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Train to Singapore #thisiscrazylove2016

In November or 2014 I sat in the kitchen of some new friends in Singapore and listened to stories of a young Ken Rideout taking a train from Chiang Mai, Thailand to visit a small congregation of church members on a somewhat basis.

We had all just left Ken's hospital room where the congregation had surprised him with a bedside church service. There was laughter and tears as they sang, shared communion and listened as their tired teacher found energy to once again wax philosophically on what it meant to love as Jesus loves us.

 Friends share of the early days with Ken Rideout.  

Friends share of the early days with Ken Rideout.  

Uncle Ken, as they called him, had been with them through difficult times as they redefined the calling of their church to seek after what they thought God would have them do in Singapore. One of the men in the group was full of life and humor as he recounted their adventures with Ken and I was on the edge of my seat.

Tiang Seng, among other strong and loving men, sat in a circle eating and talking about the good old days. His wit and concise understanding of scripture and its varying interpretations left me feeling that after Ken's passing there would be a powerful remnant of Rideout teachings for the ever changing world to come. For this reason today I give my #thisiscrazylove2016 who has impacted me many times over the last year as I've listened to his words from that beautiful night in Singapore.

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Straw + Camel's Back #ThisIsCrazyLove2016

Been a tough couple of days. You know the old "straw they broke the camel's back" story?

Yep.

My wife's car shut down about six weeks ago. And when I say, "Shut down, I mean SHUT DOWN."

Fortunately for me (I wouldn't have liked the idea of her being stranded) it was when I had taken it to the store late one night and came out to find a car that was D E A D.

No lights.

No clicks.

A soulless air of nonexistence. It was weird. When I sat in it I felt like astronauts must feel in the all encompassing nothingness of space, without the awe and wonder.

Then, if by some sort of Ground Control magic, after about ten minutes it started up like ne'er a problem.

She took it in to the dealership the next day. They looked it over all day and came away with one conclusion. She wasn't driving it enough.

I'll let you form your own opinions on that last statement. Anything you come up with as a response will be just as good as mine. Yours may even be cleaner than mine and more appropriate for all audiences.

Over the next several weeks it was still acting buggy. After these weeks I finally took it in again yesterday. Thinking perhaps the actual problem with the last transaction was a case of the male chauvinist ego I thought I'd fair better being a fella who "knows how to drive a car."

The quotes are important as I'm being overtly sarcastic.

I admit I went in with a chip on my shoulder but I played the part of a happy go lucky husband with just enough stern tone to let the service man know I wasn't pleased.

They shuttled me to work and seven hours later they said they couldn't find anything wrong.

Not happy.

Then, some equipment at work gave me a run for my money. Everything began to mount on top of me in a way that felt suffocating and I could see reason and rational giving me the see you later head nod. I collected myself.

Later I was shuttled back to the car and went home.

Then I had to find some sort of head space to finish up the last touches on the new pitch video for the documentary contest being entered this coming week.

All the sadness rushed back over me to realize that the dear sweet man I knew whose story is being told in the film has passed on from this life.

I got up this morning heavy. But I put my game face on as I had a meeting with my partners and a table full of creative people from the music, film and art world.

It was a good meeting as we all pooled our ideas and artistic sensibilities together to help a local artist work toward a project that could change the world we live in. I sat in this room with people who wanted truth in art over all else. It was good.

As soon as the meeting was over I was back to the heaviness. The reality that the pitch video was not right and had to be scrapped came over me and I knew it would be a long haul to make the deadline. That, accompanied with the wedding we were to attend this afternoon an hour away from home let me know that today wasn't going to be the day this mountain is taken.

Again with game face affixed I conversed with strangers, told jokes and talked about the goings on of life. But I wasn't present for most of the reception. Save one beautiful conversation with a seventy-one year old widow who graciously answered my questions about growing up in America as a black woman.

When my wife and I left the reception Beckie allowed me to be heavy again. She gave me the space and understanding I needed. So, again, I give #thisiscrazylove2016 to my bride. I could not do anything in this life without her.

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Telemarketer get #thisiscrazylove2016

Khadijah called tonight from Blue Cross Blue Shield. She wanted to ask me some questions as part of a confidential survey on my health care over the last six months.

