The Things We Say

There are sentences you never would imagine coming out of your mouth as a mother.
Things like:
  • "Because I said so."
  • "Go get a frozen mouse out of the freezer and feed the snake."
  • "Why are there 11 white dirty socks in the TV room right now?!"
  • "Yes, it is very very cool. But it's also important NOT to light the wet spray paint on your skateboard and watch it burn in cool patterns. Just because. That's why."
  • "Do you think it's a good idea to pull the sleds behind the ATV... really?"
  • "We accidentally left our son at the car dealership."
  • "Today we're going rock climbing."
  • "I can feel the drums downstairs vibrating my feet through the kitchen floor."
  • "Put ice on that paint-ball bruise."
  • "Can anyone hear me? Am I audible?"
  • "That's an awesome catapult."
  • "So, will anyone get hurt on these ziplines?"
  • "Please bring the duct-tape weapons in out of the yard."
  • "Aim the potato gun for the forest!"
  • And..."My son is riding an elephant in the forest of Thailand today."
You never know what a day will bring. 'True that.

(Pictured Above: Andrew Leigh on an elephant, in Thailand, near the border of Burma)


Long story short ... my son and his two team mates were surprised by a gift in Thailand. Upon their arrival at the Hostel in Bankok, they were met in the lobby, by close friend, and pastor from Woodland Park, Colorado. Matt Parker is now traveling with Andrew, Christian and Evan. They are on a wild adventure, after spending time in Chang Mai, they are now headed up into the remote areas of northern Thailand. They will be riding elephants this week, Christian will be baptized in a river ... and who knows what else.

Here's what Christian Outlaw had to say about the surprise:

"Matt Parker met us at the HQ hostel in Bangkok, Thailand wednesday morning. As he walked down the stairs with a camera and hugged us, we were in disbelief. Throughout this world trip we will constantly see people's "twins" - Indians or Brasillians or Germans that look like our friends. And as matt came up to us we unanimously said that it was a false image. A "matt" twin. I didn't even respond for the first few minutes-- and it took the whole day for it to sink in. immediately we went to a really nice coffee shop, had frappucinnos and went through the notes and letters from family and friends. Thank you so much for sending those along with matt! As our social skills slowly came back to us, we talked about the miracles we had seen, and were beside ourselves with excitement that we had our best friend here. We also had another opportunity to meet up with Kelsey Pazera and her friends (from Colorado) she was traveling with. Here we enjoyed our first Thai lunch with this group of friends. It felt like a dream. We were around American's first off, and people we knew! We were feeling ready to step into a castle on Venus filled with penguins, the way this was going."

Below, find a video clip from Matt. It is him, waiting for the boys. He got so excited that the moment of surprise is lost in much random camera shaking, greetings and hugs. 'Totally understandable! It was a happy reunion. They will be traveling together for two weeks, until the Team departs for New Zealand, and Matt heads back to the States.
Godspeed, boys.

For more blogging and pictures from Matt Parker's perspective, check out Laura's blog:

A Riddle and A Question

Life and Death. In my faith, there is one very foundational idea. It is the belief that Jesus Christ conquered death; that he was brutally executed, but came back to life. It's a crazy notion, I admit. But, when you really read the eyewitness accounts of it all for yourself, it's even more astounding. This idea demands any thinking person to make a rational choice about whether this is a true claim or not. I love how Bono (as in U2, not Sonny) puts it.

"I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this Jesus? Was he who he said he was, or was he just a nut? ... that's the question."

Moments of death really force all sorts of questions, and introspection. Death makes you think about life, eternity, and spiritual things. So, last week, as I watched my Grampa die, I was reminded of this wild claim from Jesus. This is a direct quote from him. He's talking to the sister of one of his best friends. His friend Lazarus, had just died.

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'" ~Jesus

That is an audacious statement. His assertion: to believe in him is to die and live; to live and never die. Big claim. But, I love how he follows-up with a question: "Do you believe this?" he says. It's like he knows this is such a bizarre thing to claim. And it's like he wants to give us a little time to raise our eyebrow and look at him a little suspiciously. He allows for conversation about it. And the way it reads on the page, it's like he's talking out of the book, into the future. It's like he's expecting us, in the 21st century, to interact, to answer the question for ourselves. And really, everybody has to answer for themselves. We all do. Nobody answers faith questions for anybody else. Jesus asks, "Do you believe this?"
Another time he asks his friend Peter, "What about you, who do you say I am?" And it's the same deal. He's asking Peter. That's clear. But, it sure reads like he's fast-forwarding right into our living rooms and asking us the same question. "What about you, who do you say I am?"
So, today's riddle and question are about life and death. They are actual Jesus words.
Food for thought:

"He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

"Do you believe this?"

These quotes and stories are found in the Bible -- in John, Chapter 11 (verse 25) and Mark Chapter 9.


Last week.

Last minute plane ticket.
Last minute plan.
Last minute travel to the other side of the country.

Last minute shuttle.
Last minute flute music in the nursing home.
Last minute sitting beside his bed.

Last minute waiting.
Last minute watching him struggle breathe.
Last minute gripping his hand.

