nfhs commencement speech

The following is my speech for the Northwest Family High School commencement which took place tonight, Friday, May 11, 2007.

Paul spoke of David, in Acts 13. Paul told of how the LORD “testified concerning [David]: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’”(v22). Just a bit further down the chapter, Paul makes another comment about David: “…David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, [then he died]” (v36). What will be said about you, graduates?

David faced adversity. So have you.

Andrew, you were born with a condition that many people do not live long with, and yet the LORD has seen fit that you serve Him and for Him to keep you growing strong and maturing into the caring, compassionate, and trustworthy man you are today. Andrew, I’ve personally seen you show love for others as you pray for them in discipleship or as you play with and care for young children or as you welcome someone into student ministries or even befriend someone who might not be very lovable in other’s eyes. You bless me in how you love the LORD and respond to others.

Sarah, you continue to have physical struggles that debilitate you, take you in and out of the hospital, and yet the LORD has seen fit that you serve Him and for Him to give you an incredible heart for others that brings joy to so many whose lives you impact. This is seen in how you are always ready to engage someone in conversation (which Amy would attest to as being completely different from just a few years ago), how your perspective on the pain you’re in now will allow you to comfort others in the future, and how you seek out passages of Scripture that both comfort and challenge you, such as “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (ii cor 4.16). For me, Sarah, you are a shining light of what dependence on the LORD should be.

Bethany, I don’t know you as well, but you’ve had insecurity and timidity in relationships and yet the LORD has seen fit that you serve Him and for Him to grow you, mature you, and as this past year progressed, you have, and I quote, “really blossomed…both academically as well as in the way [you interact] with [your] friends.” I’ve been told that you are a very humble girl who is talented, but you don’t necessarily see it. You’d rather be behind the scenes, and you accomplish this even at such a small school by being behind the camera, which is continually rolling, and you’ve always got that cute and funny smile. You work hard until you master whatever you are doing. Bethany, you are a diamond in the rough which God is making into a shining jewel for Himself.

All three of you have faced, are facing, and will face adversity, still the LORD has been faithful, has brought others around you, and has worked in your lives, just like He did with David.

So, how will you continue to serve God’s purpose in your generation before you die? What will be your legacy? Will you do everything that the LORD wants you to? Keep this in mind as you make decisions of schooling, family, and career. In the book of James it says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the LORD’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (ch4, vv13-15). Is it wrong for you to make plans for your future? Not at all. The idea here is that when you make those plans, remember who’s in control of it all. Remember who it is all about.

Your challenge, graduates, is to make your life all about Him and not about you. It is to do the LORD’s will with your life, loving Him and loving others. It is for you to do all the LORD would have you do. Are you a man or woman after God’s own heart? Will it be said of you, Bethany “served God’s purpose in her own generation,” Sarah “served God’s purpose in her own generation,” and Andrew “served God’s purpose in his own generation”? From what I know about the three of you, that is your desire, so live it. God’s greatest blessings be on you, graduates.


I just heard from my counter-parts up at Boulder Creek High School (where I taught last year) that the Prop 301 monies that we failed to earn last year was appealed and won by teachers at BCHS. This means that the money that we should have received in November 06, if we had met our goals, will still be coming to us. Hopefully this will be fulfilled sooner than later. Thank you, Jag appealers!

student quote

background: a student had said "Steve Irwin got shanked by a manta ray." This student then responded:

"I thought that was Tu Pac."
~A.M. (Period 3)


nba playoffs

ggvan's guestbook going offline

The guestbook can't stay up forever, I guess, but it was a sad email sent to me that the book was going to be removed from the internet on May 15th. I've copy and pasted what I and some selected others (my sister and mom) had posted on it, just to save it.

April 17, 2007
I am Grandma Van's second oldest great-grandchild and father of her oldest great-great-grandchild. This woman blessed my heart in ways I can't even describe. She will continue to be an inspiration to me to live a life worthy of our Father in Heaven, bringing glory to His name. She prayed for her family, loved her family, and lived righteously before God and man. This is my heritage. This is my dream. I look forward to seeing my Lord say to me just what I am sure He said to her: "Welcome, my good and faithful servant." Oh, to see His face! Oh, to be home and at rest! *Lord, thank you for my great grandmother and what it is that YOU did in and through her to bring YOU glory. May You work in and through my family and me, as well. Thank You for this legacy.*
Vaughn Adam Van Liew II (Phoenix, AZ)

April 16, 2007
Mildren Marceta Charles Van Liew was my great grandmother. How blessed I was to have such a godly grandmother. I sat at her table, while she taught me many things. But of all of those tangible things she taught me, the truly remarkable thing was that she taught me more without saying a single word. She loved me well.

