The K Mills

I write it. You read it. That's it.

The Village Experience.

Thursday – Day 1

Today I left Sentani, hopping on a plane with 3 other guys to travel to a remote village and help a guy build a house. I have to say, it’s a lot different when you fly in a small plane. Suddenly the ground is a lot closer and foreboding than it is when you’re in a huge jet. There you’ve got pretzels and ginger ale and oxygen masks and stewardesses. In a puddle jumper? It’s you, God, the ground and the sky. And if there’s a problem in the latter? You’ll soon be seeing the former.

I’m hoping to do some research for my Indo adventure novel while I’m here, so we’ll see what pans out. Either way, I’ll get a lot of character-building, right? :)


Friday – Day 2

I needed to bring more padding for my sleeping accommodations. A plan sleeping bag? Not Enough. I could feel the slats of the wooden flood through my ribs They poked me. A lot. I found the best position to sleep in was a fetal one, because it somehow padded my sides enough that I wasn’t in constant pain. Just semi-constand. (Nah, it wasn’t really that bad… but it’s more entertaining if there’s tension, so I’m sticking with my sob story…)

Today we built a few sawhorses, then we moved a ton of heavy 4 x 4′s from one place to another. Honestly? I had no idea wood could be so heavy. Holy cow. I’ve lived a sheltered life. :)  After that, we started planing some wood, which is pretty cool. It’s basically a machine that shaves the planks of wood down until they’re all the exact same thickness. Which is pretty important when you’re making a house, you know?

After working, we walked down a muddy trail to wash off in the river. Which is also pretty brown and muddy. Honestly? I don’t think I’ll actually be clean until I get back to Sentani. Seriously. There’s mud and pig and goat poop everywhere. There’s the outside chance that I’ll reach the point where I’m not so sensitive to getting muddy and disgusting, but not likely. I mean, when I use 10 baby wipes to clean my feet off once I’m in my tent? There’s probably little hope for me going all native while I’m out here. Still, it could happen… I just wouldn’t place bets if I were in Vegas.

Tonight we had Mac and Cheese, and it was delicious. Only problem was, we made half as much, because we were afraid to use both boxes in case it was on the menu later. After we ate it and were still hungry? Only THEN we looked at the menu and decided it was safe to make the other box. Oh yeah, we’re geniuses, we are. :) It was still delicious. The green beans weren’t bad, either. We followed it up with some divine chocolate-covered almonds from my Mom. Sent around Easter-time no less. (Still delicious.)

I’m now safely secure in my Tent of Comfort and Safety (thank you, Clive Grey), listening to the offline playlists on Spotify, typing on my iPad Mini with my Bluetooth keyboard. (Already cleaned my ears with Q-tips, thank you.) Only problem is, I’m gonna have to make a colossal dump sometime soon, and you’re supposed to do it in the jungle by digging a hole with a parang (machete). I can tell you know, that’s not happenning in the dead of night. Nope, it sure ain’t.

It’s like I’m at camp or something here, being in a different place, new people, and sleeping in a tent. No canteen, but you packed a lot of goodies, so that’s awesome. Tomorrow I need to remember to take some Aleve in the morning… standing on your feet all day is EXHAUSTING.

- Kevin

P.S. It’s so humid here, my pillow is constantly moist. I’m living in a virtual rainforest.


Saturday – Day 3

I have yet to make a poop.

I’m going to attribute it to my working so hard. Maybe my body’s using up so much energy that there just isn’t any waste LEFT. It sounds good to me, at least.

Today was a solid day of work. I mainly stood all day by the planer, feeding in a plank of wood again and again and again until it was smooth and worthy of being a floorboard. The process takes a good 20 minutes per board, because we want to be careful not to overload the planer motor. Burning out the motor early in the process of creating a house? When we’re here for 2 weeks to do nothing BUT plane boards and make a floor? Well… that would just suck.

So we’re going slowly, shaving off a 1/8 an inch at a time until it’s the right height. It’s tedious, monotonous work, but I have my iPod Shuffle running the whole time under the hearing protection, so I’m good, in my own happy world.

Unfortunately, listening to insanely good music selections doesn’t make standing all day any easier. Aleve did that, to an extent, but it’s still odd to get a cramp in your bicep when you’re trying to scratch  your back. My muscles aren’t used to these motions, so they’re pretty strained. And buff. And sexy. Kim’s gonna love the new me. Raargh…

It’s hot in this tent tonight. Muggy. No airflow at all. Makes me wish I brought my USB fan in my office. Then I could plug it into the solar charger that I charged today and have some sweet airflow. Yep… that’d sure be nice… airflow… to dry off the sweat on my body… uh-huh… sure would be sweet.

Instead of tromping down to the river to wash off after working today, we all got naked and soaped up in a rainshower. Much cleaner, lemme tell ya. Just like camp… except for the naked part… and taking a shower in the rain. Okay, it was nothing like camp, but I enjoy saying that, so I keep on sayin’ it.

It occurs to me today’s Saturday. I haven’t talked to Kim since Thursday. We haven’t even discussed about using the satellite phone yet, ’cause we’re either working or cooking. (They love her menu selections. She really outdid herself.) Maybe I’ll talk to her tomorrow? Hopefully she’s not in withdrawl TOO much… what with the spontenous e-mails and videos she’s been getting*…. :)

- Kevin

*Before I left, I learned how to schedule e-mails and videos to be sent to Kim while I was gone, so each day she’d get a handful of scripture, photos, videos or an e-mail word of encouragement, even in my absence.


