Wednesday, February 28, 2007


The Real World

Wednesday mornings are becoming an almost automatic blogging time for me. With the wife and kids at Bible Study, and work not starting until the afternoon, it gives me time to write. Unfortunately for you all, Wednesday morning is also when I am at my most melancholy, so you will probably grow to find an odd sense of repetition on these Wednesday entries.

We live in a backwards world. We call the real world fantasy and the fake world real. What I have experienced over the last 2 days (family, leisure, contemplation of God, interaction with wife and children) is real. It is who God made us to be. God made us to relate to our fellow human beings, first and foremost. Work is a result of the fall. It is no more the real world than all the poverty and suffering in the world. We all know these things to be wrong. I see Oprah on the TV going to Africa to help eradicate poverty. She, like most people, realize something is not right with this kind of inequity in the world.

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the results of the fall are so deep that we can never hope to fully eradicate work, poverty and suffering. They are realities of this fake world in which we live. Now the good news. I am blessed by the fact that I can spend 2 whole days a week (more than most both now and throughout history) engaging and interacting with my family. These two days are the real world. They are the closest thing to escaping what this world has become. Couple that with the connections at church and other family and friends, and we have a faint glimpse of the real world. I am so grateful for the job the Lord has given me, just as I am grateful for his work of salvation in my life. But it occurs to me that both of these things for which I am grateful will no longer be necessary in the World to come. I think that says something very interesting about how we should view our job and our lives on this planet, as we struggle to make sense of all the ills and the suffering around us.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Lose Yourself

This was the title of an Eminem song. I think it applies to me (the words in the title-not the song). These two kiddos take a lot of time and energy. They also need that, and I need to give it. Who I am must be put aside for their benefit.

So many people are scared of losing themselves to their children. I do not share that fear. I also must lose myself to my wife, and ultimately, to God. The point is, as Christ showed us, we only truly become who we are supposed to be when we lose ourselves. This is most clearly the case with my wife and kids-I must lose myself to them.'s a blast.

Monday, February 19, 2007


An Axiom

"High school? Those are your prime suffering years. You don't get better suffering than that..."

-Steve Carell, from "Little Miss Sunshine"

Truer words have never been spoken by anyone other than Christ :)


The Visitor

The first time she came,
all was new.
The world was boundless
and paychecks were small.
As she bid farewell
she left us one precious girl.
And we took the girl home to our crowded abode
and watched her grow.

Her next visit was sad and brief
and she took with her the child with whom she visited.

When she came again
we lived in a place not our own.
Our transitory life
seemed restless and unsettled.
As she exited again
she left us one loving boy.
And we took him to his uncles home,
and watched him grow.

And now she sojourns with us again.
Our life seeming settled out on the prairie.

As she visits this time,
she visits with another boy.
We know not his health or vitality,
but we are grateful for her visit.

For we know not when or if she will return.

Sunday, February 18, 2007



I know, I know...for some this abbreviation is taking God's name in vain. Not so today for me. This week was a character builder. So many sick few much hummus...and wine...and milk...and other Trader Joe's products. The employees were dropping like flies this week, leaving me and a few others with the job of running Joe's Minnesota Trading Post. Not fun...believe me. But, I have two days off, and maybe...just will be a bit better by Wednesday.

I think I fell asleep during prayer in church today. I was awakened by the sound of my bulletin slipping out of my fingers and hitting the floor.

Great sermon tonight about sanctification; an excellent way to kick off the weekend.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


His Eye is on the Sparrow

This week, I begin a new "days off" cycle at TJ's. For the last three months, I have had Saturday/Sunday off, a truly unique experience for a Trader Joe's employee. I enjoyed having those days off, though I admit, it was not the amazing blessing that I first thought it would be. I love having Sunday off for sure, but sharing the same weekend with everyone makes every place so crowded!

