stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

Archive for the ‘holiday’ Category

Jakob took his mom out for Mother’s Day

I had an idea last year that couldn’t work until this year: I will not take Sarah out for Mother’s Day.  I would give her a gift, of course, but Jakob would take her out and give her his own gift on Mother’s Day.  This year, he took her out to breakfast on Sunday morning while I was at church for the first service.

We were walking through Sears together when Jakob noticed these Mickey Mouse earrings.  He kept pointing at them and saying, “Me Maw,” which is how he says Mickey Mouse.  We were out Mother’s Day shopping, so I went with these.  I put them in his diaper bag on Sunday morning, and Sarah got to open her gift while out with him.

My present will come later.  I’m taking her to see Jonny Lang and Buddy Guy in June.  So, despite some facebook reports, Subway at Wal-Mart isn’t the extent of my treating Sarah for Mother’s Day.  We just went there before we went to the zoo.

faith of a child.

it was all worth it. and it will always be.

pregnancy was hard. i know compared to some, i have nothing to complain about. and, seeing as how God’s provided a beautiful, smart, perfect baby boy through some of the most trying months of my life, i really have nothing to complain about at all. Jakob, my angel, was born early in the morning (7.48a, to be exact) on september 10, 2009. in 4 days, he will be 20 months old. through Jakob, i now know how strong a mother’s love is. and, the blessing and best part of it all is, i know how strong a child’s love is for his mommy. [and, respectively, his/her daddy.] what did i have to do to get a little boy, who runs into many people who all care greatly for him each week, to find a best friend in me?? be his best friend. spend time w/him. do things he likes to do. make him laugh. hold him when he’s sad or hurt. share food together. read to him. let him read to me. let him teach me how beautiful God’s natural innocence in children is. loving him is natural. part of it is from the natural bond we made when he was in utero. although, not all of it. i’m adopted, and my mama loves me just as much as she would if she’da carried me. it’s the mother-son bond (well, not in my mom’s and my case). it’s very special, and different from even a father-son bond.

one of the scenes in the movie “Crash” beautifully illustrates the special bond of a parent with a child. being as i’m now a mother and i see things differently than before i was, it has quickly become my favorite movie scene of any i’ve seen. fortunately, i’ve found a clip of said scene, because i do not think i could do it justice to just describe it.

in this scene, Daniel is assuaging his daughter, Lara, after a stray bullet went through her window. he tells her a story of how he acquired an impenetrable invisible protection cloak, and it has protected him from harm since he was 5. he tells her he was supposed to give it to his daughter when she turned 5, so she could be wrapped in it’s safety.

it’s amazing the faith a child has in his parent. the child wants comfort and loves his parent so much, he hangs on his every word, and believes each one. and the love in a parent’s voice when comforting his child is unmistakable.

later on in the movie, a persian man, Farhad, who wrongfully believes he was robbed by Daniel, seeks vengeance, and tries to shoot him. Lara, seeing this, runs out to save her father because he no longer has the protective cloak. [be forewarned, there is brief strong language in this clip.]

Lara was not thinking of herself. in faith of what her father told her about the cloak, she ran in between Farhad and her father to protect him, believing herself to be invincible. she tells her mother afterward, “it’s okay, daddy’s ok”, not realizing she put herself in danger of losing her life. [it was not mentioned in the clip, but Farhad's daughter had bought blank rounds for her father's gun for fear something like this would happen.]

i felt both unspeakable sadness watching this, and at the same time, gratefulness that i’m able to have an indescribable relationship with my very own child; God forbid something like that ever happen. all that being said, yes. i would die for Jakob in a second.

happy mother’s day to all the ladies out there who have the distinct pleasure of being called “mommy”.

happy good friday on monday

I was blessed to have the opportunity to preach in big church on Friday for our Good Friday service.  One thing that I was most excited – and perhaps most nervous – about is that my family was able to come.  Our families saw every sermon I preached at New Hope, but they saw all of them online.  I’ve only preached in front of my dad one time, and to be honest, it makes me nervous to do so.  Most of what I know of the Bible, I learned from him.  That makes me his student, and to quote Charlie Bucket’s teacher, “…for a student to teach his teacher is presumptuous and rude.”  And he said it in a British accent, so I’m pretty sure he knew what he was talking about.

When I preached at New Hope, I started posting my sermons out of family pressure.  They wanted to see them, and I’d rather put them online than mail 5 DVDs.  I thought I was done, but alas, due to medical conflicts, not everyone from our families was able to make it.  My nephew Gabriel was not well, which meant my sister Lisa and her husband Mike had to stay home.  Sarah’s dad had to go to the eye doctor for trouble he’s been having, and he wasn’t allowed to drive after the visit.  And then there’s Dan, who’s afflicted with living in Texas.  Poor guy.

