Monday, December 22, 2008

Are You Serious?!!

So, I was browsing through some movies on Netflix tonight, and I came across a movie called, "Help! I'm a Boy"...and the title is enough for me to know I may never watch this movie. However, the picture on the box might just deter me first. Frankly, I'm disappointed in Netflix...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stuck on the Roof

I love Fall. There are many things about it that make me enjoy the season. Of course the beauty of the trees changing colors, pumpkins and candy at Halloween, and cooler temps are all wonderful things about Fall. However, there are few on this planet that actually look forward to raking leaves. Of course, if you ignore the leaves, your grass dies and your neighbors aren't happy on windy days. I will say that my wonderful wife does the majority of the raking, or has so far. I think it's because I do the mowing during the summer and she is OCD and can't handle the "messiness" of the yard. :) I love her.

Anyway, today my job was to clean out the gutters... Needless to say, I was not excited about it, but, again, it had to be done. I borrowed a ladder from a friend because it was an extension ladder that would let me climb right up onto the roof. I should preface the rest of this by saying I'm not a huge fan of heights. Our house is no mansion, but it's higher than a chair. I got up the ladder and on the roof with little issues. I cleaned out the gutters, though, that was no party either.

Then...I had to get down. If you've ever climbed a ladder and dismounted it, you know that the challenge is mounting again. I could not do it. I was scared to death falling off the roof. I tried a couple maneuvers and Sonia tried to help coach me, but to no avail. I was stuck. It was a good 5-10 minutes before I finally got it figured out, mustered up some courage and got down (no, I'm not blogging from the roof).

As I reflect on it now, it made me think about how I approach certain situations. I feel like I'm often stuck on the roof. Do you know that feeling when you just know the right thing to do, and yet you can't move on it? I can't tell you how many people I could have talked to about Christ's love for them. I can't tell you how many lies I could have avoided. I can't tell you how many people I've let walk away when I knew they just needed someone to talk to.

Get off the roof and grab ahold of that ladder. I can tell you it's a good feeling when you get down and gravity is no longer your worst enemy. What's stopping you?

In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil.
~ James 4:17 (The Message)

Monday, September 29, 2008


Took this picture in Wisconsin at a gas station on the pump. There's two things wrong with this picture:

1) "BORKED"????? I can't tell if this person actually meant "broked" or if they were making up a word. Either way, it's worthy of three underlines and two exclamation points, so it must be something special. My best guess on this is that the dyslexic hillbilly didn't have anything else to do, so someone told him to write this note and were too busy to proofread it...

2) "RecIEpt" is indeed spelled RecEIpt. I remember a little jig in elementary that went, "I before E, except affter C..." Either the peson writing this didn't realize there was a "C" in the word, or they didn't go to elementary school. I'm not trying to be mean, but seriously folks...

It's a good thing I didn't really want the receipt. What are your best guesses as to the meaning behind this note?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Observations from a Scary Place

It's a scary place to be. The dentist chair. I had an appointment the other day to get some fillings and I just happened to notice a couple of things. Here are my observations:

NOTE: Some of this may be disgusting or whatever. If you have a queasy stomach, read until you can't take it...or don't read at all. ;) It's a dentist office and we all know what happens there. Ok, let's get on with it.

1) It's pretty amazing how much they try to make a torture room look welcoming. Next time you're at the dentist, take a glance at all the things there that really don't need to be there, but add something to the room to make you feel a little less stressed. My dentist office had a small garden outside the window and some bird feeders. It was a small fence-enclosed area, but a nice touch nonetheless. Plus, there's a window right in front of extra that I will not take for granted. At least I can see what freedom looks like...

2) Piggy-backing off of point 1, a TV in the dentist chair is the best idea since Super Nintendo (actually Super Nintendo in the chair too would be awesome)! Not only was it cool to watch some sports and calm my nerves a little more, but it gave the doctor something to talk to me about before drilling my face off. It was a nice moment of connecting before the drill came out.

3) It's always a bad sign when the hygienist hands the doctor a syringe and then places her hand on your shoulder to pin you down. You know that's going to hurt. I'm sure it would hurt more if I jerked my body up as he was pushing the syringe in. I'm going to move on now before I pass out.

