Wednesday, December 17, 2008

of text and notes and video tidings

random thoughts:
as christmas time appraoches i thought i'd share some random thoughts... sort of like a gift to the blogging world (as if the blogging world has been waiting with baited breath...)

_below, i hope you'll enjoy the letters that santa wrote to my children as much as they did. it was quite a special treat for them!




(letters from Santa to my 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter)


_check out Troy post over at Defy the Grey... have we seen it all or is there more beyond z? go there... post a comment... discuss it...

_i've been keeping track of some random information... mostly stats regarding my movie watching habits or 2008. for the past 3 or 4 years, i've kept a movie log of all films watched... with source (HBO, Netflix, DVD, Cable TV, Theatre), description and a rating (scale of 0 to 5). i started doing this for a few reasons... i wanted to see if having HBO was worth it and then, in 2008, when i recieved a Netfix gift subscription, i wanted to see how much we used it, again, to see if it was worth it.

you can go to DAYTUM to track our viewing habits and whatnot. so far this year, we've watched 148 movies. (linked in sidebar as well)

DAYTUM is in beta testing stage... but you can request to be a part. you can list anything you want on DAYTUM... it's just a place to list or keep track of things. i'm a stat freak, so i kind of like it a lot.

_(RED)wire seems like a cool new thing. what is (red)wire? it's a weekly, digital, online music magazine. you can subscribe to it for $5 a month - with 1/2 of money going directly to provide medicine to AIDS victims in Africa. Right now, you can sign up and get 2 months free (without having to give a credit card). i downloaded it today and it seems pretty cool. it has music & video & exclusives from Coldplay, U2, Jay-Z, etc. it's all DRM-free, too and soon you will be able to download videos in audio form to play in iTunes.

U2 is on board - and from what i read on their website - they've performed this really great Christmas track for (red)wire... watch it below:



(i believe in father christmas as performed by U2)
watch it HERE or see that and other U2 videos HERE, too.

_in other U2 news U2.com has an update on the new album... after reading i am geeked. go HERE to read... and check out the rest of the interview at MOJO.

according to Edge: 'It doesn’t sound like anything we’ve done before and it doesn’t really sound like anything that’s happening at the moment...'

the new album has a working title of No Line on the Horizon. Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois have been more involved in this record, even helping with some of the writing.

if the new album sounds anything like the christmas song posted above - then we are all in for a new, fresh treat.

_lastly, with Christmas time here... go over to rejesus and check out some of their Christmas related posts, games and whatnot.

peace.


----------------
Now playing: The Violet Burning - The Ends Begin
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 15, 2008

behind the numbers


i received my first Sports Illustrated subscription in 1983, when i was 9 years old (featuring Dan Marino, Nov. 14, 1983). it's been 25 years and i hadn't missed an issue... until a few weeks back when i let it run out (but i'll probably renew it soon).

i had kept each issue... most in the basement... in boxes and crates and bins and whatever i could find to store them in.

this afternoon, i went down in the basement to check on something, saw all of those boxes and decided it was time to get rid of them. after probably 12 trips up the stairs from the basement, out the back door and into the back of the van... of which included 4 separate trips to the local recycling station, i hauled most of 1,300 or so issues to be recycled.

i figure that the average weight of each issue is approx. 6 oz... 6 ounces x 1,300 issues = roughly 487.5 lbs. needless to say, my back is a little sore... and since i have had some back trouble recently, my arms are really sore as i was trying not to hurt my back.

but the basement has never been cleaner. which is nice.

Friday, December 12, 2008

chip off the old block

i always enjoyed watching Barry Sanders. He made watching a Lions game fun. i truly think he is the best running back that ever played... simply because you couldn't tackle him... he rarely took a direct hit.

i was sad when he retired suddenly in '99. he would have certainly broke Walter Payton's rushing record.







so now, his on is a freshman in high school in Oklahoma... watch this youtube clip and be amazed... Barry Sanders Jr. is a chip off the old block.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

tragedy



i don't like tragedy. not that anyone likes tragedy... i just hate the randomness of it all. people randomly shot and killed in Mumbai... a military jet crashes directly onto 1 house... 1 house! if you watched the video, you saw a car right out front... 15... 20 feet from the house...

the house was destroyed... the car was not even touched. i mean couldn't the jet have crashed in the empty street? instead 4 people died inside the house.

a tragic accident.

it is hard to take.

makes me think of ecclessiastes... everything is meaningless...





the rain falls on the just and the unjust...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cost

what is the costliest thing you own? what is the most expensive thing you've ever bought?


the following is an example of what ultimate cost looks like.



Luke 9:57-62 (New International Version)

The Cost of Following Jesus
57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

58Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

59He said to another man, "Follow me."
But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."

62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."



----------------
Now playing: Keane - The Lovers Are Losing
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

micah's prayer









a few weeks back, my 5 year old son spent the weekend with grandma. he sat with her in church that sunday morning and as he is prone to do, got out his notebook and began to doodle.

last nite - i found that notebook. he had scribbled on one of the sheets the following prayer...


(below)










prayer.

