20 October 2019 - what's in your hand?

God asked Moses, "What is that in your hand?" And as we consider what it means for us to be on mission with God, wherever we are, that is also a good question to ask. What's in your hand. . . that you can use for the glory of God? What is it about where God has you now that can be a venue for others to see the wonders of His love?

12 October 2019 - i put on...

have you ever gotten really sweaty and dirty, and then had the nice to glorious feeling of taking a shower and cleaning up? would you then put back on your old wet clothes?? sometimes we work to put off some behavior of our old life, but we are called to both put off misdeeds as well as to put on the new self. put off grabbing and hoarding put on giving and sharing. put off lies and tearing down and put on truth and building up, words of grace. put off a self seeking way of life and put on a kingdom seeking, others loving, quest for His righteousness.

18 September 2019 - music to my ears

in some ways, we exchange gifts all the time, sharing our different dispositions and talents for the sake of each other and the family. But on this day, there were actual gifts for each other of various kinds - the beautiful to the practical, the symbolic to the tasty dinner for all. thoughtful words to the ability to listen and sing along as i run or wash dishes. friendship and love.

14 September 2019 - ephesians 4 - we are the body, growing up in every way

different gifts, different views, different maturity levels, different callings, different trials, different ways to worship.
one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.
like rods bound together, not all the same, but stronger together.
He conquered those who had conquered us - sin, devil, death. Christ led captivity captive. . .and He gave gifts to men.

08 September 2019 - our lives are better to left to God

sorting all music on my computer... including a find from long, long ago, when my home town was country.
"And now, I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain, but I'da had to miss the dance"

01 September 2019 - love does

in Virginia, an exciting book find helped me to think about what it looks like to love. in my life i've seen it the most in actions of others. an unexpected car delivery, verses for my wall, coming over to pray, packing a bag and staying over, calling every single day. . . and i, too, learned to love as i went along, the importance of being there, going, making yourself available. it can be going to a game or going on a plane, sitting on a couch or finding someone at a bookstore, rearranging important plans or planes, trains and automobiles. as that song goes that i sang once upon a time. . . i will be here. perhaps the most up close translation of - i will be there.

28 August 2019 - ecclesiastes quite fitting for 8.28

there's a right time for everything ibnlt birth .. death, cry .. laugh, search .. count losses, hold on .. let go.
and later - God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.

27 August 2019 - you can pick my book

rather than each picking their own book, my kids recently started telling me that i could pick which book i read for them before bed. of course, part of me is glad in the freedom knowing it is now much less likely we will be reading a long not-so-great book that we have read many times before. but it is also a task i have had to grow into. "you can pick my book, but pick a really, really good one" - the saying has come to be. i now have to know my children well and consider a great many factors to find a set of books that will please everyone. and it's on the best days, with multiple comments of - "i like the book you picked for me" that it is easiest to consider the 'how much more'. how so much more is God's love for us, grounded in his perfect knowledge, able to provide for us when we let Him "pick our book". even if we are doubtful upon glancing the cover, He is not limited by three bookshelves and whatever library books are on hand but rather He can draw from vast resources and provide just what we need in the moment. It is good to turn to Him and not just be constrained to our own perceptions.

4 August 2019 - on who you are becoming

ps 135 - those who make and trust [gods] become like them.
pr 1 - when you grab all you can get, that's what happens: the more you get, the less you are

3 August 2019 - upon finding similar quotes in different books around the same time

"crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do." silver chair

"a person can only cry so long and then he has to do something else with his time." a tree grows in brooklyn

2 August 2019 - on reaching a big milestone

made it to 20 years at work. . .fitting time for a first real show of appreciation at the office. yet, managed to be outdone by the fam, who already enables me to enjoy this career, and yet still knows how to celebrate well with me.
thankful for the friends, still thankful for the opportunity, the sticking with me in those early years, and thankful to have a job like this.
trusting God will continue to show His faithfulness in the days ahead, wherever the road may lead.

24 July 2019 - while enjoying vacation

"When you put us through the fire... our dearest idols go up in smoke."
"We make our pile, and then we leave it."
"Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost."
"God is great - everything works together for his servant."
"His love is the wonder of the world."
from various Psalms, The Message

21 July 2019 - on how to really talk to God

it can be a challenge teaching children about prayer. there are thank you prayers, help prayers, sorry prayers, and praise prayers - yes. but prayers are closer to songs or poems than math equations. the psalms can be helpful in the ways that they give voice to honest feelings. we can pray the prayers of others and grow in honestly and thoroughly sharing our hearts with a holy God.

14 July 2019 - Name above all names

"You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign. . ."

11 July 2019 - on singing on a mountain by the ocean

made it to acadia with the whole family.
"How could I say there is no God - when all around creation calls. A singing bird, a mighty tree, the vast expanse of open sea..."
"You're the rock of the ages, You're the balm of Gilead. Make us strong and courageous, heal the wounds that we've had..."

4 July 2019 - marching on

we had our own parade. "America! America! [May] God shed His grace on thee, and crown they good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!"
"As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on."

16 June 2019 - who through life has been my Guide

Inordinate anxiety may visit, but He gives me grace for every trial. Feeds me with the living Bread. Thankful for a very nice Father's day weekend, culminating with how nice a good meal feels.

11 June 2019 - what He went through, in my place

"'Send a couple rats, ' said Julia. I'd have done the same thing to you." mwY
upon understanding the reference, i think about how Jesus amazingly had the opposite reaction in the face of betrayal and facing something extremely hard to go through. instead of selling out, or taking an easy way out when facing his biggest fear, He gave Himself in our place.

05 June 2019 - timing is not everything

listened to a book musing on the origins of time keeping. in our culture we probably don't even realize how much of what we do is tied to what time it is. the first time i ever left the country was on a visit to jamaica, and it was memorable seeing how stores and restaurants there were clearly not tied to opening and closing times like they were where i was from. of course, having more set times has some value, mostly from an efficiency standpoint. but there is also value to putting people and love first. being on time is a good value, but that doesn't make it always the best. Jesus was not focused on hurrying from one thing to the next. He lived a purposeful life full of love, powered by solitude. our society has grown in efficiencies but some of these have made it harder for us to take the long time needed to love well.
"there is a reason God limits our days... to make each one precious." the book also touched on the topic of how long we live and people's attempts to change the timing. this sense of time does not have to be a burden on us, our lives our in His hands. there is a time for everything. let us be joyful, do good, work hard and enjoy God's gifts to us.

20 May 2019 - on kids from hard places

"9 times out of 10 the story behind the misbehaviour won't make you angry; it will break your heart."

15 May 2019 - on long lost prayers

"I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant." Joshua 24:13
There is a tree grown from the smallest of seeds that becomes so large that the birds of the air come and makes nests in its branches.

9 May 2019 - i have a gentle Shepherd who carries me everywhere

one way David was a good king was how often he asked God for guidance. David prayed, and God led him. but one particular time in 1 Samuel 23, he prays about what specific people will do. based on the response he gets - they will do thus and so, he took action. and then based on his action the aforementioned people did not do thus and so.
this passage blows me away as i try and ponder about what this means about prayer and guidance. we don't have the same vantage point as God, but we still communicate and he speaks to us at a specific moment in time. we pray about things down the road but that in turn impacts what happens right now. but isn't that how we're lead? step by step. "A man's steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?" we're in relationship with a really good, wise, gentle Shepherd who gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.

4 May 2019 - the manifold wisdom of God

the greek word for mystery does not mean what we think of when we hear the word 'mystery' today. what Paul is talking about in ephesians 3 is something revealed by God because we would never discover it. the gospel is an astonishing counter intuitive wonder. the more you look into it, the more wisdom and grace you see in it. the more you live by it, the more freeing it is.
it is through christian community that the world can most readily see what God has intended for mankind. all of Paul's churches were riddled with trouble and yet he's saying it is indispensable to have the church for the world to understand the brilliance of the gospel.

29 April 2019 - till we see the other side

"i've got a feeling the darkness won't last very long. We will sing... till the earth echoes the heavens. Sing His praise till we see the other side."

