Thursday, January 28, 2010

Listen to the Music…Pt. II

While driving in the car we were playing a mix CD I made for Merrick. The last song is "What a Wonderful World". As we were listening to Louis growl along the beautiful classic, we heard the well known verse…."the dark sacred night"………Merrick got quiet and then the question came: "Dad…..why did the Dog sang at night?" J

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Listen to the Music

My middle daughter Merrick is our artist. She loves to sing, dance and create. She works off emotion. She FEELS life. She exudes a light and beauty.

One thing I love about her is the way she listens to music. All of our kids dig the jams….but she listens differently. Jude likes to rock, and could care less what a song says. Haddie shakes her booty at any beat…but Merrick….she really gets tied up in the song. She emotionally connects. She ALWAYS wants to know. "What is this about" "Why are they sad" What did he do to make her angry?" Her perception of such things is actually a little eerie…NOTHING gets by her!

Here is an example that took place today while driving: We had the GLEE soundtrack playing (insert insulting joke here J). The song was Keep Holding On (apparently by Avril Lavigne). "What does this mean dad" Merrick asked. "Umm…'s about not feeling sad or alone and always hoping, and not giving up". "Why would anyone feel that way Dad? That is sad. We shouldn't give up". Next we heard "You Keep me hanging On"…the old Motown classic. Once again…."what does this mean Dad". ME: "Well……a girl likes a guy but he won't tell her he loves her, so she wants him to leave her alone." "Why won't he just tell her?" ME: "I am not sure". "He probably really does love her; sometimes boys just don't talk much". OKAY J



Sunday, January 24, 2010


Wow...thank GOODNESS for artistic evolution. Years ago, when Justin Timberlake was dancing around on puppet strings for Nsync, very few of us music snobs would have thought to consider him a "real musician". But the kid is undeniably talented. I went through a personal rough time a few years back when I had to admit to myself that I REALLY liked much of his solo work (admitting you have a problem is the 1st step to recovery right?).

So.....if you still had any doubts, the Haiti telethon should have erased them. His version (along with Matt Morris) of Leonard Cohen's oft-covered "Hallelujah" was sublimely beautiful. Understated, powerful, and harmonious...I thought it was the evenings highlight. If you did not see it, please check this out:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kids Korner

I feel like I am bragging a lot, but I cannot help it. My kids continue to amaze me, especially these last few days. Last night I allowed them to watch part of the Haiti telethon. They had heard me talking about and praying for the earthquake victims recently and wanted to see what I was talking about. Afterwards they were touched. This morning, they brought me a wad of dollars and change. They emptied out all the meager cash they had amassed from their wallets and banks and were lumping it together to send to the "Haiti helpers". Ahhh…the faith of a child.

Today, I was touched deeply again. Surprisingly, the sun came out here in Forks…I mean Medford J. So, I thought some fresh air and Vitamin D would do all the recovering sickies really good. As we walked back home, we started talking about what we wanted for lunch. My son surprised me at this point. He said, "I'll make us all lunch Dad. You've been doing everything Dad". OKAY.. was my response, thinking it would pass.

I was wrong. When we got home, he went into action. He literally made us all lunch, and it was GOOD! He chopped a banana and apple and mixed it with mandarin slices for a "fruit salad". He then made turkey and cheese sandwiches and got potato chips. He put it all neatly on plates and took it to the table for us all to eat. I was SO impressed, and SO proud.

I never fail to learn from my children. They are truly amazing.

Left Side……Strong Side

Last night was really special. T he girls fell asleep early and Jude was wide awake, so he asked if we could have a "boy's night". That is code for, a movie, unhealthy snack and staying up late. Being that it was Friday, I figured why not J. So, we began looking for a movie. He was not in the mood for a cartoon, but wanted a "Big Kid Movie". So I had an idea! Seeing his love of football, and the fact that despite all my efforts, he is growing older by the day, I had the PERFECT flick: REMEMBER THE TITANS

Remember the Titans Pictures, Images and Photos


So, we got a bowl of sherbet, a soft, warm blanket and settled in. It was a special night. I decided I was going to attempt to make it a teaching moment. Which of course means that I have the potential to really make a special moment or fail on an epic scale! J Luckily, it was not the latter option. Seeing as how we'd just celebrated MLK Day, we had a talk about racism and civil rights before starting. He knew much more than I thought. I was impressed with his teacher. So with the stage set, we popped in the DVD.

