Sunday, October 30, 2005

Right Column

I've added two new things to my right column.

The first (and most important) is a new blog for Olyvia. I got sick of posting her crap on my blog. This is a serious blog! Not a blog for posting baby pictures!!! Anyway, you can check out pics and updates at

The second is another great book that I've fallen in love with. It's called Velvet Jesus and it's written by Rob Bell, possibly the greatest Bible teacher in the world right now (big statement). As with all of the books listed in my right column, if you click on the title, you will be directed to a new page where you can read the first chapter!

Friday, October 28, 2005

cd's, dvd's, and books

A friend recently posted an article on his blog revolving around the idea of what people have on their bookshelves. In the article he explained that he always looks to see what people have on their shelves and uses this as a basis of deciding how cool they are.

I have to admit, I do this too, only for me I always look at music collections first, movie collections second, and books third.

As far as music collections go, I’m pretty judgemental. First of all, props if you still own records, but minus points if you still own tapes. Minus points if the only albums you own, that weren’t in the top 40, are classical. Props for bands from the 60’s and bands from the 70’s, except disco. A 50 percent deduction in points if you display any albums from a boyband. Bare in mind, there is no loss if you have the album but keep it hidden. I Want It That Way was a good song, but you absolutely cannot display a Backstreet Boys album. My undying respect if you own a Barry Manilo album, even if it’s a greatest hits. Punk albums can gain you massive points but I have a formula for figuring out if you actually like/listen to the album or just bought it to decorate your collection. Country albums can be mingled in but, if you in any way appear to be a fan of current country music, that’s another 50 percent deduction in points. Folk albums will also win you respect unless the only one you own is Joni Mitchell. That’s too obvious. If you’re my age and own any of the following artists on record, you are a true appreciator of music; Madonna, U2, Tears for Fears, or Dire Straits. I choose these artists simply because albums from the 60’s and 70’s are too easy to still get. If you own any of the previously mentioned records from the 80’s, chances are, you actually bought and owned them in the 80’s. Props to you. If you own albums from ten or more genres of music, and own at least 100 albums, you can win back the points you lost by displaying a boy band album. There is no way to win back the points you lost by being a current fan of country music. Being a fan of Blue Grass or any country music that came out before the 80’s is ok and, in some instances, can win you points. Knowing the difference between Blue Grass and country music can also earn you points. Knowing a current artist, under the age of 25, who sings Blue Grass can win you bonus points and much respect. And if you’ve got an Allison Kraus album and five other genres, you can count that for your 10 genre bonus. Plus I’ll only look at the rest of your albums out of sheer respect and to get tips from you.

I could keep going, but I think you get the picture. My rating system for album collections is long and tenuous and I know very few people who have ever scored higher than a 50 (out of 100) in this department.

My rating (judgment) system for movies is much simpler. First of all, if you’re still watching VHS tapes, you get a zero and I won’t even bother looking at your collection. HOWEVER, bonus points if you own a VHS tape simply because you can’t buy the movie on DVD! If you’re a guy and don’t own AT LEAST one of the following movies, your movie collection sucks and you are not a man; Fight Club, Swingers, or Office Space. If you’re a guy and don’t own Braveheart or Tommy Boy, your collection doesn’t necessarily suck, you’re just not a man. If you own at least one DVD associated with music, bonus points. If you own five or more, I don’t really need to see the rest of your collection except to see which of your movies I’d like to borrow. And there are a few other odds and ends but I won’t bore you with the details.

As far as books go, I’m afraid my grading scale is extremely hypocritical as I tend to hold other people to a much higher standard than I hold myself. For instance, I subtract points for owning too many cheesy Christian books, even though I still had a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul up until last year. I also think less of you if you have more than four Bibles on your shelf, even though I’ve got more than ten. And you can earn points for the amount of poetry books on your shelf, even though I don’t own one.

What can I say? I make up for my book hypocrisy with my album collection.

Check back next week as I tackle the topic of what in the world ever happened to the artist Seal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Ok. It’s time somebody just said it; all those people who talk about “the rewards of parenthood” are just making crap up and are too ashamed to admit that there aren’t any. After three weeks on this planet, this baby still doesn’t do a thing! No school, no chores, and no job! Pretty much she just eats, sleeps, and poos. The only thing that made her better than having a puppy is that she hadn’t peed on my carpet. That’s no longer the case. And I have to tell you that she’s really losing her figure too. She’s officially got a milk gut. And, despite her American roots, she’s decided to go the way of the Europeans by only bathing every other day. I’m not impressed! She can’t read. She can’t even talk! In fact, I’m not even convinced that she can even focus in on one thing. Her head bounces around like a bobble head doll. She cries as if to say, “please come over here”, and I say, “no, you come over here” and she says, “no, you come over here”, and that goes on for a while until finally I give in (because I’m tired of hearing her whine) and I go over there. The whole thing is ridiculous really and I challenge anybody who thinks they can get more out of her. She’s just lazy. A complete slacker. She has no vision, no ambition, and no drive whatsoever. I don’t see how she’s ever going to graduate from high school let alone go on to get a college degree!

If you know of any jobs out there for a slacker with no self motivation, and who can’t read or speak a known language, please let me know.

(Disclaimer: these thoughts were written at 3:00 a.m. while sitting up with a very wide awake Olyvia. Happy Birthday to her, despite the late night!)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

what she sees

So as I suspected, having a child gives you a perspective on God as Father. I thought it might. You can’t really understand that relationship until you’re a father yourself as you just have no point of reference. I’m beginning to get one.

