Dreaming away…

If you were to start a church, what would it look like?  This is the question that has been rolling around in my head the last few weeks.  I don’t know if you are a fan of Mr. Bean or not, but as I was dreaming today about starting a missional community and what it would be like I could not help thinking about Mr. Bean and his church experience.  It is a long video, about 10 minutes, but pretty funny if you like Mr. Bean.  Enjoy when you have time.

Can we be done with this already?

Shane Claiborne, author and a founding partner of The Simple Way, a community of followers of Jesus who choose to live among and serve the poor of Philadelphia, has written a controversial book entitled “Jesus for President.”  In this book, Claiborne makes the claim that it should not matter as much who Christians vote for on Nov. 4th, but how they live their lives on Nov. 3rd and Nov. 5th.  I couldn’t agree more.  I believe it is important for followers of Jesus to be engaged in the political process but more so to be about the method and message of Jesus in their daily lives.  I personally can not wait until this election cycle is over, but I find myself being challenged by the words and life of Claiborne.  I will not, however, be writing in Jesus for President.

-Chris

We’ve been…

doing a really good job mopping the floor for mommy (why in the world did I not do this sooner, kids+water=fun)

rolling over more and more

Enjoying our library books in a large rubbermaid container while eating freshly picked apples from Kim-thank you!

Try this for fun!

Try leaving at 9 AM and heading out with four kids in the van to the emissions testing station. No line, answered prayer, we pass (good thing, tabs are about expired).

Then go to the Jiffy lube (after realizing the car is 5,000 miles overdue for an oil change, a headlight is burnt out and the wipers don’t work) to inquire “How long will this take? Can I wait in the car? I have four kids in here.” He quickly replies “It will take six hour and seven minutes and yes you can all wait in the car”. I smile at his attempt at humor and say “Really, I need to know-(my baby just blew out her diaper) we’re on borrowed time”. He promises 10 minutes, I start counting and proceed to change a diaper in the front seat of my car while listening to the banter under my hood.

“No wonder there is a light that doesn’t work, there’s peanut butter in here.”

“Can you turn the lights on/off (while changing a diaper)?” (6 times in 5 minutes)

“How many kids are in there?”

“You do the wipers…no you do it…no you do it” (I’m thinking ‘do it quick or I’ll come do it myself mister!’)

My kids giggled at these boys/men working the whole time, we were very entertained.

(Earlier today) Me calling my sister: “Is there any way I can drop off a kid or two (she suggests three) for a little while so I can run some errands? The to-do list is piling up and I feel like a nag every time I ask Christopher for help-he’s busy too!”

She graciously takes the older two and Audrey after our emissions and oil change adventure.

Kyler and I set out to conquer the list. He yells at me every time I buckle him in, “ME DO IT!” only he never does it, he just sticks his face in the seat and his bottom in my face. Nice.

We go to QFC to return rotten cantalope.

We go to Albertson’s to return a gallon of soybean oil, don’t ask.

We go to the post office to return something we ordered but was broken. Kyler pushes all the buttons on the machine I’m trying to use to get a stamp and it gets all goofed up.

We go to Central Market to get some fresh flour (I get flour all over my shirt and pants while grinding it-Kyler laughs and thinks it is hilarious).

We go to the printing store to make one copy for 11 cents to complete the application that I’ve been trying to mail for two weeks.

We mail the complete application.

I go online to renew the almost expired tabs now that we passed emissions.

Back to Danielle’s for lunch. Good times!

My favorite part? When people observe my energetic two year old darting around the store and marvel “Wow you’ve got your hands full!” And I get to reply “Yes, and I have three more at home!”.

4 more things

I guess it is my turn in this little blog game we have going on.  Thank you to Daniel for the nod.

 

4 things I was doing 10 years ago:
1-trying to figure out how I was going to pay for a diamond ring
2-trying to figure out what it meant to be a pastor
3-burning both ends of a candle – balancing an engagement, full time work at a church, and full time enrollment in college
4-learning to play guitar

4 things on my to-do list for today:
1-find a job
2-read a book about church planting
3-clean out my car
4-schedule a date with Rylee

4 (+1) random things I love about my wife:
1-even when I act like a rotten, no good husband, she still loves me
2-she is the most amazing mother of the four beautiful gifts that God has given us
3-she desperately just wants to love God and love the people God has put into her life and she does this so incredibly well
4-she has incredible insights into life, people, and situations and is not afraid to share them
5-she’s a hottie

4 jobs that I have had:
1-I worked a summer for ALCOA making a bazillion spreadsheets
2-I once sold something on Ebay
3-I stocked shelves for QFC in Redmond
4-Wedding Officiant

4 movies I have watched more than once:
1-Top Gun (although it has been a while…the fascination might have worn off)
2-The Princess Bride
3-The Usual Suspects
4-Braveheart

4 favorite albums:
1-U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
2-David Crowder – Remedy
3-Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
4-Dave Matthews – Under the Table & Dreaming

4 places I have lived:
1-in my family’s house in Redmond, WA
2-in a couple different dorm rooms at Western WA Univ…Slick Sewick and the calculator running through Red Square…good times.
3-In the married housing at Northwest College where we got to watch the Hawks practice
4-a townhome in the armpit of Kirkland

4 places I’ve been:
1-On the Summit of Mt. Rainier
3-Hurtling through the sky on a reverse bungee in Aukland, New Zealand on New Year’s Eve.
4-On The Autobahn in Germany
3-At the Tower of London trying to get one of the Queen’s Guard to crack a smile…didn’t work.

