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Showing posts from December, 2009

at the end of a year

as i sit inside on this cold end-of-december morning in which i can feel 2009 surrendering to its icy inevitable death, i am very much aware of the rhythm of the years, the rise and fall, and finally, the crushing winter weight of every dozen months or so.  and so another year collapses under the burden of turned calendar pages.

but just before 2009 gives its dark virgin birth to a whole new year, i stand again at that annual crossroads, seeing both how far we've come and how far we have yet to go.  and yet, even here, i remember, most of all, that i just want to be present for these moments we have right now, before they become only memories, or worse, are forgotten completely.  i want to be present to the wide-eyed wonder of unopened gifts, and the unabashed joy of an opened toy, glimmering with untouched plastic.  i want to be present to the unrivaled determination of the blades of grass poking up through the dirty blanket of snow.  i want to be present to the fury of cousins p…

merry christmas to you

from the milinovichs to you, wherever you are, through this digital space,
have a very happy christmas,
full of deep belly laughs and
full bellies. 
most of all,
treasure it all and ponder it in your heart:
that the God of all creation
put skin on
to show us a deep, unthinkable love,
and to tell us that
we are not alone -
we are never alone.
God is with us!
Immanuel is here!
Alleluia!


christmas video, 2009

last year i did a video to sort of sum up our pre-christmas experience as a family, so i thought it might be nice to follow it up with a sequel.  its not professional, to be sure, but it certainly gives a sense of both the chaos and the joy of our advent.  the music is bruce cockburn's "mary had a baby," which has been a favorite song here this christmas season.  enjoy!


the innkeeper

"the innkeeper"by Kendra Gadzala

o busy man,
you have no room inn
your space
for a young woman,
pregnant with hope -
full of fear -
and her worried companion.
i know it's a crazy time,
and you've got alot on your mind;
you've got no room
for extra anxiety
or excess baggage.
but how full do you have to be
to turn away your only hope?
how busy are you
that you can't carve out some space
for a savior?

-gregory a. milinovich, dec. 2009

holding onto hope

i haven't blogged about the steelers much this last month because, well, i really didn't want you to have to wallow in misery with me (in this particular case, misery does not love company, i prefer my misery with a side of solitude).  after 5 straight losses, most against sub-par teams, i had written the steelers' season off as a bad bad hangover year after winning the superbowl, but yesterday, for at least one more game, the steelers kept the embers of hope alive.  using every bit of energy and will, along with every possible second, the steelers found it in themselves to hold on for at least one more week. 



just as hines ward was able to catch this ball and hold on before it slipped through his hands, the steelers managed an unlikely win, holding on to playoff hopes for one more week.

after the game tomlin used phrases like "not dead yet," and "on lifesupport" to paint a pretty accurate picture of the steelers' playoff hopes.  nonetheless, for one…

sleepy santa

yesterday we made an excursion to the mall to visit kris kringle.  when we arrived there was no one in line (we went in the morning), and the jolly old man in the big red suit was dozing off in his oversized green chair, snowy chin pressed down to on his brass buttons, mind filled with dreams, presumably of sugar plums.  i tried to snap a picture of him, but then imagined my name appearing on the naughty list and thought better of it at the last minute. 

anyway, the kids were pretty great about sitting on a large sleepy stranger's lap. as you can see, caedmon was less than thrilled about it, but he did indeed tell santa what he wants (a big tent).  we couldn't get him to take off his coat or let go of the batman wallet.  he needed whatever securities he could cling to.  jackson did much better than i though, and calmly explained to santa that he had been a good boy this year and that he would like a remote control tarantula.  all in all it was a fun experience.


and later when w…

persistence

the other night at dinner my son taught me an important lesson about prayer.  it seems to work this way for me: i learn as much (or more) from my children about what's really important than all of my seminary training and conferences and seminars.  so we were sitting around the table and it was time to say a prayer of thanksgiving over our food, a small discipline that we constantly practice.  it has become routine.  so i bow my head over my creamy chicken, and i expect the standard "thank you for our food; thank you for our family; thank you for this day" kind of prayer, but jack keeps praying.  he often adds this little gem of a line, "Jesus, i love you and everyone in the world loves you."  but on this night he went even further. 
more than a year ago (has it already been 18 months?  i'm not even sure), a couple teenagers that we know both became quite ill with cancer.  by coincidence, one's name is eric and the other erica.  so, when we were first c…

don't wait

i started off this advent by encouraging you to find your elizabeth and to keep your eyes open.  i don't know how that's been going for you, but if you're anything like me, you've had good days and bad days.  but one thing i know for sure in the midst of the building busyness is that we cannot wait for things to be "perfect" before we expect to find God this season.  we cannot hope to finish all the cards and the shopping and the the wrapping and the baking before we can meet God.  Christ's coming to us is not restricted to candle-lit sanctuarys.  God comes to us in every moment along the ways, in the chaos of Christmas as much as in the silent nights.  so keep looking.  don't give up.  follow through on your advent discipline.  keep your eyes open for the divine breaking through these days.  peace to you. 

