Monday, April 30, 2007

Great Weekend!

What a beautiful weekend! And the weather was nice too. We spent the vast majority of it outside. Friday night we dropped the boys off at Brad and Sarah's and then went to a Fernando Ortega concert. It was so nice to be with JUST Amanda. The concert was also good. We hung out with Brad and Sarah on Saturday which was a lot of fun. On Saturday night, Brad and Sarah were baptized at their church. It was a great time to hear about their commitment to Christ and to hear from others about what God had done in their lives. I was reminded again that God still works miraculously in the lives of His elect. Then last night we took the boys to the children's musical Seussical. The boys really enjoyed the music. The photo above is my favorite picture of Ben from the past few weeks. He owns. Below you'll find a collage of some good outdoor BCM pics. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Summer Schedule

I just turned in my summer schedule to my boss yesterday. It looks like it is going to be a busy summer. I am meeting my TU friends in Chicago for Memorial Day weekend. Then I will be at the annual ACSD conference here at Northwestern College the first week in June. Nagel Family Vacation happens later in June, followed in July by a little girl being born at our house. It will make for an exciting and fast-paced summer. Every summer seems way to short and I am sure that this one will be no different. I hope to get some camping in with the boys. (It might have to be the backyard.) I would also like to get to Alpena. I am not sure if this will even be feasible. What are your summer plans? Its right around the corner.

Poor Caleb

This has been quite a week for poor Caleb. Last Sunday he woke up and said that his tummy hurt. He threw up for the first time while Ben and Amanda were at church. He has thrown up every day since then. We tried not feeding him anything earlier in the week, but he cried and said that he was really hungry. So we thought, "if he's really hungry he must be feeling better." Then, up it came. The past two days he has been holding everything down. But he has thrown up during the night. We have changed lots of sheets and pj's. We have thought about calling the doctor, but we're not really sure what they would do about a stomach thing. When we woke up this morning though and he had thrown up again, I told Amanda it was time to give the doctor a call. I sure hope he feels better. There is nothing worse than a poor sweet little boy who is sick.

I was home for lunch and Amanda had called the doctor. Of course, they said just wait out the weekend. If he's still throwing up, call them. They think it must be a stomach virus. Poor guy! I was so done in, I stayed home and took a nap for a few hours. I have to work late tonight. UUUHH! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Matty's first haircut

I remember the day that Matthew was born well. I remember the doctor pulling as hard as he could to get him out. I remember him having trouble breathing at first and us bringing him in to Amanda in the recovery room. I remember Shirley and Mom bringing the boys up to the hospital to meet their new little brother. Both were rather uninterested. I remember Allison holding him and crying.

Last night we gave Matty his first haircut. There have been many firsts. Now he is becoming a little person with many opinions and tons of personality. He doesn't put up with any gruff from his brothers, but loves to give them hugs. He struggles with patience from about 4:00 until dinner time. He loves to go to bed. He LOVES balls--baseball, soccer ball, basketball, little ball, big ball. He loves his mom and gets very excited when I get home. He has a lot to say, but just hasn't figured out the words to say it. He is a beautiful, sweet little boy. He is our Matt-t-t.

New Pics

Check out some new pics from Easter and this month. Mom, there is a picture of the new chair in there too. We love you all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


After my last post, I thought to myself, "That looks like a pretty sweet band picture." So, INTRODUCING, the hottest ticket in the Twin Cities--BCM, with their new hit album Your Love Is A Battlefield. The thing that makes it totally "bandworthy" is the look on Matty's face. He is so hardcore. I think I have been at work too long.

Who are these guys?

I love this picture of the boys. I'm not sure when exactly it is from, but its great! They all have such fun personalities. They are a huge gift in my life.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A new church?

I grew up in two different churches. From age 2-10, we went to Waterford Community Church (Check out their website Gammonses. Mary Jane (Strader) Johns is the worship director) in the Detroit Area. From age 10-until I left home, I went to Word of Life Baptist Church in Alpena. My mom still goes there. In my dad's eyes, there was nothing worse than church hopping. Church was a community that you committed to and then worked on from the inside. This has always been my longing for church as well. Since I left Alpena though, we have struggled to find this.

