Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Darlin'

It's Addison's first birthday today. It's hard to believe that it has been a year already, but it has been a great year. I can't imagine the past year without her. She went from being our new baby that we didn't really know what to do with to being a wonderful, exciting member of our family. Our lives have been enriched in new ways that we would have never known but through Addie's presence. Here are a few of my favorite pics from Addie's first year.

This picture is from the first day of her life. Shortly after her birth, they washed her off and wrapped her up, and this is what she looked like. It looks like she's already smiling, and she hasn't stopped since. She's a lot like her mom in that way.

I love this picture. Every once in a while, she seems to be engaged in some really deep thought, and we captured it perfectly in this pic. She was only a few months old at the time. What a beatuy.

On the day of the Super Bowl, we did our part to cheer on Da mighty Bears. Though the outcome was less than ideal, it was still great to see the Bears most beautiful cheerleader in action.

We went out to the east coast over the 7/7/07 weekend for Jake and Karen's wedding, and one of our outings was a trip to Manhattan with the Gustines. We thought of going to the Empire State Building, but thought it was too touristy, so we went to Times Square (that's a joke from The Office, in case you missed it). Addie liked all the people and flashing lights and million inch tv screens everywhere.

Here we are on our last day in Indy (8/5/07). Right after church, we got our pic taken all gussied up in our Sunday best. Almost all of her first year of life was spent in Indy, and our Hope church family really embraced our little one. She was loved there, and surely misses playing with all the Hope kids (big and small, old and young).

And now she's one. Switching from formula to milk, facing forward in her carseat, moving up in the world. Everyone was right. It does go stinking fast. But we've been blessed to not have missed much. Marcie and I both have gotten to spend a lot of time with Addie this year, and I pray that we continue this trend, even as our situation will be quite a bit different this year.

Her middle name is Grace, for she is truly a gift from God. Thank you, Father, for entrusting us to raise your daughter. Continue to stand by her and touch her life with your Holy Spirit. May we love her as you have loved us, and by doing so, show her a glimpse of your kingom here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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Living Jesus

So as the semester is approaching on Monday, I have decided to get a bit of a headstart on reading. I know once classes start, it's gonna be a whirlwind, so I'm at least introducing myself to some of my books.

I've started working on a couple books for my Christology class. I was excited for the class to begin with, but after beginning the readings, I'm even more excited. The first book we have been assigned is Living Jesus by Luke Timothy Johnson, and it is right up my alley. The basis premise is that in our quest to learn Jesus, we have, for the last 100 years anyway, begun with the wrong question. Before we get into historical method and source/redaction/form criticism, we need to ask a far more basic question; "Is Jesus alive or dead?"

Johnson argues that if Jesus is alive, as so many of us confess, then we ought not treat him as a historical (dead) figure when trying to learn about him. Rather, we take what we know of who Jesus is through the eyewitness accounts of his disciples and friends, continued over the past 2000 years through the work of the Holy Spirit in his church, also combined with our own experience of Christ in the context of the church, and now we're closer to being able to learn Jesus.

The whole historical Jesus quest always struck me as odd, and Johnson has put some solid feet on that which was only an inkling in my relatively uneducated mind. I'm also beginning to read Jurgen Moltmann's The Way of Jesus Christ, and in his prologue, he explains that he named the book what he did just because Jesus is so dynamic, and cannot be nailed down as "known" in some static sort of way. Jesus is always known in a dynamic relationship, not as a static, distant historical figure. So I'm getting the same sort of approach from two different angles, and I feel theologically energized by it.

Dear God, what have I become? I just used the term "theologically energized." Oh yeah, I became a seminary student again. My fellow nerds and I will retire to the nerdery with our Greek lexicons.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Reflections on Home

We now have internet at the new house. How convenient. Jena, my sister in law and our housemate, just so happened to have an wireless router, and so I have the luxury of posting from bed as I drift off to sleep. Hopefully my sleepy state doesn't lead to posts I'll regret in the morning, but I doubt it...not this time, anyway.

We've been in G-Rap for two full weeks now, and it's been a good settling process. The first week was difficult, but this week was much better. I've had plenty of tasks to take care of during the days while spending time with my beautiful baby Addison. I got my licence switched to Michigan, along with the van title and some nifty new license plates. I ordered all my books for the semester (four of them came today). I had to buy a new modem to get the internet running at the house. I called a ton of day care places to check on rates and details. And we continue to put the house together, box by box, room by room. We have a lot of stuff. I wish we didn't, but we do. At least we're trimming the fat (vis a vis an upcoming garage sale). And I need to buy a car this week, so I've been looking into that as well.

It's been interesting. Transition is always a difficult and exciting thing. For the last seven years of my life, I've pretty much constantly been in transition. Dorms (202D), parents house, dorms (104B), parents house, dorms (104B), Little Pine Island Camp, apartment at Trinity, apartment at North Park, house in Indy, house in G-Rap. The only place we stayed long enough to call home was Indy, and just like that, we're gone.

There are so many things we'll miss about Indy. It's our daughter's birthplace, and where she spent the first year of her life. It is the home of some great dining establishments: Squealers, Yats (Cajun Creole Crazy), Bub's, King Kabob, La Margarita, Rick's Cafe Boatyard, Claddagh's Irish Pub. I'm salivating just thinking about the goodness. We lived 1.5 miles from the Monon trail, where we walked and ran regularly. We were a mile from the bank, post office, and public library. Downtown was clean, easy to get around, and beautiful.

And of course there are the people. The people of Hope Covenant, the people of the Hollis Adams lunch bunch, some dear, dear friends who I got to meet with regularly to encourage and sharpen each other and talk ministry, music, life and everything in between. It's hard to even think of some faces, because it rips my heart to be separated from them. We haven't had very deep roots for over seven years, but they dug in pretty far in Indy. Just when it began to really feel like home, we left.

But duty calls. Seminary calls, and I'm actually in a good place right now. Though I miss Indy, I'm loving getting to know G-Rap. We live dangerously close to a Best Buy, a restaurant with excellent falafel called The Pita House, a mall, and Baker Book House. We are close to Marcie's family, and as I mentioned before, her sister even lives with us. I've gotten to meet some of the neighbors, and our next door neighbor gave us some fresh produce from her garden. Our house is very nice, a perfect fit for us, and it's starting to feel like our house finally.

But what makes everything go 'round are those constant and intimate relationships I share with my Lord, my wife and my daughter. Home is a nebulous concept, and is not bound in all facets by geography. I feel at home when I am with Marcie and Addison, no matter where that is. They are my family, they love me and allow me to love them. Yet ultimately, none of us can feel fully at home until fully present with Christ (2 Corinthians 5), and I know not when that day will come.

So for one more week, I am a full-time stay at home (home, get it?) dad looking for a car and continuing to put a house together. After that, let the weekly commute to Chicago begin. Thankfully the Cubbies are getting their act together to get ready for my arrival. Thanks, boys. Heal up good, Alfonso.

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