A couple of years ago, I built a home nestled in a canyon between two mountains on the edge of a national forest.
It is where I go to rest, reflect and center my family and myself. It is a small house and none of the doors match. The architects and builders who worked on it didn’t understand what I was doing at first. The plans had called for these beautiful doors and matching cabinetry throughout. Instead, we went to old yard sales and second hand stores and bought old dressers and vanities and made them into sinks for the bathrooms. We said no to the heavy $1500 doors and purchased 10 or twelve old used doors for no more than a 100 bucks each. None of them matched in either size or color. We had them installed as almost all shook their heads.
“Why would this family that could have the best, use these doors and cabinets?” They all wondered. What they figured out once it was finished, was – we had a different definition of “best”. We wanted something real. Authentic. Something that felt like the house my grandfather built.
Grandpa Janssen was a jack-of-all-trades. A man who never made it to the fourth grade, yet could speak or understand at least four languages. He couldn’t read and he made sure no one knew that, as he was the top machinist at Boeing in Seattle. Little did his bosses know he couldn’t read any of the blue prints. He didn’t need to, he could figure it out.
My grandfather never had a lot of money and so everything he built was from scrap and nothing matched and yet strangely in the end, just like our small home in the mountains, everything matched.
Last night, I think I became my grandfather.
In the summer, back on his tiny farm we would come to visit and work all summer, feeding the chickens, cleaning out the coupes and gathering the eggs. I don’t think we ever got “paid” – it was just what we did. The summer nights were hot and there wasn’t an air-conditioned house on the entire street. I would always sleep in the attic. It was hotter up there, but without the attic it was a one-bedroom house. My sisters would sleep with my grandma downstairs where it was cooler and my grandfather would open the door smaller than the rest and climb the impossibly steep steps to the attic where the two of us would try to sleep. We rarely fell to sleep rapidly. It wasn’t just the heat or lack of breeze. Rather, it was my grandfather’s stories of his childhood and life, be them made up or true.
It was hot last night at the base of “my mountain”.
Tania and Cheyenne slept in the kid’s room while Raphe and I opened up the windows in my room and tried to get to sleep. We didn’t try very hard and it wasn’t the heat or lack of breeze.
First we talked about the events of the day, the hard work rounding up the cows, mending a fence, looking for badgers and my sons first time “loping” with his horse. Suddenly I felt my grandfather’s life merging with mine. I smiled and told my son some of the tales that my grandfather told me as we tried to get to sleep. We laughed, shushed each other as to not wake the others in the house. And before long, I had pulled out the flashlight next to the bed stand.
I, just as my grandfather had done, propped it on my pillow and we began to make shadow puppets on the wall. Cops and robbers quickly followed birds and bears. It was in the middle of a bear vs. Godzilla fight when my wife suddenly appeared and simple said, “Boys, knock it off and go to sleep.”
We both sheepishly grinned and said that we were sorry and that she was right.
I kissed my son good night as he snuggled close by my side, safe, content and sleepy. As I lay there smiling, I reflected on just how much I love and miss my grandfather. It was at that moment that I remembered my summers in the attic as with the help of the moonlight I could just make out my mismatched door.
I have been in our small town in Idaho for the last ten days. Simple. Farmers. Salt of the earth.
People who rely on God for their crops. Pray when to plant, pray for rain, pray not too much, pray for heat, not too much, pray on when to cut the fields, pray that there is no rain until you can bale it (three days), pray for thanks and begin again.
Most farmers are broke financially. Yet spiritually they are the richest people I know. Two reasons:
1. You must remain a partner with God and trust He knows what He is doing because at best you are still guessing when to plant and cut.
2. Because someone around your farm is going to fail even if you don’t and if you succeed this year, you may be the one that fails next year. Thus: You have a reason to help your neighbor. You all know that “there by the grace of God go I.”
As I watch these people and see how they live I see the solutions. Nations forget as they become industrialized. They move into cities and no longer even see the canvas of the master painter. The full expanse of the sky. It seems as we grow rich financially, the more arrogant and spiritually bankrupt we become. We no longer see ourselves as partners with The Eternal, we begin to see life as dog eat dog and our problems become bigger as our neighbors become invisible.
