Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas pictures

Here's a family pic from Christmas this year. Krista has more pictures up at her blog, and I'm sure there are more to come!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What Christmas Means to Me

Tonight, after all the gift-opening and several wonderful meals and after the sledding on Mt. Hood and the great time with family and the hot chocolate on the way home, I embarked on the elusive holiday ritual, "See if there's a grocery store open before dinner."

Checking out of the one open grocery store, I had a brief conversation with Phil, my checker. Working on Christmas didn't bother him. In fact, he had special plans tonight involving a party with an open bar and a designated driver taking him to and from the party. Which, Phil explained, meant he could get as drunk as he wanted. I realize that you may be picturing a college-aged guy getting ready for a big bash with his buddies, but Phil is a man in his mid-forties, bald, thin and with a voice full of false bravado and eyes bulging with pain. He was tired, and his fatigue didn't come from being a checker at Safeway, or from another lousy Christmas, but from the fact that he remains in this world, the burden that is breathing.

For Phil, Christmas means a night with a momentary respite from pain, a night when he can get hammered and feel nothing, or maybe even feel good for a few hours.

I think there are moments where I, too, see Christmas as one more day where I am free to pursue that elusive personal happiness. Free to pursue it, but no guarantee of catching it. It's like chasing after the wind.

But in the end what I really want is not more toys and gifts and not even, really, a break in work, or a birthday celebration for God.

I want the pain to go away.

Not that I have a pained life. I suppose in all of history it would be difficult to find a life as priveleged as mine. I have a great family, all our physical needs are met, I have enormous freedoms that people in previous centuries (or even in this century) would find inconceivable. And yet, the world is breaking all to pieces. I have peace. But the world does not.

And in that sense, I think I want the same thing from Christmas that Phil does. Phil, of course, does not understand the significance of his longings, or so it seems to me. He certainly doesn't have a solution with any long term chance of actually solving anything.

But the wonderful thing about Christmas is that we celebrate together this clear, dramatic motion from God to say, "I am putting everything right." The curse which we earned in the Garden--death, painful toil, complications in the relationship between men and women, terrifying pain in childbirth--He is taking that away, just as He promised. He would send Eve's offspring, he said, to bring us back home, to take us past the flaming sword and into his presence to eat from the tree of life again.

Throughout human history there had been shining moments to remind us of his promise, to assure us that he hadn't forgotten his word, that his nature had not changed, that he was working. But at Christmas he changed everything. Prophecies started making sense... and coming true. Angels appeared to commoners. A virgin conceived, carried the child and gave birth to God himself, come to show us that he cared, come to usher in his own kingdom.

Instead of a shining glimpse he gave us a burning star, and a story with such power and omens so amazing that people still discuss them thousands of years later. More was to come, miracles and teachings of clearly divine origin and, of course, the first fruit of the broken curse... a man who returned to life, never to die again.

Still, the promise is not fulfilled yet, not from our point of view. Christ must return as king on a great white horse and turn all the wrongs of this world right, he must bring justice and eliminate poverty, bring life to the dying and health to the sick.

Now those of us who follow him are spokespeople of the promise. We not only speak but live out his promises, or should. We feed the orphans, care for the widows, speak the words of life to the dying. Or at least that's what we should be doing.

Christmas is a celebration. It is the turning point of humanity, when God revealed himself in an unprecedented way, and walked among us for the first time since the Garden of Eden. This is what Christmas means to me: that for people like me and Phil, people like you, people like my family, my pastor, the homeless guy on the street, for war refugees and soldiers, for despots and kings and benevolent dictators, for shepherds and farmers and postal workers and machinists and grocery clerks, that for all of us, each and every one, there is a reason to hope and a promise of impending peace.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

He Is Legend

Who wouldn't like a movie about an apocalyptic destruction of human society where only one man is left to fight a horde of light-shunning zombie-vampire thingees? Um. Well. Okay, I can think of some potential pitfalls to making a movie like that. But it's either going to be great or unintentionally funny, right?

Tonight my Dad, Krista's Dad and I packed up into the van and went to see I Am Legend. Krista categorically assured me months ago that she wouldn't be joining me for a screening, which made me a little nervous. Reviews did not calm my fears. But I liked the original novel, I liked the strange but wonderful "Omega Man"... so I entered the theatre with trepidation.

And then... then... it was great. I really enjoyed it. For what it is, I mean, which is a thriller/horror film about the end of the world. The scenes of the destroyed NYC were great, the tension built nicely (in fact I won't need my nightly adrenaline shot tonight). Will Smith acted well, and the script neatly played out the effect of the main character being alone for the last three years.

As a pure popcorn movie I don't think there's anything in the theatre right now that can beat it. Others have said that they found parts of it boring, but I didn't experience that. As it progresses, the film explores themes of listening to God, redemption, transformation, becoming fully human, sacrifice, saviors and the viral power of love to "cure" human society, which gave it something to make it memorable once the lights came up.

I would happily give it a full recommendation if I didn't know that some of you would have nightmares for the rest of your life, wake up in the middle of the night screaming, "MIKALATOS! CURSE YOU AND YOUR MOVIE REVIEWS! AND A CURSE ALSO ON MUTATED ZOMBIE VAMPIRE THINGEES!" To be honest, I just can't abide to have any more curses on my head. So let me say this: if you can handle action films with some intense scenes, violence and blood, I think you'll like this film just fine. Otherwise STAY IN THE LIGHT! Don't enter dark buildings, especially movie theatres.

Rated PG-13
for "intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence," which is a silly way of saying it if you think about it. I mean, why all these descriptors of the violence? How many categories are we going to have? Fantasy violence? Mystery violence? Comic book violence? Why the genre categorization? Is it because most of the violence is perpetrated against barely human mutant critters? Remember, if there's one thing we've learned from the X-Men movies (and that's a big IF) it's that mutants are people, too.

Christmas With The Legend

Consider this an early Christmas gift from me to you. Merry Christmas!
Caution: this post contains sci-fi Christmas cheer.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

On The Fence

I sat enjoying a few moments alone at home today when an enormous Great Blue Heron flew in from Somewhere and perched itself on our back fence.

It stood there for a long time, regarding me through the window, its thin head turned sidewise. I ran for the camera and slid onto the floor of the living room to get a shot of it, but it flew away just as I prepared to press the button... the kids were ringing the doorbell and something about the sound sent it searching for a more peaceful perch.

The fact that only I had seen the heron made it seem almost magical, and intensely personal. I told the kids about it, and Z stood for a long time at our back door, willing it to return.

Medieval bestiaries were written in the belief that we can learn about God, Christ and morality from watching the natural world, and animals specifically (i.e. "Look to the ant, thou sluggard..."). The heron teaches us to wait patiently for understanding from the scriptures rather than running after false teachings and doctrines, just as the heron waits patiently in the water for sustenance to come to it rather than chasing here and there after its prey.

The heron also flies above the rain clouds to avoid storms, teaching us that we must not allow ourselves, in the midst of life's storms, to become wrapped up in concerns about thunder and lightning, rains and floods, but must remember that above the clouds there is a place of peace, a place of sunshine and cool skies and that this is our ultimate destination, and when the clouds dissipate we will see it more clearly.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Our 800th Post: In Which Masterpiece Theatre Answers Your Questions

In honor of the 800th post here at BHR, we are proud to present "Masterpiece Theatre Answers Your Questions," our fourth video podcast, brought to you by the fine people at the GNW winter conference: Masterpiece.

My good friend Brad Pitt agreed to make a cameo in honor of this being our 800th post.

The sock puppoet, however, has gotten too big for his stitches, saying "I'm famous now and there's no reason for me to make an appearance on your tiny little blog, you tiny little man." I washed his mouth out with detergent.

We Three Kings of Orient Are... Minty Fresh!

Certainly this story comes from keeping our kids in Sunday School every week. Our daughter A reminded her big sister of the symbolism of candy canes this week:

“Remember that if you hold a candy cane upside down, that’s the letter ‘J’ to remind you of Jesus. And if you hold it the other way, it’s a staff for the wise men!”

