Friday, August 31, 2007


i’ve got a new hobby:
treasure hunting at the flea market!

i’ve been going after daddy-daughter-time
for the past few weeks.
first i pay my quarter to get in,
i pass by the live band
playing music
that you would hear on spanish radio-
then i pass by the farmers selling the fruits
and vegetables and nuts-
and then i just browse.

there are lots of old tools,
clothes, furniture, VHS tapes,
video games, stuffed animals,
but what i’m after is toys!

janie has this doll house-
and there are lots of
different sets of people that live in it-
ariel lives in it, with eric and her friends,
winnie the pooh lives in it
with his friends from the hundred acre wood-
mary poppins lives there,
mickey mouse lives there with his friends
donald and goofy and pluto-
polly pocket and her friends live there-
and so does elmo
and his friends from sesame street!
it’s a pretty crowded place,
but they all seem to work it out.

all of those toys can be found at the flea market!

there are these really, really big bins there-
full to the brim with little toys:
old happy meal toys,
old souvenirs,
and pieces of bigger sets.
and i spend all kinds of time
digging through those bins.
i transfer the toys from one bin to the next
so i can see each and every toy.
its hot under the sun-
i get sweaty, and about 90% of it is junk-
but then there is that 10% that is priceless.
when i find it, i try to keep my cool,
so the price stays down.
for every bin i look through,
i find only 3 or 4 toys that i want-
but those toys are perfect for the dollhouse,
and they would cost me a fortune on e-bay.
when i find that rare toy,
endorphins shoot through my brain
i want to just hold it up and admire it.

i show the handful to the seller and they say
“eh- a dollar.”
music to my ears!

yesterday i found a bunch of trains for jane’s trainset.
5 trains for a dollar-
i took them home, sanitized them,
and she hasn’t stopped playing with them since!
i’m thinking about starting an e-bay business
and becoming some kind of part-time
treasure hunter-
and not just for the money-
for the thrill!

the bible talks about treasure hunters-
proverbs 2 starts out by saying:
“my son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.”

what a challenge!
to search for wisdom-
like i search for those toys-
to dig for it,
hunt for it,
sweat for it,
sacrifice for it,
and cherish it once its found.
sounds like i need to step up my game
and intensify my search.

he ends that passage with the promise-
if i search for wisdom,
like i search for a treasure,
i will find it:
“the knowledge of God.”


happy hunting!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

hot august night...


next time you're bored-

and you don't have any toys-
just play with some tater tots!
its just as fun!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

walk on

Friday, August 24, 2007



hey janie! let's plant some flowers!
first- we have to pour the dirt:

then we have to plant the flowers!

next, we have to WATER the flowers!

wow! they turned out nice!

"consider how the lilies grow.
they do not labor or spin.
yet I tell you, not even Solomon
in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."
-luke 12

isn't it weird-

isn't it weird
that michael vick is going to jail
for killing dogs at his house-
but its legal for people
to terminate their pregnancies?

do we care about pit-bulls
more than babies?
don't get me wrong-
i'm not in favor of killing dogs-
or babies.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

fyi bro-

after enjoying several episodes
of my new favorite show,
the rock life(on VH1)
i'm now replacing "dude" with "bro."
i feel like its a more connective
and intimate way to describe a friend.
so thanks for reading my blog bro-
(i'm still working on it-
it doesn't feel quite natural yet.
hopefully it will soon).
peace, bro-

Sunday, August 19, 2007

track star

did i mention that this girl loves to run?

where is she going in such a hurry?

oh- the horse!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

jethro's advice

today i read exodus 18
in my days as a travelling conference speaker,
we used to use this passage as an ancient argument
for the need for small groups.
and it still speaks that message to me-
but today as i read it,
it had more to say-

moses has just walked out of egypt-
with all of pharaoh’s slaves-
then when they chased him,
he watched them all drown in the red sea.

after that, he watched God
miraculously provide, food and water
to the travelling hebrews.

