the questions, observations, laments, psalms, classic anecdotes, prayers, & stories of jeremiah aja. enjoy it like a sweaty plastic cup filled with strawberry lemonade & crushed ice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ruined

The biggest reason I began this blog a couple years ago was to share my story. And the many stories within it, past and present. Not only my story though, but The Story. Which, If God is as big as some say He is, this Grand Story can be found everywhere, in every detail, at some level. The things that happen to me are not just for me. I believe they're to be shared, retold, and unfurled in new places.

Keeping true to the goal of this space, here is something that a dear friend encouraged me to publish. It is a FB message exchange from a high school student. I have had the pleasure of hanging with him for 2 years in a row at his Winter Retreat. May these lines unfurl onto the cynical, fearful, and dark places in your life:

HIM:
Hey, I was remembering what you said at last year's retreat that Grace ruined you and you hoped it would ruin us; well I totally forgot what you meant by that. Can you give me a recap? I would highly appreciate it. Peace.
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ME:
grace COMPLETELY ruins the whole game.
what you get is NOT what you deserved - grace is getting what you dont deserve.
read that again and keep it with you.
grace is getting what you dont deserve...but He says your worth it.

our whole mindset, especially as americans, is subverted by this world shattering thing called grace. what we end up getting from God is more and more and more and more and more and more- LOVE, FORGIVENESS, REDEMPTION, RESTORATION, HOPE and the list goes on.
and what have we done to deserve it?
nada.
to continue with the crude analogy- typically the way things work is - what you put into something is what you should get out of it. God says, even if you put nothing into it, I will rain down more love than all the clouds of the sky. the output is far more than the input.

it is by grace alone that it comes to us THROUGH JESUS.
no matter how hard you try bro, God wont love you any more than he already does.
no matter how bad you screw up, he cant love you any less.
you, me, and the most holy man or woman you know will ever be able to completely get a handle on his love for us.
it will make your head hurt, for real.
GRACE takes our preconceived notions of performance validation (if i perform well, i will be validated and accepted from ___) and turns it inside out. This is true because, no matter what we do (perform), his grace still outlasts our efforts...amd our mistakes.
this is crumbling.
this is humbling.
to know that a Being could love me, the real me, even with the dirtiest parts of my mind and most heinous acts I have done - and He still says, "Son, you are My Beloved. In YOU I am well pleased."

song lyrics i love - "if grace is an ocean, we're all sinking." -John Mark McMillan

GRACE shreds up the gold star chart we thought floated in the sky and says, "I love you still"
GRACE burns the spiritual ribbons and trophies we were trying to win and says, "You are the most valuable thing in the world to me."
The game i was playing with God and with myself (and i always had this shameful feeling I was LOSING horribly) is thrown off the coffee table and says, "You are priceless."
GRACE has ruined me.

I am ruined. We are ruined. We dont have to keep striving, straining, and breathlessly trying to be loved by God based on what we do. By GRACE alone, through Christ, He already does....and he wont ever stop.

better bro?
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from wilmore, with Love.

Monday, December 08, 2008

what grade did you get?

In light of finals week, here's a lil' something called Twitter Grader. Based on your followers, your updates, and the "strength" of those whom you follow, it produces a grade. Interesting (a bit ridiculous as well) stuff. Let's just say I'm rockin a D-. A few others (@chaddbrooks and @jdwalt) are doing a bit better. What's your score?
Do you twitter yet?
Most of the people that pop in here periodically do and you should too. In the spirit of Gob Bluth- "c'mon!!!"
*insert peer pressure here*
PS- yes, twitter grader is here to further reinforce the insecurity and performance validation we all love to suffer from. But then again, and even more important- don't take yourself so seriously.

from wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

They have arrived!

I posted this over at our seminary blog and wanted to let EVERYONE know who may be a part of the Asbury Community, but not a frequent reader of blog of ATS.
1st off - check it out at http://www.asburyblog.net/
2nd, brace yourselves...
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Our bookstore has them now. An entire end-cap FULL of them. I saw them with my own two eyes this afternoon. They're beautiful. Their presence made my day and I simply had to share.

That's right.

Moleskine Notebooks are at Asbury. All kinds of them.

Charley, as pictured here, is the one to send all of your comments like, "Whoa. This is absolutely incredible. Thank you so much." She made it happen and she slightly resembles Vanna White:
IMG_0072

Perhaps I'm a bit too excited, I admit it, but I will not apologize. For the past two years, I haven't written ideas, thoughts, stories, prayers, or notes on anything else but a Moleskine. The durable cover and sturdy binding, the lifetime guarantee, the handy pocket in the back - simplicity and beauty like diamond solitaire...almost . Blame my passion on someone else, who may or may not be standing and expressing joy here with me:

IMG_0074

So for other Asbury Moleskine users- and if you aren't, you're a bit curious and tempted to go and see, aren't you?- no more paying shipping to Amazon or driving to Joseph Beth's for your Moleskine needs. Head into the campus bookstore, tell Cassie the bookstore manager that Charley needs a raise, and smile with us.
Does Cokesbury do Christmas layaway?

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From Wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

more than red or blue, less about pro or anti

There's something about living rooms in Wilmore, KY that bring such a richness to my life. Tonight was exhibit 368.4.6c of this. At the home of some (soon to be) dear friends I shared an an amazing 3 hour conversation that began at the dinner table and spilled into the living room. Topics included hit n' run experiences we've seen (or took a part in!), the hating of fried okra, how amazing the taco soup tasted, the suffering people in Uganda and Darfur, and even a bit of our favorite stand up comedians. Also, as you might guess, all 8 of us threw our thoughts on the current election with issues and propositions, our responsibilities as citizens of this country, and our responsibilites as citizens of a Kingdom that beckons us to live with a radical faith, hope, and love.
Here are a few (loosely quoted) soundbytes, ripped from the context of the evening, but yet, can stand alone without problems. Well, better put, because the truth of them can stand alone, they are causing me problems. Still, I am wrestling with every syllable.

