Sunday, September 28, 2008

preschool thugs

as a parent, I see a lot of kid on kid violence.
I’m not sure what to do about it.
I see a lot of children basically mugging other children.

this happens just about anywhere that has toys for kids to play with.
sometimes we’re at a train table at a toy store or at barnes and noble, and Janie will be playing with a train, and then another kid will slowly approach jane, look her in the eyes, smile, slowly put their hand on her toy, nod their head and take it right out of her hand!

this makes jane so sad.
sometimes I politely say, “excuse me, I think she was playing with that first…”
sometimes I can’t because of proximity or the situation.
onetime jane was playing on a playground with some kids and a kid went up to jane, grabbed her face, and stole the sunglasses right off of her.
she was stunned. I flew into the playground to get the kid off of her, and to get her sunglasses, but the damage had been done. she was scared and sad.

I could tell story after story.
every time this happens I look around for the kid’s parent.
and every time, the kid’s parent is far away talking on their cell phone or dealing with one of their other kids, or just reading a book, completely checked out.

but I never have. I pray that I never will.
I know that there is a time and a place to involve a kid’s parent, but I haven’t truly been in that situation as of yet.
I saw one parent say to their kid (very loudly) "I'm sorry! I know its not fair when someone takes away your toy! I'm sorry that SOME PARENTS don't teach this to their kids! but you have to just deal with it!"

on friday, jane got a toy stolen again, and I couldn’t tell if I was more outraged or proud. probably more proud than angry. we were at the discovery museum, and jane was digging in some sand with a little scoop. an unattended girl came up and swiped it away from her.
jane kept her cool.
she said, “excuse me, can I have that back please?”
the girl ignored her.
I sort of doubt this girl spoke English- maybe Russian.
jane kept it up.
“excuse me, can I have that back please?” (I was so proud!)
the girl never gave it back. I wasn’t going to steal a toy from this little girl. so jane and I hugged it out and waited for another scoop to be available. I got to tell her how proud I was of her for using her words so kindly. we talked about how its really mean to take another kid's toy.
when a scoop became available, I shouted out (quietly) “jane! don’t set it down! hold it in your hand! if you let it go, someone will take it!”
I got some funny looks from the other parents.

what do you do?
I'd really like to know!
do you teach your kid to be a fighter?
do you teach your kids to grab stuff from other kids’ hands?
do you start fights with other parents?
(I know some have tried to pick a fight with me!)
or do you actually teach your kid to live the way jesus said to, and share?
turn the other cheek? put others first?
when I heard jane asking for her toy politely,
I could tell that Deanna has been coaching her-
and that she was putting this into practice.
I know that is part of the solution.
hopefully, when she is older, those strategies will work more and more.
until then, I’m not getting too far away from her on the playground.
those kids are thugs!
and those parents can be even worse!

jane-quotes 09/28

last night, at like 3 in the morning, I heard jane in her room saying,
“daddy! I need my daddy!”
“oh wow!” I thought! a personal request for me!
normally jane shouts out stuff like,
“I need a drink of water!” or “I need some help!”
but this time she needed me!
how special.
I popped out of bed, and ran to her room.
all along the way I said,
“it ok jane! dad is coming!”
when I got to her room I said,
“dad is here. what do you need?”
“teddy! I need my teddy! where is my teddy?”
she lost her bear in her blankets.
she wasn’t asking for daddy,
she was asking for teddy!
I misheard.
I gave jane her teddy bear and a hug and went back to bed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

red bulls make me talk like this guy:

that sounds CRAZY!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

thought i'm working on-

"come close to me."

that’s what joseph says to his brothers in genesis 45.
what a surprise, considering all that they did to him.

the story goes that joseph’s father had12 sons, but joseph was his favorite. the other eleven were jealous, so they attacked him and sold him into slavery, and initiated a series of painful events for joseph. as a slave, he was falsely accused, and put into prison for years.

by the time we get to genesis 45, the tables have turned. at this point joseph is the second most powerful man in the world, and his brothers are in need of food from him. when they were reunited, he recognized them, but they didn’t recognize him. he probably looked more like king tut than their long lost brother.

