Sunday, December 23, 2007

WY to KS (or how to make two one hour flights into 16 hours)

December 22, 2007 in my life:

4:45 am: leave house and drive to riverton airport
6:15 am: take off from riverton
7:30 am: arrive in Denver, find out our flight has been moved up 40 minutes to 10:07am. That means less sitting in an airport!

9:30 am: Board airplane in Denver
10:00am: Get off airplane in Denver because there is blowing snow covering the runway in Wichita that should be fixed in 30 to 40 minutes.
10:40am: Still sitting in airport.

11:30am: Finally breakdown and buy lunch ($23 for two sandwiches, a hot dog, a drink and three bags of chips)
12:30pm: Still waiting. Our kids have formed their own little playgroup with others who are waiting.1:30pm: Still waiting. Why did I leave my dumb laptop on the plane? And all my books? Why did I believe "30 or 40 minutes?"
2:30pm: Kids passing out in chairs and on the floor, I still wish I was smart enough to have grabbed a book, or my ipod, or even a piece of string when we got off the plane.
3:30pm: "Good news Wichita, we can go!" comes over the speaker followed by cheers. Everyone is immediately in line to board the plane.
4:00pm: We take off with the warning that if things get worse in Wichita we are coming back to Denver so we don't have to spend the night in somewhere like Lincoln, Nebraska (that was what our pilot said, it was great and it made my day. I can trust a guy to land on ice if he recognizes the problems of having to spend a night in Lincoln)
5:05pm: We land in Wichita. Everytime the pilot hit the brakes you could feel the plane start to skid sideways. That was a tense landing followed by cheers and clapping when we stopped. Someone should have filmed it for a sappy movie. We are now on Central time, so it is 6:05p.
7:00pm: We finally get off the plane. We waited FOREVER for the plows to make it possible for us to get to the terminal. I think they were playing some wierd plow truck drivers game of tag.
8:30pm: I see Kennedy's bag come out and hold it over my head as it is the first one from our entire flight to make it to us.
8:45pm: Our stroller comes out and we leave the airport, quickly.
All in all, a crazy day with my family, but considering the circumstances, a good day. United employees where helpful throughout the day and tomorrow we do the whole thing again to get to Florida. Except I'm mostly sure it won't be snowing in Florida.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

You Know You Live in Wyoming When... #3

you step out the door for a 7am meeting all bundled up for the cold, realize it's almost 32 degrees and decide you can just wear a light jacket.
I just read an article by Kenda Creasy Dean titled "Getting Out of God's Way: Freeing Our Inner Theologian." It's a long article, but if your involved in trying to help people be more like Jesus, you should check it out. Dean writes specifically from a youth ministry standpoint and she challenges me to look at whether or not I plan events with the cross of Christ in mind or not. I have the tendency to want to succeed in ministry in a way that is tangible, like having more students or being able to say we had a certain number of visitors during the semester. And so I plan events accordingly, to get students in the door and make them think church/youth group is fun and cool. A quote from the article:

"Young people are never won to Jesus because we did something that worked. They're won because God has laid claim to them, wooed them in Christ, loved them enough to suffer for them, died on a cross, rose from a tomb, and has called them to lives of sacrificial love as well."

Or in other words, I need to make sure I am approaching ministry with the idea that I need to show kids Christ however they will let me. They need the truth. And I need to stop worrying about whether or not I can plan an event that will get that 8th grade girl that visited last month to come back.

p.s.- I am sure a thanks to Dan is in order for pointing me to that article, but I can't really remember. Ummm, so, thanks Dan for maybe pointing out that article, and if not for that one, then for all the other ones you've pointed out that I haven't blogged about.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kobe on Leadership