O father,
let us love and be safe.
be your self's.
to believe from the cross of
heart to
the heart of
all.
we love you
forever
and ever
and ever.

a-men
father.

loving Jesus.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

the art of balance (possibly part two of two)

"but is perfect balance the end goal?"

i don't know that it is. certainly lots of things in our lives need balance and stability. being a parent, i realize that my children need a stable patterns of consistency.
but i don't want my quest for balance to become some sort of idol - that consumes my every being. i think my life should be more about values than balance. my values - hopefully rooted in Christ's solid foundation - determine what really matters to me. (thanks Marko for the inspiration for this).

in my quest for balance - those rare times when life is perfectly balanced, seem to be the times when i am standing still.

i don't want to be standing still.

the gymnast, in the spot light... on the beam, 4 and a half feet off the ground - she's only truly balanced when she is standing still. Standing still is not what a gymnast was designed to do. It's her movement that amazes.

Think of a teeter-totter: i remember when i was a kid, the cool thing to do was to walk up and then down a teeter-totter. when you got to the middle, you could balance it. life and faith are filled with many peaks and valleys... just like walking up and then down the sea-saw. Using sea-saw imagery, when you're on the ground, you have to walk up the plank to reach the sky. You'll have a moment of balance in the middle before heading down to the ground again. Balance comes in between your ups & downs. Then you repeat the process all over again...

i think that if i want to be a radical follower of Jesus, i don't think i cn have long periods of perfect balance. I don't know, maybe i'm wrong or contradicting my self... But i don't see the life of Christ and his example set as being balanced. Jesus didn't map out a 'to-do' list and he didn't seem to follow a daily agenda. He just was... always doing. being. serving. loving. I'm not saying we need to be irresponsible and that we can't plan things - i'm just saying the following Jesus should be our top priority.

We are called to be faithful to Jesus... sometimes during moments of balance - but mostly during moments of craziness.

My quest is to follow no matter what the circumstances. He can provide us stability - even in the midst of an the unbalanced reality of life.

luke 18:28-30
philippians 3:17-21

Thursday, November 13, 2008

art of blanace. (possibly part one of two)

Imagine you're in the middle of a jam-packed arena. It's dark - but you are about to go on... for your performance. Center of the ring, there is a long shadowy plank. The spot light illuminates what proves to be a balance beam. 4 and a half feet off the ground. 4 inches wide. 5 meters long.

It's your turn. The crowd is chanting your name. Time to go on.

One problem. You are not a gymnast. You've never performed on a balance beam. ever. But your up. It's on. Time to do your best at something you know little or nothing about. You can't fake it. You can't balance. Especially with the spotlight shining on you.

What do you do?

Such it is with life and faith. Hard to balance. Hard to manage. Seems like the spotlight is always on us, too. Like everyone is watching. The thing is, that's kind of how it really is - at least for those who "claim" to be followers of Jesus. The world is watching - waiting for us to fall off the balance beam... to skrew up.

Balance is crucial... life. school. job. faith. How can we possibly balance it all?

Learning to balance.









But should perfect balance the end goal?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

pro-life quote

a quote on election day from our local newspaper's website...

UPDATED 5:01 p.m. Sign-holder delivers personal message

Not everyone was out stumping for Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama on Tuesday.

For a few hours, Dustin White, 25, stood on Central Plaza South, holding up a handwritten sign: "What's So Pro-Life About Poverty, the Death Penalty And War?"

White, who also stood on the square on Monday with friends, said the provocative question has prompted reactions from passersby — both positive and negative.

"It's not about partisanship, it's about awareness. I'm a Christian," he said. "It's frustrating to see my faith being hijacked by a political party. ... 'Pro-life' goes beyond pregnancy. It's also about treating our neighbors right."

White, who attends City Hope Church, added that real change is not generated by political leaders, but by individuals coming together for a common cause.

let your voice be heard - vote




i waited 45 min to vote today. it felt good.





(click to enlarge)
photo by me / downtown pittsbugh / nov 2, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Random Update

Random update of events... cuz you needed to know...

1. you may have noticed (or not) some subtle updates to the blog design. I've added to the LEFT COLUMN more 'Listening To' images as well as what i'm 'Reading' as of late and a few images and links to recent 'Netflix' rentals (with brief description and rating).

Also, i organized my links and put all text related/random info in the RIGHT COLUMN.

headers are embossed in black, now, too. I suppose other subtle updates will be made in the near future.

2. if you don't know, i'm a Youth Director in northeast Ohio. we call our group the Alien Uth (hard sounding 'U' as in 'Youth'). We recently created a new website that i keep updated quite frequently. Check it out: www.alienuth.com

Lots of cool stuff there... podcasts, music related reviews, devotionals, events, videos, etc. check it out.


3. I recenty checked out Hot Fuzz from the library. Talk about a man's movie! one of the few cop-driven movies to come out of England - it stars Simon Pegg and was created by the same team that did Shaun of the Dead. I thouroghly enjoyed it... watched it in high def with headphones on - cuz my wife didn't want to watch it or hear it.

