Saturday, January 31, 2009



Wednesday, January 28, 2009


In the tradition of several of our friends who do "top 8 bottom 4" lists here we go:
Top 8: 
1. Sushi in Japan (Epcot's version) with April on our anniversary. 
2. Space Mission with Josh. G-forces with a 5 year old. 
3. Time with our family. 
4. The Disney Character breakfast, especially when the boys got shy around Minnie.
5. Taking the little guys from country to country in Epcot.
6. Caleb speaking Mandarin to the Chinese host.
7. Swimming in January.
8. Laughing @ 2:00 am when we didn't have change for a toll booth. See previous post. 
Bottom 4:
1. My dad having an emergency appendectomy and being in the hospital the whole time.
2. See # 1. 
3. $12 parking everyday.
4. Unpacking. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

toll booths and juicy fruit at gunpoint.

Daytime driving with three children or driving through the night with three sleeping children. A great dilemma.  We opted for late departure from Auburn to Orlando. Overall, the trip was great. About 2:00 am, we are approaching the Orlando area, where a clearly marked sign says, Disney via _____ so I turned off, only to face a fork in the road with NO signs or directions or markers for the land of Walt Disney. I go with my gut feeling which changed as soon as I turned north... so we exit to turn around. The problem? A .25 cent toll booth, for which we had .20 cents. While we frantically searched for a nickel or five pennies, a car was honking its horn behind us. Great. So, given my options, we did what Clark and Ellen Griswald would have done, we ran the toll booth. Yes, I know, a ticket will be in the mail, but we did try, and we did put .20 in the basket. I'm glad it happened like that. For sure, we laughed a really long time, and then after getting lost because we needed more change for the re-entry booths, the story went from ridiculous to redonkulus. With a $5 bill and a pack of juicy fruit from a gas station that I thought was about to be robbed at gun point, and two police cars arresting someone else 1/4 mile down the road, we were primed for Disney the next day. Hello Orlando.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


There are a couple predictable things I love about mornings at home. Usually, Caleb is the first to wake up. He either crawls into our bed, or finds me in the kitchen. Within 90 seconds, "Dad, I hungry". What would you like? "Pancakes". Let me go on and say, whoever invented the three-stack of microwavable pancakes is pure genius because in 75 seconds (including the time it takes to cut them up), we are in the breakfast business. Shortly thereafter, Josh is up, and it's pancake time all over again. I can't wait to Luke to join in on pancake time. 

Our prayer in the morning is this one - "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad, all the days of our life. " Psalm 90:14

Sunday, January 11, 2009

stir my affections

  "Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my joy and my delight." Psalm 43:4

Closed country. Open food court. At lunch today, I saw at two different tables, Chinese men sitting across from another guy, Bible open, teaching and sharing. If memory serves me well, we were just in the basement of an always crowded food court, where, from the overflow of love in their hearts, these guys were sharing the Story. I sat down next to one of them. Immediately, he says to me: 

" Hi, are you a believer? " 
" I am, I definitely am" 
" Me too, nice to meet you."

Several weeks ago I was reading the thoughts of another pastor, whose simple question has been resonating in my heart for a few weeks. What is it in life, that causes my heart to burn for Jesus? Great question. So I have been thinking about that for a while, and today while attending an English-speaking Chinese church in Beijing, I had some answers. 

What stirs my affections for God ? 
1. Seeing my children, really looking in their eyes, understanding them, and hearing the obvious work of God's grace in their lives.
2. The consistent witness of my beautiful wife, who never fails to encourage me and share with me, all that God is doing in her heart. 
3. Hearing a sense of wisdom and depth of understanding when I hear my mom pray; cherishing the times my dad has prayed over me before events, speaking engagements, or just at home.
4. Viewing earth at 38,000 feet.
5. Hearing the name of Jesus praised by the voice of people totally different than me, from other countries,   cultures, and languages. 
6. Praying with people who are desperate for the reality of hope in Christ.
7. The blessing of jet-lag waking me up early to be with Him (like now) + coffee + the Bible. 
8. Walking the streets of huge cities where I am deeply burdened by how many people do not know Jesus.
9.  Meaningful conversations that relate to matters of eternal value. 
10. Leadership obscurity. (more on this later)

beijing day one

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

zài jiàn

We are learning a new language. Mandarin. Sounds fun, right? Actually, it is. Especially when our children get it more quickly than we do. Don't get me wrong, we are aware of the complexities of learning Chinese, but at the same time we have to start somewhere right? So, today, while I was at work, April was reviewing last night's lesson with the boys, when she momentarily forgot how to say "good bye" -- and like a fish in water, Caleb (3), says mom, that's easy,  "zài jiàn". Correct pronunciation. Crazy. 

ps. Most of HK does not speak Mandarin, but the mainland Chinese students studying in HK do, so, that's why we are. Learning Cantonese will be another thing altogether.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

little people have fun and we do too.

These little people are pretty special. Josh and Caleb had more fun with their friends, Annie and Ellie, than we've seen them experience in a long time. Don't be fooled, the IKEA kids section is feels limited after thirty minutes, getting lost in the kitchen section, two potty breaks, a hurt knee, four kids in a stroller while infant and car seat are in two other hands, and a broken ice-cream machine... but for the parents of these children, who might I say, also spent more time laughing and encouraging each other than normal, it was a great weekend as well. 

It's a rare thing (married people know this, and soon to be married people hope for this) when both the husbands|fathers and wives|mothers equally enjoy time together. So, when it does happen, it is a good thing. 

Yep, we are people-people, but I'll admit even people-people get a little peopled-out sometimes, but in this case, when the main thing, stays the main thing, the whole time, there is abundant Life that is obviously from Him. Rather than being peopled-out, our hope has been strengthened. 

Rob and Denise - thank you for a great weekend where our families could enjoy each other and be reminded of what is eternal, and what really matters. We are thankful for your friendship. And yes, baby Luke, did cry much of the way home, but then again, who really likes being strapped into a car seat for a long time? Good thing is, no car seats are needed in Hong Kong if you don't have a car. Patience Luke. Patience.  

And now dear children, continue to LIVE IN HIM, so that when He appears, we may be confident and unashamed at His coming. 1 John 2:28

Thursday, January 01, 2009

beijing | one week.

In a week, I'll be flying to Beijing where I will visit my good friend Biscuet. His dad and I are going to see what life is like for him these days. Hopefully, we will be going to Phillip Hayden Foundation, where I'll see precious children like these (we sponsor through GiveGrace). One day, our family will include a little Chinese girl. So, while not with my family, I will be supporting another family, and getting another reminder of a little one who will soon be in our family. That's good. Not to mention, I'm always down to see the sights, experience another culture, eat some crazy food, and meet some new friends.