In the Sanctuary at 8:30AM and 11AM -
a blended service of traditional and contemporary elements with communion

In the hall at 9:45AM
scripture, prayer, and creative response with communion

Worship each Sunday @ 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

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We have moved the service that was tentatively planned for this Friday July 13th to Friday, September 21st 7PM-8:30PM in commemoration of th...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New medication seems to have the pinched hiatal hernia behaving nicely and our 500 mile journey from Roanoke to New York went just fine. We took a small jaunt to Gettysburg along the way so that the kids could see a place where they spent some of their early years (We were there from 1996 through 1999) while I attended seminary. To the left is a picture of the boys and I in front of the campus statue of Martin Luther. Piper got to see some co-workers from the days that she worked in the seminary development office. The weather continued to be gorgeous and we took a quick stroll around the grounds reminiscing. It is hard to believe how quickly the years have passed by. We jumped back into the van to push on east as Friday rush hour began to build. We also discovered a secret about our little GPS car navigator - it doesn't like it when a bunch of streets split off into various directions all at once. Piper tells me that it is just me, though - getting lost since I was 18 and still going strong! That might explain how we ended up at the Port of Newark or went to my sister's house in Baldwin (NY) via Manhattan. I swear that the GPS navigator knew my fear of driving in New York City and decided to show me some tough love.

Saturday we took the train to Penn Station, picked up the subway to South Battery and the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.

Getting on the ferry is about as fun as going through security at the airport, except for the two hour long line. On the plus side there were many interesting musicians, artists, and tourists to observe along the way. One fellow played the saw with a violin bow, another the steel drums, while a third blew on a beat up old trumpet. One singer, who must have been in his 70's, sang Caruso to a scratchy old cassette. A quartet of Latin men dressed up like the Statue of Liberty, donning rubber "Liberty" masks, crowns, Ray Bans and double length green robes (they were standing on stilts or some tall box) and invited folks to come and take pictures, draping them in the American flag and handing them a torch to hold (This is New York, after all.) If that isn't kitschy enough, in the official Liberty Island store you can buy a plastic Statue of Liberty filled with 100% pure maple syrup. We took the guided tour - our US Park Service guide rocked. He must do stand up in the off-season. The Statue continues to be off-limits to visitors above the base level (Thanks to 9-11) and we didn't have reserve tickets (needed to enter the base), so we wandered the grounds and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

We grabbed the ferry and headed off to Ellis Island (It wasn't opened when I was a kid, but now it is really something). We caught a play about Bela Lugosi's immigration experience there (yes, that Bela Lugosi). My ancestors came here before Ellis Island got up and running, but one can't help but appreciate what it was like when our doors were wide open and millions of people flooded in and built our nation (literally).

Feeling adventurous, we took the subway to Broadway and wandered around the city a bit. (Here we are at Radio City Music Hall). Luke enjoyed the two story Nintendo store, while we all took in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Theater district. After a false-start and one phone call to my city-wise sister (some how we ended up at Central Park) we grabbed the "C" train to Penn Station and then the LIRR back to Rockville Center.

Tomorrow I baptize my niece, Olivia Grace. Blessings to All!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The night before we departed North Georgia, I had the opportunity to visit the local hospital at about one o'clock in the morning when my hiatal hernia decided to, in the words of the doctor,"pinch." Pinch is such a cute word. Grandmas pinch us on our cheeks. We "pinch an inch" to see how the tire is growing around our middle. My pinch doubled me over so harshly that morphine and demerol together barely took the edge off. Here is an actual conversation from the cardiac ER room.

PIPER: "Nurse, do you think you can hook the morphine drip up again, it barely got started when they took my husband for x-rays."

NURSE: "That drip is only saline, the morphine was already injected."


NURSE: "I'll go find the doctor."

The drive to the hospital through the mountains was quite an experience. Piper rode shotgun pointing out every deer, raccoon, and opossum that came out to investigate the headlights in some sort of suicide pact. I heard that the trip home was even worse, but I was out cold in the back of the car. The combination of pain killers, anti-nausea drugs, and reflux medicine and 10 hours of sleep did the trick.


We headed north to visit Roanoke College, our visit college visit for Christian. Great tour, beautiful campus and town, and wonderful school. They have certainly set the bar high for our subsequent visits to other schools. We heard that it was 97 degrees last week - today it was maybe 80 with a dry, soft breeze. Mountains greeted us in every direction. Wow!

We have two more Lutheran colleges to visit before the year is out and several art schools.

