Sunday, June 29, 2008

San Juan Island, WA

My wonderful mother flew into Washington for an extended weekend so that we could take a lovely vacation to San Juan Island. According to the San Juan Island National Park site, "San Juan Island is the second largest island in the archipelago of the same name, which is located in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island in British Columbia and the U.S. mainland."

The island is reached via an hour-long ferry ride that departs from Anacortes, WA and arrives at Friday Harbor, San Juan. The ride is stunning. The vistas from the island are even more breathtaking. The absolutely amazing thing is how few people were on San Juan. The weather was outstanding, the company superb, and, yes, our souls were restored!

Mom and I spent most of our time simply walking, sitting and talking. We stayed at a lovely Bed and Breakfast that overlooked the coast and the Olympic Mountains. Incredible!

(Leave your mouse over the "Notes" section of the PictoBrowser to read descriptions of individual pictures.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

University of Washington

Any campus that frames Mount Ranier is the most beautiful campus in the world as far as I am concerned.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Abraham Believed God

It's fascinating how many times this one little statement appears about Abraham in the Bible.

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Gen 15:6

What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Rom 4:3

Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Gal 3:6

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. James 2:23

Our own righteousness, our own attempts at self-help, at goodness, at behavior modification?

All our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6

Such an outlandish contrast!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

All of Me

At the end of a school year, I find myself grateful for a time to focus again, to restate goals and hopes and dreams in light of the changing landscape of the past twelve months. So, last evening, in celebration of the beginning of summer, I intentionally carved some time for an end-of-the-school-year inventory. I started to physically list what I have spent time doing in the last year, what I have spent money on and what thoughts have occupied the life of my mind.

In a sense, these three resources of time, money and thoughts are really the only resources that I will ever have to spend in this life. What I do with the time, money and thoughts that have been entrusted to me while I walk this planet largely defines who I am, what I think is important and how, by the mercy of God, I envision my future.

The most interesting result of this process was actually somewhat unexpected to me. As I was pondering the ways that I have spent life's most important resources in the last year, the question that would not leave me was, "What does it mean, in consideration of all this, to say that I am a Christ-follower?"

Here I suffered conviction, because I had explicitly been thinking how I had spent my time, my money and my thoughts. And here I realized that one of the most fundamental choices that I need to make as I wake every day to follow Christ is that every resource that I have called mine is actually not mine.

What else does it mean "to give your life to Christ?" What else do I have to give of my life but time, money and the life of my mind?

Some things, I realized, have been given to Christ. But I think it is easy for me to give on a ten-percent model. It is too easy to be satisfied thinking that I have given Christ ten-percent of my time, ten-percent of my money, ten-percent of my thoughts.

But ten-percent of my life is certainly not my life. If I only give ten-percent of my life to Christ, I am still ninety-percent my own.

But I am not my own, I have been bought with a price, thereby I must glorify God with all of my time, all of my money and all of my thoughts (1 Corinthians 6:20). This is the challenge of the faith.

Highlights of the Pacific Northwest

Coming back to the Pacific Northwest really feels like returning to my second home. Some highlights so far:

(1) Real, real mountains that are huge and still have snow on them.

(2) Expansive bays and oceans.

(3) Green evergreens, green deciduous trees, green grass, long green plant stems. Green!

(4) Tillamook cheese! The Pacific Northwest is worth visiting just for Tillamook cheese.

(5) Northwest Yearly Meeting. Connections. North Seattle Friends Church where I attended meeting for four hours this morning and felt like I knew everyone even though I had never been there before. Jan Wood and her excellent study and reflection of Exodus 32.

(6) Balmy summer weather - not too hot, not too cold.

(7) Friendly service culture. Everyone is amazingly helpful!

(8) Recycling. Before today I had never eaten with cornstarch knives and forks that I subsequently "composted." (The fork kind of melted in my dinner, but that was okay because it was only made of cornstarch.)

(9) Public transit. Clean, on schedule and prevalent.