21 April 2019 - the shadow of death

TK quotes a Barnhouse story - he was driving his children on the day of the funeral service of their mother when a large truck passed by, casting a noticeable shadow on the car. He said something like this, "Would you rather be hit by the truck or by its shadow?" "By the shadow of course. That can't hurt us at all", his daughter replied.
Dr. Barnhouse replied, "Right. If the truck doesn't hit you, but only its shadow, then you are fine. Well, it was only the shadow of death that went over your mother. She's actually alive ⎯ more alive than we are. And that's because two thousand years ago, the real truck of death hit Jesus. And because death crushed Jesus, and we believe in him, now the only thing that can come over us is the shadow of death, and the shadow of death is but my entrance into glory."

19 April 2019 - good good friday

morning sermons included pastor paul beckoning back to his philly days, "They don't know! It's only Friday. But Sunday's coming..."

7 April 2019 - i give Thee back the life i owe

after a particularly long day, i got to watch a movie with some beautiful pictures of the gospel. the movie is about a lone survivor of a car crash, which was his fault, dealing with the weight of that, including the what did i do to deserve this and the giving back the life i owe. the protagonist checked into people's lives to see who was deserving of getting a gift that could really help them. and yet, for us, if someone could see our no one looking moments, or inside our hearts, we are not deserving. and yet, we were lavished with such grace. my favorite scene of the movie was when a mom with two kids who had just been removed from a very difficult situation were given a beachfront house; while hard to portray well, the faces upon entering the house, jumping on the bed and running to the beach painted quite a picture of grace.
the imperfect main character gave his actual heart so that another might live. there was a greater Life laid down, whose heart was pierced. the movie showed the impact loving one person can make. oh to really know the One who said - greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for his friends. to love even just one person with _that_. every day is a gift - let us strive to love well.

16 March 2019 - on being outside of community

when is a time in your life you've felt like an outsider? how did it feel? in the second half of Ephesians 2, Paul describes what has happened when the outsiders were no longer on the outside looking in. in Christ, Jews and Gentiles were made one. two divisions of men, who were wont to malign, to hate, and to reproach each other before, were reconciled. The call is a call to remember. We were not let in to keep the door closed. But to welcome, to open wide. . .

14 March 2019 - bananas foster pi

"love is like pi, natural, irrational, and very important."

13 March 2019 - on help that is good

everybody off this year for the centerpiece celebrations of birthday month. a fitting time to revisit some old sermon notes... no one needs help doing nothing. you don't need a helper unless you have something to do. you gotta know how you're going to wear the love for God you have.
thankful for a good helper. needing to remember the challenging call, that it is selfish to let your spouse live a selfish life. as opposed to ministering and doing the work and giving the necessary attention to be a good steward.
it is i who've been given a wonderful gift.

23 February 2019 - a work of art

what do you think of when you think of a great work of art? tonight we discussed this from several points of view. great art points to the artist. but an artist sees the value of all of his art. in Ephesians it says - we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works... We don't always see the value of other people, but all are God's creation. a call to see not only the art in others, but to see all we're intended to be, what we were designed for.

17 February 2019 - arranging our lives towards growth

Sunday capped off a great weekend. One of the opening activities of the church retreat was to think about things you do every day, every week, every month, every year. . .what are yours? It's likely that there may be more of these than you realize. But as the weekend went on we thought about how building in even more framework through intentionality can be helpful to a spiritual life. Some things tend to not happen often without a designated time for them.

14 February 2019 - Love has a name

"there's an answer to every question mark. there's a Name. . .
Love has a Name. Love has a Name. Jesus."

8 February 2019 - when popcorn is huge

i am very curious about how kids come to like the things they like, what interests them in the long term. i do remember watching basketball with my dad when i was young and the chance we had to go to a few nba games (and bring popcorn with us). my oldest son got to go to his third sixers game with me and we had the biggest popcorn i've ever seen. it can be hard to predict which interests will stay and grow and which will never really develop. but, while the basketball (and popcorn) has changed over the years, the relationship building through special time together stays the same.

16 January 2019 - the bill has been paid

answered prayer, after many many phone calls, finding the bill, that is my responsibility, has finally been paid by someone else (as it should have been based on my son's coverage). such relief. and of course, in another sense, quite a picture of the christian life. a bill that had come due. final notice. but i had no ability to make the payment. all i could do was ask and ask that the payment be made for me. and it was. oh yes, "all my bills have been paid. thank You so much for all the wonderful".

6 January 2019 - Bible reading meets busy season

Genesis 3 and the very ground is cursed. The pain of work, the ground sprouting thorns and weeds. . .sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk. a fitting time for this passage, amidst the busiest time of the year at work. but also, as we say often at work - "Nothing is easy." It's not really a coincidence all the things at work that just don't go right at all.

31 December 2018 - year in review: 2018

it was a year of transition, still adjusting as a family of five. and helped greatly in the first half of the year, having an aunt live with us. actually finally having more dates, though several were short. made it through many sicknesses, which can't be catalogued here, 2 surgeries - one expected, one not, and the youngest kids slowly learning how to be dropped off at class. lots and lots of doctors visits and related bills, yet also seeing God's great provision in getting them taken care of. a season of Wednesdays at home to help with the transition and some memorable outings. a return to Bible in a year, finishing today.
two baptisms. and writing children's book #6.
year in travel held visiting family trips: seattle x3, VA x4 incl. KD, princeton x 3.5, work meetings: long island, allentown, dc. shore getaway. annual retreat. fam trip to columbus via WV. and road trip crew to DC/VA.
friends and family visiting from: seattle, cali, va, nova, hawaii, ny, nj and the harvest fields of undisclosed locations across the world.
year in food ibnlt: moon grapes, stuffed crust, guanabana mandarin juice, the return of broccoli rabe pasta, holiday brew, grilled taeji and pink reese hearts.
and by now, you know how we do. . .freeflow: best friend, the return of ddr, sloth cake, home alone, parent - teacher bball, unfortunate medicine, galaxy champions! WC watching, ER visit, NK books, bike lock freeing, juggling win, collection angst, pizza from siblings, new phone excitement, holiday and other traditions, melodrama, respite care, bear hat, yee picnic, parasites, lots of speech therapy, free end of jan. celebration, smile cookies, exploring new philly places, cedar planks, four different zoos including local membership yr, praise-er-cise, family park lunches, dq, new washer, 2 long hikes, losing client, mello shortage, more libraries, nice cancellations, hockey, loving contest, another job transition, pests, working through snow, dislocation, old friends, old post-its, confetti to start and not much beyond, narnia next generation, crashing waves, sk and lots of family time. despite challenges, carried along. a short recap, but loads of grace.

28 December 2018 - small but wise ants

"You must learn of the little ants to take thought about time to come. . .You each have within you a soul that will live forever. Your body will die some time; your soul never will. And your soul needs thought and care as much as your body. It needs to have its sins pardoned; it needs grace to make it please God; it needs power to be good; it needs to have God for its best Friend in order to be happy.
And, dear children, the best time for seeking pardon, grace, and the friendship of God is the time of youth. Youth and childhood are your summer. Now you are strong and well; now you have plenty of time; now you have few cares and troubles to distract you. Now is the best time for laying up food for your souls.
Ah, my beloved children, you must remember that winter is before you! Old age is your winter. Your frost, snow, rain, and storms are all yet to come. Sorrow, pain, sickness, death, and judgment will all come with old age. Happy are those who get ready for it quickly. Happy are those who, like the ants, take thoughts for things to come!" from 'Boys and girls playing' by J.C. Ryle

24 December 2018 - on the best gifts ever

what is your favorite gift (tangible) you have ever been given?
for me, this is a difficult question. i realize there are many factors that cause me to appreciate a gift. obviously there are gifts i like because the item itself is something i enjoy. but the 'love me' in me also likes items more from my favorite people and is touched by fitting gifts from others when unexpected and they thought of me. i also like it when a gift shows that the person knows me. some gifts have sentimental value. while others are practical but appreciated thusly. one gift was something i always wanted, but i have found it hard to use as much as i thought i would (this contrasts vs. another gift i long wanted that i have used so much over the years in so many ways). there are also gifts valued for how they made me feel included.
often the best gifts are those that hit several of these criteria. despite this analysis, i myself am still not a good gift giver. it can be hard, gifts themselves hold different value for different people. but i am thankful to have received so many good gifts over the years.

