Three decades of marriage. When we got married we were 18 years old and scheduled our wedding to happen during semester break of college. Our big time honeymoon consisted of a road trip to Oklahoma (I don't know why? I can't remember why we would have gone to Oklahoma, bet we did - in my Datsun B210.) I am still making up for our humble honeymoon. We are going to Hawaii in late January. So yesterday started out at the Plaza (of course) for a day of shopping, a movie, some food and wandering around the Nelson Art Gallery. We checked in to the Southmoreland B&B. I selected the William Rockhill Nelson Room because of the wood burning fireplace. JJ's for dinner and a great breakfast at Southmoreland will hopefully the last of our holiday feasting, at least until New Years.
I am such a blessed man. Vicki has been such an amazing wife, mother and best friend. We met in church during middle school. I clearly remember one day at a youth group event thinking, "Wow, I really like her." At another youth group event - a swimming party we played Keep Away, which we found as a great excuse to guard each other and legally wrestle around the pool (I can still remember the emotions of that experience). At the end of that night I was overwhelmed by the smell of her freshly shampooed and dried hair and the black turtleneck she was wearing. I was 15 but I was convinced there was no finer woman alive. Our first unofficial date happened on Presidents day when we went out for pizza after youth group. The first official date happened in April, days after I got my drivers license. My parents followed me to her house to make sure I made it OK on my first solo drive. We went to a movie that night and I was so flustered that I locked my keys in the car with the lights on which I didn't realize until after the movie was over. Her dad, whom I was terrified had to come and jump my car.
After dating for two and a half years through high school we got engaged on the same night of our high school Sr Prom. I know it sounds crazy. Her parents pretty much freaked out - duh! I can't imagine how I would react if that had happened to Jessica. Anyway, I ended up writing a letter to Vicki's parents (probably because I was too terrified to do it verbally) pledging my love and commitment to their daughter with the promise that I would take care of her and love her forever. I didn't realize that Vicki's parents have kept that letter all these years and had it framed with our Sr. Prom picture. They gave it to me for Christmas. Very special. The only embarrassment was the fact that the letter was one giant run-on sentence. Oh well, it got the message across.
I hope for another 30+ years with this amazing woman.
If Laughter is a good medicine, we had major medicinal therapy during our Christmas Eve Eve time with our kids. This was a couple of hours after our "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" incident.
We were looking at our family picture that we took at my parent's 50th Anniversary Celebration. Here it is
Anyway, Daniel made some crack about Micah (far right) looking like Samwise from Lord of the Rings. Micah laughed and then made a comment that Dad looked like Dana Carvey's Turtle Turtle from the movie Master of Disguise. Micah, me and a few others who knew what he was talking about started laughing really hard because of the resemblance. Before long we were in tears. By now even those who didn't know who Turtle Turtle was was caught up in the contagious laughter. Someone said, "Google Turtle Turtle" and the picture below popped up. Now everyone was out of control - we are talking about tears down the cheek, bent over, wet your pants, can't breathe, "stop, stop... my stomach is killing me", kind of laughter for 10 minutes. Too funny!
Vicki and I had all of our kids - Micah and Anne; Daniel and Lindsay, and Jessica at our house on Christmas Eve Eve for our family Christmas gathering. This came a night after the same group celebrated our traditional King Family Irish Christmas Gathering at Lil Dublin's on the Plaza. Anyway, we had a great time going from Irish celebration the night before to a Mexican Feast on this night. We opened presents and sat around and talked for hours. I made the mistake of throwing out the statement, "Let's go around the room and share a story of something we did growing up that we have never shared before." After five or six stories from our kids I decided that it was a dumb idea. Vicki and I kept saying, "No way, you didn't do that, I can't believe it." Stupid stuff, kids do. I didn't have anything to share - I think I have told them all the dumb stuff I did as a kid, which is probably what inspired their creativity. The scariest story I heard was from Daniel (no one who knows Daniel would be surprised by that). I have had a handgun for 20 years and I have always said "It has never been fired." Well I found out I've been wrong. Even though I've had that gun hidden with bullets in a separate hiding place, our little adventurer son bragged about finding them when he was in middle school and firing the gun with a friend in our suburban backyard. After that story I decided this conversation was over. Don't Ask, Don't Tell...
I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.
I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small.
I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today.
I believe in the one who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.
I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible:
I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother's arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God's love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God.
I confess my ever-lasting need of God: The need of forgiveness for our selfishness and greed, the need of new life for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold.
I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world.
I have written before about creating the Faith in Action Partnership with YouthFront, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and Concerned Clergy. We were able to match up all families in the KC area displaced from the Gulf Coast because of Katrina, who were without local contacts, to a church. It has been very cool to see the churches in KC respond. We also had the KC Royals Charities donate Holiday Feasts to all the families. My church Jacob's Well was one of the churches that participated in adopting a family. I got this note from Phil Lesniewski with an update of our family.
Here's a photo (at bottom of post) of the family Jacob's Well Church was asked to take care of. A grandmother and her first granddaughter were brought to Kansas City by the Red Cross. The rest of their family is displaced in Georgia and Texas.
We had a house-warming party for Beverly and Crystal last Saturday. Many generous people from our church made significant contributions in order to make Beverly and Crystal welcome.
One of the highlights of the day was taking them to an authentic New Orleans restaurant not far from our church, (La Croix). We bought a take-out dinner for them that they will not soon forget.
Beverly says she wants to cook an authentic meal as a sign of gratitude for members of our church.
I took the attached photo of Beverly and Crystal outside their apartment. it's the first snow either had seen.
I am being Edited, which is better than being Audited, I think. I have heard from many of my author friends about the tunnel of chaos I am entering in during the editing phase of my book project. I spent the day with InterVarsity Press editors here in Chicago and continue to find them a very friendly tribe of people. I have benefited from their suggestions and have been pushed to ponder certain aspects of what I am trying to communicate through this project. Part of the issue is the reality that communicating verbally is so much easier for me, especially when I am speaking about very important issues. I have a general rule -- never try to communicate through e-mail anything that has the potential to be sensitive, instead pick up the phone or schedule a conversation. Anyway, my experience at InterVarsity has been extremely positive. The side benefit is getting to hang out in Chicago today. The snowflakes coming down are the size of cotton balls. I did Morning Prayer at The Holy Name Cathedral, had Gino's Deep Dish Pizza (Supreme - The Best, all other Chicago Pizza is an attempt to imitate Gino's) and having dinner with one of my NTS Professors - John Knight who is here at Chicago Divinity finishing his PhD. Chicago is my kind of town.
I was invited today to a meeting with several top leaders from a major denomination to discuss Missional Leadership and the Emerging Church. I was surprised to learn when I walked into the Conference Room that the meeting was set up to hear what I thought. When I was introduced, I laughed and expressed surprise to be given this kind of opportunity. I was blown away by the humility and passion of this distinguished group. They asked many questions and mostly listened. At the end of two hours they articulated an action plan to continue the conversation and invited me to participate in the formation of the plan to train future Church leaders in their Seminary. By the time I arrived back in the office I was invited to help with a DMin. cohort coming up on Missional Leadership in the Church. This denomination has been a key partner with YouthFront and YouthFront Camps. I am really excited about the vision they have to respond to what God is doing. I am impressed with how passionate they are about the Gospel, how scary smart they are and yet how humble they are. That is a pretty good combination. I hope they will continue to allow me to be involved, I have much to learn.