Friday, December 24, 2010

Creepiest Piggy Bank Ever

I really have a lot to be happy about this Christmas. I've got so many blessings, not least of which has been the wonderful opportunity to give money away and to buy a cow to give away! Because of your generosity (and your love for Janie, I know), I've been able to help three needy families in the Rutland area. And that's over and above the money that will soon be sent to Food For The Hungry for the cow!

I must say that sitting with these people and hearing their stories, and being able to help them has made this Christmas exciting and happy for me rather than depressing.

Another highlight along the way was when some friends delivered

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December 20th 'Deadline'

Thank you so much, all of you who gave to Janie's Christmas Stocking project! Money is still coming in, and we will be giving away the first batch of cash to a local needy family sometime this week before Christmas.

There is still time to give, though, because the check for the cow to Food For The Hungry won't go out till after Christmas.

I try to imagine the looks on the faces of whatever far-off family is going to be receiving this cow...when they first hear they are going to be getting it. Or the look on the faces of

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Janie's Christmas Cow

Well, this is just an epic piece of art sent by a close family buddy, Becca Hall. Doesn't that make you want to give lots of money for a cow for a needy family? A note Becca included said that she made the cow purple because that's what Janie would have done. And she is exactly right, isn't she?

(If you don't yet know what I'm referring to, click here, or, if you are on the blog's main page, just scroll down one post.)

To those of you who have sent in money for the cow (and for the yet-to-be-determined needy Rutland family), I'd like to send out a great big THANK YOU! It's been very encouraging to open your envelopes and I can't wait to pass it along. What a blessing to me.

We've given a deadline of

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Janie's Stocking

I want to get a cow for Christmas. I know that sounds funny, but really, I want to get a cow for Christmas.

***

So we went ahead and decided to set up all the Christmas decorations. Janie had a few rules about Christmas 'set-up' at our house. First: on the day we get our tree we will play Bing Crosby Christmas music and eat those gross frozen 'delights' from the grocery store freezer that we would never, ever eat otherwise. I mean the frozen puff pastries and the frozen snack trays and little weiner hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury pastry. Actually, those are delectable. Second: the Christmas tree must be taller than her. Period. Third: We must purchase our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. No earlier, no later. This third one, I am sure, was to extend the deliciousness of the Christmas season for as long as possible. Janie loved Christmas.

I decided that we would honor these traditions in the Booth household, but I was a bit concerned about

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Janie's Stocking Teaser

Watch this space for something special about Janie's Christmas stocking..............

Monday, November 29, 2010

What Jon Acuff's Dad Said

Some of you read Jon Acuff's hysterical, satirical commentary on the church and Christianity at his blog, Stuff Christians Like. It turns out his dad used to pastor a church in Hudson, MA where we used to live back in the 80's. Anyway, Jon just put up a really nice, and useful bit of father-to-son advice...


Last week, I asked my dad, a pastor in North Carolina, about something I read in Proverbs 1. Here are what two verses I read said:
8 "Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck."

After reading that, I thought I’d ask my dad

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Only One Life, ’Twill Soon Be Past...

Janie often quoted this little poem, which we first heard in John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life series (listen to him speak here, but prepare to have your mind blown).

"Only one life,’twill soon be past, 
Only what’s done for Christ will last."

We even thought of (but never got around to) having Barbie Carr calligraphize it (I know, I made that up) on our living room wall... over the opening to the kitchen.


It does put a certain perspective on everything you decide to say, think, and do, doesn't it? Janie thought so, and those of you who knew her can probably remember her quoting it to you.


So imagine how pleasantly surprised I was tonight, while browsing at sermonindex.net, to discover that there is another (seemingly anonymous) verse!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Janie's Piano Students

Here is a photo of Janie's piano students at an end-of-the-season recital party in 1999. I'm not sure which is cooler: the fact that she taught 14 kids (plus Carly) or that epic full sized piano keyboard cake!

If any of you kids read this blog, can you share where you are at today? Still playing music?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Joyful Grieving?

I mentioned in a previous post how I get a little concerned sometimes when people ask me how I'm doing. My concern is not with them, though, but with me. My concern is that unless I brush them off with a quick, "fine thanks," I end up talking about myself and my situation too much, which I don't like. Even here on the blog, I'm talking about myself right now and my way of dealing with talking about myself so much. Guh.

And that reminded me of Marcel.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tools To Find Your Freedom

I Am Second has a good page, called "Find Freedom Tools," that has some great links for people seeking bible answers to problems that they are experiencing. 

The help pages are connected to the Hope For The Heart Biblical Counseling pages, which are part of the Logos bible software.

I know some readers of this blog are navigating some pretty rough waters...maybe there will be help for you in the links on this page....why not have a look and ask God for help?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jesus and the Plunger

Cue action-packed, newscast-ish music: Trumpets, drums, and whatever that instrument that goes, dit-dit-dit-dit, dee dit-dit-dit-dit, dee dit-dit-dit-dit......

