A Milestone Missed

Dearest Rachel – There’s not much for me to do today, in terms of commemorating our thirtieth anniversary. I’ve already posted our wedding video, and that game show we participated in on the cruise we took to celebrate our twenty-fifth (it’s shocking to consider how much has changed in the span of less than fiveContinue reading “A Milestone Missed”

The Way of the Wayward Son

You know the rules. Driver picks the music; shotgun shuts his cakehole. Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) to his brother Sam (Jared Padalecki), as they begin their adventure, in Supernatural Dearest Rachel – I never got into the series; it was something you would watch as you were doing your chores or whatever it was youContinue reading “The Way of the Wayward Son”

Can’t Get Him Out of the House

Dearest Rachel – In a way, I think I’d prefer to talk to you about my dream from last night, but it was so much of a non sequitur that I wouldn’t be able to make much of a story out of it. Basically, it involved my dad and I trying to sell a litterContinue reading “Can’t Get Him Out of the House”

When the Beings on My Shoulders Both Agree

Dearest Rachel – You’re familiar with the trope, most commonly used in cartoons and comics, of the angel and the devil on a character’s shoulders, each persuading the character toward right and wrong, respectively. We would recognize them as the pulls of conscience and desire, if not specifically sensing separate entities arguing with our ownContinue reading “When the Beings on My Shoulders Both Agree”

Too Timid to Talk

Dearest Rachel – This past Sunday was a bit unusual for me, and yet, at the end of the day, it really didn’t make all that much difference. I mentioned that Daniel wasn’t with me, you might recall. He’d gone with Kerstin to the Saturday service (and met the folks there as well, who wereContinue reading “Too Timid to Talk”

Empty

Dearest Rachel – One of the problems with relating someone else’s story is that you can’t always expect to get all the details right. Indeed, if the characters involved are too far removed, you can’t even be necessarily sure that the interaction even happened. But sometimes, as the saying goes, you can’t let facts getContinue reading “Empty”

from Rachel (and family): Why?

“The ‘therefore’ in verse 10 is ‘dia touto,’ which is not the Greek word that refers back to the previous point; it is more like, ‘so, here’s what I’m saying… “Verses 11-13 were probably either the lyrics to an early Church hymn, or a creed the assembly would recite together. “Do I deny following JesusContinue reading “from Rachel (and family): Why?”

from Rachel: What On Earth Am I Here For?

“Memory verse: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 “Being holy doesn’t mean a perfect ‘goody two-shoes’, but being committed and focused and skilled at showing Jesus to others (‘showing others what God is like’)” a reference toContinue reading “from Rachel: What On Earth Am I Here For?”

And So It Continues…

Dearest Rachel – It’s tricky writing to you from the A/V booth, especially during rehearsal. Never mind the fact that dictating to Siri is basically impossible (and even if I tried to do it, it would still be kind of rude); I basically need to be reacting to the band’s needs at any given momentContinue reading “And So It Continues…”

from Rachel: How Real Servants Act

Question to consider: Real servants make themselves available to serve; pay attention to needs; do their best with what they have; do every task with equal dedication; and are faithful to the tax they have been given. Which of the five characteristics of real servants is the most challenging for me? “(six – maintain aContinue reading “from Rachel: How Real Servants Act”

A Question of Timing

Dearest Rachel – So often in life, things turn on a matter of timing. We are in the middle of the Olympics at the moment – not that anyone’s watching, as it seems to have been determined that neither China nor those that kowtow to it are worthy of support – where the difference betweenContinue reading “A Question of Timing”

Kidding Aside

Dearest Rachel – Well, that was an odd end to the day. The Sparks club activities, from my limited perspective, went fairly smoothly. We were doing the usual wrap-up; putting away chairs and tables and the like. You remember the drill. Once we would finish, we’d head over to the Cubbies room, where Ms. CContinue reading “Kidding Aside”

from Rachel: Understanding Your Shape

Question to consider: What God given ability or personal experience could I offer to my church? “5/20 “I don’t know. I’m good at correcting grammar, but I don’t think the church needs a proofreader. I love math, but I’m not an accountant or anything. I suppose I could tutor kids but I’m not sure IContinue reading “from Rachel: Understanding Your Shape”

from Rachel: Shaped for Serving God

Question to consider: In what way could I see myself passionately serving others and loving it? “5/19 “I doubt I could feel any more passionate while serving others than when I sing in choir, especially with certain songs. I also feel a genuine love of the job in the two PTA tasks I do atContinue reading “from Rachel: Shaped for Serving God”

