Category Archives: abramovitz

CSU Update – Days 4-6

Given that the actual conference doesn’t officially start until this evenings “county fair” event, there hasn’t been a whole lot to journal.  Here are a few highlights of the last few days:

  • Sue and Jaclyn had a chance to experience the “wild west” on some slow and deliberate horses in Estes Park. 
  • We helped set up the FamilyLife booth that will be open to the rest of the Crusade staff most of the time during the conference.  The intent of the booth is to provide other Campus ministries a taste of what is happening at FamilyLife and what resources are available to help them in their marriages and ministries.
  • Trying out some of the restaurants near our hotel.
  • Enjoying the wonderful scenery and time together as a family.  Though she’s been a good sport, I’m sure Jaclyn will really enjoy itWildBoar Coffee even more when the conference starts so she can gather with her “homies” :). 
  • Finding interesting places to write, think and prepare for my upcoming seminar.  I will be co-leading a seminar on using Social Media/Networking tools to share the love and truth of Christ with a whole new generation of people.  Currently, I’m sitting at a coffee shop that was meant to make me feel like I was back in the “Razorback” nation–The Wild Boar Coffee shop  (see pic)
  • Major storm last night in Fort Collins with over 2 inches of rain with some hail in about 2 hours.  Drying out this morning/afternoon.
  • Sue’s doing the laundry today.  Pretty riveting stuff.  Would take a picture but not sure she would appreciate that much so I’ll keep it to text ;).

So, that’s about it.  Ready to begin the conference tonight at the “fair”.  The parking lot of Moby Arena is cordoned off so they can turn it into a “county fair” feel.  Some rides, carnival food and a place where we can all connect and fellowship to kick off the Conference.

By the way, if you want to follow along with some of the conference, you can check back here regularly (I’ll try to post some pics and maybe even some video), check out the CCC Conference Facebook Page or follow on Twitter.

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CSU 2009 – Days 1-3

Journaling and I haven’t been fond friends over the years.  Maybe this time it will be different.  I thought I’d try to give some updates on our CSU trip this year.  For those of you who don’t know what this trip is all about, let me fill you in.

Every two years most of Campus Crusades US Staff members converge on the campus of Colorado State University
View Larger Map (thus, CSU) to participate in the bi-annual staff conference.  During the 9 days of the conference there are various times of corporate gatherings, team meetings, seminars and down time.  All of it is designed to refresh the staff and recast the vision that sometimes gets lost in the daily battle.  The vision that compelled most of us to leave our family and friends and, sometimes, our careers, to invest our lives fulltime in providing the world with the hope only found in and through Jesus Christ.  In our case, it’s been through the ministry of FamilyLife (a division of Campus Crusade for Christ).  FamilyLife’s mission is to effectively develop Godly marriages and families that change the world for Christ one home at a time.  It also serves as a gathering point for many of the ministries that don’t see each other much because they are field staff on location at their various ministry designations.

At CSU we get a chance to worship God through powerful musical praise times, impactful teaching (this year Tim Keller is our keynote speaker during the first two days of the conference) and other times of connecting and fellowshiping with other like-minded Brothers and Sisters in Christ of all ages, races and denominations.  We get to see friends that we haven’t seen for a long time (often it’s since the last CSU) or those who have left one ministry of Crusade to join another within Crusade.  In any case, it’s a time of fun, fellowship and personal growth.   By the way, if you’re interested you can follow along on the general haps at CSU on Twitter (you have to have a Twitter acct) or on Facebook.  For Twitter users click this tag: #csutweetup09 For Facebook users, follow by clicking here: Global Christian Blogference)

Our journey….

Our trip started a little early this year.  We left on Thursday, Jul 16.  The conference doesn’t officially kick off until Tuesday, July 21.  I’m co-leading one of the 15 seminars that will be offered during the week so I came up to prepare for that as well as help set up and be available as part of the CSU design team that I helped with this year.

We drove a little more than 800 miles the first night and stayed over in Colby, KS (no, there was no cheese that I found).  After a restless night’s sleep, we got up and headed for Fort Collins.  We arrived a little after noon.  Unable to check in, we met some friends for lunch.  A View of CSU campus from our hotel locationWe went to downtown Fort Collins during the afternoon as well.  It’s a wonderful downtown area with a lot of shops and places to eat.  For those who experienced Woodstock, there is an overriding sense of being in the 60’s throughout much of the city.  Plenty of old VW vans riding aroA view of our hotel room und town.   Then, Sue and Jaclyn went back to the motel after checking in and I went to help set up the electrical connections in the ministry fair booth (not quite as impressive as it might sound…I laid extension cords so that each booth had a cord available).   Last night was a pretty uneventful night as we had dinner and then crashed in our hotel.

