Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A little fun along the way

Well, diocesan convention starts on Friday. I've got a lot of running around to do between now and then. Plus some work to do while I'm there. So I think we need a little fun.

For the record my favored position is second base, just like my hero Bill Mazeroski.
Interesting to see soccer in second place, but why is golf so far down the list?

What Sport quiz
You scored as Baseball. You should play baseball, the true American sport. There's lots of positions to choose from, but the most important are pitcher and catcher.















Field hockey


Ice Hockey










What sport are you meant for??
created with

Monday, October 23, 2006

An interesting weekend

Notes from the weekend:

Went to visit a church up in the area hit by the storm for their Youth Sunday (which I hate but am learning to deal with.) While I was there I spent some time with the youth group. During their discussion the question came up of what it meant to be ordained. I quote the answer:

It means you're holy enough to read the Gospel

I'm having great fun repeating that to clergy people! We did our best to correct that view.

Meanwhile the update from Buffalo. The last school districts to get going again after the storm will return to classes on Wednesday. That's right almost two full weeks afterwards. The streets were lined with big piles of downed branches. The tree limbs still hadn't been cleared on one side of the church. And this is an area that wasn't the hardest hit. Those areas are still a mess with piles so high that parents are being advised to dress elementary school children in bright colors so they can been seen by drivers! The cleanup is expected to run at least a quarter of a BILLION dollars ($250,000,000).

A thing seen while driving - I'm seeing them fairly commonly now. They are bumper stickers that read "Official U.S. Terrorist Hunting Permit" or "Official (insert state name) Terrorist Hunting Permit". What struck me about this car was 1) It had TWO of these on the trunk, and 2) It had a "Jesus is Love" license plate in the rear window.

Am I the only one that finds a serious disconnect there?

Oh and my daughter just IM-ed me to tell me that I'm a dork.

So what else is new? So's she. And her Momma!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Thank you very much

I was somewhat surprise when an online friend told me I'd been "noticed" by another blogger. I read this blog and enjoy it (be warned it is iconoclastic and occasionally profane. It is also funny and informative. Don't say I didn't warn you). It's written by an Anglican priest in Jolly Old who goes by the name Mad Priest. Don't think American "mad" (angry) but more English "mad" (demented and looney, as in Hatter). He can get good old fashioned American PO-ed too. But I'm quite happy that he's added me to his list of "idiots". Check him out at "Of course, I could be wrong..."

And yes, isn't it a great photo of me? Gotta get a better one up.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Many of me!

Another fun thing. The only problem is this time it's absolutely WRONG!!!
LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

On days when you're really bored try googling your own name. I have a brother who keeps track of his two brothers by periodically googling our names. Which is how we found out our third brother was running for statewide office in his home state! Anyway I googled myself after I took the quiz and came up with at least TWO other Jay Phillippis (spelled the same way) very quickly. Check the story below:

Stolen police car

The REALLY funny part of this? The date of the story is my birthday!

So to all the Jay Phillippis of the world, rejoice! We are a rare and special breed.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Biggest WINNER - Matthew McNutt

This is Matthew McNutt (yes, that's really his name. Don't being makin' fun cause Matthew is a BIG boy!) Matthew is someone I've met online and once in person. He's a fellow youth minister (in Maine) and is one of the contestants on "Biggest Loser". You won't see him on "the ranch" on TV cause he's doing his thing competing at home. In four weeks he lost 51 pounds. At home. On his own. The two little guys are his sons.

If I could lose 51 pounds I could probably go off my high blood pressure medicine (maybe) and I wouldn't ever hear the doctor talk to me about being overweight or obese. I'd look better. Feel better. Live longer.

Matthew is my hero and I'm going to try and figure out how to lose that weight too. In the meantime I'm rooting for Matthew to win it all (he still can)


Saturday, October 14, 2006

That was some storm!

By now you've probably heard about the storm that rampaged through western NY on Thursday and Friday. If not here's a bit from the Buffalo News:

The Columbus Day storm dumped nearly 2 feet of snow, the sixth-biggest snowfall ever in a 24-hour period, and forced the closings of schools, businesses and a 105-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway from Rochester to Dunkirk. (Don't know how long the story will be there but the link to the full coverage is in the title of this entry)

For the record, if you live here in WNY you're accustomed to snow. LOTS of snow. But this was completely out of the norm. I believe I heard that the next closest day for snow fall in October is 6 inches. This was the kind of thing we sometimes see in January or February.

My lady wife and I found ourselves caught in the storm. We were driving from north of Buffalo (where my daughter attends college) to south of Buffalo (where we live). The drive normally takes two hours.

It took four.

Three hours of creeping along, with visibility very low. Roads not only covered in inches of snow but the temperature dropped quickly enough that ruts had developed. Trucks and cars off the side of the road. Tree limbs down. At one point we had tried a different route hoping to get us either through the storm area or to somewhere we could stop for the night. Our first choice for stopping was part of the blackout area. No luck. So we had to kind of loop our way back since turning around was very difficult. (Try turning around when you can't see the driveways or side streets because of snow on the ground, snow in the air and no street lights. We got caught on a looooong hill and ended up backtracking about 5 miles at one point) I got out to 1)clear the headlights, and 2) try and figure out what the problem was with traffic at this point, when I heard a cracking near me and had a branch fall about ten feet away. It was scary enough by itself and a little more so when I heard one of the three deaths related to the storm was a man dying when struck by a falling branch.

In the end we decided to simply gird our loins and do the best we could hoping that the storm would have an edge to the south. We found it about 15 minutes later and cruised home on clear and then dry roads. Here, well south of Buffalo, we actually got no snow at all from the storm.

