A Father’s Love

A Father’s Love: Father to the Fatherless
Guest Post by Thad Nelson

I was on a construction jobsite a few years back listening to a conversation between two of my co-workers about how terrible their fathers were and I interjected quite insensitively how awesome my own father was. This stopped the conversation and Charlie says to me, “Hey stop it. You’re spoiling our pity party!” It was at this point in my life that I really stopped and took stock of who my father is and what I had learned from him. Peacemaking, patience, joy, sticktuitiveness, self control, frugality, gentleness.

My dad never had an opinion when it came to eating out. He is generally not a picky person but it’s not like he doesn’t have favorite things:

Lasagna, 1000 island dressing, and carrot cake, to name a few, but I realized in retrospect that what he really wanted for dinner was for us to be happy and not to fight. When I was young I wanted a certain wood toy and so he set out to build it for me. I was so distraught by the noise of the saw that he stopped and never made it. I think about myself in a similar situation and I think I would say, “If you don’t like it, then go in the house” Turns out, I am not my father. I began to recognize that he had consistently modeled the art of peacemaking by setting aside his own wants and desires for the wants and desires of others.

I would say that I learned patience from my father from countless hunting and fishing trips, but it would not quite be accurate. At least not in the sense that I typically think of his patience. He is patient with people. He was patient with me and my sister and my mother and our stray cats and all our shortcomings… Continue reading “A Father’s Love”

Theology Soup

I started going to church when I was a baby. Which sounds funny because clearly I didn’t think to myself at a few months old, “huh, I wanna check out these Jesus followers.” My mom became a Christian just before I was born and started going to a Southern Baptist church. Before you get a picture in your head of holy rollers, this church was planted in Northwest Washington where even self-titled Charismatics are probably not going to get too demonstrative. (This is a stereotype which several of my friends from home break, I’ll grant you.)

We didn’t holy roll. When it was time to worship, we just followed orders. Hymns, praise choruses, stand, stand, sit. No one said, “Amen,” no one raised their hands.

When I became a Christian for real at age 16, I wanted to be at church every moment. Still Southern Baptist. I devoured my Bible and tattooed it with question marks which I would frequently harass my pastor with through email. I did all the 12 week Bible studies you can think of, Experiencing God, The Mind of Christ, A Heart Like His.

Then, because I felt this call to be a missionary, I found myself at Moody Bible Institute. I was like a toddler on the loose, making friends, staying up late, listening to guys debate theology and kind of in awe of their adult sounding opinions… Continue reading “Theology Soup”

Holiday Equilibrium

The Christmas season is upon us. I think I’m finally beginning to reclaim some joy for this season.  It’s amazing what an idyllic childhood of Christmases will do to hinder and taint your attempts to enjoy the holiday as a single adult.

Christmases past are perfect in my memory and all of that had to do with my mom.She was way better than Santa Claus. Most of the year she was pretty stressed with work and taking care of three girls on her own, but at Christmas time she was the Happiest Little Elf version of herself. Her happiness would spill over to her three daughters in a way that caused us to fight less and love more. The weekend after Thanksgiving she would pull out the boxes and the whole house would be transformed. A stack of the best Christmas records would sit on the record player and when they  had played through we would just flip them all over and start again.

As the youngest in the house, I always got up first on Christmas morning. Sometime around age 7 or 8 I crept down the hall before daylight and there in the living room, in the magical glow of the Christmas tree lights, sat a shiny, red bicycle. I knew it was for me. After gaping at it for a few seconds, I slipped into my mom’s room to wake her up. Before I said anything, her sleepy voice came from under covers, “I missed The Face.” Of course she meant the face I made when I saw that glorious bike, so I replayed it for her…. Continue reading “Holiday Equilibrium”

Good Time Gal

Every time I come home to Western Washington I have a few fears that tangle up in my hair and gently squeeze my heart muscle.

* I will miss something/someone.

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* I will run into an old version of myself and forget who I have become (am becoming).
* I won’t be able to leave when it’s time to go back to Colorado.
* I will get sick (it has happened the last 3 times). It is, after all, the land of mold.

Just before coming home this time, I asked the staff at the YWAM base in Co Springs prayed for me. Also, I was just honest with God about my fears and hopes and I laid all of those down and said, “Do what You want! You are good!”… Continue reading “Good Time Gal”

Three Big Bites

I was listening to a podcast yesterday wherein the guy speaking was encouraging his audience (a group of students about to go out in teams for a few months of missions work) to be family to each other. He admonished them not to worry if these few months would be their only time together, but to live like family regardless of how long or short they had as a family.

This was timely for me to hear since I’ve been thinking a lot about Home and connection.

After struggling for several months with how to dive into community here, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to stop worrying about it. I don’t mean I won’t make friends. I have made friends here and I regularly run into more people that I would love to get to know better.
I think what I was really worrying about was capacity. How many people am I actually able to be a friend to? Behind that question was the fear of disappointing others.

Right here and now I’m going to publicly confess that fear, and let it go…. Continue reading “Three Big Bites”

Withalittlehelp

Sometimes a bad evening happens and all you need is a person (or two) to hear you and sympathize. Nothing major, just friends who care.

Even friends like your own mom. (Thanks, mom!)

It’s a bit like shushing a frightened, crying toddler. Only a scrape… kiss the wet cheek, snuggle a moment.