Loving people doesn't have to include fixing them.

The question usually goes something like, "How many people were converted in your community last year?" But this should be answered as we consider, "How many people were pushed farther away from God because of the way your day to day living?"

What does unconditional love for people look like in every facet of life, really?

Lose the hidden agenda with people. It sucks. Love for love sake- not for attendance, sermon series publicity, or finances for a building campaign.

Jesus railed against the pious and religious. He shared meals with the marginalized and scandalous.

The church is the worst at displaying grace. (This wasnt said in the living room, but by a friend I talked to later, trying to process this all...thanks B)

Behind every issue and proposition on the dockett lies people- with real lives, stressful jobs, broken or healthy families, and deep emotions. When we speak of these people as mere "issues" and "situations", or "platforms", it is dehumanizing.
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Kingdom is here. God give me the courage to live it out beyond Nov. 4th.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

at least 30 times

Since last Thursday of last week I have played this video, honestly, a minimum of 30 times. The song was written by John Mark McMillan and has an amazing story behind it. I bought his version on iTunes and almost bought this version, shown below, as well. I cannot get enough of it. And not just the notes, the drums (which are so kickin), or her voice (which must be said - she KILLS this song- sooo good). It's the message I crave - He loves us.

*Side note* - Sorry, I don't mean for this site to turn into a place where there are just youtube vids of Christian songs, I really don't...God's way bigger than just that avenue, so much bigger. Man, am I thankful for that.

But one last thought before you bookmark this video with me - The message, the lyrics, the heart of this song is one that applies to truly everyone. Whether you were born on a Saturday and in church on Sunday and haven't missed a week since, whether you made out with your first boyfriend or girlfriend in the back of the youth room and haven't been back since, whether you hate everything to do with "faith" or "religion" because of something you experienced a little while ago, whether you think have it all nailed down with this showin up at church thing, or whether you have participated in the most unthinkably evil acts - it really doesn't effect the truth presented in this anthem. Maybe you got sick, and I mean really sick, of just how bad we as Christians twist and pervert the message of Jesus to make it meet our own agendas...I'm with you there...and I'm deeply sorry you've had to see that so often. But none of those things, and many more, won't shake the knee buckling truth- He loves us.
my favorite lyric of the song:
"
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy"



From Wilmore, with (His) Love.


Friday, September 05, 2008

readin, livin, and arithmetic

I am loving my new roles/jobs here at Asbury. For one of them, I am a part of the Worship Design Team which helps craft the worship and formation through the chapel services and much more. Every semester, as an entire seminary community, we walk through the same passages of Scripture for devotional reading and Christ-like living. This semester (continuing from this past summer) we will become immersed in the greatest sermon ever preached - Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount.
I am working on 3 somewhat simple math equations for you, all saying the same thing but with three different answers...I guess an equation with 3 different answers isn't all that simple, sorry. Don't worry though, no study hall will be necessary:

A life in common + A common text = spiritual formation

Shared lives + immersion in Scripture = practicing what Wesley called the "means of grace", which can also be defined as, the pipelines in which God's reckless grace pours into our lives.

Twitter + Liturgy = Twiturgy

Understand?
Get in, let's go.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

defying logic

I was talking to a friend while walking our beloved Jax a few nights ago. His words are still swirling around my thoughts like the cake mixers in a glass mixing bowl. We were talking about something he was about to undertake, a major project - one of those when you get done, you can cross it off of your "things I am going to do before i die" kinda list. He says to me...
"I just feel like it's something I need to do."

It's still with me. Like velcro.


I think it captures exactly the way I feel about a many things that have moved from my "dreams" list to my "no seriously, I am going to make this happen before I die" list. I just have to do this. Sometimes you don't need a reason to do something significant. Sometimes it doesnt have to all add up nicely and make sense, or even worse, cents. I think Solomon, if he had more time, may have said something like, "There is a season for defying logic." Sometimes all you need is a foolish and profound need for something to happen. In those times, reasoning just might squlech the flames.

Reflecting back after being at Asbury for two years, just beginning our third year here, I realize there was something in me that just had to come out here. It didn't make much sense. Then, it got even more ridiculous when Lindsay felt it too. We had to sell our home, drive 2,398 miles with a 6 month old puppy in the front of our Penske, leave our family and some of the best people we know, and experience winter like never, ever before. It didn't all add up. It was borderline absurd, right?

Verdict - Life is best lived in the absurd.

Absurd is selling all you have to buy a field that had a treasure in it...now if you could only find it again. Absurd is emptying your bank account to buy a pearl...just one pearl, not a strand. Absurd is a king dying for the citizens of His kingdom. Absurd is how cute my Annabella is. Absurd is loving your enemies. Absurd is how much fun Christmas will be this year. Absurd is how much I hope these words also ignite something in you to jump into the illogical.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

i've wanted to be a drummer for awhile

These 2 minutes only further intensified that desire. Darren King, drummer for one of my favorite bands Mutemath, is beyond incredible. Watching him live with Team Lawson last fall was something just short of two spoonfuls of heaven. Plus, this video made me miss my buddy Swyley. Enjoy.



From Wilmore, with Love.

