Showing posts from February, 2007

Working on a boat with the oldest

What I am listening to right now: Trilogy - Iona , Iona Well, last night my oldest son and I started to work on a boat that he will be racing in the Spark's Boat Race this Saturday. We are painting it the same colors as Buzz Lightyear (my bright idea) and he seems to be getting into it. I am glad as I like to expand his horizons a bit trying different things. Who knows. Maybe one of these more "novel" experiences will click with him as much as going outside or playing with his trains does. I am looking forward to finding the giftedness that God has given my boys. Their talents seem to be solidifying a bit (especially in the oldest), but the application of those talents to specific activities is a bit of an unknown at this point. I'll be posting some pictures as soon as I can. I am in a bit of a pickle as I still have pictures from Christmas in the camera. I need to get those downloaded and backed up sooner rather than later.

Reasons to say "yes": part deux

Or this post could be subtitled "Why I married my wife". I got home from work last night and there was a car that had "run aground" in front of our neighbor's house. We live on a curve and it is always a wild ride through there for some people. Well, turns out the people that were in the accident were new to the neighborhood and we finally got a chance to meet them. Nice folks, nice car, and they were on their way after a bit of digging and praying. After that family fun time I got into the house and the oldest said he had a great idea. He thought it would be spiffy to go out after dinner and "shovel". Now "shovel" means "play" to a Kindergartener so I knew what I would be doing. I was under the impression that we could just hang out after dinner until my wife said to me, "Isn't that a great idea, Daddy?" Well, it was, and I had every reason to say yes. But I wanted to say no in the worst way. We went out and got the n

Reasons to say "yes"

As much progress as I have made in this area, I still tend toward laziness. When my boys (or even my wife) asks for something a little out of the ordinary I have a tendency to want to say "no" or "wait" rather than "yes". Now, my "no" would be fine if there was a decent reason for it, but there usually isn't. Maybe the day was a little more tiring than I would have liked it to have been, or maybe I am just not interested in the requested activity. At any rate, I need to look for reasons to say "yes" rather than "no". I want those people in my life to see me as an agreeable person who can stretch and bend rather than so rigid that I reject anything off of the beaten path. There it is. Another admitted temperament weakness of mine. When will the strengths shine? Not this side of heaven I fear.


I guess I am still on this - that there is nothing that can happen to me, short of divine intervention, that will change who I am. I mean I learn, I grow, I change, but what causes all of these things? What (or Who) arranges circumstances to help me along this path? I think that I downplay God's activity in my sanctification so much that I attribute who I am to things that have no power to do anything whatsoever to me. It would be as silly for me to attribute my personality to my choice of peanut butter than it would be to attribute my outlook on life to anyone or anything other than God Himself. Does this break down somewhere? I need to meditate on this some more. It seems at least counter-intuitive and may be flat out wrong. I don't know. I need to seek some counsel on this before I begin to spray it everywhere. I may have to delve into Ultimate and proximate causality before it is all said and done. And, sometimes, that stuff just makes my head hurt.

Bombing out the work today

What I am listening to right now: no more no less - Coming Up to Breathe , Mercy Me; A Little Sleep - River Disturbance, Deliverance; In God We Trust - In God We Trust , Stryper I am bombing the work out today as I am heading for a lunch date with the boys, at McDonald's. Then we are picking up a friend and going to The Living Seas movie at the Strasenburgh Planetarium at 2:00 p.m. That is only with the oldest as his brother will be napping. Then off to sledding and out for dinner. Sounds like a good time. Even though I am at work right now.

True [insert character quality here]

What I am listening to right now: Opening - Glassworks , Philip Glass; Victory Dance - Step on It, Jet Circus I think that I can be assured of this: the extent of whatever character quality I have, whether it is honesty, hospitality, servanthood, peacemaker...any of them, is nowhere near where it should be. This isn't false modesty. This is just an observation of who I am in light of the Scriptures and even in light of other servants of God. I mean, can I honestly say that I am a steward when I am called to redeem the time that I am given in every area of my life such that I do not waste one second of it? For all I know I may have already wasted time typing out these words. Prone to wander and, thus, forever a debtor to His grace.

