Weekend Muchable: Pizzeria Lola


Beautiful day for a drive.  The sun beaming, melting away the remaining snow, warming the air.  As it was late morning when we left, the subject of lunch came up before we had left town.  Austin, my eight-year-old, wanted pizza.  Specifically, he wanted pizza from a well-worn place we have eaten at more times than I can count.

Jennie and I chimed in that we wanted to try something new, something different.  A quick web search of “Minneapolis Best Pizza” brought up Pizzeria Lola at 56th and Xerxes Ave. in Minneapolis.  All agreed to the adventure, and off we went.

As we headed north on Xerxes, through a lovely suburban neighborhood,  I thought we had made a wrong turn.  We were driving past house after house, with no sign of a business.  At last, there it was, sandwiched between a dry cleaner and a café.


Walking in the door, the first thing that hits you is the wall of noise.  This is no place for quiet conversation.  Perfect ambience for our son, who had no trouble keeping up with the volume.  Our wait time was nil (although, from what I understand, that is not always the case).  As soon as we were seated, our server arrived with coloring supplies for Austin – a huge plus!

Pizzeria Lola is quite popular, and for good reason.  For starters, Guy Fieri did a segment on Lola for his “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” program.  (You can watch the clip at http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/pizzeria-lola-0185011.html).


Plus, the food truly is, as Guy so aptly put it, “off da hook”.  We ordered two pizzas: the My Sha-Roni! and the Iowan (both pictured at top).  The My Sha-Roni!  was pretty standard pizza (red sauce, mozzarella, fresh pepperoni and fennel sausage that they make in-house).  Austin ate two pieces, so you know it’s good!

But the Iowan… oh my… thin sliced potatoes, carmelized onions, bacon, grueye and fontina cheeses..,  This is probably the most original – and one of the best – pizzas I have ever eaten.  Delicious!

And all of their pizzas are 12 inch, thin crust and wood-fired.  There is nothing on earth like a wood-fired pizza, and Lola does them right.  Next time we go, we may try the Korean BBQ pizza.

The wait staff are excellent.  The food is great. The atmosphere is lively.  At $15 a ‘za, you may not want to make a habit of it.  But if you’re looking for some very original and delicious pizza, head to Pizzeria Lola.

The Logical Post

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 (ESV)

I love the Desert Island Discs game.  The premise goes like this: if you’re going to be stranded on a desert island and can take 20 albums with you, what discs would you choose?  The game is truly ridiculous because, unless your CD player is solar powered, you are going to need to haul an awful lot of batteries with you.

But it is a fun game all the same because it makes you think.  Now, for me, I would have to bend the rules a bit.  For one, I would make mix discs, so I can fill the CDs with the music I love and not deal with skipping past filler songs.  (Ever feel ripped off by a $15 album that had only one or two good songs on it?)  

Not only that, but I would burn my CDs in MP3 format so I can fit a ton more music on my 20 discs that I will play on my solar powered portable CD player with MP3 decoder while lying on a deserted beach, eating fresh caught sea bass and sucking down coconut milk.

One of the songs I would include would be a long time favorite of mine: Supertramp’s “The Logical Song”.  (Relax, Christian friends.  I would have plenty of Rich Mullins, Sara Groves, Bebo Norman, praise and gospel music as well.). If you remember this song, you are probably aging yourself.  It was a hit back in 1979.

The lyrics deal with conformity: how we start out pure enough, only to have certain expectations and norms forced upon us.  We are expected to fit certain labels and march in lockstep, or face being labelled as an outsider. And often we accept certain conformities to the detriment of our created purpose in life, of our selves.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  We live in a society, and societies must have rules, or else chaos will prevail. But, as Paul wrote,  we are not called to conform to the ways of this world.  We aren’t called to be drawn to the temptations and distractions this world has to offer.  We are not meant to follow the life of worldly riches and greed.  

We are called to a life of transformation.  We are all created by God as individuals, meant to serve as unique parts in the larger body of Christ – not merely the local congregation but the church universal.  We are called to love without judgment, to forgive without reservation, to help without question.

The expectation of those of us who follow Christ is not a station in life or fiscal status or popularity contest. We are called to follow Christ’s lead with our whole hearts, not conform to some professional status.    Follow the Holy Spirit, your inner guide.  The thing is, I believe that if each of us would simply still ourselves long enough to hear His voice in the quiet, the confusion of what to do or say would melt away, replaced with certainty of purpose.

