Sunday, June 29, 2008

this weekend::

this weekend, we discovered mini-golf! (we actually went THREE TIMES. jane loves it!)

we got our first skinned knee. (i lost major points with jw for taking this picture.)

we went to the DOLLHOUSE STORE and looked at TEA SETS!

we rode a horse-

and after all of that fun, we needed a nap!

i can't wait for next weekend!

Friday, June 27, 2008

people make me smile:: june 27

so i go to the gym this morning, walk into the workout room, and i see my gym-bff-gary working out on the weights. i figure that he is all done with his cardio workout. i also figure that he and i will catch up before he leaves. so i get on the bike, put on my radio, and start listening to sportscenter on the gym’s local radio broadcast.

gary gets all done and i see him walking my way on his way out. i pull out my headphones and say hi.
he says, “where have you been? i haven’t seen you in a while.”
i tell him how i’ve been coming in at 6am, and then carol, (the lady that asked him about his dizzy spells) who was on a treadmill behind us blurts out, “GARY! what to go out on a date sometime?!”

so there i am, spinning away on my bike, with an embarrassed gary next to me- and it was then that i knew that i had a new blog-story on my hands. so i listened closely, with a big smile on my face. i wanted to see how he would handle this.

gary replied, “carol, i’m fine. don’t worry about me. i’ll be ok.”
i said, “gary! alright! you’re getting asked out right here at the gym!”
then carol spoke up again saying, “gary! its not good to eat alone. no one wants to eat alone!”
he replied, “carol, i’m fine. but thank you.”

and then i started to wonder, “is this story going under the church-gym blogs or the seniors-are-like-middle-schoolers-blogs?” because i was witnessing an awkward rejection- something i have seen so many times at student ministry.

carol kept it up. gary kept making excuses for why he couldn’t date carol, and that he didn’t need companionship. and then he told me to have a good weekend and then he left.

if i did put this in the seniors-are-like-middle-schoolers-blogs, i would say that seniors are like middle schoolers because they are aggressive when it comes to getting the attention of the opposite sex, obvious when it comes to who they like, and not very good at letting someone down easy. they also seem to be happy to play out their romance (or lack of romance) i front of everyone).

if i put this in the church//gym section, i would say that eventually at church and at the gym, the happy faces are too hard to keep on, and real-life spills out. sometimes its awkward, sometimes its sad, but its always authentic, and always is interesting.

but i’m not going to file it under either of these- i’m starting a new section- called “people make me smile.” because true life is always more entertaining than fiction.

sorry carol.
if i’ve learned anything about middle school relationships, i would recommend that she go after his friend. that always seems to get a guy’s attention.
wait a minute!
that’s me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

omg! you're a middle schooler!

so I went to barnes and noble this morning to get a little quiet time before the day got too crazy. I go to order my cinnamon scone and there are 3 old ladies in line in front of me- and they are taking forever. they were like, “I can’t decide what I want to order!”
and in my head I’m like, “omg! you’re middle schoolers!”
so then a 4th old lady comes up to them, cuts in line in front of me and whispers into one old lady’s ear saying, “where are you guys sitting? I want to sit with you!”
and in my head I’m like, “omg! you’re middle schoolers!”
then one of the old ladies slipped another one her barnes and noble rewards card so she could get a discount- sneaky!
just like a middle schooler!
and then thay sat next to me and talk-talk-TALKED! chatty-chatty!
and in my head I’m like, “omg! you’re middle schoolers!”

and it reminded me of how much senior citizens and middle schoolers have in common.
the seniors ministry often calls me to use the church bus and they recently asked, “is there a medical kit in the bus? because we get hurt a lot. we need a lot of band-aids, ice-packs and advil- do you have that?”
and I was like, “I do! because middle schoolers are always getting hurt too!”

middle schoolers and senior citizens are both really flirty with the opposite sex-
and neither set of people are all that sly at it.

both sets of people:
can be cliquey and exclusive,
love to laugh,
love a good story,
make zero-sense sometimes,
are watching their money closely,
LOVE to listen to music,
LOVE to go places with their friends,
are a joy to be around.

so I go to college group the other night-
and being around all of those students made me remember my time as a college minister last summer.
I was interacting with college students
and in my head I’m like, “omg! you’re middle schoolers!”

here is why:
both sets of people:
are going through tons of change,
tend to want more freedom from their parents, but they still want their parents money,
tend to not enjoy homework,
LOVE starbucks,
LOVE the beach,
LOVE the movies,
LOVE videogames,
tend to blow cash on goofy things,
are trying to figure it all out,
tend to take a lot pictures of themselves with their own hands,
are making huge decisions that are affecting the rest of their lives,
tend to be messy,
have a huge heart for the hurting,
have the capacity to change the world; and fast.