20 December 2018 - early present opening

"there's power in the blood, wonderworking power [in the blood]"

13 December 2018 - come Thou long expected

"come to earth to taste our sadness, He whose glories knew no end; By His life He brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend."

30 November 2018 - can't stop don't stop

it's the moments of obedience and trust that beget the question - why can't it be like this all the time? why is it so often some stimulus is needed to do what we should already be doing? suffering is one of those things that brings such clarity. at least it has that going for it. the plus side for one of those days...

"They try to shut us down, and it ain't gon' slide
Only thing I fear is God and He on my side
That's the confidence of God, 'cause He got me
That's why I really feel like
You can't stop me!"

14 November 2018 - one thing at a time

it's the time of the year where my attention can't help but turn to the global orphan crisis. and it's also a time of great celebration for our family as we celebrate the ways our family has been touched by adoption.
we are not called to do everything but we all can do something. there is power just in loving one person. what is the one prayer you can pray? the one friend to encourage? the one way you can serve? how can you learn more and take up the cause of those who cannot support themselves?

08 November 2018 - while singing

"and everything works for my good in the end.
i've got the V-I-C-T-O-R"
"isn't there a day of redemption coming?" scc

31 October 2018 - the anti-Easter

holidays have a way of changing as they make their way through culture. the day that is statistically the most dangerous day of the year for kids is my least favorite holiday. in some ways it has become the anti-Easter. not just treats, but tricks too. instead of an exciting surprise, my kids have been left scared. instead of death will be swallowed in victory it has become you will be swallowed by death everywhere you go.

30 October 2018 - for all the saints

learning more about All Saints Day this year. a good time of the year to reflect on Hebrews 11, where the Bible describes those, "who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth."
remembering not just those from the Bible, but relatives who have gone before.
"O may thy soldiers faithful, true, and bold, fight as the saints who nobly fought of old, and win with them the victor's crown of gold."

28 October 2018 - pineapple buns for all

so glad to have lots of family travel to join us for double baptism day, a day to claim God's promises for our children. good to remember we are not alone in the Christian nurture of our children, as the congregation stands around us, pledging their help. but most of the questions posed were for us, including this one - "Do you now unreservedly dedicate your children to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before them a godly example, that you will pray with them and for them, that you will teach them the truths of our sacred faith, and that you will strive, using all the means that God has given us, to bring them up in the nurture and obedience of the Lord?"

30 September 2018 - a grilled taeji kind of day

it was a great end of September... ending a mello hiatus. celebrating birthdays well. the timing of our trip did cause us to miss one event we were hoping not to miss. . .but then ended up causing us to happen upon another quite unexpectedly. and it -really- almost didn't happen. but then, oh how sweet it was! and still back in time for a grilled feast to end the month.

18 September 2018 - bearing each others burdens

despite sickness all around, still trying to celebrate our anniversary the best we were able to.
our call is not to lay unnecessary burdens on each other, but to rather follow the law of love, and to bear one another's burdens. just like Christ bears with us under our follies and weaknesses and knows our infirmities.

16 September 2018 - there was Someone keenly aware of time

there is a time for everything (still trying to remember there is a time to keep _and_ a time to throw away). there is a season when this happens and another with that. but we don't control our times. always the difficult question - why isn't it the time i want it to be? Jesus, too, wrestled with this limitation. so we too should commit ourselves to the One who makes all things beautiful in its time.

5 September 2018 - no carry on policy

You can have differently beneficial experiences of meditating on short passages of the Bible and reading a whole book of the Bible all at once. Read Ecclesiastes today. so many words related to how you can't take it with you (when you die). "They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands." "and even their name is forgotten." and on top of that, there is no control of what comes after they are gone. storing up things for others but you don't even know if they will be foolish or wise.

24 August 2018 - from a book i was reading

"In Him we see qualities and virtues we would ordinarily consider incompatible in the same person. We would never think they could be combined but, because they are, they are strikingly beautiful. Jesus combines high majesty with the greatest humility, he joins the strongest commitment to justice with astonishing mercy and grace, and he reveals a transcendent self-sufficiency and yet entire trust in and reliance upon His heavenly Father. We are surprised to see tenderness without any weakness, boldness without harshness, humility without any uncertainty, indeed, accompanied by a towering confidence. Readers can discover for themselves his unbending convictions but complete approachability, his insistence on truth but always bathed in love, his power without insensitivity, integrity without rigidity, passion without prejudice." TK

13 August 2018 - on one of the 'all things'

parenting is quite challenging. and that's not even considering what might lay ahead further up this mountain climb. yet, so thankful to have a friend sharing in the journey. and encouraged to realize that in this, even in this who-knew-this-would-be-part-of-the-process moment, that God is working all things together for the good for those called according to His purpose.

9 August 2018 - i don't even judge myself

relishing some very rare extended time alone. reading in Fitler Square after work.
"I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God." 1 Corinthians 4:3-5
"A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart." Proverbs 21:2

15 July 2018 - peach bunny cake

birthday celebrating with pizza together. and perhaps fittingly france was winning the world cup in the background. David wrote, "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.'" and it was Joseph who named his second son Ephraim saying, "It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering."

12 July 2018 - upon returning to old places

"does what you put into the water come back to you-
or does the bottle that washes ashore come from someone else
does the current always flow in one direction
does a ship once departed always reach a destination
even shipwrecks turn up eventually
and so i wait, watching the water, little knowing
how i'm supposed to know when it is my ship that comes" 10 yrs ago @ Bartram's

"if the cereal box is vast then empty handfuls prove nothing.
but if the prize is so outlined as on the box, then with all earnestness proceed.
i'm earnest - if i'm anything.
but what i want is not the point!
i seek clarity. well, i'll make you like Me.
but i seek clarity! I said i'll make you like Me.
but how, just show me the way. -I- am the way. . ." 9 yrs ago @ Clark Park

27 June 2018 - o come to the fountain

a famous man once wrote, "he who can go to the fountain does not go to the water jar."

17 June 2018 - on a day with lots of nice

during the last world cup i had 0 kids. for this world cup, there are 3! first chance to share the experience today, watching brazil on father's day.

05 June 2018 - on caring with wisdom and love

able to make good use of soccer parent waiting time to read much of a parenting book that offered practical advice, some of which i look forward to applying soon. thinking of ways to offer my kids more choices that are safe, hoping to remember to have empathy in the midst of bringing swift consequences, and trying to understand the reasons behind difficulties my children may be having and offering them help in ways that will perhaps help us all.

3 June 2018 - the glory of the garden

found out there is a Kipling poem called the Glory of the Garden. so much more goes into a garden than what you see. behind the flowers and the views there was dirt and work and tools. and it was Adam first placed in a garden to work. and there is work, meaningful work, for all, whether grand or small. but the garden doesn't thrive by just sitting or mere talk. but by work with thankfulness, so many jobs to be done, and to partner on our knees, that His glory may be seen.

24 May 2018 - is this the world you want? you're making it...

"i'm trying out adhesives, i'm trying to fix a place that feels broken. . .
is this the world you want? is this the world you want? You're making it, every day you're alive...
what you say - is your religion
how you say - it's your religion
who you love - is your religion
how you love - is your religion...
every breath is your religion, yea" Switchfoot

15 May 2018 - solid rock

biking home just in time to avoid the storm that would encompass most of the evening.
"When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil."
a night for rainbow cookies inside.

