On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Greatest Got The Worst

Why is it that the human heart is always wandering? Nothing seems to be ever good enough and I am always thinking about the “next” change in our lives… the “next” house, the "next" career, the “next” thing to buy, the “next” trip to take… Is this what it means to be a (fallen) human? To always be seeking after the “next” thing for fulfillment? Of late since returning from vacation, we have been contemplating what the “next” thing in our life is going to be, because after being challenging and convicted by “Crazy Love”, obviously our current way of living is not “good” enough as Christians. I have thrown out some wild and some not so wild, but still big life changing ideas to Lynette in the past few weeks. Which is right? Which is wrong? Which is holier?, etc. Contentness is lacking. How do we be truer to God than we are now? When is what we are doing enough? Is selling everything, going to seminary, and living a life of self-imposed lack of comfort the way to demonstrate radicalness? or is that just stupidity? I thought I would give it all a rest, to just stop my wandering heart, and just be content in the moment and live.

Our pastor has been preaching on the book of Mark this year and I definitely have not really been paying much attention. Between work and being on-call, raising our children, going on vacations, living life… not a single sermon preached has made any impact nor do I remember any of them. Is that a sad statement or what? To belong to a church and have my pastor intensively preach on one book all year long and yet, not be able to recall any one point he has made. It is a failure of listening on my behalf and a failure of not desiring God. Last week, the sermon series continued and he was apparently trying to tie what Mark has to say into changing the way we serve at church. He asked just for each person to just take 5 minutes out of our day to think about a particular point in his sermon outline – sounds simple, right? I mean… 5 minutes a day for a Bible exercise, that’s not asking much at all. Well, all I did was get as far as Monday where I briefly thought about point #1 – “The Greatest got the worst”. What happened to the rest of the week, I cannot really say other than I would momentarily remember that I was supposed to take 5 minutes to think about one of his sermon points, but then forgetting about it and feeling slightly guilty the next day about not doing it.

The Greatest got the Worst – What this means to me…

“IN THE BEGINNING GOD”… in complete unity between God the CREATOR, God the WORD, and God the HOLY SPIRIT – had a plan to create a world to be enjoyed by mankind, his crowning creation. “Let Us create man in OUR image…” We were to be his representation as stewards over creation, in an eternal love fellowship with God. We lost that when we desired what Satan enticed us with over what God said. Given the freedom to choose life, man chose death. But God already knew, He had a plan. It is difficult for me to intellectualize that when God created man, he already knew that those He created and declared VERY GOOD would fall and desire more than just being the great legacy as God’s children that was already bequeathed, thereafter continue to run away from His will, and that He would ultimately have to be the one to save us. Why would God go to all this trouble for us? That is just the way He is... He LOVES.

As a husband and father of a 3 year old and a 1 year old, I am amazed at the love that lies within my heart for my family. I love being married to Lynette, and I love being a daddy! In the union of man and woman we reflect God’s nature. The love for my children as a father knows no bounds. In my limited humanness, I would say that my love for them is limitless. I would do anything for them. If they hurt, I would do whatever was within my power to alleviate their pain. It hurts me deep inside when they cry. Even if it cost me my life to protect them then so be it. As a responsible parent, I correct them when I see that they need correction and manipulate and mold them in order to teach them because they do not know any better since they do not know how the world we live in works. They may not like it when it is happening but the final outcome is to their benefit. So too, I am beginning to better understand how God must feel and why God did what He did for us.

A God who doesn’t love would not have done it this way. The Bible would have told a different story. An imaginary God would just erase/destroy what was created and start over again. An imaginary all-powerful God who doesn’t love would not want eternal fellowship with us. But a real God who loves us and considers us as His children, would try to save us, would die for us if He thought that was the only way we could be saved. And what a bold and selfless plan it was…

Born not into comfort but into the humblest of settings, God the Word became flesh! Jesus, the Christ, came into the world as 100% human, yet still 100% God, chose to limit himself as a human being, in order to show us the way back to God, in order to reconcile us to God. We all know how that went – the audacity of what man did to our God… he was rejected, mocked, beaten, ultimately physically destroyed in horrific fashion, pierced… bled and died taking upon himself, the weight of humanity’s sinful acts against God. The blood aspect of the sacrifice never really meant much to me, but I have found new meaning now that I think about it. What is so significant about blood and sacrificing in the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die for us?