Yesterday we tried out the north campus of Bethlehem Baptist Church. This is John Piper's church. There are three campuses. He is at each one every third week and the other two weeks, you watch his sermon on video. This is obviously a little weird, but I think it would be something we could get used to. We decided to try out BBC because we thought it would be a little more traditional, great teaching and more focused on the Bible. We were right on all accounts.
  • The teaching was great. Piper doesn't mince any words and just preaches through the scriptures.
  • Traditional? Out of the 8 songs that they sand during worship, four were the following hymns.
    • "Thine is the Glory"--Budry/Handel
    • "Standing on the Promises"--R. Kelso Carter
    • "Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven"--Lyte/Andrews
    • "Day By Day and With Each Passing Moment"--Skoog/Sandell-Berg/Anhfelt
The other songs were one from the Getty's at Parkside Church, "Thy Word" by Amy Grant, and a Fernando Ortega song. It was pretty emotional. It seemed like God was meeting me exactly where I was at. It was great.
  • The Bible. The whole service was focused on the Bible. They read about a chapter of scripture that the teaching was based on. They quoted scripture throughout the worship. It was good.
We are definitely going back next Sunday. It will be a difficult decision to leave the church we're at now. We have met some great people who we have gotten to know. I have been meeting with some guys on Monday mornings and they will be a difficult group to leave.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Go Twins!

Last night I went to the Twins game with a couple of guys from work. (Thanks for the ticks, Dave.) It was a fun night. The best part was the company and the TWO Dome Dogs and the large Coke that I enjoyed. The Twins got pummeled by the Yanks, 10-1.

I had originally intended to take the boys, but I found out that the game didn't start until 7:10. When Bill told me that the game wouldn't be over until 10:30 pm, I figured they wouldn't really make it. When I told Ben yesterday that I was going to a baseball game, he teared all up and said, "I want to go to the baseball game." OUCH! I told him we would go to a different game sometime soon. We'll have to shoot for a Saturday game. I am also hoping to take in some Saint Paul Saints games this summer with the boys. They are a minor league team and have an open air stadium.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Grandparent's Hymnbook

I was raised in a church where every Sunday morning a gray-haired gentleman would get up and say, "Please take your hymnal and turn with me to hymn number 325. We'll sing stanzas 1, 2 and 4. A Mighty Fortress." My dad eventually became that gray-haired man. Therefore, the singing of hymns and some more than others, is close to my heart and has been a large part of my growing in the faith. Unless you grew up in a similar church (see Gregg's post on a similar topic), this may not mean much.

First, I must say that I remember at Ripley Blvd. Baptist Church, when they purchased a slew of light blue "chorus books". This was the beginning of the turn to what many worship services are today. I must also say that there are many Sunday mornings when the Holy Spirit is faithful and meets me through the singing of a good G, C, D chord progression praise chorus. Rather than focus on the lack of theology in the current worship music or performance standards of today's worship leader, I'll focus this post on the importance of the retention of hymnody.

For the past 350+ years, we have sung a certain type of church music. That music has grown and changed, but stayed mostly to a consistent character. This is where countless generations learned to sing four part harmony. This is where many musicians learned to read music and follow a musical score. Not only that, but there is something to be said for having a consistent worship music that brings a community together. This is what the book of Psalms has been used for for thousands of years. Will we be singing "Shine Jesus Shine" or any of Chris Tomlin's songs even 10 years from now? It is important, simply from a historical standpoint, to include some of these hymns in the current worship music.

Here is a brief list of some of my favorites.
Fanny Crosby--My dad was a HUGE fan.
"All the Way My Savior Leads Me"
"Blessed Assurance"
"Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It"
"Rescue the Perishing"
"Tell Me the Story of Jesus"
"To God Be the Glory"--I remember singing this after many services at Waterford Community Church.

Charles Wesley
"And Can It Be That I Should Gain?"
"Christ the Lord Is Risen Today"--Did you sing this last Sunday? Me neither.
"O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing"

"What a Friend We Have In Jesus"
"Be Thou My Vision"
"Love Lifted Me"
"Out of the Ivory Palaces"--My mom's favorite hymn
"Great is Thy Faithfulness"
"How Great Thou Art"--I prefer Donna Pollard's version.