11 May 2018 - if the house burns down

catching up with Switchfoot...
"there's a fire coming that we all will go through
You possess your possessions or they possess you
And if the house burns down tonight
I got everything I need when I got you by my side
And let the rest burn"

"Cause with one heartbeat and two hands to give
I got one shot and one life to live. . .
Life is short; I wanna live it well"

29 April 2018 - held together

"some things grow bigger until they're only parody. Some are distilled and now I have a little clarity. Some hold me like a lover, some leave like I'm a leper. Some tear me all to pieces and some, they hold me together. This is my story, this is my history. I'm learning from what I have known." from Hindsight by K. Bowser

21 April 2018 - lemon hill

back at lemon hill. actually the first park land formally acquired by the city for the creation of Fairmount park. this time, gazebo photos with the kids as well...
speaking of children, sometimes when one of my children does wrong and i turn to address the matter with them, they break out wailing (before any discipline mind you) and the natural thought is - wait a minute, you're the one who did something wrong! (while the offended sibling is not crying). but the verse that often comes to mind is, "the way of the unfaithful is hard." because regardless of the reason for the cries, wandering from God's paths will bring troubles. and yet, Hebrews 12, and God treating us as children. No discipline seems pleasant at the time. . .but later on it produces a harvest. And this is the love, to be pushed to me more like Him, and less like the lie whisperer, that enemy of our souls, who steals our joy away with sparkly paths of mire.

01 April 2018 - what a name to praise

April, and Easter is here!

the songs of Friday still ring true...
“Man of Sorrows,” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King,
To His kingdom us to bring,
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

and even more good songs of praise today!

30 March 2018 - and i will sing my songs of love

"How can a sinner know such joy?
Because of Jesus.
The wounds of love are in His hands,
The price is paid for sinful man;
Accepted child, forgiven son,
Because of Jesus. . ."

28 March 2018 - cosmic disillusionment

lewis - "most people, if they have really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. the longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. i am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. i am speaking of the best possible ones. there was something we have grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in reality. i think everyone knows what i mean. the wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us."

13 March 2018 - hb hb

here's to another year of amazing... because each year i see more and more. even on her birthday, wifey deftly balanced one event per kid, and that just the morning. don't even get me started about earlier this year when the heat broke on discount rate day or the day before our youngest's surgery when she helped our family so much. "Her worth is far above rubies."

17 February 2018 - and now we sit on the ground next to them

the retreat takeaway moment came during a reflection time, laughing at my concurrent tears as i wrote a poem.
"the sit on the ground moment next to me came with us on the couch of that apartment as i read isaiah and cried. It was as if you wanted to take my sadness and hold it together with me so i would no longer bear it alone. . ."

14 February 2018 - february love

february love is growing. no longer just valentine's day and all star weekend. engagement anniversary and now two family birthdays as well. loving this season of wednesdays at home... especially with it extending the incredible streak of 5 years in a row of being home for valentine's day. this year's creation, a flintstone's type car, a big success and fun for all the kids!

1 February 2018 - on being terrified

reading through Bible-in-a-year Bible. Before the Israelites turned around and camped in front of the Red Sea, God told them what would happen. The Egyptians would pursue them. And God would deliver them and get glory. But they were still terrified. Yet this was God's plan. But "when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in Him."

22 January 2018 - you're standing in it

back to TK and proverbs. sometimes you have to be shown, not told. in joseph's story it wasn't by being told that flaws were learned or God's love was understood. what does it do to be put in positions where you are absolutely sure God abandoned you and then to find out you were wrong? never think that God's not working no matter how much it seems like He's absent. guidance is as much something God does as God gives. so many times we say - i need God's guidance, i've got to figure out His will. You're standing in it. You're in the middle of the current, you're being navigated.

19 January 2018 - the lost found again

almost losing something can be a valuable experience. there are a lot of some things and of others there are only one. some things have more value beyond what they are in themselves and more meaning for one person than any other. and in each story the refrain - rejoice with me, what was lost is found.

31 December 2017 - year in review: 2017

it was a year of provision. with paperwork expiration looming, matched at just the right time for us. then a second match went through just 3 days before adoption law changed, we were just in time. going from a family of 3 to a family of 5 was one of biggest parts of the year. related uncertainty with work situations. finding a vehicle to fit 3 car seats. retiring from soccer but not without a long awaited championship. everybody turning 40. health issues and multiple dr's visits. promotion at last, new manager too. the weighty elementary school process, winning the lottery and kindergarten starting. and somehow finishing story 5 of 7. the year in trips: cali spring break, ithaca via ricketts glen and boden, memorable first trip to long island, yummy first trip to vancouver, shenandoah getaway, monmouth, beijing, zhengzhou, guangzhou, ny show, winterthur, OC MD, lancaster bday, and the usual suspects: VA, seattle, and princeton trips, retreat. year in eats: smashed cucs and n yrs feast, bo ssam oh my, pepsi spire, caramel kiss ice cream, the hut returns, swedish pancakes with raspberries on christmas, beiler's salted caramel, rocket fizz, sardi's, korean goodness and a lot of the other usual suspects. we love visitors - 5 3 times each (or more)! and friends and fam from: SEA, Cali, SoVa, NoVa, MD, and NJ. let's do some free flow: sloth, cheer bear, work craziness and the BABA sign, a new sg, 2 flu seasons and 2 kids with the flu, house prep - new bedroom, new porch, 70 with Union and confetti, thunder melo & 3OT, cousin basketball, biking Vancouver, winning free retreats, family history, nice Galaxy win it all, the fridge saga, benefits drama, the motherload, adoption grants and support, eating over heads at rice noodle, double stroller, praise and drums and then a break, wfh weds, cars 3, softball fairchild throwback, alone time, the craziness of the world, ten dates of various lengths & styles, first christmas, first snow, first report card, 152, west philly libraries, recycling clothes, donating lots, swapping stuff, soccer coaching, family soccer, bartram's mile, naval yard, and heinz, basement readiness and drums downstairs, sleeping in once, the valley times, the strideful times, praying, times with family, 3 scores and 1 pass to a friend, work travel, nice, triple hugs. . .much that was already covered and much more that wasn't. Through it all, God was faithful to lead, provide and pour out so much grace.

21 December 2017 - i'm talkin' about joy

it's been a month strewn with difficulty, where at one point the trials were coming once a day, buoyed by gracious meals from friends. and yet, we celebrate the birth of that wonderful Child. and it seems like every Christmas season now I can't help but to bring out at least once the music from that epic children's production I was a part of over 10 years ago. not so much for the lyrical depth but how the music along with the words (and thinking of the motions we practiced so much), all expressed by kids, helped bring the joy of the season alive. "melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away. . .Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day."

5 December 2017 - on being part of a body

the stress scale lists many life events but perhaps doesn't account for some things because they are too rare. and in addition does not treat lack of sleep as a scaling factor but rather just another stress to add on. and for some reason makes no mention of prolonged jetlag of newly adopted children who wake up multiple times in the night screaming and where the ideas on how to comfort them quickly run out. so, it should not have been that surprising to have a hard day. and yet how fitting it was to have the church arrive the next day, with prayer and food and support. and that very night - the first that the kids slept through without screaming.

29 November 2017 - glad to be home

after a long and challenging trip, so glad to be back home and now at the start of a string of extended family visitors who are caring for us so well. even being back in the same cities at the same time of year, and seeing many of the same people, the trip was of course different. from sickness to grieving to even glass shattering in our hotel room in the middle of the last night, we had to take the challenges as they came. but we felt the weight of many others praying for us while we were away. even literally, as my son slept on my lap as we flew across oceans.
after traveling back in time on a trip where even no dew was to be found how nice it was to have those who went out to make sure and have some mello yello waiting.

14 November 2017 - a King's guerdon

it's inconceivable that such a treasure would be left. . .without a 'X' to mark the spot.

8 November 2017 - a good start

we had considered going to Fairbanks in the past. Manitoba was discussed. and of the course there was that ambitious trip to the exurbs, just on the small chance of a sighting. and then it comes, when we weren't really looking for it at all. . .dancing over the Minnesota skies on our way to Seattle, we saw the NORTHERN LIGHTS! seeing God's wonder such a great start to our trip. love that our 28 hour journey begins today.

6 November 2017 - another adventure awaits

our long trip preparation to do list almost complete, it's craziness on our last full day before the trip that will take us to our trip to china. skimming whatever i can of 'bringing up girls' and finishing TOTC audiobook at work, insights and inspiration from the last library materials needed to return. and we're off...

