Thursday, April 29, 2010


from a French restaurant on the Thames. It occurs to me we've done a lot of walking since leaving home 2 weeks ago. A lot of Subway riding, too, but more walking in these 2 weeks than all year so far, I would guess.

Yesterday we took the tube to town, climbed up to see Big Ben towering over us. Walked a mile to find some fine fish & chips. Walked down to the river to cross the Millennium Bridge and then up to St. Paul's for tea and biscuits in the crypt and the choral evensong. Back down to the London Eye (we rode it) and then back to the tube to be home by 9:00.

Today we took the tube to town and walked a long way to the Imperial War Museum, then the tube back to London Bridge, now some nice lunch, then up to the Tower. And maybe that famous toy store over by Piccadilly Circus.

Tomorrow the plan is to get to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard, and then off to find 165 Eaton Place (anybody know why that's important?).

Oh, and this. We met a personal friend of Willy Wonka. The kids even got some genuine Wonka bars. They're plastic, but genuine.

Here's my lunch. . .

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

London Calling

Drive to airport. 2 hour plane flight. 30 minute train trip to Liverpool Station. Circle Line subway for 20 minutes. Green line for 10 minutes. Off the subway and up to the street. Back to the subway to the next stop. Did I mention with two kids and three suitcases in tow? A 10 minute walk to the hotel through dark London streets. We made it!

Now we're off to explore this wonderful city. But not without first saying thanks to Derek and Carin and the kids for being such wonderful hosts, letting us invade their space and taking us all over town for a week. We leave Stockholm with wonderful memories.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Heading south

It's been nice here in Stockholm. Good friends, good food, lots of sights to see. I even got a little sunburned yesterday while we wandered around the zoo. Where we saw a moose. And some reindeer. And some bears. And an 800-year-old barn.

We've enjoyed our visit, enjoyed the people and the city. Swedes, like Icelanders, have proven to be friendly and welcoming to Americans traveling their land. They've been helpful and accepting, interested in our journey and our life in America. No angry, anti-American sentiment here. Truthfully, I'm impressed how far some have gone to help us find our way around. So thanks to Sweden for welcoming these wandering Americans.

It's now 8:30 Swedish time, and in about 6 hours we're heading to the airport to catch a quick flight to London, which will be home until Saturday. We've had lots of good advice about places to visit and things to see, so I'm sure it will be a full week. And since we watch lots of British TV, I'm hoping we'll see some familiar sights. Maybe Dr. Who wandering around?

Last day in Stockholm

Enjoyed a sweet worship and potluck time with the people of Tomaskyrkan last night. Karina blessed them with some fine homemade Mexican food, which was quite a feat, considering how difficult it is to get all the proper ingredients up here.

Tomorrow we fly south to London. Derek mentioned this morning that our volcanic friend up in Iceland is still messing things up; the airport in Reykjavik is now closed. If we had to fly home today, we'd go through Glasgow instead of Iceland. It's a good reminder that this trip is still in flux. At the moment, everything appears on schedule, but by next Saturday, the day we're set to fly home, it could all change again. I admit, vacations are nice, and apparently Lakebay has survived two Sundays without me. . .

I'm just not sure we can handle too much longer with two kids in a hotel room.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Londonderry Aire

Thankfully the airlines took a little pity on us, and without too much hassle, allowed us to exchange our Hamburg-London tickets for Stockholm-London tickets. We have a few more days here in Sweden, and then on Tuesday evening we fly south to London and all that great British cheese.

It's Sunday morning here and in a couple hours we get to go worship with the Swedes at Derek's church. They're also having a potluck today, so we get to sample a variety of homemade Swedish food. Did you know that people here eat reindeer cheese? And last night we had moose burgers. Add that to the whale we had in Iceland, and it's been a gastronomical adventure all the way around.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Making the best of things

Turns out North Park Seminary president Jay Phelan was stuck in Stockholm because of the volcano, too. So we met up for lunch yesterday. Which is a little ironic, because he was supposed to be in Seattle at the North Pacific Conference Annual Meeting. Instead, Derek and I got him all to ourselves.

We took the girls swimming yesterday afternoon. Something I noticed in Iceland was true here, as well. No lifeguards. Is that because these countries aren't lawsuit happy like in America? Or do they just not care if people drown? I should also mention the waterslide was concrete. And I broke my kneecaps and my skull going down. Not literally, but you get the idea. That being said, the girls had a lot of fun and we all got some exercise. In addition we've been out seeing the sights; if you check out my twitter, you've read that we got to P.P. Waldenström's grave a couple days ago. Today we're off to the free museum downtown.

