I have not written here for two months. I have thought about things to write many times. I have even written some drafts. I’ve never posted anything. I don’t know why. I cannot even muster a real post right now. Here is a list of things that I am thinking about/have thought about:

-I started using Instagram a few months ago to enter a contest to win free things. I did not win free things. I have ducked in and out of Instagram because it seems less crazy there and I can look at pictures of Switzerland and remember being there. Also, my wife posts lots of pictures there (or it feels like a lot, anyway), so I get to see them. One thing I cannot for the life of me understand: That stupid feature where people posts mini-videos of themselves and it just loops on them, usually, while tilting their head sideways and waving. What in the world is the appeal of this ridiculous feature? I’m sorry, I love all of you people, I do. But it’s ridiculous. Go away, wiggle-loop thing. Stop.

-I have been a fan of Arsenal FC (that’s a professional soccer team, Americans) for years and years now. It is, at this point, a mostly futile exercise. The manager is 67 years old, was once a genius, but has now fallen way behind the rest of the elite teams. He’s too stubborn to get help or substantively change. Now, I can tell you pretty much how every Arsenal season will go, except that in the last few years, we (yes…. WE) have won three cup competitions, which has been more fun than usual. But basically, Arsenal has slid from one of the most glamorous, exciting teams in Europe into a “meh… pretty good” team that won’t challenge for the biggest titles. There will be some really fun games and then a bunch of cowardly collapses against the most important teams. And a few losses to really crap teams.

I say all this to let you know that so far in the 17/18 season…. it’s all exactly the same. Wake me in May 2019 when there might be a new manager.

-What percentage of social media, particularly Facebook, is now for selling me things? 70%? 75%?

-I am tired. I am tired physically and mentally and emotionally. Things at our church are good, but in a state of flux in a lot of areas and that taxes me in a way that I have not encountered before. Preaching every. single. week. has started to grind me down in a way that I did not expect it ever would, which is probably compounded by a growing sense that I’m getting worse at it, not better. It is tiring to get up at 5am everyday and workout and then rush the kids off to school and then watch the youngest and then start teaching or meeting or whatever. My fatigue towards the end of the day, I fear, is all that my kids will remember of me. I’m tired of being tired. Hopefully this is a season that will pass away swiftly. But maybe I’ll live in it meaningfully. And, with God’s help, maybe I can stop being such a jerk in the evening.

-I have started using prayer beads, akin to a rosary, to help me pray. It is not a rosary. They are not magic. I do not have prayers to get through to repeat around the circle. But having the beads in my hands, something for me to touch, helps me to focus. Some days, I just walk around with them in my pocket. I reach down and finger the Cross. And in the most surprising, gentle ways at time, I have been enormously comforted and blessed. There is no magic in this. It’s just that I’m more easily distracted and simply comforted than I could have anticipated.

-I have become bizarrely fascinated by coolers. I’m so interested in really nice coolers of various kinds. I was very much interested before our power was out for a day and a half. I remain so even after the power has come back on. I have no idea why they fascinate me so much.

-In January, I am starting a Doctorate of Ministry program at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. I imagine this will make my life busier. But it will be the busy-ness of reading and writing and going to lectures twice a year. I’m already very excited. I can’t wait to pick out my Trapper Keeper. I’m sure I will regret this decision at some point, but right now, all I can think about is all the nerd things that make me excited. Notes and books and thinking and writing and talking and emailing with professors. And my Trapper Keeper. I’m excited.

-We have chickens in our backyard. We give them food. They give us eggs. I am mostly fine with this arrangement. When they run at you to search for food, though, they look like tiny, winged dinosaurs and they are mildly terrifying. This annoys me. Almost as much as the fact that they regularly choose to poop directly in front of the gate that we always walk through or in front of the door to our house. It is a minefield of feces.

Sometimes I hate those birds.

-I watch Hope every morning for the first few weeks of the school year. That will change to 3/5 school days once she’s old enough to go to Mothers Morning Out (in this circumstance, I’m playing the role of “mother”). Every day, around noon, I bring her to Erin where Erin works. Every day, Hope is ready to get out of her car seat. Her little feet start bouncing up and down, ready to get out of the car. Every day, she starts beaming at me as I get out of the driver seat and walk counter-clockwise around the car to her. I stop and peek through one back window and stare at her and she laughs. Then I move very slowly around the back of the car, where glimpses of my face pass in between the headrests in the back seat. Every time she catches my eye again, she giggles and wiggles her feet. I then slowly come around the corner to her door and pause and very slowly move my eyes into view into a tiny window, which causes her to laugh and smile so large, I fear the corners of her mouth may split right into her ears. The happiness leaping from her eyes honestly seems to generate light into the atmosphere around her. She is luminescent. I then, finally, open her door and begin unstrapping her from her car seat, but not before burying my nose and lips into her cheeks and neck so I can smell and kiss her joy.

I do this pretty much everyday with her. So things are pretty ok.

This is the end of my list of things.