Monday, August 31, 2009

Metal Mouth

As of today, Carly is a genuine Brace Face, Tinsel Teeth, Metal name it. Yep, Carly has joined the braces club. Not too painful yet; a little tylenol and she's good to go. They are her favorite color: green. Plus, she starts 7th grade at RACS tomorrow...she doesn't know which to be more excited about!


So Becca and Dan's first day of classes at Houghton are today. Right now. As I write, our daughter is in COLLEGE! The countdown is over and we had 'ignition' and they are launched!

It was quite a flurry of activity getting packed and out the door and on the road. I looked at the stuff and said, 'it'll never fit in a dorm room.' I guess I thought packing for college meant, basically, a toothbrush, some clean underwear and maybe some Ramen noodles. Well, yeah, I was underestimating by just a bit.

The amazing thing is that it all found a place in Becca's room, and she didn't even have to ask her roommate to move out. So that was good.

Dan's room is, ironically, a little bigger than Becca's. Ironic because he took, basically, a toothbrush, some clean underwear and some Ramen noodles. Well, and three guitars, an amp and a pedal board.

So we unloaded the day before the official arrival/move-in day...with special permission because of our longish drive. How nice was that? With hardly anyone around, it was quiet and we could easily park the car close to the building...and with the aforementioned volume of stuff...yes, it was great.

I won't bore with details of the next day's business of student id's and cpo mail boxes, but we did that stuff and sat through some boring 'welcome students' speeches. Throughout the day I noticed a creeping sense of dread as zero-hour approached: time to say goodbye. Then all of a sudden the day was over and it was TIME. Just like that. So we hugged and cried a little...maintaining a modicum of control until...until 12 year old Carly started in with the crocodile tears. Then it hit harder and the true emotions were there and it was a much better parting. Truly. Tears are so good for you. So thank you Carly for being real.

Of course, Becca and Dan went merrily on their way...I think Becca may have cried a little, but then they recovered and were off to the next big thing that Houghton had planned for the incoming freshmen: Party Time! Meanwhile the parents driving home began to experience a ripping feeling in their chests and an emptiness that they've never quite felt before. Suffice it to say, it was a long and quiet ride. We came around, though, and thought we were fine - indeed, we were fine - until we got home to find that Becca had left a personal note on each of our pillows. You can imagine the scene......

I am so very thankful to God who brought together many elements to make Houghton possible for Becca and Dan. And I am also so full of gratitude that Janie felt well enough to enjoy the drop-your-daughter-off-at-college experience. And we are so excited for Becca and Dan, that they have such a great opportunity to learn and grow at Houghton College.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yikes! Is she ready? Why, yes, I believe she is!

Click here for Becca's take on moving in to college!

The rest of her blog is here.

I'll give my thoughts soon...........

Your Government

I had determined that this blog would not be political.....but this is just funny.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dan's Baptism

When you don't get to witness too many baptisms (we don't - the spiritually frozen northeast and all that), you can almost forget what a joyful occasion it is until you are right there in the moment. At least, that's how it is for me. Then it all comes back as the 'baptisee' tells what he is doing and why this is meaningful to him. Without fail, they come up out of the water and joy spreads on their face and flies across the water to those on the beach looking on.

Our Becca's boyfriend, Dan Austin, was baptized today by his pastor, Glenn Davis, in Star Lake in Belmont. I love baptism. I love that Dan wanted to follow Christ in obedience, but beyond that, Dan wanted to be publicly identified as a follower of Jesus. He's always been very public about his faith anyway, singing songs about Jesus with the band and being unashamed of Jesus (way more than I ever was in high school) in front of his public school classmates. So this was a next natural step for Dan.

Baptism is a wonderful yet sober picture of our position in Christ: died, buried and raised with Him. It is also a beautiful display of the Christian's hope regarding his own physical death someday...that is, the hope of his future resurrection. Plus, in the bible, hope refers to a sure thing, so the picture of the Christian going down into water (the Abyss, death) and coming up again ALIVE in newness of life because of Jesus alone, well, that's a cause for celebration!

