Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Saw this driving around Springfield the other day.

Now let me ask... who's in?

A discount on tattoos.

Is that something you really want to see discounted?
You have to ask yourself... why is it on sale?



Monday, April 28, 2008

Sloppy Joe: Never Ending Story

I convinced my kids the other day that it's pronounced SHloppy Joe and said more gravelly... besides it's more fun that way.

I hadn't had these since I was a kid and Kristen has never made them, so we decided to try a new recipe of these ol' favorites with the kids. Went better than I anticipated.

I think it helped that Kristen started this one-line story thing that entertained the kids while they ate spaghetti sauce on a bun.

So here's the deal: here's your chance to collaborate on a story with the other readers of this blog. Keep it clean (inappropriate comments will be deleted).

I'll start it like I started it with the kids the other night:

"The ketchup was good"

Your turn.
Four words only, building from the previous line to create a story.
Have fun.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Kids Are Smudged

We've been in a series at The Orchard called Smudged.

It's all about the lenses we see life through and how sometimes we allow those lenses to get smudged, which in turn affects how we see different areas of our life. Once your lenses are smudged, you see things only through those smudged lenses and not necessarily how they really are. Anyway, you can check out the podcasts here.

This weekend we talked about our kids and our parents and us as parents. Now, being a part of the creative planning team, I get a glimpse and even get to help create the message concept for the weekends. This message still kicked me in the chest. Seriously check out the podcast. Though we also did the Ugly Kid Joe version of the song Cats In The Cradle before the message. It aided in building the tension for the talk to resolve. Hard song to sing for me because I have found myself saying things like the lyrics in the song to my own kids, for seemingly good reasons. I've even found myself saying things like that to my own parents when they have wanted to see me or spend time with me. It's hard being a grown up sometimes.

We used the analogy of scaffolding to illustrate how we can say words of empowerment, pray for our kids, and give them examples to learn from so that their lives will go far beyond our own. By doing these things, we build scaffolding in our kids lives so that with each generation, they become better leaders, better Christ-followers than the last.

Two things impacted me as we talked about building scaffolding in our kids lives. I have not given my parents enough credit for building scaffolding in my life. For years I focused on things I shouldn't have and at the same time did not celebrate them for the encouragement, prayers and support they have given me over my life. I know they are proud of me and have said as much. I know they believe I have what it takes. I know that many others did not grow up in a loving home like I did. While my parents were not perfect any more than I am as a parent. Parenting is hard, but I think they did the best they knew how to do and I have learned a wealth of great things from them. Mom and Dad - thank you for all that you have taught me and shared with me.

This message also inspired me to take the time and opportunity to ensure my sons know that I whole-heartedly believe they have what it takes. That they can undoubtedly accomplish anything they set their mind to. Does it mean they won't fail - absolutely not and they will probably fail a lot. They have seen me do this. They have seen me make mistakes, which is good. They need to know that a mistake is not the end of the world but a learning point if you handle it correctly. I believe though that they will also see success in the areas that God has purposed and designed them for. I pray for open eyes for them to see that direction and for me as their dad to see that and support that as well. I pray that for all of my kids.

For my girls, I want the same things for them as I do for my wife... that they know without a doubt that they are beautiful and that they are worthy to be pursued. I want them to know that they are special and wonderfully made and that no one can take that from them. God has given them that and it goes beyond the outside but stretches in to their heart. I also pray for them to be able to accomplish their dreams and to dream big.

I am very proud of my kids - not because of their accomplishments but because they are my sons and daughters.

Thanks for letting me get that out so that I can swallow this lump in my throat down.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Creative and Funny

I have to say... I'm hooked on this dude's blog. Very creative, a good writer and his posts are just plain funny. If you have not been over to John's blog and are in need of a laugh, you need to go there.

Now. Go ahead. It's ok if you leave mine to go check out his (just make sure you come back :)

The dude is becoming a blogging fiend too.

If you missed it, here's some videos he wrote scripts for. Pretty simple, pretty clever, and funny.

