jane has always loved goodnight moon by margaret wise brown (illustration by clement hurd).
we have the audio version on my iPod so she can listen to it in the car and follow along in her book. when deanna was on her trip, jane and I were driving in the car and listening to goodnight moon, and jane noticed that there is another book, by the same author and illustrator, named "the runaway bunny." we decided to pick up the audio book and listen to that too. it seems to be a kind of prequel to goodnight moon. since then, we have read it and listened to it a thousand times. each time I listen to it, I am reminded of God's loyal love that is illustrated by the runaway bunny's patient mother.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
jane has always loved goodnight moon by margaret wise brown (illustration by clement hurd).
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
as I have been reading through the old testament for the last year or so, the name Nebuchadnezzar keeps coming up. I guess he could be classified as a villain of the old testament. after all, he worships a pagan god, he marches on jerusalem and takes all of the sacred gold objects out of the temple. Nebuchadnezzar was the king that sent israel into exile, he took the best of her sons and daughters, changed their names and made them learn his own language. not only that, nebuchadnezzar knows a thing or two about torture. when king zedekiah rebelled against him, Nebuchadnezzar had the king’s children and wife killed in front of him, and then had the king’s eyes gouged out- just so that it would be the last thing he ever saw. this is the same guy who makes sure that they put in a fiery furnace when they did a remodel. this is the same guy who built a giant gold statue of himself and made sure that everyone in his kingdom worshipped it every day- and if they didn't, they were killed on the spot.
this guy kind of reminds me of an ancient version of a recent dictator in Babylon. after all, that guy had statues of himself set up around the city, he lived in a beautiful palace, he wasn’t opposed to marching on another country, and that guy knew a thing or two about torture as well. with both of these leaders, to disagree with them could mean an instant death.
even with all of his faults, I get the sense that God loved Nebuchadnezzar and had a divine plan for his life. God made Nebuchadnezzar the king of the entire world at one point. three times in the book of jeremiah, God calls Nebuchadnezzar “my servant.” when God speaks of him marching on other nations, you almost get the sense that God is proud of how good nebuchadnezzar is at destroying nations. its clear from the book of jeremiah that when Nebuchadnezzar marched on jerusalem, he was doing exactly what God wanted him to do.
God loved nebuchanezzar and gave him a friend named daniel. Nebuchadnezzar renamed him belteshazzar, but daniel didn’t like that name, so Nebuchadnezzar apparently started calling him daniel again. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream where God showed him the future of world empires- and daniel was the only one who could interpret the dream. Nebuchadnezzar was so grateful that he turned his heart toward the Lord.
when shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walk out of the fiery furnace alive, he shouts out, “praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way."
again, how wild is it to hear the king of the world, and the ruler from the middle east speak like this?
God loved Nebuchadnezzar enough to discipline him when he was wrong. at the end of his life, Nebuchadnezzar had grown proud of his accomplishments and power. this is the same king who constructed the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the world. God gave him another dream- of a tree that would be cut down. nebuchadnezzar was the tree. for seven years, he went insane and lived outside like an animal. in daniel 4, nebuchadnezzar says, “now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
there are still villains in these days-
and we know that God loves them, has a plan for their lives, disciplines them, and may even be using them for His purposes.
or do we?
so- is nebuchadnezzar in heaven?
I think so.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
jane loves this line of toys called calico critters. they are only sold in some toy stores. you can’t find them at target or toys r us, but you can find them at learning express, wooden horse, d and j hobby, and diddams. since these are the places that have them, these are the places we like to shop. they almost always have a dollhouse and dolls to play with at these stores. and they also almost always have the calico critters townhouse on display for the figures to live in. jane has A BALL playing with this thing. every now and then I look at the price- its usually about $100. since jane already has a dollhouse, I don’t even consider it.
diddams had one on display, but they put it away during the holidays. recently, they put it back in its box and back on the shelf. I have been trying to score a deal for months. I have called and gone in maybe 10 times, talking to several different managers trying to score a deal. I tell them that the toy has been played with by hundreds of children. its technically not a new toy- it’s a used toy. the box has clearly been opened, and the original packaging is no longer there. I have told them that I would like to buy it for $40. one manager told me that they would give it to me for %10 off. another %20. another %50 off- which would bring the cost to $50. I have been holding out for $40. they haven’t budged, and I haven’t budged, so I just gave up on the idea. jane has actually stopped playing with the townhouse whenever we go to these stores; so I figured that it’s a lost cause. until about an hour ago.
I was at goodwill looking for patio furniture, and I found the calico critters townhouse in mint condition (although its missing a few small pieces). the cost was $5.99!
