Thursday, April 29, 2010


I have two kinds of dreams which are distinct in theme and mood and which repeat themselves more frequently than other types of dreams. I am not one of those people who delights in sharing his dreams, nor am I one who ascribes much meaning to my nocturnal mental wanderings. These two types of dreams though stand out in their intensity, vivdiness, and frequency. I do wonder why I have them.

(Disclaimer- Generally speaking, I find it very boring when other people go on and on about dreams they have had. I've been told, and I think it's true to some degree (though not entirely), that my disinterest in other people's dreams indicates a lack of interest in other people in general, but half the time I'm convinced they're just making it up. I was trained to detect lies- up and to the right, up and to the right. I don't like being lied to, and whenever someone starts recounting a dream to me I always start looking for that tell, up-and-to-the-right. Then I suffer through the part where they try and tell me what the significance of the dream, that I am now convinced they fabricated, might be. So I realize that this post may strike some of you as 1. narcissistic (It really is just about me.) 2. a tad too text-heavy (A lot too text-heavy?) 3. boring (uh-huh) and 4. possibly made up (It's all true though!), but I am posting it anyway. Why do I give this disclaimer? I just want you to know that I know how some of you feel about this post. I would feel the same way.)

Over a span of about five years I had a series of three dreams which have always intrigued me. I call them the “Moose Leg Dreams.” The Moose Leg Dreams were unusually memorable and evocative and each had unusual characteristics which uniquely defined them and set them in a class apart from my other dreams. They join the “cover dreams,” which I posted about in 2007, as the only dream series I have ever experienced.

Dream #1- I was standing on the shore of Lake Champlain in the middle of winter, but not the Lake Champlain of today, it was long, long ago. The woods seemed wild in a primeval way that I have never actually experienced, and there was a frozen silence about them that was menacing. As with all of the Moose Leg Dreams I had freakishly long, thin legs (like a moose) with a bulky, even massive, torso (like a moose). I was covered in heavy furs. In my dream I stood there looking out over the frozen lake. Behind me a party of maybe half a dozen lay sleeping under the spreading branches of a spruce tree completely ensconced in heavy furs as well. In my dream I knew there was nobody, and no settlement, for miles and miles. For some reason I felt responsible for the people sleeping under the Spruce Tree. The sleeping people were comfortable and warm, but I sensed that they were exhausted completely, and they weren’t going to make it. Make it where? That question simply didn’t come up in the dream and I didn’t bother myself with answering it. They just weren’t going to make it. I felt torn because in some vague, ambiguous, and ill-defined way I was responsible for them, but suddenly I was filled with an amazing feeling of energy and vigor. It was euphoric. I decided to just walk out of there. I set out walking across the frozen lake with a bounce and a spring in my step, leaving the sleepers behind. It was almost like learning to fly how easily I moved. I was completely free. I had tapped into an energy reservoir that seemingly had no bottom. (This euphoric feeling of energy and wellness is also a defining characteristic of the moose leg dreams.) As I walked away my concern for the sleeping people faded completely. It felt exactly like when you wake up from a horrible dream and slowly realize that it was only a dream and everything is okay- but I was in a dream! I was alone, walking with a light heart and with boundless energy, striding effortlessly towards some unknown destination.

Dream #2- The next Moose Leg Dream occurred roughly a year after the first. Once again I found myself with long, thin legs and an oversized torso (it seemed impossible that my long thin legs could support my upper body) walking with boundless energy through the woods in winter. Unlike in my earlier dream though I was not draped in heavy furs and as I walked I became increasingly cold. Just as the cold was becoming unbearably painful I happened upon a spot where some sort of warm vapor, like breath, was escaping from a small hole in a mound of snow. With one hand I scooped away some of the snow to enlarge the hole and found myself looking down into a bear’s den. In my dream, the bear’s den was the very picture of warmth and comfort. A brown bear with soft dry fur was resting on a heaping mound of soft brown pine needles. I longed to climb in and cuddle up with the bear to get warm and perhaps doze off for a bit, but I was afraid the bear would wake up and kill me if I did.

