A whirlwind, life happenings, & other musings…

Feels like I have been trying to live in the middle of a whirlwind of activity for the last 2 years… last week was the ‘high point’ of activity, centering on a family road trip to Los Angeles for my graduation ceremony from LIFE Pacific’s MASL program. Pardon the bullet points, but I have a series of fragments floating around my brain I am attempting to put into some sort of pseudo-coherent stream.

  • We drove. A lot. Nothing in Los Angeles was close to anything we needed to go to. By my calculations, we drove about 700 miles while in LA. Boom.
  • Spending time with thePastyGangster & his girl Alex was excellent.
  • Being able to have my whole family together, albeit for a short time, was the highlight of my time. The older I get, & the bigger my kids get, the more & better I understand this. Time together is precious.
  • I need my own bed like an engineer needs their Excel spreadsheets.
  • We stayed with theBean’s auntie Janet – she graciously accommodated our invasion of her home & space – it was a joy to be able to get to know her, & to have her see & get to know our family.
  • The pomp & circumstance of the actual graduation ceremony cracked me up – the outfits we wore (cap, gown, & HOOD,) as well as the get-up worn by the Doctoral faculty of LIFE were from another era… Looked like they were headed to a Renaissance Faire (with an “E”).
  • Now that I have walked in the graduation ceremony, it is now time to buckle down & finish my final project so I can be done
  • Disneyland on Mother’s Day was empty. It must have been the 100 degree temperatures that scared away the locals. We rode the underground & indoor rides as much as we could during the heat of the day.
  • We saw Stevie Wonder in the Main Street ice-cream store at the end of our night. ThePastyGangster waved at him. True story.
  • Dropping Pasty & Alex at the airport on Monday was a sad day. My heart hurts.
  • iDoey went home with my parents Monday, & it was down to theBean, theWeez & me. My heart hurts. Again.
  • I spent most of Monday & all day Tuesday in “Blue Sky Session” meetings discussing & working through the preferred future for the tribe we are a part of… it was encouraging, beautiful, & time well spent.
  • Got home late Wednesday & hit the ground running – wedding rehearsals, youth group, 4 weddings on Saturday, church Sunday, council meeting after church, Mexico mission team meeting after the council meeting… then home. And I crashed.

Tonight is our monthly book talk for “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” (which I wrote about HERE. To say I am excited about this would be an understatement… the opportunity to discuss one of my favorites with people who are discovering it for the first time gets a big “BOOYAH” from me. And even a “Hey Now!” One of the reasons I love the book is, to me, Peterson captures a central truth of the Christian faith: we are “DISCIPLES who spend our lives apprenticed to our Master: Jesus Christ. We are in a growing/learner relationship always… Further, we are PILGRIMS who spend our lives going someplace, going to God, & our path for getting there is the Way, Jesus Christ.” I can’t wait. But I have to.

Over the last several weeks between Easter & Pentecost Sunday, I have been challenged to expect more. I want to be a person with an exercised, growing, supernatural faith – these last few weeks have been full of miraculous God interventions in our church family, both financially & spiritually. It reminds me of the Scripture in James 4 that tells the reader that they don’t have because they don’t ask. I have to ASK…

Sigh. Time to engage… Until next time…


a fleeting reflection

Disneyland is one of my favorite places in the world – when I get old, really old, & retire, I want to get a season pass so that I can go to Disneyland whenever I feel like it, which would probably be monthly, for at least a few days at a time. Especially during the Christmas holidays.

I was thinking about why I feel the way I do about Disneyland, & I believe it has to do with what it represents to me. When our family went on vacations when I was but a wee lad, it was to Disneyland. And this was back in the day when you had to pay an entrance fee, then had to buy tickets in order to get onto the rides, A-E, with “E” tickets being the really cool rides, like the Matterhorn & later on, Space Mountain, & the “A” tickets being the waste of time rides, like “Small World.”

Disneyland meant Mickey Mouse pancakes, at the River Belle, which tasted so much better than any other pancakes because they had ears. It meant “Pirates of the Caribbean” 10 times. It meant ice-cream at day’s end. It meant buying one of those “Lollipop Guild” lollies that you know you’re never, ever going to be able to finish. It meant getting so tired that I couldn’t even keep eyes open, no matter how hard I tried. It meant dragging myself out of the park, 1 hour after closing, trying to make it all the way to the hotel across the street from the park. It meant family, all together – the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the fighting with siblings, the sheer joy of the shared experience.

My kids currently don’t appreciate Disneyland in the same way (or at the same level of fervor,) that I do, but I’m betting that will change as time goes by… if not for the sake of Disney as the king of all commercial opportunities, but for the time that it means is spent together. It might seem like a waste of time, resources, money, & all kinds of other prudent sounding things, but I think going to Disneyland is worth it. And maybe we’ll go around Christmas again.

It could happen…

Thursday musings…

This has been a whirlwind of a week – starting off with a Christmas party Friday (during which I barfed up my dinner… sorry, no pictures) then Saturday’s worship team practice & 3/4’s of a work day, then to Sunday’s triple duty of worship, Learning Community, & Speeching; followed by packing up the gear & the fam & heading off to the happiest (merriest?) place in the world… Disneyland for a couple 18 hour days of fun @ both parks. A good time was had by all, especially at the fireworks display of 12/18, but the rush home to beat the storm (which we barely did) meant leaving at 7 a.m. 12/19. I’m still trying to catch my breath – & am greatly looking forward to Friday’s “Rest day lived for the sake of living.”

Something is wrong. I know it, can tangibly feel it, & think that I can even identify it. Yet I don’t know that there’s anything for me to actually DO about what’s wrong… at least that I know of. Might be that I’m a bit delusional. Or hardening. Definitely sorrowful. A bit weepy. Christmastime exacerbates it. Cryptic, I know, however…

On that note, something that popped up while in Deutschland in November – I was encouraged by several close friends to speak out what I am thinking; to stop leaving so much unsaid. BTW: or those of you that are right now contemplating a world where I talk MORE, not less, & wishing, hoping you will be far, far away from that world, sorry ’bout it. SIU. Suck it up.

I don’t know or believe that this means all of my filters get removed, (now I’m scared.) But I do think that only about 5-10% of what I’m thinking (conversation, speeching, family interactions, friendships, work stuff, etc.) actually gets verbalized. I’ve started to speak it out & so far, so good. At least for me. I can’t say that others are equally as thrilled with the New Me as it has appeared in a Conversation Near You, but it’s real. Authentic. Truth in love-ish (to the best that I can.) And yes, I’ve had to ask forgiveness a couple of times too – but haven’t regretted it yet.

Wish I would have bought the new Mickey Mouse watch. I’ve had mine on the left wrist for 13 years (save for the occasional bath/shower) & it has seen better days. Not currently running, but I am still wearing it. It is a reminder of one of the worst days I’ve ever had, as a man, a husband, & as a father. And also of the grace shown to me by my wife, the one who purchased it for me for our 5th anniversary (7/1/1989) on a day when I abandoned her in Disneyland with a 3 year old in a stroller, while she was several months pregnant with baby #2. All in the name of trying to be a good youth pastor, supervising students in the Park while my wife was left flying solo. Fortunately, a couple in our church, 15-20 years my senior, & also on the trip, were watching out for her & helped her with my son. I make myself sick even with the memory of it. I can’t believe I did that. All in the name of The Job for the Machine. And selfishness. What a tool am I. And she bought me a watch to say she loved me anyway.

Reminds me of the depth of depravity of my soul. Sigh.