Another tooth…lost…well, found, but lost

Christopher lost his fourth tooth today. The story goes that he had just finished school and was waiting at the car line, having his after school snack. While eating his blueberry bar, it fell out. He managed the whole event on his own, washing his mouth out, putting his tooth away (for the tooth fairy…OBVIOUSLY!) and continuing to eat his bar. He’s my little “molacho”! He has a small lisp, which, for some reason, all parents like.

He asked me in the car why we get so happy when he loses a tooth. “It’s part of you becoming a bigger boy. You start losing teeth, a sign of you getting bigger.” We’re all in the process of becoming. I’m grateful we get to share this with our champs.
He put his tooth in a baggy (actually, insisted on it) and is waiting for $5! Tooth Fairy is not in recession. 🙂

David the percussionist

Ok. It’s been a long time that I’ve blogged about our family and I’ll discuss that later.

For now, I want to say how much fun I had with David today at his morning chapel service. We were both on stage playing percussion instruments. It was so much fun. I got a little teary-eyed when I saw and heard him singing and playing clave. I had a hope for a future with us all on stage playing and worshipping the living God. It was like I saw a picture of what the future may hold (or what I want the future to hold).
Here’s a snapshot of it:

Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, 
the Father, the Almighty, 
maker of heaven and earth, 
of all that is, seen and unseen. 

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
the only Son of God, 
eternally begotten of the Father, 
God from God, Light from Light, 
true God from true God, 
begotten, not made, 
of one Being with the Father. 
Through him all things were made. 
For us and for our salvation 
he came down from heaven: 
by the power of the Holy Spirit 
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, 
and was made man. 
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; 
he suffered death and was buried. 
On the third day he rose again 
in accordance with the Scriptures; 
he ascended into heaven 
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, 
and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, 
who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. 
He has spoken through the Prophets. 
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. 
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. 
We look for the resurrection of the dead, 
and the life of the world to come. Amen. 

This is the Gospel I didn’t hear

By Henri Nouwen

Jesus says: “Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for uprightness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness” (Matthew 5:3-10). These words offer us a self-portrait of Jesus. Jesus is the Blessed One. And the face of the Blessed One shows poverty, gentleness, grief, hunger, and thirst for uprightness, mercy, purity of heart, a desire to make peace, and the signs of persecution.

The whole message of the Gospel is this: become like Jesus. We have his self-portrait. When we keep that in front of our eyes, we will soon learn what it means to follow Jesus and become like him.


Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground. Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes; a thing despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him. And yet, ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. (Isaiah 52)

The enormous anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane is the anguish of Jesus who yearns for the love of his friends, but they don’t realize it. He longs to give them love but they haven’t opened themselves to receive it. This is the enormous anguish of God who is only love…who leaves people free to accept or reject that love.

H. Nouwen

“Don’t shoot the messenger”

“Don’t shoot the messenger”

We often hear this phrase when someone has a challenging word for us or when we have to share a truthful word with someone else.  The phrase, “truth hurts”, is a shared sentiment by many whether in marriage, the workplace or a church setting.  

Do we, perhaps, only listen to people when their words support us and build us up?  What if their words challenge and disturb?  Who has spoken challenging truths to us recently and how did we react?

Defensive.  This is an immediate reaction that comes to mind.  We often get defensive when someone shares a challenging truth about us.  Maybe the truth is related to how we communicate, or our temper, or the way we did a task at work.  It feels like criticism.  It feels like they don’t like us.

Angry.  Mixed with a defensive reaction is anger.  “How dare this person tell me to slow down”, I thought to myself when I was speeding through a parking lot full of people.  IMAGINE THAT!!!  I got upset because someone corrected a dangerous (and illegal) behavior of mine that could potentially put others in danger.  But it was the truth.  And I needed someone to remind me to slow down; to change my behavior and slow down. 

We tend to be a culture that promotes a sense of entitlement.  Webster’s dictionary defines entitlement as:

the state or condition of being entitled; [being] right.   belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.

We feel that if we want to drive fast in a parking lot, so help us God, WE WILL.  ”It’s my car and can do with it what I please”.  ”I have a voice too and it matters.”  We believe we are entitled to say what we want, when we want and however we want to.  

Tragically, some have been deeply wounded by a spouse, boss, manager, leader or pastor who tried to share a challenging truth without gentleness, compassion or care.  The words wounded us and caused in us a posture of defensiveness we continue to carry around in the present moment.  

Can you forgive the person who wounded you so that you can move forward and receive challenging truths from those who manage you, married you or minister to you?

Let’s be workers, spouses and parishioners who are open to receive challenging truths that will improve our quality of work, relationships and life.

Peace be with you.