What a simple answer to our problems. Yet, how difficult, possibly impossible, to actually do without a farm.
As I was in church today I listened to the choir. For a while we attended church right at Lincoln Center in NYC. I remember one Sunday, as we all began to sing, that somehow, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was visiting and all sitting all around me in the pews. No, it was just a place on earth where some of the most talented performers happened to attend church. Today, my neighbors stood to sing. The farmers, the guy who works at the car lot, a few retired heroes, their wives and children. What I heard was not what those at Lincoln Center would describe a technically flawless, but the music I heard was more perfect than I ever heard in any of the great concert halls.
I have carried that sound in my head all day and tried to understand why it effected me the way it did. There was something more to it than just lyrics, notes and singers. As I picked up John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ to read this afternoon it hit me. Almost every word in that book is poetry. Beautifully written. But, at first, you are left with the impression that he as a writer, is almost mocking who and everything these Okies are. I don’t know Steinbeck’s history well enough to know his motivation but in his writing I found the answer I was looking for. What I heard today was the original.
It was authentic. It was real.
In the big city it is easy to find things and talented people that can paint, act, write or sing songs that make your heart swell with that warm, sweet feeling of something bigger than you, me or the piece of art. But, most times, what you are finding is what I found in Steinbeck: a mere reflection or echo of the authentic art that those simple people in the small no name towns live everyday. All of the great art of America was composed to reflect the people I listened to in this small church on the edge of a town that only has maybe two stop lights.
What we are looking for to uplift, inspire, and model is found here in the small town at the base of a mountain in Idaho. Real people who rely on something bigger than themselves and in the end each other.
The world mocks these people and the way they live. The children, including in my case as a teenager race to leave these towns to head to the cities. People will say, there is “nothing to do or see there” or that these towns “don’t have any culture.” They are right if you believe that art hangs on a wall.
There aren’t any museums, concert halls or poetry corners in America’s small towns, because the music is in the peoples spirit love and charity, the art is in their weathered faces and calloused hands and the poetry is in the way they live their lives.
Cheyenne making banana boats. Sliced banana, chocolate and marshmallows, wrapped in foil and cooked over the open fire.
Raphe consuming one and dad through the smoke at the fire having sliced apples in coconut palm sugar.
We are reading by the fire every night. The Work and the Glory by Lund (classic for our faith) and tonight we begin Michael Vey 4. Final edits are due Monday so I am trying it out on the kids this week for one final tweak.
I am also reading Psalms 91 and as a family we are re-reading Acts. Tonight we finished Acts 5.
Glenn and his family are at their ranch this week. They go out there to get away from the hustle and bustle of Dallas, taking advantage of their time out West to bond as a family. On Friday, they went out as a family to ride horses.
Here’s a brief video from their adventure:
I am wearing bandanas like some train robber from allergies. On so much my Benadryl I am half asleep in the saddle. Any suggestions beside a wet handkerchief like my grandfather used to do? When I get back excuse the strange tan lines. I know what a farmers tan is, and already have one of those but now I have a Jessie James tan with the line running from ear to ear.
I have a tattoo. I know a ton of people who have them. I love mine. I am torn. I shouldn’t have defaced God’s work, but I was young. No one can see my tattoo as it is around my ankle. I learned this from my father, he got a tattoo on his arm while serving. He hated it and always wore long sleeves to cover it. I like mine.
So why am I telling you this? Watch this video:
Tania and I think this is sad. I don’t judge him. I would love to talk to him. Why? Why this tattoo? Who was he before, who is he now? Why did he want to stop being who he was born to be? Has he thought about looking in the mirror at 80?
Why would he pick the biological weapon symbol for his heart? I think this is an amazing conversation starter. To each his own but this, to me, is sad. But then again, many people find me sad.
We have three at the ranch: Snowflake, Belle and Napoleon. Guess which one I like? For people that have listened for a long time or know me personally, they would guess Snowflake or Belle. (I can here the jokes even up here in the mountains – Stu and Pat!)