It was a GREAT evening. He was ABSORBED into the film, like I had never seen. He was sucked in! Periodically I would stop the movie to make sure he understood and discuss certain things. Rather than complaining about this, like he normally would, we engaged in some very detailed conversations. When I asked him to explain what Coach Boone's speech at Gettysburg meant to him, I was floored by his heartfelt and mature answer!

As the movie continued it was a joy to watch him moved so emotionally. He was deeply saddened when Gerry was hurt. When they won he'd jump up and clap as if he were at the game! Clearly, this was the right choice for the movie!

At the end he thanked me for watching it and we closed with another talk. He hugged me and said I was the best dad in the world. For my money……that is just about the best night I could dream of. It is harder than I imagined watching your kiddos grow up so fast. But last night also taught me too…….that it is also a wonderful blessing to watch them grow up, and make good decisions, and do good with their lives.

Thank you Lord, for my beautiful family.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ipod Shuffle

I love just turning on my packed Ipod, switching it to shuffle and seeing what crazy tunes come pouring out. Here is what happened in my office today:

Please Please baby (acoustic)- Dwight Yoakam
Voodoo Child- Jimi Hendrix
Times- Tenth Avenue North
Blue Moon- Chris Isaak
Little Black Sandals- Sia
Brimful of Asha- Cornershop
Cold Condition- Edison Glass
Shalom/Saalam- Matisyahu
Big Trucks- Pedro the Lion
Only a Man- Jonny Lang
Rocky Racoon- The Beatles
Seventies Girl- Freedy Johnston
Be With Me- Foy Vance
Firefly- Smalltown Poets
Exit- U2
The Breeze- Dr. Dog
Mercy- Duffy
Impossible Germany- Wilco
Bryn- Vampire Weekend
Name of the Game- Badfinger
Thoughts of a Dying Atheist- Muse
Luna- Smashing Pumpkins
Bit Part- The Lemonheads

Free Music Friday

This week, the lovely folk sounds of Irish troubador Foy Vance (pronounced "Five Ants" if you're Irish) have been so soothing to my weary soul. So for today's tune, enjoy my fave song by him, Indiscrimnate Act of Kindness:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tea Party

My daughter had a small window of feeling good this afternoon, and surprised me with a wonderful treat. She sat us a "table", "made us a lunch" of corn, grapes,bananas, noodles and cupcakes, and drinks of orange juice or tea with rainbow sprinkles. She then came and got me, told me her name was "Sparkles", a cousin of Bell the Princess, and asked me to dinner. It was perfectly delicious and the company was divine. Here are some pics from the fiesta:


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Christian Community

It's funny really. My wife and I have been changing and growing for several years in our walk with Jesus. It started with internal rumblings as we read the Gospels and then looked at the lives we Christians lived and supported. What we saw often did not match up…not politically, not socially, not at all. At this point, we felt something moving but had no idea what was happening. So, we did what American Christians do best…we ignored the spirit moving J.

Then I was called to Africa. WOW. To this day I still have been unable to process everything that trip did to me (and no, I am NOT speaking of the amoebic dysentery) J. Yet, I know I will NEVER EVER be the same person. But I saw things that I knew God put there for me to see. I saw poverty unimaginable, but what struck me most was a light in the darkest dark I'd ever seen, and I knew I was changing. Just a few folks making an effort to love was all the difference!

Then we read a few books as we continued studying Christ (I would recommend them but they may really change your life!). Suddenly our politics began to change. All in all we really try not to worry about politics as we consider ourselves citizens of the Kingdom of God LONG before we consider ourselves Americans. But we began to question the norm we had always been fed. We began to look at things quite differently (especially myself in this arena)

We really fell in love with the idea of living in community. Now, of course I have no clue what that means exactly. It is hard to grasp when we've been reared in a total individualistic, independent consumerist society. But we LOVE the idea. Of course most of our friends and family laugh, and call us hippies…and that is ok. It doesn't bother me. In fact, I kind of LIKE it J. But what I see in Acts really IS communal. Call it what you want, socialism, communism etc…I call it the church.

