Tuesday, March 31, 2009

my superpowers

one of my favorite shows on tv right now is heroes. its about ordinary people discovering that they have extraordinary powers. one of my favorite characters can fly really, really fast- oftentimes straight up in the air. he flies so fast that he leaves a trail of smoke behind him. sometimes i wish that i could fly like him. i would save so much time on travel. it takes me forever to get from one place to another.

as i have been watching this show, it has confirmed for me what i have suspected for years: i too have superpowers. several in fact. for the first time ever, i’m sharing them here and now.

1. i have the ability to speak without being heard.
its amazing really. sometimes i’m at church and i say to all of the students, “hey everyone! its time to get started! let’s all find a seat!” and no one moves. its like they didn’t even hear! this is crazy because i can hear me- but they can’t! there are times when this is happening and i think to myself, “i am using my superpower right now!” the same thing happens at my house too! sometimes jane is watching cartoons and i say, “hey kid! want to go play today?...hello?!” its my superpowers again! now if i can only find a way to use this for something good.

2. i have the ability to make no sense.
sometimes i’m talk to people, and my words just don’t come out right. at all. which is weird, because i know what i mean in my head, and i know what i’m trying to say in my head, but when the words come out of my mouth, they are all mixed up. some words don’t come out at all. sometimes the wrong words come out too. sometimes my words come out all mumbley. this power might even be in effect right now as i type. i have the ability to make no sense. it’s a strange ability, i know.

3. i have magic pockets.
i can put my keys in my pockets, and then they can completely disappear. where they go, i’m not sure. another dimension maybe. i look everywhere for them. then after awhile, i check my pockets and they are there again. i kind of wish i didn’t have this superpower actually.

4. my car makes street lights turn red.
its fascinating. my car can drive up to a streetlight that green, and within a few feet of the intersection, that light will turn from green to yellow to red. i think this superpower also makes red lights last longer too. because i find myself sitting at a LOT of red lights for long periods of time. there are days when i think that i hit every single red light possible. this is probably why i wish that i could fly like Nathan on heroes.

there was this guy on heroes named Arthur that took away powers. if i ran into that guy in real life, i’d gladly give him all four of mine.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

church::gym entry 20

I’ve been going to the gym in the evenings a lot more lately (that’s because when I go at night, I can sleep in a little linger, and I get to “talk about things” with my big-kid jane when she wakes up in the morning.) there is a whole different crowd at night than in the morning. in the morning there is mostly older people and they are very perky and chatty. at night, there is a younger crowd, and they don’t have much to say.

there is a middle schooler that goes to the gym almost every night and sometimes I just keep an eye on him because everything he does cracks me up. I can tell that he is there with his mom. his mom walk on the treadmill, and he sort of goes from machine too machine doing a few reps at a time. his favorite seems to be this machine that can be set in a bunch o different ways to work different muscle groups. he likes to set it so that he can pull weight down-wards with one hand. he only puts like ten pounds of weight on it. he does like 3 or 4 reps and then he totally poses in the mirror and walks around like some sort of body builder. he makes this tough-guy face, and whenever he leaves with his mom he always seems excited about the good work out he had. he doesn’t notice, but every time I see him working out, I giggle a little at how funny he is.

so once again, the gym is like church- because there are some middle schoolers at the church who think they’re pretty cool and pretty tough; and they make me laugh too.

God is love.

church::gym entry 19

sometimes I go to the gym and I see people in there just chatting with their friends, not working out at all. sometime I can hear them talking and they say, “well- that’s enough for today! better hit the showers!” and I think, “they aren’t even sweaty! did they even work out?” I think that some people think that just going inside the building counts. and they go home with a sense of satisfaction that they did their exercise for the day.

I see this at church too. people hang out in the “fellowship area” and chat. I don’t actually see them in the service, or listening to the message or engaging in worship. do they feel that just going inside the building counts as going to church?

I also see this on easter sunday. a lot of people go to the early service so they can go to church early and get on with their day. the same is true with the gym. people get there at 6am when it opens, do a quick workout, and then leave after 30 minutes- just to get it out of the way. I know that we’re all busy, but if its important, shouldn’t you spend a little time on it?

what counts as going to the gym? what counts as going to church? can you only count it a good workout if you got all sweaty? how do you measure if you made the most out of your trip to church? should we even create a measure for a good visit to church?

I don’t know, but I think that if you’re going to go to the gym, you should at least get your heart pumping and get sweaty. and if you go to church, you should at least listen to the sermon, sing some songs, remember the cross, and slow down long enough to let God speak to your heart.

there are days when I go to the gym and I just don’t feel like it. but I have to say to myself, “if I drove all the way over here, I might as well get in a good workout.” there are days when I’m at church and I just don’t feel like hearing a sermon or making small talk; but if God got me there, He probably has something for me to hear or say or do; and that means that I need to dial in, and get my head in the game.
and that goes for you too.

