September 28, 2009

“To live and die in Dixie”


View from the top of the cemetery
looking toward town

merican by birth. Southern by the grace of God.

This was the quote hanging over the door to my bedroom when I was in high school. In the intemperance of youth, my reasons for aligning myself with the Confederacy were a bit misplaced. But Dr. Rembert Carter’s Western Civilizations course and his emphasis on studying primary documents rather than the history books written after the fact helped intellectually align my thinking with history, philosophy, politics, and theology. I am now more Southern than ever.

Allow that small bit of trivial context to help you understand why my family feels so at home here in Front Royal, Virginia.

We moved here just one month ago. And we loved the town right from the start. But as we have gotten to know the town and her people a bit better, we have just fallen more and more in love with Front Royal. This past Saturday, despite in impending rain storm, we decided to go exploring a bit more in the town—and our new-found love affair continues to increase in passion.

This is a truly Southern town. As we explored the town, we found the Front Royal Heritage Society, the Civil War Rifle Museum, and the Front Royal Visitor’s Center and Front Royal museum. The visitor’s center is actually housed in the historic Front Royal train station, long since replaced by a more modern train station a little ways out of town. This little museum explains the origin of the name Front Royal, the circumstances that led to Bing Crosby’s building a baseball stadium here, and many other very interesting things.

Mosby’s Monument with a cannon—top left of picture

“Erected 1899 by the survivors of Mosby’s Command in memory of seven comrades executed while prisoners of war near this spot.”

The cemetery, which is absolutely beautiful and is still being expanded and used today, contains many graves from the War Between the States as well as graves from Revolutionary War times. Two Civil War cannons flank a monument at the top of the main hill. This monument is a tribute to a group of Confederate soldiers known as Mosby’s Raiders. Some of Mosby’s Raiders were executed by Yankee troops while being held as prisoners of war. The inscription on the monument is in the callout box to the left.

David posing at some
playground equipment

Front Royal also has a ton playgrounds around the town. David has always loved playgrounds, so this is a feature of particular interest to him. And the best playground in our town is the huge one right next to our house.

So as we were exploring the town this past Saturday, David made use of a playground we had not noticed before while Kim and I took pictures of some of the houses along the street and visited a small shop nestled in the midst of the houses there. The log house you see below is actually one of the residential houses there on the street. The neighboring houses include Colonial homes, grand Victorians, early 20th century farm houses, and homes from the 1950s and 1970s. So Front Royal is Southern and yet eclectic.

Old log home near the center of town

I have a lot of Yankee friends who may not understand the appeal here. And I hope none of you are offended by my deep-rooted Confederate nature. However, I will end today’s post with a quote from Edward A. Pollard, editor of the Richmond Times Herald during the period of the War of Northern Aggression (or as the Yankee re-writers of history have misnomered it, the American Civil War).

A large proportion of the active politicians of the North pretended to give in their adhesion to the State Rights school of politics; but, like all the alliances of Northern politicians with the South—selfish, cunning, extravagant of professions, carefully avoiding trials of its fidelity unhealthy, founded on a sentiment of treachery to its own section, and educated in perfidy—it was a deceitful union, and could not withstand the test of a practical question.’s a written history rather than a primary document. But at least it was written by an eye-witness shortly after the war ended. And you just gotta love the antipathy dripping from the prose.

American by birth—Southern by the grace of God!

Blog Header - September 28, 2009

Today’s header photo is of one of Main Street, Front Royal, Virginia. You can see a clock on the right side of the street with the name of the town at the top of the clock. This town has a Norman Rockwell feel to it and on this particular street I often feel like I have slipped back in time by about 40 or 50 years. And it’s a nice feeling.

September 27, 2009

Great Is Thy Faithfulness


Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy had hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

September 26, 2009

Blog Header - September 26, 2009



e have found the town of Front Royal to be a place of immense beauty. Although we’ve lived here for just one month now we have had multiple opportunities to drive around and appreciate this scenic town.

