Archive for August, 2006


We had to exchange Jonah’s Super Stomper monster truck. One of the wheels broke off at the screw, which was quite disappointing for everyone involved, especially Jonah.

When we arrived home, I took the new truck out of the box.

“The wheels are off!” said Sarah.

“Yeah, they have to do that, so that it will fit in the box.”

“Well, how are we going to put them on?” she asked.

“They just snap on, like this.”

“Wow!” she said. “Even Daddy can do that.”


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I made some homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. Jonah came to the table and tucked in. “Oh, it’s delicious!” he said.

“Thank you, buddy.”

He dropped a piece of pasta on the floor, next to his toy. “I shared my delicious with the Superman truck.”

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Birthday Montage

Many Happy Returns

I handed Jonah a gift. “This is from Kristen’s family.”

Jonah ran off to find her. He gave her the present.

“No, Jonah, it’s FROM Kristen. You need to say ‘thank you.'”

“Oh. Thank you.”

I handed him the next gift. “This is from Mr. George and Ms. Julie.”

“Okay!” He gave the present to George.

Superman Action Figure
“Oh, he’s all cute!”
— Jonah

Jonah: Can I open my present now?

Me: No, we’re going to do presents after everybody has cake.

Jonah: Can I have my cake now?

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26 people at my house.

Can’t remember anything. Brain shuts down after the crowd reaches ten.

Kids and toys and cake.

Happy Birthday, Jonah. You’re too big and cool to be turning three.

I need my pillow now.

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The Way It Is

Our little town in the mountains is not normal. I attended high school and college in Southern California, where drugs and promiscuity were rampant. But that was nothing compared to this place.

Since we moved here, I’ve seen eight-year-olds propositioning kindergarteners on the playground. Jason had to break up a racial fight on our street, started by Christians. I’ve counselled junior highers who think they have to lose their virginity before they reach the age of thirteen, because everyone is telling them so. We’ve fed kids whose parents spent their food budget on meth. I’ve had preteens ask me if God gets mad at them for wanting to die.

This is the norm for our town. You hear people raging at each other in the alleys, day and night. Kids wander the streets at all hours, and their parents neither know nor care where they are or what they’re doing.

But it wasn’t always like this. Our neighbors tell us that only three years ago, it was safe to let your kids walk to the park. There were a few hard characters in town, but everyone knew who they were, and made sure their kids stayed away. Now, the kids themselves are the hard characters, not to mention the adults. Parents are having to pull their daughters from school to avoid sexual advances on the playground.

And there’s nothing to explain the sudden rise in drug use, assaults, and sexual abuse. Economically, things are looking up. Jobs are coming to town; real estate has jumped markedly in value; new businesses are starting.

Yet the town is palpably miserable, more so than ever– most notably the teens and preteens. You can see it in their faces and their interactions. They’re scared and angry and confused. And no one is giving them any reason to hope that there’s something better.

If this were South America, or Africa, or Asia, it would be an obvious case of spiritual opression. But since it’s America, I want to find some secular excuse. There shouldn’t be a dichotomy here. Why is it so hard to see the spiritual forces at work in our own country? Why don’t I turn immediately to prayer and militance, as I would anywhere else?

It’s taken nearly a year, and dozens of horrifying observations and discussions to make me realize that these people are incredibly lost. It’s that simple. And because the problem is simple, the solution is equally simple. Namely, Jesus. Pray for us, people.

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Tiny Chatterbox

“May have cookie, please?”
–Naiah, fourteen months

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Word Power

Naiah is fourteen months old. She has a lot of words at her disposal (for her age), but she still feels the need to use her lungs now and then.

This afternoon, she woke from her nap as I was finishing my shower. While I towelled off and dressed, this is what I heard two rooms away:

“Mama?” (murderous scream) “Up, please?” (murderous scream) “Mama?” (murderous scream) “Up, please, Mama?” (murderous scream)

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