Friday, February 26, 2010


August 18: Prairie View Towards Claresholm, Alberta, Canada, by Chris Overvoorde

Isaac's servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, "Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land."
Genesis 26:19-22

I came to this passage a few days ago and it read like a promise.

You have been digging...finding springs of fresh, clean water only to be frustrated by property disputes and confusion. Wanting space. Wanting to be well-watered. Wanting to fill a jar and carry it on your back, to carry it home to your thirsty family. Wanting to flourish.

Rehoboth: Hebrew רְחוֹבוֹת‎, lit. broad places.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

escape to paradise

Yesterday we woke up to brilliant blue skies and nothing on our calendar. Perfect conditions for a spontaneous day trip to Paradise, WA. It is not hard to understand how this recreation area in the heart of Mt. Rainier National Park got its name...

We stopped by my parents' house on our way home to sit in the hot tub and made it just in time for sunset. Easily one of the best days we've had as a family since we moved here...

Friday, February 19, 2010

they said it (or in this case, dexter said it)

[talking to Mimi on Skype]

Mimi: I saw a picture of you and Nate and you guys were hiding in the toy box! Why were you hiding in there?

Dexter: Because we couldn't hide in the closet - there are ghosts in there!


[boys are playing together in their room, I walk in]

Me: Whoo! Did someone do some poo-poo in here?

Dexter: Maybe you did, Mommy.


[on the way home from Ash Wednesday service, Dexter is very jealous that Nate got a cross on his forehead but he didn't because he was in the nursery]

Nate: Daddy, someday I am going to climb a mountain.

Jon: Sure buddy, you could do that.

Nate: A really big mountain, like Mt. Rainier.

Jon: Yep, you could do that someday if you want.

Dexter: And I will follow right behind you Nate... because I don't have a cross.

[Dexter following Nate at the beach today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ash wednesday, then and now

The Road of Life, Theodore Prescott

It is very Ash Wednesday today. Cold, but sunny: [I can't get this phrase out of my head] a bright sadness.

Last year I set up a labyrinth in the chapel for Lent. Our church was beginning the journey of interim time between pastors, a time to walk and pray and listen together.

This year during Lent the chapel has prayer stations focused on the 7 last words of Christ, featuring artwork from the Cross/Purpose exhibit currently on display at church. The stations are simple: a piece of art on an easel, with one of Jesus' last phrases printed below. Word and image, inviting us to see and hear.

Last year I gave up using facebook during Lent. I chose it because it seemed hard. God used it to chip away at my addictions to affirmation, information, confirmation, communication.

This year I am giving up buying stuff. On Sundays I'll buy food, but that's about it. I'm not sure what God will do with it, but I have a hunch that it will be about seeing what I have, even as I wait and hope for coming things.

The gift of rhythmic and repetitive seasons is the opportunity they provide to reflect on last year's season with this year's eyes, and wonder what today will look like in a year's time.

Here's to reflection and wonder this season.

Friday, February 12, 2010

obligatory ok

For those of you out there like me who somehow didn't get the gene that keeps you from baring your soul to the general public... Do you feel obligated to write an "I'm OK" post following a "what-kind-of-world-is-this-we're-all-so-messed-up" post? Well, I do, so this is it.

I'm OK.

A bit of a predictable script has developed here: The world is unkind. Our souls are fragile. I notice this. I am overwhelmed. I break down. I wait. A friend prays for me. I read a Psalm, and maybe a few verses from Isaiah or Hebrews. I remember. This groaning world, this fragile soul - they are not my own. I am held. I rest.


This helps too:

This is how I found them when I went to get them up from naps yesterday. Yes, they are both in the toy box.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

40 miles back

Freshman year of college I borrowed my friend's car to go to a retreat at Big Bear. I got in the left lane on the 10 freeway and drove for an hour before I realized that the freeway had split 40 miles back. Instead of being in Pamona, I was on I-5 North almost to Santa Clarita.

I get that feeling now and then. Like the scenery is all wrong and I can't figure out why I'm seeing signs for Cal State Northridge when I should be in the mountains above San Bernardino.


