Showing posts from April, 2006

My helper and friend

Focus and passion. My wife has this in spades. Loyal and submissive. She has let the Spirit in and He is doing a magnificent work in her. Truthful and loving. Sharing the truth in love is an amazing gift and she can do it better that she used to. In bringing her into my life God has moved in a way that I could never have dreamed. My boys will, one day, rise up and call her blessed. There is not question about it. They have a mom that is building an unparalleled foundation that will result in a strong and stirring house. I have a wife with a character that I cannot do justice to in words. And she’s pretty cute too.

"Problem-solving" mode

It seems to me that when I enter into someone’s pain and empathize with their plight I can a credibility and a passport that I would not have received had I not done that. In other words, as a man I have a tendency to be super analytical. This causes problems sometimes as I am always in “problem-solving” mode. Some people are not interested in me solving their problems and that makes me impatient with them. Or at least that is the way I see it. When there is a problem, or when people are communicating a problem to me, a lot of the time they are testing me. Testing to see whether I will enter into their struggle and show compassion. As I identify with them I build credibility and may even be granted passport to help them solve their issue. That is difficult for me but I have seen it time and time again. It is a new “problem-solving” mode but the problem solved is much different. It is a problem with me and the solving has to do with my tendency to control and dominate rather than relate


I am having a harder and harder time explaining God. I mean I do have a relationship with Him through Christ and He is my savior and provider, but whenever I think I have figured Him out He changes the game. There is so much that I find about Him in the Scriptures, but there is so much mystery in Him. He is so vast that when I think about Him I get lost. Lost in the Universes that He is. Language breaks down, thoughts, experience, wisdom that I may have or have acquired are not even inadequate; they’re bankrupt to plumb the Deep that He is. Frustrated here I keep typing, capitalizing this, re-writing that, to even begin to articulate the gulf that exists between my understanding of Him and who He is. There are no more words left – only vanity.

I want to be a hero

There was a song a long time ago called Hero (by Steve Taylor, not the “popular” one) where he writes that being a hero “is a nice-boy notion that the real world’s gonna destroy”. I can’t agree. I want to be a hero and I have known enough about this world that my desire to be a hero grows stronger with each passing day. Almost hourly some days. Most of all, I want to be my wife’s hero. To be admired by her and to have her look at me and know that there is a man who wants so desperately to be loved and admired by her and her alone. It gives me so much joy and satisfaction when she thanks me for what I have done – I feel like a provider and, at some level, a hero. I also want to be my boy’s hero. I want them to want to be like me. I want my God to be their God and for Christ-likeness to be their only desire. Above all of this is my Hero. I think we can have small and big heroes. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. As long as our little heroes derive their joy from the Hero H

Reciprocating saws and magic wands

If I had a magic wand of my own I would wave it over me and over you And over all this crazy world And make it right Oh and there’s so much I’d change If I could take the easy way! – Chris Rice Kind of a wild weekend it was around our house. The laundry tub overflowed on Friday afternoon so we thought that we would take the opportunity to do some painting and the like in the laundry room as we would be taking out all of the stuff to shampoo the rug to get the water and stink up. Well, ripping out the laundry tub was a pain (I had to cut it up with my new reciprocating saw) and then I had to cut some pipe and solder new connections on for two new faucets to feed the washer. Then we had to get a new utility sink to replace the one I cut up. Then we realized that the carpet squares that were down had to get ripped up and replaced. In other words if this were truly all about painting then we would be done now. We aren’t. Right now we have the ceiling and walls painted. The trim looks decen

God is wild

"Is -- is he a man?" asked Lucy. "Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion -- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh," said Susan, "I thought he was a man. Is he -- quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." "That you will, dearie, and make no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else silly." "Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy. "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver, "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you." Of course Lewis illustrates a character trait of God by using the Lion in this portion of his boo

A couple of photos

We went to my sister and brother in laws house for Easter. They live in Cazenovia NY in a very rural area. Not as rural as my brother in Wisconsin, but rural enough. We had a great time and the boys did not want to go home. I only barely wanted to. Here are some pictures of the place. It is a great spot for astronomy as it is nice and dark with fairly unobstructed views all the way around. I did not take my telescope because the cloud cover forecast was not looking good for Saturday night. Oh well, I will get there one of these days with it. All of these shots are looking out from their back yard.

