Monday, November 15, 2010

The Weepies, Clive Staples, and Change

Yesterday when you were young
Everything you needed done was done for you
Now you do it on your own
But you find you're all alone, what can you do?

Last Friday, we went to a concert of one of our favorite musical groups, The Weepies, a husband-wife duo of Steve Tannen and Deb Talan. We've grown to love their music over the last couple years and jumped at the chance to see them when we found they were playing in Philly to promote their most recent album, Be My Thrill.

The night was a joyful experience for us. We joked afterward that we caught ourselves at several points during the concert with slack jaws and big dumb grins on our faces as we watched them play. It was just good.

You and me walk on, walk on, walk on 'Cause you can't go back now

One song in particular, 'Can't Go Back Now', caught both of us off guard. In it, Steve sings about marching through life's changes, about striking out on your own and what you gain and lose in the process. It struck a familiar chord.

You know there will be days
When you're so tired
That you can't take another step
The night will have no stars
And you'll think you've gone as far
As you will ever get

Just yesterday Amy described this new season of life (marriage and moving to a new place) as "A ghost of a new me becoming solid." I think I understand what she's saying. Becoming new hurts. It's unfamiliar and it's impossible to depend on what is comfortable or familiar.

Like in C.S. Lewis's novel
The Great Divorce, the "ghosts" have a hard time in the High Countries. The sharp, solid grass is painful on their transparent feet. They want to get on the bus and go back. And yet an invitation beckons them: "Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?"

So here we sit. In the midst of change - often in the midst of loneliness and uncertainty. The only assurance is the One who beckons; the One who will take each step with us.

I can't really say why everybody wishes
they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter
are the ones you take all by yourself

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Our brother-in-love, Dann, is in a band! And they are awesome! And they are giving away their music for FREE! If you don't believe us, then just ask Urban Outfitters.
Click here for FREE music

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meet the Kapengas

Before arriving in Philadelphia in August, we had the privilege of taking a long, winding, 3-week road trip to visit friends around the Midwest. One of our stops was near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota (home of Young Life's Castaway Club where Amy and I met!)
We spent time with Kapengas, who work at Castaway, and who now have a very large, beautiful, interesting family. Five years ago, when we first met Aaron and Liz, they had two sweet kids: Noah and Aubrey. Back then, we heard about their desire to one day adopt a child from somewhere in Africa.
Dreams became realities, and about three years ago the couple made the trip to Liberia to adopt twin boys: Mark and Jack. Sometime during that process, they found out that Liz was pregnant. So, not long after Jack and Mark entered the Kapenga family, baby Grace also joined the crew.
During our stay in Minnesota, we spent an evening at the family's house -- a newly renovated property on a few acres of land about a mile from camp. What a lively night! We read stories, toured the garden (supplying plenty of green beans this year), ate some zucchini bread, sang songs, and, in general, ran around. In the midst of the revelrous night, Amy and I felt honored to know this family and to watch them interact: deciding who was driving their van the next day; hiding laughter as Grace -- the rebel of the family -- wouldn't stay in bed; listening to all the kids clamor for Amy to tuck them in.
Just describing their family seems overwhelming, but Aaron and Liz parent with a great amount of joy.
It reminds me of one account of how Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God. He said, "A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how." (Mark 4:26-27)
This great big family, in a house full of love, just grows together. It just happens.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Joy because...
When we got married in January, so much in our lives was pointing to joyfulness. Friends, family, books, mentors seemed to all be speaking the same words to us: "Rejoice."So, this blog is a bit of a landmark, or footprint in that journey toward joy.

Peculiar because...
Joy lives and thrives in the midst of hard-to-read headlines. Since we moved to Philadelphia a month ago, the local news has been dominated by a scandal in city politics, trapped miners, decaying school systems.
Even personally, we're sorting through loneliness and longing in moving to a new place. It has often been a battle to find joy.
Amy took this picture as we were driving through Kansas en route to Philly. It was near dusk, and we were driving into dark clouds and a developing storm. Just as the sun was setting behind us, a rainbow stretched across the horizon ahead of us, in and among the rain and lightning. It was breathtaking. Beautiful. Peculiar.