December 30, 2006

Books I've Read in 2006

This is a paltry list in my mind. I know I could have read more. I read some great stuff, though.

The Chronicles of Narnia
Blue Like Jazz
A Generous Orthodoxy
Blessed Are the Peacemakers
It's Not Easy Being Green
Velvet Elvis
Good to Great
Red Moon Rising
The DaVinci Code
Good To Great and the Social Sectors
The Search to Belong
Grasping God's Word
If God Is Love
Starving Jesus
Tuesdays With Morrie
Five People You Meet In Heaven
How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth
For One More Day

I'll be posting a "to be read" list for 2007. Maybe that will help me stay more focused.

December 14, 2006


This is going to be a busy day. I have 3 appointments today, plus a whole bunch of things to get done before next week. With tomorrow being "momma's day off", I was up early and heading to the office by 6:00am.

As I took some Christmas cards to the mailbox before walking to the office, I noticed the stars and the moon shining brightly. It has been extra cloudy and rainy the last few days, so I was excited that it would be a sunny day. I was excited because sunshine always makes Stephanie smile and because I remembered it is going to be almost 50 degrees today. I might get the chance to take Hannah outside and play on the swing. She loves to swing. I was probably most excited about the chance to watch the sunrise.

I love watching the sunrise. There is something about being up before dawn and being privileged to watch a new day awake with oranges and reds across the sky. The newness and the hope of what is yet to come that is captured in those colors awakens me and makes me eager to take on the day, even when the day is packed with appointments and work like today.

In a sense, I think the place that I am in is like the cresting of the dawn, slowly peeking over the horizon with veiled colors ever so slightly. It is the new possibilities and future of the ministry here at South. It is the fact that my Wednesdays will return back to normal as the class I was teaching at GLCC ends. It is knowing that there will be new joy, love, and laughter found in the eyes and actions of a moody three year old and her momma today, tomorrow, and the next. It is the gift of grace and love that I continually receive from the creator of the dawn and that I get to share with others. The dawn is beginning to grow onto the darkness, covering it with marvelous light. I'm in the midst of it, surrounded by it on all sides. I watch it with wonder as the colors brighten and the high, simple clouds begin to glow. It is brilliant!

Bart Mallard)

My heart is steadfast, O God
And I will sing
With all my heart and soul
Music for the King
And I will awake the dawn
With my praise to You, O Lord

How great is Your love
So much higher than the heavens
With faithfulness that reaches the sky
How great is Your love
So much higher than the heavens
With faithfulness that reaches the sky
How great is Your love

Praise the Lord, O my soul
And glory to the King
Forever You are robed with majesty
We come to You, O Lord
Lay our praise at Your feet

Be exalted, O God, and let Your glory reign
Be exalted, O God, and let Your glory reign
Let it reign, let it reign, let it reign
Let it reign, let it reign, let it reign

December 12, 2006

Power Struggle

So, here I sit in my new "regular" spot at Beaners. I still don't like the fact that I'm hanging at Beaners. I would much rather be patronizing a "mom and pop" type coffee shop. But, none of those close felt like home or offered a place where I could feel focused. So, I gave in and tried Beaners--good coffee, though not Il Bacio Highlander Grogg, and a great table away from the main area with a close power cord and good light. I've found a new home. . .

It has been too long since I've sat and emptied my head to this thing called blogger. That's not to say that much has not been happening. Much has. Between ministry, the holidays, teaching, and worship ministry during the holidays, keeping up with everything has been a challenge. I've been learning, observing, and grasping at everything I can lately. The two biggest dents in my reality, however, don't come from any of the above. Rather, they come from my soon to be 3 year old toddler who is in constant flux in every way shape and form.

Over the last three or four months, Hannah has grown in every way possible. Physically, she is like a weed. She's grown a couple of inches taller, causing clothes not to fit anymore. She's outgrown her high chair and the car seat. Most of all, she's outgrown some of the things we used to do at playtime. Before, she would stand on my stomach and I would pick her up and make her fly. Now, when I pick her up, her feet are still on my stomach carrying most of her weight.

While growing out of things, she's also grown into things like cute hand me down sweatshirts from some people at our church. She's also grown into big girl underwear and all of their responsibility.

