Saturday, March 31, 2007


Ode to Beethoven

I keep telling myself I should love Bach more, due to his profound
Christian work, and I do love him. I tell myself I should be more taken
with Mozart, due to the stories of genius I hear about him and the
soaring quality of his music. But no one touches me like this eccentric
from Bonn. My daughter has been listening to a CD lately called
"Beethoven Live Upstairs." It is a fictional audio drama about a young
boy whose widow mother rents their upstairs room to Beethoven as he is
finishing his 9th symphony. I have still not had the opportunity to hear all of it, as my daughter's attention doesn't extend that far.

Perhaps it is his stormy life that does it. Whenever I hear the instrumental
strains of the Ode to Joy, I am always comforted. Mainly because such
serenity could come from one who was so unhappy. With all his struggle,
the peace in his music is even more striking when one hears the storms
as well.

I do not pretend to be an expert. I have only heard a small portion of his music. But its power to move me is unparalleled by any other composer. I am touched and delighted to see my daughter already drawn to him.

Monday, March 19, 2007


4 years of Hesed

Steph and I were recalling the events of 4 years ago today. She woke me up at 4AM in our Evanston, IL apartment informing me that Corrie's birth was immenent.

It seems worlds away now. We have lived in 4 different homes since then, had three more pregnancies, welcomed a son into the world, and now we expect another son.

We have lived in three different states since her birth, most of that time not knowing which state we would call home.

Her middle name came to me one day while driving on the Eden's Expressway north of Chicago. We had toyed with other middle names, the first name basically having been decided. We thought about Evanston, since we knew that would forever link her to her birthplace, and to a place very special to her mother and I. We considered Addison for similar reasons, but also because it sounded cute.

But Hesed stuck. The reason? There is something beautiful not only in its depth of meaning, but also in it sound. It is impossible to translate this Hebrew word and totally capture all its nuance. Suffice to say, the faithfulness that God has shown us through her 4 years on this earth certainly reflects the meaning of the word. And the grace that God has shown us and her in these 4 years reflects the meaning of the word. But the word's meaning is most strongly seen as we see her struggle against her own human and sinful tendencies even at such a young age. And the meaning is so clearly seen as we understand the grace God has shown us, and the love he has for us, in spite of our behavior. And to some small degree, we love her in a similar way. We could not have known all of this over 4 years ago when we picked the name. But isn't it interesting how so many of us come to embody the names we are given?

My daughter has been a tremendous source of light and joy. She is a wonderful gift. God has granted me an extraordinary privelege in lending her to me. After all, she is His, not mine. May I always remember to whom she truly belongs, and raise her in such a way to help to realize who her true Father is. That I may be merely His instrument in drawing her to Him.

I love you my little monkey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007



Five years ago, I had a cinematic epiphany. When I walked out of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood having just seen "Fellowship of the Ring," I felt something I rarely feel. I felt I had just witnessed something truly special. Such films do not come around very often.

Now, in 2007, 3 years after the saga's final chapter won Best Picture, I still feel the same way. "Fellowship of the Ring" certainly opened to heavy critical acclaim, and deservedly so. But, to me, these films belong in the Pantheon of filmmaking. I think that we are so spoiled by the amazing special effects that we see that we are unable to remember how truly rare the LOTR (Lord of the Rings) films were and are.

That night in December 2001 seems so distant. It would still be over a year until our first child would be born. We were home for Christmas from Chicago. The world was reeling from the terrorist attacks of the previous September. But I have rarely been so engrossed and overwhelmed by any piece of cinema. Sure, there are movies that I may regard as "better" for several reasons. But this film put all the pieces together: remarkable narrative, tremendous visuals, and great acting. But, where this film truly stands apart is here: though it is based on a book (and though the writer/director took his share of liberties), the characters were so amazingly realized. That is rare, especially in a movie version of a book. And maybe it is not seen as the cinematic giant that it is because it is a fantasy work; and to enjoy it would put us down in the basements of the world with all of the other LOTR fans. We all know the ones. The ones who hold conversations in Elvish and spend the rest of their time speaking Dwarf.

The last 2 nights, my wife and I have begun watching this saga again, complete with the deleted scenes on the extended version. It is still engrossing, scary, funny and exhilirating. But the last two nights cannot compare to that night over 5 years ago, when Steph and I first experienced it. I think these films will stand the test of time like few others. They are unique.

Monday, March 12, 2007



57 degrees today. Snow melting rapidly.

Saturday was our busiest day yet at the store. That includes our opening week and the holidays.

It's nice to take a walk again is the first breath of spring that we have had.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Quick entry

Today I have the blessing of not being alone before work, but it's because my little guy Jack decided to lose both his lunch and dinner all over the living room last night.

I love my times of solitude Wednesday morning, but having them here this morning will be nice. Jack seems better, and so we hope that will continue.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Digging Out

Lots of snow. 30 inches in less than a week, the most in a week's time in 25 years they say.

Lots of consequences. We ordered product at the store not knowing about the extent of this storm, so we have a lot of backstock right now!

One thing is for sure, this will pass. As much snow as gets dumped upon us, I still have the all powerful shovel to move it. Though I do wonder how much larger I can make the snow pile next to my driveway.

It is a beautiful sight outside, and we need the moisture badly here.

The cities have pretty much shut down, and there isn't much activity.

All in all, a tiring week so far, but it is good to know this first winter in Minnesota what we can expect at times. If this kind of storm is as rare as they are saying, who knows? Maybe all of our family and friends will one day grow tired of hearing about that "huge storm our first winter in Minnesota."

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