In all aspects of life

In all aspects of life

Saturday, June 7, 2014


I was lucky enough to be able to attend my sisters piano recital last night, (which she rocked) and I was struck with an analogy that I wanted to share. 

My wife and I arrived a little late, and the first student we heard playing piano was a small little girl, maybe 4 or 5, and she played 'old McDonald', and she played it very well. The piano is a beautiful baby grand. And from where we were sitting we couldn't even see this little girl play, she was hidden behind the piano, and her legs were too short to be seen on the bench. If you know pianos, you know baby grands are pretty spendy. A quick google search told me they were between $8,000-$20,000. That's a mighty nice piano to be playing something as simple as Old McDonald. And I bet if you asked the little girl how much the piano is worth she would have no idea. At that age she might not even comprehend how much money $15,000 is. She would probably be stunned and wide eyed. As I was listening to Old McDonald I was thinking of the great composers like Motzart and Beethoven and the complex pieces they wrote. I was struck with the thought that this is how some of us use our lives. Instead of putting in the work, and the effort to play complex pieces we settle for the mundane, easy Old McDonalds. Just like that piano was made to play great music, we wee created to do great things. True, we can get by just doing things that are easy, but if we put in the discipline of learning, and failing, and trying we can achieve far better than Old McDonald. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Homosexuality, sin, and God's grace

By God's law I am a lot of things. A liar, an adulterer, a glutton, a thief, and I'm sure the list could go on. I've don't many things that make me worthy of eternal damnation. But, by no doing of my own, Christ came to earth as a child and lived the life I could not live, so that I would have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. Now, by God's grace I am none of those things. I am a child of the most high God. The one and only God.

It seems that a lot of Christian theology has focused on homosexuality, and that if homosexuals are to be saved they must be heterosexuals. I would not take that position. That would be like saying a glutton can no longer eat or a liar no longer talk. It would be a very quiet world as we all starved to death. No, I think the only thing a homosexual ( or heterosexual for that matter) has to do to be saved is accept God's gift of grace and forgiveness. And they, just like me, will become a child of the most high God. Then they begin their walk with Christ. They(we) work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The Holy Spirit guides us, leads us, and comforts us. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and leads us to repentance. I do believe the Bible lays out that homosexual sex is a sin. As is any sex outside of marriage. Or lying. Stealing. Gluttony. Etc... The Holy Spirit leads us each in our lives, and that's why there are some differing beliefs within the evangelical Church, but the basics are agreed upon. Our sin. Our repentance. God's forgiveness. Just as I am no longer an adulterer, liar, glutton, or thief, a homosexual is no longer to be thought of as a homosexual, but as a child of God. Though they may identify with the LGBT community, that is not who they are. Much like a Christian attending AA meetings. If they have repented they are God's child. We all like to be around people we can relate to. I have nothing in common with bull riders who listen to country music. Except we are both alive and breathing. Our conversation would be pretty short. But a football fan? A runner? We could talk for hours. 

I feel like I am getting wordy and sidetracked. Everyone is able to be brought into the family of God. And when we are our behaviors and desires change. This is not to say a homosexual becomes a heterosexual. But I believe the Holy Spirit will be their strength to see them through the trying times of life, just as He does for all believers. 

God wants us to deliver his message of love, life, and hope. Not to send messages of hate. We are to follow Jesus' example. And I don't think Jesus ever shouted to people how much he hated them. He was maybe close with the religious leaders who were defiling the temple, but I would say that wasn't even a message of hate, but anger at belittling something holy. 

Let's share God's message of forgiveness. Especially this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our savior. It's a great time to be thankful and share that thankfulness with others.

Merry Christmas! Christ was born for you.

Monday, December 9, 2013


You remember when you were little and the only thing you wanted to do was watch cartoons, read a book, ride your bike, or whatever your favorite activity was? I was a teenager around the time the internet was getting popular, and one of my favorite things to do was login to Yahoo! games and play cribbage or pool. I could play those games for hours on end. Looking back, it was a great waste of time since it did not improve my skill at either game. If I wasn't doing that, I would play some other game, football, racing, etc...but I mostly spent my at home time playing games on the computer. Then, whenever I would get into trouble (which wasn't much) and I would get grounded. Ugh. That was the worst. "No computer for two weeks!" It was almost certainly a death sentence. How would all those other online cribbage players make it if I wasn't there to play with them? Oddly enough, at this point in my life I would love to be able to turn off all the electronic gadgets in my life for two weeks and take a break. 