Friday, August 22, 2008

but the CRAZIEST part about it all is

Here's the back story to it all...even though this is about 3 days from being on the blog:
The video you see below of the song that has been “on repeat in my head”, the one I told you to go out and get (which I would still say to do) was written by a guy named Mike Guglielmucci. It has been made famous by the monster churches in Australia with amazingly talented music artists - Planetshakers and Hillsong. It is on both of their latest albums. Mike had said the song was written spontaneously after he got horrible news that he had “an aggressive form of cancer”. What a song to sing and worship through that tough time right? Check the lyrics:
I trust in You
I trust in You
I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need
My Healer, You're my Healer


Very unfortunately, just 3 days ago, Mike had confessed that for the past 2 years, he hasnt been battling cancer at all. It was all a lie.
This excerpt is from an Australian website that can be found here:

“It appears from first reports (Aug 20, 2008) that “Healer” song writer Michael Guglielmucci was and is not suffering from terminal cancer. An email was sent out today to many members of Hillsong Church in Sydney. It stated that Michael Guglielmucci’s illness is not what it has been portrayed to be by Michael Guglielmucci himself, and comes as a shock to us all, including even his wife and family. It appears that he does not have a terminal illness. Mike is currently with his family in Adelaide and is seeking professional support...Australian Christian Churches vice president Alun Davies gave a statement that Mr Guglielmucci had admitted to fabricating his illness, "Representatives of the National Executive for the Australian Christian Churches recently met with Michael Guglielmucci. At this meeting, he read a statement indicating that his claim to have cancer was untrue." His credential with the Australian Christian Churches was immediately suspended. ”

*mouth open in disbelief*

Crazy right? But here, even beyond that, is the CRAZIEST part. Don’t skim this part now, listen up. In the face of all that, God has and will STILL use those lyrics to do some incredible things in people’s lives all over the globe.
How could that be - something born out of such corruption and deceit? How could you use something that is clearly damaged goods?

That is the story of us all though, right?
- damaged goods use to bring about hope, beauty, and victory in this world.

It is a dark time for Mike, his family, and the Hillsong Community, no question. May the God of Redeeming Damaged Goods be more near than ever right now.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

on repeat in my head



get it here

From Wilmore, with Love.

Friday, August 01, 2008

healthy dissatisfaction

97% of the time after any kind of project, event, performance, or anything involving planning and execution, especially if dealing with the church, I walk away and have this kind of conversation in my head:
“That was pretty good. ____ was done well.
BUT
______ wasnt done all that well.
______ wasnt what we had thought it may turn out like.
______ is how we could have done much, much better.

Years ago, I thought this was a bad trait. I had misunderstood it as being “impossible to please”, pessimistic, over-critical. But over time, I have seen that it is merely my desire to create or belong to something that is as incredible as it is in my thoughts of what it could be. Sometimes, this gap is HUGE. Sometimes, it is small. But the gap still gnaws at me most of the time. I’ve been on a journey to keep this healthy though - a “healthy” dissatisfaction. Ira Glass, host of the radio show “This American Life” paints this beautifully in this vid clip on storytelling and gave me a much better way to explain this...to myself, and to others. Enjoy.

A 10-gallon hat tip to Chad Brooks, one of my blogging senseis (that looks strange plural), for the video link and the convo that followed in our meeting later that day.




From Wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

why you should twitter with me

Yes, I do have a few friends in mind as I write this, just so the hidden agenda has been exposed, right from the start. But, even if I don't have you in mind, I believe these reasons apply to all.

"It's just ANOTHER social networking site I gave to keep up with!"
I know, I said this a few weeks ago too.
But Twitter is:

1) less distracting and far less involved than Facebook
(notice I didn't and won't necessarily say "better than" Facebook)
How many times have you been the middle of your work, gone to FB "just to change your status", and ended up getting sucked into the black hole for 35 minutes?
*raises hand higher than most*
no games, no waaay lame applications, no photos, no videos on Twitter
You know you've done it - gone to check up on one person and 11 people and 7 new photo albums later you're thinking, "Why did I get on here in the first place?"

2) an easy way to let friends know of you're latest blog post or a website they should check out
its a quick and easy way to broadcast your latest literary sculpture using something like twitterfeed to direct friends to your blog or to let them know of the latest hilarious "Flight of the Conchords" concert footage on Youtube

3) SMALL interruptions and distractions boost productivity
this is in contrast to those large (see 35 minute black hole trap above) distractions that leave you thinking, "why am I even working today?" Here's something from a great productivity blog, Lifehacker, "Social media is the equivalent of digital food. It's nourishing, tasty and, for many of us, necessary. However, consume too much and you can get sidetracked and create larger consequences. The good news is you can participate in social media in a way that adds value to your life. You just need to know how to manage it so so that it does not devour your attention..."

4) get personal info out to friends concisely and quickly to connect you to friends and allows them into your world
140 characters or less! - this has been referred to around the web as "micro"blogging - quick, concise posts. Learning to do this I believe is a valuable skill, especially for public communicators and writers Also, your updates don't have to go out to the entire web, they can just go to your twitter "followers" - think Facebook's and MySpace's "friends". Therefore, the whole world doesn't have to know that you are having a hard time guessing who The Mole is this season. Who knew that you loved to eat cookies with a spoon, floating in a glass of chilled milk? This may seem pointless to send out to your friends, but it is this kind of material that connects others, and helps you belong in a public or private environment (a la Joe Meyers)

6) it answers the question every one of us asks when we call them, "what are you doing?"
thats how we begin a conversation, that's how we slowly open the door to have friends connect with us. *insert discourse here about how we all truthfully want to connect and belong*

7) it can be incredibly encouraging (another a la comin here...a la Colossians 2:2)
if I knew you were up all night with your newborn I'd be SURE to send some love. If you were having a rough time with your boss/friends/profs/or ALL THREE, others can give you that 140- characters-or-less message to carry with you through it. Am I sermonzing? Perhaps. Am I too sentimental. Double perhaps. Join me

8) if you have the luxury of unlimited texting, you can go mobile and have the "tweets" (the updates from your friends) sent to your pocket
You have the option to customize your settings to send and receive updates on your cellphone, from some OR all your friends. This makes for interesting updates like "I cant believe how long this mullet is in front of me in the check out line."

When you arrive in the Twitter-sphere, look me up. We'll have some fun.


From Wilmore, with Love.