Unfortunately, time passes, and now I have to start the process of figuring out whether or not we can get to London next week, or if we have to head home. More phone calls to airlines. . .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweden, lovely Sweden

It was a headache, but we got the last 4 seats on the first flight from Iceland into Stockholm yesterday. I was almost sad to leave Reykjavik behind, seeing as we'd made some friends and were enjoying the adventure of it all. But finally we were in the air heading East. We saw the volcano from the air but flew far enough north that it didn't affect us at all. And then. . .we landed in Stockholm. All aboard burst into applause.

Derek met us at the airport, gave us a nice tour as we drove to his place, and now, having experience the first good night's sleep since Wednesday night, we're all happy to be in Sweden.

It looks like Germany is out of the picture for us, but we're hoping to still get to England sometime next week. For now, we're simply enjoying the moment here in Stockholm.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Iceland, lovely Iceland

Some personal observations. . .

- Icelanders are a very friendly and helpful people.

- Icelanders are a fit people. Not very many overweight people walking around, a remarked contrast to the U.S.

- Icelanders don't seem to have many pets. We've only seen 3 dogs and 2 cats in our 3 days here.

- Icelandic toilets have the biggest flush buttons I've ever seen. I'd call them 'flush panels.'

- Icelanders love their knitted sweaters.

- Iceland uses 24-hour time, instead of AM and PM. So right now it's 20:14.

- There are still plenty of hipsters wandering around in their hipster-like fashion.

- Icelanders don't eat salads. At least we haven't seen much in the way of a salad since we've been here.

- Icelanders are really good at stopping for pedestrians in, or anywhere near, crosswalks.

- Iceland doesn't seem to have a Starbucks, or a McDonalds. But we did see a Taco Bell.

- Iceland is devious. A local cab driver told us Iceland turned this volcano on to get back at Great Britain, who apparently gave Iceland the same status as terrorists for doing so much damage to their economy. So the plan seems to be cripple Britains' economy, and then turn the volcano back off.

Travel Update

Still stuck in Iceland. But this hotel has an amazing breakfast buffet, and the pool is a 5 minute walk, so we're not exactly suffering.

We decided to fly home. But the next available Seattle flight (with room) isn't until Wednesday night. And now flights are opening into Norway, which would put us a 12-hour train ride away from Stockholm. And there is an outside chance Stockholm might open up later today; we have to call back in 2 hours and see. So we're in flux. At the moment, our most hopeful option is still to get to Sweden, where we might just hang out for a week or so before coming home, rather than spend 3 more days in Iceland. But we should know more in another couple hours.

If none of that works, we're back to Seattle on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

If you are ever stuck in Iceland

might I recommend the lovely geothermal pools? There's nothing like a leisurely swim in deep-earth heated water while the surrounding air dips below freezing. Inexpensive and clean, fun for the whole family!

I don't, however, recommend the whale platter at the seafood and soup place. We're regretting that already.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Up close and Personal

I usually watch disasters unfold from a distance. Really, my life is pretty tame. So when people get stuck in tough situations, I tend to be the guy watching it on TV, or checking it out online. One of those recurring disaster situations is the 'storm in the midwest shutting down airports for a couple hours right before Christmas.' All those poor people stuck in airports with crazy crowds and no place to go. I watch them from the the comfort of my couch.

Except for this time. This time, it's me. Who ever would have guessed two months ago when we bought our tickets to Sweden that on the exact day of the flight all air travel to Europe would shut down because of a volcano? And who would guess that nobody would have a clue when things might start to get back to normal?

So here I am stuck in Iceland, trying to get to Sweden before Wednesday, when we have train tickets to Germany. The airline was kind enough to put us up at a hotel tonight, but after tonight, it's on our dime. Which is another factor to consider.

And, of course, even if flights resume, there's a backlog, so there's no guarantee we get on the next flight out. Who knows where all this is going.

At least Iceland has some wonderful geo-thermal swimming pools, and the people are very helpful and friendly. And at least we're away from the airport for tonight.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mark your calendars

On Saturday, May 15, the Gig Harbor Peninsula Symphony Orchestra will be holding our annual Spring Concert. Beginning at 7:00 p.m., the show is being held at St. John's Episcopal Church in Gig Harbor.