Sunday – Day 4

Had trouble sleeping last night. I was tired, but couldn’t sleep. Even after reading for an hour and FEELING sleepy, I lay there in bed for another hour. It’s odd… when you’re in a village? Dark is an all-consuming, midnight black darkness. You seriously can’t see your hand in front of your face. It’s bizarre.

So, when I almost drifted off to sleep? That’s when the village pigs decide to have a pow-wow underneath the hut we’re in. Screeching and grunting and rubbing against the foundational posts holding this thing up. If I wasn’t a grown, masculine man I’d be pretty terrified. Even as a full-blown bowl of testosterone, my mind couldn’t help imagining what it’d be like if the flood dropped out from beneath me, plunking me into the middle of their melee. It wasn’t a pleasant thought, lemme tell ya.

In retrospect, I think I should’ve brought sleeping pills. They would’ve helped.

On another note, I have yet to poop. I’m not bloated, sick or feverish. Just don’t have anything to poop. It’s become quite a conversation piece among the guys. They gleefully announce to me when they’re going to go into the jungle to poop. Say I should give it a try. And one day soon? I hope to. Mayhap even tomorrow.

My muscles are aching from lifting boards all day long. But she’s gonna be impressed with my tan, muscular build. That’s for sure. Raor…

- Kevin


Monday – Day 5

Last night there were no pigs having hoo-hah under our house in the middle of the night. Instead, I woke up at 3:30am to some village guy standing outside somewhere in the rain yelling “Yah!” every 3 minutes. For, like, half an hour. It was pretty dang bizarre, lemme just tell ya.

In other news, I made my Colossal Poop this morning. And you’ll never guess how… so I’m gonna tell ya. It was using the secret power of… coffee.

You read that right: Coffee.

The guys suggested I drink a cup of coffee to loosen my bowels, so I did. 20 minutes later, off I trot to into the jungle to follow the call. I had a head start when I entered the area and there was a pig ahead of me, squealing and running at the sight of me. Yep, that pretty much helped me vacate my stuff right there. Dang pig.

Was able to talk to Kim on the phone today, after figuring out the satellite phone. Glad to hear her voice, even with the delay. Praying she’ll continue to govern the house with love, patience and an iron fist. :) The guys and I ate spaghetti tonight, and it was awesome. Hats off to Kim again.

Instead of washing off with the regular 4:30pm rain shower (4 naked white guys sharing a bar of soap, all strategically positioned under the tarps to get a strong enough stream to rinse with. It’d be quite a sight, if anyone saw us. The villagers are all gone by that time.). Anyhow, as I was saying, instead of doing that we went down to the river and washed down there. It’s a muddy hike down, followed by a muddy hike up, but it’s semi-clean water, so that’s what we do. Me? I’d rather wait for a rain shower. But I’m being social, so… here I am.

I made no effort to express my distaste for swimming in a muddy, opaque river where crocodiles any other sorts of nasties could be lurking about. They enjoy teasing me about it, and I enjoy swimming downstream from them, so that I’m the last guy on the menu (provided Mr. Snapper isn’t swimming upstream…). I usually pee in the river too, mainly because it’s gonna be running down my leg anyway…

My solar charger is working like a charm, keeping my iPhone and iPod Shuffle nicely charged. It’s awesome. I do look forward to the new one coming with the US couriers these next few weeks. High capacity, two USB ports. Woot.

I downloaded a ton of Spotify playlists to listen to offline out here, and I found out that I can shuffle between all the Starred (hand-picked) songs easily. So that’s pretty fun, listening to “new” music as I cut the boards down to size. (I also have gloves, glasses and hearing protection on, FYI. It’s perfectly safe. The only way I can cut my hand is if I stick it under the cutter blades themselves, Which I won’t do. Cause I’m smart like that.)

Whelp, I’m gonna go read something… it’s kinda painful to type, hunched over like that. Maybe I’ll take a break tomorrow…

- Kevin


Tuesday – Day 6

We eat dinner from about 6:30pm to 7pm, after which Travis and I walk down the hill to the large evangelist hut we sleep in, while Andrew and Chuck stay behind and sleep in “the shack” at the worksite. Night is my favorite time, because that’s when I’m a viking! (No, I’m not really. But it is my favorite time.)

My typical nighttime ritual is this:

- Wash mud off feet outside (dip feet in large barrel of rain water)

- Find toothbrush and brush teeth ASAP

- Throw my electronics into the tent for later (iPhone, solar charger, flashlights, etc.)

- Remove sandal and stand on yesterday’s shirt. Remove all clothes and wipe feet off with said shirt. Stand naked and admire your buff physique from lifting heavy boards all day.

- Enter tent. (Be careful! Your entrance is also where your head sleeps, so you have to move gingerly to make sure you don’t get mud or dust or pig crap on your pillow. EVER.

- Pivot in tent so your feet are at the bottom of it (turn around). Grab the Anti-bacterial Baby Wipes and begin The Process. Wipe dirt off calves. Wipe dirt off bottoms and tops of feet. Grab more wipes and floss between the toes. (It feels so GOOD.)

- Get a Q-tip. Clean ears. Sigh deeply.

- Retrieve the iPad and keyboard and compose short journal note  before my back aches from being hunched over.

- Listen to Spotify playlists. Star songs I like, delete those I don’t.

- Watch a sermon or video.

- Read on the Kindle for a bit.

- Pray silently.

- Get sleepy, put in earplugs, pray for sleep. Drift off 30 minutes later.

That’s it. :) And now? My back’s aching, so I’m done for now.

