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thoughts after jumping off a building

"What if it doesn't hold me?"

I didn't ask it out loud, but this was the question bouncing around my brain as I stood on top of the Fraser building a week ago, with the wind whipping furiously, my toes on the ledge, and my heels hanging off the edge. I stood there thirteen stories up, with a tangle of ropes and equipment attached both to me and, by an intricate web, to a network of pulleys and structures all intended to keep me completely safe. I listened carefully, with the wind whistling through the holes in my helmet, as my instructor said, "now just lean back, and it will hold you."

Yeah, but what if it doesn't?!?

This "what if" question has a great deal to do with trust. I recognize this question from my life. I find myself asking it, sometimes unconsciously, about all sorts of things. What if my kids get hurt? What if my loved one gets really sick? What if our safety net isn't substantial enough? What if we can't afford this thi…
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the God of leftovers

“Leftovers again?”

It’s a refrain that is sometimes heard in our house, especially after Shannon has prepared several great meals in a row. In those times, we often have a collage of containers in the refrigerator, filled with various elements from the dinners of the last few days: broccoli in the glass container with the red lid, brown rice in the green tupperware, and some pork chops wrapped in foil, just to name a few. Sometimes there is enough of this mishmosh of food to last us for several meals, which is when the complaining usually begins, “Leftovers, again?”

I was thinking about this on Sunday as we thought about God’s abundance. We remembered story after story in the Bible in which we discover a God of abundance and overflowing goodness. One of the stories was the feeding of the 5,000, in which a huge crowd (some estimate it was as many as 15,000, since women and children wouldn’t have made the count) was fed by a meager 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. Perhaps the miracle i…

running uphill in the wilderness (one step at a time)

back in early june, as part of an overall effort to get more healthy, i started jogging.  i was just kind of walking and running a couple of miles to start off, but over the last 4 months i've been staying consistent, which has helped me to run faster and further, lose some weight, and just generally be healthier.  on fridays, which are my day off, i try to run a longer distance, and i've been adding a mile every other week or so, which meant that today i ran 9 miles in about 99 minutes, which isn't great, but it isn't terrible, either.  mostly, it just feels good to be doing it, and to feel healthier in a general sense, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and so on. 

but there is one area that i haven't felt great about.  professionally, these last 8 months have been, without doubt, some of the most difficult in my 21+ years of full-time ministry.  now don't get me wrong: i love my job.  i really do.  it is so much more than just a job for me, but a vocatio…

show cancelled: the real prima donnas of pittsburgh

so, i haven't written about football for a long time.  i used to write about the best team in the national football league (the pittsburgh steelers, duh) all the time, but in recent years, it's been somewhat harder for me to be an 'all-in' football fan (at least publically).  there are a number of reasons for this, paramount among them, i think, is my own maturing, and recognizing the terrible weight of things beyond this silly game.  on a somewhat related note, there was all the news about the terrible brain damage inflicted on players who play this game.  additionally, i have been as busy in these last few years as i have ever been in my life, and while i still have plenty of time to follow this team, it has been in a more limited, somewhat less intense way.  and then there is one more thing:

the team i love, the steelers, have had more drama than an episode of the real housewives of wherever.  i've actually never seen those shows, but i can only imagine.  in th…

end of summer, 2019

what a summer!

i wrote in june about our annual tradition of making a summer bucket list of things we'd like to accomplish in the fleeting months of summer each year, and i must say that we did pretty good this year! 

we had ice cream for dinner. 
we played frisbee golf.
we went to vbs and music camp.
we celebrated quin's birthday with an epic harry potter party.
we went to ocean city (twice!).
we went to wesley forest for summer camp (well, three of us did).
we made a sand sculpture (several, actually).
we made orange julius-es. 
we did cousin week (again, some of us did...the rest of us were preparing for the aforementioned epic party)
we picked fruit (blueberries).
we ate at hofbrau pizza.
we made a movie.
we made donuts.
we built a fort.
we made a summer cd.
we went to seven springs (champion, pa, actually)
we hiked the alan seeger trail (along with many other trails!)
we watched avengers: infinity war.
we went to the flight 93 memorial national park.
we went to the fred r…

back to school, 2019

tempus fugit.  time flies.  it is said that time flies especially when you are having fun.  well, i must be having more fun than i can handle, because time for me is soaring at breakneck speed. 

it's been two months since i last posted here.  i was excited about the summer, and now here i am, what feels like two weeks later, posting about the fact that summer is now over, and my kids are back in school. 

time flies. 

but it gets worse.  it's not just that the summer whizzed by, but that the years themselves are zooming past at an accelerated clip.  our oldest son starts high school today.  HIGH SCHOOL.  tempus freaking fugit.  



seriously, though, the pace is breathtaking.  it feels like only a few short years ago that i was writing about his first day of kindergarten, and now he's going to be a freshman in high school!?!   back then, i was worried about what i couldn't control.  and, to be honest, i still am.  none of them are wearing a batman backpack anymore.  now th…

summer bucket list 2019

it's summertime, baby!  the sun is out (nope), the kids are home from school (yay.), and it's time to relax a little bit (yeah, right.).  just kidding!  rain or shine, it's time to have some fun with the kids at home, with the extra sunlight, and with the opportunity to make some more memories before these days are gone.  so, once again, Shannon (dang, she is talented!) has designed our family's annual "summer bucket list," complete with all sorts of things we'd like to accomplish in the next couple of months.  we have some of our annual stand-by's, like playing in the rain, having ice cream for dinner, vbs, summer camp, etc.  But we also have some things that will be unique to this summer, like making donuts, playing disc golf, and celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, just to name a few.  we've got high expectations for the summer, and we know the only way to do it is to say "yes" to life, and to make it happen, so here we go!

and…