Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

Nearly 10 years ago, January 29, 2006, the world lost one of its helpers when Lauren Avezzie unexpectedly passed away while vacationing on the Caribbean island of Dominica. My wife Jaime and I attended Pepperdine University with Lauren in the early 2000’s.

As Lauren and Jaime were two of the few students in Malibu from Connecticut, I had the opportunity to get a chance to know Lauren a bit. In the time we spent together, her compassion for the underprivileged, especially kids, was abundantly evident. I remember one conversation with Lauren distinctly, shortly before Jaime and I got married and ultimately transferred schools.

Lauren sparkled as she shared her involvement with at-risk youth in the Hartford area and I related my experience working with kids in Southern California. We dreamed up a future in which we might ultimately team up back in Connecticut someday. Lauren specifically noted that her mom Cindi would be a good person to connect with.
We were in Montana a couple years later when we received a phone call from our good friend Evan Dent with news of Lauren’s premature death. Later in 2006, we moved back to Connecticut and have often thought about Lauren and her family in the years since, looking forward to a day we may be able to continue working with her, the way we dreamed years ago.

Over the past eight-plus years since our return to Connecticut, Jaime and I have had four children and have lived in four homes, but are now finally settling in a bit. With a little stability and a some consistent sleep for the first time in years, I decided I would begin work on checking off my bucket list agenda item of running a full marathon with my wife’s full support. But we can’t do this alone – no, we will be running this together and are asking for your support!

I realize running 26.2 miles is not everyone’s thing, but we are seeking your help now. I will be running the Miami Marathon on January 24, 2016, in memory and celebration of Lauren’s life. We need you to help sponsor the 26.2 miles with all of the funds raised going to the Lauren E. Avezzie Charitable Foundation.

Though we lost Lauren, her passion and spirit for helping others continues on through her foundation set up by her parents David and Cindi. Through their efforts and the compassion of folks like yourself, Lauren’s Foundation is able to donate funds to scholarships and community service awards, food to families in need, books to libraries, help kids go to summer camp, send Christian missionaries domestic and abroad, combat Human Trafficking, fund youth baseball and help other parents grieve their lost children, among other worthy causes here in Connecticut. (see below for the charitable foundation’s full contribution listing for 2015-2016 and visit for more details).

We are teaming up with Lauren and her family to make a difference here in New England. Will you help us?

By clicking the link below, you can sponsor a mile of the marathon for $100, a half mile at $50 or even a fifth of a mile at $20! Every little bit will help both Lauren’s charitable causes and myself, keeping me focused on the road while training and on the big day knowing we have your support backing us.

Click here to support The Lauren Fund Run at the Miami Marathon 2016!

Thank you so much for your help!

* Note: For anyone who would like to support this effort either financially or in spirit, I would love for you to share a favorite song of yours for the running playlists or anything you may want lifted up in prayer in the comments below, I will be out on the road (and treadmill) quite a bit in the upcoming months and would like to use this time for good.


The mission of the Lauren E. Avezzie Charitable Foundation is to support programs that will help others who are in need. The Lauren E. Avezzie Charitable Foundation was established to bring honor and glory to God’s Kingdom, to keep Lauren’s memory alive and to support places and causes that were important to her.

The complete 2015-2016 contribution listing is as follows:

  • Lauren Avezzie Award – Scholarship at Farmington High School, Farmington, CT
  • Lauren Avezzie Award – Scholarship at The Master’s School, West Simsbury, CT
  • Lauren Avezzie Outstanding Community Service Award – Scholarship at ClassicalMagnet School, Hartford, CT
  • Connecticut Food Bank
  • Foodshare Incorporated
  • Feed My Starving Children
  • Valley Community Baptist Church Deacon Fund, Avon, CT Thanksgiving Food Drive
  • Donation to the Eagle Open-Benefit Farmington Public Schools PTO’s
  • Lauren Avezzie Corner, books donated to Union School library, Unionville, CT
  • Classical Magnet School Library and Reading Program, Hartford, CT
  • Farmington Youth Baseball League
  • Support local and international mission initiatives including:
    • Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU)
    • African Inland Mission
    • Youth Challenge of Connecticut
    • Hartford City Mission
    • Colink-Adam & Sari Abramson, Africa
    • Colink-Daniel Turbiak, Thailand
    • Good Samaritan Community Center, Dominican Republic
  • Hearts that HEAL – Bereavement group for mothers who have lost a child
  • Amirah, Inc. – Boston, MA (
  • Love146 – New Haven, CT (
  • Amazon Conservative Team – Arlington, VA
  • Roaring Brook Nature Center, Canton, CT
  • Mayor Mike Foundation, Hartford, CT
  • Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camp
  • The Salvation Army
  • Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • Mary’s Place, Windsor, CT (