The first thing I said to her is, "Wait! What did you say your name is?"

"Khadijah, sir."

*****spoiler alert! I didn't take the survey*****

I told her she had a great name!  I told her I've loved that name for years.

I must admit part of the reason for the compliment was because I was going to have to tell her I couldn't take the survey.

I'm on a strict deadline to restructure the trailer for our documentary about Ken Rideout and a twenty minute survey would not be a good reason for a break from the edit.

I also gave her the compliment because it's true. Khadijah is an amazing name.

Its roots are in Arabic and given the circle of Arabic friends I have and the popularity of that name (The Prophet Muhammad's wife) I've heard it many times.

Basic translation: early baby.

I love names. They have meanings. More so than people know.

For example, my name is Stuart Lance.

Stuart, from the word steward, which means to care for and Lance from the root word land.

My name literally means, "to care for land."

Why did I search this out? Because so many of my international friends know the meanings of their names.

So, the moral(s) of the story?

Get to know people from other circles than your own. You're learn more about yourself. 

Keep up with Rideout: One Last Summit on Facebook to see the new trailer and follow our journey toward getting the documentary distributed to 100 million US homes through Seed & Spark and Project Green Light Digital.

Oh, and be kind to telemarketers. They are just trying to do a job like the rest of us.

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Don't. Just don't. #ThisIsCrazyLove2016

The following is NOT SUIABLE FOR CHILDREN even with the censorship added. 

People need #thisiscrazylove2016 all over the place. The reason for this blog and the other crazylovers on Facebook is to counter the negative, vicious, mean spirited keyboard mercenaries typing away with their oppositional thinking and safety of a locked apartment door. 

Today's #thisiscrazylove2016 made me uncomfortable. I hope to God it makes you uncomfortable too. 

From Esquire.com 

#MoreThanMean

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Crowd Sourcing Jubilee #thisiscrazylove2016

Two years ago a small team of film lovers embarked on a journey to tell the story of a missionary deciding to travel back to Thailand. He had been told that at the age of 84, with congestive heart failure, there wasn’t any more that the doctors could do but keep him comfortable.
Being comfortable was never Ken Rideout’s main concern. He had spent his life in desperate situations, many times not knowing where financial support would come from or when it would arrive. He gave his life to sharing what he saw as the infinite love of God found in Jesus.
Over the years his theology evolved and as it did churches and organizations would remove him from their support systems.
My favorite story is the one where he was meeting with well to do business men in, I think Alabama, who were also leaders in a church. For a little while these men, most likely used to dominating a conversation, continued to press him on theological issues and Ken always answered honestly.
They did not like the answers he gave them.
Ken didn’t worry about pleasing people of the church. He was focused singularly on presenting the story of Jesus in a non-confrontational way to show the love he understood of God.
They continued to ask him questions and he continued to give them answers he believed knowing full well they wouldn’t like them.
Finally the leader of this group of men said, “Ken, I don’t think you understand why we’ve taken this meeting with you tonight. We took this meeting to see if we would give money to your ministry.”
When telling this story to me Ken would usually lean forward and clarify once again that these men had money… lots of money.
Ken then said to the men, “Gentlemen, I don’t think you understand why I am here tonight. I came here to see if I wanted to receive from you for my ministry.”
Ken’s thinking was, “Why would I want to take their money only to have them remove it after a year of heavy handing my work in Thailand. They didn’t understand what life was like in the East. They wouldn’t have understood my terminology and would have nitpicked every move I made.”
Our journey with him in the beginning of making this documentary was a scary one.
In order to raise the money to make the documentary we did a Kickstarter campaign.
WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WE WERE DOING!
No one on the team had crowdfunded or crowdsourced anything and you have to remember, in 2014 more people had never heard of Kickstarter than had. Now there are numerous sites online to raise funds for different things.
I must admit the whole notion of asking people for their hard earned money so I could follow a dream and tell the story of my teacher and friend on his final journey left me feeling queasy.
I’d been bombarded over the years working in the missions office of a church being asked to support this person’s desire to go to Scotland as a missionary or that person’s God given call to go suffer for the Lord in Hawaii. These were all good people but I have to admit the idea bothered me many times with many requests.
People work hard for money to put food on the table or pay bills. Many people work in jobs they hate and never feel that feeling of living out their life long dreams.
Back to the journey of making the film. We started our final lap of our four week campaign and were significantly short on raising the funds to make the film. I would call Ken and talk to him.
Our talks had changed. They had changed from our thirty minute to an hour long talks about God’s views on this demographic or the loving response to that person’s Facebook post. They had become talks of money and what would we do if we didn’t reach our goal.
Ken would reassure me over and over again as I “sweated the small stuff.”
Then, a few days before the finish line a church in Singapore, one Ken had been a mentor to for decades came in with a contribution that took us over our original goal. All those feelings of worry and fret were bombarded with shame and elation. I couldn’t believe I didn’t believe.
I couldn’t believe they believed in us.
I say all of this because today I was on twitter and saw this post.