A few weeks ago I was taking in some NBA action on TNT while the Lakers were playing. I really like watching the Lakers if only for the fact that Kobe Bryant might doing something you've never seen before every time he touches the ball. This game, however, was not going the Lakers way. Halfway through the 4th quarter they were down by more than 20 and Phil Jackson, the coach, took Kobe out rather than risk him getting injured in an already lost game. A very obviously frustrated Kobe went over to the bench where two teammates waited to greet him with fives. Rather than acknowledge either of them, he turned around and proceeded to sit on them! He wanted that seat and forced his entire team to move to grant his want. Kobe is one of the best players in the NBA and the leader on his team. At that point, his leadership style said, "I will get what I want for me, the rest of you don't matter except in relation to what you can do for me." Here's what Jesus said a leader is:

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

I hope I lead like Jesus as I try to guide students into lasting relationships with our Creator.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Tonight I spent time talking with a student about their struggle with sin. They were telling me how much they hate having to deal over and over with the struggle to follow God instead of the world. It's not the first time I've had this talk with this student. Over and over they are dealing with the ugliness of sin and the desire to see it disappear from their life. This student is struggling to see the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

As I spent time praying for this student tonight, that he would see God's plan for him in this situation clearly, I was struck by one thought above all the rest: I hope all the students in my ministry spend time wrestling with sin like this one student is. I hope they learn to hate sin and it's effects on their lives. I hope they never give in to sin being a normal, okay part of their lives.

My prayer for my students tonight:
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes though Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More posts coming

I haven't forgotten that I have a blog. Just can't write right now. Posts will resume sometime.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Last weekend we went and spent thanksgiving with family in Colorado Springs. My parents and siblings came from Wichita and we had a great time. Of the many things I am thankful for, the people in these pictures are definitely right up at the top. Johnny and Emily we missed you! Kennedy is sitting in my lap to tell all of you who is in each picture:
Jeff and Noelle (upon learning Noelle's name, for a while everyone was no-name. I was nodaddy, there was no-aunt Brit, nopappa, etc. Funny stuff)
Gamma and aunt Brit (mom, I'm over here with the camera)
Jeff and Yeah (Sorry Cornel, I don't know how your name became 'yeah')
Silly Mommy
Uncle Ryan (I'm not sure if it's the macarena or the chicken dance, but ladies, get in line)

Papa and Baby neigh (the little stuffed horse in the foreground. Apparently Kennedy and her brother don't count for much in this one!)

mommy and aunt Brit
Yack and Jeff (yeah for staying with a chiropractor)

Carwah (Carsen) Nahwee (Natalie) and Yack sleep (Natalie is getting in some good practice for the arrival of little Cassandra sometime in the next month or so)

that Eddy Me and aunt Brit
Ummm, Kennedy is tired of our name the people in the picture game, so she is watching Little Einsteins instead. This is Noelle, my mom and Bonnie preparing some of our amazing food. We seriously ate huge, tasty meals all weekend. And Jack, the pancakes were tasty! Can't wait for next time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Salt and Light

I am sitting right now in Wildfour Bakery working on the December newsletter for the youth ministry. At the table next to me 3 older ladies are sitting and talking up a storm. By a storm I mean there is not a half-second pause between talkers anywhere in sight. Right now they are talking about (I don't mean to listen, but...) how unfair jails are because they are too nice for people and need to have worse conditions. They have spent most of the last hour talking about different seasonings for food, ice cream scoops, and how to rearrange the furniture in their homes.
Now, to clarify, I think it is entirely wonderful that these ladies enjoy one another's company, and I find no fault in the things they are talking about. This post isn't really about them, it's about me. I wonder, if when I am out with my wife or friends, we talk about things that would seem so trivial to those that can't help but hear our conversation. Not that we can't talk about sports or music or kids, but are those conversations filled with love, and do we ever get to the bigger, eternal things? Do the people that sit near me leave thinking how glad they are that they do/do not know me, or do they leave wanting to know more about how great my God is?
Jesus had this to say:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16 NIV

As Christians, we must be salt and light in this world, it matters for all eternity that we live out the teachings of Jesus. It all leaves me to ask myself, "How am I seasoning my world with Jesus?" How are you seasoning yours?

