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Leap Day

Well, this year is a Leap Year and today is the extra day in February known as “Leap Day.”  I have to post today because it is Leap Day.  I won’t get another chance like this for four years.  Today has, for the most part, been a relatively normal day.  That is a good thing.

As I have lived out this relatively normal Leap Day today, I have been reflecting on the passing of time and on the eleven Leap Years that I have experienced in my life.

Here are some highlights that I can remember about the Leap Years of my life:

1968--I don’t remember much about this Leap Year as I was only two years old.

1972--We moved into a new house on an acre on my grandparents’ farm.  I was going into the second grade.  This was a significant event and beginning in my life. 

1976--I remember celebrating the bi-centennial birthday of the United States and I remember that it was the first year I was allowed to drive a tractor—alone.

1980--This was the year that I became a Christian.  This was the most significant event  of my life.

1984--This was the year that I graduated from high school and headed for college.  I  attended Northwest Nazarene College.  This was a significant event in my  life.

1988--This was the year that I graduated from college.  My wife, Dina and I were  married in December of 1987 so this was the first full year of our married life.

1992--We were living in Baker City, Oregon at this time.  I was working as a full-time  music minister in a church.  Dina and I spent three weeks in Guatemala, Central  America on a ministry trip.  At this time I was in the midst of working on a  Master’s Degree in Education.

1996--Sweet little Sarah was born (our second daughter).  Our oldest daughter, Becca,  was two years old.  We were living in Baker City, Oregon.  I was working as a  full-time associate pastor in a church.

2000--We were living in Boise, Idaho.  Dina was a stay at home mom, caring for two  wonderful little girls.  I was working as an assistant principal in a public school  and serving as a bi-vocational pastor/music minister in a church.

2004--We were still living in Boise, Idaho.  Dina was a stay at home mom and was very  involved as a parent volunteer in our daughters' elementary school.  I was  working as an assistant principal in a different school district and serving as a bi- vocational pastor/music minister in a church.  I was also in the midst of working  on a Master’s Degree in Religion/Spiritual Formation.

2008--We are living in South Korea.  We are working/ministering at an International  Christian School and enjoying the adventure.

Lord willing, if I am granted the opportunity to enjoy another Leap Year/Day in 2012 things will look very different. 

In 2012

  • My oldest daughter will be a senior in high school and will be on the cusp of “leaving home” and heading for university
  • My youngest daughter will be finishing up her sophomore year of high school 
  • I hope to have completed a Doctor of Ministry Degree 
  • I will have known and loved my wife for the majority of my life
  • And….I will be beyond using any mid-life crisis excuses

I am both sobered and inspired as I take this leaping look ahead into the future.  My thoughts go to the scripture passage in James 4:13-17

“Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.”

As the mist of my life rises to the heavens and disperses over the next four years or forty years, I want to do the Lord’s will; I want to do the good I ought to do; I want to love the Lord with all that I am; I want to savor the moments of life with my family and friends and I want to live each day—even the normal ones—in a way that recognizes that life is a unique gift from God.

Today, February 29, 2008, won’t come around again in four years.  It is one of kind.

Happy Leap Day!

Wake Up


by Czeslaw Milosz

I looked out the window at dawn and saw a young apple tree translucent in brightness.

And when I looked out at dawn once again, an apple tree laden with fruit stood there.

Many years had probably gone by but I remember nothing of what happened in my sleep.


Dscf1298 The other night Dina and I had the chance to babysit a precious newborn baby named Jacob.  His mom and dad entrusted him to us for an hour while they took a much needed coffee break together.

As I sat on the couch, holding baby Jacob as he slept on my chest, I couldn't help but think about my own two "babies".  It seems like just yesterday that I was holding each of them on my lap.  Where has the time gone?  The days have passed as quickly as an evening of sleep.  The hours of the night.... gone in a blink.

Lord, help me to wake up to those things around me that are most important.

Celebrate When You Can

It was Saturday night.  The end of a very long and exhausting week.  Becca and Sarah, my daughters, were involved in the high school musical, Godspell, and the final musical presentation was Saturday night.