I scooped it up and took it to the checkout without hesitation and without looking back.
now jane has it, and loves it, and is playing with it happily. where will it go? I have no idea. will she have 2 dollhouses? I guess. maybe it could go in my office! not if jane has anything to say about it.
SCORE! I feel like Indiana jones discovering a lost treasure!
P.S. this is what happens when you become a dad. I used to get excited about finding a rare U2 single or scoring front row tickets. now I am thrilled to find something my kid will enjoy. seeing her enjoy a gift makes me enjoy the purchase all the more. I guess I'm grown up.
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 4:25 PM
Friday, May 22, 2009
i blogged earlier this month about some new toys that jane got- a toy dad and a toy jane. we felt that the family was not complete, so yesterday we went to toys r us to get a toy-mom.
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 9:35 AM
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I just finished the book of Ezekiel this week- but before I talk about him, I’d like to rant a little bit about the exilic period in general. other than the exodus, the exile is the most dominant event of the old testament. there is more written about that time than the patriarchs, david, and moses. the story of the exile is prophesied by moses, its chronicled in Nehemiah, 2 kings and 2 chronicles, its lived out in the words of the prophets Isaiah, jeremiah, ezra, Ezekiel and daniel, and its lamented in lamentations.
so why don’t we ever preach about it or hear much about it on sundays? when we look at the book of daniel or Ezekiel, why is it to only look at end times prophecy? this is a fascinating story that sets the tone and prepares the way for the gospels of the new testament.
back to Ezekiel.
I like Ezekiel.
He reminds me of a youth worker.
He uses lots of illustrations, and never complains, and never gives up. the words of his book were very encouraging to me a few years ago when I was dealing with a particularly rough group of students. it says in chapter 2:
“The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.' And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.”
chapter 3 says “But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house."
Ezekiel is unique because he gets to travel through space and time with God. God takes him on inter-dimensional journeys to see the future, inside of the temple, and the idol worship of Israel. it all has the feel of “a Christmas carol” where scrooge travels through space and time to see the results of his behaviors. in chapter 1, God shows him these wheels that spin together and hover in the air and follow the spirit of God.
another thing that make him unique is that God always calls him son of man. as far as I can tell, jesus is the only other individual in the scriptures that gets called by that name.
probably my favorite part is where God brings Ezekiel to the valley of dry bones. God tell him to prophesy and preach to the bones.
and then the bones start to rattle, and grow flesh and come together and then come alive. wild.
all of the prophets had it rough- and they all had to endure hardship in order to make God’s point. but I’m sure that Ezekiel had it the worst. in the beginning of the book, God asks him to eat a scroll that makes him sick. his wife died and he wasn’t allowed to mourn. he had to lie on his side next to a model of jerusalem for 14 months. he nearly starved, and from the sound of it, he spent a lot of time tied up, and could not say a word unless it was from God. he also had to cook his food over cow poo (it was originally going to be human poo, but fortuantely for him, he talked God down to cow poo- I guess that's an upgrade.) he also had to shave his head and burn his hair next to his model of the city. through it all, no complaints. no weeping and wishing he were dead like jeremiah.
in the end, God gives Ezekiel a rare look into the distant future- to a time when the worship of God will be restored, and the glory of the Lord will return to the temple. is this a picture of herod’s temple or a picture of the reign of Jesus in the future? personally I think that this prophecy was fulfilled the moment that jesus walked up to the temple mount on palm sunday.
we all have a lot to learn from ezekiel's life- especially in the area of obedience without compaints, perseverance, and fearing God more than the fear of man.
I’ll end with the words of God through Ezekiel:
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness.”
God is love.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I have been reading a fun book on leadership by nancy ortberg called “unleashing the power of rubber bands.” i really like books on this. it has thoughts on leadership, questions for leaders to ask, but not necessarily all of the answers.
today I read something that really sent me spinning: “as leaders, we constantly need to determine whether something is a problem to be solved, or a tension that needs to be managed…much of the frustration that leaders face comes from trying to solve what needs to be managed, and trying to manage what needs to be solved. being able to distinguish which areas need clarity and which areas will be ongoing tensions is a necessary skill.”
again, this sent my head spinning. I started thinking about my personal journey as a leader, and the situations that I have faced. when have I treated a problem like a tension and tried to manage it, when I should have been fixing it? when have I treated an ongoing tension like a problem and just fixed it? what problems need to be fixed right now? am I sure that they are problems? or are they really tensions that I need to manage?
and I’ve been thinking about the leadership that has been modeled to me by the leaders that I have had. when did they treat an ongoing tension like a problem? when have they treated a problem like an ongoing (and ongoing, and ongoing) tension?
its easier to find fault in others and clearly see what they don’t sometimes. its much harder to examine yourself and the difficulties you face from an objective point of view. that’s the value of getting another’s perspective. again, I don’t have all of the right answers, but when you have good questions, you are on the right track.