P.S.- they are talking about whose responsibility it is to make sure kids get up on time for school, and it is a pretty heated debate, pretty funny!

Monday, November 19, 2007

You Know You Live in Wyoming When... #2

The following things happened in your neighbors yards the past two weekends:
  1. Your neighbor was boiling an elk skull cap in his backyard to remove the rest of the meat, skin, cartilage, and/or brain goo so it could be mounted.
  2. The next Sunday, one of your other neighbors lets you come over to see the 4 goats and 4 turkeys he is keeping in his backyard. As you look and talk to your children about the animals, he informs you he is moving them today to get them out of the backyard. He is going to go ahead and just keep them in the freezer. Bonus Wyoming points if your wife was outside working on something while the goats were bleating their last sounds!
Sorry, no pics of the the goats or turkeys! And keep in mind, we live right in the middle of town, this is just the way it works up here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

John Mayer Song

If you like good music, and well, who wakes up saying, "I hope I hear some terrible music today," then go hear John Mayer's new song "Say" that was written for some movie. The song is under an entry for November 16. Good times.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Snail Mail

Tonight at youth group we were talking about spending our lives on eternal things of God rather than temporary things. I asked students to write down one way they could live for eternal things this week, put it in an envelope and address it to themselves so I could send it to them as a reminder in a couple of days. Afterwards, as I put the envelopes in my office, I flipped through and found that about 2/3rds of the students hadn't addressed their envelope in a way that would get it to their house. Some of them put their address in the return area, some left off parts or had it out of order, one even included their phone number, but no city, state, or zip. When one of my volunteers guys and I were talking afterwards, he mentioned to me that many of the students had probably not addressed a letter any time recently, they do all communicating through cell phone or the internet. It has me thinking tonight about the ways in which I relate to students that misses them completely b/c we live in different worlds. I will be spending some time this week considering how I communicate and what things I hold to be true for all people that might not hold true for a 7th grader anymore. I want to lead them nearer to Christ, not confuse them by talking about things like VHS or cassette tapes!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Old School

On Saturday I spent some time watching a few students play basketball at the junior high. It was a fun time and both Lander teams won big. As I was leaving a few 7th grade boys were looking for someones picture in the sports team photos from throughout the years. One boy asked, "Is it right here?" To which the other boy replied, "No, that's way old school, we have to go all the way down the hall." I looked up to see what years they were looking at, and much to my dismay, they were looking at the 92-93 season, also known as when I was in 7th grade. Nothing like some seventh grade boys to make you feel old.

Seth waiting for the jumpball
Jonah and Travis dropping back to play D
Travis getting ready to box out

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Normal Life

A week and a half ago the phone rang way too early for a Saturday morning. It was my mom calling to tell us that one of my aunts had died that night. We spent that day in a fog of tears, phone calls, and wondering why. On Sunday we decided to head back to Kansas for the funeral. Shiloh arranged subs for her class and I made calls and emails to cover things for my week. And on Monday, off we went. We spent a week with family just spending time together and talking about my aunt and all the memories we have of her. She left behind a 5 yr old son and a 7 yr old daughter, her husband, and an entire 3rd grade class. And she was good at being all those things, great even. And now, 10 days after she died, I still wonder why, knowing full well that we may not ever get an answer that satisfies our hurt here on earth. And I try to get back to normal life. It's just that normal life is different than normal life before the phone rang too early last Saturday.

Monday, October 22, 2007

You Know You Live in Wyoming When...

You're at a dinner with people and one of them starts a story by saying, "I knew this girl from back east, I think North Dakota or Minnesota..."

For those who live past the Mississippi, I really don't think most Wyomingans consider you part of the USA, or at least a part of the good portion. Sorry!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Memorize It?