It's got a good story... good comedic elements... good acting... good action... and some blood, too. Well made. If you are a guy - you need to see it... but your wife may not want to.







4. I recently wrapped up my first season as soccer coach of my sons U-6 team. Although we don't technically keep score in this league - my team, the Jaguar Cats, finished the season really well. We got a lucky draw in the draft and happened to have a lot of the best players and the best overall team.

I really enjoyed it and now have the itch to coach some more. I would love to keep the same team together next year as we'll all move up to U-8. I know that is wishful thinking. But it was a great e
experience.

The team excelled at shielding the ball and keeping pressure on the opponents defense - but their favorite thing in the world was yelling their cheer before each game...

1...2...3...Go Jaguar Cats!








5. last - but not least... i haven't formally mentioned this on the blog - but my wife and i are expecting baby #3 sometime in the spring. We are excited and God truly has blessed us. Jen is 12 weeks along. Our kids and the youth girls are super excited!

read more about it here...





Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lazy Eye (an experiment in free expression)


notes related to the song
Lazy Eye - Silversun Pickups

The other day, i was in Starbucks, and I had my iTunes on shuffle when one of my favorite songs of the moment came on, Lazy Eye by the Silversun Pickups. as i listened to the opening guitar riff, i opened up Word and decided to type down whatever thoughts came to mind as i listened. I’ve done this before a time or two… i call it FREE EXPRESSION. i find that Free Expression helps me connect with my inner being and as a result - i often write down things that inspire me. it can definately be a time for me to connect with God. (i’ve posted my Lazy Eye-inspired thoughts below)

At Coffee Talk (a youth gathering that meets every 6 weeks as part of our youth ministry) on Sunday, October 19th, the Senior High group talked about ways in which we can connect with God in the midst of our busy lives. At the end, i played this song - and asked them to free their minds and just allow God to speak to them - not necessarily through the lyric - but through the rhythms.

(i challenge you to try this with any song)


...my thoughts

FREE EXPRESSION… from 10.10.08

Waiting.

Thinking that someday things will be perfect. It never seems to happen. Or does it? Have i missed it? Have I missed the perfection? has my lazy eye – my imperfection got the best of me? Or has my perception of perfection changed?


Wanting silence. Its too loud. Too much chaos. To many distractions… but I like it… deep down I do. Sadly I do. But really – I crave silence. A time to be alone with my thoughts. But no time.

So I move on.

The music plays. The rhythms come and go. I miss the beat. Feel like I am missing out on something greater. I want to be a part of something greater. I really do.

Gotta get my chance. Gott move.

But the song continues without me. Is it possible for the song to lead to silence? That is backwards, it would seem. The rhythm would lead to more rhythm, no? or is it possible for the rhythm to lead to peace. Can rhythm be a part of my silence?

Like is shawshank redemption? Is the music in my heart and mind? Is that the real rhythm I crave? A rhythm found in the slilence? That rthym giving off hope? Hope that there is something better… something majestic out there for me to encounter?

Where does that hope come from, I need to ask.

Lost in the feedbck of guitars. Symbolic of my life. Lost in the feedback and chaos of life.

Kinda like being lost…. Deep down I hope it will lead me somewhere… out of the darkness of the forest… out of the trees to a green patch of terrain – filled with lilies and beautiful flowers.

That is the hope of rhythm that I crave.

God is there, I feel it.

(notes – free expression while listening to Lazy Eye – by the Silversun Pickups – 9:46am – oct 10, 2008 – starbucks @ washington square.)




Friday, October 17, 2008

Zidane: attentive to more than the game


this is a clip from the documentary film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

as an avid soccer fan and a former player (and now coach) i have always appreciated the art of the game. soccer or futball has been referred to as the 'beautiful game'.

Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait was filmed in real time with 17 synchronized cameras - following every move of Zinedine Zidane - the World & Euro Cup champion player from France.

I have yet to see this film in its entirety - as it has not been released on DVD in America yet. I hope that one day it does. But this clip from YouTube is beautiful to me for many reasons.

for one, it is neat to see how aware he is as he plays... how things are intensified... how immersed he is as he plays. His keen awareness says a lot about the human condition, i think - and what we are capable of.

i think his awareness to the game and his surroundings is a distinct parallel to one's potential awareness to the movement of the Spirit around them each and every day. Are you aware?

enjoy.



tell me what you think.



---

post script: i forgot to mention that Mogwai did the soundtrack to the film - and it is just as beautiful. (i got it from eMusic a lot cheaper than amazon)

also - here is the trailer to the film:

Thursday, October 09, 2008

In Rainbows (1 year later)













it's been a year since Radiohead did something that to my knowledge had never been done. In Rainbows was available to download - for a fee of whatever the consumer wanted to pay. i don't know how many people downloaded it at the time and i don't know how much money they made - but i'm guessing it was enough.

the album was a breath of fresh air in a time when much in the music world had gone stale.

it wasn't necessarily the best thing ever - but the approach that Radiohead took was sheer genius. it made the listener important again... like they were part of the band or something.

this was made evident when Radiohead released 6 different stems of the song Nude and then Reckoner available for purchase on iTunes - so that the song could be remixed by one and all. for Mac users - GarageBand files of the songs were part of the deal - so that the remixer could literally take apart every segment of the song and rearange it.

i blogged about my first reaction to In Rainbows about a year ago. my reaction today is much the same.

it's been my most played album (by far) over the past year - some songs from the album have been played on iTunes over 65 times.

