Friday, February 20, 2009

OK, 25 random things

1. I really love my wife. Pure, exclusive, unconditional love is incredible!!! - has been for over 30 years.
2. Hobbies: fishing, reading, writing, traveling, eating, walking/hiking - best if all can be done in constant succession for an extended period of time.
3. My children now teach me more than I teach them. Besides, they know all my jokes.
4. Technology is useful, even addictive; but technology isn't life.
5. Professional basketball is freak-show entertainment; college basketball (apart from financial & scholarship abuses) is the pinnacle of the game. ... wish I could play like I used to. :-)
6. Southern style iced tea is my default drink of choice.
7. Seafood is a hugely appreciated treat whenever I can get it.
8. OK, I'm a little overweight; but if I ate as much as my wife's fantastic, creative, broad-scoped cooking deserved, I'd be as big as a barn.
9. Ham sandwiches are my staple, like peanut butter & jelly to kids. (this has NO relationship to #8, above)
10. Black pepper makes most dinners better.
11. If America follows European social values and politics, things will get much worse before things get better.
12. Skype is great! I talk to more people around the world on it than I ever dreamed of doing.
13. My office is small; everything is reachable; it can't hold meetings with more than three people.
14. The Bible is the most incredible, penetrating, life-changing, truth-teaching book!
15. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ is core to who I am, what I do, and where I'm going in life (and death!).
16. Fewer, high-quality of anything is better than more, low-quality.
17. The Internet is your friend ... well, AND your enemy ... and your friend.
18. Last year, though I didn't catch true lunker largemouth bass, may have been my best fishing year ever.
19. America is only a great as the resolve of her people to do the right thing, whether PC or not.
20. It is great to be around great people; but I like my solitude, too.
21. Microsoft will choke and decline.
22. It's time to consider another cruise in our future.... sometime ... someday ... :-)
23. Having a strong family is an incalculable blessing from God. Thank you, Lord!
24. Why is there such a huge gap between knowing and doing the right things in the right way?
25. I really love my wife!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hard things

  • waiting
  • saying "no" to good things
  • getting well when ill
  • loving as you should even when you don't feel like it
  • picking gracious words when it would be so much easier to just say the same thing with total candor directly
  • keeping at the day-to-day stuff when the goal seems so far away
  • waiting
  • telling someone "no" when you know that they really, really want a "yes" and you love them
  • praying for a long, long time for something without seeing the answer - besides "wait"
  • depending on others
  • long periods of silence
  • no Internet, no music, no techno gadgets, no phone
  • no money
  • no friends
  • no family
Now, rather than get totally depressed by all the above, which we all experience from time to time, think of the converse:
  • life moves at such a pace that we aren't simply "waiting" most of the time; rather, we are engaged in doing useful, productive, enjoyable kinds of things
  • we get to exercise the discipline and discernment that allows us to say "no" to good things so that we can say "yes" to better things; imagine the plight of folks who can't see that and suffer the consequences
  • if getting well when ill is an option, then, by all means, it's good and worthy to fight through the "hardness" of it
  • the benefits of being loving far outweigh the consequences of not being so
  • ditto with how you say what you say
  • ditto with how you act & work day-to-day
  • ditto with being truthful (with grace) even when it's difficult
  • ah, the prayer one: prayer gives hope and a truer sense of dependence; so, it's definitely worth it to leave ones prayers, with repetition and persistence, before a sovereign God Who is the only one that can grant the answer
  • depending on others - that's life! choose well who you depend on
  • silence, in proper perspective, can be a great gift; use it well
  • we all need a better perspective on gadgets, Internet, communication & entertainment tools -- if we're not quality people without them, then we're not quality people with them either. Most people in the world exist just fine without them.
  • no money, no friends, no family - that's hard! STILL, if you're conscious enough to know that, then you have enough resources, by God's grace, to earn money, make friends by being friendly, and creating "family" through deepening quality relationships. We allow no quarter to despair and depression!
Hard things! Not so hard, really.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditions

Traditions are especially important to our kids. Perhaps the rootedness that comes with observing traditions compensates for missing much of American childhood traditions while our family was overseas.

Thanksgiving traditions have evolved to include a lot of things besides the Thanksgiving meal, that centerpiece of American Thanksgiving tradition. First and foremost, Thanksgiving originated from a deep gratitude to God for His gracious providence through the previous year and a bountiful harvest of good things He has granted to sustain us and for us to enjoy. Thanksgiving is a great big pause in our normal routine designed simply to thank God.

But the annual meal of bounty has become an American mainstay of the long weekend reunion gathering. For traditional reasons, the baked whole turkey is the sine qua non of Thanksgiving cuisine. The rest of the food rates a separate blog someday. The choices and presentations are a wide variety of expectations and add-ons from all the families of the clan.

Here's a list of what our clan considers part of the immutable (?) traditions of Thanksgiving weekend:
drive 600 miles to West Liberty OH,
watch lots of football and movies,
eat a huge meal with 20+ people for lunch on Thanksgiving Day,
shop on Friday and cheer for people running past the house in the Luminaria 5K Run,
wander the Christmas Open House shops in downtown West Liberty,
listen to the Grace Chapel choir and watch the West Liberty Thanksgivnig day parade,
open Christmas family gift exchange gifts,
play parlor games with the clan (e.g. Trivial Pursuit & Buzzwords),
visit the Maries Candies Christmas open house,
go to church on Sunday,
and drive back home bringing Grandma Taft with us to stay with us for a some weeks/months.

What do you do?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Verrrry Interesting

These are very interesting days. Our son recently severely broke his lower left leg and had to withdraw from classes at GT. My wife is still not 100% after falling backward a few feet off a ladder. Difficult days force us to cling tighter to God and His word, assured of His sovereignty, but also assured of the fact that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Whew! We're praising God for His faithfulness and progress in terms of His glory and His gospel, in spite of and by means of our weaknesses. This is a heavenly algebra or calculus unlike anything of earthly invention. So, we plod and pray onward and upward -- following the Captain of our Salvation.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Days of Preparation

We should not denigrate the importance of days of preparation. Victory or defeat often stems from the unseen work of preparation. Now that we have some beginners level of adequacy in language and culture and a familiarity with the target, we feel drowned in the swelling flood of details in preparation for a more complete invasion. Funding, studying, training, language learning, praying, communicating ... all preparation for the final push. We want to be faithful!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

a lazy day in Toulouse

Travel is great! Now, if only the energy level and digestive system matched the wonder of it all! I have greatly enjoyed the hospitality and company on most excellent brothers and sisters in Christ. We've chewed French food and chewed over ministry in France as well. There is joy in discovery of strange, sometimes odd-to-"us," food; and there is consternation over the slippery nature of the ministry issues in this country, with layers of difficulty taxing our hearts' tenacity. Yet, we persevere! We have supernatural confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow the travel continues toward London. May God give grace!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

So, why can't I write? Writers block?

"I must write!," I'm thinking in my early morning walk. "I must write!" Is it a foul mood that has overtaken my heart? Spiritual opposition? I don't feel depressed, though maybe diminished in mental acuity by age and the desensitizing avalanche of words all around me. So, I must write; and write I will.

Yes, it is a battle of will, of priority, of necessity. All the wonderful issues and articles and books which clog my mind and, yet, remain unwritten must push their way through the detritus of everyday responsibilities and fly into print. Those factoids and anecdotes, those truths unexplored and unexpounded are building up pressure to soon burst forth from the mind's source-pipe.

May it be so!

Enough with scribbled notes and digital text-file outlines! On to the main course!

May it be so!