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

Another Milestone...

Soon I will be a grandpa…honestly I’m not sure what to think about that just yet. I feel I’m too young to be a grandpa and yet I KNOW I’m old enough to be a grandpa. I have ALL of these feelings…I want to be there for my son…for my grandson. I want to offer the wisdom of my years…wisdom born from trial and error…born from failing, picking myself up and trying again. I don’t want him to have to experience the pain of failure…and yet he will…we all do. I want him to be a good...no, I want him to be a great father. I want him to be a better father than I.

A fathers ego is a fragile thing. We so desperately want to help our kids...to bestow our knowledge and wisdom in hopes that it will make their lives easier...but the real fear is that they will reject our wisdom or worse, regard it with disdain. Because in spite of all the bravado, chest thumping and growley voices we conjure, our success lies with how others...specifically our families value us.

I want my son to know that despite how he got to this point...I love him. I need him to know that while I wouldn't have chosen this path for him, that choice is over and to the best of my ability, I am here for him...always.

For Jaden,
This little child has a place in my heart that only a child can see,
where patience, love and tenderness rule and young hearts run free.
A place where understanding lives and kindness guides our way.
A helping hand with lots of smiles and laughter every day.

This little child will know the love of a Grandpa filled with pride
a gentle touch, a whiskery kiss; with tickles on his side.
A game to play, a song to sing, some time to fly a kite
a lesson in the love of God and learning wrong from right.

A tear to share, some days to dream, a hug that's really tight
a rainy day, a baseball game, a campfire late at night.
This little child will come to know that Grandpa's love is real
weathered to last the test of time, a love no one can steal.

My past and future are forever tied to this little boy,
My heart it sings! I praise my God; I jump and shout for joy!
For this little child will grow to know what God has given me
a special love; a Grandpa's love that only a child can see.

~ V

A Festival and Glass

This past Saturday Lisa and I went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. It's been 24+ years since I've been to it and it was fun to go...with a few exceptions. When we pulled into the place, it was after 2:00 in the afternoon and well...it seems that the rest of the state decided to show up on Saturday as well, except they were already there...we ended up parking about a mile and a half away from the castle gates (I wish I were joking) and walked!

Yes, people brought their dogs...ALOT of people brought their dogs...which poses the question, why? And then I saw this dog...Yes, you too can purchase fairy wings for your pet. And why wouldn't you want to? They look just SO darned cute...

I've always been fascinated by artists who work in glass. If our local community college offered a course in glass work, I would definitely take it!

We watched this artist make this piece from the first molten blob pulled out of the furnace...

and blowing it into the initial shape...

Then adding an artistic flair...

And further shaping it...

Then using some additional molten glass...

And creating the base...

Re-heating the entire piece...

So he can form the inside of the vessel...

...every minute or so, he would re-heat the piece, keeping it at a certain temperature and pliable. And as he added and shaped more glass, he would transfer the piece to a different metal rod. The old rod always had some residual molten glass on it. He would place the old rod in a large metal bucket, glass end down. Within a minute, we would hear a loud POP! Which was followed by a small (contained) shower of glass. You see, when cooled too quickly, glass will shatter. When a glass artist finishes a piece, it can't just be set aside to cool...it has to cool VERY slowly over 24 or so hours in a kiln that gradually lowers the temp. This process can't be rushed...

Thinking about this process, I started wondering about God working in our lives. He draws us to Himself and through trials and testing He develops and builds our spiritual framework. The problem is, most of us are impatient...we want a shortcut...we want to avoid the difficult and often painful portion that trials frequently include. The fact of the matter is, the endurance and perseverance we show during these times, are the very things that develop, build and strengthen our spiritual framework. God knows that just as heating and cooling and re-heating and cooling increases the temper of glass, trials and blessings tempers us...increasing our spiritual resolve.

God is making a masterpiece in you. He who created the minds of Da Vinci, Renoir, Monet and Rembrandt...the Master of the masters, is slowly and purposefully, making a masterpiece in you. His timing is perfect...His artistry flawless.

~ V

Don't you need One? I Certainly Do...

A few weeks ago on our way back from Lisa's sister's wedding, we were driving back from Des Moines Iowa when I heard the following song on a local Christian radio station. Give it a listen...

...here are the lyrics:

I'd Need A Savior ~ Among The Thirsty

How many names can I use to explain the love of my Jesus,
the life that he gave and so many times will I praise you today.
I lift up my life ‘cause you’re always the same
and my offering to you I bring

Your name is Jesus. Your name is Jesus.
You’re the Wonderful, Counselor, my Friend.
You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
all the days of loss, to the cross you knew
I’d need a Savior.

How many songs can I sing to proclaim,
your wondrous love and beauty so great?
What would I say if you brought down the rain and everyday
I walk through the pain my heart would still say…

Your name is Jesus. Your name is Jesus.
You’re the Wonderful, Counselor, my Friend.
You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew
I’d need a Savior.

I’d need a Savior…
You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through

All the days of loss, to the cross you knew
I’d need a Savior,
I’d need a Savior,
I need you, Savior.

I can't get this song out of my mind...off from my heart. There is nothing...not one thing that is good inside me outside of my Jesus and what He's accomplished in my life. When I sit and think of the heart and character of Christ and compare that to the sin and selfishness that has comprised my life, I am ashamed...utterly undone. And yet, He's still there...the proof of His love showing in the nail scarred hand He extends to me...grace and mercy showing in His eyes.

It's so incredibly obvious that I'd be lost without Him...

~ V

I baptize you in the name of...Starbucks?

I absolutely LOVE my wife! Her ability to laugh at me, herself (and anyone for that matter) in spite of stressful situations. Trust me...living with 5 kids and blending two families, you HAVE to be able to laugh at life...OFTEN...otherwise we'd go insane! Anyway, I digress...This past weekend, Lisa's sister got married...in Los Angeles. We flew into and out of LAX and let me just make this point...there is NO WAY that I would EVER want to live in or anywhere near LA! Traffic is insane and I would die of stress from driving in short order...sigh. Anyway, I'll let Lisa talk about the actual wedding in her own BLOG. When we got to the airport to return, we were already running late because we got separated from the other car (6 of us went, which meant we had to take multiple cars everywhere we went) and because the traffic, again, was crazy. So, by the time we checked our luggage, cleared security and made it to our gate, we had about a half hour before we were supposed to board. Some of us hadn't had the chance to eat anything yet that day, so it was a scramble to quickly find a place and get something that was already prepared because we didn't feel there was enough time to order a burger and fries. So, we bought subs, some drinks and found a seat to chow down and await our flight. I had just started in on my sub-standard and yet somehow filling sub, when I heard Lisa say..."Vince!...I NEED you...NOW!" Evidently, when she removed the plastic wrap from around the cap on her Starbucks Frappuccino, it also removed the actual cap...which she hadn't noticed...and she went to shake it up...REALLY hard! When I looked over, she had frappuccino running down her face, dripping off her nose and in her hair! Honestly, I wanted to laugh SO hard...but I didn't! I quickly grabbed the handful of napkins that I took when we bought our food and gently wiped Lisa's face and eyes...patted her hair and handed the rest to her. Once she was adequately dried off, she was able to laugh it off and joke about it. This may sound strange, but I really love that about her...she doesn't take herself more seriously than she should and she can see the humor in almost everything!

In this day and age when everyone and their dog is worried about self image and every little (actual or imagined) offense has people running for a lawyer, I find Lisa attitude both refreshing AND attractive...yeah...VERY attractive!

~ V