Saturday, February 28, 2009

Your Turn (#6)

MM: Barely, beat the deadline, but still alive for 7 posts in 7 days. Obviously, no one other than us cares, but I am all about reaching a goal. Thanks for joining us.

So now it is your turn. We are asking for some feedback. If you know me, then you know my mind is typically focused on a topic. Currently, I am working on a long-term concept with a friend of mine. We are exploring a few things, and it has been a great deal of fun thus far. Here’s where you (yes you) come in.

Please leave a comment or if you prefer more privacy an e-mail ( answering the following:

Is there a time in your life where the way you thought changed? When opinions, assumptions, and deep-held convictions were challenged in a real way. As in, up until this moment you were certain of things, and then, in an instant (or over a span of time), it was all different.

It need not be headline news or earth shattering material. Maybe it was a book, a trip, or circumstances. Of course, for Ginny & I, our son’s life was a huge line in the sand in every way imaginable. Maybe it was something you were thankful for, maybe not.

If you would tell me about it, what changed, and the effect it has had on the rest of your life…or just anything close to that, I would really appreciate it.

Everyone has these moments. You have had these moments. Don’t make me give you a guilt trip about how you are spying on me through this blog, and all I am asking for is a little love via response.

Come on….write me. This could be a neat deal. Or a total failure. You decide which. If you write, I’ll consider it worthwhile.

There, feeling inspired?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sorry if you have dial up (#5)

Possibly a little easier to remember, you can find us now at:

MM:  Since Ginny and I are both writing here now, we will both try to put the initials of the one posting.  However, it could be a fun game if we don't.

7 Posts in 7 days:
By now you may know, we are doing seven posts in seven days.  Although it has required some added thought to the typical day, it has been a fun adventure.  So, come back tomorrow....or don't.

Encountering Light:
I recently spoke at our church.  As if blogging isn't narcissistic enough, I thought I would throw the audio up here.  Although me teaching on Acts is not worthwhile, I did get to interview a friend of mine to illustrate what life change can look like.  If you skip me (and who could blame you), I do encourage you to watch the video.  Great story.  Great guy.  If you choose to listen, you will want to hold off the video and watch it when I refer to it.  


While I'm at it.
We have recently had the opportunity to speak about a topic that one would rather not be the poster child for:  grief, loss, and life afterward.  It is never exciting, but always an honor to get to share Eliot's story as well as ours.  

If anyone in the blogosphere finds themselves in Wisconsin, we are headed to the Milwaukee area on March 29 to speak at Spring Creek Church.  

Since, I am loading you up on the media, here is the audio from a church we got to share with in Illinois (great people by the way).  We did a Q&A format, which was fun.  I am saying, "we", but actually Ginny was feeling a little too pregnant at the time to participate.  

Listen or Download (Recycled series)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

little bloom

yesterday, on his way out the door, matt noticed something spectacular in our very drab looking yard.  there, surrounded on all sides by greys & browns & darkness was a burst of green & yellow & light.  spring's first bloom.  
the town of fayetteville still looks terrible from the ice storm.  piles & piles & piles of brush & limbs & sticks & firewood stacked on every single street.  the weather has been warmer the last few days, so the smell in the air is soft, gentle... and still, the picture of a quite harsh winter is very present. 

hazel is here.  she is creeping out of the sleepless infant stage.  she is laughing at ton, sleeping occasionally, grabbing toes & toys.  life is so sweet & my heart is so full.  to say i love being her mom is a drastic understatement.  when we let others know we were pregnant with her, there was somewhat of a sigh of relief as if she would be the new constant spring in our life after a rough winter.  that sigh was from such great heart of love & good-intent, but that sigh was very wrong.  life with hazel does feel like spring, but spring is not the only season.

this is the time of year when there are hints of spring & newness & life & hope and yet all around are reminders of the winter that has not yet left us.  this may be the time of year that most resonates with my soul.  this may be the time of year that i think will define my life until the day when i take my final earthly winter breath & begin to breathe the springtime of the eternal air of glory. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Last night a friend looked at the picture on my phone & said "awww, look at her". I had to correct her. She thought that the picture of Eliot was of Hazel. It made me smile & warmed my heart in a way that I can't really express. Sometimes she looks so much like him & sometimes not as much. Either way, I guess our kiddos have a similar "look" just like other families, even though Eliot isn't here & our family is not necessarily like other families.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Best of 2008

I am a fan of looking back and thinking about a year. And, although it is the end of February, below serves as a list of some of our favorites in 2008. Thus, although many of these things may not have been introduced in 2008, they were new to us and that is good enough for this list.

