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Showing posts from November, 2006
these are photos i took of a tree just outside warriors mark, pa.












the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. we all see a great deal of lights these days. i'm headed into manhattan tonight for a worship service, and i can already feel the glow of a million bulbs, and army of brilliance, sent to me to shine me in to buying something. our towns and cities and televisions are afire with the allure of light and lamp and lumen. we are tucked so comfortably in constant light that we have forgotten about the darkness just there on the edge of the florscence. we have forgotten about the shadow.

but if we were to stand really still: if we were to stop opening our cell phones. if we were to stop the incessant button-pushing. if we were to to remove our earbuds and just stand still for long enough, we would re-discover that the rhythm of life includes day and night. and if we were still enough to be covered in shadow, for once, we would see how badly we need the light.

as advent…
BELATED
not only was thanksgiving last thursday, but so was my sister's birthday. since i was in warrior's mark, pa, where they have only recently been introduced to inventions such as the wheel, the cotton gin, and fire, computers are not allowed. if you are caught with a computer you are literally put in the stocks in the town square (the one with the stop sign), so people can laugh at you when they go to the uni-mart to purchase their chewing tobacco. my point here is that i have been "out of pocket" (a phrase meaning, at least in some geographies, that i have been unreachable) for the last several days and haven't had a chance to post about my poor beloved sister's birthday. sorry, julie. but here it is. belated.

so, thursday was julie's 26th birthday. not only is she my younger sister, but she is also a middle child, which means the torment to which she was subjected during the earlier years of her life and that continues to this very day is worse than…
a (grateful) acrostic
amazing, all these
blessings.
carved and cut, this turkey reminds me of the richness of my life.
dazzled, even if only for today, i open my eyes to the
efflorescence of my life:
family and friends, and others, who have
grown to love me, so often in spite of me; who
have forgiven me and moved me and touched me and changed me and
inspired me.
juxtaposed against my complaints and whines, and the grudges i keep, the largesse of my blessedness is laughable. more than laughing, though, i am bent with shame, nearly nauseous at the obvious disparity in my blessedness and my poverty at being a blessing. quite overcome with the weight of this, i reel and rock, but barely move. why am i seemingly so stuck in this stagnant apathy? what does it mean, really, to bethankful without also being active, unsatisfied with the fat of accumalated blessedness, vehemently committed to blessing others, where and whenever they appear? eXactly nothing, i expect, andyet, what will i do, even now?…
happy birthday, grandma vich
yesterday, november 21, would have been my grandma's 87th birthday. she died about a month ago, after a long battle with alzheimers. i have wonderful memories of my grandma, and i carry in my very dna part of who she is. part of who she is is part of who i am. that's part of the mystery of this crazy life, isn't it? i don't get to chose, really. i just get born and so much is already decided for me. part of what was decided for me was that i would carry with me some of the fiesty-ness, some of the love of searching for what is right, some of the attention to detail (some call it being anal) that was part of who grandma was. and so, i celebrate her birth and even her death, but mostly i celebrate her life. and as i celebrate her life, i can't help but affirm in my own self those things that, whether she meant to or not, she gave to me. thank you, grandma. peace.grateful. grandson. greg.


























reveal...


so i spent the last four and a half days at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers' Convention in cincinnati. i certainly went into it hoping to get some good fellowship with some folks and maybe a few good ideas for ministry, but i got so much more. first of all, it was a weekend in a hotel (the hilton) without many responsibilities, including caring for our son, who was being spoiled rotten by his grandparents in monongahela, pa. so, without the sounds that an almost two-year old makes, i was able to find some space for quiet and reflection. that was really the great blessing of the whole thing for me: the chance to listen. the theme for the convention was "reveal" and was symbolized by the presence of several statues that hadn't quite been finished; they were only partially carved out of the stone. for me, the idea was just to be quiet enough that i could hear God's revealing God's self to me. it was a weekend of prayer and listening. but it…
just a short little post today to say that i won't be around for the next several days. we're headed out to cincinnati for the national youth workers convention. i get to hear don miller again, and david crowder is leading us in worship, so i am pretty excited about that. not only that, but i found a steelers bar in downtown cincinnati, so i can watch the game sunday against the browns. it should be a great weekend. we're dropping jack and max at the grandparents and staying at the hilton right next to the convention center. this is the closest thing we'll have to a vacation in a while, so we are going to enjoy it, and hopefully learn and find some inspiration as well. so anyway, i will talk to you when i get back.things i like about cincinnati: kings island. over the rhine. things i don't like about cincinnati: the bengals. the reds. greg.
Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today, November 13th, is my Mom's birthday. She turned 39 today! Happy Birthday, o one who birthed me. And by birthed i mean grunted and pushed me out of a tiny orafice after carrying me around in your torso for 9 long months, in a bloody watery mess. saying 'thank you' just doesn't seem to cover it. but thank you anyway. i think it was worth it.

my mom has just recently discovered the blogosphere and, after a little urging, found the courage to comment, although it seemed to cause a great deal of stress. nonetheless, she figured it out and, as you might have seen, has been leaving her 2 cents here on her son's blog (good job, mom). as always, she is up for the challenge. mom is a high school english teacher, a mother of 3 bratty children, a wife to a complete science nerd who is also a pastor, an avid reader, and the proudest grandma i have ever seen. i love the above picture of her because it shows her fun side. it was taken at kennywood last s…
turning a page



i don't know if anyone else out there is much of a journal-er, but i am. i have been ever since high school. sure, i've seen seasons of inactivity in my journaling just as i've had periods of writing everyday, or even more than once a day. but the big picture is that i have been keeping a journal for about the last 15 years, and i have thousands of pages to show for it.