so give middle schoolers a break!
maybe you’ve got more in common with a middle schooler than you think.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

california's gold

i’m really into the history of california. i have been for awhile. dw and i have visited all of the california missions and that was a total blast. when i think that the framework for the state is churches, it makes me smile. when i was in college i took a history of california class, and i loved every session. i love exploring gold country, old towns, ghost towns, missions, so-cal, the central coast, the central valley, and of course, the bay area. the south bay is full of history with its old mills, mines, and trains. i’ve picked up quite a few books about local history. i like books in this series:

i also just picked this one up- and i look forward to reading it soon.

there is this show on pbs that i always enjoy watching called california’s gold with host, huell howser. he’s kind of loud, but he approaches things with the same kind of curiosity that i would. the show is basically him exploring california and talking to local history experts; i think that i would love that job. i just discovered that he has quite a few videos on youtube, and that he has several of his episodes available on video podcast. i just downloaded several episodes and i look forward to watching them.

it’s the best state- which is why i love it and will probably never leave.

leadership reflections:: 6/22

here are some leadership reflections from 1 kings 1-12::

:: solomon: david’s son. greatest king of israel. did things his father never did or could; including: bringing peace to the land, building the temple, and taming joab. God appeared to him twice; and made him the wealthiest and wisest man ever. yet 1 kings 11 begins with the following phrase::
“now king solomon loved many foreign women.
besides pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from moab, ammon, edom, sidon, and from among the hittites. the Lord had clearly instructed the people of israel,
‘you must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’
yet solomon insisted on loving them anyway.
he had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines.
and in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.” (nlt)
the commentator on my study bible writes this:
“solomon didn’t turn away from God all at once or in a brief moment. his spiritual coldness started with a minor departure from God’s laws. (in 1 kings 3, Solomon marries one pharaoh’s daughters to form an alliance with him). over the years, that little sin grew until it resulted in solomon’s downfall. a little sin can be the first step to turning away from God. it is not the sins we don’t know about but the sins we excuse that cause us the greatest trouble…”
question: what small sin is in danger of destroying me, and my walk with God?

:: forced labor: solomon represented a fulfilled promise. abraham was promised that he would become a great nation that would bless all people. so was isaac. moses was promised that israel would have a land of its own. all of those promises were embodied in solomon. israel went from pharoah’s runaway slaves to pharoah’s ally. they went from slaves to slave drivers. what happened?
after solomon dies, his son rehoboam becomes king. the people ask if he will go easier on them than solomon did. he seeks advice and the older advisers say this: “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” servant-leadership always wins. sadly, rehoboam chose to be more harsh, and the people rebelled against him, resulting in one of the most confusing parts of the bible: a divided kingdom of israel and judah- with 2 kings with similar names: rehoboam and jeroboam.
question: am I serving those who I lead or expecting them to serve me?

:: protecting your title: jeroboam seemed like a good guy. he was the new king of israel. he was afraid that his people would go to jerusalem to worship and return to rehoboam. so he built 2 golden calves for the people to worship in the land of israel. and the people stayed local and worship these idols. bad news.
question: am I making under-handed choices to preserve my title as leader?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

green eggs and volunteers

i am rob.

i’m avoiding rob-the-sermoneer!

would you like to volunteer?
would you, could you for a year?

i do not want to volunteer!
i do not like kids, sermoneer!

would you serve on a sunday
or on a tuesday night?

i would not serve in the morning,
not in the night!
i told you, i do not like those neophytes!

would you? could you at the lake?
would you? could you over spring break?

not at the lake!
not over break!
not in the night, not in the day!
i told you rob,
i’m saying NO WAY!
i do not want to volunteer!
i don’t like kids, you sermoneer!

would you? could you lead a group?
what about a boy scout troop?

not a scout troop!
not a small group!
not at the lake!
not over break!
not in the day, not in the night!
i’m not cut out for oversight!
i do NOT want to volunteer!
please go AWAY you sermoneer!

could you help out with the teens?
would you help our drama queens?

i would not help out with the teens!
i COULD not help out drama queens!
not at the lake!
not on the shore!
please don’t call me ANYMORE!
i do not want to volunteer!
leave me alone church overseer!

a bus! a bus! a bus! a bus!
would you? could you drive the bus?