(10) A relaxed and calmed pace. Walking the streets of Seattle is so different than walking the streets of New York City. Someone in Seattle may actually smile at you as you past them.

Dude Ranch!

We had some extra fencing materials available and decided to put them to use, even though we had nothing to enclose. That must mean that we are becoming dude ranchers. Here at the farm we have no cows, no horses, no balers, no haywagons and a fence that does not contain anything!

God is Provider

This morning at church, Jan Wood shared something that seems so fitting for the national mood, especially since Drudge just picked up an article highlighting the many economic sufferings of the current time entitled, "Everything seemingly is spinning out of control." Jan pointed out that we have so long held on to the notion that we are the ones who are responsible for our daily bread, but the truth is that God is simply and only and solely the One who provides. For all of the suffering of economic hardship, there is certainly beauty contained in the realization of what has always been true - we are powerless to save ourselves. God is Jehovah Jireh.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Questions for Parents to Ask Children

"At least twice a week at bedtime I ask [each of my children] a series of questions:

Is everything okay in your heart?
Did anyone hurt your feelings today?
Are you mad at anyone?
Did anyone break a promise to you?
Is there anything I can do for you?"

- Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Strawberry Fields Forever

While I have been spending countless hours in a big building administering and grading close to five-hundred Regents chemistry exams, many family members have been enjoying this week's beautiful weather with family friends while picking strawberries. No, I am not bitter about this, especially because when I came home for work today, Rebecca was in the kitchen preparing shortcake. My friend, Naomi, and her husband, Tony, joined us for dinner and strawberry dessert. What would summer be without strawberry fields?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Peace Loving and Peace Making

I recently started reading a book entitled Pleasing People: How Not to Be an Approval Junkie by Lou Priolo. I self-admittedly don't like conflict and so reading this book feels like surgery in the best possible way.

A peacemaker is willing to endure the discomfort of a conflict in hope of bringing about a peaceful resolution. (Peace is not only is the absence of conflict, but it is often the result of it.) A peace-lover is so afraid of conflict that he will avoid it at almost all costs. He is so concerned about "keeping the peace" with his fellow man that he is often willing to forfeit the peace of God that comes from standing up and suffering for the truth. He is essentially a coward at heart. - Lou Priolo

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy 29th Wedding Anniversary

Mom and Dad celebrated twenty-nine years of marriage today! ("Every year," says Dad, "is happier than the year before.")

Mom and Dad shared the good day together with a lunch and full-day hike at Mohonk Mountain House. Rebecca decorated a fun cake to add to the festivities (see picture).

May the next thirty years bring multiplied joys!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Father's Day Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for giving me a father who witnesses so deeply of Your love for Your creation. Thank You that my dad serves his family as You served Your creation and became as one of us. Thank You for giving Dad wisdom that he may lead his family to a place of peace and order. Thank You for making Dad a steady man, a focused man who stays the course and runs with stride even when the journey is rough. Thank You for giving me a father on earth to teach me of my Father in Heaven.

I love you, Dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Humidity and Celebrations

The weather this past week has been a little overbearing, especially as I was trying to teach stressed high school students on the second floor of a building with no air-conditioning on days where the heat index was over one-hundred degrees. This is difficult. That is an understatement.

The humidity was with us again today, as around one-hundred friends of the family gathered to celebrate four Teubl family graduations! Rain started to fall pretty heavily during the party and so most of our celebration took place in the garage. However, pictures give witness to the brave among the crowd, who, like the postman, carried out the fun volleyball game, in spite of "rain, heat or gloom of night."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Test Me in This," Says the Lord Almighty

"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.

"But you ask, 'How do we rob you?'

"In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." - Malachi 3:8-10

"God, why do you put your finger on what I think I want most and claim it as your own?"

I know I have asked this of God.

God's response to me has often been the same response that He gave to the people of Israel, as spoken through Malachi.

"Test Me." God says. "Give Me everything."

