Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Learning Cycle

So I take my daughter on this awesome wilderness trip to Canada, eh. The design of the journey was to stretch both Madison and I in the area of leadership and learning. What we didn't know was the extent that God would be placing us into His school of protection and provision.

Thursday was a day of talk and travel into Michigan. We stayed in a town called Paw Paw. Friday was a day of reconnnecting with an old friend, Bob Moore. He has been my friend for over twenty five years. I wanted to demonstrate to Madison that "friends are friends forever if the Lord's the Lord of them" (thanks Michael W.). The visit was outstanding but we needed to make it into Canada by Friday evening.
We left Detriot and entered Windsor, Canada. This was Madison's first time to Canada. We started up the road for a few hours before stopping at the famous Tim Hortons donut shop. We stopped and pounded down a coffee and maple covered donut. Little did we know what was coming our way in twenty minutes.

As we headed up the 401 (the heaviest traveled freeway in Canada) traffic began to get heavy. The flow was erratic and cars were slowing and speeding up constantly. As we approached the rush hour traffic, the car in front of me stopped rather abruptly. I applied the brakes but to no avail - I hit the guy in front of me. A four car pile up; air bags deployed; and a big cloud of smoke filled the interior of the car.

Madison immediately said, "It is okay dad". Those words will never leave my mind. So comforting, so strong for a fourteen year old. We got out of the car to examine the damage as well as to check on everyone else. No one was hurt but four cars were smashed up. The reality set in.

Police, fire trucks, ambulances and tow trucks convened. It was surreal. There stood my little girl in all the chaos - strong and intent. It took about an hour to clear the scene. As we sat in the cab of the tow truck, I heard a little sniffling. I asked Madison, "Why are you crying?" She said, "Because God protected us, it could have been much worse."

Isn't it amazing how God gives us some of the most unlikely teachers in the strangest circumstances to show us His protection over us?

Monday, September 13, 2010


Well, it is only a couple of days away... Madison and I are headed to Canada for our great adventure. We are going to Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada for a back-packing, hiking, portaging, and general wilderness adventure.

We have been preparing for this for quite some time and now the time is closing in. I am so excited to spend the time with her. We will be leaving on a Thursday and coming back on the following Saturday. That is a long time to be with one person alone.... especially your dad. You may want to pray for Madison that she has patience and endurance with me. (haha)

I am also excited to learn and grow. It will be such a different experience from what I am used to on a day-to-day basis. No cell phones, computers, televisions, and very few people. It will be Madison, myself, thirteen other people, a journal, and a Bible (and hopefully enough food).

Can you imagine all the voices, noise, clutter, schedules, meetings and responsibilities evaporating right before your eyes? My plan is to fill that void with God's presence, attentiveness to my daughter, and a time of retooling.

I would ask you to pray that I see what I need to see, hear what I need to hear, and do what I need to do. Oh, wait, maybe that should be my prayer request every day......

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I really like music. I like to listen to it, I like to sing along with someone else singing, and I like to play my guitar and make music (or attempt to). I have always liked music from as far back as I can remember - Christian, country, rock, classical, and even a little jazz music have all been a part of the music journey.

Most days I find myself listening to very little music because of a busy schedule filled with practices and meetings. Usually when I do listen, it is not just for pleasure or relaxation but rather as a filler. I usually play some music in my office when time and people allow. Once into a busy day however, I just don't get much of a chance.

Last week, I was on the road alot.... I mean truck driver alot - meetings, athletic events and parental resonsibilities kept me in the car for the better part of the week. So as you have already probably guessed.... I listened to a ton of music.
I have my collection of music that is pretty broad and most of it is made up of songs associated with memories of the past - youth, victories, defeats, joys and sorrows. Initially, listening was emotionally neutral. I was going down the road, singing along being pretty much care free. But then something started to change.

Negative, empty, sorrowful and slightly rebellious FEELINGS started to rush in. Thoughts of old friends, three of which died in car accidents...Jason Alexander, Don Abbott and Doug Zickel. Each one of these guys were friends of mine at different phases and times of my life. As these old songs played, back came the memories.... wow, talk about getting hit by a train.....

(As a side note, I have a friend whose mother listened to Patsy Cline alot while he was growing up. You may not remember Patsy Cline or know of her but all of her songs were sad and talked about a broken heart. My friend's mom had huge issues with depression. Patsy probably didn't help.)

After the "feeling train" had flattened me, I started to think about the value of even holding onto those songs. Should I get rid of them? Invite those feelings in again sometimes as an old friend? Ignore the train and stand on the tracks?

This much I know - music is very powerful and can help shape our attitudes (which I seem to have heard something about recently), feelings and inner spirits.
What do you think? What should I do?