She introduced me to my favorite ice cream, Vanilla Bean and I would eat it seated at her table and the ice cream would always be in the same sweet little bowl, just the right size for an eleven year old girl. She taught me how to quilt, I didn't have the patience for it then, but my dolls benefited from her teaching. I quilt now and my sleeping "live doll" is covered by a homemade quilt.The first time I ever shared about the love and grace of Jesus Christ was with her, at a Backyard Bible Club. I would rush home and run down the street to make it to her house before she would leave with Mrs. Singer. I just wanted to be with her, she was investing in eternity.

She was always thinking toward Heaven, that was the way she lived life every day. Now she is there, she served well, lived well, loved well. She lived life to the fullest and I am forever grateful that she did.
Bethany Dumas (Birmingham, AL)

April 15, 2007
Grandma Van was one of my favorite people. When I married her eldest grandson, Vaughn, in 1978, she welcomed me as an important part of the family - something that I really needed! Grandma taught me many practical things without a lot of pomp and circumstance. She gracefully "fleshed out" the Christian life. She laughed A LOT; she had beautiful blue eyes that just sparkled. In February 2007, she turned 100 years old and the family gathered around her to celebrate her life and to receive her blessing. It was a wonderful time and it is already a precious memory for me; one of my most special.

Grandma Van - you were/are an inspiration to me and you have already positively impacted the next 2 generations. I am sure that you were welcomed into the arms of Jesus and heard, "Well done My good and faithful servant." Smile, Grandma smile! You are home. I am sure that you are no longer in pain or discomfort. You can rest in the arms of our Father forever. We look forward to being reunited with you again when it is our time to go home. WE LOVE YOU!
Kathy Van Liew (Gadsden, AL)


aidan falls to sleep

Okay, so Aidan really wasn't falling to sleep, but he sure loves his blanket and thumb! Gotta love'm.

aidan bedtime laughs

This video we made while Aidan was only a few months old. We're getting him into his PJs, and he's laughing. This kid loves to laugh.

suns 1 - spurs 1

The Suns had an incredible first 4-6 minutes, making it look like the Spurs weren't going to be able to keep up with them at all. The Spurs came back at the end of the first quarter to take the lead and hold the Suns to only 19 points. The Suns poored it on in the second quarter, scoring 30...again, as always, a good sign. The Suns were then up 7 at the half. The Suns and Spurs both had 22 in the third, but the Suns had another 30 point quarter in the fourth. Both 30 point quarters for the Suns were 17 point quarters for the Spurs. The way the Suns won this game was by their defense, that's right, I said defense. Kurt Thomas started this game in the place of James Jones. Dirty played a great game, and most of his contribution was the defense he provided on Tim Duncan (of the Virgin Islands). Duncan still got 29 points, but that was 4 points less than game one, and since Dirty did single coverage, that allowed the rest of the Suns team to focus on defending the other shooters of the Spurs. Tony Parker was held to only 13 points, where he had 32 points in game one, this was in part because of Dirty, but Marion also defended him and did a great job. Trix is such a valuable and versatile player, no wonder he's paid more than any other Suns team member. Nash had a double double with 20 points and 16 assists. Stat had 27 points and 9 rebounds, while Trix had only 5 points but grabbed 10 rebounds and played great defense. Raja Bell had 18 points, Barbosa had 13, and Thomas (Dirty) had 12. The Suns ended up winning by 20 points over the Spurs, even though the Spurs put up quite a fight the entire game. If Dirty can continue to play such great defense, as well as Trix, and Nash can do what he does best, distribute, then the Suns have a great chance at taking at least one game away from the Spurs while in San Antonio for Saturday and Monday's games. The final score was 101 - 81. We can do it again! GO SUNS!



aidan laughs, on video

Aidan was probably less than 6 mos old at the time of the video. This is his personality. Go ahead: get to know my son. ;-)


suns 0 - spurs 1

Though I'm not happy to report it, the Spurs defeated the Suns in Phoenix in the first game of this best of seven series Sunday afternoon. The Spurs and Suns we neck and neck the entire game, but in the fourth quarter Nash's nose and Parker's forehead collided. Parker went to the floor, Nash stayed up, but then he started bleeding profusely from a large gash on the bridge of his nose (see picture below). The Suns couldn't keep the tie or go ahead in the last two minutes with Nash trying to get bandaged and back in the game as fast as he could. The blood just wouldn't stop coming, though, and Nash ended up sitting out the rest of the game. The Suns had a valiant effort there at the end of the game without Nash, but they couldn't get anything to go in the basket. Still, Nash had 31 points and 8 assists, while Stat put in 20 with 18 boards. Barbosa had 18, Marion had 16, and Bell had 10. They just couldn't pull it off. Suns are down one game to none, but we play again tomorrow night, still in Phoenix. GO SUNS!