21 October 2017 - the call to stewardship

back in James, studying God's Word with friends. the end of chapter 4 and beginning of chapter 5 has echoes of many other passages. i think of the foolish farmer... what became of his life of luxury, gone in a night? and here James issues a warning to the rich who have hoarded wealth in the last days, living on earth in luxury and self-indulgence - the corrosion of your gold and silver will testify against you.
and yet there are other ways we can be overconfident in how life will work out as well. we need humility to realize we don't even know what will happen tomorrow. a mist that appears for a little while. and what we have comes from God. how much more do we need to steward this great gift, making the most of every day while recognizing all we have as coming from the Father of lights?

08 October 2017 - the compelling power of prayer

we don't know what the church was praying for peter when he was released from jail. but sometimes the act of prayer can be just as important as the content. God is sovereign, but He also chooses to use our prayers. So we shouldn't be passive, we don't have to be fearful, the important thing is to pray. The sovereign God hears our prayers and uses them in the way that is best.

7 October 2017 - can you pass the test?

in luke 16, the manager was generous with his master's money and shrewdly made friends for himself through it, hoping to have a place to stay when he lost his job.
are we generous with our Master's money? that we may be welcomed into eternal dwellings?
"If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? ... No servant can serve two masters."
"For where your treasure is there your heart will be also."

29 September 2017 - a present seating 8

it was a good birthday with an unexpected present i bought myself. after months of searching, test drives, research and failed leads, ended up hearing back from someone and finding the mini-van we've been looking for, right on time! all that and got help a friend move, too.

18 September 2017 - french glassware

and we've reached the impact resistant glassware stage. the glasses are molded at a high heat and cooled very quickly making them twice as hard to break. amidst our days of celebrating seven years, i packed up the old glasses and brought out the new. looking forward to more days of refreshing beverages.

13 September 2017 - the tower could fall on you

listened to a TK sermon about the falling tower passage from Luke. though there are many passages written to those going through hard times, this is actually not one of them. it's written to those not in hard times. we are not God. the most dangerous place to be is when everything is fine. repent or you too will perish.

09 September 2017 - seven

"she who was barren has borne seven children". my son overcame a particularly hard morning... to have the best soccer game of his life.

23 August 2017 - beacha beacha

on way to free beach vacation via three trains but with books soon there in no time. the most helpful of the rereads provided insights on the differences between men and women, which given how different they are can be very important to think about and understand in a relationship. an ocean can be calm or have mighty waves and yet it's all the same water. you can learn tides from just standing on a beach, there's a time the water will crash against you and there's a time it will recede altogether. but it's better to face waves together.

20 August 2017 - on parallels

more Genesis. Isaac was not the only one who was laid down as if to die. Ishmael too. but God hears. He too would be a great nation. the boy receiving some of the promise through Abraham. and the ultimate promised Son was Jesus. because He was not spared. . .we too receive some of the promises through Jesus.

25 July 2017 - seeing God's provision

another one of those times where God's provision is just so evident. as we marvel at the ways God has worked in terms of timing for our adoptions, expenses and more, we are humbled and thankful as the stories pile up. wifey has captured this well, as we begin to share the news. God is with us and He provides for us. He equips us to do the work He calls us to do. God answers prayer.

22 July 2017 - rare opportunity

"the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel" - proverbs. so thankful for a long walk today with an old friend.

16 July 2017 - the promise Giver

in Abram's faith journey, God's commitment to the promise was so much greater. He was willing to covenant and pass through the pieces... knowing Abram would continue to question just where his children would come from. in his own pursuits, Abram still got a form of what God promised, but not as a blessing. but later still, God kept His word, in His way, no matter what. we too, struggle with faith, with waiting, with extended silences. but we too are heirs of staggering promises, purchased at a great cost.

9 July 2017 - work heartily now

back from vacation that included listening to a sermon on sheep and their need for rough care. and so it is too with the troubles and trials, sickness and uncertainty -- these are gifts if they allow me to put my focus back on the most important things. to avoid the pitfalls of apathy. to reconsider: am i making the most of the gifts and all i've been given to live for the glory of God? "You've been given a great gift. . .Don't see you what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"

24 June 2017 - more James 1 thoughts

Let the Word be a mirror showing ourselves who we really our rather than our perception, showing our need for a Saviour. We cannot forget what we look like...
Doing isn't the opposite of hearing, it encompasses it.

18 June 2017 - sent to be blessed and to be a blessing

and on this father's day, the sermon was about Abram and the rewards of going forward by faith into a difficult journey. amidst the day's celebrations, deep dish pizza love, and a long time coming song completion, praying together about going forward by faith into a difficult journey.

13 June 2017 - two are better than one

two weeks. two matches. two dreams come true. too crazy! too wonderful.

31 May 2017 - on getting a phone call

"But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands...
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you" from Psalm 31

21 May 2017 - all kinds of prayers

sermon today on ephesians 6:18-20. there are all kinds of prayers. and many occasions to pray for others. sometimes what we need the most is need. often prayerlessness shows our unbelief. our answered prayers can encourage us to pray more.

17 May 2017 - a poverty of thankfulness

recent inputs have me thinking about the difference growing up poor vs. growing up rich. how do you cultivate a thankfulness for what you have been given? James implies that poverty and wealth are both trials that may be sent our way. reading of countries where children walk miles each way to bring daily water to their families. living in a country where everything is brought to us and complaining comes over far less. oh for the awareness to be better stewards of what we've been given...

15 May 2017 - another big red letter day for the Baileys

because timing is everything

13 May 2017 - the cross before the crown

and James lg Bible study is here. "The devil endeavours by sufferings and crosses to draw men to sin and to deter them from duty, or unfit them for it; but, as our afflictions are in God’s hand, they are intended for the trial and improvement of our graces.
we only bear the cross for a while but we shall bear the crown to eternity." MH

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

11 May 2017 - on starting good habits

the power of habits is such that they allow us to do easily what might not otherwise be done consistently.

30 April 2017 - the yielding of our best

sermon on romans 12 has me on the topic of firstfruits. think of the faith required for firstfruits. in gardening. with our time. the first and best belong to Him.
and james likens us as well as firstfruits of all He created. and we are to offer ourselves. if someone tells you that you have a gift - cultivate it. have a party, let your worlds collide. the harvest is plentiful.

29 April 2017 - times and places

watched lion. the profound significance of that one moment. the moment of loss that altered the course of his life. and yet / and then he would end up near a Tasmanian beach, with a family who loved him. there is a Helper who sees. and not one of them is forgotten by God.

16 April 2017 - and then on the third at break of dawn. . .

"the ground began to shake, the stone was rolled away, His perfect love could not be overcome. Now death where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated.
Forever He is glorifed, Forever He is lifted high, Forever He is risen! He is alive, He is alive!"

14 April 2017 - O praise the name

"I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me
I see His wounds, His hands, His feet
My Saviour on that cursed tree.
His body bound and drenched in tears
They laid Him down in Joseph's tomb
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all alone...
O praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forevermore"

7 April 2017 - on finding ways to engage with our kids

we were able to attend the empowered to connect conference along with some friends where we heard a lot of helpful information and things to think more about, especially in the context of adoption, but also any situation where kids come from hard places with unmet needs and the correlated lasting impact, and also what it looks like to meet needs, relate on their level, understand where they are coming from and help them come to a place where they can regulate their feelings and see the view of themselves transform.
in one exercise, without our partner knowing it, we were told to listen to them 55% one time and 95% another, as they were telling is a story about their lives. it was hard to actively not listen to a spouse in this context, because of precisely the point the speaker was making - what is communicated about themselves to the storyteller (in both instances). she shared that the things that mattered to her growing up were that her parents listened when she talked and they were there when she needed them. while it may be hard to find extra times in the day there were many every day situations they were able to leverage to communicate together - car rides, doing the dishes, bed times. what makes a pot useful is the space that it creates.

1 April 2017 - isaiah just brings it.

and april begins.
"your sacrifices - what are they to Me?... I have more than enough... who has asked this of you? ...stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."

29 March 2017 - a time to see trees

spring break trip to cali! we got to see lots of family and friends, enjoy memorable meals and drinks and see several sights as well. some hoped for nature sights didn't work out logistically or were inaccessible due to road conditions. . .so we saw other places instead. but we did make it to Muir Woods this time. there is a time for everything and He has made everything beautiful in its time. And we enjoyed gazing on God's creation together.
"All things work for good, You make... all things beautiful."