 It took me less than a minute to become a "follower" of this project. Seed & Spark is doing some very cool stuff for film makers.

It took me less than a minute to become a "follower" of this project. Seed & Spark is doing some very cool stuff for film makers.

I’ve never met this person. I don’t know the first thing about her but when I found out that a simple click of a button would allow me to support her film getting distributed for no money at all I had to do it. She was nine clicks away from reaching her goal of 500 followers.
All the joy and thrill of finishing our campaign came rushing back and I could feel the excitement from this woman and her project. They’re not out of the wood shed yet as they still need to raise money but it was a big win for them today.
So, for that reason I give #thisiscrazylove2016 today to Jenny Waldo! You can follow her HERE!
You can see her campaign HERE.

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Overalls, Virginity, Documentaries and the Glitterboy Experience

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Overalls, Virginity, Documentaries and the Glitterboy Experience

I was in my early twenties. It was late and I was over at a friend’s house. One thing led to another… as it often did and next thing you know I lost my virginity. Up to that moment I had played the game many people with seventeen levels of religious guilt deal with. Trying to keep our V Card in a way that is still gratifying to the body but somehow stay in God’s good graces by some sort of loophole.

 Greg's profile pic today.

Greg's profile pic today.

She was a HUGE Prince fan. In fact, all these years later, she was one of the first people I thought of. I know, all these years later, she isn’t taking today very well.
The next day I got up around eleven and had lunch with my friend Greg.
He lived downstairs and we spent a lot of time together. We’d either be playing Tekken on Playstation (No, I didn’t leave off a number there… There was ACTUALLY at one time an original Playstation and it was amazing) or we’d be waxing on about the seemingly effortless brilliance of Mamet or Lynch.
We dreamed of one day making films ourselves but more about that in a moment.
Greg was also a musician. He would and could talk for hours about music. One such artist he was completely impressed with was, you guessed it, Prince. He, like so many would go on and on about the genius of the artist.
He was also in a group called, "Glittery Experience.” It was a combination of original songs and eighties covers in the 1990’s. Yeah that’s right! They shouted out the eighties with total zeal forcing the nay saying Bud Light drinking frat boys to start pretending they weren’t enjoying the greatness that was 1985.
Anyway, Greg and I went to lunch the next street over and as we ate our chicken fried rice I told him about the loss of my innocence (as they incorrectly say). I was terrified. I was sure I had just sealed the deal with the big judge in the sky that what I had done would completely wreck the rest of my life. Greg assured me I would be okay. He helped me a lot that day, mostly by listening.
Another thing He did was introduce me to a group called Big Smith. They actually called themselves Big Smith and the Half-moons. That band has had a profound impact on my life. And I was amazed to find out that my documentary would be able to use their music in a few key places.
Speaking of documentaries, Greg worked as editor of the film, “Prescription Thugs” which was just made available yesterday on Netflix. I’ll be watching and so should you.
In fact, with all the Prince conversations today I want to point out that I was not a HUGE fan. I loved his music. If it came on in my shuffle I would always love it but it was hardly ever my go to. My #thisiscrazylove2016 goes to Greg because of his work on the documentary. Finishing a movie is hard. Getting it seen by others is even harder. He did it.
Oh, and remember that band that reminds you of overalls? Their last album has a bluegrass version of Raspberry Beret. Sadly it won’t be in my upcoming doc but man, it’s awesome!