Let me know what you think.

1. Yeah I said Twitter.

2. Bath time.

3. I just learned spanish.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Retro: The new vehicle

We finally broke down and got a new car payment... I mean a new car :) We had a lot of help in trying to get a vehicle that would fit into our budget and for that we are very grateful.

We also had some really good friends who let us borrow a car when we needed it in the interim. And not just any car, but a Hummer H3... their best vehicle. It's very humbling to have friends like that who will not only help you but give you their best.

Thank you!

On a side note, the car is perfect for getting me to and from the office. It's also been cool to go out on dates with my wife in something other than the minivan. I also realize with this car how nice it is to have headlights and windshield wipers that work.

We got a Hyundai Accent GLS that feels like driving a suped-up go-cart with a CD player and air conditioning - I love it. Thanks to the help we got from friends, it looks like for now I can keep the motorcycle (I'm VERY thankful for that!)

One last thing on this... this car is the base model - other than the Cd player and A/C it has nothing else. My son gets in the car for the first time grabs the handle on the side and says, "what's this for?"

Man did I laugh! They are growing up in an age that they may not even know what window-roller-handle-things are.

Ahh the things we take for granted :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bye Bye Intrepid

Well we officially said goodbye to our '97 Dodge Intrepid. The cost to fix it was just too great and with 167k miles on it, I'm afraid it's time for a change. So we donated it to charity - they still wanted it even after I told them about it!

We got the Intrepid from another pastor I was on staff with and it's been a pretty good car.

It had quite a few miles already and had several mechanical problems. For example, during torrential downpours, it helps to have windshield wipers that don't stop in the up position. It also helps to be able to see at night if your driver-side headlight has not been turned into a fish tank (the thing constantly would fill with water... I nearly added the goldfish to complete the look).

The hood was one of my favorites though... it wouldn't open, which made it real easy to check the oil and other fluids. Taking it to get the oil changed was always fun. You had to take a pair of pliers, pull on the hood release cable while someone aggressively yanked up on the hood. It didn't always work either. I could never figure out why the stupid latch just would not work.

The latest - transmission didn't want to switch out of second gear. Forget driving on the freeway. Forget driving pretty much anywhere in the Chicago area. It made me a slow moving target.

Good times. Lots of memories we won't forget but wish we could.

Time for something completely different.

Feelin' Good

Several weeks back, my wife and I decided to start using the fitness center at the clubhouse in our neighborhood.

Why not? We pay for it and have only been living here for three years... might as well take advantage of the facility for more than the pool during the summer.

Half-way through our seventh week of working out and feeling pretty good. Not losing weight very fast but I'm more into it for the exercise. Kristen is doing great and I think we both motivate each other well.

We've had a week or two that was rough because of travel or illness but I feel like we've developed a pretty good routine.

Now everybody and their brother is going so we may end up having to change the time we go or start doing something else. Our entire neighborhood must be trying to get ready for swimsuit weather now that the sun is back out.

I'm almost at the 200 mark and am looking to get toned down to 185. I've been running on the treadmill and am up to a 12.25 minute mile for 45 minutes... quite an accomplishment for me!

We've started adding in some weight training and it's kicking my butt!

What do you do for exercise?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bald Worship Leader

I got a text message from a friend of mine in New York this weekend.


Go check out this blog post. Look back at the picture in this post. I won't say I was the first but I definitely fit the description, unintentionally.

At least I shave my head :)

Go ahead. Say what you gotta say about it. Get it out so we can move on :)

Make sure you read some of the comments too - funny (thanks for the link Kenny)!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Silence Part 2

If you missed the previous post, check it out here.

