Saturday, June 30, 2007

Taco Bell

I ran two easy laps around the lake this morning. I ran most of the first lap with Gary, Rob, Jeff, and Dave. I had a pit stop after one lap and ran the east lake with Keith and finished the run doing the west lake by myself. About 15 miles total. Almost, but not quite, 90 miles for the week.

I played with the boys most of the day. David had a pretty good nap during the early part of the afternoon. Check this one out:

I finished tomorrow morning's sermon from about 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. I worked up quite an appetite sitting at my desk so I hit Taco Bell on the way home. Here was the conversation:

TB: I'll take your order whenever you are ready.
CF: I'll have four crunchy tacos, fresco style.
TB: Would you like some nachos with that?
CF: No thanks.
TB: How about a large Pepsi?
CF: (Thinking...Here's the deal. I need to get up in 6 hours. I don't need caffeine. I am 37 years old and my bladder is getting smaller everyday. I definitely don't need the 42 ounces of fluid.) No thanks.
TB: That will be $3.38.

The tacos hit the spot.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hot Air Balloon

I had a good run this morning. I ran 15 miles with Christy and Machelle. They kept going after that, but I had a few places I needed to go, so I had to stop at fifteen.

Allan Nelson retired from Faith-Westwood today. We all had Famous Dave's for lunch. This is the second time I have been blessed to eat ribs in the last six days.

Tonight he and his wife Lois went on a hot air balloon ride. Benjamin and I were invited to chase the hot air balloon down help put the balloon away. Benjamin declared that he was the hot air balloon chaser. It is a beautiful thing to watch a hot air balloon fly. They landed pretty hard, but we all had a great time.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I arrived at Lake Zorinsky at 7:29 a.m. -- 1 minute early as I am turning over a new leaf starting today. Lonnie Gibson won't be able to poke fun at me anymore -- at least for being late. Christy and Machelle (who were also on time) and I did a 3.5 mile warm-up and a 3.5 mile cool-down with 5 miles of 400 meters at 5:40 pace followed by 400 meters recovery at 7:00 pace. This is a good little workout: 5 miles at about 6:20 per mile.
I ran another 7.38 miles tonight with Angee, Kurt, and Charissa. I should have kept going an extra .42 miles and got 20 miles in for the day!
There are countless ways to do 400s and other speed workouts. Some people like to run faster and totally stop between repetitions. Others like to jog 200 meters really slow. Some go nearly all out. Others like to do it only slightly faster than marathon pace. The challenging part about this workout is that the recovery runs were at a pretty fast pace, so the body never gets fully recovered. This workout isn't terribly challenging the first two or three miles, but gets really difficult by the end. I think next time we are going to try to do 6.25 miles worth of these.
Variety is good in running and in life. It would get old eating chicken and peas every night. It would get old reading the same book of the Bible and the same episode of Seinfeld everyday. Even in my neighborhood the houses are different shades of brown.
Variety is an antidote to boredom which is an enemy of life. So variety is good. Practice it today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I am talking about money this weekend. Interesting subject.

Money. The more you think about it, the less you understand it. The paper it's printed on isn't worth a red cent. There was a time you could take it to the bank and get gold or silver for it. Now all you would get is a blank stare.

If the government declared that the leaves of the trees were money so there would be enough for everybody, money would be worthless. It has worth only because the government declares that it has worth and because people trust the government in that one particular although in every other particular they wouldn't trust it around the corner.

The value of money, like stocks and bonds, goes up and down for reasons not even the experts can explain and at moments nobody can predict, so you can be a millionaire one moment and a pauper the next without lifting a finger. Great fortunes can be made and lost completely on paper. There is more concrete reality in a baby's throwing its rattle out of the crib. There are people who use up their entire lives making money so they can enjoy the lives they have entirely used up.

Jesus says that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Maybe the reason is not that the rich are so wicked they're kept out of the place but that they're so out of touch with reality they can't see it's a place worth getting into.