Just another warm body

As we walked out of the store today, my daughter A huddled her skinny little frame up against me.

A: You're warm.

She paused for a moment, as if considering this fact.

A: I love you.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Z's letter to Santa

"Dear Santa,

How are you? I have been good. The one thing I want is a toy reindeer. How are the reindeer? How is the cooking going? I hope it's going well. How is Rudolph? I hope he is doing good. How is Donner? I hope he is doing good.

Love, Z."

Me: That's a great letter. And you only asked Santa for one thing.

Z: Well, I didn't want to be greedy.

Z on watermelon cutting technique

I was cutting up a watermelon tonight (yes, I know I shouldn't be able to get watermelon right now... my parents miraculously appeared with it) and the children watched with rapt attention.

Z: Dad, you have to peel the sticker off that piece!

Me: Why? No one eats the rind, anyway.

Z: Bamboo does.

Me: Who's Bamboo?

Z: He's my pet zebra.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Free Music from Autumn Film

My buddies the Autumn Film are giving away a free electronic copy of their EP "So Loved."

You can download it here.

Obey me and go take care of this right now. Go on, move it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Praise Lyrics from My Daughter

My daughter "A" often bursts into spontaneous song. Today she sat with her feet in the windowsill singing made up Christmas songs. She had been doing this for about ten minutes when I tuned in and managed to catch these lyrics:

He didn’t marry
He didn’t marry, huh-uh!
He didn’t marry
He will marry when he’s old enough
He is Christ the Lord!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Make money fast: $200 in four minutes

Masterpiece Theatre Presents: MONEY!

How to make it.

No socks were harmed in the making of this film.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Kickball Theory of Election

Krista missed a theology class while we were in Lithuania, so we caught part of it on television when we got back (a friend recorded it). The professor explained various theories of election.

This is part of soteriology, the study of how exactly "salvation" works, and what that means. "Election" studies how exactly people become Christians (i.e. how does God choose them). The questions get a little nit-picky. When does grace enter in? Are all people given grace to respond to God or only the "elect"? Does God elect everyone? Certain people? Certain groups? If he elects you to go to Heaven can you say "no thanks"? Does God want everyone to be saved? Does God choose some people to go to Hell or does he just not choose them to go to Heaven? Do we have a choice in all this?

All of the theories have pretty fancy names and some of them have complicated arguments to explain their point of view. Some of them are named for Dead Guys who wouldn't necessarily agree with all the points of their own theories anymore now that they've been parsed, explained and debated.

That night I had a dream. A voice said, "This is the Kickball Theory of Election." That's weird, I thought. What does that mean?

Then about twenty kids lined up against a wall near a baseball diamond. God walked down the line and said, "Mike, Susie, Jan, Frank, Sam, you're all on my team." There didn't appear to be a captain for the other team. I wondered if Satan would get a chance to pick a team or something. I did notice that, unlike the playground, God didn't take turns while picking his teammates, he just called them all out at once.

Then the theologians came up. They were all wearing long white coats, like scientists. They looked carefully at "the opposing team" and then at the "elect team."

Theologian #1: Why did he choose Mike? He's a terrible kickball player.

Theologian #2: It just doesn't make any sense.

Theologian #1: Could they have refused to join his team?

Th #2: They appeared to be happy to be chosen.

Th #1: Of course. Recall your own youth. One is always happy to be chosen for a team.

Th #2: I wish I knew why he didn't choose, for instance, Jim over there.

Th #1: Will God choose to be first up to kick, or will he choose the field? Who is he playing
against? Why are the teams uneven? How did he choose? Does everyone have to play? Why weren't we up against the wall? We're on his team, right?

Th #2: This entire metaphor makes no sense.

Th #1: It's a theory, not a metaphor.

I never did get to watch the game, either.


During story time tonight, Z chose a book from the library about asteroids and comets. The section we read specifically addressed the likelihood of the earth being pummeled and destroyed by an earth-crushing blow from a several-mile wide space rock.

Me (reading): "...some of these asteroids can be several miles wide."

A: Is that real?

Me: Yes.

Me: "Some of them have come much closer to the earth than the moon."

A: That's not real.

Me: Yes, it is.

A: I don't think so. Closer than the moon? Not real.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

video of me and Brad Pitt hanging out

Behold! In this latest video podcast, watch in amazement as I visit several famous people and ask them questions. Watch as I chastise Brad Pitt! Marvel as I travel to the far flung future! You will laugh. You will cry. You will wish there was a way to send money, but there just isn't.

In the non-edited version I also talked to a talking cat. Ha ha ha!

In case you are wondering, this is all because I am one of two MCs at our upcoming winter conference here in Portland, Oregon.

The Cure for Pain

I downloaded Jon Foreman's "Fall" EP this morning, and listened to it while I cleaned the house. It's a tasty album, and I look forward to giving it a more thorough listening. On the first run, though, I particularly enjoyed the song called "The Cure for Pain".

The songs are softer and perhaps more personal than the regular Switchfoot songs. It reminded me, actually, of watching the "Switchfoot Unplugged" concert this summer in Colorado.

Here's a copy of the lyrics to "The Cure for Pain" from Jon's site:

You can buy your own copy here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Z's prayer list

The other week in Sunday School, Z made this list of things she would pray about and things which made her thankful:

1) My Prayer Reminders
no dreams
A Barbie for Christmas
a White Christmas
flowers in spring
my Grandpa to get better (his leg is hurt)
My sister to keep near by me

2) Lord, thank you for
the sun
my house
my dad
my mom
the earth
my grandpas and grandmas
my car
my toys
sunday school
my little sister

Tattoo of Death

The American fad of getting Chinese characters tattoos can be embarassing if you can read a few characters, like when someone thinks they have the character for "love" tattooed on their bicep, but they actually have the character for "water".

Tonight I saw a woman at the grocery store with two characters tattooed on her forearms. She was checking me out. By which I mean she was ringing up my groceries. Anyway, I was watching her arms and realized that on her left arm was the character for love and on the right the character for death.

I wondered if she knew what they meant. Here is the tricky part. I didn't want to say, "Hey, look, death is tattooed upon you!" What if she thought it was the character for happiness or contentment? That would be embarassing for her.

So I said, "Do you know what those characters mean?" And she did. Apparently she purposely tattooed death upon herself. "I can't read it," she said, "But the guy who tattooed me can." Sure he can, sweetheart, sure he can. Ai think she is being si-lly.

This got me to thinking, though, what a huge joke this must be to people who can actually read the characters. It's probably as funny as when I buy notebooks in China with little English slogans on them: "We and you bubble friends for always, hugs and love!"

Then I got to thinking: If I was a tattoo artist, whenever someone really drunk came in and wanted to get a tattoo of Chinese characters or kanji or things like that, I would tell them, "Oh, here is how you write 'love'" and then I would tattoo something else. I would tattoo on them the words "drunkard" or "Pity this poor child, she doesn't know what she's doing" or "foreigner." I would tattoo, "Made in God's Image." I would write "ma tai". I would label whatever body part they were tattooing with the appropriate Chinese word. I would write, "Made in China."

I guess I would probably have to move my shop every couple of years, though, because when people came in they might say that I had given them the wrong tattoo. I would have two retorts ready:

1) You were drunk! I know it says, "feng pi" but that's what you asked for.

2) Hey, who reads Chinese around here? You or me?

If that didn't work I could always run, or offer them a free tattoo of an eagle clutching some lightning and a flaming skull.

On an unrelated note, have you ever noticed how being jet-lagged makes you feel like your thoughts are more profound and worthwhile than usual? It makes you feel like you should write it all down, get it all out before the magic goes away. But then later you want to apologize to everyone for the strange and witless wanderings of your mind.

Also, if people asked for a tattoo of an alligator, I would secretly give them a crocodile.

Monday, December 03, 2007

How to make a video podcast

I made this video about how to make a video. It's the first one I've ever made, but I just felt like I was an expert right off the bat. Or else my hypocrisy knows no bounds, one or the other.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Frankfurt Airport Update

The Frankfurt airport is now smoke free! Now you can travel around the continent without smelling of smoke the whole time. Pass on the good news.

