stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

Archive for November, 2011

the day they took my flag

You don’t have to spend much time in SEC country to know that Southerners are passionate about college football.  If you wear anything with a logo from a team outside the conference, they will swiftly heckle you and remind you that the SEC is the best conference (which it clearly is).  Their team could have four wins the entire season, but somehow, their team is better than yours, because “if they played in the Big 10, they would be undefeated.”  I heard it all the time in my four years in Florida.

The most extreme time for any outsider fan is when your team is slotted to play the local favorite in a bowl game.  You will hear for a solid month about how bad your team is and how badly they will perform.  When Michigan was scheduled to play Florida in the 2008 Outback Bowl, things got started quickly.  My boss quickly pointed out that Michigan had never even beaten an SEC team, which was inaccurate.  He demanded an example, so I pointed to the last time they had played Florida in a bowl game.  Michigan won.  That didn’t stifle it, though.  I was a youth pastor, and I was subjected to cracks about Michigan every Sunday morning and evening service leading up to the game.  Many of those jokes came from behind the pulpit, whether during a sermon or announcements.  I’m slightly surprised the music pastor didn’t get involved by making the choir sing THIS SONG.  (<– warning: this song is offensive to people who don’t like “the D word” or love the state of Michigan).

The day finally came, and Michigan did beat Florida.  I was one happy youth pastor.  I wore a different Michigan shirt every day that week, and I moved my Michigan flag from my wall to hanging over my office door.  This was a brilliant move, because everybody who visited our school would see it, and most people that came to church would see it.  But then I showed up on the Sunday morning immediately following the game, and my flag was gone.  It had been taken by my boss.  I was replaced on the morning duty sheet by someone else giving announcements.  I approached my boss and asked what the big deal was.  His answer?  “You just can’t talk about football during church.  It doesn’t lend to worship.  And we know you’ll say something.”  What?  I had been to 8 straight church services where college football had been mentioned.  It seemed okay when they were doing it, but it was no longer okay when it was my turn.  They took my flag, and they took my voice.

And to say that I couldn’t behave myself and not mention the game while giving announcements?  That’s crazy.  Our pastor was sick, and I had to take over duties that same Sunday night, and I didn’t say one word about the game from the stage.  I did, however, rope a teenager into playing a CD I had given him as I was walking up on stage.  I just let “Hail to the Victors” play out while I stood on stage and smiled.  But I didn’t say one word, because that wouldn’t have been conducive to worship.


who are you imitating?

Here’s moment of honesty for you: I do not get excited at the prospect of reading most Christian books.  I don’t care if it was written by a famous author, or if everyone is reading it.  I just don’t get too thrilled about it.  I generally read my Bible, my textbooks, and fiction novels.  I only enjoy two of those three.  But I am excited about a book I recently picked up, because it is right up my alley.  It is about something that I am already trying to accomplish.  It’s called, Legacy Path, and it’s about raising your kids to follow God by following the example you set for them.

It is my goal that Jakob could be just like me and be incredibly close to being like Jesus.  I want to live a life that is pleasing to God.  I want to be constantly moving in His direction, growing more and more like Him as the days go by.  Why?  Well, I used to want to live out my Christian life to impress my parents and people at church.  As I grew, my priorities began shifting.  I started to seek out God for my own good.  I wanted to please God, and when I felt I that I was accomplishing that, it gave me a sense of worth. But lately, my priorities have shifted again.  I still want to please God.  That’s still my primary motivation.  It is a desire in my own heart, and I do feel a sense of worth when I feel like I’m accomplishing that, but it is no longer my only motivation.  I also want to live a life pleasing to God, so that Jakob will learn from me how that’s done.

As Jakob grows and wrestles with his faith and how to live a proper life, I want to be able to repeatedly give him the same advice.  No matter where he’s at, I want to be able to listen to his questions, look him in the eye, and say, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.”  Do I think I can say that right now?  Not in every area, no.  Is it feasible to get there?  I think so.  Paul got there.  That isn’t a quote original to me.  It’s actually a direct quote of 1 Corinthians 11:1.

