Thursday, May 31, 2007



I just traded e-mails with a seminary buddy of mine who is finishing a PhD at Cambridge. He has taken a faculty position at an Anglican seminary in London. One of my high school youth group buddies will be moving to London in August with his wife in kids. My youth leader and mentor has set up shop in Phoenix; he moved there in '93 and has called it home ever since. We still have good friends in Chicago. Two of the friends we made in our years there are the ones who live in England, and two others have taken a job here in Minneapolis after a two year stint in New York. Two of our dear friends are missionaries in Kiev, Ukraine. Two other friends from early in our marriage live in Boise, and of course we have a few friends (other than family of course) left in SoCal.

I love reflecting on this for a couple of reasons. First, and selfishly, it's fun to think of the traveling we could do while being able to reacquaint with old friends. And second, the closeness I feel to them all through the internet and shared faith is something that has been great to experience.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


The Coasts are Getting Clearer and Clearer

You'll get a kick out of this.

The other night, a funny young comedian was on Jay Leno's show (usually I would not admit to watching his program...but I digress). The best line I thought he had was about California real estate prices. I paraphrase:

"I'm tired of people complaining about how much it is to live here. When they say, 'It's too expensive', I say, 'Good, go back to the middle of the country along with all the other people who have given up on their dreams."

For those in the entertainment industry, moving to the middle of the country would indeed be a concession, I suppose. But for those of us who make our living doing something that doesn't involve making drunk people laugh until the cocktails come back through their nose or stimulating the 18-25 year old libido, it is a truly funny observation. The coasts are wierd places. The presence of water seems to make them feel superior.

The two coasts are dramatically different. But they have one thing in common: their complete conviction of their own superiority. So, as this young man lives the dream in the dreamer's paradise of Southern California, I will continue in my reality in Minnesota. After all, this is the place where hope and dreams go to die. This is the land that God forgot. A grim picture indeed:

I guess I'll just have to take one for the team and live in Minnesota.


Monday, May 21, 2007


A New World Record

Yesterday we flew home from CA. We had a good time. Steph and I were able to attend the final chapel of Dr. Clyde Cook, the now former president of Biola University, the place where both my wife and I went to college. Corrie found some new things about which to be jittery. The best was this one:

In Clyde's honor, there was, after chapel, a Chinese food feast on the campus green. This seemed like a great way to meet up with my parents, sister, brother in law and nephews. When we sat down, ready to enjoy our food, suddenly a Chinese gong sounded loudly. "Oh no..." I thought... "This will scare her." As I looked at Corrie, I could tell she was jittery. She sat in my wife's lap saying, " want to go home." At this point, when it seemed it couldn't get worse, it did. Out came the Chinese dragon. This put her over the edge.

We have heard about the "puppet" every day since then. After a scary (for Corrie) plane ride home, our family needed food for the house. We figured it would be goods to skip naps (we lose two hours flying east), so we proceeded to dinner and Target. By the time we were done at Target, Jack had fallen asleep sitting up in the shopping cart!

We got home a little before 7, and decided to put the kids right to bed. We put Jack down at 7:15PM, and this morning, we woke him up at 8:45AM. This my friends, is a new World Record.

More photos will come, but I think this one (of my grandparents with all the great grandkids) is a one to share. Also, I haven't downloaded any others yet, and I am feeling lazy.

Monday, May 14, 2007



Well, I leave tomorrow morning for California. I have to say, it seems like a long time ago when I dropped my wife and kids off at the airport. The time I have had here without them has been very good for me, for lots of reasons.

First, I have come to appreciate my wife more than ever (for many different reasons). Since your spouse is the one family member you actually choose, I think I picked well. She's the kind of person that I know just makes everything better. Take today for instance. I had a great day. I got up, mowed the lawn, and got ready to go. I took the light rail downtown and walked across the Mississippi to Nye's Bar. Nye's Bar is a Minneapolis institution which I finally had the chance to experience today. As warm as it was today, the ice cold beer was a welcome refresher. I had a great meal of stuffed cabbage and potato. Afterwards, I walked around for a while. I tried to go to the Mill City Museum, but discovered it's closed on Mondays. I topped off the day with a viewing of Spiderman 3 and a ride back home on the light rail. All the while, I had my ipod, and listened to some great tunes. So, what was missing? My wife! I am convinced that even though I had a blast today, it would have been even better with her. Now granted, her absence and the kids' absence made today possible; but, I still know that it all would have been more fun with her.

Second, the ability to be alone is a blessing. Sometimes, it is a way that God can speak even louder than normal. This week, I felt His leading in many ways, and all of them, I think, will make me a better husband and father.

Third, I am so happy for the time Steph could spend with her family. This is a special time for us, since we have welcomed a new nephew. I am very happy that my work schedule did not keep her from having a great time with the family.