Krista adds: Now that there is no smoking in the airport, you can see across the hallways. There's no haze.


Here we are, safely at last in Rijeka, Croatia.

Our first impression is that the people are very friendly. Even the woman looking at our passports gave us a big smile and said, "WELCOME TO CROATIA!" Kristi and Allison met us at the airport and we had a fun ride home through the fog.

The traffic signs had "smiley" and "frowny" faces on them, which I enjoyed. Allison said they're a sort of vague threat... if you help us and do what we say as we do construction on the roads all will go well and everyone will be happy. But if not... well, there will be frowns.

We're enjoying ourselves, staying with the Kneeshaws.

Tonight we ate at Delfino's. I had a lasagna which reminded me of the lasagna in East Asia at the Blue Marlin. Krista had a pizza.

That's enough of an update for now, I think. Jet lag prevents clarity of thought! :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Agape Night

Last night the team hosted Agape Night here at Matt and Sharon's apartment.  Sharon had us put about 200 pictures on the wall, and then we all went around together with German and Lithuanian students and picked out pictures that described our lives and spirituality.  We shared in small groups, and then Sharon shared her own pictures and a short but compelling talk about why Christ is an important part of her life.  It was great, and the students had an excellent time.  And so did we!

Lithuanian Public Restrooms

One of the strange facts of Lithuania is that the public restrooms often have blue lights in them.  What I mean is, the overhead lighting has blue bulbs.  Everything is covered in strange blue light.  I asked Matt, one of the team leaders here, why that was.  He said he didn't know.  But one of the Lithuanians told him it was "because of drugs."  We are not sure what this means but we spent some time brainstorming possibilities, which was entertaining.

Another interesting thing to note is that the women who clean the bathrooms just walk right in and do whatever it is they need to do.  While I was washing my hands she just walked in and started taking out the garbage.  Several of the guys shared how they found this disconcerting at first but now they can "do what needs to be done" without thinking about it too much.  There is some concern that upon returning to America that bathrooms will be closed for cleaning when they need to go.  

Also, on the way out of the restroom at the mall we saw a cleaning lady carrying a ten-gallon water jug full of what appeared to be milk.  I asked Matt what this might be and he shrugged and said he had no idea.  So there's really a lot to learn on this topic still.

Fun With Demons

As in any culture, Lithuania has several important traditions that I am learning.  A favorite lesson yesterday was that if you whistle while you are in the house, demons will come into your home.

So, I've been standing around whistling and then I say, "In the name of Christ, get out of here!"  Then I whistle again.  Keeps them busy running back and forth, you know.  Keeps them out of trouble.

Other important Lithuanian tips for women:

1) Don't cross your legs and then shake the leg on top.  A demon will come sit on your foot.  I don't know why, but there you go.

2) Don't sit at the corner of a table (i.e. with the corner angle pointing at you).  If you do this, you won't get married for seven years.  SEVEN YEARS!  Seems a little harsh, but that's just the way it is here in Lithuania.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Today we're on our way to Lithuania.

After we walked through the security, we stopped so I could put my shoes back on (note to self: get some slip on shoes).  Suddenly one of the security guards starting shouting CODE BLUE CODE BLUE!

I grabbed our bags and told Krista, "Let's get out of here" but not before a security woman ran up and spread her arms in front of us and said, "We have a situation here and you're going to need to stay here until we get it figured out."

So we sat back down and I thought to myself, "If there is a bomb in that x-ray machine we are going to get killed because I didn't get my shoes on fast enough."

Then it turned out to be a drill (not a drill in the X-ray machine, but a security drill).

So.  All is well that ends well.  

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day

Me (lifting A up into her bed): You're getting too big! When will you start shrinking again.

A: Dad! That would only happen if I stopped reading my Bible every day.

You Obviously Aren't Looking Hard Enough

A: Dad, did you buy batteries for this light up star?

Me: No. I looked for them in the store...

A: Did you look for them in MEXICO?

Me: No.

A: Obviously not.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Day After

Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. Janet (Krista's Mom) was in town, and Krista's brother and sister-in-law and our nephew came up. And also the Krieg family and Kerri Louck and two former stinters to Macedonia (Felicity and Melissa).

We had a great time. I was thankful to have friends and family gathered together.

Today we went out to get our Christmas tree and it's officially the Christmas season! Yay!

And this was the easiest tree-cutting trip we've ever had. We found the tree quickly, it was easily cut, transported, set up and decorated. And it's beautiful.

Warning: Adult Language Ahead

I've been reading the Narnia books to the kids... we read all of "The Magician's Nephew" over the last couple of days. I read a couple of chapters at night, and during the day the kids come running up at some point, the dog-eared paperback in their hands, crawl up in my lap and we read.

Of course we can't read them in anything resembling an order, although we read "Magician's Nephew" because the children were upset that it was the first story and it should have come first. Then again, A kept asking the whole time, "Where's Lucy?" She wasn't happy to know that she wasn't in the book at all.

So. Today we started "The Silver Chair." Why? No one is sure. But the children agreed unanimously that "Prince Caspian" was a book that sounded dumb. And they liked the idea of the emerald witch.

I've edited a little language here and there for Brit slang and the occasional "things I don't want kids saying around the house."

But tonight A latched on to some nautical terminology that she found highly entertaining. It all happened when Eustace and Jill find themselves in Narnia and see King Caspian's ship all festooned and ready to cast off. He describes the forecastle, the masts, and the poopdeck.

A: Poopdeck! Ha ha ha!

Me: No, it's a... uh, look here on the picture. See that part of the deck right there? That's the poopdeck.

A: Poopdeck!

A little while later a sound of trumpets came out of the poop as the ship set off. Which was pretty much the end of the chapter so far as A was concerned.

When we said goodnight she called me back into the room for "one more word."

Me: Good night.

A: Poopdeck!

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's a Lovely Place. Such a Lovely Place.

Welcome to BHR. Remember, you can't catch bacteria on a blog, only viruses, so you're safe here.

As I often do, I went tonight to see how new readers have been stumbling across our little revolution. Some people came searching for The Advent Book (which I heartily recommend).

A few came as a result of the Northwest winter conference making the decision to link to BHR. Which I am sure they will regret one day. I'm going to be the MC at conference, so they thought people might like to get to know me beforehand. Insert evil laugh here.

Others came seeking "monkey island slogans" or "evil laugh muah" or "funny Christmas devotion with food" or "funny pictures of lions." Well. I trust you all found what you were looking for.

A full six visitors came searching for... pet steps. I don't know what to say, except, um, WELCOME! We are glad that you and your fat little doggies (or young puppies) have found us.

More Monkey Island Slogans

I was thinking about the post above, and I started feeling bad for whoever came to BHR seeking monkey island slogans. I mean, the basic idea of an island full of monkeys is something we here at BHR fully support.

We've never really had any monkey island slogans on this blog. And that just made me sad. And a little angry. Whoever runs this thing is dumb for never thinking of it before.


Here are some Monkey Island Slogans:

"No Phones! No Lights! No Motor Cars!"

"Clothes Optional."

"Monkey Island... Now A Video Game!"

"No Tail, No Service."

"Coming In Three Million Years: Cro-Magnon Island."

"More Fun Than Monkey Peninsula."

Okay. That was fun. Now you guys add some in the comments.


We thought that the little visitor who came to our home was The Flu. See it there on the left? The slight fever, the stomach ache, the lethargy, the sudden rash which sped uncontrollably and covered Z's entire body as soon as the doctors were off duty.

But no, as I found out after THREE HOURS in the emergency room. That, my friends, is not the flu.

I learned this when the Doctor finally walked in, looked in Z's mouth and said, "Yup, that's strep throat. I can smell the strep." THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE: You can smell strep throat.

I had smelled a strange, sour smell when Z was sleeping in my arms earlier that morning. When her breath swept out of her mouth and across my face. Over and over. And I didn't want to move because I didn't want to wake her up. Poor kid.

And now I recognize the smell. Why, I smelled it last night when I went to brush my teeth...

