Church in the church parking lot. And don’t poop in your underpants!

Thankful Notes (#231)

It was supposed to be our annual Kid’s Spring Sing at church today.

And last week was supposed to be our annual Miracle Offering for new outreach projects.

And next week was supposed to be Easter Sunday with Krispy Kreme donuts for everyone and an Easter egg dash for all the kids.

But here we are, in a global pandemic.

We are on pause. We are on hold. We are a little bit locked down.

Of course, we’re not in a complete lock down. And for that I am thankful.

I’m grateful for the things we can still do. We can still operate our food bank. We can still work together following the social distancing measures.

church steps for post

This morning a small team of staff and some volunteers worked our Drive-Thru Food Bank. It was pretty busy today. In fact, it was so busy, Grant (who works at Costco) said he felt like he worked harder at the Drive-Thru Food Bank today than he did at Costco yesterday.

We went through a lot of groceries and toiletries and kid’s activity packs.

Someone came through and told us they weren’t… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—In This Together

Here is our fourth video NWLife podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: In This Together.

We’re in this together. As Pastor and author Brian Zahnd has said, “We like to tell ourselves that we are rugged individualists, that we make our own way in this world, that we are an island set apart and immune to the unexpected and inexplicable changes of life, but all it takes is a tiny fragment of genetic material to remind us of the truth: We’re all in this together.”

In today’s video podcast, Pastor Andy and Shari listen to Viviana share her… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation—Unprecedented

Here is our third video NWLife podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: Unprecedented… unknown territory.

We all find ourselves in this unprecedented situation, none of us have experienced anything quite like it before. It is unknown territory. In today’s video podcast, Pastor Angela and I listen to Suan sharing his story of escaping Burma and traveling a long and difficult road to the United States.

Most of us know Suan as the… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation – The Situation Is Fluid

Here is our second video NWLife podcast featuring our weekly conversation.

Today’s theme: The Situation is Fluid.

We find encouragement when we open up our lives to listen and to share with one another the very real things we are feeling and experiencing. This is what what we witness as Pastor Andy, Pastor Angela, and Leslie spend some time in conversation together, sharing about what the situation is fluid means to them.

Sue Monk Kidd said:

“Who knows at what moment we may begin to wake up to the astonishing fact that Immanuel (God with Us) is still God’s name, and that every moment the Word of God, Jesus Christ, is coming to us.”

At the end of today’s video podcast, Pastor Kyle shares a brand new song he’s written called, Him Who Loves Us. Let this song wash over you like a prayer today!

Verse 1

When you are tired, when you are weary

Find rest in Him who loves us

Is life too heavy, for you to carry

Find strength in Him who loves us

Chorus

Hallelujah, God is faithful… Read More

NWLife Weekly Conversation – In This Together

- - Life With God, Video

He has shown you what is good and told you what he requires of you: To act with justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. —Micah 6.8

For the next so many weeks, as we suspend having in-person services during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering a weekly conversation in the form of a video podcast.

This first one is a conversation between… Read More

I Had A Spa Day

Thankful Notes (#202)

In our family, we use the term “spa day” generously. Rarely does anyone go to a spa. I think the use of “spa day” came about because, when Ashah was younger, she protested when Shari would use the word sabbath. I don’t even know why she didn’t like that word, but Shari just accommodated Ashah and substituted spa for sabbath in conversation.

Our use of “spa day” means something quiet or personally refreshing and enjoyable. It’s a day without pressure or expectation. It’s a day to recharge and just be.

Shari is staying with her our nieces Mila and Elle while their parents are away for a couple of days, so I have the house to myself. And since it’s Saturday, I don’t have… Read More

I believe in the goodness and grace of ordinary moments

Thankful Notes (#171)

Sunday was, of course, Super Bowl Sunday… which meant we weren’t having our usual 5pm church service with a meal served after. It was also the week after Vision Day—our annual celebration of the good things from the previous year and a faith-filled look forward to what we will be doing together this year.

The opening lines of my sermon on Sunday were these:

“Last week was Vision Day—and it was all fresh-baked cinnamon rolls for everyone and confetti falling from the sky and little surprise gifts for the kids.

And so, today is the let down.

No free food. No confetti. No gifts for kids. It’s just me standing up here; that’s all you get.”

