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.