4) I actually prefer going to the dentist for a filling over a bi-yearly clean. It's straight down to business, they numb your face, and there's not a ton of poking and scraping. It's drill, scrub, replace, dry, and buff. Done and done. I had two this time and I was in the chair for about half an hour. Not too shabby. Sure they threw in the usual, "brush more, floss more, blah blah blah...", but it wasn't so much that I wanted to stab them in the retina with a toothbrush. Also, you don't have to wait for the doctor to get to everyone else. He/She is the one working on you, so when the procedure is done, you're good to go. Nice.

5) One of the worst things in the world is having to deal with a numb face for a few hours afterward. I literally was watching the clock every second to see how much longer it was going to take. You feel like everyone is staring at you and you're always wondering if there is drool coming out of your mouth that you can't feel. Also, it's really hard to talk to people and smile as part of your lip is dead. I looked in the mirror a lot wondering if the lip was swollen.

6) Expensive...period.

Those are my quick thoughts and observations. All in all, this visit wasn't too bad. Of course, I'm not going to pencil one in every week, but it's doable at least once a year. :)

Now go brush your teeth!

Monday, August 25, 2008

As If Love Weren't Enough

When storms approach, when people cry for help, our God listens.
When lies control, when tension arises, our God listens.
When the poor need help, when money is tight, our God listens.
When it seems like too much, when the scars throb with pain, our God listens.
When good times are great, when bad times are imminent, our God listens.
When fear grips us, when apathy is our lifestyle, our God listens.

How does He listen? He loves.
How does He provide? He loves.
How does He help? He loves.
How does He encourage? He loves.
How does He heal? He loves.
How does He bless? He loves.

Sometimes in life, we go about as if love weren't enough. We complain, we fear, we worry, we cry. It's okay to admit it. I do all of these from time to time; even a lot of the time. But why? God is love. Isn't that enough? Shouldn't it be enough? Life is hard, and no one said it wouldn't be. Even Jesus made it clear that it would. It's hard because we made it hard, not because of God. Decisions are made that don't make us happy. But God is love and He doesn't make decisions that hurt us.

So how are you living? Are you living as if love weren't enough? I forget sometimes that the love of God is plenty enough.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Irony of an Introvert

I'll tell you what, people who are introverts are interesting. Some would say that I am. I would say that I am...sometimes. I often tell people that I am an intro-extrovert. When I am in certain situations, I need to hold back, observe, and reflect about everything. In other situations, I like to live it up, be loud, and be the center of attention.

The funny thing is that I have different feelings at different times about being alone. You see, an introvert likes to be alone sometimes...most of the time. It doesn't mean that introverts are depressed, bridge trolls, who don't know how to socialize. Sometimes, it just feels good to relax and keep things to myself.

Here's the irony:

-I like to be in neighborhoods/subdivisions with people around...not in the country with no one within 5 miles of you.

-I like the roads to be driver-less and hassle-free...a country road would be nice any day.

-I like having a few good friends and not being everyone's's much simpler this way.

-I like to be in youth ministry where hanging out with lots of middle school and high schoolers is awesome.

-I'm not a huge fan of big parties and/or large groups of people (most of the time).

-I'm a huge fan of going to professional/amateur sporting events.

Again, I tell you I am an intro-extrovert. Any questions?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Do...

Why do:

...3-prong electrical outlets look like block heads who are appalled, or scared, or dead? And why do we have to stick prongs in their face? Is there a group out there, like PETA, who looks out for the electrical outlets? What about PETO? Who's on board?

...People misspell/misuse words on commercials? I can understand we are not all perfect and not all English majors or grammar freaks, but if you are spending big money and hiring people to help, shouldn't there be a standard of excellence we are upholding? For example, I saw that commercial the other day where a girl walks by and the guy uses his camera phone to zoom in to see her and the girl across from him texts him and says, "...YOUR a pig!" For all you grammar wizards out there, this should actually be "...YOU'RE a pig!" Grant it, we are in a texting and IM world, but like I said, where's the standard in the professional world?

...TV stations put full episodes online for people to watch? Don't they know that this is the very reason people get addicted to shows? Ok, so this one is actually awesome. Sonia and I have been watching Lost and are addicted. They have seasons 1, 2, and 3 online and since we missed all of that, we are starting from the beginning. If you can spare a couple weeks of your life, catch up on this show or any other online show and you won't regret it.

...good deals have to come with a catch? The new iPhone is coming out in 12 days. You may or may not have heard that the cost of the phone has been cut in half and is supposed to be twice as fast on the internet (if your area has the 3G network). Awesome, right? Wrong. They are increasing the cost of the REQUIRED data package by $10, which means an extra $120/year. So, in all actuality, you will be paying MORE than the people who bought the original iPhone for high cost. I guess with newer things, you have to expect more money, but why tease and manipulate the common folk by saying it's half the price and twice as fast? It's probably twice as slow... And yes, I'll probably still get one, damn it...