I just finished reading this post by Seth Godin about finding information. His basic argument is that it is more important to be able to process information to make good decisions than to just have everything memorized. And, in many ways I agree with him. Having so much information at our fingertips lets us not memorize nearly as many things as we used to. I have kids in the youth group who have to get out their cell phone to figure out what their home phone number is. If it's in their pocket, why memorize it? But, there is (at least) one BIG exception to this new world of just look it up when you need it. The Bible. We must memorize it, and not because it isn't easy to find online, it is. is one of my best friends, but memorizing Scripture is vital to our life as Christians. The Psalmist puts it this way:

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11

What are you memorizing?
What is being hidden in your heart?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spaghetti Night

We had spaghetti for dinner last night and most of the family decided to eat it. One of us decided to wear it.

Anybody want a kiss?

Monday, October 15, 2007

We're going to the 'ship!

Numbers that are exciting tonight:
In the entire series, the Rockies only trailed for two half innings! I literally, until maybe a week ago, thought the Rockies would never make it to a World Series. And now, COLORADO ROCKIES 2007 NL Pennant Winners! Go Rockies, make it 25-1!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Food Drive

This week for youth group we jumped into some cars and drove around different neighborhoods asking for food donations. I wanted to get students actively involved in doing something for someone else, and this seemed like a good idea. We have been talking about slowing down enough to see who God is, what he is doing, and who he has put around us. Tonight we did that by foregoing games and every other "normal" part of youth group to go love others. My group had a great time and I loved hearing students talk about enjoying serving people. One of my junior high boys asked me if we could go around once a month collecting food! In just an hour we collected about 280 pounds of food with 15 kids. Imagine the difference a church could make if everyone took an hour a week to serve their community!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The New Office

In the last few weeks new offices were completed in our church. My office will no longer be referred to as a "closet" in the blueprints! Very exciting happenings. A few weeks ago during Sunday school, a couple of high school girls told me how boring and white the new offices were, so I told one of them to go pick me out some paint and we would paint an accent wall. So today was the day of the painting. Much brighter than I would have picked on my own, but I like it and had a great time painting with Becca.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


My kids don't get to watch much tv, but the time they do get, they would love for it all to be spent watching Bambi. For whatever reason, they love that movie. When we go out and about in Lander and see a mounted deer head (which is almost anywhere you go, the local appliance store has multiple heads in it, and my senior pastor's office has a nice mount) Carsen always points at it and in barely contained enthusiasm proclaims "BAMBI" over and over until we leave. At which point he takes the time to wave and say "Bye Bambi." Thank you to miss Nancy for the movie, we might wear it out soon! Here are a couple pics of them zoning out and enjoying the greatest movie ever made in their 2 year old minds.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Romans Bible Study

My guys small group is going through Romans this fall for our study. This week we looked at the beginning of chapter 2 and had some great talking about what it means to be a verse 7 man rather than a verse 8 man.
7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
In the end we talked about how we start our days. Do we give them to Christ from the time we wake-up, or is he an afterthought sometime during English or history class. So we decided to start our days with prayer this week. To pray that we will be about God's glory, honor, and immortality, rather than our own, each day. Along those lines, here was the Celtic prayer for the 4th day of the month:


Father, I abandon myself into Your hands. Do with me what You will, whatever You do, I will thank You, I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only Your will be done in me, as in all Your creatures, and I'll ask nothing else, my Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my spirit;
I give it to You with all the love of my heart, for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into Your hands with a trust beyond all measure, because You are my Father.

