Things Work Out

Oh. Hello again.

Seems to be an annual thing – a monkey wrench in the blogging plans for posting every week. Well, at least this time I’m pretty sure I have a good reason. There’s a little story involved so pull up a chair if you’re so inclined. Otherwise, we’ll be back to regularly scheduled mayhem next week.

It’s supposed to be Writing Wednesday here. To tie it in, I’ll say now that I’m glad I didn’t try to do NaNoWriMo. But the story starts before this decision.

It has been a year for strange occurrences. From meeting in a traditional church setting to spending Sunday nights in a park, to my first writer’s conference, 2012 has been a different beast.

The good news is, the Lord is in control and He guides His people.

We’ll pick up in the summer when my wife and I are trying to plan for a trip to Disneyland we’ve been wanting to do for a while. As a homeschooling family, we have freedom to do it at alternate times when the crowds aren’t as big. We considered the second week of September, after Labor Day and the final big push for the summer crowd. I sat at the computer to look for places and crunch numbers, but nothing ever seemed right. In Christian circles we’d say I didn’t have peace about it.

We decided to postpone Disney until the spring. It would probably be too much since I was going to Dallas later in the month for the conference anyway.

It didn’t hurt that we hadn’t spent that money when our sewer backed up in the basement while I was gone.

That was fun to come home to, a dug up front lawn and displaced basement. My wife was a real trooper dealing with it while I was hanging out with writers. Not fun, but it would have been much worse if we’d spent a few thousand dollars a couple of weeks prior. It worked out.

Now we’re heading toward November. One of our family’s favorite artists is TobyMac. Even my four year old loves him. And the Winter Jam tour was bringing him and several other acts to Boise. Sounds like a good time for a weekend road trip. I got the time off from work and everything.

Then my wife and I talked about the details. It was going to conflict with some other events. We could do it, but it would be tough. The concert didn’t require tickets purchased ahead of time, so we scrapped the plans. Again, it wasn’t only the schedule – we didn’t have peace about it. It wasn’t what we were supposed to do.

I also thought about participating in NaNo this year. I haven’t had good luck with it before, but on October 30th I wondered if it would be a good idea to get something out there. I did a trial on Halloween, writing 600 words of gutter trash and realizing (hopefully for good) that NaNo just doesn’t work for me. Anyway – I decided against that too.

Both of these lost opportunities turned out to be a good thing.

You know how there are always contests where people win trips and crazy things. Do you ever hear of anyone winning those? Not me…

Until November 1st.

When I got a call at lunch while at work, I didn’t expect the following:

“Do you remember the Facebook contest you entered to win tickets to the Boise State/Hawaii game on Oahu? Because you won. You and a guest will be going to Honolulu next week. What do you have to say?”

My response: I guess I need a babysitter!

We actually won a trip to Hawaii! It does happen. (Now everyone is flocking to Facebook to like every contest they can find. Who knows, it could happen to you?)

These are little things in the scheme of life – not going to a concert or postponing a vacation. Why would God be speaking to us about such things?

He cares about His people. He cares about the little things. He speaks to His children today. He knows the future.

I’m thankful that we didn’t go to Disneyland. I want the experience with my family, but September would have been a disaster. It was bad enough as it was, but we had the money cushion to deal with it.

I’m thankful we didn’t go to Winter Jam. A bunch of our friends went and had a blast. I’m sorry my kids missed out. But…I think I’ll take a once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii over that.

I know there are people out there still recovering from Superstorm Sandy or going through other horrible things in life. Why is God doing these little things for me when others have such huge issues in front of them?

I don’t fully know. We all have our storms in life. I’ve had mine. So has my wife. There are seasons to everything. I know Jesus weeps with those who have lost much and wants them to turn to Him. He brings blessings to the believer and the non-believer. Storms can hit the righteous and the wicked.

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m thankful that my God is holy, wise, and loves me enough to give me a nudge in the right direction when I can’t see the pothole or pot of gold just around the bend.

Mahalo Lord.

Things Work Out

Oh. Hello again.

Seems to be an annual thing – a monkey wrench in the blogging plans for posting every week. Well, at least this time I’m pretty sure I have a good reason. There’s a little story involved so pull up a chair if you’re so inclined. Otherwise, we’ll be back to regularly scheduled mayhem next week.

