my brother's blog

I hate to advertise my evil brother's blog... but you really ought to go over and read it. His post entitled "Fun at the World Series" or something like it has the best line about my dad. Good stuff.



Proverbs 31

Ah, a wife of noble character, who can find?

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. … her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’”

How fun to have found her!


Proverbs 30:5

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

Let’s see, what else have I tried to take refuge in? Looks and athletic ability? Those were squashed pretty quickly. (Dusty, I don’t need any comments from you on this one. You’re suspended until I’m over your trip to the World Series.) Degrees? You really can’t do anything with a History or Communication Studies degree. People I know? Name dropping only sounds good to the dropper. No one else is impressed. And the most remarkable… I’ve taken refuge in what I know about what God has said. (understand: my knowledge of Bible facts) But notice, it doesn’t say his words are the shield, it says, HE is the shield. I might be splitting hairs here. But I think this is important. Jesus, at one point, gets after the Pharisees saying they take pride in their knowledge of the scriptures but are still missing out on life… his life that he is offering, standing right there in front of them.

Does anyone see the difference? If so, care to take a shot at explaining it a little better?

Proverbs 29:11

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

Oh but it feels so good sometimes to be the fool. From experience though, wouldn't we all agree that that good feeling doesn’t last. Hindsight always shows a better manner in which to have responded. Hindsight after, or Wisdom before.


Proverbs 28:3

“A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.”

Often, the proverbs speak about kings or rulers. I wonder if we could apply the principle to a more broad sense of leadership. I can’t imagine that the poor in the church are actually oppressed, but it isn’t hard to imagine favoritism being shown to the rich even today. And I don’t think we do it because one has more money than another. Most often it is due to one being closer to us, personally, than another. We generally identify more with those who look like us, verses the really poor.

But what does this verse teach us about favoritism in leadership? When you are a farmer, driving rain is a good thing. It’s just when it keeps up for days on end that it starts to destroy the crops instead of feed them. When we side with those against the poor, even in subtle ways, we lose our ability to feed those we are called to feed and begin to tear them down instead. I guess that would make for a good definition of oppress.

And, Cards Win! Cards Win! Were you all as excited as I was? This is their first World Series win since 1982. 82 just happened to be the first year that I began following the Cardinals (I was 9). And the first year I ever got to go to a game. I’ll never forget watching the San Francisco Giants play pepper before or the size of Reggie Smith’s afro. Or getting then rookie Willie McGee’s autograph. All the kids were yelling for him to come sign stuff and he wouldn’t. My dad asked him to come sign something for Dusty and I. McGee said no cause then he’d have to sign for everyone. Dad said, “No you won’t”. And that was that. He came and signed for Dusty and I and then went on about his business. All the other kids just looked on in awe.


Six Little Cuties!

Clark, Noni (Noel), Cooper, Quincy, Karsyn and Abby at the Turtle sanctuary in Lazaro Cardanas.

Proverbs 27:21

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.”

This has become another favorite of mine. At first, this one appears odd, but does it not make perfect sense? Before, I hadn’t considered praise to be anything to endure… like the pounding of the crucible or the heat of the furnace. Yet, when people love us, when they think we can do no wrong (at least that’s what they say), our hearts are being molded. In the midst of the glory of being adored, do we agree? Do we begin to slack off, thinking we have already arrived? Or do we recognize the truth about ourselves? Do we press on to become the man and woman God desires or remain stagnant as the one good enough to be liked?


Surf's Up!

I'm ready to surf. And Jeff is ready for some laughs. I will say, surfing is one of the few things that has a fun learning process.
I'm going to stand if it's the last thing I do. And in fact, it was the last thing I did!

Though it isn't very clear, I think you can still make out the huge smile on Jeff's face. That is my head just peaking up above the surf.

Proverbs 26: Who’s the Fool?