Today’s header photo is of the gorgeous Glen Manor—across the street from our son’s high school. The road leading to Glen Manor winds through the mountains and the vistas and views along the way are breathtaking. Of course, the next road over (just a few hundred yards away) is the entrance to Skyline Drive, which I imagine will be hammered with tourists in about two weeks as the leaves hit their full color.

God’s creation is so glorious and his grace in allowing all of us (believers and non-believers) to see and appreciate it boggles the mind.

September 25, 2009

Glorifying God ... by juggling


1 Corinthians 14:40

But all things should be done decently and in order.


am aware that the directive given in 1 Corinthians 14:40 was not aimed at stand-up comedy or vaudeville entertainment. But this verse gives us a glimpse into God’s character—God is a God of order. He likes precision.

As the highest order of God’s created beings, man is actually made in the image of God. Man is the only creature on earth capable of diverse and varied creation. Granted, we can’t create anything from nothing. But we can create. And if we are to show God’s image through our creativity, we must do things decently and in order.

I think this video is an example of musical timing and precision that fits the description of doing things decently and in order. I don’t know if this juggler intended to glorify God with his act, but his incredible precision and creativity show the glory of God’s divine image in mortal man.

Simply astounding!

BeeGees Medley


Yet another one from Perpetuum Jazzile:

September 24, 2009

Clearing up confusion


y recent reconnection with old friends has been a delight, and I thank God for his grace in blessing me this way. God gets the glory, not Facebook, even though Facebook was the medium God used for the reconnection.

Reconnecting with Mary Fuller has been a particular joy and I love co-authoring this blog with her. We think and write in similar ways, so we tend to spark each other’s imaginations and creativity. But sometimes our similar writing styles and thinking styles have left our friends confused about who is writing which post.

So we have developed a banner for each of us. From now on you’ll see my unique banner above my posts and Mary’s unique banner above her posts. We hope that helps alleviate some of the confusion.

Mary’s banner


Rich’s banner


By the way—this is Rich writing this particular post.

Update on Sometimes It Is Blessed to Receive


Original post from September 21


ate yesterday afternoon I received word from my surgeon on the results of the CAT scan. They found one large mass and three smaller ones on the parotid gland, which is a salivary gland in front of the ear and at the back of the jaw. He referred me to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor. I will call today to make an appointment. Surgery is necessary. I’m not sure if the ENT will do a biopsy before surgery or just schedule surgery for removal of the gland and biopsy it then.

I asked if it was possibly cancerous, and the surgeon said “it is suspicious.” The surgery is tricky because of the facial nerves which run through that area, that’s why I was referred to the ENT.

Prayer requests:

I am a musician who plays clarinet in an orchestra. I also teach private voice, clarinet, and piano in a music studio. The possibility exists, though remotely, that the surgery could damage nerves that limit my function as a musician. Though it is not as important as my health, it is still a concern for me. Pray that I will be content with whatever direction God takes in this area. My gifts are His to give or set aside for His glory.

My family is obviously concerned. They are incredible people, and my husband has been an absolute rock to me in this journey. He is my best friend. My children are also incredible. Pray that God will comfort them all as they journey through this with me. Pray, too, that this journey will draw them closer to God and teach them to trust Him even in the rough places.

Pray that I will continue to acknowledge the full range of emotions as I whether this storm. It's healthier, and it's also more humble. I want to be an opportunity to shine God's glory, but my vessel won't be as shiny if I am not honest with myself and others.


I could give you about ten neat things that God has done already that demonstrate that He has already prepared this path ahead of me. Among them are a lighter schedule this year (due to my husband's insistence that I not over commit), fairly complete school lesson plans that I was obsessed with doing this summer, a required summer rest that restored a weakened spirit, and a tremendous support system in my immediate family, friends, and an awesome church family.

September 23, 2009

Fred Astaire as a baby


I saw this video on Facebook and just had to share it. This is great!

September 22, 2009

Selling universal health care

I just got a huge chuckle out of this cartoon. I think the American people are beginning to recognize the smoke and mirrors.