he goes back to his father-in-law
to share the news.
this is the same guy who he fled to
after he killed that egyptian;
40 years earlier.

his father-in-law, jethro
watches moses at work:

“the next day moses took his seat
to serve as judge for the people,
and they stood around him from morning till evening.
when his father-in-law
saw all that moses was doing for the people,
he said, "what is this you are doing for the people?
why do you alone sit as judge,
while all these people
stand around you from morning till evening?"

moses answered him,
"because the people come to me to seek God's will.
whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me,
and i decide between the parties and inform them
of God's decrees and laws."

moses is a celebrity.
people love him and want to be around him-
he loves being around them.
he loves their attention, and they love his.

“moses' father-in-law replied,
"what you are doing is not good.
you and these people who come to you
will only wear yourselves out.
The work is too heavy for you;
you cannot handle it alone.”


worn out leaders.
worn out people.
heavy loads
that can’t be carried alone.
its not good.
ok- i’m listening.
was moses?

“listen now to me and i will give you some advice,
and may God be with you.
you must be the people's representative before God
and bring their disputes to him.
teach them the decrees and laws,
and show them the way to live
and the duties they are to perform.
but select capable men from all the people—
men who fear God,
trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—
and appoint them as officials over
thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
have them serve as judges
for the people at all times,
but have them bring every difficult case to you;
the simple cases they can decide themselves.
that will make your load lighter,
because they will share it with you.
if you do this and God so commands,
you will be able to stand the strain,
and all these people will go home satisfied."

jethro says to moses:
“stop being a rockstar!”
“its not all about you!”
“get some good guys and have them help you.”
and he makes some promises:
:: your load will be lighter
:: you will be able to stand the strain
:: people will go home satisfied.

that’s a great thought.
happy leaders-
happy people.
share the load.
i need to listen to that.
did moses listen to that?

i mean,
did he really need to?
i mean- he’s moses!
does he really need to take advice
from a guy named jethro?!
he has stared down the pharaoh
and walked through the red sea
he has beat on rocks
and made them gush water.
he was called out by God
from a voice in a burning bush!
i think he could have gotten away with saying
“that’s nice- that’s for those interesting ideas.”
and kept on doing what he was doing.

verse 24 says:
“moses listened to his father-in-law
and did everything he said.”

to me this passage says:
share the load and enlist others-
but it also says
that sometimes the best advice
comes from unlikely sources.
and there are times in life
when we need to stop thinking
that we have got it all figured out
and listen to someone else’s advice.
and that advice
may not be coming out of a burning bush,
but it may be from God just the same.

Friday, August 17, 2007

august 17

eleven years!
and having more fun than ever.
happy anniversary d!

let's see-
we've had:
5 cars-
3 homes,
in 3 different zip codes
and 2 different cities
8 jobs?
1 cat
1 super little girl,
and eleven anniversaries!

"he who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the LORD."
-proverbs 18:22

Thursday, August 16, 2007


today after work, the fam and i jumped into the bug
and went to the san mateo county fair.

of course we went to see the animals,
but the main reason that we went
was to see one of our favorite musical acts,

these 5 kids have been a part of our morning routine
for the last 2 and a half years.
we have all of their songs,
and all of their dvds.
and when we heard that they were coming to the bay area,
we made plans to be there.
jw rocked out-
dancing, running, clapping, shouting-
she's a rocker-
here's a picture of us flashing our high-fives:

after that, we met a bunch of animals,
including cows, chickens, sheep, pigs,
horses, and some rabbits:

we also met a funny goat who like eating hay:

(her little backpack is an undercover baby-leash
which comes in handy because this girl loves to run.
well- it used to be an undercover baby-leash-
she's onto us!
at least she's not gone from us!)
this little girl had so much fun-
she didn't want to leave!

life's good.

