Sunday, November 30, 2008


Saturday, November 29, 2008

its a jolly holiday for janie

deanna and i are pretty impressed with ourselves after throwing janie a mary poppins party for her 4th birthday.
it was practically perfect in every way with its homemade mary poppins decorations,

mary poppins cake,

and a homemade mary poppins costume!

happy birthday big kid!
its hard to believe that she's already four!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

what's bugging rob on 11/26?

what bugging rob on 11/26? 2 things.

the first: super-long-receipts.
I get bugged when I go to a store and buy something, and a foot-long receipt gets printed out. its got a survey, and a coupon, and of course, how much I spent on what. the cashier gives it to me and I have to fold it like five times just to get it to fit in my wallet. and then my wallet is super-fat and there is nothing in it but receipts. its like George on Seinfeld. eventually its just going to explode. I like what the apple store or what does when they just e-mail me my receipt. saves a tree and makes my wallet thinner.

RETAILERS: stop printing out those long receipts! I don’t want to take your survey! if I did, I’d tell you that I’m dissatisfied with your long receipts!

the second: people who wait for parking spots at the mall.

this happens to me when I drive into the parking garage at the mall, and there is a line 15 cars long to get to the top! as if this was frustrating enough, the issue isn’t that the lot is crowded, the issue is that someone in the front of the line has parked their car in the middle of the parking garage and is waiting for a car to leave. they make the rest of us wait instead of looking for the next best spot.

I have been that person that people wait for to leave. I get to the mall early on fridays and I usually have a great spot. when I go to leave, there is someone who has parked their car near mine and is waiting for me to load up and leave. I feel all of this pressure in these situations. I feel like its me holding up traffic, not the rude mall-shopper. so I rush to get jane in her seat and the stroller in the back and I wish that this person waiting for me would just go to the next spot! there is another spot! I know it! you can find it!

I understand this kind of behavior on black friday. but on a regular old-day? that drives me nuts.
mall shoppers: be considerate. don’t hold up traffic and wait for a spot. it makes people leaving your spot rush and it makes people behind you irate. go to the top of the parking garage. there is always parking up there- and you’ll have an elevator to take you right inside the mall.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

this gal is a pro

adventures in speaking to middle schoolers:: 11/19

I spoke in chapel yesterday and gave a message from my “soul assassin” series that I did earlier this year. I started the message with some photos of some people that had been assassinated to talk about the definition of the word.
I started out with this picture:

I asked the students:
“who is THIS GUY?”
one young man raised his hand and said, “harry potter?”
i was stunned. the students seemed to wonder why.
sure, its not that clear of a picture, but harry potter?
what has this world come to?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

conversational-quotes: 11/16

this morning in middle school we talked about giving it our best and rebelling against laziness. afterward, i saw one young man stacking chairs even though the chairs did not need to be stacked. i wondered if he felt convicted by the message and wanted to get to work on being proactive right away. later on, i saw him in the game room playing a star wars video game. he paused it and said, “i almost started crying during your talk today.”
“why?” i asked.
“i’m lazy and i need to do better.” he said.
“well- i saw you stacking chairs! that’s a good start! good for you! i’m proud of you!”
there was an awkward pause in the conversation.
he broke the silence by saying,
“well, i’m kind of in the middle of something right now…”

and he went back to playing his videogame.

the potty champ

we’ve been working on potty training for a long time at our house. for awhile jane was interested, then she just wasn’t at all. we’ve tried all kinds of incentives including cheetos, m&m’s and toys. we have watched lots of potty videos and have read every potty book on the market. we have used several different potty charts to track our progress.