First Coming


by Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unst…

our christmas tree

last weekend we went out on an adventure to try and find a Christmas tree.  we headed out to a small farm where we've bought trees before, but after a long walk through the muddy field, we couldn't find anything we liked, and we ended up looking like this:



so after a short drive we found another tree farm, where the boys were feeling cold and hungry but looking exceptionally cute:






this place had several trees we loved, so we cut one down and got it home, just in time for the snow to start falling.  after a couple of days (these things take longer with children) it looks like this:




hope your preparations for Christmas are going beautifully.

not convinced

see the look on hines' face there?  that's the same kind of look i see when i look in the mirror.  i actually saw it in the rearview mirror of my car today.  i was looking at my son in his seat in the back.  i had just told him that the steelers lost last night.  he got pretty quiet and said simply, "i'm sad." 

"i know," i replied.  "it's okay to be sad. but there's more to life than football, buddy." 

that's when i saw my face in the mirror.  it looked less than convinced.  so i continued to reason, hoping to talk myself into it.  "hey, we were champions of the world last year, so we are so lucky that we can still remember that, even if they didn't do well this year.  and we'll be happy for another team who will get to be champions this year (unless its the bengals, ravens, patriots, or cowboys).  that's called good sportsmanship."

checking the mirror, i could see that i still wasn't convinced.

hey, what ca…

letters to santa 2009

you may remember from past Christmases that we count down towards Christmas through advent by seeing what surprises lie inside an advent sock each day.  some days there is a small toy or gift in the sock, and sometimes it is an activity.  for example, yesterday's sock told us to design a Christmas picture on the lite brite. 

a few days ago the sock instructed us to write letters to santa and to Jesus, and here are the results:









just a reminder to come to the manger with a childlike faith this year, full of wonder and faith and joy.

shameless self promotion

"by words alone"
mixed media collage
gregory a. milinovich

here is one of my most recent collages, a sort of visual representation of my love affair with words.  i have always loved words, the way the sound and the way they interact with one another to form (sometimes) coherent ideas.  i love the structure of words and language, and the incredible freedom within that structure.  and yet, in the end, words are never quite enough.  and that tension is where this collage was birthed. 

anyway, i don't want to be pushy, but i just thought i'd remind you that i sell my collages over at etsy.com.  all you need to do is scroll down my blog here until you see some of my collages in the box on the left hand side near the bottom of the page.  click where it says "agentorangerecords" and that will take you directly to my shop.  you can look around and see what i've got there, and then if you're interested in buying someone a christmas present or something, you can…

elf yourself 2009

well, we've elfed ourselves again this year, and we've gone with a disco theme.  hope your Christmas is as funky as ours is!  (ps.  if you're on facebook and you can't see this video, go to agentorangerecords.blogspot.com to see it.)


Send your own ElfYourselfeCards

to my boys: what i love about you (#743)

dear jack and cade,

you know i love you.  i tell you all the time.  but it occurs to me from time to time that there are a billion different reasons why i love you, and that if i don't write down at least a few of them, i will forget them, and i will never be able to explain it to you when i'm old and slobbery and you have to change my pants.  there are a million moments in every day, it seems, and most of them give me new reasons to fall in love with you.  here are a few of them...

i love that when i leave for work you two monkeys run to the big bay window in the living room and wait to see my car driving up the driveway, when you begin jumping like caffeinated kangaroos and waving furiously to me, like its the last time you'll ever see me.  i wave back, just as uninhibited.  and i beep the horn.  and through the glass of our house, and across the front yard, i hold you in a father's embrace like you can't even imagine.  it makes me cry almost every time.

i love t…

the thanksgiving adventures of captain rex

my sister is an elementary school teacher, and she does this really fun activity with her class:  each weekend one of the children gets to take home "captain rex" the rubber chicken.  they welcome captain rex into their home and then write about the experience.  the writing goes into the binder, and they keep a journal of all of captain rex's adventures.  for example, one student rescued captain rex from tragic peril in the swimming pool.  others took him to sporting events, or let him play with their toys (including dress up with barbie). 

we were so fortunate that captain rex came to spend thanksgiving weekend with our family, and i was able to snap a few photos of our time together. 



i had the opportunity to sit down over a couple cans of mountain dew with captain rex early in the day on thanksgiving.  when i say "couple of cans" i mean that i had a couple of cans while i watched rexy throw back 6 or 7 of them.  i lost count.  he sure likes his caffeine.  s…

keep your eyes open

today i quote from brennan manning about Christ's presence in Christmas.  we can lament that Christ is out of Christmas, or we can keep our eyes open and celebrate that Christ is in every moment of this blessed season:

once a year the Christmas season strikes both the sacred and secular spheres of life with sledgehammer force: suddenly Jesus Christ is everywhere.  for approximately one month his presence is inescapable.  you may accept him or reject him, affirm him or deny him, but you cannot ignore him.  of course he is proclaimed in speech, song, and symbol in all the Christian churches.  but he rides every red-nosed reindeer, lurks begind every cabbage patch doll, resonates in the most desacralized "season's greetings."  remotely or proximately, he is toasted in every cup of Christmas cheer.  each sprig of holly is a hint of his holiness, each cluster of mistletoe a sign he is here. 
for those who claim his name, Christmas heralds this luminous truth: the God of je…