Yeah. That's right. I have strep throat, too.

I wish I had all these skills when I lived overseas. If someone on the team were sick, they could walk up to me and I would smell their breath. "It's not strep," I would say, musing. Hmmm. "Let's see the whites of your eyes. Well, it's not malaria." When they said that they suddenly hated the taste of bananas I'd be able to tell them what they were suffering from, because I am the King of Strange Knowledge. But I shan't share that with you. Not now.

Okay, one last weird thing: instead of a low fever when I went to the doctor to get my antibiotics, I had a low temperature. Could I be a reptile? Very strange.

And, lastly, for those of you with microscopes at home, here is what the flu really looks like:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Family Fun... WITH RODENTS!

Tonight we went to family fun night at Z's school. Someone was dressed as an enormous mouse... I think he was from some story book. He had a green coat and wire-rimmed glasses. And someone to guide him around since he couldn't see out of the giant rodent head. Here's what happened when I pointed the furry visitor out to the kids:

Me: Hey Z, look at that giant mouse over there.

Z: I think that's a rat.

Me: Why do you say that?

Z: Mice don't grow that big.

A little while later, A pushed ahead through the crowd, about eight feet in front of me and came across this furred monstrosity.

A: Daddy!

Me: I'm right here.

A: That reindeer really scared me.

Be Careful Little Eyes

For some unimaginable reason probably having to do with an education in Christian schools I was singing:

Be careful little eyes what you see
Be careful little eyes what you see
For your Father up above is looking down in love
so be careful little eyes what you see

My daughter Z sat listening and then said: Dad, why 'be careful little eyes what you see'?

Me: It just means, don't look at things you shouldn't look at.

Z: Like the sun.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bots Vs. On-line Gambling

I was very pleased to read this article (via Boing Boing) which showed how bots are destroying online gambling.


Ancient Metal and Hot Women

Archaeologists recently announced that they think that the Copper Age in Europe began 500 years earlier than they thought. The prehistoric age is revealing itself to be less primitive than anyone thought. What's getting the headlines, though, is that 5,000 years before Christ, women liked to look attractive.

New Delhi and Krista agree: Monkeys are Bad

The city of New Delhi has decided to take its monkey problem seriously ever since its deputy mayor fell off a balcony and died while chasing after the furry hooligans.

Here's a great article in the NY Times all about New Delhi's Primate Problem.

I think that we could have a monkey in our home if only Krista were willing to make the sacrifices being asked of the citizens of New Dehli, "The only way is to ignore them. Never look a monkey in the eye, never raise your eyebrows at one: it’s interpreted as a challenge."

Pirate Freedom!

I used some of my birthday money in July to order a book that wasn't published yet... PIRATE FREEDOM by Gene Wolfe.

I love Wolfe's writing. He's one of the few authors whose work I buy in hardback without hesitation. I know I'll read it again.

It's full of monks, pirates, treasure, time travel... all that good stuff.

I just got the e-mail today saying that the book is on the way to my house! YAY!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stop Not Liking Comics

Thus spoke MONSTROLLO!

Yes, it's from Monster Blog.

Almost All Figured Out

I think I've stumbled across a workable solution to complete world domination. And I have all the necessary resources but one: more time.


Anyone out there have a time machine I could borrow?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Free Song from Switchfoot and Relient K

Jon Foreman from Switchfoot sent out this note yesterday:


My name is jon foreman- I play guitar in a band called switchfoot. Many of our songs have deeply personal stories behind them. This one, "Rebuild" has a story that grew even bigger after the song was written.

This summer, Matt Thiessen and I began to write a song specifically for our fall tour, the "Appetite for Construction” tour where a dollar from each ticket sold will go to Habitat for Humanity. The song, (written with Habitat in mind) was called "Rebuild." Afterwards, we said our goodbyes and both bands parted ways and drove on down the road. Hours later his bus burned down. After the flames died down, the song and the tour had a much deeper meaning.
Now, as our hometown of San Diego recovers from the worst fires we've ever been through, this song has a deeper meaning still. I've spent the last week on tour trying to find out if friends and family are ok. It's been an incredibly helpless feeling. And though we're far from home, we've been trying to figure out ways that we can help.

So we came up with this idea, more than just giving a dollar a ticket this tour we've decided to give a song away. We love giving things away whenever we can, our hope is that you do too.

Download the song, "rebuild" and give your money or your time directly to Habitat for Humanity. That way you don't need to even live in california, you can still help in your own backyard. If you've got extra cash, cool. If not, donate your time instead. Habitat is an incredible organization that has built houses from New Orleans to New Delhi for deserving individuals. After the fires die down we'll need a lot of help in San Diego.

The song features someone from all three bands on tour: ourselves, Matt T. from Relient K and Dustin from Ruth on harmonica. The song means a lot to me and I hope you enjoy it. Now is the time to rebuild. Please join us.

To find out more on how you can help out or download the song "Rebuild", click here.



Mommy Dearest

Krista told the kids about a shirt she saw at the store that said, "I love Mommy more than I love Santa Claus." This started the kids in a contest of sorts, an abbreviated version of which I will reproduce here:

Z: I love Mommy more than Santa Claus.

A: I love Mommy more than Hello Kitty.

Z: I love Mommy more than false gods.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Maybe you should imagine an ice age or a giant meteorite hitting the earth

Z: Dad, I'm afraid of the snakes under my bed.

Me: You know what to do. You need to send Rikki Tikki Tavi under there. You need a mongoose.

Z: But Rikki Tikki Tavi isn't real.

Me: Neither are the snakes under your bed.

Z (after thinking this through for a minute): Dad. I'm afraid that sabre-tooth tigers are going to sneak up on me.

Leggo My Eggo!

This morning at the hotel I was staying at, I had a chance encounter with a petty injustice.

There was a "make your own waffle" station, and all three waffle irons were open, so I poured myself a waffle and then took my milk over to the table I had chosen.

When I returned, there was a guy standing in front of my waffle iron, waiting for it to beep. There was another waffle cooking now, too. I stood there, looking at this man who was guarding my waffle for a minute.

Man: These waffle irons can be pretty confusing. Do you want me to show you how to use one?

Me: No. I already poured myself a waffle.

Man: Yeah, it's pretty easy to forget which waffle iron you poured your batter into.

Then he opened the iron, took out my waffle and walked away.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fall out, Fall back

In honor of today, when you have an extra hour due to daylight savings, I thought I should give you a couple activities that will help you to use that extra hour up. Everyone hates to have an extra hour lying around cluttering up the place.

That's precisely why God created video games.

So. You could go play Zuma.

Or, for the old school players, feel free to spend a few minutes on Frogger. Hard to believe how many hours I spent as a child playing what now appears to be a cel phone game.

And for those of you who are new to BHR and my have missed the announcement in July of 2006, I think you will enjoy Super Monkey Poop Fight.

As for me, I am flying to Montana today. This will put me an hour ahead of time, so I will gain and then lose an hour. This is my way of boycotting Daylight Savings Time. If I were wealthy enough I would migrate back and forth between Portland and Montana twice a year so that I never had to change my clocks.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Potato Goes Over the Bridge. A story by A.

Once upon a time there was a potato. And no one else liked her. Everyone else thought she was supposed to be the smallest potato, but actually she was supposed to be the biggest potato.

So she went over a bridge to the stream. She found lots of beautiful animals. But all of them said just the same. Just the same, just the same, just the same.

Finally, she found an animal named Magical Like who liked everyone. So she said, "I will be your friend but we have to go back to where you started." So they went back to where she started.


Continuing story number three, the story mystery.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Christian Bumper Sticker, Luxury Car

At a nearby Christian school I read this bumper sticker on the back of a very nice vehicle:

"Don't let the car fool you, my treasure is really in Heaven."

Feel free to comment. I am still mute with wonder.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Migratory animals

Apparently the magnetic field leads birds directly over our house when they are migrating, because every day several hundred ducks and geese fly overhead while Z and I walk to her school in the morning.

We talk about this every morning.

A few days ago she had this to say:

Z: I'm glad cats don't migrate, because then every morning on the way to school we'd have to jump over them.