Anyhow, Wednesday morning is Bible study morning for the wife and kids, so I guess I will have a morning to myself every week for the next 3 months. This one is my first. Earlier, I spent some time in quiet prayer and reflection, something I hope to cultivate with the explicit alone time. While in this time, my thoughts turned to a silly Veggie Tale I watched with my daughter. It was based on George Mueller's life; a man who trusted God to meet the needs of his charities without asking anyone else, but simply by praying. The asparagus playing Mueller gathers the orphans around the piano and sings "His Eye is On the Sparrow" with them.

It occurred to me that although I have so little to worry about, that somehow this has removed me for an awareness of God's providence. Much of what I have can be attributed to my own efforts, and this seems to place me distantly away from God's hand. True, I know in my mind that God is using my efforts and the efforts of those around me to provide for me. And I would rather not live in an instance where every day's meals for my wife and children were question marks. But sometimes, he seems rather distant due to the world in which I live. In a world of such plenty and wealth, that God seems irrelevant at times...

On the other hand, the world can crash down quickly one someone. Though our physical needs are few, our spiritual need for God remains. I need God to make my marriage work. I need God to give me patience and selflessness to be the father my kids need. And most important, I need God each day to deliver me from my own selfish tendencies and sinful ways.

My first day back at work after time away never fails to make me turn inward. I hate leaving my family so much that I am forced to turn to the greater purpose of life. One thing that I can turn to is those silly vegetables singing "His Eye is On the Sparrow", for His watching me does bring so much wealth to every day and every situation. May I not forget that His hand has given he everything. He can take it away, and that does not subtract from his goodness, nor does it take away the joy of what I do have. I pray for those in poverty, both physical and spiritual, and I pray that I can be one small thing God can use to alleviate their burdens.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


God's Great Gift

Luther once said that he enjoyed beer and wine as God's good gifts.
Though I do the same, I am using his quotation out of context
concerning a different great gift: the arts, and in this case, music.

I am listening to a recording of La Boheme
right now, a situation made possible by the my wife and kids being out
with the in laws. The presence of my children gives me much less time
to savor such gifts, so I take the opportunities I can get. This
morning, I enjoyed a fineCantata by Bach musing on the need for us to be genuine in our devotion before God.

I just went online and visited the myspace blog of a coworker who has a band here in Minneapolis. His band has a great sound, reminding me of classic rock.

I have listened a lot lately to The Spares' new record. I have a link to
their website here on my blog, and if you haven't visited yet, please
do so! They have a unique yet familiar sound that never fails to grab

My daughter loves her new Beatles' shirt, and I am reminded at times when I see it how influential they are as musicians. As my daughter grows, I will introduce her to
their great music, all the while attempting to point her to the Source
of all music.

Minnesota is the land of Dylan, though he doesn't spend much time here any more. Some of his music makes more sense now that I live here, but the range that he shows in his music and lyric is always entertaining and moving.

Rick Nelson is one of the most under appreciated rockers of all time. I think "Lonesome Town" is a piece of genius.

Charlie Parker is an amazing talent. Even on his most "accesible" tracks, the work is dizzying in its inventiveness and improvistation.

Music is a great gift from God. All types. The more I hear, the more thankful I am.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Antifreeze my #!$#@

Y'all will get a kick out of this. This morning, I left for work at 4:30. The radio said it was -6. Brisk.

Anyhow, as I made my way to work, I noticed two things. First, my heater wasn't working. That made for a cold ride. Second, after 10 minutes or so of driving, I noticed that the temperature gague on my car was pratically spiked at the hot level. This seemed odd, since it was, as I mentioned, -6.

So I get to work, and head on in. I wanted to check the coolant level, but not at 4:50AM in the dark, and a coworker suggested that low coolant/antifreeze could keep the water from staying unfrozen, thereby rendering it useless in its task of keeping my engine cool.

Fast forward to lunch time. I opened my trunk only to find a bloated, ice solid bottle of antifreeze in my trunk. I proceeded to buy a new jug of antifreeze, poured it down the gullet of my Taurus, and road home in significantly more comfort: a great looking temp gague hovering around the "c" level, and a working heater.

Frozen antifreeze...the very idea.

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