Snakes in an Office

April.30.2007

The unthinkable has happened. I have a giant snake loose in the office with me. Yikes.

I suppose this was always possible since we do have a nature area in the same building. I actually have had this recurring thought that someday it will be like that scene in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure when he sees the pet store on fire and starts rescuing animals. He runs back and forth saving everything (including goldfish in little bags) before finally running out with handfuls of snakes and passing out on the sidewalk outside.

In my case, it was much different. This morning I walked past one of the office and saw out of the corner of my eye a snake. Of course I kind of walk-ran the rest of the way down the hall. Then I slowly walked back to the door to look at it.

I know the snake isn’t deadly, heck it probably doesn’t even bite. But I’m pretty sure “snake-handling” was not in my job description. Especially when the thing is like 3 feet long. Gross.

I have a co-worker coming in to pick it up. If you do see a post from me soon, I’m probably in this thing’s belly.

The Day My Music Died

April.29.2007

Considering I work in an office by myself everyday, it should come as no surprise that I am quite connected to my iPod. I take it with me literally everywhere around camp as I work so I can listen to mostly podcasts and the occasional music.

It has held up surprisingly well considering the daily use. Well, that is until today. Today, my dear friend, the iPod, died.

I was a little panicky when it first happened until I was clear that it was a done deal. I diagnosed the problem using some message board posts and it is clearly a dead hard drive; a fairly common problem I guess.

So a fine mess this is. I looked into a replacement hard drive and if I do the repair myself, it will still cost about $90 for the hard drive and tools. Ugh. No thanks.

In the interim, my dear wife has offered to let me use her 2 GB iPod nano she got for Christmas. While I was skeptical at first, it looks like it will be a perfect fit. I was able to fit all of my podcasts and the only playlist I actually use (Last 100 Added Songs) with about 1 GB left.

So here is my new question. Why fix my old iPod for $90 when I can get one just like my wife’s for about $110? In addition to that, the iPod nano does not use a hard drive that can be corrupted. It uses solid state flash memory which can handle my active routine a little better.

With that said, I think it is clear what my next iPod purchase will be when the time is right.

It’s hard being human. To have my desires constantly changing like the wind to be happier, better and/or more successful is a frustrating place to be. As normal as it is, why can’t my desires fall more in line with what God wants for me?

Clearly it’s a lack of obedience on my part. With the realization that I have now committed my life (and my family’s life by proxy) to ministry, I am eager to know where I will go to serve Christ. Granted, I am already doing His work in this great place, but for some reason the grass is always greener…

So what spurred all these thoughts/emotions? Well, I had another church call me about being a youth pastor a few days ago. I have had several now which is very flattering and if circumstances were different, I would entertain the thoughts more seriously. I have a desire to serve youth and encourage and enrich their lives with the truth of Christ, but in what capacity that will take is so unclear.

I know I am only 26. I know my life is in the hands of the same Creator who put amazing ministry in the lives of ordinary people (see the entire Old Testament and the 12 disciples). I know that I have a great wife and family who will trust in God and my discernment to determine where the next stop in ministry will be.

I just can’t handle the waiting.

I have so much I can do in my current ministry and I always hear positive feedback about how this place is changing and improving since I arrived less than a year ago. But I still feel like God has something more in the way of direct ministry than this. Maybe someday that door will open and I will actually hear God calling to encourage me it is time to take that next step.

With the sudden spike in my blogs readership (from 2 people to 4), I think it is important to share what we have learned about Leah’s seizures since Saturday’s scary activity.

First off, Leah is doing very well. She ended up not even having a bladder infection, rather just a virus which hit her pretty hard for being such a small kid. She is back to being as playful as ever, only I feel like she is more attached to Jamie and me now. That is certainly a welcome change after the scare we all had.

If we knew then, what we know now about febrile seizures, I think our reaction would have been much different on Saturday. The reality is that despite how scary it all was, Leah really was in no danger. In fact, the only time she really was in danger was when we laid her on her back because it caused her to start suffocating on her own saliva. Had we laid her on her side, she would have gone through the convulsions and ultimately been fine.

When we brought Leah back to the hospital on Monday, we were given a brochure that told us a lot about febrile seizures and just how common they are. Most of that information can be found in this link (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/febrile_seizures/detail_febrile_seizures.htm) and I strongly recommend all parents of young kids give it a read. It is not meant to scare, but just to inform. I know I would have appreciated it.

Thanks for all the prayers and kind words shared through email and comments. We are all doing great and looking forward to the joy a new child will bring us in addition to the ongoing adventure it is to be the best possible Dad that Leah can have.

