Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I just want to keep you up to date on the daily stresses and woes of trying to get one’s house ready to go on the market. I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me. I don’t even need your understanding. Just love me the way I am.

I have three strong sons living at home right now. They are 21, 19, and 17. It should be no challenge to empty the stuff out of our house that we don’t really need and take it over to the storage units, right? One of them can’t drive our van because he was dropped from our insurance a couple of years ago due to too many points on his license. One of them drops everything he touches. He dropped a box of Mia’s china the other day. One of them has perfected the art of disappearing. I get him to carry a box out to the van. I put it in the van and turn around and he’s gone. When I find him it’s, “Oh. There’s more?” Then try to juggle their work schedules so there are a couple of them around at the same time to help. The boxes around my house have been driving me nuts. Why are they still here?

We bought paint for the newly completed basement. Our friend, the realtor, nixed it. “Too bright to put on the market,” she said. Over $60 of paint and this Scotsman is going to throw it away? Think again. Took it to Home Depot, pulled my Civil War revolver on the paint guy (who is a really good friend and understands my stress) and told him to make it lighter somehow. “But Dave, you can’t make paint lighter! Only darker!” “You’re the paint genius! Make it happen!” So he sold me two gallons of white for each gallon of “too bright” and told me to mix it at home.

I went into the garage to see what was ready to go to the storage unit. Mia had told two of the boys to clean out the basement. So there was the TV and DVD player sitting in the garage. There was one’s dresser. All this stuff from the basement. “What are you putting your clothes in if your dresser is down here?” “Dunno.” “People are coming to look at the house. Where will your clothes be?” “Dunno.” “Take it back downstairs. And if the TV is up here, what are you going to watch while we’re still living here?” “Dunno.” “Take it back.” Are you feeling my pain?

Daughter #1 wanted to help today. She can carry more boxes faster than a couple of the boys and she’s still smiling. All you sexist, macho, pigs, take that!

Found another very promising house today. It’s an Arts and Crafts model from the ‘30s. Price is even better. More bedrooms. We’d need to add a bathroom and family room right away but the price is so good that we probably could do that. It’s even in a nicer part of the village. We’re going to look at it tomorrow morning. Mia loves it from the outside. If we could only get this house on the market!

Thanks for listening. You guys are all great!

Monday, June 26, 2006


You guys know I’m a city guy. I grew up in the city. Went to college near the Windy City. When we moved to beautiful suburban Caledonia I had the chance to buy out in the country but I chose a subdivision that reminded me of the city. City guy through and through.

But some of my ShilohFriends are not city guys. Tom the Elder is not a city guy. He grew up on a farm. He lives outside of Lowell, in the country. Their garden is bigger than our entire lot. They have more lawn than I could mow in a month. They have a barn. They have a tractor. They have a bunch of chickens that run all over the place.

Well Tom the Elder and his wife invited us all out for dinner last Saturday night. May I say that Mrs. Tom the Elder made a fish dinner that rates right up there with the best fish I have ever tasted? We sat around the living room and visited for the rest of the evening. Around 8:30 Tom suggested we go out back and shoot some clay pigeons. (It doesn’t get dark here until almost 10:00 these days.) So he got the ol’ shotgun and we went out to blast stuff.

You might ask, “How could you, a Democrat, anti-gun guy, go out shooting?" Well, I’m a hypocrite. I love to shoot guns. I don’t know if I could really kill anything but I love to shoot guns. This was a beautiful, foreign-made, automatic shotgun. I’m a dead eye with a rifle but I’ve never shot at anything moving before. I’d yell, “Pull,” and the clay pigeon would fly and I would fire away and they would land safely. Every time. Never hit one clay pigeon. Tom never missed one. So he hung some on the fence and let me blow them to smithereens just to make me feel better. (By the way, it did a lot for the stress of the moving blues!)

After shooting we walked around the yard. The chickens were all over the place and one big huge studly looking rooster. So I asked Tom the Elder a question I have been wondering about all my life. Just how often does a rooster have to, well, you know, um, uh, service, an egg-laying hen? (You need to be sensitive with these questions when you’re talking to an elder!) I figured a couple times a week ought to keep them laying. I was shocked at what he told me. That rooster does his job…are you ready for this?... about every FIVE TO TEN MINUTES!