As a physician, blood means life. It carries oxygen to our vital organs necessary for the maintenance of life. When someone is injured in trauma, bleeding and dying, what do we do as healthcare providers? We give them a blood transfusion to try to save them. Blood however also is what ties us together as a family. People talk about bloodlines. It is a identifier of who we are as a human race. I can see how Jesus by willingly choosing in the manner he did, proved that he identified with mankind by becoming one of us, then dying/sacrificing for His children, in order to save them. It’s what any parent would do for their children. It’s what I would do. He suffered as no man ever did, our sinful humanity covered by his personal sacrifice thereby propitiating God’s wrath, claiming a blood heritage between the all powerful God and the creation man, tying God and man together once and for all, in order to show us the depths of love that the one true God would go to in order to not destroy his children. By rising victoriously over death he showed us that He is the one true God and pointed us back towards TRUTH. This God-man, servant-King, related to humanity through blood, showed us that ultimately the source of eternal life is in and through Him only. This is why in the end (as the song goes) ,every knee shall bow… every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

This is a story I can relate to. This is a story I can believe in. This is a story that in my heart I can sense as true. For only a father would willing do such a thing and die for his children in such a manner in order to save them. The 5 minute exercise this past Monday of thinking about "The Greatest got the worst"... is TRUTH. However, I failed the rest of the week in thinking about much else!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

She's All Girl!

She loves her shoes...

In our shoeless household, we've had to designate a pair of Libby's footwear as "indoor shoes." She wakes up in the morning asking for shoes even before breakfast!

She loves her handbag...

We broke down and bought her a "Hawaii" purse when she persisted on carrying a ripped paper sack around the condo. And, oh yes, she puts things inside...

Specifically, her phone...

And the girl can carry on a conversation with the best of them!

Accessories are always a plus...

(I still need to teach her a thing or two. I don't think goggles around the neck will be the latest jewelry fad anytime soon.)

Tom hasn't given up hope that she'll keep her horizons broad and also enjoy hiking boots and a backpack for outdoor adventures.

Yet More C-boyisms

Caedmon: "Daddy what are you doing?"
Tom: "I need some peace."
Caedmon to me: "Mommy, Daddy said he's knees and peas."

Caedmon has been the mail person in our house lately. He pushes Libby's Fisher Price mail cart around and delivers mail to each member of the family. If you ask him what the letter says, he'll tell you! It's almost always from him, and it usually says something like, "I love you! from Caedmon" or "Hugs and Kisses from Caedmon" or "I love Libby." We all love getting mail...sometimes Tom and I find letters by our bed before we go to sleep at night. We can't ask C what they mean but we know they were delivered by a loving mailman.

Yesterday, Caedmon told us he was going on a safari. He disappeared into our bedroom for 10 minutes or so. We peeked at him but he was just hanging out playing with his cars. Eventually he reemerged and said, "Mama, I just had so much fun on my safari." When I asked him what he saw, he replied, "I saw a gorilla and he played with me." I asked what they played. "The gorilla played cars with me!" I bet that's the first time a gorilla played with matchbox cars!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Storm In My Life

(a contemplation inspired by reading "The Shack")

Who am I when I am…
So bold as to believe that I am in charge of my life
Giving the same old excuses to live the same life… unchanged
Happy within the safety-net of the status quo of family, work, and church
Serving (when convenient) out of my abundance rather than my lack
Not really hurting anyone, but not really doing much either…
Those who deny JESUS can do the same.