Napoleon is a huge black horse, he has a bit of quarter horse in him I am told, but I don’t know anything about horses except they aren’t that different from people. Last year, when Snowflake almost bucked one of us off, we thought, at first, she had seen a snake. Nope. Then as she began to walk funny we thought she had a rock caught in her hoof. Nope. She was just done with the ride. To put it kindly, she is “spirited.” I call her El Diablo and I think Napoleon does as well. This morning I went in to the corral and found bite marks on Napoleon. Some horses are just mean, just like people. Sometimes they are mistreated or neglected while other times they just develop bad habits over time and feel the need to ‘show you who’s boss”.
I took Napoleon to another corral on the other side of the barns.
I love him and I like to think he loves me.
Today, I went into his new corral and he followed me around. Rubbed his face on my chest and we stood eye to eye. He actually had to bend down quite a bit as he towers over me. He is my buddy and I would do anything for him. It is weird how quickly you can become attached to an animal. When we went for a ride up into the mountains Monday, we knew we had each other’s back. We knew it again this morning. As the hives began to form on my hands and arms and my throat began to close just a bit again today, I ignored it for as long as I could.
I fed him a couple of apples while we talked about the state of the country. He looked at me and spoke through his big brown eyes. “the answers are not easy, but they are simple”, I imagined him saying to me. “Kindness, gentleness, compassion and love.”
It isn’t the wisdom of a big black horse who has never seen the world, read a book or traveled farther from his home than maybe the state fair. It is the wisdom of the universe that is encoded in all of life. We can all hear it, if we just can find a way to slow down and listen to the whispering of the eternities.
An age-old social stigma says that chewing gum gives a bad impression. But is that true? Beldent debunks this myth and offers proof using a real-life experiment, in a new and unique campaign conceived by Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi.
Over the weekend, Glenn put together this note on his Facebook page. We are reprinting it here for GlennBeck.com readers:
Good morning. Random thoughts this a.m.:
Tania let me sleep in this morning. God bless her. Hannah is coming over to can tomato sauce with Tania but before she does we are going to work on cake decorating. Hannah is taking a class. My dad was one of the best I have ever seen. Unfortunately Hannah doesn’t fully realize how much I didn’t learn from my dad, but together maybe I can remember a few things to pass on.
Why don’t we ever recognize the important moments when we are living them? I wish I would have learned more from my dad.
Also, here is what is happening behind the doors at Stage 19. The stage at The Mercury Studios, where they shot JFK, Silkwood, Barney, Prison Break and the first 2 years of The Glenn Beck Program on TheBlaze is getting a complete overhaul.
Even though the stage is 16,000 square feet and the largest stage in daily use for TV production in America, the set that is coming in is so large that we have to clear the entire floor. Which means the radio set, the Glenn Beck show set, commercial production and unfortunately the Oval Office need to come down.
It will have a place for a studio audience of 150 which we are excited about. The first time you will be able to see the new stage is for the WeWillNotConform.com event to make Common Core history. That is July 22. Movie theaters all across the country will participate for that one night only live event. Get your tickets and details at that website and join, me, David Barton, Dana Loesch, and Michelle Malkin.
In the pics you can see The Resolute desk coming out. I have been trying to figure out a place to put the Oval, but it is just too large even for the atrium. I don’t want to crate it again as it is the one thing that everyone has their picture taken in when they come to visit.
Btw- I am thinking about putting a temporary history exhibit on Stage 19 this August so people could come and take a tour of the studios as well as see some of the amazing things from history that tell the American story. We have been debating whether or not people would come. I think there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day for the people that wanted to show their kids Abe Lincoln’s desk, Patton’s helmet, George Washington’s compass and log book, the Disneyland Prospectus, the horrifying bed sheet where Abraham Lincoln died and 100s of other items we have now collected. We would charge $20 but all of the proceeds would go to Mercury One our charity. Should we do it or not?
I am listening to Patty Griffin’s ‘Up to the Mountain’ as I stare out the window admiring Gods handiwork as the sun slips slowly under the curvature of our earthy home.
Sometimes when we are flying late at night, most of my team is asleep and I have time to sit quietly and think.
We don’t have enough time anymore just to ponder.