recently we did 2 things that have paid off- well sort of. the first thing we did was make a new potty chart. this one had words, not pictures- so jane could actually read it. it had some pretty good prizes on it. the second thing we did was stop buying diapers. jane did pretty good. she was averaging a potty prize about once a week- or one good potty a day. eventually i had to make a new potty chart. this one had good prizes too. really good ones. on the picture, the “mall dollhouse store” is pottery barn kids! what was i thinking?!) but i figured that we could swing a new toy once a week. to be honest, i didn't think that she would get good at going potty anytime soon. but i was wrong. this kid kicked it into high gear. she started to average a new potty prize EVERY DAY. she started raking in the potty prizes. now i get two or three phone calls a day from jane. she calls every time she does a good potty while i’m away at work. she and Deanna have invented a special pee-pee-dance to celebrate each time she uses her potty powers. after the dance comes the special ceremony of putting a good job sticker on her chart.
jane finally got through her expensive potty chart and i got to make a new one. it could have been a lot worse. she chose some fairly inexpensive toys when we went to go and redeem her potty prizes. the new costume turned into new ariel pj's. her new potty chart is much more affordable- and has prizes that are just as fun- like a cookie from togo’s, a trip to the park and a visit to chuck e. cheese. all that is to say that my kid is a potty champ- and i’ll know not to underestimate her willpower in the future! its all worth it because its great to see her overcome a personal obstacle and grow in her confidence. POTTY POWER!

Friday, November 14, 2008

job 41

"can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down his tongue with a rope?
can you put a cord through his nose

or pierce his jaw with a hook?
will he keep begging you for mercy?

will he speak to you with gentle words?
will he make an agreement with you

for you to take him as your slave for life?
can you make a pet of him like a bird

or put him on a leash for your girls?
will traders barter for him?

will they divide him up among the merchants?
can you fill his hide with harpoons

or his head with fishing spears?
if you lay a hand on him,

you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
any hope of subduing him is false;

the mere sight of him is overpowering.
no one is fierce enough to rouse him.

who then is able to stand against me?"

Monday, November 10, 2008

buy local

today I was over at my local ace hardware when my friend from mountain mike’s pizza stopped in to say hi. he calls me “father rob.” I love this guy. he is a huge encouragement to me and to everyone in the shopping center. I could tell that he goes by every store in the shopping center and says hi every morning.

we were making conversation and I said, “how is mountain mike’s?” and he responded in his thick accent (I don’t know his name or where he’s from- some friend I am!) “mountain mike’s is good. we keep it clean. we make it ready for customer. its hard right now, father rob. look at ace hardware. thirty thousand a month in rent. and sometimes no customer all day.” then he went on about how to fix the problems and how America needs the Lord. I was walking out towards starbucks. we walked a ways along the shops and he shouted into all of the stores: “BE GOOD TOGO’S! OLA MEXICO! HELLO BLOCKBUSTER!” I asked him what he was doing. he said he was going to get some coffee. I figured that he was going to starbucks too. he wasn’t he was going to the little donut shop. I told him that I was headed to starbucks. he said, “starbucks is a big corporation- the donut shop needs my money more than them. I’ll get my coffee here.”

what a great encouragement. as long as this recession is going, I’m going to do my best to spend my money on the local guy. I would encourage you to do the same. they need your money much more than the CEO of some large corporation does. when you need hardware, go to ace, not home depot. when you need a coffee, go to almaden roasting company or to the bear. when you’re getting lunch, go to the grill or to a taqueria, not some fast food mega-chain. when you need gas, go to the local guy. we need to look out for the local guy in these days. they say that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. let’s let the rich guy dip into his savings or get a loan for once. let’s look out for the local guy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

what if starbucks was like church?


Friday, November 7, 2008

the box

today, Deanna said, “if you’re going to chuck e. cheese, there is a coupon in the envelope.”
the envelope?! what envelope?! i’m guessing that i should have known about the envelope.
i played it cool. “where is the envelope?” i asked.
“in the box.” she said.
the box. what box? we have a lot of boxes. this must be an important box. it has THE envelope in it.
she was assuming that i knew about THE box and THE envelope.

the more i thought about it, the more i realized that a lot of people talk with assumptions.
for example, when Janie tells me that she wants to go to THE park, or THE dollhouse store, THE bookstore, or even THE toystore, she doesn't have to be more specific, i know exactly which places she is talking about.

when i watch espn, they often talk about “THE play” or “THE catch” or “THE pass.”
i just play along and pretend that i know what they are talking about.

