Miranda and I read this book – well, Miranda read it out loud as I drove to Ft. Worth this past weekend. It was a great way to pass the time and was a really good story.
Mike Yankoski was regular middle-class college student. He was sitting in church one day and the sermon made him start questioning whether his faith was real or not. He wondered if he’d still have such a “strong faith” if he didn’t have his Christian bubble of friends, a roof over his head, christian music, or anything else. He decided to live on the streets as a homeless man for five months to test his own faith. This book tells the story of he and Sam (Mike’s friend) as they live in 6 different cities in the United States over 5 months time. How do they get food? Where would they sleep? Would it be more difficult to believe in God with everything stripped away? Would they believe at all? It’s all in there! Good stuff! Check it out yourself.
When Miranda and I first started dating, she bought me a dog. I named him Peanut. At that time Miranda was living with some friends of ours. When I would go visit her, I would bring Peanut and we’d go out together to walk him. Mostly we just wanted to be together and talk, but Peanut was a good excuse for us to have this time together. Anyway, I’d say that these times of walking together are part of the reason we fell in love. We had some incredible conversations as we’d walk through the neighborhood. We’d talk about our history, our future dreams, our ideas about life – everything. Those were incredible days and incredible conversations. Anyway, after doing this for a few months, we kind of found this one special place where we could sit down and talk and sometimes we’d dance. It was a courtyard for the neighborhood pool. We’d tie peanut to the fence or whatever would could and then we’d dance out under the stars to the music in our hearts and we’d talk and dance some more.
One night, it was a perfect night. Beautiful sky. A subtle breeze. Quiet enough to dance to the music of the crickets (OK – now I’m getting cheesy.) Anyway, I tied Peanut up as normal to a water faucet that was sticking out of the ground. As we danced, he pulled one too many times and soon we were dancing under a 20 foot fountain of water. I figured he had somehow turned the pipe so that it came unscrewed so I tried to screw it back in, but realized in the process that the pipe was totally broken. There was nothing to be done except turn the water off, but I didn’t know where the valve was. Miranda, Peanut, and I began strolling back to our friend’s house thinking we’d call someone when we got there.
Then, we hear a man screaming at us, “You’re just gonna leave??!! That’s right. . . . run away!!” I turned and went back – the man was a neighborhood watch guy who thought we had done it one purpose. I explained what had happened and he knew where the valve was and everything turned out fine.
Anyway, there’s no real lesson to this story – it was just a funny thing that happened when Miranda and I were dating.
Well, maybe there is a lesson – don’t tie your dog to a water faucet!
1. We were priviledged to have God use us to bring hope to hurricane victims. NOAH = New Orleans Area Hope
2. We met some new friends from Baton Rouge.
3. Our own Mardi Gras Parade!
4. We saw Dawn Delany in New Orleans.
5. We heard about all the cool stuff God is doing to bring people together in that area. Dawn’s neighborhood was the murder capital of the country and she had a BBQ last week with lots of different races of people.
6. I got to hang out and work with my sister.
7. Some of our youth got to meet my sister.
8. The sunset on Lake Ponchatrain.
9. John from Baton Rouge was a true inspiration – I mean this blind guy snow skis and skydives.
10. Name that Tune!
11. Ms. Claudia.
12. The donuts Ms. Claudia brought us one morning.
13. Nail Guns!!!! Yes!!!
14. My friend Dustan says “If I didn’t sweat, I didn’t worship.” We “worshipped” alot on that roof.
15. Finally feeling like we were able to actually “do” something about the feelings we had when the hurricane hit.
Miranda and I saw the movie “Click” the other day. It was not as funny as I thought – more serious – of course anything with Adam Sandler has some funny stuff too. Anyway, it was a better movie than I expected. Makes you really think about how even the small, boring, or “not fun” things in life are important. Made me think about treasuring every moment I have in life. Even the parts I hate – like watching “So You think You can Dance” with Miranda.
I guess Justin’s a cow so I decided to join in on the fun – no – here’s an article I found that really spoke to me about how I treat Miranda – well, how I treat most other people too. I get way too interested in accomplishing my task and don’t pay enough attention to the people I’m with. Jesus always focused on people. Women and even chimps are better at this than I am. (By the way Baby, I’m sorry for the times I’ve paid too much attention to getting stuff done, when I should have just wanted “to be with you.”)
Here’s the article:
Men, Women, Chimps, and Scientists by Dave Brisbin
Women and their men. I see them all the time. Airport terminals are a good place to watch. The roles, the emotions, the language is universal.
I see a young couple from the moving sidewalk coming toward me hand in hand. One of them has just arrived. I can’t tell which; the small case he carries is non-descript. They talk. She is smiling. Looks up at his eyes, back forward again. Up. Back. So much is said with her eyes. I can only imagine. I watch him. He is talking, but looks forward; she alternately at him and back ahead. What I see in her eyes he hasn’t seen as long as I watch.