The list could definitely go on further, but those are a few. We have tried, as a part of our after dinner ritual, to sing a different hymn every week with the boys. Sometimes I don't think they are getting it, because they usually don't sing along. Yesterday though, I heard Caleb singing "At the cwoss, at the cwoss, da da da da da da da." Keep singing hymns with your family and encouraging your churches to do likewise.

Monday, April 9, 2007


Do you have a list of blogs that you read everyday? I do. When I heard that there was a way for me to check to see if there was a new post on my favorite blogs from one homepage, I surfed right over. The service is called Netvibes. Like Google's homepage, yahoo's homepage and others, you build the site that you want. Mine, as you'll see below, has feeds from all of my favorite blogs. I also have a tab for news feeds that I like to read--Minnesota Public Radio, Google news, Time magazine. Anything that has an RSS feed (all blogs and most other sites do) can be posted on your page. You can also include cool modules that give you weather, gas prices (see pic below) and many other fun things. It even tells me if I have new e-mail.

So stop wasting valuable company time by surfing all over the Internet to read your favorite blogs and news sites.

Music Blogs

There is a new trend out there called MP3 blogs. It goes something like this. Bobby loves alternative bands and goes to shows and tapes many of them. He then uploads them to his blog with a description of the show. Ideally, the band that he recorded has given him permission to record and to post the show. (Yes, some musicians are more interested in getting their music out than becoming millionaires.) Sometimes though, bloggers post mp3's that they do not have permission to post. This obviously is copyright infringement, but many bloggers put a disclaimer on their site stating that the music is just for sampling. They often put links up to places where you can buy the songs (Amazon, iTunes, emusic.) Because they are such small time operations and because they often focus on indie bands and unsigned bands, they skirt any sort of legal actions by record labels. Also, the links are usually only live for a given amount of time.

I have sampled a lot of music from these blogs. There is a very interesting search engine, The Hype Machine, that searches many of these blogs for songs or artists. You can enter your favorite artist and it will bring up all of the recent mp3's that have been posted. Then you can download them.

A couple of the blogs where I have found good music are the following.
Musicblog (Crown Pointe Church--Yes, the one at which Jon Cavanagh did an internship)
I just found this one today. The irony is thick when a church illegally posts worship music.
An Aquarium Drunkard
Alt-country, alternative
Springsteen, alt-country, folk
Lots of great live shows

Check out some of these blogs and The Hype Machine and let me know what you think.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Happy Easter

I have already enjoyed this Holy Week so much. I am looking forward to a good weekend of focusing on God's gift of salvation. One of the ways that we have been focusing on this is by trying to teach the boys about it. We have been reading the Holy Week stories from the book of Mark after dinner and singing "He Lives" for our hymn. Then at night we have been reading from the book about passion hymns, Passion Hymns for a Kid's Heart. I mentioned the Christmas version of this book in an earlier post. These are good books if you've got kids.

Amanda has really been amazing with the boys lately. Sometimes I come back into their world and am amazed at the work that she puts in. Yesterday was one such moment. I got home and found their passion week time line (pictured below) on the co
unter. I was so impressed and so proud. The best part was when the boys came out and were also very proud of what they had done. It was great to hear them talk about it too. Caleb was hilarious when he would answer the questions about how "Jesus died on the cwoss." As I seek to help the boys know more about Jesus, the Holy Spirit is faithful to also draw me into a deeper relationship with Him. This is the cliche "To teach is to learn twice." Happy Easter to each of you. He is risen . . . indeed.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Whenever you dream, you are disappointed. Who of us has not dreamed of something, only to have that dream dashed. A dream of a child is postponed in struggles to become pregnant; a dream of a fulfilling vocation is stalled in a frustrating job; a dream of growing old with the person you love is ended by death or divorce; a dream of many tomorrows is halted by one sentence from a doctor; a dream of "the perfect family" is smeared by the reality of sin and heartache.

What do we do with these dashed dreams? Where do we take this heartache? Michael Card (who I wrote about in this earlier post) was facing similar questions when he decided to work on an album of songs of lament. I was listening to one of these on my way home from lunch today. On his radio program, In the Studio with Michael Card, he was talking with Pastor Donald Cole about Psalm 73. In this psalm, Asaph, the writer struggles with seeing people all around him doing well, while he struggling.

1A psalm of Asaph.
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.

