Monday, February 23, 2009

Confession time

It's time for me to confront an ongoing struggle in my life. It's a serious problem and one that is causing significant trouble for me. This has grown into a point of contention between my lady wife and me. My understanding is that sin is that which separates us from our proper relationship with God. I believe that this problem is rising, if it hasn't already risen, to the level of sin. It can be expressed quite simply.

I am not content.

In our American culture the proper response to that is "Good, you'll never get ahead if you're content". Our culture has come to believe that contentment comes only from the constant forward movement in pursuit of the next, the bigger or the better. But this pursuit is robbing my life of joy.

The reality is that my financial situation means that some gratification must inevitably be delayed for at least a while. It means that some dreams may remain only that. Even modest dreams may remain elusive, just beyond my grasp. Thus my pursuit is hobbled. Which means I'm not getting better, I'm not getting ahead. And so I'm certain that I can not be happy.

My eyes are focused on everything I don't have. I fail to see what I do have.

Disposable income (not as much as perhaps I want but it's there and I use it)
I am employed.
I am employed at a job I enjoy.
My life is filled with luxuries (multiple cars, TVs, computers, more clothes than I can wear in two weeks time, specialty food and drinks, the list goes on and on and on...)

But I am not content. I fuss and worry. I'm angry. I'm overwhelmed. I'm depressed.

My lady wife just shakes her head. You see she has the gift of contentment. That's not say that she has everything she desires in the world. But she is content with what she has. A husband she loves. A daughter she loves and of whom she is quite proud. She has clothes and food and satellite TV and two pussy cats and a nice place to live. She works with people that she likes. And she is content. She wishes I could be content as well.

On Sunday at church our adult forum was about God and money and the relationship between the two. On the handout set in front of me I found this:

12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

It was like a bolt to my brain. I can't explain it any other way.

So I begin my journey to find contentment. To glory in the gifts and opportunities that have already been given to me. To remain open to the chance for something new to enter my life but to no longer be driven only by the pursuit of it.

In plenty or in want I shall be content. I shall live in that place where my lady resides and I shall honor her for her gift.

And I will thank God for it all.

The image is from UK artist Andrew Vaccari

Reasons why I love WNY

From today's Buffalo News:

Outnumbered more than 50 times over, three members of a Kansas- based fringe group here to picket a memorial service for a victim of the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 were hushed and eclipsed Sunday by counterprotesters in Buffalo and Clarence.

Three folks from Westboro Baptist showed up to protest at a funeral for one of the victims of the plane crash here in WNY. The local folks counterprotested by making sure that you just couldn't see the Westboro folks.
Loved this quote:
“We wanted to show people that we don’t put up with that sort of hate in Buffalo,” said Meghann French, a city resident who stood Sunday afternoon on a Main Street sidewalk near the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. “We just don’t tolerate it.”

They did it without violence and it involved a great many young adults.

For all the whining I do about the weather around here let me tell you the people are class all the way through.

Weekend Update February 23

The Week That Was - A pretty boring week actually. The diet stalled for a while. Looks like week 2 of Phase 1 of South Beach will only drop another 2-3 pounds. Which is actually quite good but not what I had hoped for. The good news is that more food comes back into my diet starting tomorrow.

Man, what did I do last week? Worked. Worked out twice. Did some stuff around the house.

Went to a funeral of the grandmother of a couple of my "graduated" kids. One of the sisters did a great job of talking about her grandma, made me wish I'd gotten to know the lady.

That was it. That's so boring I'm not sure it was worth my time to write. How sad.

The To Do List - Video project, all on-going projects, just the usual mad rush.

What Am I Procrastinating About? - I've been putting off confronting someone but that ends today. I almost stopped procrastinating about the video project! Maybe this is the week.

What Am I Watching/Reading/Listening To? Still working on "Soul Graffiti", wasting time re-reading "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown. Fun but what a friend calls "popcorn reading". Crunchy but not much substance. I'm kind of in a bog reading right now.

Movies - Hancock I REALLY wanted to like this movie. And basically I do. But it's another one that can't decide what it wants to be. It's a goofy comedy to start that suddenly becomes this redemption flick half way through. I could a good movie either way but it was just weak when it tries to do both. You never do really figure out what Will Smith and Charlize Theron's characters really are (and yes this movie is very easy on the eyes for every one), it never fully fills out the story or the characters and it just falls short. Too bad because there is a GREAT concept here. Oh they do resolve one long time super hero issue. That would be the whole Superman and Lois Lane question (you either understand or you don't. If you don't go ask your daddy for an explanation). It was an enjoyable enough way to spend the evening but left me feeling let down.

