Coffee and Older Adults

I like being around older people. I enjoyed that aspect of being a minister. I enjoyed the brief time I spent doing home health care. I considered focusing on older people for my counseling career, but really want to spend more time with the young, so I may not take the Gerontology course.

While at work, I noticed this and took a picture. it made me sad for the reasons I will share:


It’s a smaller size which makes me think of the loneliness of the elderly. Widows and Widowers. Grieving a spouse, missing kids and grandkids. Single-serving instant coffee is kinda depressing.

It’s a “lightweight, EZ open jar” which speaks to the frailty and failing bodies of us when we age.

Our older adults need us. Call, write, hug one today. They are too often lonely and alone.

I remember reading statistics about how few visits nursing homes get. It’s ridiculous.


38 Years–Keep Your Heart Young

State of the Brian Address

Another year. Another Birthday. A lot has changed. A lot has remained. Been a roller coaster!

My back-to-school-life-change has gone well.  Though my wife considers it a mid-life crisis. You really can’t be too young for mid-life crisis, because who really knows how long you will live. I don’t know if I am concerned about inching closer to a milestone like 40; but I am very aware that by the end of this calender year I will have lived longer than my biological mother. Not creepy. Not interesting. Just there…lingering.

I love school. I feel just as at peace and content with the decision to pursue this degree/career path as I did a year ago. I have enjoyed the teachers, books, concepts, people, etc.

Working and “working a real job” have been challenging. Very challenging. It’s not so much the work, I stayed busy as a minister with many emotionally draining weeks. But having zero flexibility and not seeing my family often enough has been hard. Waking at 4:30 most days and no longer using my snooze button has been………

I just started a new, less crazy job closer to the house and Marisa got a job for the Summer at Kohl’s so we are grateful.

Somewhere in the past year, I lost my filter. I have reverted a little to “Brian, circa 1995-1996” (my Freed friends might remember that well). My personality has shifted a little. I chat up waitresses and clerks, joke with strangers, and make a general fool of myself for laughs at work and school. I have more confidence and feel mostly comfortable in my own skin. Trying to be myself without being too much of an idiot. But on some days those two overlap.

After taking a break of a few months away from “head meds,” I felt the need to start up again. I “fell on black days” back in the Winter but am doing better now. I am glad I started again. Life has been stressful balancing work, family, school, church.

Life is good, though. School rocks. Work is work. We have a wonderful church family (Hermitage Church of Christ) that has blessed us in many ways. I am giving a devo tonight outdoors after some lemonade and cookies. Family is adjusting well to life in TN. School and scouts going well for the kids.

Trying to stay young at heart. I really think I want to work with kids and young people. Humans from elementary schoolers to college students will hopefully be the focus of my career as a therapist/counselor.

A great blessing in the past year has been my young friends at school (the older ones, too). They sometimes make me feel old. But mostly make me feel young. My cohort/classmates are an amazing and talented group. I am grateful for them. S/O to Lipscomb peeps!

For my birthday, I just want you to listen to this Brandi Carlile song. It’s cool.

“Don’t go growing old before your time has come…..”



Afraid of Bad News?


Unfortunately, yes.

Sometimes, I am.

Every time I read Psalm 112:7 I love it, but then….I don’t.

In speaking of the person who fears the Lord, is righteous, generous, etc…the Psalmist says

“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

It’s the usual wisdom lit principle that is often true: be good and you get good, and don’t get bad–be bad and you get bad. Santa Clausology. But try telling that to Job.  His friends wrongly deduced that all the bad news Job received was connected to his sin, that he wasn’t righteous, generous, that he didn’t fear God.  And God was displeased with Job’s friends for preaching this cause and effect mentality (which is in the bible from Deuteronomy to Galatians).

Try telling that to my internet friends Les, Keith, and John.

As one who has received bad news, I continue to expect it. Occasionally get caught up in obsessing: thinking, expecting, preparing emotionally for that phone call or knock at the door. “What will I do? How will I handle it? What next?”

Foolishly trying to prepare for that which you cannot prepare. Like Hugh Jackman’s character in “Prisoners,” you can have a basement prepped for the end times, but some lunatic might still kidnap your little girl.

For me, the hardest part is that God hasn’t promised and doesn’t promise it won’t happen again.  People still die and sometimes in unexpected and tragic ways. Bad things still happen to the good and the bad. Families still fall apart as long as Satan is “little g” god of this world.

Trying to convince myself “it probably won’t happen” doesn’t help.  Math was never a favorite subject and I am not good at percentages.  It might or it might not.  Tragedy will or won’t happen. 50/50.

Maybe this Psalm could be interpreted to say that while bad news may come, the godly man or woman doesn’t have to fear it. Sounds good.  Maybe. I don’t know.

I guess I prefer to endure simply with the comfort that while bad news is likely, good news is certain.  Already here.  And HE will help us get through the dark days of loss and grief.

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…”

Merry Christmas! And if it’s not merry, that’s okay, too. Don’t let anyone try to force “Merry” on you.

May God be with you.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).


Kurt Cobain

Was a big Nirvana fan.  Made punk mainstream, seriously affected music/rock and roll.  I know rock history includes lots of other bands from Seattle and from this genre, but Nirvana came to represent the movement and for me, defines a shift in the 90s.

Been 19 years since he died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. (just saw today that conspiracy theories abound blaming Courtney Love, his wife)

Read what my college roommate and friend, John, wrote a couple of summers ago HERE.

One of my fav songs by them:

The Crucifix


I stayed at a Catholic retreat center for an Ignatian Spirituality Silence/Prayer retreat.  I had a small dorm room.  There was a single bed, desk, night stand, and chair.  Very simple furnishings.  Only two things were on the wall:  a mirror and a crucifix.

Fundamentalism doesn’t always see the value in symbols or nuances, so in my youth I was taught that any image of the Cross as jewelry or art was sinful because of the 10 Commandments/”no graven image” thing.  But that’s for another time.  The point is that I don’t have any on my walls at home or church.

The crucifix was a metal figurine of Jesus attached to a cross of wood.  The metal “Jesus” was actually attached by three small nails.

The wooden cross could have been cut by a person or a machine, maybe a person using a saw is most likely.  The figurine was most definitely from a mold.

But those 3 nails.

I kept wondering about who had the job of nailing a metal Jesus to a cross.  Often you see a crucifix that has been carved or is from a mold and it’s one piece, but this one required a human to take a hammer and nails…

I wonder how many he/she has made.  Was it a one-time art project?  Does the person work in a factory and do this multiple times each day?  Is it creepy and/or emotional each time?

Or maybe it has become common place and rote…like it has for most of us…

February 19th, 2013
Lynwood Retreat Center
Rhinebeck, NY