Last minute heart beat.
Last minute to hold
Last minute of life in his body.

And now, the last minutes of the last week are done.

Goodbye, Grampa.
You were, are, and ever will be loved.

John W. Finney
November 25, 1913 -- February 11, 2009

"But you have come to ... the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven."
Heb. 12:22,23

A Story Emerges

Today's episode of 'Art Everywhere" is from my 13 year old. Isaac is a writer. He's a story weaver. He has books and journals full of his original maps of imaginary lands, and territories. He collects names and characters. And, for him, a story can emerge out of anywhere. So, this white sculpture is just one example of what comes out of Isaac's brain. This mass of faces, souls, and beings is coming out of a lump of clay. It is a story that grew out of a blank blob and twisted into an intricate battle. I wish I could retell the story for you. But I can't do it justice. So, all you get is the clay that is formed from a cool story.

Note to Self

I just got off the phone with Andrew. He is spending his last day in India, with Evan and Christian, and their hosts, the Rebba family. Tomorrow, they depart for Bankok. It was great to hear his voice; and better to hear his words. His life is filling-up with a world full of people. He mentioned several new friends, of wildly varying ages, who are all quietly heroic people of faith. He now knows photographers, musicians, micro-enterprise philanthropists, humanitarians who build bridges for unreached people groups, evangelists, orphanage directors, doctors, missionaries, pilots ... it astounds me. And he doesn't want to make a big deal of it. It just is. Two things he said stayed with me after our phone call. I jotted them down as he was speaking; One, is a small world miracle; the other, a profound thought for the day.
Small world. In the course of traveling between villages with his Team, and a man named Francis Rebba, Andrew came upon a piece of his family. Apparently, the pastor of a small rural Indian church told the guys a story of healing. Years ago, that man had been a mute -- unable to speak. But, a visitor from the United States passed through his village. The visitor was a Jesus Follower, a preacher and believer. In a gathering of people, the Mute man had gone forward, and the Visitor had laid hands on him in prayer. After an anointing of oil, and prayer for healing, the mute man spoke! He was healed. His freedom led him to become a man of faith, and a teacher. He speaks words of Jesus now. And the man, the Visitor that God's Spirit used to heal the Mute man was Art Gay. Art Gay is my Dad -- Andrew's Grampa. Half way across the world, in a country that contains over a billion people, Andrew 'bumped into' a man who had been healed, by God's Spirit, through the prayer of Andrew's Grampa. Mind-boggling. Miraculous.
Profound. The Team had significant conversations with another man. Bob Nelson was in India for a short time, doing work with IREF. Bob is in his 70's. He travels and speaks worldwide. He is a long-ago Wheaton College grad, whose close friends were Nate Saint and Jim Elliot. Their story is told in the book, "Through Gates of Splendor," by Elisabeth Elliot, and in the movie, "End of the Spear" by Steve Saint. Bob chose not to go on their deadly trip to Ecuador in 1956. But the martyr of his friends changed his life. And now, he has seasoned credibility.
Andrew got to talk to Bob, about life, travel, and faith. Andrew told me that he's been learning a lot about prayer as he goes from place to place and is asked to intercede for people. And he said that Bob handed him this golden nugget -- which spoke right to the subject. Roughly, he said something like:

If you want to live a life for Christ, you have to pray... you have to be in prayer all the time.

It keeps ringing in my head: Pray. That's what it means to live a life for Jesus. That's where the miraculous power to heal comes from.

And, for me, it points back to a common sense notion. If we're not talking to someone, we aren't in relationship with them, and they can't speak into our lives. We can't be led, empowered, healed, directed or changed by someone we're not talking to... so ...

Note to Self: Have the conversation. Talk to God. Listen. "If you want to live a life for Christ, you have to pray." Period. End of sentence.

And, those are today's good words, from the other side of our very small world.


For more information about IREF, in India, check out the website:


Tick Tock

Today, I'm thinking about eternity ... and how we only have so much time alive on this planet. It takes significant life events to get in this mindset. It takes something big to interupt the daily spin of the clock, and remind us that we're all bound for an exit point into eternity. My Grampa Finney is the one who got me thinking. His soul will be leaving earth in the next few days. At 96, his life here is coming to a close. There will be a better tribute to him later. But for today, just a reminder ... life is but a vapor, and every minute counts.

Got our heels dug in
But time is draggin' us toward the time when time won't matter anymore.
They say life is but a vapor
Just a blip on a radar screen
Not the dates on your tombstone but the dash in between
There's just today, that's all we got.
There's just today, that's all we got.

Tick-tock, the past is locked
The future's far away
You can't go back, you can't hurry it up
You gotta learn to live today.
Tick-tock, it's now o'clock
The little hand is ours
The second hand sweeps us around and the Big Hand has the power.

Well am I livin' or am I dyin' ?
Will the world get another day?
I hear a baby cryin', and I pluck out another gray
I'm always talkin' about a change, but talkin's all I've done
I'm gonna start tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes.
There's just today. That's all we got. There's just today, that's all we got.

