Here are our kids out in the first snowfall. I love the Christmas season. Posted by Picasa

Here is the picture that came in a close second to send out in our Christmas cards this year. Posted by Picasa

Eli is just a quiet and tranquil piano player.  Posted by Picasa

This is a picture of Eli dreaming up devious plans to take over the world. Posted by Picasa

These guys look like it would be a blast to take a bath with. Posted by Picasa

Would you like to take a bath with these madmen? Posted by Picasa

Isaac dressed up as a warrior for Halloween. Posted by Picasa

Isaac dressed up as a monk for Halloween. He was the spiritual advisor for the family warrior. Posted by Picasa

"If only Isaac would stop throwing all of these toys at me." Posted by Picasa

This is a picture of Isaac watching the ticket counter machine eat his tickets that he won playing games. The ticket eater machine appears to have been the best attraction at Chuck-E-Cheeses, where we went for Isaac's 4th birthday. Posted by Picasa

"Aren't you glad you use dial. Don't you wish everyone did." Posted by Picasa

"My daddy always says to watch out for the potholes." Posted by Picasa

"Look. I can blow out my cheeks like Chuckie, but I will not smile." Posted by Picasa

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a Playground Prayer

When tucking Isaac in tonight, I asked him what he wanted to thank God for; he chose playgrounds.

I've decided to write a Playground Prayer.

We thank you for everything - especially for playgrounds. Although it is cold outside now and we haven't visited one for a while we remember the happiness we experienced there. We remember sliding and climbing, we remember running and swinging. We remember laughing and being comforted after falling.

Thank you for playgrounds. Thank you Father.

We ask that when we experience the joy of a playground in the future that we will be reminded of you. Help us to turn every moment of happiness into moments of worship to you. We want our moments of joy on the playground to bring glory to you. Help us to turn our playground experiences into worship experiences.

In your Son's name we pray,
Let it be.


I found a story encouraging. Some people got injured at the Macy's Parade, but they aren't suing.


I want to write a post soon entitled "Not an Ivory Tower but a City on a Hill," but I just haven't figured it all out. So if you want to be creative and write a blog based on that title, it would be a neat experience. I will share it here.

Watch out for the potholes.

Coming Soon

Another post is coming soon. It has been done in my head. I just have to find time to write it.

Have I mentioned that I hate looking for a church?

Watch out for the potholes.

Surprise Me - A Day of Expectation - Baptismal Electrocution and more

I feel an overwhelming sense of expectation today. For those that don't believe God interacts with us in guiding us outside of Scriptures, you can just consider it my hormones. It might sound weird, but I'm pretty sure I get this feeling of expectation every time God has done something drastic in my life. I can't really describe it. Maybe I'm dreaming this all up. We'll see.

I woke up at 4:00 this morning to the sound of the strongest wind I have ever heard.

Previously, I had been through a devastating storm in Alma, MI, where trees were blown down all over town. I sat with a friend near the bay window in my upstairs bedroom and watched the storm. It wasn't anything compared to this despite the fact that it devastated the town. Power was out for over seven days. The whole experience was rather neat.

But the wind this morning was much stronger than it was then, or at least it sounded that way. I got out of bed, went over to the window, and the sound of the wind increased to a great and overwhelming roar. I declared, "Lindsay, let's get the kids to the basement." This was our first basement experience in our marriage. We ran into the kids room. I grabbed Isaac. She grabbed Eli. We ran with our kids down the stairs and into the basement. The noise died down in about two minutes and we were left with what seems to be a typical severe thunderstorm. We went back upstairs. I turned on the television. All they said is that there was a severe thunderstorm warning. We put the kids back to bed. They went down surprisingly well. Then, we went to bed. I couldn't fall asleep.

Eventually I gave up on struggling with sleep. I got out of bed, came downstairs, turned on the radio to WOWO to listen to the weather while I played games. Coast to Coast AM was on. The first segment I heard was a segment on Energy Vampires. An interesting concept. I have no idea on whether it is true. This was followed by the segment I am going to talk about, which was followed by a segment with a psychiatrist who can induce people with the ability to talk to the dead, which might be true but I don't think it is something Christians should dabble in. Weird stuff.

But the segment that caused me to stop playing games had Terry Esau, the writer of the book Surprise Me: A 30-Day Faith Experiment, on. He was justifiably uncomfortable sharing what he had to share after a segment on Energy Vampires.

I'm sure you have heard the story of Kyle Lake, a pastor in Waco, TX, who was electrocuted last Sunday during a baptismal service. Like normal, the media didn't really share the whole story. I found it rather thought-provoking. I still don't know what to think of it.

Last Sunday the church was launching a big "Surpise Me" event. They had big "Surprise Me" banners hung up. They were going to join as a church praying "surprise me today" to God every morning. Then they would write down in the evening every way that they were surprised by God. Terry Esau was at the church to give a guest presentation to help launch the event. He actually thought that Kyle Lake, who was a leader in the emerging church movement, was just doing a skit to kick off the "Surprise Me" event. But then reality sunk in. Terry realized that what he was watching wasn't any skit but was a church watching their pastor die in front of their eyes. Tragic. Sad. Surprising?

The church still launched the "Surprise Me" event. Terry volunteered to not give the presentation, but the leaders of the church said that it seemed that God had lined things up for this event to be started in such circumstances. They said that there were too many coincidences that caused this event to be planned at this time.

I have no conclusions on whether God electrocuted Kyle Lake or not. Could he? Of course. Would he? Of course. Did he? He's not telling me. It might not be a fun thing to talk about, but I'm sure any devout Christian would be comfortable in dying a death that resulted in God being glorified. Whether God caused it or not, I pray that He will be glorified through this event.

Anyway, I have an uneasy sense of expectation today. Maybe it won't amount to anything. I guess we have to be careful in choosing what church to visit today. Please pray that we would find a church home.

Watch out for potholes.


I also found this blog from a member of the church. I found the conclusion to Kyle Lake's last sermon very interesting. She posted it there.

Live. And Live Well.BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.Get knee-deep in a noveland LOSE track of time.If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own. If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.

Holy Halloween

Well, Holy Halloween went great. I would be remiss to not thank those directly involved. It was an amazing experience. We planned to cook and hand out 100 hot dogs. After 290 hot dogs, 4 extra trips to the grocery store, running out of 5 gallons of punch (not nearly enough) and five gallons of chili (almost just right), we were ready to tear the tent down.

The only sad thing is that I feel the glory was brought to us rather than to God. If a church name was attached to the project, that wouldn't have been the case. But it wasn't, so we were left to make due with the situation we were in. We still felt called to love the community whether a church was involved or not. Hopefully next year a church that will not be the case. I do think the community felt loved. I just wish they would've have been loved by people and a church.

I wouldn't suggest copying the program for your community. What made me think of doing this and what made it work so well is that trick-or-treating is almost the only time the streets of Antwerp are filled with people. It seems to me that Jesus should have a presence wherever he can, and this was our way of bringing Jesus into the trick-or-treating that Antwerp goes crazy over. Find what your community goes crazy over and pray about finding a way to bring Jesus into that event.

You might even believe that Halloween (moreso than Easter or Christmas) is a pagan holiday that should be shunned by Christians, but I challenge you to consider how such a holiday can be redeemed rather than shunned. We follow a God who doesn't shun those who are fallen. He even went so far as to send His Son to live among the fallen in order to redeem them. He wasn't afraid of getting his hands dirty in order to redeem the loved. We are called to do the same.

Watch out for the potholes.