September 21, 2009

Sometimes It’s Blessed to Receive

Mary Fuller

It is far easier for me to offer encouragement to the hurting than to accept that I also need someone to fuss over me. I am such an optimist, that when I actually feel emotional pain or discomfort, I run from it. I try to pretend it isn’t there. Though I may tell 100 people that it’s okay and good to grieve, sometimes I forget that truth for myself.

That’s why it’s been hard to admit that I’m actually having negative emotions in my current trial. But I'm going to step out of my comfort zone here, and let you in on my struggle.

I have had a lump on the side of my neck for about three months. It has gotten bigger, so I finally made an appointment with the family doctor. I got in to see him on September 14th. He’s a super guy, and so when he was rather concerned, I went on my usual rabbit hole search. I just ignored the emotions and dealt with the facts. He told me it was likely a lymph node and that the first step would be bloodwork to rule out lymphoma. He said, “hopefully that will relieve some of our concerns." The second step was to meet with a surgeon "as soon as you can get in.”

Well, the bloodwork came back normal, and yes, that did set aside some fear that I was refusing to acknowledge. Thursday morning I met with a surgeon who again told me that it probably wasn't lymphoma, since I lacked most of the classic symptoms, and that was good news. However, the lump was not close to the skin, but deeper, and before he could biopsy it, he wanted to see what it was and where it was. So I was to be scheduled for a CAT scan “as soon as possible.”

So this morning I am going in for a CAT scan. It is very hard for me to let myself know, let alone others, that I am worried (it was even hard to type the word, “worried” just now). I have been fairly comfortable sharing with others the need for prayer, and the calls from dear friends who demand that I give them a call if I need anything have been wonderful. I’m just uncomfortable being on the needy side. I told a friend last week that one of the emotions I was ignoring was that I find it repulsive to be sick and needy—not in others, as I just love to swoop in and help. But when the focus shifts to my needs, it’s just really, really uncomfortable. But God has placed me here, and now it’s time for me to listen rather than speak—and for those of you who know me even remotely well, THAT is rather difficult in itself!!

Nothing is worth having unless God gives it to me, and God will NEVER give me anything that isn’t worth having.

Surely I would love for you to pray that all the tests turn out well, that surgery isn’t necessary and that it will go away on its own. However, I think there is a greater need here for which I would like you to pray. God has placed me here so that I can enjoy the fellowship of His saints. He wants to give them an opportunity to serve Him by meeting my needs. He may even wish to let me handle the rough road by relying on Him instead of myself. So instead of praying for my health alone, pray too for my spiritual health, that I may not run from my emotions, but instead take them to my loving Savior and my wonderful friends. Pray that I will grow more like my Savior in this time of uncertainty, and that I would seek His glory rather than my own comfort.

This I know from past experience: There WILL be a God Story on the other side of this trial, and I look forward to the opportunity to tell it. God always does amazing things. But while I am IN it, I want to be a witness to God’s awesome lovingkindness and mercy.

So as you pray for the results and outcome, please pray for my spirit to be humble and resolved. Pray that I won’t crawl into hiding from the negative emotions and pretend they don’t exist. Pray too, that I will be transparent with myself and the wonderful saints in my life about my needs.

Now, I’m closing with my personal “creed,” which I wrote while still in college with my friend, Rich, over 25 years ago. I arrived at this statement while trying to make sense of my difficult childhood. I have found this statement to be biblically true, and have yet to be disappointed in trusting the God of whom it speaks.

Nothing is worth having unless God gives it to me, and God will NEVER give me anything that isn’t worth having. I know that His desire is for me to partake of the Divine nature, to become like His dear Son, as well as to bring Him glory.

Thanks for partaking with me in this journey by your prayers and words of encouragement!

September 19, 2009

Blog Header - September 19, 2009

I took today’s blog header photo at our local playground. While David ran around climbing over playground equipment, swinging on the huge swing set, and running the playground gauntlet, I talked to a few of the parents seated at the picnic tables and took a few photos. These two girls sat on the top of one section of playground equipment. They faced away from the adults—presumably in an effort at a modicum of privacy. So I violated that attempt by taking this picture.