- Kevin


Tuesday – Day 13 (Final Day)

The goats pee and poop all over the work area. On the boards, the cutting equipment, the generators… everywhere. And the male goat butted me in the back of the leg today. Right after I scratched his ears all lovingly like.

Stinking goats. They can be cute and wag their tails at you when you pet ‘em, then turn on you and attack in a second. You’d wanna punch them, but then they’d be more aggressive and come at you harder. Makes you wish you had a taser…

It rained a lot today, so we were able to take showers in the rain, using the runoff from the tarps as a poor man’s shower. The strange thing is the rain water’s soft… the soap kinda sticks to you. The other odd thing is stripping down to my underwear and lathering up, all while the village people are watching a few feet away. (When you live in a village, new people ARE the entertainment… even if we’re just planing boards for hours a day…)

I have quite the neck beard going on. And I’m a hairy, sweaty mess. It’s odd to think that it’s cooler here in the village than back in Sentani. So even when I go home, I’ll still be sweaty. And hotter.

It’s been a nice village experience. It’s pretty much what I expected. More mud, though. A lot more mud. More mud than I’ve ever seen in my life. Much less stepped in. And when I say “mud” I’m talking about dirt and clay mixed with rain, pig pee, pig poop, goat crap, etc…

Dis. Gusting.

I’ve decided to leave some shorts and T-shirts behind. Considering how remote this place is and how few new clothes come in, it’s the least I could do. I can always buy more clothes when I get home. I’m giving my Superman shirt to Istral (“Israel”), so whenever the Claussens see him wearing it, they’ll laugh and remember my contribution here. (Totally selfish, I guess…)

I do look forward to collecting things to send out as a care package in the future. Clothes, food, spices, tools, etc…

- Kevin

An Ode To The Internet.

Oh, Internet, how I miss you, Your blazing speed, Your reliability, The way you could be called on to entertain me… …educate me …distract me.

You kept my iTunes fat and happy, And in return I paid for you, Monthly. Dearly. (Departedly)

Oh, Internet, you cannot survive When the power goes out, When the listrik dies, When The Hill hops onboard the wave, Cresting as a peak 2.5mb.

You’re not the same As you were “back then,” You’ve changed, Oh, yes… you’ve changed. But in the end? I have to say,

I’m just glad you’re Here.

Mom & Dad? Thank You… For Everything.

As we continue to watch marriage after marriage struggle around us, Kim and I have made a special effort to focus on what we’re thankful in our lives (and relationship), rather than concentrate on the sticky points. Our society continues to reinforce the philosophy that one’s happiness is of utmost importance, that it must be achieved and protected at all costs. Regardless of the emotional fallout that you might leave your life – and the lives of your children – if you’re not happy? Drop anchor, jump ship or just torpedo the whole thing to smithereens.

It’s sad.

So as Kim and I thought about our children and what we want to empower them with as parents, we recognized how incredibly blessed our own childhoods were. Both our parents are still married and in a loving, respectful marriage. That, in itself, is astounding. Jaw-dropping. Inspiring.

Now, I love to encourage people. To give them a word of hope when I’m in position to do so, a verbal shot in the arm, if you will. So I suggested we take our admiration one step further and write the thank you letters our parents deserved.

I’m not posting this to make you think I’m some kind of perfect son or any other ego-puffing motive you can dream up. I’m posting this because I want to remind those of us who are married parents why we do what we do. Why it’s worth sticking it out through the crappy times. Worth learning how to communicate and be civil and mature before the divorce, rather than learning the same lessons afterwards. (Because, let’s face it, you’re going to have to learn to do it all anyways. Or else shrivel into a bitter and crusty individual, what with all that unforgiveness burning a hole in your heart. Your choice.)

Just sayin’…

- Kevin


Dear Mom & Dad,

As we’ve had the opportunity to counsel couples the past few years (and watch other marriages struggle or hiccup or even dissolve completely), we’ve come to appreciate even more what God has given to us. But more than just our marriage and relationship, we want to take a moment to thank you for your marriage, and count the blessings that it has provided to us.

So take a moment to stop moving, sit down and allow us to praise you for the greatest gift you could have ever given us: your marriage.

-Kevin & Kim

Thank You For…

Your Commitment

 In a world where people are quick to walk away from difficult situations and relationships, your commitment to stay married – through better or worse – is incredibly rare.

Your Faith

It’s easy to react to the world and our circumstances based on what our senses tell us. What we see directly affects what we believe, and what we believe affects what we do and how we approach life itself. Your steadfast, stubborn faith taught us that there is a God who loves us and is worth serving, even when we don’t understand all of His ways. Your walk has provided us with the footprints to follow as we make our way in life, and we are grateful to follow where you have gone before us. We will be forever grateful for our heritage of faith.

 Your Integrity

Selfish comes naturally to all of us. The idea of acting in a manner that doesn’t directly benefit us is foreign to a culture that promotes self over all. Yet your integrity – your constant drive to do what is right and good, regardless of the consequences to yourself – is a rare jewel, and one that we value above all else.

Your Wisdom

Everyone wants to believe that they have good advice to offer the world, but to receive true, godly wisdom from a parent? Invaluable. Your words were more powerful than you ever realized, and while we can’t say they were always welcome at the time in our youth? We can now say as adults that they were (and are still) appreciated.

Your Merciful Grace

It’s not like we didn’t provoke you over the years. Yet time after time, instead of reacting out of anger or judgment, you showed us what it meant to extend mercy and grace. You modeled true forgiveness to us before we even recognized our need for it.

