traveling with children

Let us say that traveling with kids is difficult. While they are small, and generally their brains have not developed to their full capacity, much to one’s discredit they actually are keenly aware of their environment. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that infants have no clue was it going on. It is a lie! Claire’s talent for recognition was beginning to manifest  just 3 weeks after Claire was born, when we went to the COC retreat. She knew that she was not in Mom and Dad’s room and that her cozy basinet was not around. Oddly, when they are that young they seem to be able to sleep wherever, whenever. It was/is not always so. Challenging is an appropriate definition of that retreat for Lisa. Usually at that stage of their little lives it is relatively easy to take them places. They mostly stay in the carseat, and they can sleep during a dinner out or during church. NEW COUPLES TAKE NOTE:  ENJOY THIS STAGE. FOR THE FIRST THREE MONTHS WHILE YOU MAY BE ACHING FROM CHILDBIRTH or adjusting to your own lack of sleep BUT REALLY, YOU MUST ENJOY THIS STAGE!!!!  GO OUT TO DINNER, USE THE TOYSRUS GIFT CARDS FOR SOMETHING FOR YOU, and SEE MOVIES, it will be a long time before you take your little one out to a sit-down restaurant.

Once they develop some control they can sit up, play, etc. they morph into very cute, cuddly little babies who respond to attention. It is very neat. But with the multiplied cuteness comes the inability to stay still.

Anyway, back to where I started. Claire’s keen sense of environmental awareness was again highlighted when we flew to Florida in January. Claire was a handful on the plane, a handful during meals, and a handful in the evenings in the hotel room. She knew that this was not her room, and that what she was sleeping on was not her crib mattress.

 

Resolved in February was similarly challenging. Still growing in cuteness, but yet growing in many other ways. She was very aware of her surroundings.

What does that have to do with tonight?  Last night in our hotel was difficult. Ok, that’s an understatement. Let’s just say, I hope you had a goodnight’s rest. We did manage to enjoy our day however. Here are a few photos from the journeys:

This is on the boat tour of the San Francisco Bay

Through the traffic outside of North Beach area…

 

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a raised awareness

Perhaps it is just me “growing up” the last few years, perhaps it is just growth of awareness in the last few years or perhaps it is what is. I do not remember a time in my lifetime where quite as many tragedies have occurred. As Lisa and I were reading an AP article about the initial damage of Hurricane Katrina I tried my best to place myself in the shoes of those dear people.

Here we are, sitting in our bedroom reading articles and watching footage of this disaster with the fan on, comfortable and clean. Our 1-year-old is happily sleeping in her crib across the hall, the beagle is snoring by our bedside and we are preparing to pillow our heads. I am about to pull newly washed clothes out of the laundry. In contrast, those people who’s lives have been shattered by Katrina are stranded, hungry, unable to sleep, without their belongings and many of them are looking for loved ones and neighbors. I can’t even place myself in their shoes… I was in North Hills just a few miles from the epicenter of the Northridge quake in 1994. The townhome my family lived in was somewhat damaged, and we did not have power for a few hours, but we at least had water and some comforts. We still COULD sleep in our beds. Aside from the broken glass, and other things we did not face too much hardship. It is hard to grasp what the folks in the Gulf of Mexico are dealing with right now.

Perhaps I just was not as informed, or most likely I did not care to consider the catastrophic events of our day and age. Like the real events that happened in Rwanda in 1994 (featured in the film “Hotel Rwanda”). While I was very young at that time I probably did hear about it in the news, but if my memory does serve me correct, I did not pause to think about it.

Starting on September 11, 2001 with the attacks in New York and Pennsylvania.

Later that year another plane crash in New York…

Earlier this year, the tsunami that decimated Southeast Asia

This week’s stampede in Iraq and the Hurricane…

It goes to show that we can not expect or prevent anything. Our government, the governments of the nations around the globe can strive for the safety of their citizens from terrorism, invading nations, but they can never escape “natural” God-designed events. Perhaps even if we had known about the September 11 attacks we could have thwarted or maybe lessened the damage. Perhaps. But can anyone truly prevent every potentially damaging attack?

I dare say no.

Even in the wake of the Hurricane, we knew that people were asked to evacuate the city, but for many reasons not all made it out. Even if all did leave the threatened areas, would that have guaranteed that no lives would be lost?

I write these things not to minimize grief or to downplay the tragedy. These are real people, with real issues. They have real families, they have real needs and they have real souls! In fact I am going to commit to praying for believers in the area, commit some resources, and I encourage you if possible to do the same.

My point is, that God is a just God. He is also in control of all things. While we live in a “controlled” world we can never control the hand of God. I think of Job’s own response to tragedy.

I will be interesting to see how the media will point fingers at government officials who perhaps could have “prevented” this. It will happen, since we are a society of zero-responsibility. God’s sovereign hand will not be an acceptable cause of this catastrophe.

God is the Lord over all things, and we can somehow trust in His sovereignty while we cannot understand it. We can rest in the fact that He desires all men to be saved and that as a result of this people may come to a point in their journey where they recognize that NOTHING they can do can be able to save them from death. God will make hearts soft so people can realize this!

While these folks have real issues, real families, real heartache and real loss there is a very real Savior who has gone through the worse pain that any man has ever experienced that we would have real hope in a real Salvation.

Pray for messengers in the Gulf of Mexico and all around to use these times as an encouragement to take the gospel with boldness and clarity.