This morning we enjoyed the hotel breakfast and then Jaclyn and Sue went on the one event we would categorize as a “vacation item”.  They went horseback riding.  I’m here writing this blog and preparing for my seminar next week.  Later in the trip, Jaclyn and I will ride the waves (whitewater rafting).  Hopefully, I will stay in the raft this year and avoid the blackened bottom I sustained on a large river boulder two years ago.  In the meantime, I’ll jot down some of the things we are doing, learning and experiencing during this time at CSU.  Thank you for your prayers.  Specifically please pray that:

  • We would hear from God during this time.  There are some significant things we are making decisions about and we need God’s direction.
  • Our time with each other as a family (this is the last CSU that we will experience with any of our children)
  • our family not with us will experience God’s presence (Erin in North Carolina where she is working at a KOA Kamp and ministering to the campers as well and Bryan who is visiting a long time friend in Chicago and then will be holding down the fort (Fort Abramovitz, not Collins) until we return.
  • the seminar I will be co-leading would provide valuable information and would be well attended, or at least, well received.
  • Our vehicle will hold up.  It’s our newest vehicle and it’s been a blessing but we’ve already put on more than 14,000 miles in 4 months.

Until tomorrow…

Weekly Update

It’s so hard for me to do anything that takes discipline. At the risk of overcommitting and underdelivering, I’m at least going to try and a blahhhg entry that shares some benign family updates and looks ahead to the week. That way, I hope to get in the habit of capturing regular thoughts, putting them into a blog entry and adding others as God brings them to mind. So, here goes week 1 of our weekly update.

We had a great time as a family going to the Arkansas Traveler’s baseball game on Saturday. Full schedules rarely permit us to do things as a family anymore. We don’t have many days left so we need to be more intentional about making those times a priority. After the game, we enjoyed fireworks over the Arkansas River. Great seats from inside a very nice AAA minor league outdoor ballpark. If you visit us during the summer, we’ll make sure to take you out to the ball game.

Have you ever had one of those projects you envisioned completing over a long day or even a weekend but found yourself weeks later still working on it? I have and do. We’ve had erosion over the past four years and it’s caused our backyard to retain water (no mitol jokes). What started as a relatively simple task of digging a couple of long ditches and digging some holes for drywells has become the project from h… However, all good things must come to an end, and we are nearing the end of phase I of this project. If you want to see how it looks or what I’m referring to CLICK HERE to see some photos. Anyone have a few weekends free for phase II?

Bryan house sat for friends of ours from FamilyLife, worked on some yard projects for a neighbor and is working full time as a maintenance car porter at a nearby Toyota dealer.  Jaclyn just returned from Guatemala and contunually enjoys time with her “homies”.  Erin is working in North Carolina all summer at a KOA camp as part of a Summershine ministry/work program.  She’s working hard and experiencing God in new ways!

Sue and I are holding the fort at home.  We are in the process of throwing our hat into the ring of a new Singles minstry at church.  I’m a little more called than she is but we are looking forward to seeing how God might use us “aged” folk in the lives of these 20-30 somethings.

Finally, we are experiencing God’s goodness and truth daily.  He’s stretching us in new and old ways.  Finances are still an issue for us as we seek His direction for our support.  Our staff balance has diminished to a level where we will get a short paycheck beginning August 1.  We are very content and that has to come from His peace that passes understanding.  Thank you for praying for us!

Until next post….

Father’s Day Memories – Weekly Dad

(originally posted on the DadPad blog)

My birth father wasn’t in my home growing up, or at least not for very long. I don’t remember living with him. My parents divorced when I was 3 and, therefore, I don’t recall ever waking up and walking over to my dad while he lived in our home. Yet, unlike many with a very similar tale, my dad was in town and did make the effort to see me on a regular basis as I grew up.

My earliest memories of my dad are of him arriving to my house on a Sunday morning. He and my mom had an unusually amicable relationship (it wasn’t unusual for me as a child since it was all I knew but, obviously, I have come to find out that it was rare). After a few minutes of “chat”, we would leave. Most of the time we would stop by a place to pick up lunch and then it was off to his apartment.