I can't wait to see what comes next from Radiohead.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

on an island of musings and lyric... a song abounds.

i've been waiting
i've been waiting for this moment all my life
but it's not quite right

It is now time to make it unclear
To write off lines that don't make sense

Strobe lights and blown speakers
Fireworks and hurricanes
I'm not here
This isn't happening

meaningless
it's all meaningless
all my life and labor is foolish
and now i don't have a reason anymore

Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell

I know what you mean,

when you want to run to meet the world,

intentions may not carry you far.

Small planes are here

but they never leave my room at all,

they don’t make it through,

they don’t make it out.


I need a place
That's hidden in the deep
Where lonely angels sing you to your sleep
Though all the world is broken


Twenty-five miles or thousands of miles,

when am I going to leave here?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

because Bob Dylan had something to say 45 years ago...


A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin',
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin',
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin',
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin',
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

_

give us the strength to remember that life is very fragile.
we are all vulnerable... and we will all at some point in our lives... fall.
we will all fall.
we must carry this in our hearts - that what we have is special.
that it can be taken from us... and that when it is taken from us, we will be tested.
we will be tested to our very souls.
we will now all be tested.
it is these times, it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves
so that we may be one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

one more for the road (and just for fun)

maybe sometimes cheese is good. perhaps Five Iron Frenzy (who i once interviewed in the back of a school bus in a vacant parking lot next to a whig shop in downtown canton, ohio) understood the necessity that is 'cheese'. Cheeses of Nazareth was a smash hit.

with that in mind, i give you this video. enjoy this 100%, all-natural cheese log... straight up gouda.
feel free to dance.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

thoughts while watching the sunrise from the parking lot of a shopping complex PART 2

[on friday morning, August 15 i took my sister to the airport at 6am - so that she could catch a flight back home to Portland, Maine. rather than driving all the way home - i decided to 'kill' some time early in the morning until 9:30am - when i had to pick up something from Best Buy. i had over 3 hours to fill and i was really tired because i stayed up late the night before watching the Olympics. the following is PART TWO of "Free Expression" writing. i decided to look for potential God moments as I sat inside a Starbucks.]

Sitting in Starbucks now. The atmosphere is inviting. Jovial. Sunny. Literally. The morning sun is shining in through the pane of glass. Old soul music flares up over the speakers above my head.

Already I am allowing myself to get distracted from the surroundings. Trying to get on their internet connection.

Let me take a moment to observe.
Original art pieces decorate the walls. Cd’s for sale next to coffee in bags. Architecture that is edgy and clean. Promotional materials. Baristas… with green aprons… no one with the coveted black one. People walking in and out… one woman with a baby. Now a line has formed. Outside of the windows – sitting in the sun are a number of patrons. One woman is reading the newspaper. Four old men sit outside with their coffee conversing about football or the weather or politics or what ever. A co-worker adds supplies to the closet. A business man works hard crunching numbers. “have a big order? Call ahead. 330-494-0454” “Komodo Dragon = $13.45/lb. On my wobbly table sits a vase with a plastic banana in it. There must be some sort of jungle theme going on here as a paper mache monkey resembling Curious George sits on a display case.

I can pick up a number of pay-to-use wifi signals. TA truck stop is across the highway and I can pick it up here. T-Mobile here at starbucks and Att net.

Different people talk on their cell phone. It’s early for that. 7:53 now.

Where is God in this moment?
In the conversation.
In the contemplative thought of the man in the oversized comfy chair.
In the music that plays.
In the inner-tangling of my cords… ear buds and apple power adapter.
In the Rob Bell video I am now watching.
In the sun that shines through onto my fingertips.
In the slow, quiet walk I envision doing when I get home..
In the beauty of every person who walks though the door.
In the Vivanno Nourishing Blend non-smoothie that provides energy and protein and fiber powder and whole banana.
In my Peppermint mocha that my wife introduced me to – therefore hooking me on coffee blends mostly from Starbucks… and sometimes Speedway.
In the word ‘Sacrifice.’
In the act of obeying God that Abraham shown us.
In the contemplative thought of the man in the oversized comfy chair who is now sleeping.
In the palm tree.
In the art and the music. In the architecture. In the refection that I see with my peripheral vision. A truck just drove by. A person enters. Reflections… reflect.
Beauty.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

thoughts while watching the sunrise from the parking lot of a shopping complex PART 1

[on friday morning, August 15 i took my sister to the airport at 6am - so that she could catch a flight back home to Portland, Maine. rather than driving all the way home - i decided to 'kill' some time early in the morning until 9:30am - when i had to pick up something from Best Buy. i had over 3 hours to fill and i was really tired because i stayed up late the night before watching the Olympics. the following is PART ONE of "Free Expression" writing. i decided to look for potential God moments as i parked my car in a parking lot minutes before dawn.]