Your Moderation

When so many families are consumed with the never-ending quest to acquire more and more “stuff,” you kept your head about you. Instead of burying yourself under the crushing weight of constant debt, you showed us what it meant to make purchases with wisdom and restraint.

Security and Stability

As divorce is becoming more and more common, it’s easy to see how devastating the effects can be on a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Thank you for providing a secure, stable environment where we were free to mature at a proper rate, unburdened by unnecessary fears or self-doubts.

Unconditional Love

We have failed. We have struggled. We have doubted. We have succeeded. We have celebrated. And our lives continue to have ups and downs, as everyone’s life does. At every stage of our lives, you have demonstrated to us that you love us. Sometimes that love has been easy to share and show, and other times you’ve probably had to take a couple of deep breaths or shake your head for a bit. But through it all, you’ve managed to shower us with love – no matter what.

Your Humor

Life is hard. Your resilience and ability to keep a sense of humor and to laugh – despite what the world throws in your path – is to be commended. And no matter how many whoopee cushions were confiscated by uptight English professors in school, or toilet-seatscarefully covered in Saran Wrap – it was all worth it.

Your Good Name 

As any news article will attest, it’s easy for people to make one bad decision that will have lasting consequences on an entire family line. We recognize this and praise you for protecting the heritage of our name, for creating a history where our names are received with smiles and gladness rather than scorn. Being able to pass along the legacy of a good name to our own children is a responsibility we don’t take lightly, but it’s one we accept with joy.

Your Patience

You have been patient with us, as we’ve moved constantly, changed careers regularly, changed life goals and ambitions, and as you’ve watched us raise our kids. Thanks for being patient with us. And for being patient with our children. Who like to play with things until they break, whether they’re toys or not.

Your Perspective

Fair and Balanced. (Just like Fox News. Heh.) Thank you for having a balanced perspective on life.  Contrary to the world’s perspective on life being about money, success, impact, cars, and titles… you have taught us that life is about God and people. Loving God and loving others. All the other stuff comes and goes. Thanks for keeping perspective.

Conflict Resolution & Communication

We won’t bother trying to convince you that you didn’t have conflict. But better than not having conflict, you demonstrated for us how to resolve conflict. With respect. With graciousness. With forgiveness.

Your Selflessness

Honestly? We think that we have the most generous and selfless parents out there.  We are continually blessed by ways that you give to our family, the blessing that you are to your friends and communities, and the ways that you serve in your churches at home. Thank you for constantly giving of yourself and modeling that behavior for us.

Your Faithful Obedience

You believe in God. And when things get tough, you never stopped believing. That faithful obedience has been a wonderful example for us, as we deal with what life throws at us. Thank you for not giving up on God. Thank you for obeying Him even when His plans don’t necessarily make sense or the people around you don’t show support. And thank you for your prayers over the years. We know that your faith has had a huge impact on our lives.

Your Mutual Decision-making

Simply put, you have shown us how to make marriage work. Not by dominance or manipulation or passive-aggressive persuasion. But by mutual respect, love and devotion. By listening to each other’s perspectives. And by trusting one another.

Mom & Dad? Thank you both. For EVERYTHING.

The Play-doh Chronicles.

As I’ve mentioned in some of the posts a few months ago, I don’t really know why I’m here in Washington, D.C. yet. When I sought God to see what He wanted me to work on back in September, the impression I got was to “wait” and to “write” (here on Three months later, and I’m still floating about, unsure of what else I’m supposed to be doing in the downtime.

Sometimes I find myself being at complete peace with His last instruction, and other times pretty much freaking out in a fit of non-productive spasms. And when His last known directive is followed by suffocating silence, it’s easy for my over-active mind to second-guess whether I even heard Him correctly in the first place. And doubting that? Well… that’s the gaping mouth of a rabbit hole, my friend.

If I were to venture a guess as to what He’s “saying” to me lately, I’d have to say it’s “believe.” That’s it. Just “believe.” What to believe is a mystery. His promises? His Word? His last set of instructions? My discernment of His Spirit’s voice? Probably a combination of all of the above. But it’s still a bit unnerving, as you can imagine.

He’s also been kind of speaking to me in the middle of the night the past few weeks. Once He said clearly that He was trying to teach me something I “couldn’t learn otherwise.” I’ve since prayed for clarification as to what, but received none. Just more silence. Still, I like the idea. I latch onto it hungrily. It would help give my present pain a little more purpose, you know?

One image that popped into my head sometime in October was a Play-Doh strainer (also known as the Fun Factory). You’ve seen this thing… put the good stuff in one side, pick your shape and mash it down hard. Voila! Out comes the spiffy shape! Play-Doh magical moments for all!

So the impression I had was that moving to Washington is kind of a Plah-Doh process for me. I feel that God’s using this key moment in my life, that He’s slowly changing the shape of my heart through the strain and pressure of just being here. It’s an ugly process, and profoundly painful, and from the perspective of the dough? Pretty dang pointless.

But. And this is a big BUT. I think there’s a reason for it.

You see, I envision a time in the near future when the opening before me is going to narrow drastically and suddenly, and for me to pass through from one side of the storm to the other? I’m either going to have to squeeze into the shape of that door “just right” or half of me would get scraped off and go splat.

So that’s my conclusion. Yes, the squeezing hurts like hell, but I believe in His mercy He’s putting me through this now because if He didn’t? It would hurt more to hit the wall later. He’s shaping me today so I’ll be better prepared for tomorrow.