When I was 10, my dad purchased his first set of Minnesota Viking season tickets. I remember sitting in old Memorial Stadium freezing my yammers off but loving every minute of it. I learned to love football through my dad. We still spend a lot of time criticizing the Vikings each season :).

During the summer of my 13th year, we took our first of many summer vacations. We drove up to the lakeshore city of Duluth, located on the banks of Lake Superior (Lake Gitchegoomy for you Gordon Lightfoot fans). I don’t recall anything that transpired that weekend but I remember it was with my dad. The trips got more extensive (and expensive for him) as I got older. Road treks included jaunts to Seattle, Los Angeles, the Bay area (SF and Oakland), Cleveland (yes, that Cleveland), and a pre-bicentennial trip to Boston, New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia. There were blown tires, overheated radiators, lost contacts in a pool, bumpers ripped off by exposed fence posts and other mishaps. Those only served to make the trips more memorable.

Despite all of the good memories of times with my dad, latent longings began to develop inside. Later in life, I realized how much of my life my dad missed. I never recall him attending a baseball game. When I dated I missed having him readily available to counsel me about things to avoid (or look forward to ;). I couldn’t sit down and just tell him about my day. As I contemplated college and career, he provided no input. Feelings of a missed childhood filled my thoughts and I was sad.

During these years, my mom remarried. My stepfather was a provider for the home but we were never close. He wasn’t a bad man, just not a great father. They divorced after 15 yrs of marriage and I have seldom seen him since. We are friendly and cordial when we meet. But, my “dad” hole was never filled by him.

Now, as a nearly 50 year old father of three nearly grown children I look back on time with my dad with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I have some very fond memories of those times together in his apartment, eating strange foods that I still have an affinity for, bonding through football and our trips. Yet on the other hand I wonder what it would have been like had he been more “fatherly” in my life. Might I have persevered through some personal challenges and decision making around a broadcasting career instead of wilting and giving up? Would I have had a healthier view of dating and relationships if he had spent more time teaching and coaching me in that arena? I’ll never really know the answers to these questions.

And, maybe it’s not really relevant. I’ve moved on and love my dad for who he is. There’s no resentment, only wonder and some sadness. His childhood, which was a mystery to me until recently, was not something to be emulated either. Fathering for him had to be a challenge since he missed a father who was active in his life.

So, for this Father’s day, I just want to say, “thank you, dad”. Thank you for introducing me to football and sports. Thank you for the great road trips we took which gave me a love for the road and travel. Thank you for wanting to spend time with me and staying close so that we could be together weekly. Thank you, dad, for loving me and caring for me and loving my family. Happy Father’s day, dad.

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Daughter Sounds off on Discipline—Benefits???

So, we’re heading up to Minnesota for a couple of reasons; to attend a good friend of mine’s wedding and to spend time with family and friends (as an aside I was wondering if I just refer to our friends and family as “supporters” because we are missionaries with Campus Crusade does that minimize their relevance in our lives or, conversely, if I don’t allude to the fact that they are supporters does that minimize the fact that they are the foundation for our ability to stay in full time ministry—thoughts to ponder ;)).

Anyway, we’re heading up I-35 and my 17 yr old daughter, Jaclyn, wants to use my computer to watch a movie.  “OK”, I replied.  Soon, she pulled the laptop out of my briefcase and began loading the DVD.  After a few minutes I assumed she was well into the movie when her fingers starting scurrying faster than my dog chasing after a treat.  Interesting concept, I thought to myself…movie 2.0 (meaning interactive for you non-techy types).  She wasn’t watching the movie.  All she said was, “I’m writing something and I’ll let you read it after I’m done.”

I have to admit I was curious.  After an hour or so, she handed me the laptop and I read her musings.  She had taken it upon herself to write an article from the “kids perspective” for our DadPad blog.  Very interesting.  What 17 yr old wants to help a bunch of middle aged men get readership to their blog site (convinced that she will draw more interest than we have … LOL)?  Without any further ado, here’s the blog post that she rendered about why a father needs to make sure that he’s disciplining his child, in love, for her benefit.  Thanks, Jacs!

Thoughts from a Daddy’s girl

Jaclyn Abramovitz 5/27/09

Whenever Mom’s gone, we party. Not saying my mom’s not fun, but when we’re with my dad, we get pizza, movies, ice cream and other good stuff. 🙂  I think most dads are just wired to be the kids who’ve never grown up and therefore like to party it up with their own kids. This is a great thing, don’t get me wrong but I think sometimes Dad’s forget their other big responsibility…disciplining. Bet you never expected to hear a child say they need their dad to discipline, but regardless, it’s true.

