Monday, December 29, 2008

I know I just posted but...

I found this over at the sojourners blog...

"When the song of the angel is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost — To heal the broken — To feed the hungry –
To release the prisoner — To rebuild the nations –
To bring peace among brothers and sisters –
To make music in the heart."

- Howard Thurman

3 reasons why christmas was insane...

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and all but come on people...

Santa with a hot babe on his motorbike.

A pre-decorated "Thomas Kinkade - painter of light" collectible tree. And...

This house is entitled, "The gang's all here!" Wowy. Well, hope your days were merry and bright. Happy new year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A coming wave

I was dancing with my 3 year old girl, Stella in our living room. She had pure joy on her face as we danced, marched and twirled around.

A concept in Orthodox theology is that the trinity is in this state continually. They dance and invite us to the dance. This is life, stepping in time with the Trinity.

I took Stella's hands and we started to spin. Her smile widened and as I lifted her from the ground to swing her free, there was a tiny flash of panic and then sheer laughter...complete happiness.

That must be what death is like. We're learning how to dance in step with a loving Father and family. Suddenly abandon, trust, a flash of panic then laughter and light. We're all one step closer. Let's dance.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Christmastime again!

No one asked for it, but here it is...Chaz and Donald (pronounced t'onalt) serve up a steaming holiday classic! Enjoy...I think.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Podcast!

I came from and still work with a relief, development and education organization in Canada called Global Youth Network. Recently, I sat down with Dave, my good friend and director of Global to talk about what's happening across Canada and beyond.

Glonk here to listen online or download.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I love Canada!

Canadians are nice. I've heard them described as polite and that is true but they are genuinely friendly. At least most Canadians I have met. Brenden really isn't this grumpy. He's very friendly and kind. I love the atmosphere up here...virtually free of guile.

And I get to go here every day. Sweet coffee and doughnuts and bagel sandwiches. No wonder Canadians are so nice...

And then there's the little surprises along the way. Like, you could say to yourself, "No, I don't have enough for a coffee, I just have a pocket full of change...oh wait, it's 7 dollars!!!!"

And it's not just Canada..I'm in Winnipeg, MB...just above Minnesota out here on the great, wide prairie. And where did I find myself the other day...but on the street Niel Young grew up on! Niel Young!!!! Bob Dylan was just here on this street...check this out!

And the Justice Discipleship Training School has been awesome. It has been a blast being with this team (I've been sharing this week on evangelism) that genuinely likes each other and are challenging each other deeper into Jesus' heart, into loving the neighborhood they are in and getting ready to join with the people in Uganda for a couple of months. We eat dinner every night at a local, co-op style cafe that was started by a church to bring life and enhance the culture of a needy neighborhood. Pray for them. They are cool.

All in all, it's been a great week. Only one down side to being here...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Howdy folks, only 3 more weeks to enjoy one of the most popular live video feeds of all time...Puppy-Cam! You can watch the puppies, read about the puppies and chat about the puppies. Puppies! Yay!

See the puppies here!

Adorable...and weird.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The body of Christ

This is a picture hanging on my Dad's wall. Dad used to live in a 2 story house full of antiques and very dramatically decorated...our house was kind of like a museum (we even had an old chair with a rope hanging across know...a "do not sit in this chair" rope). This is one of the paintings I looked at a lot growing up. It's sadness and beauty always captured me...even as a little kid.

Dad suffers with dementia and now lives in a small, low income apartment cared for by my two cousins Timmy and Denise. Timmy is mentally handicapped and Denise takes care of both Dad and Timmy day to day. My sister manages the house logistics and gives oversight and help to keep the little group going.

As I looked at the painting again on our recent trip back, it struck me in a new way. What's happening in this picture is what happens in that little home. As my cousins and my Sister faithfully bathe, soothe, feed and love my Dad, they are caring for Jesus. I seldom encounter such humility and grace. It is holy ground, sad and beautiful.

"Inasmuch as you did it for the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me." -Jesus

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kentucky and Chicago

So we're visiting my sister and Dad and other family here in Owensboro, Kentucky. We flew here about a week and a half ago...

In Kentucky, you eat...good food. This is from a place called Culver's. Home of the famous "Butter Burger". BUTTER BURGER! A Burger with butter. Amie had the pot roast sandwich there...

My Dad is doing ok. He has a dementing illness kind of like Alzheimer's. He doesn't talk very much but it seems he has genuinely enjoyed being with the family as we gather every few days. He watches the kids play and laughs with them and listens to our stories. He is definitely offering his presence and that is very precious to us.

Did I mention that we eat here...this is my Sister and Brother-in-law's church. They have a community soup kitchen every Wednesday. They feed their neighbors good food and offer dignity and a welcoming environment...

This past weekend, my Sister lent us her car and we drove to Chicago to Jesus People, USA for our friend's wedding. Jesus People is like being in one of the elf communities in the Lord of the don't quite know how they do anything but it seems to work. Over 500 people all living together in Christian community and care. This is the only shot I got of the place but it kinda describes it very well. This is a shot in the cafeteria of a young guy praying with and caring for a disabled man before the church service on Sunday morning in the cafeteria. You see people of every different kind living, celebrating and working together. It's a beautiful place and a, well, magical wedding.

We went to see the bean. If you don't know about the bean then there's not much to say...except, here's the bean..

Did I mention that we've been eating well on this trip? After the bean, we miraculously found a free parking space one half a block from the miracle mile on Michigan Ave in Downtown Chicago! We wandered looking for FAO Schwarz (which is closed...booo) but stumbled around the corner here where they were just about to open for lunch...

Have you eaten here?! Oh my. Oh wow...

So now we're back in Kentucky...or as Stella calls it "To-tucky". Oh, on our way back we ate here...