"children are a gift from the Lord..."
-psalm 127:3

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

it's you i like


have you ever noticed
that the people with the fewest possessions
have the most gratitude?
or the people who have little
are more thankful for what they have
than the ones who have much?

everyone has a story
of meeting someone who has few possessions,
but much gratitude
and much joy.
and we don’t have to look far to find
people with much wealth,
but little joy-
and little gratitude,
and little satisfaction with their life.

that doesn’t make any sense!
it would make better sense
if the people who have more possessions
would have more gratitude.
but its not like that-

does wealth make us forget
that God has been generous?
does poverty remind us
that even though there is little money,
there is much to be thankful for?

there is always something to be thankful for-
because no matter how bad the situation is,
it could always be worse-
and thankfully, it isn’t.

the bible says in 1 thessalonians 5:
“be joyful always;
pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in christ jesus.”

thankfulness actually chases away sin-
ephesians 5 says:
“let there be no sexual immorality,
impurity, or greed among you.
such sins have no place among God’s people.
obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—
these are not for you.
instead, let there be thankfulness to God.”
(new living)

thankfulness is our “instead.”
thankfulness drives out impurity and greed.
it replaces the gap that nastiness left.

when you stop to consider all that you can be thankful for-
why jeopardize it for something that just isn’t worth it?

thankfulness is a big deal to God-
in romans 1 paul writes about God’s wrath-
and he says that God pours His wrath out on people
who have totally turned their backs on Him.

what does that look like?
he describes them by saying:
“although they knew God,
they neither glorified him as God
nor gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile
and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

a lack of gratitude leads to a dark heart,
and a dull mind,
and a distance from God.

the greek word for thanksgiving is
we sometimes call the Lord’s supper
“the eucharist;”
and that’s because
when we think of all that jesus has done for us,
especially by saving us by his death on the cross,
there is no better reaction than to say,
“thank you.”

Monday, August 13, 2007

thanks unis!

hey uni-versity-students!
thank you!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

what does God smell like?

i was listening to this sermon awhile back
where the pastor was talking about
when Israel was wandering the desert.
he talked about
how they made sacrifices to God everyday.
they would take animals
and roast them on the altar
and God would smell the aroma and be pleased.
the bible mentions God being pleased
by the smell of roasting sacrifices like 35 times.
He concluded:
God loves the smell of barbecue!

the preacher talked about
how the smell of the roasting meat
became synonymous with the presence of God-
or maybe better put:
the Israelites knew that God was present
when the could smell the aroma of the roasting meat.
the preacher concluded:
God smells like a barbecue!
and He smells AWESOME.

well, anyhow-
i pulled up to saratoga federated this morning
because i was officiating the wedding of 2 of my friends:
ben and diane.
as i pulled up, it looked like the place was on fire-
but it wasn’t-
carlos from malibu grill
(the best barbecue in san jose!)
was getting ready to cater the wedding
with his signature ribs, chicken and tri-tip.
i saw the smoke-
and i smelled the aroma,
and i was reminded:
God is here!

when i walked out
i told carlos about how God
smells like barbecue
and he said,
“well i must smell like God all the time!”
and i said
“oh yes-
His smell is ALL over YOU carlos!”
barbecue like his
is best described as divine.

here are some verses to think about:

“present an offering made by fire
as an aroma pleasing to the LORD,
a burnt offering of thirteen young bulls,
two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old,
all without defect.”
-numbers 29:13

“may my prayer be set before you
like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands
be like the evening sacrifice.”
-psalm 141:2

"for we are to God
the aroma of Christ
among those who are being saved
and those who are perishing."
-2 cor. 2:15

Thursday, August 9, 2007

do you love me?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

patriology:: entry 81

Patriology: The Doctrine of the Father.

my kid is super cute.
and it makes me want to hug her.
but the hugs have been few and far between lately.
i say
“dad needs more hugs.”
and she says
i put on a sad face,
but she doesn’t budge.
sometimes she even rubs it in
by going over and giving deanna a hug.

i was trying to get a hug earlier today-
and she was wiggling out of my arms
and i got a thought:
“what if i took janie
to see someone she doesn’t like?”
then i’ll get lots of hugs
because she’ll cling to me
to be safe from a relative
or a friend that she doesn’t like!”