Our Top Story tonight: "Local photography business, ******** Studio, was burgled sometime late Saturday night through Monday night! Details at eleven."

Ok, I made up that word, burgled, but I like it and the TV news should start using it: burgled. Sounds even better out loud. Say it: burgled. Not "robbed," like at gunpoint, just "burgled." Like what a burglar does. He burgles.

Yes, about a month or so ago, baddies really did break a window at night snuck around and
stole stuff from the studio. Actually, it was all the camera gear that I use to earn my living. And some cash. About $600, actually.

The two-person staff where I work - we felt pretty weirded out by it. We could easily imagine people tiptoeing from room to room by the light of a dim flashlight. And touching our stuff without permission. And then making off with it. Just like that. I can't possibly tell the whole story...much too long and boring, but there were some cool parts to it...like how the police caught the guy because of

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Janie's Email To 'Harry'

Janie wrote this email, under the 'push' of the Holy Spirit, to a college-student-friend of our family who was going through a rough patch and was facing a big decision. Who writes stuff like this anymore? I think it gives a really good picture of what Janie was really like...behind the delightful smile and chocolate chip cookies.


So special thanks to our friend, who's name I have changed to Harry, (and whose girlfriend's name I have changed to Sally) for allowing me to put this up here. Please enjoy this little taste of Janie at her best....even when she was just about feeling her worst.

********
1-29-08

Hi Harry,

I had breakfast with your Mom this morning - it was a great time of catching up.  She is sure proud of you and loves you more than you could possibly ever know!  We have been friends for a long time and there are not too many secrets between us.  She mentioned to me that

Monday, November 1, 2010

Democrats And Republicans Are Different

Ok, you knew that one. But to what extent are they different? How deep does it go?

Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll in his book, Radical Reformission, refers to syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. Driscoll says, "Sowell defines the two visions for the transformation of our culture as 'constrained' and 'unconstrained.' The constrained (Republican) vision views human nature as

Friday, October 29, 2010

Are You Content?

I know very few people whom I would call 'content.' At least, content according to Jeremiah Burroughs' definition from back in 1648:

"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition." Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment


People ask me all the time, "so, Chris, how are you doing?" And the expression on their face and tone of voice tells me that

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thank God For Suffering?

In my last post, I shared a little bit about Mary Beth Chapman, wife of Steven Curtis Chapman, and the death of their five-year-old daughter, Maria.The Chapmans' suffering was (and I presume still is) deep.
Her website has this tagline right under her name: 

"Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude."

I had to read that a few times to

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beauty Will Rise

Well, today is Janie's birthday! That's a significant date, and I hear that significant dates are supposed to be tough to get through when you've lost someone. And....yup, it's tough! I just feel a little weird and can't put my finger on it any better than that. How strange to have Janie's birthday come along without her! We will be eating cupcakes in her honor....if you feel inclined, you can go off that diet for a few hours and eat a cupcake too....make 'em fun and make 'em extra sugary...and stick one of those pumpkin-shaped sugary-buttery things from Brach's and maybe a few candy corns on it....that's how she'd eat it.

Need a little 'Janie fix' to get you through? This should do the trick....it was part of my remarks at her Memorial Service back in May:

Your digital clock reads 10:11 twice a day. That happens to be her birthday as well, 10/11. So Janie of course christened those two times of day, “The Magical Time.” “Look!” she’d say, pointing to the clock, “It’s the Magical Time! Make a wish!”

She got all of us noticing that time and we were well trained to point it out if we saw it. 

Did you ever realize, those of you who knew her, that

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Thick, Thick Heaven

I'm still thinking about heaven these days, just thinking lots about what Janie has been experiencing these past five months. I'd love for you to read this from a new acquaintance of mine, Pastor Jared Wilson of Middletown Springs, VT, who put this up on his blog recently. 

A Thick, Thick Heaven
Wim Wenders created a now-classic foreign film, Wings of Desire, several years ago in which an angel renounces his angel-ness to experience human romance with the woman he'd fallen in love with. (Wings of Desire was remade a few years later in the American film City of Angels, with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.) One of the major conceits of Wings of Desire was that, when an angel, our lover saw the world -- and we saw the film -- in black and white and shades of gray. When he gave up his "wings" and became human, the film turns to color to reflect

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Thought From Becca

Becca put this up on her blog today...and I couldn't agree more...

I realized the other day how thankful I am that my family is not anxiously awaiting results from doctor appointments or CT scans anymore. That we’re not worried about which numbers are up or down. That we don’t lie in bed praying that my mom will stop coughing so she can get a little sleep. That she’s singing right now in the presence of God. I miss my mom a lot- every day, all the time. And it’s not easy. But I’m so thankful that she’s whole.

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17

Monday, September 20, 2010

Suffering Well

Have you ever had to go through something hard, something really tough? Are you going through it right now? Click here to read Psalm 42. This great Psalm was written by a man who was going through something hard. His transparency and honesty and his desire to go to God in the middle of it all is a lesson for us all.