Now to the really distressing part, the thing that made me sit down to write tonight. As we walked around the yard, surrounded by hens, I actually SAW an egg come popping right out of one of the chickens! I couldn’t believe my eyes! And all this time I thought they were supposed to lay eggs in the barn! But that still isn’t the upsetting thing. It’s this: As soon as that egg hit the ground, about five hens attacked it and pecked it to pieces and ate the egg, yoke and all! It was cold-blooded, cannibalistic murder! I was stunned. It was like a scene from “Lord of the Flies!” I looked at Tom to see what he would say. In true, farm guy fashion, Elder Tom looked at me in return and said, “I think we have a problem.” Understatement of the year! I’m feeling rather emotionally abused. We city guys are completely opposed to cannibalism. We might bend the rules and shoot guns and all, but we draw the line at eating infants. I just don’t know if I can go back to the scene of the crime. I don’t care how good the fish was!


Well, it looks like we will be moving again soon. This could be a long story but I will just take a few moments to get some stress off my chest.

When we moved to beautiful suburban Caledonia it was because I was supposed to start a job as president of a newly started foundation designed to support international church planting. The people who were funding it had approached me and asked if I would be interested in taking a break from pastoral ministry and run the new foundation. To be honest, I was ready for a break and the generous salary looked very nice as I considered ways to support my new wife and five new children.

The house we bought was actually rather modest for the salary I’d been promised. It had to be large to hold all eight of us. It has six bedrooms on three levels of living space. But, as you know, the foundation job didn’t happen. Suddenly, the modest home was rather extravagant for my church/restaurant wages.

We’ve been able, by God’s grace, to meet all our bills. However, we haven’t had enough to put into savings. Let me say this briefly, we live from week to week and are grateful for God’s generosity. So the lovely wife and I decided we didn’t want to live this way anymore. Son #2 will be a junior in college so he will probably only be home one more summer. Son #3 is seriously considering entering military service this summer. We could downsize.

Mia ran into a girlfriend in town a couple of weeks ago. As they chatted she discovered that the girlfriend is planning on building a new home and selling theirs. They have a lovely late-Victorian near the not-yet-gentrified-downtown area of Caledonia. The price on the house would allow us to cut our mortgage payments literally in half. At first we were just dreaming. Then we decided, “Why not? It’s a good move all around!” So we entered into discussions with these nice folks and things are moving along slowly.

Of course, we need to sell our house now. Our friend, the realtor, told us to strip down the furniture and “stuff” as much as possible to get it ready to show well. We rented a storage unit and started filling it up with non-essentials. Mia has attacked this task with gusto. The three daughters have joined in the fray and have helped a great deal. The house is a wreck right now with boxes packed up and waiting to be delivered to storage. We have now rented storage unit #2. Why do we have so much stuff?

Stress levels ran high all last week. I still had to keep my appointments and write a sermon for today. I thought I felt a heart attack coming on several times during the week. I really hate this. But the thought of freeing up so much in house payments is a strong motivator.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 19, 2006


In about fifteen minutes another Father’s Day will be over. This was my 27th Father’s Day and it was as good as any of them. Things went well at Shiloh this morning. I had promised all the fathers Harley-Davidsons but Oprah didn’t come through. It did help attendance though. (Just kidding!) Then I came home and fell asleep for about and hour and a half while my lovely wife got dinner ready. Elizabeth baked my favorite dessert, a giant Toll House chocolate chip cookie. I got some nice gifts and spent the rest of the afternoon watching the US Open golf tournament and World Cup soccer.

I don’t know how good a dad I really am. If I’m not a great dad it’s sure not because I didn’t have a good example. My dad was and is one of the best dads I’ve ever seen. So was his dad. I guess I come from a long line of really good dads. I hope I can live up to the example they set for me.

On Father’s Day I feel like I need to say something about my kids. If it wasn’t for them…

Aaron is 26 and he runs a restaurant in Lake Tahoe, CA. He seems to be doing really well for himself out there. We sure miss him back here in Michigan.