The world is watching. To my left, out the car window, sitting in the parking lot at the Strip, a major shopping complex in northwest stark county, are a number of video surveillance cameras. Watching. Me. I almost didn’t notice.

They are always there. We go on in our daily lives… we don’t even notice. But they are everywhere. My life is too busy to notice.

The oher day – while on vacation, my son, micah and I were riding around lakeside in a glof cart. It was early evening… and he noticed something that we don’t often hear… a chirping noise… almost musical, he called the sound. “what is it?”

Crickets, I said.

We had a conversation about crickets. Why do they make music? Where are they? Are they nocturnal? Yeah – he used the words nocturnal. How did he know that word? Are they nocturnal like skunks? Why do skunks stink?

We went to the cottage and went to bed.

A day or two or three later, I had long forgotten about the cricket conversation. When micah asked me again about crickets. I told him, we have already talked about this. He said, in the middle of the day, mind you, again about crickets.

Why do you ask? I said. “Because I hear one but it’s not night time.” He forgot to go to bed.

Crickets. Always around us. Making music. Mostly at night. But not always.
They are all around us… making music…
but we don’t hear it. It blends in with the rest of the chaos that is around us.

The music is all around us.

Are we tuned in to the wrong frequency?



God is all around us. Watching us. Trying to get our attention.

Friday, August 22, 2008

change

Change Your Life
But there's also this, it's not too late—
God's personal Message!—
"Come back to me and really mean it!
Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!"

Change your life, not just your clothes.
Come back to God, your God.
And here's why: God is kind and merciful.
He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love,
always ready to cancel catastrophe.
Who knows? Maybe he'll do it now,
maybe he'll turn around and show pity.
Maybe, when all's said and done,
there'll be blessings full and robust for your God!

Joel 2:12-14




post#401

Monday, July 28, 2008

run forrest run




















the 23rd annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement 2 mile and 5 mile races were held yesterday morning. Jen and i took on yet another running challenge, as did a number of young adults from our church. we ran in the 2 mile race with 882 other people. it was very crowded and the race started without any warning... some guy with a bullhorn hit the siren and we were off. the biggest challenge was weaving in and out of the masses of people... i think a couple of kids tried to take me out when we were running across the bridge. i was pushed to the outside. i felt like i was in Nascar - zig-zaging my way through, hoping not to blow a tire. after the one mile marker it thinned out. i started out running with THIS guy who finished about 20 seconds ahead of me... i think i could have ran with him the whole time - but he used to be chased by defensive lineman and linebackers back in his QB days so he's used to running fast.

i finished in 16 minutes 36 seconds... 45 seconds faster than the two mile race i ran two months ago at the YMCA. my pace was around an 8:19... when i ran my first 5k a year and a half ago - i was running a 9:35 pace. sweet, yo.

like before i ran with what Bryan might called a robotic-iPod arm band that no doubt makes one run faster. running with the Nike+ iPod system does make a race less boring, though.

we are planning on running a race in each of the next three months.

i'm pushing the 300 mile mark since i began running with Nike+ and have been a lot more consistent this spring and summer. i hope to keep it up.

my results... # 243 out of 882.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

most beautiful week

i am on the tail end of a 'week off'. it was a vacation week for me, although i did not go anyplace - save the back yard. well there were a few get aways to local parks and what not. and we hit Starbucks a few times. it was a good week, despite chronic back pain that seemed to plague me most of the week.

i took the week off for a few reasons. 1: my wife was recently hired as the childrens ministry coordinator at our church - so it allowed her to get some things organized and what not while i was home with the kids. 2. our niece Harper was staying with us - as my sister was on a mission trip to Guatemala.

i read a lot - mostly from the book Growing Souls by Mark Yaconelli.
i journaled a lot. drawings and musings filled the pages.
i sat in the back yard a lot while the kids played.
i enjoyed the sun, the cool breezes and on occasion the refreshment of water - as we went swimming on three separate occasions.

it was beautiful weather all week - mid 70's... we even saw a couple of rainbows on the one evening where we were graced with rain.

we went and saw WALL-E, which was surprisingly good and we went to Tuscora Park - which was a highlight.

i am most thankful for this beautiful week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

why do you always see one shoe on the side of the highway?

ever been driving down the interstate - or on the entrance ramp to a major highway? what are you bound to see? a shoe. not shoes, but shoe. a single shoe. sometimes it's a red high-heeled pump, sometimes a casual buster brown. often you'll see the kids gym shoe or the occasional Pro Keds sport shoe. i don't recall seeing too many Nike's on the side of the road. but none-the-less, you will see a shoe. it's usually dirty, in a mud puddle or next to someone's misplaced empty bag of McDonalds garbage.

who leaves these shoe there? does someone throw them out the window when driving? was little Junior sticking his feet out the back seat window when mom hit a pot hole and alas his shoe fell off? i have my theories as to how the red pump is there - but what is a female escort doing on the side of the interstate? there are no corners there. and the casual dress shoe... was some guy walking to work along Interstate 77 and without noticing he walked right out of his shoe? i wonder when he finally noticed. maybe when he arrived at work. it would be really ironic if that dude worked at Payless Shoe Source or something.