I like how John Piper prayed about Psalm 42:

“Oh Father, I want us to be swallowed up in this Psalm. Not that it’s a happy place to be. But to learn how to be in an unhappy place is what we need. And this Psalmist does it so well. He is miserable so well. I want You to teach Your people how to be struck down, well. How to be in turmoil, well. How to be downcast, well. How to have waves break over them, well. And the Psalms, and this one in particular, is so well suited to help us. So grant that we would know how to feel and how to think with You in the Psalms. Through Christ I pray. Amen."

And if you haven't seen Piper's profound take on

Monday, September 6, 2010

How He Loves

Though David Crowder (and I guess Flyleaf) made the song "How He Loves" kind of  'famous' in the Christian music world, John Mark MacMillan wrote it and sings it with, I think, a little more heart.

I hadn't realized that the song came from

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy All The Time

Naturally, I think about Heaven a lot these days.....here's Brooks Williams singing a simple, cheerful tune called "Happy All The Time" in a weirdly old-timey looking video......oh, come on, give it a chance, at least to hear the

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Great Big World

The puppies are now 6 months old, and are going to get 'fixed' today. Of course, by 'fixed' I mean 'broken' (as far as functionality of the parts they are 'fixing' is concerned)....and of course by 'broken' we usually mean correcting the problem of an animal peeing and pooping in our homes...so to correct it would be to 'fix' it, no? But 'fixing' means something else...the world of pets is counfounding is it not?

Anyway, the merry little 6 month-old weiner dogs discovered a while back that the great outdoors is far, far superior to being cooped up in a house. The contrast, when we took them outside for the first time, was quite remarkable. Previous to the expansion of their territory,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Peewee In The Hallowed Culinary Halls

I finally crossed another milestone yesterday when I made an attempt at baking Janie's cookies. It was something I needed to do. Now, for some reading this, there is apathy: so what? Chris made cookies. Big deal. But from others, from those in the know, who have entered into the world of heaven-on-earth rapture that delights the sweet tooth like nothing else on the planet, there is an audible gasp. Chris attempted Janie's chocolate chip cookie recipe? It's too soon...he's just a novice...he's not ready! He's not worthy!

Well, that may be true, but nevertheless, I went in full bore. Let's do this! And I thought to myself, "I know myriads have tried and failed to make them like she did, but it will be different for me." Not only do I have the recipe card - not a copy, mind you, but the original stained and cracked recipe card with her own handwriting on it - but I also

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Grammie's 100th

My Grammie, if she were alive today, would have been 100 years old today. She was born on August 14th, 1910. She lived through the roaring twenties, the Great Depression, the 2nd World War, the Lunar Landings, and of course all the of the mundane day to day stuff that we call, "life." 

What's cool about her '100th' to me is that she and I shared the same birthday, August 14th. Yep, it's my birthday and I must say it has been different to celebrate it without her all these years since 1999. We all loved her so much and I don't know if I can express how great it was that she lived with our family during my entire childhood. 

I had the great privilege of speaking at her Memorial Service. Here's what I said.........


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ping Pong

I was playing ping-pong with Carly the other day. Just hacking around - the kind of pinging and ponging where each of us took turns smashing the ball if the opportunity presented itself, which was fairly often since we were just hacking around.

There was this one shot that I lobbed which Carly took full advantage of. I saw her begin to wind up and then suddenly the whole world began to move in slow motion: her paddle rose at half speed till it reached shoulder height, she stretched her arm out to a full back swing; gathering and storing energy till her arm muscles were fully tensioned like a spring, and then the release! Slam! I think I saw sparks as the orange rubbery-bumpled paddle made contact with the little white ball. And Time slowed even more: I could read the print on the ball as it came at me:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Poor Janie?

So the kids and I spent the day at Soulfest (a 4-day Christian rock music festival) on Wednesday....saw Switchfoot again (3rd time since November - I know, it's a sickness I guess...). We had a great time...even got to hear Jon Foreman do a nice acoustic set on top of Gunstock mountain. There we were on the top of a mountain with the sun shining (blasting really), and the sky was blue and the clouds were white and the dragonflies were darting and we were hearing an acoustic set by our favorite artist. Sweet. And as I soaked in the moment, I thought to myself, "there's really no where else I'd rather be right now..."

And I also thought, "oh what a shame that Janie can't be here to see this - she'd love it." And I caught myself. What! Poor Janie? No, I don't think so. True enough that she'd like it; but with all due respect to the super-spiffy abilities of Jon Foreman, I'm afraid they are nothing compared to the soul-fulfilling happiness that Janie was experiencing in the Presence of Jesus Christ even while we sat on that mountain. And she experiences such joy still, even now as I type this post, and even now as you read it!

"...in Thy presence is fullness of joy!" Psalm 16:11.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27th, 1985

July 27, 1985. That was a great day in the lives of Janie-Lynn Brown and Chris Booth. Married at last! We'd dated since we were Sophomores and Juniors (respectively) in high school, and here we were at last, saying "I do" right in front of God and everybody! Nineteen years old! Crazy! Actually, I think lots of people thought we were crazy, gittin' hitched so young, but we knew...we knew in our guts that we were meant for each other for life. And we were. We proved it out over 25 years. Madly in love.

