Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement


Christmas Candles and Away in the Manager

Christmas Eve candle ceremony at Wheaton Bible Church

We sang "Away in the Manger" I used to sing this at the top of my lungs, all shrill and boyful each Christmas at Incarnation Catholic Parish when I was five years-old. This little girl (Kaitlyn, who apparently has a fan in Ozzy Osbourne?) in the video below gives it a shy, tremulating go in a modernized version mixed with the secular "Twinkle Twinkle." She gets the bigger picture. While I never took center stage as she has, with tremendous excitement and joy I lifted my voice. Whenever I hear the song now I find myself going back to 1971, the left aisle, two thirds back from the front.

Merry Christmas.

My less pious greeting to you all at the end of this little Santa video.


Familiar Freshness - Old Becomes New While Remaining Old

Does familiarity breed contempt? Only if you let it.

Doug, a former colleague, who also lives in the west Chicago burbs as I do, told me to never let the familiarity of the city steal the awe. That is, as cool as it was walking on Washington and Michigan Avenue, after several years it loses a certain awe-factor, but he encouraged me to try to see it always. Look up, be impressed with the big buildings. See the river, the bridges and the people. It is amazing.

The Loop isn't mundane.  When I visited Budapest, Hungary, I was stunned, seeing how short the city was, yet a fully established city. Mundane? No, no. Far from it, but if you grew up there, you might find how easy it is to be blind.

That's what Doug encouraged me to never let happen. Be blown away by every moment, no matter how common. It still does become ordinary. Can't really help that. But, every so often, and more now since I no longer go as often, I see it, and see the buildings I have worked in, or interviewed in, and my jaw drops at the incredulity of it all in the midst of it being completely real.



Midwestern Beauty - A Descriptive Look at Gentle Nature

In the Midwest, up and down Illinois, we have a beauty surpassing anything in Colorado. Those who are consumed by only the magnificent mountains can miss the subtler colors and sounds that can be felt here near Chicago, in Bloomington, but also in Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere in these Midwestern United States.

The cool moonlight in April drifting in and out of clouds, as the dew explores the tops of cars in driveways.

The sunrise over a gentle green cornfield swaying in an August wind presenting next month's meal.

The sweet smell of a soybeans wafting across town just before harvest.

The crunch of leaves mostly brown on my lawn, blown in from the neighbor north of me.

The fierce February snow pulsing across a parking lot while I search for car keys.

The first crack of ice as it melts beneath a March sun as the radio sportscaster argues with a caller who should be the starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox.

Splash some lemonade into your favorite tall glass, and meet me on the porch. We have a lot to take in.

The scene in the photo: It is a view from a deck at a friend's summer home at Lake Donnell in southwestern Michigan.


Early Life on a Donkey

Jesus Christ Was Sent to Adoption Agency?

Christmas is coming, when Christians and non Christian people celebrate the traditional birth of Jesus Christ. Christians see it as a sacred day, and others see it as anything from a nice day of work to a thoughtful secular holiday.

What if the Department of Children and Family Services intervened first?

Jesus was born in a stable to unmarried parents. You've heard the sermon pointing out how scandalous this was.

Every child should be a wanted child, says Planned Parenthood, and Joseph did not want to be a dad, and Mary was scared. Thankfully, an angel stepped in and didn't let the local back alley abortionist kill Christ.

Not much money was available. The stable was not the Marriot. Joseph and Mary could have arrived earlier with more money and time to secure a nice room. For whatever reason, they didn't. Perhaps they couldn't. At any rate, this put stress on their upcoming marriage.

The return trip home involved life on a donkey. To think of it, so did Jesus' final trip back, but that's another story. But, in the beginning, this beginning, things were bouncy on a donkey's back. Not very PETA-friendly.

Donkeys bray, stink, and can be persnickety. Slow-going ride. Not much back support in the vehicle. Upholstery can be scratchy. The AC has much to be desired, and Galilee radio stations don't come in. If radio was invented, it still wouldn't work. Miles per bushel of hay? Not sure, but the carbon footprint has much to be desired, unless you are a horsefly.