i can hear the conversation now.
"Hey Roger where's your left shoe?"
"Oh, I was so intent on getting to work that i literally walked right out of it."
"Ha ha ha ha" (a collection of hearty laughs would no doubt follow)

well the next time you see such a shoe - remember - with every missing shoe is a story of some guy named Roger or some kid named Junior or some escort named Destiny.

or maybe this mystery of life has no answer. many o' men will no doubt spend the majority of adult life trying to solve it, no less. i hear it's now being offered as a major at Akron U.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

silence of morning

birds make their songs known...
who is there to listen?
yet they still make their music loud.
proud of the melodies.
simple melodies that communicate so much.
they do it instinctively.

no matter if you or i bother to take time to listen.
even the wind can't silence them.
after a summer rain - their music intensifies...
sort of a homecoming
or a calling home.
they now have my attention.

there is something to be said about the
songs of the winged folk -
perched in trees mightily singing
for all or none to hear.
for they are not driven by others
but by God.



written early monday morning while sitting on the front porch swing... taking a moment...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Maker Moment #33


watching Dead Poets Society.

so much truth is found within. the entire movie is a God moment... waiting to speak to you if your eyes and ears are open.

i love it when i see and hear from God through a film.




what films does God speak to you through?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Maker Moment #1



read the book SEEING GOD IN THE ORDINARY by Michael Frost.

it has inspired my previous posts from today... and shall inspire many more.

what an eye opener...

Maker Moment #2




Do you see the magnificent love of the Father all around us?

the Maker is creating everyday, in-between moments for us to connect with Him... daily. after God created man on day 6 - he didn't just stop being who He is... he didn't cease to be Creator anymore, did he? God's creation is present tense. to Him creativity is as connected to us as is love, a love that abounds. you can not separate God's creativity from his love.






all we have to do is look. it's all around us. his love is there, eyes open or not.





Look.











maybe you need to view life from a different angle... maybe then you'll see.

Maker Moment #18




Sigur Rós





finding God in the simplistic things... finding hope in the unintelligible words and sounds...


because sometimes we have a hard time putting words to the feelings and emotions that are found from within us... our expression is pleasing to God - he is with us and he understands us. the Holy Spirit groans... (1 Thes. 5:15-17, Romans 8:26, etc.) with this comes hope... a hope that someone understands our deepest, darkest, inner-most being.

this is what comes to mind when i listen to Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

much of their music is sung in a form of Vonlenska.

Vonlenska is a term used to describe the gibberish sung by the band, in particular Birgisson. It is also commonly known by the English translation of its name, Hopelandic. It takes its name from “Von”, a song on Sigur Rós’s debut album Von where it was first used. Von - in icelndic means 'hope'.

Vonlenska is not a real language as it lacks a consistent grammar structure, word meaning, or even distinct words as such. Instead, it consists of meaningless syllables; the band’s website describes it as “a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music”. Most of the syllable strings sung by Birgisson are repeated many times throughout each song, and in the case of ( ), throughout the whole album. As the rest of Sigur Rós’s lyrics are sung in Icelandic, which most of their audience do not understand, an unknowing listener could easily take Vonlenska to be Icelandic and be unaware that a song’s lyrics do not have a direct literal translation. Rather it is a form of expression. (from Wikipedia)


songs of choice:

Untitled #8 from the album ( )

Gong from the album Takk

Festival from the album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust ("With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly")





----------------
Now playing: Sigur Rós - Untitled 8
via FoxyTunes

Maker Moment #7

seeking God in the ordinary... day by day... are your eyes opened enough to see Him?

Dancing.

some guy named Matt Harding went around the world and danced in 42 countries... captured all on video. pure joy. i'm quite certain God delights in our joy.


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Maker Moment #42




God is all around us... revealing himself to us... are our eyes open enough to see Him?






'We sing "Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord. Your mercies are new every morning." Every day God shows us grace and favor, but we're too busy to spot it.' - Michael Frost (from the book Seeing God in the Ordinary

i read this while sitting in our postage-stamp sized backyard last evening. the sun was preparing to set. the kids were playing joyfully. a gentle breeze kept me cool. and God came near.

i stopped. got the camera and captured the moment... so that i would not forget.
































God is all around us - making a pass at us - trying to get out attention.
are you OPEN?

SEE. HEAR. TASTE. TOUCH. FEEL.


i will strive to post more Maker Moments from here on out.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

where i've been

HERE... at the amazing CYF camp.
i put together this highlight video from CYF08. CYF is a senior high youth camp held at Malone college in canton, ohio. i serve as worship coordinator. this dude is the worship leader.

God was present with us and he moved amongst us. what a blessing.

enjoy.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

guiding steps to a lasting legacy

this past Sunday was Youth Sunday - I, along with some of the youth from the group led the service. LEGACY was the theme of choice. listed below is some of the main points that were shared. We had many scriptures - but the meat of the message came from Luke 5. here are some notes from the sermon...



