Category Archives: asides


This post combines two things for which I am thankful: our dedicated military, and awesome neighbors.  Here my neighbor shares some of what they have been through this Fall.  (Shared with her permission.)


Once Upon A Time

Wow… I liked a TV show!

Did anyone else see the pilot of “Once Upon A Time” last night?  10 minutes in, they had me hooked.  It seems like the kind of thing the Addison Road crowd would appreciate.

he responds to negligence by contempt

Shortly after Schoenberg died, his widow found this thing he had written about Charles Ives.

“There is a great Man living in this Country – a composer. He has solved the problem how to preserve one’s self-esteem and to learn.  He responds to negligence by contempt. He is not forced to accept praise or blame. His name is Ives.

What do you think this means?

one key to worship

I figured something out about worship.  Since it is a rarity to catch a glimpse of how the mystery of worship really works, I hope I can put it into words.

Often on Sunday mornings, after we check our kids in at the rolling computer and they are signed in to their respective rooms, we head to the sanctuary for the worship music.  Often I am trying to leave the frazzled and extremely recent morning events behind as well as trying to get musical technicalities out of the forefront of my mind (whether I’m playing or not) in order to mean the words I am singing.  “Worship…. worship!”  Trying to ignore these distractions can be like  saying… “Don’t think about purple giraffes!”  Now you can’t help but imagine a purple giraffe.  The sequence of events on most people’s Sunday mornings don’t lead to a heart that is prepared for worship, no matter how hard we try in a specific moment.

Twice lately we’ve had the opportunity to worship with a body of believers who dismiss the kids after worship.  I absolutely love it.  With my daughter singing at the top of her lungs, and my son in my arms and playing with my pony tail, tears well up at the sound of our family together, worshiping God.  Although my kids don’t have anything directly to do with the words on the screen, from this mother’s heart, they are the most tangible and overwhelming sign of God’s grace for me.  I am so humbled to be their mom that I don’t have to work at humbling my heart; my overwhelming love for them is so evident in this environment that it is easy for me to understand how God might feel about me.  When my kids are with me, I don’t really care what else is going on, I just want to sing to and about God!  I also love hearing my kids sing the songs throughout the rest of the day.

Maybe we weren’t all meant to go our different directions during the worship set.  There is a need for individual time with God, but perhaps there should be a routine corporate time for the families He saw fit to put us in.

The politics of Christianity

Sharolyn Borris doesn’t not particularly feel like starting a Facebook war, yet feels compelled to vent her frustration over a quote in this morning’s newspaper directly linking Christians to The Tea Party.  Because if you’re one, you must be the other.  UGH!

Welcome to the Middle Ages

Happy Birthday to Michael, who hits the big 3-5 today.

I for one am so happy to have such a creative, intellectual, musical, caring and funny partner through life.

Give Mike a shout out today. It may help him resist the slippery slope into the middle age depression.

I love you babe.

Buridan’s Ass

I mean donkey.  I can often see both sides of an issue.  I am often paralyzed by tough issues because I see so clearly multiple perspectives.  Here is an example.

There was an article in our local paper on October 20th about Schwarzenegger eliminating from the state budget a subsidy for child care.  Here is the article if you care to read it.

This is not an original dilemma, but the thought in my mind was two fold.

Thought 1.  Why did the woman pictured have that 3rd child?  Why is she asking the tax payers to help her raise it?  Aren’t subsidies for child care an incentive to have kids that you can’t afford?

Thought 2.  These kids should have the best care that is available to them.  I think my Lord has called me to help take care of the poor.  How dare I have these heartless thoughts about the least of these?  Take care of the poor is the most frequent theme in the whole bible, is thought 1 consistent with being a Christian?

The Tytler Cycle comes to mind when it comes to thought 1.

Is anyone not paralyzed when it comes to tax payers helping the poor?

deliberate practice vs. innate talent

Tonight I played jazz with a great upright bass player.  So rhythmically musical.  He soloed great – not “I’ve learned my scales, and let me prove that to you,” but thoughtful stuff.  He has a young face.  As to not misjudge his age and embarrass myself, I asked, “What school do you go to?”  (leaving the answer open for high school or college).  Turns out he’s been a high schooler for a month.  He just turned 14.  My mind is still blown.  As the pendulum swings, I tend to believe that “talent” is more a matter of discipline.  But this kid reminds me that, sometimes, people are born to do things.

What 5 Cents a Can is Worth

I have been recycling with my kids for four years.  Taking my kids to the recycling center has provided us with some great experiences. Here are some of them in the order they are occurring to me:

1. Money does not come from Mommy and Daddy’s pocket. Whenever we are shopping and the kids see something they would like to purchase, they used to ask me to buy it for them. I would say, let’s save up your recycling money. When we are shopping with the kids now, the first thing they say is, “I can use my recycling money.” Or, they use discernment. “It’s not worth using my recycling money.”

I even have intentionally made sure that it is one of the kids that hand the receipt to the person that hands the money over. The money goes straight to them.

2. Delayed Gratification. Shortly after we began recycling, Camille wanted a box of 4 pairs of princess shoes that cost $20. I made a chart with 20 boxes that we could check off as I helped her to save up for the shoes. She had $7 to start. I expected that we would make several trips to the recycling center over the course of 2 or 3 months and then we would go buy the shoes. Some generous friends and neighbors contributed their used bottles and cans and the next week Camille had over $20. It did not go exactly as I planned, but Camille used her own money to buy the shoes and she had to wait a little while before she could get them. Both kids have had to wait for the things they want as we collect our recycling.