Music - Nothing new

Next Up I skipped this somehow last week, don't know why. Video editing, Ash Wednesday, some camp related details to get finalized so I can print and distribute the camp brochures.

How Am I Doing I'm feeling a little frazzled. I've got a detail in my personal life that I wish would get resolved (nothing big just irritating that it drags on because someone else isn't doing their bit) and a boat load of work stuff.


Resource review - interlinc

interlinc - Media and music resources online and by subscription.

OVERALL - If you're into contemporary Christian music or looking for ways to use music and video more in your ministry or looking for resources so you can play more contemporary Christian songs this may be the mother lode for you! I don't quite know how to categorize this. There is a web page with a bunch of usable and free resources. They have a newsletter that is also a great resource. This is all top quality stuff from the top acts in contemporary Christian music. The sample material they've sent to me has always impressed me with the attention to detail and quality materials.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? This is just a massive resource center for the music and video and related stuff. I give them a lot of credit for trying to make their stuff as available as possible. You can go the "Single Box" option and get just one selection for under $80. Then there's YLO - Youth Leader's Only. This is a subscription service that delivers CDs, DVDs, Bible study materials and much more every three months for just over $300 a year. They also have a Praise Worship music service that will deliver "...2-CD set with 10 songs (you'll get both performance tracks and instrumental tracks), plus the CDs include PowerPoint slides, lead sheets and sheet music. And you'll get a Book full of lead sheets, sheet music and worship "how-to's".". That's under $150 a year.

RESERVATIONS You need to be really into the media stuff to get your money's worth out of YLO. But if you've got a DVD player, TV and a CD player you'll be able to make use of this.

RECOMMENDATION As I've said it's an impressive array of stuff you can get. But even the free stuff is worth the time and you can glean some very useful bits and pieces. Take a look at the website and explore all the possibilities.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Welcome to a new look!

There's only one possible explanation for this.

A limited attention span.

Of course I probably actually look at this blog a lot less than other people do. My stuff is all the "Pay No Attention to that man behind the curtain!"

But after a while I get bored and it's time to move the blogo-furniture. Out with the old and in with some new.

Till I get bored again.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just how stupid can one man be?

Paterson Increases Aides’ Pay

ALBANY - Gov. David Paterson is taking heat from public employee unions that say he should be ashamed of giving pay raises to his inner circle during a fiscal crisis.

Paterson, however, said Tuesday the $250,000 in salary increases spread among some staff members is part of a net cut in executive chamber pay because he eliminated some jobs and cut executive branch spending 10 percent overall.

Full Story

I don't do politics on this blog but this morning's headline in the local paper set me off. The following is the copy of a letter I've sent to Governor Paterson:

"Dear Governor,
I was outraged at today's headline outlining your plan to give raises to members of your staff. To be perfectly blunt Gov. Paterson have you taken leave of your senses? At a time when many of us are facing pay cuts, reductions in hours or outright loss of our jobs what are we supposed to think as we watch your staff getting pay raises?

Will you justify by saying they're doing more work? Some of us are holding down multiple jobs to pay our bills.

As we criticize the Wall Street fat cats for insuring they get their year bonuses how do we justify padding the paychecks of the Governor's staff?

Times are hard and you are proposing a budget that will take even more money OUT of MY pocket to cover the institutional failures of the budget process in this state. Now I'm told you need more money so your staff can have raises?!?!?!

I'm a lifelong Democrat Governor but this action puts in serious doubt any chance of you earning my support in the future.

Come to your senses, show that you AND your staff are willing to work along side the people of New York in these tough times. Not that your staff is a privileged elite who deserve more than the people for whom they work."

Beyond the incredible injustice of handing out raises to your own staff while you're raising taxes and fees on almost everything how on earth did he think he'd survive the PR storm? Sadly our Governor has shown an incredible tin ear to public opinion in his short tenure.

Wonder who's planning on running against him?


Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Update February 15

The Week That Was - Well after a wild week it was a busy but still quiet weekend. Saturday off to Happening Board hoping that we have enough kids for a team (we don't, quite). So much talk followed by the decision to go one more week. We'll see if we can rattle the last few members out of the rafters. The lack of concern about deadlines around here is just maddening.
The rest of Saturday was pretty quiet although my lady wife and I were very proud of ourselves. We ate out, at a fast food restaurant and stayed completely legal on the diet! And even enjoyed the meal! More on the diet in a minute.

Sunday was Youth Commission. Nice turnout, we whipped through the items to be considered and went home early. A great group of people! That night we checked out some episodes of a favorite BBC show called Lovejoy. Gotta love Netflix! You can get almost anything!

Diet is doing fine. I've been losing around a pound a day (yes I've been weighing in every day. Very bad form, I know. But it's just so cool to see that number fall day after day. I'm not going to do it again till my Tuesday weigh in) and my lady has lost almost as much. That's with virtually no work outs by me and none by her. We hope to fix that trend this week. We are fairly bored with the offerings however. The book makes no excuses that Phase 1 is simply to be endured. We've had a couple things that weren't half bad. Something very close to a Chicken Piccata was quite tasty, as was the steak. So far asparagus and eggplant haven't been big hits.

Then we looked ahead at Phase 2! Almost looks like heaven. The return of BREAD!!!!! And the glass of wine. Sigh. There is a reason to keep living.

On the whole the boredom has been the worst part. We're accustomed to eating more interesting food than this. So I've begun adapting and examining and creating things that are legal but are much more interesting.

The To Do List - Video project, follow ups with people, Listening Day follow up, Happening, all on-going projects, just the usual mad rush.

What Am I Procrastinating About? - My video project. I just need to make one and see how it looks and learn as I go. But I want all of them including the first one to be perfect!

What Am I Watching/Reading/Listening To? Still working on "Soul Graffiti"

I'm having some trouble getting stuck in on this book. Don't know why, I get all kinds of raves about it. Just need to get to it.

So I read an old favorite - Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke and just started Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. If I could be someday compared to any writer I'd choose Bradbury. More than any other author I've read he leaves me thinking "How does he do it?"

Movies - None. Watched several episodes of "Lovejoy" with my lady wife. Good fun.

Music - Checking out a new group called the Damnwells. Like the name!

Next Up

How Am I Doing


Ah Calvin and Hobbes!

I too am a math atheist.

It is only one of the greatest comics of all time. It's one of the greatest commentaries on American culture of all time. It truly deserves consideration as literature.

It's "Calvin and Hobbes".

I just discovered a new online music magazine that looks VERY interesting. It's Paste and one of the first things that caught my eye was this great article called "Five Reasons I Still Adore Calvin and Hobbes".

Add to that a chance for a free download of an album by a group that I think I'm going to like a lot and it's definitely worth a second and third look. (In fact I just jumped back there to grab the url, saw another fascinating article and had to stop and read it!)

Resource Review - Youth Ministry 3.0 A Manifesto

Youth Ministry 3.0 A Manifesto of Where We've Been, Where We Are and WHERE WE NEED TO GO By: Mark Oestreicher 155 pages Published by Zondervan/Youth Specialities

OVERALL - There was a great deal of excitement when the author (best known in YM circles simply as Marko) starting talking about this book idea. When it finally arrived the first reaction from many of us was "Is this all there is?" The expectation was that this would be a much more monumental volume. In the end I think Marko got it right. This book will challenge most of the assumptions we were raised in and trained to believe about what youth ministry should look like. He takes us to some very unnerving country because it is such a change from that which has gone before. It scares the hell out of my brain but in my heart I feel a definite affinity. But then when you read the book you'll know why, lol! I think this will be a multi-read kind of book. I need to go back over some parts and look at them in a little more depth but it's well worth the time.

For transparency's sake I will note that Marko thanks me, twice, in this book. Once, among many other names, in the foreword and the other, among many other names, in the footnotes. I can honestly say that while I remember making some comments in response to his questions online (along with many others) I have NO memory of what I might have said. If it was of ANY help to him in his process I'm very happy. And hey, it's always kinda cool to see your name in print! Took me totally by surprise.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The Manifesto is a response to the growing thinking in youth ministry that "something isn't working". Marko walks us through the history of youth ministry (in thumbnail sketch form, the book IS only 155 pages long!)to establish how we got where we are. It's not intended to be a definitive history rather just enough of a background so we can prepare for the most important bit. And that takes us into a future where youth ministry is going to look very different. This is NOT a program book, it's NOT a instruction manual. It is an examination of the underlying assumptions we have and the ones we may need for the next step. He clearly works his way through each of his points. Agree or disagree Marko gives you plenty to think about.