I promised Janie before she died

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rachel Barkey: Death Is Not Dying

Janie died two months ago today. Amazing. I'm still a little shell-shocked, frankly. Sometimes I can hardly believe this could have happened. Not just (just?) her dying, but the cancer and the surgeries and the treatments and her dying and everything. It just shouldn't have happened...not to Janie, right?

God has a great big purpose in it all, though, for Janie (mission accomplished regarding her, I suppose!), for myself, for my family and for everyone who knew and loved Janie. Who knows how her spirited battle with cancer, and her insistence on the Goodness of God in it all, will repercuss in different people's lives? Kind of like how you see

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Janie's Sendoff

The following are some notes I made the week after Janie's memorial service for eventual posting here at the blog. My intention was to fashion them into a more readable form, but in reviewing them again,  I've realized 2 things: One, I'm just not going to have the time to do that any time soon and Two, the somewhat disjointed feeling of the notes actually captures the busy pace of those last days. 

So please forgive the rough read this time....please feel free to skim...you'll still get the idea....and of course if you don't like reading stuff like this just skip it - that's fine too and you won't hurt my feelings...actually, I won't even know, will I?

********

As many of you know, Janie's dying came up rather suddenly. We had made the decision (as I'll explain below) to stop any more treatments, but for whatever reasons had thought we might be able to have (at least) the summer together.

So I thought I'd relate the last few weeks leading up to her death.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In Which The Inexplicable Is Explained to Me

Christine Besaw was a wingnut. She knew this because I would say it to her face. She'd bounce in to my 8th grade bible class and wouldn't know that I had seen her making goofy faces at my daughter Becca out in the hall.

"Good morning Mr. Booth," she'd say sweetly.

"Good morning Miss Besaw. You're a wingnut."

It turned out that Chrissy only had three more years to live.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jon & Tim Foreman's Dad

Donald Miller has a great post here about parenting without 'judging.'  I want to be a good listener like Jon & Tim Foreman's dad.

In other news, we're still hanging in. School is ending for the year and so we'll hit a new stride as summer kicks in. Carly said something about a summer to do list that included ninja classes and hang gliding. Not really...more like campfires, guitars and Jane Austen marathons. Ah, summertime....

Thanks for your prayers...love you all!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Sky Is Still Up

So you may have been wondering what has been happening with the Booths since Janie died on May 8th, three weeks ago today. First of all, we are doing ok. We're going to be alright! God is holding the Booths right under his wing, like a mother hen with its chicks in the storm.

There are really only two times that I miss Janie: day time and night time. Yes, we all miss her, but I can't begin to describe how happy we are that she is not suffering any more...and beyond that, the thought of her being in the very presence of Christ is just intoxicating when I let myself imagine it.

Anyway, it has been a very busy three weeks! Here's a summary:

The Memorial Celebration for Janie on May 15 was amazing. It was full of life and energy and sunshine and MUSIC! Oh, the singing was so great, and of course that is what Janie had said she wanted: great, joyful Christ exalting music, played not at dirge-speed but at Janie-speed (read: warp-speed..not really, but it was fun to type). She also had requested that

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hold Me Jesus

Janie listened to "Hold Me Jesus" by Rich Mullins a lot in the last few years. Thought you might enjoy it and if you yourself are going through some hard stuff...may it be a blessing to you. (click 'Read More' to get to the video).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Janie-Lynn Booth

Here's Janie's obituary which ran in the Rutland Herald today. Yep, it's a pretty surreal thing to turn the page to see it. Janie used to look at the obits a little too often for my liking and I'd get on her case - "stop looking at that! It's morose!" She'd reply, "just checking....nope, not there yet!"

Janie said many times near the end, "I'm really not afraid of dying - I am going 'to be with Christ which is better by far' (Philippians 1:23). I'm just concerned for you and the kids." I'd tell her not to worry, and that she wasn't so indispensible. And we'd laugh because we both knew it wasn't true. Janie was a real-life-dynamo-super-mom-awesome-wife-best-friend-great-cook-especially-desserts-sweet-dispositioned-but-ruthless-at-cards-gifted-musician-loved-anything-miniature-invest-in-others-didn't-waste-her-life kind of person. And so very much more of course. 

I know what you are thinking: you're thinking

Monday, May 10, 2010

Janie Celebration

Ok, we've decided that the Celebration of Janie's life / memorial service (still deciding on what to call it obviously) will be this Saturday, May 15 at 10:00 am at Calvary Bible Church. The address is 2 Meadow Lane, Rutland, VT 05701. The church's phone number is 802-775-0358. There will be no 'calling hours,' just the celebration at the church on Saturday.

