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Showing posts from February, 2010

happy ninth birthday, max

yesterday was our english bulldog's 9th birthday.  his name is max.  well, it's actually maximus drake milinovich.  but you can call him max.  hard to believe he's been enriching our lives for so long.  we love you max!  even though you snore and track mud in the house, and like the smell of your own pee, and slobber everywhere and cost us a fortune in vet bills and shed like it's your job.  we love you anyway.  no matter what.

he named him apple

in the midst of shoveling the equivalent of 35 jobba the huts in snow yesterday, i found a few minutes to make a mini-snowman with cade.  he named him apple (i guess caedmon's a huge coldplay fan).  here he is:


and now i'm tired, like a toyota mechanic.  but the snow is stopped, and (i kept thinking as i launched shovel-loads of heavy duty industrial-strength snow) at least i have a driveway to shovel - a driveway which leads to a nice warm house that protects me from all these inches of snow and howling winds.  i am blessed indeed, so no complaints from me.  even if my muscles feel worse than lindsey vonn's.

no mere mortal! (sniffle)

wow.  just wow.  its been snowing for more than 24 hours now, without much of a stop at all.  i can't tell how much we have right now because it is so windy that the drifts are pretty high, but i can tell that its still snowing with an arctic fury.   i have seen estimates from 12 to 24 inches.  who knows?  all i know is that it's been a crazy winter.  maybe hell has frozen over? 
at least i'm not sick.  that's right: everyone in my family was diagnosed with strep throat, and i never got it.  the reason for the world dominance of my immune system?  my propensity for eating things that have fallen on the floor.  as i type this, it occurs to me that i might not have shared this with some of you.  if you've known me for a long time, you can probably skip to the next paragraph - you already know this stuff.  but if you only know me as your pastor whom you see on sundays and other occasions, you might want to prepare yourself for a bit of a shock.  i'm very comfortab…

doctor greg

anyone who knows me well knows that i would make a terrible doctor.  i dont do well with physical discomfort of any kind, let alone bodily fluids like mucus and vomit, to name a few.  so, anyone who knows me would find it humorous that i've been forced into the role of doctor in my house this week.  shannon has strep throat.  the boys might have it too (i'm waiting on a call back from the pediatrician).  so, needless to say, i've been doing a lot of nurse-related activity the last couple of days, which is not my forte.  all of that to say: please pray for my family because it is unlikely in the entire history of sickness that any family has had a less capable nurse attending to them. 
for example, i find it difficult to get someone (my wife) a few ibuprofin without wondering aloud (and with so little amount of agitation) what is the difference between aspirin and ibuprofin and acetaminophen.  "why does it have to be so confusing?" i shout to the pharmaceutical go…

i don't really need a hug that bad. seriously.

my birthday is officially one week away.  please do NOT buy me this:



but you can, if you feel so led, buy me this:

lent collages 2010: you are/you shall be

as a pastor, i get several people asking me about what i've given up for lent (i joked in the pulpit yesterday that i gave up short sermons for lent).  i have mixed feelings about giving things up for lent, which should be a topic for another post altogether, but what i have decided to for this lent is not to quit anything, but to do something.  i decided to continue the discipline of connecting my faith with my art (which so often ends up being little more than a hobby), by working each week to create a collage that goes along with what we are focusing on in worship that week. 

at church this lent we are focusing on simon peter, the brash and impulsive disciple who left a fishing career to follow Jesus.  we started this week by focusing on his first interaction with Jesus as recorded in the first chapter of the gospel of john.  when his brother andrew brings him to Jesus, Jesus looks at him intently and says, "you are simon, son of john, but you shall be cephas (which means…