19 March 2017 - He will have compassion

Lamentations was written with certain structures to make things stand out. The acrostics may be hard to see in English, but at the center of them we find the well known call to return to our heart "the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." And if you look at the interesting chiasm verse structure of the book in the center of the center of the center of all the afflictions and wanderings, bitterness and gall, we find these verses, "For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men."

13 March 2017 - pepperoni dumplings

we had the last birthday celebration meal at a food hall which means overall we managed to celebrate with indian, thai, korean fried chicken, italian and asian fusion in various family celebrations, as well as the homemade cake food group. so glad to be able to enjoy many of wifey's favorite foods with her this month and that our friendship so often includes enjoying food together.

5 March 2017 - a collection of scars

sermon series on lamentations at church... life is a collection of scars. each scar has a story. what is so remarkable about Jesus is that He didn't avoid the suffering, the sorrow. Our Saviour is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. the risen Jesus, still with scars. He can heal our wounds without erasing what's contained in them.

18 February 2017 - what practices form you

turned out to be all star retreat weekend all in one. a big theme of the retreat was everyday life. part of that was a prayer of daily examen, bringing the highs and the lows of the day to God, emerging with gratitude, processing with hope. "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives" AD. Reminded again of the importance to live our lives - all of it - in the presence of God.

14 February 2017 - upside to the downside

son sick, but that meant home for valentine's day with the chance to finish up a homemade car ferry for him. as well as to start listening to one of my v-day gifts, TK series on James.
"suffering equips you to do virtually everything you do much better." including being useful in the lives of others.

12 February 2017 - roses and home

"the essence of marriage is a promise" TK marriage series

29 January 2017 - better to end well

it had been a looong time coming. soccer champion drought. and not yet with this team, despite all the playoff runs. so how sweet it was to win, in golden goal, as my playing days approach their end, even with in-season injury trouble. the first season chance given up, gained back years later, all the more fun with my son predicting my exact stat line and loving my new shiny medal.

17 January 2017 - brighter daze

let the cassette tape era begin. . .
"i'm in the shadow of the Big House more and more each day..." dighayzoose
"we lose hope, we mumble our prayers... [do we] believe your reach can pass through stone... can make the dead start blinking" newsboys

8 January 2017 - on going

bookstore reading... “Very rarely in the Bible does God come to someone and say, “Stay.” Almost never does God interrupt someone and ask them to remain in comfort, safety, and familiarity. He opens a door and calls them to come through it.” Ortberg
Sometimes you need to leave the comfort and go on to greater things.

31 December 2016 - looking back - 2016

looked through new photo album together with fam on the last day of the year, what better time to recap the year that was. nine month adoption paperwork process, my company suddenly sold while i was on vacation and i managed to listen to 50 books on cd. lots of elementary school research, going through basement boxes and writing book 4 of the callowhill chronicles. traveling to olympic peninsula, williamsburg, seattle, new haven & mass., ashland, DC and NY getaways, road trip crew MD weekend, retreat, and multiple trips to nova, princeton, dc and ny. kimchichigue, cherry and peach mello yello, all my favorite pizzas, don tot ice cream, blueberry crumble gelati, lotte, that broccoli rabe pasta, wawa rewards and more. thankful for visitors, parents and several siblings leading the way, and even 3 cousins and friends from ny and cali. free flow: consider others better than yourself, wednesday walks, longest work month ever, 'tell me more about work', ok - farewells, transitions, meeting ramp up and long awaited review, multicultural united, international united, national park flower show, cstore finds, fam lunches, used bookstores, new libraries, dragon shirt, dare to be a daniel, hot tub pool, the block room and house with slides, biking ny, running with dad, college trips, thomasland, 17 minutes, hurricane ridge, that soccer goal, championship loss with fans, advent, lg and lg men's, women's group and cbs, tree pavilion, sad nights, physicals, car issues, knee pain, customer service woes, hard words, getting rid of stuff, olympic golds, no exhaust fan, new oven, family bike, cuse, times with uncle, nba dramatics, x baptism, laughing, fun at home, loving by praying, DQ, redeemer, ways to improve, wissahickon, ten dates again, h party, afternoon pto, stuff already covered in this space, and special moments filling a year full.

25 December 2016 - gift wrap

Christmas on a Sunday! and there are many types of gifts. gifts of experience. gifts of words. ones that thoughtfully say i know you and i love you. and plenty of ways to celebrate w/o gifts even in a culture that spends so much. it was the best gift of all that came wrapped in swaddling cloths.

22 December 2016 - on what brings us to God

one reason cs lewis resonates with me is how things like the dentist also make me think on the things of God. thinking again of the good surgeon who keeps on cutting. and wondering why in the world small things impact us the way they do while big things go by with no impact. yet grateful for the things that bring us to God.

14 December 2016 - amidst the silence

Zechariah's faith grew as the baby grew.

18 November 2016 - memories will be our souvenirs

celebrated two years with good buffalo hot dog mac & cheese and legend of the lost treasure first viewing! with more yet to come.
then later, feeling weary over all the stuff i have gathered over the years... knowing full well, a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

13 November 2016 - I am sending you out like lambs among wolves

on this mission sunday and orphan sunday, reminded by a friend's message that too often are hearts are not on mission. how much easier to be more akin to a hibernating animal than the call to be a lamb among wolves. opposition is to be expected when we go. many seeds are sown that are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life. but the 3/4 "waste" of seed is more than made up for by the 30, 60, 100 fold return produced by the seed falling on good soil.

8 November 2016 - in God we trust

"We will follow where You go
We will trust through the unknown. . .
Now in God we trust
In His Name we hope
I know God will not be shaken
God is here with us
He’s already won
I know God will not be shaken"

07 November 2016 - the election and the gospel

read a helpful article on many of the issues this election season has raised and what the gospel message would say in light of it all - from corruption, to hiding, to exposure and justice. in our warped image bearing we love to hold others accountable, but distance ourselves from the same accountability. nothing we do is really hidden before God and we too will give account for our words. where is the hope in all the mess? hope is only as good as its object. "Our true and lasting hope is not in a politician (thank God), but in the God who became a man. We are hoping in King Jesus. Amid the tumultuous season of political elections Christians are sailing in the indestructible and unsinkable ark of Christ. As long as Jesus is in the helm the church will not topple. Our captain is a skillful mariner who guides us to port in the Heavenly Jerusalem. We shall anchor there and forever be with him. Like Noah in the days of old, we are those who hold wide the door of the ark open and bid others to come in. There is still room."

16 October 2016 - praise on drums

"Oh God, who surely guides our steps
Through tempests and through trials
Our Shepherd King, Your way is best
Though tears now veil our eyes
Your steadfast love, our perfect hope
Our eyes are fixed on grace
We have no doubt You’ll lead us home
To finally see Your face -
You are our song from age to age
Our voices unite to recount your praise
again and again..."

04 October 2016 - night of the mosquitos

hot water showers is one of the things i appreciate most about living in the country i do. but another aspect i should be more thankful for is living in a house where there is no need of a mosquito net. this became clear when the world's deadliest animal managed to not only get inside our house, but find its way to my room. i generally could not see the enemy only hear it when it buzzed close enough, swooping in to bite me, or even worse, my wife. and so it went, long into the night, until i finally found victory over my foe. only to hear more buzzing. and thus it was a night of weak sleep. but at last, the mosquitoes were vanquished. in the end, the night of struggle became a night to remember.

30 September 2016 - on eating well

enjoyed the chance to birthday celebrate with others, thankful for the meals out together and good food.

recent sermon raised the question metaphorically - where are you feasting? imagine a banquet table full of food and you take but a pittance. is that all you want? there's more food. are we hungry for the best things?
blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied

19 September 2016 - Did Christ over sinners weep. . .

"He wept that we might weep, might weep over sin and shame. He wept to show his love for us and bid us love the same. . .
Then tender be our hearts, our eyes in sorrow dim, til every tear from every eye, be wiped away by Him."

and the long paperwork process for dossier #2 is completed!

18 September 2016 - cherry mello yello

big, big day and we were back at chima six years later, thanks to friends having our son over. eating bacon wrapped chicken and talking about what's to come. then snagging free snickers ice cream bar in our waning moments and getting an amazing card to wrap up a great sunday anniversary.