journaling has certainly changed over time for me. as i go back and look at those first journals, when i was in high school, you will see that i was mostly writing about girl problems, you'll see trevor's name in there a great deal, and mia's. and once i got to college i wrote a bit more carefully, choosing words with a great deal of thought. i realize now that college was a really verbal time for me, a time in which i fell in love with words.

after college i didn't write so regularly for a long time until the last few years, really once i got into seminary and started opening up…
inspired by all this thinking about clothes and shame, i made a collage, simply called "losing the voice." it is in reference to the fact that we have lost the voice of God telling us how beautiful we are. its actually amazing that i had any energy left to make this collage, because i spent all day (and by all i mean every possible second) raking leaves. i love trees, i really do. and we live in a place surrounded by trees, which i enjoy about 364 days a year. but on the day that i have to rake them, o my gosh it sucks. i am so sore it hurts to type. it literally hurts in my arms and legs and my torso when i type. blinking isn't any more comfortable. i love drama.so, this blog thing is finally working out for me. i have had several family members and old friends stopping by and making comments. i am glad for the company. come back often! it looks like i started something in my last post: toilet or commode? which is it? for me, i say toilet probably most of the time, but …
this is a better picture of jack in his halloween costume than what you had previously seen. the latest news is that he is saying yee-haw like a cowboy. well, sort of. actually its a bit more like two completely seperated words, yee and haw. it is said much like this, "yeeeeee....(wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...) haw. so cute.so i read today that God wants to be a blessing in our lives. God wants to be a blessing? its incredible, really. we can grow imagining God being so ready to punish, so much like santa claus with naughty and nice lists. i remember thinking how easy it was for me to slip back to the naughty list after trying so hard to get on the nice one. i remember realizing how prone i was to disappoint. and i can also remember, once i got a little older, how that realization quickly turned to fear of hell and an eternal bottomless pit (can a bottomless pit be anything other than eternal, by definition?). so it wasn't hard to imagine God as angry, or at leas…
this is a post about nudity. those of you more comfortable behind your gap and abercrombie, your mossimo and whatever else they sell at target (wal-mart for the slightly more hip), be forewarned. this is a post about nudity.now that i have your attention....it really isn't all that sexy. this post, that is. i told you i would post about some of what was discussed at the conference i went to this weekend. one of the cool things that don miller talked about was that genesis 2 and 3 is really a story about nudity (i have always argued that the bible is a great deal more HBO than ABC. it certainly isn't fox family...). he pointed out that the author of genesis (some say moses, others say "who the heck knows?") was deliberate in pointing out that adam and eve were both naked and "felt no shame" (gen 2:25). now, the implications of this little tidbit of knowledge are true whether you take the story literally or not. i, for one, do not take the story literally at …
i've been to a conference this weekend at a christian college about creative arts and christianity. don miller was the main speaker, and i really enjoyed the chance to listen to him speak. i was absolutely inspired by the conference, and am excited about the results. for those of you who don't know, i make collages. the picture above is a collage i made a few years ago. i have made probably a couple hundred and continue to make them. it is something that brings me great joy and satisfaction, but that is about it. i am just about creating art in a vacuum. i have done some pretty serious reflection on this issue, about how i am creating only for myself, and have recognized that it is certainly not the intent of the creative spark within us. however, i don't know how to share what i do with others. i am hoping this might be one such forum. i am looking for some feedback here: what do you think makes someone an artist? for some reason, i have always thought that it has to do w…
today i wanted to introduce you to shannon, my wonderful wife of seven plus years. some of you know her, and others may know her well, but there are some who don't know her at all, so i thought i would use today's post to give you a chance to get to know her a little. or at least see a picture of her. this is a picture from san juan, puerto rico, on a vacation we took a few years back when vacations were still within the realm of possibility. the master bedroom in our new house (we moved here in july) is directly next to jack's room. one of our favorite features of the house is that it has wood floors throughout, which we think make the house look more natural. besides the look, wood floors have that sort of squeaky quality that makes the house feel quircky and authentic, like its got a little life of its own. but at night, when jack should be sleeping, those creaky floorboards provide more nuisance than character. i have learned how to tread lightly at night. i have figur…
"i'm your huckleberry"

yesterday was halloween in these parts, so last night was the time to participate in the annual trick-or-treating ritual. now, for those of you who don't know, shannon and i have a 21-month old son named jack. so, for all intents and purposes, this was his first halloween. we weren't sure how "into it" he would be, but we wanted to take him on this costumed quest for confections.

yee-haw, did he love it. our little cowboy was classicly cute, complete with red hat, black cowboy boots, sheriff's badge, bandana, and make-up moustache. just looking at him made me melt like a mini-kit kat bar held in the sweaty hand of a sugared-up child hiding behind a plastic power ranger mask.
still, trick-or-treating with a less-than-two-year-old is kind of annoying. the houses here are on nice-sized lots, so you have a pretty significant walk between doorbell rings. and by pretty significant i mean, if your legs are about 12 inches long, as his …