God is love.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

spring training

this afternoon jane really wanted to get on her baseball hat and hit some baseballs. so we went to a grassy part of our complex to work on her skills, but it turns out that my pitching and her hitting weren't working together. we found a traffic cone and then it all came together.

spring training01 from rob walter on Vimeo.

spring training02 from rob walter on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

this is one of my favorite snl sketches ever

its hard to see because its so pixelated, but jimmy fallon and horatio sanz got the giggles at about 1:50, and everyone else in the sketch got them too. i think that just about every sketch with jimmy fallon and horatio sanz ended with them laughing their heads off. i don't doubt they were laughing at lindsay.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

detective janie

jane got a magnifying glass from target and proceeded to investigate things around our house and building. and she discovered that no matter how you look at the world, its fascinating.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

lectio divina:: isaiah 43

i've been reading through isaiah recently-
it was written 700 years before the birth of christ, yet it has so much to say about him.
it refers to him as the "suffering servant," and also "wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace," and immanuel.

here are 2 prophecies that have been especially comforting:
isaiah 42:1-4 "Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction."

the new living translation has a footnote that says, "greek version reads: "and his name will be the hope of all the world."
that's an overwhelming thought- that the entire world will find its hope in the name of jesus. the entire world can dream of a better future, and they can discover it in christ.
the footnote points to matthew 12:21 where matthew confirms that this prophecy refers to jesus.

next chapter-
isaiah 43:15-20:
"I am the Lord, your Holy One,
Israel’s Creator and King.
I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
making a dry path through the sea.
I called forth the mighty army of Egypt
with all its chariots and horses.
I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned,
their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.
But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
The wild animals in the fields will thank me,
the jackals and owls, too,
for giving them water in the desert.
Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland
so my chosen people can be refreshed."

even nature thanks God for the gift of christ-
and the first exodus won't even compare to the second one.
the first exodus freed slaves from opression by making the waters dry-
the second one will free a different kind of slave fromm a different kind of oppression,
and the places and people that were starving for water, will have their thirst quenched by living water.

God is love.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

church//gym entry 18

this morning i was at spin class at the gym with the spin instructor, henry. for those of you who have never been to a spin class, it’s a stationary bike that you ride. sometimes you ride it with a lot of resistance to simulate climbing a hill. this is hard. sometimes you ride it super fast to simulate going downhill. sometimes you stand up and spin with either a lot of resistance or none at all- its all hard. henry plays music and times out the intervals with the songs. sometimes we stand or sprint during a song’s chorus, sometimes we stand or sprint for an entire song.

today, we were all spinning and sweating and henry yelled out, “ok! now we’re going to move to third position (standing up) for this entire song! here we go!” since it’s a church gym, all of the songs are worship songs. so there i was, standing up, climbing an invisible hill, waiting for this song to end. there was a verse, then a chorus, then a verse, then a chorus, then the bridge, then the chorus, and i was thinking that the songs was about to end. but no- this was a worship song! after all of those verses and choruses, there was another chorus, this one louder and faster. then another chorus, then another! each time the singer started another chorus i shouted in my brain something like “NO MORE CHORUSES! STOP THIS SONG! I HATE THIS SONG! PLEASE STOP SINGING! MY LEGS ARE FALLING OFF!”

and it got me thinking; one of the biggest complaints that seniors have about modern worship songs is that they repeat the choruses too many times! after all, hymns don’t have a lot of choruses, just verses. normally when I hear this argument, i think that these folks are too old fashioned, but today, their argument made a LOT of sense. i might just go to the 8am hymn service tomorrow just to show my support for these wise people.
God is love.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

slow down, dad

Deanna had an eye appointment at Kaiser santa clara this morning at 9:30am. we didn’t want her to have to drive with her eyes dilated, so the plan was that jane and I would drop her off at the hospital, go play at valley fair, and then pick her up when she was done. we figured that we should leave at 8:30, just in case there was a lot of traffic.

so this morning, Deanna got up really early to get ready. then I got up early to get ready. the only one who didn’t get up early was jane. she normally is up at 7am on the dot, but because of the time change, she’s a little off. she didn’t get up until 8:10 or so. we figured that Deanna would just have to drive herself to her appointment. we didn’t think that we had enough time to get jane into the car; but at the last minute, we decided to go for it.

Deanna quickly got jane dressed and her hair brushed. I quickly packed a bag with cereal and a drink for her breakfast. we got on the road at 8:40. we battled through traffic: into the commuter lane and out- speed up, then slow down, all the way to santa clara. Deanna got to her appointment in plenty of time. after we dropped her off, jane and I went to a mcdonald’s drive through and got pancakes- then we rushed over to the mall- why we were rushing, I’m not sure. I think we were just going fast. when we got to the mall, the place was empty. we parked, I got jane out of the car, got my bag of cereal and my bag of pancakes, and started walking fast through the parking lot to the mall entrance. since I was carrying all of that stuff, I wasn’t carrying jane. she was walking next to me. she reached up and held my hand, and I could tell just by holding her hand, that my legs were going way faster than hers were. and it hit me all at once: I don’t need to go fast. in fact, I should probably go slow. here I was, at the mall with my daughter while everyone else was at work in a meeting. here I was holding hands with a precious little girl going to have some breakfast in a very quiet mall. why would I want to speed things up? this is a moment that I wanted to slow down and savor.