My grandfather used to have one of those old push mowers (remember the old wooden handle and the round blades between the wheels?). When I was really small I can remember seeing him push it, stop and take his hankie out and mop his brow.
What was he thinking? I now ponder.
Later he got himself a riding mower. By then I was old enough to cut the lawn but he never would let me. I always thought he insisted on doing it was because by then grandma had taken the keys of the truck from him (it involved a plate glass window and the front of a Denny’s but that is a different story :) ).
But, now, I’m convinced he wanted time to think. Time alone, quiet time to ponder.
As I worked the farm on my tractor this past summer, cutting the alfalfa I hypothesized: farmers of the past must have been either 1) the most well balanced people or 2) raging alcoholics.
So much time and so much silence. You had no place to run from your thoughts.
How many of us can really spend time with ourselves and our thoughts? How many of us need music, talk radio or books on tape? Anything except silence and our own internal voice.
A voice that questions, condemns or emboldens with truth.
The sun sinks a little lower and the sky grows from deep orange to dark blue at the horizon and space grows black above.
I turn the music off.
I am in the final phase, I think, of a massive transformation. One that will take me to rough terrain, uncharted landscape and lonely woods. This may end up being the biggest and most important challenge of my life.
Lead by that still small voice always and simply, questioning, condemning and empowering with love and truth. I have challenged myself to let go of my anger and hurt and instead see others pain, need, confusion and hurt.
I want to be a better man. A much better man.
It is hard.
Sometimes it’s too hard, because I hurt or I am tired or honestly, sometimes I just want to be angry.
“I have a right!” I think to myself.
The country I love is washing ashore in bits and pieces. Dashed intentionally on the rocks by fools and knaves. The flames of hate rages. Fires started by those who just want power or money. Only to have the flames fanned by those of us who were sometimes duped, sometimes trusting “our side” and honestly, sometimes too tired, lazy or unwilling to challenge what we WANT to believe because it allows us to escape that condemning voice about the role we played.
I want to be a better man. A better husband, father and friend.
Life moves so fast. So many fires. I try to put one out and three more appear.
“How Lord? Why Lord?” I pray/wrestle. “I want to do what you want me to do, but I am not smart enough to figure out how to get from here to there.”
“Tell me! What do you want me to do! I will do it, but just tell me!”
Deep down, if I am quiet enough, I know He doesn’t work that way.
He doesn’t want the power.
He wants to empower us.
“Figure it out yourself” the voice whispers. “You have all you need. You always have and if you just trust Me completely and take the leap you will see.”
My mind cannot grasp the eternal.
My eyes cannot see what He sees.
He is right.
For all the worry and panic, trouble and white-knuckle events of my life, I have always had everything I really needed and everything worked out in the end.
It will again.
For all of us.
The stars begin to shine brighter, the sound of the air blowing through the cabin. The quiet conversations from the back of the plane and the empowering voice whispers again.
“It is the simple things that makes a man great. The way he treats his wife, his children and those who CANNOT help him advance in his career or goals. It is the simple repeated act of choosing love over anger, peace instead of hate, forgiveness over revenge and courage over comfort.”
“Most of all”, He whispers, “A great man mows his lawn and is eager for the challenge of silence.”
I turn off the light, smile at the thought of my grandpa. I gaze out my window. I am no longer able to make out the curve of the earth.
I close my eyes comfortable with the knowledge that what is coming, just over the horizon, is a new day and everything we need is already being warmed by tomorrow’s sun.
This should be a very interesting conversation with someone who is making a difference. He is plastering his art everywhere in Hollywood.
He is an artist that refuses to comply or conform.
Will you agree or disagree? Artist or vandal? Free speech or “hate speech”? Brilliant or reckless?
He is on the side of uber freedom – conservative and radical.
Not sure how much we will agree on, but I will say this: He is the first who I think really recognizes that the conservative is now the rebel voice. That we are no longer in the same game. Instead, we are now the revolutionary, and the former leftist revolutionaries are now “the man.” Just as the left has no idea how to govern, the right has no idea how to make their point to the mainstream – especially the youth.
I will be having a fascinating conversation Monday night at 5pm ET with the rebel artist SABO.
Due to his work and at his request, his face will be disguised for his protection.