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:1-5

I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to the David and Maureen Austin for raising Dan in a Christian household so that he could hear the gospel and respond by faith to the true story of Jesus' work of salvation. It means so much to us and our Becca. I'd like to thank Pastor Glenn for preaching the truth, year after year to a - maybe sometimes discouragingly small - country church. Your faithful work has meant the world, both now and in the hereafter, to a young man who would someday grow up to meet and fall in love with our daughter. I'd also like to thank Len Doucette and Diane Ingalls who worked with the youth of Belmont Baptist have invested and now we get to enjoy the benefits.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How Deep The Father's Love For Us

Who says no one writes good worship songs with anymore? These lyrics are as good as any hymn in your hymnbook....written by Stuart Townend and sung here by Fernando Ortega. My thanks to my friend Scott Hewitt for bringing this song to our church....

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Till We Have Faces' Final Bow

"Another show before the music dies and we're all gone away, Lord help us find our way! And can we sing it loud enough for all the world to hear his voice? Can we break through the confusion? Can we shout it out with all that is within us? Only on His wings can we fly..."

This lyric is from the first CD by my kids' band, Till We Have Faces. It suggests that they know that their time as a band is limited and they wanted to use their time together well...and for God's glory. At least that's how I read it.

Last night, Till We Have Faces played their last show. For the last three years or so, these teenagers (and drummer David, who is out of the teen years) have played their music that comes from a worldview that puts Jesus first. Now its time to move on, since our Rebecca and her boyfriend, lead singer Dan Austin, are headed off to college in eleven days and Chris Day, the lead guitarist, is headed back to his second year at UVM. The band has known all along that this day would come, and the show itself was actually a nice mix of their old and new songs. It was a happy night with just a whiff of bittersweet.

Seems like I should be sad - you know, the end of an era and all that - but please let me tell you, I am excited. I am thrilled to anticipate what these kids have ahead of them. Each member of the band is just oozing potential. And I'm encouraged because in a world where so many youth give so many reasons to feel discouraged, we see some that are willing to go against the flow of their culture and live a life following Jesus. Their music has made a positive impact on the teens of this area, as well as those in other parts of Vermont and beyond. It has been a blessing and a real hoot to have been a part of it.

Please visit their Myspace and have a listen and peruse their pictures. Of course you can buy their music through the music player at the bottom of this page...hey, gotta pay for college somehow! Also, check out Dan's new Myspace page to hear some of his own personal acoustic recordings.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Taxol, Aloxi, Decadron...Benadryl?

Mmhmm, good old Benadryl is on the list of drugs Janie had to take today. So it was a lovely morning (8:00 - 12:30) of Taxol (chemo), Aloxi (for nausea), Decadron (nausea), and Benadryl is supposed to prevent other side effects. And can you believe its working? Janie is actually feeling pretty well as of 6:30! They prescribed Compazine for nausea during the week and - here's the fun part - she has to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid a day for the next 2-3 clean out all the toxic stuff.

Remember the goofy old movie, The Fantastic Voyage, where scientists shrunk a submarine and themselves and drove around inside this human body to kill the thing or catch the monster or save the girl or something? I can't help but wonder what they'd see inside of Janie...I'm thinking they'd probably find a hospital owner and a drug company president (with his Ferrari) and Barak Obama smoking cigars and playing poker.

They said she will probably need to rest a lot, since

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Dead Guy's Song

When I was growing up, people would sometimes say about those big, inexplicable things of life (sickness, pain, death, disaster, etc.), "well, God moves in mysterious ways..." And that was the end of it. I found that frustrating of course. I wanted someone, anyone, to plumb the depths of God's purposes and get to the bottom of it all. I wanted answers. But since so many seemed to answer, "well, it's a mystery," I decided to take the plunge myself. Over the years I have thought about it and revisited the subject from time to time and studied and prayed and by now you have guessed what my results were: God is actually as mysterious as everyone said (actually even more so) and He just doesn't lay it all out for us. Indeed, He actually intentionally keeps His some of (probably most of?) His purposes from us. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."

But Christians hang their hats on the Sovereignty of God, trusting that He knows what is going on down here and beyond that, that he cares, and beyond that that He loves and beyond that, that He has planned all of this out from before He created anything...even planned using the results of our human sinfulness for His Great Purposes. (Browse the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50 -but be sure to land on 45:5 and 50:20 to stop and think. And there are many more examples throughout Scripture.)

God's Sovereignty has become to me immeasurably sweet. To know that God has all things well in hand, that He hasn't looked away and that my troubles do not go unnoticed by Him and that rather, He has great things in mind not just for my future but for my now - even in the midst of trouble - this is immeasurably sweet. Mysterious, sure, but sweet nonetheless.

