Reading Between the Lines: a power sentence for [almost] every year of my life

Hidden in these sentences are the likes of divorce, adoption, and diabetes. Also there will be found marriage, birth, and milestones alongside brokenness, addictive numbing, and wounds. Good luck discovering those things between the lines as these lines are much thicker than the revealing space between. (I gave up trying to think of things for a few years I just don't really remember much about.)

*This was an idea I received here.


1980 - Naked into this world I came. 1981 - Some of the best memories are those you don't remember. 1982 - It was never your divorce, but ours. 1983 - 1984 - 1985 - 1986 - 1987 - 1988 - Two families converge 'forever' with adoption??? 1989 - There is now more than corn in Indiana. 1990 - 1991 - 1992 - Time to be a man, boy! 1993 - 1994 - Wade out a little bit deeper. 1995 - Commit to your life's largest choice. 1996 - 1997 - Search for future while you relish tonight. 1998 - Release! 1999 - A bold use of poetry will get you married some day. 2000 - The end is further than we ever think. 2001 - The death of naive safety will never be forgotten. 2002 - Never take for granted a gift of grace. 2003 - A degree does not qualified make you. 2004 - Marriage slays any selfishness to which I thought I held. 2005 - Two converged families fracture with only a letter. 2006 - Shedding the man you used to be is a temporary joy. 2007 - Bodies stop producing insulin and emotions at the same rate. 2008 - Stir in a little Mexican, lots of insulin, and a charge of passion. 2009 - 2010 - My heart exploded with more love than I ever knew I was capable of. 2011 - New life is on the horizon.

Potential Suns of Suffering

"Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation--since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business." -James 1:9-11

Remember the tone of this entire chapter is in light of suffering, and the idea presented here is one of roots.

Suffering and trials and troubles, like the sun, are potentially dangerous and destructive, but they have equal potential for light and growth.

Our suffering and our trials have the potential to create destruction in our lives, but they also have the potential to help us grow and refine the person we are.

Like plants under the sun, the issue at hand is how deep the root runs, so is our suffering. If our root is shallow and dependant on our riches or other things, we will wilt away under the scorching heat of suffering.

But if our root runs deep into the richer soils of humility, family, and Christ, the suns of suffering will come, but we will find beauty and growth from the Light.

what does it mean to mean something [poem]

A podcast told me to take the time to sit down with friends and tell them what they mean to me. Immediately, I was inspired to do so. I wanted to sit down with good friends. I wanted to let people know what they mean to me, because no, we do not do that enough.

My next thought was to determine who I would sit down with. I did not get far on that list. By 'not far' I mean 'nowhere'. I knew with immediate certainty I must begin with the one person closest to me.

Not often enough do I tell my wife what she means to me. Not often enough do I make her aware that she means the very most to me. Not since college have I written a poem for the love of my life.

No one else may know what they mean to me until my wife is certain of what she means to me.


What does it mean to mean something to someone

Not many remember your meaningful words Not many remember your meaningful actions

Not many forget how you make them feel

What you mean to someone is the glossy bottle of feeling you leave them with

You make me feel I am better than my worst mistakes

You make me feel gratuitous grace can be torrential

I mean to make you feel a fraction of these

My Students' Blogs You Should Read

A cluster of my students keep blogs where they share various reflections and expressions. The old adage goes that teachers often learn more from their students. This is certainly the case for me. More often than not, I feel like I'm just riding in their wake. You should check out the blogs of my students      and    learn something.

* these are listed in order of post frequency

SARAH S creative.inspiring.inquisitory


LORI infectious.creative.fragrant


SARAH K ASL.deliberate.picturesque



GENEVIEVE haunting.overt.unpolished


TINA conscious.downright.grace-ridden


SARAH K visible.unguarded.endearing

SHELLI incremental.touring.debrief


SPENCER worship.rogue.question

A Walk A Day Keeps Dr Phil Away

Vocational ministry gives me unconventional days of the week off. Mondays are my day off at this point, and the life-explosion of fatherhood transfers "days off" to "daddy days". Not to rub it in for my midwestern friends and family, but the weather has been gorgeous the last few weeks. I have been making certain these days are very intentional, and that has meant taking walks with my daughter.