So, go ahead.  Thumb your nose at conformity.  Who cares what the labelers think or say?  Refuse to follow anyone but Jesus Christ.  Speak up for Love and Peace.  Be who your Creator made you to be, not what the world wants to mold you into. If that means you’re viewed as a “weirdo” for the sake of Christ, so be it.  

Be a weirdo.

With gusto!

In the end, whose thoughts matter?  Who will have the final word?

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world– the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)

Come as You Are

How long are you going to be afraid?

How many nights are you going to sit up worrying?

Why are you fretting about the past, the present, the future?

Why are you embracing anything less than the joy and peace of Jesus?

Open your eyes.  Open your heart.  Open your arms to Jesus.  His arms are open to you.

Cast your anxiety on Jesus, for He cares for you.  He loves you!  Run to God and find forgiveness.  

Find peace.

Find comfort.

Rest in His faithfulness.

The Lord isn’t waiting for you to be worthy to approach.  His grace opens the door for us.

All sin and fall short of God’s holiness.  

We all have worries.  We all have doubts.  We all stumble and sometimes fall flat on our faces.  

We also all have a Savior Who loves us, Who cares about us.

About you.

Go to Him.  Right now.  As you are.  Pray. Open your heart.  Open your eyes.  Run into Jesus’ open arms.

Rest easy.  Come as you are.  Find rest for your mind and soul.

Sleep well, brothers and sisters.  You are loved beyond comprehension.

The First of Thousands

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There it is.  The very first photo I ever took of my son Austin.  He was a mere two days from turning 18 months.  That’s him just right of center – the fuzzy little blue figure holding his caretaker’s hand.

This isn’t the first we caught sight of him.  That had happened about 10 or 15 minutes prior, when the orphanage people escorted the line of beautiful little girls – and one handsome young man – out of the elevator and into a little room away from the prying round eyes of the adopting westerners.  I’m not sure exactly how many minutes we waited because it felt like hours.

But, finally… the moment we had waited years for.  The moment we thought might never come.  The moment that was worth all the uncertainty and worry and pain and prayer and wondering that every adopting parent knows all too well.

Worthy every rug pulled out from under us.

Worth every dead end.

Worth every restless night.

Worth everything.


We knew it then.  We know it now. Austin is our great gift from God.  He is our son just as if my wife had given birth to him.  He has my sense of humor and his mom’s tenacity.  A formidable combination if you ask me.

When I look at my beautiful son, my heart beams.  I understand why we had to wait so long.  We had to wait for him to be born.  And I understand that nothing worthwhile comes easy or quick.  No matter how impatient I get.  No matter how fearful I am.  Wait upon the Lord, our Heavenly Father, the Giver of all good things.

I look at this photo – the first of thousands so far – and I still feel the rush of it all.  The excitement.  The anxiety of being a dad  The worry that I wouldn’t be able to be a good dad.  That beautiful, peaceful little face.

That night, when we put our baby in his crib for the very first time, it really struck me.  I am a dad.  I kept waking up just to look at him.

I think back now and I am assured: God keeps His promises.

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In Dreams

I keep having the same dreams night after night.  To clarify, the scenes and people change.  Surroundings vary from dream to dream.  But they tend to fall in the same thematic line: I need to get things done.

My dreams are haunted with the fear that I am not doing what I ought to be doing, not completing what I should. In the wrong place.  Traveling the wrong path.  Others around me oblivious to my misalignment but pressuring me to get on with it.

I am not one who believes in dream interpretation as some mystical path to our destinies or deep meanings or any of that stuff.  But I do recognize that dreams as the brain’s subconscious attempt to make some sense of all the data it is trying to process: knowledge, emotions, perceptions, experiences, opinions, confusions, mysteries… and sometimes just crap.

I realize I live a life that is largely nonconducive to my true self.  I am not talking about family, but other aspects.  I also realize I have to make some changes – some of which would have been much easier 25 years ago, when I was too young, dumb and lazy.  

But… it is never too late to change things, right?  It is the little things that add up.  It is what I do now, not what I whine about having not done a quarter century ago.

The problem is that I am not being me.  My writing reflects it.  My life reflects it.