I think I'll be praying that prayer each morning for a while for myself and for each of those guys.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Our projector broke last week. It is only two years old. The wiring inside that provides power shorted out. This is not the end of the world, the projector will be fixed in a few weeks and we will eventually get it back, and if not, we will buy a new one. But for tonight it's a bummer because I can't show video on the big screen for my lesson. Oh well, the students will have to live through what it was like to be in high school way back in the mid 90's.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Rockies: 9
Padres: 8
13 Innings

The Rockies finished the season 13-1 to finish an incredible run to the postseason. I remember the last time the Rockies were in the playoffs, 1995, when I still couldn't drive a car and the first baseman was some guy named Galarraga. Well, now I've had my share of tickets and the Rockies are playing in the LDS against the Phillies. Clutch hitting in the bottom of the 13th beating up the all-time major league saves leader, Trevor Hoffman. Jamey Carroll came through with the sacrifice fly to score Matt Holliday for the winning run. After lots of depressing years (I also cheer for the Royals), finally, a reason to watch postseason baseball.

Go Rockies! Beat the Phillies!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Lead Tests

Yesterday we went to the hospital to get the kids tested for lead because we have a whole in our wall that may or may not have grown since we moved in, so we just wanted to be sure. Shiloh took Kennedy in and things went fine and Kennedy got a little cat for her bravery. When I took Carsen in, the lady taking the blood put a tourniquet on his arm. He looked at her and in the most pitiful voice imaginable said, "Help me, pleeeeeeeease." Kim (lady taking blood), who also goes to our church, gave a knowing "I'm sorry, it will be over soon" kind of look. I almost started laughing, but instead pointed out the Shrek poster and we got through the rest of it without incident. Man, kids that can talk are funny!

Baseball in October on Colorado?


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

See You at the Pole

This morning I went to our high school at 7:30 to pray with students for the national See You at the Pole Day. We had about 30 students there, which is about 5% of the school's population. The junior high was right at about the same percentage. My hope and prayer is that those students have the opportunity to share about this morning throughout the day. How awesome would it be to have 10% of the school there next year! The coolest part of the morning, at least for me, was seeing the new principal, Mr. Sparkman, standing at the flag pole, praying with students for a few minutes. What a great way to start a day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Art Show

I drove up to Dubois this morning to enter my first art show. I am equal parts excited by this and terrified. I have always been a bit afraid to put things I do in front of other people in case they don't like it. But enough of that, I enjoy photography a lot and we'll see how I do. Oh, and the leaves are all changing up around Dubois, just beautiful. Sorry, there are no pictures because I had the kids with me, and they don't take real kindly to my stopping to photograph scenery.


Yesterday was September 24th. It snowed yesterday. 2 inches. I don't really like snow. Especially in September. It's all gone today. Yeah sun!

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Remodeling Fun

We're almost done putting in insulation and I thought I should share some more pictures. Windows, drywall, floors and bathroom fixtures yet to go. Then we can start the kitchen.

A look at my amazing wiring abilities. Also known as my ability to follow the directions of those that actually know about such things.
Here is our bathroom. Lots of work still to do in there.
Shiloh hard at work stapling up insulation.
Here is our future kitchen with the little partial wall all framed in.
For the ladies reading this blog who care about such things, here is the color for the kids room, with trim included for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wild Hogs

Shiloh and I watched "Wild Hogs" last night. With the exception of the highway patrolman scenes, we both thought it was pretty funny and was a much needed laugh in the middle of our remodeling craziness. William H. Macy's character, Dudley, at one point needed some help with some dance moves. What he said made me laugh, only because it describes me perfectly, just ask my wife, or go dancing with me.

"The music moves me, it just moves me ugly."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday

Carsen and Kennedy turn 2 today and I am so thankful for the gift that they have been to Shiloh and I. Two years ago today I was freaking out about my ability to be a dad. Funny how you just kinda figure it out as you go. Carsen and Kennedy, I love you both!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

