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Showing posts from June, 2010

Celebrating Lauren

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Yesterday Lauren graduated from high school. I am so proud of her! I'm stunned that we have reached this landmark. It seemed to come out of nowhere. In my mind, she is still 13 or 14 and just starting high school. I always seem to be a few years behind.

Having your oldest child go through a major milestone like this generates all kinds of emotions. I'm elated... proud... delighted. I marvel at it. And yet part of me doesn't want to admit that it's happening. It's that part of us that wants to hold on to people -- to freeze time so we can fully take each other in. I guess it's a good thing we have eternity to look foward to. By the time a million years have gone by, I might feel like I know Lauren the way I want to.

I'll post a couple graduation photos, but today I wanted to post this one. This photo carries a ton of meaning for me. It was May 1, 2009. Lauren and I were at LAX airport getting ready to go inside, meet our team, and fly to Haiti for the firs…

Some practical advice on devotions, post 2: "Getting Oriented"

When I sit down to have devotions, I usually go through a brief stage of getting oriented and focused on what I am doing. We come to devotions from all sorts of places in our lives. We may be feeling guilty, excited, distracted, or a host of other things. The orientation step helps us begin to settle in with God. It is a way to switch from daily activities to being fully present with God. This step need not take a long time, but it is important.


Orientation has two basic parts for me:

     1. An introductory verse

     2. A prayer of intention



1. Opening verse

The Book of Common Prayer has a whole assortment of opening verses. Here is one that is in the BCP:

“For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
‘I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isa 57:15).

Here is one that is not in the BCP, but I like it.

“O you who…

Line of the day

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Said by the teacher during the ice cream party in Nathaniel's 2nd-grade class, as one boy asked the teacher if he could have seconds: "No. If you have any more sugar, you will start acting like Nathaniel's dad." Nice! I go on a field trip to the museum, run around with the kids in the park afterward, let them pull me down and pile on me, and the teacher throws me under the bus. Haha!

More Haiti Show-n-Tell appointments

Haiti Show-n-Tell #3... tomorrow morning at Mrs. Hoyam's 2nd-grade class.

Haiti Show-n-Tell #4... Wednesday morning at Miss Hazlewood's 1st-grade class. That is the last day of school. I wonder how that one will go. :-)

It's like being on the seminar circuit, except a lot more fun and zany. Love it!

Haiti Show-n-Tell

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Yesterday I did my second "Haiti Show-n-Tell" at Nathaniel's elementary school. I put together a PowerPoint presentation of facts and photos from our visits to Haiti, including my post-earthquake trip. Both times I have done this, classrooms of first and second graders have listened for an hour straight (which I think is quite amazing). They ask lots of questions, many of them very thoughtful. What fun to hang out with the kids and teach them about life in Haiti!

Some practical advice on devotions

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It occurred to me this morning to write a few posts on daily devotions. I have learned some good lessons over the last few years and want to share them.
After trying several different models, I have come to structure my devotional times after the Morning Prayer service set out in the Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer. I spent several years in the Episcopal church as a lay leader and a staff member in a church. Over those years, I came to appreciate the great wisdom that runs through the Book of Common Prayer, the guide for prayer and church services used in the Anglican Church (the Episcopal Church is the Anglican Church in America).

First, a word on structure. It is worth having a structure in our devotions, even if we don’t follow it slavishly. Having a structure helps us ensure that we will follow through on all the basic activities of a devotional time. In other words, we are less likely to skip important elements.

Here’s the basic structure of a prayer time as laid out in …

What is the blues?

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As I learn guitar, I am becoming more and more of a fan of the blues, especially blues guitar. Yesterday I ran across a snippet by Howlin' Wolf, a blues master of the 1950s-1970s. Here is Howlin' Wolf's response to a foundational question - What is the blues?...
“A lot of people is wonderin’, what is the blues? Well, I’m going to tell you what the blues is. When you aint got no money, you got the blues. When you aint got no money to pay your house rent, you still got the blues. A lot of people holler about ‘I don’t like no blues,’ but when you aint got no money and can’t pay your house rent and can’t buy you no food, you d*** sure got the blues.”
At its best, blues music expresses emotion, and it isn't afraid to go into darker regions of the heart. It is honest. That's one reason to like the blues.

Paul and parenting

I stumbled across a scriptural tidbit on parenting the other day, and I have returned to it a couple of times to be re-oriented. (I have found that life is a daily cycle of being oriented by God's Word, following him but slowly drifting from his ways, and then returning to God and his Word for re-orientation. Without daily re-orientation, I am not good for much.)

This passage on parenting is tucked away in 1 Thessalonians 2. Paul explains to the Thessalonians that he was like a mother and a father to them. It's how he characterizes the motherly and fatherly roles that catches my attention.

Paul on mothering: "As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us" (vv. 6-8).
Motherly key words: gentle... caring... sharing life.This picture of th…