Just realized that while there have lots of posts here there hasn't been much from me personally. Part of that has just been the business of the last several weeks:
Happening #25 - a great spiritual retreat weekend for teens led by a great group of young people. I actually was NOT quite as wiped out as I often am by these (these kinds of retreats don't work well with my Myers-Briggs Introvert personality).
Then home for a day and off to:
Standing Commission on Ministry Development - Chicago! Great city! Have friends there! NEVER LEFT THE HOTEL FOR 4 DAYS! Apparently there IS some work being done at the wider church level. And the folks who are doing it work HARD! We worked 9-noon, 1-5 and 7-9 each day. I'm the chair of a sub-committee looking at the Ministry of the Baptized concept and what we need to do to make it a reality in the church. Because too often it is either just lip service or code for "ministry of the lay". Curious since I'm fairly certain the ordained have to be baptized too. Unless it comes off when the collar goes on. Met some wonderful people and largely enjoyed myself. It's always tough for me when I really don't know many people. I'm not a natural mingler. So I forced myself, tried to sit with some new folks and have conversations. Kinda painful but cool at the same time. For those who read here and are from the Beliefnet days I actually had lunch one day with someone who began talking about our friend Roseann. I about fell out of my chair! We are indeed a small, freakin' church.
Got home and immediately went to see the national touring company of "Fiddler on the Roof". A personal favorite for the whole family. VERY disappointing. Really felt like a mid-level college performance. Nothing wrong with it except it was a national touring company of Equity actors. Flat characters, lots of singers who couldn't really sing the parts (or simply sang them with no passion). Topol was supposed to be with the company but health issues caused him to pull out (Toronto got Harvey Fierstein! So jealous!). It was just sad. Plus a grumpy lady sitting in front of us. The kid and I, at moments of the show we love the most, might sing, VERY SOFTLY (like I could barely hear her and I was sitting right next to her) or hum a part we loved. Not the whole thing, a phrase or two. I repeat, VERY SOFTLY. It's really not good manners, I know but it's hard to resist, at least for me. And the lady in front of us started getting snotty about it. And was snotty from the git go. At one point she complained and neither of us were making a peep! She lost ANY compassion from me when she and her male companion bolted before the curtain call. Sorry, if you love the show that much you give some respect to the performers. I DIDN'T like it that much but I stayed for all the curtain calls. So I'll leave it to you to judge who was more out of line.
Lots of meetings, I shan't bore you with them.
I did indeed complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, breaking through the 50,000 word mark with a day to spare. I'll be posting my winner's badge on this page later this week. I'm still excited about finishing the book (I figure it's at least another 30-40k worth of writing) but I was kind of surprised by the post contest emotional let down. I was just wrung out. It was great fun.
Oh and quick plug for which I receive nothing in return. Found some really fine free software for writing longer projects (like novels but apparently folks use it for other things too) yWriter 5. It's not youth ministry related so I'm not including it in the regular reviews columns but I really enjoyed using it. The learning curve is relatively shallow, and I keep finding more and more tools. It's not Scrivener, which is the best I've ever seen (and it's what the kid uses since it's Mac only. Not free either but very reasonably priced)but it was designed by a writer who is also a programmer. So it works pretty well. If you're looking for something to do long form writing I'd definitely recommend it.
Right now is a time of waiting for me. I'm waiting to hear back on what may turn out to be a really cool thing for next year. Plus I've made a decision on my next big challenge for next year. More on those later.