Thursday, August 30, 2007


You are now being redirected to the new blog! See you there!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

change is in the air

Yep, you're in the right place. Don't go anywhere!

Four years ago I started blogging about my experience as a church planter in New York City. I didn't get much traffic back then and didn't expect any. And then December of 2004 happened. We found out about Ira at Laura's 20 week sonogram and my blogging took a turn. And this site started getting some visits. For a long while, this blog became a source for all things Ira and my family. Eventually, I started posting on other matters of this world while still relaying news of Ira's progress.

No, this isn't an announcement that I'm done blogging. It's just a heads up that things are shifting once again. After a four year relationship with, I'm moving over to the more popular and user friendly wordpress. And because life is shifting at the Hays household, so will the content of the blog. Don't worry, I'll still pass on Ira's milestones and post ridiculous videos of my family but I'm very excited to tell you about our church and church life. This next year at Christ's Church for Brooklyn is going to be incredible.

So in the next couple of days, if you come to this address ( you'll be automatically redirected to I hope to see you there for more blogging fun!


Friday, August 24, 2007


No, no, no. Not about Ira or Sophia or anything like that. I'm worried for my cousin. While on our roadtrip Laura and I got to see several cousins but it was a conversation with one particular cousin that worried me.

My cousin, in almost every respect, is cool. She dresses well. She's up on all the latest trends. She laughs easily. She knows her pop culture. She's also smart as she's close to finishing her grad degree. So what's there to worry about?

Turns out that she and some friends took off for Vegas after they finished their undergraduate degrees. I asked her all about the trip and it was soon revealed that her favorite part of the trip was seeing Celine Dion in concert. WHAT? EXCUSE ME? Did you, my 23 year old cousin, just say that you and your friends spent money on a Celine Dion concert? Holy cow! She also admitted that there weren't many others her age at the concert. No-freakin'-duh! It was at this point that I began to worry. So I started quizzing her on music. Now I'm not the most up-to-date hipster when it comes to music but I listen to others enough to know what's out there. Sure enough, my cousin knows well the music scene. Just so happens that she also really likes Celine Dion. I'm not sure what to make of this. I should be worried, shouldn't I?

By the way, she and her sister, last I heard were, um, available. They're both beautiful, smart (both in grad school) and fun. You'll just have to overlook the Dion obsession.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

that one song

I'm guessing that most of us at some point or another have been to a party or a bar or some kind of gathering in which the main form of entertainment was karaoke. Not long ago, I was attending a wedding and the at the reception the question was posed, What is your one karaoke song? In other words, If you could choose one, and only one, song in which to perform karaoke style what would it be?

I suddenly pictured myself on death row. Instead of choosing one last meal I was being asked to choose one last song to perform. I gave it some thought and came up with nothing. The thought has popped into my head a couple of times and still nothing. Until today.

My one karaoke song would be...

wait for it...

Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi.

I wish there were some deep meaning behind me choosing this song. I wish it weren't as shallow as the song rocks but that's about it. The song rocks. Plain and simple.

So what about you? What's your one karaoke song?


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

the new testament. get over it.

I'm a regular reader of Real Live Preacher. He's a part time Baptist minister in San Antonio, Texas. I gel with him and what he has to say. I really like his most recent post on the New Testament. It's definitely worth a read. Check it out here.


Monday, August 20, 2007

working out = sadness

If you were to ask me a month ago what has kept Laura and me going over the past two years I would have said that a major contributor to keeping our heads above water is that we both dedicate three days a week to working out. Hard work outs, too. We alternate mornings and when we come through the door, we're drenched in sweat. We've been consistent and I truly believe it's been a major factor in keeping us sane.

However, over the past month, I've left the gym feeling sad. No, it's not because my body's chemicals are getting the best of me. It's not because I'm feeling more fatigued these days. It's not because I hate working out. It's because of this guy in the locker room.

This guy and I both work out on the same days. I'm just finishing up my work out as he's just getting geared up for his. He's old with a droopy face. He walks slow, almost shuffling. He's short but made shorter with a slight hunch in his posture. I've made eye contact with him once. His eyes, they're sad.

When I walk in the locker room after my work out I hear his voice. He's not talking to his friend or on a cell phone. He's singing. In a deep baritone voice he sings. Couldn't tell you what he's singing because he's singing in an Eastern European language. The song is always the same, always loud and sung very slowly. The song must be a ballad of some sort. I can only imagine that it's a song about two lovers who can't find a way to be together. Or a despairing song about corrupt governments that oppress its people. Or a song written by a soldier of a war who will never see his family again. Since I'm not fluent in Eastern European languages, I couldn't tell you what the man is singing only that when he does, everyone in the locker room moves a bit slower. The affect this man's singing has in the locker room is intense!

What's that you say? I should talk with this fella and get his story because, more than likely, it's gonna be interesting? I could learn something from him? Nah! I can't be all sad when I leave the gym. I'm gonna have to talk to management about this. It is, after all, all about me. Right?


Sunday, August 19, 2007


The best practical advice I've ever been given is this: Floss only the teeth you want to keep.

While not a habitual flosser by any means, I remember this refrain passed on to me by a dentist. I'm curious, what's the best practical advice you've ever been given?


Friday, August 17, 2007

another fun summer date

Sophia and I went on another date a few weeks ago. This time we did one of our favorite things in the world: went to a Yankees game. Sophia knows all the yells and loves the atmosphere. And oh yeah, she LOVES the Yankees. That's my girl.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


We met Barbara and her family online. Their son, John, is so very similar to Ira. Both had a CDH. Both had long stays in the hospital. Both have trachs. Heck, the boys even look alike! Barbara wrote a very moving and very real post over at her blog. It's worth your time to go over and give it a read. Check it out here.