Monday, July 21, 2008

she's the bestest

I must warn you though - there will only be the occasional picture or video of her on this blog. And I am pretty confident this doesnt make me an unproud daddy. You see, I could VERY easily turn this space into the Annabella Show, trust me, I really could. But, Lindsay and I have devoted a site to just her, all her smiles, laughs, coos, and sneezes...besides our Facebook pages. And not that she isnt a part, a huge part, a "she's more than I can thank God for" kinda part of our lives now...because, without question, she is. So, if you'd like to take a peek at her own site, and you promise not to send out the link like a spam email advertising for lower mortgage rates or cases of generic Viagra, I will send it to you. Just request it in the comments.
Until then, here's our AnnieBee in a shirt given to her from "Aunt" Limneth.
One word - friggin adorable.


From Wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

build relationships, build community, not buildings

These 4 mins pierce and pull at the same time. I want to be about this.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Friday, June 20, 2008

her name means jewel of beautiful grace

She prefers Annabella Jewel Aja though.
7 lbs, 4 oz, 20 inches long
Her eyelashes are amazingly LONG and gorgeous.
She's got long skinny feet like her daddy and a full head of black hair.
She has her moms round face, happy to be here, and looks forward to meeting you.

We got to the hospital today at 930am...and met our daughter at 1:00 exactly.
Lindsay is rockstar mom of the year, without question, a la naturale baby - literally.
After just pushing for under 90mins, pop.
We love her and have waited for what seems like eternity to meet her, here she is...
Haaappy Biiirrrthdaaay Annabeeellaaa!


We're parents!

From Wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

slippery-slope phobia

I have tried to squeeze all the cynicism out of these thoughts, just like the Shamwow guy with the Garth Brooks microphone. It's almost gone I think...I hope...I pray. As my mom has said often, “We’ll just hafta see.”

Life isn't clean. Can we agree to agree on this one? There are hangnails, loose ends, and more gray areas than most would like to admit. Not all decisions are as clear cut as they were in the junior high cafeteria - chicken bake or corn dog? sweet corn or green beans? (for the record, gimme that corn combo). Even among Christians there are plenty of heated, nay, fuming debates, over actions and decisions that aren’t even clear cut in the Scriptures. (No, watch yourself. Don't read this as a post in response to the recent legalization of gay marriages in CA. Nice try.) Many times, the conversation/argument resolves to someone saying something to the effect of, “_____ is really something that probably isn’t the safest thing. It has the potential to lead to ____. You never know what you’re gonna get into if you ____. Be careful, ___ is just a slippery slope.” And pow, there it is - the proverbial “slippery slope”. It rears its incredibly ugly head yet once again.

Time out.
Quick tangent about to be taken, come along - clear cut and blatant un-loving or un-righteous actions and decisions don’t apply here. Sin sucks. Sin poisons. Sin blinds. Let’s not get confused here. Those are blatant fire pits with laser-equipped snakes in them, and those should definitely be avoided at all costs. Come on, they're freaking laser beams on snakes.
Time in, ball on...

If you are constantly in fear of the slippery slope, you will never go anywhere.


Ever.


You’ll stay put, protect you and your family, get comfortable, wonder, get complacent, and finally, get suspicious of the risk takers - all in that order, I think.

Lately, it sounds like the slippery slope has done more damage, or more accurately, has prevented more good from happening, just by the mere possibility of it existing. We, especially as Christians, are terrified of this thing. How much more could the people of God do simply by realizing that the slippery slope is merely the mole hill that many have made into a mountain that stands in the way of something beautiful that God wants to do through us?

We follow a Shepherd that told His flock that He sends them to places where wolves tread. "Like sheep among wolves," He said. Wolves. Teeth, really long legs, and all. Like the same one I saw at the movies when I was about ten - White Fang. Or, if Dances with Wolves is your thing - Twosocks. Wolves and sheep don’t mix - like Montagues and Capulets, Shark and Jets, baking soda and vinegar...its all bad news.
And that’s where He sends us. Does this sound safe? Or does he believe we can handle it? - because of who He is, Emmanuel, God with us.

Choose "I didn't make it" over "I never tried". Choose flight over fear. Choose risk over regret.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

my first words to her


First off, here's one of my favorite maternity pics of Lindsay, Baby, and me. Carissa took them and you should call her too.

I wrote a letter to our unborn daughter last night. Lindsay is working up the courage to do it this week too. Here's a handful of lines I wanted to share...
---
Hopefully we do a good job raising you. I guess above all we want you to know that no matter what you do, you wont be able to make us love you any less. We are already so proud of you, just by being here, by being ours. Before you even take your first step _____, I believe in you, and I cant wait to see you fly. Whatever that might mean for you - music, math, or macramé. Seriously, even macramé.
---

I can't wait for you to meet her.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

joyful feet tales




This past weekend I was privileged to travel back to Sac, CA to take part in a wedding. One of my first 8th graders in youth ministry was marrying his high school sweetheart and invited me to stand alongside him as a groomsman. It was an honor, it was also proof that I truly was aging, quite the “tearful smile meets tearful grimace” kinda weekend. For those keeping score, the smiles won by a landslide. Classic black and white Chuck Taylor low tops were our groomsman gifts…which we wore WITH our tuxes that day. They look pretty punk rock chic (read sheek, not the slang term for a girl), I loved it. Walking around the grounds of the wedding and reception site with tuxes and Chucks made us feel a whole new level of toughness, sort of an elite, nicely dressed, band of street toughs, if you will. The hilarity of that line lies in the fact that the day was celebrated at something called the Flower Farm. I suggested we all write on the inside of our shoes to commemorate Chris and Lauren’s day – because I don’t want to forget that day for a long time. It was filled with goofy moments with a camera man, first-time-having-sex jokes, delicious food, over-the-top fun dancing, funfetti wedding cake, all in a brand new pair of shoes, while wearing clothes you could get filthy because they weren’t really yours.
These shoes helped begin a story that day, the Story of Chris and Lauren as One. A beautiful story it will be, no question. I was truly humbled in these shoes as I served them communion during the ceremony. These shoes have made prints in the grass while I spoke of Jesus’ last dinner table conversation. I shared with Chris and Lauren that they would have many special moments at the dinner table, many sacred times at mealtimes, just as He did that night. The black canvas covered my nervous toes while I painted the white canvas with the Story of Redemption for them to see for the first time as married couple. These meager sneakers have participated in the holy. They look like any other pair of black Chucks, but these were worth showing you.