It’s supposed to be Writing Wednesday here. To tie it in, I’ll say now that I’m glad I didn’t try to do NaNoWriMo. But the story starts before this decision.

It has been a year for strange occurrences. From meeting in a traditional church setting to spending Sunday nights in a park, to my first writer’s conference, 2012 has been a different beast.

The good news is, the Lord is in control and He guides His people.

We’ll pick up in the summer when my wife and I are trying to plan for a trip to Disneyland we’ve been wanting to do for a while. As a homeschooling family, we have freedom to do it at alternate times when the crowds aren’t as big. We considered the second week of September, after Labor Day and the final big push for the summer crowd. I sat at the computer to look for places and crunch numbers, but nothing ever seemed right. In Christian circles we’d say I didn’t have peace about it.

We decided to postpone Disney until the spring. It would probably be too much since I was going to Dallas later in the month for the conference anyway.

It didn’t hurt that we hadn’t spent that money when our sewer backed up in the basement while I was gone.

That was fun to come home to, a dug up front lawn and displaced basement. My wife was a real trooper dealing with it while I was hanging out with writers. Not fun, but it would have been much worse if we’d spent a few thousand dollars a couple of weeks prior. It worked out.

Now we’re heading toward November. One of our family’s favorite artists is TobyMac. Even my four year old loves him. And the Winter Jam tour was bringing him and several other acts to Boise. Sounds like a good time for a weekend road trip. I got the time off from work and everything.

Then my wife and I talked about the details. It was going to conflict with some other events. We could do it, but it would be tough. The concert didn’t require tickets purchased ahead of time, so we scrapped the plans. Again, it wasn’t only the schedule – we didn’t have peace about it. It wasn’t what we were supposed to do.

I also thought about participating in NaNo this year. I haven’t had good luck with it before, but on October 30th I wondered if it would be a good idea to get something out there. I did a trial on Halloween, writing 600 words of gutter trash and realizing (hopefully for good) that NaNo just doesn’t work for me. Anyway – I decided against that too.

Both of these lost opportunities turned out to be a good thing.

You know how there are always contests where people win trips and crazy things. Do you ever hear of anyone winning those? Not me…

Until November 1st.

When I got a call at lunch while at work, I didn’t expect the following:

“Do you remember the Facebook contest you entered to win tickets to the Boise State/Hawaii game on Oahu? Because you won. You and a guest will be going to Honolulu next week. What do you have to say?”

My response: I guess I need a babysitter!

We actually won a trip to Hawaii! It does happen. (Now everyone is flocking to Facebook to like every contest they can find. Who knows, it could happen to you?)

These are little things in the scheme of life – not going to a concert or postponing a vacation. Why would God be speaking to us about such things?

He cares about His people. He cares about the little things. He speaks to His children today. He knows the future.

I’m thankful that we didn’t go to Disneyland. I want the experience with my family, but September would have been a disaster. It was bad enough as it was, but we had the money cushion to deal with it.

I’m thankful we didn’t go to Winter Jam. A bunch of our friends went and had a blast. I’m sorry my kids missed out. But…I think I’ll take a once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii over that.

I know there are people out there still recovering from Superstorm Sandy or going through other horrible things in life. Why is God doing these little things for me when others have such huge issues in front of them?

I don’t fully know. We all have our storms in life. I’ve had mine. So has my wife. There are seasons to everything. I know Jesus weeps with those who have lost much and wants them to turn to Him. He brings blessings to the believer and the non-believer. Storms can hit the righteous and the wicked.

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m thankful that my God is holy, wise, and loves me enough to give me a nudge in the right direction when I can’t see the pothole or pot of gold just around the bend.

Mahalo Lord.

Lessons Learned, Day 3

Well, 2010 is 8 days away from being in the history books. Quite an amazing year, went by amazingly fast!

I’ve been considering things I’ve learned in the last year. Lesson 1 and lesson 2 are already up. What is the 3rd lesson for the year?

Lesson #3: Love a lot.

A friend of mine recommended I check out “The Peasant Princess” podcast series by Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I’m not turning into a Reformed acolyte any time soon, but there were many good things in that series. I noticed he liked to talk about being a servant and being generous, and that sums up a heart of love. I have tried to show love to my wife more in the last few months, and I think it has made an impact in both our lives.