They pass, and I watch their backs. I see her profile tilted up to his face, but only the back of his head—minding the tiller. I’ve seen this before. Why is it so much easier for women to know where to look? Where to keep their eyes? Moving through their lives with their eyes fastened to the sides, on the eyes of those who travel with them—their men more intent on destination, the negotiation of the journey. And how do women keep that look in their eyes as they search up into the profiles of their men?
Last Wednesday night we got a video of scientists trying to teach human language to apes and dolphins . . . . . a segment stays in my mind. One man, a very famous scientist, spent three years raising an infant chimp and trying to teach him sign language. He named the chimp Nim. Nim did very well. Learned several hundred signs. But funding ran out, the project was disbanded, and Nim went to a zoo or something like it. After reviewing hundreds of video tapes of his sessions with Nim, the scientist concluded that Nim was only imitating his teachers and hadn’t really learned anything. Put a big dent in the chimp-teaching business for awhile.
Several years later the scientist went to see Nim. Hadn’t seen him since funding ran out on the project. In clinical voice over, he wondered if Nim would remember him. The video camera caught Nim walking with a trainer just as he caught sight of the scientist. Immediately chimp screeches filled the TV speaker at the rate of about three per second as Nim threw up his arms and sprinted, as well as chimps can in their loping way, for the scientist who got down on his haunches and braced for impact.
Nim leapt into the scientist’s lap and threw his arms around his neck. Chimp arms being what they are, they almost went around twice. All this time and for as long as the camera held on Nim and the scientist, chimp screeches never stopped or even slowed down, chimp teeth big and bright as the scene cut.
And I kept hearing those screeches, and I laughed and smiled and my eyes stung a little all at the same time because the scientist thought that Nim learned nothing, and Nim thought that the scientist was his father, or brother at least. Because the scientist was looking ahead at where he was going. Nim was looking at him.
I’d rather be a chimp than a scientist.
I’d rather be a young woman watching her man’s profile than a young man watching the road.
How weird is that? We get so caught up in getting everything done and even a monkey knows the most important thing in life is our relationships. I wonder how many times I’ve broken God’s heart by worrying about “getting things done” when he just wants me to “be with Him?” I wonder how many times I’ve done that to Miranda?
Miranda and I just celebrated our 2nd anniversary! It’s a miracle that anyone could live with me for that long. Thank you Jesus! I don’t do very well at the whole “romance” thing – well, not since we got married anyway. Anyway, I thought I’d make a real effort this year. I spent quite a few hours making arrangements and shopping and getting things set up with some youth from our group and planned a candlelight dinner in a park. Meggaen came to the door and picked us up as our chauffer and she brought flowers which I had pre-arranged and placed a card in. We sat in the back of her little car which was filled with flower petals and she drove us to the park. It was just about time for the sun to set as we park and we were escorted to our table which was covered in white (along with the chairs) near the water where the sun would set across the lake from us. We enjoyed a candlelight dinner as some other youth (Katie, Cristy, and Tiffany) served us. They had also placed a CD player there which played music which I had recorded for the occasion. After the sun set and we had finished dinner, (still not completely dark) we fed the ducks and made our way to a little dock. The girls had placed tealight candles around the dock and set it up for a great little dance floor. After dancing, we made our way back and helped pick things up – we also tried to leave a big tip for them of course.
Anyway, it was a beautiful night. I hope Miranda knows how much I care for her and love her. This was alot of fun to plan and arrange (I don’t do it enough) but it still wouldn’t even come close to expressing how much I feel for her. She is my bride! She is my friend! My encourager! My love.
All this is to say, I wondered afterwards about how I express my love for God. Have I gone the extra mile like this to tell Him I care about Him? What would it mean to Him if I did? How could I do that? It all reminds me of the Ten Shekel Shirt Song “Unashamed Love.”
You’re calling me to lay aside the worries of my day
to quiet down my busy mind and find a hiding place
Worthy. You are worthy.
I open up my heart and let my spirit worship Yours
I open up my my mouth and let a song of praise come forth
Miranda and I just moved into our new house this month. It’s kind of a mixed bag of emotions that I have. First, I’m excited to have a house and a place share my life with my wife. Our dogs love having a back yard too. Hopefully, one day we’ll have a family to share it all with too.
But there is a downside – we haven’t been there long, and already I’ve got a list of stuff I gotta do. Home is supposed to be a place to come home from work to rest – right?? I just finished building a kitchen table and now we gotta paint it, then I gotta build some end tables, and a shelving unit. I also gotta make sure the yard is kept up, figure out how to get our DSL line working at home, and_____, and _____. It just seems like the list goes on and on.
Anyway, I guess I’m pretty proud of the kitchen table I built and I’d say even after all the headaches, that it was worth it. As I imagine all the friends who will eventually sit at that table and the conversations which will surround it. We’ll probably play cards and laugh with friends there. Who knows maybe, we’ll even eat on it every once in a while? As I built the table, I probably should have prayed for some of those things, but I must admit I was too busy thinking about measurements and where did I put the screwdriver. (I’ll try to do that next time I build something.)
Maybe I just need to turn my thinking around a bit – instead of feeling the pressure to get it all done – it should be an excitement to have more opportunities to serve my Jesus. I can pray at any time – even when I’m doing what I hate the most.