Though she is only 5 months old, these moments are free, and I would pay money for them if I had to. Some part of me thinks these moments are what will keep me off Dr. Phil's 'Horrible Dads' episode 16 years from now.

Maya Angelou made me do it

"I've learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou

This quote has been on my mind a lot this week.

I am made to reflect on my interactions a bit. I am made to pay closer attention to the people I come across in a day. I am made to change my outlook on relationships I maintain. I am made to realize how much energy and time I have wasted trying to get people to remember things I've said or done. I am made to see my wife differently. I made to see my students, my barista, and you differently. I am made to approach my enemies differently. I am made to ask a lot of questions I have never asked. I am made to self-evaluate the way I treat myself.

Brennan Manning wrote, "In conversation, the disciple who is truly poor in spirit always leaves the other person with the feeling, 'My life has been enriched by talking with you.'"


What things would change if you believed this statement?

When I Will Worry [poem]

His television told him to worry, and he wanted me to worry with him. My lacking concern worried him more.

“We are in a recession; in case you were unaware.”

After an educational statement of the American economy demise, he asked me when I was going to begin worrying.

I answered:

I will worry when our dogs do not dress and eat better than most of the world

I will worry when I do not water my lawn and flush my toilet with life saving water

When we are not playing survival games in countries where people live for money they will never see

I will worry when this country learns the difference between “entitled” and “privileged”


What would you add to this poem?

The True Gospel of Influence and Image

Without looking, which stories in the gospels stick out to you as they have influenced your life the most? It is an interestingly telling question and approach to the gospels. I like the question because it reveals a few things.

INFLUENCE - it tells of your largest influences, but further, it tells of which stories you remember well enough to retell with adequacy and passion. Simply, the question reveals influence.

IMAGE - It is also telling of your strongest image of Jesus, and thus, of God. It may not be the only image, but it is likely your most prominant and relational image of God.

For me: Without looking, the prodigal son pops out immediately. Then comes Mary and Martha, the adulterous woman, and then the cross.

There are a few questions that reveals for me: What might these stories reveal about my prominant image of God? Why does the cross NOT come first? Shouldn't it?


Without looking, which gospel stories stick out to you as the most influential on you?

When Suffering Becomes Sinful

I have been taking a very slow walk through the book of James. Coming to it nearly a verse per day! Though my personal time is at James 1:4 right now, I am still thinking a lot about 1:2.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds."

A stronger look at the word "trials" has revealed more than ever really noticed before. It comes from the Greek word pierasmos and it means "putting proof to". It is a sense of is a sens of temptation. Some translations actually read 'temptations'.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters when you face temptations of many kinds."

Now we cannot get too far away to forget the sense we originally understood of trials being similar to the difficulties, struggles, and tensions we face and here and now. These are suffering! We are not to think the author did not mean suffering or trials.

What we need to understad is that our suffering is temptation.

When we face trials, struggles, difficulties, and suffering, we are being tempted. We are facing pierasmos. We are being put to proof.

Regardless of the circumstances, when we are tempted, we are not sinning. It is when temptation places in front of us a decision whether or not to obey God's command's and we choose not to that we sin.

Now again, remember, our suffering is temptation.

When we are suffering, we are faced with a decision. We may choose to obey God's command in response to our suffering (which is to choose joy) OR we can choose sin and disobedience (which would be bitterness, anger, pity, etc.).

Each moment we face suffering or trials, we are being tempted, and we would do well to look to God and his Word for wisdom in what reactions and decisions to make in those moments.

It is not easier a temptation to face than lust, greed, or pride.