Also, in order to stave off criticism, just know that making our “Best of” list does not equal a wholesale endorsement of anyone or anything. If a pick makes you cringe, I probably saw that coming, and welcome your feedback. But at the end of the day, I invite you to make your own list if this one does not suit you.

Best Music:
Ginny is my introduction to all music. She is an avid new-music hunter and has a knack for finding good stuff that I would otherwise never have heard of. With that said, I can typically take or leave quite a bit of the up-and-comers that she is excited about. However, here are a couple that stood out upon introduction, and have managed to find their way onto both of our short list:

> Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
Here's a video of them produced by Vincent Moon who has pioneered these low-tech, one-shot videos.

> Band of Horses- Cease to Begin

> Ben Rector- Songs that Duke Wrote.
Sure, he’s our friend. But he makes good music. Been waiting for this new CD.


If this were just a Ginny list it would include many pregnancy & baby books that were merely flipped through. I did not list the baby books, but I did make mention of a book on grief that I revisited much in ’08. Matt is a much more avid reader than I, and had a hard time making mention of just a few:

> Jesus Wants to Save Christians. Rob Bell.
A Grace Disguised. Jerry Sittser.
Girl Meets God. Lauren Winner. (Ginny lost it, but she loved the parts she read)

However, there was one particular book that stood out this year for us both. It involves an incredible story, is well-told, and mentions many of our friends in Fort Worth, TX:

> Same of Kind of Different As Me. Ron Hall & Denver Moore.


> Juno.

I have an affinity for documentaries that is seldom rivaled, so just know that. Ginny proves what a great wife she is by humoring my pastime and watching numerous docs that only I enjoy, but these she actually stayed awake through:

> My Kid Could Paint That
> King of Kong ; Fist Full of Quarters

> Pandora (M & G)

> Relevant Podcast
> Village Church

> Iphone (MM)
I fought this purchase hard. Too expensive. Too pretensous. I broke down and got it. Love it. And kind of wish I could go back to the day when I didn’t think it would be impossible to go without it.

Baby Product:
> Bum Genius (G)

> Mutsy Spider (stroller/ M & G)-
If pre-baby mothers are known to nest, my wife instead chose to research. She actually spent 2 months of her life seeking referrals, googling, and possibly praying over which stroller we should get.

The criteria were:
- Fold into really small (in order to fit in our VW bug).
- Lightweight.
- Look like trendy modern hipsters who just happen to live in Arkansas (joke).
- Not make Matt stroke at the pricetag (thus, Bugaboo was out).

Thanks to our friend Cary, we found one we love.

Most Significant Moment:
> Hazel’s Birth-
Obviously, for us this is hands down, and alone makes 2008 terrific.

> Obama Inauguration-
Before you write me off as a liberal, just read. No matter who was your preferred candidate, Ginny and I both had a feeling that we were witness to something that was quite unexpected in the way of historical moments. A black man became President of the United States. It seems America has come a long way, and that, we were proud to be witness to.

“Best Of” that doesn’t fit into a category:
( We were leery buying this rug-subsitute over the internet. But were really pleased. It is easy to clean, but not an industrial feel. Thus, she can crawl on it, and do what she inevitably will do…get it dirty.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


7 Posts in 7 Days:
In an effort to regain some blog momentum, we decided to do 7 posts in 7 days. Pathetic, marketing scheme? Of course. Should be fun.

Different Name
Through much cajoling, I have convinced Ginny to join me on this blog. She has been secretly blogging along the way, but desperately hoping no one finds her (her old blog). I do understand. However, we will now both be blogging at this site.

Of course, it will look different. But that is a good thing. I have assured her she can do whatever she wants, which includes recommending some of her weirdo bands. So, you (the reader) will have to be on the ball, cause maybe it’s me writing, maybe it’s her. You can do it.

Due to this fact, we’ve decided to change the name. The blog will still be located here, but will be called “the atypical life”. This seems to fit us a little better, and the post below describes a glimpse of why.