There will be a number of chamber groups performing, including our brass quintet.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Office

No, not the TV show. My Easter Sermon. . .

I suppose it was the loneliness that was the worst. Sure, there was the mind-numbing drudgery, there were the office games, there was the sarcasm and the gossip and the so-called practical jokes, but in the end, it was the loneliness. Getting up every day and eating my cold cereal, fighting traffic into the office, sitting there at my desk all day, surrounded by people but not really knowing anybody, then fighting traffic home and sitting in front of the TV all night, watching other people laugh and live and fall in love.

Life wasn’t supposed to be this way. We all grew up watching Friends and thinking we’d find ourselves in that world; hanging out every night with our best friends, going on adventures, experiencing all sorts of crazy things, falling in and out of love but always having a place to belong, and friends to share it all with.

But that’s not how it worked out. I don’t really know why – I always figured I’d goofed up along the way, I’d missed out on the opportunities to make friends, that something was wrong with me, or otherwise people would invite me along, would want to spend time with me. Somehow. . .life just didn’t end up like it was supposed to.

It’s not like I didn’t have any life, though. Sometimes I’d go out with a few coworkers on a Friday night; we’d go out for drinks, once a year or so we’d head over to Safeco for a Mariners’ game. We had the annual Christmas party, and the Halloween monster bash. And I had a couple friends leftover from college; about once a month we’d connect on facebook and decide to get together for a movie or a trip to the beach when the sun was out.

But really, at the end, I still felt alone. Even when I was with those people, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that they didn’t really want me there, didn’t like me all that much. And the truth was. . .I’m not sure I really liked them, either. They were a way to fill the time; we had some laughs and talked about sports and politics, but never really got that involved in each other’s lives. At work. . .it was even worse. It could be vicious there.

You might say that gossip was considered fine sport at work. That back-biting, that spreading rumors, that dissing people, insulting people, playing pranks on others were all considered normal behavior. There was the usual back-stabbing to get ahead; the lies told to the boss, the sabotaged reports. Then there were these four guys who worked in sales, who really made life miserable for everybody else. They were the hot shots; they drove the expensive cars, they took their clients to expensive restaurants, they knew the company counted on them, and would back them up. They pretty much dominated the office.

I remember one time; it was really just a little thing. I’d gone into the lunch room and sat down with one of the newer girls; we were talking about past jobs, where we’d lived and worked, gone to college – that sort of stuff. Nothing serious, but it was nice to have a real conversation. Until Tony came in. “Got a new girlfriend there, I see,” he said. It got really awkward. I looked at her, she stared at her sandwich. I told him “No Tony, we’re just having lunch.” “Not what it looks like to me,” he said. A couple of his buddies came in behind him. “Hey, look guys! We’ve got a new couple in the office! I’m setting up a pool on how long it’ll be until the first kiss.” They all left, eventually, but she and I really didn’t have anything else to talk about. Every time we saw each other after that it was just weird, so we pretty much avoided each other.

Two more stories.

Jack was one of my co-workers, and actually a decent guy. Always had something nice to say. He remembered people’s birthdays, he would stop by your desk and talk about life and personal stuff. He was one guy who gave me hope for this office. . .so one day, Jack had an important presentation to make, but somehow, before he got up there, these idiots got into his computer and messed it up. Nothing too obvious, nothing that would make it clear that this was all a joke – they just messed his numbers up, they changed the order of his slides, they moved a few things around, so that Jack looked confused, muddled, out-of-sorts. The managers weren’t happy, and Jack looked like an idiot. I happened to look over and see the four amigos sitting back there, snickering; as we all left I saw them high-fiving each other. It was obvious this was their work. Surprisingly. . .Jack didn’t say a word. He didn’t get mad. He just apologized to everybody for not being prepared, and went on to the next thing.

One more. Every night around 5, as we were all getting ready to go home, the cleaning crew would show up. I knew one or two of them casually – we always said “hi” as we passed in the hall. I tried to show some appreciation for the work they did, because I know they work long hours and don’t get paid much. And some, like Rosa, are trying to raise a family on the meager income they make cleaning up our messes. So this one time – it was right before Christmas. We’d had an office party, so it was kind of messy to begin with. And I think somebody had added a little something to the punch, because people were acting goofier than normal. And so it happened – we were heading out, and Rosa and her crew were walking in. . .and one of these guys says really loudly, “here, let me help you out.” And tipped the punch bowl over onto the carpet. Which got everybody else going; pretty soon there were tater tots flying across the room, Christmas decorations thrown on the ground, jello salad dumped in the corner. And when it was done somebody shouted ‘Feliz Navidad, cleaning suckers!’ and everybody left.