While in Roanoke we paid a visit to the Transportation Museum - trains - cool! And climbed up Mill Mountain to see the largest man-made star in the world - built in 1949 - to attract people to Roanoke during the Christmas season.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Well, the last week has been a blur.
It was quite the mad dash to pack up two-thirds of the parsonage in order to get it ready for the contractor. We completely filled a 16 foot POD (thanks to Ron, whose help proved so critical on Sunday). Old appliances went to Faith Farm. Most of the old furniture went here and there. The amount of trash once we went through every closet in the kitchen, every drawer in the bedroom, every shelf and box in the storage room bordered on the obscene and would have created a pile high enough to qualify as the second largest hill in the south Florida. All the while we had to pack for our estimated three weeks away (the estimated length of the work) and figure out what to do with the pets (Thanks Jeff and Janean, The Vegas, Jeanne Myers, and the Fureys).

It was odd walking around a mostly empty house and realizing that what we will return to will be much different. Sounds echoed off the walls and rooms seemed so much bigger. By the time the POD was locked and the last room emptied and the van packed up it was nearly 6PM - we only managed to get to Orlando before we gave up and called it a day. Monday we drove some 500 miles to North Georgia.

As I write this I am sitting on my in-laws back deck, listening to the sounds of Cooper Creek rush by. The kids are splashing around and a nearby hammock beckons me. Tall pines and maples and firs shade us in. Peace at last!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Most Blessed of Birthday Presents

Well, 16 years ago this past week [June 5th] the phone rang in my office and my office mate called me over to inform me that my wife was on the line.

"I think my water broke," she said. Calmly. Matter-of-factly.

My super-husband response: "Are you sure? How do you know?"

Followed immediately by: "Do you want me to come home or wait a bit and see what happens?"

(I was in shock folks, really).

Now, given the circumstances she could really have laid into me here, but if you know Piper, even in the throws of early labor, she let it go and suggested that I come home.

Which for the record, I did.

Fifteen minutes and no speeding tickets later I raced to collect up her suitcase and bundle her off into the car. "You better open you birthday present now," she said, "We don't know when we will be back." To be honest, when I try to remember, I have no idea what was beneath the wrapping paper that day, but the true gift would come a few hours later. Christian didn't waste any time being born - and we have celebrated our joint birthdays ever since. This year it is 43 for me and 16 for him and now we see eye to eye. Literally.

Where do the years go?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

June 3, 1989 - June 3, 2008


Former Mulligan Junior High School Backgammon Champion loses to 9 year old Playing his Second Game Ever!

Well, Luke beat me at backgammon.

One of the first benefits of sabbatical has been that the very first day Luke approached me to play something that didn't require electricity or super human reflexes.

I taught him to play backgammon on Monday and he beat me on Tuesday.

I'm dusting off chess as soon as possible. Or Scrabble.

I know a lot of words.

These Feet Were Made for Walking
Started walking today (gotta walk before you can run).

2.2 miles doesn't seem like very much, but at 11AM and running out of water, my motivtion faltered. I'm at 182 pounds and hope to shed ten of those this summer if I can convince my stomach that my knees and back deserve more attention and less of a load to bear.

Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 19th Wedding anniversary.

Amazing how times flies!

I tell every couple during our pre-marriage meetings that one of the greatest blessings of marriage is that as husband and wife we can together become more than we could ever be apart.

That we round one another's edges and coax from inside one another gifts waiting for such commitment and deep love to give them birth.

Well, I'm not the person that I was those 19 years ago and I believe that God has blessed me through Piper to become who I am today (OK, just the good stuff - the rest is from those times when I failed to heed her advice). Anyway, everyone's marriage is different, looks different, works differently, but the common denominator always has to be commitment, trust and love.

Laughing helps. I am working on that this sabbatical, too.

Laughter is the Best Medicine (and Free!)
I heard myself laugh the other night once all of the sabbatical planning was done and Piper and I were relaxing watching some of the early first season episodes of "Dharma and Greg" on DVD.

I have a ridiculously bizarre laugh.
Like a near sighted Elephant Seal snorting off at some iceberg that he mistakes for a rival.
I never noticed that before. How silly my laugh sounds.

Memo to self: laugh more. Humility from the sound is good for the soul.

Parsonage Update
The work on the parsonage is coming closer to commencing.
Another walk-through with Janean (who is overseeing the project on behalf of the church council and Trinity - we can not thank you enough!) and two representatives from the renovation company.

The Portable Storage Unit was delivered and we'll start the work of filling it tomorrow. In about a week and a half it will move on to off-site storage and we'll move on to our road trip north and the kitchen, bathrooms, carpet and so forth will be gutted and removed and then replaced.

Ever in Christ,