The couple that is singing is Todd and Amanda Gallahar.  They’re awesome.  The lady at the beginning reading the Bible is Brenda – also awesome – and the fat guy in the middle is me.  What?  You don’t think I’m awesome?  Well, then, explain to me how I became an admin of the Super-Duper-Awesome-People-Club on facebook.

I’m blessed to serve where I serve, and to serve alongside the people that I do.

For Easter, we decided to start a tradition of just spending time with our little family. Thanksgiving and Christmas are very busy holidays for us, running to Grand Rapids and back a couple times each. We love that, but we thought it would be nice to claim one holiday as a day for just us and Jakob. So, we went to a park for lunch, took a long afternoon nap, and ate a late dinner out together. Maybe we’ll be sure to be in GR the day before Easter, like we were yesterday. That seemed to work.

Happy Easters.

happy Passover

Passover started at sundown yesterday.  Aren’t you excited?  I think I am, although I will not be celebrating this year.  I want to do Jakob’s first Seder when he can at least understand the words coming out of my mouth.

I love Passover.  I love the story, what it means for the Jewish people, and the picture it painted of Jesus as the coming Messiah and ultimate Passover Lamb.  Last year was exciting for me, because I got to lead my very first Passover Seder at my former church.  We video taped it for my mom and dad, but somehow we lost the tape.  Anyway, I had zero experience with leading a Seder; my friend, Tom, had plenty of experience leading them; and yet, I ended up doing the Seder.  Pastor Jeff Cooper looked right at me the whole time he was discussing the possibility of doing as a church in our staff meeting.  Why?  Well, I believe I was profiled.  Everyone knows that every Jew knows all the traditions, feasts, observations, and celebrations, right?  Right.  So I called my Uncle Al – who of course told me to call my Aunt Michele – and asked for a copy of the Seder, so I could study up, since I really had no idea how to lead one.  He’s an evangelist to Jewish people, and he goes from church to church trying to raise support for this particular mission field.  He does the Seder often, so I guess you could say he’s a professional Sedist.

So, just to recap.  I am of Jewish descent.  I make no secret about that.  I did not grow up in an Orthodox Jewish home.  I don’t hide that, either.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned a number of times that I grew up Baptist.  So our family never did a Seder together, leaving me without a comprehensive knowledge of how this works.  But still, I am called upon to lead the Seder, cause I’m a Jew.

Happy Birfday, my lovely

It’s Sarah’s birfday, and so I am writing about her. Also, I made a moving picture show that is about her. It’s not as creative or drug induced as THIS BIRTHDAY VIDEO, but it’s got a lot of Sarah’s face over the years (with heavy emphasis on the last year), so I love it. And now, with no futher jibba jabba on my part, I give you: the post

When Sarah and I were dating, we went to a concert at the Ground Floor, in Grandville. I’m not sure who we went to see, but some new band called Ace Troubleshooter was opening. At the end of their set, they said that they had demo tapes (that’s right, tapes) with two songs on them that were free for the taking. I couldn’t pass up free anything, so I grabbed one. Sarah, being raised a good Dutch girl stuck in a Korean body, also had to take one.
Not too long after, we went to Traverse City with her grandparents. I rode in Sarah’s car with her, while her siblings rode with Grandma and Grandpa. We listened to that tape the whole way up there. It was “SE 101,” followed by “Tonight,” followed by “SE 101,” and so on. I really liked the music, and sometimes when I liked the music in a song, I wouldn’t even pay attention to the words. About the third or fourth time through “Tonight,” I listened to what they were saying. Then I looked at Sarah. And every time that song came on – that would be every three minutes or so – I would look over at Sarah again, because the words described how I felt about her.
I could give you the lyrics of the song, but I’m assuming you have ears and can understand what they’re saying. But to hear the words, you’re going to have to watch my video. So there.

for the love of sarcasm

Happy Yom Kippur and a blessed National Sarcasm Day to you. It’s interesting to me that today people are celebrating both holidays. Blessing and cursing all in one day. That sounds like my life. I’ll be honest, I’ve never observed Yom Kippur, but I’m sure I have relatives somewhere celebrating right now. As for National Sarcasm Day, I celebrate that every day. I find sarcasm as natural and as essential as breathing. Without either, I would cease to be me, although one would clearly take a greater toll on me. It’d be a tragedy either way, so I’ll keep doing both on a daily basis.