RESERVATIONS I'm not quite sure how to introduce this book to most congregational ministries. Sadly I'm not sure that most of them have ever really considered WHY they do what they do. They just do it. Places like that will find themselves very challenged by this book. They NEED to read it but may find the ideas so radical that they just shut down. Talk about being too good for your own good.

Marko also tripped one of my pet peeves. He uses some statistics early on about puberty and then doesn't note where they came from! Granting, as he notes later, that this is NOT a dissertation or formal paper. It still irks me when we toss out information like this without substantiation. It's like the "Youth workers burn out in 18 months" mythology which was repeated ad nauseum even by me without ever knowing what we were talking about. He gets better as he goes along. But guaranteed as soon as I use the stat (which I have seen elsewhere. It strikes me that it's from research done by the Smithsonian but I'm not sure) someone is going to ask. I can't just say that "Marko said it".

RECOMMENDATION Yes, this book may irritate you. Yes, it may anger you by challenging some fairly dearly held assumptions. Yes, it may even frighten you because you don't see where your place in this new paradigm may be. Read it any way. Better yet, get a group of youth ministry people to read it together. Gather over your favorite beverages and food and take Marko apart line by line, thought by thought. I'd be willing to bet nothing would make him happier. And in the process, even if you reject everything he proposes, you'll have a better, stronger, more focused youth ministry. In the end I think that's probably the idea. So read this book. Even if it's the only YM book you read this year.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Update

It's been a weird week in so many ways.

On Tuesday I jumped into the South Beach Diet. Early results are as follows:

I've lost just over 4 pounds in as many days. That was with very little workout. Trying to find the new pattern for working out.

This is a lot of food. To quote my lady wife "I'm tired of chewing". We've also had about enough salad too. A lot of the meals are variations on salad. It's already getting a bit boring.

In fact I've found a fair amount of the recommended recipes to be dull. No need for it they just come off that way. Also the recipes are dumb. Some are for one person but others are for 6! Idiotic. Plus a fair number of them actually call for you to grill over hot coals. Umm, in February in WNY? Stupid. So I'm going to look at jazzing some of these up while keeping to the rules.

I had one day so far of carb craving. I spent all of Tuesday actually thinking about bread. All freaking day. It's gone now.

More later.

The weather has been freaky. We had 60 degree temps followed by high winds. Tree limbs and power lines down even a piece of building cornice torn off! This building is about 6 blocks from my house.

Finally there's been the plane crash near the Buffalo International Airport. That's about 90 minutes from me but it's a place that I drive in and around on a regular basis. Our thoughts and prayers have been focused on the families of the victims and the emergency folk working the wreckage site. This story notes one of the victims appears to be a local guy down our way. The name means nothing to me so I probably never met him. Still.

A weird week.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On birthdays and a new beginning

My birthday was fairly low key yesterday but fun nevertheless. Didn't have a big birthday dinner since my lady wife and I were running in different directions all day. But we'd had a great time over the weekend so it was all good. My surprise present was EXACTLY what I'd been hoping for - a GPS unit! She got me the one shown here the Garmin Nuvi 205. I can hardly wait to try it out. I have a couple trips to Buffalo (yes, I can make that drive in my sleep. Just be quiet and let a boy enjoy his toy) It's very cool.

A new toy! Yay!

I mentioned in an earlier post the idea of starting a new at the new year. Well personally my new year just got started! So we're embarking on a new dietary adventure. The South Beach Diet.

This began when my doctor became concerned that my blood sugar levels were slowly but steadily climbing. The diagnosis: Pre-Diabetes. Which means I'm not there but it's a real possibility. I've told you the fear that the D word strikes in my heart. When my last tests came back they continued the wrong trend, even with my weight loss over the last year. (Since February 5 2008 I have lost 27 pounds and basically kept them off). Her prescription was the South Beach Diet.

