Archive for the ‘home’ Category

Last Thursday evening I participated in the Common Ground Speaker Series which my daughter’s school supports. The evening’s speaker was Dr. Ned Hallowell. Harvard and Tulane educated, Dr. Hallowell specializes in  advice on how to survive in an ultra-competitive, ultra fast, attention deficit society while remaining sane, how to raise happy children, the art of forgiveness and how to manage worry. His topic for the night found it’s genesis in his book, Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap!

Hallowell covered some much already traveled territory discussing the affects of the Internet, social media, cell phones and all other things technology. While this terrain is well-trodden, I think, he’s dead-on concerning the negative effects of “labor-saving” devices. What’s more, Hallowell points out that our time interfacing with screens isn’t only sucking our time and energy, it is also rewiring our brains. This could be good or bad. Who knows? At best, we are entering new territory.

The truth is that as we spend more time engaging socially – like reading blogs, etc… – we are spending less time with one another. We trust “friends” and “followers” we’ve never met with extraordinary personal information, while simultaneously not know the name of our neighbors. Worse still, we run the risk of marginalizing or ignoring the family in our midst.

Hallowell reminds us of two important and basic actions that many of us would be wise to regain:

1. Decide what matters most. Preaching a principle I learned from Andy Stanley years ago, I recently spoke on the topic of deciding what matters most and then shaping our action around them. Implicit in deciding is following up that decision with determined action so that our lives actual reflect what we say.

2. Recreate Boundaries. I am frequently shocked when I see the boundaries people have given up. This is especially true, I think, for Christians. Our willingness to be useful and used, for many, has resulted in sacrificing time and energy to our family. This is tantamount to abandoning our family.

Ultimately, I think Hallowell has much to say, but I’m not doing a book review. I’m just raising your attention to the importance of slowing down your life in order to maximize your impact with those closest to you. As a friend of mine says, “You can’t do anything well in a hurry.”

The Non-Writing Life

Posted: November 18, 2008 in church, family, home, life, prayer, preaching, speaking

I’m not dead!! If you were beginning to worry where I’ve been, I want you to know that the Grim Reaper hasn’t yet caught up to me. I’m still alive and kicking. The reason for my blogosphere absence is because (1) I haven’t had time recently to post, (2) I haven’t had anything to post, and (3) I think Baldwin’s “My Dungeon Shook” is so powerful that I wanted people who haven’t read it to get a chance to — folks typically only read the top post. I know the essay/letter is long, but if you haven’t read it, you should.


While I’ve been away, my wife, Rochelle, and I have spent a lot of time talking and trying to discern where God is leading our family. For a while now we’ve been feeling the pull to expand what we do, and now we feel both pulled and pushed. Therefore, we ask that you join us in prayer about the move of God and the Palmer family.


I’ve been talking with a wonderful literary agent about writing a book shaped around the idea of the radical reconciliation preached and proclaimed by both Jesus and Paul. What do you guys think? Is it worth my waking at 4:00 a.m. for 6-12 months to hammer that out? If so, what areas of reconciliation should we explore? Here’s my beginning list: Race, gender, religions, and race again. What would you add? E-mail me or leave a comment.


This past weekend I was out speaking at the Redwood Church in Redwood City, CA. They are a wonderful congregation, geared to loving and serving their neighbors. If you’re ever in that part of the country stop by and visit them. And tell them Sean sent you by.

Happy Father’s Day

Posted: June 14, 2008 in family, fatherhood, home, kids, life

Today is Father’s Day. As I was playing with my daughters earlier I realized that they are what makes me a father, and they are the reason I want to be a good father. Chris Rock once said that father’s of daughters have one job: “to keep their daughters off the pole.” Obviously there is a little more to it than that, but certainly not any less. Being a father is a sacred trust. I’m learning how to be a better disciple of Jesus through discipling my kids.

This father’s day I’m also learning how deeply I am indebted to my own father, even though we have not lived in the same place since I was 13, I am grateful for all that he has taught me. As my recently deceased favorite journalist once said, “The older I get the smarter my father gets.”

Today I’m also mindful of the millions of Americans with my skin tone who — for one reason or another — never knew their fathers. It is a plague that is killing our country and slowly relegating blacks to a permanent underclass. (Helen Andrews has a wonderful article about the subject here.)

So to all the good fathers out there: Happy Father’s Day. You are an inspiration to me and you are doing the most important work that can be done.