So we find ourselves fascinated with this idea. We have a friend who is too and we often joke about starting our commune. Granted it truly is just in JOKE stage now (I haven't progressed as far as my friend Matt has—kudos Mr. Wisdom), but I like the idea of sharing possessions, taking care of each other and "redistributing wealth". There really is something to the Bible's "jubilee economics".

Yet…we aren't ready to move to Philly, and join The Simple Way. That would require some HARD changes that just are not in place yet. But we are trying to live more like this example. We are trying to be more like Jesus….tall order huh? J But when Jesus says that he who has 2 coats should give the second to the man without…I think he meant it. So we have thinned our closets. We have given to the men begging, even if they are probably just going to buy beer…because that is what we are to do…LOVE. And here is what I have found: Right now….we can STILL live in community. Maybe we don't all have to live together and share a garden J (though that sounds cool). I believe the church IS the community when we do it right! We experienced it massively this week.

Sunday night our daughter gave us quite the scare. It was a fluke accident. She began crying and throwing a mini fit like all 19 months old when she choked on her spit and mucus. This isn't uncommon in kids but it quickly escalated. She REALLY got choked, and wasn't able to breathe! We jerked her up and tried to see what was wrong and help! Finally after much struggle she threw up and opened her pipes. So, her natural response to this precious influx of oxygen was to take a HUGE gasp of air in…but when she did she breathed in the mix of spit and vomit (yuck)…causing more choking.

We finally got it up and settled her down. Boy were our nerves shaken! Everything seemed fine until about an hour later. We noticed her wheezing really bad and her breathing was quite labored. We called the Dr on call and just listening through the phone he sent us to the ER. At this point we still figured it was nothing too big and we'd be right back home. I'll try and make this part short…IT WASN'T SIMPLE. Her oxygen levels were alarmingly low and the breathing got worse. We saw 4 Dr's, and had several X-rays. It went from nothing to "we might have to fly you to Portland for a procedure". At last they found a heart surgeon willing to take on the task, as no other surgeons or pediatricians would attempt it, considering it too risky.

YIKES! Can you imagine the fear? Turns out they were sure she had aspirated something down the wrong pipe and had something in her lungs causing the issues. To fix this she needed to be completely put under, and then have a tube, respirator, scope, camera and extractors shoved down her tiny delicate windpipe. We were scared. We were confident, but really scared. I texted some friends for prayers at this point. NO MORE LONE RANGER!

And the response….well it was LOVE. It was CHURCH. It was COMMUNITY. Several friends and family came just to sit. (I owe them all apologies actually as I hardly acknowledged them…I do this when worried..SORRY) One of my dear elders at church came up and prayed with us, and stayed until we got news. We were flooded with love, calls and support. Friends took our other two kids. Another cooked us dinner for the next day. They made sure we had ALL bases covered.

She came out okay. Praise God. They did find three things in her lungs and removed them. She is happy today, but at high risk of infection or pneumonia due to the invasive procedure. Normally this would be pretty easily managed, but right now my precious wife is out of town and I have all 3 kids myself. OKAY…admittedly this may be a challenge but still normally, a manageable one if not a little stressful. The key word of course, is normally. Nothing right now is normal. Our middle daughter has really bad bronchitis, and our son has a nasty stomach flu. Germs are everywhere! Throw in that I haven't slept in four nights and you have what COULD be a pretty lonely situation.

But once again…my COMMUNITY has gathered around. A dear friend helped with the kids yesterday while I shuttled some to Dr.'s, pharmacies, got my work from the church to bring it home, and ran for groceries etc. Another dear friend just showed up with 3 pre-cooked meals for me and the kids. Another just dropped of a lasgna and srinsk for the kids. And the offers have yet to stop for help. It is humbling and it is beautiful.