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The Truth You Know You Know #thisiscrazylove2016

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The Truth You Know You Know #thisiscrazylove2016

I am one fortunate son of a gun. If you had told me two years ago that I would embark on the journey of a documentary filmmaker telling the story of one of my dearest friends and most cherished mentor moving back to Thailand to live out his few remaining months on this earth I wouldn’t have believed you.
Because I didn’t think Ken would pass that quickly. I thought, like other times in his life, he’d pull through a scare and be off and running again with the excitement and energy of his sixty year old self.

 Looking through the photo albums from the 1950's and 1960's as I prepared to outline the story of our documentary.

Looking through the photo albums from the 1950's and 1960's as I prepared to outline the story of our documentary.

Because the thought of finally chasing a dream I’ve had since jr. high to be a filmmaker scared the hell out of me due to the possibility of failing and finding out I don’t actually have what it takes to do it.
Then, after all that, had you told me that Ken’s passing would be a mere step into understanding him on a level I never did as he sat in front of me teaching me about a God, a Jesus and a Spirit that didn’t jive with all I’d been taught growing up but fit my heart like a glove.
In the edit of this documentary, all three of them so far, I have become more aware of the nuance of Ken’s teaching and his understanding of Buddhism and Eastern thought as it related with the Christ and the story of Jesus that Christians hold so firmly to.
Ken spent his life searching for what the words in a very old book had to say but searched deeper than many people I know to see what the words said at the time they were written most likely meant to those writing them or reading them. Ken’s appreciation of the feebleness of humans trying to reason and comprehend the mysterious ways of the universe solidified his devotion to the God they wrote of rather than tear away his conviction and cause him to take another path.
Through his forty plus years in Thailand and other parts of Asia Ken took to the scriptures to see how they would translate in the changing times and constantly fought with them to find a God of love in the midst of words that seemed barbaric or cold or egomaniacal.

 Old letters and photos along with debates of today to see how a man from a conservative religious background could have views that some saw as heresy.

Old letters and photos along with debates of today to see how a man from a conservative religious background could have views that some saw as heresy.

The risk of doing so square in his face didn’t discourage him from what he viewed as the truth. Several times, too many to count, he was removed from the support structures of western churches as he insisted on every action being one of love and kindness.
Ken taught me to love people unconditionally. Whether they believe in God or not, they each deserved my utmost respect and gratitude for their existence.
People would try to argue with him about his views on eternal punishment or infallibility of scripture and he would simply let them speak and then steer the conversation into a direction where they could both agree.
His favorite saying on these matters was, “When you find yourself in an argument it is always over law. Love does not argue.”
Ken would seek out people who wanted to hear what he had to say. He would spend time explaining the nature and heart of God as he found it in the person of Jesus and the stories about the life of a carpenter turned rabbi who taught a different way of viewing the world.

 Antony and I were overwhelmed with the church in Singapore and their love for Ken. To watch this group of people stand in his hospital room being taught once again by their teacher is something I will never forget.

Antony and I were overwhelmed with the church in Singapore and their love for Ken. To watch this group of people stand in his hospital room being taught once again by their teacher is something I will never forget.

In a few short days we are taking our documentary about Ken to another level. One that may very well help us get to finish line of this long process of telling a man’s amazing story. The team working on this documentary are over the moon about this prospect and we can’t wait to share it with everyone we know. Until then I share my #thisiscrazylove2016 today with the man who showed me what crazy love really looks like.

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Four ways to share some crazy love

Perhaps I'm still a bit jaded. I'm trying to share the love. I really am. But yesterday's tweet that I mentioned early this morning is still rolling around in my mind. It's okay.

I don't have to live with the grim reality that someone out there hates me enough to send me a death threat. I can sympathize from afar.