All of us think about money every day. We have to. Culture sends us powerful messages about money. The best advice I have ever heard about money comes from John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement: “Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” It is counter-cultural. Some may even say it is foolish. But something special happens the moment you dip into your treasure, however small or however vast it may or may not be, and you give away. What you are saying is something like: “God has blessed me. I love you more than I love this money. So, here it is.”

Each week many of you say, “Here it is”, when you support our church financially. Each week so many of you say, “Here I am”, as you give your time and energy. I am so grateful and thankful for your commitment. Some of you have high-profile roles that people see. Others of you work behind the scenes. Know that all of you are appreciated and more importantly, all of you are serving in a ministry that is impacting people’s lives. In just over two months, on September 9th, we will celebrate our one year anniversary. It will be an incredible day where we will celebrate all the people who have said, “Here it is” and “Here I am”. We will celebrate lives that God is changing and dream about the future.

I overslept this morning. Machelle gave me a wake-up call at 7:20. They started without me and I met them in a different lot. I ran 12.1 miles this morning with a pack of people: Paul, Will, Linda, Machelle, Christy, Kurt, Maureen, and Joanie. I did the last three or four by myself. Nice day for a fun.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Big Dave

My father-in-law had his surgery today. It appears that everything went well. He has some recovery time in front of him, but has started the journey. Thanks to all for your prayers and please continue to remember Dave and our family in your prayers in the days in weeks to come. Here is a picture of Big Dave and Little Dave.

Christy, Machelle, and I ran 8 miles this morning. I think they ended up doing 12, but I only had time for 8. The first 4 miles were at 8:00 per mile and the last 4 were supposed to be at 6:00 per mile. We fell a little bit short of the goal on the faster 4 miles. The first two miles were right on pace, but we slowed down during the last two miles. At 6:00 a.m. it was already warm. It was hilly too which didn't help the cause any. It was still a good run.

We ran on a sidewalk this morning instead of the trail at the lake. The girls were getting quite a few people honking at them. I joked around: "I wonder why these people are honking at us? It must be my spiffy new shoes."

Monday, June 25, 2007


I usually enjoy Mondays. If I get a day off -- this is usually it. I started the day running with Kurt. We were out very early which was good because it warmed up fast. We ran 12 miles at an easy pace. He is running in a 5K race for blind runners this weekend in Atlanta. He is in great shape and should be good to go!

I picked up the house a little bit while the boys took a nap. Then we went swimming later in the afternoon. After Amber got home from work, we went to see her dad who is having heart surgery in the morning.

I remember looking at the boys when they were taking a nap. I thought about sleep. Both the good and the bad need sleep. We all sleep with the innocence of a child. The old and young, the rich and poor, and the good-looking and not-so-good-looking all have a serenity of a lone tree on top of a rolling hill on the prairie during a calm sunny day. We give up being in charge of much of anything and we can control almost nothing.

Sleep is probably best thought of as a rehearsal for our final resting place. The moment in time when we trust in the divine benevolence of God who gives us eternal serenity, hope, and strength

Here is a picture of David resting. As your can see and as you know, rest is a beautiful thing. And we all need it. I got some of it today.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Great Day

3:00 a.m.

I woke up, prayed, finished my sermon, practiced my sermon.

7:00 a.m.

Put on my running clothes and drove to Lake Zorinsky.

7:30 a.m.

Registered for the Siena Francis 10K and warmed up. Talked to a few people I knew. I usually don't run short races, especially those on Sunday morning, but this is for a great cause. Check their ministry out on the web.

8:00 a.m.

Ran the 10K (6.2 mile) race. I started off pretty conservative. I was probably in about 40th place at 400 meters. By 1200 meters I was with the leaders. At one mile I was in the lead with a college runner right beside me. I knew I wouldn't have a chance to beat him if it came down to a sprint at the end. I was hoping with all the heat and the hills I could drop him early. No such luck. I tried on the hill at 2.25 miles and then again between 3 and 4 miles where we ran a 5:30 mile. At 5 miles I started running out of gas. The 15 miler on Saturday and the 20 miler on Thursday left my reserves pretty empty. The kid pulled away and another guy passed me as well. I finished third and was very pleased with my time--36:03 for an average of 5:48 per mile.