Since I have grown up a bit in the past ten years, however marginally that may be, I have grown to have other interests besides playing games on the computer. (candy crush doesn't count, does it?) in the last two years I have really grown to enjoy running. I only started as a way to lose weight and get into the USAF. I ran pretty consistently for 5-6 months, shed 25lbs with the help of food control and weight lifting, and I even ran some 5k and 10k races. That was a huge accomplishment for me, considering when I started to run I couldn't make one lap around the indoor track and the local YMCA, which I think is 1/14 of a mile. As life had it, joining the military, moving a bunch, and being very busy I didn't prioritize running and didn't do much for 10 months. Then I saw an advertisement for a half marathon on the base I work on and thought that was the perfect inspiration to get going again. I halfheartedly trained and managed to get through the race. After finishing I told Allyson there is no way I would ever want to run farther than 13.1 miles. 

It so happened that Allyson met a nice lady who was cheering on her husband at the half marathon, and the two found they had lots in common. And, also that her husband wanted a running buddy to do some longer runs with. I said I would give it a try, not knowing what 'longer runs' meant exactly. We started with a 7 miler. Not too bad. It was a couple weeks post race and I hadn't run much, but if made it. Come to find out my new found running buddy had a few marathons under his belt. Eight actually. He said would like to do another as well. I knew I was in trouble. We continued running together and made it back to 13 mile runs when talk of the Paris marathon came up. Long story short, we both signed up, along with another friend of mine. 

Race day came, and I was feeling excited. Like I had just opened that new computer game to play. "What would it be like?" "Will I make my goal time?" "Will I get hurt?" "Cramp?" And off we go. I felt great the first 16 miles. And then I stopped feeling good. The last 8 miles were terrible. Way over my projected time. So much so that my running buddy was getting worried about me. But I finished, got my medal and told myself that was all I needed. A little less than a week later, after I had promised not to do another marathon, a curious thing happened...I felt a twinge. "I could do better." And me and my other running pal decided to sign up for another marathon. After some more bad race prep I finished even slower than the last time. And to make matters worse, it was a night marathon and I didn't finish until midnight. I was beat. Sworn off marathons. In fact I even took a couple months off running. 

But I couldn't shake it. "I can do better." And I started training again. Miraculously, up to this point I had not been injured at all. I started some intense training. And I was "gettin' it" in training. I was running faster, more miles, and loving it. I did a 15 mile run and had one of my best paces. Then I came home and hobbled around the house for a day. I haven't run since. That was two months ago come Sunday. And Sunday was supposed to be marathon #3. Not happening. All I want to do is go for a run. A nice 10 miler. I don't know what it is about 10 miles, but it's a magical distance. It's empowering. 

Instead of running I have signed up for races. In hopes that one day I will run again. I feel like I am once again grounded from my favorite activity. "How will I survive without a run today?" Somehow I've made it. But my mood is a little more dim. You see, running started as a way to get in shape. And I do still use it for that. But it's also become more. It's become my way to de-stress. It's how I slow my mind down. Running the trails is when I plan my future. When I pray. When I connect with God. It's become my definition. It's who I am. I am a runner. And sometime soon, I will be back at it, running with a vengeance. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The magic of Christmas

There is a jolly ol' Saint Nick who has no greater pleasure in the world than to deliver toys and gifts to children all over the world. And his little elf helpers are giddy with delight at the opportunity to help him in any way that they can. 

At least this is what some people think is the magic of Christmas. Or perhaps they take the mythical people put of the equation and boil it down to giving. That is somewhat closer. 

My wife and I have decided that we are not going to present Saint Nick to our child as part of Christmas. Not because it's a bad story. But we feel it takes away from the importance of the day. This time of the year is not about the things that we want, or even the things we want to give. To minimize it in that way is a prominent tragedy in our society. 