So, as I try to process that fact along with the horrible things happening in Africa and the Middle East right now or the horrible news we're getting about a man who died in his cell four years ago and what else... There's got to be something else. Oh yes. Politics. I don't know why that was hard to remember seeing that it is THE ONLY THING ON THE NEWS when I'm at work. Instant replay of candidates voting instead of all the hurt or awesomeness.

So, here's the deal. A proper how to:

1. Post your political stuff. Go ahead. But remember, please, that the snide comments or name calling takes you from opinionated to just a plain old jackass. Like Bernie, like Hillary, Trump, Cruz or the other guy but let's all take a little break from explaining how all the others are despicable human being but somehow yours is the next messiah like King. 

2. If you love guns, post about your guns and have fun doing it.  I totally get it even though I don't own one myself. However, making comments about certain people in power or people of other races or religions staring down the barrel of your supercharged wonder gun makes me think you might need to be swatted by a rolled up newspaper because well, that kind of thinking is beastly.

3. If you don't like what someone else posted, ignore it. Don't comment. It's useless. There's truly NO POINT other than getting a thread shoot out at the World Wide Corral. Side note, if that won't work you can stop following the person if their posts infuriate you or.. And this might be a tough one, just disconnect from them online. Don't worry. You'll still probably see them at church or at a Sounds game with you kids. And if there at said game perhaps a better conversation would be how in the world we can get Ozzie back and get rid of the Hot Chicken mascot.

4. If for some reason number three just seems an impossible task try this one and feel free to just copy and paste:

Dear friend,

I am confused by your recent post(s) and would really like to get together to talk about it (them) when you have some time. I value our friendship and want to understand where you are coming from.

Thank you, hope to see you soon.

-yours

This concludes my rant. I promise to return tomorrow with a lovely sentiment about someone I know. 

Crazy love to you all.  

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Yesterday's post this morning #thisiscrazylove2016

I don't now this person. I found out about her yesterday evening because, as I scarfed down my vegetarian burrito between a work out and the Nashville Film Festival, I was scrolling through Twitter.  

My friend Zakya Jackson reposted her tweet and it shook me.  

Todays #thisiscrazylove2016 goes to Christina Cleveland. Her Twitter bio reads: Duke University professor, social psychologist and reconciliation scholar practitioner, author of Disunity in Christ. 

She posted this.  

 I can't imagine getting a letter like this. No one should have to know what this feels like.  

I can't imagine getting a letter like this. No one should have to know what this feels like.  

If you have ever thought of trying out #thisiscrazylove2016 today would be the day. Find Christina Cleveland's Twitter account at @CSCleve and send her a little note of love.  

Hatred doesn't get to win.  

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Half as much better than most #thisiscrazylove2016

Yesterday I wrote about my buddy Loomis. In that post I mentioned I'd most likely be posting about him again at another date.i had NO IDEA it would be two days in a row. 

Part of me wants to write about his amazing wife today. I think that will have to come soon because she did the best thing for me today. She shared a play by play of Loomis' triathlon all day long.  

I was outside all day working on our back deck. It was exhausting but truth is I couldn't have gotten as much done without the status updates of my buddy in his first 1/2 IronMan!  

Heres what that means: 

First he got in the water for this long! 

 Swimming in choppy water with a thousand other people for 1.2 miles. More than the distance though... He swam for almost an hour. Shut up. Just. Shut. Up.  

Swimming in choppy water with a thousand other people for 1.2 miles. More than the distance though... He swam for almost an hour. Shut up. Just. Shut. Up.  

Then he got on his bike.  

At this point you're probably thinking, "Yes Stuart, we know how a triathlon works."  

I don't care. I'm sharing crazylove and MAD R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for my friend.  

After saddling up he rode 56 miles.  

 Get in your car. Drive fifty-six miles. Get out, look around and ponder for a moment how far away from your home you are at that moment. Geez.  

Get in your car. Drive fifty-six miles. Get out, look around and ponder for a moment how far away from your home you are at that moment. Geez.  

Then, 'cuz you know, because it's a TRI-athalon... He ran. A HALF MARATHON. I can't. I just can't. 

 I have always said I hate running. I've journeyed through this last year by way of stories and status updates from Loomis as he's prepared for this journey. Now, in writing I think I'm gonna give it a shot. Not a triathlon... I am deathly afraid of unmarked water further than waste high. 

