholm to Los Angeles International for a silly low price. I checked the dates with my husband and my parents. I got my cousin who lives in LA (about 1.5-2 hours west of Palm Springs) to agree to pick me up and drive me out to Palm Springs. (His dad is my mom's brother and he lives across the street from my parents. Cool, huh? To have your brother live across the street from you when you are 78 and your brother is 86 years old.) So, now I'm flying to Los Angeles tomorrow from Stockholm, Sweden via London Heathrow. It feels wildly extravagant to return to the US so quickly after we've been there, but it feels even more wildly wonderful to go with a song in my heart and hope on the horizon. My husband is making the supreme gesture of kindness by holding down both of the and home. My parents are chipping in for a portion of the ticket. My cousin is picking me up. It feels like a dream. But it's not. My mom and dad are happier than they have been for 2 years. We should definitely toast person. Above all, I am so thankful to God who has sustained us and continues to give us hope in all things.

Seeing Clearly

Since June of 2007 our apartment building has been undergoing a major renovation to the facade. Early on in the restoration process, the restorers discovered these amazingly beautiful paintings that used to adorn the top of the building. The building now took on historical significance and thus State funds became available. In order to restore the building to its original glory, the facade work had to be done by hand. We live in a big building. It took 20 months. 20 months of scaffolding surrounding our house. 20 months of men peering into our windows. 20 months of our windows being covered in plastic and being splashed with mud, dirt, and grim. 20 months of early morning drilling and tapping that would compete with the latest torture methods. And now it's done. The plastic came down just before Christmas. The scaffolding came down about a month ago. And the window washers came yesterday to spit shine our windows. Just in time as well. We have officially crossed the vernal equinox and therefore have more daylight hours than nighttime hours. We move the clock ahead on Saturday and hence begin the march towards 22 hour day. I have come to love to perpetual light. With the house's unveiling we feel as though blinders have been removed. We have often felt as if we were living in a cave during these 2 years and it feels so wonderful to see the light stream in, to look out and enjoy the sunshine and the blue sky. The added bonus is that our building is absolutely gorgeous. These photos do not do justice to the glistening gem that now sits at Tegnergatan 4. We once had the worst looking building on the block. Now we've won Stockholm's city award for best renovation in 2008. People comment on our building and it feels good. The exterior of our house has been fully restored.
Of course, with the bright light streaming into our apartment now, we are painfully aware of how dirty our place is! The spring light is a welcome reprieve from the winter darkness, but every flaw is also now glistening! I am reminded of the verse in scripture that says that people love the darkness for their deeds are evil and they do not want them to be exposed. So just as the light of day exposes the dirt in our houses, so it follows then that the light of Christ exposes the dirt in our lives. It is not so pleasant to be convicted of the things in your life that you know need to be cleansed. And yet, like the satisfaction I feel when I've cleaned my house after seeing the dirt exposed, so it is when I can allow the grace of Christ to wash over me and cleanse me from within as well. But we must be willing to let the "dirt" be exposed or else we'll never own our need for the deep cleaning we could us in our lives. Are we brave enough let the light of Christ shine on our "dirty" places so that the interiors of our houses can be restored as well?
I'm preaching today on John 9, the text where Jesus heals the blind man by making mud out of dirt and spit, placing it on his eyes and then asking him to go wash. The upshot of the entire story is how Jesus used a physical healing to demonstrate our need for spiritual healing as well. The man moved into the light on numerous levels...he moved into the light of day, literally able to now experience the world around him. But he also moved into the light of Christ coming to a full understanding of Jesus as lord and savior, not merely a miracle medicine man. The blind man experienced restoration to his sight, both physically and spiritually.
To be physically blind is one thing. To be spiritually blind is catastrophic. The Pharisees in this text demonstrated that while they had eyes to see the world, they had hearts that were blind thus they lived in the dark, but didn't even know it. Because they were unwilling to see what Jesus was doing, they couldn't even acknowledge their need for healing and thus remained blinded to the light that Christ was offering. While they had eyes to see the world, their inability to see what Jesus was fully about kept them in the dark.
