Wednesday, March 28, 2012

mr. mom

a few, but surely not the ONLY, things i have learned as a stay at home dad...

do not start a load of laundry unless you have room for the clothes to dry and the time to actually place them on the drying rack. they will only pile up in the closet, on the floor, or in your room getting all wrinkled. here in belgium i am finding out that it is common to not have a dryer and to use the local laundry mat. i think this option is good for us on occasion.

i personally have this theory that if the dish water in the sink is NOT at least warm, it is rendered useless in its job to clean. so the rule is similar to laundry; if you don't have the time right away to wash the dishes, don't start the water/soaking process. otherwise, the water gets cold and it feels gross and nasty to wash dishes with room temperature water.

floors are not on a regular rotation to be mopped. with the wife being pregnant and thus being tired quite often her vigilance is severely missed. me, on the other hand, i am not as tenacious in attacking the grime that builds up. so the lesson learned for me is that waiting to do the floors does not necessarily mean that the job will be easier. in fact, you use MORE energy scrubbing because you didn't do it last week and the grime seems to prove to be attached to the floor.

oh, and these guys are great housework music makers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

trailer go boom

without a car my mode of transportation for getting dutch to school is a bicycle with a trailer hitched on the back. these little devices are really kind of cool to think about and as a kid i think it would have been fun to ride in one of these. ideally, i do wish i had a car because there are a few months out of the year when the weather doesn't not lend itself to a favorable bike ride. we are now getting into the months when it is at the right temperature because it is not cold enough to where my face is a block of ice upon arrival but also i work up a good sweat so that i feel comfortable. the culture here in belgium too, is very kind to pedestrians and bike riders. when there is a trailer attached to a bike everyone in a car assumes valuables are in that trailer and they give the right of way almost every time. it really is not as hard as it may seem but waking up everyday and having no options but towing 50 lbs can be tiresome on me. especially when i am the only available person to take the kids to school.

this morning we had kind of a scare. i have been taking dutch school on a bike now for about 6 months and since i began i have shaved off 15 minutes of my travel time (per roundtrip as i go twice a day). what took me nearly an hour every day now only takes me about 45 minutes. this is due to me getting stronger in my legs, you should see my legs they are amazing ; ).

i was cruising along on my normal route and came to a straight-away on a road when the car in front of me suddenly stopped! i normally don't want to inconvenience anyone already so i try and ride as fast as i can when the number of cars in my vicinity seems more than other times. i have the gear on 1 and pedal my hardest. this particular time i locked the brakes pretty hard and could feel the trailer pushing me closer to the car. i was not in danger of hitting the car but instead thought it might be better to get up on the sidewalk area so that i could allow most of the cars behind me to pass. well the curbs here in belgium are not the smoothest to just hop up on to. hitting the edge of the curb with the right amount of force can bounce you pretty good. that is exactly what happened as i looked behind me to find that the trailer was completely upside down. i didn't drag the boys and was very grateful that the trailer has a good frame, like a jeep, so that it won't compress inward. it was scary, to say the least.

i quickly jumped off my bike and ran behind the trailer to turn it back on the wheels. the boys inside, of course, were crying and in shock. i too was hoping that nothing had happened to hurt them, but thankfully it only took a matter of seconds to calm them down and to stop crying so we could continue our journey onward to school. people who witnessed the event were stopping and asking if everything was ok. in my broken french i told them that things were fine. titus, as we arrived and were getting out of the trailer, was acting kind of excited about the whole event. he kept saying, "fast" and "big bumps," and continued on as his normal boisterous self running around and talking loud. dutch was a little more shaken up and was slowly pacing towards school not leaving my side. he wasn't hesitant but was NOT as excited as his younger more vibrant brother was.

thanks you lord for your traveling mercies indeed!

