Friday, March 31, 2006

Blessed Is the Man...

As I sit here (at my new desk) this evening, I've been reflecting on all of God's blessings on my life. This has been a long year. I've noticed that people in ministry never like to admit that bad things have happened. We always like to put on the positive spin, thinking that perhaps if we ignore the problems of life long enough, they'll just dissipate and disappear. Enough of that. Here are the facts: In the past 12 months I've been through things that have challenged my faith, things that have made me realize how much I have to depend on God. I've failed in some areas of my ministry. I haven't seen all that I would have liked to have seen accomplished in my life and in the lives of those I minister to. Some of my deepest hurts and biggest losses have happened during this last chapter of my life. It's probably been one of the toughest stretches I've ever been through.

But, at the same time, it's produced an understanding of God and His will that I've never before experienced. While my faith has been challenged, it has also been, through the trials, undeniably strengthened. I hate to admit failure, but I have to. However, even though my ministry hasn't been all that I would want it to be this year, it has, once again, brought me on my face to my Father, and He has proved that He is a God of justice, grace, and strength. God has clearly won the day and any accomplishments have been to His glory. During some of the darkest days this year, God has been the closest. I've taken advantage of the offer of I Peter 5:7 and found that it's true. Not only has God been closer than a brother, He has been Abba Father. Someone I can trust in, confide in, draw strength from. He has helped me deepen my relationships with friends and mentors. God has opened my eyes to the fact that I don't walk this journey alone. Today, I have more close friendships than ever before in my life. God has closed a door for ministry and opened a new door. He has truly given me the desires of my heart.

My family is closer than it has ever been, extended and immediate. I have been allowed to have two of the most wonderful children in the world. The privilege of being a part is one that I revel in daily. Through all that we have experienced, the love and respect that Lori and I share has deepened and matured. We are more devoted than ever. My love for ministry has been rekindled. My love and concern for people has been renewed. God has blessed me time and time again.

This has been a long year. This has been a blessed year. My favorite phrase is appropriate tonight:

It's all good.

Trey's latest joke

What is a cow's favorite place to go?

The movies.

("Hey, dad. Get it? Because cows go, 'moo'. See? Get it?")

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Can you spare a dollar?

This takes me back to my days on the streets of Cincinnati where I would do anything for a handout. The only thing missing is my Wurlitzer accordion.

The Desk

Here is the desk (read post below) that I slaved over Tuesday. I can say that it was a labor of love. At least, I think so. This was the first project that I completed without any hint of stress. The clarity of Sauder's instructions have improved dramatically over the years.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Closest I'll Get to an African Safari

On Monday, the Waggoner family took a little educational expedition to the Boise Zoo. It was the first time that Trey and Kassady have been to a zoo. They loved it! Trey especially enjoyed the Komodo Dragon. He posed with it, then rode it. He my boy.

The ground hog exhibit featured an interactive experience. You could tunnel in with those little furry creatures and see what it was like for yourself. I can now sympathize somewhat with Bubbleboy.

The giraffe slide was an object of great interest for the kids. There was lots of education going on, as you can see.


The carousel was a gigantic hit with Kassady. It was her first time on a musical merry-go-round and she was greatly distressed when it was discovered that you only get one ride per ticket. Lori pried her clamped hands off of the pole and carried Kassady, screaming bloody murder, back to where I was standing. It was another moment when I was glad to be the one behind the camera. Here, Kass...more cotton candy?

Trey, not quite sure where my voice was coming from, threw an abstract wave towards the assembled crowd of parents. I think he has politics in his future.

Trey and I attemped to coax the lemurs into a rousing rendition of "I Like to Move It, Move It" (see exhibit A: "Madagascar"), but failed abjectly.

I do believe that Kassady appreciated the inanimate animals (what an oxymoron) as much as the real thing. Her intense study of Leo accompanied by her gorilla romp did much for her first class in zoology (or is is zooology) (or maybe even zoo-ology).

Warning: The attached picture is quite graphic and may not be suitable for sensitive viewers.

With all the news lately about the horrible weather Midwestern states are experiencing, we shouldn't forget that our friends in Southern California have had their share of devastating weather, also.

I've attached a photo illustrating the damage caused to a home from a West Coast storm that passed through the San Diego Area last week. More of the same is expected today with another storm coming in. It really makes you cherish what you have, and reminds us not to take life for granted!

(Thanks, Diane, for the e-mail!)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Desks and Trombones, items not normally mentioned together in a title

OK, it's been a while. Today, I indulged myself by engaging in one of my favorite activities: assembling furniture. I am a very laid-back guy, except when it comes to cobbling together pieces of wood and metal. I'm ashamed to admit that in many instances I feel compelled to ask God for forgiveness after one of the aforementioned exercises.

Well, today it went extremely well. In fact, this time it was Lori who hit the roof. Well, not really, but she was upset that I used a wrong screw and innocently drove it through the desk door. Hey, I felt like a winner! My blood pressure didn't even fluctuate.

I'll show pics later.

For now, I leave you a pic of one of my favorite trombone players: Don. Enjoy!