So...I will enjoy a plane trip tomorrow free of the squirming kids. But when I get off said plane, I will be excited to see my little ones and my wife again. The house has been much quieter for sure, but it has also been so much more empty. I have sensed that most today, as it has been the only day off I have had since they left. I can't wait to see them again.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Mom's Day

My mother has always been a source of unconditional love. This reflects God's love to me. As I sit here, 31 with 3 kids of my own now, I realize there are many great things she did for me. But, in a world where (queue the movie trailer music) mothers hate or resent their daughters in law, perhaps the greatest gift she has given me to date was her profound and total support of my marriage to Stephanie. I know letting go has always been hard for her, so it is with a new and deep appreciation that I thank her for her support in a most crucial time in my life; at time when I needed my parents' support most, she came through in a very meaningful way.

Since the day I moved from my parents' home to my own, I have seen my wife mature very well into her role of mom. She is amazing with our kids, and her patience with them also reflects God's patience with us all. I am still learning how Mother's Day includes her, since it still seems so odd that I am a parent...

So I say a happy Mother's Day to them. To my mom who raised me and taught me so much about who I needed to be. And to the mom of my kiddos, who works each day to make a home for them and her husband. She amazes me, and it is so great to see one fulfilling a mission that God has so clearly given to her.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Batchelor's Life

Yesterday, I arose at 10AM, did some things around the house, and took breakfast at the Famous Al's Breakfast. Al's Breakfast is a local institution in the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis. I have never been in a smaller restaurant. The place consists of a bar with 14 stools. That's it. I sat about 2-3 feet from the cook making my pancakes. The pancakes were great. Also, I was in a hurry. Since I had to drive back across town to go to work, the turnaround time of 15-20 minutes suited me. The pancakes wre just right-slightly crispy and fresh. And the place is so small that it is hard to not strike up a conversation with your neighbor if you are alone as I was.

The week is going faster than I thought it would. Work keeps things moving. Fortunately, though I miss my family, I have a personality that keeps busy pretty well, so staying occupied hasn't been a problem. It is strange to not have to be quiet when getting home from a night shift. I can thrash around the house at 12:30 since no one else is here.

The funny thing is not so much missing my wife (which is pretty constant), but the moments when I miss the kids. Usually, I begin missing them when I see a squirrel, or when I see a baby at work. The things that make me think of them usually involve things that I know would make them happy. Apparently, all three of them are having a lot of fun in California, and I am certainly making the best of my time here alone. God is good to us all.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007



I have a feeling I will be writing a lot for the next few days. First of all, Steph and I just had a wonderful couple days in Chicago. We had a great time at the Trader Joe's company party, and spent an entire day relaxing in Chicago: wandering around the River North Neighborhood, visiting our old home in Evanston, and uniting with old friends.

But most of the reason for my writing will be the absence of my family; a fact which, though making the house awfully empty and quiet, will certainly give me more time to write.

Time is a funny thing. The everyday matters of our kids' lives which seem so mundane to us take so much time that when that element is missing, there seems to be so much time that one didn't have. I have already experienced this on a small scale on days when Steph takes the kids to Bible Study and I have a morning alone. Now, I have six days.

Most of that time will be consumed by work of course. For if work were not an issue, I would currently be on the plane with my family. And when I return home from work, I will miss my family, particularly my wife. I hope to get more sleep, read more, write more, and watch a few interesting movies. I also hope to do a few things around the city that are hard to do with kiddos.

I will miss her presence and encouragement after the meat grinder of work, but I celebrate her trip to LA to meet our new nephew, and the chance to visit more with her folks. I will make the best of my time without her and the kids, for I do not get this chance very often. I will have the time. But, ironically, I am also confident that there will be moments when the one thing I wish I did not have was time...more time until I am reunited with the one person whom God gives me the right to truly need.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007



I was just reading a friend's blog. In it, she mentioned that she and her husband will be travelling for their seventh anniversery. Strange...Steph and I had our 7th and celebrated it, but reading that blog entry served as a way of reminding me not only that it has been seven years, but how far away it seems.

That year (and the year after) it seemed as though we were attending a wedding each week. There were a rash of weddings, and cliche though it my be, all was indeed new.

Now, I sit in similar anticipation of a trip that my wife and I will take. This weekend, we will return to Chicago for the Trader Joe's company party, and for some time away from the young ones before our third child arrives. Last night, I dreamed of his arrival, and of our telling people his name. And interestingly, the name in the dream did indeed match the one that currently tops our list. The seven years I have been with Steph have been better than I could have imagined; and funnier...and crazier...but always better.

I laugh at the perspective we've gained:

-Yesterday, Corrie had to run the gaunlet at the doctor, getting 5 immunizations. I remember seeing her get her first shot with some trepidation. And the little amount of reserve I had even then is long gone now.
-Yesterday, we shaved Jack's head, and gloried in the money we have saved.
-We look forward so much to two days alone-we had no idea how precious that would be during our three years alone before Corrie.
-Most importantly, I have learned that right now is our time to be parents. We love our time alone, but we love our time with the kids. My anticipation for number three grows daily, partly because it may very well be our last, but partly also because I know now that there is nothing to fear, and everything to anticipate.
-Someday, we will again revel in the time we can spend alone. The long journey that started 7 years ago will full circle back to us. At that time, I hope we can celebrate what that part of life has to offer, much as we are able to do presently.

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