This is a fitting song to post lyrics for:

After the Last Tear Falls
by Andrew Osenga and Andrew Peterson

After the last tear falls
After the last secret’s told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that’s just too hard

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is love 

After the last disgrace
After the last lie to save some face
After the last brutal jab from a poison tongue
After the last dirty politician
After the last meal down at the mission
After the last lonely night in prison

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

And in the end, the end is
Oceans and oceans
Of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms
Of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

‘Cause after the last plan fails
After the last siren wails
After the last young husband sails off to join the war
After the last “this marriage is over”
After the last young girl’s innocence is stolen
After the last years of silence that won’t let a heart open

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

And in the end, the end is
Oceans and oceans
Of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms
Of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

‘Cause after the last tear falls
There is love 

bible study thoughts

We had a really fine time for bible study at the McDiffett’s last night.  Joey was able to give a sermon which really highlighted his heart for COC, something we had experienced but not heard as eloquently formulated….  It was kind of a state of bible study address, similar to the charge Rick likes to give at the beginning of the school year.

He highlighted so many different elements of Christian community, fellowship and service that it really refreshed Lisa’s heart and mine.  I think perhaps we are so very familiar with the doctrines, and the hearing of great preaching that we lose elements of Christian community; prayer, fellowship etc.

Praise God for His truth.

And by the way, listening to your music in random is exceptionally refreshing, because you hear stuff you haven’t listened to in years.  Shuffle Shuffle!

shaker, cluminess, quake 3 arena

so…I just felt a pretty good shaker here in Glendale. Reminds me of scarier times, and the fact that God is the one who is a lot bigger than the world.

Last night my buddy Tony came over to have dinner and hang out. It was fun. We actually busted out a game we used to play at This.com. Quake 3 Arena, it was fun and very memorable. I distinctly remember ragging on people about their “lack of skills” when we battled it out during work hours…

Michael Galbraith was the guy who spent his life mastering this game and for the most part he was “untouchable” when it game to Quake 3.

Back to today. I have had one of the must clumsy days of my life. I have spilled not 1, not 2, but 3 different drinks while sitting at my desk today. First was the OJ with my breakfast, 2nd the was Hansen’s soda during lunch and then lastly was this H20 I spilled 10 minutes ago.

I am the most clumsy filipino I know.

the word is best

Last night, I had the great priviledge of re-reading the introduction to a book called, “The Sovereignty of God” written by AW Pink before the 1950s. The introduction is a powerful message about why the sovereignty of God is important. It is a serious indictment to the church of his era, which was again before the 1950’s who sought to place more emphasis on the Devil; giving him more power than God! It is even worse today!

Here is part of AW Pink’s closing remarks in this chapter.

We readily acknowledge that life is a profound problem, and that we are surrounded by mystery on every side; but we are not like the beasts of the field—ignorant of their origin, and unconscious of what is before them. No: “We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy”, of which it is said ye do well that ye “take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19). And it is to this Word of Prophecy we indeed do well to “take heed,” to that Word which had not its origin in the mind of man but in the Mind of God, for, “the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit.” We say again, it is to this “Word” we do well to take heed. As we turn to this Word and are instructed there, we discover a fundamental principle which must be applied to every problem: Instead of beginning with man and his world and working back to God, we must begin with God and work down to man—”In the beginning God”! Apply this principle to the present situation. Begin with the world as it is today and try and work back to God, and everything will seem to show that God has no connection with the world at all. But begin with God and work down to the world and light, much light, is cast on the problem. Because God is holy His anger burns against sin; because God is righteous His judgments fall upon those who rebel against Him; because God is faithful the solemn threatenings of His Word are fulfilled; because God is omnipotent none can successfully resist Him, still less overthrow His counsel; and because God is omniscient no problem can master Him and no difficulty baffle His wisdom. It is just because God is who He is and what He is that we are now beholding on earth what we do—the beginning of His out-poured judgments: in view of His inflexible justice and immaculate holiness we could not expect anything other than what is now spread before our eyes. 

Therefore for all that we struggle with, for all we have questions, for all of our wanderings we need the everlasting word of God to call us back to the right perspective. No more running to ourselves, to man-centered idealogies and psychology! We need to go to the Source. I find myself all too often finding life difficult to understand, and yet having several bound bibles around me I ignore them all and wonder if I can solve life’s mysteries within my mind…

clear to venus

I am so glad this album made it to iTunes.  There are some beautiful songs on Andrew Peterson’s album “Clear to Venus”, such as no more faith explaining how when we get to be with Jesus will no longer have the burden of faith and the comfort of hope.  They were be realized, but we will still very much experience love.  

Nathan preached last night on heaven.  What a wonderful place.  I am glad to be a subject of the King! Funny how Nate was talking about perfect love in heaven and I listen to “No More Faith”.

Last night was the last Tuesday at GOC for Nate and Beth.  They will be missed greatly, their legacy has been left in Crossroads as people who have integrity and great faith.  I am so thankful that COC has had such an enriching time with them the past few years.

Lisa and I are excited because we get to watch Trevor Thursday.

brandon and singing solos

So last night bible study was very good, Brandon was back and he was able to hear the gospel completely.  That was a great conversation to be a part of.  He seemed very interested and will come again.  Lisa and I were commenting afterwards on how we as believers forget that the gospel called us to give up everything about our old lives, that the calling of Christ is a call to repent and give up all.  He has no Christian background whatsoever.  It’s not as it would be in many cases, “This is what you’ve grown up in make your faith your own.”  I understand the Holy Spirit calls and is irresistable, but it’s still a huge paradigm shift.

Can you pray for Brandon?

So I sang a solo last night…yeah scary huh?  Even worse that it was on the new song that I didn’t play guitar for, but the overhead projector bulb broken down and I didn’t know it.  So sang “What Wondrous Love is This” and no one knew the lyrics, so it was like a solo.  I felt like Darren Schager or perhaps Dave Costanzo.  I’m glad I didn’t know the overhead was broken until afterward, because I’d be overly self-conscious about my singing then.  

Oh well…