Caleb turned 21 yesterday. I know because I was having a cold adult beverage tonight and he asked for one. Being the hard guy dad I am, I said no. He’s a hard worker and a big help around the house.

John is 19. He’s got a year of college under his belt. He spent much of today on the internet researching the armed forces. He’s thinking of the reserves. The lovely wife is trying to talk him out of the Army and into the Navy or Coast Guard. I think that’s a good idea. Not too many Navy or Coast Guard guys have gotten killed in Iraq.

Ben is 17. He’ll be a senior next year. He plays drums on our worship team and is very good. He’s also a talented artist. He has an artistic mentality, which means I don’t understand him very often. He’s also a computer genius and it’s always great to have one of those around the house.

Elizabeth is 14. She’ll be 15 on July 10. Lovely wife insists she was born on July 11 and the hospital made a mistake on the birth certificate. She has become daddy’s little girl. We love the same TV shows and sit and watch them together faithfully every week. I’m starting to feel very protective!

Anna is12. She’s the easiest kid in the world. She has some of the same artistic skill Ben has. Anna’s the serious one. She’s a thinker. She’s also amazingly responsible for a twelve year old. Anna always has her chores done first and then ends up helping all the other kids.

Mary is thirty minutes younger than Anna and is therefore our baby. Music courses through her veins. She has a fabulous voice. If music is on she can’t stand still. We’d love to get her voice lessons or dance lessons. She has eyes that just sparkle, literally!

My children have brought so much joy into my life. I’m glad I still have some years left with them. I just hope that someday they will write some nice things about their dear old dad when they’re blogging!

Happy Father’s Day, guys!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Denver (June 15) AP A 15-year-old girl can enter into a common-law marriage in Colorado, and younger girls and boys possibly can, too, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.

While the three-judge panel stopped short of setting a specific minimum age for such marriages, it said they could be legal for girls at 12 and boys at 14 under English common law, which Colorado recognizes.
Colorado is one of 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, that recognize common-law marriage, which is based on English law dating back hundreds of years. "It appears that Colorado has adopted the common-law age of consent for marriage as 14 for a male and 12 for a female, which existed under English common law," the ruling said.

"Nevertheless, we need only hold here that a 15-year-old female may enter into a valid common-law marriage."

The appeal was filed by Willis Rouse, 38, who is serving time for escape and a parole violation. He argued that he and the girl began living together in April 2002 and applied for a marriage license a year later.

The girl had become legally independent by then, but her mother also consented to the marriage and accompanied the girl and Rouse to obtain a license, the ruling said.
A judge invalidated the marriage, saying anybody under age 16 needed judicial approval for either common-law or ceremonial marriage.

I was wondering why My Three Sons all want to move to Colorado!

Friday, June 16, 2006


Are any of you guys soccer (football to the rest of the world) fans? Are you watching any of the World Cup matches? I guess not. Only the SC and I are home during the day when the games are being played in Germany which is six hours ahead of me and nine hours ahead of you all on the left coast.

I fell in love with soccer when I went to Wheaton. I never really understood it before I arrived at the Harvard of Evangelical Christendom. I happened to meet a number of guys on the team when I first got there and they persuaded me to come and watch a game. Once I did, I was hooked. It beats the heck out of watching American sports that move slower than molasses in January. Caleb, son #2, now plays rugby for the Grand Rapids team. There’s another great sport!

Anyway, I was watching one of the World Cup matches earlier this week when the commentators began talking about the major issue that had arisen in Mexico concerning citizenship. I was sure I was about to hear another discussion on the “illegal aliens” issue that has been boiling here for several months. I was wrong!

Perhaps you are aware that in the soccer (futbol) world, players go where the money is. Americans are playing in Britain, Brits are playing in Europe, South Americans are playing in Spain and Italy, and Europeans are playing in Central America. These players move to play for professional teams all over the world. Over the course of time, they earn either citizenship or become naturalized residents in their adopted countries. Thus, there are many Europeans playing professional futbol in Mexico. When Mexico chose their World Cup team, several of these Europeans made the team. Thus, the outrage among Mexican citizens.

Are you ready?

I’m not joking.

This is true.

The Mexicans are complaining that foreigners are coming in and taking jobs away from Mexicans!

Thanks for stopping by. You guys are great!