In the meantime? My primary “job”? Is to learn how to praise Him in the interim. To bring my praise and my worship to Him regardless of what I, personally, want to happen in my life. My faith is being transformed from happy theory into stark reality. I can’t just sit back in my comfortable Christian armchair and say that I’ll go where He leads, do what He wants me to do and praise Him at all times…

…I have to actually do it.

- Kevin



The F Word

There is a serious sickness that’s poisoning our marriages, our families, our selves. It’s called unforgiveness.

Why is it so volatile? Because it’s the repository of all sorts of strong, negative emotions. Hurt. Anger. Bitterness. Revenge. Hatred.

Yet for some reason we’ve come to comfort ourselves with letting it into our lives, like some kind of non-paying houseguest. The role models of the world – the actors and politicians and businessmen and pop stars – they all seem to deal with it just fine. Heck, some even revel in their resentment half the time, teaching a whole new generation to stay firmly focused on the only thing that they say matters in this world: you.

But it’s not true.

Comfy, Chewy Centers

You are not the most important part of your relationships. Your all-consuming comfort? Your central happiness at all costs? Your obsessive longing for supreme satisfaction with all things, at all times? Not the primary plot point of your life’s story. At least, not if you want to live a life worth living.

Life is about people. Other people. It’s about engaging in and maintaining relationships. Period. Whether it’s your parents, your in-laws, your brothers or sisters, your friends or strangers, your employer or employees or your children or your spouse, the degree of your success in life is going to largely be gauged by how well you learn to play nicely with others.

And that means forgiving.

Forgiveness vs. The Future

Your ability to forgive is the key to your happiness in life. Forgiving when it’s deserved. Forgiving when it’s not. Forgiving when you’re hurt through a misunderstanding, or when it was done with sheer malice in mind. Forgiving when you’ve been beaten down physically, emotionally or mentally. Forgiving when you’ve been forgotten, or ignored, or insulted. No matter what anyone does to you in this life to upset or hurt you, the only way you’re going to heal… is to forgive.

Because when you choose not to forgive? You’re poisoning yourself. It’s a slow death, to be sure. Almost imperceptible. But it’s there, the aching wound inside you, and it will continue to fester just underneath your skin. You may think you’ve risen above or moved beyond the pain, but unless you actively extend an olive branch of peace? You’re only kidding yourself.

Here’s the kicker: Whatever you decide to do with your bitterness today will determine your happiness tomorrow. Your choice to nurture your unforgiveness will establish a habit in your life, so the next time someone offends you? Hurts you? Wounds you deeply? You’ll already know what to do, because it’ll come naturally to you.

You’ll choose not to forgive.

But the same is true if you choose to go down the wiser, more difficult road of forgiveness. The more you forgive those who offend you? The easier it becomes. Whether you’re forgiving a minor offense or the Mother of All Offenses, your deliberate decision to forgive the people in your life will have a dramatic and lasting impact on your life in the future.

Your comfort. Your happiness. Your satisfaction with all things.

The Now and Laters of Life

Walking through the temporary pain and discomfort now leads to lasting comfort later. Giving up your personal need for justification and retribution today will directly affect your personal peace tomorrow.

The seeds you’re planting deep in your heart today, regardless of whether they’re sour or sweet, will eventually explode into a harvest in your life. Roses or thorns, the choice can only be made by you.

What astounds me is the number of couples who think they can pursue a close, intimate relationship with God while they actively resent their spouses inside. It just doesn’t work that way. It can’t. Mark 11:25 makes this perfectly clear.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Catch that? Did you fully grasp what that’s saying? Your willful decision to not forgive is the same as a willful decision to sin. Jesus Himself explained that your hating your brother is the same as murdering him. Murdering him. So why in the world do you think a holy God is going to listen to and honor your heartfelt prayers when your heart is so full of hate?

Forgiveness Is A Choice

So let me underscore this message once again, because I think it’s the key to every relationship you’ve had, are currently in or will ever have in the future:

People are going to hurt you. Accidentally. Blatantly. Badly. Often.

Your choice to give in to bitterness will be immediately gratifying, and will have lasting, miserable results.

Your choice to forgive (even when forgiveness is undeserved) will have eternal, satisfying rewards.

You are the only one who can make this choice.

And it is a choice. Not a feeling or a notion or emotion.

Forgiveness Is A Choice.

The End Is Upon Us.

It’s been an interesting month, weather-wise, and much of it affecting places I’ve lived (and the family and friends we love). So I thought I’d share my thoughts on it all.

First, there was the whole haboob (love that word) in Lubbock on October 17th.

Basically, a mile-high wall of dust and debris swept its way through Lubbock in a matter of minutes. It was enough to block out the sun in some places, I’ve been told. Pretty freaky stuff, without question.

Then there was the earthquake in Oklahoma last Saturday. And Sunday. And again on Monday night. Uncommon an unexpected are the words that come to mind. (As well as freaky, terrifying and earth-shaking…)

The ego-centric part of me look at all this and says “Huh. Two uncommon, natural disasters take place within weeks of each other, and both in places I used to live. What does it all mean?” But rather than conclude that my mere presence wards off natural disasters, I basically shrug it off and go my merry way.

Except I can’t. My brain won’t let me. It keeps analyzing and over-analyzing and trying to decipher it all. When talking with a friend of mine this week, he insisted that we are, in fact, in “the end times.” I debated with him on this, explaining that there have always been “end times” events, and that people in general get spun up when 1) a new century or millennium comes around, or 2) a rash of unexpected natural calamities strike in close sequence.