Life change

Life change. That is what I am after. Whether it is changing my relationship with food (I know, I sound like Dr. Phil) or changing the way I deal with situations I want to do things differently - maybe a tweak here and an adjustment there, but I want to be different. Even if the things that I have changed are only internal and perceptible to me. And I want that change to be permanent. Not some fleeting New Year's resoultion that is abandoned in April, but a life long drive towards a goal. This will be my 100th post. There are people here that have been blogging for a lot longer than me, but their prolific tendencies are not my yardstick. My yardstick is Christ and the practical application of measuring myself against Him is if I am trending toward the better and acting more and more like Him. Do I fall in the same areas? Do I have the same thought patterns year after year? Do I find the same destructive patterns in my relationships? All of this and more is firmly in the realm of th

Results encourage me

Results encourage me. I have been exercising this year (since January 2006) 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. I think I have lost about 15 pounds (not sure as there is no scale in our house) and I am definitely more physically fit. I felt my new level of fitness when I was playing with the boys, two of my nieces, and one of my nephews over the weekend. I had some bursts of speed that I took on that would have left me huffing and puffing not that long ago. It was great to recover quickly from those and be ready for the next time I had to go all out. These are the kind of results I was expecting, but never thought I’d see. It is very cool. I have been doing some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the treadmill and have upped my high intensity intervals from 6 minutes to 7.5 out of a 30 minute workout. I think I could easily go to 10 or 12 minutes but what’s the rush? I am thinking about strength training. And thinking, and thinking….. Results encourage me. Had

Sweet death

Sweet death. Who knew that God would not only take the sting from death but, through it, achieve what He desires more than anything – my ultimate and perfect sanctification to His glory and fame. The greetings of God-ordained death is a handshake not with the bone-chilled hands of the Reaper, but the warm embrace of my Lover. Where this body of death and rebellion will be destroyed and I will have a mind and a body like Christ Himself. Where conversations will be more than mere speculation and my mind will never drift from the contemplation of my glorious God. Sweet death – not only is your sting gone, but your drink is thick with satisfaction.


Inertia is a tendency for bodies in motion tend to stay in motion and bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. This results in the property of an object to resist changes in velocity unless acted upon by an outside force. This is my life. I find that when I am busy I tend to stay busy. When I am idle, I tend to stay idle. Thankfully, God in His grace has allowed some outside forces in my life to move me from my present course from time to time. That is a good thing for me as I have tendency to be too extreme in my motion or rest. I have a workshop from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. today and I am not at all looking forward to it. I thought it was going to be from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. and that is what I had geared up for – that was my movement and rest (at least mentally) this morning. Oh well. Thankfully there is an outside force that is motivating me to go.

Preparation and sensory worship

I grew up Catholic and attended the Catholic church until midway through graduate school (1993 or thereabouts). I received the sacraments of baptism, first communion, and confirmation which fully initiated me in the church and Catholic faith. My parents are true born-again believers that love the Lord and that have prayed for us kids faithfully. Our lives are monuments to their commitment to us and we are, most importantly, trophies of God’s grace. There are things that I miss about the Catholic church and one of the most significant is the seasons or the church calendar that dominated the liturgies during the year. Specifically Lent and Advent were amazing times for me as I prepared for the culmination of these seasons: Easter and Christmas. To see the somber purple and scarlet that adorned the sanctuary and the starkness of the tabernacle on Good Friday was a reminder to me of the humiliation, death, and burial of Christ. To hear the chant “This is the night…” during the Easter Vigil

The stench of the Fall

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him. When they lifted up their eyes at a distance and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.   Job 2:11-13

Is it true?

Is what they are saying about me true? Is there even a shred, hint, modicum, particle, atom of truth to what they are saying about me? How have I contributed to this conflict? What has been my role? As this conflict squeezes me (a man too prone to sin) what is God revealing to me about my sin nature? What is God showing me about myself that I need to work on? How am I responding to this conflict? Am I running from it? Ignoring it? Attacking the people I am in conflict with? Did Christ go through a similar situation? How did he respond? How can I entrust myself to Him who judges justly? What are my motives as I respond? Are they pure? God-honoring? Will they build up or tear down? I need to ask myself all these questions and more – relentlessly focusing on myself when conflict arises. How is it that I immediately start thinking about the other person (or people) when I am in conflict. Because examining myself hurts. And it is hard work. But that is where the Spirit lives.

