Much like your parents attic, treasured memories lay within. So, wipe the dust off my ruminations and remembrances, sit back and enjoy!

45 Years Young

45 years ago in the small Iowa town of Waverly, a young mother along with her husband, gave birth to their sixth child…a baby boy. The emotions of joy and elation, mixed with trepidation must have jumbled in their minds at having this boy after first having a boy, then 4 girls in a row…one of which died as an infant. The fear of losing another must have hung over them after each consecutive pregnancy, but the Lord was merciful. After thinking for a few days about different names, the couple chose to name their boy after the doctor who delivered him.

For the first 6 years of his life, the boy grew up on a farm and although his father wasn’t a farmer, the open fields and meadows were his playground, his laboratory and his school room. From the lush green meadows full of God’s creation that would keep a young explorer busy, to the harsh Iowa winters where the wind piles the snow high and the plows provide a man-made Mt. Everest, this was a young boys world.

Through the tutelage of his mother and maternal grandmother, the young boy was brought up in the respect of the Lord and to accept that which God had provided as a blessing. The boy…as most boys do…had many questions and was curious about everything…but mostly about why his father wouldn’t come to church with the rest of the family each Sunday or Wednesday night and with a resigned but hopeful face, his mother would reply, ‘We need to pray for him, honey…we need to pray for him.’

Turtles and mulberries and bugs and sand and snowmen and weeding the garden and playing in the stream and rolling down the hill and hunting morels with Grandma and rolling off the sled before it crashed into the tree with his older sister, filled the days of his young life until the day they moved into town. He left the open air and wind swept meadows, he left Mt. Everest and the mulberry tree which allowed him to be a survivor on a deserted isle…and was moved into town where a yard and the block became his boundaries.

Winter became spring and that warmed into summer which aged into the smells of autumn…years passed and the boy grew into a teenager…the parents grew older. He had survived the death of his dog and had seen the marriages of his brother and two of his sisters. He had witnessed man's first step on the moon, the end of the Vietnam conflict, the 200th celebration of the birth of our nation, and eventually his father becoming a Christian.

He learned to hunt, to change the oil in a car, and to play football. He learned to say his prayers, to read, and how to play the piano. He learned how to downhill ski, how to drive a car and how to change a diaper. He also learned to live in faith, how to set an example, and how to be a father and a husband. He learned what it was like to have plenty, what it was like to have nothing and to be satisfied with what God had provided.

Through the birth of his four children, he was introduced to the joys, unconditional love and even heartache that being a parent introduces. And for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, through the eyes of his children, he was able to re-connect with that young explorer as he watched the perplexity, wonderment and elation on their faces as they made their own discoveries.

Through the death of his Grandmother, mother and first wife, he became well acquainted with grief, sorrow and loss…and for a time, he was lost…unsure…shaken. And then, when he least expected it…a spark of hope lit the dark depths of his life! God’s blessing fanned that spark into a bright, warm blaze, restoring joy and love to his heart and hope to his life. Wholly new…completely different, with her, he was now complete. She met his fears, concerns and insecurities with compassion, support and love.

Today he stands at the doorway of his life, looking out over the vista of his future. Green and lush is the valley that lay before him. A new day has dawned, one full of promise and guided by God's blessing. Exhilarated, excited and a bit scared all at the same time, he won’t be facing the journey alone, but rather hand-in hand and with God as their compass, on June 28th of this year, they will be joined and will continue the fantastic journey God has laid out before them as man and wife.

Thank you mom and dad for having me…thank you for putting up with my attitudes and for having the guts and fortitude to punish me when needed, and for loving me in spite of myself…

Thank you Hon, for making my day a very special one! I love you!

~ V

I find your lack of faith disturbing…

Darth Vader huh? I’ve been called many things throughout my life, but I can honestly say THAT hasn’t been one of them! Too funny! Yes, I too have sleep apnea, and it was/is very extreme. As Lisa said, I found it difficult stay awake even in the middle of a conversation! It’s weird because it isn’t like you just wake up one morning and you’re so tired that you fall asleep driving to work…no, it just sort of creeps up on you slowly over time. I remember the conversation I had with the doctor, he was quite clear that some people couldn’t tolerate the device and if that happened to me…well, there really wasn’t any other treatment options. Just GREAT!...well, I can tell you that I awoke the next morning feeling the best I had in a VERY long time...except that my back really hurt! Evidently I slept so soundly…SO completely deep that I never moved that first night! It did take some getting used to, but honestly, it changed my life. There are things I miss…like going to bed with the window open and falling asleep to the sound of crickets or a soft summer night rain…I REALLY miss that. And as far as Lisa’s imagery of the two of us sleeping side by side with our ‘breathers’ as she’s so affectionately named them…yeah, not exactly the most romantic thought is it!? More like being the poster children for the Sleep Apnea Society of America! HAHA…but Lisa’s right, the machines are a blessing, because without mine, I simply can not sleep (partially from the apnea and partly because I’ve grown used to it!). So, I’ll go without listening to summer storms, nighttime traffic or other creatures of the night…

…And now your highness…we will discuss the location of your hidden rebel base

~ V

Now Serving Number 8,356,261,297...