Um, this next part will seem a little unusual and non-traditional: Janie made a fairly adamant request that no one wear black, but rather, that everyone come ready to celebrate that she is now in the presence of her Lord...so we will honor that request with bright colorful clothes!

Also, she requested that chocolate be served...so bring your sweet tooth!  Seriously! Those of you who know her at all are not surprised and are smiling about her requests....so am I. They are 'so Janie.'

And here's a neat-o thing: in addition to the guest book, we have created a blog called Janie's Purple Pen where anyone can leave a story about their experiences with Janie.

Thanks for your prayers...we're hanging in there and are experiencing God's special grace during this time.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Free At Last

Well, I'm sorry to lay this on you if you haven't heard yet, because it will seem rather abrupt, but well, I have to plunge right in and hope you all will take it ok:

Janie at last went to be with the Lord today. Her suffering has ended and even better than that, she is now face to face with her Jesus who she loves so much.

She started to not feel well at 9:30 this morning and her breathing degraded quickly through the morning. She never was in any pain and God was very merciful in taking her very quickly; by 1:00 this afternoon she was in His very presence. She was surrounded by her family and she was able to stay right here at home - no more hospitals! It was very sweet and bittersweet and right and if I may say it, a very pure time. Sacred. I hope to tell more of that story for you someday later.

Even while we cry, we also celebrate for her because we know in our hearts that she is now filled with inexpressible joy as she is with God in heaven at last. I also want to send out a big thanks to all of our friends and family who have been praying for us for these last six years - you mean so much to us.

We had a special gift from God this afternoon: He gave us a huge double rainbow! A wonderful reminder that our God is a God who makes and keeps promises (Genesis 9:12-16). And one of His promises that I am hanging onto through this is that he will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5). We are all being held in his arms, just like he held her all this time. I had to take a picture of it so I could share it here with you.

I'll put up some details soon regarding when and where a memorial service will be. I'll give a 'teaser' for you tonight though: she wanted the main verse at her service to be Philippians 1:21 "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Running

I had a good talk with my sister Carol today. One of the things that came up was the ease with which we can get gloomy about heavy stuff and our tendency to stay in the gloom...and how counter-productive that can be for ourselves and the people around us. She suggested I write a post about it and lo! I already had one! I searched my drafts and there it was...the very first post I ever wrote, written back in July of 2009 - for some reason, I've never actually posted it. Just waiting for the 'right' time, I guess...hope that means now...


Anyway, here it is:


I was running nice and early one morning back in April. I'd had to drag myself out of bed to make it happen. Not the usual for me - I'm an early riser (note: that's 'early riser,' not 'morning person,' There is a difference....). But today I

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Typing Lessons

Carly just couldn't take it anymore. She just couldn't stand the fact that I can't type. I 'hunt and peck.' And evidently it's disgusting and ridiculous so she decided to take matters into her own hands. And so began my misery.

Before I go on, let me share a really great moment back at Christmas. Since Carly aspires to be a writer one day, we gave her a cool old Smith Corona Mark I electric typewriter. Remember typewriters? (For those of you under the age of 20, typewriters are for getting typed text onto a piece of paper, like your printer does now. Only this machine does it, one letter at a time, without a word processor or even a computer! Wowie!) Anyway, she opened that baby up and that was it for the day; all three kids were completely distracted from the Olympic sized swimming pool, Bugati motorcycles, and bedside churro machines that we'd gotten them. They were all about the old-school typewriter.

Fast forward four months to yesterday. Carly sat me down at the typewriter

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One Continuous Camera Move Music Videos

These 3 music videos were all made using only one continuous camera move. How'd they do it? The same way the maestro says you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.(videos are after the jump: click 'Read More' to get there).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hubble Deep Field Image in 3D

You may have seen this amazing image that the Hubble Space Telescope took which showed many, many galaxies all in one image. It's not the most dramatic looking image the Hubble has taken, but to me, its one of the most profound: each one of those galaxies has hundreds of billion stars each. Words fail. We cannot describe the magnitude of even one 500 billion star galaxy, much less billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars....it boggles the little human mind.

Those galaxies are way out near the 'edges' of the known universe. This video (after the jump) shows

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Everything's Amazing And No One Is Happy"

So I'm back from the dentist...just the cleaning by the non-gentle hygenist. I had declined the $10,000 (or thereabouts) x-ray that the hygenist insisted I needed. So she went and tattled to the big cheese, the dentist himself, who came and gave a 2 second poke and prod (one second each) and gravely told her, "put a 'watch' on #18, lower." I'm not worried though. I saw right through their little game: all of it was just a ruse to get me to beg them for an x-ray.