3. Boundaries. The kids have to help sort the recycling. Most recently, James did not help. Instead of pulling the empty garbage cans close to the car (his job) he stayed in the car. After reminding him several times that he had a job to do, Camille and I finished the job without him. Once Camille had the receipt that we take to the cashier, James began fake crying, “Now I won’t get any money.” There were two levels of emotion going on with James at that moment. He was thinking, “If I cry, maybe dad will let me have my share of the money anyway.” On a deeper level, James was thinking “What is the boundary here? What can I get away with? How big of a push over is my dad?” In the short term, he was hoping to get the money. In the long term, he feels more secure knowing that there are consequences for him not doing his job. He cried for real when he did not get the money, nor the piece of candy the cashier hands out to kids.

4. Saving. When Camille was first starting making her own money I told her along the lines of, “If you go to the bank and give them $1 and then you go again and give them $1, the bank will know that you have $2.” I was not worried about teaching her about interest. I wanted her to be aware of how to save. She was sold. She socks away money like crazy. It is interesting to see my kids personalities. I will be curious to see how James takes to the idea of saving money.

5. My Favorite Shirt. Sharolyn was shopping with Camille. Camille wanted to buy me a shirt for my birthday. With Sharolyn’s help, they bought a $5 t-shirt for me from Old Navy. Camille used her recycling money. To sum up this one: I provided the bins to store the cans and bottles in. I drove Camille to the recycling center. I provided every aspect of the opportunity for her to make her own money. The money, however, was entirely hers. She chose to spend some of her money on a gift for me. Instant favorite shirt for me.

For me this one also connected on how money works with me and God. He created me, gave me the abilities I have. I make money with them. The money is entirely mine and yet all of it is only mine because of God’s provision. So whose money is it really?

These are some reflections that I have been storing up for the past few years while I have been taking my kids recycling. I would love to hear any of your ideas or thoughts.

a marriage-centered family

Last night we skipped my kids’ carnival.  It might not sound like a big deal, but for a while it was for me.  Dozens of friends were there with jumpy houses galore and game stations.  And with a BBQ, dinner would be taken care of.  When I dropped James off at pre-school, I heard, “What station are you manning?” and had to say, “none”.  I heard, “What are you bringing?” and had to say, “I’m dropping off a pre-packaged veggie tray.”  We’ve gone the last two years and our kids have had a blast, and whatever it costs has already been covered by our pre-school tuition.  It felt like an unnatural time to leave town.

Meanwhile, later today, some dear friends are throwing a wedding reception in Carmel.  “Why don’t you just go overnight?” my in-laws asked.  “Sure!” Jason jumped at the opportunity.  I thought of all the logistics.

The turning point for me came on the beautiful drive down in my father-in-law’s green Audi TT.  Jason looked at me and said, “If we had passed up this opportunity, there is no way we could say we have a marriage-centered family.”  I was good to go.

Long before we had children, we had explored the idea of a kid-centered family versus a marriage-centered family.  We noticed the volume and detail the Bible instructs about marriage versus the raising of children.  We’ve watched how some awesome families around us have parents who get away and stay in love.  And how families that require the kids to provide the joy and center of activity also have kids who bear the brunt of stress and emotional responsibility.

And so the logistics flew out of the convertible.  My kids don’t know the good time they missed for two hours last night, but Lord willing they will have parents who have laid down the foundation for their family.

I need a word that’s the gender-neutral…

I need a word that’s the gender-neutral equivalent of “guys”. It’s such a useful word, a casual reference to a group of people. I use it to start class, “OK guys, take your seats”, I use it to ask questions, “Can you guys answer something for me?”, I use it all the time.

Suggestions? I’ve tried “folks”, “people”, even “ya’ll”, but nothing works quite as well as “guys”.

How old is feminism? At least as old as …

How old is feminism? At least as old as 60AD, when Boudicca (Queen of the Icene tribe in Britain) gave this speech on the eve of battle against the Romans:

You men of Iceni, of Trinovantes
You Britons, you men of valor and strength;

Many times before, you have raised arms together under the banner of noble queens.

But here, today, I stand with you not as a noble women of long ancestry, but as one among you, as one who has suffered these indignities that you have seen with your own eyes

Here today, I avenge my lost freedom,
Here, today, I avenge my scarred body,
Here, today, I avenge the outraged chastity of my daughters.

The lust of Rome goes so far that not even our own bodies, not old age or virginity, are left unspoiled.

But heaven fights alongside righteous vengeance; one legion already dared to face us – those who did not fall beneath our spears are cowering in their tents, or have fled into the mists of dawn. They cannot stand even the din and shout of our thousands, much less our charge and our blows.

Measure out the strength of these two armies,
Weigh out the causes of this war,
Test the strength of your own heart,
And you will see that in this, we must conquer or die.

THIS is a woman’s resolve; as for men, they may live and be slaves.

(my paraphrase)

Our church IT guy (and bass player extra…

Our church IT guy (and bass player extraordinaire) just started a social network for scheduling church musicians. Apparently we will get an e-mail asking us to play a certain week of rehearsal and services. We click “accept” or “decline”, and he goes from there. Makes sense to me! I bet it will save a lot of administration time. We’ll see.