Let me note that I have no use for fad diets. My mom fought with her weight for most of her life and tried lots of them. They worked for a while then she gained it back. I've seen many friends do the same thing. The equation for most of us is simple - we eat too damn much and do too damn little. As I've read South Beach I've been impressed. It's not about weighing portions, or points or calories or forbidding foods. It's a 3 phase dietary plan. By the time you hit Phase 3 you can eat anything you want. But as St. Paul notes while everything is lawful not everything is helpful. SB helps you learn what is helpful.

So today is Day 1 of Phase 1. Phase 1 is the phase everyone hates. It is the most restrictive. No bread, no pasta, no fruit, no booze. Lotsa veggies and lean proteins. And really a lot of food. But good food. This is a kind of re-boot for my body, a chance for it to restore the default settings for how we deal with carbs. It lasts 14 days. So 42 meals. My lady wife has agreed to go on this journey with me. She'd like to drop a few pounds, she wants to support me in my health plan and she's just wonderfully supportive like that. We're told that we could lose as much as 10-15 pounds during this two week stretch, then drop down to just a pound or two a week after that. Breakfast struck as a bit small but tasty. Basically little mini quiches and some veggie juice. 41 meals to go.

My starting weight this morning is 188.8. My goal weight is 165. So 23 pounds.
Let's see how it goes.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Weekend Update February 9

The Week That Was - Wow, what a week! Had a very interesting meeting on a project I'm working on with our local Arts Council, I had a terrible week for exercise and diet, I was part of a diocesan Listening Day on youth ministry issues, and saw my daughter's first foray into theatrical direction. It was interesting in the extreme. To work backwards the play was wonderful! She did a great job and got a great grade (it was also her final in her Directing class and her last big fling as a Theater major. So a pretty awesome curtain call). This gave my lady wife and I a chance for a little time away too. We made it a weekend and got a motel room with a hot tub (Wink, Wink, nudge, nudge, Say no more, say no more!)

I'm waiting to hear back from the other Listening locations. Mine had a very small attendance but I think came up with some really good stuff. Hope the other locations had more folks.

The exercise and diet fiasco has been interesting. I was between gym memberships (fixed now) so I go NO workouts in and my diet was pretty awful. We're going on the South Beach Diet tomorrow and I indulged. Well I feel AWFUL!!!! Bloated and logy and my guts all a-rumble. I hit the gym this morning and I feel better already. This South Beach thing is going to be interesting. I'll give it a post of it's own later this week.

So I was on the bounce. The Arts Council thing is a project we will be doing with the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA. It uses radio/podcast techniques to help give young people a voice and improve their communication skills. It can be fun when the kids get into it. And it's a few extra dollars in my pocket too!
The To Do List - I'm not even sure. I need to get in touch with our camp partners and get prices and contracts.

What Am I Procrastinating About? - I've been trying to nail down my chaplain for one of our summer camps. So far I'm not getting a response to letter, phone message or e-mail. And it's bummin' me out. And messing up my planning. But I'm avoiding the confrontation. Sigh. I should see him in person on Thursday.

What Am I Watching/Reading/Listening To? I really liked Orson Scott Card's "Treasure Box". This had more of a Stephen King feel to it but I really got into it. I've passed it along to my lady wife (who is a MAJOR King fan so we'll see). Good story telling, well written. Just a good read. I'm actually reading parts of the South Beach Diet book at the moment. Can't find anything else just at the moment. Gotta head off to the library.

My Tuesday book group is reading Soul Graffiti by Mark Scandrette. I just got my copy so I haven't really ready anything yet but my friend Tara from Uphill Idealist (who is a member of the group)is really excited about it. The intro is by Shane Claiborne and he's an interesting guy. I haven't read or seen a lot about him but I find all of it interesting. Yes I'm excited about a book because of who wrote the foreward. I'm weird.

Movies - None. Haven't seen a one.
Music - Sigh. None. Last week sucked in so many ways.

Next Up Well today's my birthday, then two meetings in Buffalo, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday.

How Am I Doing I'm a little up in the air. Don't know about this birthday thing, or this new diet. But basically OK


Resource Review - - Daily Online Devotionals By: The Episcopal Church, The Presbyterian Church, USA and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship youth ministries.

OVERALL - An online daily devotional done with young people in mind but usable by anyone. The site is simple with an optional music background.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? This is one of several joint projects being sponsored by these three church groups. The devotionals are written by various folks from all three backgrounds which offers a nice diversity of "flavors". Each devotional can be done in just a few minutes. They can offer a moment of quiet contemplation in a busy day. One of the lessons we learn from Paul in Athens is that we need to go where the people are. Our young people spend a lot of time online. It's great that we can have a place we can send them for a quiet moment with God.