I absolutely love summer time in Sweden. (Instead of daylight saving time, they simply refer to winter time and summer time and I think here, that sums things up quite well.) Yes, the dirt in my house is more fully exposed, but at least I can see it and do something about it. Midway through Lent, I am trying to welcome the light of Christ into my life so that I can see the dirt and pray that he cleans it away that I might reflect more fully the light that is Christ. The renovation of my interior life is ongoing. But I love the way the restoration is turning out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Half Way There

Today is day 20 in our 40 day journey towards Easter...half way home. My journey has been filled with ups and downs, joy and sorrow, success and disappointment. I suppose that's just another way of saying that my Lenten journey has been an accurate reflection of life.
I have been mindful of the season and for this I am grateful. I am doing better with my New Year's resolution. My renewed "Lenten Resolve" has empowered me to stick to it. My daily readings in "Reliving the Passion" have been stirring and thought-provoking. Our Wednesday evening services related to experiential worship have been deeply meaningful in both preparation and participation. I am learning more deeply what it means to worship God with my heart, mind, soul and strength. It's been satisfying to try some new, creative ideas and enjoy a more intimate time of worship and conversation with the small group who have gathered. Our Sunday services have been rich and life-giving. I feel that it is all pointing to Christ's death which reminds me of my sinfulness, but also His resurrection which instills hope and promise where the darkness threatens. I have failed to give up what I intended to give up, but have cut back and am at least mindful of practicing some level of discipline and awareness. Most of all, I am acutely aware of my own failings and how much I stand in need of God's love and Christ's grace. This is not such an easy part of my journey but it is an important one.
I am working on being a less angry, frustrated person. And this is not easy because part of what I have realized during this season of introspection is that I am an angry, frustrated person. Yes, there are reasons for why I feel all balled up inside but I don't like the way in which these feelings are manifesting in difficult conversations and conflicts with my colleagues. When a conflict arises in a conversation, I can be a difficult person to encounter. I am a bit of a hot-head which is not a good trait. I raise my voice quickly and I can be very aggressive with my point of view. I interrupt. I come on very strongly...too much so. I need to change this action and yet at times I feel helpless to do so.
Fortunately, I am able to return to the person or people involved and beg forgiveness but a pattern of blowing up, walking away and returning to apologize does not lead to the accomplishment of goals. This pattern alienates others and instead of dealing with the issues on the table, I find that I am dealing with the aftermath of an anger driven conversation. It's making me crazy right now in part because it makes me feel so bad about myself and in part because the legitimate issues that truly concern me never really get addressed...which increases the cycle of frustration and anger. Quite simply put, it's a bad and unproductive cycle. I have to change and yet we are all perhaps familiar with the adage, change is hard.
My husband on the other hand is one of the coolest cats I've ever met. He just does not lose his cool, ever. It is maddening and wonderful all at the same time. It gives him power and presence in conversations and I envy that approach to problem-solving. Admittedly, sometimes I wonder if he feels the deep passion that I do. The calm, cool collected approach surely must have a down side. Or does it? I would actually love to find out what it's like to be that cool. I wonder if he ever wonders what it's like to get smoking mad hot?
The upshot of my internal dialogue has led me to find a ridiculous amount of comfort as I read about Peter. He loved Jesus and yet often his behavior was not that of an exemplary disciple. Through my readings I am reminded that Peter fell asleep in the garden, boasted that he would stand by Jesus to the death, denied him not once, but three times, and in indignation, cut off a guard's ear. How bizarre to find comfort in such behaviors. But I suppose I am happy to know that Peter was a hot head. Best of all, it ends well for 'ol Pete. The keys to the Kingdom of God were eventually given to him. The photo below is taken outside of St. Peter's in Rome of mad Peter himself, key in hand, a symbol of how God used him to build his church. If God used Peter to build his church, if God trusted Peter with the keys to His house, then perhaps he will also use me. Perhaps the key in this case is in allowing the love of God to consume me more than the anger and frustration of this world. Maybe I should carry a key in my pocket at all times to remind me of these things.
Half way home. My failings have never been more obvious to me. And yet, redemption, renewal, and restoration have never seemed more appealing either. Over the next three weeks I am going to continue to focus on allowing God's love to become more manifest within me than any other emotion or stronghold. I am going to keep on trying to give up anger and frustration for lent. And when I fail, I will be grateful for the grace that longs to free me from my despair. I feel utterly grateful that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I too, have been given the keys to His Kingdom.