I don’t want my child to reflect it.  I want him to be fearless.  I have been just the exact opposite.  I have listened to too many critics (myself included).  I have chosen the easy / “safe” path of least resistance.  That path is only safe as long as things don’t change.

The problem with the safe path is that things do change.

And I need to change.  Which means changing paths.  Which means being able to look the critics in the eye (especially the one looking back in the mirror) and say, “Shove off.”  (Use stronger language, if you must.  But not within earshot of the kidlets.)

My son needs to see Dad being who God created Dad to be.  I need to finally let go of the criticisms – real and imagined and inflated – and be.

Be creative.

Be funny.

Be me, out loud.

I fit no molds – the perpetual square peg crammed in a round hole that his far too small for his oversized frame.  It’s time to celebrate the uniqueness that is my God-created self.  Not in an ego centered way, but in a manner that helps others do the same.

Time to face the world with faith-filled grit and determination and joy and laughter and strength.

Faithfully Brave

I saw a Facebook post from a friend the other day that said (and I paraphrase here) one will never change until the pain of staying the same becomes unbearable.  There is a lot of wisdom in that statement.  After all, pain can be a great motivator.

This statement reveals the value of pain.  Hurting can either spring us to positive action, to make the changes we need to make.  Or it can bury us, if we choose to merely wallow in it.

Then there is the middle ground between the two: the tepid waters of pain avoidance.  I think we would all agree that difficult times are not exactly a welcome aspect of life.  Many of us invest a great deal of our time in trying to steer clear of the uncomfortable, the unpleasant, the things that hurt.  It is often a learned reaction.

One day when I was in kindergarten, my mom was ironing.  She told me, very pointedly, do not touch the iron.  Stay away from it.  It will burn you.

What do you think I did?  Yes, curiosity got the best of me.  And I ever-so-gently placed my hand on the hot iron.

Mom was right.  It burned.

I learned a valuable lesson that day.  Avoid touching hot irons at all costs.  The pain in my hand drove that lesson home.  And, to this day, over forty years later, I have never again willingly put my hand on the business side of a hot iron.  (Unfortunately the other lesson about listening to your parents didn’t stick so well…)

Granted, this particular lesson could have been learned by simply listening to Mom.  But, it’s funny how wisdom has a way of escaping our grasp in the moment.

And there is some pain that is simply unavoidable.  The hurt of a loss can be hard to take.  But, in all painful circumstances, we can choose one of three reactions:

1. Wallow in pity.  Mourn, yes.  Don’t deny what you are feeling.  But don’t pitch a tent there either.  Life goes on – your life goes on.  When we choose to let painful hardships roll over us, when we capitulate to the pain, we have in essence given up.

2. Hide in fear.  We can choose to run away from the pain.  But where is the value in that?

3. Turn the pain around and use it for good.  How can we reach someone who is hurting with true empathy if we have never experienced pain?  How can we understand what someone is going through if we have never faced difficulties ourselves?

You see, our lives are not about us.  We all face pain in varying degrees at different points in our lives.  When we choose to be brave, to stand on faith in Christ, to not be defeated, then we “let (our) light shine before others, that they may see (our)good deeds and glorify (our) Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, ESV).

What if Jesus, in the garden, sweating blood and pleading with the Father to “let this cup pass” – knowing full well what He was about to face (the humiliating kangaroo court of the Jews, the brutality of the Romans, the excruciation of scourging and crucifixion…) – had chosen to walk away?  What if He had opted to not face the punishment He did not deserve?  Now, I do not right this to open up some theological debate about whether Christ could have walked away from Gethsemane.  I am simply saying this: consider the ramifications.

Consider the outcome.

When we are bravely faithful in the face of pain and hardship, we give God the glory.  When others see what we face and say, “How did he survive?” or “Where does she get such strength?”, we have an open door to glorify God.

The best things in life come when we are faithfully brave.  Whatever you are facing today, stay strong in Christ.  Seek Him first.  Wait for the Lord.  Don’t just put on a brave face – be honestly, faithfully brave!  If you are hurting, let people see you are hurting.  But let them also see you know that God will use this bad situation for something good.

Because He will.

Because He already is.

You have the opportunity to use your difficulties to bring someone hope.  You survived this – they will too.  God never left you – He won’t leave them either.  Pain gives us empathy.  And empathy leads to understanding, which puts a finer point on the love we show others.

