Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fourteen

Even though I only have a moment here at the mall (our internet service is shut off now since we're moving on Thursday), I wanted to at least post a few pictures and say what a great young man my firstborn is. I'm so proud of him and so glad God gave him to Luanne and me.



PCC, circa 2001. Josh is second from the right. Can you name the other kids?



1999. Four years old. We were at Disneyland. He got off of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and said "I don't like fast trains."



May 2009. On a real, live Texas ranch with youth group friends from MDPC.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"What's Next, Papa?"

Romans 8:15-17 (The Message)

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!

Houston to Simi via Tulsa

Leaving a week from tomorrow...


View Nightingale Road Trip! in a larger map

Friday, May 22, 2009

Talent

I don't know what my second-favorite moment was. Maybe it was the kid who did a card trick on a table with his back to the audience. Maybe it was the two sweet, gawky girls who sang along with The Fray on "How To Save a Life." Maybe it was one of the many self-written skits featuring hard-to-hear dialogue and over-the-top slapstick comedy. But then there was the dance solo (with tumbling!) to "Billie Jean" and the stock endless violin duet... and, of course, the cute girls trio dancing to Rihanna. Please. Don't stop the music.

But there can be no doubt that my favorite moment of the fifth grade talent show was my son's drum solo. Jake closed the show and rocked the house. Rock and roll forever!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Great Sell-Off

We are leaving Houston two weeks from tomorrow, but we've been packing for several weeks now already. We're using PODS ("Portable On Demand Storage") this time around, and when our house flooded last month, we had the first POD delivered early. Figured we might as well pack that instead of putting everything back in place in the house.

As we've packed it, we've decided that we're going to try to fit everything into one POD. It will save a lot of money on storage and moving costs, and it'll help us to downsize... to strip it all down to what really matters. What doesn't fit in the POD, we'll drive with us to California in the van and the car.

But no matter how we try, we can't get it ALL in, so we're having a moving sale Friday morning. I posted it on Craigslist. Come help us make a few bucks and get rid of some things! Dining room table? We got it. TV? Mountain bike? Refrigerator? Step right up. Futon? Everybody needs a futon, right?

Here are some links to individual items and photos of most of the big stuff we're selling...

K'nex
Trek Women's Mountain Bike

Dining Room Table & Chairs

Futon
Kids' Desk
TV
Refrigerator

Christmas Tree

Friday, May 15, 2009

Free Live Coldplay



According to the band's website, "This is a thank you to our fans." Download it here.

The Campaign to Save Paste


My favorite magazine for music, film and culture in general is Paste. I highly recommend it so anyone looking for "signs of life" out there. I've been a subscriber from day one, and I've seen the magazine just get better and better. They (and their incredible CD sampler that comes with each issue) have introduced me to artists who have become favorites: Joan As Police Woman, Erin McKeown, Josh Ritter, Josh Rouse, She & Him, The Decemberists, Pedro the Lion, Mindy Smith, John Vanderslice, Rosie Thomas, Mates of State, Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird.

Now Paste, like so many of us, has fallen on hard times. Thus "The Campaign to Save Paste." I'm a supporter. Will you join me? For any donation, you receive 70+ rare and live tracks from all kinds of great artists, including one from oh-so-controversial-right-now Derek Webb's upcoming release, Stockholm Syndrome.

Support Paste here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Plans

Just a quick post to let you know what's up next for the Nightingales. I'm grateful for those of you who are praying for us and checking in.

We're here in Houston for another three weeks, and then we're going to head to California to live, again, with Luanne's mom and dad. Bless them. They're going to let a rambunctious family of six barge in and take over their quiet little house. We're grateful, and we are excited to be with the family again. We always have a really great time there.

While we wait to see what will happen on the job front, Luanne and I will probably get part-time jobs somewhere. Every bit of cash we can make at this point will go a long way toward paying bills, health insurance, etc. If you think of us, please pray that we'll get good jobs quickly. I'd be happy to stock shelves, clean offices, answer phones, whatever... And if you have any connections in Simi Valley who might have a job or know of one, please let us know.

I will also be available for filling in as a guest worship leader. Please let me know of any opportunities you're aware of in and around Ventura County.

As we leave on June 4, we'll be actually heading north for several days. I'm in conversation with Redeemer Covenant Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about their open worship director position, so we're going to take this opportunity to visit the church, check out the city, meet with some of the leadership team on more of an informal, social basis... It should be fun, and hopefully it will give us some answers about whether we will be continuing to move forward with this possibility. We have really enjoyed getting to know the folks at Redeemer so far, so we're excited to see if this might be "what's next." Please pray for God's plans to be revealed clearly on the weekend of June 5-7.

