Joel Maust Posts

The engagement

Monday started out like most days Heather is in Jackson overnight: at the Anderson’s house. But it ended unlike any other, with me feeling like the most blessed man on earth. Because Monday was the day Heather said “Yes” when I asked her to marry me! You know what that calls for? A big ol’ WOOT!

But most of you knew that already. So, I’ll do a quick run-down of what you don’t know: my little plan-o-action to surprise her.

On Sunday, I had told Heather that I had a few little surprise “fall events” planned for Monday that would probably require warm clothing. I think I did a decent job of making them appear innocent enough that she didn’t suspect anything was up. But I guess she’d have to be the one to tell you that for sure.

First on the list was the playground at Ella Sharp Park. Many of you probably don’t know this, but Heather loves to swing on swing sets. It was one of the things I found most odd about her MySpace profile when we were first getting to know each other. But now that I do know her, and understand her taste for life’s simple pleasures, it makes complete sense. And I’ve quite enjoyed learning to appreciate more simple things such as swinging–thus me buying a kite and flying it with her a few weeks ago.

Anyway, we swung on swings. And it worked out great because it had rained off and on all morning, but not when we were swinging. It was sunny, in fact, and at one point we were sure we were going to see a rainbow.

Being at the swings perfectly set up item two on the list, which was the Hurst Planetarium. It’s right across the road from the playground. While walking over there, I explained to Heather that I had arranged a private show for us in the planetarium. To my delight, she found that idea really exciting. She’d never experienced a planetarium show before. I thought she’d maybe find it a bit nerdy, so I was pleased with her response.

After thinking we were locked out, Mark, the planetarium director and a Jackson Public School astronomy teacher, let us in. We chatted a bit, he explained what the show was going to be about, and we took our seats. For about 10 minutes, we enjoyed the sights and sounds cast above and around us on the domed ceiling and then Mark had to cut out to take a phone call. He apologized, but explained that he was a single dad and his son was calling. To hold us over, he turned on some dim lights and played some soft music.

Enter here Joel’s special “To Get Engaged To” mix cd.

A minute or so into the first song, Heather recognized the artist, asked me to verify and was curious why he chose the music he did. I then, somewhat awkwardly I feel, initiated us moving from our seats to the front of the planetarium where there was a little light. And it was there that I let Heather know that I didn’t bring her to the planetarium so that we could watch a program about the stars. I brought her there to ask her an important question. :)

So, at 2:30 in the afternoon, under a star-lit ceiling, we got engaged!

But, that wasn’t the end of my list. Next up was the giant leaf pile I made for her at another spot in Ella Sharp. Heather had said a few times this fall how she’d like to jump in a huge pile of leaves. So, I got up early Monday morning before she was awake and made her one–to the curiosity of several park visitors. But having rained over night, the leaves were quite wet. I figured she wouldn’t be interested, but I made it anyway and packed some special clothes to cover us in should she want to go for a dive.

It was, indeed, one of those, “It’s the thought that counts” moments. She loved the pile, but passed on the experience.

Next on the list was my apartment. I let Heather in, where she was greeted by a dozen roses. And while she was sitting on the couch enjoying them, I came back from my bedroom guitar in-hand. That really got a gleeful reaction from her! I’m not very skilled with the instrument, and I messed up several times, but I was willing to look a fool to delight her heart. And so, for the first time ever in front of someone, I sang a song while playing my guitar. And I’m glad to say that “someone” was Heather, my soon-to-be wife.

To wrap up the great day, we drove to the Ann Arbor Chop House and enjoyed some fine dining and amazing steak.

So, that’s it! Our engagement story from my perspective. There’s lots more I could tell, but I need to be getting to work.

P.S. for Heather: I love you :)

Shake it like a polaroid… or pom pom

Then on October 17 of that same year, the Lord sent another message through the prophet Haggai. “Say this to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of God’s people there in the land: ‘Does anyone remember this house-this Temple-in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’

“For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” – Haggai: 2:1-9 (NLT)

I ran across this scripture on October 7 and was going to write something about it then. But I didn’t ever flesh it out. So, I’m just going to go ahead and get it out there.

All I remember is that I felt it had some prophetic significance to what our country–and now the rest of the world–is going through from an economic standpoint. I guess the main points I felt impressed to me were:

  • Our current “temple” (i.e. the Dow) may seem like nothing compared to its former glory. But “Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised…”
  • All the nations surely are being shaken
  • The silver and gold are the Lord’s. Any means of preserving and/or manipulatubg the system contrary to God’s ways are ultimately useless. They way work for a while, but will always fail.
  • What God can rebuild through this crisis can be greater than that which He built originally

A sign of the times

And such an ugly sign it is. From the BBC:

The US government’s debts have ballooned so badly the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits to record the spiraling figure.

Some economists believe the $700bn bail-out plan for ailing US financial institutions could send the national debt level to $11 trillion.

The digital counter marks the national debt level, but when that passed the $10 trillion point last month, the sign could not display the full amount.

The board was erected to highlight the $2.7 trillion level of debt in 1989.

The clock’s owners say two more zeros will be added, allowing the clock to record a quadrillion dollars of debt.

Douglas Durst, son of the late Seymour Durst – the clock’s inventor – hopes to replace the Manhattan clock with its lengthier replacement early next year.