You can understand why I didn’t really like these people. Why none of us ever really got along with each other. Why we all mostly went about our business, trying not to stand out, not to get in the crosshairs of these crazy people. And yet. . .like I said, it was lonely. You can imagine living in such a caustic atmosphere, where at any moment you could become the butt of the next joke; where any time you try to make a friend you just get laughed at, where you can only go along with the joke – if you try to fight back it only makes it worse. It was miserable.

So it finally came to a head a few months ago, last Spring. It was a sunny day so I decided to eat lunch outside. As I bit into my chicken salad sandwich Jack came by, asked if he could join me. We talked for a bit – he asked how I was doing, even seemed to care about my answer to that question. So I asked him about his presentation – why didn’t he try to fight back? Why didn’t he get angry and tell those guys off? “You can’t beat them at their own game,” he told me. “They just act that way because they’re insecure, too. They try to make themselves look funny, they try to dominate the whole office social scene, but it’s only because they’re miserable, too. What good would it do if I tried to get some revenge? If I made them look like fools in front of everybody else? They’d just have to one-up me, to gain back their power, and the cycle would keep going on. You just have to forgive them and keep moving on. Maybe one day they’ll be honest enough with themselves about what they’re doing, and cut it out. Maybe not. . .but the only way to really beat them is to respond to their games with forgiveness, with kindness. Otherwise, this whole office will be destroyed.”

It made me think. . .but we had to get back to work. Later that night, though, I saw it in action.

Some of us had gone out for drinks and something to eat at a local hangout spot, we were sitting in a corner booth; it was loud and dark in there. We were talking about college basketball, I think. Across the room near the door were our four salesmen, the four amigos; they were the loudest group in the room. I was a bit surprised to see Jack standing up against the far wall; he seemed to be in deep discussion with a person I’d never seen before. Anyway, we were all out for fun. . .but then Rosa and her crew walked in the door. Which probably wouldn’t have been a problem, except one of the sales guys saw her and had to make a sarcastic remark about the ‘servants mucking up the place.’ I saw Rosa stiffen, but she and her girls kept walking past toward a booth in the back. Only this guy didn’t want to be ignored. So he made another remark, something about her inability to ‘understand the English language?” The girls kept walking.

So this guy, and his buddies, get up and walk back to the booth where Rosa had sat down. And started talking tough, a little threatening. Like a dirty kind of flirting, almost. It got awkward really fast. And we could tell it wouldn’t end well.

But at that moment Jack walked up, calmly but with an intent I hadn’t noticed before. “C’mon guys, let’s leave the ladies alone for a night, okay?”

“Why don’t you butt out” was their reply.

“No, I just think these women are here to have a good time by themselves; this place is big enough for all of us. Let’s just calm down and let them be.”

I’ll tell you, Jack had accomplished one thing. The guys were no longer interested in the ladies sitting there. They were all focused on Jack, instead.

“Mind your own business, Jack,” one said.

“I would, but Rosa doesn’t deserve to be treated this way..”

Steve, the biggest guy in the bunch, got up in Jack’s face. He pushed Jack back a bit. “We’re just trying to have some fun, too, and don’t like you getting in our way.” But Jack wouldn’t back down. Calmly he told them “It doesn’t have to be like this. We could all enjoy this night, without all these games you’re playing.”

“Oh, so you think it’s a game, do you? Well, I don’t. I think this is serious.” And with that he knocked Jack to the floor. Before Jack could get up, one of the other guys had dumped his beer over Jack’s head. They all laughed. . .and then Jack stood, and looked them in the eye.

“I told you, it doesn’t have to be like this. You’re just making everybody miserable – yourselves included. Let me show you how much better it can all be. . .”

But that was too much. They knocked him back down – one kicked him hard in the chest, another kicked him in the gut. They were like pack animals with the scent of their prey – they couldn’t control themselves. We jumped up – for a moment – but the scene was horrifying. I seemed paralyzed, until I looked down and caught Jack’s eye. It was weird; I could tell he was in pain, but where I expected rage and anger, or even resignation, I saw none of that. It was almost. . .contentedness. Peace. Acceptance.

