Sunday, October 26, 2008

Paradise Lost - 01

For the past few days, I have been swimming upstream, trying to enjoy an old-fashioned vacation with my wife and kids in Orlando, Florida. I adore my wife and kids, but being obsessed with Haiti as I am makes a trip like this very difficult for me. When I say "difficult", I do mean that it is painful on several levels. Most of it is mental but it does have a way of manifesting itself physically as well.

It's 4:20 AM and I am unable to sleep. I woke up a couple of hours ago and had to take some vitamin C. My body is reacting.

We are staying at a popular hotel. Much like the rest of this city, the whole point of this place is to please the senses (certainly not the wallet). Walking back with my bottle of water, as I looked across the swimming area to observe a family of Brits congregated on their balcony (no doubt, jet lagging), I was reminded of a very similar experience that I had just last week. I was in Las Vegas, Nevada. I'll spare you the play-by-play on that trip. It should do for me to say that I hate that city. It single-handedly represents everything that is wrong with the human race. Scrap the morality; I don't even need to play that card to stand firm on the claim that Las Vegas is a shining example of human excess at its worst. The whole time, as buffets belched food and blackjack tables sucked up money, I could not help but see the people of Cité Soleil or the mountains of Haiti, most living on about .44 cents a day. You tell me how to fix that... how to ignore the suffering human beings and be dazzled by flickering lights and squawking machines. I have been unable because there is no excuse. There is no justification. So many people have too much while others have nowhere near enough.

More than once, I stood facing a slot machine. I was perplexed but willing to break free from any crippling ignorance I had. There was money in my pocket and the open-mindedness to give it a try. But I just couldn't do it. Not a dollar, not a quarter, not a penny. At one point, I was just down the hall from my room, face-to-face with a vending machine. Vegas is arid... dry like I have never experienced before. That left me extremely thirsty. But all of the excess I was experiencing was enough to make $2.00 look more obscene than it already was. Anyway, the point is to say that I was really, really thirsty. But the obscenity of the whole experience... the thousands of people just throwing money away, like it was garbage... made me unwilling to even pony-up a measly 2 bucks for water. In a flash, I was back with my ice bucket. After filling it to the rim with free ice, I waited for it to melt, contemplating the ridiculous nature of this world.

I am thankful that my work affords me certain opportunities to see people and places that I would otherwise never see. Since I am there on work, I can at least go home with the conscious-cleansing knowledge that I did not spend real money to have that experience. This post is not about condemning anyone. You may love Vegas. I could honestly never understand why... but that's why you're you and I'm not.

The point of this post is to say that I reject the notion that the USA is a paradise. To borrow a concept that a good friend of mine recently hipped me to, this place we now find ourselves in is more a paradise lost than anything else.

I'll be exploring this theme even more as the weeks unfold. For now, I'm just trying to stay open and authentic with you all. This post isn't so much about changing anything. I just have to log my time.

Be safe out there.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Coming back.

Hello friends and family.

It has been too long. I am happy to report that a return to regular blogging is here. There has been too much going on to even begin explaining. Suffice it to say, I have been busy as a bee working for several clients. This maddening rush has been a reminder that one cannot serve two masters. It is really hard to drive a vision like the CIMT and maintain any kind of a professional life at the same time. It is that impossible challenge that reminds me about the nature of what we are up against. I appreciate your patience during this time. I can promise you, I have been hard at work.

Presently, we are prepared to launch the second phase of our capital fundraising campaign. Remember that month of editing that you enabled? Now comes the fruit from that investment. Standby for further updates.

If you didn't see it yet, our website went live on the 13th of October (Columbus Day). The Age of the Storyteller has officially begun. For my taste, I would have liked to see it happen with a little more pomp and circumstance... but such things were out of my control. Click on the logo to the right to visit the site.

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

The future is just around the corner!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The blogger SINGS!

This morning, our 7-year-old daughter, Samara, had exploratory surgery on her right knee. She is home tonight, recovering with coloring books and Starbucks (hot chocolate).

On the way to the surgery this morning, I popped in a CD of a personal "golden oldie" and looked Samara in the eye as I sang along to it. It's a song I wrote, performed, and recorded about Samara when she was roughly a year old.

I thought I would share it with you here:

*press the play button.

Samara Smiled
Words and Music by Luke Renner
© Copyright 2002, luke renner

I was nothing more than excuses
Then Samara smiled at me
Who'd have thought that one
Little girl undone
Would change my destiny
When her little smile tore through my self-defeat
A light began to break
It brought me back my faith.

Now I'm so much more than I used to be
Since Samara smiled at me
Life is better now
It all worked out somehow
Color my lucky
Or maybe it just goes to show God is real
And proves it perfectly
When Samara smiles at me

Skeptics bow their heads, cynics softly tread
When Samara smiles at me
Politicians swirl
And try to kiss the girl
And blinder men can see
That true beauty is rare... doubting men would not dare
Question what they see
When Samara smiles at me.

Heaven shed her grace down on me
In a baby's face, cheek to smiling cheek.

All of time stands still
On a windowsill
When Samara smiles at me
The poets write no more
Cause what's a poem for
If not to find beauty
And I believe all the beauty the universe holds
Can be summed up without any words
When Samara smiles at me

And to all of those people who've never known love
You would if you could see Samara smile at me.


*Thanks to my good friends, Ray Boltz (for the recording space), Randy Melson (on bass), Dane Clark (drums), and Rich Morpurgo (my engineering partner).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The BIG one...

Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned!

I humbly approach you this morning with fear and trembling. It seems that I have committed the single greatest sin of blogging: NOT BLOGGING.

As it happens, I have been overwhelmed by a maddening marathon of editing for one of my long-time clients, trying to hit a looming deadline and come out shining.

I am happy to report that the end seems to be near and my ability to regularly blog will once again rush back in. Nonetheless, I have to apologize for dropping off with nary an explanation.

In case you missed me... I'm about to return.


Thursday, October 2, 2008


Please help us fund our work in Haiti.

Our present needs are:

Shipping of equipment: $6,000

Equipment upgrades: $10,000

Vehicle: $15,000

1st year's operating expenses: $40,000

All donations are completely tax deductible.
Please click on the button to make a contribution!