He adamantly said that he’d been studying both scripture and weather patterns the past few years, and holds fast to his conclusions. When we hung up, I didn’t really give it any other thought. He had his opinion, and I had mine. But after reading a couple of articles this week I think I just might change my point of view.

Exhibit A – The Sudden Spikes in Extreme Outbursts

“The national economic toll for extreme weather so far this year is estimated at $35 billion, more than five times the average annual loss.”

“April spawned 875 tornado reports — the 30-year average for the month is 135.”

“Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes annually until 2009. Last year, 1,047 quakes shook the state.”

Exhibit B – FEMA’s First-Ever Nationwide Emergency Alert Test Today

“Why now?

Here’s how FEMA explains it:

We need to know that the system will work as intended should public safety officials ever need to send an alert or warning to a large region of the United States. Only a complete test of the Emergency Alert System can help us identify any changes and improvements needed to modernize this system and make it fully accessible.

Although FEMA says there have been local emergency alert tests in the past, none has been broadcast to all regions of the USA at the same time.”

My Conclusions:

Wow. It’d be easy to dismiss my friend’s rants about the weather and end times if the statistics didn’t back up his point so well. Seems like things are 5x as bad as they have been on many fronts (20x as bad in Oklahoma earthquake terms). That’s some pretty steep rampage, people. It’s hard to ignore.

And FEMA? Suddenly conducting a nationwide test? Well, call me a skeptic, but I’m guessing there’s more of a reason to make sure things work than, well, just to make sure things work. Throw in the speculation on how the solar flares are gonna affect us the next year, and it kind of makes you wonder.

ARE we in the end times? What do you think? 2 years? 5? Another 20 or 50 before things go kablooey? What say thee?

The Egypt Of Lubbock, The Wilderness Of Washington.

As I’m processing the transition from Lubbock to Washington, I’ve decided to reread Stormie Omartain’s excellent book, “Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On: Trusting God in Tough Times.” I had read it years ago, and I remember it provided me with more encouragement than I expected. It’s a short book at 176 pages, but there are enough nuggets in there to make it worth while.

On section that stood out to me this weekend was when she described the Israelites leaving Egypt for The Promised Land. They followed God’s definite leading out of Egypt, and had seen Him perform numerous, incredible miracles. Yet instead of stepping directly into The Promised Land, they had to go through the wilderness.

And that’s when things got complicated.

Because despite what they knew, and what they had seen with their own eyes, they forgot God’s power. Instead of relying on His providence for where they were now, they continued to look back, at they life they had before. “What’s going on, Moses? You brought us all the way out there to die? In this desert? Life was better back in Egypt as a slave!

Grumble, grumble, grumble, bitch, bitch bitch… it was an ugly time.

The problem was, they thought they were at the end of the story of their lives, that they had reached the final destination. It wasn’t true. They were just passing through it. As tourists. They just didn’t realize it, so they freaked out.

Sound familiar?

It did to me. Because here I am, a man who’s seen and experienced firsthand God’s incredible providence in my life. As a husband, father and businessman, God has come through time and time again. And yet, once I was stripped of all the comforts that I had come to depend on, losing the direction and focus that I once had? I was a bawling, bitching baby. (Yes, that’s the second time I used the word “bitch” in this post. And very accurately in both.)

Stormie writes:

The wilderness is where we are forced to leave behind the familiar, the comfortable, the past successes, the accomplishments and your bag of tricks that always worked before. The wilderness is where God takes us when He wants us to get Egypt out of our hearts. He wants to separate us from all that we crave, so that all we crave is Him. Just as he wanted to get the taste for Egypt out of the Israelites’ mouths, He wants to get our lust for certain comforts out of our appetites as well. It’s not that He doesn’t want us to be comfortable, He just doesn’t want us to depend on the comforts more than we depend on Him.

When God aims us in a new direction, we have to let go of what we’ve known and be willing to embrace the unfamiliar, trusting that He will sustain us. The wilderness is a place where God calls us to forsake what’s comfortable and move into the unknown so that He can direct us to where we ultimately need to arrive.

Translation: Lubbock is my Egypt. I’m in the Wilderness of Washington. And I have a choice to make: Faithless or Faithful.

Because I don’t feel like wandering around aimlessly for the next 17 months while I’m here? I’m choosing Faithful, thank you very much.

No, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here, what I’m supposed to be working on or why He brought us here. But I have no doubt that He did, and I will choose not to doubt that He has good things in store for us. For me. I choose to believe that God has good things in store for Kevin Mills in Washington, D.C.

We’ll just have to wait and see what they are.

In the meantime, I’ve composed a short love letter to Lubbock. It’s a kind of farewell, a way to break the emotional ties a bit more, acknowledging all the good that was there, but not being so focused on them that I’m blind to what God’s doing here. (Which is why I’m following up my Love Letter to Lubbock with a Pledge to Washington).



What I’ll Miss About Lubbock:

• The fact that everything was 20 minutes away

• I knew where everything was

• The comfort

• The dry weather (dust and all)

• eLife (Chris Galanos’ fine-tuned preaching, Brandon Gwinn’s incredible worship leading, being able to serve regularly)

• The cheap prices

• Bodyworks (1 hour of sweating, 1 hour of reading = 2 hours of “free” childcare)

• A backyard for the kids to run around in

• Carpet that you could walk on with shoes on. That wasn’t white.

• The nannies (Rhonda & Charla, you are missed dearly)

• The friends (too many to mention)

• The weekly lunches at Spanky’s

• Movie nights with the guys

• Bahama Buck’s delicious Frosts (Island Tart was divine)

• Avocado Cheeseburgers at Anna’s Mexican Restaurant

I’d better stop there… or this list is gonna defeat its purpose. Heh.