A letter with names removed

What I am listening to right now: Step On It by Jet Circus K (and all), Now I am probably not one to speak because I was not "cut from the same cloth" as my disposition tends to be more positive (sanguine) and carefree than many members of our family - and even N. My journey has more to do with the forsaking of the relentless focus on myself rather than others. I have found that the more I take up my cross and follow Christ I die just a little bit more to me and come alive to God and others. I have also grown to know that I am who I am independent of my circumstances. My temperament, life in the body, whether I am the youngest or tallest in my group of friends, has no bearing on how I react to things because I am one of His. God has made me a new creation and begun a sanctifying work in me separating me more and more from the world, the flesh, and the Devil himself. This separation (sanctification) allows me to, ever more completely, engage in the work of bui

The "boy couch"

I have two sons and no daughters. "The boys" (I include myself in that category), if left to our own devices, will descend into fraternity behavior sooner rather than later. We like to throw snow at each other, "shoot" each other with the Nerf gun or our shooting stars launcher, "rock" each other's world, and pretend we are giving each other "discipline" in our best Arnold Schwarzenegger voices (which aren't very good). Well, the best thing that we have come up with so far is something that we call "the boy couch". That little moniker is given to any piece of furniture where the boys pile on top of each other to watch a video, read, or just hang out together. Last night we were at my parent's house watching a Winnie the Pooh video and, sure enough, there was a "boy couch" that was employed to take in the experience. It is a lot of fun. Part of the challenge for a boy is to disengage from the mother and attach thems

Kyrie Eleison

Kyrie Eleison down the road that I must travel. Kyrie Eleison through the darkness of the night. - Mr. Mister, Kyrie More than a rock anthem for the 80's this song means more and more to me with each passing day. Growing up Catholic we sang the "Kyrie" at mass and it did mean something to me. I mean I knew that I sinned and that I needed forgiveness. But that mercy seemed to me to be something that I asked for at a specific time and even in a specific way. God's mercy was real, but only for a moment. Then it was thrust into the background to be resurrected next Sunday or when I was unable to get to sleep at night. Now, more and more, it is on my mind and, hopefully, in my heart. I rest in His mercy. It is something I feel when I agree with Him that I am a sinner and my sin in bared before Him. It is something I feel prick my heart when I hear of others and their sinful ways. It allows me to, at the end of the day, close my eyes and weep softly over the love that He h

Conflict and relationship

OK, I admit it. I watch Supernanny. Jo Jo is my hero. No, but seriously I think the show exposes me to traps that I do not want to fall into. Last night there was an incredibly sad situation where a 13 year old girl had absolutely nothing for a relationship with her dad. It made me so sad to see what their interactions had become and what the prevailing mood of the house was when they interacted. The hopelessness the girl had for ever connecting with her father; the hopelessness the father had in ever being the dad he knew he needed to be. It was just so dark. It will take a lot of effort to mend her brokenness - hopefully it can be mended. Being a dad is so hard sometimes. I need a kick in the pants every once in a while (like one I got last night) to do what I need to do with my boys. I want to be their leader, mentor, guide, and, sometimes, their playmate. I want all of that in hopes that I will raise them in a way that they can impact their world with the Gospel of Christ. By the

It was a while ago

It was a while ago, but I can remember the call, the night it happened. I was working at the pizza shop when the phone rang and I answered it. From what I could tell there was a 10 or 12 year old boy on the other line that wanted an order of mild chicken wings. That was it. In the moment I took the call I hearkened to my days at that age. I remembered the loneliness, longings, isolation...all of it and, for lack of something better to do I guess, projected those feelings on that boy. I had nothing to offer him except the best wings I could make. I went into the cooler and got the fattest, best looking wings I could find. I made sure I used the fryer with the cleanest grease and even made up a fresh batch of sauce. I remember cooking them and taking them out the instant the timer went off. I put six of the wings in the bin and shook them. Then the next six. Extra celery and bleu cheese too for this guy. I have no idea who picked up the wings. Was it him? His dad? His friend's mom? A

Two unrelated topics - or perhaps not

When will the darkness come? When I am spent, at the end of my strength and there is no one, nothing to lift me. When my mind is overwhelmed with the shouts of Hell and the pain of my flesh. When all I desire to do is to touch the hem of His robe? When He will answer me that His grace is all I need? .............................................. An oak tree in Florida is an oak tree in New York. A dog in Bermuda barks as loudly and long as one in Los Angeles. The fiduciary responsibility of McDonald's is the same in India and Brazil. I am who I am independent of my circumstances. May the words "that's not who I am" ever cross my lips - for it is who I am.