Except today I was the toddler.

It was nothing. Really. Some crazy people, driving dangerously and flipping me off for not also driving dangerously (you know that strip between Co Springs and Denver where it’s narrow and curvy and everyone drives like maniacs!?). Then some technology issues, then running around and retracing steps because I did things wrong (without knowing the rules) to start…. Continue reading “Withalittlehelp”

In Your Eyes

This picture was taken a few years ago in a moment of creative randomness with a friend. I don’t remember how it started.

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I’ve used this photo for a profile picture in a forum where he frequents because to me it was a photographic representation of our friendship- we enjoy being creative with available material, even if that is just ideas or thoughts. I didn’t visit the website with this picture for a long time because I was immersed in studying, but in the last few weeks of being back in Washington I have visited it several times.

Now the picture is beginning to mean something else to me- it is this; learning to see better by listening to those around me. I don’t know if that says it perfectly…. Continue reading “In Your Eyes”

A Body in Motion

My guess is that most people who choose a specific education out of high school hope to be able to use that education in the future. Otherwise, what would the point be in persevering to learn? Really, to learn is to change. If we cannot act upon something we have learned it seems likely the learning will be lost.

So you can imagine my delight to discover that the nine months I spent intensively studying the Bible is already starting to impact my outward life…. Continue reading “A Body in Motion”

Wherever You Go

Great change is required inside me for there to be great change on the outside.

I don’t think that is an exact quote, but I heard something like this on Sunday and it just came back to me as I was sitting here. I had a photo shoot yesterday with some friends and I was here at the computer to edit them.  I also needed to call someone with YWAM in Colorado to tell them that I will not be coming as soon as I had previously estimated, partially because I am broke.

Confused is a good word to describe how I feel. How much detail should I go into here on the internet?
I think, for one, that it fits with my personality to wrestle with decisions, directions and changes. I just do that. Sometimes I wonder if I overdue this part of the process. On the other hand it’s possible that I need the struggle to somehow prepare me for the eventual change…. Continue reading “Wherever You Go”

Woman! WHOA man.

Finishing off time with family right now- we’re flying down I90 in the RV. Sarah and Jill sit up front listening to music a few years newer than what we heard on the way to Idaho. Right now it’s the soundtrack to So I Married An Axe Murderer. Where do bands get names like “Toad the Wet Sprocket”?

Everyone is pretty “done”.

I feel done but I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the 10 days I have left in Washington. I already feel like I’ve set out in a boat by myself and am heading out to sea… excited for the adventure, longing to share it, missing home.

Here is what I will attempt to accomplish in the next 10 days: Continue reading “Woman! WHOA man.”

Unrehearsed Family Bonding

We’re still at Mom’s house in Idaho.

I’m happy to be with these people- you know- family. I’m a little surprised at how many good moments of connection there have been amidst so many thoughts in my head about life and church and family and the future. It’s like I have more senses and I can suddenly multitask  the input from each one without overload.

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The characters here are as follows… Continue reading “Unrehearsed Family Bonding”

Unbirthday Gifts

Currently I am sitting across from two of my nephews. Randall and Jonathan. They are 10 and 11 years old. Cousins who are also friends. Randall is fake coughing to make me laugh or … annoy me? He is also a little annoyed that I’m writing about him on the internet. Jonathan explains that I may be planning world domination with my typing. So we sit across from each other and make silly faces and noises. When he discovers that I’m  typing about our interactions, Randall furrows his brow- an impressively clear message is given.  He is not pleased with my public communications about him.

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Later in life he may be both proud and embarrassed to know what an amazing Aunt he has and how much she adores him.

But this is not what I meant to sit down and write about…. Continue reading “Unbirthday Gifts”

Tale of a Tire

Here we are in Idaho after a long adventure.

My sister Jill has a big ol’ RV which we rocked out in, flying down the sunny highway between Seattle and Spokane – 80’s style. Jill’s music mix featured AC/DC, Billy Squire, Rush, Fleetwood Mac and much more music from our childhoods. While the kids entertained themselves with technology and games, we sung along loud and tuneless and felt the bonds of always knowing each other blasting at us through the speakers of Jill’s ’92 Flair.

Those hours were good… those hours of rolling down the road in a rocking living room – but our carefree moments were interrupted by a sudden THUMP…. BUMP…. Continue reading “Tale of a Tire”

Set Yourself on Fire

What a week. Really.
I’m not sure how to tell the story. Where to start or what to share.

It’s not like I chase drama. Generally I like to be Just Fine. So it was probably not a good idea to go into Monday with so little sleep. Why didn’t I sleep? I don’t know. But I didn’t sleep and then I set out to run errands. After wandering, confused around Costco for a while (remember I’m tired) I get in my car to discover that it. won’t. start.

Wait. What? Try again. Won’t. Start.
Also? I smell a lot of gas…. Continue reading “Set Yourself on Fire”

Surprise Ending

Three really good things happened today.

1. I spent time holding an infant. Earlier today I had this great idea for a post about what acts as “therapy” in life and in there was something about holding babies.

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They are soft and grunty, they smell of heaven and sitting curled up on the couch with a wee one sleeping on your chest is right up there with… all of those other things right up there. It’s awesome. This morning I held  Jonah Lambert. He will be a week old tomorrow…. Continue reading “Surprise Ending”