The Kingdom Work of Restoration

I remember the first time I walked into our latest real estate project. My buddy Scott found a good deal and wanted me to see it. The enormous dead tree lying in the front yard was just a prelude to what we’d find inside.   Standing in the kitchen, we felt squeezed by the dark, dirty, depressing space. Most people would have taken one look and passed on this old house, despite the great location in a quiet neighborhood. No appeal was visible to the naked eye. Scott and I, however, saw potential. Yes, potential for profits, but also potential to use our God-given abilities to take something damaged and make it beautiful again. Scott imagined stripping the kitchen, knocking down […]

A Sonnet for Evelyn

Today is our only daughter’s first birthday. To celebrate, we’re publishing the sonnet I wrote for her. Happy birthday, Evelyn. Though as of now you do not speak one word, Each look you give still says much to my soul. Your deep blue eyes and smile ne’er I misheard: To seek love in my face remains your goal. My soul’s desire for you, child, is to know Man’s love, though good, is bent; it will fail you. So seek the Maker’s love and in it grow To hope in His return, the world made new. O, do not let your love rest only here. No, lay your treasure up in heav’n above, And do not operate in lonely fear, But […]

My Fight against Depression–One Mile at a Time

I feel the weight of life right now. Work is stressful, four little kids at home is stressful, and balancing life is just overwhelming at times. With my history of depression, I’m well acquainted with the process, and I can feel it coming on. So I run. Like, Forest Gump run. To be honest, I don’t like to run. It’s really hard to get motivated sometimes. But there is one enormous reason why I continue: it forces me into a mental battle. I used to think that running was about proper technique, having the right shoes, and breathing rhythms. While those things are important, for me they only define about 10% of whether or not I’ll be successful on my […]

I am Peter

I wish I was like John. He was the disciple who referred to himself as the “one whom Jesus loved.” You often find him resting on Jesus’ chest. Unfortunately, I am more like Peter: wishy-washy, prone to angry outbursts, susceptible to speaking before thinking. Part of our reading during Easter week each year is the denial of Peter. He is a wonderful character to study. Peter bounces from hero to charlatan, from genius to fool, and from faithful to faithless. I find it fascinating because I find myself in the twists and turns of his story. Zooming out on Peter’s adventures, we see a yo-yo effect: When Jesus thins the crowd by talking about drinking His blood and eating His body, […]

The Sickness

The natural light is bright outside the vision clinic. Birds are singing and a raw wind ruffles my hair. As we pass a holly bush, my son asks if the berries are edible. I answer his question in the warmth of the sun, then open the double swinging doors that lead to the lobby. My eyes adjust to the florescent light in the dim waiting room. The assistant immediately takes my son back while I survey the room for a suitable seat. The corners are taken; the row along the back is full. The only remaining option is poor, but adequate: a fake leather arm chair in the center of the space. The room is quiet with tapping and shuffling […]

Parenting from the Flight Deck

Back when I was a flight instructor, I taught my students two different ways to fly: pilotage and dead reckoning. Pilotage is looking at the map and determining location based on landmarks. Dead reckoning is flying the plane using instruments (think compass headings, ground speeds, and math). Most private pilots use the two methods simultaneously in order to reach their destinations. The best way to make sure an airplane is on course is to set the compass heading, then look out into the horizon (10, 20, or 30 miles) for a point along the route like a tower or group of buildings to which you can fly directly. Once you have a focal point, you keep your eye on it […]

Cereal Aisle Parenting

My mission is quite simple: my wife tasked me with picking up instant oatmeal–not the 5-minute kind I bought last time–for tomorrow’s breakfast. How it came to this I may never understand. I look down at the fluorescent white reflection haloing my 3-year-old, who is making cherub-sized snow angels on the cold tile floor. His face is as red as the Fruit Loop box he so desperately wants. Rage explodes from his body with ear-piercing shrieks. My pulse quickens and I can feel each throb in my neck as the cereal aisle council draws near to assess the situation. Their chief approaches first: an overweight, pajama-clad female in her late-40’s carrying a family-sized box of Pop-Tarts. The others form a […]

Be Careful What You Name Your Children

I failed again today. It happened in a moment of anger with my son. He was baiting his younger brother into an argument (again) and I had had enough. “You are a manipulator,” I told him. “You’re a bully.” In order to understand how big a failure this was, you have to understand that the dominant ongoing conversation Rachel and I have had lately is around exploring the theme of identity. We’re writing a story in which a character’s accepted identity is the driving force behind her actions, first negatively, then positively. We’ve discussed all those antagonistic voices that speak to us in our culture and the monologues of pessimism that play in our heads like a broken record of […]