8:36 a.m.

Headed to Russell Middle School to drop off some stuff.

9:00 a.m.

Shower / Dress / Eat

9:45 a.m.

Leave to Russell Middle School.

9:50 a.m.

Arrive at Russell. Help set-up as the trailer was delayed. Rocky's new nickname is Rip Van Winkle.

10:30 a.m.

Worship. I spoke about taking risks. Interesting stuff.

11:45 a.m.

I spoke with as many people as I could and helped tear-down.


Lunch with the family.

1:00 p.m.

I left for the Med Center with the family to see Amber's dad. He looked great and will be having surgery on Tuesday.

3:30 p.m.

Left for the church.

4:00 p.m.

The church had a reception for me because I was ordained a few weeks ago. It was awesome and I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. The number of people and the kindness of those people was overwhelming! They show me what it means to be the people of God everyday.

They had all most of my favorite foods -- baby back ribs, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, carrot cake, etc... A number of people roasted me. Who would have ever thought that Lonnie Gibson would have stole the show? I didn't even know she had a sense of humor. She was a like a stand-up comedian up there. From Lonnie's mouth: "I didn't know you didn't need to put oil in your car for a year until I met Craig." "I wondered why Craig started running. At first I thought he was trying to lose weight, then I thought he was training for a marathon. But I now know the real reason: have you seen the women he runs with?" They were all great. Thank you so much to everybody who planned, participated, and attended.

6:15 p.m.

Drove home.

6:30 p.m.

Talked to Jessi who is getting married in a few weeks as she needed to get her stuff to the printer tomorrow.

7:00 p.m.

Drove to Amber's parent's house.

7:15 p.m.

Mowed Amber's parent's lawn.

9:00 p.m.

Drove home.

9:30 p.m.

Hung out with the family.

10:00 p.m.


It was a great day!

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Last night we learned that Amber's dad was having some heart problems and is in the hospital. Scary stuff.

I ran very early in the morning with Stiffler. He likes to run very fast. I like to run slow. We compromised and cranked out about fifteen sub seven minute miles. I saw a lot of people from the church on the trail. Great job everybody!

Amber went to work when I got back home. She saw people all morning and then went to see her dad in the afternoon and evening. I got to spend all day with the boys. We had lots of fun. We went swimming, cleaned the house, took a nap, cleaned the house some more. When Amber got home, Benjamin and I went to the church and did some work. We stopped at Culver's on the way home and got some Custard. I asked him if he wanted to eat outside or inside. He said he wanted to eat outside because it would be more romantic. Too cute.

Here is a picture of David eating prunes today and a picture from his six month birthday yesterday.

Friday, June 22, 2007


No run today. No time. Plus my body needs the rest.

Risk is one of my favorite topics to speak about and to write about. Sunday morning I will share about what risk is, what it is not, why we need risk, and how and when to take risks that will enable us to grow, develop, and flourish.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about risk that I have compiled over the years.

All life is the management of risk, not its elimination. –Walter Wriston

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. –Andre Gide

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
-T.S. Elliot

To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose yourself. -Kierkegaard

The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those who sang best. -John James Audubon

He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things. -Marquis of Halifax

I have never met a Christian who sat down and planned to live a mediocre life.
-Howard Hendricks

The Word became flesh and then through theologians it became words again.
-Karl Barth

You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. -Wayne Gretzky

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. -Will Rogers

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. -Victor Hugo

To get profit without risk, experience without danger, and reward without work is as impossible as it is to live without being born. -Harry Truman

Progress always involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first. -Frederick B. Wilcox

On Sunday morning, we will be giving a game of Risk away, just like we have given Sorry and Trouble away in the past two weeks and just like we will be giving away Monopoly, Loaded Questions, You Must be an Idiot, and Life away in the next month. The first week we gave the couple who was most recently married the game of Sorry. Last week we gave the game, Trouble, to the dad with the most children. This week, Risk goes to the person who posts a story of a risk that you took. It can be funny. It can be profound. It can be a complete failure that you learned an important lesson from. We just want to hear your story.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I had an early morning sermon writing session. I finished the sermon, study guide, and even some other stuff between 4:00 and 6:00. David woke up at 6:00 so I played with him until around 8:00. Great way to spend a morning.