September 18, 2009

3 guitars - 3 jams

Remember those nerds in high school?

You know the ones I mean.... They never hung out with the cool kids. They stayed in the shadows at events or didn’t attend the events at all. They carried their guitars around with them all the time and didn’t talk to anyone.

Here’s what those nerds are doing now. They all got together for a jam session and this happened:



Smoke On the Water


Satch Boogie


And a bonus:

The Mystical Potato-head Groove Thing

The weekend’s here – time for spam


thought it might be nice to take a light-hearted break as the weekend begins. But lightheartedness must not remove our focus on the important things of life—such as a good diet based on the four food groups: Grains, Cheese, Baked Beans, and Spam!

September 17, 2009

Taking our children to Christ


fter a difficult day yesterday, filled with frustrations from a disobedient child, this morning’s passage from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional seemed particularly timely.

Mark 9:17–19

“Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”

I have found myself trying to convince my son of his need to obey based on logical arguments about how society cannot survive if people do not follow the rules. I have tried to lay down the law as an authoritarian father. I have pressed rewards and punishments into service. But there seems to be little evidence of effectiveness.

Have I been forgetting all along that the most important field trip my child needs to take is the one to meet Jesus?

Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus’ word, “Bring him unto me.” Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, “Bring him unto me.” O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, “Bring them unto me.” When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician’s words, “Bring them unto me.” Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.

The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our morning’s need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, he delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to him while he waits to meet us.

September 16, 2009

Blog Header - September 16, 2009


his morning I arrived at work a little bit early. The parking garages were not yet open, so I parked my car in front of the original Smithsonian (the Castle), walked to the middle of the Mall and took a few photos. It was 6:00 am.

Washington, D.C., is a beautiful city anytime. But other than those of us who work there, most people never get to see the early morning beauty this city has to offer. The mall is filled with joggers and a few early morning workers, but otherwise it is pretty quiet at 6:00 in the morning. Just a few hours later, during any season of the year, the Mall will be jam-packed with tourists. So the early morning hours are a great time for photography.

Although I almost always have my camera, I normally don’t have my tripod with me. But I had brought it this morning in order to take some portraits of one of our consulting teams. So I grabbed the tripod and grabbed these photos.

September 15, 2009

I want to be a clone


ersonal evangelism seems to be a dying activity among conservative evangelicals. I have seen fewer and fewer attempts at personal evangelism and know of only a couple of churches that still teach their people to carry the gospel to their neighbors. Why is this? I have been wondering about this for a few years now.

This morning I was reading The Soul Winner by C.H. Spurgeon and I came across the following passage, which I think speaks directly to this issue of why personal evangelism has fallen out of our repertoire of church activities:

I hope we all sympathize in the bighearted spirit of Dr. Chalmers, who, when it was said that such–and–such an effort would not be beneficial to the special interests of the Free Church of Scotland, although it might promote the general religion of the land, said, “What is the Free Church compared with the Christian good of the people of Scotland?” Indeed, what are all the churches put together, as mere organizations, if they stand in conflict with the moral and spiritual advantage of the nation or if they impede the kingdom of Christ?

It is because God blesses men through the churches that we desire to see them prosper, and not merely for the sake of the churches themselves. There is such a thing as selfishness in our eagerness for the aggrandizement of our own party. From this evil spirit may grace deliver us! The increase of the kingdom is more to be desired than the growth of a clan. We would do a great deal to make a infantile Baptist brother into a mature Baptist simply because we value our Lord’s ordinances.

We would labor earnestly to raise a believer in salvation by free will into a believer in salvation by grace, for we long to see all religious teaching built upon the solid rock of truth and not upon the sand of imagination. At the same time, our grand object is not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures. We should bring men to Christ, not to our own peculiar views of Christianity.