Remember… the light of Christ that you emit may the light someone else sees at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

It’s Good to Be King? A Look at the Grass on the Other Side

The idea of being royalty may sound appealing to some.  Think of it: pampered upbringing.  Servants waiting on you hand and foot.  The best tables at the best restaurants, best seats at concerts.  First class jet setting.  Limos.  Jewelry.  Huge mansions on lush estates.  The world is your oyster!  So what if you have to deal with some paparazzi pursuing you and photographing your every move.  The world is watching you!  You are famous and want for absolutely nothing.

I’m not sure King David would agree with this assessment of the royal life.  Sure, he had his first class digs.  He had his wives and concubines and power and fame and fortune.

But he also had trouble.

It all started out great.  David the little shepherd, defeated of the giant Goliath, became a great and victorious warrior with God on his side.  David survived the pursuit of the somewhat paranoid King Saul and, when the king was killed in battle against the Philistines, David became king of Judah.  As king, he was victorious over Israel, thus uniting the two nations.

David was noble in character and mighty in battle. But, like all humans, he had his Achilles’ heel.

King David had it all.  And he had it given to Him by God.  He was king and could have all the wives and concubines he wanted.  But David caught sight of another man’s wife (the bathing Bathsheba) and decided he had to have her. Crumbling under lustful temptation, David went so far as to arrange to have her husband killed in battle so he could have her as well.  In the end, he paid the high price of losing his first child with Bathsheba.

His household made most soap operas look like champions of morality.  Within his family there was adultery, lust, incest, anger, plotting, scheming, murder, intrigue, betrayal… personal tragedies on a massive scale. When Nathan told David that God said the “sword shall never

Like royalty today, David too was pursued.  Not by paparazzi, but by enemies seeking his destruction.  Often the enemy was his own people – one rebellion in particular instigated and led by his own son (Absalom).

When Absalom was killed (despite David’s warnings to treat his son well if captured), David mourned and lamented.  Greatly.  He felt no sorrow for the men who had stood up to defend him against his own enemies (including his now deceased child).  As his commander Joab pointed out to the king:

“You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines, because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you, for today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased.” – 2 Samuel 19:5-6 (ESV)

Quite a contrast to God.  The LORD sacrificed His Son that His rebellious children might live.  David didn’t care how many how many of his loyal subjects might be sacrificed to save his one rebellious son.  It is easy to see why God kept from David the honor of building the new temple.

David had it all.  But he became self involved, myopic in his vision, constantly looking inward.  He feared for his life and his well being.  The king became a mere shell of the mighty young warrior he once was.  In the end, he harbored bitterness, going so far as to instruct his son (and next king) Solomon to see to it his greatest enemies die violently.

The point is simply this: David had it all.  But he paid a great price for it.  David was where he was because placed him there, in those circumstances.

Each of us is where we are because God has placed us here, in these circumstances.

Don’t look to anybody else – no matter how beautiful may seem in comparison to yours – and think “if only”, or “I want what they have.”  Do not covet.

Instead, give God thanks and praise for the station of life you possess.  If you think your neighbor has it better, think again.

Seek God first.  Find joy in Him, not in your circumstances.  Then you will be able to truly praise Him at all times and see His Goodness and Greatness wherever and whenever.  The LORD is the source of our joy, and He transcends anything this world could possibly of

Prayer for Today

Father, I have no idea what you have intended for today.  Whatever it may be, I pray that your will is done, and your glory shines through.  Please use my family and I to reach others, to bless those you place in our lives, to be who You would have us to be.  Thank you Lord for today, and the opportunities to be part of your amazing plan.  Help me to seek You first.  Help me to see You.  Help me to be salt and light, shining the love and wisdom of Jesus.  Thank you, Lord.  Amen.


And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

If someone approached you and gave you the gift of a winning multimillion dollar lottery ticket, what would you do?  It’s very tempting to consider the doors that would open with that kind of cash.  For many of us, it would seem akin to when Jed Clampett struck oil and moved to Beverly Hills.  Swimming pools.  Movie stars.  Fast cars.  No more mortgage.  No more money worries.  Kids college paid for.  Retirement set.  Luxury.  Oh, and I’d give some to my church for a new roof.