For the time being, the Times Square counter’s electronic dollar sign has been replaced with the extra digit required.

For its part, the digital dollar symbol has been supplanted by a cheaper version – perhaps a sign of the times for the American economy.

Compare what that says about our country with God’s ideal for a nation. Jeremiah 33:6-9 says:

Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.

There was a time when all the nations of the earth heard about the good things God was doing in America and people sought out the health, prosperity and peace that could be found within our borders. But those realities are slowing being replaced with sickness, debt and turmoil–things that have no place within the Kingdom of God, neither among his nations nor his people.

It’s a sign of the times. And an ugly sign it is.

Oct. 8 already?

Dang. How the time marches on. I thought for sure I had published my last post only a few days ago, not eight.

I guess the main purpose of this entry was to ensure you that I do have a substantial blog brewing. I think maybe it’s so broad in its potential scope that I’m kinda daunted by the prospect of writing it… and I’ll need considerable time to do so. Hopefully that can happen on Thursday, after my running.

Speaking of running, I think I mentioned a while back that I’m training for my second half marathon, which will be Oct. 25 on Mackinac Island. I’m pretty excited about it. The training is going really well. After I got past a somewhat-rough start and established a good base (which I guess you’re technically supposed to do before starting to train…), I’ve been able to train at a considerably higher intensity than last time. So, I’m hoping this will enable me to beat my PB by about 5 minutes and knock my pace down to under 8:00/mile–even if Mackinac has a lot more hills to climb than the roads of Jackson County.

And one more thing while I’m at it: Heather was a bit disappointed when I told her I changed the subtitle of my blog. She was rather fond of “Wading through life is great–until an 80′ tidal wave smacks you in the face”. Any thoughts on that one vs. my current subtitle, which, if you haven’t noticed, now reads: “The season of wading is over; now’s the time for full immersion”?

Pray. Because God says to.

Confess it: You were missing my quotes from AW Tozer, weren’t you? Well, I haven’t abandoned him. So I’m posting another. In summary, it’s a call to “Get on your knees and fight like a man”–to quote some lyrics from the classic Christian rock band, Petra.

Prayer is not a work that can be allocated to one or another group in the church. It is everybody’s responsibility; it is everybody’s privilege. Prayer is the respiratory function of the church; without it we suffocate and die at last, like a living body deprived of the breath of life. Prayer knows no sex, for the soul has no sex, and it is the soul that must pray. Women can pray, and their prayers will be answered; but so can man, and so should men if they are to fill the place God has given them in the church.

Let us watch that we do not slide imperceptibly to a state where the women do the praying and the men run the churches. Men who do not pray have no right to direct church affairs. We believe in the leadership of men within the spiritual community of the saints, but that leadership should be won by spiritual worth.

Own worst enemy

How much futher ahead would I be if I actually, fully followed my own advice–the advice I’ve given people before? Living with a higher level of integrity, where I completely practice what I preach, might just be that “next place” for me.

I was hit with some conviction just moments ago when I sent an e-mail to a friend. I closed my paragraph with the sentence, “You have an anointing for it, so let’r rip!”

And then came waves of realization of the many ways I cower and back down from the things I’m learning I’ve been made for and called to–namely leadership.

“You have an anointing for it, Joel, so let’r rip!”

I think for the next while, I’ll attempt to declare this over my life each morning. Along with Romans 12:8.

A pain in my back

So, yeah… I obviously didn’t get around to posting from San Francisco. I’ll attribute that fact to being fairly discouraged by my sore back all week. Managing pain can really wear a person out! And then there was the fact that I was out late most evenings and didn’t do much stuff online, besides read about Wall St. and the race for the White House. Interesting stuff.

Also factored in was that I was somewhat out of sorts spiritually while there and didn’t really feel “filled up”, which is what enables me to pour out in blogs.Connected with that would be that I was also emotionally drained, being an introvert and not having many opportunities to recharge with some alone time the eight days I was gone. Feeling drained = not feeling like blogging. But, now that I think of it, maybe it would actually help combat feeling drained, which is a reason God wants me to do it more. Interesting…

Needless to say, it took me a few days to reorient to regular life. We had the leave-San Fran-at-12:15 a.m.-and-get-to-Jackson-at-10 a.m. red eye return flight. So, that essentially killed Sunday. Though, I did manage to catch the Detroit Lions getting crushed yet again. Thanks for the welcome back, Matt Millen.

So, there’s the mini-catch up. I’ll probably post some pictures sometime, though at first blush I wasn’t very impressed. A circular polarizer for my lenses would have done wonders to combat the hazy sky, but, alas, I have yet to buy one of those.

San Francisco is great, though. If you haven’t visited, you should sometime. And if you’re lucky, you might catch a few guys by the trollies holding scarey signs and warning you of the fires of hell!

California

I’m heading to the San Francisco area for a week. I’m attending a healthcare marketing conference with one of my bosses. I’m planning to hook up with my cousin Steve while I’m out there and he’ll hopefully be taking me to see the redwoods. Super excited about that possibility!

Please keep me and my back in your prayers. I woke up this morning to some real bad pain in the lower region and it hasn’t fully left the building yet. What building? God’s temple. And God doesn’t like junk in His temple. Can’t tell if this is some real physical problem or if it is more the enemy’s way of trying to steal my joy of getting a free vacation to California.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post a few updates while I’m there.

Peace.