3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

This didn't make sense to him at all, until he sought out God.

16 When I tried to understand all this,
it was oppressive to me

17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

In an interview with, Michael Card described his eventual conclusion about shattered dreams and lament. "'We think we need answers from God for life’s struggles,' says Michael. 'But in actuality, we just need Him. The answer is His presence. God moved off the throne to meet Job face to face, just like Jesus left heaven and came here to feel our pain. He was a ‘man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.’ Like Job, our theology will fail us in times of intense sadness. But the presence of God, made plain to us through Jesus, is exactly what we need in the midst of our suffering. He is the only One who truly understands how cruel life on earth can be.'"

Whether you are in a place where all of your dreams seem to be coming true or whether you are in a dessert of frustration, God can be with you. It is up to you to offer him your pain and your heartache. Michael Card's song "Come Lift Up Your Sorrows" from his album The Hidden Face of God is a great place for that to begin.

If you are wounded, if you are alone,
If you are angry, if your heart is cold as stone,
If you have fallen and if you are weak,
Come find the worth of God
That only the suffering seek.

Come lift up your sorrows
And offer your pain;
Come make a sacrifice
Of all your shame;
There in your wilderness
He's waiting for you
To worship Him with your wounds,
For he's wounded too.

Download "Come Lift Up Your Sorrows" at emusic.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Where have the Falders gone?

My daily blog ritual contains visits to the following blogs: everything nagel (Amanda's brother Gregg and his wife Allison's blog), The Falders (my sister Tricia's blog), Alpena to Naples (my mom Sharon's blog) and (my friend from work, Bill's blog).

Lately, there's been a HUGE hole in my ritual. Tricia has been out of the blogosphere for quite a while and she has been missed. She has been a new mother for five months and while that is obviously and should be her #1 priority, we are hoping for a resurgence in blog activity. To that end, I will suggest some topics that might be of interest to her readers.

  1. What are you thinking about? Dreaming about? Wondering about? Scared about? For instance, I have been thinking a lot about the misogynistic view of girls in our society. I am nervous, scared, disgusted by the way that girls (especially 11-22) are only viewed as having value because of their sexuality. This came up when I was reading an article about Wynton Marsalis in Paste Magazine. He was talking about the 5 things that are most frustrating to him about today's society. Misogyny was on the list. I have also been thinking about how I will try and overcome this when our daughter is born. What do you think about this Tricia?
  2. What is it like to live in Pennsylvania? What do you like? Dislike?
  3. What are you reading? Listening to?
  4. What is it like to be a mother? Is it what you thought it would be? Best part? Worst part?
  5. What do you think about the price of tea in China?
Anyway, just some ideas. We hope you're back soon.


We returned last night from a whirlwind trip to Chicago. It was great to see family (G&A, Shube, the Shumates, the Fjellanders). Trying to take two little boys (we left Matthew with Dave and Joni) on a weekend trip like that was probably a mistake. The boys did a great job in the car considering, but the drive was not real enjoyable for anyone.

When Amanda and I were debriefing last night, we talked about the difficult decisions that will come down the road. If we are going to have a large family (at least four kids), then there are going to be certain things that we simply cannot do. Here are a few of which I can think.

Load the kids in a car for a quick weekend trip of six+ hours: This is the first one that comes to mind. To do the Chicago trip (or longer) with our whole family wouldn't make sense. We talked about only driving a long distance if we can stay longer than a few days. If we can stay a longer time, it makes the long drive more manageable.

Fly: For us to fly a family of six anywhere, this would be the equation.
$1500= $250 x 6 airplane tickets
$300= car rental of minivan (six people do not fit into a compact car)
Those are good deals too. The price would more likely be higher.

So this means, like I wrote, some difficult decisions. What do we do when our whole family is going somewhere for a holiday? What do we do when someone dies or gets married? God has led us to have a larger family and so I guess that God has also led us to miss out on some things and for us to stay home more often than not. In order that this doesn't sound like a "poor me," we are so glad that we have the boys and this little girl coming. We wouldn't want it any other way. I guess "its all about trade-offs."

New Video Bar

Check out the new video bar at the right of the blog. You can click on a video and it will play at the top of the blog. You can watch a bunch of great Gammons videos without even leaving out blog. Enjoy.