Mounting the Ipod in Ubuntu

OK, I am not sure exactly what happened, but I plugged in a USB mass storage device last night into my laptop that is running Linux and got an icon on the desktop that I could access to get the contents of the drive. I thought that was interesting because that is what I expected when I plugged the Ipod in. I could always get to the Ipod drive contents through gktpod or the terminal, but never through a nifty icon on the desktop. Well, this morning, I plugged the Ipod into the USB port and there is the icon. That's interesting. gtkpod still fires up (but I get a strange error message about extended information) but I am now able to get to the Ipod drive contents through the icon. Cool. And it happened completely by accident. Now if I could get the modem to work I would be much more complete in what I am able to do with this bad boy.

A good time last night - 1 Vs. The Rest

Our Champions Club at North Baptist Church (3rd-6 th grade boys and girls) had a "1 vs. The Rest" night with an extensive assortment of Bible trivia. I modeled it after the 1 vs. 100 show that is on TV right now, but we didn't have 100 people and we didn't have fancy electronic- answer-locking-in-mechanisms as we just used paper with letters printed on them for "The Rest" to reveal their answers. The basic premise was that the 1 person would answer the Bible trivia questions and see how many of The Rest got the same one right. If one or more people in The Rest group got the answer wrong the 1 would get a piece of candy for every person that they knocked out. Now for every person in The Rest still in the game when the 1 got knocked out (i.e. got the question wrong) they would get a piece of candy. And this was chocolate. Not those Dum Dum lollipops that everyone throws out after Trick-or-Treating. I think the kids really got into it and there was a certain l

Get me on the right topic...

OK, get me (or anyone for that matter) on a topic that that I know quite a bit about and I will talk your ear off and come across as incredibly smart...well, more than likely I will also come across as incredibly boring. Christian heavy metal in the 1990's? Got you covered. XML? SGML? Ubuntu Linux (do you...Ubuntu?)? Presuppositional apologetics? Backyard astronomy? All of this would either lead to a stimulating conversation (if you share the same level of interest or knowledge) or a monologue that will leave you running for the door. You won't even bother to open it as you crash into the hallway or the great outdoors. I think my challenge is to enter into the conversation that someone wants to have with me (what a gift that is!), showing genuine interest, and asking good questions. Now that gets hard when we are talking about ball bearings or oil viscosity, but isn't life a wide-open, white-knuckle ride at times?

A simple request

I was dog tired last night as we were putting the the boys to bed last night. We were watching the Super Bowl with my parents (yeah Colts!) and it had been a long day. After my wife sang the "Moon Song" and all the prayers had been sent to His throne to do with what He wishes, I heard the simple request from the youngest: "Daddy? Can you carry me?" How easy it would have been for me to give into the temptation that I had to encourage him to walk to the room that was a mere 5 paces away. But in that instant I realized that this season, when I could carry him and when he would desire such a thing, would be over all too soon. I scooped him up and carried him to his room laying him in his bed. I covered him with his teddy bear blanket. As I held the blue blanket that he likes to have on top of of the covers I saw that a season had already passed - the one that found me wrapping him in this piece of well-worn fabric. Was he really ever this small, Lord? Drink it in, Mar

Better than I deserve

I have not suffered nearly enough For the crime that I have done. - if you're listening, The Choir Our pastor "recommended" that we answer the question "How have things been going?" with the reply "Better than I deserve." He said that we would get a few quizzical looks if this were our response. Even among the redeemed. The quote above sums it up for me. The fact is that I have not suffered nearly enough for the crime that I've done. And the prone position I retain as I lean on His Grace minute by minute rails against the very core of my humanness. The debt I have can never be repaid. The love I have (Love I have?) cannot be expressed. If You're listening, Lord, I love You. Please teach me what that means.