This has been the proverb that has impacted me the most over the last few months and thus might be a longer read. So please bear with me.

vv. 4-5
“Do not answer a fool according to is folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”

This is not the point I’m wanting to get to but makes for an interesting pause. Here we read two consecutive verses that completely contradict each other. My thought is this: You’re dealing with a fool! There is no right way to deal with them because they are, in fact, a fool! (If you have another take, please share.)
But let’s continue.

vv. 6-11
“Like cutting off one’s feet or drinking violence is the sending of a message by the hand of a fool.
Like a lame man’s legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool.
Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Like an archer who wounds a random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by.
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

So tell us Solomon, how do you really feel? Who among us thinks they’re a fool? Is there anything worse than being a fool? …so glad you asked.

v. 12
“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

Ouch. It is quite easy for me to read about the fool, because I don’t think that I am one (at least, not usually). However, now we’re hitting a nerve. But here we find the answer… is there anything worse than being a fool? Who would have thought?

So where do we fit? This is why I love Proverbs 9. We are simply simple. Our best hope is to be the simple ones who listen to the call of wisdom. This reminds me of Jesus calling us to be like the little children.


Proverbs 25:11

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

I remember driving down the street in Lubbock with Paul. I can’t remember what I was so bugged about, but I was almost to the point of tears. I do remember Paul’s words. They had nothing to do with what I was angry with. He simply reminded me of our friendship. Whatever it was that bothered me that day no longer exists. But Paul’s words still encourage.

I remember calling my dad and telling him about some ideas… just wondering about where God might be leading me. I was afraid of the ideas. I thought he’d speak some sense into me and I’d move on with life. Instead, he told me about times he’d felt God moving him; times he was scared, even times those around him told him, “DON’T DO IT”. He told me how God prevailed despite his fears. To steal a line from Rich Mullins, “Stories like that make a boy grow bold. Stories like that make a man walk straight.”

What “word aptly spoken” has encouraged you? Formed you?


Proverbs 24:3-4

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its room are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

This verse takes me back to a warm, safe, love filled home. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but there were rare and beautiful treasures in every room. With a loving, care giving mother and a fun, faith instilling father, our home was full. I hope that the home my kids see is similar… or at least growing that way.

Any specifics about the treasures in your home, current or past, that you would like to share?

Proverbs 23:17

“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.”

Envy is the crossroad where we decide which path to follow; Wisdom or Folly. It isn’t just a matter of guarding ourselves from envy either. Instead of just standing still at the crossroad we are to pursue the path called Fear of the Lord.

On another note… we’re home. We had a wonderful time with Jeff and Amy. I’m telling ya, if you have a free weekend, you really ought to drop in on them. And I’d pick the coldest time of the year for you. Cause then you will really appreciate the smoking weather there.

We took all the kids to a turtle sanctuary where we were able to release baby turtles into the ocean. So fun! And we spent another day at the beach where Jeff tried to teach me how to surf. I’m a bit slow when it comes to anything requiring coordination, but he was a great and patient teacher. It was a blast!

I should add… those two are the nicest hosts. They let us sleep in their bed as their room is the only one with air conditioning. And they gave us their Jeep to drive home as our Taurus didn’t handle the drive down to well (but that’s another story). But, that just means we get to see them again in a week or so when the Taurus is ready. They offered to drive it half way to trade cars.


Proverbs 22:26-27

“Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.”

Do you think Solomon is advising against buying on credit? If so, is that even possible today? Suppose we don’t even ask if it is possible. Suppose we just assume that it is. What would it look like if we lived that way? What changes would there be, good and bad?

Proverbs 21:13

“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.”

If you’ve been reading along, you’ve probably noticed a theme Solomon seems to come back to a lot: Care for the poor. Protect the down trodden.

I don’t want to get into a debate on what our government should or should not do regarding the poor. What I would like us to do is question our own ears. Have they closed to the cries of the poor?

Proverbs 20:6

“Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?”

I’ve got to tell you, this verse haunts me. I claim to love God. I claim to love my wife. But am I really being faithful in that love?

This verse haunts me enough that I hesitated in posting it. However, I think it is a good question to ask myself today, or any day. Is my life’s love a true representation of my words?