i would not, could not drive the bus!
not a boat, not a car!
not on a trip,
teens are bizarre!
not on sunday morning!
not tuesday night.
i’m way TOO busy to help you, alright?!
i’m afraid of junior highers, rob-the-sermoneer,
please stop asking me to volunteer!

you don’t want to serve,
so you say.
come check us out and you may!

rob, if you’ll leave me alone, i’ll give it a try.
if you’ll stop calling, i’ll visit junior high…

(one week later)

after sunday, i feel so inspired!
i really liked those junior highers!
and I WOULD help them at the lake!
and on a trip, and over break-
and i would help them with a prayer
and lead a group while they shared
and I WOULD help out by leading games
and i’m trying to learn all their names!
and i would help out for a year-
i would so love to volunteer!
i do so love this ministry!
thank you rob, for asking me!

(seriously folks- i need some more camp counselors! call me!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

best father's day ever

yesterday, my family gave me the best father's day ever. this is only my 4th father's day, but still, it was the best. after church, lunch, and some quiet-rest-time, we went to oak meadow park in los gatos. we rode the train:

we rode the carousel::

we rode an airplane::

another train::

we rode on the swings, and even a fire truck!

after that, we had a picnic-dinner outside at a picnic-table. i love eating outside in the summertime at dusk- especially with my two favorite ladies. I was under the impression that moms have it way better than dads with mother's day, but I can now say that this dad had it just right for father's day. I can't wait for the next one! I heard bill walton last night during the basketball game say, "with a family like mine, every day is father's day." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

(678) blog

I don't usually talk about my job on this site, but I just created a blog that highlights some of the students, staff and activities of the venture middle school ministry: (678)
check it out!

Friday, June 13, 2008


We haven’t had a whole lot of luck with the potty-training lately. Jane has not been very interested in the potty. We were motivating her by giving her a doll from one of her favorite shows, little einsteins after every 3 potties. That was really motivating at first, but her enthusiasm slowed down a lot after she got the first 2. The second 2 took a long time. After she got all 4, we had to ask how we would motivate her next.

We knew that it had to involve cheetos. Jane has a thing for cheetos lately. But I also knew that it had to be something that involved her dollhouse too. She loves the dollhouse, and seems to always be playing with it. She thinks it’s a real treat to go to the “dollhouse store” (a hobby shop in Campbell) and just play with dollhouses until I can’t take it anymore.

So this is the plan that we came up with: for every potty-try, jane would get a small bag of cheetos or a small bag of m&m’s. and then for every successful potty, she would get a piece of a playground set that could go with her dollhouse. I thought it was a pretty good plan, but I didn’t expect just how good of a plan it was.

I hung the cover of the box on the refrigerator and told her to put a “good-job” sticker on whatever piece she wanted, once she did a successful potty. She got to work right away. And before the end of the night, she had 3 tries and once success. She picked the see-saw.

That was yesterday. Today, she has been trying all day. Like ALL day! She drank 2 whole cups of water. She is focused and motivated. She eventually lost interest in the m&m’s and cheetos- she wants that swing-set bad. Deanna and I have been sitting with her all day, reading stories, listening to music, playing with toys, and sadly, no potties. it was a little sad when it was time for bed- we all wanted to see her do a potty so bad; and she was giving it her very best. but I have to hand it to Janie- she’s no quitter; and when she sets her mind to something, she’ll do it. Hopefully tomorrow she’ll have that swing for her dolls to ride on.

Monday, June 9, 2008

jane-quotes 06/09

last night I walked into jane’s room and saw her checking out the seat of her pants in the mirror. and I’ll admit, I used the word, “butt” when I should have used the word that we normally use in our house, “bottom.” here is what happened:

ME: “are you checking out your butt in the mirror?!”
JANE: “I’m checking out my BUTT!”
ME: “it’s a bottom!”
ME: “it’s a bottom!”
ME: “jane- it’s a bottom.”
JANE: “actually dad, it’s called a butt.”

jane is really good at reading right now. its sort of freaking me out. she reads signs on the street as we’re driving down the road, and she’s pretty accurate. we just picked up “green eggs and ham” from the bookstore, and she is really enjoying that book right now. we were eating jane’s favorite meal, fries and chicken at KFC the other day and jane said, “SAY! I like fries and chicken! I do! i like them sam-i-am!”
what a nut.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

children's show theology:: entry 04

i went back and renamed some of my old blogs to fit into this new little blog-series: children's show theology. this is when i sit on my sofa eating crackers with jane and think about how a kid's show illustrates the character of God-

jane likes to watch this show on pbs called super why!
its all about reading and spelling, which are two of jane’s passions right now.
they don’t make toys for super why, so I actually went to the hardware store and craft store and made some for her! I thought that they turned out pretty cool, but she is sort of over them right now.