The picked him up and carried him outside – we followed at a distance. Soon I think he was unconscious, and still they kicked and stomped. . .right up until we heard sirens in the distance. And then they drifted away, and I ran. I ran in anger, I ran in disbelief, I ran in shame that I hadn’t done anything to stop it. . .I ran home to my lonely little apartment, where I spent the weekend locked inside, watching mindless television and sleeping the nights away accompanied by dark dreams.

Monday morning I got up like normal; ate breakfast, left for work. I had no idea what to expect. Would everybody just pretend it never happened? Would it all just go back to normal? Would these guys ratchet up their office games, now that they had tasted blood? Would it always be intimidation like this?

But a funny thing happened. I sat down at my desk, and found a note with a phone number. All it said was “call” – and then a number. It wasn’t signed, didn’t say if it was work-related or what. So I warmed up my coffee, sat down at my desk, and called.

It was Rosa who answered. She sounded. . .excited. “I went with Jack to the hospital. He spent a couple days there, but they let him out earlier this morning. I was going to take him home, but he said he had something to take care of first. We’re on the way to the office right now. Meet us outside, at the picnic table in 15 minutes.”

And so I found myself there 10 minutes later, watching Rosa’s car pull up, watching as she and Jack walked over to where I sat – I was stunned to see Jack so soon, stunned to see him back at the office in the first place. And he came bearing gifts – he offered me a cup of coffee and sat down.

“So. . .what are you going to do? Report them? Get them fired? Get back at them?” I asked.

Jack shook his head. He paused, and then gave his answer.

“You still don’t get it, do you? All these guys know is this game of domination, this game of humiliation, this endless cycle of trying to destroy everybody else. If I go in there and try to get some revenge, they’ll never learn. Nobody will learn.”

“But Jack,” I said, “you can’t just let them get away with what they did!”

“Listen,” he responded. “Why do you think they act they way they do? People aren’t supposed to act this way, they’re not programmed to act this way. They act this way because they’re broken, and there’s only one remedy for that brokenness. Can you guess what it is?”

“Punishment?” I guessed.

“No. That’s what a lot of people think. But the only true remedy for this kind of brokenness is love. These guys only act the way they do because they’re afraid, too. They’re lonely, they’re ashamed of themselves, they think nobody will respect them unless they act tough. If we go in and try to get revenge, try to punish them, it will really just be stooping to their level. If there’s any hope for these guys, they need to experience love. Which means I’m going to forgive them.”

“What?” I asked. “Forgive them? After what they did to you?”

“Yes. I’m not saying what they did was right. It was wrong. Completely, utterly, horribly wrong. They deserve to be punished. But I’m going to let it go. I’m going to forgive them and love them. That’s the only hope of changing all this.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense,” I argued.

“Let me ask you something. How should I treat you right now?”

“What do you mean?”

“You saw me lying there, you watched all this happen. . .and you ran away, didn’t you?”

“Well. . .I suppose you’re right. But I don’t know what else I could have done.”

“Well, maybe not just you. But all your friends were there, too. You saw what they were doing to Rosa. And none of you did anything. So I’m not sure you have the moral high ground to judge those other guys. In a way, you’re just as guilty for doing nothing.”

I have to admit, that struck home. It stung. I didn’t want him to be right. . .but he was. All these years, we’d all just gone along with it. Put up with it. Sometimes joined in with it.

Then Rosa spoke up. “It’s okay,” she said. “I forgive you. I’m not mad.”

I won’t claim that everything changed in that moment, that the skies parted and the angels started singing and I won the lottery. . .but something inside of me stirred. Some piece of me that had been left for dead started to breathe, just a bit.

Jack went on. “I know you’re lonely. I know it all seems so pointless. So let me tell you a little secret: This is the way this world works. Everybody’s broken, everybody’s ashamed. There’s this sickness deep down inside of everyone, but they won’t admit it. So they act out like this, playing these games of domination, of put-downs. The teasing, the practical joking, even the abuse: It’s just a mask people use to avoid the pain of facing their lonely reality. But it’s a never-ending cycle, it’s like a feedback loop. Violence leads to more violence, which leads to more loneliness and brokenness, which leads to more of this stuff. And on it goes. And in the end there is only one solution, one perfect answer: love. And they only way to express that love is through forgiveness. So I’m going to go back up there and see those guys, I’m going to look them in the eye, and I’m going to tell them I forgive them. And I might just invite them to sit down and talk it over with me, see if I can’t get past that hard shell they project, see if I can’t get them to admit their pain, their need for validation. See if I can’t get them to own up to all this, and change.”