About the photo... I'm afraid this is Clark, obviously caught in the early onset of evil villian laugh syndrome. Which we can now see must be caused by the fact that, in deed, his mom dressed him funny. (This is actually an outfit worn by his uncle Chris Blachly. Sadly, Chris was already in the Navy when he purchased it. Ha.)

Also, Cards win! Cards win! World Series starts Saturday!


Proverbs 19:14

“Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

I’m set to inherit some pretty cool Cardinal memorabilia, but beyond that, probably not too much as far as houses or wealth are concerned.

However, in the prudent wife category, color me BLESSED!

How about we all tell our favorite Kim story! Or, you can talk about your wife/spouse/friend if you’d prefer.

And by the way, the picture of Kim is not a recent one (ha). It was taken about a week before the twins were born.

Proverbs 18:24

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Does anyone else ever feel like they go through stages where they are less likely to build close friendships, and are stuck in the “companion” stage? If so, why does this happen?

Also, feel free to share about your “friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Name some names and tell us why.

Proverbs 17:28

“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

Boy do I have a lot to say about this one. But for once, I think I’ll hold my tongue.


Nutella toast for breakfast...

um, um good!

Proverbs 16:3

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

I struggle with how far to take this. So many people have so many different ideas as to how one should go about ministry. And your way of doing it isn’t right! I think that if you’ve committed your plans to the Lord, HE will succeed. Still, I don’t want to blindly stick my head in the sand and not study out what might be the better way.

One thing that I am becoming more convinced of, though, is that we shouldn’t mock anyone else’s ministry dreams, no matter how far removed they might be from ours.

And as for my Cardinals... rough night! Still, we know that even if we get beat tomorrow, we will come around to Carpenter and Suppan in the rotation. (At least Carp.) The bad news is that our bullpen has been figured out. I'm afraid that spells doom. The bright spot for Monday is that Glavin has an awful record with only 3 days rest. Weaver, who knows?


Proverbs 15:28

“The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.”

I’m sure we’ve all had those moments where we wish someone would yell, “Cut, cut… let’s take it from the top folks… and Tim, this time please notice where we’ve placed the invisible line.” (I don’t mean we’ve all had moments we wish we would have said something different. I mean we’ve all had moments we wish TIM would have said something different.)

I like to think these moments are fewer and farther between. But they still happen. Oh yes they do.

And how about them Cardinals? They are now up 2 to 1 over the Mets. The series is still up in the air though. The way things are going, we could finish them out in the next two games in St. Louis. But with their offense, they could get hot and score 12 runs a game. Should be fun.

Proverbs 14:34

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

My question is, what are we doing about this?

To exalt the nation, I’m thinking we have to begin in the home. But how can we teach/model righteousness to our kids in such a way as to reach beyond our walls? How can the righteousness that we grow in, in our smaller communities, effect the larger communities around us?


Proverbs 13:24

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

This isn’t very PC, but I think it speaks truth. We can’t love our kids and not discipline them. I don’t know what your take on "the rod" is, but Solomon sounds pretty firm. And I’d have to agree with him… especially if you keep the “careful” part of the verse. I do believe in spanking. But if that is the knee jerk reaction to every problem, perhaps more consideration ought to be taken.


Fun with Clark

About a week ago, as I was getting the twins out of their cribs after a good nap, I grabbed Karsyn by her ankles and flung her onto Quincy's bed. I thought to myself, perhaps I should be more gentle with this precious little girl, though she didn't mind too much. Then, when I turned to get Clark, he was standing on his head with his little ankles turning as if to say, "me next, ooh, ooh, me next". Since then, I go in, lift Karsyn out of her crib and give her a big kiss. Then I ask Clark, "ankles?" And as quick as he can, he flips up onto his head and gets ready to fly.

And by the way, the above picture has nothing to do with said flying. This photo is of his first black eye. After hearing him cry, Kim found him on the stairs with his feet two steps higher than his head and books scattered everywhere. Now, we're trying to limit what they carry up and down the stairs.