As I lay there with this woman's latex-gloved hands in my space-invaded mouth, I gave in to the thoughts of how much I hate this. I know we all hate the poking and scraping and poking and invasion of the personal space and the poking and the spit-sucking tube...and the poking. I remember thinking, "Ugh, this is so irritating to live in this broken world where Entropy rules and we do our feeble best to stem the tides of tartar, plaque and tooth decay." *grumble, grumble*

Janie and I just watched an episode of the 19th Century British-against-the-French series called Sharpe (with Sean Bean as Major Richard Sharpe, if you know him. Our library has the whole 16 dvd series). This one character, Sharpe's Irish right-hand man named

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wish I Could Play Even One Instrument

Here's an excerpt of Stanley Jordan playing Horace Silver's "Song for my Father." Brain melting skill from the master...there's no one better...and to think he was discovered playing his guitar in a New York subway! (videos are after the jump: click 'Read More' to get there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Carly on Lewis

Carly had this to say about "The Last Battle" on her blog:

Today I finished reading C.S. Lewis' "The Last Battle." It was amazing. I loved how he is able to really weave Christianity into his stories. There were some parts taken straight from the Bible. It made me feel like this dumb world was just getting in the way of Heaven, rather like the dust bunnies that we used to have on top of our ceiling fan. They were clogging it up (sort of) so the nice, clean air was prohibited from being dust (or sin) free!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emote!

Back on Good Friday, my friend Pete prayed at the close of the Good Friday Chapel at the Christian School.

Even though there was a mix of ages of kids in the room, as well as many parents, he prayed fervently and long. He extolled the greatness of God, shuddered at the crucifixion of Good Friday, and celebrated the empty tomb of Easter Sunday. Christ is Alive!  What Grace!

And I could hear it: there was a beautiful tremble in his voice. So much so, that after he said, "Amen," instead of going back to his seat, he had to leave the room.

I like someone who prays like that.

Savannah

My current favorite Relient K song. I know it's a cool, more serious song, especially for Relient K, and it's probably Christian powerpop blasphemy to say it...but I can't help wishing that the Muppets still had their show so Relient K could go on and the whole cast could muppet-dance to this song............

Sunday, April 11, 2010

nate

Ok, I take it all back. All of it.

Now that I have experienced for my self - first-hand - the deep and abiding joy that can be found in sniffing a Tahitian Tiare Flower scented Yankee Candle, well, there is no going back, is there? Nate, you are really on to something. My question now is, why did you wait so long to tell me about such a rapturous experience as candle sniffing?

Ahhhh, I just took another whiff of Ocean Blossom. Can't get enough.

Anyone who is willing and able, please send along a nice jar of Summer Rain to him with my thanks and compliments...and get one for yourself while you're at it........

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Splash of Rain

Pastor Nate W is a friend. A really good friend. Which is good because what I am about to do to any reputation he may have would be grounds for a good pummeling...if we weren't such great pals.

Nate is my one really large friend. Large as in muscular. He has 'high muscle definition.' He's jacked. Pumped. Ripped. I tend to hang out with skinny people because I am not exactly of 'Atlasian' proportions myself, so skinny friends make me look

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Janie Update 4-7-10

Ok, this is rather awesome: Janie has slept through the night for two nights in a row now!

Her legs aren't as full of fluid, she thinks. She had an easier time getting around today.

AND, ready for this? She went to the grocery store by herself! And she bought stuff.

We're pleased as punch, though she still is coughing. But oh, what a difference to know that the coughing doesn't seem to be collapsing her lungs!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Janie Update April 5, 2010: "Shock and Awe"

Ok, are you sitting down? Are you ready for some news, some really nice news?

Janie's lungs are not collapsed. Period. That's all! End of story! Good day sir!

We are just thrilled and ecstatic about this news. I'm in shock, really. Janie's cough has been so persistent and she has been so out of breath that we (and I think especially I) have been pretty convinced that her lungs must be at least 70% collapsed. Or 80%. Or 90%. It's been a pretty rough month.

So when Janie went in this morning for her weekly dose of chemo, the nurse who took her vitals and whatnot expressed more than the usual concern over Janie's cough and the fluid buildup in her (Janie's, not the nurse's, heh) legs. So before they did any chemo, it was

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter! He Is Risen!




In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chagall's Abraham

Marc Chagall's Sacrifice of Isaac is a very affecting painting to me. The composition, the movement, the expression, the colors (including what each color might represent) and the symbolism are all artistically pleasing. Together they are all quite moving.

Abraham, following the direct order of God (Genesis 22:2), is about to kill (and burn!) his own son on an altar of sacrifice, though he was fully expecting his son to be raised somehow from the dead (Genesis 22:5, Hebrews 11:17-19). We see over to the left the ram, miraculously - providentially - provided by God,  to take the place of the one that was about to die. The pure, spotless ram was provided to turn God's wrath away from the guilty. Freedom at another's expense!

But now wait - who is that in the brown, shadowy area in the back? It's the Son of God, carrying his own cross - walking the horror-road up the hill of death. He's there to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. There are people around him, but make no mistake, he is alone. There is no one to take his place...no ram will be provided. In actuality, Jesus himself will be the spotless, innocent lamb to be slain in the place of the guilty. And by laying down his life as a substitutionary atonement, he will gloriously fulfill Abraham and Isaac's early foreshadow.