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's Harvest Time!

Last night was the "Harvest Party" at Village (our church). The kids asked me on the way home, "Dad, what's the meaning of Halloween?" Which is sort of like asking Donald Trump "What's so good about money?" So the kids got a half hour documentary on the meaning of Halloween on the ride home from church.

As you would expect, there were many special moments associated with the evening. Instead of breaking them up into multiple posts, I'll include them all below:

1) PRELUDE: Z picks what she will be for the party.

Z: Dad, guess what I am going to be for Halloween.

Me: I don't know, what?

Z: Supergirl!

Me: How did you choose Supergirl?

Z: Well, I just thought, "What could I be? A balloon? No! A crayon? No! Mom? No! It has to be Supergirl."

2) Our Princess, (A) shares her commentary on the strange social norms of those around us:

A was looking around at the party and noticing all the kids' costumes. She saw that someone had brought their baby and dressed them up as a pumpkin or something.

A: Look. Someone decorated their baby.

3) Co-worker Mike learns how we treat those who work with us.

Our good buddy Mike Krieg joined us at the party. We went to see the "illusionist" at the church and of course when volunteers were sought, Mike tried to get me to volunteer. But I didn't. And the magician chose Mike to come up front and get ropes tied around his neck as an example of sin being a sort of bondage in our lives. Two assistants then took hold of the rope on two sides and when the magician commanded they PULLED ON THE ROPE WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT and it fell off, harmless.

But it was a pretty scary moment for Mike. Ha ha. I'm so glad you came, Mike. :)

And of course there were other special moments, like hamster bowling (see below) and Pastor John wearing a crazy wig and taking orders for hot dogs.

A good time was had by all, I think.

Eavesdropping With Matt (Episode Eighteen)

Dedicated to the kids at the Harvest Party, especially the ten-year-old boy who showed up thinking (like me) that the game called "Hamster Bowling" might be something different than it was.

Worker (holding up a purple ball with a live hamster in the middle and pointing down the "lane" to a pyramid of stacked cups): Who thinks the purple ball will win?

Kid: Me! Me! I get to go first!

Worker (holding up the blue plastic ball, which also has a hamster in it): Who thinks the blue ball will win?

Kid: Me! Me! Give me the ball!

Worker: You realize that you don't get to actually throw the hamster, right? We're going to let them roll down there themselves and knock the cups down.

Kid: WHAT? That's no fun!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How to Buy a Monkey

You may recall that before we were married, Krista told me that I could buy a monkey.

Alas, that dream is dead now.

But if I know the BHR readers, there are several of you out there still considering a primate for a pet. I came across this article today about how to buy a monkey and thought you would enjoy it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eavesdropping with Matt (Episode Seventeen)

Dedicated to the elderly gentleman sitting in the back seat of the minivan, knees together, eyes glued on the husband, wife and children standing out on the sidewalk talking to their friends.

Young Wife (to friends): I guess we better get going now. We need to get Grandpa to the bathroom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beef-eating trees

Here's a news report from Mangalore about a tree that snatches cows from the ground and then eats them. No, really.

via boingboing

This sucks

I read today that Tennyson McCarty from the Maze was found dead last week.

I saw Jim and Tennyson do their act last year at a leadership event we had back east. I loved the show and was really impressed with Jim and Tennyson, both their skills as illusionists and their passion to follow Jesus.

If you're the praying kind, please be praying for Tennyson's family and friends.

Here's a site where you can leave condolences or remembrances for Tennyson's family and friends.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Roaring Lion Seeking to Devour

Tonight I went to a men's Bible study, and one of the things we talked about was how a husband/father is meant to protect his family. Protect them from a lot of things, but one of the main things being that you need to protect your family from sin and evil. To underline the point, the leader of the study showed us a video of a fox sneaking up on a family of geese and trying to run off with all the goslings. The geese went crazy and went after the fox, but it got away with one of the goslings. This, our leader pointed out, is what we are up against.

He talked to us, too, about how the people who wrote scripture had likely seen things like "roaring lions" in the wild, and when they said to protect the sheep from ravenous wolves, they knew what it looked like to see a wolf streaking through a flock and jumping at a sheep. And they knew that you didn't mess around with predators, you went after them.

He showed us a video of some lions attacking a herd of elephants, showing how the elephants protected their young by making a ring around them.

Anyway, the video made sense to me, and I think drove home to me how important it is to be protecting my family and everyone under my spiritual care. So I looked up a little video for all of you to enjoy. It's not a lion, it's a tiger. Or, as one of the commenters said, "One (heck) of a stripey lion."

It's a tiger attacking a man who is riding on an elephant. And it's pretty amazing. Remember that "roaring lion seeking who he may devour." Don't play games with lions.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jesus on a Wheaties box

Trolling around the internet I came across the paintings of Dick Detzner. I found the paintings in his "Corporate Sacrilege" series interesting. He is, of course, intending to skewer Corporations and their religious fervor for products and product placement. Here's my favorite:

Of course, the pictures of sports heroes have never caused me to want to eat Wheaties. But Jesus is really a hero for me. If they put him on the Wheaties I would buy a box for sure. In the meantime, I guess I could buy this piece of original art for only $6,500, which would be a great deal if I had that kind of money. But, unlike a box of Wheaties, it would be inedible... and if I spent $6,500 on a piece of art, I would have to be able to eat it!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Welcome to the Worldwide Wanderers

Longtime readers here at BHR know that every once in a while we like to greet the people who have wandered to our warm hearth from the cold and uncaring worldwide web.

So, first of all, I'd like to welcome everyone who came here looking for the Bond girl auditions. Please let us know how it goes.

Also, for the several people who are looking for the Billy Madison weasel laugh and somehow came to visit us, greetings!

Likewise, welcome to all the people looking for old friends, whether they are name Bourne, Gargamel or even McComas.

And lastly, dear friend who was seeking for an answer to the question "What to do when you are in love with two people" I would like to say this: hang in there. Drop us an email and we'll be glad to talk it out with you.

Meanwhile: I am in California right now. Unless you are a thief or robber. Then I am sitting behind my front door with a shotgun. A loaded one. And I had someone flick off the safety since I couldn't figure it out myself. I'm dangerous, you better watch it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mysterious Secrets of Womankind Revealed!!!

This morning I was helping our four-year-old daughter, A, get dressed. She decided to wear a "skort", that strange piece of clothing that is both a skirt and a pair of shorts. Is it a pair of skorts? Or just a skort? I don't know. Anyway, here's what A said to me this morning:

A: See, Dad, the front is a skirt, but in the back it's shorts! It's a skort!

Me: Why do they make it that way?

A: They make it that way to confuse you.

"The Princess and the Bear" by Z

Once upon a time there was a princess. She liked to play. One day she decided to take a walk in the woods.

What she did not know was that a bear was watching her. She walked deeped into the woods. Soon there was hardly any light.

The wolf jumped out from where it was hiding! But fortunately the princess had a knife. She threw the knife at the wolf.


"The Princess and the Bear"... commentary

I enjoyed Z's story above. I don't have time this morning, but you would find the pictures that go along with it enchanting. I am particularly fond of the happy, smiling bear in the woods and the knives with which the princess fights off the wolf.

I was a little suprised by the sudden appearance of the wolf.

Me: Z, what happend to the bear? It was watching the princess, and then suddenly a wolf sprang out at her.

Z: Oh, did I write "wolf" at the end? Hmm. It was supposed to be a bear. Well, actually, the wolf and the bear were working together. The bear was the lookout for the wolf, and he said 'The princess is coming, hide! Then we can catch her and share her.' The wolf would get to eat her, and the bear could have her dress to wear. The bear thought the dress was very pretty.

Me: Wow! This is a great story.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday Night

Sunday night our church's Hispanic fellowship had a big party for Dia de la Raza, and to celebrate they invited all the rest of us to come on down for the service and eat authentic Mexican food they had made.

As it turned out it was more than just Mexican food, too, as they had food from all over Central and South America, all made by women in our church. Piles of tamales, vats of pozole, trays full of tostadas and several things I had never seen before but which tasted spectacular.