When I was a child, my father’s church taught evangelistic outreach. They used the Evangelism Explosion method of teaching personal evangelism and it worked quite well. It got many church members involved in personal evangelism and God was pleased to draw many individuals to himself through this outreach. Some of those folks ended up attending our church (Evangel Baptist Church of Woodbridge, Virginia). Others found Christian fellowship in other churches in the area. This was not of particular concern to the evangelistic efforts being made. The point was always to share the gospel with those in the community and to call them to repentance and to faith in Christ. The evangelistic outreach was never intended to grow the size of Evangel Baptist Church.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Our first care must be that the sheep are gathered to the great Shepherd. There will be time enough afterward to secure them for our various folds. To make proselytes is a suitable labor for Pharisees. To lead men to God is the honorable aim of all laborers of Christ.

But I noticed a shift in the intention of personal evangelism training in later years in churches I attended after becoming an adult and starting a family. The intent seemed, more often than not, to be focused on bringing more members into the specific local church in order to increase the size of the church. No longer was the focus placed on seeking individuals to worship God in spirit and in truth.

I wonder if this shift in focus is contributing to personal evangelism’s apparent dying out. Our God is a jealous God; he will not share his glory with another—not even with a local church. Our personal evangelism should be By His grace and for His glory.

September 14, 2009

The grass roots - after Miracle Grow


n Saturday, September 12, 2009, the people of America showed up at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.—and on Constitution Avenue, and on Pennsylvania Avenue, and along the National Mall, and around the Washington Monument, and along the waterfront at the Watergate, and around the White House, and in front of the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and Union Station. More people than have ever shown up to any rally ever in the history of Washington, D.C. All to protest the direction our government has been heading since the last election.

Perhaps it’s time for our leaders to wake up and smell the discontent.

Lloyd Marcus performed:

Conservative “Woodstock” Rocks America
Silence Is Consent—Can You Hear Us Now?

The Shameful Non-Coverage of 9/12

September 13, 2009

Blog Header - September 13, 2009


esterday our family got up early and headed to the 2nd Annual Front Royal Balloon and Air Show Extravaganza. And it was awesome. We had a blast!

We arrived early in the morning so we could see the balloons taking off. When we parked, as I got out of the car I noticed this biplane coming over the mountains in the distance. I grabbed my camera and took this early morning shot.

If you’re interested in some of the almost 600 photos we took at the event, you may see them here.

September 11, 2009

A Dream Within a Dream


hen I was young my father read us bedtime stories while we were on vacation. One year he chose the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe. My mother was not particularly pleased, but that summer’s choice of bedtime stories launched deep within me a love of classic literature, especially the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe.

And so, as a launching point for the weekend, I share with you Edgar Allan Poe’s A Dream Within a Dream:

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow—
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand—
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

September 10, 2009

What will they say of me?

Steve Martin

When I die,
now don’t think I’m a nut,
don’t want no fancy funeral;
just one like old King Tut


hen I die and those I leave behind try to figure out what the inscription on my tombstone should say, I hope they don’t have to lie. For example: An inscription reading, A wealthy man who contributed mightily to Mayan historical understanding, would be a lie. I hope that for lack of anything good to say they don’t have to turn to humor. A humorous inscription would be something like Don’t look back; someone might be gaining on you.

No, I hope that when I die I may have honestly earned what was said of Moses: All that the Lord commanded him, so he did.

As I was reading through Exodus recently I noticed that toward the end of that book variations of this phrase are repeated many times. Most times the narrative simply tells what action Moses took and then tagged onto the end of it is: as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Exodus 40:29

And he set the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the grain offering, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

I am now reading through Leviticus and after reading much of the law given to Moses the story turns to Moses bringing all the people together and then doing to Aaron and his sons exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses. This was obviously a man who took the commandments of God seriously and followed them.

That’s the man I want to be known as after I die. I want my gravestone to be inscribed with the words, He did what the Lord commanded.

