Someone complemented me the other day in a way that I don’t think I’d ever heard before. The words were simple, but the meaning is something that I’ve been praying to be realized for many months or even years.

In May I applied for and was offered a job working at a Jewish Community Center for their Summer Day-Camp program. It turned out to be an incredible job that seemed almost too good to be true. I basically spent ten weeks singing songs with kids, playing games, learning about Israel, going on cool field trips, going swimming, learning some Hebrew words and having a lot of fun all while getting paid for it. Of course every job has it’s ups and downs and there were definitely moments I questioned what I was doing, but more than that it was an incredible opportunity to reach into an area of society I would probably never normally be able to reach.

I had different groups that I was assigned to for different sessions. My first group was about 24 second and third graders. They were a lot of fun as they were usually very engaged and eager to be involved. The second group was some older kids grades 4,5 and 6. They were a little bit more of a challenge as the group was so diverse. There were little petite fourth graders playing dodgeball next to big sixth graders. The third group was first graders who had all kinds of wiggles and energy and all I could think of with this group was Controlled Mayhem. My fourth group was a big mix of grades and we were a sand sculpture group that had the tough job of going to the beach everyday to learn how to make sand sculptures. The last group was a big group of 2nd and 3rd graders whose names I finally figured out near the end of the session.

Lots of names and faces. Lots of lives and hearts and dreams and potential. I had an opportunity the very last day of camp to address the entire group of campers. It was part of the morning skit and I knew that in that moment I had a chance to either make them laugh, or speak to their hearts… I chose both.

I stood before them without any costume or anything to hide who I was. I introduced myself as Matthew, a Head Counselor for one of the groups. I told them that I had been there all Summer and wanted to share something very important with them. I told them that even though we dress silly and act crazy sometimes, there are also times that it’s ok to just be who we are. That each of them has something inside of them called potential. The ability to do or become anything they want.

Somewhere along the timeline of our lives we go from becoming dreamers to becoming doers. But it’s not always that we’re doing what we dreamed of. Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll hear some big ideas and you’ll see some eyes sparkle. And then somewhere along the line we’re told we’re not smart enough, good enough, tall enough, pretty enough, funny enough, fast enough, etc. etc. etc. Or a list of other things. Somewhere along the road we stop dreaming.

And so for just a moment, I told the kids not to stop dreaming. That even though we may pretend sometimes to be something we’re not, it’s ok to be who we are and continue dreaming.

One of the counselors and I were talking a while after the camp. We both agreed about how incredible it would be to be able to catch up with some of these kids after five or ten years. I’m sure they will have forgotten names and faces and speeches and encouragement we gave them. But hopefully, just maybe, they will remember to keep dreaming and to keep being just the way their Father created them.

As I walked to the car that last day of camp, one of the few other Christian staff members said simply “I think you were the salt of the camp”.

That’s my prayer, almost everyday I go, that I would have a spirit of wisdom and discernment and be salt and light in the dark places.

My journey has taken a turn. I applied and was accepted to Army Officer Candidate School. I leave Tuesday the 24th of August to begin a new season and chapter. I’ll be working in the Army Reserves in a Civil Affairs unit near my home in San Jose. I continue to pray for a spirit of wisdom and discernment and to be light in dark places as I learn to lead men and women, some of whom have forgotten how to dream.

The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies.
Is. 42:13

Thanks for reading.


Room for you

It’s taken a little more than a month to be able to settle on words that will inadequately describe recent events. And yet even a month seems that it won’t do justice to the new emotions that will continue to haunt the back reaches of my mind and thoughts. Something moves in the shadows of my heart that still hasn’t found the light of explanation, yet I’m compelled to try to express the beauty of it all.

Words and songs and phrases fail in my desperate need to bring some kind of summary of what’s happened. In school I was taught to analyze culture and people groups and to put them in categories or summarize their thoughts and behaviors. I try desperately to somehow find conclusions that are simply not there.

9:07am March 11th. Our world was colored with wonder and amazement. I remember some of my first thoughts and reactions as I entered the small delivery room. But many of them were too sudden or too fractured or too unexplainable to be able to try in a simple page to describe. Here, lying in a small bed was a new life, one untainted by worry or fear or doubt. This small life was carrying hope, joy, love, peace, destiny, purpose and biggest of all: intention.

4:07pm April 11th. I whisper songs of the Father into her sleeping ears, yet my words and sentences never complete as tears fill my ears and my throat tightens. How is it that she’s captured my heart in only one month? How is it that a life so small and fragile can move your heart to beyond words or explanation? How is it that she can rest so fully in arms of safety and security without being aware of where she is? How is it that I sometimes forget that I too can find my rest and security in my Fathers arms?

I smile in wonder at how she can sleep so completely while just beyond her reach the world seems out of control or in disarray and confusion. Yet not here, not with her. She closes her eyes and knows nothing of the troubles of life. When was the last time I rested like that? When was the last time I fell asleep and let myself dream in my Fathers arms? When was the last time I realized that my problems only seem big when my view of my Father is small?