saturday song: swim

i shared my playlist from israel yesterday, and so today i thought i would go back to an old tradition i had of providing a saturday song.  this one is from jack's mannequin, which is the project of andrew mcmahon (who you may also know as the frontman in the band 'something corporate').  right before jack's mannequin's first album releasted, mcmahon was diagnosed with a kind of leukemia.  he was able to fight the disease and survive and their second album, the glass passenger deals with some of the themes of a survivor.  one of the songs is called swim, and i just find it to be a very powerful song for encouraging us to keep going when we feel like throwing in the towel.  it reminds me of galatians 6:9 - so let us not grow weary in doing good, and at the right time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

israel playlist

some of you more musically minded folks have asked me about what i ended up with as my playlist for israel.  so i thought i would share.  i plan on doing a post of recap about my experience in israel, and this isn't it, but i know some of you were interested, so...
please understand that just as jerusalem is a city that is full of interesting juxtapositions of sacred and secular, my playlist is also a grab bag of styles and genres: i had over 350 songs in the playlist, ranging from ancient hebrew music to contemporary pop; from modern middle eastern techno to 80's christian music.  from the boss to bono to bob marley, and from cash to crowder.  this isn't the full list, but here are some of the highlights:
winter song – sara bareilles and ingrid michaelson
where the road meets the sun – katie herzig and matthew perryman jones
three little birds – bob marley
secrets – one republic
lullaby – one republic
not alone – seabird
rescue – seabird
‘til we see the shore – seabird
symp…

ash wednesday, 2010

"ash wednesday 2010" mixed media collage gregory a. milinovich
here is my ash wednesday collage this year.  i pray you had a great beginning to your lent, one in which you humbly remembered not only that you are merely ash and dust, but also that you, like me, are broken at best, headed for the trash heap if not for the One who makes beauty from ashes.

documentation/have a blessed lent

i know, i know.  some of you have been wondering where the heck i am.  sorry.  its been a crazy week.  between recovering from jetlag and spending the night with cade in the hospital, between shoveling snow and trying to catch up on work, and with the added element of our annual documentation weekend, i just haven't had the time/energy.  but i'm back today.  thanks for checking back in on me.

that's right, i said "annual documentation weekend."  that's because "scrapbooking weekend" leaves too big a bruise on my machismo.  so we'll go with documentation weekend, which means that we spent the long weekend with a huge pile of all of our pictures from this last year, and we organized them and sorted them and cut them and glued them along with various momentos and every other sort of paper, all in an effort to tell the story of our 2009.  for who?  for us, i think.  and for our kids, too.  i have this ongoing need in my life to leave this trail, a m…

greg vs. the snow blower

well, snowmageddon hit this week.  i love snow, so i'm not really complaining, but one of the things snow requires is snow removal.  which has never been that big of a deal for me, until we moved into this house.  our driveway is fairly long and plenty steep.  this is our fourth winter here and when we moved in, we were excited to see that the house has a snowblower. 
what we failed to consider was how inept i am when it comes to machines. 
i have a sneaking suspicion that when i use the snowblower, it's supposed to look like this:

but that's now how i look.  instead, i look more like this:

you see, the problem is that a snowblower includes things called "an electric start," "a throttle," and a "speed dial."  there are words all over the thing, but it would be no more helpful for me if they were in japanese (which i do not read).  there are various levers and switches and gears and pullstrings and places to put gas and oil and probably other ind…

a painful change of plans

this was not supposed to be my post today.  when i left work yesterday, i knew that a blizzard was coming in, and so i felt pretty confident that i would get a nice snowy day at home today, full of shoveling snow of course, but also full of warm fires and maybe a movie. 

not exactly.

when i got home shannon told me that cade had been playing with my irish penny whistle, and that he was horsing around with jack and he ended up falling on it, cutting the roof of his mouth.  i didn't really think much about it, until he was acting like this at dinner:


so i got a flashlight and looked at the roof of his mouth.  ouch.  it didn't  look good.  it looked pretty scary, actually. so we called his doctor's office who advised us to go ahead and take him to the emergency room.  i arrived there with him around 8:30, just as the beginning of the snow began to fall.


