From a first time blogger, thoughts about life from an American missionary now living in the US after years in Russia and doing a lot of back and forth. Family stuff, Christian content, sports innuendo and lots of quotes from good books.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Don't lose your marbles!!!

I’m not a math guy. I don’t do well with fractions, quadratic equations, or pi. I’m OK with counting, but that about does it.
But, here I am writing to you about math and fathering…definitely, a Familyman first. In fact, I’ve been pondering math all week. It all started as I was tooling down the road listening to the radio.
The smooth voice on the other end explained how he was going to place a marble in a jar for every Saturday he had left of his expected life span. Since he was over wasn’t a lot. Then, he was going to throw away one marble as each Saturday passed to remind him that his time was running out.
I’ve been thinking about marbles and math ever since. Let’s apply this marble principle to fathering. Say we got a big jar and placed a marble in it for every Saturday of our child’s growing up years (18 years or 900 marbles).
So if you have an 11-year-old, you have about 350 marbles left in the jar. You with me? 18 minus 11 equals 7, times 50, equals 350. In the case of an 11 year old son, the jar is well over half-empty.
Only 350 Saturdays are left to spend with an 11 year old. That sounds like a lot, but it isn’t. And if you have a 15-year-old, you’re down to 150 marbles.
The thing about marbles is that you can only use them once. If you waste one by playing with the guys, being away on business, or spending it doing your own thing…it’s gone.
Right now, I’m holding a marble in my hand; it’s this Saturday’s marble. It holds a lot of promise. My kids long for this coming marble...I mean Saturday. They’re hoping for a backyard campout...but I might be too tired or the timing might not be good.
That’s the thing about marbles. We dads hold them in our hand. We decide what we’ll do with them, how we’ll use them, and then when we’re done; we reach in the jar and toss them away.
That’s why I work so hard to remind you of what’s most important, because it all boils down to a jar full of marbles. I’ve set a jar of marbles on my desk to remind me that marbles matter.
Dad, let me encourage you to do a little math, and count how many marbles you have left with your child. And then make this “marble” a good one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


A light bulb at a fire station in Livermore, California, has been burning since 1901. That's right...since 1901. Non-stop. Without being turned off (save the roving power outages of the early 2000's probably). You think someone at GE, somewhere along the way the last 103 years, realized that there is no money to be made in light bulbs that last 100+ years? Notice how "long lasting" is really not a selling point that light bulb makers use? To the light bulb makers, a shame shame is due you...

Monday, September 20, 2004

WOW kinda weather

If you were not in Atlanta this weekend, I honestly feel for you. I cannot remember a more perfect weekend of weather than what we just had. Actually, it is now Monday at 10.42 and it seems not to have left us. This is the first time my family and I have been in the U.S. in September since 1999. I had forgotten how beautiful fall is (today in Novosibirsk, it is raining and 42 degrees) and had forgotten how loudly God speaks through nature of this sort.

Of course, round these parts, God has been speaking through other forms of weather lately too, namely hurricanes. While not a gentle whisper, you can be sure that God is desiring to communicate something to us. Ever thought of that? Ever thought that it is God's desire to connect with the world through the tragedies of Beslan, Russia, Hurricanes Charlie, Frances and Ivan? I don't pretend to know why he allows/causes such things to happen but I am sure he is speaking. I heard Alan Henderson (wonderful leader of the Southern Crescent Church in Tyrone, GA) yesterday say that trite and shallow answers to heady questions simply will not do. He's right. It is a hard question to know why God is allowing all of this nature to come our way here in the south. Why is God using hurricanes to speak to us right now instead of something a bit more "calm"? Why does God allow my dad to live on with Alzheimer's or your relative continue suffering with cancer? Maybe what God is desiring to say to us right now should not illicit calm at all but rather a stormy conviction and shake up within. I don't know why he is doing this but I am quite sure that it is God who is doing it. Indeed, he is speaking. Again, the question rings forth, "will we listen?"

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Likely contributed to his death? You really think?

Following up on my Rick James thought of a few weeks back, I found this on today:

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Flamboyant funk musician Rick James had nine drugs in his system when he died suddenly in August, including cocaine, methamphetamine, valium and vicodin, according to a coroner's report Thursday.

James, 56, died in his sleep on August 6 in his Los Angeles home of a heart attack, but the drugs in his system likely contributed to the organ's failure, the report said.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Been a while...

Been nearly a week since I've checked email, blogs or anything else laptop related. I'm in the process of swearing off cell phones right now and am even cutting down on online time. My family needs and deserves this (less computer time) and my need for some quietness make life without a cell phone quite desirable to me. Not exactly the life of an innovator but it is, I hope, descriptive of a guy who wants to turn it off sometimes and tune in to those closest to him.

Anyone need the same???

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Loss? Gain? The same!

A dear friend of mine died yesteday. I met Gwynneth Curtis in August of 1993 in a frightening dormitory like place in Moscow. He heard me and some friends speaking English and moved on over to check us out. He found out we were missionaries in Siberia, were young and (fairly) open minded and envisioned spending our lives serving the Lord in Russia. He planted a seed that day that continues to bear fruit in my life even up till this moment. He challenged me to finish my commitment in Russia and then consider coming to Abilene Christian University for grad school in cross cultural ministry. I did and I did. My time at ACU was good on many levels with one of the best being the meetings, planned and not, with Gwynneth over coffee, BBQ or just sitting in his office. I've never met a man more gifted to work in the role that he did - recruiting, training, sending and blessing missionaries to go work in Eastern Europe. It was his passion and it showed.

So, did I lose a friend yesterday? Yes, sort of. I can't call him or email him or eat real Texas BBQ with him anymore but I am part of a legacy he leaves behind. Focused on raising the name of Jesus up in Eastern Europe, I will also be. In that sense, I have gained much.