...we've been doing that a lot. And we'll while away our last few days being with Dad and participating in church life here. We'll probably eat more and have some campfires and enjoy the fall. Oh yeah, Owensboro has bugs. Really big bugs. They are cool. For more pics from our YWAM work back home and our recent team we hosted from Canada...GLONK HERE! Leave a comment or drop me a line if you can.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Phone pictures

Some snap shots from my phone along the way...

This is the most recent of Stella...right before her ear tube surgery. She did great and is all ready for her trip to Kentucky. She won't stop talking about it..."Daddy, I fly with you to 'tucky?!"

This is Arlie and Dave. Dave was on a team we just hosted from Stanley Park Church in Kitchener, Ontario; Canada and Arlie is from his Hobo shack. Arlie has on a Canada hat and Dave is sporting a Modesto hat. They are both helping to feed to folks of South 9th St. a hot meal.

This is the blue print sketch of our new (to us) church building. On the corner of Hadden and Trask in Modesto, this little church was built for a Wesleyan congregation and has been empty for over 4 years. The Canadian team helped us with a lot of clean up in the yard and inside the building. There is quite a buzz in the neighborhood about the new church that's coming. We're really excited!

And finally for now...if you ever want to know what kind of town Modesto is...this pretty much sums it up. Our portraits of success case in the airport to greet visitors is empty.

Wanna see a few more phone pictures? Go to our YWAM Modesto Blog for a few more.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Be like Momo

This is a picture of my grandparents. We called them Momo and Popo. Popo was a rigger for Louisville Gas and Electric Company. Momo was his wife. They were happy. They were loving. They lived for their family. They grew a huge garden and shared it with their church. They worshiped in simplicity. They rose early and worked hard all day. They canned food for the winter. Popo watered his garden from the rain hand (well into his eighties). They rarely complained and always laughed.

I've especially been thinking of Momo lately. She refused to talk politics. She refused to let you know who she voted for on election day. She went to the polls, cast her vote and didn't feel the need to talk about it.

In so many ways, we should all be more like Momo.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Some Whitler highlights...

Howdy folks, I got some blog ideas in the works but I thought it'd be nice to show a few pictures and tell a few stories. Here we go...first the kids...

Sam recently finished his Aikido lessons. He did great. He was quite intent on getting the moves just right. Aikido is a martial art that teaches how to defuse a threatening situation. It requires focus and precise movement. Sam grew a lot in these areas and is still practicing. Of course, Josh and I are the only ones that really attack

Josh. Are pictures really worth a thousand words? ...cause this pretty much describes Josh these days...

Lego and reading. That's it. By the way, Josh is reading the book series that created the fantasy geek that I am today. It's a great little "tip of the hat to Narnia" type series called "the Archives of Antropos" I loved them and it's fun to see him loving them too.

And Stella...A friend of Aaron's stayed with us for a bit (hi Christine!) and Stella loved her and her clothes...

There's not much more to say.

Last week we had a great BBQ on south 9th St. But the only pictures I got were of Arley making his now famous "Burgerdog"

I didn't eat one, I promise.

This past Saturday, we took our kids club out to the park at Knights Ferry, a little community that was built in the 1800's. The river gorge is beautiful and the kids really enjoyed swimming, hiking and frog hunting. I gave the girls my camera and this is what they came up with...

This is the longest covered bridge in California! Here's the kids in front of "Shrek's Shack"

Frogs and snakes and, er, shoes beware!

For several reasons, this is one of my most favorite graffitis ever...

And oh, yeah, recently, for arts sake, I grew a beard that was supposed to become a mustache for a little funny video we were going to try to make. Here's what the world is missing by me not having a mustache. I think this is number 1 on the list of top things that shouldn't be...

Sorry. See you soon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Real Quick

Alright, I haven't blogged in a while (who reads this anyway?) but, I thought I'd add this just so you know...Jack in the Box now serves fried nuggets of Macaroni and Cheese. Hmm. They're not bad. Hopefully more depth and inspiration come soon.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jesus' love

"He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered.

They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

He said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!"

And He said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent.

After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him." -Mark 3

We don't know a lot about love and how it operates. I've been thinking about love lately. A post by my friend Beth and another from Mary have helped me too. Does love mean you overlook everything and be 'nice'? Does it mean you pick every battle? How do you "sin not" in your anger?

This story about Jesus gives me a clue. He was angry and grieved. This was not a slight on Jesus' personal pride. Jesus was not angry for his own sake. Ever secure, he was grieved and angry on their behalf.

Jesus grieved over how locked in and stubborn they were and with authority (not rebellion) he acted and healing came. Jesus' pro-active authority shut the mouths of his accusers.

There is a time to be angry, reasons to grieve - but complaint and rebellion do not bring healing, love and action do.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The county fair.

We've been here for 7 years this summer. We've never been to the county fair. So, when we heard about "kids get in free night" and "free 'Raven Simone'" night all in the same night...hey, why not. Let's get the ball rolling with some variations on a theme...

And these...when we saw these we could not resist paying waaaaaaaaaaay too much for them. They were not as good as they they look good? I think the fair food smell kinda gets in when you're surrounded with it and well, takes over and makes you do something crazy. these fries...

They were VERY greasy. Very. They were wet...soaking with grease. We threw them away before they were done. If you know the Whitlers...that's quite a thing. And then there was Raven. The doors opened at 5 for the 8:30pm show. The stadium was packed at 5. We didn't really make it in. Josh and I squeezed in to standing room. Here she is saying good night...or not...I can't get the sound to work...well, you can kinda see her just like we kinda saw her...

And finally...the can imagine the music I guess...

The fair...I's kind of like, pay money to get in and spend money. But we took our dinner and only spent a little bit and we saw Raven and got sick on fries and had some, yeah. The fair. The end.