Think about it, if you were never punished, you’d grow up thinking that whatever, whenever was acceptable. Think about what a shock it’d be going to your first job and for once being disciplined! What a wake-up call, do you mean to tell me that the world has consequences for poor choices and sometimes a negative answer to your whims? Even though you never want to hurt your kids, and, as my own dad has said, it’s hard to say no to someone who you love and have to deny them something they want, it’s harder to see them walking into something that’ll hurt them. That’s why discipline is so important, it’s because you want what’s best for your child and don’t want them to make some of the same mistakes you made. And while we don’t appreciate it and certainly don’t like it while we’re being disciplined, it doesn’t mean we won’t look back and thank you for doing it. As my dad has said many times before, “you’ll thank me for this later!”

The second part of this is how we see God as our ‘discipliner’. This is probably the hardest thing for me to grasp. I hate being corrected and told ‘no’ to. It’s definitely not my favorite thing. So when I ask God for something, most of the time I wrongly expect a gumball machine response. I put in my prayer and out pops what I want. But sometimes God has a different plan. It’s the hard times that shape us the most. I can’t emphasize it enough that if you never go through hard times, your relationship with God would still be the relationship between a big God and a little child. You mature through hard times, through God’s discipline and it makes you a better, stronger, more mature person. In Hebrews 12:6 it says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves…” He does it because he loves us. So just because I don’t have a car and I’ve been asking him for one for forever, I know there’s a reason. Maybe I’d wreck it if I got it now, maybe I’ll get a much better one since I’m waiting instead of forcing the issue, I don’t know.

Maybe you’ve made some bad choices and are feeling the repercussions of those choices. It’s all because God loves you and wants to let you know that he’s your loving father and is teaching you what not to do. Even though the road may not be fun, the end result, a diligent, faithful, stronger person was surely worth the discipline and hard times it took to get there.

Glad to Have the Ducklings Back in the Nest–I think ;)

Just when you start getting used to quiet, they return.  But, unlike an unwanted weird relative, when your children return home from college, at least for us, it’s a good thing.  Here are just a few of the things we get to get used to again:

  • Almost assured that every time I need to use toilet paper it will be the last few sheets of a roll
  • When I go to pour the cereal I’ll get that ever enjoyable dust at the bottom of the Honey Bunches of Oats
  • I’ll be relegated to the bedroom to watch a television program on our 1987 19 in. TV (which is getting harder to see) because they’ll be playing Guitar Hero on our main TV
  • The air-conditionless vehicles will be mine to use as much as I want
  • That last “goodie” I was saving for myself in the refrigerator will no longer be safe
  • No more listening to Country Western music in the car when we are driving together (unless I enjoy griping and complaining)
  • This popular family statement will be frequently uttered again, “I didn’t do that” or the variation “It wasn’t mine” when we ask who left the clothes on the furniture or the shoes in the entry way
  • The phone still won’t be picked up by anyone
  • and, everyone will think that it was someone else’s duty to feed the dog, pick up after the dog or have anything to do with the dog (except mom who always gets stuck with dog duty whether it’s 3 or 5 people in the house).

Seriously, it really is a joy to have our family all back together again for the summer.  Unfortunately for us (but a good opportunity for her), Erin will only be home a week before she spends the next three months with a ministry that serves a local KOA camp and spreads the gospel while serving the campers in Camp Hatteras, NC.   Then, she’ll be home a couple of weeks before school starts back up.

Ah, yes, summer has arrived and our nest is full again, if only for a short time—it’s GREAT!

THOUGHT TO COMMENT ON: Why are you happy your kids are home from school? — or — What will you do this summer that you are looking forward to doing as a family?

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Standing Strong in the Midst of the Storm

From Dennis Rainey as shared at our last FamilyLife all staff day of prayer:

Nik Ripken…discovered 11 characteristics of followers of Christ who remained faithful during persecution:

  1. Know Jesus
  2. Know the power of prayer and fasting
  3. Can recite large portions of the Bible by memory
  4. Know large amounts of heart music from by memory
  5. Know that people are praying for them
  6. Know that local people are caring for their families
  7. Know that their suffering is for Jesus sake
  8. Know that their persecution is NORMAL
  9. Have claimed their freedom
  10. Have lost their fear
  11. Have a heritage of faith

This is a GREAT list to keep with you.  Here’s the “so what”…which of these will likely shipwreck me because they aren’t fortified in my heart, soul and mind?  How about you?