...quality cars break down and crappy cars continue to last and get crappier? Sonia's car is a Buick and seemingly in pretty good condition. Mine is a Geo and looks like it's going to rust into nothingness. Her car continues to have costly and annoying problems, while mine keeps running and rusting. I really don't think it's because it's a Geo. It is kind of ironic, though.

The End.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Walking Wisely in a Fool's World

"so watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants." ~ Eph. 5:15-17 (The Message)

"Walking wisely in a fool's world" was the theme of the week of camp that I was just at last week. A good friend of mine and I went to a Christian camp in western Illinois to lead worship for a 5th and 6th grade week. All I can say about that week was that it was AWESOME! There were some downsides (like the fact that my lovely wife was not able to go and I had to suffer without her and tornadoes were a probable threat some nights and seemed scarier after the tragedy at the boyscout camp in Iowa), but for the most part it was good. We learned a lot about walking wisely in a fool's world -- making wise decisions, choosing good friends, etc.

Now some would say that me and Chip (my friend who played drums with me that week) were fools for spending a week with 5th and 6th graders; teaching them about Jesus, worshiping together, and investing in their lives. Some would say it is foolish to follow a God that we cannot see and who seems non-existent when disaster strikes. However, this week only affirmed more that we were indeed making a difference in a fool's world. While there were times during the week where I could not take much more insanity, it was one of the wisest choices Chip and I could make. We were able to learn a lot and hopefully teach these kids a lot just by our example and being there to serve them. I had a blast working alongside my good friend Keith Ehresman and learning from him as well.

And so, live for Christ and walk as if every day was your last. Choose wisely as many will call you foolish and worse names. The reward for the persecuted and those who choose Jesus daily will be more than worth the verbal (and sometimes physical) punishment we receive here. Our God is a God of love. Walk wisely brothers and sisters as we strive toward the same purpose and aspirations...

Finally, here's some funny quotes from kids and such during the week. Classic stuff.

- "What size shoe do you wear? I wear about a 36." ~ Kyle (a 6th grader with normal feet)
- "Did you guys see the comet? It was heading for Japan. I'm glad it's heading for Japan." ~ Kyle
- *A girl pokes me in the stomach* "That's not fat, those are ABS!" ~ a 5th grade girl
- "You guys are the best band EVER! You're even better than Green Day!" ~ Ryan
- "Chip has to chug this mustard and...why don't you chug the ketchup, Aaron?" ~ Keith (after Chip got a package and had to do something funny to get it)
- "Belly flop! Belly flop! Belly flop!" (followed by a belly flop from me and Chip) ~ evil chant

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Time For a Happy Post...

I've been looking back at some of my older posts and realize I've had a lot of complaining and deeper posts. It's time for a happy post.

Without further delay, here are the random thoughts of life that are making me happy:

1) The weather is getting consistently warmer, the sun is shining, house and lawn projects are getting done, and we are finally getting "settled" into our new house.

2) I sold my XBOX 360 for a number of reasons and that made me sad. But then I rekindled my love for the Super Nintendo and great games like Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball, Donkey Kong Country (1, 2, AND 3!); and hopefully I can find Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles somewhere. Classic system...classic fun.

3) The Cubs are in first place and have been consistently staying there (more or less). What else could I ask for?

4) I realized that I can now do drywall stuff which may come in handy someday. I feel proud of myself.

5) Of all the high gas prices in the country, ours have mostly stayed under $4, and that's okay with me (I'm an optimist)...for now.

That's all. It's been a good past few months. We have really been enjoying life and I couldn't feel more blessed with a great wife, great job, and great community to continue encouraging me.

Let's hope the next post isn't a sad one...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pretending to Make a Noise

Relient K has a song called "Gibberish" and it literally is a song full of gibberish. Sometimes we all talk gibberish, or nonsense, or whining, or begging, etc. The chorus of the song repeats this line over and over: "Stop talking gibberish and just stop talking." That says it all. And so does the picture.

Not only did my mom and grandma say this many times to me, I'm pretty sure James warned us about this in James 3 when he personifies the tongue as a flame, a rudder, a horse-bit, an un-tamable beast, a wild killer, and a confused spring, tree, and well.

"It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell."