Once we get past our selfish nature, loving isn’t a hard thing to do. We can do a lot of little things to show love around. I was in a Christmas gift exchange game this week, where we traded around DVD’s. When it came to my turn, the movie I wanted was “locked” by being traded too many times, and there wasn’t really anything else interesting. One woman was stuck with a set of creepy movies, and was bummed about it, because no one would steal hers.

So I did.

She got to pick out another movie, and was happy to get a chick flick. I don’t want the creepy flicks, but it seemed simple to let her have another chance to find a good movie. She was really touched by it. Not a big deal to me, but it meant something to her.

It’s a good lesson for this time of year: show some more love, people! Find a way to serve someone, to be generous. You’ll get a reward just as good back, I bet.

Lessons Learned, Day 3

Well, 2010 is 8 days away from being in the history books. Quite an amazing year, went by amazingly fast!

I’ve been considering things I’ve learned in the last year. Lesson 1 and lesson 2 are already up. What is the 3rd lesson for the year?

Lesson #3: Love a lot.

A friend of mine recommended I check out “The Peasant Princess” podcast series by Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I’m not turning into a Reformed acolyte any time soon, but there were many good things in that series. I noticed he liked to talk about being a servant and being generous, and that sums up a heart of love. I have tried to show love to my wife more in the last few months, and I think it has made an impact in both our lives.

Once we get past our selfish nature, loving isn’t a hard thing to do. We can do a lot of little things to show love around. I was in a Christmas gift exchange game this week, where we traded around DVD’s. When it came to my turn, the movie I wanted was “locked” by being traded too many times, and there wasn’t really anything else interesting. One woman was stuck with a set of creepy movies, and was bummed about it, because no one would steal hers.

So I did.

She got to pick out another movie, and was happy to get a chick flick. I don’t want the creepy flicks, but it seemed simple to let her have another chance to find a good movie. She was really touched by it. Not a big deal to me, but it meant something to her.

It’s a good lesson for this time of year: show some more love, people! Find a way to serve someone, to be generous. You’ll get a reward just as good back, I bet.

Lessons Learned, Day 2

On Tuesday I posted the first of a series of “lessons learned” for 2010. At the end of the post I mentioned that there was a corollary lesson that came from the same event.

Lesson #2 – The Little Things Matter

The things we do day by day matter. Little things can be a blessing to others or come back to bite us. In my first post I talk about a situation that may be overblown, but people are judging harshly. The flip side is that, if the person I know did things a little bit differently, they may not be dragged into this mess at all.

We never know what effect our actions will have. I realized a long time ago that if I act rude to another driver, I could be seeing them the next day in my job, or run into them in a position of needing their help. How would that go over if I acted like a jerk?

When we talk about God as watching everything, that should motivate us to walk in integrity when alone as well as before the crowds. Sadly, it seems we still need motivation. It comes down to our selfishness, doesn’t it? We give in to acting without thinking, being petty, joining in with the gossip, the bashing people behind their backs.

Still, I have had experiences where someone commented on something I did that was positive, that touched them, and I don’t recall it being a big deal. Little things matter both ways – for good or ill.


Lord, this reminds me of the importance of walking in Your Spirit daily. If we keep Your word in our hearts, if we keep our ears attuned to the still, small voice, if we put first the the Kingdom of Heaven, what a difference it makes in our lives. It also spills out to the people around us. Help us to learn to live like this more each day!

Lessons Learned, Day 2

On Tuesday I posted the first of a series of “lessons learned” for 2010. At the end of the post I mentioned that there was a corollary lesson that came from the same event.

Lesson #2 – The Little Things Matter

The things we do day by day matter. Little things can be a blessing to others or come back to bite us. In my first post I talk about a situation that may be overblown, but people are judging harshly. The flip side is that, if the person I know did things a little bit differently, they may not be dragged into this mess at all.

We never know what effect our actions will have. I realized a long time ago that if I act rude to another driver, I could be seeing them the next day in my job, or run into them in a position of needing their help. How would that go over if I acted like a jerk?

When we talk about God as watching everything, that should motivate us to walk in integrity when alone as well as before the crowds. Sadly, it seems we still need motivation. It comes down to our selfishness, doesn’t it? We give in to acting without thinking, being petty, joining in with the gossip, the bashing people behind their backs.