So here’s my question to you: if your kids imitate you, are they also imitating Christ?  If not, who are you teaching them to imitate?

I don’t put things together

“Oh, hey Denise.”

The above picture is a picture of me pretending to put together Jakob’s bed.  From the looks of things, had I been working on it, I would have put the hammer right through the part of the frame.  I don’t usually participate in the putting together of things with “some assembly required.”  It’s not that I can’t put together a toddler bed, an entertainment center, or whatever.  I can.  I just move very slowly and get frustrated fairly easily.

Sarah, on the other hand, loves putting things together, and she likes showing off that she can do so without instructions.  It started when she was in her wheelchair.  We got a new TV, so we got a new entertainment center to put it on.  She mentioned that she wished she could put the entertainment center together, so I told her to go ahead.  She wasn’t feeling the most handicapable at that time, so she wasn’t confident she could do it.  I helped down onto the floor, though, and I encouraged her.  She sat there, and I handed her piece by piece as she assembled it.  From then on, she became the one to put stuff together, unless it was too huge and needed my burly muscles.  I have no idea why she enjoys it, but she does, and I’m content to let her do it.

This is what things being put together at our home really looks like.

he took care of me

Sarah is a stay at home mom, so she definitely gets to see sides of Jakob that I miss out on when I’m at work.  I had heard tales of his being a really sweet caregiver type, but I’d never seen it.  What I tend to see is my playful son with boundless energy and the best smile I’ve ever seen.  I walk in the door, and it’s play time. He wants to run and jump and chase and harass our pets.  It’s really all quite fun to watch and experience.  But Sarah has told me about how sweet he is when she doesn’t feel well.  If she’s sick, he accommodates her.

I got to experience this last night.  I just wasn’t feeling well.  It came out of nowhere, and it had the potential to make the end of my evening terrible.  I laid down on the couch, because I wanted to try to stay up and spend time with Sarah and Jakob, even if I wasn’t the most pleasant company.  Jakob started out playing and jumping and smacking the couch, but I asked him to stop, because I didn’t feel well.  He then started bringing me toys.  I thought he was continuing to try to get me to play.  He brought me a drumstick, an Easter bunny noise maker, and one of his Toy Story action figures.  Each time he brought me a toy, I said thank you and tossed it back into his toy pile.  Finally, he brought me Jonny, his Pillow Pet.  This is his most special possession, and nobody gets to play with Jonny.  But he brought it to me and put it under my arm.

After a little while, I got up and went to bed.  I knew I wasn’t going to feel better enough to play until I got some sleep.  Jakob followed me to my room.  He crawled up in the bed and laid down by me.  I thought he was just wanting to watch TV in there.  But he didn’t.  He sat up, with his back up against my stomach, and he started rubbing his hand gently on my arm.  He gave me a hug and said, “Aww,” which he does when he knows he’s being sweet.  He last fifteen minutes, going between sitting by me and laying down by me.  He eventually left, but he left me his Pillow Pet, which he slid under my arm again before he left.

I misjudged what he was doing twice.  First, I thought he was persistently trying to get me to play, when he was just trying to bring me different things to make me feel better.  Second, I thought he wanted to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the TV in our bedroom.  Both times, he was just trying to take care of me.  He’s such an awesome boy.

identifying with Pooh

I recently watched the new Winnie the Pooh movie on DVD.  I realized a couple of things.  First, I really like Pooh.  I should say that I really like Tigger.  Pooh is okay.  Second, the cast of the 100 Acre Woods reminded me of Facebook.  Each of the characters reminded me of a different type of chronic status updater.  I will reveal my findings/mind wanderings below, and you can see where you fit in.  You might identify with more than one.  I know I do.  I’m a Kanga and a Tigger.  That sounds weird.  Just in case you were thinking about getting offended, I’m probably not making fun of you.  This post has nothing to do with anyone in particular.