I have always said I hate running. I've journeyed through this last year by way of stories and status updates from Loomis as he's prepared for this journey. Now, in writing I think I'm gonna give it a shot. Not a triathlon... I am deathly afraid of unmarked water further than waste high. 

Now, this is Loomis before and after.  

 This was October 2014 to October 2015.  

This was October 2014 to October 2015.  

Finally, what better way to round out this crazy love than a little Iron Man Ironman.  

 That's an Ironman medal! 

That's an Ironman medal! 

 This. I had a lot of fun doing this.  

This. I had a lot of fun doing this.  

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Iron Man #thisiscrazylove2016

We met in high school but we didn't know each other. We got to know each other years later. It was during poker night. Josh, like many other guys would come over to play poker, drink hooch and smoke. We always had a good time.

One night he got the nick name Loomis. That's another story. But the name stuck just like the friendship.

He worked with Chuck, Matt and Joshua B. They all worked in a jewelry store together and I worked around the corner down the way a bit at a tobacco shop.

 Loomis and Loomrs (Jennifer) are two amazing friends I couldn't live without.  

Loomis and Loomrs (Jennifer) are two amazing friends I couldn't live without.  

We hung out quite a bit.

Loomis has been that friend I can go to at any time with anything.

Loomis is the least judgmental person I know. He is able to listen to anyone with total attention and focus on what's being said and the undercurrent of why it's being said.

Tomorrow Loomis will inspire me once again. As he has so many times before.

He's doing an Iron Man event in New Orleans.

About a year ago, a married man with some extra pounds wrapping around him, he decided to get back into shape. He has stayed with it and now is at a level where he feels ready to take on a serious challenge.

I am so impressed with him.

 This is a post from Jennifer today. I'd say she's pretty darn proud of her man. And she got to go to New Orleans so that didn't hurt matters.  

This is a post from Jennifer today. I'd say she's pretty darn proud of her man. And she got to go to New Orleans so that didn't hurt matters.  

I could go on and on about a lot of greatness about Loomis and thankfully there are over a couple of hundred days to write about him again. Today's #thisiscrazylove2016 goes to a friend going for what I see as an insurmountable challenge.

I love Loomis so much and I couldn't be more proud of what he's going for.

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Pink Girl Cave #thisiscrazylove2016

I try every day to check into Facebook just to see who I’m going to write about for the day or see if the person from the day before got the tag so I know they know I love them. I used to worry about how many likes it would get or comments attached but that quickly faded as I saw the importance being the love shared… not the post. I mean really, aren’t I secure enough in my personhood at 41 to not need the validation of others found in a simple click of button or touch of a screen that produces a thumb up or heart? God I hope I am.
I try to check Facebook each day for that sole purpose. But then, and you know what I’m gonna say, those posts start flooding in. The ones counter to my beliefs or opinions. Oh how I hate those posts sometimes. Everyone, including me, with a bully pulpit to our “friends” spouting off whatever someone has done or said and pointing to the ridiculous nature of said action or quote.
I have a diverse group of friends. Not just on Facebook, in ACTUAL life. There is no way that everyone I know will like everything I post and their silence when they disagree is greatly appreciated.
I try not to post much in the hot button sections. And oh how many hot button sections there are. It seems like every day there is a new one to divide us a little bit more to put us in this camp or that one.
I try to post these blogs as a way to stay up and positive. I try not to include too much of my own opinions and views. I don’t always succeed but I try. Sometimes I get taken over by my dissatisfaction or anger. When I do speak of things of this nature I try also to speak of my shortcomings.
As I’ve written before, this blog is a stream of conscience work. I don’t edit. I don’t struggle to find a better way of stating something. I use it as an honest, raw platform to share love unabashedly. Even in yesterday’s post done on video. I hit record one time, said what I had to say and loaded it up to the world wide netty-web. I don’t know why it is important to state that. I just have this little voice back in there somewhere saying, “You need this polished and perfected before you put it out there. You have friends what write gooder than you and friends whom know when to use “who” and these things (… ; ; [ ] )

It takes a little bit to be brave and honest with who you really are.