About 1 month to go until someone can match her daddy…


From Wilmore, with Love.

Monday, May 26, 2008

a lesser significant memorial day

Last January, I began training to run the half marathon in Nashville with Lindsay. As a result of, number one, overtraining my legs, and two, these wheels of steel only being built to sprint for 60 feet, cut off the pick n’ roll, and shoot jumpers – I developed some pretty heinous shin splints, amongst other skinny leg ailments. These woes birthed others - wearing my beloved flip-flops now had become VERY painful to wear. So, I backed off a bit last summer. A few weeks ago, I tried again to saddle up on the best flip flops money can buy, the world renowned Rainbow Sandals. (Yes, THE BEST…better than Chocos, Birkenstocks, and yes, even the latest craze – Sanuks). I slipped on my black pair of Rainbows on to head out for a few hours, just to get the feel for ‘em again.

Agony of epic proportions.

For years and years I have worn sandals for about 8 months a year. My feet have enjoyed breathing the fresh air for so long. These trusty travelers have been with me across the country. About this time of year my socks remain lonely in the drawer…but clean and un-lost. I am already missing the hideous flip-flop tan on the tops of my feet. The ease of matching them with ANYTHING (I have a black pair and an identical brown pair) is simply beautiful. But it’s a sad day friends. Until the legs have had a full recoup, I won’t be able to take them out to the fresh KY breeze for a long while. My sandals now lay in a coffin on the top shelf of my closet, labeled and lonelier than ever. They were properly laid to rest this morning. So was a bit of my soul.
*sniff*

From Wilmore, with Love.

Monday, May 12, 2008

story of my life for the next 11 days

insert this phrase - "I have to...write some final papers"
Can you relate?

From Wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

whoa

From this morning's Asbury Spring Reader...this is so me, but then again, this is so far from where I am:

Lord, make possible for me by grace what is impossible to me by nature. You know that I am not able to endure very much, and that I am downcast by the slightest difficulty. Grant that for your sake I may come to love and desire any hardship that puts me to the test, for salvation is brought to my soul when I undergo suffering and trouble for you. - Thomas a Kempis

From Wilmore, with Love.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

gratitude

Smell that? Someone tracked in a whole big pile of gratitude on the virtual rug on their way in. This morning it has struck me that I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the whirlpool of life’s ingredients lately - catching up with a good friend after not hanging in what seemed like months (in reality in was just 10 days), Lindsay & I being the class cut-ups in our Breathing and Relaxation on Monday night, sitting barefoot in the driveway at midnight on the phone with another friend, completing two major assignments after a sleepless night, working here at the Student Center of Asbury…and the list will continue later.
Through all of this, over all of this, I realize something else. God is so much bigger than 2,000 years of Christianity. He’s bigger than a leather bound book with really thin pages and red-letter sprinkles. He’s bigger than Sunday…or Saturday night. He’s bigger than clasped hands, candles, hymnals, and angels. He’s big enough to be unavoidable in any aspect of your life and mine. He speaks through and beyond what you have been raised to expect. He’s the God of surprise and astonish. He’s the God of inducing the pregnancy of gratitude.
Lately, here’s why:

The “Yes we Can” speech put to music by Will I Am and friends
Email rhymin battles with my boys
The LIVE version of Gravity by J Mayer
The Marsh’s snack spread every Tuesday night for Idol
The future of Chapel Hill, NC *wink*
Baby showers
My dog Jax being awesome
My wife looking blazing hot while carrying our daughter in her belly
Consecutive days of sunshine
My back slowly starting to heal
Getting to hear JB preach in chapel on May 1
Free long distance and unlimited minutes after 7pm (shameless plug for Sprint)
Hearing Andy and Krista’s amazing journey.

There you are - gratitude and thanksgiving sans mound of whipped cream on pumpkin pie.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Friday, April 11, 2008

friday smiles

A poem to begin…

Rain is great, rain is good
It waters our plants and gives us food
Our Kentucky grass, so green, so purdy
But when it’s gray & rainy more than twice a week I get depressed and feel like I live in Seattle
The End

To combat the gloomies this morning, here are three, count em, three reasons to smile. AND, if you love music, this will be three reasons to say “Yesss!”

If you endured adolescence in the early 90’s, can I get a witness here? You had the blank tape all set in your AM/FM cassette stereo in your room. And if it wasn’t your blank tape, it was a normal cassette you found around the house, probably your parents Michael Bolton Christmas tape, and you scotch taped the top tabs so that you could use it as a blank tape. Right? Your fingers rested on the RECORD button, impatiently waiting for the #1 song to come on the favorite radio countdown show you were devoted to. Sacramento’s hip-hop station was called “The Hot 8 at 8” The beat begins, you mash that record button (probably had to press PLAY at the same time in order for the record function to operate, at least mine was that way), and you’ve got it. Mix tape perfection! You’re on your way to memorize every syllable of the hottest song on the radio. You fantasize about your group of friends who will envy you, wishing they could have been home to tape it too, but they had to go to Mervyn’s with their mom. The scenes of impressing girls (or boys) with every word of the second verse at lunchtime…maybe now they’ll go see Jurassic Park with you this weekend? You are finally capturing this song that plays 47 times a day, and now, you can hear it even more. What if you made someone else a copy, that would definitely up the street cred right? You feel really, really, unbelievable cool.
UNTIL
The DJ has to destroy it all by talking all over the intro and into the first few bars of the song!
*insert AT LEAST 18 seconds of “urban” radio personality jargon here*
It’s ruined, all ruined! Why do they have to do that? Don’t they know the future of my junior high career solely depends on their silence right now?