“is the a problem to be solved or a tension to be managed?”
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 2:50 PM
Friday, May 15, 2009
whew! what a day. I don’t know how Deanna does it- that and keep the place clean, and the bills paid and the meals made. she’s a super-woman.
I just put jane down for bed on our second night of daddy-daughter weekend. once again, she slowed down story time with a lot of observations about the things she likes to do and play with. today’s pace was a little slower, which was good for jane, but not so much for me. I get restless and feel like we should be doing something or going somewhere, and all she really wanted to do was play. this morning we went to the bookstore and got a new book, we went to the park, and then went to mcdonald’s for a happy meal. she spent time in her room for an hour or so of “quiet rest time,” which is our way of giving her an opportunity to take a nap. she almost never does. after quiet rest time she made a thanksgiving feast for her toys. I whipped up some mac and cheese, and we had a feast of our own. after dinner, jane decided that she wanted a bath. I wasn’t planning on doing bath time, and Deanna was certain that jane wouldn’t ask for a bath, but she did. I got the temperature wrong a few times, but eventually got it just right.
now she’s in her bed, safe and sound. I pulled out the old baby monitor so that I wouldn’t sleep through any emergency she might have in the middle of the night. (not that she ever does, but I feel better having it out.) she’s a good kid and I’m grateful to have her. I’m really grateful. I can’t wait for dw to get home- then I’ll sleep well.
jesus told us to call God father. and if God is a father to me like I’m a father to jane, then I’m sure that I can be frustrating at times, but at the same time I can know that I fill Him with joy, He listens to me when I sleep, and He is not letting me out of His sight.
God is love.
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 8:00 PM
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I’ve had my eye on today’s date on the calendar for months. Deanna is on the east coast for three days and I’m taking care of jane. I don’t mind spending time with jane at all. I love it. when Deanna is around, jane is deanna’s girl. but when its just Janie and I, she talks to me a lot more and we always seem to have a lot of fun. Deanna does a lot of things that I never really do- like give jane a bath, make her food, put her to bed, and do her hair. so with Deanna out of town, I’m learning a bunch of new things.
today was day 1, and it went fairly well. I got up early and had a shower, and jane was up at 7. yesterday Deanna had a little suitcase on wheels out, and jane filled it with toys and carted it all over the house. this morning, that was the first thing on her mind. I had to break it to her that mom had taken it. she had breakfast, watched some cartoons, then we were off on our day of fun. I stopped by my office to get some books and files to work on, then we went to the discovery museum. it was insane and filled with children. we left after an hour.
next we went to the “dollhouse store” to get some chairs for toy-dad and toy-jane to sit in. then we went home for lunch and some quiet rest time.
after 3 we went to the mall just to look at little suitcases, and I wasn’t getting out of the store without the pink ariel one. she is in love with it.
we had dinner, and then it was story time. jane really knows how to keep story time going. every morning I invite her to hang out and talk about things. normally, she’s more interested in playing. but tonight, she interrupted me each time I turned the page to tell me her favorite thing to play with, or her favorite part of the day, or a memory from when she was a baby, or just to tell me that she loved me and loved being my kid. each time I turned the page she said, “oh- and want to know something else…?”
today was a little stressful, but also emotional. sometimes I just watch my girl as she is playing, or telling me a story, or while she’s eating and I well up and freak out over how fragile she is and how messed up I would be if anything happened to her or to Deanna. I think that I just want to lock them away from any and every danger or freeze time to preserve them forever. I’ve been praying a lot over the last 36 hours too.
day one was a good one. deanna’s plane landed safely and jane is safely tucked in her bed. now if I can just handle tomorrow…
God is love.
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 8:08 PM
Monday, May 11, 2009
on saturday, jane and I left deanna with a gift certificate to get a manicure and pedicure, and a day with no little girls to entertain. we went to the boardwalk. jane loves it there. we got her a season pass. she loves it because she has a "picture-card" to show at the ticket window. I like the beach and the sun, and the history of the place, but I don't do rides. jane on the other hand, is an adrenaline-junkie. she sees the roller coasters speeding by and says, "I wish I could go on THAT RIDE dad!" uh, no.
here are some of the pics I took on our trip to the boardwalk::
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 10:18 PM
the other day, jane and I were walking through toys r us and I saw a toy that seemed to bear a striking resemblance to jane and her daddy. I think that i wanted her to have it more than she did! (this isn’t the first time I have found a dad and jane doll, whenever I find one, I snatch it up immediately). jane really wanted the van that the dad drove, but she couldn’t understand that dad doesn’t drive a mini-van! I drive a manly car! (a red vw beetle). I told her that she could get it if she could take her potty game to the next level; and she got to work on that right away.