Her physical growth is only the half of it. For the last year, she has been practicing and trying to jump on one foot like Elmo and Mr. Noodle do. In the last month, she has finally learned how to do this on her own. Her coordination and abilities are sometimes mind boggling to me. How can a little baby as she once was learn so much in 3 years? Once she couldn't do anything but lay in one place and flail her arms. Now she does frontward rolls for fun and dances around with unending energy like Tigger.

She's learning the power of words and communication, both verbal and non-verbal. When she's left out of the conversation, she'll quickly state, "Hey, you stole my conservation!" She makes up songs, has imaginary friends in each hand, and continually lives in distant lands of Charlie Brown, Cinderella, and Handy Manny. She knows how to pout and make my heart melt and want to give her the world. She even understands the power of laughter. The other day I was yelling at her for something and she came up to me, looked at me out of the corner of her eyes and smiled and giggled, chanting something about me needing to laugh or her being funny, all the while trying to get me to forget about her immediate wrong doing--just like I used to do to my mom in my teen years.

Yet, with learning and growth comes much frustration. Frustration from things like having to stop what she is doing to sit on the potty. Frustrations at me for not folding the toilet paper to just right or for using a towel instead of a Kleenex to wipe her face after brushing her teeth. How in such learning do we become such creatures of habit?

The other night I carried her in to bed and plopped her down to tuck her in. Immediately, she burst into tears and screaming because I didn't do it right. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she promptly crawled out of bed and crawled back in. Even more, every night now since then as I take her in for bed, she points out to me that the proper way to get into bed is by her crawling in from the foot end, not going over the safety rail.

All too often, I find myself struggling with her, trying to teach her that life will not let her keep such rigid ideals and routines, that the toilet paper won't be just right sometimes, and that that is ok. Her frustration makes me so frustrated and even more determined to "break" her independence so she understands that I can be trusted and that I am in control, not her. In turn, our struggle sometimes frustrates momma, which then frustrates me even more.

In one of those all to often moments in the last week or two, as I struggled to be the "ruler" of my domain, my mind began to wonder if God ever felt what I was feeling at that moment. How often do I bicker, fight, and yell at God or those around me because things are not the way I think they should be. . . not the way I want them to be? How often am I standing there screaming and crying because I didn't get to crawl into bed the right way or because something I loved to do, like fly my daughter in the air wasn't going to happen anymore.

As I've reflected on this the last couple of days, another moment with my daughter kept coming to me. Steph and I love Hannah's feet. They are perfect with their jellybean toes. During our nightly routine of changing into pajamas, we would kid her and tell her she had "stinky toes" and "fuzzy toe jam". She would sit there and pick at her toes. (I know, she'll probably have to go to therapy at some point for her childhood because of Steph and me) Towards the end of summer, Hannah began asking to get her feet washed every once in awhile to get rid of the stink. I'm sure most people would think nothing of it as they did what they could to make a child happy before putting her to bed. However, as I stood there at the sink holding her so she wouldn't fall off the counter with one hand and washing her feet with the other, the image of Jesus washing his disciples' feet and the words he shared with that night were constantly in my mind.

Here I am, the father that wants to fully equip my daughter to the fullest and prepare her for how unfair the world is, fighting with her along the way because I can-because I am the "ruler". Yet, I am the servant with the responsibility/privilege to wash her feet, to care for her when she falls down and gets hurt, to snuggle with her on the couch before bedtime and read stories. . . to sing "you are my joy" to her.

And, so as she grows, I grow. May the Lord continue to give us the ability to see and hear that we might catch what is going on around us, something more than what is plainly there, so that we become more like him in our love, understanding, and joy for ourselves and those around us.

December 8, 2006

Christmas 2006

Here we are in all our holiday cheer!

December 1, 2006


I never planned on disappearing. It just happened. I could complain about being too busy and not having enough time. That would be partially true. The real reason for the hiatus is that my brain is scattered right now. It has been for awhile. Too many thoughts running around, all wanting out, but none really finding the exit door. Maybe that will change over the next few days and weeks. We'll see. I know my body and my mind need a sabbath.

Interestingly, while on this mental pause, I have come across the music of sigur rós. They are a band that my guitar repair guy tours with every once in a while. He's even built a few guitars for them. Their music seems to capture where my brain is right now--reflective, with solitude and mystery, yet filled with energy and angst. You should take a moment and listen to how I feel inside.