It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just not as important to me as getting the thoughts out and the love flowing.
Last October Michael Higgins and I decided to take on a podcast idea. We called it “Rainbow Connection.”
I know, it sounds kinda, you know. I get it. I’ve had good friends come to me and say, “Stuart, the name. Seriously?”
We wanted to create a dialogue as two straight men trying to understand all those pesky letters of the alphabet that keep getting added. I think we’re at LGBTQIAA+ a this point. That podcast lasted about six episodes. Turns out, podcasts aren’t as easy to make as one might thing. I was never satisfied with the production quality and more over I felt like I was looking at only a small area of the world I am interested in learning more about. So, we pushed the pause button and said we’d come back to it when the time was right.
During those six episodes available and three others that haven’t been released I learned SOOOOOOO much about what I didn’t know.

 Catherine in the middle, Michael on the right. That's the only time Michael will see me describe him as "on the right."

Catherine in the middle, Michael on the right. That's the only time Michael will see me describe him as "on the right."

One of the people we met was Catherine Hyde. She is involved with PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and is a firecracker of a human being. I haven’t met many people with the passion that this woman exudes. She was so incredibly gracious to Michael and me as she opened up and told her story. I could go on and on trying to explain what her time with us meant to me but instead I’d rather you just listen to the episode.

 

Listen here

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Believing is seeing #thisiscrazylove2016

Today's post is shot on my handy dandy little iTelephone. Less writing for today. But keeping the spirit of #thisiscrazylove2016 alive for the whole year through.  

 This photo inspires me all day long.  

This photo inspires me all day long.  

Today is... Well here. Watch this.  

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A young seventy-something #thisiscrazylove2016

Ahjan

When I met Smit I was so taken with his energy and his smile. His cockeyed swagger, almost a limping shuffle carried with it a joy contagious to all coming in contact with him. As a career salesman in Thailand he spoke of people he worked with in a non-name dropping kind of way. Even though the names he mentioned were and are quite impressive. When dinner would come he would insist on me eating all of what was in front of. When the check arrived it was not up for discussion.

"You are our guest. When I come to US you can take me to dinner there."

 Smit is in the orange short sleeve shirt helping Ken.  

Smit is in the orange short sleeve shirt helping Ken.  

Smit told me about his time each Monday morning where he visits a women's prison to share life and love with these women who are incarcerated. He tells them of the love of God found in Jesus Christ. It should be noted that Smit himself was once an ardent atheist . So much so that when given a Christian bible he decided to use it as toilet paper.

I would sit and listen to his stories as he grinned from ear to ear sharing his love for the

Thai people and his desire to see them all come to the view of God he learned from Ahjan Ken. He would insist on calling me pastor but when I responded in kind he would quickly corrected me, " I am not a pastor, I am a business man. YOU are a pastor!"

 I mean, THIS MAN IS IN HIS SEVENTIES!!!!  

I mean, THIS MAN IS IN HIS SEVENTIES!!!!  

A couple of months before Ken (the man I am making a documentary on) passed away Smit traveled to Chiang Mai from Bangkok to ask Ahjan Ken to ordain him as a pastor. This seventy year old man had decided to retire from business and wanted to live out his days as a pastor, sharing the gospel with everyone he comes in contact with.

So, when I see him again I shall give him a hug and call him pastor and he will no longer be able to deny it.

I can't wait for that conversation!

Today I give Smit #thisiscrazylove2016

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Mi amigo #thisiscrazylove2016

My wife and I have a guilty pleasure. It's called Las Palmas.

There is one close to our house and we take advantage of that fact a little too often.

Over the years of eating there we've gotten to know several from the staff.

A few days ago I went in for dinner by myself. I saw my friend Mauricio. It had been a while since I'd seen him and he looked thin.

Mauricio has always been this tall, solid Latino man full of smiles and cheer.

When I saw him a couple of days ago I saw a skinnier, drawn looking man. I embraced his smaller frame and greeted him.

At this point he and his wife aren't sure exactly what's wrong. They know it has something to do with his kidneys.

If you're a prayer kind of person, please pray for Mauricio.