back to blogging

After an insane last few weeks, I guess it's about time a write again. A quick rundown of the haps:
  • Shiloh started working part-time at the Christian school in town two weeks ago and I've been staying home in the mornings to watch the kids.
  • One of the elders from the church and our pastor have been helping me do the wiring and plumbing in our house. Wiring is basically done. Plumbing is about halfway.
  • Been putting in insulation and hoping that our windows come in this week so we can get those in.
  • My wife is a painting machine!
  • Youth group started up again for the fall and we've been doing a series called "Living in an iWorld" and talking about slowing down life to see what God has for us.
  • Labor day weekend we had church family camp. It was a great time, but as with all great church events, incredibly tiring.
  • We took Carsen and Kennedy to the high school football game last Friday. Lander lost, but on Saturday Carsen couldn't stop talking about seeing football. (I'm working on getting him to say, "Go Broncos")
  • We had (at least to me) a cool young adult Bible study last night where we sang a bunch and just shared some of what God has been teaching each of us. Good times.
  • Kennedy has decided it's fun to "steal" our noses and then put them back on. Hilarious stuff, I'm telling you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Raising Trees

My parents gave Shiloh and I a tree as a house-warming gift a month ago. We went to our local greenhouse (Sprout's) and picked out our tree, a tartarian maple. Our only other tree is one that a deer decided to root on a couple winters ago and it has never quite recovered. So we are very excited to have a healthy tree on our property. We strategically placed it to give our house some good shade in the summer, the only problem being that it is nowhere near tall enough to provide said shade. And, really, it won't be for quite a while. It is only supposed to grow 6 inches a year, which means when we pay off our 30 year loan, the tree will just be reaching it's full height. But there is nothing to do other than take care of the tree, protect it from deer, prune it and give it enough water in our dry summer heat.
Now, the reason for writing about trees: I think youth ministry, or even following Christ, is a lot like us planting a tree. I always want and hope for students to "get it" right away and become mature disciples of Christ. Often I don't really want to have the patience to go in small steps. I want the 7th graders to get with what's going on and follow Jesus completely by their second week of youth group. But then I think about our tree. It's a process to maturity and it truly takes time and energy to disciple a student. Hurrying it along only creates shallow, flavor of the day Christians. I have 6 years with these kids, I want to make the most of every one of those, not just the first two weeks.
So, here's to a lifetime of deliberate, purposeful, good, rich (and sometimes slow) spiritual growth for me and our youth group.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


A word to all of you out there: Getting your tonsils out is not as much fun as everyone made it seem as a kid, even with all the ice cream and jello. After 10 days of tears and mostly just misery, Carsen is feeling better. He's had a good week and is a completely different kid than before the surgery. He acts happier and more comfortable than before. In general, before surgery, he ate like a mouse. If we had pancakes, he maybe would eat half of one. This morning he ate almost four and had some bacon. We're looking forward to his pants starting to fit any day now...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Church Stress

I just read a great post on Dan Kimball's blog about stress among pastor's. Here's a great reminder that he included:
I try never to forget that every volunteer in the church has jobs every day that they commute to, have their own set of pressure and stresses, yet make the time to volunteer in the church in their free time. Volunteers are stuck in commuting traffic in the early morning after a late night out at the church. They don't have the option to stay home a little longer in the morning after a big event or late night out at the church building, as a pastor can choose to do so.
It reminded me to be praying for my volunteer's in our youth ministry and to say thank you to them this week when I see them. Josiah and Daniel (and everyone that helps out when we need food/drivers/a house/kitchen sinks) you are a great blessing to this ministry and to my life. Thanks for all you do and the time you spend investing in students' lives.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Tornado in Wyoming

Yesterday afternoon Shiloh and I were enjoying a few nice quiet moments while our kids played happily in their room. We assumed they were playing with their legos or maybe reading a book as they usually do. After it was quiet for a little too long, we went to see what was going on. Here is what we found:
For those who want to know, that's all the clothes out of their dresser that they can reach. Right after the picture, they finished pulling down the rest of their books and dumped a bunch of picture cards all over their room. They had out all the stuffed animals they could get to and were just kinda rolling around in it, like when Scrooge McDuck used to swim in the Money Bend. I can't wait until their really capable of making a mess!