We left the college at 11 PM and arrived home at 3:05 AM. It's one of the worst sets of driving conditions I've ever gone through. Thanks to God, my father for teaching me how to drive, my mom for buying a four wheel drive SUV that I now drive, and my lady wife for being a calm presence by my side.

It's good to be home.


PS (Added Monday October 16)Yesterday we cancelled our diocesan youth commission meeting because large parts of the city of Buffalo and surrounding areas were still without power and some travel restrictions remain. Most schools in the area are closed today, some tomorrow and several of the largest suburban school districts have closed FOR THE WEEK! Meanwhile an hour and a half to the south there's no snow on the ground and life goes on as normal.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The never ending struggle

I don't know if anyone else has to do this, but periodically I simply have to stop everything else I'm doing to organize. My life seems to be a head long rush from one project to the next with little time to assess, to reflect, or to put anything away.

Over the years I've come to the realization that this surge and rest process isn't very effective. A couple years back I shared with a youth group the story of a piece of paper that sat on my desk for over a year. On it I had written a phrase. I know what happened. I was surging along when this phrase leapt into my mind. It summed up all the concepts that I'd been juggling, I had a great idea on how to build a lesson, a column or a sermon on that single phrase. It was going to be BRILLIANT!!

I had to write it down before I forgot it! Once it was immortalized on paper I could then put it on hold till the latest surge was over. But the surge lasted a long time, and the scrap got buried under a pile of other stuff. When I finally brought it back to light all that was left was the phrase. I didn't remember what it referred to any more. The brilliance that it had focused was gone.

I kept that paper for many months afterwards. Hoping that perhaps, under just the right circumstances, the veil would part and I would catch just of glimpse of what I had seen before. From that I could try to re-build the thoughts. The glimpse never came. Finally I threw the paper away because there were just too many other scraps and sheets and pages of thoughts and ideas that had built up behind it. I still feel sad about that scrap of paper and thought. I've repeated the process several times more since then, but it's that one that still stands as the symbol for lost inspiration to me.

Today I'm surrounded again by a desk awash with papers. Some are notes from meetings from as long as a year and a half ago. Forms, reminders, business cards, notes for letters I meant to write, requests that need to be processed, projects on seemingly perpetual hold. I'm almost afraid to sift through the piles. The fear lurks that I'll find another paper with another amputated phrase on it.

What I'm really searching for is balance. Balance between the necessary and the numinous. I have been a creative person all my life. Photography, writing, acting, my work as a radio personality, all are about creating for me. These piles on this desk are equal parts that which must be done and that which I am called to do. For me to reach (or at least reach towards) those goals I must stop setting things aside for some day. But how do I work on the necessary and still honor the revelation of the numinous? Inspiration can be a fragile gift with a short life span. I can not simply say "Well now is the scheduled time to be creative. Let inspiration flow!"

On the other hand am I prepared to bury more inspirations that have withered before their time?

Meanwhile the piles grow higher and some inspiration begins to fade buried deep within.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

A minor correction

A sign of how scattered my brain is, I just realized that I had posted my column for this month, twice! And hadn't noticed till just now. So I fixed it. Which means I have even fewer posts than before.

ah such is life.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Enough already!

That's about how I feel these days. It has been an incredibly busy year so far. In fact let me review:

About a year ago my mom had a massive stroke and eventually died.
My wife has had BOTH hips replaced (totally new bionic hip joints)
I attended my denominations General Convention. An event both exhilarating and difficult.
I had a full summer of camp activities, including my LEAST favorite, canceling a camp.
My only child has gone off to her first year at college (where's she's doing very well!)
I just gave up a position that I loved, that I was good at and that I didn't want to give up.
We've just moved into a new house.

As a friend of mine pointed out all I need is divorce and bankruptcy and I will have covered most of the major life stress events all in 365 days. (While divorce isn't even on the horizon, every time I see the college bills I wonder about bankruptcy)

I'm feeling scattered, and put upon and like shouting "Enough already!" at whoever is listening. I spent the last three days trying to find my cell phone. We had a bunch of our friends come over to help with the big move and they were like a whirlwind! The problem is that we're not quite sure where everything is at the moment! (Sure you do big fella. It's in one of the hundred or so boxes stacked all over your house!)

So what do I do? There are days when I feel like packing it in, digging a hole and pulling it in on top of me.

Then I think:
You have really cool friends who gave up a Saturday morning to move some very heavy stuff for you for no reason other than they like you.
You're living in the nicest house you've had since you lived with your parents.
You're married to an absolutely amazing woman with only one flaw. The complete lack of judgment that makes her love you.
You're doing work that you mostly love (yes, there are parts of youth ministry I don't like. There are parts I'm no damn good at in fact)and that you know you're making a difference.
You're in the best place you've ever been in so many ways.

The only way to screw it up? If you decide to host a pity party for yourself and then attend it. Life is hard, sometimes very damn hard. I'm praying for someone right now who is probably twice the youth minister that I am who has been out of work for a while and is hoping that this interview is the one that brings him back.

It's not so much that I need a kick in the butt (though there are days...) as that I need to remember that God has my back and holds me in his arms.

Enough already. I have work to do.


Monday, October 02, 2006

I swear this is the last one

This is all Gman's fault. It's what I get for reading his (excellent) blog. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I promise a real blog entry soon, maybe even today.

For the record I hate Dr. Pepper but my wife loves it. So this means I probably have issues. Like THAT would come as a surprise to anyone who knows me.

Oh, and it's POP, people. Not SODA! It's POP!


You Are Dr. Pepper

You're very unique and funky, yet you still have a bit of traditionalism to you.
People who like you think they have great taste... and they usually do.

Your best soda match: Root Beer

Stay away from: 7 Up