at first i thought,
“no- that wouldn’t be right-
its just that my kid is so cute!
and i adore her!
and i want to be close to her!
would i go to that kind of extreme to get a hug?”

and then i thought about my heavenly father-
does he feel the same way about me?
does he adore me?
does he want to be near me?
and have i been wiggling away?
would he go to extremes to be near me?

and so i imagined
God being in heaven saying
“ok rob-
here is some financial trouble.”
and then i run to him
and am close to him-
until its gone.

and then he says
“ok rob-
here is some relational issue.”
and i run to his side and cling to him-
and that pleases him-
and then i wiggle away
when the danger is gone.

and then he says
“ok rob-
here is a work problem.”
and i spend all sorts of time with him
just the two of us.
and that pleases him.
and then off i am again-
even though i’m small and he is big
i think i can do it without him.

and maybe when i’m in heaven
i’ll look back on all of the trials i’ve seen
and discover that God
didn’t just want to teach me things
or grow me,
he sent me through them
so that i would stop running
for him,
and from him,
and start running
to him.

maybe i should just be near him.
and recognize
i can’t do it without him.

i took a break from writing this
for my favorite time of day-
that’s when deanna washes janie,
and then wraps her up in a fluffy towel
and then sends her out of the bathroom.
janie yells out in her loudest voice:
and then i scoop her up
and “dry her off”
with long hugs.
i laid her on her changing table
and she said

dad loves hugs.

“the LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
-psalm 34:18

“come near to God and he will come near to you.”
-james 4:8

Monday, August 6, 2007

my favorite moment of the day

i was lying in my bed this morning at 6am.

the air was cool, and the world was quiet.
the day had just begun,
but i had already decided that this moment,
is my favorite moment of the day.

all of the sudden,
my girl let out a loud shout in her crib.
bad dream?
dw went in and scooped her up
and brought her into mom and dad’s bed.

i asked janie-
“did you have a dream?”
“a dream about trains?”
janie answered
“dream about taw-mess!”
(thomas the train)

“oh- what happened to thomas?”
i asked-

“nike ba movie”
(it was like the movie)
she answered.

“who was thomas with in your dream?”
i asked-
and then janie listed off thomas the train’s friends:
percy, james, gordon, harold, toby.
and that moment, i decided:
“so far, this is my favorite moment of the day.”

and then janie crawled over
to dad’s side of the bed
and laid on my chest and gave me a hug.
and that moment, i decided:
“so far, this is my favorite moment of the day.”

i went to work at 9.
every monday i have this time
where i get together with some middle school boys
and take them out to have lunch and some fun.
dave came along
to learn how to drive a 15 passenger van.

we went to the jungle.
dave was just the right size for the rides:

dave got some tokens
and started looking
for someone to play air-hockey with.
i told him that i would play him.
dave and i have never
played air-hockey against each other.
he told me that he never loses to anyone
when its his first game against them.

he lost to me.

he was upset and reminded me that
that he never loses to anyone
when its his first game against them.
i told him that
i just never lose at all.
he wanted a re-match
to make it even,
but i declined.
and that bothered him.
and that moment, i decided:
“so far, this is my favorite moment of the day.”

the boys and i rode bumper cars,
we played laser-tag,
and then it was time to leave.

mitchell put one more token into the monopoly game
and hit the jackpot.
one-thousand tickets-
coming out at about one per second.
it took forever!

the boys were flipping out and drawing a crowd.
mitchell had painted a beard and mustache
on his face and it was smearing everywhere.
so there he was-
freaking out,
with a smudgy beard, and armfuls of tickets.

i couldn’t help it,
i was cracking up-
and that moment, i decided:
“so far, this is my favorite moment of the day.”

mitchell redeemed all of those tickets for
(surprise!) CANDY!
he walked out of the jungle
with candy falling out of his stuffed pockets.
we got back super-late.
parents were all mad at me-
but at least i had a good laugh
and a victory over dave.