Dream #3- The last moose leg dream came about four years later- Once again, the long, thin legs, hulking upper body, and boundless energy. When I say boundless energy, I mean bursting with vitality, an incredible sense of wellness and happiness, hale and hearty, vim and vigor, bright eyed and bushy tailed, you get the idea. It was winter, but there was no snow on the ground. It was cold though, I remember that. I was walking down the deserted main street of St Albans City. Not deserted in a post-apocalyptic way, but rather in the-whole-town-is-asleep kind of way. I was the only one awake and I was walking directly down the center of Main Street. I felt capable of great speed, but I was just walking at a normal rate. Off to my left I watched as a red fox emerged from an alleyway between two store fronts and made its way, moving in the same direction as me, sniffing its way along the store fronts, nose to the ground. It seemed aware of me but it was not concerned. It was almost as if we had met like this many times before and I was just a normal part of its late night rounds.

All three dreams share-
1. The long legs, and massive torso
2. They all occur at night or early morning
3. Someone (or something is asleep) in every dream.
4. I am essentially alone in every dream.
5. Boundless energy
6. Cold/winter

I rarely even remember my dreams, but the “moose leg” and “cover” dreams have always stood out in my mind as unforgettable and are interesting to me like a new smell. I don’t know. It’s weird. Hmmm...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


"I holler and the coyote stopped. I holler again. By this time I had taken my weapon out and charged it. It is now staring dead at me. Either me or the dog are in imminent danger. I did the appropriate thing and sent it to where coyotes go,"

Governor Perry of Texas describing a recent encounter with a coyote who was threatening to attack his dog while jogging near his home outside of Austin.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


"He's too fat for that one."
Two skinny, asian, twenty-something girls discussing the purchase of a chair for an absent fat man.

"He's not gonna like it. I know he won't. He never likes any of the things I get, and he doesn't want to come with me either. I stopped trying a long time ago to make him happy. So I just get what I want 'cause I can't make him happy anyway. Am I right?"
Tall, thin, black woman with large hoop earrings talking on the cell phone.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Recently, a Korean man I had just met asked me if I wanted to try some "Korean coffee," and I declined because I had just poured myself a cup of non-Korean coffee, but the man's sister, who had been listening, would not be denied. She brought me a styrofoam cup steaming and brimful with the stuff. The man explained to me that it comes in these little packets, some sort of instant coffee, with creamer pre-mixed inside. Much of the information on the reverse was written in Korean.

"You just pour two packets into a mug, add water, and BAM you have coffee," he instructed.

Feeling slightly ethnocentric and provincial for having turned it down in the first place I gave it a sip, and found it to be delicious in a superior sort of way. Certainly worthy of the coveted BFZ endorsement. Thanks Koreans!

"That is some good coffee," I said as the pushy sister pressed six of the packets into my hand.

"Oh, you didn't have to do that."

I'm glad she did though. I gotta figure out where to buy this stuff. There are no Korean markets here in Idyllwild.


In the nearly seven years that I have been a Father, my kids have brought me countless "works of art"- scribbles, drawings, paintings, etc... You know the sort. I usually try and find something nice (and sincere) to say about them before stuffing them into my pockets or using them as a bookmark. When I clean out my pants at the end of the day they are sometimes stuffed with their precious offerings. It really is very sweet. I love that they think to make me something when I'm not around. They are so enthusiastic and sincere in their efforts. Who wouldn't be touched by that? But it has always been the spirit of the thing that I have enjoyed rather than the actual product.

But on Thursday I picked Lucy up at her pre-school and she handed me this painting that she said she had made for me, although I rather suspect that she would have told Mommy the same thing if she had been the one to pick her up that day. I had the good fortune to pick her up on Thursday however, and thus came into possession of this exceptional finger painting.

"Lucy, I really like this."