Nothing New Under The Sun

Posted: March 13, 2007 in Uncategorized

I have been reading in Ecclesiastes the past few days and in reflecting on there being “nothing new under the sun” realized that MySpace became the new Xanga and then Facebook became the new MySpace and so it goes as it has always gone and will continue to go. Anyway, just wanted to visit my “old” friend here and recommend Dallas Willard’s “The Spirit of the Disciplines”. I am only about a quarter of the way through it so far but I am thoroughly enjoying it and am thinking that its subject matter of the necessity of spiritual disciplines may be the basis of a class that Lord willing I will be teaching come summer time. God is good, and He is alive!

A perhaps apocryphal story found in the book about St. Thomas Aquinas for your consideration and mediatation…

“Once while walking amid the splendors of Rome, a friend said to St. Thomas, “We Christians certainly no longer have to say to the world, ‘Silver and gold have we none.'” To this St. Thomas replied: “But neither can we say to the lame man, ‘In the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

No joke, this seriously was delivered to our house recently by the University. Here are some of my favorite excerpts, keep in mind this was meant to be a serious warning about the possible dangers of living in Montana.

If You Meet A Mountain Lion

* Stay calm. Talk to the lion in a confident yet calm voice.
* If a mountain lion behaves aggressively: Arm yourself with a large stick, throw rocks, speak louder and more firmly. Do not turn your back or stay crouched down. The object is to convince the lion that you are not prey, but in fact are a danger to them.
* Fight back! IF a mountain lion attacks, remain standing up. Many people have survived lion attacks by fighting back with everything from rocks, sticks, and bare fists to fishing poles.

Pretty funny, eh? Well, lest you start fretting about the safety of myself, Jaime and Robert let me assure you I have in two plus years had zero encounters with any mountain lions and in fact have also had zero encounters with any proud Montanans who don’t carry a gun. That’s right – we’re all gangstas in Montana.

On a more serious note if you could keep me in your prayers this weekend as I am trying to write a 50 plus page final paper which is due Tuesday. I am currently only on page 8, but if I can complete it I will be officially graduated retroactive to Summer 2006. I would very much like this to happen, but I need your prayers. Please keep Jaime in your prayers as well that she might be able to have a God given confidence and peace about her last two classes this semester and for Robert that God blesses his time here in Montana. Thank you!

Think About It

Posted: March 30, 2006 in Uncategorized

They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me.

To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people— law-abiding, God-honoring. They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having me on their side.

But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way?

Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’ “Well, here’s why:

“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.

Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?

This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage.

            Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.

            I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places – firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.

Isaiah 58:2-13


Posted: January 17, 2006 in Uncategorized

Okay, so I got asked to lead a devotional tomorrow morning at our men’s prayer breakfast on “Christ as a warrior” and after thinking a while about the topic I decided to dig up a devo I did with the Ward Street youth group during August of ’04 on the similarities between Samurai and Christian soldiers (and yes, it was inspired by The Last Samurai at the time). Anyway after I found it and scanned it into my computer I rediscovered the fun of scanners and have decided to show you some sketches and stuff I have done over the past few years.

This first one was a sketch that was used for a T-Shirt design at Pepperdine in the Spring of 2003. The idea behind it was that while most of the Pepp sophomores go overseas, for those of who stayed behind in Malibu we wanted to have a little token of our own. This was supposed to be the design for the front of the t-shirt (only inversed with a white logo on a royal blue shirt) and the back was supposed to read something to the effect of “You went overseas… but we got one of these”… Well the whole thing fell apart – the design was still used but it wasn’t used well. Anyway I got paid $50 for my work so I wasn’t upset about it (and the “M” in Malibu is supposed to double as a crashing wave in case you were looking at it with bewilderment):


This second one I did last year when I was given a job reference by a friend from church. The job was to create a logo for a soon-to-be-created company called “Whistleberry Barbeque” and I was told to incorporate a train into the design and to have the word whistleberry appear in smoke. This was the third and final draft which they used (or at least which they paid me for… I haven’t actually found out if the business is open yet).

