week 52

Wow!!! It's hard to believe that Sophia was born a year ago today! It has been a crazy, exciting, hard, and good year. Our daughter is amazing and we are so thankful for her.

This week concludes my 52 week project. Obviously this doesn't mean that I'm never going to put pictures of Sophia up again but they my not be as regular as they have been. If you're not finding enough pics of Sophia here remember to check Brooke's blog as well to see if she has some up.
These first two photos are from some playtime in the park earlier this week.

Sophia needed to check a few emails before her birthday party today.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Her mum made her a special birthday girl hat.

Sophia was a bit indifferent when she first saw the cake...

... but she eventually decided it was pretty good.

Call me biased, but I still think she's incredibly adorable.



Week 10!!!


ex libris

"One of the signs that an object is functioning as an idol [counterfeit god] is that fear becomes one of the chief characteristics of life. When we center our lives on the idol, we become dependent on it. If our counterfeit god is threatened in any way, our response is complete panic. We do not say, 'What a shame, how difficult,' but rather 'This is the end! There is no hope!'

"This may be a reason why so many people now respond to U.S. political trends in such an extreme way. When either party wins an election, a certain percentage of the losing side talks openly about leaving the country. They become agitated and fearful for the future. They have put the kind of hope in their political leaders and policies that once was reserved for God and the work of the gospel. When their political leaders are out of power, they experience a death. They believe that if their policies and people are not in power, everything will fall apart. They refuse to admit how much agreement they actually have with the other party, and instead focus on the points of disagreement. The points of contention overshadow everything else, and a poisonous environment is created.

"Another sign of idolatry in our politics is that opponents are not considered to be simply mistaken, but to be evil. After the last presidential election, my eighty-four-year-old mother observed, 'It used to be that whoever was elected as your president, even if he wasn't the one you voted for, he was still your president. That doesn't seem to be the case any longer.' After each election, there is now a significant number of people who see the incoming president lacking moral legitimacy. The increasing political polarization and bitterness we see in U.S. politics today is a sign that we have made political activism into a form of religion."


week 51

Sophia has been developing her tastes and preferences. Even though we don't let her watch TV she's already making a list of what to watch when she's old enough.

She's a big fan of various kinds of cheese and crackers.

Her favourite flavour is still "green pacifier" though.

And her choice in theologians is off to a great start.



Sunday I flew into Brisbane, Australia to attend a church planting conference with several other folks from our denomination.

The first day of the conference went well. Nothing really new content wise, but some very encouraging reminders as well as some confirmation regarding a few decisions I've made and need to make. The best part has just been meeting and talking with guys who are in the same position as me and, more importantly, guys who are veteran church planters. Some challenging, humbling, and encouraging conversations.

On the negative side, this is my first time to Australia and I haven't really seen much more than the airport and the inside of a few buildings. Nor will I have any time to see more than that before I head directly from the conference back to the airport to fly home tomorrow. I'm looking forward to heading back to Auckland though, it's way too hot and muggy for me here.


week 50

Here are some pics of playtime with Daddy. I'm really enjoying having my girls back.


ex libris

"We can easily see how restless people are who follow their own mind, how many tricks they try and how they tire themselves out in their efforts to obtain the objects of their ambition and avarice, and then again to avoid poverty and humility. If godfearing people do not want to be caught in such snares they must pursue another course: they should not hope, or desire, or even think of prosperity without God's blessing. We may believe and trust that everything depends on divine blessing alone. It may look to us that we can easily attain honor and riches through our own industry, or strenuous exertion, or through the favor of others; yet, it is certain that all these things are nothing in themselves, and that we shall not make any headway by our insight or by our labors, but in so far as the Lord shall prosper both.
"On the other hand, his blessing will find a way to make us happy and prosperous, whatever adversities may come. And though we may be able to obtain a certain measure of wealth and fame without divine blessing, as we may daily observe in godless people who acquire great honors and enormous riches, yet we shall see that those who are under the curse of God have not the smallest particle of happiness. Therefore, we cannot gain anything without divine blessing; and if we do, it will prove a calamity to us. Let us then not be foolish and wish for things that will make us more miserable." - John Calvin, Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, 38-39.

I've recently been re-reading this little booklet in preparation for a discussion on it with the students in my Spiritual Development course. Originally written about 450 years ago Calvin's words here stand out as remarkably applicable to our day and age. Those of us in Western societies tend to be especially susceptible to this idea that "just a little more" will make me happy. Sadly this is a deception many people fall for, myself included. A little more cash, a little more status, a little more sex, a little more entertainment, a little more... whatever. However, a little more is never enough. It always makes us want more. If our hearts were made for God then nothing short of God can truly fill the void in our hearts that always make us want more. Calvin's direct words get straight to the point that my heart often forgets.


week 49

My plan to put up new pics of Sophia every week for the first year of her life met a little road block for the past (almost) three weeks since she and Brooke were in the States for Brooke's sister's wedding. This has been a difficult couple of weeks for me. While Brooke and I have been apart for this long before I still don't like it, and up until now I hadn't even spent a night away from Sophia. Needless to say I'm very happy to have both of my ladies back in Auckland.

This was Sophia playing yesterday. Even after a two hour nap the jet lag made her look pretty dazed and droopy.

Her solution to that problem has been to take some extra naps and sleep very heavily. She usually wakes up as soon as any light enters her room, but today she didn't even flinch when I opened her curtains. Poor girl.


literal version

While I was in Dunedin last weekend some friends turned me onto the "literal versions" of music videos. How have I not heard of this until now? Basically a literal version is when someone re-records the lyrics of a popular music video and changes the words to match whatever is literally happening in the video. Most of the ones I saw weren't that great but this one taking on the RHCP made me laugh pretty good the first time I saw it.