The Easter Story

April.8.2007


**Disclaimer – I apologize if this story catches anyone off guard. It is difficult to call everyone who deserves calling when things like this happen. I hope you can forgive me if this is the first place you get this news.

Every year I struggle with the same thing. As Easter approaches, I try desperately to try and make it more personal for myself. The mere thought of this holiday, the death and eventual resurrection of the man/God I call my savior, makes it seem this would be easy. In many ways, this should be more personal than Christmas.

And yet I have struggled. I have struggled to allow the loving God I know to truly penetrate my heart on this day. It may be out of fear, or pride, or simply a lack of focus. However that all changed yesterday.

It started as a relatively normal day. The night before Leah woke us up with a very high fever which we attributed to her ongoing teething. We gave her Tylenol, cooled her down, and went to bed.

The next day I was in the office as usual. My mom was visiting from Appleton and went with Jamie and Leah to a birthday party for one of Leah’s friends. As I was finishing up my work for the day, I heard the horn from our car repeatedly. I looked out the window to see Jamie driving our car quickly towards the office, frantically waving me outside.

I ran outside and met her as she was yelling to me “Leah’s not okay!” through her tears. I ran to the side of the car and saw Leah in her car seat, convulsing. My mom was at her side, unsure what to do. To be honest, none of us knew what to do.

We quickly brought her inside the office and Jamie held Leah as I called 911. I told the dispatcher about the situation and watched as Leah shook and her eyes rolled back into her head. This was bad. Her breathing was labored and her body was very rigid.

It seemed like the ambulance was never going to arrive. I watched as Leah suddenly went limp and her lips turned blue. She appeared to stop breathing for a few seconds and as we leaned her forward a stream of bubbles and saliva fell from her mouth. She was suffocating. Now that she could breath again, her color returned.

“What is taking them so long to get here?” I thought, “Dear God, don’t let my daughter die. I can’t handle this. I love her too much.”

And then I saw a truck pull towards the office. I quickly waved them inside where Leah was conscious, but not very coherent. I couldn’t help but wonder if my daughter was going to be mentally handicapped from the trauma.

I watched as first responders quickly gave her oxygen and slowly brought life back to Leah. She was crying now but still had a distant look in her eyes. Was she ever going to recover from this?

Several hours later, after numerous tests at the Portage hospital, we would learn that Leah suffered a seizure from a sudden spike in her temperature. The fever she had was not just teething. She had a bladder infection that had spread through out her body. There was no real way for us to predict this, but all the same we can’t help but feel responsible to some degree.

Fast forward to the next day (Easter Sunday) and Leah is doing much better. Her fever is down and she is back to herself. She even enjoyed finding Easter eggs hidden throughout the living room this morning (filled with dried fruit).

As I went to Portage this morning to pick-up Leah’s prescription, I couldn’t help but think about how this feeling of almost losing a child is what Easter is really about. The feeling of hopeless, no-control, chaos is the Easter story. How do you think the disciples felt as they watched Jesus commit himself to die? How do you think even Pontius Pilate felt as he washed his hands of the entire situation? This man was going to die and nothing could save him.

When I saw Leah so lifeless and limp, I could do nothing to save her. I could not breath life back into her. It was only be the grace of God that the human body restarts from a seizure.

I walked into the house with Leah’s prescription in hand and as I took my shoes off, Leah walked up to me with a something in her hand (as she often does). I reached down and looked at her gift to me. It was a pregnancy test. With two lines. We are having another child.

So as usual, I am forced to revise my thoughts on God. The Easter story is not about the hopelessness, the lack of control or chaos. It is about new life. It is about the gift God gives us through the grace of His son and the love He has for His children.

It has been an overwhelming 24 hours. But I feel as though I understand the loss and gain of Christ so much clearly today than I ever did or could before. Thank you for the plan of salvation and escape from death Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This weather is killing me. It was actually snowing here today. After 80 degrees on the weekend, we get snow today? And this is why I hate spring. Fall is similar, but at least then I have had the heat of summer and I’m ready for a break. Right now I’m just sick of cold and wet.

It also makes me incredibly sleepy. Yesterday I had a day off and just sat around and did literally nothing. I played a lot of videogames, but I actually topped out and thought, “Nope, I’m done. I don’t want to play anymore.” And if you really know me you know that is bad.

At this point I am so eager for summer. I know that means I will be incredibly busy, but I’d rather that than my current situation. I just want to enjoy the environment I’m in.