Picking at the Wound

Dearest Rachel – You would think that, because I’m writing you every day, I’d be constantly marinating my soul in the sensation of having lost you. Even as I’m chatting with others – even with possible candidates to fill the empty spot in our house and lives – when they ask what I do, IContinue reading “Picking at the Wound”

from Rachel: Accepting Your Assignment

Question to consider: What’s holding me back from accepting God’s call to serve Him? “5/18 “I don’t appreciate the implication that I am failing to serve Him currently. This Sunday I actually have three different roles on the platform: choir, ensemble and drama. I am just wrapping a busy schedule of Awana, babysitting, choir practiceContinue reading “from Rachel: Accepting Your Assignment”

Keep the Bar Low

Dearest Rachel – In all the letters that I’ve written to you since I’ve started doing this, I’ve mentioned several times about your parents’ astonishingly low expectations for the two of us; how they were afraid that ours was no more than a ‘starter marriage,’ whatever that is, and how they were pleasantly surprised atContinue reading “Keep the Bar Low”

What Can I Say?

Dearest Rachel – I suppose I really should come right out and admit it: I’m a morning person. I would always excuse myself by saying it was out of necessity that I was waking up as early as I did, that I needed to read and wash up before getting myself out the door toContinue reading “What Can I Say?”

Time and a Half

Dearest Rachel – Back when I was studying calligraphy in junior high, I drew up a motto for my great-aunt Belva that read “Keep serving the Lord: the pay may not be good, but the retirement plan is out of this world.” I’m sure it was lost in the cleanup after her passing (amazing toContinue reading “Time and a Half”

A Time to Show Up, A Time to Take Off

Dearest Rachel – So, last night was the final Awana club meeting for the calendar year. There was also a get together of the Grief Share group that Cheryl was hosting at her place, and I didn’t want to miss that. So after checking with Daniel as to how he felt about serving at SparksContinue reading “A Time to Show Up, A Time to Take Off”

This Present Tense

Dearest Rachel – I’m sure you know that I want to have a good relationship with Daniel. I want to be able to encourage and praise him for the good that he does (even if it’s not in my presence). But how do I praise him, when I don’t find out about the good thatContinue reading “This Present Tense”

In the Name of the Hairy-Trousered King

Dearest Rachel – Sometimes I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at the things I’ve gotten myself into since your departure. For just one example, I would have never considered even making a go at the marathon were you still with us… and here I am, still hanging out with the long-distance running crowdContinue reading “In the Name of the Hairy-Trousered King”

from Rachel: A Place to Belong

“May 7 “Yes, I feel it does. On Monday nights I am a Sparks leader and have been the song leader. On Tuesday mornings I babysit the children of any moms who choose to attend the Bible Study. I take home all of the office’s paper trash for recycling. Wednesday night we have choir orContinue reading “from Rachel: A Place to Belong”

Pumpkin Spice Pegboard

Dearest Rachel – You can add pumpkin spice to just about anything these days. Including a pegboard, as it turns out. This will probably need some backstory for everybody else that might be reading this. Since Halloween is on a Sunday this year, our church is holding what they refer to as their Family FunContinue reading “Pumpkin Spice Pegboard”