Monday, March 12, 2012

have this attitude

i can't get over how great the participation was at the conference this last week. nathan, jon, and i went to be consultants in sound and lighting at the masters commission conference in rome and there was such an amazing testimony to how humility crushes religion.

upon arriving in rome, we were told that the main auditorium would not be available for us to use. instead, we were to use a smaller room down below the main room. this was not what was previously arranged, but we humbly said ok we can do that.

upon seeing the lighting rig that was being brought in the pastor told us that he was going to invite his board/elders to the first night and if we did anything "inappropriate" we would not be able to continue our conference at his facility. we heard the word "disco-tech" peppered throughout the conversation (in italian). we said ok we will not go overboard.

we were told that we could not play any music that would prompt people to want to dance before the service and after. we said ok we will not play that music.

we were told that our original plan to set up on tuesday night was not possible because they had a service in our meeting room (which they failed to inform us) and that we could not set up until the day of the conference, which gave us very little time. thankfully we were experienced in flexibility and moments of little to no time for set-up. we said ok we can do that.

the night of the conference opening, the church had a service in their main auditorium and they started at 7:30pm. we were told we could not start until they were done and we had to be finished by 10pm. we knew this was next to impossible but our response did not echo our frustration and instead we honored his request.

much of what we were brought in to the conference to do was now almost completely diminished. we felt handcuffed in doing anything with a "spirit of excellence." but we knew that we wanted and needed to respect the pastor and his authority.

with the tension of the elders and the board all there the opening night what better way to show our frustration then to publicly from the microphone request all the students to show their support for the pastor by thanking him with applause for allowing us to be there and use his 50 million euro facility. we brought them up before the service started and honored him in front of everyone in attendance. the worship began, the praise resounded, the prayers were loud, and the hearts of 150 young men and women gave a beautiful illustration of the next generations hunger for the living god. so what were we going to hear the next morning from the pastor...

a humbling apology for his attitude towards the whole project. he genuinely felt terrible and apologized not once, not twice, but many times over the course of the next few days. he even told his staff to stop bothering him with every little thing they thought inappropriate and gave us full permission to do "whatever we wanted" throughout the remainder of the conference. in fact, after the first night he and his elders were taking pictures and asking for the contact information for the lighting company that rented us the gear. i had asked the guys who brought the equipment if they had ever rented this stuff to a church and they said "no." consequently, now, there is a connection with them that i know will re-shape a perspective of how church can be done on both fronts. it blows my mind what humility can accomplish. completely opposite to what the flesh says should be done about meeting opposition. i am still on this wonderful high of god's amazing good news which is all about humility.

philippians 2:3-5 says this...
do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each one of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also the interests of others. have this attitude in yourselves which was also in christ jesus...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

the queen of the castle

there are a million words that i could insert into some cliché blog to proclaim a particular and very unique, yet perfect, character of my woman. i have decided to try and not do that.

on this day 34 years ago god chose to give the world a gift. this gift would have magnificent wonderful consequences for those who encountered her. even to this point i can't think of anyone in the world when encountering this gift felt disappointed as though they got a sweater from granny who knows nothing about cool toys. on the contrary, this is the exact gift that everyone dreams of hoping is under their tree. you know those moments as a kid when you saw that commercial on saturday morning in between your favorite cartoons. anticipation to put that very thing on your christmas list and make sure that everyone knew that is the thing you wanted and couldn't live without. well, that present was under MY tree!!!

we plan on going out this weekend to celebrate todays occasion but let me communicate this to you...

she doesn't need all that fancy-schmancy stuff. what makes her so beautiful is the fact that she doesn't need the evening dress to be more appealing. she requires no make up to draw the eye of the beholder. her words are wisdom wrapped in honey but you know what?...her ability to listen is the wonderful double fudge cheescake after the meal. how about that?

i think about the wonderful things people do and the special effort that is put into making individuals feel loved and appreciated on their birthday. liz and i are in some humble situations at the moment. what makes it worth it, what makes me so happy to have her apart of my life is the fact that she doesn't need all the attention. she doesn't require it. nor does she count it as an expectation or requirement in order to be with her. that my friends, provokes me to humility, provokes me to love, and provokes me to treat her as the queen of the castle.

here's to you my amazing fembot!