Proverbs 12:1

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”

Again, Solomon says some stuff…

Did you know that in Mexico, “stupid” is a very dirty word? And the Spanish translation is “Estupido”. So, if you slip up and say it in English, you haven’t fooled anyone.

Solomon seems to be doing a slow dance on my toes with this one. But I think that’s his point. I think he wants to correct and see if we’ll listen or not. Perhaps I don’t have to love correction… oh wait, is that the same as discipline? Can this be something I grow to love?

This takes me back to earlier chapters. Wisdom is a journey. Wisdom and Folly call out to me. Will I listen to Wisdom’s correction when Folly would be much, much easier to stomach?


Proverbs 11:22

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”

First of all, doesn’t Solomon say some things out loud that we would shy away from?

When I read, “shows no discretion" , I immediately think of how a woman dresses, or how she presents herself. So this verse often helps me in my battle with lust. When I’m tempted to lust after a woman dressed rather scantily, I try to agree with Solomon about the woman offering herself up for the world to look at. It’s harder to lust after someone I just feel sorry for.

And now, raising a beautiful little girl (see picture below), how do I train her to go against all that’s popular, all that’s in style? It seems like our culture keeps pushing the envelope so far that discretion is no longer an option. And believe it or not, the objectification of women as sexual play things is even more pronounced in the Mexican culture.


Also, when you read the above verse, and you hear “shows no discretion” , does something else come to mind?

This is Karsyn with Meloni Garcia. Some of you might remember Meloni from your trips to Mexico City as AIMers. She is the daughter of Gerardo and Carola Garcia. This picture was taken by Nancy Shroeder at Sophia's 15th birthday party. And I neglected to mention that Nancy also took the photos of the Quincy and Clark in their tuxedos. Thanks Nancy.


This is the most recent family photo.

Proverbs 10:11

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.”

By how we speak, we either breathe life into the moment, into the hearts of those who hear, or we bring destruction and violence.

For a minute, don’t even consider your enemies. How about your kids? Your spouse? Your coworkers and friends? Are you a source of life to them? In this context, what choices can we make today to listen to the voice of Wisdom calling out to us, and not Folly?

And just for fun, whom do you know that breathes life into whatever situation? Tell us about them.


Proverbs 9

I don’t know that we generally feel this way, but are we to understand, from Proverbs 9, that we are all “simple”? It appears that Wisdom and Folly call out to us (us simple ones 9:4,16). So, depending on which voice we’ve listen to, we’ve become who we are today. And by the by, don’t be offended at being simple. This is going to come in handy by the time we get to Proverbs 26.

On another note... Cards didn't win in 3 straight, but they do advance to the NLCS winning 3 games to 1 over the Padres. St. Louis heads to NY on Wednesday. Go Cards!


Proverbs 8

Pop quiz: #1. What color are the numbers on the front of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jerseys?
#2. What does the Bible say is the first thing God created?

If your answers were blue and light, think again. If you bleed Dodger Blue (which I don’t) you know that their jerseys have red numbers on the front. And if you’ve read Proverbs 8, you know that wisdom was the first of all God’s creations (8:22).

Next time you are with a group of people and the Dodgers are on t.v., ask the people to shut their eyes and tell you what color are the numbers on the front of their jerseys. What does this have to do with anything? Well, sometimes wisdom is like that. It is usually obvious, but it still has to be sought after. What I love about Proverbs 8 is that it reminds us that wisdom is, in fact, attainable… if we just make the effort to look.

Proverbs 7:24-25

“Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.”

Again, we have another chapter warning against adultery. And again, Solomon urges against beginning the journey down the road that will lead to adultery. He says, “do not let your heart turn to her ways”.

It is my heart Satan is after. If I protect against the actions, but forget to protect my heart, it appears I’ve already lost. Does this remind anyone else of Jesus’ teachings from the sermon on the Mount?


Adriana and Clark at Sophia's 15th

Karsyn is all greased up and ready for the beach.