I am a huge fan of positive noise. I couldn't be more against people who pretend to make a noise. When the noise is rightly placed, it can sound beautiful, encouraging, and empowering. When a noise is wrong placed, it is simply...a clanging gong. I've met both types of people. The thing about the posers is that there often is no solution to the whining, complaining, discouraging, and power-sucking. Now those who know how to make noise, know how to solve problems and offer tangible and realistic solutions. The saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" applies because it offers a solution. When someone comes to me and complains because the communion table was moved and blames others for "moving God aside," I have to wonder where the solution is. Usually their solution is move it back or I'm going to REALLY raise some hell about this. I have always been a solutions person. Let's not worry about how we got there; let's worry about where we got in the first place and then evaluate.

Of course, before you make a noise at all--positive or negative--you have to decide if it's willing to even say anything at all. Are you ready to fight about simple aesthetics while people are starving outside our doors for Jesus and healing? What battles are you willing to die fighting for? And that is for a whole other blog post.

So what type are you? Do you make noise because sometimes the "room" is too quiet; or do you pretend to make noise and hurt peoples' ears (and morals) with a clanging and hurtful gong? I would hope I am the first, but I'm sure, as a drummer, I've made some pretty crappy noise in my life. God forgive me for pretending to make a noise and sucking the life out of so many people and situations.

"And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

S.W.O.B. - Learning From Our Weaknesses

Today, I'm in an all-staff, all-day, all-mind-zapping, planning day! Yay...

Seriously, my mindset coming into this was not necessarily positive. I have been to school and classes and lectures and conferences and all-day events tend to drain me. Also, the overall outcome is usually boredom. We started the meeting with prayer and devotion (which was a great way to start this day), and then moved right on to an evaluation time.

Let me step back a few years. In 2006, I went to an awesome conference called Catalyst in Atlanta, GA. It is a conference packed full of great speakers (Christian and non-Christian) to help empower church leaders throughout the world. The line-up this year is pretty cool as well ( Anyway, in 2006, there was a speaker named Marcus Buckingham. And yes...he's British. Marcus is a businessman and spoke to us as if we were businessmen. He preached of using our weaknesses to make us strong. Today's society, he argued, is telling us differently. We use our strengths to make us stronger and we try to push our weaknesses aside and get over it. It's all about being better.

And so, today, I sit here amongst great people -- the staff of this church and we evaluate ourselves. We are using a formula called S.W.O.B. to help us be honest. That acronym (not the strep throat test) stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Barriers.
Then, we take four areas and apply them to this acronym: Mission, Worship, Spiritual Formation, and Community. The questions are how effective are we at these four areas. The presumption was that it would be easier to talk about our strengths than our weaknesses. Amazingly, we have been filling the board with weaknesses, while our strengths are overwhelmingly strong. Now, the easiest thing to do would be to draw the line at strengths and weaknesses and see that we have more weaknesses and hate ourselves and say we suck. The great thing is that Marcus Buckingham and this S.W.O.B. method allow for more than that. The opportunities allow us to look at our weaknesses and act on them. The barriers allow us to know what might get in our way. This doesn't mean it will, but it might.

I'm actually loving this. We are planting seeds as a leadership to build strength from our weaknesses. When we are honest with ourselves, we learn more about ourselves. Humility is more important than greatness. We will truly grow from this as a church, a staff, a people, a community, a city, a world, a Kingdom.

Pray for us for the rest of this day as we continue to dream, expect, and act. May you learn from your weaknesses to grow your strengths. We will always fall short, so let's not ignore that. Let's learn from it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Chick Flick Formula

Alright, I promised my wife I would post this, so here it is. It's nothing new; I've heard it used before. However, I told Sonia about it a month or so ago and she claimed I was insane and even had the tenacity to tell me I was wrong. :) Since then, she has not been able to prove her point and I have...multiple times.

Here's the deal...there's a formula when it comes to chick flicks. I have to admit that I can handle a good chick flick from time to time (as long as she watches Braveheart with me). However, it gets very predictable after time. Take the following list as an example.