Afterwards we went home and just laid down and thought about our meal. Mmmm. Sooo good.

And we met a lot of great people and hung out with a lot of friends while we were there. We met a man who had come from Mexico and he told us that when he was in Mexico he was hungry all the time and there hadn't been enough food to feed his family. But here, it's good.

Happy Dia de la Raza, everyone. And to all the Hispanic and Latino immigrants and citizens... I'm glad you're here. I know a lot of people say stupid, hurtful things, but I am thankful for you and your culture.

3:10 To Yuma

Saturday night Krista and I went to see "3:10 to Yuma".

It's the story of a broke rancher who, in a moment of desperation, agrees to help transport a psychotic outlaw from the town they are in to a nearby town to catch the 3:10 train to Yuma prison. The rancher needs the money to keep his ranch. And of course the outlaw has a bloodthirsty gang eager to keep their boss from prison and the noose.

Krista and I both enjoyed this movie. Russell Crowe plays a character that is, perhaps, the most riveting and realistic portrayal of evil that I have ever seen in a movie. He's charismatic and enticing. Everyone wants to be with him or be like him. He's friendly and polite, even affable... but it's all punctuated by frightening moments of brutal violence. And there is a price to be paid for making friends with him.

Christian Bale also does a fine job as a man trying to do the right thing, to be a righteous man, when the whole world seems aligned against him. By the end of the movie, I think most sane viewers would see that he is the man to be emulated, not the outlaw.

Anyway, Krista and I talked about this movie for hours afterwards and the next day, too. It has deep themes of sin, redemption and the nature of man, and I think lends itself naturally to discussing spiritual things. It's a great movie to see with a friend and to discuss together.

I highly recommend it.

Rated R for violence and some language.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Further Evidence that Learning Definitions and Correct Terminology Matters

Here's a little story from when A and I were vacuuming the office.

A: Dad, the hooker is back here.

Me: I... what?

A: The hooker is behind the desk.

Me: I don't think I understand.

A (pointing): For the vacuum cleaner. The hooker!

Me: Honey, that's called an electrical outlet, not a hooker.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Joshua Tree pics

Joshua Tree

You may have noticed the new picture on the BHR banner. That's a picture that Krista took while we were in Joshua Tree National Park last month. I think Krista's a gifted photographer, and I really enjoy this particular photo.

The stark beauty of Joshua Tree hit me pretty hard. The night that K took the photo on the banner, we had hiked a short distance from the road and set up for sunset. The silence amazed me. An airplane flew by in the far distance, barely in sight, but I could hear it. I could hear the wind, the occasional sound of an insect, the click of Krista's camera.

I have never experienced a silence so profound and so encompassing as in Joshua Tree. When the wind settled I could hear nothing but Silence. I realized that silence is always there, beneath the noise, and for the first time I was in a place where I could hear it. The intensity of his presence in that moment was overwhelming. He, too, is always near us, but I often do not sense him beneath the noise of the world. Could anyone stand in a place of such beauty and silence and not sense him?

The sun caught in the branches of a tree. The tree flared into golden light, and was not consumed.

Poet Laureate of New Jersey In Action

You may remember Jill James, the triumphant winner of last year's Poet Laureate Competition for the state of New Jersey. I still remember her poem clearly. She's a gifted writer, and thinks carefully about the impact of her writing on the world around her. She sent me this note today:

hi matt how r u?

im the poet laureate of New Jersey, hope u remember!

i read that the position was eliminated in 2002 due to anti semetic remarks, which is ironic since i am jewish....

i've decided to do a project involving new jersey. I'm printing postcards, each with a photo i took and one paragraph of this short story im writing, and then i'm gonna send them all to prisoners in the new jersey prison system. Each person will have to trade with someone else in prison in order to find out what happens in the story......i think this will be a cool way of getting people interested in, they get mail, which might be nice if they're lonely in jail.....I might do something similar with poems and nursing homes.

hope u like my project!

Jill James

I'm really excited about the project. Jill is going to send some of her work on the project and I'll post it here!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This Little Piggy Had None

Tonight we had dinner at my Mom and Dad's house. I noticed a large bag of cookies on the counter afterwards and asked mom if the baked goods were for dessert or for her Bible study Wednesday night.

My daughter A came running over a few moments later.

A: Dad! I want some bacon for dessert!

Me: Well, you can ask grandma, but I don't know if she has any bacon.

A: Grandma, I want some bacon for dessert!

Me: Oh, wait... did you hear me say "baked goods"? I was talking about the cookies....

Nine Seconds of Awesome

This is a special post dedicated to Geoff Malgee, Andy Goolsby and all the fine lads and ladies headed to Australia on stint this year. Take careful note of the video to follow:

Tie me kangaroo down, sport. Tie me kangaroo down.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Customers Only

Now that Z can read, she has a lot more questions about the world. For instance, tonight at the pizza place I walked her back to the restroom where there was a sign that said "this restroom is for customers only."

Z: Dad, the restroom is for "customers only"?

Me: That's right.

Z: Why can't the people who work here use it?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bird Brains

It appears that birds may be able to see the earth's magnetic field, using it to navigate as they travel.

Animals are cool.

I give us five years before the mag-field sunglasses come out. Awesome.

via boingboing

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Diet of Worms

When we cook spaghetti, I often call it "worms" for the kids' sake. But then this week I took my daughter A out to lunch and we ate spaghetti. She loved it. She was shoveling it in her mouth like crazy and she finally stopped, spaghetti hanging out of her mouth, looked up at me and said:

A: Dad, how do they catch all these worms?

Me: You realize that spaghetti is not actually made of worms, right?

A (giving me a disbelieving stare): Then how do they cook spaghetti?

I was tempted to tell her that it grows on trees, but I refrained. It made me wonder what other jokes I assume the kids understand but that instead give them a warped view of reality.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Watch this... or else

Because we care about shadow puppets, we thought we would bring you this little bit of amazing puppetry:

Incredible, isn't it? That was Raymond Crowe, Australia's only "unusualist." I would like him to come to the Matt Mikalatos Birthday Party Extravaganza on 7-17-2009 (location TBA). Musical guests will include Switchfoot and the Autumn Film.

And I stole the link from Neil Gaiman, who won't miss it a bit.

Friday, September 28, 2007

If you have to die, I guess this is a good way to go

I hardly ever take those lame quizzes on the internet. You know, "QUESTION: Which Grey's Anatomy character are you?" ANSWER: George Clooney.

But I saw this quiz that claimed it would tell me how I will die. I thought that sounded like fun, so I took the quiz and here's what came up:

How Will I Die Quiz

How Will I Die Quiz

You will die at the age of 47

You will die during your brain transpant surgery

Find out how you will die at


Apparently I am going to die during a brain transpant surgery.

Now, a brain transplant would be strange enough, but a transpant is even stranger.

DOCTOR: Sir, this is somewhat abnormal, but it appears that your brain needs to change its pants.

ME: You're kidding! Can't it hold on for another thirty years? My brain pants still have plenty of wear in them, I think.

DOCTOR: No, it's a medical necessity that you get those pants changed. Otherwise your brain could have all sort of problems, one of which would be acute embarassment. It appears that your brain got dressed in the first half of the 70's and is wearing striped bell bottoms.

ME: Good grief! What sort of shirt is my brain wearing?

DOCTOR: I didn't want to tell you this, sir... but it appears that your brain is wearing a long canvas vest with no shirt underneath.


DOCTOR: We can do a brain transhirt while we're in there. And we can even remove the gold chains if you like.

ME: Thank you, doctor. May God bless you for the work you are going to do on my brain.

DOCTOR: You are welcome.

Thus shall my fate be sealed.

Another Way to Go

Rebecca sent me this link the other day and I forgot to put it up...

A python tried to swallow a big goat, and succeeded. But the dead goat's horns killed the python as the corpse moved along the digestive tract.

There's a picture but I thought I would spare you...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Doubting Thomas

Below are the lyrics to Doubting Thomas by Nickel Creek, a song that has been living with me for the last few weeks. Right in the guest room, where it can put its feet up on the furniture and drink a frosty milkshake.