So why do people say, "God moves in a mysterious way?" William Cowper (evidently pronounced Cooper), the great poet from way back in the 1700's, wrote those words as a hymn that was included in John Newton's (of Amazing Grace fame) Olney Hymns. I know its old, but can I just say that with only a few exceptions, I think that old dead guys still have the greatest song lyrics?

The original tune for this is rather boring, but you can try it to the tune of, "Oh God Our Help In Ages Past" if you know it.

I love the third verse so much, and the fourth...and the fifth...

God Moves in a Mysterious Way by William Cowper

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Hip hop artist Lecrae at Mars Hill Church in Seattle...I love his passion. From Wikipedia: "He defines his mission in a nutshell with the statement that he wants 'to digest Theology and spit it back out so the streets can digest it.'” So he may or may not be your style, but (pause the music player below and) listen to his message.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So we met with Dr. Eisemann (Janie's oncologist) today and he has her all lined up to start a chemo drug called what the IRS likes to do...heh,, you know, 'tax-all?' Get it? Heh...tough crowd. Anyway, the kicker here is that in order for them to keep Janie from having an allergic reaction to the drug, they want her to take 20 milligrams of a steroid the night before treatment and 20 more the morning of! Janie gets the super-hyper jitters from only 5-10 milligrams! So if you would like any housework or cleaning or construction or road-paving done between the hours of 10pm and 8am Sunday night, we'll put you on the list...Janie will be up (literally) for just about anything.

She still has her hair, though it has thinned quite a bit. She's thinking of getting a wig like Dolly Parton wears...yeah, the big one from 1972. Use your imagination...wait for it....wait for it.....yeah, that's right, she'd be pretty cool.

We are of course praying that the

Monday, August 3, 2009


Pastor John Piper recommends settling your heart before quiet time using this acrostic:

I - "Incline my heart to your testimony..." Psalm 119:36
O - "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your word." Psalm 119:18
U - "Unite my heart to fear your name." Psalm 86:11
S - "Satisfy me in the morning with your steadfast love that I may rejoice and be glad all day." Psalm 90:14

The Prodigal God

I'm looking forward to this one...the people who put the paragraph headings in your bible got it wrong: in Luke 15, its not so much the son who is 'prodigal' (radical), it's the Father! Evidently there is a film to go with the book and can be used for groups..........

Humble Pie

This video can help you shake off the feeling that you are really 'all that.' Sorry for the version with the cheesy Morpheus (The Matrix) voice and the trance music (turn it down if you want), but, well, actually, I kind of like it that Morpheus is saying, "you've felt it your entire life...there's something don't know what it is, but you know it's a splinter in your mind...." I take it to mean (in the movie and in real life) that if we, in our gut, have to ask the question, "is this all there is?" then maybe the fact that we are asking kind of proves that there has got to be something MORE. Maybe its just me, but it seems like the vastness and scale of the universe (glimpsed in the video which I'm sure when compared to the real thing looks completely ridiculous) should create in us a pang of wonder and a wrenching feeling inside that shouts, "I want more! More than tv and computers and cell phones and facebook and malls and cars and theme parks and picket fences and golden retrievers and on and on and on.......don't you feel it in your gut that there has to be more than the material, even if the material stuff out there in the universe makes us feel really tiny? In your heart of hearts, don't you know God is there?

Here's another one...and another one...beautiful, even (maybe especially because it is...) without sound....

...and of course there is the breathtaking beginning of the movie Contact...

...and lastly, make sure to hear what Louie Giglio has to say about it all...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Church Bulletin Bloopers

Some of Carly's favorite grammatically funny church announcements*:

1. Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and the deterioration of some older ones.

2. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice!

3. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in church hall. Music to follow.

4. This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward before the service and lay an egg on the altar.


*from the book, "A Laugh a Day" from Hallmark Books

14 of 14

Tomorrow (Monday, Aug 3) is Janie's last out of fourteen radiation treatments. Speaking of which, in that photo a few posts ago that showed a radiation machine and the table the patient lays on, I noticed there is a face mask just like the one that Janie has to wear. (Scroll down or see it here.) Anyway, we so much appreciate your praying for us and we have known God's closeness to us in the last two weeks. He's holding us in His hands.

One thing you may not be aware of is that