but now that i think about it,
that morning-hug from my girl
was still
my favorite moment of the day.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


yesterday was crAZY!
it began, like every saturday begins:
with daddy-daughter-day at 9am.
yesterday janie and i went to barnes and noble
to play with the train and read some stories
and then we went to the jungle
to play.

we stopped at burger king
to get her some fries and chicken fingers
and then i dropped her off at home.
because i was leaving for south lake tahoe!
i was officiating adrian and billy’s wedding
that started at 6pm.

mapquest said that it take 4 hours to get there.
i left at 12:30,
figuring that i would get to tahoe at 4:30.
an hour and a half early!

adrian and billy are special to me.
adrian was one of the first 4 girls
to start this new college ministry, uni.
for many weeks at uni, it was just me
and those original 4 girls:
sarah, adrian, diane, and courtney.
i respected those girls so much.
they had such a deep friendship
and looked after each other.
over the years, i have logged many hours
in bible study with those girls,
and in prayer with them and for them.

last year i got to officiate sarah’s wedding to brandon,
and this summer i get to officiate
diane’s wedding to ben,
and adrian’s wedding to billy.
for all 3 of this couples,
i feel that i have had a front row seat
to their courtship, friendship,
and respect for each other.

i knew adrian and billy
before they were dating each other,
i saw their relationship begin and grow.
i remember that time during college man-time
where billy shared that he was going to propose;
and his elaborate proposal plans.
their relationship has been the epitome
of love, respect, affection and joy since it began-
and i got to officiate the wedding
on the shores of lake tahoe!

so getting to tahoe on time was a big deal.
but i took a wrong turn- like 3 times.
i took the route that crosses the benicia bridge,
which is a very slow tool bridge-
it took me an hour to cover 4 miles!
i stopped to eat in sacramento
at the world’s slowest kfc.
and it wasn’t long before
i was wondering if i was going to make it by 6pm
to the shores of south lake tahoe.

i was flying up a mountain in my little red bug.
i arrived at 5:30.
i ran into the bathroom,
changed my clothes,
guzzled a red bull,
and zoomed out to find billy.

i met with the wedding coordinator/ photographer
out on the beach-
the set up looked like this:
it was super windy-
i wasn’t miked-up
and so i knew: my hair would be everywhere-
and no one would be able to hear a word i said.

the wedding began-
the uni girls came down the aisle as bridesmaids
and in walked adrian in her white dress.
my head wasn’t really in the moment-
it was in my notes.
she and billy stood in front of me
with my hair flipping around in the wind.
they faced me
and i began to speak as loudly as i could
so others could hear me
i think i was kind of yelling their vows to them.

the ceremony was super-short
because of the setting,
but i made it even shorter-
it was so windy out-
and no one wanted to hear me go on and on.

before anyone knew it,
they were married, and walking up the aisle.
they took pictures on the shore-
and they were a picture of romance.
and i finally slowed down to remember
just how special they were to me
and how honored i was to be there.

i got back in my car at 7pm.
i listened to the giants lose to the padres
all the way to san jose.
barry bonds tied hank aaron-
driving at night when you’re tired
does funny things to your eyes.
all of those lights
and all of that caffeine
made me a little dizzy- yikes!
but i made it home about 11:30.

i was still a little dizzy for church in the morning,
so dizzy that i didn’t drink my red-bull!
here is a thought that didn’t make it into the ceremony:
earlier this spring,
lake tahoe was hit by a violent wildfire
that took a long time to put out.
at uni, of of our studies was the song of solomon
and that book mentions a wildfire too-
it compares a wildfire to love itself
“place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
it burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away…”

love is strong.
love is undying.
love burns like a fire-
a fire that cannot be extinguished.

God bless you billy and adrian!
thanks for allowing me to be a part of your day
and a part of your story!

Friday, August 3, 2007

jane simpson

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

rob simpson