as the second most powerful man in the world, joseph had the power and the right to let his brothers starve. he could have rejected them, or had them killed on the spot-
if he didn’t love them so much.
when he was reunited with them, he could have looked on them with hate, but instead, his eyes were filled with tears. he could have had them sent away, but instead, he invited them to come near.
he welcomed them saying, “come close to me…I am your brother joseph, the one you sold into egypt!”

there has been a lot of talk over the years suggesting that joseph is some sort of prequel to jesus.
after all, both guys were betrayed and punished for crimes they did not commit. both jesus and joseph emerged from those betrayals in positions of authority; and both chose to forgive.

if joseph is the preview to jesus, then the brothers in the story,
are you and i.
we have betrayed jesus with our crimes against Him-
and now He is in a position where He has all the power and all the authority.
there are times when we are estranged from jesus and then are reunited.
just like joseph, He has the right and power to reject us or ruin us.
just like joseph, he could have us killed, and probably would-
if He didn’t love us so much.
jesus has every right to look at us with hate, but instead, His eyes are filled with tears.

how does jesus react to our betrayals and failures?
what does jesus say to us when are approach Him
after being estranged from Him for so long?

“come close to me…”

don’t run away, draw near.

Monday, September 22, 2008

president nehemiah

I just finished Nehemiah last week.
I like Nehemiah.
and as I was reading through the book, and thinking about all of this presidential stuff, I think that Nehemiah would make for a good president. here’s why:

// Nehemiah had experience on the executive level.
Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the king of Persia. he was his closest and most trusted friend. he was near the decision making process and was possibly part of the decision making process. this paid off. Nehemiah planned, organized, delegated and got the job done.

// Nehemiah was great at foreign relations.
he convinced the king of Persia to not only let him go and rebuild the wall of jerusalem, he got him to fund it!

// Nehemiah was a brave leader.
when the opposition came, he kept on going. he encouraged the builders, he refused to be intimidated. and he built the wall without any bloodshed or conflict. in chapter 6, nehemiah’s enemies were threatening to kill him. his friends suggested that he hide from them in the temple. I love his reply (from the new living bible): “Should someone in my position run from danger? Should someone in my position enter the Temple to save his life? No, I won’t do it!” … They were hoping to intimidate me and make me sin. Then they would be able to accuse and discredit me.” he was calm in the face of opposition and pressure.

// Nehemiah was a patriot.
the destruction of the wall of jerusalem caused Nehemiah to weep. he risked everything to rebuild it.

// Nehemiah led by example.
he worked form the early morning to late at night to rebuild the wall. the people that he had delegated jobs to knew that he was working just as hard as they were, and that motivated them. he was one of them. he wasn’t afraid to call his friends on the carpet for their sins.

// Nehemiah defended the oppressed.
in Nehemiah 5, Nehemiah heard the cries of his people of how they had run out of money. He furiously went to the rich people that had loaned them money and called for an end to the high interest that they were charging.

// Nehemiah wasn’t driven by ego.
after the wall was built, Nehemiah stepped back and allowed Ezra to lead the celebrations and religious recommitments of the land. He didn’t need to spotlight. He was driven by the task, not by the credit.

// Nehemiah put national security as a high priority-
there were literal holes in their national security, but under nehemiah's leadership, those holes were filled in and the wall was built up.

// Nehemiah was a passionate and inspiring communicator.
he motivated his people to accomplish the impossible. he laid out a vision and told them how they could be a part of accomplishing it.

// Nehemiah was a man of prayer.
he didn’t make decisions without praying first. in chapter 2 the king of Persia asks how he can help Nehemiah, and before he answers, he prays. he also inserts these little prayers all through out the book. I love them because they are sort of selfish, but hey, if God is listening, why not? after sharing a difficult moment, Nehemiah often prays, “Remember me. O God…” as if to say, “do you see this God? don’t forget to bless me for this!”

obviously God thought that Nehemiah would make a good leader too- that’s why He put him in the position.

