Category Archives: News Briefs

Boxes and Briefs

Moving BoxesI realize that I have posted very little from our personal journey in recent weeks, and I admit that this has been largely by intent. The truth of the matter is that life for Wendy and me has fallen into a very monotonous pattern and there is very little interesting to tell. I’ll give you a brief summation.

We are less than four weeks from our moving date. We closed the sale of our house on Columbus Street in mid-January and are renting back from the new owners, a wonderful couple who are riding the deep of winter out in their RV down south somewhere. Our new house has taken far more time and energy than we ever imagined as we make a seemingly endless number of decisions about an infinite number of small details. I feel awful complaining about such a huge blessing, but I really am weary of it all.

Wendy has been packing like a mad woman. We’d put about half of our lives in storage when we put our house for sale last fall, now the majority of the other half is sitting in boxes as we pare down to only those essentials we need for the next few weeks. Life is in full transitional mode.

I have been teaching a class called The Language of God on Wednesday nights at our church. I am transitioning into a volunteer role of helping coach and mentor a team of men and women who will be teaching and preaching on a regular basis in our church auditorium. This has meant more regular opportunities for me to teach, as well.

Wendy has been absolutely amazing with all of the house and moving plans. It’s overwhelming for her as well, but she has done an incredible job managing all of the details and keeping me on task (which is a exhausting task in and of itself).

Suzanna was cast in the starring role of USP’s production of Anne of Green Gables and has been busy learning more lines than she’s ever had to memorize before. The production is scheduled for the weekend that we move. She is still working three part time jobs and saving money for college next fall.

Taylor is in her second semester at the University of Edinburgh and doing well. She got a part time job working at a coffee shop and is desperately looking for a “placement” with an art festival to fulfill her master’s requirements.

After taking some time off from college, Madison started back at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs this past month while continuing to work as a flight attendant for SkyWest Airlines. Flying the friendly skies has both its pros and cons, but she is grateful for the opportunity and the travel perks. We are too, as we get to see her a little more often!

I continue to recover from a hotel room robbery that stole my entire personal and vocational electronic lives. This has meant a lot of hours rebuilding, restoring, and reporting claims. Ugh.

Anyway, that’s the skinny.

Cheers.

So, I Wrote a Play. Here’s Your Invitation to See It.

Ham Buns Poster

So, in case you haven’t heard, I wrote a play and it’s being produced by Union Street Players here in Pella. If you’re in the area I would love to have you come see it.

Pella Community Center
712 Union St.
Pella, IA 50219
Thu-Sat April 10, 11, 12 @ 7:00 p.m.
Sun April 13 @ 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $8 in advance for adults ($10 at the door) and $6 in advance for students ($8 at the door).

Tickets are available on-line by clicking HERE, and can also be purchased at the door of any performance. If you need assistance contact USP’s virtual box office 641.204.1094.

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A Little Rest from Reading

One of the assignments this week in the class I’m teaching is “reading deprivation.” We are being called on to substitute the time we might normally read books, newspapers, blog posts, facebook feeds, and etc. to pursue other activities and endeavors. So, I’ll be taking a week off of my normal morning routine and chapter-a-day posts. FYI.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Dean Vander Well on his 3rd birthday (1940)

Today we celebrate my Dad on his birthday. He was three years old in the picture above, but today he is three quarters of a century old and still young at heart. Thanks for a lifetime of love, hugs, support, time, assistance, provision, grace, prayer, laughter, wisdom, and integrity.

Love ya, Dad!

New Connections

I’m glad to announce that my blog has been added to the ranks of the Fellowship of Devotional Bloggers. Many thanks to Tony Kummer for giving us the high-five. There are all sorts of great bloggers there with their own daily thoughts and devotions. Tony also has a free site devoted to children’s ministry worth checking out!

“More Than Conquerors” A Guys Workshop

It’s a dog eat do world, and I’m wearing Milk-Bone underwear.” – Norm

Since Adam took a bite of that forbidden fruit, men have struggled. It comes with the territory and the curse. Bob Dylan sang about it when he crooned: “it runs in my veins.”  Every day we wake up to face life’s battle. The average male feels like he’s facing an enemy hoard equipped with jet-pack flame throwers while he stands alone with his kid’s Super Soaker water gun. Outmanned, outgunned, and outclassed.

This struggle is not something guys spend much time thinking about, let alone talking about. Avoidance is our modus operandi. Escaping to a million available distractions or hiding behind a mask of masculine bravado, we slog through life’s muck. But the deep, nagging fear and ache will not go away. One day we wake up to find that life and relationships have slowly unraveled.

Paul articulated it well in a letter to his friends in Rome:

….I need something more! For if I know the rules but still can’t keep them, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

On November 18-19, my friend Matthew and I are facilitating a weekend workshop for men. Together, we’re going to address those very questions. Together, we’re going to take a good look inside, then take a good look around to realize we are not alone. Our hope is that every guy who attends will find tools for positive change and a band of brothers to encourage the first step towards the reality that God has made the way for us to experience victory against insurmountable odds.

This workshop is something that’s been percolating inside of Matthew and me for a couple of years and we’re finally making it happen. The workshop is Fri Nov 18 (6:30-9:30) and Sat Nov 19 (8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) $25 to cover cost of materials and food. More information and online registration can be  at http://trcpella.com/workshop .