The first week of July, we'll be back "home" in the Bay Area... I'm leading worship for family camp at Mission Springs Camp and Conference Center from June 29 to July 5. We hope to see some of you there. We're so excited to be back in a place we love so much.

Well, those are our plans. But as I was reminded in a letter last week, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (Proverbs 16:9, NLT) I continue to wait with great anticipation for God's plans to be revealed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Luanne!

On May 5, 19__, at 7:34am, my sweet wife, Luanne, entered this world. Thanks be to God.

Check out these awesome pics... She looks so much like our Emily!





And here are a couple from tonight's little celebration...



Now we're leaving the kids and heading out to Taste of Texas... Thanks to a generous birthday gift card! People tell us we're in for a treat!

Monday, May 4, 2009

One More Month

I was driving home from a Lead Team meeting tonight and suddenly realized that one month from tonight we'll be leaving Houston. We will have lived here for 9 months and 13 days.

As Dag Hammarskjöld wrote in Markings, a collection of his journal entries published in 1964, "For all that has been - Thanks. For all that shall be - Yes."

Bring it on.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Nightingale Update - 5/3/09

Here are excerpts from an update email we sent out tonight. We are grateful for the love and prayers we know are surrounding us during this time of real uncertainty in our family.

************************************************************************

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick update from the Nightingales. We appreciate your love, friendship, prayers, support...

It's been a challenging week. On Monday night Houston experienced a deluge... 10 inches of rain fell in just about 4 hours. Our old house couldn't keep the water out, so we had 1-2 inches of water over most of the floors in the house. It was quite an experience, waking kids up and throwing stuff up on beds, tables, couches... We are thankful that more was not lost, but we did see significant damage done to some really precious things: yearbooks, kids' memorabilia, many of my books, etc. We stayed with the Laws Tuesday night while the house dried out a little bit.

After some really intense wrangling with the landlord, we're grateful to be able to stay in the house through June 4 for free. The downside? We have to do all the cleaning, etc. for ourselves. But it's almost done, really... and totally worth the money we'll save. Now please join us in praying for no more hard rain in Houston until we leave! The landlord tells us he'll likely be demolishing the house as soon as we're out.

Last time I wrote I shared about the churches we were in conversation with. Let me update you and ask for your continued prayers...

[A bunch of stuff here about the specific churches we're talking to...]

We'll be leaving Houston on June 5... Then it's on to California! Please pray for our safety and for a good time of being together as a family. Of course, your prayers for the next job are greatly appreciated. It's a journey of faith for sure, and we're trying to trust in God as we wonder what in the world is next and how He will care for our family. I'm wide open to the possibility of working in a "civilian" job if I don't find the right church position soon. Pray that that would be clear to us and that God would provide.

Thanks so much.

Matt

EGGS Retreat

I'm really grateful for Luke Gordon, Elizabeth Braun and the EGGS group at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. When we moved to Houston back in August, we knew it would be important for Josh to find a group of peers who were following Jesus with him. He and I checked out a few local churches, and we really liked what was going on at MDPC. Luke is a great guy who's passionate about middle schoolers. And to make things even better, there was a group of guys who had been meeting together in a mom's home for years. Elizabeth Braun has been hosting first SIGGs (SIxth Grade Guys), then SEGGs (SEventh Grade Guys) and now EGGs (Eight Grade Guys). (Of course next year could be a problem... Ninth Grade Guys... Oh well...)

EGGs met as often as they could throughout the year, sometimes on Tuesdays after school, sometimes on Saturday mornings. There was always lots and lots of food. Sometimes there was swimming or games. And there was always prayer and bible study. Josh made some really good friends through this great group of guys and their leaders.

I had the privilege of spending 24 hours with these guys this weekend. We got together Friday afternoon and drove out to a ranch about 90 minutes southwest of Houston. It was everything you'd want a Texas ranch to be: 4-wheelers, fishing, BBQ, cows, horses, pigs, dogs, lizards, big spiders... We had a blast.

I got to lead in worship and give a couple talks about the Holy Spirit... Friday night we talked about the Holy Spirit and His role in empowering us and revealing God to us. I shared about the journey my family and I have been on... following God as the Holy Spirit leads. Saturday morning I talked about how the Holy Spirit purifies us. I shared some of my struggles and the freedom that I have found in Christ... It was a great time, and I pray that my words will resonate with them as they go out from here. Remember: There is NOTHING we can do to make God love us any less. Thank God!

Here are some pictures from our time together:



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