But at the very end of Exodus there is an icing on the cake of Moses’ epitaph. Moses is constructing the tabernacle exactly as God has described it. Each step of the way Moses follows the blueprints—down to the minutest detail. And as each step is completed the bible says, as the Lord had commanded Moses. But there is an additional comment at the very end of it.

So Moses finished the work

Exodus 40:30–33

He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, as the Lord commanded Moses. And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.

Not only did Moses do what the Lord had commanded. He finished the job. So I want my tombstone to say: He did what the Lord commanded and he finished the work.

But now, in order to make sure those I leave behind do not have to lie or stoop to humor, I must actually live this way. I must do what the Lord commands and I must finish the work.

May God grant me the grace to run (and finish) just such a race.

September 09, 2009

Blog Header - September 9, 2009

I took the picture of this very bored looking little girl at our local neighborhood park. She wasn’t actually as bored as she looks here—she and a few other kids were playing hide & seek and it was her turn to count while the other kids scattered around the playground behind her back.

I thought I ought to post this before the weather turns cold and the picture becomes obviously old. And the early mornings recently have been downright chilly. I think fall is on its way.

Loving Like Jesus Loved


his morning, as I was praying for a dear friend, I asked God, “how can we love someone who has chosen to harm us? What does that kind of love look like?” This person has suffered great hurt, and I know they want to live like the Savior, but HOW on earth can we love like that?

Well, as swiftly as I openend my Bible program to my daily reading, God had the answer in PLAIN writing. I use the NLT for my daily readings, even though I use the ESV or NASB for study. Here I’m using the NLT because that’s what I read this morning when God answered my prayer:

John 13:1-5

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love. It was time for supper, and the Devil had already enticed Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to carry out his plan to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him.

To love like Jesus loved:

  1. Act on what you KNOW not what you feel.
    Jesus KNEW that His hour had come—He didn’t have much longer to demonstrate His love to His disciples
    Jesus KNEW who He was, and what His destiny was. It didn’t matter what others thought, or how they treated Him. Because of what He knew, He could get up and serve even the one who would betray Him.
  2. SHOW your love—demonstrate it.
    “Knowing these things, He SHOWED the full extent of His love to His disciples.” His love wasn’t a warm, fuzzy feeling that made Him want to show affection. His love, based on knowledge, was an active love; a love that was busy demonstrating regardless of how He felt.
  3. GO! Get up and serve—even the ones who will betray you.
    To love like Jesus loves requires deliberate action on our part. Because we know whose we are and what our destiny is, we can serve even those who do not deserve our love. We can wash the dirty, smelly feet that will carry them to the next betrayal; even if it is the betrayal that will cost us our life. Jesus forgave Judas, even before He betrayed him. He did not require payment for the betrayal in Judas’ heart. He didn’t withhold from Judas what He gave to the other disciples, who also would disperse when He was arrested.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

I pray that I may be more diligent in my demonstration of love toward those who were valuable enough that Jesus would die for them. I cannot consider whether they deserve my love if I am to love like Jesus loved. I simply need to demonstrate my love to them in serving them.

Presidential encouragement from Jack Webb

September 08, 2009

Oh Shenandoah


esterday was a holiday (Labor Day) so being new to this area, our family took a leisurely tour of the surrounding Shenandoah River/Mountain/ Valley area. And it sure is beautiful. I thought you might like to take a quick tour with us:

We, however, are not planning on leaving this river to cross another—like the Missouri.

Glen Manor, Front Royal—across the street from David’s school

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you,
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Away, I’m bound to go, ’cross the wide Missouri.

Fox Meadow—Linden, Virginia

’Tis seven long years since last I saw you
Away, you rolling river
’Tis seven long years since last I saw you
Away, I’m bound to go, ’cross the wide Missouri.

Fox Meadow grapes

Oh, Shenandoah, I’m bound to leave you,
Away, you rolling river
Oh, Shenandoah, I’m bound to leave you
Away, I’m bound to go, ’cross the wide Missouri.