This afternoon I noticed that Dexter was running a fever and the first thing I felt was relief. All I could think was that I now had a valid excuse to drop everything on my insane schedule tomorrow and stay home. Sick.

When did this happen?


I'm fighting that cyclical thinking again, the downward spiral.

You are failing. Oh, don't get all upset - it's your own fault. If you're overwhelmed, you have no one to blame. Go have a pity party, but remember that other people in the world have
real problems, not these ridiculous self-absorbed head issues. Get over it. You know, your reaction to these feelings is really spiritually immature. I don't know why you think you have any place serving in the church with all your struggles. See? Now even that is a spiritually immature thing to think because it assumes self-reliance rather than God's grace. What do you even know about God's grace? Obviously not much, since you don't know how to extend it to yourself... which is why you are feeling the way you are. And now we're back where we started: it's your fault.


Somewhere north of Granada Hills I got off the freeway. I looked at the map, turned around, and drove back down the San Fernando Valley, across LA County, and up into the San Bernardino National Forest. I was a little late, but it didn't matter. It's OK to get lost sometimes.

Monday, February 8, 2010

they said it

[in the stroller]

Dexter: One, two, three, four and five! Four and five, Nate!
Nate: Four and five is nine.
Dexter: No! Four and five!
Nate: Yeah, four plus five is nine.
Dexter: NO! Four and FIVE!
Nate: (in a really condescending tone) Dexter, I know you will be disappointed... but four and five is nine.


Nate: Draw me a butterfly family Mommy.
Me: Sure, bud.
Nate: OK, now draw some butter.
Me: (blank look)
Nate: ...for the butterflies!

(He seemed really embarrassed when I laughed and told him that butterflies don't eat butter.)

Nate took this picture of me. I kinda like it.


Every once in awhile Dexter picks up a phrase and just starts sticking it in conversation wherever he pleases with no regard for meaning or context. Currently his phrase is "I trust you." No idea where he got this, but here are a few examples of when he has used it:

Jon: (picking Dexter up at the church nursery) Hi buddy!
Dexter: (giving Jon a big hug) Hi Daddy! (laying his head on Jon's shoulder) Daddy, I trust you.

Me: Dexter we are all done playing trains. Time to clean up!
Dexter: No we're not! (super serious, with a big frown) No Mommy, I trust you.

Me: What are you doing?
Dexter: I'm just reading the Thomas book.
Me: Do you want me to read it to you?
Dexter: OK, you can read it to me, I trust you.


Nate fell off the edge of my parents' hot tub the other night. (He's fine.) Although this was not the first tumble that resulted in facial abrasions, this was definitely the most interesting pattern of facial abrasion we've had! He fell face-first onto a plastic mat with a honeycomb pattern. Lovely, right?

Friday, February 5, 2010

irony, and what i do know about ed young

Lots of talk today about the blistering article that came out about Ed Young and his alleged use of Fellowship Church as a means of acquiring personal wealth. Its very easy to say those things, harder to prove them, and almost impossible to get people to talk about them in terms of what they know versus what they assume or what they've read.

I know very little about Ed Young. I cannot vouch for his financial dealings, his character, or his theology. But I do happen to know one Fellowship Church staff member personally, and here's some irony for you: the same week that the media alleges that Ed Young is a wealth-monger, this FC staff member and his family pledge to go a full year without buying anything.

I have no idea whether the allegations against Young are true, but I do have deep respect for the financial and spiritual maturity shown by one of his most loyal staff members... maturity which he and his wife claim to be a direct result of Young's leadership and impact on their lives.

more than these

It is early February, but you wouldn't know it.
Four straight weeks of April weather and nobody knows what to do,
least of all the rhododendrons.
What is it like, opening a bloom and knowing
four weeks from now its pistil will be frozen to a broken petal?
Do you do it just because you can?
In February it is joy and beauty, early and lovely
but with a bright sadness;
March will surely kill it.
Why don't you leave it alone today?
Tuck it tightly in the bud,
safe and sheltered until true April sunbreaks tease each blossom
from the wrap, in good time.
That's not your way.
Your ways are not our ways.
Is there love in the coming freeze? Surely you love us more than these.