Monday, August 13, 2007

bits and pieces

I officiated a wedding in PA this past weekend. The couple that got married are both artists (musician and dancer) and their ceremony was indicative of their creative natures. I'm continually amazed at the creative ways in which couples choose to express their love for one another via the wedding ceremony and that's why I am overjoyed when someone asks me to be a part of that special occasion.
Several Sundays ago my sermon was a bit interactive in that I asked for some feedback regarding the question, "What are you sure of in life?" After several people spoke up I noticed Sophia was kinda roaming around. Without giving it much thought, I stopped her and asked her the same question. As the question rolled off my tongue I realized that the question was pretty difficult to comprehend and that I probably wouldn't get a sensible answer. Sophia's answer? "Um, Ira breathes." I would say that's more than sensible. More like profound.
Speaking of Ira, he's off the vent for three hours at a time right now. He definitely works hard while off but maintains his numbers and isn't so tired by the end that it's detrimental. In other words, he's rocking and rolling!
I hang out with Ira on Monday mornings. I was very excited about the new season of Sesame Street. It didn't disappoint. The new opening is wonderful. The guests (Tina Fey, Brian Williams, Chris Brown, etc.) were entertaining. It had just the right amount of adult jokes to keep me tuned in. Of course, they included some of their vintage '70s bits. And the new theme of literacy is perfect. I'll be sad when my kids outgrow Sesame Street.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

a softy

Laura and I have always been protective of our bed. In other words, our kids don't get to sleep with us. Sophia's tried and while we've let her in on a couple of occasions for morning snuggles we most often send her back to her bed. She gets it and rarely asks. But this morning we had a furious storm blow through Brooklyn. Furious. Loud, loud rain. Thunder. Lightening. All that was missing was west Texas sized hail.

Sophia lasted longer than I thought in her own room but eventually came to our room with her hands pressed against her ears in fear of the storm. I, being one who was deathly afraid of storms as a child and one who often went to mom and dad's room for comfort, immediately invited Sophia into our bed. We all laid there kicking each other, nudging each other and whacking each other as we attempted to get through the end of the storm. While none of us slept, we all felt very, very safe.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

a follow-up

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the comments regarding my post on Luke 12 and finances but alas, I'm naive and so I was a bit surprised.

I wasn't necessarily (I love that word) saying that saving is a sin (after all, parables are multivalent, right?) but the prophets of old and John the Baptist and Jesus speak enough about money that we should clue in that when dealing with that stuff, we are moving away from God, not toward God.

When we store up or when we save, we are putting dependence on first, ourselves and second, on money. Geza Vermes says it better: [There is a] fundamental impropriety of forward planning in the eschatological age."

Again, let me be clear: I'm guilty here. I am just as entrenched in American ways as anyone else so I want to be sure not to make this into a finger pointing tirade. If anything, it's my confession. I still have such a hard time imagining a life totally and utterly dependent on God in every aspect of my life. When Jesus draws a picture of the Kingdom, I most often don't see and truthfully, I'm only giving a slight effort in looking.


Wrong? Who Me?

Did you read the article in the New York Times Magazine titled Getting Iraq Wrong? The article is written by a guy who was, until 2005, a Harvard political science professor and is now in politics in Canada. He was one of many who believed going to Iraq was a good idea. He now admits that it was an error in judgment. The article is about what the war taught him about political judgment. My favorite line of the article is as follows:

I've learned that acquiring good judgment in politics starts with knowing when to admit your mistakes.

If only...


Sunday, August 05, 2007

enough already, Jesus

The gospel reading today was Luke 12:13f. It's where Jesus tells the parable about the farmer who desires to build bigger barns in order to hold his access. God says to the farmer, "You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" Jesus goes on to make the point of the parable: "So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."

As I said in my sermon this afternoon, If you don't feel conflicted as you think about your retirement plan then you haven't heard what Jesus had to say. If - after having heard Jesus bring down the thunder in Luke 12 - you don't feel the heat when saving up money for your future, then you weren't listening. If you don't feel uncomfortable regarding money in the here and now after hearing that parable in Luke 12 then you've lived too long in America and have sold yourself to ideals that are not of God. When we give ourselves to thinking about money and talking finances we need to know that we are cementing ourselves on ground that is sinking sand and not the Kingdom of God.

Before you start pointing a finger back at me mumbling under your breath something like, "You self-righteous #@*^!" you need to know that the beginning of my sermon was a testimony and confession of how Laura and I have done a lot of thinking about finances over the past month. It's consumed us. It's overwhelmed us. And then this lectionary reading comes along.

What's the answer? I'm not sure but I do know that we better recognize the tension and better confess that when thinking/obsessing over money and finances we are distancing ourselves from the Kingdom of God.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Forgot to mention that we got the official go-ahead from the docs to take Ira off the vent. The doc wrote out a plan and currently we are up to two hours off at a time. Ira then goes back on for two hours, then two hours off... Ira's doing great. He can't stand the heat/humidity while off the vent so we're keeping him indoors during those two hours when he's off. He loves, LOVES, being off the vent. He goes and goes and doesn't stop!
The reading at the neighborhood garden went well last night. I read Punk Farm and Gruffalo. Our kids love these books and I can act pretty silly when reading them. I think they went over well but I'm not so sure some of the kids were used to having such animated readings. I am my mother's son. :)
C'mon, you gotta be rooting for A-Rod now, right? He's about the only player who has a chance at supplanting Bonds of his soon to be home run record. Surely you don't want Bonds to hold on to that record, do you? So c'mon everyone, let's give A-Rod (and the Yanks) a big 'ol cheer!