Friday, March 26, 2010

Army Nurse Corps

My little girl is leaving. As many of you know my youngest daughter signed up for the Army Nurse Corps. She leaves for her initial training in a couple of days.

People have asked me how I feel about this. There are many emotions I feel. I think the prevailing one is that I am very proud of her. After the initial possibility of this pursuit came up, she and her husband thought and prayed hard about this and decided that this would/could be a very positive step for them and their lives together long term. I’m proud of them for the way they worked through this decision that hugely affects their lives in so many ways. It was not an easy choice I’m sure.

At the same time, with her moving so far away, I can easily let myself fall into the feeling that I am losing another very dear loved one. I know I am not “losing” her but she is going to be vary far from home. It has brought some of the grief of losing Carol back to mind. I am trying not to dwell on that. Sometimes I wonder if Sara’s decision might have played out differently if her mother was still here. Hypothetical. . .

As someone said, we as parents raise our children to spread their wings and fly, but when that happens we miss them being close and want to hold on. I know that this experience will change her, but that’s ok. This seems to be God’s plan for the path of her life. I believe He can use this experience to develop Sara into an even more incredible young lady.

“As a member of the Army Nurse Corps, you'll be given opportunities of a lifetime!” This is a quote from the Nurse Corps web site. I pray that this will be so for my precious daughter.

Stay strong, dear Sara, remember that you are loved by all who know you and especially your Heavenly Father.

Monday, March 22, 2010

OK one last entry regarding the book “SAILING BETWEEN THE STARS by Steven James

Following is an excerpt from where he has written about “joy”:

“There aren’t any easy answers to the big questions that haunt us and hunt us down. Friends commit suicide. Grandparents die awkwardly and alone in nursing homes. We get fired. We have affairs. Our kids get hooked on drugs. Time and gravity wear is down as we travel across this vale of tears.
Yet when we have hope, we have refuge. I like how Paul put it: “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV). Or, as Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in The Message, “we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.” And grace is always stronger than my circumstances.
Every day we’re both wasting away and being renewed. When God’s Spirit moves, joy is reborn, and our lives, once new, can continually be renewed through faith and the promises of faith.
Here is what I have to keep reminding myself: pain is real, but so is joy. Every moment, hope is available. Even now peace can be mine. And the sparkling moments of joy that make life worth living are just as much a part of our world as the speeding tickets and funerals. When you take the time to look at both sides of the equation, you realize that life is both more depressing and more delightful that you thought.”

Then later he writes:

There is a heaviness to the lightness of Christianity, a somberness to the joy, a depth to the levity, because for every Easter there is a Good Friday.” . . . “Christians are enmeshed in a terrible, glorious, light and airy, deep and troubling joy”

James states it far better than I could ever hope to but what strikes me is that in the midst of tears and loss and pain and struggles it is possible and even Biblical to have and experience joy. That is an amazing aspect of Christianity that I think is very profound.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Back to the book “SAILING BETWEEN THE STARS” by Steven James

In one section of his book James tells the story of randomly meeting someone in a bookstore and during conversation the other man shared this word picture.

“I picture a quiet lake, and in the lake there’s a boat that’s tied to the dock. That’s all you see at first. But then, when you move back from the picture, you see that the dock isn’t attached to the shore. It’s floating out there in the middle of the lake along with the boat. That’s our society. We’ve tied our lives to the dock, but the dock isn’t tied to anything.”

I’ve been thinking about this concept (dare I say “truth”) lately. When storms inevitably come our way, we are tested. The cliché is “will your anchor hold?”. I think for many of us, we think we are anchored but it turns out our boat is tied to the dock but the dock isn’t tied (anchored) to anything solid. Many of us too easily accept what we are told or even what we are taught without taking the time or effort of “learning” for our selves about the truths of the Bible. I think this is pretty common among our youth, but it is certainly not limited to any age group. “I go to church, my parents have told me this stuff so I guess that must be what I think also“ etc. But when the temptations come, when peer pressure hits, or the storms come, without solid mooring we are adrift.

My hope for you is that your dock is also tied down, solidly. And that you are working to keep it that way.

2 TIMOTHY. 2: 19

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Monday the 8th was a day much like any other for Lisa and me. Off to work for both of us. In the evening she had people over for hair appointments and I had volleyball as is the case on most Mondays. But this Monday the 8th of Feb. was a very special day. It marked our two year anniversary. God is good! God bringing Lisa and me together after the devastation that happened in our lives is a gift I am thankful for everyday.