Friday, September 19, 2008

do you remember the 21st night of september?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I’ve had a lot of daddy-daughter-time this week, and its been fun- here are some reflections:

first of all, the reason that I’ve had a lot of daddy-daughter-time is that Deanna has been doing a big project for her old work, and it has required her to put in hours on site. last week I came home early a few days. I came home early on monday of this week, and I took wednesday through Thursday off to stay with jane.

this week I was reminded that the best things in life are free. we ran out of fruit snack s and crackers, so jane and I went to the grocery store. I let her ride in the car-cart. Deanna doesn’t let jane ride in these, and now I know why. jane takes over the store. she shouts out “BEEP BEEP! HERE I COME!” the entire time. she loved it though. the next day I said, “jane! do you want to go and play with dad today? we could go to chuck e. cheese, or to the museum, or to the zoo!” jane made it clear that what she really wanted to do was go to the grocery store and ride in that little yellow car again.

I was also reminded of the power of wanting what you have. the other day we were thinking of a place to go, and jane wanted to go to D & J hobby to go and play with their dollhouse. that place has no seating, and I’m not entirely sure that they want us playing with their toys. and the more I thought about it I realized, our dollhouse at home is WAY better than the dollhouse that they have in the store! the only difference is that theirs has a cool play mat underneath! so we made plans to go and get a playmat.

we decided to go to pottery barn kids in the mall to get a playmat for the dollhouse. last time we went there, there was stormtroopers there; so jane wasn’t too thrilled about that. I told her that they were gone. the more we talked, the more I sensed that she was in the mood to just play quietly by herself. so when we got to the mall I said, “do you want to just get your toy and leave?” and to my surprise, she did. she didn’t even get out of her stroller to look around. when we got home, I set the playmat out on the coffee table, put the dollhouse on top, turned on some baby Einstein classical music, and she played happily by herself for several hours. its healing for us introverts to get some time with ourselves every now and then.

some other funny moments: jane and I were disagreeing about something nad she ended the argument by saying, “that is not a very good attitude, dad!” she’s been watching A LOT of dora the explorer and she’s been saying words in Spanish (or as she says, “spadish”). she tries to roll her R’s and its really cute. last night she had an ariel doll and she was sitting by herself and making ariel swim through the air singing, “part of your world.” so cute. we learned to sing the B-I-N-G-O song this week. we also had a lovely picnic lunch at the park. there are times when I’m hanging out with my kid, and she’s munching away at some cheetos, and we’re not necessarily saying much to each other, but it’s a moment that I wish could go on and on. sometimes I wish that I had powers like hiro on heroes and just freeze time.

this week was jane’s first night at awana! whoa! she loved it. it ends after 8pm, which is way after jane’s bedtime, which made it even more fun. its interesting to look at youth group through a parent’s eyes. I’ve always tried to, but now I actually am! ack!

I also noticed that even though it was fun to be at home with my girl, I also really enjoy doing what I do down at the church. I’d do it for free if I could.

Deanna and I both came away from this week with an appreciation for what each other do. I learned that staying at home is not as glamorous as it sounds. taking care fo a kid full time is hard work! its not all fun and games. its hard to run errands and to get everything done, and still show attention and affection to a big kid.

she noticed that its weird to be gone from your kid all day and then come home and see her for just an hour or so before she goes to bed.

finally, this week I was reminded that I really enjoy my life, my work, and my family.

Friday, September 12, 2008


before i moved to my current place, i thought that squirrels were cute. i would see one in a park or somewhere and think, “look! his eyes are all black and shiny. his tail is so fluffy. and when he eats, he holds his food in his hands and munches it!”

my current place is surrounded by trees and INFESTED with squirrels. my cat was interested in them so I ACTUALLY BOUGHT SQUIRRELL FOOD AND ATTRACTED THEM to my house! you fool!

i kept the squirrel food in an outdoor storage box/ bench. the squirrels have since chewed it to bits searching for the food.

HEY CHIP AND DALE! THE FOOD IS GONE! GO AWAY! (not entirely sure that chip and dale were squirrels).

so wen i sit in my house, i often hear te sound of squirrels chewing my bench: “crunch-crunch-crunch.”
i also hear the lovely sound of squirrels screaming at each other:

when i walk out my door, squirrels jump off of my roof (where they are currently training for some sort of squirrel Olympics) and into a tree right over my head. and then they bounce from tree to trr as far as they can and the FOLLOW ME. freaky!