Still, I have had experiences where someone commented on something I did that was positive, that touched them, and I don’t recall it being a big deal. Little things matter both ways – for good or ill.


Lord, this reminds me of the importance of walking in Your Spirit daily. If we keep Your word in our hearts, if we keep our ears attuned to the still, small voice, if we put first the the Kingdom of Heaven, what a difference it makes in our lives. It also spills out to the people around us. Help us to learn to live like this more each day!

Lessons Learned, Day 1

Last week was the first time I totally whiffed on a Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour, featuring The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers. I felt bad about it, but some things were going on that took away any spare attention I had (aside from work and family), and I hadn’t read the book. Anyway, I heard good things about it, and should perhaps check it out.

One thing that came out of the events of last week: I learned an important lesson, and it made me think about other lessons I’ve learned through the year. Sounds like fertile ground for a series of blog posts!

Lesson #1 – We are quick to judge

There is a local case of some young men being charged with some crimes. Normally, I would shake my head and condemn such hooligans, and move on with life. In this case, I knew one of the men well, and was sure that he wouldn’t be party to such things. Through the week news started to trickle out that brought a question to many of the charges, especially why the one young man was even included in this event.

The reaction from the community has been ugly. Most people are doing what *I* would have done, namely condemning the men and slandering them with nasty comments. The internet doesn’t help things, between people leaving comments on articles from local news sites to Facebook. On one news site I posted a comment regarding people being innocent until proven guilty. That…didn’t go over well. I reiterated the point, and another reader wrote, “your position is admirable but not practical in our society.”

Is that sad, or what?

In this instance, I believe I have inside information that makes me see the case opposite of many people. I have been disheartened by the responses, but I have to confess I would be making similar judgments if not for my familiarity with one of the accused and the case.

Certainly victims of crimes should be treated with respect and taken seriously. I worry though that our instant culture has produced instant judgment. The due process of our judicial system isn’t given a chance to work. No matter what comes out later on in this case, there will be a taint on these men.

It makes me realize that I should slow down, consider both sides, and realize a couple of things:
1. I don’t have all the information.

2. I am not the final arbiter. Ultimately God is. He knows the hearts of the accusers, the accused, and me as I judge them all.

There is a corollary to this lesson, and I’ll share that in the next blog post.


Lord, help me to judge not, lest I am judged. We are so quick with our opinion in this internet age, when it is easy to spread it out quickly and often without consequence as we hide behind “screen names.” Help me to see with Your perspective when I am presented with a judgment call, to know Your heart above all.

Lessons Learned, Day 1

Last week was the first time I totally whiffed on a Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour, featuring The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers. I felt bad about it, but some things were going on that took away any spare attention I had (aside from work and family), and I hadn’t read the book. Anyway, I heard good things about it, and should perhaps check it out.

One thing that came out of the events of last week: I learned an important lesson, and it made me think about other lessons I’ve learned through the year. Sounds like fertile ground for a series of blog posts!

Lesson #1 – We are quick to judge

There is a local case of some young men being charged with some crimes. Normally, I would shake my head and condemn such hooligans, and move on with life. In this case, I knew one of the men well, and was sure that he wouldn’t be party to such things. Through the week news started to trickle out that brought a question to many of the charges, especially why the one young man was even included in this event.

The reaction from the community has been ugly. Most people are doing what *I* would have done, namely condemning the men and slandering them with nasty comments. The internet doesn’t help things, between people leaving comments on articles from local news sites to Facebook. On one news site I posted a comment regarding people being innocent until proven guilty. That…didn’t go over well. I reiterated the point, and another reader wrote, “your position is admirable but not practical in our society.”

Is that sad, or what?

In this instance, I believe I have inside information that makes me see the case opposite of many people. I have been disheartened by the responses, but I have to confess I would be making similar judgments if not for my familiarity with one of the accused and the case.

Certainly victims of crimes should be treated with respect and taken seriously. I worry though that our instant culture has produced instant judgment. The due process of our judicial system isn’t given a chance to work. No matter what comes out later on in this case, there will be a taint on these men.

It makes me realize that I should slow down, consider both sides, and realize a couple of things:
1. I don’t have all the information.

