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Posted on May 31, 2017 in Blog, Family

14 Years With You

14 Years With You

Most days, if you were to ask me where I was 14 years ago today and what I was doing right now, well, the best response you’d get would probably be some kind of sarcastic response as to the absurdity of your request. Who remembers what happened 14 years ago? If you asked me what happened on this day when I was fourteen, I’d have nothing, maybe I watched re-runs of Happy Days.

Most of the time, we don’t remember such things. Sure, if we see a picture or share a story, it might spark a memory. Facebook is taking care of that for us now though, we won’t need to remember much for too much longer. But, Facebook didn’t exist 14 years ago.

But, this was no ordinary day. This was the day that I married my one true love. And the details of that day stick in my memory. I don’t remember everything, but I remember a lot. I remember rushing to get everything set up. I remember not having all the right parts of my tux. I remember pictures. I remember when I saw you for the first time in the sanctuary. I remember the epic ceremony and how my dad’s scripture reading turned into a sermonette. And I remember some of what he said. I remember Pastor Mike telling our stories. I remember the slideshow and singing you the song I wrote for you. You say I cried, but I don’t remember that. 😉 And I remember saying I do. (You said it too, if I recall.)

There are lots of memories since then too. Far to many to recall here. I remember when I got my first full-time pastoral job and when we bought our first house and got our first dog and had our first baby. I remember going to the symphony in Longview, and how we learned (after we got there) that people don’t dress up for the symphony in Longview. And I remember all the old ladies and their little flashlights looking at the program a couple of hundred times per song and how it seemed like we were surrounded by a bunch of gray-haired fireflies. I remember our one year anniversary, and how we ate the top part of our wedding cake. Which had been frozen for a year. Well, I ate some of it. And, I think it was more than we got on our wedding day.

I remember when we sold our first house and bought our next one, and how a couple of days after we moved it, it got up to 101 degrees inside the house and we were spraying the kids with a spray bottle in the living room because we didn’t have the blinds up yet.

I remember a lot of good things mixed in with some bad things. Good days and bad days. Easy days and hard days. About 5,113 days (counting leap year days). And you only spent 1,095 of those days throwing up while you were pregnant with our four kids.

When they came, everything changed. Our priorities changed. We changed. The way I drove changed – for a while.

And now, we’ve had kids longer than we were together when we didn’t. And we have less time with some of them than we’ve already had with them. They’ve blessed us and stressed us. But, in so many ways, they are us.

What I’m saying in all of this is that every single day with you has been a special day. It may not seem that way. It’s not like I’m overtly romantic or prone to major romantic gestures. And, it’s not like every day is disneyland. Just a lot of normal days. Thousands of them. Of course, normal keeps on changing.

But, isn’t that kind of the point of marriage? Some people think every day is supposed to be like a scene out of the notebook, and there’s a place for that. But, the point is a lifetime of togetherness right? And what is life if not normal.

But, what is normal?

Dictionary.com defines normal as: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural. Or serving to establish a standard.

Perhaps normal is the wrong word. Because, day to day life with you has been anything but regular. And, by modern definitions, being with someone for 14 years isn’t all that normal anymore.

But, then again, maybe normal is the right word if we’re using the right definition. “Serving to establish a standard.” Not that we’re super awesome or anything. But, if this was the normal, and more people experienced this kind of normal when it came to being married, then maybe more people would stay married for longer and it would be more normal.

I know there are many who have been married for much longer. Your parents. My parents will be celebrating 50 years in aa little over a week. We’re only 13,140 days or so away from that. But for us, it’s everything. And everyday we add to that is another day of everything. Which is what you are. Everything. To me anyway. And all the days we’ve been together, all the days we’ll be together and this day are all the reasons I wanted a life with you.

So far, it’s been amazing. Perfect? No. But, amazing nonetheless. And if that last 14 have been any indication, the next 14 are going to be even better.

And who knows, we might just be able to set establish a new standard of what this whole married life thing is all about. Happy Anniversary Mrs. Lindner. I love you.

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Posted on Aug 11, 2015 in Blog, Church, Culture, Deliberate Living, Family, Featured, Intentional Living, repost

3 Simple Steps for Getting Back Into The Swing (of things)

3 Simple Steps for Getting Back Into The Swing (of things)

Summer is a crazy time. It’s fun. We spend a lot of time together as a family. We do things we don’t do the rest of the year. And it’s good. It’s good to spend time together as a family and make memories that will last a lifetime. But, as we start to run out of steam on cramming all the summery goodness into our summer, we run the risk of making a different kind of memory. They last a lifetime too, but we wish they wouldn’t.

So, I wanted to give you 3 simple tips for getting back into the swing of things.

1.) Find a simple, but productive, daily discipline to begin. 