I like acknowledging this reality: nobody can sustain “bigger, better, all-new and improved, this is gonna blow your mind” in life. Nobody.

Life has its big moments and it has an enormous (and absolutely necessary) amount of normal, routine, usual ones.

A wedding is one of those big moments—and yet, it’s not the wedding that makes a marriage… it’s the… Read More

Please, please, please God, let it be. I mean, I’ve been through enough already this past year.

Thankful Notes (#79)

(note: I’m writing a thankful note each day and posting on Facebook, but have not continued posting to the blog daily – occasionally I will add one here that I especially like)

As I walked downstairs this morning and looked out the windows, I could see that much of the lake was shrouded in fog. I like it when the view is altered in some way and I love seeing Lake Wilderness in all of the seasons.

For some reason, I changed up my drink this morning and had a Starbucks doubleshot instead of the quad tall Americano that I’ve been having. I was pleased with my choice. This made me reflect back on some of the different drinks I’ve had as “my drink” over the years, including a double tall upside down con pana (basically a mini dessert in a cup), a tall sugar free vanilla flat white, and a triple tall cappuccino. There was also that season, after coming home from a trip to Italy, that I would order a quad espresso. Wowza! I don’t think I could do that now… I need a little fluff.

I had a productive day at work, preparing for this coming weekend. It feels good to have everything figured out, settled, printed, and ready to go so early in the week. I’ve never been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda guy (stress!) and I like to be well-planned, so this has become my routine – first day of the week in the office: get ready for Sunday.

Later in the afternoon when Camper and I got home and Shari came home from her job, we all went for a walk together around the lake as the sun was setting.

The air was brisk and smelled sweet, like pine needles and cedar branches and browning maple leaves.

Camper was especially rambunctious on the walk, lunging after every stick or branch on the ground. She has a thing for large branches—ones that are a good 5-6’ long that she can drag and flip around as we walk (inevitably hitting me in the legs repeatedly).

camper with huge stick for poster

This had me a bit worried because tonight is her dog obedience class graduation. I’m crossing my fingers hoping that she gets all the wiggles and antics out before we go to the… Read More

The Great Stripping Away (or—how I lost some of my faith)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Thankful Notes (#23)

I will always think of this past year as the Great Stripping Away. There were things I intentionally chose to remove from my life, there were things that just happened naturally and in their season, and there were things that felt more forceful, not in my control… more like a taking rather than a giving or letting go.

This past year…

We sold our big 3,000sf home of 10 years in the neighborhood where Ashah grew up

We gave away most of our furniture

I gave away 3/4 of my clothing

My dad started having memory problems

Ashah graduated / turned 18 / has boyfriend / is heading to college – including a study abroad program

We began a complete gut-and-remodel of our little lake house while living in it… which included no heat or water during the snow storm and power outage this winter

We had to move out for some days when the staircase was gutted (leaving no access to bedrooms and the only remaining usable bathroom)

The main level of our house had no walls, no insulation, no lights, etc. for a while

I slept on a cot in the construction zone for a month or two

We had no kitchen, no way to prepare food at home other than with a microwave

We ran out of money to pay contractors and had to borrow in order to keep going

We began a remodel on our rental house so we could sell it

We sold our rental house

We decided to close our Kent campus after some significant setbacks – the youth pastor left to work at another church and took much of the band and our workforce with him; at the same time, an elder/pastor left because of a pending divorce

The church I grew up in, now a multi-site megachurch in our community, hired our youth pastor without any prior contact or conversation with me. Our youth pastor left to work at one of their campuses and took… Read More

Thankful Notes: Just Another Boring Monday

Monday, August 26, 2019

Thankful Notes

After a big and busy weekend, my day off. Nothing to Instagram. Just the same old (cherished) routines…

Making breakfast. Added avocado to the grilled bread, egg, bacon today. That was good.

Walked Camper and myself around the lake. Had a surprise visit from my dad (why this surprises me, I do not know—he’s always showing up to say hi). Mowed the lawn, the old fashioned way, again.

The furniture order arrived (as was expected). I thought I would have some assembly to do (not to the extent of Ikea, but maybe using a hex key to attach legs to things or something like that), and to my delight, I discovered that every chair and stool and ottoman came fully assembled. A day off miracle. Thankful.

The biggest job was breaking… Read More