"But..." (What marvelous conjunctions are in God's vocabulary!) "See, if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

Why am I so reluctant to part with with what I want when every single time that I have ever released my-kingdom-come for Thy-kingdom-come, I have not found enough room to house the blessing?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Find Your Own Calcutta

I have heard recently of two friends of friends joining up with the group Servants to Asia's Urban Poor. From the little that I know about this group, their unique thumbprint is that all of those who are called to serve in this group actually live in the same slums and conditions as those that they are serving.

Jason Porterfield, one such individual who experienced the call to join Servants, tells the story of Mother Theresa who often received letters asking, "Can I come out to Calcutta?" Sometimes she would say, "Yes." But most of the time she would respond with a simple two sentences, "Calcuttas are everywhere, if you only have eyes to see. Find your own Calcutta."

What a good reminder!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Camp Cherith of the Adirondacks

Pictures below give witness to a girls' camping excursion that Hannah, Rebecca and I (and many young friends of ours) attended at Camp Cherith in the Adirondacks. Nothing spells fun and sweaty and smoky and dusty like c-a-m-p!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


All I can say is that I live with some extremely hard-working people who recently top-soiled and hydroseeded our "lawn." As we say to each other after a big project is done, "Let's hear it for the volunteers!"

Frequently the Hills Undress

Frequently the wood are pink --
Frequently are brown.
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town. - Emily Dickinson

I Want To Know Jesus Like That

"A guy I know named Alan went around the country asking ministry leaders questions. He went to successful churches and asked the pastors what they were doing, why what they were doing was working. It sounded very boring except for one visit he made to a man named Bill Bright, the president of a big ministry. Alan said he was a big man, full of life, who listened without shifting his eyes. Alan asked a few questions. I don't know what they were, but as a final question he asked Dr. Bright what Jesus meant to him. Alan said Dr. Bright could not answer the question. He said Dr. Bright just started to cry. He sat there in a big chair behind his big desk and wept.

When Alan told that story I wondered what it was like to love Jesus that way. I wondered, quite honestly, if that Bill Bright guy was nuts or if he really knew Jesus in a personal way, so well that he would cry at the very mention of His name. I knew then that I would like to know Jesus like that, with my heart, not just my head. I felt like that would be the key to something." - Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

Monday, June 02, 2008

You Will Be a Blessing

This season of the year seems to explode with vigor and busyness and life. We take the blessings of these days, joyfully, yet humbly, remembering that as God spoke to Abraham long ago, the outpouring of His blessing and love needs to extend through our lives that we may return the blessing:

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. (Genesis 12:2)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sights and Scenery: The Amenia-Millerton Rail Trail

My brother Jacob and I enjoyed a sixteen mile bike trip today (my triathlon distance) along a picturesque rail trail running between Amenia and Millerton. We walked around Millerton for a little while before returning to Amenia for ice cream!

Phillips-Exeter Academy Commencement

This weekend we had the brilliant opportunity to join our Farmer family relatives up at Exeter, New Hampshire for our cousin Katherine's graduation from high school. Grandma, Mom, Hannah, Rebecca and I left early Saturday morning and arrived to a rather dreary, rainy Exeter. We spent the afternoon catching up with Uncle Jeff and Aunt Marilyn and visiting with Katherine in her dorm room. Katherine's family arrived mid afternoon and we all were treated to a senior reception, capped by a dinner at an Italian restaurant. Today we rose bright and early to a beautiful, sunny day, went to a prayer service of thanksgiving, and enjoyed the commencement ceremony and following picnic on the lawn. It was a great weekend and we were so happy to celebrate with Katherine and thrilled with her achievements! - Nate Angell

When Boys Prepare the Breakfast Table

In a big family you learn that it is important to do things ahead of time. That is why we set the breakfast table as soon as dinner is done. Yes, it's crazy, but it helps in the busyness of shuffling everyone out of the door in the morning.

I was doing the dinner dishes tonight, and our Oregon brother, Jake, and Caleb were in charge of setting the table. Their methodology was most unusual, to say the least. Check it out below.

We will confer with Isaac to check if this meets code with the husband training school.