And now, for Washington, D.C., I pledge:

• To not scream or cuss when I suddenly miss my turn and find myself driving across the river for a 30-minute detour.

• To be thankful for the condo that God provided us (and the perfect location that it is)

• To be thankful for the childcare for Kaleb and Kara

• To appreciate that all three kids have adjusted well here

• To try new things, even things that make me uncomfortable.

• To be thankful for the new church home we found (

• To spend as much time as possible with my brother and his family while we’re all here for the next 17 months

• To take the time to listen to God’s quiet whispers in my life, rather than complain that I don’t hear Him over the din and activity around me.

• To eat at the bonafide Indonesian restaurant Kim and I found often. (I’m tellin’ ya, Indo MKs, it tastes just like Mickey’s in Sentani…)

• To praise God when I find a parking space (free or not)

• To accept the fact that I might take the wrong Metro from time to time.

• To embrace the fact that I’m in my own wilderness, and instead of wishing I was elsewhere in my life, I will accept that God’s called me here and wants to teach me something in the midst of it all. I promise to open my eyes to see what He’s doing, my ears to hear when He speaks, and my hands to receive whatever He wants to give me during my time here.

The Dark Side Of D.c.

I have a confession to make.

I have not been a happy man here in Washington. In fact, ever since we arrived last month I’ve fluctuated between pseudo-confidence and “What the heck am I supposed to be doing here?”

To backtrack a bit, Kim and I moved from Lubbock after months of praying and feeling God’s clear, unquestionable guidance that we’re supposed to go. But even knowing that you’re “in God’s will” doesn’t mean it’ll be an easy transition. It’s not. And I guess the abruptness of it all kind of took me off guard more than I anticipated.

Back in the comfortable cocoon of Lubbock, I was quite peaceful. Baby Codes had hit the #1 Bestseller list on Amazon, childcare was taken care of, I had a nice routine going from day to day and Kim and I had a genuine, bonafide social life.

Fast forward four weeks, I’m totally uprooted across the country and still shaking the dirt off. I knew the move was coming, but I still feel like a twister’s violently plucked me from the ground and flung me hundreds of miles away into a concrete jungle.

I haven’t been happy. It didn’t take long for me to settle into a depressive funk. I felt manic, having days of hope followed by days of despair, like I was stuck on one of those freaking Tilt-O-Whirls at an amusement park. (Amusing to watch, sure. But to actually ride? Icky poo, no thank you.)

So it’s been a hard move, to say the least. The past few days, however, have been better. Not that I have any clearer direction of what God wants me to work on, but I feel more at peace lately.

In reviewing my prayer journal entries the past month, I’ve come to a few simple conclusions:

1) When I begin to doubt God – His plan, His promises, His presence – I slowly pull away from Him.

2) When I pull away from God, I quickly lose focus, direction and, ultimately, hope.

3) When I lose hope, I become discouraged. Really, really discouraged.

4) And when I get discouraged? When I’m suffocating under endless waves of depression? It’s hard to come back up for air and trust in God, when the world around me seems so dang bleak.

It’s kind of a Catch-22, you could say.

The problem is that even when I see God as the solution, it’s not an easy, reliable fix. Because even when I would come to Him, I’d often still feel empty inside, and just as lost as I was when I started.

So what’s the solution to that? When you’re desperately clawing after God and you end up with a fistful of silence?

I’m not sure. But my gut says it has something to do with my attitude. If I come to Him with a bitter, accusing attitude, I’m effectively erecting a wall between us, and I find He’s more silent.

This was even more confirmed as I read the Bible today, with one verse standing out: Hebrews 3:12

“See to it that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”

To be honest, I had never equated an “unbelieving heart” with “sinful” before. This verse seems to fly in the face of the popular teaching that we can come to God with everything. On closer inspection, however, it really doesn’t.

Why not? Because it’s all about attitude.

We CAN come to God and present our hurt, our pain, our endless questions and concerns. But no matter how we might feel? How super-soaked we might be with our own pain or confusion? We still have to be respectful of who He IS. We can’t forget our place in His story – we’re the servants, He Is the Lord. We’re merely the words on the page, but He’s the writer, inserting us where He sees fit. Where He knows we’ll be most effective.

Looking back, I’m reminded that I experienced the same degree of depression and confusion back in the summer of 2008. It was then that I had hand surgery, and was temporarily unable to fulfill my role as a stay-at-home Dad. (Ever changed a dirty diaper with one hand? Lemme tell ya, it ain’t pretty.) I prayed fervently to God, asking Him what in the world He wanted me to do with my life, and He answered quickly one night: write Baby Codes and establish Mills Creative Minds.

So as frustrated as I can get these days, overall I’m trying to be hopeful. Yes, God’s uprooted me from my comfy life. Yes, I’m disoriented and cranky and confused as I watch Him rewrite this chapter of my life. But if I’ll just take a few moments to look back on how He’s spun the story of Kevin Mills so far? How He’s taken the crappy mud pies of life and transformed them into double-fudge chocolate cakes of gooey goodness?

Well, I really don’t have to worry.

He knows what He’s doing. Better than I do, than I ever could.

All I have to do is trust Him.


Addendum: Elijah

For the past week, I’ve felt God impressing on me to watch the series called Elijah. I remember watching it years ago and was greatly impressed, but didn’t know exactly what to expect. But after I finished this post I went ahead and watched it, and was shocked at how much it applies to my life. Today. Right now.