Monday, March 16, 2009


We had an amazing worship service yesterday. The music, the theme, the entire spirit of our morning was special. One of the highlights of the day was dedicating one of the cutest babies to ever grace our community.
Her mom has been an active member of our community for several years. She is a single woman and comes from Rwanda and has struggled to obtain permission to stay in Sweden. She has survived many years without the proper paperwork. Returning to Rwanda was impossible for many complicated reasons. She works hard. She has the most positive spirit. She is lovely, humble, funny, and warm. She is grace personified. She sings on our music team so last year, when she discovered that she was pregnant, she asked to meet with Doug and discuss her situation. She felt that under the circumstances she should remove herself from the public ministry of music that she was involved in. She didn't want to create a hassle for anyone who might object to her continuing to lead worship while pregnant as a single woman. She acknowledged that her getting pregnant was less than what God would have in mind for her and she felt she needed a hiatus from participating in the music team while the pregnancy and birth unfolded. It was a humble, thoughtful and grace-filled move.
Interestingly enough, the church embraced her during her pregnancy. She remained active in our community and soon enough, it became obvious that she was going to give birth to a child. The baby was born in September and true to form, she named her Gracious. Can you imagine the kind of spirit this woman embodies when as a single refugee living between countries, finds herself pregnant and then names her child Gracious? Do you think she has some special insight as to what the grace of God fully means?
It was thrilling to watch our community rally around her. The first time she came to church with the new baby, she was mobbed by well-wishers and people just wanting to pour love into their lives. The fact that this child is stunningly gorgeous is a bonus!
The father is involved in their lives, but not involved in our church. He was present for the dedication however and we are hopeful that the love and grace that have been poured out upon his girlfriend and child will perhaps give him a taste of how good the Kingdom of God is. As we stood before our congregation yesterday, with the two unmarried parents and this lovely little child, I felt that the gift of God's grace was never more evident. Is it a perfect family? No. Are there limits to having parents who are unmarried and living without papers in a foreign country? Of course. But would rejecting this family help their situation in any way? Would scolding them or harshly judging them draw them closer to God's gentle spirit? I think not. Our church's ability to embrace and surround this family with love and support is an important thing. It elevates compassion over condemnation. It lifts up joy over judgment. It pours grace into lives that have enough hardship to last them a life time. It makes me feel that in this time and place, we are truly acting as the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus. Through the baby Gracious, we are all moved to embrace a bit more grace for us all. Oh, and very soon, the mother will rejoin us on the music team and we will all be blessed by that as well.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's 76th birthday. As he says, "He begins the march towards 80." It's a little hard for me to believe that he's actually "heading toward 80" because he doesn't seem like an older man. My father has a great sense of humor as evidenced by the photo above of him posing as an Olympic weightlifter. Yes, he appeared on national TV in this outfit thanks to his 15 minutes of fame on Let's Make A Deal! No, he did not win the car. He is also a fierce competitor. This has not waned in his senior years and perhaps is even more fierce now that he is not coaching American Football any longer.
He spent his career coaching high school football. His nickname was Coach Moon based on the very old comic strip Moon Mullins. He was also wildly successful. I should have the stats but I don't. Suffice it to say that he won a lot of games and lost very few. His teams appeared in the Southern California Sectional finals (the equivalent of most State championships given the size of the California) 6 times and he won twice. The photo to the left is taken after his first state title victory. He went to the play-offs almost every year. In fact, I rarely remember a Thanksgiving without football as Thanksgiving week-end was always the second round of the play-offs and he never once lost in the first round. He was a genius of a coach, both in the basics of football but more importantly in the art of shaping young lives. My mother was affectionately known as Mrs. Moon and our house literally swarmed with high school football players all the time. His teams had a time-honored tradition of getting crew cuts at the start of each season and my mom was a genius with hair clippers, so piles of guys would line up in our kitchen while Mrs. Moon buzzed off their sacred locks. Hair, to a high school boy, was pretty important. They complained about this custom, but in the end I think most of them secretly loved it as it was an obvious signal on campus that they were on the football team.