In my opinion, for a movie to be a chick flick, it has to follow these guidelines and qualifications:

1) Two separate stories with bad relationships or botched relationships in the past.
2) By some freak accident, event, coincidence, etc., these two stories collide and it's love at first sight (even if they don't "show" it at first e.g. 10 Things I Hate About You).
3) Through time spent around each other, things start to click.
4) As they start to get close and you think nothing could go wrong (except for Meet the Parents), something goes wrong (Murphy's Law?).
5) They fight and split ways and spend the next few days or hours crying, splurging, drinking, etc.
6) An epiphany happens either through self-reflection or friends or mothers and the girl or guy has to go win the other back.
7) Cue the cheesy music and the couple reunites with tears in the eyes. The one who screwed up apologizes profusely and begs to take him/her back.
8) With jubilee, they embrace, make out, and go home and make babies...or something like that.

It happens again and again in chick flick after chick flick. I told Sonia about this and she agreed but decided to make it her mission to prove me wrong. Basically, still waiting...

I'm so putting this up on Wikipedia for the "Chick Flick Formula." I bet that wouldn't get edited at all...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tradition Is A Cult

The title of this post came from a man I respect fully and have gone to with many problems I am wrestling with--my father-in-law, Bob Marshall. I am wrestling with this thing called tradition right now. To be honest, I've been wrestling with it for the last 8 years or more. I grew up in a Lutheran church and tradition is what it was built upon. We stood when we were told to stand, we knelt when we were told to kneel, we spoke when we were told to speak. You get the idea. The organ took up half the church and banners, robes, and pews identified this church. By about my freshman year in high school, some of these things didn't make sense to me and bored the crap out of me. I looked for something different and found it in a little church down the road from where I lived. Little did I know then, I wasn't much further from tradition as close-minded thinking, comfortability, and power-driven elders defined them.

I'm sure we've all seen tradition in one form or another in churches around us. If you're like me (and I'm not saying you are), these churches probably make you shudder and run the other direction. After talking to Bob Marshall some more, he told me, "People's faith lie in tradition." Of course this upsets me because I know it's true. I know that people's faith SHOULD lie in Christ alone. Isn't that what Christ would want from us?

Now I have been known to "rock the boat" from time to time. If there is one thing I can't's tradition. The problem the Pharisees had was their tradition. Their faith was soaked in it. When Jesus came along and rocked the boat, they fought with a vengeance to defend their "faith." Bob explained further, "If you rock people's tradition, you rock their faith." It's too bad it comes to that. I hate that it comes to that. When I meet people who are Pharisaic in thinking, I want to just slap them and tell them to grow up. Nonetheless, I think I need to turn the slapping hand back toward myself.

I find myself putting my own tradition in non-tradition. All of a sudden, if someone wants me to change the way I think about things, I will defend it with all my life. I guess I'm more of a Pharisee than I thought at times. The real challenge is to find the balance. I'm not talking about a blended thinking, but a balanced thinking. Jesus didn't come to establish a new religion. He came to establish a new thinking about religion. He didn't want people's faith to lie in tradition. He wanted their faith to lie in Him. When we're doing this, we find it's no longer about what we want. It makes things a lot easier. If a church is going to try to reach people for Christ, they need to put themselves aside--along with their traditions--and put Christ in front--along with His teachings. Jesus never wanted us to be traditionalists or non-traditionalists. He wanted us to be Christ-followers.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Windshield Wiper Conspiracy

During the worst winter of my life, the last thing I want is windshield wipers that don't work. When I say they don't work, I don't mean that they won't even move. I mean when they wipe across the window and leave one streak or more RIGHT IN YOUR LINE OF SIGHT!! Am I the only one that this happens to? It always happens at the worst time too. The rain is pouring down, the wind is blowing the snow violently, the sleet is sticking everywhere, the ice is freezing the instant it hits your window. And so you say, "Thank goodness I have these handy windshield wipers to clean off my window and improve my view in this horrible storm." Then you click the windshield wipers on, they make one swipe...two swipes...and then you realize something is wrong. The windshield looks great everywhere except for that one line of moisture that is in your line of sight!

Now I don't have much scientific proof to back this up...but I'm pretty sure the windshield wiper companies have a conspiracy going to either sell more windshield wipers (since they seem broken) or kill us all. I think it might be the latter.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What the French Toast?!

This is one of the funniest commercials I have seen in a long time. Behold:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Changed Perspectives

Perspective is all about where you are in life. I found out last night that I didn't even know that my perspectives had changed. Apparently, life is confusing.