Dare I to trust in Him? Do I love Him?
All too easily my lips say, “I do!”
Do I really consider the cost when I sing that He’s my All in All?
The way of the world is not eternal
I need to give up seeking after the ease of the world which I so easily justify
Rely solely upon Him, Not my insurance policies, not my 401K accounts
False is the security of money

To follow Him is to…
Keep Him first in ALL I say and do
Truly LOVE those I find different and unlovable
LISTEN, he who has ears let him hear
Get out from the midst of the thorns
And be planted into good ground
By my fruits I will declare myself.

Though a physician, I cannot “Heal Thyself”
I am still but a SINNER
The Holy Spirit tugs at me during brief interludes of my life
Less to self, more for God’s Kingdom
Remember, Repent, Return
Re-NEW my heart Lord
So I can Re-LIVE... Re-LOVE… be Re-STORED
Help my unbelief!

The first step is the hardest when FAITH is weak
What did Peter think before he stepped out of the boat?
Help me to run to You at the sound of your voice
Like my children running into my arms when I come home
Let my steps be a pleasing testimony to you
As great my love for my children, help me to see that you love me even more
And may the unity between my wife and I, be a reflection of You
Help me to believe wholly that the tapestry of our lives You weave is GOOD.

By His GRACE only…
God loves me
Desires me
Pursues me
Died and Rose VICTORIOUS for me

I want to know God
Love God
Desire God
Pursue God
Live radically for God

Won’t you join me in this prayer today?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kauai 2009: More Island Adventures

Since our Eastern coast condo had WiFi, we had great aspirations of keeping our bloggy readers more up to date on our travels once we left the North shore. Instead, I finished writing this post 3 days after we arrived home and barely out of my jet lagged stupor. Alas, pictures are worth a thousand words so rather than bore you with too many words, I'll do more pictures, less words. (BTW, the picture above is Tom's favorite drive in all of Kauai... a Eucalyptus Tree Tunnel that he loves so much because of the sense of calm and beauty he feels when he drives through it).

We were pleasantly surprised at how nice our next condo was. Although we missed the amazing ocean views (what better decor do you really need), our new place still had a small view of the ocean and also easy access to the pool. Besides a regular pool and a "keiki" (kiddie) pool, the resort also had a nice sand box with more sand toys than Caedmon could ever use. Needless to say, he was quite happy.

The beach that bordered the resort was rather rocky and the ocean was too rough for swimming. However, there was a great swimming beach just a short drive away. We spent 3 of our five mornings there. Besides having calm waters to swim and good castle-building sand, it also had a really great playground so after we had enough surf and sand, we enjoyed swings and slides. Always a hit with our kiddos!

Being an early bird family, we planned most of our adventures for early mornings. Besides the beach, we did a few touristy things. We enjoyed the beauty and diversity of God's creation, taking in some waterfalls and the "Hawaiian Grand Canyon," aka Waimea Canyon. We also visited Hanapepe and walked across the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge.

Caedmon and I also enjoyed a Hula show. It was a 5pm show and Libby was spent so Tom opted to stay home and feed her dinner and put her to bed. Caedmon really enjoyed the show, though. I had planned to leave after a dance or two but the little man insisted that we stay until the VERY end.

So that's Kauai 2009 in a nutshell...or should I say, a coconut shell, since it took us several posts to share our adventure with you. The pictures make it look like it was all beautiful sunsets and aromatic leis, but as with any family travel we also had our fair share of stressful moments, misunderstandings and disagreements, teary eyes and poopy diapers. Fortunately, the happiest parts are what always stand out in our memories. And truly, spending two weeks in island paradise together, left us rested and thankful for the abundance of uninterrupted family time as we marveled at God and His breathtaking creation. As we return to our daily routine, we have been convicted by our vacation reading of "Crazy Love", that our lives must be more centered on bringing glory to our Creator. We're not exactly sure what changes this will inspire but we are thankful for the time we've had to contemplate how God wants us to live in relationship with Him. With another set of adventures tucked into our family story, we wish you all ALOHA !!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reflections on the Shores of Kauai