While Monday was pretty normal, our weekend was very special.

Lately Lisa has been reading a lot of books based on the lives of Amish folk. This has peaked her interest in them as a people. Their beliefs, customs, way of life, etc. are something that has intrigued her for some time now. So we decided to take our little overnight, anniversary get away down in Northern Indiana in the heart of one of the largest Amish populations in the country. We had a great time. It’s hard to beat an anniversary dinner at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus. The weather was decent and lots of horse and buggies were observed.

Again, thank you to those of you who keep our blended families in your prayers.
Don’t forget to let your loved ones know how much they are LOVED.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


In my last post I mentioned the author Stephen James and his book Sailing Between The Stars. This is a non fiction work that tells of some of the mysteries of faith from his perspective. I also stated that there would likely be more posts that make reference to this book.

So here is one.

A while back on my facebook status I put --word of the day is “agathokakological”. I though some of my “friends” might be curious enough about that word to inquire into its meaning. No one did, perhaps proving that facebook users don’t care what “friends” write in their status boxes. Or more likely no one cares what I write in mine. Which is ok for me to say because I not so sure anyone reads these posts either. (I digress).

Any way, agathokakological is a term used to express that something, or someone, me, has within them the capacity for good and evil, more literally “consisting of both good and evil”. This paradox of humans being both good and evil is one of the main themes in James’ book.

Following is an excerpt from Chapter one:

"We’re from below and above, bestial and celestial, children of the earth and offspring of the stars. We are an odd race capable of both martyrdom and murder, poetry and rape, worship and abortion. And Christianity explains why: we are both the Spirit-breathed children of God and the expelled rebels of the kingdom…We’ve all listened to the snake. Yet we’re also children of the Father.”

So is this comforting or unsettling? Does this explain a lot or give us an excuse? I guess it’s good to know I am not that different or worse than anyone else, that this condition seems to be part of the “human condition”. But, paradoxically (cool word), it is also sad to know that I have the same evil in me that inhabits the “worst” sociopaths of our world. I’m most certainly no better than anyone else.

So much to think about. . .

Good book. . . I know I will have to write more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I like to read. It’s really not a love, it’s more of a like or maybe a “strong” like. I know of people that “love” to read. I’m not quite there. At some times, however, right after I’ve finished a book and before I can come up with another to read, there is definitely a feeling of loneliness; something is missing and I am always pretty anxious to find another “good read” as soon as possible.
The other thing about those who “love” to read is (it seems) they read more “meaningful” books than I do. For the most part, I read fiction/novels; I generally have a hard time sticking with most non-fiction books. That’s probably not a good thing as the non-fiction books are generally considered the “self-improvement” types. So I guess I’m missing out on improving myself. . .
One of the cool things that happens when you like to read is randomly coming across a new author, previously unknown to you. I have my long time favorites, Michener (#1), Follett, Iles, Grisham, Cussler, Baldacci and a few others. Recently I stumbled across a few new (to me) ones . Joseph Finder (he actually has one set around the office furniture industry in West Michigan) and Harlen Coben are a couple of my new favorites. There is one more that I am really enjoying right now. His name is Steven James ( He is a Christian.
There was a review in our denominational magazine of one of his novels and it sounded like I might enjoy it. I gave it a try and am now hooked. THE PAWN, The Rook and The Knight are the three books in the series (best read in order) I am currently devouring. He is a Christian author that isn’t afraid to write about real life evil, but there is a value to everyone in his books, the good guys and the bad. On my facebook page a while back I posted a word of the day “agathokakological”. I thought that was a pretty cool word. It means “consisting of both good and evil”. That is a good description of our human condition. It is kind of at the root of James’ novels.
Steven James has also written some non-fiction books about his faith. I recently picked up SAILING BETWEEN THE STARS. He calls it “musings on the mysteries of faith”. I am totally enjoying it. He points out the ironies and paradoxes that are so much a part of Christian faith (excerpt- “Here, death is the beginning of life, foolishness is the pathway to wisdom, the meek conquer the strong, a lamb tramples a snake, and the almighty Creator of galaxies has a belly button.”) This book is full of stories and thoughts that spark thoughts in my (deteriorating) brain.
I am thinking a few of these thoughts are going to show up here in my blog in the future.
You might want to give this author a try.