Maybe I’ve mentioned this on my blog before (I’m too lazy to research), but my delicious brand of sarcasm wasn’t necessarily a welcomed entity in the south. Many people took me (and themselves) too seriously at our church down there, and so when I would say something sarcastically (in conversation or while preaching), some people would get offended. Now, had I said “just kidding” at the end of the joke, I would have been off the hook. It’s like insulting someone and adding, “bless his/her heart” or “God love ‘em,” and feeling like you did nothing wrong. To many of them, sarcasm is saying something that’s not true and quickly tagging “just kidding” at the end before you had time to process the information. That’s not sarcasm. That’s telling a joke. I don’t tell jokes. I say stupid things that amuse me, and sometimes others, and I let you sort out whether I’m being serious or not. You see, I give people credit for being intelligent individuals – no doubt a stretch for some – and I believe that using your brain, you can deduce whether or not I’m being serious. So I may be joking, but I will never tell you that I’m just kidding as a form of explanation to you. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. So, please, for the love of sarcasm, stop saying just kidding every time you say something that’s supposed to be a joke. Give it a try. It will make you feel better.

Happy Sarcasm Day. It’s my favorite holiday of the year. Just kidding.

Happy Mother’s Day, God doesn’t just want you happy, and Smiffner’s real name is…

I think that’s the longest blog post title I’ve ever had, but I had to cover all my bases.

First, Happy Mother’s Day to Sarah, our moms, our sisters, Grandma, and Aunt Sue. You are all tremendous. Thanks for everything.

Second, I’ve embedded the video of my sermon from this weekend. Does God just want us to be happy in life? No, I wouldn’t say He does. This is my favorite sermon ever, because Sarah joined me on stage to share her testimony and to announce our baby’s gender and name. She did an awesome job. So what are we having? Well, have fun watching Sarah do a great job. I’m forcing you to go watch her to find out. :)

Urban Legend: God just wants me to be happy from Jeff Selph on Vimeo.

my weekend at home

Here’s the rundown on everything that happened going into this weekend and coming back:

  • I told Sarah before we left to go to the Stinemetz’ house that we would be going home. Her look was not one of joy. She began to think about the details she THOUGHT I might have missed. She smiled soon enough, though.
  • Friday morning, I played football at the annual Turkey Bowl at HBC. The highlight of the day (at least for me) was when I lost my left shoe, my pants, and almost my boxers while I dragged a few players from the other team. I did not lose the football, which was the most important part. All that made me thirsty, so I drank a 2-liter of Cherry Coke by myselph.

  • Friday afternoon, I met the newest member of the family. He’s adorable, and he tells the best jokes. You should have heard them. His name is RJ Volz. Holding him was weird. I hadn’t held a newborn since Nathaniel. He did not spit up on me, though, cause he loves his white Uncle Jeff.
  • Friday night I went to Cousin’s Tasty Chicken with my parents. I eat with them there every time I go home. I think I like the broasted chicken more than I like my parents…or maybe not. I’ll get back to you.

  • Saturday, we hung out with Shawn and Heather in the early afternoon, and then at Josh and Maureen’s for dinner. Josh was hilarious. He made me tell a joke he brought up. I think he was afraid of crossing the line with his wife. Then again, he crossed the line more than once, and then he would start mumbling some compliments in an effort to redeem himself. Maureen wasn’t falling for it, though.
  • Saturday night, I decided out of nowhere to shave for the first time in a month. No shave November ended early. Much to my delight, I still only had one chin.
  • Sunday we went back to Heritage for the first time in years. It was a little weird going back to a more traditional church now that I’ve been at New Hope, but it would be spurious of me to say I did not enjoy it. Oh yeah, Pastor used the term “spurious consecration.” It was awesome.
  • Sunday night we visited the Gathering. It was like a little piece of New Hope at Heritage. We both enjoyed it. The only sad thing was that everyone there was in our small group when they were in junior high. Now they’re in college.
  • Monday we tried to leave for home, but we got pummeled with snow. We didn’t make it very far before we turned around and headed back to Aunt Sue’s place.

This is the best time I’ve had at home in years. RJ probably has a little something to do with that. The last time I went home and met a new family member was four years ago when I met Elizabeth. I think the other thing was that we had time to relax, and we didn’t to drive 24 hours to get there. It’s been a while since we had quality time to spend while visiting home. The last few times have seemed like a whirlwind, and I was more tired and aggravated when I left then when I got there. Three more weeks and we’ll get to do this all over again.

We will go rejoicing

Thanksgiving is upon us. Here’s what I’m thinking about this week. This is what I’m thankful for.

  • I am thankful that I am saved. I am glad that I am a sheave that has been brought in. See the great video below.
  • I’m really happy to have my wife. She wrote me a kind note just this morning. She’s awesome. I’m not allowed to say that she’s smoking hot. She doesn’t like that. So I won’t.
  • My family is pretty dang sweet.
  • I have more friends than a guy needs. Seriously, more than enough. If we are friends, and you want a break, let me know. We can work that out.
  • Understanding freedom in Christ is such a relief.
  • I’ve grown a lot this year. Sadly, I haven’t gotten any taller. I’ve just grown spiritually. God has broadened my understanding.
  • AND, I’m glad I can give my wife a hard time, and she still loves me. And, in honor of her, I am posting this video:

So what are you thankful for?

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