Yesterday evening, Sonia and I journeyed up to Lake Geneva, WI to visit the youth group of Evangelical Covenant Church from Lafayette, IN. This is the church I have been hired at as of Tuesday and we have already been actively involved with this youth group. We hung out with them one weekend in the Fall, then spent New Years' Eve staying up all night with 150+ kids, then went to this camp in Lake Geneva this weekend. They had been there since Friday, but I was tied down at church, so we made an appearance Saturday evening. We got to hear a speaker named Doug Pagitt from Solomon's Porch -- a church in Minneapolis, MN. He is a phenomenal speaker and I can tell that he has done some great things as a pastor of his church. He is also an author which makes it awesome because now I can read his books and know that I talked to this guy and he talked to me and he's cool.

Afterwards, we split into different groups and Sonia and I went with a group of guys from ECC (a little awkward for Sonia...). All I can say about what happened next is that it was amazing. I was speechless. Teenage boys poured out their hearts before each other...some in need of healing, some in need of answers to tough questions, some in need of help, some in need of friends, some in need of Christ. The tears came hard and fast as these young men were as transparent as glass. I can say honestly in the years I have been in ministry, I have seen few moments like this. After we all prayed for these teenagers and the smiles were on faces again, it was on to other things. As Sonia and I were walking out, it seemed like Bob (the Youth Pastor at ECC) and I were on the same page. We both knew what these camp and conference moments were like. Away from the everyday routine, it's easy to pour out your heart and "get it all of your chest." However, once camp and conferences are over, it's back to the real world and many of us lose focus of what we said or promised to do. I've done this before...Bob and I knew some of these kids would do the same. So, he asked me, "What do we do to keep them focused?" This is where I had one of the most interesting perspective changes. I blurted the first thing that came to my mind, but I genuinely meant it. I said, "Well I don't know if this is right, Bob...but I just feel like I want to hang out with these kids. You know...invest." It wasn't that Bob approved of this answer or that I needed a pat on the back. The funny thing is that a couple of years ago if someone asked me that same question, I would have said, "Let's have a nice cool event when we get back when we get them pumped up again and blah blah blah." Basically, I realized my perspective had changed from programming to investing. I think this is a huge thing in my life. I really think I finally get what Jesus was saying and doing when he hung out with people. It wasn't to make Himself look good or to invite them to the next conference. He hung out with people because He cared and He would do anything to keep from losing them. I really want to hang out with these kids and get to know them.

Isn't it funny how perspectives can change just like that? I know this change was the result of years of trials, observations, and thinking. But mostly, I felt God taught me something in that moment last night. These kids might or might not have been sincere, but they are God's children and He cares about them more than any of us ever will. I think I need to start loving them for that reason alone.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

There's Something About...

I love my hometown. Valparaiso, Indiana (or as some know it -- "vale of paradise"), is my hometown. I love everything about it. It has a small town feel, yet it has a big city feel at times. The downtown is beautiful and there are so many businesses to satisfy any need. My family's house of about 15 years and still going is 5 minutes from the thriving downtown areas, yet it is surrounded by farmlands and a beautiful and small subdivision. We have a pond (sort of...more like a swamp) in the backyard and a hill in the front that is perfect for sledding. There are old oak trees out front, maples in the back, and pine trees on the top of the hill that have been growing for years. The driveway curves around a big oak tree and causes people to avoid backing down the driveway in their cars. There is a huge school of 2 bazillion kids in town, but I got to go to a small school called Morgan Township and spent 13 years there. Yes...I went from Kindergarten to graduating senior at the same school. The entire school (K-12) had 500 kids...the high school had 200. My graduating class was 45 or so and a good majority of those were people who were there with me on my first day of Kindergarten.

I love my hometown. I used to write a column in my school newspaper called "Things You Need to Know About Valparaiso." It highlighted little known facts about Valparaiso and touched on random things that were around Valpo that might be cool to people to know. I learned a lot about that town doing this. I went to college at Valparaiso University for one year and hated the school, but I loved Valparaiso.

Plans are in motion for Sonia and I to return to Indiana in ministry. We are not going back to Valpo, but it still feels good to be going back to Indiana. I wrote a song recently that talked about missing home. One of the lines says, "There's something about...being home." It's a great feeling thinking of home. Sure there are many bad memories of home and Valparaiso, but I still love it. The pros definitely outweigh the cons. I have a dream that someday I can go back to Valpo and plant a church there. It is a great town for it. That would be awesome and I would live there forever. Of course, living that close to the parents and in-laws might be challenging, but we would take advantage of the free babysitting when we have kids. :)

I hope you have a hometown that you can call home. I know some people don't and it's sad to hear that. I really think God meant for us to find a place that we could call home. There's something about...leaving home....missing home...being home...someday.