What will be left when I've drawn my last breath
Besides the folks I've met
and the folks who've known me

Will I discover a soul-saving love
Or just the dirt above
and below me

I'm a doubting Thomas
I took a promise
But I do not feel safe
Oh me of little faith

Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face
Then I beg to be spared
cause I'm a coward
If there's a master of death
I bet he's holding his breath
As I show the blind and tell the deaf
about his power

I'm a doubting Thomas
I can't keep my promises
Cause I don't know what's safe
Oh me of little faith

Can I be used to help others find truth
When I'm scared I'll find proof
that it's a lie
Can I be led down a trail dropping bread crumbs
That prove I'm not ready to die

Please give me time to decipher the signs
Please forgive me for time that I've wasted
I'm a doubting Thomas
I'll take your promise
Though I know nothin's safe
Oh me of little faith

You can listen to the song on Nickel Creek's myspace. I suggest you run on out and buy the album, which is excellent.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tigers vs. Monkey... FIGHT!

I think it's important that you watch this video.

Krista and I have always disagreed about monkeys. Before we were married she told me I could have one, so that's still on the table. I just have to save enough money for the rabies shots.

Anyway, while we were watching this video I asked: "Why would a monkey do that to a tiger?"

Krista: "Because they are antagonistic and mean."

But let's be serious... who hasn't wanted to go up to a baby tiger and pull its tail?

p.s. I miss Chinese television.

Prince Caspian

Via Cinematical.

Ninjas vs. Monks... FIGHT!

I keep forgetting to fill you all in on the brewing turf war between the shao lin monks and the ninjas.

According to this story, an anonymous ninja (aren't they all anonymous?) claims that he visited a shao lin monostary, single-handedly defeated them all and then returned to Japan to pronounce his victory.

I bring this to your attention so that you won't be surprised if your neighbor the shaolin monk throws a ninja through your window and they begin to throw dishes at each other, do flips by running up your walls, throw forks and other utensils at each other at unbelievable speeds and then hotwire your cars and chase each other down the street.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Those crazy athletes

My daughter Z has always been a little tenative on the soccer field. But that all changed during today's game. She ran like a gazelle, she shoved kids out of her way, she drove the ball down the field and begged the coach to let her be a forward.

Me: Z, you are playing really well today! I've never seen you going after the ball like that before? What changed?

Z: I am pretending that the soccer ball is a giant candy cane.

P.S. I stole this picture from my wife's blog. More pictures of the kids playing soccer there...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's not you, it's me

Several of you have mentioned over the last couple of weeks that Vancouver must be a dangerous place to live. I can see why you might think that since I've shared some stories involving police and Child Protection Services (by the way, the CPS situation has turned out well... the family involved is voluntarily in counseling, etc, etc).

But you need to understand that this is not because of Vancouver, it's because I am a sort of magnet of weirdness.

Case in point: This week, while in California for business and enjoying a coffee with Krista and a friend (nameless since I don't have permission to share this story, which includes her), a drunk man came and sat at the next table over. While he was sitting there, another man walked by with a guitar in one hand and a trumpet in the other, which he kept blowing on, and then looking at the trumpet like it was the crazy one.

The drunk guy started yelling comments at various people walking by. For instance, the truck driver who parked his semi to come get a latte. (YOU STEALIN' MY TRUCK?) Ha ha.

Eventually he managed to work up the guts to come talk to us. He started with a simple ice breaker... "I drink too much" and then tried to win me over by talking about sports.

After a short while he said something (I am trying to remember what it was, but, again, it was sports and I think my auto-delete on my memory got rid of it before he finished speaking) and then said to Our Friend, "High five" and she gave him a high five right as he said, "Spank me!"

Ah, the awkward moment.

Soon followed by the comment, "I just love blonde chicks" which involved him leaning over, grabbing our friend by the head and trying to smack a big fat kiss on her.

I stood up and said, "No no no" which was apparently enough to stop him, which was fortunate. Krista also added to the chorus of "NO!"

Krista and Friend got into the car while Drunk Guy said, "I didn't mean to offend you..."

So, as you can see, the weirdness has nothing to do with Vancouver. It just follows me around. Krista said later, "None of these things happened to me before I met you."

To which I can only reply, "Aren't you glad God brought me into your life, Sweet Darling?"

She's a Heart Breaker!

On the way home from school today I asked Z:

So, what did you play at recess today?

Z: I played ponies.

Me: Who did you play with?

Z: For the first time ever a boy played ponies with me. He was the first boy I asked.

Me: What was his name?

Z: I don't know. He should really write his name down so I can remember it.

NEW! The Submergent Church

The latest issue of the Door just came out this month, including a new article from yours truly entitled "NEW! The Submergent Church". It's all about a pastor who decides he needs to shake his church up, so they start having it... under water. A great idea if I do say so myself.
I discovered in a footnote to my story that someone over at the Christian Century wrote a satirical piece with practically the same name last year (called it the Submergent Church and everything). I knew nothing about it until last night when I got my copy of the magazine. I guess great minds think alike. Or something like that.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Mariachi Band finds me Very Funny

We're at the airport. There's a mariachi band at my gate. I know they are a mariachi band by the fact that they have all their musical instruments with them in cases. Also, they have their big black hats with them, also in cases.

They keep laughing and pointing at me and occasionally making little Ay-yi-yi-yiiiiiiiiiiii sounds. One guy is pretending to play his trumpet. Another is laughing a lot.

Why is this? What have I done? Have I transgressed against mariachi culture? It is hard to say. I have included a survey at right so that you can help me discover what is happening.

Those Impetuous, Foolish, Love-stricken elephants

Her name is Savitri, a hard working circus elephant. When the wild bull elephant came near, he looked at the other elephants, but in the end he lured Savitri out into the wild... she broke her chains and fled with him into the forest, where witnesses saw them "frolicking near a pond." It was love...
But it's hard to take a city elephant and a wild jungle elephant and have a romance... it's hard for her to change her city ways and embrace the wild abandon of eating what you find. It was not meant to be, perhaps, she thinks. For he is wild and untameable and I am longing for a meal to be delivered by my keepers.
In the end of the story, our lady elephant returns home, wiser, perhaps, and now with armed guards in case her lover might try to "make out with her again." I assume it was supposed to be "make off with her" but I am happy with the current reading.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

3 AM conversation with my daughter

A: Daddy, I'm afraid of the big bad wolf and also monsters that aren't real because there are shadows in my room.

Me: Do you remember on the t.v. show 'Super Y' where they changed the words so that the big bad wolf became the big good wolf?

A: Daddy! Super Y is not real.

Me: Neither is the big bag wolf.



Yesterday I took Z to school. She was having a hard time emotionally and was throwing that occasional crying fit that gets under my skin. And I, in return, was not being the patient, calm father I should have been. Which means we were walking to school upset with each other, with me in a hurry to drop her off so I could get to work and her walking four feet behind me and doing her best to slow us down.

As we got closer to the school I saw a woman at the end of the block grab her son by the ears and lift him from the ground. By the time we reached them she had grabbed hold of his hands and he was struggling to get away from her. Z was frightened and took hold of my hand, and we hurried past to get Z into class. We took a few moments to make friends again. I held her for a while, and then prayed for her day and I dropped her off in class.

By the time I got back out the woman was gone, but there was a discarded backpack that appeared to be the boy's.

On my way to work I called the school and described what had happened. I ended up getting multiple calls from the school counselor as they searched out the family I described. Eventually they figured out who it was from my description, and called Child Protective Services. The CPS hasn't called me for a statement yet, but I suppose they will on Monday.

As I reflected on the events of the morning, I realized that this woman was acting out of anger at her son, and that the anger was probably not qualitatively different than what I had been feeling toward Z that same morning. I didn't hurt Z, of course, and I've never hit her or physically harmed her. I'm guessing that woman would say she didn't mean to hurt her son. But this is why Jesus equates anger with murder. Anger is the seed that grows into emotional, spiritual or physical violence. It's a sin with enormous ability to destroy or harm those around us.