Here is a great website to reclaim your mix tape prowess – mixwit.com
Its completely FREE to sign up, and legitimately legal – make your own mix tape! You can pick from most any artist, almost any song. You can even choose and DESIGN the tape itself! Then, send it to friends, share with others…me! I haven’t created one yet, but will soon.

Also, another reason to smile on Friday
Outof5.com
FREE downloadable music. A free mix with a new and creative theme every week.
Check it out.

Finally, the best for last…especially if you are a Counting Crows fan
ENJOY
This is a link to a music blog that has a zip file download of a ‘93 bootleg recording of a Counting Crows show in Boulder, CO. Absolutely beautiful. If you are a fan, these 10 songs will be sweet audible delicacies.
The grass is still green and it is still raining.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Everybody now, “I said bay-bee giirrl!”

If you are familiar with and unashamed to admit that you know the Timbaland song “The Way I Are” raise your hands, like you just don’t care, and sing along with me today.
Last night, Lindsay returned to Wilmore after a 4 day, 2 babyshower, sun-filled, pedicure extravaganza in Sacramento. With her came a bloated suitcase (thanks again Jacksons!) overflowing with pinks, pastels, purples, other girly colors beginning with “P”, butterflies, blankets, stuffed animal friends, “onzies” (why don’t when babies get older do they wear twozies?), bibs, burp cloths, and much more that I have to stop listing due to the very fact that I don’t know all of the correct names of said girlish and babyish items.
If anything is true about the 50 pound mound of soft n’ gentle covering our couch last night, we are definitely having a GIRL. Seriously. That was a whole lot of pink holding our couch hostage. It was amazing to see the love poured out from our family and friends in Sacramento in forms of bows, stripes, flowers, polakdots - all in pink or purple or colors that have the names of fruit. Thank you a thousand times.

Also I thought last night, “This is really happening.”

Some of the clothes we have for Baby Girl are for when she is, at least it looks like to me, 1 year old. I was getting used to the reality of having a little newborn around the house…but she will be growing into a real-life-little-person-girl?!? Someone gave us an outfit set with overalls and it almost brought me to tears because it was the biggest thing we have so far and made me think, “That is HERS.” She will wear that. It will get dirty. We will wash it. We will put it on gentle dry cycle. She will wear it again. Repeat.
whoa.

Waking up this morning and seeing “someone else’s” clothes in our house puts a whole new spin on things. I cant wait to meet her. I cant wait to spin her round and round. She will laugh. I will laugh more. When she sleeps at night, I will cry. When she cries at night, I will hold her, (really I will!). We will wake the next day. Repeat.
Again, whoa.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

emphasis, exaggeration & not knowing you shrunk something

Grab my hand tight, here we go. Stop texting. Ignore that friend request for two minutes. C’mon, we’re going to jump into a moment last week in class that is still wrestling inside of me like the Hulk Hogan in all of us.

Who: student responding to professor in class
What: comment in class turned rant on soapbox turned moment where silence speaks more than many, many, words
Where: classroom in Wilmore, KY
When: see above, I already told you, pay attention
Why: you’ll see

What started out as a harmless as a dandelion, morphed into a full on double deck soapbox rant in class, and I mean an awkward, “what the H?”, kind of tirade. Though I could turn this post very easily into something on why people waste everyone else’s time with childish things like this but, too much cynicism and bitterness hasn’t proven the test of time, agreed? Admittedly, I suppose some feel that environments like ‘Students, are there any questions or things to discuss based off your readings?” are the proper venues to sneak in their biased agendas like kids sneaking in cokes and Juju-bees into the movies. No big deal right? I will also suppose that the main way I can spot these things 2 miles away is because I have done it in other venues in times past. Lastly, and even more soul-bearing, it takes an insecure person to spot one. Sort of a take on the ol’ “takes one to know one” comeback from 3rd grade. What began as a bit of an overshare of opinion towards a few things here on campus, ripened to something we, you included, need to hear.
ranty, ranty, rant…huff and puff and blow your house down…agenda, agenda, agenda…tirade, tirade, tirade…(then comes the concluding statement to the whole of it) I mean, that is what being a Christian is all about!”
“You don’t really think that”
“I don’t?”
“No, you don’t really think that is what it is all about.”
“What do you mean?”
***I am sad to report that the most crucial point of the story is not a word for word transcript. From this point on, it will be more like a pretty accurate but yet not exact screenplay***
“People end their thoughts with that catch phrase all the time – that’s what the church is all about or that’s what God is all about…it is a very cheap and robbing statement. It is not all about THAT, it just isn't, It is about MORE, much more. When you are saying, that’s what Christianity is all about, you don’t really think that, you don’t really mean that. It is about much, much more.”
*cricket chirps, because even he feels awkward enough to want to fill the silence with something of merit*

How many times have we thrown those overused handful of words at the end of a conversational paragraph to try and neatly tie up our point? Here’s what it ends up doing though – making huge things small, and at the same time, making a big mess. Reread that one. Making things small, all while making a big mess. Family, comedy, the church, immigration policy, fashion, restaurants, fitness, technology, driving, organization – anytime we place these things in the blank – that’s what BLANK is all about – we instantly throw it in the dryer on high for 2 hours and shrink it. In all of our passion and conviction, we can at times, actually make the dangerous, tame; the huge, tiny; the deep, shallow; the overflowing, empty. It is in our exaggeration that we can at times, undervalue the very thing we hold precious. Obviously, what I am talking about is even more dangerous for things of the eternal. The Triune God, His Son and His Kingdom can rarely be summed up in thatswhatitisallabout, outside of repeating Jesus’ words of the Greatest Commandment. And to be honest, I’m not even sure of that. I think truth, and specifically the Truth, has layers. It has nooks and crannies that daily thunder inside of us like the skies of a Kentucky spring. You simply can’t wrestle and struggle through things that can be summed up in 6 words.
If something is summed up in just 6 words, somebody somewhere is getting excluded. Someone is being alienated. When a statement is made with this kind of fence put around it, someone is left to only peer in from the “other” side. If THAT is what THAT is all about, then automatically if anyone sees THAT being more like THIS, then they have obviously been seeing it incorrectly the whole time…you following all of THAT? Those six words do more dividing topics apart more than they do sewing topics together.
Last week, this moment, confirmed in me what I am experiencing over and over again since we have been at Asbury. Questions aren’t producing answers anymore, which is more and more okay - they produce great conversations. Conversations aren’t lasting for one meal anymore either, they are as ongoing as dishes in the sink. I think this is the case because many questions don’t have simple, straightforward answers, at least if you want a good answer. That’s too neat, and life is not neat. It is messy, big, complicated, but amazing. In the conversations we have with friends, life gets unraveled, or better painted, life gets untangled so as to be unfurled.