4 places I want to visit:
1-Maui – Again…I can’t get enough.  Sand+Surf+Sun=happy me.  Maybe we can survive the road to Hana this time.
2-New Zealand – I still regret not bungee jumping on the first trip…
3-The Mediterranean – spcifically the coast of Turkey
4-The summit of all the major peaks in Washington

4 TV shows I watch via DVD:
1-The Office
2-Prison Break
3-24
4-Lost

4 (+1) of my favorite meals:
1-Grilled Salmon
2-Grilled Steak
3-Pretty much anything that comes from Karissa’s kitchen, she is an amazing cook!
4-The Banzai Burger at Red Robin
5-Bekki’s guacamole

4 things you may not know about me:
1-I coach Rylee’s soccer team and right now we are 3-1-1 (but we don’t keep score)
2-I graduated with a B.A. in History (summa cum laude for those keeping score at home)
3-My thumbs are mostly ornamental, however, I recently installed a garbage disposal and it still works…
4-I used to play trumpet in Jazz band

I get to continue the madness by “tagging” four other people.  Although Zach and Stuart don’t typically write on their blogs, I thought it would be great to see their 4 things…so please indulge us.
Zach
Stuart
Joel
Meredith

-Chris

Anyone know how to make a tent?

So Paul was a tent-maker and on the side he started a bunch of churches, pretty cool if you ask me. I am certainly no Paul, nor do I know how to make tents, however, I am considering following in his foot steps. A dream that God had laid on my heart about a year ago might be coming into reality sooner than I had anticipated. Karissa and I are still trying to discern the right thing to do in the midst of my career change, but we are currently leaning toward planting a church and working outside the church while it is neccessary to do so. There are other ideas floating out there, but this is where our heart is currently. The only catch, I need to figure out how to get paid to make tents.

-Chris

Is there life at 1am???

It has been a while since Audrey has been up in the middle of the night for a prolonged time like she was last night.  What else would you do at 1AM other than customize your blog?  Hope you enjoy the change.

I just got together recently with a group of fellas.  The motivation – talking life.  The Vehicle – smoking cigars.  So there we were sitting around with the smoke billowing up and the question was asked – If you had 100 Million Dollars what would you do? – the familiar question getting at what are you really wanting to do in life.  As the guys shared around the room it was obvious that although some of us were close, none of us were completely doing the things that we really wanted to do.  The follow up question was – why aren’t you doing what you really want to do?

That conversation got me thinking about the place that the Lord has brought me to at this point in my life.  In many ways, He is clarifying His calling on my life.  Even at 1AM this morning holding Audrey, I felt God bring more clarifying insights into my future.  I now have a vision of a future, I am just waiting for the next steps between here and there.  I love that even in those moments where life should be a bit fuzzy (1AM), God pierces through the haze with His light and His compassion.

-Chris

Provision

I feel compelled to share a sampling of what we are experiencing and for those who are prone to worry about our little family, you don’t need to, here’s why. I read a quote recently that said “Don’t confuse your employer with your Provider”. How very true that ultimately God is the One who provides for us and many are the ways He chooses to do that.

This summer during our everything-in-the-house-is-going-to-break phase that we went through after hand washing our dishes and sopping up the dishwasher leak with towels every day, we opened the door one afternoon to find someone who candidly told us that Home Depot had been giving away free dishwashers so they stopped to get us one…likely story. It was a very nice dishwasher and though free to us, it was not free to them.

Along the same lines, a sweet young adult from the college group at church spent two days fixing our broken toilet and moldy bathroom flooring. I watched helplessly holding the baby as he scooped dirty toilet water out of the toilet so he could get it out of the house. After a minute of being at a loss for words I finally muttered “Can I get you some gloves?”. He said “That would be great” with a smile. We simply did not have the resources to fix this and I don’t know what we would have done without him.

Also this summer when the rat man came and AFTER he did his dirty work he told me he only took cash, I handed him all of our grocery money and held back tears. Within hours and before we even sat down to pray about our needs, God replaced the money in various ways and we did not go without.

Little things like my neighbor who bought me 20 pounds of tomatoes and wouldn’t let me pay her back for them, another neighbor brought us spinach and a whole chicken one night this week. These people on our street who we have finally connected with over our 3 years living here, they are part of my prayers for somehow things working out for us to stay here.

Big things, like today I went out to the car and there was an envelope there with our family’s name on it. I cried again (the 15 days in a row of crying only had 1 day off by the way). There were several things we were figuring out how to get squared away and now they will be taken care of.

I feel like we are getting a taste of the early church days, when people “gave to anyone as he had need” (Acts 2:45). And like we are being reminded that our needs are not unnoticed and they will be met in exactly the right ways-however unconventional and unexpected it may seem.