Your Father sings over you Violet. He proclaims songs in unity with your heart. He declares songs that will give you character, emotions, skills, talents and personality. He shouts songs of destiny and divine calling; to be a daughter who walks in authority of her heritage as a releaser of captives and a provider of life.

There is room for you here Violet. Your life is most welcome in our world and in our hearts. There is purpose for your life and your breath and there is a need for your beauty on the earth. Your steps will not be missed, your words will not go unheard, your songs will not go unwritten and your heart will not go unguarded.

I the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles.
Is. 42:6

Thanks for reading


Alamere Falls

The falls from above
Originally uploaded by tynemann

alamere falls


A necessary ingredient for life, yet sometimes an unwanted ally. I walked through over five miles of it yesterday in search of something. Not sure I found what I was after but something definitely found me.


I wasn’t sure that was a word until today when I noticed my computer didn’t try to fix the spelling. I thought I had invented the word yesterday when puddle after puddle muddled my pants and shoes. Should have been more prepared.


Just realized that is also a word.


I had set off quite hastily in the morning with only a few snacks, a GPS, my running shoes, a camera and a slightly hazy idea of where I was going. I hadn’t been there in probably seven years. But it wasn’t just my desire to go that was drawing me, there was something else.


The high cliffs and waves pounding the coast make for an incredible backdrop to the 5.5 mile hike to Wildcat campground. The last two weeks of rain and yesterdays forecast of more rain and wind made the journey even more adventurous. The drive takes you through parts of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate, along winding coastal highways, through small sleepy beach towns and finally to Point Reyes National Seashore. The park has multiple access points which means you should probably have a good idea of where you’re going before you end up at the visitor center realizing you missed your point of interest fifteen miles ago. Not that I learned from experience, but that’s just what I’ve heard.

As you drive down the dead-end road you pass some grazing areas for animals and a Coast Guard communication base. Although it’s more just a small building tucked into the hill, the building is surrounded by big radio towers and things that look like they are monitoring a lot more than just the tides. At the very end of the road you come to Palomarin Trailhead. From here you begin the journey that will separate men from boys. This was where I found myself.

At about two minutes into the walk I stopped suddenly and stared at the trail. There before me lay a large muddy puddle that completely covered the path. I realized quickly that I had completely worn the wrong shoes and I would be better off just getting into the car and going back home where it was warm and less windy and less rainy. However, something deeper inside me said to find a way through. So I did. I passed by the left side of the puddle through some sticker bushes and some of the less sloggy parts of the trail. Once past that I figured the rest should be easier. I need to stop trying to figure.

The trail is steep at points, rocky at points, covered in water at points, slippery, wet, dark, dangerous, etc. The very beginning of the trail warns you of mountain lions in the area. So I quickly began talking out loud to warn any would be ‘attackers-of-hikers’ that I was approaching. The trail I was looking for was an un-maintained trail that was so overgrown the branches and bushes are scraping up against you as you walk through. It’s a well-worn dirt path but no one goes and cuts back the under or overgrowth. So basically after you’ve made it through the main trail about three miles, you veer off towards the waterfall and into the difficult part. When you finally get to the waterfall you can’t actually see it unless you scramble down the eroded dirt cliffs to the ocean. On the chance something bad did happen to me, I realized I hadn’t explained very well where I was going which means no one would start looking for me for at least another five hours. So as courageous as I was, I decided not to venture into the deep ravine cut out by the recent rains and erosion. The waterfall was nice to look at. The hill I was perched atop was neat. The wind that almost, literally almost blew me over was interesting. But there was something else there that day that really caught my feelings.


I’m not sure if that’s the best way to even describe it. But that’s kind of what it felt like. A nudge by a friend to get my attention. Someone just simply saying, hey. I think on Facebook we call it a poke. Kind of weird but I think God had poked at me. Not a super poke, or throwing chickens or practicing karate or whatever all those other things are. Just a hand on the shoulder kind of thing that makes you realize you’re appreciated and cared for. A nudge. Before I had even reached the waterfall, I found myself walking along the trail and feeling that I had been brought here for Him to take His caring hand and shine my heart up a bit. Almost a nudge on my heart that makes you shiver in a good way. I think it was His way of expressing love. And it felt really good.


My legs hurt. It’s still raining and I’m remembering the last few moments of the adventure. I made it back to the car. Took a picture of my muddy shoes and pants. Took off my wet raincoat and sat down to eat my poppy seed muffin. Much to my dismay it was a little past due so I drove home hungry. Yet for some reason the commuter traffic, the lack of food, the wet muddy shoes, wet socks and feet, the continual rain, the bad drivers and the long drive home didn’t seem to matter that much. For something of a much greater nature had happened that day. I had been nudged by my creator. And it made me happy.


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"Certainly spending just one day in your temple courts is better than spending a thousand elsewhere. I would rather stand at the entrance to the temple of my God than live in the tents of the wicked"
Ps. 84:10