As we go through the summer months, it’s easy to let discipline slide. We’re living in the moment, winging it. And while there is a time and place for that, in fact it’s good to do that, we also need to have discipline in our lives as well.

If you’ve gone a long time without discipline, it can be hard to find the on ramp again. But, what I’ve found is that discipline always facilitates more discipline. I call it the begetting principle. That’s a post that’ll come later.

If you want to live a more disciplined life, find one small area you can succeed in with being disciplined on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be big. It shouldn’t be. You just need to be able to sustain it. It can be as simple as setting the alarm for a specific time, and refusing to hit the snooze. That may prove more challenging. You may want to get a simple devotional and read it first thing in the morning.

Whatever it is, do it every day and first thing in the morning. This will turn on the discipline switch in your mind, and you’ll start building up the getting things done muscles of your psyche.

2.) Make a list each day of what needs to be done. 

There are days when I feel productive, but then when I look back on what I accomplished that day, I realize I didn’t get nearly as much done as I thought I did. When you don’t give yourself specific things to do, it’s easy to feel like you’re doing a lot when you’re not really doing much at all.

So, another simple way to get back into the swing of things is to start making a list. Don’t get carried away. Just add 5-6 specific things to that list that need to get done today. If you do these things today, you will have succeeded. If you don’t do these things today, you know you need to work harder tomorrow.

When we get out of routine, we can easily do one thing in a days time and feel like we’ve exhausted our entire stockpile of energy for the day. But, let’s be honest, we all know we’re capable of doing more than one thing a day.

Some of the things on your list may be bigger and take longer. If it’s a bigger project, try to break it up into manageable steps that you can check off. Maybe you won’t finish the whole thing today, but I bet you can finish several steps.

And put a one or two simple and quick to accomplish tasks on your list too. That will make you feel like you’re making progress and get you moving toward getting the other things done.

3.) Plan & Build your fall routine. 

Life has a natural repetitive nature to it. Every week, we start a new week. (That was a really profound statement.) I think of the week as starting on Sunday. So, every Sunday I begin a new week. Every Sunday, my family begins a new week. The old week is done, a new week has come. Because of this natural cycle, it’s good to use the week as your framework to build your routine.

My number one suggestion for planning and executing on a successful routine is to go to church on Sunday morning. (DON’T STOP READING YET!!!) Yes, I’m biased because I’m a pastor. But I have a good reason.

Starting your week with going to church starts your week off with discipline. It’s easy to go to church. I know the excuses, I’ve heard them all. (I actually wrote some articles about it on our church blog: http://68church.com/12-excuses-for-not-going-to-church-and-why-you-shouldnt-use-them-part-1/) But, let’s be honest: It’s not that hard to go to church. Especially a church like ours, where you can come just like you are. You don’t have to look fancy and wear your “Sunday best.” Just come. Just be here.

Why does it help to start your week this way? There are a few reasons. It gives you structure. And when you’re trying to build structure, you need to start with structure.

Another reason is, if you can overcome the temptation and excuses to skip church on Sunday, you will help yourself overcome the excuses for other things throughout the week. So much of what we don’t do is because we’ve excused ourself and all we need to do is step up and be responsible.

Another reason? It’s a very healthy beginning. You have the servant aspect of church. Starting off your week serving others is a great set up. There’s the community aspect. Starting your week with a community of like-minded believers sets you up for walking through life in the same way. Tithing/Giving/Generosity is another great aspect. Prioritizing God in our finances also helps us to make other priorities in our spending.

Worshipping God is a great way to keep yourself in check. Exalting God makes it harder to exalt ourselves as the most important thing in our lives. When we are starting our week by humbling ourselves and submitting to the creator of the universe, that’s like saying, you designed this whole thing in the first place and I’m going to let you take the lead.

19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
    by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
    and the clouds let drop the dew.        {Proverbs 3:19-20}

Try these three simple steps and just see if you don’t have a better week! 1. Daily Discipline. 2. Make a List. 3. Plan your Weekly Routine. Try it.

I dare you!

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Posted on Sep 10, 2014 in Family, Featured

Lawrence D. Shinn – Eulogy

Lawrence D. Shinn – Eulogy

Lawrence D. Shinn

May 30, 1924 ~ August 29, 2014

Grandpa-Shinn

How do you summarize a life? How do you put into words all of the various dimensions of a life that spanned 90 years? The life of Lawrence D. Shinn is one that spanned across some of the greatest time periods in American History. His life also spanned some of the greatest industrial and technological advances in Human history. And amid all that change there are a few words that stand out:

Determined. From the very beginning of his life he was faced with extraordinary circumstances  that would cause most of us to hang up our hat and call it quits. He worked on farms, picked fruit, built houses and pole buildings; he raised turkeys, chickens and cattle and operated a sawmill. And of course, he worked on the farm and logged the great forests of the Pacific Northwest. Whatever was necessary to provide for his family, he was determined to provide.