Now I'm no art critic. My friends, Kelly and Alexae Visel, could no doubt profer a more thoughtful critique of the merits of this piece, but I like it. On a basic level, I just really enjoy it. I'm not suggesting that lucy is some kind of burgeoning artiste or prodigy or anything like that. Oh no, she's not particularly talented, at least not more than your average four year old, but something about this painting struck me as better than the others I have received. It kind of gives off a feel of Old Mexico or something. It's kind of evocative to me in a way I can't readily define. The vertical brown lines resemble fence posts along a dusty track- a red dirt road- on a hot day.

I just like it.

Grown up Lucy, if you are reading this years from now, in the future, I liked your painting. I really did.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


By my rough estimate we got approximately half a foot of snow overnight. I apologize for all of these photos without human subjects in them. I am always bored with pictures that don't have people in them, and it is a mystery to me why I post so many pictures on this blog that I would find boring if I were looking at them as a visitor.

The Ducks got the start today over the Boat shoes.

It's beautiful, but also a little surprising in late April. So much for April blooming like a flower, eh?

Early on the kids and I were hopeful that there might not be any school today, but the minutes ticked by as they ate their cereal and toast without any exciting news coming from the school so they dutifully slid into their jackets, shouldered their backpacks, and trudged out to the van.

At least it was a pretty drive to school.

On my way down to the office I set my coffee in the snow so I could take a picture of the sun lighting up the snowscape.

It's like winter just came back to say goodbye. Goodbye winter, I'll see you again in seven months.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


With the release of the 2010 NFL schedule I can finally put ink to calendar and nail down the date of this year's HAPPY DAY. This year's HAPPY DAY, observed annually on the day of the first nationally televised Redskins Game, will be on Sunday, September 12th. The Skins will open the season with a nationally televised Sunday night matchup against their arch rivals the Dallas Cowboys. Hail!!!

I can taste the ro-tel already.

I'm looking forward to this year's HAPPY DAY more than normal for a few reasons.

The first is that we have recently bought a grill. How have Sarah and I been married for almost nine years and never owned a grill? It was a cheap $100 grill at Target, but I tried it out last night for the first time and it worked perfectly. I'm confident that on 9/12 it will be smoking, sizzling and sending the most pleasant smells into the air. You should really come! Right?

The second reason I am more excited about this year's HAPPY DAY is that Sarah's Aunt Marlene and Uncle Tony gave us their old TV which was a BIG improvement over our little TV/VCR combo. Sarah and I always liked our little TV. It was a wedding gift, and it served us well for the past nine years. We certainly wouldn't have replaced it if Tony and Marlene hadn't generously offered us theirs, but now that it is here I am loving the big screen, and I can't wait for football season.

The third reason is that the Redskins are going to win. I can feel it. You should come over. It'll be fun.


Franklin Graham, noted Christian evangelist and son of Billy Graham, recently had the temerity to characterize Islam as "evil," and is now feeling the oprobrium from our society. I'm not surprised. Our culture today is not homogenous in any respect, and though I believe we ought to respect a diversity of perspective in the public forum, we need not be ashamed of our perspective either. Did they forget what Franklin Graham does for a living? He's a Christian evangelist! That means he is in the truth business. Our culture would have us strive toward inoffensiveness, but Christ and the truth of which he testified will always be offensive to some. Compromise on Christ? Should Graham have buried the pill of truth in the jelly of benign generalities so that it would go down unnoticed by the listener? Like a secret code word for the faithful, but not overt enough to stir debate in an unbeliever's heart. The great question of each man's heart is who is Jesus, and what is His significance? Islam is a rival suitor. It is opposed to Christ.

Is Islam evil? Yes. All that is opposed to Christ is evil. I was once evil, but through Christ and his sacrifice on the cross I have been made righteous. I can claim no righteousness of my own though. I stand on the perfect righteousness of Christ alone. I wear his righteousness like a robe.

Are muslims evil? No more than I once was. They're in bondage. My heart breaks for them.