The miracle of relationship

One of the “miracles” of marriage (actually any long-term relationship but marriage in particular) is that my wife knows exactly who I am yet chooses each and every day to stay with me. Not only to stay with me but to craft her life in and around mine so tightly that she does not make decisions without thinking of me. Even when I (and this happens too often) make decisions without consideration of her, she plows ahead making sure her life is holy and, thus, pleasing to God. Sitting with the church on Sunday I thought about this and then related it to God Himself and His desire to relate to me. He, independent of my consideration of Him, crafted a way to have a relationship with me that is unlike anything I will experience here. At the same time He knows me better than I know myself (Altar Boys anyone??) and yet in His great love he stoops to me and raises me up so that I can get to know Him. That is a miracle and as my wife continues in her pursuit of a relationship with me, as she set

Trees and entropy

This house is crumbling This property is condemned This house is crumbling Who'll say the last amen? – Murder in the Big House, Chagall Guevara All it takes is someone with a different perspective to make me think just a bit differently. I got an estimate last night on some tree work that we have needed since the day we moved into our house 2.75 years ago. Well, I had an idea what I wanted to get done, but the guy that gave me the estimate had a different idea entirely. His made more sense and I am going to, by and large, take his recommendation. We have birch, cherry, and oak trees in our front yard and at least four of the birch and one of the cherry trees are going to come down. The oak will be trimmed and that is, hopefully, going to give us enough sun to get grass in there for good. The back yard is a different story. We have a clump of three trees that have to come down for safety reasons. There is no hope of getting grass back there now, but I do wonder after thes

Antithesis-produced joy

It is for my own good that God demands that I love only Him. His jealousy for His reputation, unlike my own, is right and true. A happy by-product of His longing for His reputation is the salvation of my soul and the continual separation of myself into more delightful and happier living. Obviously, if this by-product never came to be, God would have every right (as if He needs my permission) to demand that all obedience, worship, and even heartfelt love be directed toward Him. Even if those things produced hell-like pain in our souls and bodies God would be just in His declaration that it be so. But what joy to know that as I seek Him, as I draw near to Him…He draws near to me. That gives me pause and sends shivers through me. It rails against my flesh but as I put to death the deeds of the flesh and the Spirit reigns that is when death becomes the comfortable vehicle that God has redeemed it to be. When I love God my relationship with my wife and children, friends and co-workers takes

Spring has come again

I wouldn’t know it by the snow on the ground but Spring is coming. I remember the mornings my brother Steve and I would get up and hit the golf course early. It was a relaxing and fun time with more sorrow than joy (!) but I’ll never forget those mornings. The smells, sounds, sights – how the fresh cut grass stuck to our shoes as we strolled the fairway or the balls we would launch toward Russell Station (the power plant that was in easy driving distance from the middle of the fairway on the (then) 8 th hole) with a swift crack and dodge behind a tree so no one would see us. All of these feelings brought back to me every Spring. There are also the feelings of emptiness and loneliness that seemed to dog me as well in those days. How I would drive by and see an attractive girl and wonder why no one was attracted to me. How I would walk the lonely streets at night for my heart to leap out of my chest and live in a world so familiar to it. How I would pine for the phone to ring and, for o

No deception

When Jesus saw Nathaniel approaching He said, "Here is a true Israelite, one who is without deceit." John 1:47 Wow. Am I glad I do not have a daily column in an newspaper or some other form of media. I like to write and I think I am pretty decent at it, but to do it for a living and to be so fresh has got to be difficult. Too difficult for me, unless I had a topic that I wrote about in a daily way like technology or cement. Making it personal is probably the best way that I can show people that I am genuine. Also I think it is the best way that I can show people that we are in this boat together and that I will need them to grab the oar on occasion when I am tired. Coupled with that is the promise that I will grab it and row as mightily as I can when they need me to. With chest bare and motives exposed people can see the true me and I can then be free to genuinely say that I do not have it all together. It relaxes me (on occasion) and almost always relaxes those around me. De

She sings harmony

My wife sings harmony. When I am standing next to her gathered with the Church and we sing hymns and spiritual songs my wife sings harmony. I sing the melody for that escapes me far too often for me to begin to try to sing harmony. Yet, even when I hit the sour note or struggle like I do on the melody she still sings harmony. When the storms roll in and nothing around me seems familiar and the fog envelopes me and makes me tired she sings harmony. When I have lost my way and am insecure wondering where the North Star is in my struggle to regain a sense of direction she sings harmony. And beautifully, mind you, so beautifully. I’ll never hear a voice as sweet as hers this side of my home and I’ll never know a joy like standing next to her, hand in hand sometimes, and hearing her sing harmony to my imperfect melody. For she has embraced the Father so completely that His desire for her in our relationship has melted so deeply into her warm heart that it is indistinguishable from her own.