2. I am not the final arbiter. Ultimately God is. He knows the hearts of the accusers, the accused, and me as I judge them all.

There is a corollary to this lesson, and I’ll share that in the next blog post.


Lord, help me to judge not, lest I am judged. We are so quick with our opinion in this internet age, when it is easy to spread it out quickly and often without consequence as we hide behind “screen names.” Help me to see with Your perspective when I am presented with a judgment call, to know Your heart above all.

Ownership

We’re getting situated in the new house. It has been almost 2 weeks since we moved in. It is always going to be an adventure. The interesting thing about this house is that it was built 50 years ago by the family we bought it from. They have lived there for the whole time. There are all these little quirks that have been worked into the house over this time.

“Let’s see-to have the power on in this room the lights have to be on.”

“Operating the pump for irrigation-switch on, valve open, no water. Oh right, prime the pump with some water!” (I proceeded to open the chamber on the pump, put water in, and got drenched by the water that gushed out of the chamber I neglected to re-cover).

We certainly prayed about choosing a house, as we have been looking for 3 years before finally finding a place we liked. It is a wonderful house, but not one I would have necessarily chosen in the past. This year, however, it felt…right. Still, it required more know-how and work, and I am not a handyman by any means. To quote from Star Trek, “I’m a PA, not a plumber.”

As we were waiting to move in, I believe the Lord spoke to me about the new house. This house was about taking ownership. Basically: It’s time to grow up some more, son.

Our first house was very appealing because it had recently had major work done, with new floors, windows, siding, roof, etc. I didn’t have to do anything! We did do a little remodeling, but nothing too arduous. It was a good house, but we always knew it was a stop-over house.

The new house has been taken care of very well, but it is still 50 years old with some dated appliances, cupboards, and carpet. There’s more garden and things to take care of. I don’t want to live for a house, but I see how I need to step up and be a little more responsible, as a husband and father. We got comfortable and a little complacent in the old place. Time to step up.

(Don’t worry, some things won’t change, like my love of goofiness. This blog is pledged to stay away from being old and stodgy.)

Between getting the old house ready to sell and the new house established, I’ve learned more about home maintenance than the previous 5 years. I guess the training wheels are off. Hopefully this will spill over into other areas of life, like writing!

Here’s to ownership, and being a good steward. Thank you Lord, for how you bring me along as Your son.

Ownership

We’re getting situated in the new house. It has been almost 2 weeks since we moved in. It is always going to be an adventure. The interesting thing about this house is that it was built 50 years ago by the family we bought it from. They have lived there for the whole time. There are all these little quirks that have been worked into the house over this time.

“Let’s see-to have the power on in this room the lights have to be on.”

“Operating the pump for irrigation-switch on, valve open, no water. Oh right, prime the pump with some water!” (I proceeded to open the chamber on the pump, put water in, and got drenched by the water that gushed out of the chamber I neglected to re-cover).

We certainly prayed about choosing a house, as we have been looking for 3 years before finally finding a place we liked. It is a wonderful house, but not one I would have necessarily chosen in the past. This year, however, it felt…right. Still, it required more know-how and work, and I am not a handyman by any means. To quote from Star Trek, “I’m a PA, not a plumber.”

As we were waiting to move in, I believe the Lord spoke to me about the new house. This house was about taking ownership. Basically: It’s time to grow up some more, son.

Our first house was very appealing because it had recently had major work done, with new floors, windows, siding, roof, etc. I didn’t have to do anything! We did do a little remodeling, but nothing too arduous. It was a good house, but we always knew it was a stop-over house.

The new house has been taken care of very well, but it is still 50 years old with some dated appliances, cupboards, and carpet. There’s more garden and things to take care of. I don’t want to live for a house, but I see how I need to step up and be a little more responsible, as a husband and father. We got comfortable and a little complacent in the old place. Time to step up.

(Don’t worry, some things won’t change, like my love of goofiness. This blog is pledged to stay away from being old and stodgy.)

Between getting the old house ready to sell and the new house established, I’ve learned more about home maintenance than the previous 5 years. I guess the training wheels are off. Hopefully this will spill over into other areas of life, like writing!

Here’s to ownership, and being a good steward. Thank you Lord, for how you bring me along as Your son.