2019 has been a crazy year. I’m grateful to have been able to document it in this notebook. It’s a Leuchtturm1917 B5 composition notebook. 2020 will be starting with a Seawhite Travel Journal. No lines because 2020 is looking like it will be a crazy year.

One of the best things I’ve learned about reading the Bible is that what’s more important than being consistent with your Bible reading plan is being consistent with picking it up again when you miss a day.

My wife managed to get a photo of my kids’ hands in the mittens that I knit them for Christmas this year. Note to self: next time you’re knitting for all of the kids, choose something that doesn’t come in pairs!

My first time making baguettes. They turned out so much better than I thought they would!

Fave8 2019

2019 was a year full of highs and lows. The first seven months were spent in Liverpool doing ministry in a hard place. I studied biblical counselling and how to see the smallest positives as examples of God working in big ways.

Taking my son, Liam, to his first ⚽️ match was a huge joy and won me over to the beautiful game.

I had a surprise day off and the weather was beautiful. Tracy, Owen and I took the opportunity to spend the day in Liverpool One while the big kids were in school.

At the last minute, we were able to book a holiday home in Cornwall for the May holiday. It ended with Owen being very unwell and a 10-hour drive but it was an amazing time in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

One of our favourite things to do in Liverpool was walk down the road to Stanley Park so the kids could burn some of their energy.

It was also a year where I found myself unexpectedly separated from my wife and kids. August and September were the hardest time of my life. I had no way of going to see them and had to spend my days reading the Bible and praying about ministry opportunities in Europe while we wait the 12 months that are required before I apply for a new visa to the UK.

My first week back in 🇺🇸 was actually kind of nice. Tracy and I got to travel without the kids. It was a joy to have uninterrupted conversations.

I left 🇺🇸 and landed in 🇵🇱 in mid-September. Since arriving, I’ve learned a lot about working with different church cultures and a lot about how to sing in a foreign language. Benny the Irish Polyglot talks a big game about how Polish isn’t that difficult to learn but he is so very wrong.

Tracy and the kids joined me at the start of October. Since then, we’ve been homeschooling and trying to see as much of Warsaw as we can by public transport.

In November Tracy and I celebrated 11 years of being married. We called this year the Spinal Tap year because we’ve gone to 11.

It’s a strange thing to be missing Christmas traditions from two different countries while we live and serve in a third. It was a quiet day and the kids played with their toys all day long.

This was not the year I thought it was going to be. Not by a long shot. But, in the end, it was a good year.

Here’s to 2020.

The trouble with retention and removal

I read an article that was written in response to this one from Christianity Today.

It is no secret to those close to me that I have disapproved of Trump’s election since the beginning. I found it entirely laughable that he was even running. It made as much sense as Kanye West proclaiming that he was also going to run for president.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have left Twitter behind a while ago so I have only seen the president’s tweets within the context of quotes. While admitting that his excessive use of caps lock is consistent with people who don’t actually understand technology, I think that the greatest act of patriotism right now would be for an aid somewhere to disable caps lock in that phone. (It’s right there in keyboard settings, it’s really easy to do).

But that isn’t why I find myself compelled to write this. The main issue that I see happening with regards to the current discourse on this subject is that Christians in support of Trump are assuming that the ends justify the means.

We don’t laud a father who is completely absent from his children’s lives because he is addicted to his job and providing a nice lifestyle for them. At least that father’s children don’t laud him.

If you’re in the same camp as me, theologically, you don’t speak well of churches that are only filled because there’s a great show with no content. You speak against the pragmatism that says “but so many people are hearing the gospel!” You speak against it because you know, in reality, those people aren’t hearing the gospel.

If it is true that the President of the USA has abused his power, he needs to be removed from office. This is only a partisan issue because we live in a time where facts and truth have no place in the public conversation. What we have here isn’t simply two sides arguing over who gets to be king of the castle.

Incidentally, the most childish statement that I have read so far about this whole thing comes from Peter Leithart for First Things:

There are times when you have to oppose something just because you shouldn’t give the satisfaction of victory to its supporters.

This isn’t an appeal to Christian morals. This isn’t even trying to ignore the facts of the case. This is, pure and simple, stupidity. This is a child who destroys their toys because if they can’t have it, nobody can.

It is true that there will be a huge amount of public unrest if Trump is removed from office. But if we are only keeping him in to keep the peace, we are admitting that the truth doesn’t actually matter.

What I want to know is what we will be willing to let slide next.

I own and heavily use a single-column ESV journaling Bible. My wife got it for my for our anniversary (all my other Bibles are either in storage in Liverpool or in my parents’ basement in America. I also just bought the ESV Digital Scripture Journal set and I have zero regrets.

Our church had a Wigilia(Christmas Eve) party this past Sunday. 🎄

I don’t believe I can overstate the fact that Pinterest has made a significant chunk of online search completely useless.

Homemade eggnog, courtesy of Serious Eats, chilling in the fridge. I swapped out the rum for bourbon and decided to do the cocktail shaker version instead of the meringue version because I do not have the time to whip egg whites by hand. 🎄

Christmassing. 🎄

Christmassing. 🎄

If I time things just right, my commute home (a journey which takes 30 minutes in the other direction) takes about two hours. 🤦‍♂️

I got the first draft of my sermon on Ephesians 2:1-10 done today. It’s my first time preaching Paul and my first time preaching with a translator.

We’ve got a 7-year-old on our hands!

Sermon prep for the first time for our church in Warsaw. It’s still so crazy to me that I was absolutely horrified by the idea of speaking in public a year ago and now I’m preparing my fourth sermon this year.

I learned that I have a built in table for a cup of coffee.

This feels really nice. 🎄

One day I’ll get the hang of this watercolour thing…

I have to say, I don’t think I’m a fan of sunset being at 15:30.

One of the best parts of being an adult is no longer needing permission or justification for eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. 🥣

I lost a battle with a cheese grater for the first time since I was a kid. 🤦‍♂️

American Bird Grasshopper, referencing a photo from Wikipedia.

I desperately miss Christmastime in the UK, but this was a nice surprise to see when I went grocery shopping today.