I met Tracy at Zorinsky at 8:30. We set out to do 15 miles. She did a great job but had to leave after about 13 miles. I decided to take another lap around the lake for a total of 20.41 miles. It was getting hot out there around 11:00. All three articles of clothing: my socks, shorts, and hat were all totally soaked.

Tracy is doing something really cool in 2008. She is going to run a marathon a month to raise money for her daughter's school. Her oldest daughter has autism and goes to the Madonna School. Tracy's goal is to raise thousands of dollars for the school. She'll do great and will raise money for a good cause. I'll let you know more details on how to support her as details are finalized.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery once wrote, "If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." Tracy's dream wasn't handed down to her by a school administrator looking for money, but rather her love for children. She will run over 300 miles in 12 days during 2008 because of that love.

What are you dreaming about? Know that your dreams can come true.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Kurt and I ran 12.5 miles early this morning, including 5 miles in the F Street Hills, the rolling terrain between about 172nd Street and 204th Street. Most of the running, especially the 7.35 miles around Lake Zorinsky was at an easy pace, but we worked the hills pretty hard.

I noticed something about the hills. Running down a hill isn't that much easier than running on level ground. Running up a hill is tough.

I think life may be that way as well. We don't notice or enjoy times of peace and rest, but the struggles can be a bit overwhelming. I guess the lesson is this: work the uphills with determination and know at the top of the hill is the best view and a downhill to enjoy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nothing Else Really Matters

When I was a seminary student at Emory University, a professor told us a story of a final exam he once gave for a Christian History class. The test was one question: "Name the most important event in the history of Christianity and explain why you believe this was the most significant event." Pages could be written on the invention of the printing press, the Protestant Reformation, the Council of Nicea, the early Methodist movement in England, and others. He said that the most interesting answer (and the best answer) he ever received was only two sentences and took up only two lines in a booklet made for a sixteen page essay: "The resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without this, nothing else really matters." The student received an "A".

Without the resurrection of Jesus, nothing else really matters. For billions of Christians throughout the world, life will never be the same again. Come to think of it, neither will death. I don't fully comprehend the resurrection, but in faith I believe that Jesus rose from the dead with new life in him. I was not there to see the resurrection any more that I was awake to see the sun rise this morning, but I believe in the resurrection of the Son that has flooded the world with love as much as I believe that the sun rose this morning and has flooded the world with light.

As I was reading the resurrection story in the Bible this morning (Matthew 28), I remembered that without the resurrection nothing else really matters. The resurrection makes us better today and gives us life forever. What a gift!

I did a rare double workout today. I ran with Maureen this morning. About 8 miles at just over 8 minutes per mile. I think she might be pregnant, so I didn't press the pace. Kurt and I ran just over 6 miles in the evening at just under 8 minutes per mile. I was tired and it was hot, so I couldn't really push the pace. Two nice runs with two nice people.

Monday, June 18, 2007

College World Series

A special thanks to Dick Hauptman via Mark Hauptman for hooking us up with some great tickets to the College World Series today. Wow. What a game! Cal Irvine (the team Benjamin and I were cheering for - I asked Benjamin if he wanted to cheer for the Anteaters or the Titans - guess which one he picked...) beat Cal Fullerton 5-4 in 13 innings. It was the longest game ever in the College World Series, 5 hours and 40 minutes. It beat the old record by 40 minutes. It also had the most runners left on base and the most full-counts.

Benjamin enjoyed the nutritious and economical food served at the stadium. The cotton candy, hot dogs, frozen lemonades, regular lemonade, and nachos were enough to keep him going strong.