Owls are symbolic of wisdom, and s Owl goes around educating all of his friends.  The Facebook Owl always updates with pithy statements.  There are original Owls and borrowed Owls.  The original Owl is a deep thinker, and they share their deeply drawn conclusions with the social masses.  The borrowed owl just quotes the original Owls.  C.S. Lewis is an original Owl, and several borrowed Owls quote him all day.

Christopher Robin

He likes animals.  He’s also a nurturer.  Ever notice how much he cares about those pretend animals, especially Pooh?  Facebook Christopher Robin leaves random notes of encouragement on people’s walls, comments on sad statuses to offer his presence in case needed, and probably posts pictures of his pets a lot.


Kanga’s a parent.  She loves her kid.  I’m assuming if she had a Facebook, she would constantly post statuses and pictures of Roo all day.  One of Jakob’s nicknames is Roo (yes, one of…Sarah calls him many things).  I’m a Kanga.


He’s a little kid, for crying out loud.  He just wants to play.  So on Facebook, Roo is that kid with a Facebook that you know shouldn’t have one.  Aren’t they too young to have one?  And they constantly want you to send them petting zoo and aquarium gifts.  Actually, Roos can come in any age when it comes to that.  Sending too many (like one or more) game requests can make you a Roo.


Tigger thinks everything he’s doing is awesome.  He’s always excited about it, like it’s the next big thing.  On Facebook, he would use lots of exclamation points, use the word awesome a lot, and post often.  If he were to grow up and get a job, he’d probably be a youth pastor, because we think everything we’re involved in is the greatest thing ever.


You know Eeyore, and when you hear his name, you automatically think of someone.  He’s always down in the mouth.  Even on his best day, there’s something to get him down.  And so on Facebook, Eeyore’s status updates are pretty consistently downers.  Everyone has at least one on their friends list.


Pooh is obsessed with honey, and he kind of wants everyone else to provide it for him when he runs out.  He is the 99%.  Couldn’t resist.  Anyway, he’s always updating about food.  He talks about what food he’s about to eat, what he just ate, what he wishes he had, and he always checks in whenever he’s at a restaurant.


Piglet is a bid of a scaredy cat.  He’s always worried about worst case scenarios.  He’s always terrified of the monsters that may or may not roam the 100 Acre Woods, and he does whatever he needs to stay safe.  He also reposts statuses and pictures that have the ominous words.  If chain statuses are true, he’s safe.  If he loves Jesus, he’s reposting, so God doesn’t mistakenly think he doesn’t.  99% of you won’t repost this spam about Facebook charging?  Piglet is.


Rabbit is a funny character to me.  He’s always annoyed with someone (usually Tigger), and he doesn’t mind sharing it.  If he were online, he’d be posting statuses about how annoyed he is.  He’d probably be passive aggressive about it, too.  “You think you’re so cool?  Well, you don’t matter to me.  Just GTO (<– edited for content).”  Who?  Who are you talking to?  Come on, Rabbit!

So who are you?  I’m Kanga and Tigger, like I said.  I think lots of things are awesome that I’m updating about, especially when it’s my son, Jakob (who goes by Roo).

Jakob’s first time trick or treating


We debated a lot about whether we wanted to take Jakob trick or treating this year. We wanted to make sure his first time going was because he would have fun, not because we wanted to get pictures of him. We decided that going with the Gallahars would be fun for him, so we went. We’re so glad we did. He had a great time. Below, I’ll post pictures and videos of his adventure.


Todd offered to take a family picture of us, so we both grabbed a hand. We were faking it. We didn’t walk like this through the neighborhood. We can’t, because as soon as he’s holding two hands, Jakob swings his feet off the ground.


He loved being independent. As soon as we hit someone’s driveway or lawn, he took off up to the house. By this time, you can see his confidence. He knew what he was doing. I love his swagger.


Superhero pose! He was supposed to clench his fists, but who cares? That’s just plain cute.


And here the triumphant superhero has returned with his bounty. He refused to look up from his Crunch bar to smile with Sarah.

And finally, the video. After a couple houses, this became his style. Mind you, he hadn’t eaten a single piece of candy to this point. This is his natural energy level.