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a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …
Recent posts

happy halloween!

happy halloween from the milinovichs!  our jack-o-lanterns are a puking face (cade), a skeleton jail (me), a traditional smile (jack), a scary welcome (shannon) and a wizard making a potion (quin).

#thoughtsandprayers

i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

charlottesville, houston, and the sun

lord, we are divided.  if the images on your tv screen of angry white men carrying tiki torches in charlottesville didn't demonstrate that to you, then the polarized response to it certainly did. not that this should come as a big surprise. after the election, we knew that there was a chasm between blue and red states and their corresponding voters. and while no oversimplified binary expression of extremes can ever fully paint the picture of who we are as individuals or groups, the way the extremes continue to attract movement to the polar caps of opinion shows just how divided we have become.  of course it doesn't help that we hear what we want to hear in news, social media, and even the marketplace (personalized ads online try to only show me what they know think i am already interested in).  further wedging the divide is the increasing inability to have civil discourse with those who believe/feel/live/love/look/vote differently than us.  when these factors converge we have…

happy birthday, Quin

this mad scientist turns six years old today.  he is a laugh-a-minute, dancing, quotable little Quinton, who alternately keeps us young and gives us gray hair.  he likes to cuddle, wear costumes, and dance dance dance.  the other day i watched him dancing to a piece of classical music and he was whispering to himself "focus...focus."  when he was done i asked him, "why were you saying 'focus' to yourself while you were dancing?"  his response?  with a childlike sincerity: "i didn't want to do anything the music didn't tell me to do."  
here's wishing for many years of following the music, and dancing through life with focus, laughter, and joy.  
happy birthday, Quin!

remember (memorial day, 2017)

remember.

today, of course, is memorial day, by definition a day of remembering.  and while i certainly hope that your day is happy and full of the best kinds of joys, i also hope that you find some way and time to remember how it is that these joys came to you.  yes, of course i am thinking about the sacrifices of women and men who served our country whose service included the hefty price of their lives.  even if you don't know any of them, i hope you find a way to remember them somehow, and those who grieve them still.

but i am also thinking of something even more poignant and powerful, at least for me.  when i think about remembering how it is that we have come to enjoy such blessedness, i am hoping you'll consider that every good and perfect gift comes from above (james 1:17).  i am hoping we might take a lesson from the poetry of the Hebrews, who never failed to take the time to remember what God had done for them (check out psalm 105, as one example).  i am hoping we …

happy mother's day, 2017

it's hard to believe it, but this is the 9th year that the boys and i have been making mother's day videos for Shannon.  Cade was only just a year old when we made our first, and he just turned 10 and will soon finish 4th grade!  we've done videos with a variety of themes: springsteen, athletics, wacky costumes, silent film, and moving, just to name some of them.  as we've gotten more familiar with the process, and as the boys get older, we have more fun planning the scenes, the locations, the costumes, the props, and even the camera work and "special effects."  still, it's a ton of work, and the reason we do it is because we know how blessed we are to have a wife and mother like Shannon, and we feel like these 9 music videos (so far) are all slices of time that she will cherish for the rest of her life.  it's about the best present we could think of, and now its a tradition.  we can only hope that she enjoys them as much as we enjoy making them for …