Proverbs 6:16-19

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him… (#7) a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Despite what others do or say, regardless of how they speak about us or act toward us, be it out of ignorance or spite, let us never stir up dissension among our brothers. When we feel we have every right to spout off a snide remark to a friend we know feels the same as we do, when we know our cutting line will be witty and to the point and even well deserved, may we hold our tongue and keep from separating further those who are already parted. May we offer grace to those who won’t extend it to us.


Proverbs 5

Well, what do you say about this chapter, or the next few for that matter? Don’t commit adultery. Anything else? Surely someone has a deep insight to share with us.

Two quick notes... First, this is Solomon talking; the son of David and Bathsheba. I wonder if these are proverbs passed down to him, again, from his father (Proverbs 4:3-4). Or is this what he learned from watching his mom and dad and the progression of their lives? And second, isn’t it interesting that in v. 12, Solomon eludes to the lack of discipline and the spurning of correction as two things that lead us down the path towards adultery.

On another note... Sure, I said the Cards would win the NLDS in three games. But that was before I knew we'd send Jeff Weaver to the mound against David Wells in game 2. If you haven't been watching this year, Weaver is awful! However, he does have a better record on the road, so we'll see.

Quincy's hanging around in his tux at the 15th birthday party of Sophia. For girls in Mexico, their 15th birthday is a HUGE deal. It was pretty cute to watch Quincy as he suddenly developed a huge crush on Sophia. We would often catch him standing at her side, staring up at her.

It's Potty Time! For some reason, that plays in my head to the tune of "It's Howdy Dudy Time". Which of course, would also be somewhat appropriate.


Proverbs 4:18

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

It starts out as a gleam of dawn and keeps growing brighter. The path of righteousness IS the journey.

Looking back at my journey with God, I can see major landmarks… major decisions along the way that began to define the journey. I remember praying over the decision to go to AIM. I didn’t know anyone who had done it, but it seemed like the direction God was pulling me to. I remember being asked to come back and work with AIM. I had other plans. Yet again, God was trying to direct my path. And I remember talking with Dennis Wilson about going to Russia for two months to serve the church there. It didn’t fit into to my plans at all! But God had something to show me along my journey. Each step seemed like an inconvenience. They didn’t go with the plans I had for my life. But with each decision, God opened new doors, provided new adventures, gave new life.

When you look back on your journey with God, what major sign posts stand out? Decisions? Events? People? Tragedies?

Grandma Kay paints Karsyn's fingernails.

At the zoo, Clark and Quincy see the apes rolling in the grass beating their chests. Monkey see, monkey do.

Proverbs 3:21-22

“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.”

I don’t know why, but the phrase, “an ornament to grace your neck” stuck out at me this morning. For some reason it just made sense that wisdom is something that we see displayed in the lives of people, as if it were a necklace that you could not help but notice and admire. Faces began flooding my mind; subtle reminders of men and women who wear such a necklace.

Whose face are you picturing right now? Why?

On another note… The Cardinals and Padres play game one of the NLDS today at 3:00 Guadalajara time. (We are in the same time zone as Texas and Oklahoma.) Perhaps I’m blinded by loyalty, but I’m saying the Cards win in 3. If Duncan hits a homerun in the 1st, you’ll know I’m on to something.


Proverbs 2

Proverbs 2:1-5
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you… then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

Reading these verses causes me to evaluate the time I spend with my kids. Solomon offers his son the understanding of the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God. What am I purposefully offering Quincy, Karsyn and Clark?

Moms and dads, what is one thing that you’ve tried to do to encourage your children in their own search for God?

Those without kids, share something you’ve seen in others or experienced with your own parents that you would like to one day pass on to your children.

Or, think in terms of mentoring. Is there something you continually try to share with younger Christians?


Proverbs 1

Proverbs 1
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,

but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

Perhaps this is going to make for an awfully weak beginning to this blogging month, but I want to begin with a simple question. What is it about the fear of the Lord that makes it the beginning of knowledge?