I remember talking to someone once who said that anger was not a good reason to remove someone from ministry. You should only remove someone from a leadership position for illicit sex or embezzling or some other (his words) "obvious" sin. That's nonsense. Consistent, destructive anger is a disqualifier from ministry. Leaving someone with an anger problem in a position of leadership will result in a ministry characterized by hurt and broken people. And ignoring that problem because an individual is effective or gets thing done is a tragic mistake.

I am thankful that I don't have an "anger problem", but I could see in myself, yesterday, a tiny seed of anger that, if nurtured, could become something nasty and destructive. I've been reflecting on it and praying about it and repenting about it. I want to be a person of peace, a selfless person who doesn't get angry when things don't go his way. I know that's impossible apart from God's help and grace. So I'm asking for that.

P.S. Please, please don't hurt your kids. I can't tell you how disturbing it was to watch this woman swing her kid around by his ears. If you have an issue with anger that you have ever taken out on your kids, you need to get someone to come help you deal with that! Send me an e-mail and I'll help you find someone who specializes in helping families like yours get healthy again.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fist fights, cursing and assault rifles

Last night at about 11:45 we heard an eruption of shouting and cursing coming from outside. I grabbed my keys and ran toward the sounds, to discover a knot of about seven people in the midst of an enormous brawl... a fist-throwing, people-being-dragged-on-the-ground, cursing, screaming chaotic mess of a brawl.

I got on the phone to 911 and they said they were already on the way... I started yelling at everyone that the cops were on the way. You could hear the sirens and eventually the crowd split in two and separated. In the meantime, my neighbor had walked out onto his front lawn carrying a shotgun.

The first officer on the scene leapt from her car with her pistol drawn and said, "PUT THAT GUN DOWN! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" She must have put the call in that there was a man with a shotgun before getting out of the car because all the sirens in the world roared to life and headed for our neighborhood and soon there was a police officer with an assault rifle of some sort pointed at me and the others on the corner shouting EVERYONE GET ON YOUR FACES NOW!

I spent the next half hour or so on the pavement.

About eight cop cars were lined up the street. Multiple people were arrested. The police went around and interviewed everyone... they almost forgot me, actually. The officer told me I had been polite and quiet. Don't hear that very often, ha ha. Something about assault rifles makes me really polite.

I got home about one a.m. and filled in Krista and the family on our night's events. Turns out that this whole thing started because someone was driving drunk, clipped another car and then, when her friends heard people asking her for insurance, they got belligerent and started pushing people around.

The Clark County police were professional, courteous and pleasant to interact with (although I could have done without the rifle I understand the necessity). All in all, it was one of those moments that you'll always remember... "the time I went out to break up a brawl and then all the police in Washington showed up to take care of it". More police officers in this county have been killed answering domestic violence calls than anything else. Second highest cause of death: accidents while driving at high speeds to respond to calls like that one. At least, that's what the officer said.

Anyway, everyone's safe and there's one more story to put in the "Is Mikalatos making this stuff up?" file.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Leave Your Birthday Wish for Krista Here

It's Krista's birthday. You might like to leave her a nice note or birthday wishes. I was going to say you could post them here on this blog, but I'm sure she would prefer to get them on her own blog. So feel free to leave her a nice note here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

On Blogging and Leaders

I was talking with Alpha Dog Keith Bubalo not too long ago about blogging.

We were talking about how some blogs are pretty serious. Sort of your "meat and potatoes" blogs. You have to take your time, chew carefully, think deeply about them.

Then, we thought about Keith's blog. It's a delightful blend of serious and humorous. It's fun to read. Although he hasn't updated in a while. C'mon, Keith. Stop working and blog for once! Anyway, Keith said his blog was kind of like candy.

Then we talked about my blog and almost simultaneously we said that my blog was like cotton candy. Meaning you don't even have to chew.

I've been thinking a lot about that, and I decided to try to be a little more serious. I mean, I have deep thoughts about leadership and things, too. I'd be glad to share these things with you all. And then I remembered that I have already written some thoughts about leadership. You can enjoy them for yourself by clicking on this link. See, BHR is meat and potatoes, too!

I share my deep insights into leadership so that you might become a better person. It is a service I offer because I care about you. Enjoy.

Divine appointment at the gas station

We drove to Corvallis tonight a way that we usually don't because we were almost out of gas. We finally found a place and pulled in, and the attendant came out to fill the tank. I asked him how his day was going and he said "not great".

I asked him why and he said because he had just gotten a DUI on Friday night. He went on to explain the situation in some detail, and when we were done getting gas I asked if I could pray for him. He seemed genuinely moved and said, "That's funny that you would say that. I've been thinking about Jesus a lot today." So he held my hand through the car window and I prayed for him.

So if you have a minute, pray for "Sam." It appears that the Lord is drawing him. I gave him my phone number, and he said he'd call to update me on his DUI situation next week....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cheaper Than Therapy

When things in the Christian world start getting me down or angry, I have a special technique to "cage the rage."

I write an article for the Wittenburg Door.

It doesn't cost anything, and it often makes me laugh. And when I'm done, I feel better.

I wrote an article today. It made me laugh... and not a cynical little snicker, but a deep, full-throated belly guffaw.

No doubt this is precisely what led Martin Luther to nail the 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg. If he had possessed a sense of humor I have no doubt that he would have penned a pithy satirical piece.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Dear Krista,

It’s hard to believe that nine years ago today we were married. It feels like it has scarcely been nine weeks.

When I made my “non-negotiable” list for the woman I would marry, I was obviously lacking in imagination. You are so much more than any woman I could have dreamed up. You are beautiful, fun to be with, intelligent, artistic and deeply spiritual. I never have to slow down intellectually in a conversation with you. You provided a reason to become a better person than I was… to be the right man for you, I had to become more than I was. I am so thankful that was true.

In the last nine years we’ve traveled together on three continents (that’s a new continent every three years… guess we better get moving!). We’ve been to many countries. We’ve had two beautiful daughters, who I’m proud to say have many of your qualities.

We’ve had nine years of amazing adventures, and I’m looking forward to another ninety. You’re the best traveling companion for this life. I’m glad to be on the journey together with you. You’re my true love, my shining star, my breath.

Thank you for marrying me.

Thank you for staying married to me.

Thank you for being the woman to whom I want to stay married.

I love you.

Your husband, Matt.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In the Garden

I wrote the other night that I was happy to be back home to my family and our garden. Here's a picture Krista took of our garden's bounty. We ate green beans and squash tonight!

As always, there are more pictures up at Blue Sky.

Stint Briefing

A few of you have written asking how the stint briefing in Colorado went. I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you who prayed for our time together. I spent part of the day today going through the feedback forms and they're very encouraging.

I couldn't possibly walk through the whole week here... and I was way too tired to blog each night before I went to sleep.

But, I can say this: The Bible teaching went really well. A lot of people shared about God speaking to them in very profound and clear ways during either the talks or the prayer times around them. In the next couple of weeks I'll get them posted somewhere so that you can listen to them. I know that's what you all want... a little bit of Matt on your iPod.

Here's a picture of the tent we met in. It's called the summer Pavillion, but we like to call it the Tent of Meeting, just like Moses. We go in there expecting to meet with God.

Also contributing greatly to the spiritual tone of things were Carolyn "Too Good For A Blog" Culbertson, who led us in praying often and well. She really kept our focus on staying in communication with Christ while we talked about following him.

And then there was Tifah and her soon-to-be-renamed band. I'm not sure if it's official yet, so we'll just leave it at Tifah, right? These guys are immensely gifted. I told them this week that I was glad I was their friend right now so that one day when they are famous I could buy my fifty dollar balcony tickets and shake my fist at the stage and say I knew them when they were not famous. Tifah replied by saying, "The balcony seats will be at least $150." Pretty funny, that Tifah. I really enjoyed hanging out with these five.

Anyway, these guys do an amazing job leading in worship. They aren't focused on themselves, and aren't pushing or promoting themselves. If you're looking for a band for a worship night or an outreach, I can heartily recommend them. Drop me a line and I'll get you in touch with them.