Home is not where the heart is.
Ginny & I are in the process of buying a home. If you know us, this is quite a big deal. We fancy ourselves to be happy renters. We have never owned a home, and have even spurned the idea for the most part. Observer’s have offered the following reasons for our home ownership avoidance: must not have enough money, they’ve got plans to move, they’ll buy when they have kids, or a desire to not “put roots down”, whatever that means. Well, although there may be hints of truth in all of the conjecture, these really are not the reasons we have opted to live in a borrowed home.

Our true reason usually goes unsaid for fear of sounding self-righteous, but now that we’re buying, I guess we feel the freedom to say what we have been thinking. It is always easier to go public with finger pointing when the target includes you.

I think we each have our own reasons that somehow comingle to formulate what we think as a couple- always dangerous to speak for your spouse…but here goes: Ginny would describe it as a strong desire to not be a woman who is typified by “talking about curtains”. The tightwad that I am, would point to America’s wasteful consumerism and propensity to buy things we cannot afford. I hate debt. Feels like a chokehold. Scripture has some things to say about debt as well (believe me, I have heard all of the many reasons why buying a house is o.k., I am doing it remember).

Although I shun the curtain explanation as a little feminine, I think Ginny better describes the way we approach the whole thing. I don’t want to be average. I don’t want to be typical. If I know that I am fallen and sinful, and believe me I am reminded often, then I think that my default is usually destructive. So, Ginny and I have always committed to being atypical. Not for different’s sake. But because we know that what comes easy to us must be questioned and examined, lest we follow our own lead and end up precisely where we do not want to go.

And this is why we do not want to buy a house.

However, as we have conversed on this subject, we have come to realize what many of you are already thinking….it is not about the house. It is about the heart. And we know our weak hearts enough to know that a step toward normal could end in submission. It is not our strength that requires things such as home purchases to be mulled over to this extent. It is our weakness.

Another factor, yet untold, for moving from our current rent house is one that you may not understand. It is where eliot lived: we prayed on our knees for him on this floor, we brought him through this door, he slept in this room. All of his life was in this house. The thought of leaving is a tough one.

It was facing this proposition that cemented the notion that all of this has nothing to do with a house. Whether it be buying a new one or having to leave one that holds what will forever be our greatest memories, the soul rises above all.

Thus, in our hearts may we battle as never before to be atypical, because Christ has a call on all of those he seeks that is anything but normal. And may we relish with wide smiles every memory that can never be taken away.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A few pics..

7 Posts in 7 Days starts on Monday.

Before then, I thought I would throw in a bonus post. Here are some pictures. I probably should apologize in advance. Ginny & I attended an 80's party. You probably could have figured that out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Miss Thing’s 4-month checkup is in the past. She is loving grabbing here toes lately, and is showing sure signs of genius by rolling over early. We like to say that we can now describe her as “sweet”. This label was not appropriate for the first 3 months of her life. She smiles, laughs, and drools quite a bit. And I must say, she is quite a looker.

Ginny is loving life. She actually described waking up and having that “heart racing” feeling that a preteen may be expected to have when the Jonas Brothers take the stage, as the way she felt about waking up on a typical day and getting to be mom to our precious gal.

Me? I am seeing the haze that has been life lately. I think this recognition might signal that I am coming out of it. No complaints. Not a spiritual drought or a low-point- although, both could describe glimpses of the whole picture. It has just been a little wild as of late. That feeling that I am behind in every area of life has constantly tailed me.

All this, knowing that anytime I feel the least bit morose on any subject, I dismiss it as quite ridiculous. Having been to what I will affectionately call the pit of Hell, most anything else pails in comparison and seems not to deserve the thought or effort to work through.

Wow, I am not sure I knew this until I just wrote it. Well, now you and I both know. I am sure this is some sort of syndrome or the like, but please don’t tell me about it. Naivety is bliss when you have issues.

I am deadset on reviving this blog. Or at least quit acting like I am going to blog and not doing so. So I propose a little something-something.

I am going to post 7 posts in 7 days. I know that is right up there with the passage of the stimulus bill. Please hold your exuberance.

It will force me to be creative, and who knows, maybe it will be fun. Or I will fail. That could be fun as well.

But come back on Monday and Tuesday and….you get the idea.