THE STORY OF LUKE 5 (IN A NUTSHELL)

  • Fishers of Men called
  • Man with leprosy healed
  • Others join in on the healing
  • Two guys cut a hole in the roof
  • Sins forgiven / Pharisees mad
  • Crippled man walks
  • Awestruck people
INVITATION TO A CHANGED LIFE (GUIDING STEPS TO A LASTING LEGACY)


based on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 5

  1. FOLLOW
    • ”they pulled their boats to shore, dropped their nets and followed Jesus”
    • they literally left everything... all the fish Jesus just helped them catch!
    • think of the amounts of money that amount of fish would have brought them?
    • they knew - in an instant - what it meant to to be in the presence of the Messiah.
      • they recognized holiness.
      • the holiness drew them in and they followed, without question.
  2. DESIRE
    • ”I want to be clean”
    • the leper had the desire and couldn't keep quiet about it.
  3. BELIEF
    • ”a large crowd gathered to listen and be healed…”
    • God's gonna reveal himself. You watch and see.
    • Do we have expectant hearts? do we have that kind of belief?
      • it's all about perspective... point of view. glass half full or half empty? do you visit the Grand Canyon and complain about the dirt on your shoes? do you watch the sun setting on the shores of Lake Erie and focus on the sand between your toes? the big picture reveals greatness, and the big picture of Christ's invitation to a changed life is to be celebrated.
      • being in His presence brings about change. if we don't want to change - do we really want to be in the presence of Jesus? why resist the party?
  4. BOLDNESS
    • ”when they couldn’t find a way in… they cut a hole In the roof… Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said, 'friend, your sins are forgiven.'”
      • What must it feel like to have Jesus Christ impressed by your boldness?
      • Whose boldness for the Gospel are we impressed with?
  5. AMAZEMENT
    • ”awestruck, they said “we’ve never seen anything like this.”
    • Are we amazed at the mysteries of God?
      • if the mystery fades - does our need for God fade?
      • Like a child's Happy Meal toy... soon the amazement fades and the cheap toy is discarded.
        • it shouldn't be that way for those who follow God and his teaching, yet - it often is.
    • We ought to be awestruck every time we witness the presence of God.

if we allow it, DOUBTS WILL CREEP IN and squelch…
OUR ABILITY TO FOLLOW
OUR DESIRE
OUR BELIEF
OUR BOLDNESS
WHILE THE AMAZEMENT FADES

but we can exchange our doubts for courage to follow Him. the hand of Christ is extended to us - just like it was extended to Peter after he lost faith (in himself, perhaps) and began to sink after walking on the water to meet Jesus.

Christ’s invitation to a changed life...
IT'S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE.





----------------
Now playing: Explosions In The Sky - So Long, Lonesome (Eluvium Mix)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

With or Without You


i remember the first time i heard With or Without You by U2... well, i remember the first time i really listened to it, i should say. it was the spring of 1987... i was 13 years old. we were riding back from a soccer game and i was riding shotgun in my coaches car. i can't remember the name of the coach. i remember the car, though. something like a mid-80's Chevy Impala. there were probably six of us kids in the car. very safe, i'm sure. We were dropping off one of my teammates and With or Without You came on the radio. i had heard the song before... my sister had The Joshua Tree on cassette and i had probably heard it on the radio prior to that moment - but for some reason - i vividly remember hearing, no listening to With or Without You in the front seat of a Chevy Impala - tuning out the rest of the world, the loud muffler, the teammates climbing out of the back seat as i leaned forward (two doors made it difficult for others to get out - with two other kids and a coach in the front seat).

I don't know why i remember that moment. it was quite random. but we all remember random things. don't we? what random things do you remember?

atu2.com bible references notes the Biblical reference found in "With or Without You"

"See the thorn twist in your side"
-- 2 Corinthians 12:7: "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me."


----

my love for U2 grew and grew after that moment. 'tis true. the third cd i ever purchased (way back in 1990 - after i sold a Michael Jordan basketball card and a Joe Montana football card for $100 - which i used to buy my first single drive Magnavox cd player, of which i still have and occasionally use) was U2 - Rattle & Hum. (my first and second cd purchases were Bell Biv Devoe - Poison and George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice vol. 1)

i later fell in love with the movie Rattle & Hum and my love for U2 sky-rocketed.

it all goes back to the spring afternoon - some 21 years ago... hearing, no listening to With or Without You for the first time. that is what i love about music. you never know how it's gonna stick with you. at times, it just does. music has power.

listen to With or Without You today. if you have it - spin it. if not - watch the video here.

blog about that moment when you heard that one song that you've never forgotten... maybe on the radio, at a concert or on a friends mix tape... think about - no, write about the power music today.