God knows I am. And today he gets #thisiscrazylove2016

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Worth a thousand words #thisiscrazylove2016

Wrote about mom yesterday. Today is apparently Siblings day. I'm not sure when that happened. Tomorrow is probably "use tobasco sauce on pickles" day. 

 This picture exists and I posted it. Two places of denial in my former life. Look at me! I'm growing! 

This picture exists and I posted it. Two places of denial in my former life. Look at me! I'm growing! 

Anyway, here's my love to my siblings... And my moms hair and dad's stache!

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Movie Mom #thisiscrazylove2016

I could wax poetic about how my mother introduced me to Star Wars at a drive-in theater in 1977. I could draw lines from the great spectacle I saw on screen to my fascination with film. Or how I had to deduce in my young kind how this was happening in front of me on a large white canvas with colors and sounds and action and laughs that I couldn't fully conceive. 

 Circa 1980. Note the Boba Fett t-shirt I'm wearing. No, I don't have it any longer. Yes, I deeply regret that.  

Circa 1980. Note the Boba Fett t-shirt I'm wearing. No, I don't have it any longer. Yes, I deeply regret that.  

I could tell you how that experience hooked me into the medium of motion picture as a story telling device. I could blame my mother completely for this fixation. One that has washed through my life as an undercurrent until recently when I finally had the courage to get in the raft and ride the rapids with excitement and thrill. 

Instead I will say this. Julia Pearl Stokes, this is your first of most likely several #thisiscrazylove2016 postings.

Thank you for your love, you encouragement and a whole lot of other stuff.

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Rhyming #thisiscrazylove2016

 I absolutely love this man!!!! 

I absolutely love this man!!!! 

For my dear friend Kevin Salyer.  

A fella named Kevin's

As strong as an Oak tree

A big slice of heaven

But soft as a baby

He speaks his mind truly

Ne'er apprehension

Out loud and unrulyI love his intention

He's ready to defend

Any "weakest of these"

And willing to amend

Fights from controversies

Ever true, ever fair

Kevin's with you always

One to trust one that care

Man who loves, man who prays. 

 

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Beau'ful Ice Cream #thisiscrazylove2016

I wrote this blog everyday hoping the person I write about sees it. I never assume anyone else will take the time to trudge through my unedited thoughts but for some reason a few do so.  

I already knew all but one of my fellow #thisiscrazylove2016 contributors. I knew there would be a day in the year to write about each of them. However, there is one participant I don't know outside of her posts. I've struggled since this thing got started on how to write about Lisa. 

Last night she posted a video with her grandmother and when I watched it today I was flooded with emotions.  

So today I would like to encourage anyone who has a grandmother or has a grandmother who has already passed to take the time to sit back and live vicariously and emotionally through this moment in time when Lisa sat with her grandmother and shared #thisiscrazylove2016.  

I promise you it will be worth it.  

Oh how I wish I could go back in time with the technology of today and do this with my grandmothers and especially my great-granny Price.  

Wow! 

Lisa's video is here.

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Artistic Void #thisiscrazylove2016

Today's #thisiscrazylove2016 is to celebrate musicians. One of the greats passed today. 

I gotta admit that I wasn't some huge Haggard fan. I wasn't against him. I just never pursued his music and didn't look for a connection.  

Today's post is a video my wife and I shot and edited last year about another musician. One who was a HUGE fan of Merle.  

The night we shot this video we were introduced to Lou Bradley. A man who produced much of the great music we all know today. He worked closely with Haggard on some pretty amazing stuff and his stories are countless. We had the chance to interview Mr. Bradley at a later date but that interview is still in the edit as we put a pause on the entire project.  

I must admit that trying to explain who Lou is or what he means to music is kinda like me trying to explain the subtle nuances of a balet. That is to say, I'm clueless.  

Today I celebrate musicians and their craft. When a great inspiration like Merle Haggard passes it leaves a sort of void for those who were inspired by the work and art. I can sympathize as I know what I dealt when Robin Williams and Garry Shandling passed.  

But all that to say, here... Meet another musician who works with and inspires artists every time he takes out his upright bass.  

Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Bub.  

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