The Poem

This is the poem I wrote for Lucia and sorta recited to her on top of the Empire State Building on December 21, 1996 while proposing to her.

The idea of the poem was taken from the song The Rose by Bette Midler. This was the first song that Lucia and I heard together while putt-putting on our second date together in 1994. The song reminds me of what she was (and still is) to me. The last verse goes like this:

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter far
beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed that with the sun’s love
in the spring becomes the rose

My application of the song to my life went like this: The night was very lonely and the road was quite long. I did not feel lucky or strong. I was the seed that lay under the bitter winter snow and it was Lucia’s warm love that brought life to this lonely boy. For this I am eternally grateful to God for bringing her into my life. I have never gotten over the fact that she said “yes” that night on the 87th floor observation deck.

Here’s the poem that I wrote for that night:

My Dearest Darling Lucia,

The seed was planted in the winter, so it goes,
And with the approach of spring so comes the rose.

I was that seed so delicately placed,
And you were the sun that shone upon my face.

Together we shared the joys of love,
With the blessings of our Creator, who dwells above.

For it is he who brought you into my life,
And now I ask, will you be my wife.

And she said, “YES”!!!

I’m amazed that God continues to grow my affection and admiration for her, now 14 years later. I loved her then. It is a continuing, unfolding adventure that is deepening by the day. She is my gift from God.

This Sunday’s Sermon Intro

Introduction—1 Peter 1:1-2

1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1Pe 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

For those of you who are our guests you may not be aware that during the past week Jim, our senior pastor, has been in Cuba serving alongside Al Pino of our Miami church teaching and discipling over a dozen pastors from that country. This is his fourth or fifth trip to Cuba. And it is our privilege to serve our fellow Christians in Cuba.

Jim is an American. He is an American in Cuba. He is in Cuba, but he is not Cuban. He is an American. He is an alien in another country. He is not planning to stay in Cuba. His family is here—in America—waiting on him to come back. It is expected that he will come back. His departure date is set and hopefully sometime late this coming Tuesday night he will arrive home, his home, the place where he belongs.

He was on a mission in Cuba. He was serving the Lord while in Cuba, but there was never a time when he didn’t realize that he was not Cuban, but American. When he awakes in the morning he thinks about his true family, his real home. When he goes to bed at night he is thinking about his true family, his real home. All during the day while he is laboring at full strength and total dedication to these Cuban people and his Lord, his thoughts are not far from home. He cannot go far or think too long without reminding himself that Cuba is not his home.

He is not settling his roots deep in Cuba. He is not buying, building, planning or staying too long in this place where God has temporarily planted him.

He is a temporary alien. An alien serving God in a foreign place, but his hope and expectation is for another country, America. An American is who he is and America is where he will ultimately live his life.


Awhile back Tristen was using mouthwash to wash her mouth out. She noticed that we were nearly out of mouthwash.

She said, “Daddy, we need to get some more rinse-n-spit.”

I realized she was taught the process of mouthwashing, but not taught the name of the stuff she put in her mouth. She called it what she was doing, “rinse-n-spit”. That makes sense.

Now when we go to the store we ask for “rinse-n-spit”.

My All-Time Favorite Poem

Batter My Heart, by John Donne

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but oh, to no end,

Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue,

Yet dearly’I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy;

Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I

Except you entrhral me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Haydn pee’d on Tristen

Sunday night Lucia and I went to our Cross Current Meeting. It is our 3rd Sunday night parent/youth meeting at our church. We meet at the youth room of Mt. Zion Christian Fellowship since we do not have our own building. We have to borrow from different folks and the people at Mt. Zion have been very kind to us.

While we are at the meeting we have our own kids babysat. Emily, one of the single ladies that lives with us, was watching our kids for the night. She had my secretary, Jessica, over so they could have a time for personal fellowship while watching the kids. The kids are easy to handle for the most part and it was a good relaxing night for Em and Jessica to chill, build relationally and enjoy the evening.

At some point during the evening Tristen got up to go to the restroom. She sat on the “potty” and was doing her thing. Then for some reason Haydn got it in his head that he had to go to the restroom as well. Part of this routine is their way of not staying in bed, coming in daddy’s room to see what is going on and/or liking the idea of staying up. And it is true that Haydn does go to the restroom a lot. So it is really no surprise he had to go. I’m not sure why he didn’t go to the other upstairs restroom. He had to go to mine.

And he did…

Emily said that she and Jessica were sitting in my room, next to the rest room because Jessica was having allergy problems with something from Emily’s room and the next thing they heard was something along the lines of, “Haydn! Stop it! I’m already on the potty!!” And Haydn was saying something like, “Tristen, I really have to go. I have to go now!”

What was going on was Tristen was on the potty and Haydn was trying to use the potty at the same time as he was trying to pee between her legs. The next thing that was heard was, “Haydn!! You’re peeing on me!” And then, “But Tristen I have to go.”

Emily and Jessica were nearly on the floor laughing so hard. It was sort of surreal sounding as Emily was telling me the story. Sometimes I’m not sure what Haydn is thinking when he is thinking (or not thinking). I talked to them this morning about it and we laughed and they laughed. Tristen is okay and not angry or frustrated about it all. Haydn is still not completely aware that he did anything wrong. They share everything together and he hasn’t heard the “cultural rule” that only one person of the same sex can go to the potty at the same time and the opposite sex never goes to the potty at the same time. Haydn is an “engineer type” of guy and he thinks in terms of efficiency, completion (git’er done) and how to accomplish a task. He is pretty good at that for a four-year old. Tristen can be a patient soul and she loves her little brother. They are best of friends and I guess it is okay this one time for somebody to pee on her, especially if it is her little brother.

I hope I can respond similarly when people “pee” on me. I would be tempted to harbor this kind of inconsideration and be tempted as well to be resentful.

Haydn was on television tonight!

My kids are so stoked!! They were predicting snow tonight and around 8 PM the snow showed. Prior to, Lucia went to the Super Bilo to get some snacks for care group and FOX Carolina News was there. Haydn was so stoked about the snow that he was jumping around telling different folks that it was going to snow tomorrow. Lucia told him he could “tell that lady” (the FOX lady) and he did.

The FOX lady asked Lucia if he would do that for television and Lucia said she could try. She did and he did and he was on the 10:30 news tonight.

Been away for awhile…

Here we go again!

I’m sorry for the long absence. I’ve been busy. This morning we were up before dawn and off to the gym. My arms are very tired. It was easier lifting the Christmas sweets than dead, cold weights. But I feel much better.

Yesterday we saw Buddy and Sherrie at Sam’s. That was nice.

Tristen read to me after lunch. Her reading is going very well. I’m encouraged.

Ansa is not freaking out anymore when Haydn wears his Spiderman costume.