It is a sober thing, and appropriate to think about on Holy Saturday, the day we remember that Jesus' body lay in the tomb, dead. I feel so humbled and overwhelmed at the thought of Jesus' deep, deep, cross-pursuing love! Freedom at Another's Expense!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Forsaken Friday

I remember when I was a kid laying awake in the quiet of the night and letting myself get really scared, believing that everyone else on earth *might have...could have...probably...definitely* had disappeared and that I was all alone here on earth. It's a terrifying thought, especially for a little 10 year old.

Alone. Completely alone. Not another soul...anywhere.

I once taught a group of 8th graders, and the lessons included a bit on Hell. And it bugged me that the kids didn't seem too bothered by the thought of Hell, since the bible -  most notably Jesus - spoke about Hell as a place of utter despair, where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Now, I'd been around 8th graders enough to know that it's best not to get too far into describing what "gnashing of teeth" might actually look like, because of the inevitable silliness that will result. Goofy "gnashing" facial expressions, etc. So I tried to sober the room up by giving my own imagined view of what Hell might be like. I carefully gave the disclaimer that this isn't what the bible says Hell is like...this is my own imagining of what the despair of Hell might feel like.

And I took them back to my childhood night terror:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hematohidrosis

This is from ChristianAnswers.net, and it describes hematohidrosis, the sweating of blood that Jesus experienced in Gethsemane. Here at Easter time, we want to be especially sensitive to Jesus' suffering, and as described here, not all of it was physical. Praise Jesus for "setting his face toward Jerusalem," "sweating great drops of blood" and going to the Cross, "scorning it's shame" in his

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Comma

Please skip over to the Stuff Christians Like blog for a great, encouraging read about grace at Easter.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Come Thou Fount

I have never been able to sing the 2nd half of the 2nd verse of "Come Thou Fount." I try every time, but nothing comes out.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wand'ring from the folds of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Bought me with His precious blood.

I have no voice until I recover at the start of verse 3, but then it's gone again when we sing,

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for thy courts above.

And then the song is over and it's time to mop up. What song 'goes right through' you?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Recipe For Life

Family friend Jim Besaw wrote this for English class...pretty perceptive for an infinitely-distractable-hyperactive-frizzy-haired-skinny-jeans-wearing-Christian-math-core-hippy-freak 17-year-old.









The Recipe For Life
by Jim Besaw
Add 3 tsp of Energy, 1 cup of Joy and 2 parents beautifully in love. 
Let sit for 3 years, then slowly add 2 pinches of curiosity, 5 scoops of adventure, a handful of “I told you so moments” and 4 rancid rotten rebellions. 
Mix this well for about 5 years and your mixture should begin to turn a soft “know it all” shade.
Add 2 tablespoons of questions and continue stirring. 
Once the mixture has become a soft ball of adolescence, you should roll 13 to 14 small balls of hormones onto a tray of conflict. 
Bake these on a temperature of about “the flaming fury that your parents feel as they find out you’ve borrowed the car to go to your boyfriend's/girlfriend's house”. 
Once they turn a golden shade of wisdom, you should take them out and let them cool off until they are hard and or firm from the hardships of life. 
Finally they are ready to be frosted with a life well spent with the ones you love.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Drainers and Fillers

A wise man once told me, "there are two kinds of people in the world. There are "fillers," who, once you've been around them, you feel "filled" with cheer and encouragement. And then there are the "drainers," the people who drain your emotional energy and make you feel discouraged. I only want to be a filler."

I like that. And I think that for some of us, being the "filler" takes a little more work. I want to try harder at being a bit more of an encourager - even with this blog - though I still want to be as transparent and honest as possible while I grapple and report on life here in "Boothland." It's a balancing act...or maybe an art.

Do you ever think about how you relate to other people? Are you a "drainer" or a "filler?"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Prayers From Strangers

Recently there was a "day of prayer" over at Jon Acuff's blog, "Stuff Christians Like." This was neat since it was a 'virtual' thing. Anyone could sign up for a one-hour slot and pray for requests that were posted there at the blog. I got in a little late, but I figured, "well, why not put in a request for Janie anyway?" She'd been having a pretty bad day, coughing and just exhausted really.

So I went on and shared a bit about her story, just a few sentences and, well, I admit I paused a bit before I hit "add comment." I thought, "is this dumb? Is this silly? These people don't know Janie. It's so anonymous. So impersonal."

Call me crazy but,

How He Loves Us

Here's another performance of John Mark McMillan's "How He Loves Us," this time by Jared Anderson who is new to me. He did a really nice job and I love this song.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Janie Update 3-22-10

Hi! It's been a little while since we've updated you on Janie's situation, so...here goes........

Weekly chemo continues, and we really are so thankful for the technology! There are new chemotherapies being developed all the time and we of course pray for a cure. We never let up praying that Janie will be 100% healed!

The blood test called ca27-29 rose by quite a bit (up to 145 from the mid-90's) so it is time for Janie to move on to another chemotherapy drug. The new one is actually a return to

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Spring!