11 September 2016 - on the metrics we use

recent inputs have been questioning, what measure do you use in your life with God? is it - did you pray at this time or read at that, or are you loving God and loving people? and - maybe you're not learning new things about God, but is your faith growing?

4 September 2016 - fellowship sweet

sundays are the best. and this one full of good food and drink, friendship and... the stuff swap strikes again. how great it is to live in community. to give to others what they might find useful and to get what can be a blessing to you.

23 August 2016 - His hand the wonders wrought

it's been a good vacation month. and this day - taking in a national park. "this is my Father's world. and to my listening ears, all nature sings and around me rings the music of the spheres. . ."

15 August 2016 - on listening to listen

surely you know the impulse - to try and wait for someone to finish talking (or dare i say even interrupt) so you can respond autobiographically. but how much better to seek first to understand, to rephrase rather than re-point to our own stories and miss theirs. and with kids especially, to listen with empathy and try to understand what they are really saying. and consider what we are _really_ communicating, with how we respond.

11 August 2016 - what you haven't seen yet

i like non-fiction books on cd, too. quoted quote from 'what the dog saw', "No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan was sufficient to refute that conclusion."

21 July 2016 - He must increase, i must decrease

"as long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don't notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God." lewis, letters to malcolm

19 July 2016 - what fades, what remains

the basement cleaning/unpacking continues. you obviously can't keep everything... but you can at least store some treasures away in a box. but even the treasure box can rot! don't store your treasures in the basement of this world... i can't say i haven't been warned -- thieves do break in and steal, moth & rust destroy. the treasures in heaven keep so much better.

11 July 2016 - when tears water your path

i've long thought that tears are good. but they are best when they don't stop the work. but instead are a sign that the work is in progress. sow your tears. you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.

1 July 2016 - on dying every day and living for Christ

"I was going to say I wished we'd never come. But I don't, I don't, I don't. Even if we _are_ killed. I'd rather be killed fighting for Narnia than grow old and stupid at home and perhaps go about in a bath-chair and then die in the end just the same." from The Last Battle

30 June 2016 - to be loved

"To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us." TK

29 June 2016 - the steps we take

a person may plan his own journey, but the LORD directs his steps. on road trips, some stops are usually intentional (where to eat), other stops not as much so (when you need gas, etc.). coming back from extended family vacay in Virginia, all the stops were good, all the more so when we happened to find peach and cherry mello yello at last. wondering how all the turns led us to stop just the right place to emerge with armloads full of mello yello goodness.

23 June 2016 - The swallower of cities and realms

from Silver Chair -- "Will you promise not to-- do anything to me, if I do come?" said Jill. "I make no promise," said the Lion. Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. "Do you eat girls?" she said. "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it. "I daren't come and drink," said Jill. "Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion. "Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then." "There is no other stream," said the Lion.

19 June 2016 - because past failures are not the end

great father's day, from praise on drums beginning to amazing nba final's culmination end and all the yumminess and celebration in between! and sermon thoughts too... daniel & his friends must have had some degree of assimilation, speaking the language of the land, but whenever it mattered the most, they took a stand. esther, meanwhile, could have done better, but past failures do not write us out of God's future. God still wrote her into His story.

2 June 2016 - I was the lion

from The Horse and His Boy:
"Don't you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?" said Shasta.
"There was only one lion," said the Voice.
"What on earth do you mean? I've just told you there were at least two the first night, and--"
"There was only one: but he was swift of foot."
"How do you know?"
"I was the lion." And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. "I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you don't remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it might come to shore..."

1 June 2016 - on eating that apple

magician's nephew on cd. "and he began to see that there might be some sense in that last line about getting your heart's desire and getting despair along with it." and later, "Things always work according to their nature. She has won her heart's desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it."

15 May 2016 - the advantage of the disadvantage

with our street under construction we haven't been able to park or drive on it... but it did mean my son and i finally had a big space in which to play soccer while waiting for it to be paved. while it's not always the case, it is possible for for our disadvantages to turn into advantages. there are soccer stars who grew up without a real ball to use and basketball legends who for sure had no driveway hoop.
and today looking at the end of the gospel of mark. like the women in the story, sometimes all we have left to go on is His Word, and you have to go on it first. if you are looking at the empty tomb of your life and saying where's Jesus, maybe He's asking you - where are you? are you going to where Jesus calls us? because if we want to see Jesus that's where we need to go.
who is strong enough to roll away the stone?

14 May 2016 - what do we do about abandoned children?

got to watch The Drop Box with wifey! shows a great example of not letting excuses stop you from doing something about problems right around you, making the most of what you have to serve others, laying down life so others might truly live. . .

08 May 2016 - grandmothers, mothers and mothers to be

a chance to celebrate mother's day with virginia family as well, teaming up to treat all the mothers to a nice day.
"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." from Psalm 100

1 May 2016 - the one who knows

the gospel of mark is the first and also the darkest of the gospel accounts. the hope that is there is mostly an underlying hope, needing to be discovered. but the ending is not the end. God will reveal Himself, the only God who knows deep sorrow like this.
Just as Jesus chose into submission, we need to choose into as well. in our marriages, submitting to one another, but also speaking up, sharing on how it is, what's not working but could be better.

29 April 2016 - grief and loss

adoption training on grief and loss. if the loss is acknowledged you can integrate it going forward. it was compared to forest fires. they can be devastating. but fire can also be good and cleansing. sometimes there are even controlled burns, preventing worse losses and allowing for new growth and life to come.

15 April 2016 - making the most with your schedule in mind

there may be a season where you most consistent time of prayer takes place in community. it may be sad to reflect on what once was, and how things don't come as easily now, but you can try to make the most of what you do have with family. and another way prayer may better intersect your life could be to connect new habits to existing habits. in this season, how can you make lasting memories of family worship?

10 April 2016 - on asking for the things we want the most

prepping for the last group discussion on TK on prayer. "One way petitionary prayer can actually do us harm is if we see it as a means to say to God, '_My_ will be done.'" Yet, we can also be too timid. He talks about laying before God in prayer the reasons why we think what we ask for is the best thing, in light of what we know of God's own goals. This takes us beyond, "if it is your will". What are the three biggest desires you want to pray for? How can we really cast these burdens on God?
"We should ask God for things with boldness and specificity, with ardor, honesty, and diligence, yet with patient submission to God's will and wise love."

8 April 2016 - returning to say thanks

after the moment has passed, the urgency has lifted it is easy to not pray like we prayed before. but to hold on, to return with thanksgiving, is the path to the life overflowing with thankfulness which is our charge.

05 April 2016 - a good, good Baba

buoyed by prayer, emerged singing, "You're a good, good, Father. It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are. . ."
You are perfect in all of Your ways. and You call me deeper still, into love, love, love...

31 March 2016 - king's dominion

had the chance to share one of the wonders of my youth with my family, a park with a great name. it was a good vacation day. but also a call about work including the phrase "not april fool's day". at the park seeing how some things have changed, some have stayed the same gradually over the many years i'm sure. meanwhile wondering what changes will i find when i return to work in a much different time frame - sudden and abrupt.

27 March 2016 - He of the many crowns

easter weekend! from a Good Friday service at home well understood to Sunday worship on drums with everyone gathered. from family visiting to the cherry blossoms of spring. and how many times do you find something only when you've stopped looking for it?
Crown Him with many crowns - the Lamb upon His throne. . . Crown Him the Lord of life who triumphed o'er the grave... who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.

24 March 2016 - beneficiaries of grace

in baptism, children are effectively coming 'under the roof', joining a household of faith whose doorpost is marked. and they are marked as a member of a community of faith, beneficiaries of grace.
also from rev. min - "you can't kill people who have already died"

13 March 2016 - a place because of You

coming back from road trip weekend on the way to birthday celebrate, good time for more on psalm 103, this time epic TK.
the sermon spoke of the parental love of God, an incredibly visceral love, with the compassion like that of the baby saving mother in King Solomon's court. and the safety of a father's love, emotionally involved, loving us just because we're His child.
and he even went IAWL, recalling George Bailey's return to a home and family that no longer knew him. oh how we long for that sense of belonging that so often eludes us! and yet... though the grass withers, the flower fades... "from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear Him" because of Jesus. He came and His place knew Him no more, so we could have a place.