that night I could hear her in her room playing with her dad and jane dolls. we were having some sort of adventure, I couldn’t exactly tell what was going on, but I heard things like, “DAD! oh no!” “JANIE! I’ll save you!” and “oh! my sweet little girl!” she added in a little cat-doll for our cat calvin. I guess toy-jane dislikes toy-calvin as much as the real jane does, because toy-jane seemed to yell at toy-calvin as much as the real jane yells at the real calvin.
well, tonight jane earned her minivan. she is a good gift-receiver (which is good for her, because I'm slightly addicted to giving her gifts). she walked around with her minivan saying, "this is AWESOME! this is the BEST-TOY-EVER!!!" doll-jane and doll-dad had more adventures driving around the house, going to the library, looking for parking spots and listening to music on their iPod.
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 10:10 PM
Thursday, May 7, 2009
on sunday afternoon, i came home from church, grabbed some lunch, and sat down on the couch to watch basketball. jane wandered into the living room and joined me, even though she doesn’t really like sports. a commercial came on, which is always a little scary, because you never know if its going to be for a scary movie or something, but it was this one:
jane thought it was hilarious.
she asked, “DAD! WHY ARE THOSE MICE DRIVING THAT CAR?!”
“i don’t know,” I said.
“DAD! WHY ARE THOSE MICE DRIVING THAT CAR?!”
when the commercial was over, jane said, “dad, can you turn those mice-in-a-car back on?”
“sorry- its over. it was a commercial.”
“but dad- can you turn it back on?”
“I don’t know how.”
“just push the buttons on the remote, and it will come back on!”
“maybe mom knows how to do it.” I said.
“good idea, dad.”
then Janie went to ask Deanna about it.
she didn’t know what she was talking about.
I told her about the commercial and Deanna explained that we couldn’t turn it back on.
then jane took it to a new level. she worked up the tears.
“but (sniff-sniff) mom. I LOVE THOSE MICE!”
“maybe you can find it on the computer,” I said.
and they found it on youtube, and once again, jane was tickled pink.
jane went into her room to play, and I went back to church for a meeting.
I got back a few hours later, and I could tell something was up.
Deanna was a little annoyed, and jane was flat out mad.
“what the matter?” I asked.
Deanna said, “oh, we’re just taking a little break. a little time out. we needed to cool off a bit.”
“what happened?” I asked.
“we have watched that HAMSTER movie a HUMDRED TIMES! I can’t watch it anymore!” said Deanna.
“BUT MOM!” yelled jane,
“Janie, we are done for the day with the movie…”
since I felt semi-responsible for this mess, I decided to help out by changing the subject.
the next day, I was walking out the door and said, “JANE! I HAVE A GREAT IDEA! why don’t you watch that hamster movie?!”
I got the stink-eye from my wife.
and it all started with a commercial…
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 7:25 AM
Monday, May 4, 2009
"The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:
Let them sit alone in silence
beneath the Lord’s demands.
Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.
For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow."
-jeremiah the prophet
(after the destruction of jerusalem)
I walked into the gym tonight and there was a basketball game going on in the basketball gym. even from a distance, i could hear the players trash talking each other (at the church-gym!) i walked up to the desk to check in and said to my friend who works there, “i can hear those guys trash talking from way over there!” “I know!” he said. “how about less chit-chat, and more BALLIN’?!”
as i went into the locker room, I was thinking of that statement. at this point, it would be easy for me to take a pot-shot at churches and say that they have too many meetings and committees and not enough serving and acts of love. too much chit-chat, not enough ballin’. but Idon’t even know if that’s true. I can speak for myself, though. what about me? I can preach a sermon about serving and compassion and good works, but how is my game? how is yours? we could all step it up when it comes to serving, giving, encouraging, visiting, witnessing, and going. less chit-chat, more ballin’.
God is love.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was recently reunited with my toys from the 80's. they are going to a children's shelter on monday, in the meantime, jane has been curiously checking them out. she has already been putting her dora-the-explorer doll in an old g.i. joe tank and referring to it as "the green car." she routinely comes up to me asking, "hey dad, can I play with that green car?" in my mind I say, "ITS NOT A GREEN CAR JANE! ITS A WAR MACHINE! AND IT HAS SAVED THE WORLD FROM MANY-AN-EVIL-PLOT BY COBRA." but with my words I gently say, "sure big-kid, just for a few minutes. don't forget its for the boys who need toys."
Posted by rob's thoughtful spot at 9:28 PM