I once watched a documentary about the effects winning the lottery had on several people.  The outcomes were less than joyous.  The biggest problem: the windfall fueled greed.  Some squandered their winnings and ended up penniless.  Some fall into a gambling habit that devours far beyond what the lottery winnings provided.  Perhaps worst of all is the loneliness some feel.  So many people look at them differently now because they are rich.  So many “old friends” crawl out the woodwork wanting favors and money.  The ability to trust is eroded.

In short, what they felt was the answer to all their problems was actually the very thing that ruined their lives.

Now, luckily for us, the odds of having this particular problem are quite slim: on average , somewhere around 1 in 12 million.  The odds that you are going to be struck by lightning at some point in your life are around 1 in 3000.  The point of all this is not to dissuade you from playing the lottery (although, clearly, there are better ways to invest your money – and if you consider the lottery an investment option, maybe this should dissuade you from playing the lottery).

The point is that there are felt needs and perceived needs.  Felt needs are the things we think / fell that we need: more money, more security, you name it.  Perceived needs are what professional outsiders who have examined our lives tell us we need.

It is easy, when we feel need, to look at a verse like Philippians 4:19 and say, “Oh yeah?  Well I don’t have __________ (you fill in the blank).  Why isn’t God meeting my need?”  That is a response to a felt need, and the problem with felt needs is their perception is tied directly to our emotions which, while important, often lead us away from the reality of our situations.  What we really and truly need is what God perceives that we need.

The simple answer to our need is this: wait on the Lord.  Trust in Him.  Rely on Him.  Rest in Him.  You have to know that He is working in your life. When you put your trust in God, He will never truly let you down.  He may not give you what you want.  He may not meet your felt need, or meet it as fast as you’d like.  But He will satisfy your true, perceived needs.

Maybe He is working through your circumstances to reach someone else.

Maybe He is imparting wisdom to you by letting you see the effects of your actions.

Maybe He is just trying to teach you something.

Maybe He wants you to see Him through the pain, despite the fear, regardless of the worries.

Maybe He wants you to learn how to trust Him, and not the stuff of this world.

Maybe He is just trying to get your attention.

Seek God first.  Fear not.  Rest in Him.  Know that your every real need is met through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Rest in Him.

If you know somebody who would be blessed by this or any other message from The Bouville Diarist, please take a moment and share this article.  You can send them to our website at http://www.bouvillediarist.com, like of Facebook page or follow us via Twitter.

Being Bezalel

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men… Colossians 3:23 (ESV)

There is no feeling, no rush, like the joy of being caught up in a creative moment.  When the pistons are firing and the creative juices are flowing, the right mix of inspiration and perspiration working together to come up with something unique and beautiful and purposeful and useful..

Creativity is (I believe) part of that spark of life God blew into man when He formed us from the dust of the ground and breathed life into our nostrils.  We are made in His image and God is the Ultimate Creative Being.  And each of us has received God given talents to use to His great glory and purpose.

Consider Bezalel:

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. 6 And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7  the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8  the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, 10 and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.” – Exodus 31:1-11 (ESV)

I cannot imagine the utter, fearsome joy of being consecrated as God’s official artist.  What an honor!  Bezalel must have made Michelangelo look like a chump.  But he must have been very humble as well; I’m not so sure God would impart such holy work to one who is full of himself.

Notice the last half of verse 6 (in King James): in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee (Exodus 31:6, KJV).  It is God Who gives people the gifts to create, to work, to bless.  Whether you work in oils or inks, the written word, or music of all sorts, God has enabled you.  If your gift is less artistic and more artisan, creating furniture or motors or what have you, it is God Who has gifted you.  No matter what your hand finds to do, no matter what the gift you are blessed with, it is God Who has supplied the skills.

When we choose to employ our God given abilities – no matter what those abilities may be – to the glory of The One Who gave us those gifts, then we are being faithful.  And God works through our efforts to bless others (and we, in turn, are both the source and recipient of God’s grace).

However, when we choose to ignore the gifts we are given, we miss out on those blessings.  In fact, we take a turn in the wrong direction, for we are being disobedient.

Bezalel was gifted by God to do His will and His work.  We each are gifted as well.  Each unique and uniquely blessed.  Each with a part to play, a role to fill in the body of Christ.  Your gift may be a profession or it may be a hobby.  Either way, seek the Lord in your giftedness.  He has created each of us to serve, according to His design.