so we did slow down. jane was thrilled to be in the mall while it was so quiet. I took this picture with my phone during breakfast.
its jane eating pancakes and chex, and giving me her take on everything from lollipops, to pajamas, to her favorite things to spend her spare time on. after breakfast, jane and I went downstairs to play on the playground before it got overrun with large children. again, she was thrilled to have it all to herself. we discovered some cool circle-chairs at a yogurt place close to the playground.
once we decided to slow down and enjoy each other’s company, we had a great time. before we knew it, we got a text from Deanna that she was all done at the doctor’s office. jane and I went into rush-mode again, but this time, we were rescuing mom from the doctor’s office. we were on a mission.

sometime I rush, even though I’m not in a hurry. the best moments in life are the ones when you have the time to actually enjoy them. maybe we experience those moments all of the time, but we moving too fast to notice. I think I would enjoy myself much more if I slowed down when there is no reason to go fast. I bet you would too.
God is love.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

so cool

my whole life, i have put a lot of thought into how cool i was being at any given moment. i’ve always tried to talk cool or dress cool; I even made efforts to smile cool and walk cool. when i was a kid i looked up to cool people: elvis, danny zuko from grease, yul brynner in magnificent seven, jim Morrison, etc. i have even been described as cool by a few people. but the more i reflect on my life, i realize, i’m not that cool. it makes me wonder if this whole cool thing was some sort of front to hide how uncool i was or am. here are some of the things that i think about when i consider how uncool i am:

:: i’m socially awkward.
i’m not that great at keeping conversations going. if i’m not talking with a chatty person, things get quiet really fast. i have read books on small talk, and have gotten better, but i have a long way to go. i can never think of the right words to say until after the conversation is over. that’s why i manuscript my messages- when i try to talk off the cuff, i usually end up stuttering or taking forever to say the word that i’m thinking of. so i usually end up letting other people talk- which usually makes them feel valued, and i want them to feel valued, so it ends up working out in most situations.

:: i get anxious.
i don’t know why. maybe its all the caffeine, but i often find myself quietly freaking out over something. a lot of time i fix this by breathing, silently encouraging myself, or praying. several years ago i learned how settling repetitive prayers can be, so i usually have a rosary around me somewhere. sometimes just holding it reminds me that i can pray and God will help me to relax.

:: i’m emotional.
maybe jane gets it from me. lately she can cry at the drop of a hat. i can too. i burst into tears watching youtube videos, listening to music, or just talking to people.

just last week a middle schooler was sharing a story of how God had healed her from a life-threatening illness. we were in a crowded room and i was fighting off tears with everything I had as she was sharing with me how God had answered her mother’s prayers.

last december, i was in my office reading the Christmas story, and tears immediately and unexpectedly jumped out of my eyes when i read the angel’s words “"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” i couldn’t stop. i welled up each time I heard it during Christmas.

one time i visited a student in the hospital- she was having a major surgery. after praying with her, i got in my car and started driving, but i had to pull over because i couldn’t see for all of the tears.

sometimes i'm with jane, and she is eating her snack, and commenting on the world around her, and she is healthy, and happy, and safe, and i think to myself, "this is the perfect moment. i don't want this moment to ever end." but i realize that before i know it, she'll be 16. sometimes i just reach over and say, "do you know that dad loves you?" with tears in my eyes. hold it together rob!

one time i was at a baseball game with my friend marc and we were watching the tractor smooth out the dirt. he asked me about a funeral that i went to. i didn’t really know that person that died that well, but i burst into tears and couldn’t stop. i was so embarrassed.

sometimes i’m in my car listening to u2 songs and i just burst into tears. some songs that have moved me are: one, all i want is you, mothers of the disappeared, running to stand still, grace and sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

everyone who was at my wedding saw me cry all over the place. that was a little embarrassing too.

i have shed many a tear at hume lake- all during beautiful moments.

:: there’s a lot that i do that other people wouldn’t find cool, but i do.
i watch children’s television with jane- i think its cool.
i browse bookstores. i feel comfortable around books. most people wouldn’t find that cool, but i do.
i spend a lot of time in silence and alone. that would bug a lot of people, but i enjoy it.
i hang out with middle schoolers! a lot of people don’t think that’s cool- but i love it.

maybe no one is really cool. maybe we’re all putting up some sort of front. maybe the whole cool thing is overrated and expensive. cool people want you to believe that they don’t need others or that they don’t experience emotions. but who is like that? who wants to be like that? not me. cool isn't going to be as important to me as it has been.

don’t be afraid to smile or cry or laugh out loud. let me give you the freedom to be uncool; or as my friend bono says: “don’t look before you laugh, look ugly in a photograph.”

God is love.