Psalms 139

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue

you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before;

you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,"
Even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.
If only you would slay the wicked, O God!

Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of you with evil intent;

your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,

and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;

I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

He knows me! Out of all of the millions...perhapse billions of people who ever have or ever will walk the face of the Earth, He KNOWS me! He concerns Himself with the details of my life and despite my shortcomings...despite my sinful nature...He STILL loves me and wants only good things for me! Without Him, there isn't one redeemable cell in my body...without Him, all the good I try to do is as filthy rags...without Him, I am a lost and wondering man, looking under every rock, in every doorway and in every conquest for the meaning behind my life. He IS my redeemer...He IS my savior...He IS my Lord, my God and my Friend.

He knows you...do you know Him?

~ V

The Ultimate Contractor

Psalms 127: 1 – Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain…
Ok, yes…it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. It really hasn’t been from a lack of happenings, because between the kids, our jobs and our plans, there has been a lot that’s gone on! As of late, we had been really focused on getting Lisa’s house ready to put on the market. One of our biggest areas of concern has been that we would need to sell Lisa’s house, turn around and find one that was big enough for our sizable family AND that was also in our price range. Oh…and this all had to happen within the timeframe of just a few months! Lisa and I had many discussions about the timing of everything…were we stepping back and allowing God to do things in His timing? Or were we trying to force God into the boundaries of time that we desired? So, we prayed for wisdom, peace and guidance and we prayed and gave over the sale and purchase of the houses to God. As the beginning of March came, and her house still wasn’t on the market, we really started worrying.

One day early in March, Lisa called a realtor to ask about a house she saw listed and ended up telling the realtor about her home, where it was and why she would be moving. The realtor then told Lisa that she wasn’t going to believe this, but she has a client who’s been renting an apartment in the same town and has been waiting for a house within her price range to come on the market! Later, the realtor told us that when she told her client about the house and where it was, the client told her she knew exactly which house it was, because she walks past it every day and has always thought, ‘That house is so cute!’. So, she and the realtor came and viewed the house that following Sunday and when Lisa called the realtor later that day, the realtor said that she LOVED her house, wants to buy it and wanted to settle on a price as soon as possible! WOW! But this now got Lisa’s mind reeling as she thought through the implications of selling her house TOO soon…where would her and the boys live? So, she told the realtor her concern and asked the realtor how soon her client might want possession. The realtor tells Lisa that it wouldn’t be a problem because the buyer is tied into a lease agreement until August 1st! Lisa and I were SO amazed that we almost cried! God is SO good and works in the most amazing ways! …But wait! There’s more! (I feel like one of those infomercial guys with the over-the-top fake British accent!) The realtor asked Lisa if we had found a house yet and when Lisa told her no, she mentioned that she has a new client who needs to sell their house and she thought the house might be big enough for us…and get this, it’s in the same town as Lisa’s house and about 4 blocks away! She went on to say that this house isn’t even listed yet, but the seller has already purchased another home and wants to move quickly and because it isn’t listed yet, she could save us a lot of money if we’re interested. We went to look at the house and fell in love with it! It will need a few modifications to create two more bedrooms, but the layout and size is perfect…plus it’s within the price range we were looking for! So, we made an offer and we’ve settled on a price and today there is a lovely SOLD sign in front of the house God has so lovingly provided! A house where Lisa, the kids and I will call home…a house, just like our lives, our relationship and even our kids, has a firm foundation built upon rock…upon THE Rock!

As Lisa and I sit back and think about how ALL of this came about through one chance phone call…Chance?...I think not! You can NOT tell me that God isn’t in the finest of details of our lives. When we turn our lives over and allow Him to lead, He sees and knows things that we never even thought of…He sees into the details of the relationships that my kids have made and will make, He has seen into the details of the relationships Lisa’s boys currently have and will develop and that together ALL of our kids will develop. He sees into the details of a house for our family and has taken into account size, layout, location and price to make sure that it is suitable! Chance indeed! Again, as I have so often quoted before, Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Why is it that after all of these years and ALL that He has done in my life, I find that I’m surprised when He does what He has promised? I’m not suggesting that I should be complacent about His blessing, but when He makes a promise, shouldn’t we be eagerly awaiting His fulfillment of it? Eagerly awaiting to raise our hands toward God in praise and worship? Our hearts anxiously awaiting to burst forth in joy and gladness! The scripture says that if we don’t, the very rocks will! No…I don’t want to be surprised by His blessing, I want to be eagerly anticipating it! Waiting for Him and His timing for it!

Since even before that VERY first day back in June of last year when Lisa and I met, God has been in the finest of details of our lives…molding us and shaping us, asking us to trust Him and rely upon His strength. I won't lie to you, sometimes it’s hard to trust in Him…sometimes in my foolish arrogance, I believe my plan…my desires are better. But through my bumbling and stumbling, He STILL proves faithful and blesses me in spite of myself. And boy am I grateful for that!

Take the hammer Lord…take the nails and hardwood of my life, of OUR lives…and build our house…

~ V