You are GOD, the Almighty... Needing no one, yet wanting us as an inheritance... Crazy
The Alpha and the Omega, standing outside of time
We are but Man, who deny this truth, in order to play as gods of the earth
Fools on the Road to Destruction
Shadows… beguiling, mesmerizing, shadows of heaven on earth
That make me think I am in paradise, or so I believe

Can our lifeless, automated, plugged in cities compare to the majesty of your creation?
Can we hold back the oceans at the shore with but a whisper?
Can we carve canyons out of the mountainside?
Can we paint anything more colorful compared the the hues You prepare in the skies?
As the grains of sand trickle in between my toes, I cannot even fathom this simplest of your creations
You have numbered every piece, each one different
How much more intricate and awesome you made us, yet we deny You

But creation testifies…
The sun warms our aging bodies
The sea breeze rushes past my ears declaring You are God
The surf crashes continuing its never-ceasing song of worship
And we… we are but man, and to dust we will return

Floating on my back in the ocean, the waters envelope me
Trying to cup it only to feel it slipping through my fingertips
Seeing the daytime moon against the bright blue of the sky
Hearing the waves against the rocks
Tasting the spray of the saltwater
Smelling the cleanliness of the ocean air
I am alive, I am here now, all my senses attuned

Breathing, contemplating…
The world as I know it is not my home
It's too comfortable and safe to live the way I am on this wide road
Which in the end does NOT lead to You

You, Lord, are all there is
You, Lord love and give life

We must break free from the world man has created
Pilgrims, aliens, strangers are we to be in this world
Pray for the strength to change our lives to live as Christ exampled for us
We are called to shine and help point others back to our lost home
Live, Live, Live in the light of that knowledge

Kauai 2009: Good Eats

We always look forward to good fruit and fresh fish when we travel to Hawaii. We tend to eat most of our meals at the condo, stocking up on supplies before we settle in. However, we did enjoy some fine and tasty dining out on Kauai this year. Here is a sampling of our vacation in food...

Yummy Plate Lunch of Garlic Shrimp, rice and cabbage slaw from Savage Shrimp Truck:

Our hummus fix from the Mediterranean Gourmet:
Date night at Postcards Cafe - taro fritter appetizer, Monchong fish for dinner and chocolate pie and coconut sorbet for dessert. Mmmmm!:

Gourmet breakfast by Tom in our lovely condo by the sea - eggs, bacon and taro english muffins:
Kilauea Fish Market - our favorite for taste and freshness but we could do without the friendly flies in the outdoor eating - shrimp cocktail, fish tacos, fish plate lunch, tofu wrap and Korean beef:

We forgot to take pictures of Tom's all time favorite Kauai eating establishment - Hamura's Saimin Stand (although I did scrounge up a picture of saimin) but we did bring home some of their famous Lilikoi (passionfruit) pie:

If you're going to be on vacation, you might as well enjoy a good burger. That philosophy led us to Bubba Burger for lunch one afternoon. And enjoy, we did! Burgers, fries, onion rings and milkshakes all around:

We usually make a stop at Kalaheo Coffee Shop on our way to see the western part of the island, but we bypassed it this time and instead, popped into Hanapepe Cafe & Bakery. It was worth the change. The pastries were divine and the coffee was fresh, too:

When we ventured out that morning, we didn't plan on driving all the way up to the canyon, but since we did, it was time for lunch when we drove back into Waimea. Since the kids love shrimp, the Shrimp Station seemed to be a logical choice for us:

We tried to be good photojournalists and take pictures of every fine dining experience, but we did miss a few. Other favorites were fish (Mahi Mahi and Opakapaka) and chips at Hanalei Gourmet and ahi nori wraps at Caffe Coco. The wraps were so yummy that we intend to try to recreate them at home! As you can tell, we enjoyed some good food!!
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