Sunday, February 27, 2005

rested and relaxed

rested and relaxed

We're back. The trip was more than we could have imagined. We were truly able to rest and relax. We did a whole lot of nothing which is just what we needed. The Villa Rolandi lived up to the hype and if you have a family that loves you as much as mine does (or have lots of money yourself or don't mind using the plastic - not suggested or have an inheritance coming your way), get them to send you there. You will not regret it.

As for the guilt I was feeling before the trip, I had e-conversations with friends who helped me see clearer regarding our travel (hence my posting about it). Thanks to Jana, Jen J. and others who helped me work through that before the trip. We truly did enjoy ourselves.

Friday, February 18, 2005

My niece, Lydia, out in Long Island is six-years-old. She had an assignment for her first grade class to write an essay for Presidents Day. Her essay was recognized as exceptional and was asked to read it in front of the class. With her parents' permission her essay is as follows:

"If I were President, I would help the por. I would by a noo toy if a kid lost its favorit toy. I would clean up litre. I would buleev in peace. I would stay away from guons. I would tern bad gise into good gise. I would love to be presuodint."

As her father, Lance, says: "So what do you guys think? Lydia in '40? Or do we have to wait for the Kingdom for this platform to float?"

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Let me tell you about the launch team. Every Sunday night at 5 PM a group of about 15-20 show up at our apartment to dream about the future of Christ's Church for Brooklyn. The group is made up of all kinds of professional people: teachers, moms, aspiring actors and dancers, students, health care professionals, firemen, toddlers, ex-military...the list goes on. And while these people feel called to these particular vocations they are excited (and nervous) to be called to this church plant where they are given the freedom to dream big; where they are asked to think outside the traditional box; where they are challenged to redefine familiar vocabulary; where they are pushed to go into unknown territory. They all seek something new and different. They desire something fresh and fluid.

We started meeting on January 9. We've been meeting for a little more than a month and already I feel as if these people are my family. They have accepted that the one leading them (me) is groping for God and have accepted their role in helping my family in the midst of this valley. They have not expected too much nor have they expected too little from us. Two Sundays ago they, as a group, asked Laura and me how they could help. We were quick to say that we needed help with babysitting arrangements during our hospital appointments. Nathan was quick to volunteer his day off this past Friday to watch Sophia for what turned out to be a six hour gig. Hillary is babysitting this Friday as we make yet another visit. I'm amazed at this group and how quickly they are coming together. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us as we continue the journey of this church plant.


On another note, have I mentioned that my family (mom/dad, my two sisters and their husbands) is treating Laura and me to a vacation in Mexico? We leave this coming Sunday. We are excited about getting away. I asked Laura what excited her most about the trip and she said that not having to be "on" every minute will be quite nice (Sophia is staying first with Laura's mom and then my sister). She asked me what I was looking forward to and I said "nothing". She looked at me confused and I explained that I'm looking forward to doing nothing. I can see us doing a bunch of nothing while there and I look forward to every minute of that. So yeah, we are excited...but we also feel guilty. Why? Because there are a ton of people out there who are suffering that aren't and won't get a reprieve from their suffering with a trip to the beach; because what if our excitement makes us forget about Ira's condition; because my own family members have experienced grief and pain and none of them were given a lavish trip; because we are so undeserving. I am extremely grateful for the loving generosity of my family to provide for us in this way (and can't wait for nothing) but you'll understand if I don't mention this trip again.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Just saw "Million Dollar Baby". No wonder the Academy nominated it for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, etc: it is brilliant (and I don't use that word lightly or often). It raises those difficult questions like, what is life? And who or what determines when one is living or is not living? Is there ever an instance when we as humans get to decide that for someone else?

There are no easy answers to these questions. It just isn't black and white, yes or no, right or wrong. When the political right and political left, the theologically conservative and theologically liberal can stand and finally say, "this is difficult," I will listen but until then I will push aside their empty rhetoric and I will plead with God to give us some hints about what it means to live fully here on this earth.

Monday, February 07, 2005

My wife. She's amazing. Let me tell you about her day on Sunday. She woke at 6 a.m. and left the house at 7 a.m. in order to get ready to lead the church in worship. She led both services in worship: 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. It was said about her leading that she was "filled with the Spirit". Her call to worship was from the book of Job:

"Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshipped."

Laura made the point that it was a weird place to go for a call to worship but in attempting to prepare herself for leading on Sunday she was having a hard time because she simply did not feel like worshipping. It was her reading of Job that inspired her: if Job can get up and worship after all the shit he dealt with then so could she. And so she did. And it was Spirit filled. Hallelujah.

But that's not the end of her day!

She then carted Sophia back home while I stayed at the church building and represented the church plant at the ministry fair our church was having. When she got home (around 1 PMish) she proceeded to make a meal for 20 people (the Brooklyn church plant launch team). But this wasn't just any meal because you have to satisfy both the pallets of the meat lover and the vegan. She made chili with meat and cornbread for those meat-lovers and cheese/broccoli/potato soup for those vegans in our group. It was a lot of work. When I got home at 3:30 PM she was still cooking. At 5 PM when people started arriving she was still cooking. The meal was fabulous and it was said of her cooking that "she has a gift".

But that's not the end of her day!

She was in charge of childcare that night while we discussed the book More Ready Than You Realize. She was stuck with two rambunctious toddlers for 45 minutes while we conversed. (Before you start casting judgments, I tried to flip responsibilities with her: I'll take the kids, you lead the discussion but that didn't go over well. Ugh, I'm such an incompetent idiot.)

Finally, she had to put up with the Super Bowl. She was exhausted, uncomfortable and ready to go to bed but she kept pluggin' along.

What can I say other than "thank you God for Laura"?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Many of you know that my sister is the only paid female preaching minister in the Churches of Christ. That is about to change. Lance and Katie will move to Atlanta this summer where Lance will pursue a Ph.D. in homiletics and Katie will look for a ministry position in another denomination. Read what Lance had to say to the community in his newest article "Change is in the Air".

Friday, February 04, 2005

Just finished delivering food. It was a good night for delivering. People were in a generous mood. It's been a long day though. We spent our morninig at the hospital having an ultrasound.

Ira was in no mood for it. He kicked the probe wherever it was located on Laura's belly and wiggled his way into a position that was not condusive for optimal viewing. It was as if he was saying, "leave me alone. I'm just fine in here." Laura and I got a kick out of that. No new news this time. He continues to grow and there is still no sign of excess fluid in his chest which is good. They still can't figure out what that mass is on the right side: liver? CCAM? But it's there, still making it hard for that right lung that he so desperately needs to be somewhat developed at birth. Ugh.

We are so thankful for our good friend Beth who so willingly watched Sophia while we did the doctor thing. Our doctor visits aren't short usually taking at the minimum three to four hours. Thank you Beth for your help. She much enjoyed her time with you and your dog, Mia.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

My prayers are dry. Laura's prayers are dry. We can't seem to muster the words as we aren't quite sure what to say. To tell you the truth, we aren't quite sure how this whole prayer thing works.

But every night and at every meal Sophia reminds us to pray. Literally. She says, "wanna pray?" And so we do. We ask her to repeat after us and she gladly complies. Because she repeats what we say we keep it simple. Our nightly prayer with Sophia is, "God, help Ira." And so she repeats, "God, hep Iwa." "Amen." "Amen."

It might just be this little 23 month-old who teaches this 31 and 29 year-old how to pray again.