Attending our Hearts

Luke 8:48,49

Where do words come from?  Why is it that we say what we say?  In one passage Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”.  So then words are crafted in the depth of hearts.  They come from the center of who we are.  Our work in life is attending our hearts with care and gentleness so that life and death, faith and fears, loss and life are embraced with grace.  When we attend to the heart, then we are able to speak words of life to others and say, “you’re faith has healed you”.  When we don’t attend to the heart, then our words speak death to others, “Your daughter is dead…don’t bother…”

The Myth of “Soul Mate”

“Soul mate” This is one of the orange words that I hear a whole lot of and this is the one that really and truly scares me. It is a phrase that is more of a neon light, glow in the dark, flashing fluorescent orange alert of a word. When a patient comes in and tells me that she/he has just met his or her “soul mate”, my highly trained auditory units (aka ears) respond by going into extreme hyper alert. My cochlea, incus and malleus all stand up at the ready and I metaphorically strap on my seatbelt. For the most part what I hear my client saying is that my patient believes that he/she has just met the person who will complete them (à la Jerry McGuire). And while that might sound wonderful when you hear Tom Cruise saying it when he is playing Jerry, the reality of the soul mate idea is a little more Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch.

The whole myth of soul mate is one that I find to be highly problematic and  one that is likely responsible for the ever-increasing rise in divorceand marital dissatisfaction. And, I am only half joking when I say that I wouldn’t be completely surprised to learn that divorce attorneys came up with the concept as a way of drumming up business. You see, I do not believe in soul mates nor do I believe in the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. There is no such thing as a soul mate, no matter what Plato said. Yes, besides the divorce attorneys, I blame Plato. 

The grandpooba of Philosphy, Plato, in his Symposium (which if published today might be the HOT book on relationships) suggested that the orignal humans had one head (made of two faces), four arms, four legs. However, Zeus being the hot head that he was a bit intimidated by the power of this multi-limbed/two-faced human and so he, in an act of self-preservation cut these humans in half. According to Plato, because of this, humans are doomed to spend the rest of their lives searching for their other half who completes them and the new age/self-help industry expands this concept to give us hope of finding our missing limbs and faces so we can once again be whole—the myth suggests that if we are lucky and are good and eat our vegetables, floss our teeth and have low fat percentages and a good credit score that we will find our other half on or across a crowded room at speed-dating event at El Paso Cantina Grill. (I do think that this Soul Mate is likely Plato’s best selling philosophical concept and likely nets Plato’s heirs enough to keep them fat and happy and out of caves.) 

The bad news is that this was a myth and that there is no perfect other who will complete you. The truth is that relationships are incredibly hard work. And that living with another is an exercise in spiritual and emotional growth and requires enormous maturity and the capacity for compromise and negotiation. And truly, if there was such a thing as soul mates it is my sense that would mean that being in relationship would make you grow and expand your soul—a soul mate would not be a get-out-of-the-hard-work-that-is-relationships card. As a rule soul growth and or any kind of growth requires some pain, sweat and, at least, mild moments of misery. Rarely do I hear my clients bounding into their therapeutic hour filled with hope, enthusiasm, and cherubs circling their auric field and clutching a copy of Martha Stewart Bride in their hand when they come across other opportunities for psychological growth and that is because growth is hard. Relationships are hard. And a long-term relationship is ever harder.

Very soon, after meeting their soul mate, my patients learn that this perfect-person is not so perfect. They might even learn that this soul mate has annoying habits, leaves the toilet seat up, dresses in less than ideal ways and chews ice and doesn’t want to go shopping with them and that they really aren’t feeling so complete after all. This, to my way of seeing things, is a wonderful time when the client can withdraw their projections and learn what they had hoped they thought the soul mate could give them that they need to give themselves and they also learn that love is easy when someone seems perfect—but love is better when you are able to love someone in spite of their imperfections.  

Sometimes clients take advantage of this insight begin to do some real work into understanding their patterns in relationships and why exactly they felt so incomplete to begin with. Other clients decide to instead purchase an audio program of manifesting your soul mate. It is my professional opinion that the former have happier relationships than the later. The ones who don’t embrace the growth opportunities that meeting and marrying their soul mate offers often bring up words that are a dark shade of blue, words like “separation”, “attorneys”, “separation of assets”, and “divorce”.

adapted from the following article:

Happy New Years Eve 2010

It’s 7:20 pm, 12/31/2010. It’s cold outside and warm inside. We’ve invited some friends over last minute to celebrate the turn of a new decade. My God!!! This last decade brought so many changes. Let’s do a quick recap:

2002 – Got married to my Love!
2005 – Bought our first house in Oceanside
2005 – My Champ, Christopher is born! I love that kid.
2006 – My Champ, David is born! I love that kid two.
2006 – I enter full-time ministry as youth pastor/corporate chaplain.
2008 – We start attending Coast Vineyard.
2009 – Youth Pastor at Coast.
2009 – I become a seminary student at Bethel Seminary (Masters in Pastoral Care/Chaplaincy)
2010 – Christopher starts kindergarten. David starts Pre-k.
NOTE: I’m going to add way more entries as we go along. Mostly, I wanted to start this entry with what remains of this year/decade.
BTW – I’m sick with some type of upset stomach on NYE! There’s so much good food downstairs and I can’t eat any of it! UGGHH!
I really want to say that I’m grateful for my Christina, my boys, my family and close friends. I’m really grateful for God’s love and grace in our lives. We are truly blessed.
Thanks 2000’s! You brought joy and sorrow. He provided strength, hope and faith! 🙂