Always runnin' late
Don't procrastinate
Leavin' in a hurry
Give me just a second
Wait another minute
Sleep another hour
See another day dawn
Call you next week
See you in a month
Celebrate a season
Now another year's gone.
Well there goes a decade, a century, millenium, and here comes eternity, eternity,
Here comes eternity,
What's up with eternity?

Tick-tock, the past is locked. The future's far away.
You can't go back, you can't hurry it up, gotta learn to live today.
Tick-tock, it's now o'clock. The little hand is ours. The second hand sweeps us around and the Big Hand has the power.
The Big Hand has the power.

~Chris Rice


Over 12 million people have already seen this youtube clip, so chances are good that you already have, too. But, I'm posting it because I love it. Otters are one of my favorite animals. Other animals just don't seem to enjoy themselvs like otters do. Otters play. They just go full speed ahead; 100% rest, 100% play. They are either on or off. And I know I'm being sappy, but it looks like they love every minute they have. At least it looks that way. I don't claim to know the emotional life of otters.

We all have friends that are otters in the way they do life. They are the kind of people that we love to be around. And maybe secretly I aspire to live a more otter-like life.

You don't need any sound for this video. Turn the sound off. (And, get ready to delete the new Google ad that now pops-up midstream on YouTube clips. Cursed commercialism). In any case, just enjoy this simple otter moment ...


Today, a song. I'm thinking about my son getting ready to leave India for Thailand. I'm thinking about all of the humanity he's seen, and all the faces he's come to know, and all the need ... and how he has seen the heart of God in this world, in ways that I'll never know. This song seems to speak it well. In the same way it sings God's ownership of the world; I sing it over my son. "... It's all yours, God."

"I walk the dirt roads of Uganda
I see the scars that war has left behind
Hope like the sun is fading
They're waiting for a cure no one can find

And I hear children's voices singing
Of a God who heals and rescues and restores
And I'm reminded
That every child in Africa is Yours

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
You're the Maker and Keeper, Father and Ruler of everything
It's all Yours "

~Steven Curtis Chapman

No Dave. Marcus.

No Dave. He didn't show up as a surprise. It was just Tim Reynolds and his little trio, TR3. I'll save you some time and a headache -- don't go see this group. We all felt trapped on a wild 80's ride full of repetitive power ballads and screaming rock jams. Too much. Really. Lucas, Isaac and I waited out the last half hour on the lobby couches, and watched a slow steady trickle of people leaving the concert early. Isaac said it was like a "bad wedding band." I kind of agree. But we all also agreed, Tim Reynolds is an awesome studio and performance musician. But, he's a technician, not a personality. So, he wasn't very aware of his audience and that meant, between every song, we waited in long and awkward dead air while he tuned his guitar. That said, I suggest that you avoid anything "TR3" but go see him perform on the road, touring with Dave Matthews Band, starting in April. That's his best gig.
However ... the night wasn't a total loss. Tim wasn't good. Dave wasn't there. But we all loved Marcus.
The Marcus Eaton Trio was the opener band ... and I'm now officially a fan. Seriously. Amazing stuff. Marcus has a floor full of effects pedals by his feet. His performance is full of live loops that create layer upon layer of music. Looping is technology that allows a musician to play or sing a phrase or chord progression into the mic. It records on the spot. Then the performer hits 'play' to create a live running echo of background that becomes a backup chorus of voice, or guitar, or thumps of rhythm.
The bass and drummer were tight. And we loved watching the bass player. He had to reach over two or three times and cleanly saved a falling cymbal stand for the drummer. The drummer was banging his kick so hard that the floor was vibrating and the cymbal stand kept going into a death wobble. Each time, as it was about to go over, the bass player would reach over and put it up with the tip of his foot, or literally grab it and set it back on the drum cage. Never once did he miss a beat. Eventually, the cymbal did go crashing down to the floor, and we all went wild. Man, there's nothing like live performance.
Marcus Eaton is a mix of street performer, Sting, Dave Matthews, and John Mayer. He's a man of a hundred words and a billion riffs. He flipped between guitar voices on those floor pedals like an organist playing Bach. And this is saying something, coming from me. In the past, I have had to deal with only 3 or 4 effects processor pedals with my flute and/or midi instrument, and it has nearly given me -- and every musician or sound tech around me-- a nervous break down. You never know when that much technology is just going to up and revolt. So, speaking out of my own tech-ineptitude, I was in awe of the way Marcus had that many effects processors going so flawlessly. And he's a versatile vocalist. Ty bought his newest CD, "The Story of Now." But I think his live work is way way better than the studio recordings. All in all the Marcus Eaton Trio made for a great show... and just plain good music. 'Redeemed the night.
Here's other information, in case you're interested. Website:

For my gearhead musician geek friends --
this is what Marcus carts around, and loops on:
Boss RC-20 Loop Station, Boss DD-5 Digital Delay,Boss PS-5 Pitch Shifter,Line 6 Echo Park Delay, Fishman AFX Delay, Tech 21 Killer Wail Wah, Custom switching box, Goodrich Model 120Volume Pedal, Radial direct boxes
Baden Guitars a-style acoustics
Veillette 12-string baritone solidbody acoustic
Taylor 514ce