Words Create Worlds

Posted: February 19, 2008 in blogs, family, fatherhood, home, Malia, Obama, speaking, words

This morning I had a wonderful idea for a blog. It was about the power or words. I was going to talk about Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Barack Obama, saying he offers speeches while she offers “solutions”. The blog wasn’t going to be political, or try to influence anyone’s vote or reveal my politics — I try not to do that. However, I was going to highlight how words change our lives. As one theologian has put it, “Words create worlds.”

I was going to talk about how people who think words are meaningless, can’t possible mean it and haven’t thought about it very deeply. How they must have never been changed by a song lyric, or moved to action by a speech. It was about how such people must hate Valentine’s Cards and likely rushed without feeling through their wedding vows.

It was about how books and sermons and blogs and poetry must serve no purpose for such people. After all, they’re just words. Most of all I was going to write about how when God created the world he “spoke” it into existence and how “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.”

But, alas, for some reason I couldn’t log in to WordPress this morning, so I didn’t get a chance to write that blog. So this is what I’ll write about instead…

As I was sitting in my weekly staff meeting this afternoon, my four-year old daughter, Malia, walked by outside the door with her teacher, Julie. Julie stopped at the glass door and held up a sheet of paper with the “bat, hat, cat, sat,” and some other things written on it. In the margin Julie had written, “Wow, guess who read today? Malia can read!”

In the midst of the meeting, I saw my daughter’s eyes beaming. Eyes that can now read all on her own. Eyes that had finished her very first reading assignment. And my eyes filled with tears. My heart filled with pride.

Malia can read words.

Don’t tell me words don’t matter!

Happy Birthday, Boo!

Posted: February 12, 2008 in family, fatherhood, giving, home, Katharine, kids, life, Malia

p2121121.jpgMy youngest daughter, Katharine (who at home is just called “Boo”), turns one-year old today. Malia’s first year seemed to take forever, Katharine’s moved lightening fast!

It’s amazing how different our girls are. Malia is an investigator. She’ll get interested in something and want to know everything about it. Katharine is an explorer. She likes to see, touch and taste as much as she can. For her it’s about quantity and experience. At any rate, Rochelle and I are extremely blessed to have two wonderful, beautiful girls. Happy Birthday, Boo.

(The pic above is of Katharine about 90 seconds after she escaped the womb, her eyes weren’t even open yet. She looks better now.)


This morning, Malia and I took advantage of the free short-stack of of pancakes at IHOP. They are asking folks to give the money they would spend on pancakes to Shriner’s Hospital. It was fun to sit and eat and talk over my favorite food, just the two of us.


The best part of working where your daughter goes to school? Malia and her classmates just came in to sing me a Valentine’s song! It was perfect!!

So now it begins…

Posted: January 28, 2008 in change, family, fatherhood, home, Malia, Rochelle

Well, here we go!

My oldest daughter, Malia, went to her first dance class last Wednesday night. For months now she’s been telling us that she wanted to go to “ballerina school.” It’s her mother’s fault because each Christmas the two of them attend The Nutcracker (a tradition that was born out of my deep desire to not have to see it myself).

Since Malia wanted it so badly, we decided to pursue it, and she’s four now so this is a good time to start. I wasn’t able to make it, but Malia loved her trial class. Rochelle sat in another room, behind glass with other parents and learned about their experiences while watching a recital video another mother had taken on her cell phone.

They both left dance class excited!

So excited in fact, that Rochelle went ahead and paid for classes through May — when we’ll get to video our child.

So now it begins. Soon Malia will need tutu’s and ballet shoes and tap shoes and God knows what else — and by “soon” I mean this Wednesday. I almost bankrupted my parents with baseball and band while growing up, and those things are a lot cheaper than ballet and tap! Soon there will be leg warmers and tights and those huge sweatshirts that dancers wear.

And that fact makes me both excited for Malia and said for myself.

Part of me wants her to just stay home with us playing with Play-Doh and Crayons? Not just because it’s cheaper, but because it’s something she can do at home with me sitting next to her or her sitting in my lap. I’m just that kind of dad who loves to sit in the “big chair” and read stories and tell tales. But times are changing, my girls are growing up and their interest are extending beyond our house and I know I should encourage that.

As our Lord says, “Who among you, if your child ask for bread would give a stone?”

So now it begins, and I’m off to buy ballet shoes.

10 Years Ago Today

Posted: January 10, 2008 in family, home, Rochelle

10 years ago today, Rochelle and I were married in Salado, TX. I would post a picture  for you all to see, but Rochelle and I have decided that we’re both much better looking now than then.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years. They’ve flown by. Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve done more than just make it 10 years; we’ve thoroughly ENJOYED ten years.

Rochelle is the greatest blessing in my life. I’m so grateful for her, and couldn’t breath without her presence in my life.

Thanks, Ro, for 10 incredible years.