The most amazing part? If we weren’t in need, we wouldn’t have had the delight of seeing all these things done on our behalf. If we could do it ourselves, we would. But we can’t….and He can.

-Karissa

Nightime smiles

There’s nothing quite like waking up at 1:00 in the morning to a silent, smiling face staring at you from about 4 inches away. It doesn’t freak me out any more but it sure used to. Kyler since moving into his big boy bed does this every now and then. Knowing Audrey could be up any time to eat and having only get to bed a bit ago myself, I nudged my husband to put Kyler back in bed. That didn’t work, I spoke as loudly as I could without waking up Audrey. That didn’t work either, I poked and prodded and loud whispered some more while Kyler stood by waiting for someone to usher him back to bed.

I gave up, took the chubby little hand that was waiting for me and walked with him to his room. Oh the rotten stench that greeted my sleepy nose. I tried to get past it assuming it was a wet bed from the top bunk boy perhaps, got Kyler tucked in, but I could not get over the smell. Finally I pulled Kyler back out of bed and checked his diaper. Indeed this was the culprit. I can’t really explain how difficult it was to change a two year old poopy toddler diaper in the dark in the middle of the night with a super sore wrist from tendonitis. I don’t even want to know how long it took. It took long enough for me to realize that I think it’s been a couple days since I brushed my teeth and they felt slimy and then I realized why I hadn’t brushed my teeth and then I started thinking about life and all the unknowns and then my brain was ticking and it took a long while to get back to sleep.

Just when I think we are back to being able to simulate some kind of normalness (yesterday was the very first day in 15 days that I didn’t cry at least once or five times), our kids remind me that they too wonder about our future. Caleb yesterday prayed at lunch (when he ONLY prays for food)-“God please help us to not have to sell our house and move away.”

Rylee too, informed me at nap time – “I want Daddy to find a job here so that we don’t have to move so that Dee Dee and Buzz can still live close to us because they can’t move with us because they already sold their cat kennel at their garage sale and they have nothing to bring the cats with them.” I love the reasoning of a 5 year old….that five year old is standing here chattering away at my too-tired-haven’t-had-coffee-yet self so I should wrap this up.

So thankful that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Even more thankful that He sees the big picture of our life and knows exactly where we’re going even when we don’t.

Those who love well

A great many things have been mulling around in my mind and heart the past week and a half. Life is so full of change and change is so full of pain and pain is so full of possibility. As our life changes greatly and we anticipate new things, I am still in the ‘change is full of pain’ part but in my heart I know I will get to the next place. As I’ve observed people’s words and attitudes for the past few days, one common thread has become so clear to me. The thread of pain.

One friend, not an intimate friend but one I’ve known quite a while, responded instantly to my text message Thursday that said basically this “I am wondering if you aren’t too busy today and are possibly able to come over and help me. I am overwhelmed with laundry and dishes and pain.” She was in her car right away, brought lunch, cleaned my disastrous kitchen, folded load after load of laundry and exuded peace and compassion the whole time she was here. Her pain? The one that comes to mind immediately is her time spent in Africa working among AIDS victims, she will never be the same.

Another young man who when I first met him he struck me as unusual in the best sense. He talked so fondly of his family. He was so delightful to chat with, so comfortable with our family, asked thoughtful questions and played amazingly with our kids. He seemed out of the ordinary to me and I was blessed by it. His pain (that I had no idea about until today)? His father died a couple years ago, leaving I think 5 kids behind.

Last week, when I missed a meeting I’d looked forward to for weeks, after all the kids were in bed I heard knocking on my door. I’d cried the better part of the day and was still in the previous nights’ pajamas. Two women who’d been at the meeting met me at the door, came in to sit on my couch and love me. One held my head to her shoulder as I sobbed for a long time. The other calmed down my confused and upset children. They both extended the arms of Jesus to me in the most physical, tangible way. They had no expectations, they stayed until almost midnight knowing Chris was working super late and I would be alone. Their pain? Lots of things-wounds from people, from loss and from deep struggles in their marriages.

Another whole family has showed great empathy and understanding and care to us. Their daughter cried on my couch with me this week too, another in her kindness and hugs made me cry at church. Their pain? Having to walk through something similar to us several years ago among other things as well.

Last Sunday, lots of people had no words for me, wouldn’t talk with me, walked right by even after making eye contact. But some people did. The ones who did, almost universally, were the ones who have been softened and molded by the presence of great pain. I have consistently watched myself change as year after year it seems, there is a different struggle, a different thing that makes my heart ache. It is through my hurt that God softens my heart to others and is able to better extend love through me. Sometimes I’d like to say, that’s enough-I don’t want any more. But the honest truth is I love what God does in my heartbreak. He doesn’t waste an ounce of it. He lets it touch the lives of other people in ways beyond my understanding. He always brings about good in the midst of what I can only see as bad. He meets me and calms my heart.

That I love. That I want more of. In my pain I want to continue to become one who loves well and can share His love in the most tangible ways.

-Karissa