Laughter. He loved to laugh. He loved to poke fun whenever given the opportunity. He wasn’t afraid of putting on a wig, some girly glasses and a couple clip on earrings to get a reaction out of you. He probably had inside jokes with all the family members and took advantage of the opportunity to individualize his approach to best suit his audience. And of course, nobody could touch his strawberry jam without an adequate dose of overinflated, righteous indignation.

Diligent. There aren’t many people on the planet who worked as hard as Lawrence did. Of course he would tell you that if you didn’t do it, it won’t get done. But as long as there was work to do, he did it.

Exploration. He loved to travel. He had a passion for the National Parks, especially the Grand Canyon, and the beauty that could be soaked in to the bone. He worked hard enough to be able to explore without feeling guilty, and he absorbed as much of God’s creation as one could aspire to see in one lifetime. This love of the sheer beauty and wonder of nature has been passed down through the generations. His passion for exploration led to him spending his retired years traveling with Maude.  They bought a motor home and traveled all over the United States.  They truly enjoyed this time together and shared many stories about their adventures.

Farm. Lawrence had an understanding of what it mean to be a steward of the land he had been blessed with. He also knew that you needed to produce things to make a living. Even when his mother grace experienced health issues related to the chickens they were raising that just meant he had to find something else to produce. So, whether it was trees, chickens, sheep, cattle, turkeys or children, his love for his farm has created another generation of children and grandchildren who have the same love.

Innovation. He wasn’t afraid to try something new to provide either. Whether that was buying the TD-9 to log on and off the farm, setting up a sawmill to sell railroad ties, flipping properties for a profit, being the first to work at the Broadmore plant in woodland, and eventually starting a construction business with his son, Larry which lasted for 26 years – he tried new things.

Tough. He went through a lot in his lifetime. As can be expected when you work hard on the farm, from time to time you get injured. But this didn’t keep him from getting back on the horse, the tractor, the roof or anything else. But he wasn’t just tough, he also wasn’t afraid to be tough. When his kids and grandkids needed to be told something, he wasn’t afraid to pull them aside and say it. He was always kind in his rebuke, and never judgemental, but he knew that being tough was what was needed and he was tough enough to be tough. And he didn’t complain – at least not much. Even in the end of his life.

Love. As much as he loved to travel, he loved his high school sweetheart incomparably more. He loved one woman until the day he died, and none of us were unaware of just how much he missed his bride. He adapted his life to meet her needs, especially as she struggled for a long time. And even then, he was motivated to care for her out of love. He showed us all how to love your spouse selflessly and unconditionally. He had and undying love for the love of his life.

Family. Lawrence had a love for his family. He had a desire for his young family to be vested in the interests of his predecessors. And he sought to raise a family that would pass on the tradition of selflessly caring for one another. If you asked him what he thought his legacy would be, I’m sure family would be at the top of the list.

We haven’t done justice to the life he lived with these few words, but they’re a start to an understanding of a life that has affected the lives of so many others. There simply aren’t words to express the influence and impact of his life, but I guess that’s kind of the point. We don’t do his life justice by mentioning a few words, we do his life justice by carrying on where he left off.

So perhaps the greatest praise we could sing of Lawrence D. Shinn will not be in the words we share on this day – though we must and we should tell the stories he would tell; but could it be that the greatest praise of his life will be in the kinds of lives we lead with the tools he gave us to lead them?

Click below to listen to the audio of the memorial service:

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Posted on Aug 12, 2014 in Blog, Family, Featured, Values

Selling A Beautiful House is Hard!

Selling A Beautiful House is Hard!

We are selling our house we have called home for the last 6+ years. We have so many wonderful memories in this house. We’ve watched our kids grow up there. All of our kids but our oldest took their first steps there. We’ve had family gatherings there. Birthday parties, barbecues for friends and many other things. We’ve even kept a guest book of all the people we’ve had to that house over the years.

That makes it hard. Not just because you don’t want to leave all the memories behind, because the truth is we take all the memories with us. What makes it hard, is that at the end of the day, your house becomes a commodity.

And that’s been especially hard for me to learn to separate memory from commodity. To me the house is worth a lot because I know how awesome you can live life when you’re living in that house. I know how amazing it is at facilitating gatherings of groups large and small, and I know how great it is for families and kids. I know how well the garden produces and have spent many of my own years and dollars building into that place. I know the names of the three hummingbirds we’ve been feeding for years now.

For me, it’s worth a lot because I know how great it is once you’re in it.

But it’s hard to turn from that mindset to the mindset of selling something.

So, we’re selling out house. It’s a great house with a lot of great memories that have been made. And if you are looking or know someone who is looking for a great house, would you consider passing this along? It’s full of great life, and is just waiting for someone else to come and carry on that tradition!