So on the off chance one of you reading this is feeling kinda like I feel? Like God sort of yanked the soft, cushy rug out from under your feet and left you standing out in the cold? Watch this. It’ll change your perspective. (And hopefully your attitude…)

Thank God For Super-sucky Gifts.

I have to be honest: I’ve received some truly sucktacular gifts in my lifetime.

Growing up on comic books, music and action-adventure novels, I’m a relatively easy guy to buy for. An Amazon gift certificate pretty much rocks my world, while giving me more than enough funds to restock my music library (with the LEGAL versions of songs that I deleted years ago. Note: Just because a cheap music site is legal in Russia and accessible to you in America DOESN’T make it right).

One vivid memory was a birthday shortly after college. My parents had helped Kim and I as we moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and after unpacking our stuff and going out to dinner, it was time to do the birthday thing. So my parents wheeled in some of their luggage (you know, since they didn’t have time to wrap the stuff), and I began unzipping the suitcases with thinly veiled zeal. What could possibly be inside these things, I wondered? That’s gotta be a pretty huge action figure to fit in here! And so on went my thoughts…

Until I reached the final piece of the Russian doll luggage set, all fitting snugly into the other, and found… nothing.

I was sadly perplexed. Where was the gift, I wondered aloud. My parents simply smiled and informed me that the luggage WAS the gift.

At which point two things happened: 1) my heart sank swiftly and 2) Kim started snickering.

The first reaction is pretty obvious. Being a self-centric birthday brat, I was sad I didn’t get “anything I wanted.” But why would Kim start yukking it up in the corner? Why indeed…

That would be because a month earlier? When my mother had called her to ask what I wanted for my birthday? Kim thought for a moment, considered what we could use “as a couple” and said without a second thought, “Luggage.”

So to this day the word “luggage” has a special meaning to me. It means sadness. Disappointment. Maybe egocentric snottiness. But whenever anyone now asks me what Kim wants for a gift? I’m ready with a quick answer: she wants a MacBook Pro. (Or an iPad… or a Kindle Fire…)

To be honest, though, the luggage wasn’t the suckiest gift I was ever given. That honor goes to my in-laws, Dave and Sue Linton. Way back in 2005, I believe, I unwrapped a Christmas gift to find myself staring at… a Black and Decker Rechargeable Hand Vac. I thought it was one of the most bizarre gifts I’d ever received. ‘Cause giving Kevin a tool – ANY tool – is like giving a handyman a free license for Scrivener, the best writing software EVER. The potential is simply wasted.

So the vacuum sat in its wrapping for a good month after Christmas, gathering dust until I could decide whether I was going to sell it on eBay or Craigslist. At least, that was the plan until… THAT DAY.

That would be the day Kyler spilled his bowl of cereal all over the kitchen floor. I believe it was dry and completely milk-free, but I’m honestly not sure. All I remember is looking at the pieces of Cheerios spread across the tiles and thinking to myself, “Now, what’s the best way to clean THIS up?” And then I remembered: I had the perfect tool! Right in the other room!

The room was sucked clean in minutes. And I was impressed. Strongly so.

And now? Now I can say that getting that bizarre, seemingly pointless gift was the BEST gift I’ve ever been given. (Next to my wife presenting me with a MacBook, I suppose…) Why? Because I use that vacuum EVERY SINGLE DAY. Now that we have three clones instead of just one? That’s three times the crumbs, crusts and crispy stuff strewn around the house. And having a strong handy vac on hand? A lifesaver.

Sometimes God gives us something that looks a lot like luggage. We’re praying and hoping hard for something else, something we think would be cool or that we desperately need, and He gives us the exact opposite. And we frown and whine and think there must be some mistake. “Surely, God, you didn’t mean to give me THIS? Did you? Because I’m pretty sure there was a mix-up in heaven or something…

But God doesn’t make mistakes.

Matthew 6:8 says that God “knows what you need before you ask Him.” While we might accept that part, that God’s omniscient, we have a harder time believing the bigger picture: God Loves Us.

So if we believe that 1) God loves us and 2) that He knows what our needs are, then why do we freak out so much? Why do we question what in the world He’s giving us when we know that He’s only going to give us what’s for our good?

You might not see it today, buried under everything that’s on top of you. But one day? You’ll be in a position to actually thank God for the empty luggage He’s giving you right now.

(Insert your own “fill your empty luggage with your life experiences” analogy here)

- Kevin

The Return Of Kevin Mills, Blogger Guy.

It’s true.

I’ve been away for quite some time. What with the introduction to Facebook, Twitter and, I find my desire to communicate with the world at large to be pretty satiated. But there’s one problem: a lot of what I have to say doesn’t fit into 140 characters or less.

Sure, the summaries might, but sometimes we need more than a verbal soundbite to get the message across. And I have some messages I’d like to get across to you. Strong convictions that need to be expressed, if only to attempt to have an impact on the small sliver of the sphere God’s given me access to.

Plus, I need to work on my writing skills anyway, and writing at a regular pace is a great way to do that. Stay sharp, on the edge, where I gotta be…

(Anyone beside my wife able to identify that quote? Anyone…?)

So this is really a pre-entry. I’ll figure out a regular time to write soon, and then I’ll be updating this on weekly, or (gasp) bi-weekly basis. And be sure to tune  in on Fridays, ’cause that’s when I plan to give away free music. :)

Ahh…. it’ll be good to be back. Hope you feel the same way.

- Kevin

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