RESERVATIONS I know this is supposed to be relatively quick and simple but I think just a teensy bit more meat wouldn't hurt. Also the day I visited for this review (in late January) they still had a very Advent feel to the music (not so much the devotional itself). Plus the site apart from the devotional was a little tough to navigate. I actually ended up on a page that had no links to take you anywhere else. A silly oversight. But all little things.

RECOMMENDATION A very nice daily devotional that should be accessible to anyone. It's a great resource supported by our denomination and one that can be used immediately. Very nice.

Friday, February 06, 2009

To hug or not to hug

Today is National Hug an Episcopalian Day.

Having hugged my favorite Episcopalian, my lady wife, I feel I have filled my quota.

Of course there is that other thing.

It's really rather embarrassing.

But here goes...

I'm not a natural hugger.

Which is NOT to say I'm some kind of UN-natural hugger.

Oh dear, this does get complicated doesn't it?

Let me try again.

I am a relatively shy person who grew up in a house where we were not real physically demonstrative. So hugging doesn't come easily for me.

Now at this point some of you are thinking "Well then great googly moogly son just don't hug! It's not like there's a law requiring it. Heck, some of us would prefer that all this hugging nonsense toned itself down anyway"

But you see you miss the point.

I LIKE hugs.

The problem you get into is the whole "Do I know you well enough?" and "Are you one of those anti-hug people?" and "Oh my God,I'm going to mess this all up!" and "Is this too long a hug, is this too short a hug, am I offending them?" stuff.

Maybe you don't want to be hugged cause you don't like hugging.

Maybe you don't want to be hugged cause you don't like ME.

Maybe you would love to have a hug but wonder why I seem to be rather reluctant and what does THAT mean?

(Bet you never knew that hugging was so complicated, did you?)

I envy folks who can just hug the stuffing out of life.

I've gotten better over the years. Most of my best friends, male and female, seem to be into giving me (and getting) a big hug. My brothers still hug a little awkwardly but we hug. My youth are big huggers. I don't have to do much, just wait for it from them. My bishop is a BIG hugger. You meet my bish, you're gonna get hugged.

There was a great moment late last year in my hugging history. A male adult leader that I was just getting to know better was at a meeting with me (and a bunch of other folks). At the end I was caught in my hugging dilemma and stuck out my hand to shake hands as we left. He looked right at me and said:

"I prefer a hug"

Now I know exactly where I stand with him.

And that's SO cool!

So I'm willing to practice my hugging with willing partners. (I'll shake hands with anyone else. Heck, I'm easy) Just let me know.



Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I'm so excited!

Yes this is a total over reaction. But it's nice to get a little recognition sometimes away from your hometown. Adam McClane at YS Blog is doing a whole series of short profiles of youth ministers around the country.

And he asked me to be one of them.

Yes, I'm excited.

What can I say? I'm a shallow, shallow person. LOL.

YS Blog

I like seeing my name in big bold letters.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

And what an interesting day that was

I've put off posting about this because we hadn't told the kid yet. She's up to speed now so I can share with everyone.

Most mornings my lady wife and I commute to work together. Usually I drop her off then go on to my office. One of her jobs is at an area church camp. Because it's a ways away from civilization I always make sure that she gets into the building before I take off. On Monday that was probably a good idea.

We have had several days of thaw followed by a quick freeze which has resulted a lot of ice around. Well when my lady got out of the car and headed to the door she had her feet go out from under her. When she hit the ground she also hit her head on the ice. When I got to her (in about a microsecond)she was bleeding pretty good from the back of her head. We got a compress on her head (but not actually on the wound. It was higher up than we thought)and headed to the ER. Fortunately it was a very slow morning and we got taken in very quickly.

The end result was pretty simple. No concussion. A very small cut (head wounds are always so impressive) that was closed with a couple of staples. She was allowed to go back to work and shows no signs of any significant damage.

But she scared the daylights out of me for about 15 minutes!


Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekend Update February 2

The Week That Was - Last week was pretty quiet, just moving forward on projects in the office. I did have a CROP Walk meeting with the local ice arena. Turns out they have priced themselves out of our reach. So we're back to square one. And my LCLC meeting was postponed by bad weather. Lovely. Saturday was a total goof off (I mean I only did a little shoveling and vacuumed the carpet. A total slacker). Then Sunday! Went to watch the Super Bowl at the rector's house. What a great game! I said all week we needed to control Larry Fitzgerald (which we barely did) and we needed someone to step up. Thank you Santonio Holmes. When the game was on the line he wanted the ball, he got open and he made the catches. I was a very happy camper.

The To Do List - I'm not even sure. I need to get in touch with our camp partners and get prices and contracts.

What Am I Procrastinating About? - I've been very good at work about NOT procrastinating. Not so good at home. Don't tell the kid but the guitar practice...not so much. Which is bad cuz we have a deal. And rumor has it she's keeping her end better than I am.

What Am I Watching/Reading/Listening To? Just finished this one David Ellis's "Jury of One". Liked it a lot. Spent most of Saturday curled up with it. Kept me guessing to the end. I'll have to look for more of his stuff. Just started Orson Scott Card's "Treasure Box". I think I've liked everything of his I've ever read so I'm looking forward to this one. This is part of his expansion as a writer into the mainstream although the main character feels a little like his classic SF character Ender to me. Not sure I can say why.

And I finished "The Shack". I know this is controversial in some quarters but I'm not sure why. Is this the best written novel I've read recently? No. The early portion especially limped for me and portions later on struck me as rather cloying. Some folks get really upset because the God presented in the book doesn't spend enough time talking about judgment and divine whup-ass. Is the book perfect theologically? No. But I would suggest that no theology is perfect. I found the story interesting, the theological discussion interesting and the writing adequate. I find arguments that saying Jesus is the "best way" to approach the divine is incorrect because he is the "only way" to be overly legalistic. I enjoyed the book. I doubt it's one I'll come back to read again but it's not bad at all.

Movies - Rocky Balboa - gotta be honest, I didn't have high hopes for this. Stallone has become a parody of both himself and his characters and the Rocky movies have gotten worse and worse. And I was pleasantly surprised. This is not a bad movie at all, in fact it may be the second best movie of the series (after only the original). The fight scenes were Rocky-esque, meaning they involved our hero taking a beating that would in real life kill him two or three times over. But I thought the characters were mostly nicely fleshed out. The exception was Mason Dixon the bad guy. In reality other than Apollo Creed all the baddies in these movies are cardboard cut outs. Stallone did a nice job with a nice script. The perfect coda to the series.

Gotta mention some music. I just got Springsteen's newest Working On a Dream. I really, really like it a lot especially the title track, My Lucky Day, Kingdom of Days. Several others are growing on me. Just classic stuff.

Next Up Buckling down on my projects at home, getting camp stuff taken care of. Oh yeah and my birthday.

How Am I Doing Not too bad all things considered, not too bad.


Resource Review - 12 Days With Jesus

12 Days With Jesus By: Tony Jones 87 pages Published by SonLife

OVERALL - Thought I ought to show that I'm not completely in Zondervan/Youth Specialties pocket by reviewing something from another source. SonLife says of themselves "We are discovering a new kind of youth ministry… bringing together those who are emerging in age and thought to embrace a new way of life. Join us on this journey of living, loving and leading in the way of Jesus."

This is a 12 part devotional study of Luke Chapters 8 and 9. The author Tony Jones is a writer, theologian, youth minister and a leading thinker in the Emergent church movement. The whole Emergent thing freaks some people out but you shouldn't let it. There are positives and negatives (just as with anything else) but they really don't affect this book.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Jones takes you through a very simple devotional series that has very strong roots in Lectio Divina style studies. Each "day" is only 4 pages long and the pages are quite small (you can easily slide this book into your back pants pocket and it'll disappear). It seems to written as a personal devotional but would work perfectly with a youth group or Sunday school (if you meet once a week this tiny book is 3 months of material) It clearly lays out the Scripture, asks questions, points out ideas and works to get the reader to go deeper.

RESERVATIONS I always feel like I need to have something here just to show I'm objective. But honestly? I don't have any real reservations about this.

RECOMMENDATION This book was first published in 2005 and it's been sitting on my shelf because I REALLY would love to use it. Just haven't had the opportunity as yet. At $4 per book you really can't lose. Yes, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday

Need I say more?

Here we go Steelers, here we go!