Coldwell Banker Listing: http://www.cbseal.com/Homes/WA/Washougal/4537-ROLLING-MEADOWS-DR-98671/14373586

Redfin Listing: http://www.redfin.com/WA/Washougal/4537-Rolling-Meadows-Dr-98671/home/14651466

Zillow Listing: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4537-Rolling-Meadows-Dr-Washougal-WA-98671/23256305_zpid/

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Posted on Apr 29, 2014 in Family

The Definition of Legacy – Rev. Ermal Wilson

The Definition of Legacy – Rev. Ermal Wilson

Today, while those behind morn, there is one new arrival who is rejoicing. Of course, we all rejoice, knowing that his suffering is over. But, we’re still on this side of the door while he’s gone on to the other side.

My Grandpa, the Rev. Ermal Wilson, took his last breath on this earth last night and took his breath of Heaven. He was a man who, even through his very last days prayed every day for his family. He spent his whole life serving Jesus. Starting to preach at a very young age, going to the mission field, pastoring churches, serving a the secretary for missions for the Wesleyan church and finishing his career as a traveling evangelist. There probably wasn’t a day that went by that Grandpa didn’t serve Jesus in some capacity.

I have many great memories of my Grandpa. One of my favorites being the time when He, myself and my cousin Roman tossed a football around the basement of my Uncle Paul’s church. We were all trying to trick each other to see who wouldn’t be able to anticipate the ball coming their direction. It was SO funny!

He left behind a great family who are loving Jesus, many of them serving in churches. His children followed his footsteps, and his children’s children as well. Was he perfect? By no means. He had his flaws, just as you and I. But, he was also confident the power of God and the ability of the work of the Spirit of Christ alive in Him to do miraculous things.

He was a great story teller and preacher. Gracious and grateful for all he had been privileged to do for the Kingdom, and humble enough to always give God the glory. He was happy, positive and encouraging.

He was one who decided early in his life, his household would serve the Lord:

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:14-15)

Wilson09-66He obeyed the teaching of the word and impressed that teaching on his children, their children and their grandchildren:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.(Deut 6:4-8)

And now, there is never a more fitting verse for him:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Tim. 4:6-8)

There is much more that can be said, as those of you who knew him could testify. And some day, if we continue to trust and believe in the same God that worked miracles through His life, you’ll get to meet him and let him tell you the stories for himself.

With the passing of each generation comes the renewed responsibility for those coming after them to decide whether they will take the reigns of what has been laid before them. We each have the choice every single day to decide if we will carry on the legacy left for us. My legacy is deep and rich. Carried on by my mother, the legacy of my grandma carried on by my father. And hopefully, I carry on the legacy to another generation. If only, some day I can look back on those who have come behind me and see with such assurance the mission being carried on, I will be a very blessed man. I am already extremely blessed for what I have been given. The question is, what will I do with it? The question is true for you. What will you do with what has been given to you? Even if you have received nothing, you will certainly leave something. What will you leave?

But for now, here’s a little tease of what you might here. This is a sermon he gave at Trinity Wesleyan Church at a Revival in 1998. You’ll hear some stories, you’ll hear some teaching and some preaching. And you’ll hear some other amazing things. But most of all, you’ll hear about Jesus because that’s who He wanted everyone to know about the most.

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In the words of my grandpa, “The Lord Bless you real good.”

(http://www.nswcares.com/obituary/Ermal-Leroy-Wilson/Marion-IN/1377805)

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Posted on Feb 14, 2014 in Blog, Family, Marriage, Recording & Sound

Everything To Me…

Everything To Me…

Our-FamilyOver the years, I’ve written a few songs for the love of my life. Today, she blessed me with a poem she wrote about our story. So I wanted to share our story through the songs I’ve written.

Our Wedding Day

This first song was one I wrote for our wedding day. I actually sang it for her in our wedding. I still feel that way too. And right now, I’m trying to keep doing what I said in that song: “More than words can ever say, I want to say “I Love You” with my life.”

Everything To Me

Another Valentine’s Day

Several years later, at a Valentine’s day dinner, I played “Everything to me” for her at a dinner our church was having. I also shared with her a new song I had just written her – and that’s the one below.

These Days

An Unsettled Valentine’s Day

A year after I had written that last song, we found ourselves in a very uncertain time of our lives. It was a time with a lot of questions that neither of us had the answers for. But, even during those times of uncertainty, we still knew the answer to one question:

Who?

All these years later (this is our 11th valentine’s day together – which I know is not that many compared to some), we’re still writing a new story with our lives. We’re traveling around the bends in the road of the game of life, adding little plastic people to the seats in the car. And while our people make more noise than the plastic people in the game, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Happy Valentine’s Day Bekki, I love you!

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