Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Woodpeckers, caulk, holes, and desert

I recently have been trying to do more of the house "things" that need attention - but everytime I look at one area....another pops up!

Today I discovered that the caulking job "Mr. Handyman" (the company...not me!) did has disintegrated in less than a week.

The corner of my yard near my driveway looks a lot like desert.
And there is a hole in my siding from a woodpecker - apparently a Federally protected bird - you can guess why I might know that!
Oh, and I just had a new roof put on my home two weeks ago.
Oh, oh and while I was looking at my outside walls I pushed on the corner of a board and my finger went through it. Not good.
I can't wait to live in a 2 bedroom condo again......

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

8 y.o. quotes

Some quotes between my son, Alexey, and his best friend, Peter.....

"When I die, I want to die in my sleep. Yeah, that would be the best way to go."

"If you lived next door to me....that would be like heaven!"

Man, there is so much about those quotes - and about their relationship that is true and pure and simple.

"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

Lots there to ponder.....enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2007

"Do I know the poor"

I wrote the following for our "Church" newsletter.....pray for me to follow through....

At the 30 hour famine in February we got to hear Shane Claiborne speak and share his life experiences living as what he describes as an “ordinary radical”. (I highly recommend his book, The Irresistible Revolution, but be prepared to squirm as you read it!) One of the quotes in the book that made me squirm was, “the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.”


Yeah, I’ve tried to rationalize that statement with really great thoughts like – “I know the poor in spirit” or “I know those that are poor in relationships” or “I know those that are poor in joy” as well as REALLY great thoughts like – “But I’m very active serving in the life of my church”…..but ultimately these feel like excuses to me. Or at least attempts by me to distract myself from what God is really saying to me. (And since I’m wrestling with God it’s obvious that I’m not really distracted – I just don’t want to have this conversation!)

As I ponder this ultimately I think I’m afraid.

Afraid of how “knowing the poor” may change my heart.

…..may change my priorities.

…..may change my life.

…..may transform my relationship with God.

Well – I don’t know if I am brave enough to have this conversation by myself. I at least need someone to walk along with me and help me process my thoughts. (But my prayer is that I can go beyond “thinking” and enter into “living”.) So here is an invitation….

Would you like to explore ways that we can truly get to “know the poor” better? I don’t care what age you are, what stage of life you are in, or any of that. We are the church – and we need each other. Specifically, I need your help in moving from caring….to knowing. I don’t know what that will look like. So come – with no expectations…no plan of action…entering into the unknown.

Thursday, April 19, 2007 hits me...

I sat down today and realized that for many - this has been a horrible couple of weeks.

I have read locally a story about a man who allegedly fabricated a story saying he found a child wandering and turned him over to police/social services....when it was actually his own child.

A teenage girl gives birth to a baby and stabs her over 100 times and throws the baby's body away.

A college student kills 32 others.

I'm busy planning lessons, thinking up fun/messy games, feeling like I'm connected to God in many ways.....

But I pause in my day....I feel like crying.

The heart of God must be grieving so.

Do our kids feel some of this?

The events of this past couple of weeks are probably raising a lot of questions in the minds of our kids....

Feelings of abandonment - maybe wondering if their Dad had a chance to pawn them off...would he? Or wondering why Dad left...was it because he couldn't get rid of he hit the road?
When our kids see a pregnant teen at school - do they wonder if the mom will kill the baby? Do they wonder if a student looks overweight if they are hiding a pregnancy? Are they sad for the mom...the baby...both? Neither?

Are they feeling less safe today in their schools? Are the graduating seniors a little less excited about going to college now?

Are they wondering where God is in all of this? Are you?

I've appreciated a couple of the resources at Youth Specialties designed to help youth workers help their students in these days. They have helped me start to process - and start the process for me as a youth worker - in my response to all that surrounds, invades, and disturbs our kids...and myself.

There are no concrete answers, no simple solutions, but I like the tone....and it spoke to me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"I've got that" - God

So today started off with me being uncomfortable.

But I started the day with God...and tried to remain with Him. Here are some of the things I noticed along the way....
My list of "to do's" was long. I wasn't comfortable delaying them to spend time with God. Yet, I noticed there was a confidence the rest of the day that "all is well". It grew as the day progressed.

Little things that happened that opened up space -

* I was able to think clearly (and creatively?) to write articles quickly that were due.
* The Direct TV guy was delayed from arriving so I had more space to "think/work" this a.m.
* The cleaners didn't come until very late in the day when I wasn't home. (yeah, sometimes I'm embarrassed that I have a cleaning service for my home)
* I was able to come up with an idea for a game and lesson for our Jr. High gathering tonight during lunch.
* I went running after lunch and had a great flow of ideas to make the lesson I had read thru "come alive" (John 8:1-11 The story of the woman caught in adultery - great Jr. High stuff!)
* I had scheduled with a friend to watch their son this afternoon - of course that meant that my son, Alexey, had a playmate all afternoon which allowed me to make the Powerpoint and purchase the supplies I needed for tonights game/lesson.
* I also noticed that my desire to "be with" the kids tonight was growing - the joy of just being in community with them was very appealing today - more so than my "worry" about the lesson. That is unusual (sadly) and was a nice moment of realization.
* I happened to run into my daughter, Kelsey, at the High School as I arrived to wait for my son, Drew, to finish track practice. She offered to take Alexey and his friend, Peter, and wait for Drew...then take them all out to dinner and watch them the rest of the evening...without me asking. Suddenly, I am free to get to church to set up the game, lesson, etc. Wow.

Very cool. And then, I had a fabulous time "subbing" for our usual leader, Steve, tonight at Powerhouse (our Jr. High gathering). I can see Christ growing in the kids....we had a great conversation tonight about judging others, how encounters with Jesus leave us changed, and more. And man...they bring so many of their friends it just rocks!

At the end of the day I am able to look back and know that I accomplished all that God intended me to. It was as if all day long God was saying, "I've got that". I still have a long list of things to do. I'm still uncomfortable with the size of that list and all that needs to be done in the next 48 hours. But I'm going to try to have coffee with God again tomorrow morning....and linger with him throughout the day. All is well...goodnight!


I've been up since 4:45 a.m.

The list of things I need to get to is long.

I felt the nudge to start my time today with God - so I made coffee and talked to God, read a little of Colossians, pondered a couple of things.

I am trusting that I will get done what God wants me to this day.

I can't say I'm comfortable with that...and a large part of me says "You should have started right in on _________ instead of coffee time with God."

Ever feel like that?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Clearing the Temple Update #3

For a little history you can go here and here.

It's been a little over 4 months since I was diagnosed with diabetes.

I've been exercising regulary - primarily running now - averaging about 20 miles a week over the past month.

I've lost about 35#. People are starting to comment on my weight loss - many of them not quite sure if it is good (because of exercise) or bad (may be related to a health problem - especially since our church family has been through that journey together recently....of course now that I think of is related to a health problem!)

A few weeks ago I returned to my doctor for my three month check of my glucose levels and......

I'm officially "non-diabetic" again. Wow.

A few observations:
  • Okay, I admit it....I actually like running now.
  • I thank God for my kids every time I write in the journal they made for me.
  • My body is finally starting to rebel a little...I am old.
  • The spiritual blessings continue to exceed the physical. The conversations I have with God during my running....or just the "silence" are precious.
  • I love running outside more than on the treadmill.
  • I have to be careful not to become "prideful" in this experience and remember it was God that slapped me around to finally get me started on taking care of the temple He has provided for me.

God is good....and I'm a running nerd.