This one was supposed to be the t-shirt design for our youth rally last February here in Missoula, but we never actually got around to making the t-shirts. But I still thought it was kinda cool even though it is in unfinished pencil sketch form.

These next couple are just random sketches from the last couple semesters done when I was probably supposed to be taking notes (if you look close you can definitely tell these are done in the margins of my notebook paper). This first series is for my wonderful mother-in-law and these were some of my original sketches for a logo for her dream smoothie company. Be on the lookout for Getgo Juice in the future.

And this one was done the day after I saw the Northern Lights dancing in the sky for the first time during Fall of ’04 up here in Montana. I was so inspired by the natural beauty that I decided the “Northern Lights” would be a great sports team name and the idea of sketching a logo was more appealing than listening to the lecture. Turns out there is already a college up here with the nickname “Northern Lights” and they already had a logo.

 And this last one is actually just a rough draft of an idea I have had for a long time. The idea was inspired back during my first summer at TRCC and I gave a devo along the lines of watching what we put into our minds. Well Pete and Keith who were in my first cabin ever (you guys rock!) took the message literally and started smashing their CDs the next morning with golf clubs. It was awesome. Well soon after I promised the guys that I would also smash my inappropriate cds upon returning to California I came up with an idea based on Acts 19:19-20 which says “A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” So the idea was rather than selling the cds to destroy them for the glory of God as Pete and Keith had done, only I wanted to incorporate these cds into an art project tentatively titled “Acts 19:19” where the broken cds would be used in a collage, but some of them would be put music side up in the form of a cross so that when one looks at the cross they can see themselves in it and the cross triumphes over the surrounding wordly images (broken cds label side up). So here’s a rough idea of the concept (except you can’t see your reflection in the cds in a picture) and if you like it feel free to help me put by breaking cds/dvds that are not good influences on you and I will incorporate them into this project (tentatively and very loosely scheduled to be completed <and probably started for that matter> sometime in 2007).

Alright folks – that’s it from me. God Bless!

MLK’s Dream

Posted: January 16, 2006 in Uncategorized

     On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

     One hundred years later on August 28, 1963 the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now infamous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  His intent was to assess how freedom for African Americans had progressed over the previous century and to share his vision for the future in hopes of creating change in his present day. 42 years later, are we continuing the fight for change? Or are we just sitting on our couch enjoying another Holiday? Dr. King would have turned 77 years old yesterday.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”


This was written in our newspaper here in Missoula, MT and I found it both thought provoking and inspiring:

King’s life was about much more than one speech, says University of Montana associate professor George Price, and about more than the civil rights movement.

Price’s keynote address at events in Missoula to commemorate King’s birthday is tentatively titled “Some Vital and Neglected Words of Dr. King.”

“Especially in the last two or three years of his life, he had broader concerns than just integration and civil rights,” Price says. “Civil rights were becoming part of a bigger picture to him. He was seeing more of a connection with systematic injustice.”

The signs are there in the last two of the five books King wrote – “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” and “The Trumpet of Conscience” – Price says.

“In both of those, he showed concerns for other minorities, including Native Americans, what were called Chicanos then and we call Latinos now, and poor whites as well,” Price says. “He saw a common plight among marginalized people.”

King expanded the issues he addressed in the years before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. His longtime commitment to nonviolence led him to be an early opponent of the Vietnam War, Price says, and King also spoke and wrote against the nuclear arms race.

Poverty was a very important issue to King that affected all races.

“Unfortunately, I think many Americans see Martin Luther King Day as a holiday for black people,” Price says. “But his stands were consistent with his faith in Christ. Christianity is portrayed in the media as being conservative and right-wing, but there has always been a progressive, liberal element to it. It was Bible-quoting Christians who sought to end slavery.”