we didn't have to wait long until we had a bed, and the little man was already proving his meddle.  despite an abundance …

it's over

this was how i felt last february. 
sigh. 
how a year changes things.  as those of you who faithfully read my blog know, i am a huge steelers fan.  but i am also a huge football fan, and so when the season finally comes to an end as it did on sunday, there is a sense of loss for me.  it's even worse this year as i have not only lost football season, but i have also lost the ability to say the words "superbowl champion pittsburgh steelers."  that title now goes to the very deserving new orleans saints, who i am very happy for.  still, the 2009 football season left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, and with the uncertainty about the immediate future of football (players and owners fighting over contract agreement stuff), i'm left with a disappointment.  so, football, here's to you.  thanks for being there for me week after week, monday after monday.  i'll miss you bigtime, and i can't wait to see you again in august. 
until then, congratulations to coach …

israel: day 6

for those of you who are wondering, we are home safe.  we got up at 1:45 am on saturday morning in jerusalem, and were home by 9pm on saturday night in new jersey.  of course we were traveling west, so it was actually more than 24 hours.  needless to say, it was a long day, and we're happy to be safe at home, even if it is covered in snow. 

i never got a chance to write about our last day in the holy land, so i thought i'd give you a quick recap.  we had friday morning free, so shannon and i (along with several others) decided to head back within the old jerusalem wall into what is called "the old city" for some shopping.  there are "streets" there that are really just paved sidewalks lined with tiny little shops, full of vendors trying to sell you their goods.  many of the shops were just clothes or shoes or religious trinkets, but we found some cool shops, including one that sold all kinds of interesting spices, at really good prices.  this picture show…

israel: a note as we prepare to depart

a amall opening in the old jeruslaem wall just above the zion gate. 
my friends, as i write these words, it is 6:30 on friday evening here in the holy land.  we have finished a rainy day of touring here, and i look forward to sharing it with you, but our flight leaves tel aviv in the morning at 7:30.  which means that we will be leaving the hotel sometime around 3am.  and we still have dinner and two meetings to go yet tonight!  so i won't be updating day 6 of our trip until after i am back in the states, and likely not until i've had several hours of sleep in my bed (this all hinges on whether or not new jersey gets dumped on with snow the way the forecast suggests it might).  so, in any case, i hope you've enjoyed my updates, and i will, of course be sharing more in way of pictures and insights as the Spirit leads.  until then, peace to you.

israel: day five

today was a day of extremes, in a way, or at least a day of earth, wind and…water. strangely enough, it all started with ice. we woke up to a threat of snow in jerusalem, which turned out to be hail. this hail came down in huge chunks of ice and caught fire as soon as it hit the ground. okay, not really. that’s in egypt. but seriously: hail. i didn’t really come to israel for falling ice.




we drove east out of jerusalem into the judea desert. this is the very wilderness where john the baptist lived. i, for one, have never been to a desert before, so this was a new experience for me. but this isn’t your run of the mill desert (although i did see a tumbleweed blowing across the road in what must have been the most cliché moment of the day). no, this desert has no sand! it’s just rocks and dirt. you can see from the picture that it is just hill after hill of dirt and rock. this is also the desert where Jesus went after his baptism in the jordan river, and where he was tempted three times…

israel: day four

let me start off today by saying how glad i am to know that many of you are following along here on my blog and on facebook, sort of sojourning with us through the holy land. i appreciate your company as we look together through windows into the past, windows that reveal to us a clearer, brighter picture of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and which help us understand the scriptures left to us. i’m certain that i’ll be returning to these windows time and time again in my ministry, using what i find here to enhance my ability to tell the story of this Jesus.




and i was able to look through some pretty amazing windows today. we started the day off real early because we had a long drive north out of jerusalem through the jezreel valley, towards the mountains of the north. our first stop was nazareth. as we entered the city, we passed these huge rocky cliffs, and we learned that these cliffs were very likely the ones that the people wanted to push Jesus over after he claimed to be the fulfillme…