I know, I know, it's probably bad form to post two songs by the same artist two posts in a row, but, well, it's the first day of Spring! Now or never!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ragamuffins In A Cool World



Now I'm not a very charismatic guy. Any of you who know me would agree: Chris doesn't have a 'rollin'-in-the-aisles kind of temperament (actually, I wonder how many 'melancholics' do...but that's for another post...). So I hesitate posting this lest someone might get the wrong idea...but I just really like this kid listening to David Crowder. Would you have the nerve to just let loose in the middle of your city?

We are called to be "aliens and strangers in the world" (NIV) (or "exiles and sojourners" as the ESV puts it). See 1 Peter1:1;  2:11 and Hebrews 11:13. So I must ask: how well do you "fit in?" Is that a problem for you? Are you as cool as the world? Is the vortex of coolness sucking you in?

Regarding these verses, I've over time kept and added to a little list of words that I think should define me as a Christian. I'm working on living up to it, though I admit it can be a struggle because * gosh darn it! * we all crave acceptance, right? Anyway, try these words on for size and see if they describe your walk in this world:

Alien
Stranger
Sojourner
Pilgrim
Wayfarer
Itinerant
Vagabond
Misfit
Ragamuffin
 Fool

Billy Graham once described evangelism as merely one beggar showing another beggar where to find food. Like it or not, we are spiritual beggars, ragamuffins. When we try real hard to look like something other than - something cooler than - a ragamuffin, we start to assimilate the culture and it starts to have more of an effect on us than we do on the culture. So, it seems, we need to learn how to be more of a misfit, not less.

I can barely remember that old Baptist spiritual - how's it go? "This world is not my home; I'm just a-passin' through...."

Or, to quote Switchfoot, "I'll be a Beautiful Letdown, the painfully uncool - the Church of the dropouts, the losers, the sinners, the failures...and the fools..."

How about you? What words would you add to define the Christian's place in the world?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mysterium Tremendum

Which is weirder for the Christian? That Christ is in you (Colossians 1:27), or that you are in Christ (Colossians 1:28)?

Our pastor, Eric May, made a wonderful point today. (I'm afraid this is going to sound like a, "stop me if you've heard this one..." kind of thing, but, well, since this is a blog, and you can't very well stop me...) He said, regarding these verses, "are we in air, or is air in us?" *Dramatic silence* Then he said, "is a fish in water, or is water in a fish?" The answer is, of course, "Yes." Both are true.

I like this not just because it's clever and presents a bit of a mind-bender. I like it because it points out that, though they may at first sound like opposites, both statements can be true: we can be "in Christ" and Christ can be "in us."

I also like it because

Andy McKee

Completely mind-boggling skill and beautiful music..........

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cowbells and Colossians

Daniel played bass for the jazz band portion of the Green Mountain District 5 Music Festival tonight. Shredded basically and his awesomeness showed the most when his sheet music fell on the floor and he just kept playing from memory with out missing a beat. In fact if I didn't know better, I would almost suspect that he purposely made the music fall so that his awesomeness at playing without the music and never missing a beat could be seen by all. Except that's not like him and also I think no one saw the music fall except me and the trombone player next to him who kindly picked it up.

Plus, they also played an absolutely gorgeous version of Charles Mingus's, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." Made you weep. (Of course, there is always the version by Jeff Beck, whose guitar weeps and which takes me back to my own high school days...).

There were other groups playing as well: a Women's Chorus and a Full Choir, which sang a really cool Magnificat which I love because school music programs across our great nation violate the supposed 'Separation of Church and State' every time they sing spirituals and no one raises a finger or even an eyebrow.

There was also a Middle School Wind Ensemble, but my personal favorite (apart from the Jazz Band of course), was the Middle School Concert Band. They played, "On Broadway." (Remember, "On Broadway?" Made famous and popular by the cool and suave George Benson in 1978? Well, remove the cool and remove the suave and remove George Benson and replace it all with 6th grade brass and a giant bass drum and you've got the picture...)

Anyway, the reason that this band was so great was because of their

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"God Told Me..."

God speaks to us through Scripture. Undeniable.

God sometimes speaks to us through thoughts and impressions that He brings into our consciousness. Mmhm.

But honestly, though I have even had those impressions myself, and in hindsight I even found out that it was God, well, I also have a concern about, "God told me..."

Here's why:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beautiful Evidence

I nabbed this from the blog of a pastor in the mid west, bloggername, "The Blainemonster" which is cool. His blog is called, "The vertiCALL." Anyway, he just posted this today and it really resonates with me and I wanted to share it here, especially in light of my last post...the two seem akin to me somehow.....

I've always thought that beauty was great evidence for a Creator. What we see throughout history, unfortunately, is humanity worshiping beautiful things, and not the Creator. The sun, moon, stars, animals, weather phenomena - all these things are beautiful (which is an anemic word to describe the majesty of some of these objects) and have been revered as divine by mankind.

Well, we can't blame this idolatry on the beautiful things, nor can we