I've uploaded the file that we used for our First Wednesday in Silence. We use Keynote as we run everything on Mac at The Orchard so I've uploaded a few options for everyone else:

  1. The original keynote (Manksans font, 1280 x 720 screen size, no slide transition but a 2 second dissolve "all at once" build in and out on the text pieces).
  2. A manual advance flash file that you can check out in a flash enabled browser to get the idea of the flow and the elements we used. We did the whole presentation manually advancing text so we could gauge the room better.
  3. A zipped folder of the slide images. This includes a .jpg image for each part of the build so that if you put each image into a powerpoint or keynote presentation and assigned the dissolve transition to the images you should be ok.
If for some reason you still don't see what you need and would like to check it out for use in a small group or church gathering setting, let me know.

Simple but very powerful.

After you check it out, let me know what you thought of it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

American Idol Goes Christian??

One of the songs that was performed by the final 8 during both the AI Gives Back and the results show tonight was Shout To The Lord.

They performed the song very well, and though it seems like there are several of the finalists who are Christian I was still surprised to hear the song. Even more so that they performed it twice.

Strange choice of songs considering their topic but pretty cool that millions of people are watching the show and hearing that song. They really did preform the song well and actually did the whole song on the results show.

What did you think?

So much to blog about...

The office is finally back! As one of my few TV indulgences, I've missed having some new episodes.

I've been watching season two on DVD and even went back and watched a few episodes online of season three (don't own it yet). Still makes me laugh. I just don't see how you can get any more inappropriate than Michael Scott?

Jim, Pam, Dwight and the gang did not disappoint. Uncomfortable and funny show tonight.

I actually got to see the American Idol results show with my kids tonight. Haven't got to do that in quite a while. I don't think the right person was voted off but I'm sure he will do well on his own.

And what about the American Idol Gives Back??? I didn't get to see the show but they showed highlights... AI has really moved up in being able to get bigger stars. Pretty high quality acts.

Tonight they had Jordin Sparks perform with Chris Brown - her latest single No Air. Last night they hosted previous AI contestants Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood. The night apparently was filled with performances of Heart and Fergie (doing Beracuda), Annie Lennox, Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Snoop Dogg, and Miley Cyrus. Terri Hatcher, Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and several other celebrities threw their faces in the ring to help raise funds for impoverished youth.

So far they've raised 60 million dollars - that's awesome! A lot of young people living in poverty around the world will hopefully benefit from all this.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

First Wednesday in Silence

I met some new people tonight who came to our First Wednesday service this last week and they shared how impacting it was for them. I too am still thinking about our time together in silence.

It was powerful.

For those of you who don't know what First Wednesday is, here's the short of it... every month at The Orchard, we get together on the First Wednesday to worship together, to catch our breath and begin our month by keeping first things first.

It's our chance as a church community to commit each month to God.

A chance to take a break from the business of life and focus our attention on our Creator.

We actually do some pretty creative things on FW to help us connect in different ways and I plan to post some of these ideas on future posts.

This last FW, we used silence - just taking the opportunity to be quiet and listen for God's voice. When a room of 100-150 people are doing this, it's powerful. We used the Nooma film "Noise" to help get things into this mindset of being quiet and still. Then we directed people purely with words on our screens. We spent nearly 40 minutes in silence.

We meditated on some scriptures in silence.

We took communion together in silence (the breaking of the wafer all together after so much silence was amazing).

We prayed together in silence and left together in silence.

It was probably one of the most moving FW experiences I've ever had.
I'll post the keynote or a version of it so you can see how it worked.

Have you ever taken time to connect with God like that before? In silence?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Up and Running

I know, I know - I've been away from my blog for a bit, but the weeks have been full and I have a lot to share.

We have been crippled, in a vehicular way, the last couple of weeks. My cars' transmission is toast along with several other issues (which is unfortunate since I finally fixed the wipers and headlight :) and my motorcycle had been having some battery issues. It had been a bit cold to ride anyway so I had been reduced to driving the minivan. Not necessarily a bad thing I guess, but it left my family at home without transportation.

I do have to say that driving the minivan brings to mind images of Clark Griswold and the family truckster.

We've been blessed that so far it has worked out and have had some help from our friends. I went to work on the bike today and I am happy to say that it is up and working great!

I plan to ride this weekend and leave the minivan for my wife.

Lots more to tell you, but it will have to be later.