To just to evoke a smirk, Ill cap it off with the classic and hopefully now less used…and that is what thatiswhatitisallabout is all about. Dang that was cheesy, I regret it now…

From Wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Slipping through the cracks

I wrote this sometime back in the fall, but apparently it didn't make it to the production trailer until now. Though you will read more than likely read this on Friday or sometime during the weekend, know that it was meant for the kind of Wednesday we all have had and all will have again...

Boys and girls, today’s word of the day is “sass”, a derivative of the great word, “sassy”. I remember a not so old (early 90's) bit on Saturday Night Live about this word where Phil Hartman said something to the effect of, "You smell that? *long pause* yep, smells like someone stepped in a big pile of sass on the way in!" I found it funny then and still now. By the way, that line will get a laugh 93% of the time...believe me.
If you look up sass or sassy in the dictionary you’ll find that a synonym is another great little word – “cheeky”.
Say it out loud to yourself, its fun.
You totally just said it a few times then snickered, didn’t you?

While at work this morning, I found myself with a little extra bite in my tone today and it was reciprocated with a double helping from my friend and boss, Sarah.

She said these choice words, “Sass is the fuel that gets me through the Wednesdays.”
So fuel up, wherever you are at today friend. Sass if free and environmentally friendly.
Sass wont require a southern accent, it goes great with denim or khaki, and it wont cause drowsiness. So why not sass it up today?
Let it roam where you and your smile takes you. With sass, “oh, the places you’ll go”.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I miss someone I haven't even met


These will wrap around her tiny little feet about 6 months into the story of her life. Things are rapidly becoming more and more surreal. I find myself listening to Mayer's "Daughters" much more often these days.
From Wilmore, with Love.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

rhinos, pricetags, and the church

Another piece from last semester that got a Christmas vote to throw up on the blog – 500 (or a longwinded 513) words about the church as counter-cultural agent in the world. May it ruin you as it is still ruining me for what lies ahead…

A price tag hangs from every man, woman, and child. It reads priceless. We escape the womb, or rather, even before we escape the womb, we adorn these nine letters. We are not the mishaps from the sludge of nitrogen and carbon molecules which once drifted through the black velvet of space. The orphan in Uganda, the suburbanite in Milwaukee, and the 13 year-old prostitute on the crowded, yet lonely, streets of San Francisco - they all bear boundless and bottomless value. This value, an unending fountain of worth, springs from our Creator, The Magnificent and Spectacular I AM.
He has an insatiable desire to love us. No better evidence exists outside the silhouette of the carpenter’s son from Nazareth, yes the Nazareth, named Jesus. During His time on earth, two millennia long ago, He sparked a revolution that changed the entire known world. Starting with two handfuls of unremarkable nobodies, Jesus and the revolution He began swallowed up darkness. The revolution was marked by hope and love for the outcast, forgiveness and redemption for the scandalous, and exposure of the price tags of all those crossing their paths.
Centuries later, I am a part of this movement. You are a part of this movement. This movement, known as the church, still has Jesus at the helm. Stitched into the fabric of our faith, our history, and our future, is something as volatile as a keg of gunpowder next to a summer camp bonfire.
I have heard before that a pack of rhinos is called a crash. Whether charging forward with untamed momentum, or enjoying a nap streamside, the correct term for the group is a crash. I love it. It paints the rhinos as animals toting brute force even if they are sitting under a shade tree. Even while sleeping, they are potent with the possibility of causing a crash to be heard throughout all the desert plains.
What if the church, the revolution began by Jesus to change the world, was thought of like a pack of rhinos? What if, even on our worst days, we as Christians, were believed to love and live generously? What if we truly became more like the movement that Jesus began – something that moves and not merely meets. Things moving turn heads. Things living get noticed. Organisms do more meaningful things in this world than organizations. We are charged by our Creator to be an organism – one that is so potent that it actually crashes the culture around it.
We have it within us to do this. This crash ingredient, in my own mind, we call the Holy Spirit. And He lives and breathes inside all of those who breathlessly follow our Revolution Leader. The crash looks like providing flu shots to some more than it does teaching them about the genealogy of Christ. The crash exposes price tags and becomes big brothers and big sisters to outcast kids. The crash can and will change our culture if we listen to where it is thundering next. Can you hear it? It’s coming.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Monday, January 21, 2008

stories

A friend told me during our Christmas vaca that I should throw this up on the blog. Be forewarned it gets a bit “schooly” towards the end because it had to be. For a class last semester, we were asked to write about why a particular author used stories to communicate techniques. And because for me, most of the time, working MUST involve playing, I simply wrote a fun story to communicate my answer. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the read and hear the answer even before the end.