So then what is the magic of Christmas if not any of the above? In order to understand the magnitude of this holiday we need to understand a couple of things about God first. First is that God is all powerful. He is not one of many, or one of a few. He is THE ONE and only one. He has created everything that is seen and unseen to his glory. Secondly, God is a holy God. There is no blemish in who He is or what He does. Thirdly, (this is actually about humans and not God) we are a sinful people. No one deserves Gods grace. We have all offended a Holy God. 

Now, back to the magic part. (I use that term loosely here) The all powerful and Holy God loves mankind with such a deep compassionate love that he sent His child, Jesus Christ, to the earth, as a man, to fulfill the perfect law of God and take upon himself all of our sin. This is not something that had to be done, nor something we deserved. It is only by Gods love and mercy that He has decided to share this gift with us. 

And so it is at this time of the year we recognize the miracle of Christ being born in order to save us from our sin. That is what we want to impart to our children. That we are sinners that need to be saved by Gods grace. Yes, we give gifts to one another and to family and friends, but this is not at all the main focus of Christmas. The focus is on Gods extraordinary grace that he has shared with us, which is a very real story.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Addiction vs Disease

I was listening to a radio broadcast today on the Canadian Forces Network about weather Drs in Canada should be allowed to prescribe heroin to severe addicts who cannot kick the habit through other treatment options. It is currently illegal in Canada for Drs to do this. 

One side of the argument said this is good, as heroin is a poison and any heroin addict would like to get free, clean heroin. The other side said that it should be legal because this very select few of heroin addicts cannot get clean any other way. The word disease was thrown in there somewhere too, but I don't remember exactly how.

The question that I had is: Since when is addiction considered a disease? Should it be? Why or why not? 

It seems like this is a very slippery slope. If we consider a heroin addiction (or alcohol or any addiction) a disease so we can provide clean heroin to addicts, where does the line get drawn? Tobacco is also addictive, or at least the nicotine is. Should we then hand out cigarettes to those who are severely addicted to smoking to help them stop? Or what about caffeine? Or sugar? Where does the line get drawn, and who decides? 

I've always thought a disease was a genetic disorder that in some way harms the body. I am thinking of MS, cancer, etc... And if we decide that heroin, ( or alcohol or any addiction) is genetic, then addiction is obsolete and anyone can claim that they are pre disposed to these addictions. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul talks about spiritual gifts. We all have gifts and we are all a part of the same body. It is important that we realize none of these gifts are more important than another. They all have importance and they all have their place. They are all still relevant until we find ourselves in heaven with Jesus Christ. Paul places great importance on these spiritual gifts, but he places even more importance on love in the next chapter. All those things are great, Paul says, but without love it is all meaningless. If we as Christians don't interact with people in love, they will have no interest in what we have to say. 

I have seen no where in scripture where anyone went up to non believers and told them God hates them. That's probably because that is completely opposite of the Truth. God loves everyone exactly as they are right now. He only wants them to come to know His saving grace. God will lead them from there. Each of us have a different function in the body. We all come from different backgrounds, with a different purpose in life. When we go to people in judgement we are stripping them of their God given purpose. God never ordered us to go and judge the world, He said to go and make disciples. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Paris Marathon

The first thing to say about France: their food is much better than German food. I'm not much of a pork person, however, bread, cheese, and chicken? Sign me up.

We left for Paris early Saturday morning. Our plan was to check into our hotel near Disney Paris and then take the train into the expo and do some touring. Unfortunately our room wasn't ready at 11:30am when we showed up to the hotel, so we didn't get to check in first. So off to the train station we went. But before that we stopped at a little mall where we had to buy some baby wipes, since we forgot to pack some. (how?) And we had a little lunch. It was delicious.
 Me & Marty
We bought our two day train tickets and hopped aboard. It was about a forty-five minute, or hour ride to the expo. Thankfully when we showed up the line was very, very short. Like no waiting short. Rarely happens in a race with 40,000+ participants.