Fly your colors without shame, Mr Graham.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


My dream of incorporating felt board Bible stories into the nightly bedtime ritual with the kids has finally become a reality through the generosity of Dan and Barbara Maring, a couple in our church. After church one day I was talking with them in the parking lot and somehow the topic of felt boards came up. I told them about how I had been pining for a felt board to tell Bible stories at bed time and, as it turns out, she is very involved in a ministry that distributes felt boards on the mission field. The day before Easter they came by the house and surprised us with the most beautiful and amazing felt board set I could have ever imagined.

There are 12 sheets of figures, animals, buildings, tools, weapons, etc...
12 sheets!!! I had to resist the temptation to show photographs of each sheet. Every figure is number coded for easy reference.

The set is called "The Bible in Felt," and it came with a book that tells you which figures go with which story, and helps with suggestions on how to best tell each story. Their is a lot of flexibility and creativity involved in selecting the figures and settign it up, which I really enjoy.

It is incredibly detailed and thorough. I am amazed every night when I pull out the cut outs I will need for that night's story. When I had priced felt board sets like this I had come away discouraged because they were way too expensive. This was a very generous gift!

Having been given the complete set of cut out figures, Sarah and I spent a little bit to get all of the backgrounds and overlays, including the ocean, indoor scene, shoreline, desert, throne room, cobble street/courtyard, prison, cave, and city walls. I am soooooo excited about it, and I am really encouraged by how much the kids enjoy it.

The overlays go right over the backgrounds, and allow enough flexibility that there is virtually no story from the Bible that you can't tell. This is just one example of how it can work.

Now it's a river!

With Mountains in the background.

Or cover up the ocean entirely to create a meadow scene.

I know flanel boards are nothing new, but they really are timeless in their appeal. I think this will be an awesome way to share Bible stories to my kids. I feel tremendously blessed and encouraged that the Marings wanted to invest themselves so generously in the spiritual instruction of my kids. It is good to belong to the body of Christ. I know that this will bring fruit in my children's lives and I am really excited about telling them the old, old story in our nightly time together.

Friday, April 16, 2010


These two guys were just passing through Idyllwild on their way to Canada by way of the Pacific Crest Trail. "Through-hikers" as they are called are a fascinating breed. I liked these fellas.

You can follow the "thru-hiking" adventure of the bearded gentleman on the left here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My two year old, Jack, has a chipmunk finger puppet.
The hole where you put your finger looks a little too much a lil' chipmunk bottom.
Jack has a track record (or embarassing habit) of calling things like he sees 'em. Like the time Nanny was up for a visit and we were having Italian Sausages for dinner and he loudly asked for a second helping of "penis."

"Oh Jack! Those are sausages! Sau-sa-ges. Not penis!"

The other morning Jack was holding this finger puppet as I was changing his poopy diaper and he said in a confidential whisper what I had been thinking (but never said out loud) ever since the toy entered our home.

"Dat him booty." (Pointing at the finger hole.)

"Dat him stinky booty."

* I apologize for this post.


April blooms like a flower, doesn’t it? It slowly unfurls into soft days where the sun coaxes us to let the freshening breeze into the house and where rain drops hang like pearls in the budding woods. In the fields, new growth works its way up through the mat of last year’s grass, pressed down and flattened by the snow. The sun draws the green up and with it a heady smell. It smells of wet earth and growing things, grass clippings and barbeques, and something else. I don't know the word for it. That is the smell of April Blooming. I prefer it even to the rose. It is fresh in a way that makes the heart swell.

LETS PLAY ILLUSTRATION!!!- The game where I give you a scenario and you tell me what spiritual analogies can be drawn from it.

When I took economics in college with Dr. Black he introduced me to the concept of “the tragedy of the commons.” The Tragedy of the commons describes a situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently, and solely and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen. That is why things that are open to public use tend to be run-down and trashed, and privately owned things tend to be better maintained. Take restrooms as an example- the tragedy of the commons is why public restrooms are often dirty (disgusting?) whereas the private bathroom in your home likely has 100% less graffiti and probably less poop on the walls as well.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


"I haven't shaved since '82. If I hadn't fallen into a campfire or something it would probably be down to my belt."