Asking For Approval

Dearest Rachel – You might’ve been aware of it back in the day, but as it wasn’t necessarily a concern of yours, it was never really discussed, but I always would – and still do – call the folks when I’m on my way to the ‘office.’ It’s not a necessary thing – I haveContinue reading “Asking For Approval”

from Rachel: Formed for God’s Family

“May 7 “I’m really not sure. I already feel like my church(es) are my extended family. I do everything from hugging Agnes and Eleanor down to bathroom maintenance (changing toilet paper rolls and even unclogging a toilet once). “I suppose the area where I fall way short is with believers I don’t know. I rarelyContinue reading “from Rachel: Formed for God’s Family”

from Rachel: Planned For God’s Pleasure

“4/24 “I could and should start doing house work as if I were doing it for Jesus. Especially the jobs I don’t like and generally procrastinate; washing dishes, hanging up clothes, and sorting and cleaning up messy piles.” Dearest Rachel – Interesting to see this entry now, just as I’d been learning about ‘secondary losses’Continue reading “from Rachel: Planned For God’s Pleasure”

from Rachel: Life Is A Temporary Assignment

“May 1” “I should try to remember C.S. Lewis’ quote ‘All that is not eternal is eternally useless.’” “Back to my life metaphor (part five) – I am journeying through a foreign land toward my real home. “(Camp out, don’t build a house.)” “I should, today and every day, try to value work more andContinue reading “from Rachel: Life Is A Temporary Assignment”

No Puede Ayudar

Dearest Rachel – You never know what’s going to happen some days. It’s been a fairly straightforward one for the most part, and then I make to head out for the usual Tuesday evening walk. What with her being up in Door County with her parents last week, I’ve missed being able to chat withContinue reading “No Puede Ayudar”

Missing Dawn

Dearest Rachel – After pausing wonderingly through a vision in which I meet Sylvester McCoy (who greets me warmly and asks if I’m ‘still at that charming place,’ which I take to mean our house. He talks about it in glowing terms, as if he’s seen it, but appears unaware that you’re no longer withContinue reading “Missing Dawn”

AI After Dark

Dearest Rachel – One of the places they suggested at the volunteer desk last night that I could serve at is outside certain panel rooms, checking people for IDs. After all, while AnimeIowa has traditionally billed itself as a family friendly convention, there are plenty of subjects (and anime) that aren’t meant for children. AsContinue reading “AI After Dark”

Behind the Table

Dearest Rachel – More stories from the convention: The recharge room was virtually empty – which apparently has been the idea the whole time, go figure! – so, with no one to speak of to hang out with, I find myself making my way back down to the volunteer booth. The gal down there givesContinue reading “Behind the Table”

Morning in an Empty Hotel Room

Dearest Rachel – It’s Friday morning, just a little after seven (which means I’ve actually slept in after last night, to be honest). I’m awake, and it’s long before anything is supposed to start here at the convention. And there’s only so long I can convince myself that you’re downstairs, taking a dip in theContinue reading “Morning in an Empty Hotel Room”

Other People’s Problems

Dearest Rachel – As much as she insists that she is not – and has no desire to be – “Megumi,” Erin does have a curious knack for proving my point that ‘it is not right for a man to be alone.’ If I wander around, lost in my own thoughts, before too long, thoseContinue reading “Other People’s Problems”

Tetris Skillz

Dearest Rachel – “Use your Tetris skills!” Jeff says. You have no idea how much I miss you right now. There must be about a dozen of us here, guys coming straight from the Saturday morning Bible study, to help a couple move out. All this stuff is going into storage, at least for theContinue reading “Tetris Skillz”

from Rachel: Ministering to Other Mothers

Think of a time when God hinted that He desired to use you in His kingdom purposes. Describe what He laid on your heart. “I can think of several. Every ministry I’ve been involved in has a moment like that. Generally I say ‘Yes!’, occasionally ‘No!’ “One slightly different one that comes to mind wasContinue reading “from Rachel: Ministering to Other Mothers”

More Than I Can Chew

Dearest Rachel – I think I may have lost my mind. You see, it’s that time of year at church, when various groups come and pitch their programs to us, asking for our support, either financially or in terms of participation. Last week, it was Compassion International, which they’re marketing as something for the wholeContinue reading “More Than I Can Chew”

Snow Angels

Dearest Rachel – It’s such a cliché when people come up to you in the receiving line at the visitation, and tell you, “If there’s anything you need…” “If there’s anything I can do for you…” Look, I’m not saying these sentiments aren’t genuine. But you wonder, do people really mean it when they sayContinue reading “Snow Angels”