“Wow,” I said. “I’m impressed you can do all that. I never could.”

“Well, that’s just it,” said Jack. “I need you to. I need you to find that place where my forgiveness touches your heart, and see if you can’t forgive those guys for all they’ve done to you. I need you to love them, too. Rosa’s already told me she’s in. If you come along, that’s three of us. I may or may not be enough. . .but with all three of us, and if we can find some others to join in with us. . .we may save this place yet. So what do you say? You know I care about you, right? I’ve always been your friend, always looked out for you. So let’s go treat those guys the same way; let’s go be their friends. Let’s flood this place with forgiveness, and love, and see if we don’t transform the world.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Our Easter Sunrise

courtesy of Doug

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Life in the Woods: Must be some kind of record

I took the girls with me to drop off our recycling, and then pick up some supplies at the Market (Mommy's in Los Angeles for the weekend. . .)

Out in front of the market we saw (1) Sean working the coffee stand. Entering the market, we saw (2) Terri and (3) Shirley in the checkout line. Went around the corner and ran into (4) Beth and (5) Dorene. In the wine aisle, but I don't think that means anything.

A couple minutes later we were in the back looking at vegetables when up walked (6) Teresa.

We finished shopping and went back out to get some hot chocolate and coffee from Sean, still working the coffee stand. Whilst making small talk with Sean I heard "Hi, Dan" from behind, turned around, and there was (7) Ashley. And her parents, (8) Lance and (9) Karen.

Finally, on the drive home we stopped at the post office, and as we pulled in we saw (10) Gerri heading out from there with her kids.

That's what I love about this place. A simple little trip turns into a Saturday reunion of friends. It's nice to belong to a place, to be surrounded by friendly faces. I think that this is what community is supposed to be.

Friday, April 02, 2010

I love creative people, part 2

Sometime last December or January I floated the idea of Lakebay hosting a Seder Dinner come holy week. Last night that idea found its fruition in a powerful time of remembrance, dining, fellowship, holiness, reflection, and fun. I won't stake any claims on this being a completely authentic Seder, although we (being gentiles and all) did the best we could, following resources we'd found across the internet, and adding in memories of past Seders I'd attended and led.

In the end, 5 dozen plus entered into the Passover story, recalled Israel's ransom from Israel, celebrated Messiah coming in Jesus, and enjoyed a fine meal that included game hens, matzo ball soup, hummus and pita bread, a variety of vegetables, and even some lovely olives and pickles. Not to mention all the traditional pieces - the matza, the bitter herns, the charoset, and the rest.

Most of this rested in the hands of our fellowship committee, and our two chefs, Larry and Betty. I threw out a couple ideas but they did all the work. And when you consider what it takes to feed over 60 people - all the planning, shopping, preparing, cooking, decorating, serving, and cleaning up - they put in a lot of time and energy. So for the record I want to say how grateful I am to have these wonderful people in our church community. Nothing was done half-way here; it truly was a marvelous event, and hopefully the beginning of a new tradition out here on the Key Peninsula.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I love Creative People

Lakebay's Stations of the Cross opened as a smashing success this last Sunday. Artists from our church and community have taken the individual stations and put their own creative spin on them; these are displayed inside the church sanctuary for viewing, reflection, and contemplation throughout holy week.

A few months ago this was all a vague dream in my mind; I took it to Lakebay's resident artist Roshni Robert, and she ran with it, finding the artists and putting together the overall vision. And the artists she found put a lot of time and passion into their pieces; as a generally non-creative person, I am truly impressed by the quality of work they created. We are blessed as a community to have these people and their God-given talent in our midst.

The pieces themselves range from watercolor to photography, from a real crown of thorns to bread nailed into the wall with carpenter's nails. I have been moved as I have wandered through the exhibit any number of times this week. And I have to say it was thrilling to see so many join us for our artists' reception on Sunday afternoon (although perhaps it was the cheese plate that drew them in?).

If you haven't yet come by to see the Stations, I encourage you to do so. Even more so, I simply want to thank God for people with creative, artistic gifts, who do so well at bringing this ancient story to light in our world.

p.s. If you haven't yet seen the most recent Simpsons episode, you've missed one of their all time great lines:

Flanders: Homer, that's not why we're here. We can see the stations of the cross!
Homer: After we see the stations of the omelette bar.