anyhow, the show is about this boy-superhero named super-why. whenever he has a super-big problem, he and his friends (the super-readers) “take a look in a book!” they open up a fairy tale and then step into the story and interact with the characters and learn from their stories. oftentimes, a character in a story is doing something wrong and super-why seems to ask them why they are doing this. oftentimes they feel like they have no control over their actions. they say, “its says right here in my story…” and then they show super-why the text of their story book and how it dictates their decisions and behaviors. super-why then takes his “why-writer” (one of the toys that I made for jane) and then zaps one of the words out of the story and then replaces it with another. he changes the end of the story all-together.

I was watching this show with jane the other day and this frog was wasting water. super-why asked him why and he said, “I can’t help it! it says right here in my story, “the frog wastes water.” super-why changed the word “wastes” to the word “shares.” and the story was changed. it had a new ending.

I started thinking about the many people that I meet that feel trapped in their circumstances. its almost as if I can hear them saying, “I have to make these choices, its says so right here in my story.” “I have to misbehave or chase boys or destroy my relationships or abuse substances or whatever because my story has been written, I can’t change it.”

we need a hero.
we need someone with the power to change the words of our stories so that the endings are different. we need a hero to step into our stories and remind us that they are not set in stone. do we have the courage and the energy to see our stories change?

Christ stepped out of eternity into the human story. the ending of our stories can be different now- not just on an eternal level, but for today as well.
"why-writer, WRITE!"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

goodnight noises everywhere

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

life is beautiful

I had a strange experience today. I did a funeral for someone that I have never met- someone who was not a believer. This woman died suddenly, leaving two children without parents. They are probably 11 and 15 years old. Their father died years ago.
Just hearing about this service made me sad for the kids. No one was available to do the service, so I stepped in. this woman’s daughter, the one who is about 15 was acting silly before the service began. I couldn’t blame her. We all deal with pain in our own ways. Her little brother, who was about 10 or 11, was still and silent. I gave some opening comments and then opened it up for sharing. Several people shared this woman’s zest for life and her love for her kids. Her kids got up and shared too. They seemed nervous and in a hurry to sit down.

People kept on sharing: friends, family, co-workers, neighbors. all of their stories matched up. this was a woman that had a passion for life, food and her family. a single mom who put her kids first. she didn't date. her kids were her life.

there was a moment where it seemed that everyone who wanted to share had finished. I told the funeral home to play a song off of a cd that a family friend had brought. The family friend looked over at the kids and mouthed the words, “this is for you.” The sister kept acting goofy. The song was a country song about a mom who was proud of her kids. The big sister got quiet and stared at the floor. The little brother leaned his head against his grandmother’s shoulder as tears fell out of his eyes. I had to look away before I lost control of my own tears. I had never met this kid, but knowing his story and seeing his tears were enough to make my eyes well up with tears of my own.

it was a strange funeral because i was speaking about someone that i had never met. and there was no talk of heaven- and no references to scripture- that was the family's request.

I closed with the following thoughts: (I have left her name out to protect the family’s anonymity)
“We will never forget ****.
We can all be grateful for the love that she had for us, and the love that you had for her.
You are all blessed to have had her in your life.
A moment like this reminds us of how precious and short and fragile our lives are.
We don’t get to choose when we will die or how we will die-
We only get to choose how we will live.
How will you live?
How will you be remembered? How would you like to be remembered?
What will your friends and family remember about how you treated others?
How will they remember your zest for life?
we make those choices today.
At a service like this we often hear the words, “always” describing the one we are honoring
What will be the “always” that describes your life?
You can choose that now.
We are all writing our funeral speeches today.
The ancient scriptures of the bible encourage us to “live a life of love” and that is exactly how **** lived her life.
Thank you for sharing, and thank you for allowing me this special honor of being a part of this time.”

I prayed for those mourning and for those kids.
I gave the kids a hug before I left.

That was tough for me.
It was tough for those kids.
I can’t imagine what they have been through and what they will endure in the coming weeks and years.
I’ll continue to keep those kids in prayer.

But my questions remain:
How will you live?
How do you want to be remembered?
What “always” will describe you?
We choose these things today.

Life is beautiful.
Love your family.
be kind to your friends.
Leave your mark.
Life is short; fragile; and precious.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I looked all over the internet, and I found bizarro-rob.
he's over here.
how bizarre.