We have a wonderful family, and we are living in a community, even if the roofs over our heads are not shared. Church is amazing when we LIVE it and not just GO TO it. I am so thankful for my brothers and sisters. And as I continue on this thrilling journey to figure out what God will have me do, it is my greatest thanks that I live in a community that puts others first.

Thanks and blessings to you all.



Ravens Play Caller

This is NOT a Disney movie. This is REAL! Wow..what a great story (despite me being a few weeks late on it

read here

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Picture of Sinful Apathy

By now we have heard about the devastation in Haiti. The death total continues to rise to numbers we simply cannot fathom. Millions are sending money and resources and even more are dreaming of going over to help. So, you can imagine my intense ANGER when I read this. You will not believe what you read.

PLEASE boycott this company. Shame, shame SHAME on you Royal Caribbean

Friday, January 15, 2010

Vampire Weekend-

Get the new album....turns out they are NOT just a flash in the pan. Enjoy the new video:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Luddites Unite!

I love technology. It amazes me, and I love the way to makes my life easier. I also, know that we rely on it WAY TOO much. If we are honest, we really struggle to function any more without it! Let your Tivo, internet and cell phone all go out in the same day and see what happens. We’d go nuts, running around in circles like lost puppies. As good as technology is, it is also killing us slowly…I am convinced of this.

Recently God proved this to me. I was at a conference away from family and familiar things. But I knew that I always had my life line to the outside world. At any time I could use my cell phone or log on to my trusty Macbook! But something happened. A tragedy! It was total devastation! My soul wept! No…there was no sickness or death. I forgot my phone charger which died within hrs of arriving and there was no internet available (this is 2010 right?) YIKES! What was I going to do?

It is confession time. At first I was REALLY upset over this. I worried and fretted. I was just sure that my week was ruined. But a weird thing happened…….NOTHING. That’s right! The day kept going; I kept breathing and all was well. Slowly and painfully, I learned I could survive without it.

I am convinced this was all divinely planned. For a week, I experienced some silence. No blogs, texts or facebook. In other words: NO DISTRACTIONS! Looking back, I am convinced that it helped me focus and take in more. It forced me to breathe slower and take in the day fully. It reenergized my soul as I focused on all God was doing at the conference.

There truly is something to eliminating noise on our world, as hard as that is. Maybe God knew what He was saying when He commanded us to “Be still and know that HE is God”!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rollin' on the River...

Well….the new year is upon us. One of my resolutions is to actually try and start blogging again. Not JUST pictures of families and music updates, but putting my senseless ramblings and thoughts out on “virtual paper”. I have MUCH to share in me right now. I just got back from the National Conference on Youth Ministry and it gave me a LOT to chew on! So, hopefully I can digest it all and share it with you.

While at the conference (in St. Louis, MO), that part of the country was experiencing an unprecedented wave of extreme cold. The air each night was wet, windy and artic icy! In the mornings it was single digit temperatures. The evenings never got out of the 20’s. It was stinkin’ cold!!!!

I took some time while there to do some sightseeing. The arch, downtown, etc…..It was very interesting, educational and fun. But what struck me most was a simple natural phenomenon. The Mississippi river was full of ice!!!!!!! How crazy! It looked like Dutch harbor or something. I grew up on the same river (downstream and warmer mind you) and had never IMAGINED it looking like this.

Turns out, I was not the ONLY one who was amazed. Folks could not believe it. Everyone was buzzing about it, even taking pictures. The bridges became windows to a whole new scene. And while any other day, thousands would drive right over and not give the mighty river a second thought, suddenly it was all we cold focus on! A change made all the difference in the world and changed our focus.

That’s how I want 2010 to be remembered in my life. I know that many folks know me and pass right by noticing nothing significant. Just another face in a sea of faces. But there are some changes I want to make in my life. Some BIG ones.

And this is the result I am praying for. I want these same folks to see such big changes that they have to stop and stare at the “ice”, if you will. So stay tuned…….. We will see how this pans out. But I am convinced that God has much more in store for me than I account and budget for. I am convinced I could do much more for His kingdom! And I am convinced that I CAN make these changes.

This is my desire. This is my prayer.
Ice Pictures, Images and Photos