Dscf1290 The musical ran for three nights and was a huge success.  After many weeks of practice and many long hours after school it was finally over.  Becca and Sarah each did a great job in the program and they each had the time of their life.

We got home very late on Saturday night and we were all exhausted and ready for bed....but we had to celebrate.  I ran down the street to a local store and bought some junk food (Bacon Chips...yipes) and some soft drinks and we celebrated the Godspell experience and God's goodness in our lives.Dscf1291

God is good.  Yesterday is gone and there are no guarantees of tomorrow (especially when eating Bacon Chips). 

Today is the day of salvation and.....celebration.

Celebrate when you can.

Pass to Class

Dscf1160 As I stood at the top of the "grand staircase" at our school here in South Korea, this is the view I enjoyed.

The morning air was crisp and the fall leaves were brilliant.  It was in-between classes and students were walking throughout the campus on their way to their next class.  As a group of students ascended the grand staircase, I stopped them when they arrived at the top.

I said, "Turn around, take a moment and enjoy this beautiful view."

They all looked at me funny, laughed nervously and said, "We can't, we're too busy--we will if you give us a late pass to class."

I laughed and they hurried on their way.

I blew it.....I should have kept them there, written them all a pass and encouraged them to breath deeply of the cool morning air and enjoy the beauty of the moment.

Life is a string of connected moments.  Some moments are better thanDscf1165 others.  If you get a good one, enjoy it.

Here is a pass if you need one.

....and live everyday.

2007_0816aug20070023_3 "Shall We Dance Together?  I want to enjoy things and have fun and live every day."

Some of the gift bags, shirts and signs here in South Korea have some very humorous quips and quotes on them.  Here is a picture of a gift bag that I received for my birthday a couple of days ago.  I think the message on the bag is cute and.....profound.2007_0816aug20070011

Here is a funny picture of Mrs. Jung, our high school secretary--she was trying to hold the cake up and stay out of the picture--funny lady and a real sweetheart.  The other picture on this post is a small group of people in the high school office that helped me celebrate my birthday.  From left to right is Ron (my principal), Sheila and Tom (our pastor and his wife), Mike (Student Life Minister) and Mrs. Jung (high school secretary).   It was my privilege to "...enjoy things and have fun...." with these precious people.

2007_0816aug20070008 As I read the world headlines, and think about how quickly 41 years of life have passed by I am reminded that I am but "a vapor," here for a time and then gone from this earth.  What am I doing with my time?  My minutes?  I pray that I am being careful to " every day."

I want to savor the moments and " every day" for Jesus.  In life there are days of dancing but the news headlines and our own lives tell us that there are also days of sorrow and lament.  Even in those days I pray that I may live every day holding tightly to Jesus.  For now, I will laugh with those who laugh and also weep with those who weep--for there is a time for both.

But will all pass away to something so much greater and we will hear Jesus say.............  "Shall We Dance Together?"

Today #1

". . . you pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering."

- Professor Harold Hill, The Music Man

When I was an elementary school teacher I used to have this quote from Harold Hill posted on my classroom wall.  Each morning when I greeted my fourth, fifth, or sixth grade students I would either recite this quote or I would say to them, "Today is the only May 17th, 2007 (or whatever day it was) you and I are ever going to get........ so let's give our best in all we do."

Over the years I could tell that this daily occurrence of focusing upon "today" made a lasting impression on my students.  In all honesty, I said it as much for myself as I did for them.  I wanted to remember the value and realize the potential of the day ahead of me.

I don't teach elementary school anymore and at times I find that I forget the value of "today."  I take "today" for granted and rest upon yesterday's successes or set my hopes on trumped up plans for tomorrow.  In reality all I really have is "today"--yesterday is gone and there is no guarantee of tomorrow.  I need a reminder of the gift of "today" in my life.

Thankfully God reminds me.

Psalm 118:24 says, "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Today is a gift from God.  As the morning sun rises and God hands me the gift of a new day, He assures me of His presence and says, "Let's go give our best and make today worth remembering."