If you are unfamiliar with the high school football culture of Southern California it will be hard for you to grasp the sheer importance of winning and being successful in this arena. Consider 'Friday Night Lights' meets 'Remember the Titans'. For most of his career, my father coached at schools where wealth abounded among the families whose kids played for my dad. This led to certain power struggles and asserting of wills that put pressure on my father to make something great of all players, no matter how skilled or unskilled they actually were. My father was able to handle the unique mix of personalities that surrounded him and in spite of differences, forge deep and abiding friendships with many of the parents that exist even to this day.
But beyond the brilliance in football he gave to these young men are the life lessons that he instilled within them. For some, he was the father figure who was missing in their lives. For others, he became a mentor, not only during high school, but for life as evidenced by how it continues to this day. A tribute to his ability to connect with the young men who played for him is the sheer number of former players who still keep in touch with him. It is staggering for me to think of what an amazing role he has played in these people's lives. When my brother died 2 years ago, not a small number of former players showed up at his funeral in order to support my mom and dad. Some flew in from other states. Others drove quite a long distance. And again, when we celebrated my parent's 50th wedding anniversary, colleagues, players and parents all showed up to cheer them on one more time. One of the greatest gifts that I have received over the past two years is seeing first hand the astounding connection that he has maintained with players and coaches and parents from a career that spanned 45 years. But not just connection. Also influence.
Of course, being of the female gender and growing up in the 60's and 70's, I was not allowed to play football so I never had the privilege of playing under his fine leadership. This I regret. I have also never had a coach of his caliber in my athletic career and this too I regret. I see how the former players look up to him. Desire his opinion. Seek out his wisdom and it is simply mind-boggling to consider the impact he has made on so many. The footprint that my father has left in people's lives is simply put, gigantic.
Of course, the impact that he has made on me is also remarkable. I am competitive because of him. A simple card game in our household turns into the World Championship of Cribbage. We egg each other on and love to make snide remarks. I find this a good thing. I love being competitive. It gives you an edge. It keeps your head in the game. It drives you to excel. I am thankful that he taught me to love sports and to play them with fire and drive. I am a good critical thinker because of him. He never forced me to agree with him and in fact I cut my argumentative teeth around our dinner table. At one point in his life I don't think chauvinist is too strong of a description. When Title IX emerged onto the national scene, my father was opposed to it. ( Of course, I could not understand how equality for women in sport was anything but awesome and he felt differently in those days. He was protecting his interests. He genuinely felt boys athletics would suffer and he was committed to boys athletics. It's all a bit ironic given that he was initially drawn to my mother because she was an awesome softball player. To his credit, he has changed and now really enjoys watching the women on the national scene. But we argued and argued in those days and the beauty of it was that he never expected that I would kowtow to his viewpoint. He wanted me to think openly and freely even when we disagreed. That continues to this day. We sometimes don't see eye to eye, but he always listens and is always able to show respect for my process even if he in the end doesn't support my viewpoint.
But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this tough football coach's life is how he has emerged as such an amazing care-giver for my mom over the past two years. He has learned to do the laundry, cook the food, do the grocery shopping, and handle all of the domestic chores while my mom's been on her difficult journey through cancer. He has sat by her bedside while waiting for news of what was next. He's called 911 twice and watched with fear and anxiety as the paramedics worked on mom under dire circumstances. He has called in tears wondering how to handle the next phase. And he has done it all with minimal complaint and the same focused, winning spirit that served him well throughout his coaching career. Sure, he's a stubborn man, but that stubbornness also allows him to stay the course when things are really bad. He hates to lose, but that helps him win in most situations. He's generous and available and that's why people are drawn to him and stick with him. He's a man of faith and lives deeply by his convictions but never oppresses another with his opinion yet somehow leads them to ponder their own spirituality.
In his glory days, he was larger than life on the sidelines. A wonder to behold. Yelling and sweating. Grabbing kids by the jersey, whispering something in their ear, throwing them back out onto the field, and moments later celebrating a touchdown. Coach Moon. I have no problem claiming that he was definitely one of the best high school coaches ever. Just ask anyone who played for El Modena, Villa Park, Foothill or Anaheim while he was head coach. Better yet. Ask his opponents.
Happy Birthday dad. I celebrate you today. Your accomplishments are noteworthy, but the deep impact you've made on so many lives, not the least of which is mine, is what we all love you for. (Do the couple below have amazing legs or what?!)