The only time I had to run was late tonight. I felt good. I just did an easy 7.38 miles at about seven minutes per mile in the dark at Lake Zorinsky.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

This morning Benjamin and David surprised me with matching shirts: "My Dad Rocks!"

When a child is born, a father is also born. A mother is born too, of course, but at least she has had nine months to grasp what is going on. But for even for the father who is somewhat prepared, the baby is born in a moment. He or she is about the size of a football. The parents think the baby is cute. The baby may or may not have any hair. The baby is also a child of God.

Even if the father should decide to abandon the baby ten minutes after the baby is born, the knowledge that he is a father of a child he never got to know will plague him for the rest of his days. He has experienced creation. He even has his mark upon creation and creation has its mark upon him. Both marks are, for better or worse, impossible to remove.

When the father lays down the law, the father knows that someday his children will break it as they need to break it if ever they’re to find something better to replace it. Most all father’s intuitively know that grace is much better than the law. Until and unless that happens, there’s no telling the scrapes they will get into trying to lose him and find themselves. Terrible blunders will be made – disappointments and failures, hurts and losses of every kind. And they’ll keep making them even after they’ve found themselves too, of course, because growing up is a process that goes on and on. And every hard knock they ever get knocks the father even harder still if that’s possible, and if and when they finally come through more or less in one piece at the end, there’s not much rejoicing greater than this in all creation.

Today is sixteen weeks out from the Twin Cities Marathon. The Marathon Blog begins today. The race is Sunday, October 7th. I can't wait! Tonight was an easy night. I meant to go this morning, but didn't have my sermon done. I did 7.38 miles in 54 minutes in the dark at Lake Zorinsky. Thanks to Amber, Benjamin, and David for making this day special.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Remembering Grandma

I officiated the funeral for my materal Grandmother today. Grandma Fern was a saint. Here is what I wrote in my column for the bulletin at The Water's Edge yesterday.
I was blessed to grow up in the same little town as my four grandparents. Our little community, comprised mostly of Norwegian immigrants, is surrounded by thousands of acres of rich farmland in northwest Iowa. My grandma Fern grew up on one of these farms. She wasn't Norwegian; she was English. I vaguely remember my great-grandmother, Elizabeth, who was from London, speaking with her English accent. She would say she wasn't the one with an accent. We were the people with the accent.
I remember words of love from Grandma Fern. She was an exceptionally strong woman who made some mean cookies and was even able to make roast beef edible. Her first husband died in a car accident when she was a young woman. She raised my mom and my aunt by herself for a number of years. She was a faithful woman. She loved God and she loved the Church. Her words of kindness, grace, and forgiveness came from her strength and her faith in God.
Grandma was the last of her generation. She died on Tuesday afternoon. She found her final resting place in the arms of her Savior. Although she fell somewhere short of perfection, she embodied forgiveness. Much of what I understand about forgiveness and much of how I experience and practice forgiveness is because she modeled forgiveness in her life. She taught that reconciled is better than resentful and that mercy is better than madness.
Tomorrow morning, in the same church I did the funeral for my childhood best friend a few months ago, I will be doing my grandma's funeral. It will be a celebration of life and a celebration of the forgiveness that at the end of the day really matters--God's forgiveness. My prayer for all of us is this: That we can all live as people who are forgiven and forgiving.
A couple family photos:
1) Sister Jane, niece Little Alex, and the boys
2) Siblings (yes, I am by FAR the youngest. Not even close!)

Friday, June 8, 2007


After ten years, two seminaries, and four churches -- I finally made it! I am an Elder in the United Methodist Church. I am currently the youngest Elder in the Nebraska Annual Conference, but I will hopefully give that distinction to a young ministry colleague next year. Anyway, thanks to my mentors for investing in me, my professors for teaching me, my churches for embracing me, and to Amber for being patient.

Nice robe, huh? Don't worry -- most Sunday mornings I'll still be wearing jeans and one of those spiffy shirts.