As a kindergartener, my slim cut Rustler jeans remained baggy around my gangly legs. The elastic waistband was no match for my non-existent hips. My mom often exited Sears in wardrobe frustration. Behind the curtain of a bargain priced cotton and polyester blend was the saddest pair of scabbed and knobby knees Dallas, TX had ever seen. My maroon striped polo shirt buttoned to my throat and housed my sinewy arms, but just barely. In Miss McKutcheon’s classroom that year, I received more ogles than glue sticks and gold stars put together. In her class, after our naptime was the best part of the day- snack time.
Perforated graham crackers, generic Goldfish, and half slices of white bread, peanut butter painted, waited for us on yellow tables. Apple juice boxes with bendy straws flowed like wine, in the wine for five year olds sense, of course. But, the second best part of the day was story time, which happened after our feasting.
Story time took all of us sleepy eyed and cookie crumbing kids to exciting places five times a week. I cherished it as much as the smell of McDonald’s lingering on the lucky kid whose Dad surprised them at lunchtime. For all of us sitting there on the industrial carpet, we were swallowed into the whirlpool of story. Much like you are right now, I hope.
Stories clutch us by the sleeve of our attention spans and take us for a trip. They reach out and capture us like a school of fish. They may drop us off at a Lamaze lesson, an algebra concept, or a three-point sermon. Stories can pinpoint emotions and concepts like nothing else. They are the exhilarating bus rides to the state capital - half the fun is in the ride there. Great writers know this, Schutlze especially. He will open or close a lesson with a story, solely to deliver us to a truth about communicating. Perhaps all of life and its critical lessons are learned in the process, the journey, the ride. Hop on in, just don’t put your hands out the window.


I cant wait until Feb 6th…dad to a son or daughter?
From Wilmore, with Love.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

my ode to the guild of striking geniuses

So here it is, The NBC gem “The Office” meets cult classic pearl “High Fidelity”...

What is your Top 5 favorite Office episode openers?
I have a very hard time placing these in any order, but here they are with a few honorable mentions.

Opener from The Secret –
“What’s updog? Nothing much, whats up with you?”
Then Michael trying to stick it to Stanley (the Manley), “Hey Stanley, is that jacket made of updog?”
“I’m on the phone!”

Opener from Product Recall –
Jim dressed and PLAYING Dwight PERFECTLY:
”…a grand total of 11 dollars.”

Opener from The Fight –
Dwight’s desk hidden in the bathroom: ”Where is my desk?”
Jim responds brilliantly with “Calm down, where did you last see it? OK, let’s retrace your steps.”

Opener from Booze Cruise –
Dwight’s office supplies in the vending machine:
“Oh, a pencil cup, I love these!”
“Where’s my wallet?”
“Oh, there it is J1. Here’s some nickels.”

Opener from Back from Vacation –
Dwight recording the meeting while Michael is gone:
“”Let the record show that Dwight is now wearing a baby’s bonnet!”
“Im cutting Phyllis’ head off with a chainsaw! Rrrrrrun nuuuuun niiiiin!”
*awkward stares at Andy*

Honorable mentions:

Branch Closing -
“I send Dwight faxes.
From himself.
From the future.”
The coffee spilling all over Stanley is so aggressive!

Michael’s Birthday -
“Who uses calling cards anymore anyway?”
“How is this not a pyramid scheme?”

Grief Counseling -
“Pam would you like me to get you a pencil from the warehouse? *Dwight laughs like it is the first time he has seen someone walk down fake stairs*
Hilarious!

Your reactions, your disagreements, your Top 5, your excuse for thinking that Jim is actually going to call you to talk about how things went with Pam over Christmas?

From Wilmore, with Love.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

dedication from a dear friend

A dear friend of mine sent this to me upon hearing our latest, greatest, and 16 week old news. Just one favor to ask as you read, change the word "blonde" to "brown" - you'll see.
Begin tear prepping now...

"Upon Seeing an Ultrasound Photo of an Unborn Child" by Thomas Lux, from The Drowned River. © Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.

Upon Seeing an Ultrasound Photo of an Unborn Child

Tadpole, it's not time yet to nag you
about college (though I have some thoughts
on that), baseball (ditto), or abstract
principles. Enjoy your delicious,
soupy womb-warmth, do some rolls and saults
(it'll be too crowded soon), delight in your early
dreams — which no one will attempt to analyze.
For now: may your toes blossom, your fingers
lengthen, your sexual organs grow (too soon
to tell which yet) sensitive, your teeth
form their buds in their forming jawbone, your already
booming heart expand (literally
now, metaphorically later); O your spine,
eyebrows, nape, knees, fibulae,
lungs, lips... But your soul,
dear child: I don't see it here, when
does that come in, whence? Perhaps God,
and your mother, and even I — we'll all contribute
and you'll learn yourself to coax it
from wherever: your soul, which holds your bones
together and lets you live
on earth. — Fingerling, sidecar, nubbin,
I'm waiting, it's me, Dad,
I'm out here. You already know
where Mom is. I'll see you more directly
upon arrival. You'll recognize
me — I'll be the tall-seeming, delighted
blond guy, and I'll have
your nose.

From Wilmore, with Love.

Friday, January 04, 2008

for our 15 week old child

Tell Me a Secret

Will you have bows and pigtails or short and spikies?
Will you want the blue balloon or the purple?
Will warts be “megacool” or “ew gross”?
Tell me if you will leave shiny lip gloss on my cup or hog it all with no evidence left behind

Will you break the hearts of dumb boys or crazy girls?
Diego or Dora?
Samson or Queen Esther?
Brownies or Cubs?...please Lord, neither.
Tell me a secret my little one

Will you be Daddy’s little girl or Mama’s little boy?
Train tracks or Easter dresses?
Videogame all-nighters or slumber parties?
Tell me a secret, I won’t tell your mom

Make sure she doesn’t hear your tiny voice, made by tiny lips and a tiny tongue to match the tiny breaths
Cup your tiny hands with tiny fingers and tell me
Prince or princess?
Homecoming King or Drama Queen?
Tell me, I can’t stand to wait

Repeat after me my child
“Daddy, I am your little…”
- JOY.
From Wilmore, with Love.