you can imagine how i felt after watching the squirrel scene in willy wonka:

i’ve changed my mind about squirrels. they are no longer cute. i would never trap them or poison them, but i have been known to douse them with a super soaker or a bucket of water. i need to figure out some sort of remote-controlled-squirrel-squirter. if only data from the goonies was one of my neighbors. he could make one.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

its you i like

best youth minister ever:


i remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
i well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
i say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
the LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

it is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.
let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
for men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.
though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Saturday, September 6, 2008

stormtroopers in the mall

this morning, jane and i went to valley faire. as soon as we arrived, she only wanted to head in one direction: toward pottery barn kids. she loves that store. she loves playing with the little kitchens and the dollhouse. on most visits, i have to practically drag her out of there. she would stay there for hours if i let her.

this morning as we approached, we saw a crowd of people outside of pottery barn kids (and they had just opened!) we looked inside, and saw a bunch of star wars characters!

they had a new line of star wars decorations and bedding for kids rooms, and they were celebrating by having star wars characters there for kids to take pictures with. so, of course, i got in line! i had my camera on me- but jane did not say cheese. the pottery barn workers pointed out that dad was lot more excited about this than jane.

after our picture, jane went to play with the dollhouse. they were playing star wars music on the sound system. it was the darth vader theme. jane paused from playing and said,
"what is that music?"
"is it scary?" i asked.
she nodded yes.
"do you want to leave?"
and to my total amazement, she nodded yes!
she left pottery barn kids after playing there for only 5 minutes! we got another picture on the way out, but jane was even less cooperative.

oh well. I felt pretty safe at the mall with the stormtroopers patrolling.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

presidential playoffs

all of this election talk feels like the week before the superbowl.
every season, I watch the regular season games to see who will make the playoffs.
then I watch the playoffs to see who will make it to the conference championship games.
and then when all the dust is cleared, there are two teams left to play in the superbowl.

but they don’t actually play it just yet.
there is a whole week where people talk-talk-TALK!
they review all of the games from the two teams.
they review the offence, the defense, the special teams.
they talk to the coaches, the players the ex-players.
they do inspirational stories on players from both teams.
the experts all make their picks.
they make dramatic montages and replay plays in slow motion.
and it gets to the point where I shout at my TV,

and that’s the way I feel about all of this election stuff right now.
let’s hurry up and vote already!

quiet rest time

when jane was smaller, and slept in a crib, we put her in her crib everyday from 1:00 to 3:00 for nap time. now that she’s in the big girl bed, we can’t keep her in her bed during nap time, so nap time has been re-named to “quiet-rest-time.” every day from 1:00 to 3:00, jane is supposed to play quietly in her room with the hopes that she might just lay down and have a nap.
but she rarely does.
instead, she has some epic play times. I often hear her having dramatic adventures with her toys and shouting things like,
“OH NO GUYS! WE HAVE TO SAVE HER! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO! I’LL HELP YOU! I’LL HELP YOU!” sometimes it gets so loud that I go in and check on her. each time I do, I see toys, books, shes, hats, and pieces of costumes everywhere. I’ll say,
“is everything alright in here?” and jane always says,
“I’m just in here!” and then she shows me the door and continues with her adventure. after quiet rest time, at 3:00 on the dot, jane walks out and says,
“MOM! IT’S THREE-ZERO-ZERO!” and then deanna goes in, helps her clean up and then gives jane a snack.

so yesterday, Deanna had to go to a meeting at 3pm. she asked if I could come home early and play with jane. and of course, I said yes. so at about 2:45 I went into jane’s room and interrupted her adventure and saw the epic mess that she made. I said to her,
“hey- at three-zero-zero do you want to go to togo’s with me and have a snack?”
“have some CHEETOS?!” she answered.
“yeah.” I said.
“why don’t you start cleaning up your toys so that we can leave right at three-zero-zero.” like clockwork, jane opened her door at 3pm and said,
“DAD! IT’S THREE-ZERO-ZERO!” I walked in to help her clean up her toys and found her room SPOTLESS. every book, toy, shoe, hat was put back neatly in its place. it was so perfect that I was shocked. I wondered if she secretly had mary poppins powers and could clean her room just by snapping her fingers. I told her how impressed I was. I said,
“I’m going to put on my shoes, can you get out of your comfy clothes so that we can put on your outside clothes?” by the time I got back, she had her shirt and shorts off and a new pair of shorts put on.
this girl was motivated.
so I felt that all of this deserved some cheetos.
she’s growing up so fast.

cruise ship vs. battleship