Marty, Brian, Me & Madi
This was us arriving at the expo. It was very big. The biggest expo I have ever been to by far. However, also the biggest race I have ever been in as well.
Packet pick up next to our goal times. Brian just about nailed it, running a 4:16. Marty(5:32) and I(4:44) on the other hand didn't quite make it. But for our first marathon we were happy that we finished. This was Brian's 10th marathon. He is much more experienced in this than we are. 
This is how the expo looked. Crowded explains the weekend well. A lot of cool booths at the expo. Cliff Bar was there, however they cannot sell any bars in France, so all we could get was a little sample. It really made me miss the White Chocolate Macadamia bar. We hung out at the expo for an hour or so and gathered lots of brochures for upcoming marathons. 
Future proof that Madi was in Paris. We didn't go up in the tower due to time constraints. I don't think Madi would have liked waiting around that much. She did do a very good job on her first trip though. She mostly slept, and cried only when she was ready to eat. 

Nailed it.

Marty & Emily

Marty and his wife bought locks for us to put on the bridge of locks. I'm not sure the real name for it. Now our love is forever locked in Paris....I guess. :-)
I was mildly jealous.

Race morning. I do not think I had a good enough breakfast. I intended to have my usual eggs and toast, however we forgot to bring eggs. I had a banana instead. I think that was part of my problem. We were pretty excited at this point. We left the hotel around 6:45am and race start was at 8:45 am. Or so we thought.

Waiting around at the start. Marty and I got in line for the bathroom while Brian dropped off our bags at the finish. We didn't think we would see him again until the end at our meet up point, but a little while later while we were walking to the starting line Marty and Brian almost ran into each other. It was kinda funny considering how many people were there. 

Walking to the start line.

Excited for a little longer. 
Brian and I started in the 4:15 goal area, and Marty started behind us in the 4:30 goal area. The starting areas were fenced off with only one little opening. We were pretty sure that we were going to miss the start, however we ended up waiting for about an hour and a half to start after the first group started. The winner finished in just over 2hrs, or, about the time we hit the 5km mark. The amount of clothes left at the start was crazy. It was pretty chilly in the morning, and then by the time the race started people had begun to shed layers. The first 6-8mi had lots of jackets, shirts, gloves, and hats laying next to the road. 

This was the view I had of Brian most of the race. We ran together the first 15mi and then I started to slow down and I waved Brian off and he left me in the dust. I was right on pace through the first half(2:04) but after mile 20 I began to wonder why I signed up for this.

Entertainment along the route. About every few miles there was some sort of band playing music.

It was this crowded the entire time. 
This was somewhere around mile 22. I think because of my lack of breakfast, or lack of training I couldn't push on past mile 20. I ran/walked the last 6.2. And the gels I was taking were starting to make my stomach hurt. I also probably didn't drink enough water. I learned a lot about how to prepare for a race and how to actually race. 

The proof that I did actually make it! Oh yeah, the spectators. The first half of the race was great. It was right through town and there were a ton of people cheering. After about mile 16 it was very sporadic. We ran through a couple parks and on some roads where it must have been inconvenient to get to. I think that made it a little more difficult as well. One cool thing about the bibs is that our first name was printed on them. Occasionally I would hear people actually say my name and shout encouragement. That was pretty neat I thought. Maybe its normal for names to be on bibs in larger races. 

Madi and I at the pool afterwards. The lady folk met us not long after we Marty finished and we jumped on the train and headed back. They also brought us Chipotle. It was probably the best part of the day. I could have eaten two more burritos, but I sufficed with one. The hot tub was a great way to relax. Marty and I really needed it. 

A different Notre Dame. It is smaller than the popular one. It was pretty neat to tour. We did this on Monday on our way home. 

Ally and I got a candle to light and said a prayer of thanks. It was a neat experience. I believe that this specific church was built sometime around 1220. 

The smiling angel. 

After touring the church we went across town (Reims) to tour Taittinger Champagne. In the cellar we toured they store 3 million bottles of Champagne. It ages anywhere from 3-10years before being sold. They have another cellar downtown that stores 18 million bottles of Champagne. 

 I don't think it was this part of the cellar, but in one of the storage areas they had 72,000 bottles. They are all stacked by hand and it took 2 weeks to do that one area. It seems a little daunting to me.

When Madi turns 21 we are going to get her a bottle to celebrate. Hopefully we will not forget. It was actually pretty good Champagne. And I don't usually like Champagne. 

We thought we should have at least one group photo from the weekend. All in all it was a great weekend. I told Marty that we have two more Paris Marathons we can run before we both move. It seems like a pretty good annual tradition.