11 March 2016 - not treated as our sins deserve

the verdict of mercy is much different if you have been waiting in jail for the decision to made, if you have no idea what the judge will announce, if you doubt you could actually be declared not guilty... tears would be understandable. the chance to live freely with your family, the chance to live as one who has known mercy... and He does not repay us according to our iniquities. The evidence no longer leads to us.

10 March 2016 - forget not all His benefits

days of jury duty means extra reading time, also trying to meditate on psalm 103. "Praise the LORD, my soul... who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things. . .Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in His dominion."

28 February 2016 - on pursuing contentment

Jesus, content in God's pleasure in Him. Led into the wilderness, Scripture was enough for Him. Showing us if we're sure of God, we shouldn't have to doubt God's love, safety, hungering for other things. It is enough to rest in His promises.

27 February 2016 - all about trees

retreat Bible study starting in genesis with clear simple instructions that they could eat any tree of the garden but one specific tree. they could have eaten of the tree of life but they ate from the one from which they would surely die. they knew good and now they knew evil. and yet...there was another tree. on a hill far away. Another, who didn't listen to twisted words and temptations to flee that tree, created a way back to the garden. and in revelation we see the tree of life surrounding the river, the leaves bringing healing to the nations. and because Someone else took it, there will no longer be any curse.

16 February 2016 - on praying with submissive trust and confident hope

"God will not give us anything contrary to His will, and that will always include what is best for us in the long run. We can, therefore, pray confidently *because* He won't give us everything we want." TK on prayer

14 February 2016 - family love

holiday fun on a sunday and all star weekend. lots of red drinks, red clothes, special dessert, deep dish pizza and a homemade car ramp...

12 February 2016 - pink flowers and heart cupcake

and a full cycle has come around. another friday, another scavenger hunt but this one two minutes rather than two hours. notes leading to cupcakes, flowers and the best find of all.

10 February 2016 - let peak cuteness commence

nice to be able to celebrate 4 over the weekend with extended family and have some more celebrations day of, working it out to be there for all 3 meals, presents, and yes, the ice cream cake too.

30 January 2016 - milkshakes and more

celebrating the end of the busiest work month ever with a nifty time with the fam.
"But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high... I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me." from psalm 3

29 January 2016 - nothing great that is also easy

back to TK and prayer, this time with a group. the book starts with personal reflections. for his wife, the illustration of having a lethal condition that you needed medicine for every day leading to the - well, if we don't pay together to God, we're not going to make it because of all we are facing. meanwhile, TK's prayer changes were studying then praying the psalms regularly, meditating between Bible reading and prayer, praying morning and evening as opposed to one or the other, and praying with greater expectation.
finally on Paul's prayers for others - we do not find them full of appeals for changes in circumstances. he did not think that was the most important thing God could give them. far more often he prayed that others may know Him better..."that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe."

28 January 2016 - don't waste your life

an upside to blizzards is the trolley reading. revisiting 'don't waste your life' and the contrast of what many americans spend their time on vs. those who have given their live in one way or another for others, and the myth of safety vs. the call of Christ. but i'll focus here on the work chapter. to be strategic, living for His glory at work. Taking thankfulness and His promises with us, being creative and industrious, working well and enhancing the gospel, earning money for good, creating gospel sharing relationships, being in a place ready to help others.

10 January 2016 - the old fca t-shirt

the call of Jesus is to lose our lives for His sake. how often do we want our lives to just be easier? reminded of the need to sacrifice for the sake of others. some of the needs others have in our midst can be met by what we have. the mark 8:34 beacon - deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow Him.

01 January 2016 - new

new year's day is a great time to make korean food. this year, finally unmitigated kimchichigue success, thanks to a recipe find by wifey.
new year's is also a good day to start adoptions. here we go again, ready for a new adventure...

31 December 2015 - in retrospect

looking back on 2015. first full year of parenting, and 5 month part time schedule for bonding (walking everywhere sans car). visiting 22 philly playgrounds. library trips and books. bike rides, sidewalk soccer, PTM, zoos, dancing, trains, racetrack, first birthday parties, tayo haircuts, car carts, museums, aquarium, parks, first snow and first beach trip...in same month. learning to deal with short sleeves. heart checkups. memorable tantrums. first sixers game free. first koja trip... before it was no more. baba son fun on work trips. meeting family and cousins.
rough start of the year for our house - no hot water, no heat and basement flood. now providing memories of the support from our community, as we showered at three different houses.
a year where there start to be more big decisions, from work, to family and preschool.
trips to ocean city, retreat, NoVA x3, MD, LA, Seattle x2, ATL, SoVA and beach-a. visitors of family from Cali, NoVA, Seattle and friends from MD, NY and NC. and an uncle moving out our way.
year in food: dolce with others, rainbow cookies, kogi truck, swedish pancakes, dumplings, la kbbq, pb marshmallow ritas, mello finds, mand. orange cake, special dews.
reading hundreds of books, but only 10 "really long" ones. ten dates. finishing story #3. baptism and adoption party. birthdays and holidays.
and now for some free flow. . .running in place, blue thunder, white collar conclusion, the start of OT, the head injury, snow day with no snow, lost journal, gold cup, street construction, pizza throwdown, ear infection, allergic reaction, fun photo shoot, lza finals, epic photobook, family drama, wns, walking to work, soccer fail, losing photos, the big retirement, proverbs, gardens, praise, installing thermostat, sad days, big package, pi day, college ministry, friends moving, church events, holiday party, preschool begins, music, TK books, riding my bike and ice cream.

29 December 2015 - a good return

perhaps it was the conflux of many things - being on a plane, coming off a good vacation, new year approaching, the pizza hut mello yello dinner find... that helped me think many thoughts of plans endowed with hope. home late, but nice to be home.

27 December 2015 - auld lang syne, seattle style

Should nothing of our efforts stand * No legacy survive * Unless the Lord does raise the house * In vain its builders strive
To you who boast tomorrow’s gain * Tell me what is your life * A mist that vanishes at dawn * All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king! * All glory be to Christ! * His rule and reign will ever sing, * All glory be to Christ!

His will be done * His kingdom come * On earth as is above* Who is Himself our daily bread * Praise Him the Lord of love
Let living water satisfy * The thirsty without price * We’ll take a cup of kindness yet * All glory be to Christ!

25 December 2015 - incarnate

amidst the sadness, hope. out of the book pages and into our lives. actually coming in person. and we too travel, to be with our families in person, not just on a screen. to eat, play, drink, enjoy time together again, to sing, explore, watch. "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

12 December 2015 - trying to live a good story - and invite others into it

happening upon a favorite book to re-read on the porch on a beautiful day with friends. in the words of the book, trying to live a good story. "when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important." d. miller imagines a movie about a guy who wants a volvo and worked for years to get it. nobody is crying at the end of that movie... and yet "we spend years actually living these stories, and expect our lives to be meaningful." what would it take for you to live a meaningful life, to write yourself into a beautiful story? avoiding the comfort and stability we naturally seek? overcoming fear, persevering through the resistance that comes when pursuing something good?

08 December 2015 - prolonged grumpy in a friend desert

after suffering the worst earache i've ever had, the following ear infection has made it hard not to be a little grumpy at times. every sound is magnified, ringing constant. often it's these times where something is not working right where we realize again just how amazing God made our bodies.
concurrently, realizing that this time in my life has left me in a friend desert. hard for old friends to have time to connect, limited opportunities for new friends to arise, trying to subsist in a culture of "fast food" friendship...

29 November 2015 - thanksgiving weekend

thankful for holiday breaks, trips to see family... another year of great WNS, followed by a morning trot... glass bottle dew and 20 oz. mello... making dinner for others, and watching a movie together... a starbucks date, and winning the first ever family pizza throwdown with our bulgogi bacon scallion spinach pie!

14 November 2015 - though our throats be dry

worship night and how encouraging it was to see the college kids bringing the praise. losing my voice.
"in the midst of the congregation i will praise You. . .all the families of the nations shall worship before Y