See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

With or without you
With or without you

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I'm waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

My hands are tied
My body bruised, shes got me with
Nothing to win and
Nothing left to lose

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you
With or without you



----------------
Now playing: U2 - With Or Without You
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 23, 2008

40

(disclaimer: this post has no meaning or value)

  • number of cases of pop purchased at Giant Eagle (grocery store) for our church/youth group pop machine
  • amount of minutes it took to unload said pop from van - to cart - to stairs.
  • total pounds of 4 cases of pop carried up the 20 stairs to the pop machine on the second floor (2 in each hand) for a total of 10 times
  • amount of total pounds, times 10 for a grand total of 400 pounds of pop carried up to the second floor.
  • number of cans, times 12 for a grand total of 480 cans carried up, loaded or stored.
  • amount of time it took to unjam the pop machine- in which two Diet Pepsi cans had become lodged underneath the arm that signals if a slot is empty or not, causing the little orange light to light up informing all of the parishioners for the past two weeks that the Diet Pepsi slot was empty, in turn causing upset parishioners who apparently can't live without their Diet Pepsi. (lol. i kid, i kid!)
  • addition minutes it took to load the rest of the pop and organize the remaining cases in the pop cupboard.
  • seconds it took me to justify our churches need for an elevator - not for anyone who might be handicapped, mind you - but for all future loadings of said pop machine.
  • the length in minutes, save 3, of the John Reuben CD that played through twice during my ordeal.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

it's all about perspective

They asked him, "John's disciples are well-known for keeping fasts and saying prayers. Also the Pharisees. But you seem to spend most of your time at parties. Why?"

Jesus said, "When you're celebrating a wedding, you don't skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but this isn't the time. As long as the bride and groom are with you, you have a good time. When the groom is gone, the fasting can begin. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!

"No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don't put wine in old, cracked bottles; you get strong, clean bottles for your fresh vintage wine. And no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unaged wine." (Luke 5:33-39)

----------------

Mary knew what it meant to be in the presence of the Messiah. Levi knew it. He walked away from the lucrative business of tax collecting. Simon Peter knew it. Him and the others dropped their fishing nets (apparently overflowing with a fresh catch of fish) on the beach and followed Christ. His mother Mary knew it (as referenced in a previous post) when she pleaded that Jesus to 'keep the party going.'

it's all about perspective... point of view. glass half full or half empty? do you visit the Grand Canyon and complain about the dirt on your shoes? do you watch the sun setting on the shores of Lake Erie and focus on the sand between your toes? the big picture reveals greatness, and the big picture of Christ's invitation to a changed life is to be celebrated.

being in His presence brings about change. if we don't want to change - do we really want to be in the presence of Jesus? why resist the party?

open your eyes. there is something more.

----------------

Make a wish on a silver sun
a day like this can't be wasted
make a wish don't tell anyone
Cool this temper with laughter

Daylight comes crashing in
Time is of short supply
The wind streams through
broken rooms
Underneath darkness lies
From this fear there may come light
Stretch me out over this divide
Make a wish on a silver sun
when it comes, it comes

Make a wish on a silver sun
a day like this can't be wasted
make a wish don't tell anyone
Cool this temper with laughter

Daylight comes crashing in
Time is of short supply
The wind streams through
broken rooms
Underneath darkness lies

From this fear there may come light
Stretch me out over this divide
Make a wish on a silver sun
when it comes, it comes.


----------------
Now playing: South - Silver Sun
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, May 18, 2008

start of something new



















this weekend i assisted my wife on a wedding photo shoot. she armed me with a second camera and when i wasn't helping her - i snapped some random shots. statues, stained glass, icons as well as the typical celebratory pictures of a wedding and the feast that follows.

during the hour long ceremony (it was a catholic wedding) my mind began to think about the beauty of what was taking place.

After the wedding, we went to a park to shoot some outdoor photos of the wedding party. some had had a bit to drink - so the celebration was in full swing before the reception had even started. but they were celebrating. there was joy in their eyes. i could see it. lots of big smiles and playful spirits.



















i thought about Jesus and the wedding at Cana. the festivities had probably been going on for quite some time. if i remember correctly, weddings, in those days, lasted for up to a week. can you imagine what kind of celebration it must have been? and when the wine was gone - it would have been a big deal. you can understand why Mary, the mother of Jesus, goes to Him - asking him to do something about it. Jesus performs his first miracle, changes water into wine and the rest is history. the master of the banquet responded by saying "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

You have saved the best till now.



















it was the start of something new... for the bride and groom at Cana - for Jesus, whose public ministry had just begun. something new and exciting was starting.

there is a real, raw beauty in that. Newness. spring time ought to remind us of the beauty of all things new. start fresh. set goals. look to the future. eyes forward. sun shining. best laid plans ahead of us; world is an oyster; take risks and live life.

what new things has Jesus placed before you? maybe it's time to celebrate. clear eyes. full hearts. with joy in your heart. rejoice! the best has been saved for us - claim it and believe it.

when two become one - trust has to be at the core - or the marriage is bound for trouble. you can see the example of trust in Jesus - as he trusted and knew that the wedding at Cana (and the miracle that came with it) would ultimately lead to a unifying of the the bride of Christ (the church, followers & believers) with Christ himself - through his impending sacrifice on the cross.

there is something great and mighty and new in front of us all. i want to wrap my arms around that and discover with joy what it is that God has placed in front of me. may grace guide us and lead us to that mission, whatever it may be, and may Christ be glorified and others bear witness.

for he has saved the best until now.