one time, i was hanging out with a friend and his wife called looking for “THE sponge.” what sponge? i wondered. he apparently knew exactly what she was talking about, and didn’t have it. another friend had a hilarious story; and people used to always ask him to tell THE story.

my whole town talks like this. they assume that you know what they are talking about when they talk about THE paper, or THE tank, or THE villages, THE hill, THE cats, THE beach, or THE city.

at my old church, everyone knew what you were talking about if you wanted to meet someone by “THE rock.” at my church, people meet by “THE steps” or by THE cross. there is a bunch of steps and crosses at the church, but everyone seems to know where to meet. at hume lake, there is THE ark, and THE cove, THE store, and THE rock. Christianity itself talks with assumptions when people talk about “spending time in THE word.” i wonder if people wonder: ‘the word? which word? you can spend time in a word? how much time?”

after thinking about it for awhile, i realized that i talk with assumptions too. i often make phone calls or send e-mails using the phrase, “hi this is rob from THE church.” i say to my wife, “i went to THE store and bought something on THE card.” she knows exactly what i’m talking about. and of course whenever someone asks where i want to go to lunch i say, “where else? THE grill.”

there are assumptions that i used to be able to use, but can’t anymore. when i lived in modesto, people gave directions by saying, “first get on THE freeway,” or “let’s meet at THE mall.” i can’t say that anymore. at my work we used to say, “go to THE printer.” now there are a dozen. we used to talk about THE service, but now there are 4.

you only talk like this if you share something in common with someone. its like an inside joke, but not as funny. so maybe when people talk with assumptions, they are just inviting you into a closer friendship. the next time you use an assumption, just remember that you share something in common with that person that you're talking with; you are connected on a level, be it a strong connection or not. i’ll let you ponder that while i’m off at THE gym. before i do, i need to look around for that box.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

john williams is the man

adventures in speaking to middle schoolers::11/06

I had two interesting moments in speaking to middle schoolers recently-

the first happened on sunday morning. we were talking about standing up for what’s right and I was giving situations where students would have to make a choice between standing up for what is right or going along with a crowd of friends. I was going off notes a bit and said, “or what about this: say like a friend comes up to you and says, “hey- I’ve got a substance that is illegal for people our age, but it makes me feel really funny- what do you think? would you like to have some with me?” “what would you do?” I asked. one boy in the back yelled out, “NO ONE TALKS LIKE THAT ROB!” normally I would have given him some sort of warning, but he had a good point. I couldn’t help but stop and laugh.

another funny moment happened just today-
I was over at a local middle school, doing a bible study during lunch, and a gal came by that I had never met. at least I thought she was a gal, I wasn’t sure. she could have passed for a boy with her short haircut and her boy clothes. we were talking and she said, “wait! I want to see if my girlfriend wants to come!” I thought- oh- he’s a boy.”
then we got into the club and I started chatting about the election and what everyone thought, and this new friend said, “I’m really mad about prop 8! that means I can never get married!” I was a little stuck. I didn’t have a response. someone shouted out something about obama and I kept rolling with that. we talked about depression and sadness and I asked, “what makes a middle schooler sad?” and three gals shouted out in unison: ”BOYS!” i responded with, “sure- the opposite sex can make us feel sad sometimes…” and then I started thinking about my new friend- should I qualify that statement by saying, “or the same-sex…”? was I excluding her with my language? again, I just kept moving. I don’t think I’ve ever been n a situation like that where I had a middle school student who was openly stating that they were gay in one of my meetings. I was caught a little off-guard. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t treat her differently or single her out. I wanted to make sure that she had the same voice as the other students in the room. I wonder how I will handle that when it happens again- because I have a feeling that I will encounter this more and more in the future. I was really excited about our subject matter, because everyone feels sadness and depression at times- no matter what their background is. and everyone should know that God listens when we are sad and that He is a safe outlet for our emotions. so hopefully this gal was able to walk away encouraged to interact with God through prayer.

Saturday, November 1, 2008