Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do you have your ear phones in?

I recently downloaded a new book to read. In the last week, I've found that I've had long periods of time with nothing to do (something which I will explain later in another post, most likely). Anyways, I figured that reading a new book would be a good way to fill these empty spaces in the day.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I kind of like hiking. So I looked for a book that involved hiking in someway. After searching ibooks, I found the book Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman. You can find the author's website here. I was first intrigued by the book because it involved the Appalachian Trail. Recently, the Appalachian Trail has fascinated me. Perhaps someday I might be able to thru hike the trail, but that's another story/post. Anyways, the book is about a man who recently lost his wife to cancer.  After the death of his wife, he believed that God was calling him to pursue his life long dream to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

If you are not into hiking and care nothing about the Appalachian Trail, then this book is probably not for you. He goes into deep detail about the trail and trail life in general. But beyond the descriptions of the trail, he has some very profound statements about God and life in general. I find many of his questions, thoughts and ramblings echo my own.

Today as I was reading the book, I came along a passage that struck me. I probably wouldn't do it justice if I tried to paraphrase, so I'm just going to let you read it for yourself.

From the book Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman

"Every day, it seemed that God revealed more of Himself to me. Perhaps it was because I wanted to hear. Several days before, I had been following a young man on the trail. When I was within speaking distance, I attempted a conversation with him, but was ignored. I realized he had earbuds in and was focused on his music. Everywhere these days, people are plugging their ears and depriving themselves of good conversation. That earpiece is like putting up a 'Do Not Disturb' sign. This ear-plugged hiker shut out not only all conversation with fellow humans, but also all the sounds of nature. He could not hear the singing birds or the whispering pinces.

"Apparently he could not even hear the approaching thunder. The ear-plugged young man had a hiking partner who was a short distance ahead of him. Thunder had been rumbling around us, and rain drops started to fall as we crossed a road. The unplugged hiker had heard the warning rumbles; catching sight of a country church down the road, he dashed to the refuges of its little porch. But the other hiker marched on, head down, watching the trail and concentrating only on his music. His friend stood on that dry porch, calling, but the hiker never saw his friend leave the trail and certainly did not hear his name called out. He was soaked by the rain and separated from his partner. I wonder how far he walked before he realized he was alone.

"Though I watched with amusement as this little scene played out, I felt an inner nudge that said, 'That's you, you know.' And I got it. I saw myself in church on Sunday mornings, hoping to hear from God but letting so many worries and distractions clog my mind that I never could hear Him, even when He stood there calling my name."

My wife can definitely attest to the fact that I often let all the stresses and cares of the day (particularly work and finances) distract me from the here and now and from listening to her. How much more does this distract me from listening to God's still quiet voice. This is something that I have been praying about lately, particularly that I would be open and attentive to what God is trying to say to me. It is definitely something that I have often let fall along the wayside to the pressures of this world.

So, how about you? Do you have earphones in?

Saturday, May 12, 2012


There are few things that I find more relaxing than sitting by a fire. Watching the flames flicker and dance; listening to the wood hiss and pop. Last night was a nice cool night, so Jamie and I decided to have a fire. Last summer we put a fire pit in the backyard, so we figured we needed to put it to good use.

Just a good relaxing night.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Welcome to Stem Fest 2012

Oops, I mean Tulip Time 2012.

If you aren't from the West Michigan area, Tulip Time is an annual celebration of the Dutch Heritage of Holland. In typical years, there are blooming tulips everywhere. However, this year we had some unusually warm days in March. Consequently, most of the tulips are already past their prime. And thus many have dubbed this year's festival as Stem Fest 2012. They even have t-shirts with Stem Fest Logos, as seen here.

Despite the lack of bright blooming tulips, that isn't stopping the locals from getting out and celebrating what Tulip Time is really about. That's right. Going downtown and pigging out on some greasy fair food.
During Tulip Time, downtown Holland is sieged by all the mobile food stands. Below is one of the junk food alleys that are all over downtown.

Being good locals, we met up with some friends to indulge ourselves on the greasy goodness like the glutinous masses.

There are so many options that sometime it is hard to pick your poison. That's why I typically make multiple stops.

Jamie has been belly aching for weeks about how she's been wanting an elephant ear. So that is where we headed first.

Yep, that made her happy.

Mmmm, elephant ears. Satisfying pregnant women every where.

I ended up eating a corn dog, and then later a Polish sausage. While we eating, my friend Justin was impressing the crowd with his bilingual dog.

Seeing a dog respond to commands in both English and Spanish is definitely impressive. Good dog, Naiya. After we gorged ourselves, we headed down to Kollen's park for the fireworks, where we had an annoying group of high schoolers sit in front of us and annoy the crap out of us. They kept standing up and sitting down, and switching who they wanted to sit by. Stinking kids. Man, I sound like an 80 year old man.

Any ways, there were fireworks.

Yep, it was a pretty good day.

Oh yeah, just to prove that there are tulips at Tulip Time....