Sadly though, the one thing I’m realizing so far is that, the younger you are, the less likely you are to truly love God. You need God. You might even depend on God. But you don’t truly love God yet. You can’t, you don’t even know what it means.

As I look down into the eyes of my daughter, I feel this overwhelming sense of love. This attachment and this desperation to provide for her, and protect her, and to love her with all of my heart. But as she looks back into mine, all she’s able to give me is a look that says “what are you? You seem to have a different pattern than the wallpaper.” This must be how God feels.

I have a different love for my parents now than I did when I was thirteen. I’m not saying that there wasn’t any love present at the age of thirteen, but it was more of a dependency and an attachment than a love. The older I get the more I love and appreciate them. But I still love and appreciate them only because of the love they gave me first.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder our Senior adults seem to have a love for God, and a love for the things of God, that I just don’t yet understand. They understand some things about love and God that I just can’t. Not yet.

A friend recently posted this on his blog…

“Hirsch and Frost provide a useful illustration of the difference between what they call a ‘bounded’ church and a ‘centred’ church. Briefly put a ‘bounded church’ is a set of people clearly marked off from those who do not belong to it – you’re either ‘in’ or ‘out’. Whereas a ‘centred church’ is defined by its core values, and people are not seen as in or out, but as closer or further away from the centre – the centre being Jesus. (No prizes for guessing which ‘model’ I prefer!)”

Good stuff.

Monday, October 17, 2005

a few weeks off

Blogging can get confusing. Why do I blog? At first it was therapy, literally an online journal, a way to vent. But then it became a forum. People began to read it and so I began to write about the topics I was truly passionate about. For me that usually revolves around social justice and this quagmire we call “church tradition” (see, I’m passionate, I used the word “quagmire”). For some reason I didn’t feel that my personal life was an appropriate topic anymore. For some reason I didn’t feel that this blog was mine.

A friend recently wrote the following on her blog…

“I commend all of you soldiers/activists in the church, whole-heartedly. It takes balls to man up to that.(Sorry mom, but I had to say it). Bless you indeed.”

I’m very aware of the fact that people are reading this blog. People that I don’t even know. And I want to make it worth their while. But sometimes living involves long stretches. Long stretches where the “lesson learned” is a few weeks, or even a few months off. In the meantime you’re just on the journey and there’s not much to say besides “I had an English hamburger today, and boy did it suck” (sorry mom, but I had to say it).

So if you’re reading this post and wondering where the word is on the state of the church or life in a refuge community, I’m still a few weeks off.

This past weekend was Youth Councils. And boy are my arms tired!

Two ladies came by the project last week in need of assistance. They said they were refugees and needed food and clothing. I asked where they were from. They said, “Dublin”.

Olyvia is a blessing and the scariest thing ever. Sunday night we’re watching an American football game together (she’s a huge fan) when I look down and happen to catch her looking up at me. All of a sudden it hit me that I was her dad and that I was not just babysitting. That’s absolutely crazy! By the way, when you see your wife as a mother, you fall in love with her all over again.

One of the students studying youth ministry with us this year is from America and brought his motorcycle over with him. He’s managed to get in good with one of the local Turkish motorcycle clubs and has been riding with them. Now THAT’S incarnational ministry! I’ll be adding that word to my list of “most overused new church words” soon.

Guess that’s it from West Green Road.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Olyvia Adalet Miller

First of all, she goes by Lyv. Her second name is a Turkish word meaning "Justice". She and Jamie are finally home. : )

she's going to kill me, but...

I get to bring them home today!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

More Pictures

Page down for more new pics.

Well, I wanted to give myself a night to sleep on it. You know, one night to make sure that I wasn’t just a little delirious from 40 hours without sleep. A night to make sure that I wasn’t just a little biased. But after sleeping on it, getting up this morning and having a good breakfast, and a quick look around the maternity ward, it appears that she IS the cutest baby alive.

I thought it over and, in all fairness, I don’t know if she’s the cutest baby to have ever existed. The technology of photography only goes back to about the late 1800’s and it wasn’t until the 1950’s that every family on the block owned a camera and was using it to photograph that new baby. But it’s certainly safe to say that in the last half century, any baby who had even the remotest spark of good looks has been photographed. And, after doing little more than staring at her all day, I feel that I can confidently say that she is, without a doubt, the cutest baby to exist within the last half century.

To all of my friends out there with baby’s, let me take a little of the sting out of if for you. Each day there are approximately 342,000 babies born on this planet (thanks, so while you’re baby can never be number one, number two aint bad!

Today I held her and stared at her. Then I kissed on her a while(she only knows how to French kiss so we’ll have to work on that). Then I stared at her some more. Then I changed the first diaper I’ve changed in nearly 16 years (a big hello to Ashton) at which point I was put off the whole thing so I gave her back to Jamie. : ) Just kidding. I stared at her some more! In between I took a million of the exact same photo, sure that each one of them would be original, unique, and a new one I didn’t have. Good thing I bought the largest memory stick Nikon sells!

Jamie is doing well and seems quite comfortable. And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The name of our baby is…(drum roll please)…whatserface! Yeah. Not only did we not decide on one, we actually ADDED two more to the list! Tomorrow for sure though! : )

Seriously. Tell the truth. She's the prettiest thing you've ever seen isn't she.

After four days of labour, three trips to the hospital (only to be sent back home), 24 hours in the hospital, more than 40 hours without sleep, and a C-Section, our little one was finally pulled kicking and screaming into London.

Jamie will be spending a few extra days in the hospital, but she is doing very well (all things considered) and so is the baby. I’m on my way there and we’re COMMITTED to deciding on a name today! We’re thinking about calling her “only child”!

Thanks for all your prayers. See you soon.