Enjoying the gorgeous mountain scenery at Philip Carter’s in Linden
Farm with hay bales—Linden, Virginia

September 07, 2009

A time for every season

My mother sent me this video yesterday. I thought it might be a nice thing to pass along. Click here to start.

September 06, 2009

Scouting Front Royal


esterday we decided to experience a little bit of our new hometown. And we enjoyed our scouting expedition. I thought I’d share a little bit of it in pictorial fashion. Big surprise, eh?

Downtown Front Royal’s bandstand

We had to do some lawn work, so we didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time exploring the town. But we really wanted to check out the Front Royal market, which is held all summer long, every Saturday near the bandstand. Looking at the town’s upcoming events, it appears that this is a central location for many of the special events in the town as well.

This market is not nearly up to the level of the Lynchburg market that we loved so much, but it was still a lot of fun to walk among the vender’s tents and talk to the people. Front Royal people are quite friendly and we enjoyed getting the chance to just meet some of them and have a few conversations.

While we browsed the various vendor offerings, David played on an old train caboose that rests on train tracks on the side of the market area. It’s a beautiful old caboose that has been restored to pristine condition and is open for the community kids to play on. David had a blast. He worked the brakes and the couplers and explored the underside of the caboose, looking very carefully at the wheels and other mechanisms down there.

David playing on the caboose

We found a local Front Royal candle maker and had a good conversation with her. We told her that we had just moved from the headquarters of the Virginia Candle Company.

We saw a group of Confederate soldiers off to the side and as we left we saw them in formation. We’re not sure what they were preparing for, but apparently they were preparing for something that was scheduled to take place later in the day.

All-in-all, it was a short but fun adventure and we learned a little more about the town. We plan to do a bit more exploring tomorrow, since I will have Labor Day off from work. We plan to visit a few local shops and enjoy some of the gorgeous mountain scenery. We’re waiting for the leaves to change to hit Skyline Drive, the entrance being just a few miles from our house. And we plan on attending a few of the local upcoming events, beginning next Saturday with an air show at the local airport. It ought to be fun.

Oh, and we have found tremendously friendly wildlife here. A family of deer walks the neighborhood each evening. We’ve seen the the deer family cross the road right in front of our house. And they just stop and look at you if you talk to them. So they are obviously not afraid of the people in the neighborhood. They really like the apples under our apple tree, so after walking the neighborhood they head to our apple tree each evening and then, after eating their fill, they head back across the street in front of our house, browse through the neighbor’s bushes, and head out for the evening.

And this little guy above is posing for a picture on top of our front porch railing. I was calling him “Jiminy,” but Kim reminded me that Jiminy was a cricket, not a grasshopper. David says his name should be “Limity Snicket.”

What a great place!

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

September 05, 2009

Blog Header - Septemer 5, 2009


oday’s header photo shows a hand-crafted wood spinner. These spinners are meant to hang from the roof of your porch or in a tree in your yard. They spin as the wind hits them. They’re quite beautiful.

I took this photo at Dollywood last year when our family vacationed there. I posted the full version of it (not the cropped header version) on the personal web site each of the employees in my firm are given. This photo was chosen to be highlighted on the “Photo of the Week” on our internal employee networking site.

September 04, 2009

Eres Tu

I am just totally blown away by this fantastic choir from Slovenia. They’re amazing! Perpetuum Jazzile:

September 03, 2009

Can we go the distance?


few days ago I posted a video of the song “Go the Distance” as performed by Return 2 Zero [Stop and Smell the Roses]. I was focusing on the exquisite harmonies of this outstanding a capella vocal group. But my friend, Lydia, a much deeper thinker than I, paid attention to the words and has posted a fantastic analysis of the words to that song.

Just this morning it struck me that her analysis of the words to “Go the Distance” could form a very solid foundation for personal evangelism. What a great way to communicate the gospel message.

I have also considered the original Matrix movie to be a great tool for personal evangelism. I wanted to develop a guide showing the parallels between the Matrix story and the gospel message, but I never got around to it and the Matrix is not a current cultural phenomenon anymore.

C’est la vie!